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OP-ED: Court’s in Session: Will Labor Please Rise!

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The task in front of us that we can’t fail at: Stopping the anti-union, anti-labor judiciary being put in place by an administration that consistently puts Corporate America first and working people last. And that administration and this Congress throws our middle-class existence, and all working people, into more and more peril with each new federal judge appointed.

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In early 2018, the conservative stacked Supreme Court ruled in the Janus decision that public sector union fees violate non-member’s First Amendment rights, a decision made to weaken public sector bargaining rights. (Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)

By Ray Curry, UAW Secretary-Treasurer

This November, we’re going to have to do some hard work to make sure that going off to work every day means a decent living for our families.

That is, if your job pays your bills, provides you and your family with healthcare, paid sick leave, and paid time off; if it guarantees a voice for your rights and job safety that will be heard — if it works for you — you are going to have to go at it harder than ever to keep it that way. And if you’re one of the millions of hard-working Americans who aren’t making a living wage, have little or no healthcare or job protections, the stakes are even higher.

And tragically, we’re seeing in this unprecedented global health crisis what happens to working people who don’t have unions to stand up for them.

But we have an opportunity to stand together and make our voices heard. Our work in this election begins with knowing what you are voting for, what’s at stake, and then voting accordingly up and down the ballot.

The power behind the power

The task in front of us that we can’t fail at: Stopping the anti-union, anti-labor judiciary being put in place by an administration that consistently puts Corporate America first and working people last. And that administration and this Congress throws our middle-class existence, and all working people, into more and more peril with each new federal judge appointed.

Here is a thumbnail of what’s been going on. The last three years have been disastrous for working families, and by extension, our civil and human rights. More than 191 federal judges appointed (a record), and two Supreme Court Justices, all anti-union, anti- collective bargaining, slotted in to undermine labor whenever and wherever they get the chance. Most damaging are the appointments to the courts of appeal, the final say in most federal cases. In less than three years, 50 have been named to the bench.

These appointees across the judiciary have drawn three times more “no” votes in the Senate during their confirmation hearings than all confirmed judges in the 20th century combined.

But to no avail. A number of the judges were named before they had received a rating from the American Bar Association, only about 40% previously served as a judge. Three were deemed unqualified. Despite these disturbing facts, they were confirmed. These appointments, qualified or unqualified, unfit or untested alike, had one thing in common: a conservative agenda that backs a pro-corporate, anti-labor platform.

And all these judges align perfectly with the current National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the government agency that enforces labor law as it relates to collective bargaining and unfair labor practice charges. This NLRB has been stacked with judges who have extremely anti-labor, anti-union records and consequently the agency has systematically rolled back workers’ rights to form unions or, in some instances, take part in their protected right to collectively bargain with their employers, hurting workers, their communities, and the economy itself.

Just plain hostile to workers

And they align just as perfectly with the administration’s nomination of Eugene Scalia for Secretary of Labor. Scalia, son of the late conservative Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, was confirmed by the Senate last September. It is certainly fair to say that our new Secretary of Labor is utterly hostile to unions and labor.

The younger Scalia has spent a career in corporate law fighting for the interests of companies over workers, with clients ranging from Walmart to the major Wall Street banks seeking to avoid and evade post-crisis regulations. He has often been described this way by so many members of labor: “Eugene Scalia has spent his entire career making life more difficult and dangerous for working people. We opposed him in 2002 for Solicitor of Labor based on his anti-worker record, and his disdain for working people has worsened, not improved. His extreme views are in direct conflict with what America deserves from a secretary of labor.”

All of this at a time in our history when unions are viewed very favorably according to recent PEW Research findings, Business Insider national polling and a Gallup poll which said union support is at a five-decade high. Still, these anti-labor judges and justices have gone about their unpopular business with zeal.

In early 2018, the conservative stacked Supreme Court ruled in the Janus decision that public sector union fees violate non-member’s First Amendment rights, a decision made to weaken public sector bargaining rights. That same year, in the Reese vs. CNH case, a Supreme Court decision allowed an employer to unilaterally drop healthcare for retirees, a contract provision guaranteed them! The list goes on and on.

And while the Supreme Court gets the attention, it’s the lower courts that decide the bulk of the cases. For example, the now more conservative federal appeals court brought new life to executive orders that could make firing employees and weakening their union representation easier for federal agencies.

So, let’s get to work, workers. Take a look at the type of leaders we have that would say one thing to get elected and then do the exact opposite; who would put corporate dollars and stock gains ahead of the people who make it all possible.

Please do your homework. If you go off to work for a living every day, make sure you know who will vote on your side — and who won’t.

Together we can reverse a whole lot of anti-labor institutions and can start building back a justice system for all, one that safeguards and represents the backbone of this country, not just the wallets of the few.

#NNPA BlackPress

COMMENTARY: Coach Saban, Shut Up and Coach

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Jackson State will continue to get its fair share of 5-Star recruits. Coach Prime and all HBCUs can offer an experience that Alabama certainly can’t. It’s nothing like an HBCU experience. This is just the beginning. We will continue to see 5-Star Black athletes signing with HBCUs.
The post COMMENTARY: Coach Saban, Shut Up and Coach first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Burl “The Coach” Jones, Sports Editor, Houston Forward Times

Recently, Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban made a statement that Texas A&M bought every player they signed with NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) deals.

Alabama came in second in recruiting this year. That has rarely happened since Saban stepped on campus at Alabama. He also stated that Jackson State University, an HBCU coached by Deion Sanders, signed the #1 recruit in the country to a $1 million NIL deal.

The NIL phenomenon was created in June 2021 by the NCAA. This allows athletes to be paid for the use of their name, image, and likeness. Previously, the NCAA made billions in revenue off the backs of college athletes. With the advent of the NIL, expect a shift in the landscape of college football recruiting.

Schools like Texas A&M, Texas, and Oklahoma, have very rich boosters and alumni who have access to millions. They will come up with very creative ways to offer lucrative NIL deals to 5-star recruits. This apparently doesn’t sit well with Coach Saban, who is used to having his way, and getting most of the 5-Star recruits to sign with Alabama.

This will definitely level the playing field and gives schools like Texas A&M, that hasn’t won a National Championship in decades, a chance to recruit 5-Star athletes on a national level and could eventually lead to them winning a National Championship in the near future.

At least that’s what they hope in College Station.

As far as Coach Saban’s statement about Jackson State signing the #1 recruit in the country to a $1 million NIL deal is concerned, that was quickly debunked by Coach Prime, who immediately tweeted that he will address that lie. He followed that up with this statement:

“I haven’t talked to Coach Saban. I’m sure he tried to call. We need to talk publicly- not privately. What you said was public, that doesn’t require a private conversation. Let’s talk publicly and let everybody hear the conversation.”

Coach Saban is speaking from a place of privilege and bigotry. He is used to having his way and getting the players he wants. How dare a little old HBCU such as Jackson State get the #1 recruit in the country? It’s a slap in the face to all HBCUs to insist that they must pay a Black kid to attend an HBCU.

Paying recruits is certainly not new; it has been going on for years.

Former Houston Texan Travis Johnson, who was a 5-Star recruit, recently stated that Alabama offered him six figures in 2000 when he was being recruited.

“Y’all were the NIL before the NIL,” he said.

Jackson State will continue to get its fair share of 5-Star recruits. Coach Prime and all HBCUs can offer an experience that Alabama certainly can’t. It’s nothing like an HBCU experience. This is just the beginning. We will continue to see 5-Star Black athletes signing with HBCUs.

Coach Saban needs to be concerned about that pipeline that he had in Texas, getting those 5-Star recruits to leave the state. That oil money in Texas will be keeping those boys at home. Texas and Oklahoma will be joining the SEC in a few years and that will also influence Saban’s ability to recruit in Texas.

With all those factors coming into play, here is a bit of advice Coach Sabin:

SHUT UP AND COACH!!

“I’m just Telling It Like It Is!!”

The post COMMENTARY: Coach Saban, Shut Up and Coach first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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COMMENTARY: Racism Rears Its Ugly Head in the Buffalo Shootings

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Racial tragedy struck Buffalo, New York, on May 14th. Hate came up from the ground and reared its inhumane and immoral head. Ten Black people were murdered by a White man who hated Black people. It’s that simple and that sad. Payton S. Gendron, 18 years old, was the shooter. He also injured 3 people as well during this shooting spree.
The post COMMENTARY: Racism Rears Its Ugly Head in the Buffalo Shootings first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By James B. Ewers Jr. Ed.D., Houston Forward Times

Racism is a longstanding social illness in the United States of America. Seemingly, there is no cure for it.

It has been with us for as long as I can remember. The result of it has created heartache and heartbreak.

Lives have been lost and it has left the stain of disgrace on this country. Accomplishments, it could be argued, are sometimes overshadowed by our blatant disregard for some members of our beloved community.

I know for sure that racism will be around for as long as I live. It has been a part of my life experiences.

Unfortunately, and I say this with no pride, I have witnessed racism up close and personal.

I have been around long enough to watch the many levels of racism that exist in this country.

For example, we have had educational racism. Segregated schools were the norm until the case, Brown versus the Board of Education of Topeka ended it.

Did that stop us from getting an education?

The answer is a resounding no!

Black colleges, now called Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), were founded in order that higher education was afforded to African Americans.

At this moment, HBCUs are the hottest and most talked about educational venue in the land.

Everybody wants to attend an HBCU. I am a graduate of an HBCU (Johnson C. Smith University), and I know the power and influence they have.

The right to vote has always been problematic for African Americans. It is a fundamental right for all Americans, according to the Founding Fathers.

The problem is that the ‘current fathers’ don’t see it that way.

Will that stop us?

The answer is another resounding no!

African Americans are now voting in record numbers and that trend will continue.

There are states in this union that are creating trumped-up rules to keep us from exercising our privilege at the polls.

Some in this country have taken racism below ground zero. There are people in our states who hate Black people and want to kill us.

That is a powerful statement, yet it is factual and true.

Interestingly, there are citizens who believe the opposite. I suspect their experiences are different, and they live in an almost contactless America.

If you are one of those people, pay close attention now.

Racial tragedy struck Buffalo, New York, on May 14th.

Hate came up from the ground and reared its inhumane and immoral head.

Ten Black people were murdered by a White man who hated Black people.

It’s that simple and that sad.

Payton S. Gendron, 18 years old, was the shooter. He also injured 3 people as well during this shooting spree.

The victims were assaulted at a Tops Friendly Markets store and the victims ranged in ages from 20-86.

This crime of hate is unthinkable and was done with malicious intent.

The killer was not a Buffalo resident. He drove approximately 200 miles from Conklin, New York, to commit this heinous crime.

Gendron had already scouted out the place for his crime. He knew that many African Americans shopped at that location. That is sick beyond words.

According to reports, Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said, “We found some things that show he was here in early March, and then again, we know he was here on Friday, basically doing reconnaissance on the area.”

Gramaglia added, “He was in the store, both on Friday and Saturday.”

These statements were made by him to CNN’s Erin Burnett.

Payton S. Gendron surrendered to police after this life-altering atrocity.

America, where are we headed? Only time will tell.

The post Racism Rears Its Ugly Head in the Buffalo Shootings appeared first on Houston Forward Times.

The post COMMENTARY: Racism Rears Its Ugly Head in the Buffalo Shootings first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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American Petroleum Institute Lays Out Solutions to Rising Gas Prices

NNPA NEWSWIRE — A study of fact sheets provided by the American Petroleum Institute suggests that the complicated answer includes more production in America, which could add more supply. “More U.S. supply means relief for the global market,” Lem Smith, API’s vice president for Federal Relations, wrote in an op-ed.
The post American Petroleum Institute Lays Out Solutions to Rising Gas Prices first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

The average price for a gallon of gasoline has hit record numbers in Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

This week prices rose nationally by four cents, and consumers wondered why the cost is so high.

A study of fact sheets provided by the American Petroleum Institute suggests that the complicated answer includes more production in America, which could add more supply. “More U.S. supply means relief for the global market,” Lem Smith, API’s vice president for Federal Relations, wrote in an op-ed.

“America has an abundance of resources right under our feet, and policymakers should send a clear message that America is open for energy investment,” Smith declared.

API noted that gasoline prices are determined by the supply and demand of crude oil and expenses for refining, distribution, retailing, and taxation. Those fundamental market realities drive prices at the pump, officials stated.

The main components of retail gasoline prices are the cost of crude oil, taxes, refining costs, and distribution and marketing costs, API officials stated.

Of those, the price of crude oil has the most significant impact – accounting for 56 percent of the cost.

“Because of this, changes in the price reflect the global cost of crude oil, which is influenced by current conditions and expectations of consumer demand, supply, inventories, geopolitical events, and other factors, generally have an effect on pump prices,” the organization stated in a fact sheet.

Further, federal, state, and local governments levy various taxes in fees on transportation fuels.

The nationwide average tax on gasoline is 57.09 cents per gallon, including a federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon and state-level taxes that range from 68.15 cents per gallon in California and 15.13 cents per gallon in Alaska.

API President and CEO Mike Sommers recently discussed the critical importance of American energy leadership “at a time of geopolitical volatility and rising energy costs around the world.”

Sommers urged policymakers to advance U.S. natural gas and oil production to support stability in global energy markets and ensure access to affordable, reliable energy for American consumers and our allies overseas.

“Most everyone knows that the world needs oil and natural gas in a big way and will for decades or more to come; the only question is where that oil and gas is going to come from,” Sommers remarked.

“As much as ever, we need to think hard about that economic truth and our energy future. That means recognizing energy from natural gas and oil as the critical strategic asset it is to America.”

“We can’t treat oil and natural gas as a kind of switch that is turned on or off to suit the moment,” Sommers continued.

“Production and delivery don’t work that way. Yet the overriding policy lately has been to cancel pipelines, block permits and deny leases – all things that discourage investment.

“As more Americans face the consequences of bad policy, the elements of good policy become that much more apparent and desired. We have an opportunity together to re-center the energy discussion with basic realities and good common sense as our starting point.”

Sommers called on the administration and Congress to develop a new five-year offshore leasing program; hold onshore leases on federal lands per the Mineral Leasing Act; approve LNG export applications and allow the approval of exports to non-free-trade-agreement nations, and craft transparent, consistent permitting regulations to enable the development of vital energy infrastructure.

The U.S. has pledged to increase LNG exports to Europe by 65 percent over the next six years.

How quickly could U.S. oil producers scale up production to put downward pressure on domestic gasoline costs?

What could the federal government do to promote that production?

API officials said it begins with access to resources, advancing infrastructure, and enabling – rather than deterring – the industry’s financing.

“Importantly, financial markets have become less hospitable to the natural gas and oil industry partly because of the Biden administration’s positions, policies, and signals,” API officials asserted.

“Those who have capital may be reluctant to invest in long-lived energy assets in such a climate, and a relatively fixed pool of cash flows that could be re-invested by industry have been increasingly spread thin.”

API listed four “concrete actions” the organization believes the Biden-Harris administration could immediately take to support American production.

They include conducting federal lease sales, completing a new five-year program for federal offshore leasing, supporting energy infrastructure, and reopening access to Alaska.

“The administration should reinstate the leases it suspended in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the permit development it approved in the National Petroleum Reserve,” API officials wrote.

“These were permitted with stringent environmental standards and could prove a significant source of domestic production over time.”

The post American Petroleum Institute Lays Out Solutions to Rising Gas Prices first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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