Beaver County Blue

Progressive Democrats of America – PA 12th CD Chapter

Labor’s Campaigns and Action in Harrisburg Win a Round

Posted by carldavidson on October 19, 2014

Photo: Tartaglione with union allies

Senator Tartaglione Rises to Defeat ‘Paycheck Protection’ in Statehouse

HARRISBURG, Oct. 15, 2014 – State Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione today helped to quash a backdoor attempt to weaken unions by joining a bipartisan push to defeat an amendment that would have prohibited employers from automatically deducting membership dues from a worker’s paycheck.

Called “paycheck protection” by proponents, Tartaglione said the proposal, introduced by Sen. Scott Wagner (R-York) as an amendment to a bill designed to help children with food allergies, was not democratic.

“The only thing Sen. Wagner’s amendment would do is eliminate unions’ abilities to choose who they want to represent them in government,” Tartaglione said. “It would eliminate the voices of the men and women who work hard day-in and day-out to put food on the table for their families, just because they belong to a union.

“Union members can already decide whether or not they want to contribute to union political spending. The law protects them if they choose not to contribute.  And, she said, for every hour worked by a teacher, the money they earn for that work is no longer the state’s money; it is the employee’s.

“So, I ask you: why do we call this measure ‘paycheck protection?’” she said on the Senate floor.

Tartaglione added that voting in favor of the Wagner amendment would have handed control of the commonwealth to corporations “and their one-sided political agendas.”

Posted in Harrisburg, trade unions | Leave a Comment »

The Right Wing’s ALEC Takes a Hit in Harrisburg

Posted by carldavidson on October 19, 2014

Preserving Democracy in Pennsylvania

By: Ellen Bravo

Beaver County Blue via FireDogLake

Oct. 17, 2014 – It had all the trappings of an ALEC-backed attack on democracy:  Push out a bill prohibiting local governments from passing workplace protections in their own communities. If all else failed, tack the measure onto some popular bill as an amendment and hope the supporters of that bill would want it badly enough to allow the hostile amendment to stand.

Only this time the strategy didn’t work, thanks to the strong stand of progressive legislators and the smart organizing of a broad coalition – particularly the leadership of anti-violence advocates.

In this case, the state was Pennsylvania. The preemption attempt was aimed at stopping future passage of a municipal paid sick days ordinance. And the popular bill held hostage was one to aid those who experience domestic violence.

First Rep. Seth Grove, a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council or “ALEC,”  tried to pass a stand-alone bill that would take away the right of local units of government to pass laws ensuring workers could earn paid sick days – or even unpaid leave. Other legislators added multiple amendments to the bill that would have required every elected official to take votes that might have been unpopular with their constituents. The measure didn’t move.

So another ALEC member, John Eichelberger, decided to try a different tack:  stick the preemption provision as an amendment onto a bipartisan bill to help those experiencing domestic violence.  HB 1796 was written to exempt victims of domestic violence from “nuisance ordinances” that allow landlords to evict those who call 911 more than a certain number of times within a given period. The bill had passed the House with broad bipartisan support.

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Posted in GOP, Harrisburg, safety net | Leave a Comment »

Credit Unions’ PAC Finances Mitch McConnell Campaign

Posted by randyshannon on October 18, 2014

Oppose Credit Unions’ Support for Politicians Who Oppose Working Families’ Interests

by Randy Shannon

Most of our credit unions are members of CUNA – the Credit Union National Association. CUNA’s political action committee has donated $20,000 to right wing Republican Senator Mitch McConnell. They plan to spend another $300,000 in radio and TV adds for McConnell in hopes that he will become Senate Majority leader.

McConnell is in a tight race against Democrat Alison Grimes in Kentucky.

Please sign and circulate this petition. Contact your credit union officers and ask them to pass a resolution against this expenditure of our money. 

Sign Petition HERE

 

McConnell Bid Earns $300K CULAC Support

Mitch McConnell

CUNA told CU Times on Thursday that its political action committee, CULAC, filed notice with the FEC of a $300,000 independent expenditure on behalf of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in his re-election campaign.

McConnell is locked in a tight race against Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D-Ky.). If the current minority leader wins his midterm bid, and Republicans win a majority of Senate seats, McConnell would presumably become majority leader, setting the Senate’s agenda.

CULAC, CUNA’s PAC, has already donated $10,000 to McConnell’s campaign as well as $10,000 to his leadership PAC, according to Trey Hawkins, CUNA vice president of political affairs.

NAFCU’s PAC contributed $7,500 to McConnell, according to NAFCU Vice President of Political Affairs Katie Marisic.

CUNA plans to spend approximately $274,000 on television advertisements for McConnell and $25,000 in radio ads.

A CUNA spokesperson told CU Times they have not planned independent expenditures for additional candidates at this time.

Posted in elections | Leave a Comment »

Booming Natural Gas Won’t Slow Global Warming

Posted by carldavidson on October 15, 2014

Natural gas burns more cleanly than coal, but that’s not enough to reduce global carbon emissions, researchers say.

Waste gas is burned off at a hydraulic fracturing site in March 2014 near Buttonwillow, Calif. Five research teams found that natural gas alone won't curb climate change.

Waste gas is burned off at a hydraulic fracturing site in March near Buttonwillow, Calif. Five research teams found that natural gas alone won’t curb climate change.

By Alan Neuhauser

Beaver County Blue via US News & World Report

Oct. 15, 2014 – Natural gas won’t save us.

Despite the lofty claims of industry groups and President Barack Obama, the so-called natural gas revolution will not discernibly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, putting the globe no closer to averting catastrophic climate change, according to five independently developed models conducted by teams of researchers around the world and summarized in a new paper Wednesday.

"The high hopes that natural gas will help reduce global warming because of technical superiority to coal turn out to be misguided,” study co-author Nico Bauer, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, said in a statement. “The main factor here is that an abundance of natural gas leads to a price drop and expansion of total primary energy supply."

For this very reason, most of the studies projected, widespread natural gas consumption actually will make global warming worse.  

“Abundant gas alone will not solve climate change on its own in the absence of climate change mitigation policy,” says economist Haewon McJeon of the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, who helped lead the American research team. “These five models are very different in its architecture and assumptions. The one thing we agreed on is it’s not going to solve climate change.”

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Posted in Green Energy, Marcellus Shale | Leave a Comment »

At Visit To Aliquippa HS, Wolf Talks Schools And Taxes

Posted by carldavidson on October 14, 2014

Tom Wolf with Mayor Dwan Walker (Photo Credit: KDKA)

By Jon Delano

BEAVER COUNTY (KDKA) — Students in Aliquippa had the day off — except for the undefeated football team hard at practice.

But that didn’t stop Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf from pushing his education plan at the high school.

“We’d like to welcome you all. If you’ve never been here before, this is Aliquippa,” quipped Mayor Dwan Walker.

Walker, with State Rep. Rob Matzie and school superintendent Dave Wytiaz, briefed the candidate before a short press conference.

“I’m here because this is important to me as a Pennsylvanian,” said Wolf.

“Education actually matters,” he added. “It doesn’t matter because I’m running for governor. It matters to all of us who want to build a business in Pennsylvania. It matters to all of us who want to build a family in Pennsylvania. It matters to all of us who actually care about a society where people can actually get a head. This is how we transform lives.”

By imposing an extraction tax on natural gas drilling, Wolf pledged to bring state funding of education back up to half of school spending

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Posted in 2014 Election, Aliquippa, Education, Youth and students | Leave a Comment »

Republican Cuts Kill

Posted by randyshannon on October 13, 2014

Posted in elections | Leave a Comment »

Defend the EPA, Keep Our Water Clean

Posted by carldavidson on October 11, 2014

Posted in Community, Environment | 1 Comment »

PA Auditor General: DEP Fails to Protect Our Water

Posted by randyshannon on October 11, 2014

Ambridge Reservoir Arial Photo by Steve White

Ambridge Reservoir Arial Photo by Steve White

Auditor General Issues Critical PADEP Audit

Pennsylvania Environmental Organizations Applaud Investigation’s Goals

Report’s findings mirror concerns raised by Pennsylvanians dealing with water contamination

Harrisburg, PAPennsylvania’s Auditor General office released a highly anticipated audit of the Department of Environmental Protection’s performance regarding shale gas development today. 

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale stated that the audit “…shows that the meteoric growth of the shale gas industry caught the Department of Environmental Protection unprepared to effectively administer laws and regulations to protect drinking water and unable to efficiently respond to citizen complaints”.

The report is available here:

 http://www.delawareriverkeeper.org/resources/Reports/PA%20AG%20audit%20DEP072114.pdf

For the last 18 months, environmental and citizens groups have been in touch with DEP regarding our grave concerns about procedures and policies for water quality monitoring, testing, and response in the face of the shale gas boom. It has long been clear that:

  • they lack transparency;
  • result in the withholding of vital data from affected households and the public;
  • force residents to undergo prolonged exposure to contaminants that can impact health;
  • and delay action necessary to correct pollution and ensure that operators provide clean drinking water to those who need it. 
  • The audit confirms that basic reforms are needed to address the harms communities are experiencing from shale gas development in the Commonwealth.

“The Auditor General’s inspection is not just a capture of deficiencies within the agency in present time but a call to the future to take actions that will improve agency policies & operations so that public confidence in the agency can be restored & we can better protect drinking water & public health”, said Steve Hvozdovich, Marcellus Shale Policy Associate, Clean Water Action.

“For countless Pennsylvanians in the Marcellus and Utica, the Auditor General’s findings come as no surprise. His frank assessment of the deficiencies within the DEP accurately tells the story of an agency that was unprepared to deal with shale gas development’s impacts on our water supply and, by extension, our communities. The tenor of the agency’s response included in the report is discouraging in its denial of many of the problems the Auditor General has cited and its misguided belief that it has satisfactorily addressed some of the other issues, particularly those dealing with transparency and public access to critical data,” said Karen Feridun, founder of Berks Gas Truth.

 

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Posted in elections | 1 Comment »

Students Plan City-wide Strike to Defend Philly Schools

Posted by randyshannon on October 8, 2014

PHL Students Announce Plans to Strike as Mayor Praises SRC

Students vow to be truant until SRC restores union’s contract.

October 7, 2014
By Flood the Drummer
CLICK HERE to read "PHL Students Announce Plans to Strike as Mayor Praises SRC."By Christopher “Flood the Drummer®” Norris 10.7.14: Philadelphia – (Politics): The reason the Philadelphia School Reform Commission quietly voted to cancel their labor contract with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers yesterday was to push them into contributing to their healthcare and reinvest the savings back into the classroom, particularly ensuring nurses and counselors would be on sight and that school buildings are stocked with the appropriate supplies, like pencils, pens and toilet paper.

But in response to the news, students didn’t cheer and applaud the five-member, state controlled board, instead they announced their intentions to strike on Wednesday, October 8th 2014, and every day after that until their teacher’s contracts are restored. As organizers noted on their Facebook event page, the peaceful protest(s) will include students arriving to their schools, but not entering the buildings.

City Hall nor school district headquarters have responded to the threat of widespread truancy, however, the mayor did express his support for the SRC and hopes others can see this for what it is: “another consequence of this horrible situation our schools have had to face year after year.”

Mr. Nutter, in his statement which was released this afternoon, brings attention to Principal Linda Carroll of Northeast High School who has a operating budget that breaks down to $5 a student.

“That’s inexcusable,” said Mayor Nutter, who noted he was pleased that Dr. Hite has chosen to reinvest the savings in schools.

Mr. Nutter wants the PFT and the School District back at the negotiating table, as does PFT President Mr. Jerry Jordan and his attorneys. Mr. Jordan yesterday said the last proposal to cross the table was from the union, and they’re waiting on the district to respond.

In the meantime, the students in Philadelphia – who all this political maneuvering is allegedly for – are organizing themselves in support of the teacher’s union and hope their voices and opinions will one day matter as much as politicians and their appointees

Posted in elections | Leave a Comment »

Philly Students ‘Strike’ in Support of Teachers

Posted by carldavidson on October 8, 2014

Beaver County Blue via Inquirer Staff

Last updated: Wednesday, October 8, 2014, 10:39 AM
Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2014, 8:32 AM

Students from at least two Philadelphia public high schools are refusing to go to classes this morning to protest the cancellation of their teachers’ labor agreement.

"We’re striking because every single teacher in the districts benefits are at risk and being played with through politics," organizers said in a Facebook post.

Dozens of students protested outside the High School for Creative and Performing Arts on South Broad Street and the Science Leadership Academy at 55 N. 22d St. in Center City.

The School Reform Commission on Monday canceled the labor contract with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers in a move aimed at requiring the union’s members to contribute to their health care costs.

The action had the support of both Gov. Corbett and Mayor Nutter.

At CAPA, band members provided music for the protest.

Outside SLA, students were holding up hand made signs and beating drums in a buoyant, upbeat demonstration.

"This is why we’re striking," Ruby Anderson, 18, an SLA senior said as she offered information leaflets from Students4Teachers to passersby.

Throughout the morning, SLA students offered up a variety of chants, including: "SRC! Leave our teachers be!" and "Tom Corbett, shame on you! We deserve a future, too."

Striking students planned to remain outside the schools until noon, when the schools are to close for a scheduled half-day.

Posted in labor, trade unions, Youth and students | Leave a Comment »

 
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