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On Mother’s Day, Stories of Family Separation Highlight Need for Immigration Reform

For most of us, Mother’s Day is a time for families to come together and celebrate the women who are important in our lives. It’s a day of breakfast in bed, flowers and time spent together as a family. But for many immigrants separated from their families, Mother’s Day is another painful reminder of the real need for commonsense immigration reform.

Antonia is a mother of three whose legal status meant that she couldn’t return home or bring children to the United States for most of their childhood. In the years since she left El Salvador in search of opportunities for her family, Antonia has heard her three children grow up almost exclusively over the phone. Watch the video below to hear Antonia’s story, and what Mother’s Day means to her:

Maria came to America with her parents when she was just 6 years old. Her mother now lives in Mexico, and if Maria were to visit her, she wouldn’t be allowed to return to home to Chelsea, MA. Mother’s Day is an emotional holiday for Maria, whose mom is being treated for breast cancer. You can see Maria’s story and hear what Mother’s Day means to her here:

Antonia and Maria are just two of the many of stories that demonstrate the need for real, comprehensive immigration reform that includes a reasonable path to citizenship. No family should be torn apart because of outdated rules crafted decades ago — and it’s beyond time we took action.

As the immigration debate looms in Congress, more and more stories like these are emerging each day, showing the major impact reform will have in the lives of millions of immigrant families. Click here to join the call to fix our immigration system and pass comprehensive immigration form this year!

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Immigrant Parents, Families Gather to Celebrate Mother’s Day as Reform Debate Looms

Keep Families TogetherMore than two hundred immigrant parents and children gathered in East Boston Saturday for a Mother’s Day celebration with a clear message: ‘Keep Families Together.’ Organized by more than a dozen community groups – including MassUniting, Neighbors United for a Better East Boston (NUBE), SEIU Local 615 and the Student Immigrant Movement (SIM) – the event showed the real faces of the immigration debate that kicked off in Washington this week.

While the Mother’s Day celebration featured a festive, family-friendly atmosphere, participants also shared their personal stories of family separation caused by America’s broken immigration system. Many children took photos and made greeting cards to send to mothers in countries thousands of miles away and college students spoke of the need for a pathway to citizenship for young Americans-in-waiting, also known as ‘DREAMers.’

MothersDay_5-11-13-16“For too many parents and children, Mother’s Day is a harsh reminder of years spent separated from loved ones,” said Conrado Santos, a DREAMer who works with fellow young immigrants every day at Student Immigrant Movement (SIM). “We hope this holiday will remind congress of the real need to pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform that reunifies loving families.”

The Mother’s Day event in East Boston came as part of a nationwide push for action on Immigration Reform, which has mobilized tens of thousands of supporters throughout the country in recent weeks.

MothersDay_5-11-13-8

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Following Deadly Fires, Building Collapse, Dozens of Workers’ Rights Advocates Demonstrate in Cambridge

Nurul Kabir (Litu) of The Alliance for Secular and Democratic South Asia shares observations of Bangladeshi workplace conditionsConcerned by the growing death toll in a series of incidents in the Bangladesh garment industry, dozens of workers’ rights advocates and community members gathered Saturday to call on GAP Inc. to join other major retailers in a binding commitment to addressing workplace safety issues. The vigil and demonstration at GAP’s Harvard Square store in Cambridge came as labor and human rights leaders across the globe call for progress on a binding Bangladesh Fire & Building Safety Agreement. Major companies like PVH/Tommy Hilfiger and the large German company, Tchibo, have already signed the accord, despite GAP’s opposition.

Dozens of workers' rights advocates gathered outside GAP in Harvard Square Saturday“Too many people have died and more will unless GAP changes course,” said Paul Drake of Mass Interfaith Worker Justice, a leader in the local fight for workplace safety. “This latest disaster is proof that the time for excuses is over. We need action on a binding fire and building safety agreement now.”

A growing movement of garment workers and advocates are demanding that GAP and other major apparel retailers end their decades-long ‘self-regulatory’ approach to building and fire safety – policies that have led to more than 1,000 deaths in recent years. Just last week, at least 431 workers were crushed to death in the devastating collapse of another garment factory in Bangladesh, with hundreds more workers still unaccounted for.

Nearly a dozen organizations participated in Saturday’s vigil and demonstration, including Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia, the International Labor Rights Forum, Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety & Health (MASSCOSH) and Massachusetts Interfaith Worker Justice.

Security looks on as demonstrators are reflected in the windows of GAP's Harvard Square store

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Concerned Customers, Neighbors Push for Workers’ Rights at Mass. Walmart Stores

Neighbors share letter of concern with Walmart managementConcerned customers and neighbors fanned out to Walmart locations across the commonwealth today in a push to secure more transparent scheduling and improved hour allotments for the company’s retail Associates. The delegations delivered community-signed letters to management at more than two dozen Walmart locations statewide – including stores in Falmouth, Lynn, Northampton, Quincy, Salem and Worcester. Advocates also spoke with hundreds of workers to ensure they know their rights on the job.

In response to a massive Black Friday mobilization that targeted more than 1,000 stores nationwide, Walmart management made a commitment to making schedules more transparent and predictable for its Associates. Yet many workers report continued understaffing in stores, insufficient hour allotments and no tangible improvement in control over their schedules. The Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart), founded in 2011 by Walmart workers from across the country, has engaged customers and community allies to help hold Walmart management accountable to its commitments.

Area residents speak with Walmart workers in Quincy“We’re out here letting Walmart Associates know that they have rights, that management can and must do better in Massachusetts,” said Darrin Howell, a community advocate who engaged workers and management at Walmart’s Quincy, Mass. location. “We shouldn’t have to ask Walmart to provide their Associates with basic respect and dignity in the workplace, but we’ll do whatever it takes to hold them accountable.”

 

OUR Walmart supporters outside local store

OUR Walmart members are demanding basic rights on the job – including fair wages and benefits, safe working conditions and more transparent scheduling practices. In Massachusetts, support for this effort is being coordinated by the Massachusetts Stands Up to Walmart campaign – a coalition of workers, community organizations, and faith and labor leaders that led the successful effort to halt Walmart’s planned expansion into the Greater Boston Area.

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Thousands March for May Day in East Boston

In East Boston yesterday, chants of “Si se puede!” echoed throughout the city as more than 1,000  immigrant workers and community allies descended on Central Square in a massive call for improved wages, safer working conditions and comprehensive immigration reform. Under the shared banner of “Stop the attacks on working families!,” the unprecedented marches from Boston, Chelsea, Everett and Revere converged outside the East Boston Social Center in celebration of International Workers’ Day, also known as May Day.

MayDay2013-7With roots in the American struggle for the 8-hour workday, International Workers’ Day is celebrated in more than 80 countries around the world as a day to commemorate the ongoing fight for workers’ rights. Yesterday’s Boston-area celebration came as the debate over immigration reform intensifies in Washington – along with several pending bills on Beacon Hill affecting low-income and immigrant workers at the state level.

Across the country, International Workers’ Day events echoed the call for immigration reform in cities from New York to Milwaukee to Salem, OR.  And in Boston, more than fifty community groups came together for the 14th annual May Day march and rally. Among the crowd of 1,000 were hundreds of  low-wage immigrant workers – many of whom are in the midst of local battles for better wages and working conditions.

“I marched today in solidarity with my fellow airport workers who are struggling to make ends meet on minimum wage,” said Yahya Bajinka, a West African immigrant who works in aviation services at Logan Airport. “We shouldn’t have to work multiple jobs in sweatshop conditions just to get by. It’s time for change at Logan.”

MayDay2013-2

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Massachusetts Adjunct Professors Kick Off Union Organizing Drive

Boston Higher Education Symposium

In 2012, four-year tuition at the average public university cost more than $15,000 – not counting books, meals or housing. At the average private institution, that figure was even higher, clocking in at over $32,000. Even two-year and vocational programs ran nearly $9,000 per certificate.

With the cost of higher education skyrocketing, it’s easy to assume that professors – the men and women who educate our students – are doing quite well for themselves. In some cases, that’s true: tenured faculty members’ salaries at leading universities can top $160,000 a year. But the average adjunct professor makes just $2,700 per course, with no health care insurance or other benefits.

Here’s the kicker: 76 percent of university faculty in the United States are adjunct professors. Most have to work at multiple universities and still don’t make enough to stay above the poverty line. And considering the amount of time involved in preparing, teaching and grading each class, many adjuncts make less than minimum wage.

With statistics like these, it’s no surprise that adjunct professors nationwide are forming unions through Adjunct Action, a project of the Service Employees International Union. This past weekend, faculty from more than 20 Bay State campuses kicked off their own organizing drive with an ‘Adjunct Faculty Symposium’ in Boston.

More than 100 professors from across Eastern Massachusetts gathered at the JFK Presidential Library Saturday for the daylong conference – discussing everything from classroom challenges to coalition building. Participants also met in small breakout groups to develop campus-specific organizing strategies and plan next steps, joined by scores of student supporters who were ready to stand in solidarity with their professors.

By the end of the symposium, adjunct professors were well prepared to launch organizing drives on campuses throughout greater Boston. And soon, they’ll be standing arm-in-arm with 15,000 other faculty members who have already unionized through Adjunct Action at SEIU.

For more information on the fight to raise wages and improve working conditions for adjunct faculty, check out this great interview from WBUR’s All Things Considered – or visit Adjunct Action online at www.adjunctaction.org.

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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:

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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/

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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.

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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!”

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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:

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

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