Monthly Archives: May 2016

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Insight & Remembrance Memorial Day 2016

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MEMORIAL DAY HISTORY

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs….Office of Public Affairs

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.

The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns.

Local Observances Claim To Be First Local springtime tributes to the Civil War dead already had been held in various places. One of the first occurred in Columbus, Miss., April 25, 1866, when a group of women visited a cemetery to decorate the graves of Confederate soldiers who had fallen in battle at Shiloh. Nearby were the graves of Union soldiers, neglected because they were the enemy. Disturbed at the sight of the bare graves, the women placed some of their flowers on those graves, as well.

Today, cities in both the North and the South claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day in 1866. Both Macon and Columbus, Ga., claim the title, as well as Richmond, Va. The village of Boalsburg, Pa., claims it began there two years earlier. A stone in a Carbondale, Ill., cemetery carries the statement that the first Decoration Day ceremony took place there on April 29, 1866. Carbondale was the wartime home of Gen. Logan. Approximately 25 places have been named in connection with the origin of Memorial Day, many of them in the South where most of the war dead were buried.

Official Birthplace Declared In 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y., the “birthplace” of Memorial Day. There, a ceremony on May 5, 1866, honored local veterans who had fought in the Civil War. Businesses closed and residents flew flags at half-staff. Supporters of Waterloo’s claim say earlier observances in other places were informal, not community-wide or one-time events.

By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 throughout the nation. State legislatures passed proclamations designating the day, and the Army and Navy adopted regulations for proper observance at their facilities.

It was not until after World War I, however, that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May, as were some other federal holidays.

Some States Have Confederate Observances Many Southern states also have their own days for honoring the Confederate dead. Mississippi celebrates Confederate Memorial Day on the last Monday of April, Alabama on the fourth Monday of April, and Georgia on April 26. North and South Carolina observe it on May 10, Louisiana on June 3 and Tennessee calls that date Confederate Decoration Day. Texas celebrates Confederate Heroes Day January 19 and Virginia calls the last Monday in May Confederate Memorial Day.

Gen. Logan’s order for his posts to decorate graves in 1868 “with the choicest flowers of springtime” urged: “We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. … Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”

The crowd attending the first Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery was approximately the same size as those that attend today’s observance, about 5,000 people. Then, as now, small American flags were placed on each grave — a tradition followed at many national cemeteries today. In recent years, the custom has grown in many families to decorate the graves of all departed loved ones.

The origins of special services to honor those who die in war can be found in antiquity. The Athenian leader Pericles offered a tribute to the fallen heroes of the Peloponnesian War over 24 centuries ago that could be applied today to the 1.1 million Americans who have died in the nation’s wars: “Not only are they commemorated by columns and inscriptions, but there dwells also an unwritten memorial of them, graven not on stone but in the hearts of men.”

To ensure the sacrifices of America’s fallen heroes are never forgotten, in December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and the president signed into law “The National Moment of Remembrance Act,” P.L. 106-579, creating the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance. The commission’s charter is to “encourage the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom and opportunity” by encouraging and coordinating commemorations in the United States of Memorial Day and the National Moment of Remembrance.

The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation. As Moment of Remembrance founder Carmella LaSpada states: “It’s a way we can all help put the memorial back in Memorial Day.”

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The Story Told From A Different Perspective

First Memorial Day Was Black

 

 

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There are many variations of the claim to the first recognition of Memorial Day depending on where you search, what part of the U.S. you are from and such. I happen to find this claim in the Charleston, S.C. slave community very convincing. I invite you to do further research on your own. The WebSteward

 

Memorial Day First Recognized by Blacks in Charleston, SC?

Article appearing on BLACKAMERICAWEB.COM

Memorial Day holds a special place for many Americans, especially those who serve in the nation’s military. While past and current members of the armed forces are most certainly honored, what few realize is that the practice of celebrating America’s soldiers gained popularity due to a group of freed Blacks in the South.

In the town of Charleston in South Carolina, the celebration of what was called “Decoration Day” was held to give respects to fallen soldiers from the Union Army in the North. The Civil War ended on April 9, 1865, with the Union victorious over its Confederate foes. In order to celebrate the victory and honor the dead, on May 1 of that year around 10,000 freed Black men and women gathered in historic Hampton Park.

The group placed flowers on the graves of unknown soldiers, a practice held often in times of war. The event caught the attention of the nation, and it was largely understood by Whites to be a celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation passing in 1863. However, it was far more than that for those gathered.

The town was a Confederate stronghold, and over 250 soldiers died as prisoners there as Union forces began to overtake the region. The Confederate soldiers buried the dead in unmarked graves and fled in fear. The freed Blacks who came to the Decoration Day event viewed those soldiers as martyrs who died selflessly for their freedom. While there were Black soldiers in the Union Army, the celebration was in honor of all who fought for the winning side.

David Blight, a history professor at Yale University, has credited the Black population of Charleston as the inventors of the first Memorial Day celebration although other cities have made similar claims in attempts to dispute Blight’s research. Still, most historians agree that it is at least the first widely recognized celebration of fallen soldiers in history.

 What To Remember 

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Col. Paul Cook (Ret.) represents California’s 8th Congressional District and currently serves on the House Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, and Natural Resources committees. He served in the United States Marine Corps for 26 years, earning two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star Medal with a V for Valor.

Operating in the shadows, on battlefields few Americans hear about, the warriors of US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) fight to keep America safe from terrorists and madmen. They fight Islamic extremists, drug lords, and third world tyrants in dangerous and difficult locations, from Syria and Libya to the Congo and South America. They stop suicide bombers before they strike and rescue hostages held in some of the darkest and most oppressive corners of the globe.

While I celebrate all of our service members as heroes, the operators inside SOCOM are a breed apart and take on our country’s most difficult missions. Since coming to Congress, I’ve been proud to work on a variety of issues in support of these brave warriors. We’re a better, safer nation because of the sacrifices made by these troops and their families. The least I can do in return is to make sure they always have the tools and training they need to accomplish their missions and come home safely.

When we hear about the exploits of SOCOM, it’s usually only the glorious few moments at the end of an operation that get attention. From the dramatic raid that killed Bin Laden to rescuing hostages held at sea, the media often focuses only on a situation’s final dramatic moments. What we don’t hear about, and should honor, are the months of toil and sacrifice it takes to accomplish these missions. Special operators aren’t made overnight. It takes years of training to develop these warriors. They grind through endless exercises, rehearsing and rehearsing again, all while honing their skills to a razor’s edge. There are no easy days in this community. The need to respond at a moment’s notice means the families of these operators must sacrifice, too, with countless dance recitals and baseball games taking a back seat to the needs of the nation.

Our special operations forces endure some of the worst conditions on earth to get to their targets and accomplish their missions. They deploy in dive teams from submarines in frigid waters and parachute from altitudes so high they need their own oxygen bottles to survive. Crossing burning deserts or impenetrable mountains are often just par for the course on their missions. Most of all, they do these deeds in the shadows, away from the public eye and recognition for their sacrifices. This secrecy is part and parcel of being in SOCOM, just part of the job. Yet, I’m unwilling to take their sacrifices for granted.

Our special operations forces have a long and distinguished linage. From the brave pioneers of the First Special Service Force to the Marine Raiders of World War II, today’s forces like the Army Rangers and Navy SEALs have a proud history of victory and distinction to draw upon. We must honor their stories, and their sacrifices. Too often, the media only pauses to mention these special operators when one of them falls on the battlefield. It shouldn’t take the tragic loss of a hero like Navy SEAL Charlie Keating, killed in Iraq fighting ISIS, for us to stop and honor these brave warriors. As Memorial Day approaches, I encourage each of you to pause for a moment and think about the sacrifices of not just the troops who so gallantly serve in the open, but also our special operators, fighting and dying in the shadows so that the rest of us may live free.


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Racial-Backlash-Against-the-President…Truth or Fiction?

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Washingtonpost.Com

This interesting segment appeared in a post on Facebook around 18 May 2016. The contents of the information presented and the opinions expressed in this posting does not necessarily reflect the views of the Union locallodge2297.org nor the IAM goiam.org. Please refer all comments and/or questions to the writers and or contributors of the Washington Post organization.

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Obama/Perez Historic Rule Change on Overtime

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Overtime Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

Final Rule: Overtime

Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act

On May 18, 2016, President Obama and Secretary Perez announced the publication of the Department of Labor’s final rule updating the overtime regulations, which will automatically extend overtime pay protections to over 4 million workers within the first year of implementation. This long-awaited update will result in a meaningful boost to many workers’ wallets, and will go a long way toward realizing President Obama’s commitment to ensuring every worker is compensated fairly for their hard work.

In 2014, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum directing the Department to update the regulations defining which white collar workers are protected by the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime standards. Consistent with the President’s goal of ensuring workers are paid a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work, the memorandum instructed the Department to look for ways to modernize and simplify the regulations while ensuring that the FLSA’s intended overtime protections are fully implemented.

The Department published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register on July 6, 2015 (80 FR 38515) and invited interested parties to submit written comments on the proposed rule at www.regulations.gov by September 4, 2015. The Department received over 270,000 comments in response to the NPRM from a variety of interested stakeholders. The feedback the Department received helped shape the Final Rule.

Key Provisions of the Final Rule

The Final Rule focuses primarily on updating the salary and compensation levels needed for Executive, Administrative and Professional workers to be exempt. Specifically, the Final Rule:

  1. Sets the standard salary level at the 40th percentile of earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census Region, currently the South ($913 per week; $47,476 annually for a full-year worker);
  2. Sets the total annual compensation requirement for highly compensated employees (HCE) subject to a minimal duties test to the annual equivalent of the 90th percentile of full-time salaried workers nationally ($134,004); and
  3. Establishes a mechanism for automatically updating the salary and compensation levels every three years to maintain the levels at the above percentiles and to ensure that they continue to provide useful and effective tests for exemption.

Additionally, the Final Rule amends the salary basis test to allow employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10 percent of the new standard salary level.

The effective date of the final rule is December 1, 2016. The initial increases to the standard salary level (from $455 to $913 per week) and HCE total annual compensation requirement (from $100,000 to $134,004 per year) will be effective on that date. Future automatic updates to those thresholds will occur every three years, beginning on January 1, 2020.

Although the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has reviewed and approved the Final Rule, the document has not yet been published in the Federal Register. The Final Rule that appears in the Federal Register may contain minor formatting differences in accordance with Office of the Federal Register publication requirements. The OMB-approved version is being provided as a convenience to the public and this website will be updated with the Federal Register’s published version when it becomes available.

More on this from…Article appearing 05/17/2016 aflcio.org/

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Here are seven things you need to know about the new rules:

  1. The middle class needs a raise.

Working families are struggling to pay the bills and the middle class is shrinking. Working people have helped corporations rack up record profits, but we are not sharing in the benefits.

  1. Restoring overtime is necessary to ensure that working people get paid for all the hours we work.

One of the reasons why paychecks keep falling behind is because too many people can be forced to work overtime at no extra pay. Under the new rules, more people will get paid time-and-a-half whenever we work more than 40 hours in a week.

  1. Restoring overtime will give millions of families a pay raise.

Restoring overtime is the single most significant step the administration can take to boost wages for working people. If the new rules are what they are rumored to be, 4.2 million people will be newly eligible for overtime pay and another 8.9 million people who are already eligible will be able to prove their eligibility more easily. Restoring overtime will help working families climb the economic ladder and break into the middle class—especially women, African Americans, Latinos and millennials.

  1. Restoring overtime will create jobs and increase the hours for people who work part-time.

Even opponents of restoring overtime admit it will create more jobs. To get around paying time-and-a-half, many employers will choose to hire new employees—or allocate more hours to their part-time workers—and pay them straight time.

  1. Restoring overtime will help the economy grow.

Restoring overtime will put more money in the pockets of working people, and we will spend that money in our communities and set in motion a virtuous circle of more investment and more hiring. It’s working people, not the wealthy few, who drive economic growth.

  1. Overtime protections have eroded since 1975.

The whittling away of overtime protections is one of the ways the rules of our economy have been rewritten to favor corporations over working families. Even with these new rules, the share of people who are automatically eligible for overtime pay (regardless of their job duties) will still be lower than it was in 1975.

  1. Restoring overtime will give people more time away from work.

There is overwhelming evidence that overtime protection is effective in preventing overly long work days. Under the new rules, fewer people will be forced to work long overtime hours for no extra pay. Reducing excessive hours will make working people healthier and more productive.


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With Great Sadness

Category : Uncategorized

IAM Mourns Retired GVP Bob Thayer

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IT IS WITH GREAT SADNESS that the IAM learned today of the passing of RETIRED GENERAL VICE PRESIDENT  Robert Thayer Born Feb. 18, 1943

Fri. May 13, 2016 “Bob Thayer will be long remembered and greatly missed by his many friends in the IAM,” said IAM International President Bob Martinez. “Bob was a close personal friend and a true mentor. All of the Machinist family grieves his loss, and we will keep him and his family in our thoughts and prayers.”

Thayer began his career in 1965 as an electronic assembler and tester at the Brown & Sharpe Co. in Rhode Island and initiated into IAM Local 1142. He was elected Shop Steward in 1966, Local Vice President in 1970, and served as Local President from 1973 through 1978.

In 1978, Thayer was elected Business Representative for District 64 in Providence, RI, and served until being appointed Special Representative in 1989. Bob then became a Grand Lodge Representative in 1990.

After serving many years as a Grand Lodge Representative in the IAM Eastern Territory, Thayer was elected General Vice President and served over all of IAM Headquarters staff including the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center until his retirement in 2006.

Funeral arrangements will be made available as soon as they are complete.

An Overview

Robert Thayer was initiated into IAM Local Lodge 147 in 1965 as an electronic assembler and tester at the Brown & Sharpe Co, Rhode Island. Shop Steward, 1966; Local Lodge VP, 1970; President, 1973; Board of Incorporators, Rhode Island Group Health Association; Board of Directors, United Way, S.E. New England; labor representative GATT negotiations, Geneva, Switzerland; Business Rep. District Lodge 64, 1978 Special Rep., 1989; Grand Lodge Rep., 1990; Thayer became a General Vice President, assigned to IAM headquarters in 1997 overseeing IAM Headquarters staff including the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center until his retirement in 2006.

 


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The Latest Court Battle Over Obamacare

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Federal judge strikes down Obamacare payments

Article via USA TODAY...Republicans win Round 1 in latest court battle over Obamacare

Richard Wolf, Gregory Korte and Jayne O’Donnell, USA TODAY 3:34 p.m. EDT May 12, 2016

Republicans won the first round Thursday in a separation of powers battle against President Obama that once again focuses on his most prized achievement: Obamacare.

Federal district Judge Rosemary Collyer, a Republican appointee, ruled that the law does not provide for the funds insurers need to make health insurance policies under the program affordable.

The ruling does not represent as big a threat to the health care law as two previous conservative challenges swatted down by the Supreme Court in 2012 and 2015. The first would have gutted the law; the second would have eliminated tax credits in many states.             

“It’s a setback, and it’s a distraction …


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2016 IAM Legislative Conference “Machinist On The Hill”

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Machinists Hit Capitol Hill To Talk Working Family Issues

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IAM President Bob Martinez delivers the keynote address at the 2016 IAM Legislative Conference in Washington, DC.

Hundreds of IAM members are on Capitol Hill this week lobbying Congress on the issues that matter to working families. The annual IAM Legislative Conference draws member activists from all corners of the country to Washington, DC to meet with members of Congress to discuss trade, health care, retirement security, workers’ rights and more.

A top priority is fighting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a NAFTA-style trade deal that threatens to offshore even more U.S. and Canadian manufacturing jobs, this time to Asian countries with rock-bottom wages and few workers’ rights. Congress could vote on the TPP as soon as the lame-duck session, the period between the November elections and when the new Congress takes office in January 2017.

 U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), right, speaks with IAM members after delivering a speech at the IAM’s 2016 Legislative Conference.

 U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said he grew up in a household with five union cards in East St. Louis, IL.

The time to put the pressure on legislators who might be on the fence is now, said IAM International President Bob Martinez.

“We’ve seen what happens to towns that lose their main industry,” Martinez said in the conference’s keynote address. “More people compete for fewer jobs, creating a glut that drives down wages. Families that lived in the same area for generations are torn apart as young people have no choice but to leave.”

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), a consistent ally against bad trade deals, told delegates the TPP is “all about corporate handouts and worker sellouts.”

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Delegates are also pressuring legislators on a host of other issues affecting the IAM and its membership. “Anything we do for our members at the negotiating table can be undone in Washington with the stroke of a pen,” warned IAM Legislative Director Hasan Solomon.

Right-to-work laws are spreading throughout the country, but not without a fight. Efforts by the IAM and other labor groups beat back recent attempts at right-to-work in New Mexico and Missouri. A suit brought by IAM District 10 in Wisconsin is currently blocking the Badger State from implementing its own right-to-work law. But, “if Trump is elected, you can bet one of the first things he pushes is a national right-to-work law,” said Martinez.

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IAM members are also beating the drum on GOP stall tactics being used to hamstring President Obama’s nominations to the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank and the U.S. Supreme Court. Without a quorum, the Ex-Im Bank is unable to provide funding for projects over $10 million, which hurts IAM members making aircraft and other products for foreign buyers. Senate Republican leadership continues to refuse to hold hearings for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, a moderate and respected judge who would give the High Court a full slate of nine justices.

Delegates are working to fully repeal an impending 40 percent excise tax on health care benefits that’s scheduled to take effect in 2020. The added cost is already being passed onto workers, say IAM negotiators.

Defined benefit pensions, formerly one of the most reliable ways to fund retirement, are also under attack in Washington. A law passed in 2014 allows “deeply troubled” multi-employer pension plans to cut benefits for current retirees. IAM members are encouraging legislators to support the Keep Our Pension Promises Act, which would restore America’s promise of not cutting benefits to retirees.

Federal employees are continuing to battle attacks on their pay, benefits and right to join a union. In the transportation sector, the IAM is fighting for adequate penalties for assault against airport Customer Service Agents, more rest for overworked Flight Attendants and for the very well-being of the airline industry as a Norwegian carrier attempts to undercut U.S. wages and worker protections.

IAM members will be hearing from more Capitol Hill allies and lobbying through Thursday. It’s already been a busy week, but as Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) told delegates: “Change doesn’t come from Washington, it comes to Washington.”


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Breaking News NC HB2 The Debate!

Category : Uncategorized

Justice Department Files Complaint Against the State of North Carolina

McCrory’s Return Salvo To The Fed’s Attack On NC’s Bathroom Law
 

Montel Williams Joins Megyn Kelly To Respond To Gov. Pat McCrory’s Lies About NC’s HB2

 


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Happy Birthday IAM..128 Years

Category : Uncategorized

02_23_2016_martinezIAM International President Bob Martinez issued the following statement commemorating the 128th anniversary of the IAM’s founding:

“May 5 marks the 128th anniversary since 19 Machinists met in secret to create the organization known today around the world as the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

“It’s an occasion to celebrate the ability of this union to endure and survive every manner of economic and political hardship, from world wars and global depressions to political attacks aimed at terminating our very existence. This achievement required tenacity and sacrifice from literally millions of men and women who believed that our union and its members were worth fighting for.

“This day is also an occasion to rededicate ourselves to the cause of justice in the workplace that remains under constant attack today. Despite great technological advances that have transformed workplaces across North America, we still face a corporate agenda that values profits over people and constantly seeks to suppress workers’ voices.

“I ask each and every member of this great union to pause today, be proud and consider our responsibility as beneficiaries of 128 years of victories, struggles, setbacks and ultimately survival. I am totally confident we are worthy of our legacy and equal to the challenges ahead.”

128 YEARS STRONG

 


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