Monthly Archives: May 2017



As if the “Right To Work” (RTW) was not enough. HOLD ON… Here “they” come again with a new acronym (ERA) which stands for the Employee Rights Act of 2017 (HR 2723), and it has a LOT of support in congress on the (R) side of the aisle!

HE 2723 attacks the very core of unionism all through the processes of certification, decertification and maintaining of certification for a Union. Should this bill pass – because of the more than 50% turnover since the original certification vote – virtually every union will be required to immediately hold a re-certification vote!

Here are the other major points this “protective sounding” bill seeks to accomplish!


Guarantee that a majority of all employees have a right to a secret paper ballot election. Prevents pressuring an employer to deny a secret ballot election.


Require all unionized workplaces to hold a secret ballot referendum periodically to determine whether the employees wish to remain represented by their current union.


Require unions to receive opt-in permission from each member to use his or her union dues for purposes other than collective bargaining (e.g., political support).


Changes the majority level in certification elections from a majority of present voters to a majority of all affected employees.


Gives employees the right to opt out of having their personal information shared with a union during an organizing campaign.


Strengthen the National Labor Relations Act to prohibit unions from intimidating or coercing employees from exercising their rights, including their right to decertify the union.


Ensure that a majority of all employees in the bargaining unit have the right to a secret ballot vote before union leaders can declare a strike.


Forbid unions from using violence, or threats thereof, in an effort to coerce employees.

Holding on to your status as a union should not be made more difficult. This legislation is bad for not only every Union worker, but also for every non union worker in the country – as Unions are intended to raise the standard of living for all!

From TEAM Workin 4 A Livin – Caucus

For more information about other labor issues visit Workin 4 A Livin.

Happy Memorial Day 2017

Memorial Day: is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. The holiday is currently observed every year on the last Monday of May. It marks the unofficial start of the American summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its unofficial end.

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Some Americans visit the graves of family members who did not serve in the military. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.

Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans Day; Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, while Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans.

From TEAM Workin 4 A Livin – Caucus

For more information about other labor issues visit Workin 4 A Livin.

Happy Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day seems harmless enough. Treat mom to brunch. Buy flowers. Good times.

But the story of the modern holiday—which is celebrated this Sunday in the United States and many other nations—is rife with controversy, conflict, and consumerism run amok. Some strange – but-true – facts you probably don’t know:

1. Mother’s Day started as an anti-war movement.

Anna Jarvis is most often credited with founding Mother’s Day in the United States.
Picture of Anna Jarvis
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Anna Jarvis, founder of the modern version of Mother’s Day, fought against the the commercialization of the holiday, working to protect it from “the hordes of money schemers.”
Photograph by Bettmann, Corbis

Designated as the second Sunday in May by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914, aspects of that holiday have since spread overseas, sometimes mingling with local traditions. Jarvis took great pains to acquire and defend her role as “Mother of Mother’s Day,” and to focus the day on children celebrating their mothers. (Read more about Mother’s Day’s early years.)

But others had the idea first, and with different agendas.

Julia Ward Howe, better known for writing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” promoted a Mothers’ Peace Day beginning in 1872. For Howe and other antiwar activists, including Anna Jarvis’s mother, Mother’s Day was a way to promote global unity after the horrors of the American Civil War and Europe’s Franco-Prussian War.

“Howe called for women to gather once a year in parlors, churches, or social halls, to listen to sermons, present essays, sing hymns or pray if they wished—all in the name of promoting peace,” said Katharine Antolini, an historian at West Virginia Wesleyan College and author of Memorializing Motherhood: Anna Jarvis and the Struggle for Control of Mother’s Day.

Several American cities including Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago held annual June 2nd Mothers’ Day services until roughly 1913, Antolini says. (See “Nat Geo Photographers’ Favorite Photos of Their Moms”.)

These early Mother’s Day movements became popular only among peace activist groups and faded when other promoters took center stage.

2. A former football coach promoted an early version of Mother’s Day—and was accused of “kidnapping” the holiday.

Frank Hering, a former football coach and faculty member at University of Notre Dame, also proposed the idea of a Mother’s Day before Anna Jarvis. In 1904 Hering urged an Indianapolis gathering of the Fraternal Order of Eagles to support “setting aside of one day in the year as a nationwide memorial to the memory of Mothers and motherhood.” (See pictures of animal mothers and their babies.)

Hering didn’t suggest a specific day or month for the observance, though he did note a preference for Mother’s Day falling on a Sunday. Local “aeries” of the Fraternal Order of Eagles took up Hering’s challenge. Today the organization still bills Hering and the Eagles as the “true founders of Mother’s Day.”

Anna Jarvis did not like the thought of Mother’s Day having a “father” in Hering. She blasted him in an undated 1920s statement entitled “Kidnapping Mother’s Day: Will You Be an Accomplice?”

“Do me the justice of refraining from furthering the selfish interests of this claimant,” Jarvis wrote, “who is making a desperate effort to snatch from me the rightful title of originator and founder of Mother’s Day, established by me after decades of untold labor, time, and expense.”

Antolini says that Jarvis, who never had children, was acting partly out of ego: “Everything she signed was Anna Jarvis, Founder of Mother’s Day. It was who she was.”

3. FDR designed a Mother’s Day stamp. Or at least he tried.
Picture of woman holding a poster showing FDR’s Mother’s Day stamp
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A woman holds a 1934 poster advertising a Mother’s Day stamp that was designed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Photograph by Bettmann, Corbis

Woodrow Wilson wasn’t the only president to put his stamp on Mother’s Day. Franklin Delano Roosevelt personally designed a 1934 postage stamp to commemorate the day.

The president co-opted a stamp that was originally meant to honor 19th-century painter James Abbott McNeill Whistler and featured the artist’s famed “Whistler’s Mother” portrait , of Anna McNeill Whistler. FDR surrounded the iconic maternal image with a dedication: “IN MEMORY AND IN HONOR OF THE MOTHERS OF AMERICA.”

Anna Jarvis didn’t approve of the design and refused to allow the words “Mother’s Day” to appear on the stamp—so they never did. “Overall, she thought the stamp ugly,” Antolini says.

4. Mother’s Day’s founder hated those who fundraised off the holiday.

Since Mother’s Day’s early years, some groups have seized on it as a chance to raise funds for various charitable causes—including mothers in need. Anna Jarvis hated that.

“She called those charities Christian pirates,” Antolini said. “Today most of us would think it was wonderful to use the day to raise funds to support poor mothers or families of World War I veterans or another worthy group but she hated them for that.”

Much of the reason why, Antolini says, is that in the days before charity watchdog organizations Jarvis simply didn’t trust fundraisers to deliver the money to the people it was supposed to help. “She resented the idea that profiteers would use the day as just another way of making money,” Antolini says.

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5. The mother of Mother’s Day lost everything in fight to protect her holiday.

It didn’t take long for Anna Jarvis’s Mother’s Day to get commercialized, with Jarvis fighting against what it became.

“To have Mother’s Day the burdensome, wasteful, expensive gift day that Christmas and other special days have become, is not our pleasure,” she wrote in the 1920s. “If the American people are not willing to protect Mother’s Day from the hordes of money schemers that would overwhelm it with their schemes, then we shall cease having a Mother’s Day—and we know how.”

Jarvis never profited from the day, despite ample opportunities afforded by her status as a minor celebrity. In fact, she went broke using what monies she had battling the holiday’s commercialization.

In poor health and with her emotional stability in question, she died penniless at age 84 after living the last four years of her life in the Marshall Square Sanitarium, Antolini says.

6. Courts Heard “Custody Battles” Over Mother’s Day

Anna Jarvis always considered Mother’s Day her intellectual and legal property and wasn’t afraid to lawyer up in its defense.

She included a warning on some Mother’s Day International Association Press releases: “Any charity, institution, hospital, organization, or business using Mother’s Day names, work, emblem, or celebration for getting money, making sales or on printed forms should be held as imposters by proper authorities, and reported to this association.”

Antolini says it’s difficult to determine from scattered court documents just how litigious Jarvis was, but a 1944 Newsweek article reported that she once had as many as 33 simultaneously pending Mother’s Day lawsuits.

7. Flowers are an original tradition that endures (sort of).

The white carnation, the favorite flower of Anna Jarvis’s mother, was the original flower of Mother’s Day.

“The carnation does not drop its petals, but hugs them to its heart as it dies, and so, too, mothers hug their children to their hearts, their mother love never dying,” Jarvis explained in a 1927 interview.

The most popular flower choice today seems to be “mom’s favorite.”
Do You Know Where Your Roses Come From?

Boasting springlike temperatures year-round, northern Ecuador has the ideal conditions for growing roses. Supplying nearly a quarter of the roses sold in the U.S., the rose and cut-flower industry in Ecuador is providing thousands of jobs to local residents and keeping families together.

Honorable Mention: Mother’s Day 2017 Will Be a $23 Billion Cash Cow

This is not about history—it’s about now: objections to charity fund raising and rampant commercialism have come to absolutely nothing. Mother’s Day spending this year will top $23 billion, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual Mother’s Day spending survey.

Americans will spend an average of $186.39 on mom this year. Seventy-seven percent plan to send a greeting card, according to the survey, and Hallmark reports that Mother’s Day is the third most popular card-sending holiday behind Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

About 69% of Americans will send mom flowers. And 36% plan to buy mom jewelry. (See “Father’s Day at 100: How It Began, Why Dad Gets Fewer Gifts.”)

The National Restaurant Association, meanwhile, reports that Mother’s Day is the most popular holiday of the entire year to dine out, with nearly half of all Americans hitting a restaurant, according to NRA research.

Brian Handwerk’s article was originally published in 2015; it has been updated.

From TEAM Workin 4 A Livin – Caucus

For more information about other labor issues visit Workin 4 A Livin.

Happy Cinco de Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo

During the French-Mexican War, between 1861 & 1867, a vastly outnumbered Mexican army, at the small town of Puebla de Los Angeles, defeats the very powerful invading force of France. When the French troops retreated from the Battle of Puebla it represented a great moral victory for the Mexican people. Thus, the battle of, Puebla de Los Angeles, symbolized Mexico’s ability to defend its sovereignty against the powerful nation of France.
Benito Juarez and Napoleon III

In 1861, Benito Juarez became president of Mexico, a country in financial ruin, and he was forced to default on his debts to European governments. In response, France, Britain, and Spain sent naval forces to Veracruz to demand reimbursement.

Britain and Spain negotiated with Mexico and withdrew, but France, ruled by Napoleon III, decided to use the opportunity to carve a dependent empire out of Mexican territory. Late in 1861, a well-armed French fleet stormed Veracruz, landing a large French force and driving President Juarez and his government into retreat.

Certain that French victory would come swiftly in Mexico, 6,000 French troops under General Charles de Lorencez set out in May, 1862, to attack Puebla de Los Angeles. From his new headquarters in the north, Juarez rounded up a ragtag force of loyal men and sent them to Puebla.
Zaragoza Defeats The French Invaders

Led by General Ignacio Zaragoza, the 2,000 Mexicans fortified the town and prepared for the assault by the well-equipped French force.

On the fifth of May, or Cinco de Mayo, Lorencez gathered his army and began an attack from the north side of Puebla.

The battle lasted from daybreak to early evening. After Lorencez realized his superior French force had lost nearly 500 soldiers, while fewer than 100 Mexican troops had been killed, he completely withdrew his defeated army.
The Battle of Puebla and Cinco de Mayo

Though not a major strategic victory in the overall war against the French, Zaragoza’s victory at Puebla galvanized Mexican resistance, and six years later France withdrew. Later that same year, Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, who had been installed as emperor of Mexico by Napoleon in 1864, was captured and executed by a firing squad.

Puebla de Los Angeles, the site of Zaragoza’s historic victory, was renamed Puebla de Zaragoza in honor of the general. Today, Mexicans (and Mexican Americans) celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla as Cinco de Mayo, a holiday in the state of Puebla.

From TEAM Workin 4 A Livin – Caucus

For more information about other labor issues visit Workin 4 A Livin.

We Remember The Haymarket Eight

Haymarket Square Riot: May 4, 1886


A rally at Haymarket Square was organized by labor activists to protest the killing and wounding of several workers by the Chicago police during a strike the day before at the McCormick Reaper Works.


Near the end of the day, a group of policemen arrived to disperse the crowd. When the police advanced, a, never identified, individual threw a bomb at them. Gunfire and chaos ensued, resulting in seven police officers and at least one civilian’s death, and an untold number of others.


The riot set off national xenophobia, hundreds foreign-born radicals and labor organizers were detained by police in Chicago and other cities around the country. Four months later eight men, labeled as anarchists, were convicted and sentences by Judge Joseph E. Gary. In his decision, he imposed the death sentence on seven of the men, and one was sentenced to 15 years in prison. On November 11, 1887, four of the men were hanged.


Of the other 3 who were sentenced to death, one committed suicide – on the eve of his execution, and two had their sentences reduced to life in prison by Illinois Governor Richard J. Oglesby. His successor, Governor John P. Altgeld, pardoned the three activists still living in 1893.


Today, all eight men are – rightfully – revered as martyrs.


From TEAM Workin 4 A Livin – Caucus

For more information about other labor issues visit Workin 4 A Livin.

MI Inaugural May Day Rally

Leroy McKnight, on behalf of TEAM Workin 4 A Livin, speaks about Labor in the United States at the inaugural May Day [Labor Day] Celebration [2017]. Interesting enough, Leroy McKnight was the keynote speaker at a previous Inaugural May Day Rally held in Flint in 2008. Yet another testament to his decades long labor advocacy, and his high demand as a renowned Labor speaker.

As he was flanked by the “Workin 4 A Livin” Radio Show Co-Hosts “Jeff Brown” and “David Fillion”; and  several other anonymous and unidentified members of TEAM Workin 4 A Livin in the audience, our Brother Leroy gave this videoed address to all those gathered at the steps of the Michigan Capitol on May 1st, 2017 – International Labor Day!

Please enjoy this video:



From TEAM Workin 4 A Livin – Caucus

For more information about other labor issues visit Workin 4 A Livin.