Resistance Recess Puts Congress on Notice for Supporting Trump’s Agenda

Libero Della Piana

Libero Della Piana Director of Digital Organizing, People's Action

Rep. Dave Trott’s constituents in the Northeastern suburbs of Detroit gathered at his office to ask him about his stance on health care, refugees and other urgent issues. Instead of scheduling a meeting, Trott’s staff called the police.

The delegation was organized by Michigan People’s campaign, an affiliate of People’s Action, a national organization fighting for economic and social justice.

Since last weekend dozens of other town hall meetings and constituent forums have been dominated by vocal and angry people wondering where their lawmakers stand on Trump’s agenda, in particular regarding plans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Embracing the #ResistanceRecess hashtag, national organizations such as MoveOn.com, Daily Kos, the AFL-CIO and People’s Action are helping mobilize grassroots frustration with the direction of the country after just one month of the Trump presidency.

Many Republicans in Congress have concealed or simply refused to hold public town halls and opted to spend their time at home in private fundraisers among loyal supporters. Rep. John Faso (R-N.Y.) was met outside of a recent $1,000-per-ticket fundraiser in Albany with dozens of protesters demanding a public town hall. The protest, organized by People’s Action affiliate Citizen Action of New York along with the SEIU 1199 health care workers union, included many first-time protesters.

One homemade sign plastered with paper money read, “Money is the only constituent Faso listens to.”

 

Faced with politicians making themselves scarce, some activists have posted missing persons ads for their lawmakers. In Erie, Pa., more than 200 people attended a town hall meeting organized by Keystone Progress, a People’s Action affiliate, but Reps. Mike Kelly and Glenn Thompson were no-shows. Their seats remained empty as their constituents testified about the impact repealing the ACA would have on their families and communities.

Hugh Espy, executive director of Iowa Citizens, and a member of the board of directors of People’s Action knows a thing or two about “bird-dogging,” the art of challenging politicians to reveal their true views. He famously got presidential candidate Mitt Romney to admit his belief that “corporations are people” during the Iowa State Fair back in 2011.

Recently, Espy has helped teach others about bird-dogging during the recess.

It’s not rocket science… It’s common sense. What’s bothering you? Are other people feeling the same way? Who are they? How do you get them involved? What do you want? And who can give you what you want?

If members of Congress won’t answer their constituents’ questions about where they stand on repealing the Affordable Care Act or other dangerous policies of the Trump administration, they will surely face the electorate’s wrath at the ballot box in 2018.

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Campaign for America's Future

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work