Archive for February 28th, 2015

28
Feb
15

Celebrating Black History Month

Throughout Black History Month, I’ve included tweets in ‘A Tweet Or Two’ about African-American heroes who with brains, love, strength, blood, sweat, tears, and death; built this nation to what it is today. As Black History Month draws to a close, we celebrate the known and unsung heroes who gave everything and continue to give everything to make this country live up to its promise of “all men are created equal.”

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Because Of Them We Can

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AFTUnion: 13 Labor Events And Organizers Who We Should Teach About During Black History Month

Lucy Parsons was a radical labor organizer born in Texas. In the early 1870s, she and her husband had to flee Texas because of intolerant reactions to their interracial marriage. Throughout her subsequent career in Chicago, she wrote for various leftist and labor publications. In 1905, she participated in the founding of the Industrial Workers of the World. In 2004, the city of Chicago named a park after her.

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Randolph is one of the most important figures in both black history and labor history. In addition to his work with the Pullman porters (see No. 2, above) and the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, he prominently pushed for civil rights during World War II. He planned a 100,000 person march on Washington during the war, which led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to sign an executive order ending discrimination in defense industries. After the order was signed, the march was canceled.

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In the late 1860s, George Pullman hired former slaves to work on his railroad sleeping cars. He exploited their labor, with each porter making the equivalent of about $22,000 a year (in today’s dollars) while working under unfair conditions, including 100-hour workweeks. These workers formed a union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; in 1925, it became the first African-American labor union to receive a charter in the American Federation of Labor.

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Rosina Tucker was an important figure in the foundation of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Tucker was married to a railroad porter and became involved in the union. She visited the homes of over 300 workers to secretly collect their union dues, and in 1938 she was elected secretary-treasurer of the union’s auxiliary. She continued her union involvement, helping organize teachers, laundry workers and railway clerks in Washington, D.C.

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In the 1920s, the Chicago Flat Janitors were an integrated local union, which was considered radical at the time. The union worked to include black members in leadership roles, including its vice president, Seymour Miller. The union eventually grew and today is known as the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU.

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28
Feb
15

A feature, not a bug

I have been growing increasingly bemused as Anno Domini MMXV continues to unfold apace. And by “bemused”, I really mean, “Goddammit, we’re heading to hell in a handbasket!”

But nothing matches the complete clusterfuck around funding the Department of Homeland Security, a department born in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, and which, if you will recall, Republicans held up as a sacred institution to protect God-fearing Americans from those hordes of brown people seeking to kill them. (Union protections for DHS workers? Why do you love Al-Qaeda??)

Let’s recap. In last year’s Cromnibus (soon to appear in the next Transformers movie), Congress left out funding for DHS. Why? Well, fast forward to this year. John Boehner and his merry pranksters passed a DHS funding bill. But they wanted to show that Kenyan in the White House that treating “illegals” like children of God was not going to wash with Republicans in firm control of both chambers. So they attached several riders to a must-pass bill stripping all of President Obama’s actions for DREAMers and his executive action on the undocumented. There, that’ll show him! Done and dusted, and the first round of drinks are on Rusty Boehner!

Continue reading ‘A feature, not a bug’

28
Feb
15

Chat Away

On This Day: President Obama plays basketball with Education Secretary Arne Duncan at the U.S. Department of Interior, Washington, D.C., Feb. 28, 2009 (Photo Pete Souza)

28
Feb
15

Early Bird Rise and Shine

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Morning everyone.




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