Luria’s rhetoric doesn’t add up

Source: US National Republican Congressional Committee

The following text contains opinion that is not, or not necessarily, that of MIL-OSI –

Elaine Luria just tweeted that the US needs to be prepared to combat China.

And yesterday at an event she warned that China is building fleets faster than we are.

But Luria praised Biden’s budget which multiple media outlets say will hurt the Navy’s ability to combat China.

If Luria is so concerned about our ability to combat China why is she praising a budget that does the exact opposite?

House Dems: We’re screwed

Source: US National Republican Congressional Committee

The following text contains opinion that is not, or not necessarily, that of MIL-OSI –

House Democrats have a unified message for August Recess: “We’re screwed!”

CNN reports that House Democrats are anticipating “deep losses if they don’t sharpen their message and retool their strategy in the battle for control of the chamber in next year’s midterms.” 

Here’s what they’re saying: 

DCCC Chairman Sean Patrick Maloney: “If the election were held today, we would lose.” 

Moderate (there’s no such thing) Democrat: “There’s lot of anxiety about doing more tax and spending.” 

Vulnerable House Democrat: “There is a lot of anxiety.” 

Debbie Dingell: “We’re not breaking through.”

Democrat member: “The polling looked pretty dismal to me.”  

Hundreds of IAM Local 701 Mechanics Strike for Fair Contract in Chicagoland

Source: US GOIAM Union

About 800 Chicago-area auto mechanics went on strike this week. The mechanics, represented by IAM Automobile Mechanics Local 701, recently rejected a proposed labor contract from the Chicago New Car Dealer Committee (NCDC) that they say stopped short of key demands on issues like pay, health insurance and technician training.

The mechanics of 56 new car dealerships voted on Aug. 1 to reject the proposed labor contract by 97 percent and voted by 99 percent to go on strike. The proposed deal was to replace the four-year collective bargaining agreement that expired on July 31.  

Click here to view list of dealerships that are on strike.

Local 701 members voiced issues with the proposed contract failing to address issues such as the NCDC seeking to make it easier to reduce a journeyman’s weekly guaranteed pay, a most favored nation’s clause that completely undermines the collective bargaining process and an unwillingness to pay health insurance rates set by the Health & Welfare Fund’s Board of Trustees. The dealership committee’s proposal also failed to support additional training to lead to more qualified technicians and efforts to improve the retirement savings plans.  

“The NCDC had plenty of opportunities to propose a strong labor contract with provisions that truly illustrate a commitment to attracting and training qualified mechanics. These technicians play a very important role in keeping our region moving, and unfortunately NCDC has failed to see that,” said IAM Local 701 Directing Business Representative Sam Cicinelli. “A strike is always a last resort and we do not take such actions lightly. We stand strong with our demand for a fair contract that values retaining and expanding the workforce. The NCDC must see that.”

“IAM Local 701 members have spoken. These hard-working mechanics deserve the respect of a strong labor contract that shows the importance of their work,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Steve Galloway. “I am proud of these members. They’re holding the line and demanding respect on the job, which includes fair wages and the training needed to keep Local 701 auto mechanics at the top of their craft.”

The NCDC and Local 701 have been negotiating for a new agreement since May.

This marks the latest strike as a result of the NCDC failing to propose strong contract language for Local 701 members. The expired four-year labor contract ended a nearly two-month strike in 2017.

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IAM Reopens Winpisinger Education and Technology Center to In-Person Classes

Source: US GOIAM Union

With COVID-19 protocols in place, the IAM reopened its classrooms this week at the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center in Hollywood, MD, to participants resuming in-person programs for the first time since March 2020. The nearly two dozen IAM members are attending Leadership 1.

“Our instructors and members quickly and successfully adapted to an online learning environment, but there’s nothing like face-to-face worker education to build and strengthen relationships among our participants,” said Winpisinger Center Director Chris Wagoner. These experiences foster a lifelong investment in learning, build solidarity, and help sustain collective action efforts among members, officers, activists and staff. We take great pride in welcoming our members back to their facility.” 

WATCH: Winpisinger Center Ready to Reopen

“We are extremely excited to welcome members back to the Winpisinger Center,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “Education has always been essential to the mission of the Machinists Union, and no facility does it better than the William W. Winpisinger Center, but our focus is also on the health and safety of our members to ensure a safe learning environment for participants and staff”

Because the safety of member participants and staff is of the utmost importance, the W3 Center will return with a phased reopening schedule and a strict set of protocols and procedures. The W3 Center will continuously reassess all safety measures in accordance with CDC, state and local guidelines—and where appropriate, make necessary changes.

  • All participants are required to provide proof of vaccination prior to purchase of travel to attend class.
  • All participants will be required to mask and socially distance while at the W3 Center.
  • All W3 Center employees are fully vaccinated.
  • Leadership programs are limited to 50 percent enrollment.
  • Guest rooms will not exceed 50 percent capacity. Each will be cleaned and sanitized daily and will not be occupied for one week after use.
  • Classrooms and dining room will be cleaned and sanitized throughout each day, and set up to allow for social distancing.
  • Participants will not be allowed to bring guests at this time.
  • The W3 Center will carefully and fully follow CDC recommendations and fully comply with State of Maryland laws and the St. Mary’s County Department of Health guidelines.

Registration is currently open for leadership and staff programs. The 2021 calendar is now available online.

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Washington State District 751 Hospice Workers Rally for First Contract

Source: US GOIAM Union

Solidarity with CHI hospice workers was alive and well on Monday, June 7th. More than 100 people turned out on short notice to ensure these dedicated workers know they are not alone in their struggle for fairness from their employer. Participants included Union Stewards, RN’s from St. Joseph and other medical facilities, families of patients who have utilized their outstanding hospice care, and other concerned citizens.

The rally was held across the street from St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma because CHI Company negotiators work in that building. It would have been hard to miss the chanting crowd and compelling speeches. Our Union negotiating committee organized the rally to show CHI leadership these workers are united and strong in their conviction to provide better patient care after CHI leadership decisions continue to negatively impact their very important work.

“The work performed by these members is invaluable to the communities that they serve,” said Western Territory General Vice President Gary R. Allen. “CHI withholding a fair contract from workers who put their heart and their soul into the care of their patients is despicable. I am heartened by these scenes of solidarity in holding the company accountable.”                            

You can show your support by signing our online petition that will be presented to CHI so they understand that others in the community are watching and support these workers in their struggle for a fair contract.

Those attending the rally were energized by the positive atmosphere (see rally video on YouTube). CHI Franciscan Hospice Master Social Workers (MSW), Bereavement Counselors, Chaplains and RN’s voted for IAM representation to gain a voice and have a say in delivering top-notch, end of life patient care. Since voting for IAM representation, this group has selected and trained their negotiating committees, formulated and delivered proposals, and pushed to have emergent issues addressed, as they move toward securing a first collective bargaining agreement that lays a strong foundation for the future.

By gathering the CHI Hospice Workers together (who typically treat patients in their home and are rarely together), they drew strength from their collective power, gained inspiration from speaking with one voice and understood they are not alone and have an army of Machinists supporting their efforts and standing by to help however they are needed.

Speakers at the rally included a Master Social Worker, Bereavement Counselor and RN from our Union Negotiating Committee Merrillee Royse, Peggy McEntee and Gina Gwerder, as well as union leaders District 751 President Jon Holden, Chief of Staff Jason Chan, and Business Rep/Lead Negotiator Patrick Bertucci.

The messages crafted by the negotiating committee on signs emphasized these workers are not focused on wages and benefits, but patient care is their top issue. Signs read: Dignity Over Dollar$; United for Positive Change; Empower Us, Don’t Prevent Us; CHI – Do the Right Thing! nd We Put Patients First – Does CHI Hospice?

“What we do is not measured in productivity, what we do is part of humanity. In order for us to give to our patients and their families, all that we do, we have to be supported,” said Merillee Royse, who is a Master Social Worker serving on the bargaining committee.

“We came here because we knew this was the hospice that provided the best care throughout the Pacific Northwest. In the last five years, we have slowly been stripped of our hospice – what it means, what it provides to our families and how they treat us as employees. We are standing together to change that,” said Gina Gwerder, a hospice RN who is a member of the bargaining committee.

Issues that have prompted lengthy discussion at the bargaining table focus on patient care, the reputation of the organization, management decisions that make it harder to do this work, patient scheduling, the ill-advised Home Care Home Base system, autonomy in routing patients throughout the workday, delays in admitting and other failures like outsourcing decisions to other organizations rather than trusting the workers. Basically, we are trying to save CHI from more bad decisions that lower patient care.

Patrick Bertucci, who is lead negotiator on the Union side, noted “Your Union committee members are doing a fantastic job of bringing your issues to the table. They understand how important your work is, patients understand how important your work is, the community understands how important your work is… we need CHI to understand how important your work is. They need to understand that their reputation is suffering, patient care is suffering because of their changes and decisions… a tablet system that doesn’t work, excessive caseloads, poor communication, lack of managers… That is why we are here! CHI I hope you are listening.”

“The patients and families you support deserve better. You and your co-workers deserve better. And we are going to stand together and accomplish this together. Today you are sending a strong message that you deserve a fair contract that recognizes your expertise and dedication to the patients you serve and the organization you work for,” said IAM District 751 President Jon Holden. “We will achieve a first contract – one that improves your lives, as you improve the lives of the patients in your care.”

Again, a special thanks to our Union negotiating committee who has been pushing hard to get issues addressed at the bargaining table and deal with emergent issues impacting their work. Together, we will succeed.

Read how IAM District 751 is ensuring justice on the job.

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New Appointments for the IAM Eastern Territory

Source: US GOIAM Union

International President Robert Martinez Jr. has appointed Grand Lodge Representative Dave Sullivan to serve as the Chief of Staff of the Eastern Territory. In addition, he has appointed Education Representative Lorie Wilson, Communications Representative Andrew Hounshell, and District 4 Directing Business Representative George Edwards as Special Representatives assigned to the Eastern Territory.

“I am very excited to make these appointments,” said Martinez. “Combined, the four of them bring over 120 years of union experience to the Eastern Territory staff. Their experience, knowledge and expertise are great additions and IAM members are going to benefit from that.”

“I’m looking forward serving the membership of the IAM and growing the Eastern Territory, the addition of this group will help do just that,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President Brian Bryant. “They all bring a great wealth of experience and their own unique skillsets will greatly benefit our membership.”

Sullivan joined the Grand Lodge Eastern Territory Staff in 2016 as a Special Representative, progressing to the position of Grand Lodge Representative. A 33-year IAM member, he initially joined the Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers of America (IUMSWA) as a shipbuilder at Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME in 1986.

After the IUMSWA merged with the IAM in 1988, Sullivan served as a Shop Steward, Local Lodge Officer and on many committees at IAM Local S6 before joining the District 4 staff as a Business Representative representing Region 1 in New England. He later become the Assistant Directing Business Representative of District 4 before becoming Directing Business Representative in April 2014. Sullivan’s appointment was effective July 1, 2021.

Wilson has served as an Education Representative at the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center since February 2020. She began her career as a Plastic Operator at OSRAM Sylvania in 1991 and over time advanced to become a Plastics Quality Technician where she inspected plastic automotive components using a variety of sophisticated measuring devices.

Wilson was elected as Vice President of Local 993 in 2002, and then served as President of her Local from 2003 until 2014. In 2014, she became a Business Representative for District 65. As a Business Representative, she was responsible for organizing, negotiating, educating and servicing the membership in Local Lodges in New York and Pennsylvania. Wilson represented members in the automotive, healthcare and manufacturing sectors. Wilson’s appointment was effective June 30, 2021.

Hounshell joined the IAM communications staff in January 2016 as a Communications Representative. He has been an IAM member since 2006 when IAM Local 1943 was chartered following an organizing win of 2,700 locked out employees at AK Steel in Middletown, OH.

Hounshell has been active in the labor movement for over 20 years, serving in many different capacities such as Local 1943 Vice President, communicator, delegate to the Ohio State Council of Machinists, committeeman, EAP chairman, steward and grievanceman. 

He is a U.S. Army veteran who graduated cum laude with an associate’s degree in arts from Miami University in Ohio and holds a bachelor’s of arts in labor studies from the National Labor College. Hounshell’s appointment is effective August 1, 2021.

Edwards served as the District 4 Assistant Directing Business Representative since January 2015 before being promoted to Directing Business Representative in 2021. He has over 30 years of experience in the labor movement.

In 1987, he started at Local S6 at Bath Iron works in Bath, ME as a tinsmith. Since 1990, Edwards held various positions at the local from Officer to General Steward until January 2013 when he became a District 4 Business Representative. Edward’s appointment is effective August 1, 2021.

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Two New Reference Materials Assist Supplement Makers with Measurements of Isoflavones in Kudzu

Source: US Government research organizations

Kudzu, a member of the pea family native to East Asia and considered an invasive weed in the American South, has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine and is widely available as a supplement with alleged benefits for reducing inflammation and symptoms of menopause. Kudzu is rich in isoflavones, a sub-class of flavanols, and—like cocoa—is the subject of clinical trials.
The Food and Drug Administration has issued current good manufacturing practices that require manufacturers to characterize both the chemical composition of ingredients (that is, of the raw materials such as roots and leaves), and finished products. These kudzu reference materials were developed in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Substances. The two NIST kudzu reference materials will enable makers of dietary supplements to check their analytical methods for measuring isoflavones in both their raw ingredients and the finished products, thus assuring that their product labels are accurate. They can also be used by researchers conducting clinical trials so that they can validate the measurements of isoflavone amounts that they are giving to study participants.

The companion kudzu reference materials, one powder made from the rhizome, or root, of kudzu and the other made of a more concentrated extract, are derived from a batch of kudzu that a botanist analyzed to confirm that it is authentic Pueraria montana var. lobata, one of the many varieties and species of kudzu. Partial DNA sequences are also available.

In addition to values for the isoflavones puerarin, daidzin, and daidzein, the NIST kudzu reference materials were analyzed for the elements arsenic, cadmium, and lead, which are of concern when ingested by humans in high enough amounts. SRM 3268 also has assigned values for selenium, which is not available in RM 8650. These reference materials can also be used to validate manufacturer’s analytical methods for measuring these elements in their products. A unit of RM 8650 consists of five packets, each containing approximately 3 grams of kudzu rhizome powder that can be stored at room temperature.

A unit of SRM 3268 consists of five packets, each containing approximately 1 grams of kudzu extract powder that can be stored at room temperature.

PA voters voice concern about inflation

Source: US National Republican Congressional Committee

The following text contains opinion that is not, or not necessarily, that of MIL-OSI –

Pennsylvania Democrats had fair warning: this August recess was going to be a tough one attempting to sell their socialist agenda back home in their districts.

But anyone trying to chalk up inflation concerns as a Republican talking point might want to take a listen to this NPR report.

In Matt Cartwright’s district, voters across the political spectrum are worried about the rising prices of everything from gas to groceries to health care costs.

NRCC Comment: “Pennsylvania voters know they’re paying more for everyday goods and they know that Democrats are responsible for those rising costs. Attempting to dismiss inflation concerns rather than solve the problem will cost Pennsylvania Democrats their jobs in 2022.” – NRCC Spokeswoman Samantha Bullock

Administrator Samantha Power’s Remarks at YAZDA Global NGO: The 7th Annual Commemoration of the Yazidi Genocide

Source: USAID

Good morning––and good afternoon to all those watching around the world. I consider it a great honor to address the Yazda community and the survivors and family members who are gathered today, who fought so hard to protect the Yazidi people, document the atrocities they suffered at the hands of ISIS, and help find justice and closure. 

Though seven years have passed since the start of the Yazidi genocide, I imagine that the memories of those horrors are still fresh, that the ache for lost loved ones will not dull, and that the echoes of those crying out in pain and crying out for justice will not quiet. I can’t know what the trauma of this day, in particular, must bring. But I do know that the story of the Yazidi people is one that stretches back centuries, proud and determined to honor their faith and celebrate their culture. 

And I know that just as it is marked by centuries of persecution and dozens of ferman—of which this genocide is only the latest—their true narrative, your true narrative, is not one of victimhood. It is one of resilience. Of a people persevering in the presence of hate, standing strong when faced with evil, and fighting, always, for peace and freedom.

I also know that healing will only be found through justice, accountability, and the ability to return to your homelands. Just one week ago, I had the privilege to join Yazda’s sister organization, Nadia’s Initiative, and hear directly from Nadia Murad—someone whose grace and strength I have admired since we first met when she addressed the United Nations six years ago. 

Nadia spoke of a splintered Yazidi community––splintered physically and psychologically from seven years of reliving the atrocities. Seven years of enduring grief, coping with mental and physical scars, wondering which mass grave might hold your loved ones’ remains. Seven years of life spent adrift from one’s homeland, from your homeland, from Sinjar.

Today, some survivors, supported by organizations like Yazda and Nadia’s Initiative, and by USAID, the Agency I have the privilege to run, have begun to return and rebuild. Together, we have established health clinics and refurbished hospitals, we’ve dug wells and irrigation ditches, and helped the local population respond to COVID-19 and build classrooms. 

But while 150,000 Yazidis have returned to Sinjar, nearly 300,000 remain displaced, many in tent camps for displaced peoples. There are children who have been born in these camps, some of whom are now seven years old. They have never seen Mt. Sinjar, the sacred mountain. They have never been inside a place of worship; never prayed in a temple. These children, and their families, are unable to return to Sinjar, fearful of a resurgence of the violence from ISIS perpetrators who have escaped accountability, and from militias who have occupied the region since the Yazidi people fled. 

The U.S. has encouraged our partners in the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to create the legal architecture necessary to prosecute and win convictions for crimes of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity. And we urge them to include Yazidis in implementing the Sinjar Agreement. In order for the displaced to return, they must have a voice in Sinjar’s rebuilding process. To effectively live up to the promise of the Agreement requires inclusive consultation, trustworthy government administrators, and a local security force to provide safety and stability.

These steps will not change what began on this day, seven years ago. But they will mark a new beginning—for justice and they will honor the resilience of the Yazidi people. “I ask you to support my community, not because Yazidis are special,” Nadia said when I saw her recently, “but because we are the same. We are human.” 

The U.S. is proud to recognize the humanity of the Yazidis, and all those seeking religious freedom, we are proud to offer our unwavering support to make sure your dignity is upheld. I thank you.

USAID Administrator Samantha Power Announces More Than $56 Million In Additional Humanitarian Assistance for Sudan

Source: USAID

Today in Khartoum, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power announced more than $56 million in additional humanitarian assistance for Sudan. This funding will help the Sudanese people cope with conflict, food insecurity, economic crisis, and cycles of drought and flooding, the effects of which have been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Approximately 13.4 million people in Sudan need humanitarian assistance. With this additional aid, USAID partners will work to meet the most immediate needs by providing emergency health care, delivering medical supplies, training health care workers, supporting survivors of gender-based violence by improving case management and training personnel on survivor-centered approaches, and providing water, sanitation, and hygiene support in communities across Sudan.

The United States is the single largest humanitarian donor to Sudan, providing nearly $377 million since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2021. The United States will continue to stand with the people of Sudan as they deal with compounding crises. However, humanitarian assistance cannot and will not address the root causes of fragility that continue to leave many in Sudan in need, particularly in the Darfur region.

The United States is committed to deepening its engagement and partnership with the Sudanese people and the Civilian-led Transitional Government in support of the country’s transition to Democratic rule.

For the latest updates on USAID’s humanitarian assistance in Sudan, visit Sudan | Humanitarian Assistance | US Agency for International Development.