The Women did the Heavy Lifting, the Man Got all the Credit, or, How the Republican Repeal Failed

Laura Clawson

Laura Clawson Labor Editor, Daily Kos

John McCain provided a crucial vote to kill “skinny” repeal of Obamacare Thursday night, and he deserves credit for doing the right thing. But we need to talk about how much credit he’s getting—and who’s being overlooked. Because this:

Senate Republicans originally put together an all-male panel to kill Obamacare, shutting the six Republican women in the Senate out of the process. Then that group fell apart and the repeal bills, such as they were, were crafted in secret—still without input from the very women who were making clear that their votes would be hard to get. 

Collins and Murkowski voted against Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s series of poorly thought through, cruel bills from the beginning. Donald Trump’s interior secretary was dispatched to threaten Alaska's energy industry over Murkowski’s vote. She and Collins withstood days if not weeks of pressure, and without them, McCain’s vote wouldn’t have been decisive. Let’s also not forget that McCain provided the crucial vote to get the Senate to the skinny repeal vote in the first place. And now the headlines are all about the night John McCain killed the GOP's health-care fight, or say that McCain, two other GOP senators join Democrats to reject last-ditch effort to repeal Obamacare. And the cable news channels (minus Fox) are oohing and aahing over him.

I get it. He was the vote that was in doubt. He was the guy who had already voted yes once before switching to no.

But it also matters that he’s a guy. If West Virginia’s Shelley Moore Capito had been the senator to switch her vote to no, she would not be getting the breathless coverage McCain is. And it’s not about cancer, either. Sen. Mazie Hirono traveled all the way from Hawaii with stage IV kidney cancer to vote no, but her commitment and courage got only the smallest fraction of attention that McCain did, even when his journey was to deny other people the health care he was receiving himself.

So yes, we are rightly celebrating that McCain did the right thing. But can we take a minute to credit the women who were there before him, taking the heat and making his big moment possible?

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Reposted from Daily Kos

Posted In: Allied Approaches

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