Intimidation of Workers is Real (Update)

I recently became chair of the Young Democrats of NC Labor Caucus. In that position, I went to the recent event held by Richard Burr and Americans for Prosperity where they attacked unions and declared that the “secret ballot” was under attack. I went to their event, and called them on their lies, and was rewarded with a few interviews. Now the Republicans are after me, and attacking the press for “not investigating” my statements.

Because Brent Woodcox does not allow comments on his blog, I am forced to respond here. I hope that he comes by for an actual debate.

"Card Check" "Save Our Ballot" Burr Hypocrisy and the Return of Rovian Politics in NC

Wow.

Yesterday, an Art Pope funded corporate shill group called Americans for Prosperity, that once claimed raising the minimum wage would actually hurt American workers, gave Richard Burr, a man who has made a career out of shortchanging American workers, an award “In Defense of the American Worker.”

Just typing that sentence almost made my head explode. But it gets worse.

GOP gearing up to take on Kissell

I've seen some funny things in politics over the past couple of years, but this one is jaw-dropping hilarious.

John Snyder, the state's youngest district attorney, is considering challenging Democratic Rep. Larry Kissell next year. Snyder said he has been talking to Republicans around the district about running for the 8th congressional district seat, Rob Christensen reports. He said he plans to make up his mind over the next 30 to 45 days.

Snyder says he won't run if Robin Hayes signs up for rematch, but that isn't going to happen. Hayes may be incompetent and out of touch, but he's not stupid. No way he'll go into battle again with Larry Kissell.

Smithfield Closing Elon Plant, Five Others

If the building looks like it's been around for a while, that's because it has. Before it was purchased by Smithfield in 2001, this was the original Stadler's Country Ham facility built back in 1955. I'm sure many reading this have eaten said ham, but you probably have no idea how connected our community is (was) to this business. But by the end of the Summer, that connection will be forever severed.

Citing issues such as a drop in sales and high grain prices associated with food-based ethanol, Smithfield Foods is "restructuring":

Here's a rundown of the affected plants:

*
The Smithfield Packing Co. South facility in Smithfield, Va., is slated to close in December. Of 1,375 employees, 1,035 will be offered transfers.

Rep. Larry Kissell At Union County Chamber: Buy American was Bi-partisan Effort

Rep. Larry Kissell was the headliner today at the Union County Chamber of Commerce Freshman Forum. Business leaders and Chamber members gathered to hear the congressman speak about his first month in Washington and to ask questions about the stimulus bill that President Obama signed into law today.

Before taking questions Larry discussed the Kissell Amendment. He stressed that the legislation can be expanded to other agencies in the future and that it is trade compliant. He also said that he had heard from others that the "Buy American" amendments were upsetting people in other countries. Larry's reponse:

I represent the people of the 8th Dstrict of North Carolina in the United States of America. So that's my job.

In other words, his responsibility is to us.

SEANC Leaders Undermine Diversity, Schools

Last week the NAACP celebrated its 100 year anniversary. Saturday the NAACP of NC and partners led thousands in the 3rd annual “Historic Thousands on Jones Street”, the HKonJ rally in Raleigh to support a 14 point People’s Agenda for better schools and health care, equal justice, affordable housing, worker fairness, voting rights, environmental justice, and more. Point #1 advocates that “All Children Need High Quality, Well Funded, Diverse Schools”. Point #11 calls for “Collective Bargaining for Public Employees and Support Smithfield Workers Right to Unionize.”

The NAACP of NC and 12 local branches have signed on to support the NC Hope Coalition in calling for the repeal of the ban in GS 95-98 on collective bargaining by public employees. The Coalition has a core of 11 labor groups including the SEANC, SEIU and NCAE and was an important element of the HKonJ rally. Some marchers wore yellow gags with the words “Repeal 95-98”. Just Monday the NAACP again showed its support for NC unions by awarding Richard Burr, Howard Coble and Americans for Prosperity a “Hypocrisy Award” for the misleading "Defense of the American Worker" campaign which opposes the "card check" bill. Just yesterday the NAACP of NC again expressed support for the “Employee Free Choice Act” even as conservative patron Art Pope stood with Richard Burr to oppose it.

So it comes as some surprise that the Executive Director of SEANC, Dana Cope, and the Legislative Director of SEANC, Ardis Watkins, have together taken steps to undermine the school diversity policy in effect in Wake County and to give succor to opponents of public education and in some cases, collective bargaining.

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