STAY INFORMED
Register for
Email Updates

MassUniting Blog

Seniors, Disability Advocates Arrested at Mass State House

It was an unusual scene in front of the Massachusetts State House Monday morning. Horns blared and traffic came to a standstill for more than a half hour as a group of seniors and people with disabilities blocked cars on Beacon Street to call attention to skyrocketing fares for the MBTA’s RIDE paratransit service.

In all, four of the transit demonstrators were arrested, while those in wheelchairs were moved out of the street by police officers. Organized by Massachusetts Senior Action Council (MSAC), the confrontation came just minutes before the House began their debate on a transportation budget that has been widely derided as woefully inadequate by transit users and advocates.

RIDE users and advocates contend that the disproportionate fare increases levied against passengers requiring paratransit services – 100 to 150% compared to 23% for standard riders – has left many low-income seniors and people with disabilities stranded. The more-than-doubled fares have prompted an 18% decline in RIDE use since the last round of budgeting in July 2012. MassDOT and the MBTA, have refused to acknowledge the gravity of the problem, instead announcing the possibility of $6.5 million in additional budget cuts to The RIDE. Not to be outdone, the legislature has ruled out any meaningful action to protect the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents, opting to put yet another short-term Band-Aid on our broke and broken transit system.

One thing’s for certain: affected riders aren’t going to let this fiscal fiasco go on without a fight, and this week’s demonstrations were just the opening salvo. Check out the video below to see footage from the event:

Did you like this? Share it:

Pelosi, Capuano Come Together in Boston to Celebrate 20 Years of the FMLA

US House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi stopped in Boston recently for an important birthday celebration — one that impacts thousands of millions of families in Massachusetts and across the country. As part of a nationwide tour to raise awareness and push for improvements, Pelosi joined with US Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Somerville), local leaders and activists to cut the cake in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA). You can check out excerpts from the event in the video above.

President Clinton signed the historic Family & Medical Leave Act in 1993 with the goal of protecting workers who needed to take care of sick or injured family members. Since its implementation, FMLA leave has been used more than 100 million times by an estimated 35 million men and women — helping a generation of children get a healthy start in life and allowing parents and seniors to care for themselves and their loved ones without having to sacrifice their jobs or health insurance.

Though the event celebrated the important role that the Family & Medical Leave Act has played in the lives of American families over the past 20 years, there was also a recognition that our work is far from done. The original bill left out two-fifths of the workforce, and several million workers a year who are eligible for FMLA and need leave don’t take it – mostly because they cannot afford to go without pay. That’s where Pelosi’s new bill, the federal Healthy Families Act comes into play as well as a host of state-level initiatives promoting ‘earned paid sick time.’ These bills will help close gaps in the FMLA and allow 30 million more workers to earn paid sick days nationwide.

Pelosi FMLAHere in Massachusetts, political leaders and advocates are fighting to secure earned paid sick time for Bay State workers who currently do not have access. The 2013 Earned Paid Sick Time Bill, introduced in January by Sen. Dan Wolf and Rep. Kay Kahn, would enable eligible workers to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked — extending protection to nearly one million people in Massachusetts who are currently forced to choose between their health and their paycheck.

The 2013 Earned Paid Sick Time Bill would be a major boost for workers like Terry Brinig from Boston, who has worked as a bus driver for more than 30 years without access to paid sick days. With a son who suffers from a chronic and serious illness, Terry is forced to lose wages and risks losing her job by taking time from work to care for him in the hospital. Nearly one-third of the Massachusetts workforce faces these same decisions every day, underscoring the real need for action on the state and federal level

Fortunately, champions like Nancy Pelosi, State Sen. Dan Wolf and State Rep. Kay Khan are taking action to strengthen the Family & Medical Leave Act and secure earned paid sick time for our families. To learn more about the fight or find out how you can get involved, visit the Massachusetts Paid Leave Coalition website: http://www.masspaidleave.org/

Did you like this? Share it:

Quincy Residents Rally For Earned Paid Sick Time

Nobody wants someone sneezing into their meal, but for the nearly one million workers in Massachusetts who do not currently have access to paid sick time, staying home sick just isn’t an option. That’s why dozens of workers rallied outside of Taco Bell in Quincy this afternoon, calling on the state legislature to pass the Massachusetts Earned Paid Sick Time bill.

The renewed push for sick time in Massachusetts comes on the heels of two paid sick days victories last week. Portland, Oregon became the fourth city in the country to adopt a paid sick days law, and Philadelphia’s City Council voted to pass a paid sick days bill. Rep Ron Mariano, who represents the Quincy area in the state house, is one of several voices stalling the 2013 Earned Paid Sick Time bill pending before the Massachusetts legislature.

The Taco Bell in Quincy is owned by Yum! Brands Inc., the world’s largest restaurant company with more than 38,000 restaurants around the world. Taco Bell and Yum! Brands’ other chains, Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken, do not allow their employees to earn paid sick time. Although Yum! Brands touts its commitment to corporate social responsibility on its website, low-wage employees at profitable chains like Taco Bell are among the one million workers in Massachusetts who cannot afford to miss a paycheck and are forced to work sick.

For more information and to get involved, check out MassPaidLeave.org.

Did you like this? Share it:

What happens when a thousand people pack the State House to demand new revenue?

What happens when a thousand people pack the State House to demand new revenue?

We’re about to find out, because that’s exactly what went down this week on Beacon Hill. From the Berkshires to Boston to the Cape, upwards of a thousand people gathered at the Massachusetts State House for a ‘Citizen Lobby Day’ in support of new revenue and community investment.

Governor Deval Patrick kicked off the day in Gardner Auditorium, as hundreds of seniors, parents, workers and students from across the Commonwealth cheered his call for broad investments in education, infrastructure and economic development. Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz and Representative Jim O’Day, authors of a key bill to accomplish these goals, drove the governor’s point home – along with business leaders, seniors, educators and healthcare workers. And though they came from different walks of life and political backgrounds, they all agreed on one simple fact: if we want to grow our economy and create jobs, we have to invest in Bay State communities.

Some leaders on Beacon Hill had previously expressed apprehension about the proposals, alleging constituents were concerned about raising revenue (nevermind the fact that voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum on this issue in November.) Those same constituents were more than happy to reiterate their point, spending the remainder of the day visiting their Senators and Representatives to make a face-to-face case for new revenue. Many used community-specific examples of the benefits of investment — just to make sure legislators understand the gravity of the choice at hand.

Will our representatives heed the wishes of the voters and make the investments needed to grow our economy? Only time will tell. But it’s going to be awfully hard to ignore the voices of a thousand constituents ringing loud in the State House: “It’s time to raise revenue and invest in our communities!”

Did you like this? Share it:

Low-wage Workers Share Their Stories with US Labor Secretary in Boston

When major economic policies like the minimum wage are debated in Washington, the conversation tends to get bogged down in complex numbers and political jargon. Unfortunately, what gets lost in the process are the personal stories — the real-life struggles of people earning minimum wage and the impact an increase would have on their lives.

That’s why Seth Harris, the Acting US Secretary of Labor came to Boston last week — to hear directly from area workers dealing with these issues every day so that he can carry their voices back to Capitol Hill. Harris listened as more than a dozen parents and grandparents described the challenges of making ends meet on minimum wage, and the real benefit their families would see from improved wages. An estimated 234,000 Bay State workers would be impacted by the president’s proposed increase to $9/hour — and the hour-long conversation certainly drove home the need for immediate action.

Check out this video to hear first-hand worker testimony on why it’s so important that we raise the minimum wage now:

Did you like this? Share it:

What do the sequester cuts mean for Massachusetts?

You’ve probably heard the word “sequester” thrown around a lot over the last few weeks — and to most people, it sounds like little more than political jargon. But in just a few hours, this little bit of Washington legalese could become a very BIG problem for Massachusetts families.

Unless Congress is able to reach a compromise before midnight tonight, the “sequester” will trigger massive, across-the-board spending cuts. Sadly, that compromise looks very unlikely, as Congressional Republicans continue to put the profits of big corporations and the wealthiest 1% ahead of working families and seniors. Republicans have been clear: they’d rather force drastic cuts on kids, parents and grandparents than make billionaires and Big Oil companies pay their fair share.

So what do the sequester cuts mean for Massachusetts? Bad news, it turns out — and we created some simple graphics to highlight just a few of the cuts that will impact our children, our jobs and our communities:
Our Children

 

Our Jobs

Our Communities

Click here to share these graphics with your friends and family.

As you can see, these automatic cuts are no joke…and this is just the first round. It’s vital that everyone in Massachusetts understands just how serious the sequester is. The sequester could kill 60,000 Bay State jobs — not to mention huge cuts to education, job training, even law enforcement.

We need your help in spreading the word so that friends and family understand the sequester’s impact. Click here to share these graphics with people you know.

 

Did you like this? Share it:

Bay State Students Rally to Support Youth Jobs

Students rally for youth jobsIt was February break for high school students across Massachusetts last week. But instead of sitting in front of the TV, hundreds of young people spent last Thursday marching in the frigid streets of Boston in support of youth jobs. With chants of “Yes Youth Can,” Bay State youth and allies made their way from Faneuil Hall to the State House, where they spent the afternoon lobbying their representatives to support raising revenue for youth jobs.

Boston Mayor Tom Menino addressed the packed crowd at Faneuil Hall, emphasizing the importance of employment for young people and encouraging the high schoolers to press their representatives for commitments to funding youth jobs.

Mayor Tom Menino“My number one priority is getting summer jobs for our young people,” Menino said. “You’re the future. One of you young people here today could stand up as mayor or a city councilor. But we have to invest in our young people to give them hope for a great future.”

Youth employment has declined dramatically in the last 10 years, according to the Youth Jobs Coalition (YJC) who organized the event. Teen employment in Massachusetts fell from an average of 62% in 1999-2000 to just 39% in 2010-2011.

For the youth at the rally, the opportunity to get a job is about more than just making extra income — it’s about building the tools for a better future. Many spoke to the skills they developed from their own work experience, and the importance of helping young people across Massachusetts

In order to invest in our future and our communities, we need to raise revenue to support these vital programs. Click here to sign the petition calling on the Massachusetts legislature to support raising revenue.

Did you like this? Share it:

Boston residents to Erskine Bowles & Fix the Debt: “Stop the Baloney!”

Event attendees at Boston’s Symphony Hall were in for a different kind of entertainment this week, as more than 150 local seniors and unemployed workers staged a processed meat-themed demonstration outside the historic venue. Their target: self-proclaimed ‘deficit hawk’ Erskine Bowles and his baloney push to slash Social Security, Medicare and other vital programs in favor of new corporate tax breaks.

When Mr. Bowles made a Bay State stop on his speaking tour, affected residents braved below-freezing temperatures outside the venue, clad in baloney costumes and handing out “Stop the Baloney!” sandwiches – even singing a remixed “Oscar Mayer Balogna” song to drive their point home.

Despite their frequently-delivered platitudes on “shared sacrifice,” Erskine Bowles and his partner-in-crime, Alan Simpson, have used their Fix the Debt lobbying group to push hundreds of billions in corporate tax giveaways – all while balancing the budget on the backs of low-income workers and seniors. In short, the Simpson-Bowles/Fix the Debt blueprint demands $3.8 trillion (with a ‘T’) in cuts to the programs working families and retirees depend on…just so they can hand the proceeds over to major corporations like Bank of America, GE and Verizon.

Sound like a raw deal? We certainly think so – and plenty of community advocates across the country feel the same way. Sign up to help stop the Simpson-Bowles/Fix the Debt baloney here.

Did you like this? Share it:

The New Simpson-Bowles Plan: Get Ready for More Cuts!

On the eve of his planned presentation at Boston’s Symphony Hall, self-proclaimed “deficit hawk” Erskine Bowles has joined partner-in-crime Alan Simpson in putting out a new version of their federal budget plan. Though the details of the proposal have yet to be fully explained, one thing is clear: if you liked the cuts to vital services Simpson and Bowles proposed in their first draft, you’re going to love Simpson-Bowles 2.0.

The original Simpson-Bowles plan promoted nearly $2.9 Trillion in spending cuts and $2.6 Trillion in new revenue as a way to reduce the deficit, roughly a 1-to-1 ratio of cuts to revenue. Their new recipe calls for only half the revenue – an estimated $1.3 Trillion – and makes up the difference by demanding a huge $3.8 Trillion cut to Medicare, Social Security and other critical programs. For those keeping score, that’s a 3-to-1 ratio of program cuts to revenue.

To put this massive cut into perspective, Simpson and Bowles now believe we should slash the programs American workers and seniors depend on by $500 to $700 Billion more than what even Republican House Speaker John Boehner has called for. Talk about out of touch!

In case you missed it, Simpson and Bowles have already stated where they want all the savings to go – and interestingly, it’s not towards debt reduction. The dynamic duo founded a corporate front group called ‘Fix the Debt’ that has spent upwards of $100 million on it’s campaign to slash Social Security, cut Medicare, and raise the retirement age for seniors. But despite the group’s name, little if any of the savings would go toward the national debt. Instead, ‘Fix the Debt’ plans to use our tax dollars to pay for billions in tax giveaways for major corporations like Bank of America, GE and Verizon.

The ‘Fix the Debt’ corporate welfare scheme has drawn demonstrations across the country in recent months, and you can bet there will be an uptick in activity now that their founders have called for more drastic cuts to the programs low-income and middle class families depend on. Earlier this week, Simpson and Bowles were met with protests as they introduced their new plan in Washington, DC, and confrontations are expected to spread nationwide this Wednesday, February 20.

MASSUNITING certainly won’t let Erskine Bowles off the hook when his baloney-peddling tour comes to Boston Wednesday evening. You can sign up to join us here.

Did you like this? Share it:

Scott Brown Shows His True Colors…on Fox News

It seems that recently-unemployed Scott Brown has found himself a new line of work – and shown us his true colors in the process.

Has the former Massachusetts Senator joined a think tank devoted to bi-partisan solutions? No. Started a new organization to address the dysfunction in Washington? Nope. How about signing on with a group that works to create all those great jobs he promised us all? Definitely not.


Instead, on Wednesday night, Scott Brown made his debut as a commentator for none other than Fox News (no joke). Apparently, in a bid to escape from the political system he refers to as “dysfunctional” and “extremely partisan,” Brown has taken on the mantle of political pundit for one of the most extreme and combative outfits promoting partisan rancor. Call us crazy, but the likes of Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly don’t exactly seem like poster children for all the “independence” we heard so much about on the campaign trail.

Fair and Balanced? Scott Brown makes his Fox News debut

Of course, our former senator did not discuss his anti-jobs voting record on Hannity’s show, nor did he talk about his recent defeat to progressive champion-turned-senator, Elizabeth Warren. Instead, Brown spent the majority of his relatively brief inaugural segment bemoaning “partisan gridlock” in Washington. Nevermind the fact that Brown was labeled one of the most partisan members of the senate during his brief tenure, or his consistent support of right-wing Republican obstructionism on just about every vote that mattered. Oh, and definitely disregard the fact that he delivered this partisanship diatribe on Fox News. FOX NEWS!

Asked why he decided against running for senate again, Brown replied: “I felt I could make a difference being on this show [Hannity’s] and doing other things.” We couldn’t make up this kind of material if we tried.

So for everyone out there missing Scott Brown’s campaign prop pick-up truck and faux barn jacket – never fear. Brown will be ”doing things” (whatever that means) and has promised to “be a part of the election process back home.” Thank God!

One thing is clear: we definitely haven’t seen the last of our former senator. So if you can stomach it, stay tuned to Fox News for what will undoubtedly be more unpolished “true colors” moments in the evolution of Scott Brown.

Did you like this? Share it:

Gold Diggers: Looking for Love

It’s Valentine’s Day, so we couldn’t help taking a peek at the personals to see what lonely souls out there might be looking for love on this particularly romantic holiday. Imagine our surprise when we came across the “Gold Diggers Looking 4 Love” ad below:

Gold Diggers Looking 4 Love

It’s clear that the corporate gold diggers behind “Fix the Debt” are looking for gullible workers and seniors to fund their massive tax giveaways. Don’t let these pigs break your heart this Valentine’s Day. Click here to learn more and take action against corporate gold digging.

Did you like this? Share it:

Obama State of the Union Lays Out a Bold Progressive Economic Agenda

In his State of the Union address last night, President Obama laid out a bold vision for an economy that works for all Americans — not just the wealthiest 1% and corporations. For those of us who have been fighting for social and economic justice, last night’s speech made clear that our voices have been heard loud and clear in the halls of power.

President Obama

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

In an effort to help working families who are struggling to make ends meet, Obama called for an increase in the federal minimum wage — from $7.25 an hour to $9.00. Low-wage workers in 49 states would see an increase in pay, helping millions of struggling families make ends meet. The wage might not be as high as many of us would like to see, but it’s an important first step towards a living wage for workers nationwide.

The President also took a strong stand against impending budget cuts – known as “the sequester” – that would cripple our economy and hurt millions of Americans who rely on vital services. “We can’t ask senior citizens and working families to shoulder the entire burden of deficit reduction while asking nothing more from the wealthiest and most powerful,” Obama said last night. “Most Americans – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents – understand that we can’t just cut our way to prosperity.” We couldn’t agree more. There are far better ways to righting our economic ship than slashing critical programs and killing jobs.

President Obama’s speech laid out our shared vision of a strong economy in which hard work is rewarded and all Americans have the opportunity to succeed. He called for a clear path to citizenship because, as he stated, “our economy is stronger when we harness the talents and ingenuity of striving, hopeful immigrants.” Like us, Obama recognizes that all workers deserve to have a full voice in our economy, and it’s time for congress to show some leadership and help make it happen.

There was a lot in last night’s speech that we can celebrate – from the President’s workers-first approach to his firm stand against corporate greed – but unless we stand together to support the Obama’s bold vision, it will be nothing more than words. There are powerful interests out there who will stop at nothing to keep corporations from paying their fair share, even if it means that seniors and working families pay the price.

The State of the Union was both a victory and a battle cry, urging us to stand together to make Obama’s progressive vision for our economy a reality. Sign up to take action in your community today!

Did you like this? Share it:

What could $1.6 billion mean for Massachusetts?

As we dig out from 2 feet of snow left in Blizzard Nemo’s wake, many people are dreaming of vacations somewhere warm and sunny. But for many wealthy individuals and giant corporations, their bank accounts are on a permanent holiday — and it’s costing the rest of us billions.

Tax HavenA new study from MassPIRG reveals Massachusetts lost $1.6 billion last year as a result of offshore tax dodging. So while lawmakers on Beacon Hill struggle to find new revenue and to plug budget holes, corporations like Wells Fargo, Exxon Mobil, and Intel are using offshore tax havens to avoid paying their fair share like the rest of us do.

So what would $1.6 billion in revenue mean for Massachusetts? To put it in perspective, Governor Deval Patrick recently released a budget that makes long-overdue investments in education, transportation and community services. The total amount needed for these vital investments? $1.9 billion.

And Massachusetts isn’t the only state to lose out on revenue as a result of corporate offshore tax havens. According to the report, states lost a combined $39.8 billion in 2011 — enough to cover a full year of public education for more than 3.7 million children.

It’s time to take a stand and call out corporate tax dodgers. Sign up to take action here.

Photo credit: Flickr users sektordua and amagill.

Did you like this? Share it:

Tell Congress: STOP the cuts to education and child care

We wanted to share a new campaign that we’re working on with our friends at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Below is a message from a local child care provider, asking you to take action TODAY to protect vital funding for child care and education.

Please take a minute to read Michelle’s message, take action, and spread the word:

MichelleAs a family child care provider in Greenfield, Massachusetts, parents from all walks of life depend on me to provide care for their young children. Among them is a mother studying to be a pastor, a Spanish translator, a home health care provider, a fire fighter, a CPR training leader, a tile setter, two college students, a CPA, and a scrap metal recycler. In other words a cross section of working people in my town — and their children — comes through my doors five days a week. But all too often Congress forgets about these families.

Today, thousands of people just like you are going to make sure that our elected officials hear directly from us how cuts to federal education funding would hurt our children and communities.

 Can you pick up the phone to call your Member of Congress and tell them to stop the automatic cuts to education, early learning and child care that kick in on March 1st? Call 888-979-7454 or click here to be connected.

Many providers go above and beyond to provide field trips, musical instruction, swimming lessons, specialists who come into homes, and early intervention for the children they care for – all out pocket. And there are thousands of children and parents on waiting lists for care. The need for adequate education, early learning and child care funding is not limited to just my individual day care home in Massachusetts – it’s a universal, fundamental need in all of our communities.

We have the power to make sure that our elected officials hear from us, and hear the real stories of what funding cuts to education, early learning and child care will do to all of us. We need them to know that best way to reduce the deficit is to create jobs and close tax loopholes for the rich and big corporations—not cut care and education for our kids.

Join thousands of Americans who are picking up the phone today to call their Members of Congress. Call 888-979-7454 or click here to be connected.

-Michelle Rubin

Did you like this? Share it:

In the Midst of Historic Flu Season, Activists Rally for Earned Paid Sick Time

We’ve heard a lot about ways to protect yourself during this particularly nasty flu season. Here are the basics: Get a flu shot. Wash your hands frequently. And if you’re sick? Stay home.

Activists rally outside Dunkin' Donuts in support of paid sick leaveBut for the 1 million workers in Massachusetts who lack access to sick time, staying home isn’t an option. These employees have to go to work when they’re sick or risk losing their jobs, exposing customers and coworkers to illness in the process. For many low-wage workers at chains like Dunkin’ Donuts, a missed paycheck due to the flu is something they simply cannot afford.

That’s why dozens of activists braved the cold today to rally for the Earned Paid Sick Time bill. In the shadow of the State House, protestors picketed outside Dunkin’ Donuts to call attention to the lack of paid sick leave for many Bay State workers.

Michael Habib, Dunkin' Donuts worker

Michael Habib, Dunkin' Donuts worker, hasn't has a single sick day in 5 years of employment

Among the protestors was Michael Habib, who has been working at Dunkin’ Donuts for almost 5 years. In all that time, Habib has never taken a sick day — even when he had a 102 degree fever. It isn’t just a matter of sacrificing a paycheck, Habib says, taking a sick day can mean losing your job or facing retribution.

Access to sick leave isn’t just a public health issue — it’s also an economic one. A recent study revealed that earned sick time would save Massachusetts employers $26 million annually as a result of lower turnover, increased worker productivity and reduced spread of contagious disease in the workplace.

In the midst of the worst flu season in a decade, it’s more critical than ever that we focus on achieving paid sick time for working families in Massachusetts. After all, no one wants flu germs in their morning coffee.

To learn how you can take action, visit the Massachusetts Paid Leave Coalition.

Did you like this? Share it:

Statewide Coalition Joins Governor Patrick in Call for Investment in MA Communities, Economy

A statewide coalition of elected officials and community leaders this week joined in Governor Deval Patrick’s call for broad investment in the Commonwealth’s economic future – including new revenue for improvements in education, transportation and job creation initiatives. Hundreds of advocates from the Campaign for Our Communities rallied at the State House Tuesday, calling on government leaders to support major investments to improve the strength of the Massachusetts economy and overall quality of life for area residents. The broad coalition, representing more than 120 community-based organizations, was joined by Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Boston) and Representative Jim O’Day (D-West Boylston) – two consistent champions of community investment.

Governor Patrick responded Wednesday in his seventh annual State of the Commonwealth address, outlining a bold vision to strengthen our Commonwealth by making substantial investments in our schools, roads, bridges and transit systems. The proposal raises significant revenue for local communities – nearly $2 billion overall – through commonsense, progressive tax reforms that hold down increases for low and middle-income families and seniors. Thousands of family-supporting jobs would be created in the process.

While full details on the initiative won’t be announced until the governor’s budget address in the coming week, both Patrick and the Campaign for Our Communities expressed broad agreement on the overall goal: building a strong economy for future generations through a well-educated workforce, well-maintained roads, good public transit systems and safe neighborhoods. Given years of budget and job cuts fueled by the economic downturn, there is no doubt additional revenue will be needed to ensure these programs are fully funded.

To potential critics, Patrick presented a simple truth: “Opportunity requires growth, and growth requires investment.” Millions of working families and seniors across the Commonwealth would no doubt agree, and the proposals put forward this week are an important first step in creating real economic opportunities – both for current generations and those to come.

For more information on the Act to Invest in Our Communities and other proposals to grow the Massachusetts economy, visit www.OurCommunities.org.

Did you like this? Share it:

Capuano, Tierney join 500+ to Rally Against Fiscal Cliff Cuts

With the fiscal cliff looming, Congressmen Mike Capuano (D-Boston) and John Tierney (D-Salem) yesterday kicked off a major rally against potential cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall. The event, which drew a crowd of more than 500 Bay State seniors, workers and healthcare advocates, marked a nationwide day of action calling for new revenue and investments in job creation as key components of a potential deal on the fiscal cliff.

Following remarks from Capuano and Tierney, Massachusetts residents amongst the most likely to be impacted by cuts to vital federal programs spoke out about what these cuts would mean in their lives. Among them were local seniors, healthcare providers and unemployed workers.

There’s a lot at stake for the people of Massachusetts in the upcoming debates, and the vital services that many seniors and working families depend on are on the line.

“These services are so critical to helping people like me get back to work, and they’re also incredibly important to the people I now work with every day,” said Charlene Saulnier, a West Medford nurse who serves low-income seniors. “That’s why we’re here today, calling on our senators to preserve funding for these programs. We need champions for our families and seniors.”

It’s up to all of us to keep up the pressure on our elected officials over the coming weeks, and ensure that we have those champions on our side. Call 1-888-979-7518 to be connected to your member of Congress TODAY.

Did you like this? Share it:

Call Congress: Focus on Jobs, Not Cuts!

Across the country today, activists like you are taking part in a national call-in day to send a message to Congress. Our message is clear: we voted for job creation, for more revenue to support vital services, and to protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — and now it’s time for our elected leaders to get to work.

Call (888) 979-7391 and start calling

Despite our Election Day mandate, some people in Washington are still threatening our priorities. That’s why we need to take action TODAY to tell Congress that we need more jobs and more revenue, not cuts to vital services.

Seniors shouldn’t have to shoulder cuts to Social Security and Medicare because Washington politicians refuse to make millionaires pay their fair share. Our kids shouldn’t see cuts to childcare and education just because some in Congress want to protect corporate tax giveaways. And yet, that’s exactly what many Republicans are advocating — and they hope you won’t notice.

Speak up now to make sure your elected officials stand up for you and your family, not billionaires and Big Oil companies.

Get started by calling (888) 979-7391 right now.

When you call, follow the instructions to be connected to your local representative.

You can use the following script for guidance, but tell your own story about why it’s important that Congress protects Medicare, Medicaid and education.

Hello, my name is __________________ and I am from ___________.

I would like to let (Senator  ________ or Congresswoman/Congressman _______) know that we need champions who will fight for a vibrant middle class. The President’s call to extend tax cuts to the middle class right now is absolutely the right approach to keep our economy moving. Congress must make sure taxes don’t go up on the 98% of Americans making under $250,000 a year. We need Congress to pass middle-class tax cuts for 98 percent of all Americans, now!

In addition, I have serious concerns about any Grand Bargain and strongly believe that any tax-and-budget deal reached must: create jobs and grow the economy; protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, let the Bush tax cuts for the top 2%–those making more than $250,000–expire and end the coming cuts which will threaten vital public services like child care, Head Start and special education.

Did you like this? Share it:

On Black Friday, MA Communities Stand Up for Walmart Workers’ Rights

Holiday tradition aside, Black Friday seems to have become a display of the worst aspects of American consumerism in recent years — complete with huge mobs, long lines and violent clashes over “door-buster” discounts put on by Big Box retailers. But this year, thousands of community leaders and everyday shoppers gathered at Walmart locations across the country with a different purpose in mind: supporting workers’ rights.

Community groups came together to protest a pattern of serious abuses at Walmart — from poverty-level wages and huge spikes in healthcare costs to unsafe working conditions and illegal retaliation against workers when they speak out. They made their voices heard through marches, protests and other demonstrations at Walmart stores across the country, standing arm-in-arm with the Walmart Associates who are under attack.

Here in Massachusetts, dozens of current and former Walmart workers, labor leaders and community allies gathered outside the retail giant’s store in Quincy to send a message that was impossible to miss. With hundreds of Walmart customers and workers gathered outside, advocates projected a series of 30-foot illuminated images onto the store’s façade to highlight the Associates’ fight for respect at the workplace.

Check out this video of community leader Darrin Howell leading activists in a “mic check” in support of Walmart workers in Quincy:

The local actions, staged at all 48 Bay State Walmarts, came as striking Walmart workers walked off the job in more than 100 cities nationwide to highlight the company’s continued attempts to silence employees’ voices . Community, faith and labor leaders stood in solidarity with the workers at over 1,000 Walmart warehouses and retail locations throughout Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, generating hundreds of stories in newspapers, radio and television stations across the country.

One thing is for certain: the call for meaningful change at Walmart rang loud and clear Black Friday, and soon the retail giant will have no choice but to listen. The ranks of workers’ rights organizations like OUR Walmart and Warehouse Workers United continue to grow each and every day, not to mention the groundswell of community support. At MassUniting, we’re proud to stand with them in the fight for justice at Walmart!

To learn more and take action in your community, check out: http://forrespect.org/ or http://makingchangeatwalmart.org/.

Did you like this? Share it:

Mass voters to Congress: Protect services. Raise revenue. Create good jobs!

On Election Day, voters in Massachusetts and across the nation made their voices heard loud and clear. We voted to put people back to work and rebuild the middle class. We rejected the failed Romney-Brown vision for our economy, and instead elected leaders like Elizabeth Warren and Barack Obama who will fight for working people and create jobs right here in America.

Just two days after ballots were cast, more than 300 people gathered at the Dudley Branch Library in Roxbury to make sure that our message was not ignored. Check out this video to hear from local leaders and community members who addressed the packed room:

Speakers took a moment to celebrate the 99%”s victory that Election Day, but cautioned that the fight was far from over. Among them was Boston City Councilor Felix Arroyo, who laid out the terms for the looming budget battle in Washington.

“Voters sent a clear message on Tuesday – that we will not put vital public services on the chopping block to protect tax breaks for billionaires and Big Oil companies,” said Arroyo. “We won a big battle, but we can’t afford to stop there. We have to make sure the politicians in Washington got the message.”

Right now, Congress is tackling issues that will have long-term effects on our economy. If our elected leaders listen to the message we sent on Election Day and act responsibly, they will pass legislation to create jobs, raise revenue and protect vital services that help support working families and seniors. It’s up to us to hold them accountable.

We’re sending a message to Congress to tell them to focus on job creation and economic growth — not devastating cuts that will cripple our economy. And they can start right now by extending the tax cuts for the middle class.

Click here to co-sign the letter and tell Congress: Protect Services. Raise Revenue. Create Good Jobs!

Did you like this? Share it: