Area Municipalities Sue State to Overturn Zoning Gift to Gas Drillers

Homes burned by 1000 foot wall of fire from gas line explosion in San Bruno, CA

by Randy Shannon

March 30, 2012

Led by Robinson Township, numerous municipalities, officials, and individuals have filed suit in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania for a Declaratory Judgment against Act 13 of 2012.

Passed with overwhelming Republican support and signed by Governor Corbett, the law was written by the gas drilling industry. The premise of the law is that the right of corporations to fully exploit all of the gas deposit in the Marcellus shale takes precedent over the lives, property, communities, and other business interests in Pennsylvania.

Continue reading Area Municipalities Sue State to Overturn Zoning Gift to Gas Drillers

Labor-Civil Rights-Voting Rights Candlelight Vigil April 4th








by Randy Shannon

March 29, 2012

A candlelight vigil will be held at 7pm at the Beaver County Courthouse on the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The vigil will focus on the new Pennsylvania Law that restricts access to the polls and is expected to disenfranchise over 200,000 Pennsylvania voters. The law is an attack on the democratic right to vote under the pretext that voter fraud is taking place. There have been no cases of voter fraud brought in PA. Republican lawmakers approved the law over Democratic opposition.

The vigil is sponsored by the Beaver-Lawrence AFL-CIO, SEIU Local 668, USW, and Beaver County NAACP. Speakers will include representatives of local labor unions, civil rights, and community groups, as well as local political leaders.

The American Civil Liberties Union is planning to ask for an injunction to prevent the law from influencing the 2012 election. Most voters who will be denied the ballot usually vote for Democratic candidates.  An ACLU spokesperson will address the vigil.

A limited supply of candles will be available at the vigil.

Aliquippa’s 1937 J&L Workers Come Up In Supreme Court Wrangling Once Again—This Time Over Health Care

Ten Steelworkers, Five Justices, and the Commerce Clause

By Amy Davidson
The New Yorker

If there had been Twitter, instead of news tickers, in February, 1937, reporters and other observers would have been using it to follow the arguments before the Supreme Court in National Labor Relations Board v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp.

It was the central case of five, argued in one extraordinary round, which challenged the constitutionality of the National Labor Relations Act, also known as the Wagner Act.

The J. & L. dispute involved ten steelworkers who had been fired from the company’s Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, mills for trying to organize a union. As with this week’s hearings on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, those deliberations were being watched with an anxiety that extended well beyond any concern for the protagonists in the suit, or even the law in question, to an entire vision of government.

Jones & Laughlin and its companion cases involved the Commerce Clause, the constitutional conductor for a whole orchestra of New Deal programs and Franklin D. Roosevelt’s more urgent efforts to pull the country out of the Great Depression. (It gives Congress the power “to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes.”) The post-1937 conception of the Commerce clause has, as Jeffrey Toobin noted yesterday, become an assumed part of any number of government efforts today; it is the defense for challenges to the individual mandate but also to other aspects of the A.C.A., like provisions protecting people with preëxisting conditions.

Continue reading Aliquippa’s 1937 J&L Workers Come Up In Supreme Court Wrangling Once Again—This Time Over Health Care

Budget For Wall Street vs Budget For Main Street

John Nichols

A Budget For Wall Street Versus A Budget For Main Street

John Nichols on March 28, 2012 – 11:27 AM ET

The U.S. House of Represenatives will weigh in Thursday on the direction the country should take regarding budget priorities.

At the most interesting ends of the debate, the choice will be stark: A Budget for Wall Street versus a Budget for All.

Most Americans know that House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan is presenting the former option. The Wisconsin Republican has a history of crafting budgets that deliver for Wall Street. And he makes no great apology for that.

Continue reading Budget For Wall Street vs Budget For Main Street

Trumka Calls on Pa. Unions to Support Obama

AFL-CIO Pres. Rich Trumka addresses PA AFL-CIO Convention

Trumka calls on Pa. unions to support Obama

March 27, 2012|Jane M. Von Bergen INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

While acknowledging the “ups and downs we’ve had over the past three years,” the national head of the U.S. labor movement called on Pennsylvania union members Tuesday to mobilize to keep President Obama in office.

“President Obama stands on our side,” AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka told hundreds of AFL-CIO union delegates gathered at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown in Philadelphia at the start of the Pennsylvania Federation of the AFL-CIO’s three-day convention.

Much of the convention will consist of union administrative business, heavily underscored with politics. But on Thursday, the AFL-CIO will also unveil a new effort to connect start-up companies with union workers before sending delegates to attend a noon rally in support of a drive to unionize 3,000 security guards working in Philadelphia’s office towers and major institutions including the University of Pennsylvania.

Continue reading Trumka Calls on Pa. Unions to Support Obama

Judge Upholds Forest Service Protection of Water in Allegheny National Forest

Erie federal judge rejects oil and gas industry motion

A Forest Service ban that keeps Marcellus shale drillers from using surface or groundwater from the Allegheny National Forest stands after a federal judge refused to overturn it.

In a ruling Friday, U.S. District Judge Sean McLaughlin said a long-running, three-sided dispute involving the oil and gas industry, the federal agency and environmental groups has not addressed water rights.

Specifically, the judge said his 2009 preliminary injunction ordering the Forest Service to resume processing drilling proposals in the forest and an earlier 1980 federal court decision confirmed only that, under Pennsylvania law, the federal government and other surface property owners can`t block mineral owners` access to the minerals. The decisions don`t address water rights.

Continue reading Judge Upholds Forest Service Protection of Water in Allegheny National Forest

Tragedies, Crimes and Trayvon Martin

How Newt Played the ‘Race Card’ Against Obama’s Decency

By Carl Davidson
United Steel Workers Blog

Every so often an outrage happens that lights up the sky, like when lighting strikes at night, and all of a sudden everything previously hidden in darkness and shadow stands out in sharp, bright relief.

The murder of Trayvon Martin was such an event, even though it took a while for the rolling thunder of its full impact to spread across the country. Slowly at first, and then in greater leaps, the news media, after being nudged, picked it up.

Continue reading Tragedies, Crimes and Trayvon Martin

April 4th Vigil at Beaver Courthouse by AFL-CIO & NAACP






April 4, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.

Beaver County Courthouse

“No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

-Martin Luther King, Jr.,

January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968

Sponsored by: Beaver-Lawrence Central Labor Council, SEIU Local 668, Beaver County NAACP

Endorsed by: 12th CD Chapter Progressive Democrats of America

Yet Another Reason to Defeat the GOP Across the Board

More of the Same: Voter Suppression = Corporate Domination

By Ja-Rei Wang

March 21, 2012 – Pennsylvania has become the latest state to pass a voter ID law in the Republican-led nationwide effort to deny the vote to millions.

H.B. 934, which Gov. Tom Corbett signed into law last Wednesday, will effectively disenfranchise 691,000 Pennsylvanians who do not currently have a driver’s license, according to a 2006 Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) estimate. African Americans, seniors, people with disabilities, the working poor and students are twice as likely as others to lack ID. Voter ID bills introduced across the country would disenfranchise more than 21 million eligible voters.

Continue reading Yet Another Reason to Defeat the GOP Across the Board

The 5 Worst Things About The House GOP’s Budget

By Igor Volsky and Travis Waldron on Mar 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm

After his last attempt at a budget went down in flames last year, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiled the House GOP’s new budget this morning, painting it as a sensible plan to reform the nation’s tax code and reduce the debt while maintaining entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Yet again, however, Ryan and the GOP have the social safety net and Medicare in their sights, and yet again, they’re attempting to pass the cost of massive tax breaks for corporations and the rich off to middle and lower-income Americans.

Here are the five worst things about Ryan’s budget:

1. SENIORS WOULD PAY MORE FOR HEALTH CARE: Beginning 2023, the guaranteed Medicare benefit would be transformed into a government-financed “premium support” system. Seniors currently under the age of 55 could use their government contribution to purchase insurance from an exchange of private plans or traditional fee-for-service Medicare. But the budget does not take sufficient precautions to prevent insurers from cherry-picking the the healthiest beneficiaries from traditional Medicare and leaving sicker applicants to the government. As a result, traditional Medicare costs could skyrocket, forcing even more seniors out of the government program. The budget also adopts a per capita cost cap of GDP growth plus 0.5 percent, without specifying how it would enforce it. This makes it likely that the cap would limit the government contribution provided to beneficiaries and since the proposed growth rate is much slower than the projected growth in health care costs, CBO estimates that new beneficiaries could pay up to $1,200 more by 2030 and more than $5,900 more by 2050. Finally, the budget would also raise Medicare’s age of eligibility to 67. Some seniors who would no longer be eligible for Medicare would pick up employer coverage—but they would pay more in premiums and cost sharing. And since the budget would scale back or eliminate other coverage options, hundreds of thousands of seniors would become uninsured.

Continue reading The 5 Worst Things About The House GOP’s Budget