Friday, November 15, 2013

Koch Bros, Chamber of Commerces, and Republicans are Enemies of the American Worker

From the Oklahoma Supreme Court hearing on the new Workers Compensation Law should be tossed to the Republican dominated legislatures and to the halls of Congress, the Koch Bros, ALEC, and The Chamber of Commerces work for big business against the American workers.

Note who was behind the passage of the Workers Comp Law in Oklahoma -- Chamber of Commerces throughout the state along with ALEC.  When our Republican Legislature and Governor are not bought by ALEC aka Koch Bros, they are bought by the Chamber.  With few exceptions like Senator Harry Coates, the Republicans do what they are told to pass bills in the legislature.  Oklahoma switched a heavily Democrat legislature for a heavy Republican legislature and the citizens got taken to the cleaners both times.

Today's younger Oklahoma Democrats like Rep Emily Virgin, D-Norman are more in turn with what the people want and are quick to stand up and fight for the citizens of Oklahoma.  Her Grandfather, long time County Commissioner George Skinner who retired in January, was probably the best County Commissioner I have had living around the Country.  Rep Virgin takes after her Grandfather which is good for the State of Oklahoma:
Workers comp law should be tossed, Oklahoma Supreme Court justices told 
Two lawmakers and the state firefighters union say it's unconstitutional
OKLAHOMA CITY —- A highly touted workers compensation reform bill should be tossed out for a number of reasons, an Oklahoma Supreme Court referee was told Thursday. 
Sen. Harry Coates, R-Seminole, Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman, and the Professional Firefighters of Oklahoma filed suit in September seeking to overturn Senate Bill 1062.
Passed last legislative session, the measure replaced a court-based workers compensation system with an administrative process and decreased benefits to injured workers.
Oklahoma City attorney John C. McMurry represents the plaintiffs. He said the measure should be invalidated because it is an impermissible special law in that a section of it allows some employers to opt out of the system. 
It is also a violation of the state constitution because it contains more than one subject, he said. 
In addition, it restricts workers' access to the courts, McMurry said. 
The state constitution requires courts to be open to everyone and to provide a speedy remedy, he said. 
In addition, the measure puts restrictions on attorneys fees, McMurry said, adding, "You can't do that." 
Patrick R. Wyrick, the solicitor general for Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, said the measure does not violate the single-subject rule because all sections of the law deal with workers compensation. 
Likewise, the measure did not contain a special law, he said. 
Oklahoma City attorney Robert McCampbell represents parties that have intervened in the case: the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, the Oklahoma State Chamber and the Tulsa Regional Chamber. The State Chamber was one of the more vocal groups supporting the measure. 
Excerpt:  Read More at the Tulsa World
This Attorney General and his staff are trying to take Oklahomans back in time on so many issues that keep getting overturned by the Courts.  As Attorney General you are supposed to abide by the law not force your own agenda on the State which is what we see happen over and over again in Republican dominated states.  Cannot imagine the grief that Senator Coates is receiving as a Republican -- they can get really nasty here when a Republican sides with a Democrat against the legislature.

This is just so wrong -- workman's compensation needed some tweaks but the Republicans went so far overboard that if someone is injured on the job, you are out of luck if you get one of those companies that opts out or even meeting a board in lieu of the court system.  Might as well go back to the days when there were no rules about safety in the workplace, do away with minimum wage, pensions, number of hours worked, and no child labor laws.  Why not?  That's what is being advocated by the Koch Bros and their stooges.
Republicans want to eliminate your overtime pay.  A new $20,000 ad campaign targets working women, telling them to support the deceptively named “Working Families Flexibility Act.”  Originally a Paul Ryan brain child, this legislation would remove the requirement to pay someone time-and-a-half when they work over 40 hours per week, in exchange for so-called “compensatory time off.”  The major catch – when and how that time off can be used would be determined by your employer.   
The ad campaign will be featured on more than 100 websites that are typically frequented by woman, and the ads focus on the bogus benefit of not having “to choose between work and family.”  The fact is, employers can already offer flex-time scheduling, and many already do.  A worker shouldn't have to give up a federally protected employment right to get that benefit.  
They have a friend in the effort from Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor:

Meanwhile, Eric Cantor wants to pass a Federal Law to eliminate overtime pay but not overtime labor. Meaning, naturally, that the law Eric Cantor wants to propose will mean that millions of hourly workers in America would a) not be able to afford their family vacation, and b) might have to work overtime during a scheduled family vacation all without extra pay.
I have personal experience working for the Air Force at Wright-Patterson of working mandatory overtime for comp time but we were undermanned due to personnel cuts and could not take the comp time. Finally Personnel ruled we had to be paid.  This was the Federal Government wanting us to work for Comp Time we couldn't take.  The 4-star Commander got his hand slapped by Personnel because someone in Payroll saw all the hours that were being worked without pay.  

What gets me are the Koch Bros/ALEC/GOP campaign to do away with Child Labor Laws:
When Ryan admitted that Republicans’ goal was “destroying the health care system for the American people,” he was only hitting the tip of the iceberg. Republicans have proposed: abolishing child labor laws, eliminating the federal minimum wage, ending voting rights, slashing Social Security, abolishing public education, and eliminating regulatory agencies for the Koch brothers. Those objectives are discussed regularly at the Kochs’ secret policy meetings with the nation’s richest corporate leaders, two Supreme Court justices, and the Koch’s legislative arm ALEC. In fact, ALEC regularly writes template legislation for the Kochs that are routinely enacted in Republican states that have restricted voting rights, funneled public school funds to private religious schools and have also eroded environmental protections,  chipped away at programs that assist seniors, women, and the poor. Such as the Medicaid that is under attack nationwide.

As a lifelong Republican, I hate to say it but the Democrats and a few Republicans are all that are standing between the American worker and going back to the 20's with no laws to speak of.  It is sad that this group of Republicans have been so corrupted by money from donors at all levels that they have lot total common sense on what is right and wrong -- it is all about money and power today and screw the American worker.

We are seeing the same thing out of Republicans at the National level we see at the state level which ties it all into the Koch Bros who want to do away with the minimum wage,  have no regulations, and have people beg for jobs.
On Tuesday, billionaire libertarian Charles Koch joined Republicans pushing to eliminate the nation’s minimum wage he implied was the ultimate secret to lift Americans out of poverty as well as the major obstacle to economic growth. In fact, Koch said “we need to analyze all these government subsidies, all these things that are creating a culture of dependency, and we’ve got to clear out what reduces the mobility of labor.” A Koch-funded ad in Kansas insinuated minimum wage Americans earning $34,000 annually should consider themselves fortunate, but an American working full-time making minimum wage only earns $15,080 annually, if they can find full-time work. As it is, the poverty level for a family of four is $22,283 annual income, and even in the poorest state in the nation a worker earning minimum wage has to work 67 hours per week to afford the most meager apartment if they are fortunate enough to find a full-time job; food, utilities, and clothing are luxuries out of the realm of a poverty-level worker’s budget. Most medium to large businesses prevent full-time employment to avoid giving lunch breaks or benefits, and those working-poor Americans make up a large share of food stamp recipients Republicans just drove into hunger by eliminating SNAP funding from their Draconian farm bill.
Koch funded ALEC is behind writing these bills that hurt the American worker in the States.  After all these years I have to admit my Dad was right about Right to Work.  I have gone from being against the unions over the years to realizing what an important role they play for the American workers.  My experience was based on seeing GM go on strike in Dayton over money during hunting season -- those workers like my Uncle and others did a disservice to the people who need unions because of companies like the Koch Industries.

Here is what Sen Sanders (I-VT) had to say about the minimum wage the Koch Bros want to see killed:
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Let me take it a step further and this will shock you and your viewers.This is the truth. The fact of the matter is that there are many many Republicans in Congress right now, perhaps a majority, who not only are opposed to raising the minimum wage. They want to abolish the minimum wage. That’s the truth. In a city like Detroit, remember, 40% of the black kids in this country are facing unemployment. 20% of the young people in this country facing unemployment. 14% of the American people unemployed. They believe that if they can hire, if an employer can hire a worker at $3 and $4 an hour that’s fine. That’s freedom. Get government out of the business of regulating a minimum wage. What I happen to believe is very, very different. 
SANDERS:It’s just that if we’re going to grow the middle class, we have to create decent paying jobs. One way to do that is to raise the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour which is what the American people want.Bernie Sanders was speaking from experience.
You could say it is just the Koch Bros, but it is also the Republicans in the Congress as Senator Sanders learned from Sen Alexander (R-TN):
In June, during a committee hearing, he got Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander (TN) to admit that he supports abolishing the minimum wage. This isn’t some theoretical Republican fantasy discussion centered around the great what if of abolishing the minimum wage. Republicans in power want to abolish the minimum wage. It is part of their goals and agenda. Earlier this year, Forbes ran an article from the Ayn Rand Center titled, To Protect The Defenseless, We Must Abolish The Minimum Wage
The basic Republican argument against the minimum wage is the same as their argument against unemployment benefits. The minimum wage creates an entitled class of freeloaders that want to be paid more than what they are really worth. It is the standard makers and takers argument that Republicans use to defend their positions on everything from cutting food stamps to denying children healthcare. 
The problem is that the Republican argument is based on ideology. Studies have repeatedly found that raising the minimum wage doesn’t negatively impact job growth. In June, President Obama called for the minimum wage to be increased to a living wage.
While Republicans are plotting to abolish it, seventy one percent of Americans support raising the minimum wage. Republicans want an America where workers will have no healthcare, privatized retirement benefits, no workplace safety regulations, no overtime pay, and will take whatever few pennies employers are willing to offer as compensation. 
There is something I do not understand at all levels of the GOP and that is their fixation on Ayn Rand, an atheist, when they profess to be Christians.  It boggles the mind they attacks on the poor by cutting food stamps while at the same time some of the Republicans in Congress get huge subsidies for their farms -- one over $3M.
Over the past week, Republicans who know there are over 47-million Americans living in poverty and dependent of the Agriculture Department’s SNAP (food stamp) program passed a farm bill providing $195 billion in subsidies to agricultural corporations and eliminating food stamp and nutritional programs they considered extraneous, or irrelevant. Half of those affected are children, and over 10% are senior citizens living in poverty. It was not even an assault on minorities because more white Americans receive food stamps than African Americans or Hispanics proving that the GOP’s goal is withholding food from all Americans living in poverty and they have enlisted a powerful ally to send more Americans deeper into poverty.
It is absolutely mind boggling today.  It is happening from the halls of the Congress to the state legislatures across the Country and even to a 20,000 person town in Iowa the Koch Bros tried to buy the election.  Their excuse they don't control Americans for Prosperity where they pour millions every year is a bad joke.  They are pushing the agenda of AfP but want to disavow them -- doesn't work that way.  ALEC is following the Koch agenda and Republican legislatures and Governors like Oklahoma are falling right in line. 

Guess you can put me in the category of a bleeding heart liberal today who cares about the workers in factories who need protection from the lack of ethics of some owners like the Koch Bros, to first responders, to teachers, seniors, veterans, young people, immigrants and regular Americans who want to provide for their families.  There is an uprising in this Country starting to happen as former Republicans join with Independents and Democrats to returning America to a country that cares about its people not just the wealthy.  You see it on Twitter and am proud to be adding my voice for those that cannot speak out.

One more time, I am doing a mea culpa -- my Dad was right all those years ago about Right to Work laws and I was dead wrong.  He was also right about the place for unions in the American workplace to protect the American worker when you have greedy people like the Koch Bros who run Koch Industries.  Time to strengthen the unions with honest leaders with integrity.  We need to take the Country back from the wealthy who only care about getting more wealthy.

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