A+ R A-

Commentary

Why the Employee Free Choice Act is Good for the Black Community

E-mail Print PDF
By Yvonne Wheeler -- 

The freedom to form and join unions is a fundamental right protected by our constitutional freedom of association, our nation’s labor laws, and international human rights laws, including the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is a right for which millions of Americans have struggled. The freedom to form unions is of special importance to the civil and women’s rights movements because unions help ensure adequate wages, health care coverage and retirement security.  It was the right to form a union that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was supporting during the Memphis sanitation strike when he was assassinated on April 4. 1968. Unions also help to reduce the wage gap for women and people of color, and can prevent arbitrary and discriminatory employer behavior.

As community leaders and activists we ask for your support of the “Employee Free Choice Act.” This legislation provides for recognition of a union when the majority of employees voluntarily sign authorization cards, guarantees a first contract through mediation and arbitration, and establishes meaningful penalties for corporations who violate their workers’ right to organize.

The National Labor Relations Act of 1935 has long allowed employers to recognize a union when the majority of workers sign authorization cards, designating the union as

their bargaining agent. The right to form a union, however, has been eroded over the last several decades, and today, corporations frequently harass, intimidate, and even terminate

workers who try to form a union. Ninety-two percent of employers illegally force employees to attend mandatory, closed-door meetings against the union.

Twenty-five percent of private-sector employers illegally fire at least one worker for union activity during organizing campaigns. Even where workers successfully form unions, employers often refuse to bargain fairly with workers. These attacks on workers’ rights, for which there are only weak – if any – penalties, occur all too frequently among the most vulnerable workers of our society, including women, the working poor of all races, and recent immigrants.  As a result, those workers who need unions the most are often those who have the least chance of achieving the benefits of unionization.  The Employee Free Choice Act will make sure that workers can exercise their rights so that they are able to obtain the benefits of unionization, free from the fear of intimidation or termination.

If you feel like it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to make ends meet, well, that’s because it is.  Although productivity has grown at a historically rapid pace over the last six years, the wages and compensation of the typical worker—even for those with a college degree—have not improved in several years.  Couple this with skyrocketing health care costs and mounting personal debt and we end up with a middleclass mess. Some folks, however, are doing just fine. A recent analysis of IRS data found that the top 300,000 earners in America now make as much for their labors as the entire bottom 150 million of their fellow citizens combined.

To put it bluntly, while the have and have-mores of this country are making out like bandits, workingclass people have been getting a shrinking piece of the economic pie.  And for African-American families, that slice is even smaller.

The facts speak for themselves:

African American family income is still only 60 percent that of the average family in America. African American workers are also less likely than whites to have employer-provided health insurance and pension plans. According to the Department of Labor, only 44% of African American male workers have any pension coverage at all, compared with 58% of white men.

For decades, unions have helped women and people of Color Bridge the wage gap and get ahead.

Through the power of collective bargaining, union workers have been able to negotiate better pay, win access to health insurance and other benefits for themselves and their families. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, African American workers who belong to unions earn 36 percent more than their nonunion counterparts and are more likely to have employer-provided health coverage and pensions.

Unfortunately, union representation has declined for the country as a whole and unionization rates for African-Americans have fallen more quickly than for the rest of the workforce.  Part of the reason for the decline in unionization rates among African-Americans is undoubtedly related to the decline of U.S. manufacturing, where people of color have been able to get good union jobs. The overall decline in manufacturing, however, is only part of the problem.

Most people in America don’t know that labor law in this country has been so twisted that it is now virtually impossible for workers to form a union without running the risk of employer harassment and even termination. Seventy years of labor law amendments, court decisions and a ballooning multi-million dollar union-busting industry have effectively robbed workers of their constitutional and human right to choose whether to form a union to bargain for improved working conditions.  What do employers do?

According to Cornell Professor Kate Bronfenbrenner, seventy-eight percent force supervisors to meet oneon-one with the people they supervise, and urge them to vote “no.” In over half of worker campaigns, employers threaten that the workplace will close if workers unionize.  And fourteen percent use electronic spying equipment on their workers.  Worse still, a new study by the independent Center for Economic Policy Research found that one out of five union activists is likely to be fired when they try to form unions.  The Employee Free Choice Act would give working people back their freedom to form and join unions by stiffening penalties on employers that violate the law.  And the bill restores balance to the system of forming unions and bargaining by giving workers, not bosses, the option of deciding how they will choose whether to form a union – either through ballot elections or majority sign-up, a process that enables people to form unions when a majority of employees indicate in writing they want one.

Better wages and benefits for the African American community as well as communities of color, with secure employment, has clear immediate and long range benefits for these communities. This increased economic activity provides an opportunity for small and neighborhood businesses—a catalyst for economic development focused on consumer goods and personal services.

The key to economic growth and stability in our communities is a strong and secure wage and earnings base for workers. Retail sales, consumer services and personal services are all strengthened by a strong community economy.

For the sake of all workers struggling to gain a toehold into the middle class, we need your help in getting this legislation passed.

This legislation will be debated and voted on prior to Memorial Day and every California Democrat in the House of Representatives has signed on as Co-sponsors with the exception of Senator Dianne Feinstein and we thank them for standing with working families.  But for this Bill to become law we need the support of Senator Dianne Feinstein—so we ask you to call Senator Dianne Feinstein @ 1-866-207-2060 and ask her to support and co-sponsor the Employee Free Choice Act.

Yvonne Wheeler is a Senior Field Representative with the National AFL-CIO.

 

Parenting With And Without Godly Principles: Part 3 of 4

E-mail Print PDF

Image
Richard O. Jones
Children should be our most cherished responsibility. Yet, many are more neglected than old cars and run down houses. When a young child has a chronic behavior problem it’s no more the fault of the child than an oil leak is the fault of the car. In most cases, one or both parents have neglected exercising (not preaching) of God, the Word Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, (parents) provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. I ask, where are the responsible fathers today?

Parents must stop being opposed to parenting classes. It is not a sin to seek help, guidance from a more experienced and wiser person. Don’t consult with a parent with a house full of bad children about what you should do. Nor should you consult with a person who has been married a bunch of times or never had a longterm happy non-adulterous relationship about your marriage problems.  Satan is out to destroy the children and a good parent will not remain in a sinful lifestyle while their children are lured to damnation. Many frightened and spiritually weak parents put too much faith in the preacher and not enough in the Word that the preacher is suppose to represent. One of the biggest mistakes Christian parents make is not learning to spiritually stand up on their own. Every pastor in the pulpit is not a good pastor.  The Bible warns in Jeremiah 12:10 and Matthew 7:15 that many pastors are fruitless and reckless. Although many of them are great teachers, preachers, and godly men and women but the point is you must know how to apply God’s Word for yourself. When a single parent is totally dependent on a role model or community leader to guide their children into strong moral conscientiousness, their children are standing on shaky ground. Human role models are vulnerable to the world. Jesus Christ must become the role model of your children. Show me a child’s role model and I’ll show you the mindset of that child. Too many young people have celebrity role models instead of a professional upright family or community member. If the Hip-Hop culture were a bottle of children’s vitamins, the pharmaceutical company would be facing a class action lawsuit because a disproportionate number of users are suffering in school and becoming incorrigible …and that’s the bottom line.

It is imperative that single parents take responsibility. However, to do so you must not limit yourself to praying. Praying is a verb and a verb is an action word. Obtain a Bible that you can understand. Study it and read it with your children while your children are small. Explain the Bible stories to your children and point out to them real life illustrations of God and of Satan. When a parent is serious about the welfare and safety of their child they are willing to make drastic changes in their lives. After a parent has prayed for a change, he or she must get off his or her knees and take action. The change must always start with the parent. The parent must ask this question. Is there anything in my life that is a poor example for my children? Remember this, all teachers are not parents but all parents are teachers. Proverbs 30:17 Correct thy son (child) and he shall give thee rest yea; he shall give delight unto thy soul.

richardojones1@verizon.net

 

Eyes & Ears of Moreno Valley

E-mail Print PDF
Image
Juanita Barnes
Moreno Valley and the Inland Empire,The Inland Empire Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Assoc. Bronze Statue Committee wishes to thank you for your great support of their Second Annual Breakfast Fundraiser.  It was a great success. Many from the community attended and all had fun.  The Moreno Valley Section of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. invites the community to attend its 20th Anniversary Founder’s Day Program. The theme is United to Serve.” The program will take place on Sunday, April 26 with social hour beginning at 2:30 p.m. The meal will be served at 3:15 p.m. The event will be held at the Hap Arnold Club March Air Reserve Base. Donations: adults $25.00 and youth $16.00.

Please RSVP by April 17 to (951)

247–4053 or (951) 247–8193 or (951) 924–1389. You must have a valid driver’s license and registration to enter the base.

Moreno Valley a long time resident of the city and Inland Empire has gone to be with the Lord Sgt. Willie Earl Card. To Vivian and his family, our prayers and love are with you.

Be Blessed!
JB

Eyes & Ears of Moreno Valley

E-mail Print PDF
Image
Juanita Barnes
Aqualyn Toi Jones speaks about the : “School of Hard Knocks.” I have a list of pet peeves that seems to grow as I grow older. Number seven on that list is speaking to a customer service rep who cannot answer my question. It’s kind of like an oxymoron.  The whole point of asking a question is to receive a response. It’s impolite to not answer and when a request seems unheard, it’s easy to feel ignored or insignificant, when we go to God in prayer, we go expecting an answer. We desperately want to know that He hears us and that He cares, when we inquire about the deepest issues of our hearts, we need to know that there is an answer and that we will receive it.  Jesus promises that if you ask, you will receive. If you seek, you will find, and if you knock, the door will be open for you. (Matthew 7:7). We have a promise that our prayers will be heard “AND” answered. Read your Bible prayerfully and think.

HELLO MORENO VALLEY

Hello Inland Empire just a reminder of the Second Annual Breakfast Fundraiser, Saturday, April 4, 2009 from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. A donation of $10.00 is asked. The fundraiser will be held at the Camper Resorts of America, 375 Ramona Expressway, Perris. For more information contact: Doris at (951) 679–0577, Phil at (951) 367–9254, or Wilbert at (951) 657–9585. The Inland Empire Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Assoc.  wishes to thank the community in advance for their support.

Moreno Valley the 9th Annual Booker T. Washington Brunch will be held April 16, 2009, sponsored by the Black Voice News at the Historic Mission Inn, Music Room. The Keynote Speaker will be Ted Jackson, the great grandson of Booker T. Washington. There will be a 2009 essay contest, there is a donation of $55.00 (per person). That includes brunch and a Mission Inn Foundation Walking Tour. I would like to encourage you to take or send a young person this year, so that they may know who Booker T.

Washington was and what he meant to his/her history. There are so many of our young people that have no clue as to what a rich history we have. The essay contest is open to high school and undergraduate college students only. Call the Black Voice News for information (951) 682–6070. Readers, take your grandchild or any young person just to make their day. Look forward to seeing you there.

The Moreno Valley Section of The National Council of Negro Women, Inc. cordially invites you to attend its 20th Anniversary Founder’s Day Program themed United to Serve on Sunday, April 26, 2009. Social hour begins at 2:30 p.m. meal served at 3:15 p.m. The event will take place at the Hap Arnold Club, March Air Reserve. Donation: Adults $25.00, Youth $16.00. Please RSVP by April 17, 2009. Note: Current driver’s license and registration required to enter the base. For more information contact (951) 247–4053 or (951) 247-8193 or (951) 924–1389.

Last Friday we celebrated the homegoing service of Febee Ramoral Hampton. Febee will be greatly missed. We thank God for the time we had with her at COPIM.

Be Blessed!
JB

Parenting With And Without Godly Principles: Part 2 of 4

E-mail Print PDF
Image
Richard O. Jones
Children should be our most cherished responsibility. Yet, many are more neglected than old cars and run down houses. When a young child has a chronic behaviorial problem it’s no more the fault of the child than an oil leak is the fault of the car. In most cases, one or both parents have neglected exercising (not preaching) the Word of God, Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, (parents) provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. I ask, where are the responsible fathers today?

Parents must stop being opposed to parenting classes. It is not a sin to seek help, guidance from a more experienced and wiser person. Don’t consult with a parent with a house full of bad children about what you should do. Nor should you consult with a person who has been married a bunch of times or never had a longterm happy non-adulterous relationship about your marriage problems.  Satan is out to destroy the children and a good parent will not remain in a sinful lifestyle while their children are lured to damnation. Many frightened and spiritually weak parents put too much faith in the preacher and not enough in the Word that the preacher is suppose to represent. One of the biggest mistakes Christian parents make is not learning to spiritually stand up on their own. Every pastor in the pulpit is not a good pastor.  The Bible warns in Jeremiah 12:10 and Matthew 7:15 that many pastors are fruitless and reckless.

Although many of them are great teachers, preachers, and godly men and women but the point is you must know how to apply God’s Word for yourself. When a single parent is totally dependent on a role model or community leader to guide their children into strong moral conscientiousness, their children are standing on shaky ground. Human role models are vulnerable to the world. Jesus Christ must become the role model of your children. Show me a child’s role model and I’ll show you the mindset of that child. Too many young people have celebrity role models instead of a professional upright family or community member. If the Hip-Hop culture were a bottle of children vitamins, the pharmaceutical company would be facing a class action lawsuit because a disproportionate number of users of suffering in school and becoming incorrigible …and that’s the bottom line.

It is imperative that single parents take responsibility. However, to do so you must not limit yourself to praying. Praying is a verb and a verb is an action word. Obtain a Bible that you can understand. Study it and read it with your children while your children are small. Explain the Bible stories to your children and point out to them real life illustrations of God and of Satan. When a parent is serious about the welfare and safety of their child they are willing to make drastic changes in their lives. After a parent has prayed for a change, he or she must get off his or her knees and take action. The change must always start with the parent. The parent must ask this question. Is there anything in my life that is a poor example for my children? Remember this, all teachers are not parents but all parents are teachers. Proverbs 30:17 Correct thy son (child) and he shall give thee rest yea; he shall give delight unto thy soul.

Email: richardojones1@verizon.net

 

Page 23 of 315

Quantcast