Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Hoffa Statement on Results of 2006 Mid-Term Elections

Today working families have new reason to believe in the ability of
their government to better their lives, as Teamster endorsed candidates
across the country prevailed at the ballot box yesterday. I congratulate
the victors and thank the thousands of Teamster members who invested
countless hours over many months to help elect a pro-working families
Now is the time for action on issues such as universal health care,
retirement security, the Employee Free Choice Act, fair trade agreements,
safe highways and national security. This new Congress must reverse action
on the Bush administration's misplaced priorities.
This election marks an opportunity to move our domestic agenda in a
markedly different direction. It is an opportunity to cease the global race
to the bottom resulting from the endless series of job-killing trade pacts
passed by Congress. It is an opportunity to give all working Americans
access to affordable, quality healthcare. It is an opportunity to raise the
minimum wage. It is an opportunity to promote the rights of workers who
want to join a union.
Over the years I have had many conversations with Representative Nancy
Pelosi and Senator Harry Reid about how Democratic control of Congress
could directly benefit the lives of working Americans. I commend them for
their leadership throughout this campaign and congratulate their success in
electing Democratic majorities in the House and, possibly, the Senate.
But the truly difficult task still lies ahead. I look forward to
working with Rep. Pelosi and Sen. Reid to move our pro-worker, pro-union
agenda through Congress. In particular, I commit that the Teamsters are
willing to work overtime to help enact key provisions of Rep. Pelosi's
"First Hundred Hours" plan, including a raise in the minimum wage and
changing in the Medicare prescription drug program that will lower the cost
of medications.
The votes of working families made a difference at the ballot box. We
must now make sure this new Congress makes a real difference in their

Workers in Change to Win Unions Help Bring Pro-Worker Candidates to Victory

Activists Call on New Leadership to Help Restore the American Dream

American workers sent a clear message yesterday that they are ready for new leaders who will stand up for issues important to their families, following a massive voter turnout program spearheaded by members of the most politically active unions in the country.

"For months, workers from the Change to Win unions have pounded the pavement to help elect leaders who will fight to make work pay for ordinary Americans, not just corporate America," said CtW Chair Anna Burger. "And voters united behind that hope for change at the polls."

Activists from the 6-million strong labor federation helped shape the outcome of this election by committing significant resources and contributing the people-power and organizing know- how to the largest grassroots mobilization of union members ever in a midterm election.

Truck drivers, janitors, grocery store clerks, carpenters, health care workers and others united in the CtW unions helped center the worker-to-worker contact program within a universe of 6 million CtW union member households across the country. In all, they knocked on 2.3 million doors, made 6.9 million phone calls, distributed 5.6 million worksite flyers, and contributed 356,731 volunteer hours to support candidates and initiatives that can make a difference for working people.

Shannon Ross, a UNITE/HERE member who was forced to live on minimum wage before her co-workers formed a union at a St. Louis laundry facility, got active for the first time in a political cycle to help give a raise to other Missouri workers.

"I helped raise the minimum wage by raising my voice," said Ross, who also helped elect a new U.S. Senator who has pledged to represent Missouri's working families in Washington. "Congress had left so many hard-working people out in the cold so I'm excited union workers like me here and in five others states took matters into our own hands."

In addition to working with the entire labor movement and other progressive partners on congressional races in all 50 states, both new and seasoned activists from the CtW unions also focused a comprehensive, strategic program around U.S. Senate, gubernatorial and down-ballot races in the battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, where CtW represents close to one million members, resulting in wins in key races in all three states.

The members of Change to Win affiliates today celebrated their hard work had paid off, but recognized their work is not over and plan to hold the 110th Congress and other politicians accountable for bringing changes to the polices that affect working families.

"Activists from Change to Win welcome their new leadership, but with an expectation. These new leaders must do their part to restore the American Dream -- a paycheck that supports a family, affordable health care, a secure retirement and most of all, a better life for our kids," said Burger.

"We will continue to do our part by helping workers unite in their industries to change their lives. Together, we will make work pay in this country again."

YRC forecasts 2006 revenues of $10 billion

YRC Worldwide Inc. of Overland Park today forecast a third consecutive year of record revenue and earnings per share.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the nation's largest trucking company said it estimates 2006 revenue of $10.02 billion. It also reiterated its earnings per share forecast for the year of $5.45 to $5.55 a share.

YRC shares have gained $1.69 in the previous two sessions on the Nasdaq as parts of the trucking sector have gained on news that Swift Transportation Co. Inc. of Phoenix has received a $2.17-billion buyout bid from its former top executive and biggest shareholder.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Don't be stopped from making vote count

Voters should know their rights when they cast their ballots on Tuesday.
In the next few days, candidates across the political spectrum will be working overtime to bring their supporters to the polls on Nov. 7. Sadly, there's a flip side to the contest to maximize turnout: There will also be efforts -- less publicized, but intensely political -- to prevent certain people from voting.

"Voter suppression" is a conscious strategy practiced by those who want to see particular groups -- such as working families and people of color -- silenced on Election Day.

Sometimes, voter lists are improperly purged. In other cases, voters are unfairly challenged. This year, one Republican candidate for Congress in California went so far as to send families of Hispanic origin a letter threatening that they could be arrested if they tried to vote.

Such tactics have no place in our democracy -- and there's no reason to let anyone deny you your right to vote. There are many ways to ensure that you exercise your fundamental right to cast a ballot for the candidates of your choice on Election Day.

A new federal law, the Help America Vote Act of 2004, guarantees a provisional ballot to voters whose names do not appear on the registration rolls. So even if an election worker claims that you are not eligible to vote, you have the right to cast a ballot. If it is later determined that you are eligible, your vote will be counted.

In Michigan, you are not required to provide identification to vote, unless you are a first-time voter who registered by mail and did not provide verification of your identity when you registered. In that case, numerous forms of photo or non-photo ID are acceptable, including a driver's license, a student ID or even a recent utility bill.

Your voting rights include:

The right to vote free from harassment. No one can harass or intimidate you while you are voting. For example, there is no reason for anyone to ask you about child support, debts or any other matter in a polling place.

The election officials at your polling station are obligated to protect you from harassment. If there's a problem, voters can call a nationwide Election Protection Lawyer Hotline, (866) OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683), to report harassment and other election abuses.

Sample ballot or endorsement card. You have the right to carry voting materials into the polling booth.

Right to vote when polls close. If you are in line when the polls officially close, you have the right to vote.

Right to take your time. Don't be rushed by others in line or poll workers.

Right to correct mistakes. If you think you've made a mistake before casting a ballot on paper or on an electronic touch-screen machine, you can ask for help and a new ballot.

Right to assistance. A disability or the inability to read or write does not prevent an American from voting. You may have a person of your choosing -- in Michigan, not an employer or union agent -- help you cast a ballot. You also have the right to see a sample ballot and be instructed on the voting process.

Election Day is our day to speak up as citizens and have a voice in the decisions that affect our lives. From city councils to school boards, from nonpartisan judgeships to highly partisan races for senator, governor and the U.S. Congress, a number of hard-fought races will be decided Tuesday all across Michigan. Every vote counts -- and every vote must be counted.

Rights, it has been said, are like muscles: They work best when exercised. Don't let anyone kick sand on your right to participate in the democratic process.

Ron Gettelfinger is president of the United Auto Workers.