Franklin County Democrats

The official site of the Democratic Party of Franklin County, Missouri

Browsing Posts published in March, 2014

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The Cabinet of the Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis has announced its opposition to “Right to Work/Freedom to Work” efforts under consideration in the Missouri Legislature. The clergy and lay members of the ecumenical organization see this as a social justice issue. They’re entirely correct.

Multiple bills have been introduced that would prohibit the payment of union dues as a condition of employment. Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, has vowed to veto any of those bills, so a separate effort is underway to place the question before voters in November. Neither effort appears to have much momentum, but things can change quickly before the legislative session ends in May.

 The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2013, only 8.6 percent of Missouri’s workforce was unionized, well below the national rate of 11.3 percent. At its peak in 1989, the first year for which data were available, Missouri’s union membership rate was 15.5 percent.

Still, even 8.6 percent is too much for Republicans in the Legislature. Union members tend to make higher wages and earn better benefits, which apparently the GOP and its donors see as a bad thing. What really bugs them is that part of union dues go for political action in directions that tend not to favor those who oppose unions.

Not so the leadership of the Interfaith Partners. In a statement signed by Archbishop Robert Carlson, the cabinet chair, and the Rev. C. Jessel Strong of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the vice chair, the group said:

“Striking for economic justice is an integral element of our faith traditions. The right of freely founding unions for working people and the right of those working people to bargain collectively are essential for economic justice. So-called ‘Right to Work/Freedom to Work’ laws proposed under the guise of freedom to the individual worker actually weaken their ability to equally bargain for fair compensation in the workplace, and are obviously and admittedly anti-union in their intent and render impossible or at least weaken the process of collective bargaining between management and labor.”

If Pope Francis and President Barack Obama can agree, as they did last week, to work together on issues of social justice, the people of Missouri should be able to do the same.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be

The Progressive Populist editorializes. GOP Needs ACA Backlash, in their current edition…

The threat of losing insurance has kept millions of Americans tethered to dead-end jobs, particularly if they or their family members had chronic health problems. They are now able to retire and/or start their own business and still find affordable insurance.

Meanwhile, Republican “leaders” in 25 states are still preventing more than five million working poor Americans from getting Medicaid through the federally funded expansion. Health experts estimate that Medicaid shutout could cause 17,000 unnecessary deaths. (Subsidies are available for people making from 100% to 400% of the federal poverty rate to buy private insurance through the state exchanges, but since the law did not anticipate that states would be so mean-spirited as to pass up federal assistance that would pay nearly the entire cost of providing Medicaid for those living in poverty, the law did not provide subsidies for the working poor to buy insurance.)

Now that people are getting a better look at what the law really does, support appears to be increasing. A CNN poll conducted nationwide March 7-9 and released March 11, found that 39% of Americans support the health care law, up from 35% in December, while 57% said they opposed the measure, down five points from December. But those “opponents” included 12% who said they opposed the law because it’s not liberal enough — they want single payer.

Joan McCarter of noted that most of the support was gained among college-educated people and those making $50,000, a good demographic to have on your side politically. Will that make Republicans rethink their approach on Obamacare? Probably not, but it does make life more complicated for them. It also shows that it’s smart politics for Democrats to keep campaigning on the law, but to talk about how they want to make it even better.

Kevin Drum also noted that ever since the law passed in 2010, about 40% of the country has opposed it, while more than 50% have either supported it or said they wanted it to go further. “This goes a long way toward explaining the supposedly mysterious result that lots of people oppose Obamacare but few want to repeal it,” Drum wrote.

This from Yahoo, The 13 Worst Supermarkets in America

Consumer Reports conducted a survey of more than 27,000 subscribers in its May issue and ranked the country’s 55 largest grocery store chains. The results prove that bigger doesn’t mean best. Wal-Mart—which is America’s largest supermarket, with more than a third of all grocery sales—landed on the bottom of the list. On a 100-point score the retail giant received 67.


Common Dreams has this story of Domino’s Pizza Owners Admit To Widespread Wage Theft.

The agreement follows a similar settlement last month with a Domino’s Franchisee in New York agreed to a $1.28 million dollar settlement for withholding pay, stealing tips, and denying lunch breaks. Last week, seven McDonald’s franchises in New York City reached a $500,000 settlement on similar charges of wage theft. Meanwhile, several lawsuits across three states that could involve up to 30,000 workers are taking on McDonald’s franchises and owners for wage theft.

“They’re the ones in control of the daily operations of their franchisees, and that’s why over 80% of NYC fast food workers report they’ve been victims of wage theft,” said LeGrand. “That’s why we’re not stopping: we will continue holding these corporations accountable.”

If it can happen in New York, it can happen anywhere.

Robert Reich’s The Real Job Killers takes on the corporate spin machine…

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says a minimum wage increase would be a job killer. Republicans and the Chamber also say unions are job killers, workplace safety regulations are job killers, environmental regulations are job killers, and the Affordable Care Act is a job killer. The California Chamber of Commerce even publishes an annual list of “job killers,” including almost any measures that lift wages or protect workers and the environment.

Most of this is bunk.

When in 1996 I recommended the minimum wage be raised, Republicans and the Chamber screamed it would “kill jobs.” In fact, in the four years after it was raised, the U.S. economy created more jobs than were ever created in any four-year period.

For one thing, a higher minimum wage doesn’t necessarily increase business costs. It draws more job applicants into the labor market, giving employers more choice of whom to hire. As a result, employers often get more reliable workers who remain longer – thereby saving employers at least as much money as they spend on higher wages.

A higher wage can also help build employee morale, resulting in better performance. Gap, America’s largest clothing retailer, recently announced it would boost its hourly wage to $10. Wall Street approved. “You treat people well, they’ll treat your customers well,” said Dorothy Lakner, a Wall Street analyst. “Gap had a strong year last year compared to a lot of their peers. That sends a pretty strong message to employees that, ‘we had a good year, but you’re going to be rewarded too.’”

Even when raising the minimum wage — or bargaining for higher wages and better working conditions, or requiring businesses to provide safer workplaces or a cleaner environment  — increases  the cost of business, this doesn’t necessarily kill jobs.

Most companies today can easily absorb such costs without reducing payrolls. Corporate profits now account for the largest percentage of the economy on record.  Large companies are sitting on more than $1.5 trillion in cash they don’t even know what to do with. Many are using their cash to buy back their own shares of stock – artificially increasing share value by reducing the number of shares traded on the market.

Walmart spent $7.6 billion last year buying back shares of its own stock — a move that papered over its falling profits. Had it used that money on wages instead, it could have given its workers a raise from around $9 an hour to almost $15.

Oh-uh, this news report examines research that contends the awkward sleep patterns of workers on off-shifts may lead to brain damage!


This week’s audio netcast: The ever-provocative economics writer David Cay Johnston predicts riots and revolution if income inequality continues on its present course. Activist Valerie Ervin talks about her organization for working families and how building coalitions can actually move the needle toward more social justice. And Bill Press interviews political prognosticator Jennifer Duffy about the 2014 election outlook in the Senate, a “jump ball” situation.


I admit that I prefer shopping at Target compared to Wal-Mart but not by much.  WM has been the big daddy of union busting for a couple of decades now and just as they led the way in outsourcing jobs, leeching taxpayers money into Walton family pockets, and paying wages so low that “associates” must depend on public assistance they have been the model for other aspiring retailers.

One way Target and Wal-Mart keep wages low is spending millions to ensure their employees keep their voice to themselves and not bother management or the profits generated from their labor.  WM uses a rapid response team of consultants, union-busters, and lawyers to parachute in at the first sign of workers expressing an interest in having a say in their wages, hours, or working conditions.  Target uses the same methods in addition to their “famous” anti-union video forced upon new hires.  Yes, every one you know at the Washington Target has seen this video.

This classic piece of company-oriented schtick will look familiar to any one that has worked in retail.  The hollow promises of an “open door” policy. merit based promotion, and a willingness to work together will also sound familiar.

In 2009 I had the opportunity to take a summer course at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.  The course was Strategic Corporate Research and was designed to expose the facts beneath the mountain of corporate spin that ad budgets in the millions/billions can provide.  It just so happens my fifty page research report was focused on Target.  While the information is now somewhat outdated, rest assured this orientation video is a reflection of the company’s interest in extracting the most possible labor from their team members with the least amount of concern.

So picture yourself in a generic company meeting room wrapped in a “May I help you but I’m not supposed to help myself” vest as you enjoy “Here’s the Cheesy Anti-Union Video All Target Employees Must Endure.”

For a little context consider that Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel was paid more than $21 million last year.

Gregg Steinhafel has been paid $64.34 million over three years.Kathryn Tesija was second-highest paid Target executive last year at more than $7 million.

Good thing those nasty union negotiated wages and benefits didn’t get in the way of that open door to the vault at the bank that Mr. Steinhafel visits every Friday.


2014 is shaping up to be a great year for Democrats!  We will be featuring more content for all of our candidates as the year goes on, but we wanted to announce our excellent lineup and say thanks to those who have stepped up to represent our party and our ideals!

State Senator – District 26 – Lloyd Klinedinst

State Representative – District 61 – Tom Smith

State Representative – District 109 – Barbara “Bobbie” Bollmann

State Representative – District 119 – Susan Cunningham

Franklin County – Recorder of Deeds – Judy Carroll

We know that you will join us in working to get these candidates elected to their respective offices as they are the best people for the job!!

You can meet the candidates at our regular meeting – March 24, 7:30 pm at the Government Center in Union.

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