Fox News is very mad that a union endorsed Biden

Josh Israel

Josh Israel Senior Investigative Reporter, Think Progress

The International Association of Fire Fighters, a labor union representing more than 300,000 firefighters and emergency medical service providers, endorsed Democrat Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign on Monday. Fox and Friends host Brian Kilmeade apparently found this very concerning.

In a Monday morning interview with the union’s general president, Harold Schaitberger, Kilmeade repeatedly demanded to know why the mandatory union dues for the “many of those firefighters” who actually support President Donald Trump would be used to elect a candidate they oppose.

Schaitberger explained that the group’s voluntary political action committee donations, not its union dues, would be used for political spending — but Kilmeade would not relent.

“Are you using their dues for Joe Biden?” Kilmeade asked of the union’s Trump supporters.

“Our role is to represent all of them in their profession,” Schaitberger began to respond.

“Right. Are you using their money to support Joe Biden?” Kilmeade pressed.

“We are using the money that those that choose to contribute to our political PAC, we use on their behalf in the political arena. Those that choose to make those contributions,” he replied.

Federal law prohibits unions from using union dues to make contributions to political campaigns. Instead, members who voluntarily opt to make additional donations to the union’s political action committees can help fund candidates endorsed by the union.

Despite this explanation, Kilmeade continued to falsely suggest that pro-Trump firefighters were being forced to give their money to Biden.

“If someone calls you, if one of your members calls you today and says, ‘Do not use my dues to support Joe Biden,’ what will you do?” he demanded. 

“I will say that our political resources are those that come from our members who voluntarily contribute to our political operations,” Schaitberger calmly replied. “Not your dues.”

***

Reposted from ThinkProgress

Josh Israel is a senior investigative reporter for ThinkProgress.org at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Previously, he was a reporter and oversaw money-in-politics reporting at the Center for Public Integrity, was chief researcher for Nick Kotz’s acclaimed 2005 book Judgment Days: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Laws that Changed America, and was president of the Virginia Partisans Gay & Lesbian Democratic Club. A New England-native, Josh received a B.A. in politics from Brandeis University and graduated from the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia, in 2004. He has appeared on CNBC, Bloomberg, Fox News, Current TV, and many radio shows across the country.

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

The Big Drip

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. 

A rash of water main breaks in West Berkeley, Calif., and neighboring cities last month flooded streets and left at least 300 residents without water. Routine pressure adjustments in response to water demand likely caused more than a dozen pipes, some made of clay and more than 100 years old, to rupture.

West Berkeley’s brittle mains are not unique. Decades of neglect left aging pipes susceptible to breaks in communities across the U.S., wasting two trillion gallons of treated water each year as these systems near collapse.

Comprehensive upgrades to the nation’s crumbling water systems would stanch the flow and ensure all Americans have reliable access to clean water.

Nationwide, water main breaks increased 27 percent between 2012 and 2018, according to a Utah State University study.  

These breaks not only lead to service disruptions  but also flood out roads, topple trees and cause illness when drinking water becomes contaminated with bacteria.

The American Water Works Association estimated it will cost at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years to upgrade and expand water infrastructure.

Some local water utilities raised their rates to pay for system improvements, but that just hurts poor consumers who can’t pay the higher bills.

And while Congress allocates money for loans that utilities can use to fix portions of their deteriorating systems, that’s merely a drop in the bucket—a fraction of what agencies need for lasting improvements.

America can no longer afford a piecemeal approach to a systemic nationwide crisis. A major, sustained federal commitment to fixing aging pipes and treatment plants would create millions of construction-related jobs while ensuring all Americans have safe, affordable drinking water.

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