November 30, 2012

Help needed for tax bill!

As Congress continues to debate complex issues around the looming “fiscal cliff,” they can, and should, act immediately on one quick, easy step to help working families – extending tax cuts for the middle class.  Middle class tax cuts are set to expire in a few weeks.   If Congress fails to act before the end of the year, a typical middle-class family of four will see its tax would protect 98 percent of American families making less than $250,000 a year and 97 percent of small businesses from paying higher taxes next year. 

President Obama has called on Congress to act immediately to extend the middle class tax cuts.   And, the Senate already passed a bill to do so earlier this year.  But, the House of Representatives, under the leadership of Speaker Boehner (R-OH), has refused to act on this important legislation, choosing to hold middle class families hostage while fighting to extend tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent in the nation. 

n addition to extending tax cuts for the middle class, Congress must also act quickly to stop the impending across-the-board cuts scheduled to go into effect on January 2.  If these cuts go into effect, more than nine million students will lose critical education services, and nearly 80,000 education jobs could be lost.   This week, NEA members joined other union members in a joint lobbying day, meeting directly with Members of Congress.  Their message:  education has already taken a hit and children have already done more than their share toward deficit reduction.  Any deficit reduction deal must be balanced, and that means finally asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share.  Read more

Take Action Today:
  • E-mail Congress and tell them to act immediately to extend tax cuts for the middle class.
  • Take the “Kids Not Cuts” pledge today-- to speak up for America’s kids and working families, and to make sure Congress makes the right choices. Already took the pledge?  Share it with at least five friends and ask them to join the fight to stand up for America’s kids and working families.
  • Join union members across the country in our December 5 National Call-in Day:  Call our new Educator Connector Line –1-866-293-7278.  You will hear brief talking points and will then be asked to enter your zip code to be connected to your elected officials. 
  • Share your story.  Tell us how “fiscal cliff” budget cuts would affect your students, you, your schools and your school colleagues. Make sure Congress hears your voice and knows you will hold them accountable.  Read some of the stories already submitted by educators.
  • Find the latest news on the current debates on our “Kids Not Cuts” pageon the Education Votes website. 

Cheers to:thumbsup Representative Tom Cole (R-OK), who this week urged his Republican colleagues to move forward on extending tax cuts for the middle class before the end of the year.

thumbsupRepresentative Pat Meehan (R-PA), who indicated that he would not be held to a pledge not to raise taxes even on the wealthy, saying “The most important pledge is the one I make to my constituents when I'm sworn in…I'm going to do the very best I can to avoid the fiscal cliff and keep our economy strong.

thumbsupthumbsupRepresentative Bob Dold (R-OH), who stated his support for acting quickly to extend tax cuts for the middle class, saying, “Let’s make sure we aren’t raising the taxes on the vast majority first.”

President Obama, who in another speech this week reiterated his calls for a middle class tax cut, saying “if both parties agree we should not raise taxes on middle-class families, let’s begin our work with where we agree. The Senate has already passed a bill that keeps income taxes from going up on middle-class families.  Democrats in the House are ready to vote for that same bill today.  And if we can get a few House Republicans to agree as well, I’ll sign this bill as soon as Congress sends it my way.  I've got to repeat, I've got a pen. I'm ready to sign it.”

Jeers to:
thumbsdownthumbsdownHouse Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who this week continued his call for extending tax cuts for the wealthy and for more spending cuts, while refusing to move an extension of middle class tax cuts. 
Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who made comments this week indicating she might support a deficit reduction deal that includes more spending cuts, saying “The details of the package are less important than the fact that we can reach a compromise and would be $4 trillion in long-term debt reduction. That means everybody's going to hurt a little and everyone is not going to get their way."

thumbsdownFormer Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who at his Excellence in Action Summit this week took aim at teachers’ unions, saying, “We have a system to reward teachers that’s based on an industrialized, unionized model that is completely inappropriate for the 21st century.”  Bush also reiterated his support for private school vouchers and for “parent trigger” laws. 

November 20, 2012

This Friday, 23 November, is known in the USA as "Black Friday," the day following Thanksgiving  and the traditional beginning of the Christmas shopping season.
It will also go down in history as a turning point in the effort to win rights at work for employees of Wal-Mart, the world's largest employer, as strikes take place at Wal-Mart locations across the United States.
You can be part of this in the following ways:
Follow the news on LabourStart -- bookmark this page:
Sign the online petition to Wal-Mart telling them to stop retaliation against workers who speak out: 
On Friday, watch the live stream showing what is happening across the country in real time:
If you're on Twitter, tweet your support using this hashtag: #WalmartStrikers
If you're on Facebook, this is an interesting app -- it will identify all your friends who say they've worked at Wal-Mart, and you can then send them messages telling them you support this historic fight:
Finally, get your union to show the latest news from the fight to unionize Wal-Mart on its website, free of charge, updated throughout the day, every day -- more details here:
Thank you!

Eric Lee

November 7, 2012

Thanks to everyone who worked in an election.

Nancy -- 

I'm about to go speak to the crowd here in Chicago, but I wanted to thank you first.

I want you to know that this wasn't fate, and it wasn't an accident. You made this happen.

You organized yourselves block by block. You took ownership of this campaign five and ten dollars at a time. And when it wasn't easy, you pressed forward.

I will spend the rest of my presidency honoring your support, and doing what I can to finish what we started.

But I want you to take real pride, as I do, in how we got the chance in the first place.

Today is the clearest proof yet that, against the odds, ordinary Americans can overcome powerful interests.

There's a lot more work to do.

But for right now: Thank you.