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Action Center
April 6, 2012
Posted On: Apr 08, 2012

 

UAW Local 72
Palmen Motors Technicians
 Take Strike Vote
On March 28, 2012 Local 72 Palmen Motors Technicians authorized their bargaining unit to strike if a contract with Palmen Motors is not successfully negotiated by April 18, 2012. The bargaining committee has been negotiating with management of Palmen Motors for a new contract. The vote taken on March 28th by the members in attendance was 100% in favor of the authorization. All members of Local 72 stand ready to support our brothers at Palmen Motors in the event negotiations do not successfully conclude. Louie Panasewicz is unit chair leading the negotiations and John Drew is the Region 4 representative assisting them.
 
Brothers on the Line
 
This award winning documentary about the rise of the UAW by Victor Reuther's grandson, Sash was shown on March 30, 2012 at Monona Terrace, Madison, Wisconsin. The documentary was powerful, moving and very emotional for all of us in the UAW. There were about ninety people at the screening in Madison and it has been shown only in one other state and that was Detroit. I can’ tell you how much I enjoyed the interviews with Victor Reuther and Doug Fraser along with the film footage from the Ford plants and other factories. I never wanted the film to end. It took Sash Reuther four years to produce this film and we all could see that it is more than an historic document it truly defines the UAW. The UAW is more than just a labor union; the UAW is all about social justice. Hopefully Public Broadcasting Station (P.B.S.) will pick up this historic document and distribute it. Once it has been show it through P.B.S. it will be available on DVD. I don’t go out to see movies much, in fact the last time I went to see a movie in a theater was 1972 when the God Father first came out. I got an e-mail from John Drew that this documentary was going to be shown I’m glad my wife Kathy and I went. With any luck at all you will have another opportunity to see this great film. Don’t let it pass you by, it’s a must see for everyone in the UAW.
 
The Republican sabotage of the U.S. Postal Service
 
 In 2006, the Bush White House and Congress whacked the post office with the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act — an incredible piece of ugliness requiring the agency to PRE-PAY the health care benefits not only of current employees, but also of all employees who'll retire during the next 75 years. Yes, that includes employees who're not yet born!
 
No other agency and no corporation has to do this. Worse, this ridiculous law demands that USPS fully fund this seven-decade burden by 2016. Imagine the shrieks of outrage if Congress tried to slap FedEx or other private firms with such an onerous requirement.
 
This politically motivated mandate is costing the Postal Service $5.5 billion a year money taken right out of postage revenue that could be going to services. That's the real source of the "financial crisis" squeezing America's post offices.
 
In addition, due to a 40-year-old accounting error, the federal Office of Personnel Management has overcharged the post office by as much as $80 billion for payments into the Civil Service Retirement System. This means that USPS has had billions of its sales dollars erroneously diverted into the treasury. Restore the agency's access to its own postage money, and the impending "collapse" goes away.
 
America's postal service is a true public service, a grassroots people's asset that has even more potential than we're presently tapping to serve the democratic ideal of the common good. Why the hell would we let an elite of small-minded profiteers, ranting ideologues and their political hirelings drop-kick this jewel through the goal posts of corporate greed? This is not a fight merely to save 32,000 post offices and the middle-class jobs they provide — but to advance the big idea of America itself, the bold, historic notion that "yes, we can" create a society in which we're all in it together.
  
A look at the accomplishments of Obama’s health care reform
as Supreme Court hears challenges
 
No one knows what the U.S. Supreme Court will do once it finishes deliberating the challenges to the comprehensive health care reform that stands as one of the Obama administration’s key accomplishments heading into this presidential election year. The court could uphold the law, as many legal scholars believe will be the case, it could strike it down, as many pharmaceutical and insurance companies and their GOP congressional sponsors hope, or the justices could kick the can down the road, preferring to decide the issue out of the glare of a presidential election.
 
The Affordable Health Care Act, which was signed into law two years ago March 23,  2010 is now the subject of Supreme Court review. The High Court took up the case this week. As it does so, it’s important to take a look at what has already been accomplished.
 
“Two years ago, President Obama fulfilled a campaign promise to do something about the soaring cost of health care and the tragedy of tens of millions of Americans – many of them children – not having access to basic health care,” UAW President Bob King said. “While his political opponents and health insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyists derisively call it ‘Obamacare,’ millions of Americans are already seeing better health care because of it. At the UAW, we’ve always believed that health care is a moral obligation and not simply reserved for those who can afford it”
 
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through 2011, health care reform has helped millions of Americans in at least eight ways:
 
  • Making sure more Americans have health coverage – 2.5 million more young adults have health insurance coverage thanks to a provision in the health law allowing young adults to remain on their parents’ health insurance until age 26.
  • Shedding light on insurance companies – Prior to the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies in too many states were able to raise their rates without explaining their actions. But now, insurers who want to hike their rates by 10 percent or more have to explain and justify those increases in writing. Experts will scrutinize those explanations and can tell the insurer to reduce their price.
  • Giving you more value for your dollar – A new rule called the “80/20 rule” makes sure that at least 80 percent of your premium dollars are being spent on health care and improving your care – not on advertising and executive salaries.  Beginning this summer, if an insurer fails this test, you get a rebate.
  • Expanding access to free preventive care and services – You and your family may be eligible for free preventive services such as: Blood pressure readings; cholesterol tests and nutrition counseling; many cancer screenings, including mammograms and colonoscopies; flu and pneumonia shots and routine vaccinations against diseases such as measles, hepatitis, and meningitis.
  • Strengthening Medicare – Millions of Americans are enjoying improved Medicare coverage at a lower cost. Medicare’s premiums have remained stable and the Part B deductible will drop in 2012.  Medicare beneficiaries now have access to free preventive measures like physicals, flu shots, tobacco cessation programs, mammograms, and colonoscopies. And Medicare will cover an annual wellness visit with no charge to seniors. And the gap in coverage known as the “donut hole” is starting to close.
  • Putting more doctors in your community – The number of doctors, nurses, and health care professionals in the National Health Service Corps has nearly tripled in the last three years.
  • Improving patient safety – In April 2011 the Partnership for Patients launched. This is a national partnership that will help save 60,000 lives in the next three years by preventing medical errors. The Partnership for Patients also has the potential to save up to $50 billion in Medicare over the next 10 years. 
  • Cracking down on health care fraud – In 2011, the Department of Justice recovered more than $5.6 billion in fraud government-wide. Of the $5.6 billion, $2.9 billion was in health care fraud alone. Providers now have to go through tougher screening procedures before they can start billing Medicare.  
  •  
No matter what the Supreme Court decides, it’s clear that the Affordable Care Act has been a success. Barring the court overturning the law, here is what’s coming in 2012 and beyond, according to the federal government.
 
‘It’s clear this law has been a success in getting people covered, cutting costs, providing better coverage and reducing fraud and waste,” King said. “Rather than fighting the law because of political ideology, lawmakers, regardless of political party, should dedicate themselves to strengthening and improving quality, affordable health care in this country. In can be done and Americans deserve no less.”
 
Recall Election Gets the Go Ahead!
 
Today March 30, 2012 the Government Accountability Board voted to move ahead with the historic recall elections of Gov. Walker, Lt. Gov. Kleefisch and four State Senators -- Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, Sen. Van Wanggaard, Sen. Terry Moulton, and Sen. Pam Galloway.  This morning the Board announced that it has verified enough signatures to trigger a people-powered recall election of Gov. Scott Walker, his second in command and four anti-worker legislators. 
 
It is expected that final election dates will be set today and are anticipated to be: Tuesday, May 8:  Primary election, and Tuesday, June 5:  General election.
The Board found that over 97% of signatures turned in to recall Gov. Walker were valid, finding only 5 fake names.  There were 900,938 signatures submitted of which 30,115 signature struck down. 26, 109 incomplete or illegible, 4001 duplicate, 5 fake names. The recall petition needed 540, 208 to be valid.
Now, we continue to talk with our friends, family and neighbors about the importance of reclaiming our state by recalling Scott Walker.  
 
Gov. Walker dismantled union rights for public employees, destroying a fundamental underpinning of our middle class communities.  Under Walker, Wisconsin has lost more jobs than any other state in the nation! 
 
The facts are clear: Governor Walker is putting the interests of the 1% above the interests of the people. Governor Walker increased the taxes on the poor and elderly, made devastating cuts to our educational and health care system so that he could give billions in tax breaks to his corporate friends and allies. Wisconsin can’t wait to recall Walker on June 5th.
 
 
Court Puts Partial Check on Gov. Walker’s Attacks on Working People
 
Today a federal court ruled that parts of Act 10, Gov. Walker’s union-busting law, were unconstitutional under the U.S. constitution.  While this shows that Gov. Walker disregarded U.S. law when attempting to crush public sector unions, it does not fully restore the rights of public employees on the job.  The fight to reclaim Wisconsin by recalling Scott Walker continues.  

Here is what the federal court ruled: The requirement to recertify a union yearly with an absolute majority - 51% of all bargaining unit members – is in violation of the constitutional protections of Free Speech and Equal Protection
 
Denying a worker the right to voluntary have union dues withheld from their paycheck violates their First Amendment Rights

Judge William Conley immediately stopped the state from enforcing the absolute majority requirement in union elections and set a deadline of May 31 to return automatic dues deduction from all members of public employee unions who so choose. 

Here is the press statement from the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO
“Gov. Walker’s extreme attacks on public sector workers has, in part, been reversed by the court of law today and found in violation of the U.S. constitution,” explained Phil Neuenfeldt, President of the Wisconsin StateAFL-CIO“This proves that Gov. Walker rammed through his radical and secret agenda without regard to the U.S. constitution, the rule of law, or to what is right and fair for Wisconsin families.  There is still much to be done to reverse the harm that Gov. Walker has done to nurses, teachers, snow plow drivers and other public workers.  The fight to fully restore public employee’s voices on the job and a strong middle class for Wisconsin continues.” 

“This is a better day for public sector workers but unfortunately does not fully restore the ability of public employees to have a meaningful voice in the workplace so that they can speak out on behalf of the communities they serve,” said Stephanie Bloomingdale, Secretary-Treasurer of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO.   “Limiting collective bargaining, as Scott Walker has done, is unjust and un-American.   The fight to reclaim Wisconsin and restore the rights of working people to collectively bargain continues.” 
 

While this is a step in the right direction, there is still much work to be done to ensure that all working families have the right to collectively bargain.  We must stand together until justice is restored to all Wisconsin workers


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