To give voice to 35 workers killed on the job over the past 35 years at a massive refinery in Texas City, hundreds of surviving family members, co-workers and friends gathered there last month to erect white crosses marked with their names.
Marathon Petroleum Corp., which bought the refinery from BP two years ago, did its best to shut the mourners up. Marathon uprooted the crosses and tossed them in a box like trash within hours of the commemoration.
For years during contract negotiations, the United Steelworkers (USW) union has pressed ungodly profitable oil companies to improve safety. This fell mostly on deaf ears. On Feb. 1, USW refinery workers began loudly voicing this demand by striking over unfair labor practices (ULP). Ultimately 7,000 struck 15 refineries. Within six weeks, all but five oil corporations settled. Marathon is a hold out. It wants to cut safety personnel. It does not want to hear about dead workers.
For a brief, shining moment, Carly Fiorina was all over the media after announcing her candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. That’s probably because she made a point of turning her presidential bid into “this weird girl fight” with Clinton, as CNN’s Carol Costello put it.
Then Ben Carson’s campaign launch sucked up all the oxygen left in the day’s media bubble, and Fiorina disappeared from the headlines in much the same way she’s destined to disappear from the presidential race. In the meantime, here are a few things you should know about Carly Fiorina while she’s still relevant.
Carly Fiorina Is No Match For Hillary Clinton (Or Anyone Else)
Hillary Clinton isn’t running against Carly Fiorina, but Fiorina is definitely running against Clinton. It makes sense, because Fiorina is already as close as she’ll ever get to facing off with Clinton. Last week, Fiorina spoke of neutralizing Clinton’s “gender card.” “If Hillary Clinton were to face a female nominee, there are a whole set of things that she won’t be able to talk about,” Fiorina said in an interview with The Christian Science Monitor, “She won’t be able to play the gender card.”
Watching the discussion around the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) gives me a nasty sense of déjà vu.
Long before joining AFGE, I worked as a food service worker, licensed practical nurse, and registered nurse in my hometown of Kannapolis, North Carolina. In those days, Kannapolis was just another Southern mill town full of honest, working class people just trying to get by. Working at the textile mill was hard, but it was honest work that supported hundreds of families, and that was enough for generations of us to buy homes and support our families. That was, until the cheap imports started arriving from overseas.
It didn't take long for things to unravel after that. The vacancies came first, then the pink slips, then delinquency notices, then the foreclosure notices. Men and women who had been working in the mills their whole lives – my family members included – were now out of work, and whole communities were left without a means to put food on the table.
A longtime Washington PR flack for tobacco giants, labor exploiters, frackers, and other corporate profiteers celebrates himself "Dr. Evil" – the scourge of all progressive groups!
But Rick Berman is not a doctor, not evil, and not a scourge. While he is a wholly-unprincipled little man, he's just a self-serving huckster who grubs for corporate dollars by offering to do their dirty PR work.
Berman's modus operandi is not exactly sophisticated: Taking money from the likes of Phillip-Morris, Monsanto, and Tyson Foods, he sets up tax-exempt front groups (with non-descript names like Center for Consumer Freedom, Employment Policies Institute, and Environmental Policy Alliance) posing them as independent research outfits; each one is an empty shell, run by his small staff out of his Washington, DC office; using the names of the front groups, Berman and Co. buy full-page newspaper ads and write opinion pieces that amount to raw hatchet attacks on whatever progressive groups or public policies the corporate funders want to kill.
January 18, 1943 marks the death of the first woman general organizer appointed by the American Federation of Labor. Mary Kenney O'Sullivan was born the only child of working-class Irish immigrants, in Hannibal, Missouri.