NC AFL-CIO Hails Death – For Now – Of State ‘Voter ID’ Law

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

The North Carolina AFL-CIO is hailing the death – for now – of the state’s notoriously discriminatory Republican-passed so-called “voter ID” law.

“North Carolina’s ‘monster voting’ law is dead, but lawmakers determined to suppress the vote say they’ll try again,” the state fed warned in a tweet on May 15.

Earlier that day, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a lower court ruling tossing out the law. Federal District Judge Diana Motz, who originally threw out the law, found that the state’s Republican-dominated legislature wrote it “with almost surgical precision” to disenfranchise African-Americans in the Tar Heel State.

Still pending before the High Court: Legal challenges to the GOP-approved racially based gerrymandering of both the state legislature and North Carolina’s U.S. House districts.

 

The state fed was one of many groups that protested state lawmakers’ actions. The legal cases against voter ID and redistricting were filed by the Obama administration Justice Department, North Carolina’s NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union.

The voter ID law was one of the top causes that led the Rev. William Barber to launch the Moral Mondays movement, which has brought tens of thousands of people into the streets of Raleigh, the state capital, for more than a year. On May 15, Barber announced he would step down as head of the state NAACP to take the Moral Mondays movement nationwide, by reviving Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1967-68 Poor People’s Campaign.

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Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Failing Bridges Hold Public Hostage

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) gave the public just a few hours’ notice before closing a major bridge in March, citing significant safety concerns.

The West Seattle Bridge functioned as an essential component of  the city’s local and regional transportation network, carrying 125,000 travelers a day while serving Seattle’s critical maritime and freight industries. Closing it was a huge blow to the city and its citizens. 

Yet neither Seattle’s struggle with bridge maintenance nor the inconvenience now facing the city’s motorists is unusual. Decades of neglect left bridges across the country crumbling or near collapse, requiring a massive investment to keep traffic flowing safely.

When they opened it in 1984, officials predicted the West Seattle Bridge would last 75 years.

But in 2013, cracks started appearing in the center span’s box girders, the main horizontal support beams below the roadway. These cracks spread 2 feet in a little more than two weeks, prompting the bridge’s closure.

And it’s still at risk of falling.  

The city set up an emergency alert system so those in the “fall zone” could be quickly evacuated if the bridge deteriorates to the point of collapse.

More than one-third of U.S. bridges similarly need repair work or replacement, a reminder of America’s urgent need to invest in long-ignored infrastructure.

Fixing or replacing America’s bridges wouldn’t just keep Americans moving. It would also provide millions of family-supporting jobs for steel and cement workers, while also boosting the building trades and other industries.

With bridges across the country close to failure and millions unemployed, America needs a major infrastructure campaign now more than ever.

 

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work