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October 4, 2012

Political Roundup: Great news in PA, the starts of debate season, and voting begins in OH

Good News for Voters in Pennsylvania

This week’s decision by a Pennsylvania judge to halt the state’s new voter identification law, ordering that it not be enforced for the presidential election, is a step in the right direction. Voter ID laws target those who are least likely to have photo IDs or to be able to afford any, and make it harder for people—including minorities, seniors and low-income voters—to exercise their right to vote.

With the election just five weeks away, the ruling by Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson means that voters in Pennsylvania will not be required to show photo ID at the polls on Election Day—making it easier for all eligible Pennsylvanians to participate in this important election.

Pennsylvania is a swing state with 20 electoral votes up for grabs. According to recent surveys compiled by RealClearPolitics, President Obama is leading in statewide opinion polls by an average of 8 points.

Mitt Romney: A Man of the People?

After dismissing half of the American people as “victims” at a private fundraiser in May, it’s amazing that Romney would try to hoodwink middle class and low- income voters into thinking that he cares about them. In last night’s debate, Romney tried to portray himself as a man of the people and said that he would not raise taxes on middle-class families or reduce the share of taxes paid by the wealthiest Americans.

Don’t be fooled. Romney and his and his running mate, Representative Paul Ryan, have made it clear that they are planning to pay for more tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of America’s workers and the poor. They want to make significant cuts to programs that serve the poor and middle class—including cuts to K-12 education, job training and grants which help kids go to college, replacing Medicare with a voucher system that would increase health care costs for seniors, and gutting Medicaid for the working poor.

The only groups benefiting from the Romney/Ryan plan would be the wealthiest Americans—whose tax cuts would be permanent if Romney and Ryan have their way—and corporations, which would receive tax breaks even as they continue to ship good middle class jobs overseas.

With the election only five weeks away, America’s workers face a stark choice between an opportunist who favors the wealthy one percent at the expense of the young, the elderly, the sick and the poor, and a leader who has given a voice to those who are too often overlooked and is fighting to create jobs and prosperity for all Americans.

Voting in Ohio is underway!

Early voting has begun in the swingiest of swing states – good old Ohio. After a bumpy ramp up to early voting, involving some bizarre actions on the part of Ohio Secretary of State John Husted, things appear to be running smoothly. So far, early voting numbers are high compared with four years ago. Seems like the people of Ohio are ready to get their vote on! If you’re looking for more information on early voting in Ohio, click here And if you’re not in Ohio, don’t despair! Early voting will continue to spread around the country over the coming weeks. More specifically: California Oct. 7; Indiana Oct. 9; Arizona Oct. 11; Georgia Oct. 15; Kansas Oct. 17; Tennessee Oct. 17; North Carolina Oct. 18; Nevada Oct. 20; New Mexico Oct. 20; Alaska Oct. 22; North Dakota Oct. 22; Arkansas Oct. 22; Colorado Oct. 22; D.C. Oct. 22; Illinois Oct. 22; Texas Oct. 22; Wisconsin Oct.22; Hawaii Oct. 23; Louisiana Oct. 23; Utah Oct. 23; West Virginia Oct. 24; Florida Oct. 27; Maryland Oct. 27; Oklahoma Nov. 2

December 30, 2009


PITTSBURGH, PAYesterday the Pittsburgh City Council voted unanimously to enact a prevailing-wage law for service and retail jobs in publicly subsidized development. The passage of this legislation was due to a strong coalition of faith, environmental, community and labor organizations, including United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 23. Workers in building and food service, grocery store and hotel industries will benefit from this bill, including thousands of UFCW members working in those industries.
The Pittsburgh Prevailing Wage bill will make sure that collectively-bargained wage and benefit standards for workers in those industries are maintained in publicly-subsidized development. Wage standards assure pay of between $10 and $14/hr plus health insurance and other benefits to all jobs created by subsidies of over $100,000 in projects of over 25,000 square feet.
“This is a major victory for working families in Pittsburgh,” said Tony Helfer, President of UFCW Local 23. “It means developers who take our money must promise to maintain the standard wages—and that’s good for everyone: workers, business, and our community. Service and retail industry jobs like these are the jobs of the future, and yesterday the City Council voted to make sure those jobs will pay enough to raise a family and benefit our community.”
Over the past five months, the Pittsburgh UNITED coalition of labor, faith, environmental, and community groups worked tirelessly to help formulate and pass this legislation, which will have a positive impact on the city’s economic future. They knocked on doors, called their council members, gathered petition signatures, and attended numerous council hearings.
“If my tax money is going to be used to build a grocery store,” said Marc Mancini, a UFCW member and local grocery worker who worked to get the law passed, “I don’t want it used to create minimum-wage jobs that would undercut what I make and create competition that could hurt my employer while not actually helping any Pittsburghers earn a good living.”