Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Senate bills are floating in

posted by khaughney on August, 29 2011 3:59 PM

TALLAHASSEE — With lawmakers set to be in Tallahassee in only a few weeks for a round of committee meetings, lawmakers are starting to file legislation that will be seen in the 2012 legislative session.

We’ll be updating you periodically with legislation being filed. Here are a few that have been filed so far in the Senate.

* Sen. Evelyn Lynn, R-Ormond Beach, wants a 6 percent tax on bottled water. She’s filed the bill before, but it has not gone far with Senate President Mike Haridopolos‘ firm stance against new taxes.

* Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, is also pushing his veterans’ court bill again this year. The legislation, if passed, would let veterans convicted of a crime first have a hearing to determine if they were suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. If they are, the veteran would be diverted to some treatment program.

* Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, wants the state to enter a $100,000 contract with an outside entity to conduct a review of the state’s education financing program.

* Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, has again filed a Public Service Commission ethics bill that puts limits on former commissioners and PSC staff who wish to lobby and makes communications about PSC matters between commissioners and the staff more easily available to the public.

Joe Negron wants ed commish to be a cabinet member (again)

posted by khaughney on August, 29 2011 3:24 PM

TALLAHASSEE — Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, has filed legislation that would make the education commissioner an elected official and a member of the Cabinet, essentially stripping future governors of any influence he or she may have over the commissioner.

The bill, SB 96, asks voters to amend the state Constitution in the 2012 election and make the education commissioner an elected official. The job previously was an elected office, but a constitutional amendment passed by voters in 1998 made it an appointed position, along with the Secretary of State, and merged the treasurer’s and comptroller’s offices into the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.

In the case of the education commissioner, proponents of the change said that it would ensure that an educator ran the state Department of Education, not a politician. Former Gov. Charlie Crist was the last elected official to run the department.

If the amendment is approved by the Legislature and voters, a race for education commissioner would be held in 2014.

Union Workers Honored During Labor Day Marathon on Sportsman Channel

Mon. August 29, 2011

Nashville, TN—The Union worker and sportsman will be honored during the inaugural Brotherhood Outdoors Labor Day marathon, which will feature eight back-to-back episodes airing from 1 to 5 p.m. ET. on Monday, September 5 on Sportsman Channel, the leader in outdoor TV for the American Sportsman.

A collaboration between Sportsman Channel and the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA), the marathon will give viewers an intimate glimpse into the lives of these hardworking, blue-collar characters as they join host Tom Ackerman for an exhilarating North American trip of their choice or act as his guide, taking him to their favorite hunting or fishing location.

Between episodes of Brotherhood Outdoors, Ackerman and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka will join viewers to salute some of America’s most historical and iconic outdoor companies and the workers who help make the gear outdoorsmen and women have come to know and trust.

Episodes Airing on September 5 include:

1 p.m. | Texas Whitetail with a Steamfitter

Jake Lovato is a sportsman, sculptor and UA Local 412 steamfitter who uses his welding skills to make a positive impact, even travelling to Haiti to help rebuild an orphanage after the earthquake. In this episode, Lovato must control his impatience as he watches more deer than he’s ever seen, waiting for the perfect opportunity at that shooter buck.

1:30 p.m. | Illinois Whitetail with a Firefighter

Fire Fighter Captain Bob Barteck of IAFF Local 425 serves people in their darkest hour. His commitment to service goes beyond firefighter/paramedic and is matched only by his passion for hunting and fishing. In this episode, he and host Tom Ackerman confront the challenges of a post-rut Illinois archery hunt, when the bucks seem to have a copy of their playbook – always staying a step ahead.

2 p.m. | Kansas Geese with a Machinist

Brett Graham, an IAM Local 839 machinist, longtime Ducks Unlimited member and waterfowl guide, takes Tom Ackerman on a goose hunt outside Quivira National Wildlife Refuge in Kansas. Waterfowl experts and novices alike will get a thrill out of this epic hunt, which Tom calls the best day of goose shooting he’s experienced.

2:30 p.m. | Montauk Stripers with a Steamfitter

Host Tom Ackerman joins UA Local 638 steamfitter Jay Rodriquez on an exhilarating fishing trip to Montauk Point in Long Island as category four Hurricane Earl is heading toward the coast. Watch as this hardworking dad and autism advocate tries to put Ackerman on the East Coast’s sportiest fish before the storm hits. 3340 Perimeter Hill Dr. | Nashville, TN 37211 | www.UnionSportsmen.org

3 p.m. | Colorado Elk with a Painter

Robin DeHaven, an apprentice glazier, member of IUPAT Local 1778 and a true hero did two tours of duty in Iraq and rescued five people from a building struck by a plane. Some say no good deed goes unpunished, but DeHaven’s good deeds earned him his dream Colorado elk hunt, which comes down to a 5x6 bull at 240 yards.

3:30 p.m. | Missouri Waterfowl with a Sheet Metal Worker

Avid waterfowler and dedicated SMWIA Local 19 sheet metal worker Doug Bachman heads to the Mississippi Flyway with host Tom Ackerman for late season waterfowl action. Hunting guide and retired auto worker Dan Guyer puts his 42 years of waterfowling experience to the test, calling in the wary birds in difficult conditions.

4 p.m. | Wyoming Pronghorn with a Sheet Metal Worker

Todd Heustis, a member of Sheet Metal Workers Local 9 in Denver, is a family man in a big way with 13 children. He gets the whole family involved as he takes host Tom Ackerman on his first quest for the quick and sharp-sighted Wyoming pronghorn on Wyoming’s public land.

4:30 p.m. | (NEW!) Arizona Mule Deer with a Firefighter

A former 101st Airborne Division flight medic, firefighter, master hunting guide and IAFF Local 3066 President, JP Vicente comes from a long line of Arizonian outdoorsmen. In this episode, Vicente guides Tom Ackerman on a challenging archery hunt for monster muleys on Arizona’s often underestimated public lands.

In addition to corporate partners like Buck Knives and Burris Optics, Brotherhood Outdoors is made possible through the generous support of many of America’s leading trade unions and contractor associations, including the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, National Electrical Contractors Association, Sheet Metal Workers International Association and United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry and its contractor partners.

For more information, visit www.BrotherhoodOutdoors.tv.

Brotherhood Outdoors Labor Day Marathon (30 sec) from Union Sportsmen on Vimeo.

# # #

About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance:

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a Union-dedicated outdoor organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the Union community to expand and improve hunting and fishing access and wildlife habitat throughout North America. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen

About Sportsman Channel:

Launched in 2003, Sportsman Channel is the only television and digital media company fully devoted to the more than 82 million sportsmen in the United States, delivering entertaining and educational programming focused exclusively on hunting, shooting and fishing activities. Sportsman Channel is now available in HD, check with your local cable or satellite provider. Acquired by InterMedia Outdoors Holdings in 2006, Sportsman Channel reaches 27 million U.S. television households and is a part of the nation's largest multimedia company targeted exclusively to serving the information and entertainment needs of outdoors enthusiasts. Visit www.thesportsmanchannel.com, follow on Twitter, @SPORTSMANchnl (www.twitter.com/SPORTSMANchnl), become a Fan on Facebook, www.facebook.com/sportsmanchannel and download Sportsman App at www.itunes.com/appstore.

More Union/Labor News

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 by Bob Campbell, Communicator IAM LL731

Here are more Union/Labor websites from the AFL-CIO.

Union & Related Blogs

Laying It On The Line http://blog.aflcio.org/2011/08/25/romney-better-to-raise-retirement-age-cut-benefits-than-fair-share-social-security-tax/

Main Street http://www.workingamerica.org/blog/

Metropolitan Washington Council http://www.dclabor.org/

Milwaukee Labor http://www.milwaukeelabor.org/

NWA Labor News http://nwa-working-families.blogspot.com/

San Francisco Archdiocesan AFT http://sfaft2240.org/

SEIU http://www.seiu.org/blog/

Alliance Members Generate Summer Heat on Social Security, Medicare

by Mike Hall, Aug 29, 2011

With Labor Day approaching, the Alliance for Retired Americans is wrapping up more than 70 actions in more than two dozen states around the country this summer. The events have ranged from celebrating the anniversaries and successes of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to holding accountable presidential candidates and lawmakers.

In Las Cruces, N.M., Alliance members told Rep. Steve Pearce (R), who wants to privatize Medicare and force seniors to pay for health care with an underfunded voucher program, that if he really believed in privatization, he should drop his taxpayer-funded, government health coverage he receives as a member of Congress.

On the other hand, Alliance members, including Brenda Kelly Nelum from Dale City, Calif., joined House Minority Leader rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to celebrate Medicare’s 46th anniversary. Said Nelum:

I just thought the public should know that this was the anniversary of a program that, as far as I can see, has been a success. If we didn’t have it, I don’t know if we could even afford our medicines…We would like to see the program there for younger people.

When Rep. Todd Platt (R-Pa.) went home to York, Pa., for the August congressional recess, Alliance members were there to protest his moves to privatize Social Security, cut benefits or raise the retirement age. To mark Social Security’s 76th anniversary, Alliance members and their allies delivered a piece of birthday cake to Platt’s office. Said Tony Eisenhour:

It’s not just about us, it’s about preserving it for future generations.

In San Francisco, several hundred Alliance members and other activists rallied outside Sen. Diane Feinstein’s (D) office to urge her to forcefully come out to strengthen Social Security. Said California Alliance for Retired Americans (CARA) President Nan Brasmer:

We’re here today to ask Sen. Feinstein to tell us, her constituents, that she will support and champion Social Security, and fight against cuts and proposals to privatize the program by Congress, the Super Committee and even by the president, who keeps tossing it out on the table.

Just this past week, Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry were told in no uncertain terms what Alliance members thought of their schemes to raise the Social Security retirement age, cut benefits or privatize the program.

Perry’s photo op at New Hampshire pastry shop went a bit off his staff’s planned tracks, when Alliance members demanded he defend his bizarre claim that Social Security is unconstitutional. He refused.

Romney told a New Hampshire town hall meeting that he was a big supporter of Social Security. But after tough questioning by Alliance members, he admitted he supports raising the retirement age or cutting benefits as opposed to asking all taxpayers to pay a fair share to strengthen Social Security.

Labor Rights Week Kicks Off with Historic Agreement on Immigrant Workers’ Rights

by James Parks, Aug 29, 2011
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, center, celebrates the signing of partnership on immigrant labor rights with Guatemalan Ambassador Villagrán De Léon, left, and Nicaraguan Ambassador Francisco Campbell in June.

The ambassadors of El Salvador, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic joined Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis today to sign an historic partnership to protect the labor rights of migrant workers from these countries who are employed in the United States.

The signing kicks off National Labor Rights Week, Aug. 29-Sept. 5. “Women in the Workplace” is the focus of this year’s Labor Rights Week. Migrant women are at risk of wage theft and safety violations, sexual harassment, workplace violence and gender discrimination.

This week, events are slated in 50 U.S. cities with Mexican and Central American consulates. Consulate officials will work with the Department of Labor, state labor authorities, labor unions, faith leaders and community groups to inform migrant workers about their rights and the resources available if those rights are violated.

Speaking at the signing ceremony today in Washington, D.C., Solis said:

Today, we renew our promise to everyone who does an honest day’s work in America. No matter how you got here or how long you plan to stay, you have rights. You have the right to a safe and healthy workplace and the right to a legal wage.

The partnerships are pledges between the governments to work together to educate migrant workers about their labor rights and prevent abuses in the workplace.

During the past year, Mexico, Nicaragua and Guatemala signed similar agreements and Solis said the Labor Department is pursuing accords with governments from southeast Asia to educate and protect their vulnerable workers as well. She added:

We understand that many migrant workers in America are afraid to report mistreatment because it can lead to more abuse, the loss of their job or deportation. With these partnerships, we seek to remove these fears. The beauty of this program is its simplicity: We’re making it easier for immigrant workers to come forward by partnering with the institutions where they are most likely to go for help—their own country’s consulates.

NFL Players Association Rejoins AFL-CIO

by James Parks, Aug 29, 2011

When the 2011 National Football League season kicks off next month, the players on the field will again be members of the AFL-CIO. After negotiating a fair and secrure contract and reconstituting their union, the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) today rejoined the federation. The NFLPA renounced its status as a union in March so the players could take advantage of legal anti-trust action against the owners’ lockout.

“It was the steadfast unity of our players and support from millions that allowed us to reach a fair deal for the working men who risk their health and safety to play professional football,” said DeMaurice Smith, NFLPA’s executive director.

We have a renewed sense of unity that we’re excited to bring to our reaffiliation with the AFL-CIO. As we all face tough economic times, we see what’s possible when we work together.

A huge majority of the players signed union authorization cards and the NFL officially recognized the union as the players’ exclusive collective bargaining representative on July 30. The NFL and the NFLPA successfully negotiated a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement which became effective Aug. 4.

“The strength of working people is in the strength of our collective voice – an we are stronger today with the reaffiliation of the NFLPA,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

Just like millions of hardworking Americans, the players used their collective voice to work towards a solution. And as working people work together to create good jobs and rebuild America’s economy, we welcome the NFLPA back into America’s labor movement.

Who Do You Love? Join Our ‘I Heart a Worker’ Labor Day Action

by Mike Hall, Aug 29, 2011

Starting today you can show a little love for the American worker who, between the economy, jobs crisis and attacks on workers’ rights, has had a real rough year.

So this Labor Day, we’re urging everyone to HEART a Worker via Facebook and Twitter and let the public know how important hardworking women and men are in our daily lives. Starting today on our Labor Day splash page at www.aflcio.org/iheart, you can share a message that answers the question: Who do you HEART this Labor Day?

We’ll offer suggestions such as I HEART Cooks, I HEART Firefighters or, if you’re in the north country, I HEART Snowplow Drivers. You also can customize the type of worker you HEART. After you select the worker you HEART, you can share the message on Facebook and via Twitter with one or two quick clicks.

As we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the I HEART a Worker action also is another way we can honor the many first responders and the thousands who worked so hard in the days and months after the tragedy to care for the injured and do the laborious work needed to restore the Pentagon and World Trade Center sites.

Also on the America Wants to Work Labor Day 2011 page, you can hear what America’s workers have to say with a Labor Day workers’ voices video. You also can sign up for mobile action alerts straight to your phone.

Plus, you will be able to find Labor Day events in your area and download Labor Day FAQs. Click www.aflcio.org and take a visit.

Monday, August 29, 2011

More Union/Labor News

Monday, August 29, 2011 by Bob Campbell, Communicator IAM LL731

Here are some more Union/Labor websites from the AFL-CIO.

Union Related Blogs

Interfaith Worker Justice http://www.iwj.org/blog/

Joe's Union Review http://www.anti-union.blogspot.com/

Labor is Not a Commodity http://www.laborrightsblog.typepad.com/

Labor Notes http://labornotes.org/

Labor Project for Working Families http://www.working-families.org/

LabourStart http://www.labourstart.org/blogs/

LAUNION http://launionaflcio.org/index.php#

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Big Fish Story: Electrician Lands Possible Record Catch

by James Parks, Aug 28, 2011

Unlike many other fishermen’s tales, Greg Myerson’s fish story is true and he has the fish and the photos to prove it.

The nine-year New Haven, Conn., journeyman wireman and member of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 90 landed what looks to be a world record 81.8-pound striped bass earlier this month, making him a huge celebrity on the hunting and fishing circuit. He has applied to the International Game Fish Association to certify his catch for the record book. Authentication will take at least 60 days.

Myerson, 43, has been fishing since he was 12. He says, “You fish long enough and, like anything else, you get good at it.”

I have learned about the tides, the moon and the best days to fish. The big ones don’t like to fight tides and only feed for a short time.

The 6-foot-4-inch 275-pound former high school and college linebacker struggled for 20 minutes to reel in the 54-inch trophy during a slack tide in the Long Island Sound off Westbrook, Conn. He told Mama Mia Fishing he knew he had something special on his line:

I noticed the line rising, and I told my buddy, “Watch this, the fish is going to break the surface.” He porpoised out of the water and I got my first look at him. Oh, man, I knew I had something special then. It’s only the big stripers that will jump like that. I was just hoping the hook was stuck good.

Local 90 business manager Frank Halloran says he is not surprised at Myerson’s success and newfound celebrity. He says, “When Greg puts his mind to something, it gets done.”

The New York Post reports that a nearby bait and tackle shop owner says, in the last year alone, Myerson has caught three fish weighing more than 60 pounds, including a 71-pounder he caught and released.

Myerson, who is currently unemployed, plans to keep fishing and, hopefully, return to work with his tools.