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Action Center
April 20, 2012
Posted On: Apr 22, 2012

 

Tentative Agreement Reached
 
On Friday April 13, 2012 the bargaining committee for the Palmen Motors technicians reached a tentative agreement with Palmen Motors on a three year labor agreement. A contract briefing was held on Monday April 16, 2012 and a vote is scheduled on April 18, 2012. Congratulations to the bargaining committee, led by Ron Stollings on successfully completing a tentative agreement prior to the expiration of the current labor agreement. Hopefully, the outcome of the ratification vote will be successful and the workforce will have peace of mind for the next three years.
 
Tod Ohnstad for Assembly
 
I got a phone call from John Drew on Wednesday April 11th explaining that Brother Tod Ohnstad, alderman of the 6th district was going declare his candidacy for the 65th State Assembly seat. I am amassed and pleasantly surprised that he would take on the challenge and another campaign. Tod has always had a very strong sense of right and wrong along with a ton of commitment to the people he has represented over the years. I’m absolutely positive that the people of the 65th state assembly district would have a representative that would always put their interests first and would not be indebted to anyone else. Everyone in the 65th district should be excited about Tod entering the race.
 
Ethical violations by NLRB member TerenceFlynn
Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
 
Labor organization calls on NRLB member to resign immediately
The report of the Inspector General of the National Labor Relations Board into allegations of improper conduct by NLRB member Terence Flynn confirms a pattern of ethical violations that are nothing less than shocking.  The report details numerous instances of then-chief counsel Flynn funneling confidential information about the labor board’s activities and deliberations, including attorney-client privileged information, to two former NLRB members who have been actively engaged in a relentless campaign to undermine and discredit the NLRB through legal and rhetorical challenges to the agency’s activities.    
 
One of the former NLRB members who received confidential information – former Chairman Peter Schaumber is co-chair of the labor policy advisory group for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.  The report makes clear that Schaumber used his inside connections through his former chief counsel Flynn to get internal, confidential information that he then utilized in ongoing public attacks on the actions of the NLRB. 
 
These unethical practices are unprecedented and indefensible.  NLRB member Flynn should resign immediately.  The Department of Justice should quickly investigate and bring criminal charges if violations are found.
 
Working people deserve to know that public officials who take an oath to honor the public trust will do so – and that is especially true for officials charged with protecting workers’ rights. 
 
These findings also will be a test for candidate Romney.  A key advisor has been found to have used his inside connections in a way that resulted in the violation of ethics rules.  Allowing Schaumber to remain as an advisor will speak volumes about candidate Romney and the value he places on ethics in government officials.  He should renounce these violations and dismiss Schaumber.
 
Teamsters protest Walker in Oklahoma City
 
On Thursday, April 12, 2012 hundreds of boisterous Teamsters protest Dairyland Dictator Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. It was a big success, according to our brothers and sisters at Local 886 in Oklahoma:
The Protest Rally for Scott Walker was a success for Organized Labor. Approximately 450 to 500 Union Members and Labor Supports attended the rally and voiced their opinion about Scott Walker's attack on the working class. Many motorists passing the rally honked and showed support for the workers of Oklahoma. We will continue to push back against the destruction of our livelihoods and way of life. More information about future rallies and events will follow as the information becomes available. Thank you to everyone who participated in the rally in person and behind the scene.
 
Walker was speaking at a $1,500-a-plate fund-raiser at the Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Premium tables were rumored to cost $25,000 for eight attendees or $3,125 for each person.  Many of the attendees were shocked that there were so many people there waiving signs of protest. However, there were many people that honked their horn as they drove by. 
 
"I've been able to provide for myself and earn an education because of the union," said 34-year-old Josh Diffin, a union electrician who carried a sign that read "Stop the War on Workers." "We need things like retirement benefits, health care and the ability to put food on the table for our kids."
 
Ron Cobb, president and business manager for the Teamsters Local Union 886, said the union plans to protest the event at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, as well as hold a competing fundraiser nearby. 
Cobb said the Teamsters plan to raise money for eyeglasses for Capitol Hill High School students who need them. 
 
“We intend to express our freedom of assembly,” he said. “We’re going to do a peaceful protest against Scott Walker’s legislation that certainly destroys working families and collective bargaining.  “We do not want him bringing that type of legislation or suggesting that type of legislation in Oklahoma.”
Great work, Oklahomans!
 
Walker's War on Women: Walker Repeals Equal Pay Law
 
On Thursday April 5th, as many were checking out for the holiday weekend, Gov. Walker quietly signed a bevy of controversial bills attacking Wisconsin women.  One of which was repealing the 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act. 

Among many things the Equal Pay Enforcement Act gave women workers more options to seek justice for pay discrimination at work.  The act served as a deterrent for employers to discriminate based on gender and allowed for workers to take their case to the less costly, more accessible state circuit court system.
 
Gov. Walker wants to turn back the clock on women’s rightsand deny them their day in court.  Equal pay is an economic security issue for millions of Wisconsin women and this act threatens the livelihood of many workers. 

In the United States, women earn 77 cents for every dollar men make, according to the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health (WAWH.  As Amanda Terkel reports for the Huffington Post, the Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health also estimates that families in the state "lose more than $4,000 per year due to unequal pay. Gov. Walker is shamefully signing legislation into law that threatens the economic security of Wisconsin women,” said Stephanie Bloomingdale, Secretary-Treasurer of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO.  “Repealing the Equal Pay Enforcement Act is not the Wisconsin way and shows just how disconnected Gov. Walker is with the issues facing working women in today’s economy.”
 
Scott Walkers Gimmicks
 
Governor Walker refused to accept federal stimulus money before he started to take it. Recovery Act funds paid for unemployment aid for 125,000 families dealing with job loss, health care coverage for 245,000 low-income children and families, and food assistance for over 175,000 low-income adults and children. Walker would have shortchanged Wisconsin families over $8 billion in aid to boost our economy and help families get through this recession.
 
Walker’s campaign has centered on a “brown bag” theme that was actually borrowed from a 1998 U.S. Senate campaign in Ohio. Walker has trotted out a number of proposals throughout his campaign for governor that defy common sense and are little more than gimmicks.
 
Even though the state is facing a $2.5 billion budget deficit, he has promised to give out over $2 billion (and counting) in tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefit the rich and big businesses. That’s $4 billion in state spending that he is will have to cut, such as education, local police and fire services, health care and higher education spending. On top of that, he wants to shift another $1 billion out of the state budget -- and still won’t say how he will pay for it.
 
He claims he will create “250,000 jobs” in Wisconsin, which if done would essentially reduce the unemployment rate to zero. The lowest recorded unemployment rate in recent Wisconsin history is 2.4 percent in 1999.
 
Despite the fact that he’s been on the public payroll since the early 1990's and his state and county pension benefits have been paid in full by taxpayers. Walker has implied he can pay for his tax cuts and balance the budget by cutting state worker pay and benefits. To raise $5 billion, he would need to cut state worker pay and benefits by over 50 percent, or slash 37,000 state jobs. That’s thousands of teachers, researchers from the University of Wisconsin, prison guards and state troopers who provide public safety and health care workers who assist the elderly and people with disabilities.
 
Scott Walker has got to go.
 
Chrysler introduces industry-first in-vehicle wireless charging
 
Look mom, no wires!
 
After being the first to eliminate heavy, bulky owner manuals from its vehicles, Chrysler Group LLC, through its Mopar® division, will now be the first to eliminate unsightly dangling power cords in its vehicles by offering in-vehicle wireless charging.
 
The company will first make the technology available on the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart that arrives in dealerships in the second quarter of this year.
 
“At Mopar, we look for every single opportunity to make our customers’ lives easier,” Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO—Mopar Service, Parts and Customer Care, said. “Our industry-first in-vehicle wireless charging system is the perfect solution for those connected customers who are always on the go.”
 
For easy access, a seamlessly integrated power bin, measuring 8.27 inches by 9.5 inches by 3.25 inches, is installed just below the center stack and in front of the center console. The bin has a built-in charging grid that is activated when customers place in their battery-powered device inside. The unit begins to charge when the vehicle is started. A phone case, specifically designed for a variety of smartphones, is required and included with the feature. Mopar in-vehicle wireless charging is available for $199.99, plus installation (part number 82213216).
 
 
Auburn Hills, Michigan will test 4 plug-in hybrid minivans
 
Chrysler Group LLC delivered four plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) Chrysler Town & Country minivans to the city of Auburn Hills as part of a two-year demonstration project that is a partnership between the company and the U.S. Department of Energy.
 
Auburn Hills will use the Chrysler Group vehicles to evaluate everyday city and highway driving. Staff selected to evaluate the vehicles will regularly report all driving and charging experiences back to the company.
The Chrysler Group is investing $15.8 million in the project, and the U.S. Department of Energy is contributing $10 million. A total of 25 test vehicles will be created, according to Abdullah Bazzi, Senior Manager—Electrified Power Train Programs.
 
“This Town & Country minivan is the only minivan to boast a plug-in hybrid powertrain in combination with flex-fuel capability,” Bazzi said. “We’re pleased to have four of these 25 vehicles being tested right here in Chrysler’s backyard where they can get real-world use and be evaluated promptly.” As part of the program, each vehicle will receive one Level II EVSE charging station. The agreement between the Chrysler Group and the city anticipates approximately 16,800 miles will be driven on each demonstration vehicle.
 
In July 2011, Auburn Hills became the first municipality in Michigan to adopt an electric vehicle infrastructure ordinance to facilitate the installation of electric vehicle charging stations. The ordinance sets the stage for the city to become a leader in incorporating electric vehicles into its community and economic development plans.
 

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