Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Saturday, December 28, 2013
I have been posting a lot on worker's rights and struggles recently.
I know that.
This blog is supposed tone about my views and my life.
What can I say?
This HAS been my life.
But why do we do what we do?
That's a question we should ask ourselves.
We do it for our patients, our students, and the public we serve.
But we also do it for ourselves and our families, so that this will be a little better world to live in, a little fairer, a little kinder.
Its a never ending job, with a goal, but no finish line.
It's important to take time to step back, look at the journey, and just enjoy life along the way.
My son got us a gift, and this weekend we're enjoying it.
We're staying overnight at a very nice hotel in Hartford and then going to the Science Center to see "Bodies Reveled"
Most important, we're taking just a little time to stop and enjoy life, and each other.
Monday, December 23, 2013
Work was busier than usual, what with nearby L+M Hospital's illegal Lock Out of the nurses and techs, I've spent extra time working in a support role to see those nurses and techs get the respect they deserve, and that's taken time.
The nurses and techs became more united with each passing day and now are back at work, a great Christmas present for everyone.
My members stepped up and grew as unionists by walking the line and donating support money. I'm proud of them and thankful. Another Christmas present.
My wife, Michelle, and family supported the extra time I spent in New London and I think saw the reason for my passion in the faces of the nurses, techs, significant others, and children.
Still, I know the time is a sacrifice I can never repay Michelle, yet she puts up with me and supports me just the same.
Another Christmas present.
Christmas always seems to come too quick, I never seem ready, this year maybe less ready than usual.
But as I sit here and reflect on the love I have seen this past month, the "goodwill toward men", directed to the nurses, techs and families, as I reflect on the feeling that we make a difference, as I think of how lucky I am to have found Michelle all those years ago,
Maybe I am ready for Christmas.
May God bless you all. May you have the best Christmas ever. May Santa be good to you.
Friday, December 20, 2013
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
First, Nurses and Techs illegally Locked Out of their own hospital, prohibited from caring for their patients, found out that they will receive unemployment retroactive to December 1.
Our hope is that the sought after injunction will come soon and open L+M's doors again.
Second, Santa arrived today, accompanied by City of New London Fire Trucks and maned by Firefighters Local 1522, delivering toys to the children of the Nurses and Techs, donated by many generous people and with the help of the ULA (United Labor Agency), which is the community service division of the AFL-CIO.
And last, L+M CFO Lou Inzana resigned.
There is much speculation over this resignation, in the middle of an illegal Lock Out.
Some point to the Westerly Hospital purchase.
Some point to news articles of the Caymon Island Hedge Fund.
Some question the cost of continuing this illegal Lock Out.
And some wonder if he could no longer support the leadership of the CEO, Bruce Cummings.
We have no way of knowing the reasons.
What we do know, is that the administration of Cummings is unraveling.
Political support has long ago left him, as has community support.
Costly, questionable business decisions have turned a profitable hospital into a hospital in trouble in one year.
Most important of all, there is no confidence in Cummings ability to lead this hospital going forward.
AFT is a strong, respected union of professionals, supported by all of organized labor, political friends, and the community, and led in this struggle by the nurses, techs, and healthcare workers of Locals 5049, 5051, and 5123.
There is leadership at L+M, and it's found in AFT.
The money's gone to the Caymons, the CFO to Maine, maybe it's time for for Cummings to go too.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
19 hours ago!
They are fighting for a contract that gives security to the members and families, but also to the patients and community. They are fighting for respect and the right to return to work.
The community and organized Labor has been unbelievable in it's support.
But we should take a moment to look at ourselves.
As our dedicated negotiations team worked through the night, supported by members present, other members manned the picket line in the cold and snow.
Our AFT Connecticut staff has been at the table and in the cold with us the entire way, our filed reps, organizers, office staff and others. The best Union staff ever!
The other AFT Locals have contributed financially, with boots on the ground, and with encouraging support.
We have been led by the amazing presidents and executive boards of Locals 5059, 5051, 5123, AFT Connecticut, and AFT Washington.
We need to understand that the AFT is a respected leader in the movement for equality and fairness and that we are playing a large role in that struggle.
The corporation that runs L+M Hospital needs to understand two things.
We seek what is in the best interest of L+M Hospital, because we are L+M.
We are united in our resolve to see this through.
My sincere hope is that an agreement can be reached soon that offers respect to the dedicated care givers of L+M Hospital and allows them to return to providing excellent care to their patients.
My sincere thanks to the negotiations team, staff, and members of 5059, 5051 and 5123, who are doing the heavy lift and showing us what solidarity looks like in practice.
The rest of AFT will continue to stand with you.....
One day longer than is needed.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
We have our own Holiday stories in New London as reported by Judy Benson in The Day .
L+M Corporation Locked Out the nurses and techs, threatening to arrest them if they set foot on the property of their community hospital.
The Locked out nurses and techs of L+M Hospital are in need of many things.
Having lost their insurance, some have family members getting chemo, dialysis or other expensive treatments, so they need help to pay for COBRA.
Having lost their paychecks, some are in need of mortgage and rent assistance.
With the cold temperatures, heating is an issue.
And there will be less presents this Christmas, but every child deserves something.
The community has stepped forward.
The hardship fund collected $20,000 in the first 24 hours and continues to collect, the United Way is helping in many, many ways, the Teamsters have donated turkeys, the ULA has committed toys, the Building Trades and the Elks have provided meals, cars stop at the picket line and drop off food and hot coffee, and there is so much more.
On Tuesday, Santa will arrive at the picket line, in a fire truck provided by the New London Fire Department.
At the same time, these same nurses and techs are helping others!
This is one such example.
For the last four years, the staff of the neurology unit (union and nonunion, managers and staff) have adopted a needy family in the area each Christmas. With half the employees forbidden entry into the hospital, unable to use their hospital email, and facing financial hardship themselves, the program was is jeopardy this year. At first, the Locked Out workers thought about trying to complete the project themselves, but they felt that didn't keep to the spirit of what they were doing. Through Facebook, they were able to connect to the people inside, and yesterday, they delivered the gifts to the Elks, who will distribute them to the family.
Because, just like the people who have reached out to help them, these care givers are bound by ethical principles that we are one family, responsible for each other.
The caregivers of L+M Hospital (union and nonunion) understand this Spirit of Christmas, they live it every day, throughout the year.
The community of New London and the people who have sent help from all over the country understand, they have proven it.
If the administration of L+M Corporation understood this, we wouldn't have the situation we are in.
Friday, December 13, 2013
Negotiations scheduled for next Monday will take place tomorrow instead.
These will be the first negotiations in 11 days.
I sincerly hope that L+M Corporation comes ready to offer real proposals.
I hope they have finally come to realize that the coalition between the nurses, techs, and community is real, lasting, and cannot be broken.
In the last 3 weeks New London has shown a solidarity seldom seen, a solidarity based on a concept that this hospital belongs to them, not L+M Corporation.
What began as a campaign slogan has been taken into their hearts.
I AM L+M!
The outpouring of support, in the form of community on the picket line, the donations of coffee, donuts, food, turkeys, toys, cooked meals, cash, and love is the outward sign of that solidarity.
It is not too late for the leadership of L+M Corporation to put the needs of the community first.
But make no mistake.
Should this be another false start,
Should L+M Corporation offer their same unacceptable proposals.
Should they continue their disrespect of the nurses, techs, and community,
then I have no doubt in my mind that this coalition will stand strong, in solidarity, knowing that Right is on their side.
How long will this coalition stand together?
One day longer than needed.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
In an incredible insult, he has asked the workers to vote yes on his "last, best offer" by Monday and he'll give them a $1000 bonus.
It's an insult because to the nurses and techs this isn't about money, it's about being able to continue to care for their patients.
To think that these dedicated, ethically driven health care workers could be bribed is the height of insult.
But, then again, this is common in the world the CEO lives in. In his world it's common to sell one's soul to the highest bidder.
Let's set the record straight.
The CEO has illegally moved work out of the hospital to a shell corporation and denied the experienced health care workers the opportunity to follow their patients. Furthermore, he has illegally Locked them out of their own hospital, in the cold, away from their patients, and stopped their paychecks and insurance, all just before the holidays.
All to move a few more dollars into his pocket because, apparently, $15,000/week isn't enough for him.
His offer of a bonus is a desperate attempt to divide the dedicated health care workers, who you can imagine, are under an incredible amount of stress.
It is time for the board of directors to stand up and do the right thing. Bruce Cummings is not L+M Hospital.
The health care workers, the community, the governor, senators, representatives, and mayor who are out on the picket line, are L+M Hospital.
Bruce must go.
Don't let the door hit you in the @#* on the way out.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
You've heard the phrase "angels" used in the past for health care workers.
The truth is, these people are angels.
They have made a decesion to devote their lives to the care of others.
The community has always looked upon them in this light.
The lockout continues and the hospital displays it antics and spreads it's lies, day after day after day.
The nurses and techs continue to stand outside, waiting to return to their hospital, their patients.
The temperatures drop lower every night, the rain and snow falls.
These "angles" are beginning to be seen in a new light, as
At first it was the more "manly" members of organised labor, the painters, carpenters, and other building trades, the Teamsters, the Medal trade workers of EB, and such.
They looked upon these "angels", LOCKED out in the cold, fighting for their patients against cooperated and personal greed, and they said,
"Not on my watch"
They carry signs, they march, they cook wonderful lunches, they buy toys and turkeys, they donate cash, all to show their concern for these "angles", these folk heros.
Then the community came, horns honking in support, dropping off coffee, donuts, food, toys for the children, and cash. The march and carry signs too.
They open up the Elks club to provide a meal for all and their families, feed their stomachs, but more, saying thank you.
Thank you for standing up against what is wrong, thank you for standing up for me.
I expected the working class community to join in, and they have in droves, but perhaps more moving to me is the doctors on their way home from the office and hospital and business people in suits.
They too need "heros", people standing up because it is the right thing to do.
The nurses and techs never sought this, they simply want to care for their patients.
But heros never seek to be heros.
They a regular people who see harm done to someone or something they care deeply about and they cannot ignor it any more.
They somehow muster up the courage, put aside personnal security, and take a stand.
I want to close with one example of how these heros are inspiring others.
We have at my hospital (Backus) about 23 people who missed the signup deadline and may have to go without health insurance for an entire year.
We are working on a solution, but the outcome is uncertain.
Yesterday one of the effected nurses sent me this email, in the mist of her troubles, she was thinking of others.
Hi John, can you sent me the site where donation can be made for those who where locked out?. thanks
Heros inspire us.
If, like my nurse, you'd like to help, you can donate at
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Down in New London, my friends are standing out in this cold, a hundred yards from their hospital.
One week ago their CEO locked them out.
What kind of man does that?
These dedicated nurses and techs stages a 4 day legal strike, to protest the fact that this man has engaged in a practice of firing their coworkers, moving their work to other buildings, and replacing the workers with new workers at below living wages and benefits, all while buying Westerly Hospital and pulling in $800,000/year in salary.
That's over $15,000 a week!
What kind of man?
The nurses and techs are ready to return to work, in fact, they tried and were threatened with arrest for trespass.
The are ready to meet 24/7 to continue to come to a resolution, and willing and wanting, to work while they do this, but he has agreed to just one session in the past week (after pressure from U S Senators, congressman, the Mayor, and every other area politician) and then he offered nothing new.
What kind of man?
The kind of man who does not believe that workers should have a voice, the ability to speak and advocate for themselves, their patients, and their community.
He wants to break them.
So, he locks them out in the cold, away from their work, their vocation, their patients.
He stands on one side.
The nurses and techs on the other side.
A classic showdown.
A line in the sand.
On the side of the nurses and techs, (you know, the 24 degree side), stands both U S senators and our Congressman, the Mayor, every area state senator and representative, the governor, secretary of state, comptroller, state attorney general, labor commissioner and every other state leader, social and religious leaders, millions of members of organized labor across this country, and most important, the people of the area.
On the other side stands the hospital CEO.
It's 24 degrees on the outside, but it's not cold and it's not lonely.
Friday, December 6, 2013
I would imagine the L+M CEO is keeping you updated on developments with the lockout.
I imagine you're wondering how 800 seemingly dedicated employees could force such a thing, and hoping they will come to their senses soon so this thing can end.
I imagine you're wondering how Governor Malloy, Senators Blumethal and Murphy, Congressman Courtney, Mayor Finizio, all the state senators and representatives and prominent members of the New London community could side with the workers.
Your probably thinking it's just a political stand they are taking.
However, you know some of these people.
Either you work along side them, or go to church with them, or serve on committees with them.
Could they all be wrong?
Could they all be politically motivated?
Could they all be fooled by "the union?"
The nurses and techs are ready to go back to work.
They tried to do that last Saturday.
They were told they would be arrested if they set foot on their community hospital property.
You have the power to end this lockout.
You can instruct the hospital CEO to bring the nurses and techs back while negotiations continue.
I urge you to keep an open mind, to talk with the people you know who are locked out or support those who are locked out.
Thank you for your service to the community and consideration of my thoughts,
John Brady RN
Backus Hospital Emergency Nurse
Backus Federation of Nurses
AFT Local 5149
Thursday, December 5, 2013
I learned of Nelson Mandela's passing while I walked the picket line today.
Truly one of the greatest leaders the world has ever seen, he spent years in prison because he would not stop speaking out for justice, and eventually, he would serve as presidnet of the same country that imprisoned him.
Was he ever scared? I'm sure he was.
Did he ever doubt he would be successful in the end? I would imagine he did.
But his integrity would not let him retreat from his beliefs or his mission, and the support of those who believed as he did sustained him.
A picket line is certainly not a prison, but it can be a place of doubt, anxiety and fear.
Today, our brothers from the Building Trades showed us that they are part of our support.
They showed up, set up, cooked up, and served up.
Lunch, that is.
In doing so, they fed not only our stomachs, they fed our souls.
Thanks brothers, you're the best!
Nelson would be proud.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
And whereas that same corporation has locked out its own workers
And whereas the governor, both US senators and our congressman, all area state senators and representatives, the mayor of New London, all of organized labor, and the southeastern Connecticut community stands with the L+M workers
And whereas we share a common responsibility to provide care for that community
Therefore be it resolved that the Backus Federation of Nurses,
Monday, December 2, 2013
This by itself would make a great blog, don't you think?
Andrew Rodriguez Very proud to call you my father right now. Its always refreshing when you get to meet people who are passionate about their beliefs and are willing to stand up and fight for their rights. God Bless Local 5123 and God Bless Locals 5049 & 5051!!!
In a nutshell, it's how I feel about the 3 true leaders of L+M
I had the privilege to be with them last winter when they visited Senators Murphy and Blumenthal and Congressman Courtney in Washington to tell them how the hospital CEO was firing workers when he moved work, instead of letting the workers follow the work.
I was there when they spoke before the Connecticut AFL-CIO convention and emphatically reached out for help.
I watched Harry give a presentation to AFT presidents about how this shell game could spread to other hospitals.
I was there when they presented their case to the Southeastern CT Labor Council, a council on which Lisa is Vice President.
I've watched as Stephanie has raised one finger, in front of state federation staff and officers and said, "Excuse me, I have the floor!"
I have also seen them in quiet times, when the concern for each and every individual member shown on their faces.
And I am sure I have only seen the tip of the iceberg.
They carry the weight of the welfare of 1600 L+M workers and their families.
When they say "brother and sister", they not only mean it, they feel it.
Their decisions and leadership ability will effect not only the outcome of the L+M Lockout, but the direction of AFT Connecticut Healthcare, and the Connecticut Labor Movement, and beyond.
Yet to watch them at a rally, you'd think this is just a "fun in the spotlight" moment for them.
It is not.
They understand the importance of the role they play.
They do so not out of any sense of personal gain.
They do it because they find themselves in this position, at this time, and inside them is something that screams....
"These are MY people, and you will respect them!"
They have become my good friends,
they are for sure, my mentors,
they are most definitely, my heroes.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
John Brady RN, President,
Friday, November 29, 2013
Our sister locals at L+M hospital went out on a 4 day unfair labor practice strike on Wednesday.
Then the hospital threatened to lock them out.
Wednesday meant picketing in the wind and rain.
Thursday (Thanksgiving) meant turkey, stuffing, pies, etc donated and dropped off at the picket line from people and restaurants of the New London area. I had my turkey meal in the RV with Lisa D'Arosca, president of the L+M RNs.
Lisa, and Stephanie Johnson, president of the LPN/Techs, have been living at the picket line. Stephanie went horse for a while from using the bullhorn.
Harry Rodriguez, president of the Healthcare Local, is barred from the picket line, because his local is in the middle of a contract, so Harry has been holding down the fort at the office.
Our professional staff from AFT Connecticut and AFT national have been unbelievable. We always rely on them for their expertise, and this week they have been putting in long, long hours.
Brother Ole actually fell asleep while standing up at the picket line in the middle of the night, in the cold. He awoke when he started to fall to the ground.
I've always considered healthcare work more as a vocation than a profession. Our professional organizers, field reps, and others approach their work in the same way.
Our elected leaders in Rocky Hill and Washington have been wonderful.
Melodie, Steve, and Jean have been on the line, and today we were joined by national president, Randi Weingarten.
I have been in email contact with Randi, AFT VP Francine Lawrence, AFT Healthcare Director Mary MacDonald, and NFN president Steve Rooney, all expressing support and pledging to involve others across the country.
I was asked to speak at the rally today.
Our political leaders are with us. Senator Blumenthal, Governor Malloy, Mayor Finizio, and too many state senators and representatives to mention have walked the line, Senator Blumenthal twice. Senator Murphy was unable to come, so he sent his top aide. Perhaps as important, are the phone calls they have made and the pressure they have exerted to force L+M back to the table.
Our brothers and sisters from so, so many other unions have joined us, as well as the entire community.
I'm proud that my people, from Backus, where among them.
All this support has forced the hospital back to the table tonight, hopefully in a more reasonable mood, and hopefully, they will reconsider their threat to lock out the nurses and techs when they return to work tomorrow night.
Where will it end?
Hopefully with a contract that gives reasonable job protection to the nurses and techs, that's all they want, to be able to return to work and, if that work is moved to an outside building, to follow that work.
No matter what happens, the community and the workers are standing together, in solidarity.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Saturday, November 23, 2013
As you begin what could be an historic week, I wish to try to express to you my admiration for your courage and leadership.
The battle you are fighting is not yours alone. It is a battle that you fight for every health care worker in our state, and for our patients and communities.
You are a remarkable group of people.
You have dedicated yourselves to the care of your fellow man.
You are there for your patients and community at their birth, their death, and every step in between.
You share with them tears of joy, and tears of sadness.
For you it is not just a job, not just a profession, it is truly a vocation.
It is clear that the corporation that runs your hospital is more interested in lining their pockets and breaking the law, than in giving you the respect you deserve.
However, please know that you have the respect of your community, the faith community, the political community, and the labor community.
In particular, know that you have my respect, the respect of the Backus Federation of Nurses, and the respect of the entire AFT family.
If it were not for you, Local 5149 would not exist.
You were there for us in our struggles, and we will be here for you.
Your leadership has been our mentors and supporters as we learn what it means to be a union, and your membership an example of what "solidarity" truly means.
You are an exceptionable group of people, lead by an exceptional group of leaders.
It is with pride that we will join you on the sidewalks of New London this week.
Backus federation of Nurses
AFT CT Local 5149
Friday, November 22, 2013
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Monday, November 18, 2013
Monday, November 11, 2013
Saturday, November 9, 2013
I know you have heard this over and over again but it has to be dealt with. I left work yesterday crying and on the verge of quitting. We had one call out and even without a call out we are in crisis mode. We can't even go pee. The most recent saying from our clinical coordinator is I know your not ready but another one is coming out for you. (from the OR) This is unacceptable. We have two people hired to start in December but not enough staff to train them appropriately. I know she, Judy, is going to expect us to take Pt's and train someone. This is unacceptable. We need travelers to help get us through and the OR gets them but we don't. Everyone is aware of our situation but nothing gets done. We have one traveler but its not enough and he is done late Nov. I need some push on this issue. Please help.
I responded by forwarding the email and the following to the hospital CEO, two vice presidents and the director of Quality for Hartford Healthcare.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Imagine all the changes in that time.
Imagine the struggles, the victories, the defeats, the disappointments, the sleepless nights, the extreme highs.
Now he retires.
Not to sit in the sun, but to serve his fellow man some more, working with the John J Driscoll United Labor Agency and the Elderly Housing Development and Operations Corporation.
You see, John is tough and gruff on the outside, but his heart beats true with the desire to help those who others beat down, the homeless, the hungry, the immigrant, the disenfranchised.
Last Friday night, John was in a packed room of like minded people. People to whom he is an example of how to live. Care for your fellow man and don't be afraid to fight for them.
The Governor, both U S Senators, all 5 U S Representatives, Ted Kennedy jr, Rich Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, and a house full of union presidents and leaders, gathered to honor John and celebrate what he stands for.
Many gave speeches, many cheers went up. but no cheer was louder than the cheer for the union hotel workers who were serving us diner. It was fitting because that's what John Olsen stands for, what he has dedicated his life to, what he has shown to us time and time again.
It can be summed up as this:
All work has meaning.
All people deserve respect.
Sunday, November 3, 2013
Our boys have done it, they are baseball's World Champions!
For someone who grew up with year after year of disappointment, year after year of good springs and summer fades, of 86 years of "the curse"..........
We could all die happy.
But wait, the baseball gods were not done.
Having lifted the curse, they would reward us again in 2007!
Surely we did not deserve this, we celebrated, but wondered, what price would the gods demand for this second gift?
The past few years have been tough in New England, indeed, for the entire northeast.
An October snowstorm left us without power for weeks, Hurricane Sandy, flooding in Vermont, Sandy Hook Elementary School, and this spring, the Boston bombings.
The rest of the country has not been spared. Hurricanes, oil spills, shootings, wildfires, and on and on.
With September 11 still fresh in our memories, no one could blame us if we felt a bit beaten down.
We had stood together after September 11, we had risen out of the ashes, we had new life.
The question became, could we do it again?
Maybe it took a city, a region, who had lived 86 years under "the curse" or maybe it was just time, but after the marathon, a new cry began.
It started slowly, quietly. It started as they all do, not with voice, but with action. As the firefighters and police had rushed in on September 11, so did they on April 15.
Soon it was a cry heard across the country, a cry that said, "You may knock us down, but we WILL get up!"
It became a cry of hope, not only for Boston, not only for New England or the northeast, but for all.
Boston Strong applied just as much to those fighting fire fires in the west, as bombings in the east. It applied as much to the children of Newtown as the runners and spectators of Boston.
In one of the greatest displays of solidarity, the great New York Yankees declared that they too, were "Boston Strong!"
The gods could not ignore us any longer. We had been tested. We had stood together and stood strong, Boston strong.
So, for the third time in my life, the Red Sox are World Champs, and this time, for the first time since 1918, the gods smiled on us and let us celebrate at Fenway.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Five years latter she would become an RN.
For 28 years she has served the people of the Norwich area at the bedside, healing them, comforting them.
She has mentored more young nurses than we can recall, she has gained the admiration and respect of her colleagues, the medical staff, and employees across the hospital.
Last week she called it a "shift" when she retired.
But Carol will never truly retire, there is no such thing as a "former nurse."
I came to know Carol in a special way a few years ago. She has become a teacher, a trusted adviser, and a close friend.
In Washington, she took me to the Smithsonian Museum of Fine Arts and as we went room to room, she patiently explained paintings, giving the history of the artist and the history of when and where the paintings were created.
At social and political gathering, she gracefully moves from person to person, equally at ease having conversations with senators, congresspeople, governors, and waitstaff. When she catches the eye of a legislator, a smile comes to their face.
When I reached out to her to serve as Local 5149's Political Liaison, she graciously accepted.
It is truly a gift having her in the role.
Time and again I turn to her for advise, or help, and she never lets me down.
Carol will no longer be at the bedside, for the first time in nearly 30 years, but she will continue to to serve her colleagues, her profession, the people of the Norwich area, and the labor movement as a retired member of Local 5149, our Political Liaison, and delegate to the AFL-CIO and our State and National Federations.
Sunday, October 20, 2013
L+M Corporation is at it again.
Monday, October 14, 2013
Friday, October 11, 2013
It means a politician's success is directly tied to his ability to understand and influence the issues of his constituents. Politicians must appeal to the everyday concerns of those who elect them into office.
It's important to remember this principle in this age when it seams a small group of people with a large amount of money, can so influence our politicians, that they go against what they know to be best for their constituents and the country and shut down the government.
Politicians are so worried about being challenged within their own political party, in a primary, that they fear doing what they know is right.
However, we should not despair. These small groups may have all the money, but we, the people, have all the votes.
Most elections are determined by the smallest of margins. Voter apathy is understandable, but it is our downfall.
If more like minded people registered and voted, entire elections could be swung.
In 2006 Joe Courtney defeated Rob Simmons for Connecticut's 2nd district congressional race by 94 votes.
There are 715,000 residents and 433,699 registered voters in the district.
242,360 people voted.
Had Simmons registered another 95 supporters, or had another 95 Simmons registered supporters voted, the outcome would have reversed.
Town and city races are determined on even less votes.
Our goal then, must be to increase the number of registered voters and convince them that not only does their vote matter, it is the only thing standing between democracy and our country being totally control by the very few and the very rich.
Sunday, October 6, 2013
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
What do you call a group of people who conspire to shut down the government?
Here in the US, we call them the Tea Party!
Don't blame the Republicans, they're being held hostage too.
The latest threat is over Obamacare.
Or is it?
Is the Tea Party really against Americans having affordable health care? Against 18-26 year olds having insurance? Against seniors being able to afford both medicine and food? Against low paid, hard working Americans who have no insurance through work, getting the opportunity to purchase it at affordable rates on the open market?
Who could be against that?
I think it's all a diversion. I think they have one goal.
Shutting down OUR government.
I haven't figured out why yet, but then again, how does one understand the logic of a terrorist?
I do think that we must all band together, Democrats, Republicans, Green Party, Libertarians, Independents, and everybody else, to tell them that the Tea Party is over, we're taking our country back!
This is the greatest country in the world. We've faced terrorist before and we'll face them again. We must recognise them for what they are, and face them together.
We must say to them, "This is my country, my government, and it is open for business, and will not be held hostage. You have the right to disagree, and I will defend that right to the death, but you do not have the right to shut us down. This is the United States Government, "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."
"Press one, but there are no other options."
Friday, September 27, 2013
I have been to Washington several times, Baltimore, and will soon be in Chicago and San Diego.
I have met the Governor and our US and State Senators and Representative several times, all kinds of Organized Labor Giants and Community Leaders.
I have spoken before National Labor Relations Board and the AFL-CIO in Washington, at State AFT and AFL-CIO Conventions and to the National Federation of Nurses.
Sometimes I feel like maybe I've been mistaken for someone else.
All that being said, I was not expecting what came yesterday.
I have been at the Connecticut AFL-CIO Convention the last three days and often, President John Olsen, himself a labor giant, will pause to recognize someone in the hall. So yesterday, he paused, recognized Ted Kennedy, and mentioned that he would say a few words at the upcoming fundraising reception for the United Labor Agency, which meets the human service needs of workers and their families.
I thought, "boy he's got a famous name."
Shortly after that, I was standing at the reception with AFT CT President Melodie Peters and VP Steve McKeever, when this Ted Kennedy came by to say hello.
Melodie asked him, "Do you know John Brady, he represents the registered nurses of Backus Hospital?"
"Nice to meet you John," he said, we shook hands and he asked about the hospital and who we represent both at Backus and elsewhere.
We spoke for several minutes, then he moved on to speak with others.
I made some silly comment to Melodie and Steve about famous names, because one of my sons is named Tom Brady.
When it came time for Ted Kennedy to speak, John Olsen spoke about his family and I suddenly realized.
I MET TED KENNEDY Jr!
THE Ted Kennedy!
You have to understand, going up in an Irish Catholic family in the 60s, the Church hierarchy was Jesus, the Pope, and the Kennedys, and not necessarily in that order.
I was so excited that I called my wife who said, "That's nice, hey, could you go to Stop and Shop on the way home?"
I represent the greatest group of people in the world, people who give their heart and soul every day in the care of others.
As a result, it has opened up a world of new experiences, but my better half has a way of reminding me of my place.
It's the place of all of us really.
Me, you, or a Kennedy, our place is to be of service to each other.