UNITE HERE Organizes Downtown Denver Hotel

UNITE-HERE announced today that it has succeeded in its efforts to organize employees of the Convention Center Hyatt hotel downtown, and that today Hyatt management officially recognized the union.

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Talk Radio's Middle Class Champion: A Podcast Interview With Thom Hartmann

The diary below was originally posted in my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal on Saturday, September 23rd when the interview took place.

Thom Hartmann is a dynamic voice for the aggrieved middle class. After one commercial break on a recent broadcast, the national radio host proudly declared,

"Welcome back to the Thom Hartman show where our talking points come from Jefferson and Madison, not some right wing think tank."

He then asks, "Will the next election be hacked?" as he promotes Bobby Kennedy, Jr.'s article in Rolling Stone magazine that examines fraudulent vote counting to the benefit of Republican candidates.

Talkers Magazine noted,

"There's a buzz growing around nationally syndicated talk show host Thom Hartmann, whose nationally syndicated daily program is drawing high marks by those who are on the lookout for talk radio's `Great Liberal Hope.'"

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PA-08: A union rally and canvassing ground report

(cross-posted at Deny My Freedom and Daily Kos)

As I have been doing the past weekends since I have returned to Philadelphia for the academic year, I once again visited the suburbs to volunteer some time in support of PA-08 Democratic nominee Patrick Murphy, an Iraqi war veteran running a strong challenge against the incumbent, freshman GOP Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick. In the latest round of polling, Patrick was found to be behind 53-45 in a poll that overweighted the GOP advantage in the district by 13%. When adjusted for the proper registration breakdown in the district, Fitzpatrick holds an extremely slim 50-48 advantage. These last couple of weeks are going to determine this race, and every single dollar that anyone can donate or any time they could volunteer would be extremely helpful.

Today, I woke up extremely early to attend a union rally before pounding the pavement. Read on below the fold for the rest of my report...

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Guerrilla Vlogger: AFL-CIO hosts John Edwards in Manchester, NH with oreos

"LABOR UNIONS are more than just 'the folks who brought you the weekend,' as the bumper stickers say. A union contract may be the best bulwark against the widening income gap afflicting America even as worker productivity climbs."

-- Boston Globe Editorial September 4, 2006

On Monday I was able to attend the annual NH AFL-CIO Labor Day breakfast held at the Chateau Restaurant in Manchester, NH. It was quite a large turn out, I'd say 500 and maybe more. Most of the people that I talked to were happy to be there to see Edwards, represent their crew and have a great time. And most of them were concerned about the possible Verizon sale that could affect thousands of jobs in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

The story that I heard over and over is that unions are getting weaker because their numbers continue to decline. NH-erites that I spoke to on Monday were fairly upbeat and positive about their local union, but union participation among American workers has steadily declined in the past 30 years. So why fewer unions and union members? Well may you ask...

Cross-posted at DailyKos

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On Labor Day, Think of Labor

On Labor Day consider what's happening in the "labor market."

An 8/28/06 NY Times headline: "Wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of the nation's economy since the U.S. began recording the data in 1947." In the article it continues "... while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share since the 1960's." ... The median hourly wage for American workers has declined 2 percent since 2003, after factoring in inflation [even though] ... productivity ­ the amount that an average worker produces in an hour and the basic wellspring of a nation's living standards ­ has risen steadily over the same period." That's "regress," not progress. 

And then there's the minimum wage, last raised in 1997: Adjusted for inflation it's at its lowest level in 50 years. Conservatives argue against raising it and even want to eliminate it. Their argument: such an artificial increase in wages violates market forces. And a higher price of labor decreases demand and would put many out of work. They say, "That's just simple Economics 101."

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