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Union, Anti-Union Forces Clash in Fresno

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Posted by Center for Worker Freedom on Tuesday, August 26th, 2014, 10:16 AM PERMALINK


VISALIA, CALIF. -- Farm workers will gather in Visalia, California on Tuesday to protest their treatment by state labor officials. 

Workers at Fresno-based Gerawan Farming Inc, led by Silvia Lopez, do not want to be forced to pay three percent of their wages to the United Farm Workers (UFW) union. Last November Gerawan workers held a decertification election, but the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) is refusing to count the votes in a flagrant attempt to help the UFW rob the workers of their hard-earned money.

Ms. Lopez will speak at a protest held at the ALRB regional offices in Visalia beginning at 3:00 p.m. today, August 26.  Supporters of the United Farm Workers were also expected to have a presence, though Center for Worker Freedom Executive Director Matt Patterson says he hopes the proceedings will unfold without incident.

"The Gerawan workers have a positive message that they want to deliver peacefully: They just want their votes counted," said Patterson. "We hope the union, and the ALRB, will allow Ms. Lopez and her colleagues to speak their mind."

Lopez is also challenging the ALRB in court, suing individual board members including Genevieve Shiroma, Cathryn Rivera-Hernandez, and J. Antonio Barbosa in Federal District Court for violating her First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. 

Lopez attorney Paul J. Bauer explained:

"In order to protect the rights of the farmworkers, we filed a lawsuit in federal court against the ALRB board members and regional director for violating their civil rights.  The farmworkers' due process rights and First Amendment rights are being trampled by a group of people that will stop at nothing to keep the votes from being counted."

Recently U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill allowed the suit to move forward.

Who

Fresno farm workers, their families and supporters

What

Protest rally against the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB), led by worker Silvia Lopez

Where

ALRB
Visalia Regional Office
1642 West Walnut Avenue
Visalia, CA 93277-5348

​When 

Tuesday August 26 from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Photo Credit: 
goldstardeputy

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Grover Norquist Files Comments With FCC on TWC-Comcast Merger

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Posted by Cassandra Carroll on Monday, August 25th, 2014, 4:58 PM PERMALINK


The following comments can be attributed to Grover Norquist, regarding the Comcast-TimeWarner merger: 

"The marketplace is adjusting to consumer demand, the government should not meddle beyond antitrust concerns in a free-market transaction."

Americans for Tax Reform President, Grover Norquist, and Executive Director of Digital Liberty, Katie McAuliffe filed comments with the FCC regarding the TWC-Comcast merger.

They spoke out strongly against the FCC interfering or adding any further conditions to the merger. In their comments, they make the case that the TWC-Comcast merger presents neither horizontal nor vertical anti-trust issues, stating that it will not result in any significant loss of competition. They also argue that the FCC has disregarded the limits of its own authority and used public interest to justify adding numerous, excessive, coercive conditions to the merger review, seeming to be aimed toward forcibly equalizing both competitors rather than being aimed at benefiting the consumers. As a final crushing blow to the FCC’s draconian review, they note that TWC and Comcast have already agreed between themselves on many of the FCC’s previously imposed conditions, before the FCC had even shoved itself in the middle.

Read the comments in full here.

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Stephen P.D

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Farm Workers to Protest Forced Unionization in California

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Posted by Center for Worker Freedom on Monday, August 25th, 2014, 9:44 AM PERMALINK


Silvia Lopez, a single mother who has proudly worked the fields of California's Central Valley for more than 16 years, will be the headline speaker at a protest rally on Tuesday in Visalia, California.

Ms. Lopez and her colleagues at Fresno-based Gerawan Farming Inc. do not want to be forced to pay 3 percent of their wages to the United Farm Workers (UFW) union. Last November Gerawan workers held a decertification election, but the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) is refusing to count the votes in a flagrant attempt to help the UFW rob the workers of their hard-earned money.

"We just want our votes counted, we want our voice to be heard. We deserve to know the outcome of this election. We want to know that democracy matters for farm workers, too," says Ms. Lopez, who collected over 3,000 signatures from her coworkers to trigger the decertification election last fall.

"The ALRB members eat the fruit we pick," she added.  "We provide the food for their tables. But they don't think our votes are worth counting?  If they love the union so much, why don't they give three percent of their pay to the UFW!"

Gerawan workers, their families and supporters will gather in front of the ALRB regional office in Visalia on Tuesday, Aug. 26 starting at 3:00 p.m.  Ms. Lopez will begin her remarks at 4:00 p.m. followed by remarks from other workers and supporters.

Ms. Lopez was born in Ensenada, Mexico.  Both her parents and children have worked at Gerawan as well, where they have enjoyed above average industry wages.

Who

Fresno farm workers, their families and supporters

What

Protest rally against the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB), led by worker Silvia Lopez

Where

ALRB
Visalia Regional Office
1642 West Walnut Avenue
Visalia, CA 93277-5348

​When 

Tuesday August 26 from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.

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Why Haven’t More States Reformed Medicaid to Save Money? A Perverse Federal Relationship

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Posted by Paul Blair on Saturday, August 23rd, 2014, 2:33 PM PERMALINK


Twenty-seven states including Washington, D.C. have expanded Medicaid under Obamacare over the past three years. New Hampshire was the most recent state to expand the matching-grant program, which is jointly funded by the federal and state governments. Missing from the debate in many states is how to save the safety net by reforming the program, which consumes nearly a quarter of all state budgets.

The Congressional Budget Office projects that under Obamacare, Medicaid enrollment will increase by 30 percent over the next decade at a cost of $574 billion annually by 2024. While reform at the federal level will take a new Administration and Republican majority in the House and Senate, at the state level, reform can be achieved far sooner. Unfortunately, a perverse incentive exists for states to find budget savings elsewhere (if anywhere), instead of through this program. 

The federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) for Medicaid services is the formula used to determine the federal government’s share of a state’s Medicaid costs. The rate ranges from 50% to 73%, meaning that for every dollar spent in a state on Medicaid services for an enrollee, the federal government picks up the tab for between 50-73 cents. FMAP is the formula that makes a legislator’s task of saving money on the state Medicaid program complicated.

Because the federal government picks up part of the Medicaid tab, they also get their cut of any dollar saved. A state like Virginia receives 50% from Uncle Sam. In order to save one million dollars for state coffers, they would have to cut/save two million on the program. Mississippi, which receives a 73.4 percent match would have to find $3.8 million in savings in order to save $1 million in state dollars because the federal government gets their match as a percentage of all savings.

There is a perverse incentive to cut any money from state Medicaid programs. As the Mercatus Center’s “The Economics of Medicaid” concluded, “The financial terms facing a state seeking to cut its Medicaid spending are unfavorable. In most cases, a state reducing its spending will cut other programs that are paid for by funds covered entirely by the state rather than Medicaid.”

Click here to read “The Economics of Medicaid: Assessing the Costs and Consequences.” 

Stay tuned to our website for more components of the Medicaid expansion and reform debate in the coming days and weeks. 

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Alaskans Reaffirm Energy Tax Cut in August Referendum

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Posted by Cassandra Carroll on Friday, August 22nd, 2014, 3:03 PM PERMALINK


Earlier this week, Alaska voters rejected liberal attempts to repeal Senate Bill 21, The More Alaska Production Act, which was passed in 2013 by a narrow 11-9 vote and gives a tax cut to oil companies in Alaska. If Senate Bill 21 was repealed, previous egregiously high taxes on Alaskan oil producers would be reinstated, placing strain on the companies and killing jobs for Alaskans. The campaign to keep the tax cut won by only 6,800 of 153,000 votes.  While there are still 14,000 absentee ballots yet to be counted, the margin was wide enough on early Wednesday for supporters of the tax cut to call it a win.

The campaigns for repealing the tax cuts were based mostly on emotion with very little fact: The Vote Yes campaign attacked the oil industry as being untrustworthy and unlikely to keep their promises to Alaskans, and called the tax cut a “giveaway”. Ultimately the facts won, with the Vote No side, supported by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Dem. Senator Mark Begich claims to have an opinion, but offers a weak excuse for his refusal to take a public stance on the issue.)  presenting solid arguments that repealing the More Alaska Production Act would be bad for Alaskans: An over-taxed corporation has to produce less, charge more for their product, and hire fewer people. 

Photo Credit: 
Tori Middelstadt

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Another 2,000 Insurance Policies Cancelled In Colorado

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Posted by Greg Campbell on Friday, August 22nd, 2014, 1:48 PM PERMALINK


More than 2,000 more Coloradans had their health insurance plans cancelled as a result of the Affordable Care Act, according to a letter from the state regulatory agency to state Senate Republicans.

Following a dust-up earlier this year between Colorado Democratic Sen. Mark Udall and the Division of Insurance, Republicans have requested regular updates on policies that are cancelled because they don’t conform to Obamacare or because companies are getting out of the individual insurance market.

Udall disputed the original number of nearly a quarter million cancellations in the immediate wake of Obamacare’s rollout in late 2013, arguing that almost all of those whose plans were canceled were given options for renewing them early.

Emails obtained by the website Complete Colorado showed that Udall’s staff pressured the insurance commission to make that distinction to the point where some staffers felt bullied.

“Sen. Udall says our numbers were wrong,” wrote COI director of external affairs Jo Donlin in an email to her colleagues. “They are not wrong. Cancellation notices affected 249,199 people. They want to trash our numbers. I’m holding strong while we get more details. Many have already done early renewals. Regardless, they received cancellation notices.” (RELATED: Sen. Udall Tried To ‘Trash’ Independent Obamacare Cancellation Numbers)

Udall’s critics seized on the exchange as an attempt to cover up Obamacare’s shortcomings. Most vocal is Republican Rep. Cory Gardner, who is locked in a neck-and-neck race with Udall.

“Mark Udall has voted with President Obama 99 percent of the time,” Gardner said in a new campaign ad released Thursday in which he address the issue head on. “I just wish that 1 percent [would have] been a vote against Obamacare.”

Gardner goes on to say “Mark Udall lied to the people of Colorado” for saying those who liked their existing plans and doctors can keep them.

Since the ruckus with the insurance commission became public in January, state Senate Republicans have requested regular updates from the insurance commission about continuing cancellations. In March, the commission reported 1,755 cancellations and in June another 2,320. Last week’s total was 2,105.

In all, nearly 340,000 Coloradans received cancellation notices, although not all are because they don’t conform to the ACA; some carriers are leaving the individual insurance market altogether.

The next open enrollment period for Colorado’s state-run health care exchange begins Nov. 15.

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Photo Credit: 
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Farm Workers to Rally Against Forced Unionization Tuesday Aug. 26 at 3:00 PM in Visalia

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Posted by Center for Worker Freedom on Friday, August 22nd, 2014, 10:33 AM PERMALINK


Farm workers at Fresno-based Gerawan Farming Inc. do not want to be forced to pay 3 percent of their wages to the United Farm Workers (UFW) union. Last November Gerawan workers held a decertification election, but the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) is refusing to count the votes in a flagrant attempt to help the UFW rob the workers of their hard-earned money. Workers and their families and supporters will hold a protest rally in front of the ALRB regional office in Visalia on Tuesday, Aug. 26 at 3:00 p.m.

 The Center for Worker Freedom has launched a statewide campaign designed to pressure California lawmakers to make the ALRB count the votes at Gerawan. "The ALRB, like its national counterpart, the NLRB, has functioned as a little more than government enforcer for Big Labor,” said CWF Executive Director Matt Patterson. “Does anyone think it is an accident that the ALRB wants to force the union on Gerawan until the election is ‘investigated?’ Or that the Board gives no time-table for when that investigation may be completed?"

 Rally details are below:

 Who

 Fresno farm workers, their families and supporters.

 What

 Protest rally against the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB), led by worker Silvia Lopez and organized by the Center for Worker Freedom (CWF).

 Where

 ALRB

Visalia Regional Office
1642 West Walnut Avenue
Visalia, CA 93277-5348

 When 

 Tuesday August 26 from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Photo Credit: 
Tim Evanson

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Grover Norquist's Statement on FCC Involvement in Municipal Broadband

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Posted by Cassandra Carroll on Wednesday, August 20th, 2014, 12:40 PM PERMALINK


Today, in an address to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Mathew Berry, Chief of Staff to FCC commissioner Ajit Pai, made clear that states asking the FCC to preempt state law would violate the Constitution, and has no basis in legal precedent. 

In response, Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist issued the following statement:

The bipartisan NCSL has said that it will take the FCC to court to stop any attempt by the Commission to preempt state regulation of taxpayer-funded broadband networks.  The FCC should not waste valuable time and taxpayer dollars in futile legal wrangling.  It’s none of the FCC’s business if state governments forbid cities from wasting taxpayer dollars.

Photo Credit: 
aspeninstitute-internal

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Rep. Ted Yoho Leaves the Door Open to Higher Taxes

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Posted by Adam Radman on Wednesday, August 20th, 2014, 9:15 AM PERMALINK


Today, Americans for Tax Reform calls on Rep. Ted Yoho (FL-03) to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which is a written commitment to his constituents to oppose higher taxes. It’s time for Yoho to prove his commitment to defending taxpayers and standing up to special-interests in Washington, D.C. A refusal to sign the Pledge would signify to voters Yoho’s willingness to leave the door open to higher taxes on Floridians and their families.

Politicians often run for office saying they won't raise taxes, but then quickly turn their backs on the taxpayer. The idea of the Pledge is simple enough: Make them put their no-new-taxes rhetoric in writing. With a less than conservative voting history and questionable remarks in his past, taxpayers deserve to know where Rep. Ted Yoho really stands on taxes. 

Yoho defeated former Rep. Cliff Stearns in 2012 running as an outsider, yet his ratings with several prominent conservative groups leave much to be desired. In fact, Rep. Stearns has a better lifetime rating with Freedomworks (88%-81%) and the Club for Growth (87%-76%). So far, Yoho’s actions don’t match his rhetoric. 

During an interview with the Florida Times Union, Yoho also went on record suggesting tax hikes may need to be part of a Social Security solution:

To answer your question: you increase the age, and they have been doing that.  Ahhh…probably put people on a decreased benefit…um.. means testing, and some point, taxes, if we are going to stay on the current system, may have to go up on that. Um…there’s the cap on taxable income of about $119,000 ummm … I’m talking about me personally, if that went away, I wouldn’t mind paying that…

There is only one candidate in the race willing to make a firm, written commitment to oppose higher taxes; his name is Jake Rush.

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Virginia Should Look to Florida as it Prepares for Special Session on Medicaid Reform

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Posted by Alexander Bobroske on Friday, August 15th, 2014, 4:01 PM PERMALINK


As Virginia gears up for a special session next month to reform the state’s Medicaid program, legislators should take note of the success in Florida. First signed into law in 2005 under Governor Jeb Bush, Florida’s five pilot counties for Medicaid reform saved taxpayers over $100 million annually. In 2011, Governor Rick Scott signed into law a statewide expansion of that pilot program where savings could reach nearly $2 billion annually.

The pilot program in Florida shifted the risk of abuse from the taxpayer to the private market by replacing fee-for-service with premiums. Patients saw predictable rates and chose between Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and Provider Service Networks (PSNs). PSNs are owned by doctor groups or non-profits rather than insurers. While both resulted in lower expenditures for the reform program counties, with reduced costs by 18 percent, those with a PSN saved on average an additional $7 more per month.

In the pilot counties, patients could choose between two and 16 different plans. This lowered monthly expenditure for the elderly and disabled by $200 and $30 a month for mothers and children. The reform program also provided incentives of up to $125 a year for healthy behaviors.

Besides saving the taxpayer millions of dollars, Florida’s Medicaid reform lead to higher patient satisfaction across the board. 100 percent of patients with PSNs were at or above the national benchmark in satisfaction.

With one-third of the 2011-2012 Florida state budget spent on Medicaid, eliminating abuse and saving taxpayer dollars was a must. The 2011 reform expanded these cost effective solutions statewide, just as Virginia should do next month. Florida was divided into 11 regions with multiple care organizations to choose from. A low-income pool was created as well as tort reform, capping practitioner liability at $200,000.

Currently 300.000 Floridians are under the Medicaid reform system with 2.9 million expected to enroll. Because of these reforms, Florida is estimated to save between $500 million and $1.9 billion annually. Virginia legislators should build off of Florida’s accomplishment when drafting Medicaid reform next month.

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johnwerneken

There ought not to be any federal funds in the first place for social purposes.

john

I personally cannot see how a reasoning person could view Florida's Medicaid policy as responsible. Floridians currently pay income tax to support the Federal government which is assuming 100% of the costs associated with the Medicaid expansion. However Florida does not accept the free Federal funds. Somehow this strikes me as incredibly stupid.


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