The Fair Shots Blog - September 20, 2017
1) The pace of disasters in the last few weeks is dizzying. Today, the Texas AFL-CIO joins in offering condolences to families of victims of the earthquake that struck Mexico City and of Hurricane Maria, which landed in Dominica as a Category 5 storm and is continuing its movement toward Puerto Rico at this writing. Today's events follow Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, plus an earlier earthquake in Mexico
Tuesday's earthquake struck on the 32nd anniversary of another major disaster: the 1985 quake that killed as many as 10,000 people in Mexico.
It also came less than two weeks after the most powerful earthquake in Mexico in a century, an 8.1 magnitude quake that killed at least 90 people, destroyed thousands of homes and was felt by tens of millions of people.
Residents in Mexico City, having just experienced shaking from that quake, said the tremors on Tuesday were far worse.
In parts of the city, the wreckage was evident immediately, including damage to the main airport. Nearly all residents of the capital remained outside even after the shaking faded, fearful of returning to their buildings.
In the neighborhood of Roma Norte, an entire office building collapsed. Rescue efforts at the offices were getting underway to save people trapped in the rubble. Several people suffered injuries and were whisked away in ambulances. Others lay on the ground covered in dust. An unknown number remained trapped or crushed inside.
Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/19/world/americas/mexico-earthquake.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur
2) NPR offers a detailed analysis of how the Cassidy-Graham anti-health care bill would affect Americans in different categories.
When a piece of legislation is taking away coverage from more than 30 million people, it can't be good for the vast majority. In fact, the only real winners under the plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act are the wealthiest Americans, who get a tax cut:
Cassidy-Graham essentially deconstructs all of the major programs created by the Affordable Care Act, gathers up the money and hands it over to states to run their own health care programs.
It gets rid of both the subsidies that help people buy individual health insurance policies and the reimbursements to insurance companies for offering price breaks on copayments and deductibles to the lowest-income customers.
It rolls back the Obamacare Medicaid expansion that was adopted by 31 states and Washington, D.C., and it eliminates the Basic Health Program that was created under the ACA and implemented in New York and Minnesota.
All the money that currently goes to those initiatives would instead be distributed to the states as block grants that would particularly benefit those states that did not expand Medicaid earlier and those states with lower health care costs.
See a chart of what happens under Cassidy-Graham compared to the Affordable Care Act: http://n.pr/2fy0agv
Do Something! Call our senators and tell them to vote "No!" on Cassidy-Graham: 888-865-8089.
3) Labor Notes reports on the activism that went into the Missouri labor movement's successful effort to postpone a so-called "right to work" law and put the question up for a statewide referendum in November 2018.
The low point of passage of the legislation is generating high points in organizing:
Laura Swinford, communications director for We Are Missouri, summed up the campaign against right to work this spring and summer: "It took on a life of its own. They did this with sheer grit and determination."
She estimated that only about a third of the signatures were gathered by paid staff who worked for the consultant Field Works. A majority of petitioners were rank and filers.
Brian Simmons of Machinists Local 778 took on a coordinating role in very red Cass County, south of Kansas City. He was elated with the newcomer activists from various unions. "They began saying 'Brother and Sister,'" he said. "You ask 'em to turn out, and they do. They ask 'how can we do better?' We had people asking where to go when they got run off a spot. They'd be willing to go across town, telling me, 'I'm on it.'
"Our August union meeting rarely gets a quorum, but we had a packed house, and the first thing they wanted to know was 'how are we doing?' We kicked ass."
Robert W. Shuler II, a forge operator and president of IUE-CWA Local 86821 in Centralia, recruited 35 members to go to poker runs, the state fair, bike runs, and festivals all summer. "It's already changed the local," Shuler said.
"We have more attendance at meetings. People are asking about stuff to do. Something like this gives people hope. We have nominations on Friday, and I think we'll get more candidates than before."
4) As we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, Fortune Magazine posted a timely run-through of the career of legendary United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta:
In September 1988, San Francisco police severely beat Huerta during a peaceful protest of presidential candidate George H.W. Bush's platform and policies in Union Square. She sustained significant internal injuries including several broken ribs and spleen damage that led to an emergency removal. The incident was caught on video and Huerta won a large sum from the SFPD and the City of San Fransisco. The money was used for the benefit of farm workers.
Before Barack Obama's 2008 "Yes We Can" slogan (or even Disney's 2002 Gotta Kick It Up reference), Huerta originated the UFW's rallying cry of "Si se puede" in 1972. The union later trademarked the phrase...
"Dolores", a new documentary about her life started playing on Sept. 1 and will be screening in select theaters across the country until November...
"There's nothing past tense about Dolores," director Peter Bratt said of the 87-year-old, who is still working on pressing labor and immigration issues such as sanctuary cities.