Tag Archives: politics

British-Iranian Composer Explores Border Issues

Following President Donald Trump’s January 27 executive order for his first travel ban, composer Soosan Lolavar was banned from re-entering the US. Lolavar was born and raised in London, but has dual citizenship as her father is Iranian. She had been a student of Iranian music at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University.

After England’s foreign secretary Boris Johnson secured special dispensation for dual nationals, she was allowed to return to the US in time for the March premiere of her opera ID, Please. Lolavar says the story, which takes place in an unnamed country, was inspired by Trump’s hateful rhetoric during the 2016 primaries. It follows the story of a border agent interrogating an assortment of passengers.

Though she did attend the premiere, she says she is torn about coming back to the country due to the solidarity she feels for friends and family who cannot cross the border.


Party Platforms

National Political Party Platforms: Relevant AFM Labor Issue Comparisons

In each federal election year, the major parties create a national caucus that comes together to outline their party’s legislative-political principles and goals. The resulting document is commonly referred to as the “party platform”. In most instances, the platform reflects the ideals upon which a party would govern, while also underscoring principles and policies that it has previously embraced and operated under.

With the national election taking place Tuesday, November 8, I have reviewed both the Republican and Democratic platforms with an eye toward the issues that most impact AFM members. Some of the following text is carefully paraphrased, while much of it is quoted directly from the printed platform documents adopted at each party’s convention. We encourage you to carefully review this article.

To read these documents directly, the Democratic platform can be accessed at www.demconvention.com/platform/, while the Republican platform can be accessed at www.gop.com/the-2016-republican-party-platform/. As you research and prepare to vote, you may review respective stances on each of the items listed in this article by visiting the DNC and RNC websites. Please note, this article serves only as a basic guide relating to union issues, it does not attempt to cover every topic outlined in either party’s respective published platforms.

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Tell Congress to Stop Raiding Social Security

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler says, “It’s time to push back against a loophole created by Republicans, which allows outstanding federal student loan debt to be taken from Social Security benefits.” The bill, which would end the practice of raiding people’s Social Security benefits to pay for student loans, was introduced by Sens. Ron Wyden and Sherrod Brown. She says, “Now, it’s time for Congress to take action.”

Members are encouraged to show their support and sign the petition at: www.signherenow.org/petition/stop-raiding-social-security/aflcio

Is Wall Street Afraid of Sanders?

Wall Street is in a panic at the thought of a President Bernie Sanders, claims Stephen Schwarzman of the private equity firm Blackstone. In an article in the Wall Street Journal he blamed recent global financial trauma on the “market’s fear” that Sanders could be elected. Schwarzman, who has been openly critical of President Obama’s proposals to end the “carried interest” tax, leads the effort to privatize Social Security and has a history of incendiary rhetoric. For example, when an employee was killed at SeaWorld (Blackstone’s largest investment), Schwarzman claimed the veteran animal trainer broke multiple safety rules before she was pulled into a tank and killed by an orca.

What does Wall Street have against Sanders? For one, Social Security. Furthermore, experts say, decades of lording over the economy have allowed Wall Street to design policies that almost guarantee the failure of any financial regulation, which would protect the middle class.

Conservatives Force Anti-union Bill into Law in Canada

An unconstitutional, anti-union bill (Bill C-377) has been forced through the Canadian Senate. Seven provinces oppose the bill, stating that it intrudes into provincial jurisdiction. Experts agree that the bill is unconstitutional for several other reasons as well, and when challenged in courts, will not survive. The bill attempts to force unions to disclose all of their financial information employers and to the general public. Unions and individuals across the board oppose the bill, from the NHL Players Association to the AFM to Conservative and Liberal senators to constitutional experts. The best opportunity for the public to oppose Bill C-377 is in the upcoming federal election.

donald trump

Members Object to Having Their Songs Politicized

When Neil Young of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) rejected Donald Trump’s use of his song for political purposes he was in good company. Rollingstone published a list of 34 artists who objected to the use of their tunes in political campaigns, among them were Bruce Springsteen of Local 399 (Asbury Park, NJ) and 47 regarding Ronald Regan’s use of “Born in the USA”; Dave Grohl of Local 47 over John McCain’s use of “My Hero”; Nancy Wilson of Local 76-493 (Seattle, WA) over Sarah Palin’s use of “Barracuda”; Eddie Van Halen over John McCain’s use of “Right Now”; John Mellencamp of Local 11-637 (Louisville, KY) over John McCain, George Bush, and Ronald Regan’s uses of “Our Country,” “Pink Houses,” “ROCK in the USA,” and “Pink Houses”; Joe Walsh of Local 4 (Cleveland, OH) over Congressman Joe Walsh’s use of “Walk Away”; Neil Peart of Local 298 (Niagara Region, ON) over Rand Paul’s use of “The Spirit of Radio” and “Tom Sawyer”; and David Byrne 802 (New York City) over Charlie Crist’s use of “Road to Nowhere.”