I consider this to be a great sports week for Michigan and Ohio this week. The Cavs and Pistons are battling it out for a shot at the NBA Finals and the Indians and Tigers are duking it out for 1st place in their division.
Tonight was a great night for Cleveland.
The Indians rode a good pitching performance from their newcomer Carmona. It was fun to see Sheffield and Mesa on the Tigers team. Seeing Mesa reminded me of the great run the tribe had in the 90's. Seeing Sheffield reminded me that Detroit is still a pretty big market ballclub. The tribe's closer Borowski is really coming on and the club gets solid hr's from Garko tonight. The Indians swept the weekend series with the Tigers and will play them on Friday of next week.
The Cavaliers found a way to beat the Pistons, after two close 79-76 losses. LeBron scored 30 and paced the Cavs to a great win. He made some great fade aways and clutch shots. I hope Larry Hughes is alright, but Daniel Gibson seems tough under pressure. I also like Z this series and season. He is diving, picking up the outside man, and making good plays. The Cavs got a much needed win against a tough and experienced Piston squad.
Either way, Cleveland and Detroit have national spotlights' on them now. That is good for both cities and the Midwest in general.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
I consider this to be a great sports week for Michigan and Ohio this week. The Cavs and Pistons are battling it out for a shot at the NBA Finals and the Indians and Tigers are duking it out for 1st place in their division.
Here is a link to that article. It also seems that there are air strikes on the Gaza Strip and no one is callling for a cease fire. The Israelis and Palestinians are at it again. How big will this event get? Will they ever get along? What, if anything, can we (humans) do about the political and cultural differences of religion? What else fuels this fire between the two nations?
This memorial day I am using my blogging time to talk about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is a form of mental illness brought on by life events that cause a high level of stress or contain a traumatic event. Sometimes we have seen the disorder after pregnancies and we have seen them after war. Here is a wiki of the disorder for a quick glance. We will see a lot of this occurrence as the war in Iraq and Afghanistan continues in the name of Combat Stress Disorder. This tells us that we need to be ready to handle the rigors of dealing with people who have experienced trauma while serving our country.
For that reason I am in support of Mental Health Parity to ensure that our affected servicemen and women get the support they need when they come back to our country. Not only will it ensure that our service men and women are taken care of, a National Statement will ensure that those with mental illness in our country do not go forgotten about. In my field(s) I have noticed that Mental Illness gets the least amount of government funding. Education is number one of course and mental illness is last, right behind people with Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.
Here is why I would support the legislation
1.) Legislation will help mental illness get the same validity of physical illness in terms of health care coverage.
2.) The government money used can go to programs that can improve diagnosis and treatment of the disorder; hopefully they will also try to track fraud.
3.) It will strengthen our communities by providing more resources to our mentally ill population. This will decrease family and caregiver stress and hopefully improve the lives of people living with Depression, Personality Disorders, Bi-Polar and PTSD.
Here is an article that will discuss in further detail a discussion about Combat Stress Disorder. It talks about the disorder and the numbers they are seeing already with troops men and women) early cases. We need to be able to respond as a country to make sure these people get the best care for their mental health that we possibly can.Written by By Jessica Fargen
Boston Herald Health & Medical Reporter
Click Here for the Article
Here is a list of about 95 organizations, regional and National who are in support of the legislation:
Click Here: List of Organizations Involved mhlg.org
Finally here is a write up of the Mental Health Parity Bill that they hope to sign this year. It will really effect insurance companies and employers, there is a lot of detail about exemptions and small businesses. You can read the full text at the following link:
Link to The Mental Health Parity Act of 2007
Feel free to give me any feedback you want regarding this post. I think mental illness is an easy target for people because it is hard to see, hard to diagnose, and some people can experience the same events and not feel emotional pain. It affects a lot of people on a daily basis.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
To all thirteen of our faithful (daily average for the month) readers,
We are now going to post Pay Per Post offers on our Make a Difference Blog. We hope that you consider this act of shameless advertising more as a means of giving us the ability to continue doing our creative media work rather than "pimps" of internet marketers.
ads on blogs
We believe we are both, but only want to mention it just this once. Anyway, if History Mike can do it, then so can we dammit!
Anyway, pay per post is pretty easy,
1. You sign up and get you blog approved.
2. Look at the opportunities you are qualified for. (we do not qualify for many, yet)
3. Decide whether or not you want to "Pimp" I mean post.
5. Wait for people to blast you for your posting a piece of crap or thank you for making their day with products, websites, software programs, and other items offered to write about.
Please feel free to comment on this post or any other for that matter. Also, you get to choose what items you want to sponsor on your site. We will try to be selective!! We love feedback.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
historymike: Bush Finally Finds His al Qaeda-Iraq Connection, Albeit Post-Invasion
Here is a link to a good piece written on Toledo's History Mike's Musings, a local Ohio blogger. A great discussion of the George Bush revelation today about the Al Qaeida and Iraq. The anonymous poster is also funny in the comments section. Although, I do wonder how many people actually believe that speaking out against war is somehow leftist.
Then I read this post by Kris Kling on his blog The Kris Kling Opinion going off on someone:
I don't know if the two posts go together, but I thought I would highlight their thoughts and keep encouraging change.
How many people vote for America idol but don't vote in US elections?
Thursday, May 17, 2007
I normally don't post to the blog on the gay issue, but I feel compelled to do so today after spending time perusing the blogs.
Background:On last Saturday, I attended the ODP State Dinner, where the Columbus Gay Men's Chorus was asked to sing two songs,as an addition to the great entertainment for the function. The governor, during the event, even went so far as to come over to the chorus members, right before they performed, to acknowledge their presence. This invitation to the Gay Men's Chorus was an unprecedented event, and was just one of the steps that the governor has taken to keep his promises to the LGBT community, which came together to raise a great deal of money and contribute many volunteer hours during his political race last year.
As I watched the news and the blogs this past week, I saw nothing written about the Gay men's Chorus performing at the dinner. In fact, some bloggers went out of the way to not cause trouble for the governor by calling the group "the chorus". This was fine with me, as I didn't expect anything to surface just because of the Gay issue; after all, the Governor was simply promoting inclusion of all groups, and working to make Ohio a state the doesn't treat groups of people differently. Even attempts to share the news of the passing of Jerry Falwell, a destructive and slanderous pillar for Conservative America, was done with taste by the bloggers.
On to the issue:
So, this morning, the Governor signed an executive order that includes GLBT people in the current protections of employment discrimination for state employees:
g. Rate of Compensation
h. Eligibility for In- Service Training Programs
Again, this protection is not asking for special protections for GLBT people, it is asking for equal protection for such people, the same equal protection that is afforded to all people in this great country.
What fired me up was this text, which I am quoting from the Right Angle Blog:
Some people's stupidity just pisses me off to no end. I am not a lawyer but I can tell you that someone would not claim that they are gay to keep their job, and even if they did, the law is going to insist that they prove their claim. Does the blogger really believe that some straight guy is going to subject himself to testimony that he has engaged in such "perverse lifestyle choices", as it is described within the blog post? Why must some people try to scare the hell out of people; oh yeah, it is because that is how they ensure they get the votes.
I will close with a paraphrase of comments that I heard Joyce Beatty deliver to a group of people participating in a lobbying effort from Equality Ohio yesterday. She explained that each person should remember, as he or she talks with his or her senator and Representative, that he or she is simply advocating for equal protection and treatment, the same equal protection and treatment that is given to all of the citizens of this country.
It is herein that I personally thank and congratulate our Governor on his efforts to make Ohio a state where all people are treated equally and protected equally. It is only through such efforts that Ohio will begin to recover from its 16 years of losses, begin to repair its inadequately funded education system, and begin to develop an economy that attracts the best workers and secures the best future for its residence. Ted, I hope you continue to "Turn around Ohio".
Well, World Bank Leader Paul Wolfowitz has "resigned on his own terms" after his promotion and bonus giving to a female "friend". I did not know that he was the architect of the Iraq War.
When will it be Alberto Gonzales's Turn to step down? Or is he going to be drug out kicking and screaming? A few more Republicans are calling for his ouster, the Democrats are filling a vote of no confidence, and GOP report remains strong.
The Leader of the Republican Party in Michigan wants Ron Paul banned for his comments about the Iraq War.
And I saw a clip on The Colbert Report tonight that had this Bushism found at crazylinks:
--Reporter: Is the tide turning in Iraq?
-- Bush: "I think - tide turning - see, as I remember, I was raised in the desert, but tides kind of, it's easy to see a tide turn - did I say those words?" June 14, 2006
Thanks to Abandoned Stuff for giving us the heads up on a great effort related to trying to impact the Gas Price Situation. Check out an excerpt from the event being proposed for the Week of July 8 through July 15:
From July 8-15, 2007, all around the globe, people are going to try their hardest to get out of their cars for their daily commute, and walk, ride transit, or bike to work for a whole week. A chance for all of them to save gas, produce less traffic and pollution, and enjoy life a little more.
Though I do not feel this will have a huge impact on profits of suppliers or significantly reduce the price of gas, the longer duration might help to show the effects of a boycott on gas. I'm also hoping that participants may realize that they can, in fact, find other ways to get to work. But, as I stated in my previous post, the only real way to decrease the price of Gas is to consistently, over time, decrease our use of gas.
Read more about the event on Facebook or at http://www.1337hax0r.com/?p=557
I thought I would present this as a follow up to my post last week on the Gas Out.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Urgent Action by June 4: The Department of Energy wants to turn Southern Ohio into a nuclear waste dump.
I received this email today from a recently formed group: The Southern Ohio Neighbors Group (SONG). Any time a group of people come together to stop corruption and turn around Ohio, I think it is worth getting the word out.
The following is an excerpt from the text of the email that I received:
The federal reservation near Piketon, Ohio, has been proposed as a storage site for high-level nuclear waste, imported from other counties, other states, and other countries. These plans were developed in secret without public disclosure and with fraudulent claims of community support.
The group, in conjunction with Progress Ohio, has put together testimony, which, after signed by all of us, will be delivered to the Department of Energy. The deadline to take action is June 4, 2007.
Here is a link from Framed Discourse and Debate about who won the 2nd Republican Debate last night. The blogs author is James Trumm. I am copying his work on Rudy Guiliani and Ron Paul because it highlights my previous post, Why are we at war. James goes into a little more detail about the exchange and I think he does a great job in highlighting the scenario. You should also check out his blog (Title Link) for the rest of his reactions to the debate winners and losers.
Giuliani didn't. He was doing fairly well--calling the Democrats' plan to get out of Iraq a "timetable for retreat," and handling the abortion questions much better that last time--until Ron Paul suggested that just maybe U.S. policies in the Middle East had something to do with motivating the 9/11 terrorists. Rudy went borderline apoplectic about this and took off after poor little Ron Paul like a rabid badger. It's a pretty basic rule of debate that you don't pick fights down; you can only hurt yourself. That's what he did. He overplayed his 9/11 hero cred and wound up looking like a bully--and not a very bright one at that.
Paul didn't, though as noted above, he probably benefited from having Rudy the Rabid charge after him. He could have gotten an even bigger boost had he not seemed to physically shrink in the face of Giuliani's bullying. He had the virtue of offering the most coherent philosophy. He had the courage to advocate dismantling the Department of Homeland Security, saying we didn't need another layer of bureaucracy to fight terrorism. He zinged the other candidates who used the term "enhanced interrogation techniques," saying it sounded like Newspeak. Yesterday I noticed that "Ron Paul" was the top Google search of the day, and his performance last night will probably keep him on top of those rankings for a while. Still, his repeated references to "my argument is . . ." made him seem like he was competing in a high school debate contest, not a Presidential primary. People don't vote for arguments.
Here is a post from the New Republic discussing the difference between Rudy Giuliani and Ron Paul regarding the War that Bin Laden has waged with the US.
I like what Ron Paul has to say about this war. His views are opposite of Rudy Giuliani who believes Islam does not like us because "freedom and women's rights."
Ron Paul believes that America's presence in the Middle East is because of
(1) US Involvement in the Middle East, (2) Palestine, and (3) Sanctions on Iraq as reasons why he has declared war
To me, just by reading the differences in thought Ron Paul's assessment seems more realistic. But just for probings sake I "scoured the internets" to see what else I could dig up on Bin Ladens reason for declaring War on The US. Here is what I found:
Here is a PBS transcript of the original FATWA (declaration of war) against the US
Here is a transcript in Osama's own words discussing his anger about the occupation of the Holy Land and our relationship ($$) with Israel.
Here is some video of the Republican debate last night where Rudy blasted Ron Paul about his beliefs for our occupation and the reasons for war. Again using 9/11 as "the day the world changed" But more importantly it is a great compassionate compelling reason to really ask "Why do they hate us"
What I think is sad is the fact that Ron Paul got a few claps and relieved cheers and Rudy got a raucous applause for his one liner.
To me it seems clear that we (the United States) have had a vested interest in the Middle East. We do fund a lot of projects in Israel, we do have a president with huge ties to Saudi Arabia, we have a desire to gain cheaper access to foreign oil. We have been in the middle east for as long as I remember. I think Rudy Giuliani is wrong by dismissing and attacking Ron Paul for his viewpoints and so are people who believe that the US is innocent in what it is strategically implementing overseas. Our actions have angered people and will continue to do so until we have a government that is able to take a look at itself and evaluate what is really best for our country. An American Embassy in Iraq that is bigger than the Vatican, should not be a priority.
Monday, May 14, 2007
My buddy (not really) Braylon Edwards gave 1 million of his hard earned NFL earnings to the Cleveland School System for the advancement of a new scholarship program. The mayor of Cleveland was also in the house, in addition to our famed Dr. Eugene Sanders former Toledo Public Schools.
Other than being there, they did not mention Sanders as being a critical component of this event.
Looks like Braylon has his own foundation dedicated to underserved youth and educational opportunities. Here is a link to his foundation.
I think it is great that athletes venture out from their NFL roles and give back to the community. I also saw on his site that he fed 500 families from Detroit and had this to say:
“I am grateful to be in a position where I contribute to the lives of so many people,” Edwards says. “It feels good to return home to see family and friends, but more importantly, to make a difference.”
You go Braylon.
Cavs won tonight too.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Here is an article from MSNBC about Michael Moore. This time he is being questioned about breaking the trade embargo with Cuba. The Treasury's OFAC-Office of Foreign Assets Control has issued this investigation and Mr. Moore is already blaming George Bush and the administration as being responsible for the pressure.
Looks like good timing for Moore's new Movie "Sicko" coming out this summer. The article also states that the movie has gotten good reviews on both sides of the political aisle. It also stated that some enemies of the movie will be "Big Pharma" and HMO's (imagine that).
Seems to me that the administration would like to silence Mr. Moore. Seems to me that Mr. Moore does a great job at getting media attention. I will go see "Sicko" to piss off the neo-con's and see what we can do about fixing health care.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
I have received at least three different emails talking about the Great Gas Out which is scheduled to take place on May 15, 2007. For your reference, one of them reads:
NO GAS...On May 15th 2007
Don't pump gas on May 15th
In April 1997, there was a "gas out" conducted nationwide in protest of gas prices. Gasoline prices dropped 30 cents a gallon overnight.
On May 15th 2007, all Internet users are being asked not to go to a gas station in protest of high gas prices. Gas is now over $3.00 a gallon in most places.
There are 73,000,000+ American members currently on the Internet
Network and the average car takes about 30 to 50 dollars to fill up. If all users did not go to the pump on the 15th, it would take $2,292,000,000.00 (that's almost 3 BILLION) out of the oil companies' pockets for just one day. Send this to all your contact list. With it saying, ''Don't pump gas on May 15th"
At S & G Endeavors, we are committed to change on all levels, whether it is using our strategic planning services to help create organizations with great ideas or using our media services to create media for a changing world. I, personally, am extremely committed to the Bill of Rights for this country, which provides us with the ability to organize in groups to protest those things that we feel unfair. Though I do not drive, I believe the gas prices to be a true injustice to those who do, and have held several conversations with friends, family members, and my business partner regarding the subject. I fully support the intentions of this protest, but my higher commitment to leading change is compelled to ask the following question:
Just how effective is this “protest” going to be, and what will be yielded to the consumer as a result of such efforts?
Before you get upset with my question and assume that I am just spouting off a negative attitude, I ask you to continue reading…
Emails like the one above have been in circulation on the Internet since 1999. The Urban Legend Reference Pages explain why:
This year's e-mails (proposing a one-day "gas out" in May 2007) is yet another recasting of similar messages that have been circulating since 1999. All of them are reminders that "protest" schemes that don't cost the participants any inconvenience, hardship, or money remain the most popular, despite their ineffectiveness. A one-day "gas out" was proposed in 1999, and a three-day-long event was called for in 2000, but both drew little active participation and had no real effect on retail gasoline prices.
The premise behind all these messages is inherently flawed, because consumers' not buying gasoline on one particular day doesn't affect oil companies at all. The "gas out" scheme doesn't call upon people to use less gasoline, but simply to shift their date of purchase and buy gas a day earlier or later than they usually would. The very same amount of gasoline is sold either way, so oil companies don't lose any money.
Further research yields similar statements—from CBS2Chicago.com:
Chances are the plan is more fantasy than feasible…"I think in theory it may have some effect. But in reality or practice it would have little or no effect at all," said Jason Toews, co-founder of gasbuddy.com, a gas price-tracking site that allows visitors to post and compare local gas prices. “Getting enough people to participate would probably be difficult,” he said, “as well as the fact that those participating would probably just fill up the day before or after the boycott.”
And in addition, we find the following written in the Post Tribune:
BP Amoco spokesman Scott Dean said a one-day strike wouldn't affect operations. "If suddenly, people no longer demand gasoline ever, certainly it would affect supply and therefore price," Dean said. "But for a single day? It doesn't change the picture for the month, the year or the decade."
And, finally, as reported on NJ.com—who featured the article from the Gloucester County Times:
It would take more than a one-day boycott to have an impact, said Eric DeGesero, executive vice president of the New Jersey Fuel Merchants Association. "They aren't going to have any long term impact until they change their behavior," DeGesero said.
And, there we have it! An email goes out; it motivates people to think they will make a great impact; and, all that happens is the people are portrayed by the media as a joke. Check out these headlines from previous similar efforts provided by The Urban Legend Reference Pages:
Reports indicated few motorists paid attention to a nationwide boycott touted initially by Internet e-mail and later by word of mouth.
Although a gasoline boycott that began as an electronic mail campaign kept some drivers nationwide away from the pump, dealers say they saw little, if any, effect on their traffic.
Friday's gasoline boycott was an effort that sputtered, coughed, then died. Motorists continued to fill up gas-guzzling sport-utility vehicles and trucks alongside smaller vehicles despite a one-day protest aimed to pressure oil companies to lower gas prices.
This is not to say that a boycott does not send a message, but the research suggests that the effects are minimal at best. In addition, the only supporting comment I found when doing my research was, ironically, from a Democratic Congressman in Gary, Indiana, as reported in the Post Tribune:
"It sends a message that people have power," said state Rep. Vernon Smith, D-Gary, who is trying to convince constituents to protest on May 15.
It takes all of my effort at this time to not pick up the phone, call the Congressman, and ask him why he is using his time encouraging his constituents to waste their time with a boycott that lacks effect instead of using his resources to advocate on their behalf. To me, his comment only demonstrates that he is good at deflecting his own responsibility for not addressing the issue. As a fellow democrat, I am disgusted at the spin control he is using on his own people.
My purpose in writing this post is not to discourage people from boycotting fuel; it is quite simply put, to demonstrate that we need to take a more aggressive strategy with our boycotting efforts. If we are going to use resources to bring the people together, why not bring the people together for a cause that will have a greater effect?
How can a greater effect be achieved by consumers?
According to the Urban Legend Reference Pages:
Not buying gas on a designated day may make people feel a bit better about things by providing them a chance to vent their anger at higher gasoline prices, but the action won't have any real impact on retail prices. An effective protest would involve something like organizing people to forswear the use of their cars on specified days, an act that could effectively demonstrate the reality of the threat that if gasoline prices stayed high, American consumers were prepared to move to carpooling and public transportation for the long term.
Gasoline is a fungible, global commodity, its price subject to the ordinary forces of supply and demand. No amount of consumer gimmickry and showmanship will lower its price in the long run; only a significant, ongoing reduction in demand will accomplish that goal. Unfortunately, for many people achieving that goal would mean cutting down on their driving or opting for less desirable economy cars over less fuel-efficient models, solutions they find unappealing.
And, from Break the Chain.org, we read:
In order to influence a reduction in prices, producers must either make more oil and refined fuel available, or consumers must reduce the demand for it. But this means a reduction in overall demand over a significant period of time. The United States is among the world's top consumers of gasoline. Fuel-efficiency on America's highways has not improved significantly over the last ten years and light trucks (including SUVs), which typically get the worst mileage, comprised nearly 55 percent of all new vehicles sold in 2003, and have accounted for more than half of all sales each year since at least 2000.
And from CBS2Chicago.com, we are told very simply:
"People just have to stop using their cars," Toews said. "They'd have to start using public transportation or carpooling. That's what it's going to take, not a 'gas out."
So, what do I propose?—to start the discussion, I feel it best to include another excerpt from Break the Chain.org:
The bottom line: If we want to save money at the pump, we must use less gas - slow down on the freeway, plan outings to get everything in one trip, walk more, ride a bicycle and trade in that gas-guzzling SUV for an economical compact or hybrid car for starters. Unfortunately, this has proven to be a very unpopular approach to the problem.
Leave your comments, please. Based on the information discussed in this post, what do you think we should do—should we protest for a day, or should we do something else? Should we pressure our Congress members to stop wasting our time with spin control and to do something about the problem like using our income tax to invest in public transit that we can use? Should we pressure our country’s leader to use his family connection to oil to begin to fix the problem? I’m looking forward to your comments.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Here is meeting information for the Toledo History Museum. They have a membership meeting coming up and I wanted to help get the word out. They have a lot of great plans in the works for the project and I hope you go and learn more. I cannot go because I have a parking lot party to go to in Findlay for the Camp Fire USA Teen Center. I will be there though, oneday, I promise.
If you want more information about the Toledo History Museum e-mail Donna Christian at the contact info below. I am sure they will provide you with meeting minutes and official brochures and organization information.
May General Membership Meeting
The second THM general membership meeting is
scheduled for Tuesday, May 29, 2007 at the Sanger
Branch Public Library, 3030 West Central Avenue.
The business meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. with
the program following from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Camp Miakonda: The Hills Are
Alive with the Sound of Memories
Kenneth R. Dickson
Free and open to the public
Contact: Donna Christian, Vice-President, firstname.lastname@example.org
Shameless self promotion. Well kind of.
The link above is for Fishfull Thinking Charters in Eastlake Ohio. We did their website, but more importantly I have chartered with them. Captain Bob is a great guy and they definitely have the gear to find fish on Lake Erie. I am a big Tribe fan (19-10 Right Now) and I would say a day on the boat with them and a Jacob's field nightcap would be a great summer weekend.
You could go with any charter company in the Cleveland area, but I recommend Fishfull.
Ask for Captain Bob and tell him Make a Difference sent you, he'll have no clue who the hell that is. Only serious charter inquiries welcomed.
Monday, May 07, 2007
Just in on my email from Progress Ohio:
Get Caught Even Mentioning the Word "Union" and You Will Be
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 7, 2007
Contact: Brian Rothenberg, Spokesman 614-441-9145
Wal-Mart’s routine practice of violating U.S. workers’ rights
Americans United for Change to deliver damning new report
on WalMart to Voinovich & Brown
Report spotlights the need to pass the Employee Free Choice Act
[COLUMBUS] – As more and more of America’s working people are struggling to make ends meet and our middle class is disappearing, Americans United for Change along with ProgressOhio and UFCW officials will deliver a damning new report to Ohio Senators Voinovich and Brown detailing the disturbingly systematic union-busting practices of Wal-Mart, the largest private employer in the United States.
The report by The Human Rights Watch includes intimidating and even illegal firing of employees who attempt to exercise their right to freedom of association.
Click here to download ‘Discounting Rights: Wal-Mart's Violation of US Workers’ Right to Freedom of Association’
“Wal-Mart is the textbook example of how badly broken U.S. labor laws are,” said Brian Rothenberg, Executive Director Of ProgressOhio. “There’s no better example of how millions of workers are being denied, through systematic intimidation and coercion, of their right to join together to bargain for better pay, improved benefits and retirement security. And there’s no better reason for Senator to fix this system give our disappearing middle class a fighting chance by supporting the Employee Free Choice Act.”
The timely new report examines in depth the tactics that Wal-Mart uses to preempt workers’ organizing efforts and undermine workers’ freedom of association at its US stores. The report focuses first on tactics and policies that, though they largely comply with US law, create a work environment so hostile to union formation that they coercively interfere with workers’ internationally recognized right to decide freely for themselves whether to organize.
A separate chapter examines Wal-Mart’s anti-union tactics that violate both US and international law and contribute to the generalized fear many Wal-Mart workers report feeling whenever the topic of union formation is broached. Five separate case studies illustrate the very real human impacts of Wal-Mart’s attack on workers’ right to freedom of association. Human Rights Watch is an independent, nongovernmental organization dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world.
The Employee Free Choice Act would:
Strengthen penalties for companies that illegally coerce or intimidate employees in a effort to prevent them from forming a union
Bring in a neutral third party to settle a contract when a company and a newly certified union cannot agree on a contract after three months of negotiations
Establish 'majority sign up', meaning that if a majority of the employees sign union authorization cards, validated by the National Labor Relations Board, a company must recognize the union.
“The middle class in this country are losing ground – losing health care coverage, retirement security, and jobs,” added Jeremy Funk, of Americans United For Change. A union voice can change all that. In fact, workers who belong to a union earn 30 percent more than nonunion workers than nonunion workers. They’re 62 percent more likely to have employer-provided health coverage and four times more likely to have pensions.
The Employee Free Choice Act would give the 60 million American workers the chance they have been denied for far too to unite and rise together. It’s about leveling the playing field in a system that’s stacked entirely in employers’ favor – a system that lets huge corporations like Wal-Mart routinely get away with harassment, intimidation, coercion and even dismissal of workers who try to organize unions.