Honor flight Dance
Just a reminder that Local 72 along with the Rotary Club-West will be sponsoring an Honor Flight Dance at Local 72 Headquarters on Sunday March 11th from 1-5 pm. Honor flights take World War II vets to see the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C. Tickets are $5.00
Why isn’t Walker challenging Recall petitions?
When the United Wisconsin movement set out to recall and remove Gov. Scott Walker, they set exceptionally high standards. They trained tens of thousands of volunteers. They set up a meticulous review process for petitions so that dubious signatures were identified quickly and addressed. Signers were called and asked to clarify information that was incorrect. If they could not, their names were struck.
Even then, more than 150,000 petition sheets were reviewed once more to ensure that they were properly prepared. Finally, on Jan. 17, 2012 after two months of morning, noon and night work, the United Wisconsin campaign filed more than 1 million signatures to recall Walker along with 840,000 to recall Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. In addition, almost 100,000 more signatures were filed to recall four state senators.
The petition gathering and review process was meticulous. It was demanding work, and it was done by volunteers: retirees, students, small-business owners, teachers, nurses, doctors, bus drivers and firefighters.
This was classic grass-roots politics — played out in an age of big money and big media.
And it worked. The confirmation of the success of the petition drive, which was never really in doubt, came from none other than Scott Walker.
On Monday February 28th, Walker’s campaign announced that the governor will not file challenges, which were due Monday, against any of the signatures filed against him. Walker’s campaign is still trying to help groups associated with a so-called “Verify the Recall” project, which is backed by state and national right-wing groups, to gain standing to challenge signatures. In addition to a demand that the state Government Accountability Board identify and strike duplicate and clearly fictitious names, something the board says it will do, the governor’s campaign argued in a filing with the GAB that the agency should act on complaints filed by groups associated with the Verify the Recall project — even though those complaints might come from individuals who are not citizens of Wisconsin.
A GAB spokesman explained Monday that the agency isn’t allowed to consider third-party challenges under state law. Challenges are supposed to come from the targeted candidate and his or her campaign. Notably, under Wisconsin law, Walker and his campaign are not allowed to coordinate political activities with supposedly independent groups like those involved with the Verify the Recall project. But what is really notable is the decision of the governor and his campaign not to lead the charge to disqualify the recall.
That’s a big deal. The governor’s attorney acknowledges that the Walker campaign reviewed 350,000 signatures. If they had found a pattern of problematic petitions, it is hard to imagine that the governor, who regularly decries the recall as “frivolous”, would not have raised loud objections.
Instead, the governor is standing down and suggesting that others should do the work. The governor’s aides claim they won’t challenge signatures because there is not enough time to review the 150,000 petition pages.
But that’s silly. As one of the governor’s Democratic challengers, Kathleen Falk, said: “Gov. Walker has had plenty of time to review the signatures, but he’s been spending his time crisscrossing the country raising money from out-of-state millionaires and billionaires and lining up lawyers to defend him in the John Doe investigation about corruption in his county executive office.” In fact, Walker and his supporters had months to prepare for the review process. The petitions were filed Jan. 17, which means that almost a month and a half has passed since the Walker campaign should have moved into high gear. That’s almost as much time as it took United Wisconsin activists to collect, review, double-check and file the signatures.
A Dane County judge granted Walker a 20-day extension beyond the 10 days allotted under state law to review the petitions. That gave Walker more time than targeted candidates usually get, which is appropriate.
But now the Walker campaign complains that “we faced an impossible timeline.”
In reality, the governor and his supporters, after denigrating the recall campaign for months, have effectively acknowledged that it is credible, strong and that there are going to be more than enough signatures to force an election. The Walker campaign may yet file further legal challenges. They could seek an extension from another judge, or they could rely on challenges from other targeted Republicans to slow down the process. And the Verify the Recall effort could still yield delays.
But the governor’s decision could set the stage for the Government Accountability Board to finish the review of the gubernatorial petitions, along with reviews of the recalls for other offices. That process is likely to be complete by March 19, at which point the GAB can set a timeline for the new elections.
If Walker’s campaign continues to stand down — and there is no certainty that this will be the case — the primary election for governor could come in late April, although the more likely date is May 1. The general election pitting a Democratic challenger against Walker would be four weeks later, perhaps as soon as May 29.
Clinton thrills UAW activists
Former president Bill Clinton presents his views on what we need to do to move forward at the 2012 CAP Conference March 1, 2012. The President hit the stage Thursday morning looking fit, trim and ready to do battle for middle-class America. Naturally, UAW delegates were on their feet showing the beloved former leader appreciation and adoration that only a friend of labor can garner.
“What do the Republicans want? Abolishing pensions and to ask you to work for the minimum wage? That is not the America that I want to live in,” said Clinton. “We have to look at the fact and forget about the hot-air rhetoric. We have to work together and stop pointing fingers.”
He began his speech with a take on an old Mark Twain quote by declaring, “The report of death of the UAW, the American auto industry and the American economy has been greatly exaggerated.” Clinton didn’t hesitate to commend President Obama for fighting for the auto industry loan package as the “most important thing” that he’s done during his administration, surpassing even the Affordable Health Care Act, which Clinton lobbied tirelessly for during his presidency. He emphasized that it wasn’t a bailout, but a structured bankruptcy.
He thanked the UAW and the union’s leadership for participating in the negotiations that saved the auto industry and delivered the new fuel-efficiency standards. “We could not afford to lose 1.5 to 2 million jobs,” said Clinton, 65. “There’s no successful economy on the planet that doesn’t have both a good private economy and a strong government." We have to work together for a common objective. We are struggling to build a country of shared prosperity and shared responsibility.
“If you want to bring America back, we have to get together and do it together,” Clinton added.
Clinton presented a straightforward view of America’s economic landscape. He spoke in detail about ways the nation can get back on track, including:
- Investing in the infrastructure.
- Innovative development in the auto industry.
- Fixing housing through fresh ideas on how to maintain home values.
- Doubling-down on clean energy.
The former president would like to see every U.S. building be energy efficient, and said it would serve a two-pronged goal for America: put people back to work and make for a cleaner environment.
According to Clinton, if you go back 500 years and look at all the countries that suffered a collapse of their financial industries, it has taken them between five and 10 years to recover because of the natural response of fear. If there is a mortgage collapse at the same time that there is a financial collapse, it usually takes 10 years to recover.
He added that the president’s stimulus worked because it put people back to work and saved jobs. Our job in America is to beat those odds. The most important thing for any family is that somebody be able to make a living,” said Clinton. He assured UAW members that Obama is driving this country in the right direction. With Obama’s inventive legislation to get America back to work, rebuild the country’s infrastructure, bring back manufacturing and investing in education, he has planted the seeds that will grow our country and economy.
Cooperation was a key theme during Clinton’s 50-minute remarks to the nearly 1,700 delegates and he blamed the GOP for not coming to the table to work together.
Clinton is a stalwart progressive Democrat and has hammered at the GOP for protecting big business at the expense of middle-class Americans. He asked that union members be outspoken in support of maintaining national health care, and said every wealthy country in the world spends at least 12 percent on health care.
Clinton, who seemed comfortable during his speech, was at home among the UAW activists. “Our workforce is younger than Japan, Europe, and in 20 years, it will be younger than China. The demographic is way more interesting now in the UAW,” said. “I want you to make the auto restructuring a symbol of what America has to do, what we all have to do,” he said.
Obama to UAW delegates: ‘You make me proud’
On February 28, 2012 President Barack Obama addressed UAW- CAP delegates and said he placed his bet on American workers.
It is hard to imagine that Washington’s Marriott Wardman Park Hotel could have ever accommodated more intensity and excitement in one room as more than 1,600 UAW Community Action Program (CAP) Legislative Conference delegates welcomed President Barack Obama to the podium Tuesday morning.
UAW delegates buzzed about the president’s visit from the time the conference opened until he appeared on stage at 11:25 a.m. Even on Monday night, hotel elevators carried anxious UAW delegates placing friendly wagers on who would be able to rise the earliest on Tuesday to snag a front-row seat to see him. It was the first time in recent memory that a sitting U.S. president has welcomed UAW delegates at the union’s legislative conference.
In his dapper black suit and red tie, Obama smiled and spoke to the crowd with an undeniable intimacy.
“Hello, autoworkers,” the president said as he greeted the crowd. “You are showing America what’s possible. So I’m here today to tell you one thing: You make me proud.”
And, by the thunderous applause it was easy to see how UAW delegates felt about the man who stepped in to make sure the nation’s auto industry did not flat line.
“Think of what you’ve fought through: job loss and financial crisis. We had to make a choice, and nobody would give you loans from the financial sector,” said the president. “You will recall there were some politicians who would let Detroit go bankrupt. If Detroit automakers went under, more than one million Americans would have lost their jobs, and there would have been another Great Depression in the Midwest.”
“I supported the auto industry because I placed my bet on the American worker. I believe in you,” said Obama. “It’s unions like yours that forged the middle class. You helped write the American story and are busy writing the next chapter.” The president stressed to the delegates that working in the auto industry as a UAW member is more than just a way to make an income.
“These jobs are more than just a paycheck,” he said. “They’re a ticket to a middle-class life and to sending them [your children], yes, to college,” he said in a rebuttal to a recent snide remark from GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum that Obama’s hope that all American children will go to college someday makes him a “snob.”
Obama said not everyone agrees with his policies and decisions, but he didn’t run for president to be popular. “I did run to make the tough calls and to do the right thing,” he said, including standing up for the U.S. auto industry when it was on its knees in 2008.
Sticking up for the auto industry loans that eventually led to today’s resurgence of General Motors Co., which is now the world’s No. 1 automaker, and Chrysler Group LLC, which is the fastest-growing automaker in the United States, has reminded the country of what can be done when we work together.
Obama stressed that the rebounding domestic auto industry not only means they survived, but also that they’re thriving. He pointed out the quality work being done at specific UAW auto plants around the county, including those in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Tennessee.
“I’ve seen it myself. I’ve seen it at Chrysler’s Jefferson North Plant in Detroit, where a new shift of more than 1,000 workers came on two years ago, and another 1,000 are slated to come on next year,” he said. “I’ve seen it at Ford’s Chicago Assembly, where workers are building a new Explorer and selling it to dozens of countries around the world. I’ve seen at GM’s Lordstown plant in Ohio, where workers got their jobs back to build the Chevy Cobalt, and at GM’s Hamtramck plant in Detroit, where I got to get inside a brand-new Chevy Volt fresh off the line,” he said, as UAW members from each those plants stood up and cheered for their hometown workplaces.
When he’s not in the White House five years from now, the president said he plans to purchase his own Chevy Volt, not only because he supports America’s automakers, but also because he likes the car.
“I know our bet was a good one because I’ve seen the payoff first hand. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Just ask the Chrysler workers near Kokomo, Ind., who were brought on to make sure the newest high-tech transmissions and fuel-efficient engines are made in America. Ask the GM workers in Spring Hill, Tenn., whose jobs were saved from being sent abroad. Ask the Ford workers in Kansas City coming on to make the F-150 – America’s best-selling truck – a more fuel-efficient truck. Ask the suppliers who are expanding and hiring, and the communities that rely on them if America’s investment in you was a good bet. Who knows, maybe the naysayers will finally come around and say that standing by American workers was the right thing to do,” he said.
“The same folks who said you can kiss the auto industry goodbye if you give them federal loans are now saying ‘we were right all along,’” said the president. “These same critics say it was payback to the unions. Really? Even by the standards of this town, that’s a load of you-know-what,” said Obama as the audience cheered.
“All of you showed us what’s possible when we pull together. The economy is getting stronger,” he added.
The president also answered auto loan critics by pointing out a few American values that right-wing “values” proponents, he said, seem too often forget.
“They want to talk values? Values? Hard work, that’s a value. Looking out for one another, that’s a value. I am my brother’s and sister’s keeper, that’s a value,” said the president again to resounding applause.