Low Turnout Feared Among Texas’ Latinos – Boeing Accused of Spying on Union Supporters – 1,300 Communities Have No News Outlets

Workers from around the country held events to show their solidarity with workers organizing in North Charleston, South Carolina. (Machinists)

Folks,

Greetings from the Burgh, where Payday Senior Labor Reporter Mike Elk is working through another bout of strep throat (his fifth this year), but still keeping things moving.

Melk Needs to Have Tonsils Removed, But No Health Insurance

Bad news folks, I have had strep throat five times in the last year.

Recovering from strep throat easily takes a week or two and as a freelancer, I lose massive amounts of money as I have no paid sick days. The struggle with the illness has cost me a lot of money and set back plans to move Payday forward.

To correct the problem, a doctor at a community clinic has ordered me to have my tonsils removed. However, I have no health insurance to pay for it.

In order to pay for health insurance, I am starting a drive to ask regular readers to sign up for monthly recurring donorship at $3 or $5 a month. If I can add 40 new memberships between now and the end of the open enrollment, I’ll be able to afford the insurance.

Likewise, if you belong to a union or a group that would like to make large donations to cover these costs, you can contact me: melk@paydayreport.com

1, 300 Communities Have No News Coverage at All in the U.S.

As a labor publication, Payday aims to help address news deserts where workers are getting no coverage at all. A recent study done by the University of North Carolina shows that more than 1,300 communities have no news outlets at all.

According to the report: “About 20 percent of all metro and community newspapers in the United States — about 1,800 — have gone out of business or merged since 2004, when about 9,000 were being published”.

To read the full report entitled “The Expanding News Deserts” go here.

Payday Only $89 Short of Surpassing 2017 Total

Last year, Payday raised $35,714.

So far this year with two-and-a-half months to go, we have raised $35,623.

We’re only $89 short of surpassing our 2017 total. Donate today.

Democrats Struggling to Turn Out Latinos in Key Texas Swing District

With Christine Bolaños, based out of the Austin, Texas area helping us, Payday is hoping to expand our coverage into Texas over the next year. Texas is a state ripe for change as the recent Senate election between Beto O’Rouke and Ted Cruz has shown.

However, even with Latino voters, progressive forces are struggling to make inroads among Latino voters. In the Texas 23rd Congressional District, where more than 70% of the voters are Latinos, Democrat Gina Ortiz is still trailing her Republican opponent by 8% according to most recent polling.

The Texas Observer has a look at why low voter turnout among Latinos is still a pertinent issue:

In border counties like Val Verde, home to Del Rio, turnout rates have always been low — just over 8,000 of the more than 26,000 registered voters turned out in 2014. “A lot of people are like, ‘Why do I vote? Nothing changes.’ As a result, it’s getting harder and harder to turn people out,” Bobby Fernandez, the city’s former mayor, told me.

For years now, Democrats in Texas have been perplexed as to why Latinos haven’t become the political force that their population numbers would suggest. Political groups have spent millions trying to build up Latino outreach, but results have been lackluster. The state’s weak party infrastructure has a hard enough time turning out its typical base, let alone activating a whole new swath of untapped voters.

Demographics are, in fact, not destiny. Latinos — or any other group for that matter — are not going to vote unless they believe the political system is relevant to their daily lives. When you’re struggling to pay the bills and working one, two, even three jobs, the machinations of Washington and who controls the House of Representatives may not be on your mind.

In a new survey report put out by Jolt Texas, a group focused on building young Latino political power, 50 percent of young Latino respondents said they were cynical about politics — they don’t trust politicians and don’t think their vote would make any difference.

“It’s not their fault,” Matt Barreto, co-founder of Latino Decisions, a leading Latino polling firm, told the Observer. “Look around and ask Latinos to name 10 things the political system has done for them. They’ll stop at zero.”

For more, go to the Texas Observer.

New Study Calls for Latino Voter Engagement Strategy

Over at NPR’s LatinoUSA, our own Christine Bolanos has a look at a new study put out by Jolt Texas entitled “We Are Texas” looking at new strategies for engaging Latino voters:

[Jolt Texas Executive Director Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez] said Latinos have been reduced to immigration as the end-all, be-all issue, but they care about several issues, including climate change.

“Truth be told even if immigration reform happened tomorrow —which we are from that happening and that would be an amazing accomplishment for our community— but millions of people would still wake up, be people of color and the majority would be poor,” Tzintzun Ramirez told Latino USA. “So, they would continue to face real challenges based on racial discrimination, inequities in our schooling, in employment, the list goes on. We need to also tackle those issues for our community as well.”

For more, go to NPR’s LatinoUSA.

Suburban Houston Candidate Targets Voters in 13 Different Language

Houston, Texas is currently the most diverse city in the United States, its suburbs are certainly no exception.

In the neck-and-neck battle for Texas’s 22nd Congressional District, Vietnamese-American activist Sri Preston Kulkarni is targeting voters in 13 different languages. Dave Dayen at the Intercept has a look at why this is so important:

Kulkarni, a 40-year-old Democrat, is facing incumbent Rep. Pete Olson in November, armed with a multilingual, multigenerational, multicultural battery of dedicated volunteers, in a rapidly changing district that national Democrats had long ignored, but suddenly believe is flippable. On Wednesday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee broke a long silence and put Kulkarni on their coveted “Red to Blue” list. “Sri has put together a strong, people-powered campaign that makes this race competitive,” said DCCC chair Ben Ray Luján in a statement.

That may be something of an understatement. The campaign has held phone banks in 13 languages, including six major dialects spoken in India and a Nigerian language called Igbo. Organizers have dispatched volunteers to micro-target tiny communities. It has taken a street-by-street approach to outreach that has already paid dividends. When Kulkarni defeated four challengers for the Democratic nomination, his campaign’s internal figures show that they increased the Asian-American percentage of the primary electorate from 6 percent in 2014, the last midterm election, to 28 percent in 2018.

If Kulkarni succeeds, his tactics will become a model for how to target communities that historically don’t vote, primarily because nobody has ever tried to engage them in politics.

For more, go to the Intercept.

Disney Spending One Million to Defeat Pro-Min Wage Increase City Councilors

In Anaheim, Disney has spent over a million dollars in an effort to defeat a minimum wage ballot initiative and to defeat city council members, who have called for raising the minimum wage in Anaheim and eliminating more than $300 million in corporate subsidies for the theme park.

“If Disney has its way in this election, it’s another worthwhile investment – a million [dollars] in an election so you can get a $300 million subsidy,”  Anaheim City Councilman Jose Moreno, who opposes the subsidies, told the Voice of OC.

Boeing Accused of Spying on Its Workers

Earlier this year, Being workers in North Charleston a group of 200 Boeing flight line technicians voted to unionize with 74% of workers voting in favor.

Boeing has refused to recognize the union; claiming that the Machinists union should hold an election for the entire 6,000 person plant. In 2017, when the union attempted to unionize the entire plant they were defeated by a margin of 2097 to 731.

Now, the Machinists in new NLRB filings are accusing Boeing of illegally surveilling and harassing pro-union Boeing workers.

Machinists Union’s Associate General Counsel Bill Haller told the Post and Courier that Boeing is “positioning managers inside the stalls of flight-line workers that show heavy support for the union, to watch them while they work without doing the same to employees in other stalls.”

Rest in Power: Nashville Loses Crusading Immigration Attorney Elliot Ozment.

This week, Payday Report mourns the loss of 71 year old  Elliot Ozment, a crusading Nashville immigration attorney, who famously represent the case of Juana Villegas, an undocumented immigrant who was famously shackled while giving birth.

The Nashville Scene has a look at his life:

Tricia Herzfeld, a Nashville attorney who got to know Ozment while she worked at the ACLU and later worked in his office for five years, described him as a man with access to the full strength of every emotion.

“He was just an incredibly authentic person,” she says. “He was quite loud when he was angry, passionate when he was arguing, smiled and laughed so boldly and wonderfully. And he cried easily.”

Herzfeld says few people knew how many cases Ozment took pro bono. She recalls one case in which a woman showed up with vegetables as her means of payment for Ozment’s legal representation.

Conexión Américas co-founder Renata Soto calls Ozment’s passing “a loss for the cause of justice.”

“Elliott, in his fights on behalf of the common people, commanded forceful outrage and immense humanity in equal measure,” she tells the Scene. “Outrage towards unjust immigration policies — and their proponents — that were ripping families apart. And the warmest humanity toward each client and family he represented — and helped to remain together.”

To read, more go to the Nashville Scene.

 

About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is a member of the Washington-Baltimore NewsGuild and is the senior labor reporter at Payday Report. He previously served as senior labor reporter at POLITICO and has written for the New York Times. He also writes for The Guardian.

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