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Workers Rights and Middle Class Under Attack in Nebraska

The assault on public employees and middle class families that we are seeing nationwide is too important to allow multinational corporate America to try to redefine the rights and values of American citizens.

Last Saturday, more than 350 public employees, teachers, trades workers, union members and middle class families gathered at the Nebraska State Capitol supporting the workers’ right to collectively bargain, something the vast majority of Americans support. Thirty-five people associated with Americans for Prosperity and the tea party were also at the Capitol to protest against workers.

Today, because of their poor showing last Saturday, Americans for Prosperity, a right-wing organization that is largely funded by billionaires Charles and David Koch, is planning to “do-over” their poorly attended tea-party protest. This time, they have announced “big name” speakers in hopes of getting a big audience. On the ticket are former Governor Kay Orr, US Senate candidate Jon Bruning, US Senate candidate Don Stenberg, and City Council members Jon Camp and Adam Hornung.

Editors Note: This call to action and message above was sent to us by Christa Yoakum, a local leader who lives in Lincoln and helped organize the rally last Saturday with local MoveOn members.

ACTION: What You Can Do

Recognizing that public servants, teachers and other working Nebraskans must be present at their jobs during this weekday rally, you can make your voice heard by writing a letter to the editor, or write/call Governor Heineman, or write/call state senator’s who are working on Nebraska’s public employee laws.  This effort is supported by individuals like myself–Christa Yoakum–and by members of Nebraska MoveOn and BOLD Nebraska. 

Write urging Nebraska’s lawmakers to maintain the right to collective bargaining as they consider legislation. Let Governor Heineman know that his threats to disband the “Court of Industrial Relations,” often referred to as CIR, with a ballot initiative shows a lack of respect for the state senators in the Unicameral and for their work to do what is best for the people they represent.

Tell our elected leaders that we have a choice: reward corporate special interests at the expense of the middle class. Or we can work together to create good-paying jobs, reduce the deficit and help rebuild the American dream.

Gov. Heineman
402-471-2244  
Nebraska State Capitol, 1445 K Street, Lincoln, NE  68509

Business and Labor Committee (in charge of CIR and other bills affecting workers)

Sen. Steve Lathrop, chair
402-471-2623   Room 2000  slathrop@leg.ne.gov

Sen. Tanya Cook, vice chair 
402-471-2727   Room 1208  tcook@leg.ne.gov

Sen. Brad Ashford                 
402-471-2622   Room 1103  bashford@leg.ne.gov

Sen. Tom Carlson                  
402-471-2732   Room 1022  tcarlson@leg.ne.gov

Sen. Burke Harr                     
402-471-2722   Room 1115  bharr@leg.ne.gov

Sen. Jim Smith                       
402-471-2730   Room 1115  jsmith@leg.ne.gov

Sen. Norm Wallman             
 402-471-2620   Room 1406  nwallman@leg.ne.gov

Additional Points for your call/letter/email:

  • Public employees did not cause the financial crisis Nebraska faces. Wall Street did that.  So did reckless Governors, like Heineman, who have ignored budget deficits for too long and now want to solve the problems on the backs of middle class families.
  • Public employees pay taxes and pay into their own retirement funds with their own money.
  • An assault on public employees and their unions is an attack on Nebraskans who make up the middle class.
  • All workers deserve good wages, good benefits and safe working conditions.
  • The Court of Industrial Relations (CIR) provides a rational  and reasonable process to resolve disputes between the employer (government) and the employees.
  • Nebraska teachers’ average pay rank 43rd in the nation and with Heineman’s proposed education budget, pay will surely go down even further.
  • The CIR allows for resolution without compromising public safety by protecting public interest in essential services without threat of strike or work stoppage.
  • Republicans are using the wrecked economy as an excuse to enact dangerous budget cuts, slash vital programs, and hurt workers, while continuing to give tax breaks to corporations and millionaires. 
  • Politicians, like Gov. Heineman, are using our real economic problems as an excuse to pay back their corporate donors at the expense of middle class–and Nebraskans are not buying it.

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BOLD Nebraska
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