Iowa Federation of Labor
Worse yet, he’s proud of the reason he has failed to deliver a farm bill that provides desperately needed drought relief. He believes it’s more important to demand a farm bill that ruthlessly cuts $16 billion from nutrition programs — programs that some Iowa families depend on — than to pass the farm bill that Iowa needs.
It would be terrible enough for King to completely fail to deliver a farm bill and desperately needed relief, knowing he has had months upon months to work out the details before the September 30th deadline. But to have failed because of his stubborn demand that food be taken from Iowa kids? That’s unconscionable.
The current farm bill will expire very soon with nothing to replace it. We can’t wait until after Election Day to take action.
The petition text reads as follows:
“Congressman King, Iowans urgently need you to pass a farm bill based on Iowa values. It’s time to stop playing games with drought relief for Iowa farmers. top demanding to cut $16 billion that helps feed Iowa families and pass a farm bill now.”
Working families, community members and small business owners will be speaking at a press conference, Thursday July 12, at 4:30 PM at Raygun, 400 East Locust, supporting the “Bring The Jobs Home Act”, that Congress will be voting on. Iowa Citizens Action Network, Iowa Federation of Labor, and South Central Iowa Federation of Labor will be hosting this event along with several concerned small business owners.
The speakers will be speaking out on the different ways elected officials can create good jobs right here in Iowa and help rebuild local communities hit hard by the recessions.
Speakers for this event are: Mike Draper, Owner Raygun
Sue Dinsdale, Executive Director Iowa Citizens Action Network
“We are asking our elected officials: whose side are you on? Charlie Wishman, Secretary Treasurer for the Iowa Federation of Labor said, “Do you stand with the working families and small business that create two-thirds of America’s jobs? Or do you stand with the CEO campaign contributors who cut our wages and benefits and ship our jobs overseas. When jobs go overseas, it hits main street America the hardest.”
“We have the talent and the skilled workforce to compete with anyone anywhere in the world if we just have a level playing field,” said South Central Iowa Federation of Labor President, Mark Cooper. “We urge Senators, Harkin and Grassley to support the Bring Jobs Home Act.”
The Bring Jobs Home Act will be up for vote soon in the Senate. This bill is one way for Congress to take immediate action to stop rewarding companies that ship jobs overseas. The Bring Jobs Home Act would end a particularly outrageous tax deduction for moving expenses when business relocate overseas, and would instead give business tax credit for bringing jobs back to America.
“Strong policies are important if we want our economy to grow and families to succeed. We can only rebuild our economy and our middle class when politicians stop rewarding companies that outsource, create trade agreements that protect workers’ rights and prevent currency manipulation so that jobs stay in our country,” said Sue Dinsdale, Executive Director, Iowa Citizen Action Network (ICAN).
Who: Concerned Workers, Community and business owners:
What: Press Conference, discussion on the Bring Jobs Home Act
When: Thursday, July 12, at 4:30 PM
Where: Raygun, 400 East Locust, Des Moines, IA
following letter was read at Thursday's meeting of the Iowa Department
of Economic Development by Mark Cooper, President of the South Central
Iowa Federation of Labor on behalf of the Quad City Federation of Labor.
Mark Cooper attended the IDED meeting with Ken Sagar, President of the
Iowa Federation of Labor, and members of the BCTGM 48G union whose members
are currently locked out of Roquette, America's plant in Keokuk, Iowa.
delegation presented the letter and remarks along with hundreds of
petitions in support of the workers to the IDED. Approval of the pending
grant application has been suspended by the IDED since last October,
and the IDED did not discuss the issue at the January meeting.
you also have concerns about the use of Iowa taxpayer funds to
subsidize a profitable, French owned company that has locked out Iowa
workers, please contact the IDED:
Debi Durham, Director
January 20, 2011
Debi Durham, Director
Iowa Department of Economic Development
200 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50309
Dear Director Durham and Members of the Iowa Economic Development Board:
Quad City Federation of Labor has serious concerns about Roquette,
America’s grant application under the Iowa Department of Economic
Development (IDED) High Quality Jobs Program. The IDED High Quality Jobs
Program was implemented to grant companies tax benefits to off-set the
costs incurred to locate, expand or modernize an Iowa facility. The
grant requires, however, the recipients meet specific wage thresholds
and benefits to its workers for the duration of the project under which
the grant application was filed.
High Quality Jobs program is meant to grow Iowa’s economy while at the
same time creating good jobs for Iowa workers. By using public funds to
create high quality jobs, the IDED program helps grow Iowa’s economy
resulting in increased state revenues that help fund our common health,
human service, education, public safety and infrastructure needs.
think no one would disagree with this type of economic investment and
commitment to sustainable growth in our state. But if Roquette, America
receives government money while locking out its permanent workforce and
replacing them with temporary workers, what does it say about Governor
Branstad’s Administration’s position on the use of public funds?
fully support IDED ‘s High Quality Jobs Program and other initiatives
that help create good jobs, but giving taxpayers’ money to profitable
businesses that offer only precarious jobs is not fiscally responsible.
No one we know would call a temporary position with no benefits (e.g.
health insurance, pension, or sick days) a “quality” job. Nor do we
think Iowa taxpayers are in support of this type of government
expenditure to the benefit of a foreign-owned corporation.
welcome investment from responsible businesses in our state and offer
well-trained, willing, able and loyal workers. We also invite companies
to take advantage of our High Quality Jobs Program if they are, in fact,
creating good jobs. But forget about a bait-and-switch. Short term
profits for a foreign-owned company do not equate to long-term benefits
for we the people of Iowa.
Jerry Messer, President, Quad City Federation of Labor
On Behalf of the Executive Board, Delegates and Members
Iowans Kick Off the Campaign Season
by Paul Deaton
“The flurry of post cards, media
coverage and phone calls surrounding the tour will all be good for the
Governor’s party. With each passing day, 2010 seems more like it will be
a good year for Democrats.”
It is a good thing for Democrats that Governor Chet Culver has been down in the polls. He is a strong campaigner and the winner of three statewide elections. The mistaken notion that he is trailing has done nothing but invigorate his campaign. The reason this is good for Democrats is that the Culver-Judge 5-day, 41 county “Choosing a Better Iowa, Choosing a Brighter Future” tour will serve to jump start not only the Culver-Judge campaign, but activate party members to support our US Senate candidate and other Democrats down the ticket. The flurry of post cards, media coverage and phone calls surrounding the tour will all be good for the Governor’s party. With each passing day, 2010 seems more like it will be a good year for Democrats. Click here to learn more about the Culver-Judge Campaign tour.
This is hardly an “announcement tour,” as John Deeth pointed out. The primary election voting has begun and Culver is on the Democratic ballot as the only gubernatorial candidate. What remains to be seen is whether the groups who have differed with the Governor’s actions will support him as they did in 2006. There is an open question about the support of organized labor.
I met then Service Employees International Union President Andy Stern at a 2008 event in Mount Vernon. He was in Iowa to support the campaign by organized labor to pass some initiatives while Democrats held a majority in the State Senate and House. It was the year after Governor Culver had vetoed the collective bargaining bill that was passed by the legislature and Stern’s purpose was to greet the legislators at the beginning of the session to gain commitments for labor initiatives. He said that later he would hold legislators accountable if they did not support the labor agenda. If organized labor was not uniformly behind Stern’s initiative, one had to admire his desire to get the agenda through the legislature and enacted into law. Labor supporters wore campaign buttons that year to publicize the four pronged labor initiative of “choice of doctor, prevailing wage, open-scope bargaining and fair share.” In the end, labor’s initiatives were not enacted, and earlier this year, SEIU decided to direct its national campaign contributions elsewhere besides to Iowa.
A key question for the 2010 midterm elections is the degree of participation to be expected from labor union members. The view of the author is that labor has nowhere else to go in the gubernatorial race as all three Republican primary challengers oppose labor’s agenda. If any of them were elected, the expectation is that he would veto any pro-labor legislation passed in a Democratic House and Senate. Local labor leaders have been spotted consistently at Democratic events, so they are expected to support the Democratic ticket, even if they have expressed less than optimal enthusiasm for Governor Culver.
Members of labor split with some Democrats on the issue of nuclear power for Iowa. At an event last
Wednesday in Bettendorf, a member of the Scott County Democrats platform committee indicated that there was a platform debate over nuclear power at their convention. Representatives of labor were in favor of the “baseload” electrical capacity that nuclear power could bring to Iowa in a carbon constrained environment. This support stands in opposition to what some Democrats believe, that HF2399, the nuclear power study bill would actually delay the state in addressing its problems with air quality and CO2 emissions, rather than offer a timely solution.
Scott County was one of two Iowa counties (along with Muscatine County) found to be in non-attainment for air quality when the Iowa Department of Natural Resources released the results of its 2007 study of the matter. Jobs vs. Air Quality may be a false choice, but Democrats are likely to rally around Governor Culver even if he seems to be overly influenced by MidAmerican Energy, the Rural Electric Cooperatives and Alliant Energy.
That said, the fact that the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Building Trades Council, AFL-CIO. endorsed Cedar Rapids Republican and former speaker of the Iowa House, Ron Corbett, in the recent mayoral race indicates the pragmatic view of labor towards job creation. If Iowa were to decide to build a nuclear power generating facility, a number of construction jobs would be created and that may well be labor’s interest, even if some of us find the enthusiasm for nuclear power to be misguided. In the end, opponents to nuclear energy have no other choices in the 2010 midterms than Democrats, as Republicans supported HF2399. Because of the potential for job creation, labor is expected to support the initiative for nuclear power in Iowa, and Governor Culver signed the bill into law.
So spring is here and the campaign trail is heating up on the Democratic side. 2010 is looking positive for Democrats, especially because of the differing views included under our big tent.
Deaton is a native Iowan living in rural Johnson County and weekend
editor of Blog for Iowa. He is also a member of Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility and Veterans for Peace. E-mail Paul
Labor Update: No More Politics As Usual
by Ken Sagar
That brilliant white-haired physicist, Albert Einstein said many things I do not understand, but I do understand that statement. I understand that some politicians have failed to provide the leadership and live up to promises for too long. I understand that a party that alleges to support workers and advance the middle class, uses the labor movement as an ATM, as a source of free campaign workers, as a strong back to carry them to victory, and a perceived weak mind that would not notice the huge disparity between promises and deliveries. Suffice to say, we have noticed.
The labor movement has changed our programs to be more efficient, to contact more, educate more and elect more supposed friends to move issues that are important to the middle class and to workers in general. It is hard to argue that we have not been successful.
What we have not changed is the unrealistic reliance on others to live up to their commitments and move progressive legislation forward. What we have not changed is our expectations that workers have the same rights as other citizens, or even corporations.
We need to change the “how” and “who” of the electoral process. We can no longer let others tell us what they will do for us, pick the candidates, set the agenda, or otherwise control our destiny. There are other ways to get the interests of workers and middle class.
What if we joined forces – workers, progressives, teachers, minorities, LGBT and other movements - stood together to elect workers and other progressives to entry level electoral positions? What if those who are tired of the current politicos, who only stand for re-election, supported friends and neighbors for local boards and councils to get a new generation of leaders who support progressive policies that help middle class Americans?
We the people have to get off our collective couches, turn off our TVs, and make a concerted effort to support each other. We can change the game if we can make the commitment to ourselves, our children and to each other. Working Iowa neighbors can change the game.
No more politics as usual.
Ken Sagar, President
Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO
2000 Walker Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50317
515-262-9571 / 515-508-9916 cell
Tracy Kurowski will return next week.
Report on SEIU/Change That Works
Health Care Affordability Summit
By Caroline Vernon
Washington, DC – On January 13th, SEIU/Change That Works and health care reform coalition partners mobilized labor members and health care advocates from across the country for a national day of action, calling on legislators to adopt 3 essential aspects of the House & Senate bills; The 3 A’s: Affordability, Accessibility, and Accountability.
Before a crowd of 150, many pro-reform legislators spoke passionately about the need to make health care more affordable, as the conference committee decides the fate of meaningful health care legislation.
Everyone in attendance agreed, our #1 priority should be making real reform affordable for working families and setting premiums and out-of-pocket costs at levels that are fair and reasonable. Adequate subsidies are seen to be essential to the fundamental goal of guaranteeing quality affordable health care to all Americans. SEIU and coalition partners, PICO, Families USA, and other community groups called on legislators and the Obama administration to adopt the following 5 components of the House & Senate bills:
• The safety net for the most vulnerable in our communities is stronger in the House through an expansion of Medicaid to those making 150% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) or less.
• The House bill offers lower premiums and caps out-of pocket costs at levels that lower income families earning less than 250% of the FPL (less than $41,000 for a family of 3) can better afford.
• The Senate bill makes care more affordable for families who are between 250% and 400% of the FPL.
• The House surtax impacting only the wealthiest Americans, is more favorable than the Senate’s excise tax that would adversely impact millions of middle class families, resulting in benefit cuts, increasing premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.
• The House approach to ensuring employers share responsibility and contribute to the coverage of part time workers. If not, employers will have a strong incentive to reduce the number of hours for full time workers so they are not penalized for not offering coverage – there must be accountability.
Reformers also advocated on behalf of seniors having expanded access to affordable medications by closing the gap or “doughnut hole” in Medicare prescription drug coverage.
Overall, the House bill makes coverage much more affordable for working families. To give you an example of the difference, a single worker earning only $17,500 per year will pay 16% of their annual income for health insurance ($2,801) under the Senate bill, while paying only 8% ($1,416) of their annual income for insurance under the House bill – a very substantial difference. Additionally, under provisions found in the Senate bill, a low income family of 3 that earns $41,000 a year would pay an annual average of $7,000 or 17% of their annual income on healthcare; $2,134 more than under the House bill. The same family could pay a maximum of $9,000 a year on healthcare; $2,175 more than the maximum under HR 3962.
SEIU members who were interviewed during the day of national action spoke about why they and their families need affordable, comprehensive coverage as a part of reform. Their personal accounts are truly moving. Watch it here.
Some of the Congressmen and women who spoke at the Health Care Affordability Summit included, Congressman Ensign from New York, Donna Edwards from Maryland, Christopher Murphy and Rosa DeLauro from Connecticut, and Congressman Dingle from Michigan who put the fight for health care justice in historical perspective by reminding us, the fight to enact Social Security and Medicare in this country was as intense and controversial as our current struggle to pass meaningful health care reform legislation in 2010. Congressman Dingle, has been a member of Congress for 54 years.
After the summit, advocates lobbied their members of congress on affordability. SEIU Iowa President, Cathy Glasson, and I had an opportunity to meet with Congressmen Loebsack and Braley who both said they were in agreement and supported adopting the 5 key components we had outlined from the House and Senate bills that would make health care more affordable. Both Congressmen indicated they had met with President Obama just the day before to discuss compromises in the House and Senate bills. When we addressed the issue of favoring the House surtax over the Senate’s excise tax as a funding mechanism, both congressmen expressed disappointment that the president was “bent” on adopting the Senate’s version which would place the burden on working families rather than the wealthiest Americans. As you may recall, this is NOT what Obama campaigned on.
Since our visit, we know organized labor has fought for acceptable compromises which would tax cadillac plans costing over $8,900 rather than $8,000 as outlined in the Senate bill.
I also addressed the need to fix the 2 year waiting list for individuals who qualify for Social Security Disability with our Iowa congressmen. As it stands today, recipients are told they must wait 2 years before becoming eligible for Medicare. This is nothing short of cruel. Why would anyone deny disabled individuals access to healthcare? I have to wonder, what was Congress thinking? Why would anyone intentionally withhold health care from people who have met all the many difficult requirements to demonstrate they have a serious medical need which resulted in disability? Is it their hope that folks will just die off or what? Do they not understand what kind of impact this has on people’s lives or the amount of damage that can ensue if a chronic condition goes untreated for 2 years? Neither the House or Senate bill addresses this issue. I ask you to please raise your voice and advocate on behalf of these individuals who arguably have the greatest need for care.
Congressman Braley also shared with us his concerns that pro-reform advocates have not countered the “tea baggers” or anti-reform protestors who he and others see everyday on the steps of the Capitol and outside House and Senate offices. Unfortunately, they also garner ALL of the media’s attention, since there is no “visual” pro-reform presence on the Hill. Congressman Braley expressed frustration over the fact that progressives and pro-reform advocates have not mobilized a massive demonstration and show of support for health care reform, countering anti-reformer claims that they are in the majority.
I know there are so many of you who have worked long and hard on meaningful health care reform but NOW is the time to step up the pressure on our elected leaders and hold them to their word — that includes President Obama. I believe it is also long past time to demonstrate a massive show of support for our elected leaders who continue to work hard for health care reform on behalf of ALL Americans.
I call on organized labor, people of faith, community groups, grassroots organizations, and all other health care advocates to come together and organize/mobilize a Health Care for All March on Washington this Spring; if meaningful legislation is already passed, we can thank our leaders for making it happen, if not, we can address what we need in order to ensure meaningful health care reform. Either way, it’s a win-win and an opportunity to show media pundits and the American people that WE ARE the majority of Americans who overwhelmingly voted for CHANGE in November of 2008. So far, it’s been politics as usual. We need a change we really can believe in…
What do we need? HEALTH CARE! When do we need it? NOW!!!
Thoughts on Health Care Reform from the President of the Iowa Federation of Labor
How many of you have seen a flyer or poster about a fund raiser for someone who needs help with health care costs?
We have all seen them. Maybe some did not have health care, but most likely, they were denied the coverage by their health insurance.
I had a friend who “wasn't stage four, so he could not participate in the
cancer trial, as he was only stage three.” Another is now in a trial
because when she lost her job, she lost her health care benefit, but picked up a
policy from the same insurance company. She got and they said it was a pre-existing condition – pre-existing, when she was insured under the same company.
for all or health insurance for all? There is a difference. Take time
to contact your senator and congressman.
Democracy is not a spectator
Ken Sagar, President
Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO
Had enough of Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage, Mickelson, Deace, et al? When was the last time you heard a positive news report about labor in the media?
Sign the petition for Rational Talk Radio in Iowa
The Progressive Iowa Network
Saturday, June 9, 2007
Iowa City Public Library
123 S. Linn St.
Iowa City, IA
9 AM – 3PM
3. Why a Progressive Network is important for Iowa
4. Democracy for America – Support for Iowa’s Progressive Network
5. 2007 Iowa Legislative Review (Legislators)
6. Overview of Top Progressive Legislative Priorities (Progressive Activists)
7. Envisioning Progressive Power in Iowa (Ed Fallon & Denise O'Brien)
9. Top Progressive Legislative Issues – Workshops
11. Workshop Reports
12. Progressive Iowa Network – Next Steps
13. Democracy for Iowa – Administrative overview
Please note: If you are interested in discussing potential state-wide initiatives that will pressure our Congress to end the war in Iraq, please come to this event. Peace groups can strategize during the workshop hour (#9) and also report back to the larger group after lunch. This will be an excellent opportunity for all of us to be united for peace.
We will start gathering at 9am – coffee and bagels / breakfast treats.
The summit will begin promptly at 9:30am. Please let us know if you intend to come:
Please RSVP: http://www.dfalink.com/event
Establishing our Progressive Iowa Network (PIN) – Update
By Caroline Vernon
This Saturday, June 9th, progressive leaders, legislators and activists from various organizations across Iowa will come together for the first DFA-Iowa Networking Summit.
We will be gathering at the Iowa City Public Library from 9am to 3pm (the last hour will be devoted to DFA-IA administrative business).
Some of our great leaders who will be in attendance include Charlie Chamberlain from Democracy for America, Ed Fallon, Denise O’Brien, and Senator Joe Bolkcom, just to name a few…
Once again, the purpose of this gathering is to establish a Progressive Iowa Network which will serve to better unite progressives across the state in order to support each others efforts around important issues, particularly if we hope to be more effective moving into the next legislative session. Besides providing an excellent opportunity to connect with fellow progressives, one direct benefit of an Iowa Network would be the enhanced ability to articulate our progressive world view by creating a state-wide echo chamber that will carry our unified message to all Iowans.
As previously indicated, we have identified 5 issues in Iowa that require urgent action:
1. VOICE (Voter-Owned Iowa Clean Elections)
2. CAFO regulations / Farm Bill
3. Fair Share
Also, due to the recent vote on the Iraq supplemental bill, it is our hope that peace activists from across Iowa will take advantage of this opportunity to come together to discuss potential state wide initiatives that will effectively pressure those in Congress who voted for the bill.
In addition to addressing the above issues, we are tracking organizations by their particular area(s) of focus. This list has also evolved since my last blog:
1. Policy / Research
3. Media & Blogs
4. Grassroots Organizing
These 4 areas have been added:
5. Direct Action
7. Funding (to identify potential sources of funding)
8. Political Campaigns (organizations who can be involved with campaigns)
We are working on compiling a comprehensive list of all participating organizations, including contact information, primary areas of focus and primary issues of concern. If you or your organization will be attending the summit, we ask that you submit your information using the example below (4 stars = primary focus)
Organization: Progressive Action for the Common Good
Address: 3707 Eastern Ave, Davenport, IA 52807
Contact Information: (name/position/phone/email):
Caroline Vernon, Organizer, 563-676-7580, firstname.lastname@example.org.
James Lee, Executive Director, 563-650-3922, email@example.com
Areas of Focus Rating Issues Rating
Policy/Research VOICE ****
Lobbying ** CAFO/Farm Bill ***
Media/Blogs Media **
Grassroots Organizing **** Fair Share **
Direct Action *** Healthcare ***
Funding * Other: _Peace _ ****
Please send the above information to firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday, June 7th so we can be sure to include your information in the hand-out.
It is important to note that we encourage ALL progressive organizations to attend this meeting and become part of the network even if we may not be focusing on your specific issues at this time. The goal of the network is to create a framework designed to support all progressive initiatives. We need everyone’s participation in order to succeed.
If you have any questions, please call Caroline Vernon at 563-676-7580.
Hope to see you Saturday!
Establishing our Progressive Iowa Network (PIN) – Mark the Date!
By Caroline Vernon
On Saturday, June 9th, progressive leaders, activists and legislators from across the state will converge on Iowa City for our first 2007 Democracy for Iowa Organizing Summit. We are still working out the details on the venue (forthcoming) but we will be meeting from 9am to 3pm (the last hour will be reserved for DFA-IA members to discuss administrative business so it will not be necessary for everyone to stay for that segment).
The purpose of this gathering is to establish the Progressive Iowa Network (PIN). This network will serve to better unite progressive organizations, legislators, and leaders across the state so we can support each other’s efforts around progressive issues in Iowa.
we have an unprecedented opportunity to get progressive legislation
passed in our state. However, in order to achieve legislative victories
on the issues that we care about, we must establish an effective
framework that allows us to better organize our efforts, clarify our
message, mobilize our base, educate the public and influence our state
We have identified the following 5 issues as requiring urgent action:
1. VOICE (Voter-Owned Iowa Clean Elections)
2. CAFO regulations / Farm Bill
3. Fair Share
Please note: we want ALL progressive organizations to attend this meeting and become part of this network even if we may not be focusing on your specific issues at this time.
The Summit Agenda will cover the following:
I. Why is PIN important?
The first part of this summit will discuss why PIN is important. Groups/Individuals will be asked to introduce themselves and identify their main areas and issues of focus:
• Media/Public Relations (including bloggers)
• Grassroots Organizing
This will NOT be an informational meeting about the issues, but rather a strategy session on how we can support each other moving forward.
II. Update & Evaluation of the recent Iowa Legislative Session
• What went well?
• What would we do differently?
III. Break-Out Sessions by Issue
• Strategize with other progressives around the state that are working on the same issue.
• What kind of help do you need from other organizations/leaders who may not be directly involved in your issue.
IV. Report back to larger group identifying specific needs
• What do you need from PIN?
We will not have time to hear specific plans but rather will want to hear your list of needs on how other organizations/leaders can help you make progress around your issue.
V. Where does PIN go from here?
We will discuss logistics, network structure and set a date and time for our next meeting(s).
VI. DFA-Iowa Administrative Planning Session (for DFA-IA members)
This last segment will be for DFA-IA members to discuss by-laws, how we can better support Blog for Iowa, and other administrative details.
Outreach around this summit has been underway for awhile — many progressive organizations/individuals in Iowa have already been notified. However, if you have not yet heard from us directly, please email Caroline Vernon ASAP: email@example.com. We need every progressive organization, leader and legislator in Iowa to participate in order to achieve maximum effectiveness as a network.