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When the year began, the Koch boys and the radical right-wing Republicans in the Pennsylvania state legislature had a plan to quick hit the labor movement with their legislation to deny dues deduction to public employee unions, destroy those unions, and much of Pennsylvania unions’ political muscle.

The Right-wingers intended to strike quickly, move the proposed legislation by threatening moderate Republicans with primary opposition, and promising unlimited funds to their supporters.

It was a strategy made possible by the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which held that corporations are people and money is speech; therefore corporations can spend any amount of money they want to in any election.

Surely the worst Supreme Court decision since the Dred Scott decision that helped to start the Civil War, Citizens United appeared to be a super highway to plutocracy, government by, for and of the uber rich with nothing but poverty for the rest of us.

But 1199 President Henry Nicholas called for a news conference warning of the legislation at the state Capitol to be turned into a mass mobilization, and on January 28th 3000 union members and allies flooded the state Capitol and Capitol grounds. We overflowed the Capitol, and caused Capitol police to lock the doors, business to stop, the halls to ring with chants and shouts, and the Koch boys surprise move to be busted. 300 of the 3000 people at the Capitol had come from 1199, but union members from every economic sector were there.

The Koch boys were stopped.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that righteous mobilizations and demonstrations don’t work. They just worked in Pennsylvania with multiple rallies going on simultaneously in the Rotunda, downstairs, and outside. Union members in their work clothes filled every hall and corner. The Koch boys were defeated by people power in the first battle of Pennsylvania.

The Koch boys obviously wanted to cripple the political power of unions in the key presidential swing state of Pennsylvania on their way to recreating the Presidential electoral map. They knew that a map favoring Republicans would allow them to guide a right-wing puppet through the Republican nominating process, and make a mockery or a tragedy of democracy in America.

The first battle is won, but now both sides are hunkering down for the long legislative maneuvering in an election year. The Koch boys don’t have the votes yet, but they aren’t finished and neither is the labor movement. With a constant barrage of phone calls, legislative meetings, leaflets at every worksite, letters, and deep education, the labor movement is pushing throughout the session this year to stop this awful anti-democratic legislation. And we’re pushing to elect a state legislature that won’t pass union-crippling legislation and a Governor who would never sign it.

Stay tuned to this site for the news on this incredibly important fight.

Photo by DonkeyHotey on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Originally posted to StewartAcuff on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 06:04 AM PST.

Also republished by DKos Pennsylvania.

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Comment Preferences

  •  thanks for the update (8+ / 0-)

    Here is a LINK to coverage from the local paper.

  •  Very important news, thanks. (4+ / 0-)

    We need a ray of sunshine now and then, peering from out of the gloom and doom that a prospective Republican Senate majority could bring. It is killing me not to be able to do much from across the Pond, so I especially welcome these snippets of the good fight being won (but not the war, yet).

    „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

    by translatorpro on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 06:43:08 AM PST

  •  Thanks to the Union folks! (5+ / 0-)

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 06:48:48 AM PST

  •  Stewart - you should read the Citizens United (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nextstep, StewartAcuff

    majority opinion. The AFL-CIO supported that decision in an amicus brief.  

    The Supreme Court case that ruled that money equals speech is Buckley v Valeo which was in 1979. The SCOTUS has never ruled that corporations are people and that is particularly true in Citizens United when it differentiated between groups of such as people, clubs, unions, and corporations and "human persons".
     

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 06:55:07 AM PST

    •  Thank you VCLib for your comment. (0+ / 0-)

      I have always opposed Citizens United. The ruling defines corporations as associations of individuals, which is a joke and accords to them free speech rights during elections allowing corporations to run unlimited ads up to elections. The ruling reminds me of the famous quote by Nobel prize winning Anatole France who said, "In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread."

      @StewartAcuff www.stewartacuff.com

      by StewartAcuff on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 06:26:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Stewart - my comment was not offering an opinion (0+ / 0-)

        on CU, but just reminding you that the case broke no new ground on either the issue of money equals speech or that corporations are people. Organized labor supported the majority opinion in Citizens Untied.

        It seems to me that if unions are associations of people wouldn't corporations also be associations of people? The SCOTUS treated them equally. Don't unions now also have free speech rights and allowed to run ads up to elections? Should unions and corporations be treated differently?

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 07:01:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you, Stewart! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mostel26, StewartAcuff

    Good news indeed!

    When labor is aroused and the rank and file rise, we can win.

    The Koch bros are experiencing failure (oh my!) in places that ordinarily their money made the path smooth for them.

    We must be relentless.

    We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

    by occupystephanie on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 07:47:29 AM PST

  •  Tough row to hoe in PA (6+ / 0-)

    Forgive the length of this comment. I got this list of PA ALECs from ALECexposed.org.

    Pennsylvania Legislators with ALEC Ties

    House of Representatives
    Rep. Richard Alloway (R-33), State Chairman[1].
    Rep. William R. Adolph ((R-165), paid ALEC membership dues in 2007 using taxpayer funds[2]
    Rep. Matthew Baker (R-68), member of ALEC's Public Safety and Elections Task Force.[3] Paid ALEC membership dues in 2001, 2005 and 2008 using campaign account[4] and "used an ALEC Model Bill to challenge federal health care reform"[5] but later threatened citizen activist group for exposing his ties to ALEC[6]
    Rep. Stephen Barrar (R-160), ALEC Committee on Election Reforms[7][5], Civil Justice Task Force Member [8]
    Rep. Karen Boback (R-117)[9]
    Rep. Paul Clymer (R-145)[10][5]
    Rep. Jim Cox (R-129),[11][5] ALEC Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force Member[12]
    Rep. Gary Day (R-187)[9]
    Rep. Sheryl Delozier (R-88)[9]
    Rep. Brian Ellis (R-11) -- State Chairman[1].
    Rep. Matthew Gabler (R-75)[4][5]
    Rep. Mauree Gingrich (R-101)[9]
    Rep. Robert Godshall (R-53)[13][5]
    Rep. Glen R. Grell (R-87), ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Member[14]
    Rep. Seth Grove (R-196),[15][5] ALEC Communications and Technology Task Force Member[16]
    Rep. Marcia Hahn (R-138), ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force Member[17]
    Rep. Ted Harhai (D-58) - announced in May 2012 that he is no longer an ALEC member.[9] See Legislators Who Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more.
    Rep. Julie R. Harhart (R-183), paid ALEC membership dues in 2009 using taxpayer funds[2]
    Rep. Kate Harper (R-61)[18][5] - announced in April 2012 that she is no longer an ALEC member[19] See Legislators Who Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more.
    Rep. Susan Helm (R-104)[9]
    Rep. Tim Hennessey (R-26), paid ALEC membership dues in 2005 and 2007 with taxpayer money[2]
    Rep. Dick Hess (R-78)[18][5]
    Rep. William Keller (D-184) - announced in May 2012 that he is no longer an ALEC member.[9] See Legislators Who Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more.
    Rep. Thomas H. Killion (R-168), ALEC Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force Member[20]
    Rep. Jerry R. Knowles (R-124)[9]
    Rep. Nick Kotik (D-45), ALEC Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force Member[21] - announced in May 2012 that he is no longer an ALEC member.[9] See Legislators Who Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more.
    Rep. Sandra Major (R-111)[4][5] - announced in April 2012 that she was not renewing her ALEC membership[19] See Legislators Who Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more.
    Rep. Joseph Markosek (D-25) - announced in May 2012 that he is no longer an ALEC member.[9] See Legislators Who Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more.
    Rep. Ron Marsico (R-105)[22],[23][24][5] ALEC Public Safety and Elections Task Force Member [3]
    Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-12), [25][5][26] ALEC Public Safety and Elections Task Force Member [3]
    Rep. Nicholas Micozzie (R-163) - announced in May 2012 that he is no longer an ALEC member.[9] See Legislators Who Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more.
    Rep. Ronald Miller (R-93)[4][5]
    Rep. Mark Mustio (R-44), ALEC Member 2010-2011[27] - announced in April 2012 that he is no longer an ALEC member.[19] See Legislators Who Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more.
    Rep. Joseph Petrarca (D-55) - told Politics PA in May 202 that he "has no ties and has never been a member of ALEC.”[28] See Legislators Who Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more.
    Rep. Tina Pickett (R-110)[9]
    Rep. Kathy L. Rapp (R-65), ALEC Education Task Force Member[29]
    Rep. Harry Readshaw (D-36),[4][5] ALEC Member 2001-2003[30] - told Keystone Progress in April 2012 that he was never an ALEC member.[19] See Legislators Who Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more.
    Rep. Stan Saylor (R-95), ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force[31]
    Rep. Sam Smith (R-66)[9]
    Rep. Todd Stephens (R-151)[9]
    Rep. Jerry Stern (R-80)[9]
    Rep. Richard Stevenson (R-Butler, Mercer)[18][5]
    Rep. John Taylor (R-177)[9]
    Rep. W. Curtis Thomas (D-181)[9] - announced in May 2012 that he was cutting ties to ALEC.[32] See Legislators Who Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more.
    Rep. Mary Toepel (R-147)[9]
    Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-116)[9]
    House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-28)[33][5] - spokesman says he is no longer involved with ALEC as of August 2011.[34] See Legislators Who Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more.

    Senate
    Sen. David Argall (R-29)[9]
    Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20)[9]
    Sen. Patrick Browne (R-16)[9]
    Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-18) - announced in May 2012 that she is no longer an ALEC member.[9] See Legislators Who Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more.
    Sen. Jacob Corman (R-34)[9] - announced in May 2012 that he is no longer an ALEC member.[32] See Legislators Who Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more.
    Sen. John Eichelberger (R-30)[9]
    Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R-12) , Public Safety and Elections Task Force[35][5] - announced in May 2012 that "I have a membership with ALEC but because of concerns that have [been] raised by my constituents I will not be renewing it."[36]
    Rep. Scott Hutchinson (R-21), ALEC Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force Member[37]
    Sen. Charles McIlhinney (R-10)[38][5]
    Sen. Robert D. Robbins (R-50), ALEC's Thomas Jefferson Award-winner[39][5]
    Sen. Leanna Washington (D-4) - announced in May 2012 that she is no longer an ALEC member.[9] See Legislators Who Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more.
    Sen. Anthony Williams (D-8) - Williams, who has used PA state funding for ALEC,[40] "vociferously protested being identified with ALEC," according to Keystone Progress. "As a staunch advocate for school choice, I’m often invited to attend and speak at myriad events, locally and nationally, held by those who share my beliefs and those who vigorously oppose them. I make no apologies for my views on choice, because a broad set of educational options is among the best hopes students have to attain the skills needed to be productive and competitive in a global, 21st century society. However, I’ve never sought membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council nor have I ever been a member,” said Williams. “Lastly, ALEC does not represent my values or beliefs” (emphasis added).[9] See Legislators Who Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more

    We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

    by occupystephanie on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 07:50:42 AM PST

  •  Hurray--thanks for the good news, Stewart! (5+ / 0-)

    Well done.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 08:47:39 AM PST

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