Chaz Bolte

Last Week, Obama Endorsed Bernie Sanders’ Citizens United Overhaul

President Obama took to Reddit last week for an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session that drew 3.8 million participants.
Of the many questions he answered, perhaps most intriguing to progressives was his endorsement of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Saving Democracy Amendment, a constitutional amendment that tackles campaign finance reform and specifically overturns the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision.
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MI Court of Appeals Rules Collective Bargaining Bill Will Be on Nov. Ballot

The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that voters will decide the fate of an amendment aimed at protecting collective bargaining rights come November. Predictably, opponents of the ballot initiative, led by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, have vowed to take the issue to the Michigan Supreme Court.
The appeals court rejected a challenge to the proposal which claimed the law was too sweeping and affected too many laws. But nearly 600,000 Michigan voters had signed petitions to get the “Protect Our Jobs Amendment” on the ballot, signaling its ubiquitous appeal.
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REPORT: Between ’01 and ’11, Trade Deficit With China Eliminated or Displaced 2.7 Million US Jobs

A new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) reveals the effect that China’s admittance to the World Trade Organization (WTO) has had on U.S. workers and the domestic economy.
According to Robert E. Scott, researcher of The China Toll, “between 2001 and 2011, the trade deficit with China eliminated or displaced more than 2.7 million U.S. jobs, over 2.1 million of which (76.9 percent) were in manufacturing.”
Nearly 2.7 million jobs have been lost to China. 662,100 of these losses came between 2008-2011 according to the study. The computer and electronics industry has been hit particularly hard with 1,064,800 jobs displaced, 38.8 percent of the 2001–2011 total.
Wages of workers with less than a four year college degree have been driven down by competition from less developed countries. Roughly 70 percent of that workforce, nearly 100 million workers, have felt the chilling effect.
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TRUTH FAIRY: LA Mayor, LA Times Attempt to Expose the Horrors of Prop 32

That’s because Proposition 32 bristles with enormous loopholes tailor-made for businesses and their wealthy backers. To begin with, it exempts such common business structures as LLCs, partnerships and real estate trusts. If you’re a venture investor, land developer or law firm, Proposition 32 doesn’t lay a finger on you.
The drafters, who include conservative attorneys Thomas Hiltachk and Michael Capaldi, know full well that payroll deductions are how unions get almost all of their funds, and businesses get almost none of theirs.
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Boeing Promotes Record Profits while Shifting Costs onto Employees

As defense industry titan Boeing enjoys record sales and income it has made shifting costs to its engineers and technical workers a focal point of contract negotiations with the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEAA).
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Few Surprises in Wisconsin’s Primary, Marred by Low Turnout

The biggest race of the night was the GOP Senate primary which former Governor Tommy Thompson won narrowly over former Congressman Mark Neumann and businessman Eric Hovde. Thompson, the former Secretary of Health and Human services under President Bush, won with 34 percent of the vote to Hovde’s 31 and Neumann’s 23.
Thompson will now face progressive Democrat Tammy Baldwin in November. Baldwin polled quite favorably when matched against Neumann or Hovde, but the latest Quinnipiac polling shows the race is a tie against the relatively moderate Thompson.
Turnout was low compared to the recall election on June 5th, something that may have been a factor in 13 legislative incumbents keeping their seats.
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Senators Demand that Justice Department Guard Against Contractors with Criminal Histories

According to a new report from its Inspector General, the Department of Justice has failed to take the necessary precautions to stop contractors with criminal histories from receiving federally funded work.
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Reminder: Voter ID is About Real People, With Real Stories of Being Denied the Right to Vote

If voter fraud was a real problem in Pennsylvania then perhaps Voter ID would make a sliver of sense, but it has already been proven that PA has never had a case of voter fraud. To undermine the voting rights of people like those who spoke at this hearing (and 9% of the state’s voters in total) is plain wrong.
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Waste Management Bringing in Replacement Workers from Out of State Instead of Bargaining with Seattle Teamsters

Striking Waste Management workers in Seattle braced for a showdown yesterday when an estimated 200 replacement workers were expected to arrive for their first day on the job. Complaints from customers and threats from the city have forced Waste Management to resume regular garbage pickup, but rather than negotiate with striking Teamster members they decided to bring in help/scabs from out-of-state.
“The company wants us to cave, because we see replacement workers doing our jobs,” says union driver Brent Barrett.
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Report: During Obama’s First Year in Office, The Number of Workers Killed on the Job Increased by 3.1%

A new report by the Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) lays out a set of reforms that could help strengthen and stream line the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the 40-year old agency of the Department of Labor. The report notes that the now-underfunded agency had a ratio of inspectors to workers of 1-to-30,000 in the late 1970s. The ratio has since doubled to 1-to-60,000.
The report is alleged to be putting pressure on President Obama to reform OSHA if re-elected. A consensus is building around the importance of how workers report unsafe conditions and how the agency responds to this information above simply pumping more money into a semi-broken agency.
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