Corporations vs. Unions

Generally, I try to stay out of comments threads as I don’t feel like wasting my time arguing with someone I don’t know. But every once in a while there is a topic that touches a nerve — in this case, the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court that gave corporations the same rights as individuals.

I noticed that a couple of commenters in this thread, said that the unions should be considered corporations. I responded:

Justin:
Unions and special interest are corporations so this rule should apply to them as well. Let’s get this passed, a Balanced Budget admendment passed and stop the insider trading that congress is doing.

Elisa:
At least unions have buy-in from their members. They are a collective of dues-paying individuals. Corporations speak on behalf of workers — even if their agenda is against their interests. I can think of a corporation or two I have worked for that there is no way I’d give them money to speak on my behalf!

My short stint at Wal-Mart immediately came to mind. No way would I want those guys to speak for me!

Kathy:
Campaign financing should be limited to individuals! Why should unions and special interest groups be exempt?

Elisa:
Again, unions have individuals that pay dues. It’s collective bargaining. Not the same as a corporation that pays off people to pollute, exploit workers, dodge taxes, etc., even to the detriment of their workers’ well-being.

I responded because I think Citizens United is one area all Americans can agree on: no way in hell are corporations individuals. Yes, they hire people, but they are speaking on behalf of people who may not agree with their policies or even the way they are treated in the workplace.

I would hate for the scapegoating of unions and worker-collective bargaining to distract us from this common ground. What do you think of the unions vs. corporation meme?

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What a Union Did For Me

I’ve had a lot of thoughts jumping around in my head that have really started boiling since all the action began in Wisconsin. I wrote down what I was feeling and finally posted it today on my Facebook page. My wonderful, supportive MT friends have read it, given me encouragement (and courage), linked it on their pages, and asked me if I’d post it here. I’d like to because I am really interested in all of your experiences, either as union members, or children or spouses of members. How has it affected your lives? Do you still see those effects? What are the benefits, and the downsides? Are unions really beside the point…does the middle class and those who care about it finally need to stand up and say we’re not going back to the Gilded Age?


In April 1975 I was six years old, had just started kindergarten, and my dad, a member of the United Mineworkers of America, was on strike. My little town in west-central North Dakota was still blanketed with snow, which was not uncommon for springtime. Still, the coal miners were out at the tracks, walking a picket line, and one day, my dad took us with him.

My memories of that day are few, but imprinted in my mind 35 years later. We went to the mine, a few miles out of town, and stood on the tracks so the coal cars couldn’t pass. A TV crew from Bismarck was there. They ended their story that night with a shot of my seven-month-old brother, bundled up against the cold, resting in my mom’s arms against her shoulder. We were taken (arrested?) to City Hall, where we crowded into the small building and were eventually just sent home. Not long after, while pretending to write my own newspaper, I interviewed my dad about the strike.

My dad had been a union coal miner for less than five years, and it had completely changed his perspective. His dad was a small business owner, who might’ve been in a union if he wasn’t the only blacksmith in town. So because of his position in town and following in his ethnic group’s path, he was a Republican. I don’t know who (or if) my dad voted for in 1964, a few weeks after turning 18, but in 1968 he voted for Nixon. He told me that was the last Republican he voted for. By 1972, even though he’d only been a union member for a year, he knew who was on the side of the working man, and it wasn’t Republicans.

So you could say I was raised in a union household starting at two years old. I don’t know that this made me any different; it just was. My dad was on strike a few more times, most devastating to me was during my freshman year of college. He wasn’t fanatic, but he participated in local union activities, contributed to funds to help families of other striking miners (particularly in West Virginia), had us boycott products if the company’s union was on strike, and vowed to never have a Japanese car in his driveway.

Watching what is happening in Wisconsin has made me really think about what my dad’s union membership did for me. My maternal grandfather was also a union coal miner, so this was not just a temporary thing for me. I can’t deny that the benefits my father was able to receive and supply to us through his union were great and far-reaching. I have to stand up and say that unions put me where I am today.

My dad’s mine wasn’t the only one around; the county I grew up in is known as Coal Country. It is strip mining, which is considerably less dangerous than underground mining. Still, I believe there hasn’t been a mine death in over 60 years. Because of unions, I didn’t worry too much about my dad’s safety while at work. I could worry about the fact that the mine was out in the country, and that he was often driving home in the middle of the night. I could worry he might hit a deer, or fall asleep, or hit ice in the winter. But on the job, he was pretty safe.

My dad’s generation might have been the last when a man could have a middle-class, blue-collar job, and still be able to purchase a modest new home at age 27, have two cars, three children, and a wife who could stay home. We eventually had a camper so we could indulge in my dad’s favorite vacation relaxation – sitting around doing nothing. But we also took car trips around the country to see relatives and national treasures along the way. We had nothing extravagent, but there was nothing we lacked.

I do not remember my parents worrying about healthcare. Because of my dad’s union benefits, I got an eye exam every year, and new glasses every two years, covered 100%. This was especially important with five people in our family needing glasses, including all three of us kids, who needed them before we were ten years old. I’ve never had eye coverage like that since. The only hospitalization any of us needed was me for a few days when I had a severe kidney infection. But one of my younger brothers had asthma and severe allergies, and the other had juvenile epilepsy. This meant a lot of testing and specialists for a few years. It was not a great financial hardship to my family.

Many years ago, while browsing through a bookstore in North Dakota, I glanced through a book of poems from a local poet. One poem started “There’s a graveyard south of Beulah…” and went on to paint a bleak picture of the evils of coal mines. My stomach tightened, and I’ve never been able to forget that line, although I’ve long forgotten the bitter old poet’s name. That graveyard not only fed my family, but the union that protected my dad’s job launched me into the world. It allowed me to become one of the first members of my family to graduate from college with an advanced degree. It gave me a small scholarship. In only three generations, we went from being a family that barely understood English to one with a person so proficient with the language, she could teach it at a college level.

Besides college (and I didn’t go too far from home for that), the stability of my dad’s union-protected job sent me further than I ever dreamed. I became the first person in my family for 100 hundred years to go back to Russia. I was thousands of miles away from our homeland, in St. Petersburg, a city my ancestors never saw, but I was able to do it…stopping at London and Stockholm on the way. I went to Germany, another place so dear to my ancestors, but one most of them had never seen. I saw St. Lawrence’s Church, the great Lutheran cathedral in Nurnberg, a place my peasant ancestors may not have been welcome.

True, the union didn’t “give” me these things. My father worked hard, and I stood on his shoulders and tried to work as hard as I could. But I don’t forget where I came from. I don’t forget who sacrificed for me. I don’t forget who supported me. I don’t fancy myself so accomplished that I can take credit myself that I, and I alone, should be praised for every good thing I’ve managed to have.  

I was a member of a union when I briefly worked for the University of Minnesota. Yes, I was one of those selfish, thuggish public servants so reviled now in Wisconsin. It was uneventful, but I fully supported AFSCME’s goals, and as a taxpayer, I still do. My younger brother has grown rather conservative, but his police union is still there for him if his city decides his services are no longer worth what they’ve been paying, or to give him legal support if his methods are challenged, or to help his family if he should give ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.

I will not entertain the argument that unions were good years ago, but they’ve lost their usefulness. I will also not entertain the ignorant sentiment that the two or three union workers one might know are lazy and the union just protects their inadequacy, or the really uneducated argument that unions are just too powerful. Labor activists have died for something you take for granted such as a 40-hour work week, or the ability to use the toilet when you need to while at work. I can’t help you if you don’t think such sacrifices were worth it, and I certainly find it hard to respect you.

Learn about what unions actually provided for you, regardless of whether or not you or any member of your family was ever personally involved. Learn who and why and how they fought. Tell me why you trust big corporations to do the right thing by workers and their families. Tell me why you find it so easy to turn against your neighbors, who aren’t fighting for the hope they will ever be as rich and powerful as a big company owner. They just want their kids to have a home, an education, a healthy, stable life. Just like my dad wanted for me. And I got it. It wasn’t perfect, and it wasn’t easy. But I am grateful, and I will express that gratitude by standing up for people in hopes that, when I need it, they will be standing up, again, for me.

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Wisconsin’s Protests

I am sorry, but this is too big of a story to ignore. Public employees, including the teacher unions, are staging massive protests in Wisconsin. Even the comments in this Huffington Post article were awesome, with readers calling for a recall of the Republican governor there who is trying to crack down on unions by curtailing their benefits and cutting the budget to their detriment.

Apparently, even students, the Green Bay Packers and other supporters have taken to the streets. The governor has threatened to call in the National Guard to respond to the walkouts and protests.

Here is a MomsRising blog by Lily Eskelsen of the National Education Association who was a “Teacher of the Year” in Utah. Here is another compelling essay by “Teamster Nation”.

What say you about our “Egypt moment”?

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Study: The State of Middle Class Unions in Disarray

I believe we have chatted about this before, but more affluent and educated people are most likely than any other social class to be blissfully married, according to a study covered by the Huffington Post.

The divorce rate is now at 38 percent for middle class couples with no college education.

The data sparked the conclusion that “the United States is devolving into a separate-and-unequal family regime, where the highly educated and the affluent enjoy strong and stable households and everyone else is consigned to increasingly unstable, unhappy, and unworkable ones.”

“The State of Our Unions” attributes the change to an overriding shift in values. Once the most socially conservative part of the country, middle America now appears to be becoming more socially permissive and less marriage-minded. For example, whereas 76 percent of adolescents in highly educated households would be embarrassed to get someone pregnant, only 61 percent of moderately educated people felt the same way, and only 48 percent of the least educated believe that is so. Furthermore, while 81 percent of 14-year-old girls in highly educated households lived with their mother and their father (a number that has jumped by a percentage point since the 1970s), 58 percent did so in middle America–a whopping 16 percent drop from the 74 percent who reported they lived with both parents in the 1970s.

While the most affluent sector of society has held onto marriage as a defining social unit, the study found that the rest of the country is suffering, at least in part because they are having trouble doing so. Marriage–”an institution to which all could once aspire,” has become “a private playground of those blessed with abundance.”

So why sound the alarm bells over these findings? Because when marriage is at risk, so, too, the study argues, is the very foundation of our society: “Marriage is a core social institution, one that helps to ensure the economic, social and emotional welfare of countless children, women, and men in this nation.”

While the HuffPo article implied that the middle class was devolving into the “low class” because of promiscuity and other dubious values, I have a different take. One, the recession and our regressive tax code is creating a gap between rich and poor, which is taking its toll on middle class families.

Also, despite our country being known as the Land of Opportunity, we still archaically view marriage as a way to make people middle class or affluent. With a good safety net and real opportunities for everyone, individuals should be able to pay their bills without a spouse. What say you?

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Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up? Let’s call this the State of the Economy Edition.

What would you rather do after dinner? Watch TV or read white papers on the economy? The Washington Post ran a story on a family who is doing the latter, even having their 13-year-old and 11-year-old write their own white papers on the economy.

A friend in the labor movement sent along this interesting essay in the Huffington Post about the plight of workers today and the precarious position of labor unions. I agreed with the writer, Amy B. Dean, that we are at a crossroads in our economy, in which we must make it easier for information workers to unionize, but the unions also have to acclimate with the times. The next time I see a bumper sticker that reads, “If you like your weekends, thank the unions,” I think I will scream. I don’t know anyone — blue collar, white collar, or otherwise — who works only 40 hours a week, and automatically gets the weekends off. Anyways, this essay is good food for thought especially since we just celebrated labor day.

In somewhat related news, Timothy Noah over at Slate wrote about our growing income divide. The richest 1 percent of Americans now make 24 percent of our nation’s income. Noah plans to write a series on this divide. Stay tuned…

Mamapedia Voices ran a story about the most common birth defect. Pop quiz: What is it?

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Saturday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Here are some nuggets from Netroots Nation yesterday: the Parents Caucus was well-attended with between 30 and 35 people. Afterwards I talked with our Christina (“San Diego Dem” on Daily Kos), and we agreed that this was one of the better attended caucuses, including more men and even a couple of vocal dads. It was thrilling.

What did we discuss? First, we had everyone in the room introduce themselves. We had parents obviously, and they were writers, educators, lawyers, accountants, school board members and folks running for office. I was inspired by Krystal Ball — “yes, my parents did that to me,” she joked — a mom to a two-year-old girl who is running for Congress in Virginia. Her husband, Jonathan, was one of our outspoken dads, who, you could tell was so supportive of his wife. He made a book suggestion about a family-friendly workplace, which I plan to read: Maverick by Ricardo Semler.

We then had our trivia challenge, which among the winners, included our Christina. We were able to use the trivia data on (the lack of) paid parental leave, paid sick days and a social safety net for families in our country to launch a discussion. One of our moms very eloquently pointed out that there are moms out there who don’t even have the luxury of thinking about it, yet, we must not forget them when we fight for policy change. (Amen!)

We ended our talk by exchanging resources and business cards. I urged the women in the room to sign up for MomsRising’s online action alerts, MotherTalkers — of course! — and my co-host’s blog Momocrats. Also, the White House has an initiative to bring flextime to workers, including working with businesses to implement it.

Other great resources mentioned at the caucus were the Center for Health, Environment &  Justice, Women and Work, Center for Working Families, and the National Education Association, which has a Facebook page speaking out against school budget cuts and informing the public on education bills.

The National Education Association and unions, in general, had a strong presence at Netroots Nation. I laughed my ass off at a video that aired Thursday night before the speakers. It was put together by AFSCME and opened with right-wing millionaire pundits like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly going after union workers. It compared the salaries of the pundits — millions of dollars — with that of city employees. The video then ended with bold green lettering (paraphrased): “Let’s Stop the Bullshit.” It received mad applause.

The speakers that night, by the way, included Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, MSNBC pundit Ed Schultz, and Daily Show co-founder Lizz Winstead.


On Friday, I attended the education caucus, which was moderated by Daily Kos diarist Deborah Mayer (“Annie Em”) and National Education Association Vice President Lily Eskelsen. Next week, I plan to run a question and answer interview I conducted with Eskelsen. In the meantime, here are some quotes and tidbits that came out of the meeting:

Eskelsen on budget cuts: We have worked to save up to 300,000 teaching jobs. We keep hearing that times are tough, but you only get one year to be a high school senior. If they have cut your French teacher, and you need that foreign language to get into college, you are going to be hurting….They (legislators) think we can be leaner, and it is the kids who are suffering.

Eskelsen on No Child Left Behind: No Child Left Untested…this is bigger to me than the jobs….What’s at stake is what it means to teach and what it means to learn. People will refer to themselves as “reformers” but it’s a corporate term….The only thing that matters is you privatize and you deregulate. This is the model that has brought us to the economic crisis we are at right now….We want whole child reform. (By “whole child reform,” she meant a rich curriculum that went beyond multiple-choice tests and helped build children’s knowledge and character.)

Eskelsen on the importance of teacher unions: (She asked her students to “build your perfect teacher.”) (My students tell) me that person is caring, fun, smart. They wanted someone who can care about their interests, and someone who doesn’t assume they know everything about them. A learner. “I don’t want a teacher who thinks she knows everything,” one student says…I asked my students to “pretend you are a laywer and have to defend (NCLB)….”A standarized test doesn’t measure everything,” one student says. “I bet you could cheat on the test.” One guy says, “My least favorite teacher was my AP teacher, but I was smart enough to do well in spite of the teacher. Why should that teacher get rewarded?” They got it. Why can’t the Senate, the Congress, the Secretary of Education get it? This is not rocket science.

Other tidbits from the education caucus: Many parents stood up and complained about school budget cuts that have affected all aspects of student life, like, the lack of buses to go to school, scrapped breakfasts, which for low-income students, is the only way they can eat breakfast, and lack of technology for students and technology training for teachers.

Educators in the classroom decried the “corporatization” of education in the way of running schools like private businesses with mass firings and re-hirings of teachers, standardized testing, and the creation of for-profit charter schools that carefully select their students and do so at the expense of traditional public schools. Our Shenanigans, who serves on a school board in a small rural district in California, expressed dismay at the way companies are making money off standardized tests and their accompanying textbooks.

In terms of important education bills, Eskelsen urged everyone in the room to call their representatives in support of a bill that would save teaching jobs. She said that No Child Left Behind needed to be reformed so that teachers did not have to kill all joy in education by non-stop drilling and teaching to the test. She was also critical of President Obama’s “Race to the Top” plan to raise student achievement, which is detailed on NEA’s website. Unlike President Obama, Eskelsen said she supports a cap on the number of charter schools so that they are run by qualified educators and held accountable.  

Stay tuned for my interview with Eskelsen next week…

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Saturday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

First, an update on the potty-training front. Eli pooped in the potty for the first time yesterday! She had peeing down pat so her only accidents had to do with poop. She has been diaper-free exactly one week today, including at night. I am declaring her potty-trained, and I am officially out of the diaper-changing phase of my child-rearing years. Woo-hoo!

Attention Bay Area moms: A group of us at MomsRising will be on hand to give Wal-Mart a demerit badge for penalizing workers for taking sick days. We will meet this Wednesday at the Wal-Mart in Oakland at 8400 Edgewater Drive at 10:15 a.m.. The rally should last no more than an hour. Please join us!

From the “duh” files: Eight in 10 Americans of both parties oppose the Supreme Court decision to allow corporations and unions to spend as much as they want on political campaigns, according to the Washington Post.

A school district in Pennsylvania is being sued for spying on its students via a webcam on their laptop computers, according to the blog Boing Boing. The school district issued the laptops to its high school students and is allegedly checking up on and even taking disciplinary actions against them for off-campus deeds. Creepy.  

Erika update: I spoke to her this week and she sounds great, albeit a little tired. For the most part, Baby Alex cries only when he is hungry, and at times, has only woken a couple times in the middle of the night. We agreed that this was pretty good for a newborn. Also, we agreed that he is one handsome little man. He doesn’t look like a newborn!

Also, in case you are not on Facebook, our baker baker had her baby this week. She had a precious baby girl named Johanna. Congratulations to her and her family!

I am in Chicago right now for a wedding. I am here for only two days and returning to California tomorrow so my apologies in advance for not “hearing” from me in the threads. :)

What else is in the news? What’s up with you this weekend?

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The War Against Workers

Traveling across the country this summer, I have come across people who say they will not vote for Sen. Barack Obama for all kinds of bizarre reasons, including the false premise that he is a Muslim.

But I paused when a dear family member, who is a manager at Wal-Mart, said he has warned his employees that if they vote for Obama, who will “force” them to join a union, they will be out of a job. Apparently, Wal-Mart has urged all its managers to issue this dire warning to their employees.

I went ahead and e-mailed my loved one this piece by Kevin Drum along with my comments:

I just thought of our conversation about Wal-Mart and the union because there was a news report about it in CBS. The writer, Kevin Drum, by the way, is a blogger like Markos:

http://www.cbsnews.com/…

I didn’t know this, but ONLY 10 percent of Wal-Mart’s total costs is labor, which makes the Walton family’s loathing of unions that much more reprehensible. They have plenty of cash — thanks to their employees– to pay for janitors, overtime pay, and much more than that. And they are going to lash out at unions? Please.

This is clearly a bias against working people. Just mis dos centavos, Elisa

Feel free to pass on to everyone you know who works at Wal-Mart.

This morning I spoke with a friend who works for SEIU. He was scratching his head. Apparently, only 8 percent of the American workforce belongs to a union, yet voters are up in arms about this. Sounds like the joke is on the working people of this country.

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Toxic Toys No More. USW Launches ‘Protect Our Kids’ Campaign

Hi Everyone.

This diary was published by TomP on Dailykos, but it is not getting that much attention.  I suggested to Tom that he publish it at MotherTalkers, but he is not registered with this site.  I felt it was important information for parents to be aware about and the efforts being made to deal with this issue.  I agreed to crosspost though I read things here but don’t post here.   I hope this is of value to you.

Consumer Group Finds Lead In More Children’s Toys.

Extremely high levels of lead were found in a Go Diego Go backpack, a Superfly monkey and a pair of Circo Lulu boots, the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (a group dedicated to ridding the world of PVC) reported in a new study released yesterday. In all, 11 items they tested contained lead levels and/or heavy metals well over the safety standard.


Consumer Alert
Today, the United Steelworkers (USW) launched a major campaign to “Protect Our Kids–Stop Toxic Imports.”  Speaking at a Capitol Hill press conference today, USW President Leo W. Gerard said:

Toxic toys. Lead-laced baby bibs. Poisoned pet food. Red lead in Chinese-made steel. … It’s time for this to stop.

AFL-CIO Blog

WASHINGTON – China-made kid’s jewelry, toys recalled

By CHRISTINE SIMMONS, Associated Press Writer
Thu Sep 27, 6:57 AM ET

Toys and children’s necklaces made in China were recalled Wednesday, including five more items from the popular Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway product line, because they contain dangerous levels of lead.

RC2 Corp.’s “Knights of the Sword” series toys and some of its Thomas and Friends items, along with floor puppet theaters and gardening tools and chairs for children, were among the more than 601,000 toys and children’s jewelry announced in the recall by the Consumer Product Safety Commission

http://news.yahoo.com/…

In all, 11 items they tested contained lead levels and/or heavy metals well over the safety standard, 10 of which contained PVC, or vinyl. The backpack had levels of 4,600 parts per million. The CPSC standard is 600 parts per million

Consumer Alert
Speaking at a Capitol Hill press conference today, USW President Leo W. Gerard said:

Toxic toys. Lead-laced baby bibs. Poisoned pet food. Red lead in Chinese-made steel. Every day the list of imported products that endanger our families and workers grows. It’s time for this to stop. Our political leaders must deal with the failed trade policies that are the root cause of this crisis.

AFL-CIO Blog

The USW will distribute thousands of Get the Lead Out Screening kits and spearhead a series of “Safe Home Sessions” so families can learn more about protecting themselves and their loved ones.

AFL-CIO Blog
You may remember that the Steelworkers created  the Blue Green Alliance with the Sierra Club last year:

The United Steelworkers (USW), North America’s largest private sector manufacturing union with 850,000 members, and the Sierra Club, the nation’s largest grassroots environmental organization with 750,000 members, announced today the formation of a strategic alliance to pursue a joint public policy agenda under the banner of Good Jobs, A Clean Environment, and A Safer World.

Blue Green Alliance

Gerard was joined by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who is sponsoring legislation to safeguard consumers from unsafe food and other products and require country-of-origin labeling. Says Brown:

From food to toothpaste, toys to tires, we must do more to protect our families from contaminated and defective imports. Safeguarding consumers from unsafe products is the most basic of government functions—we must protect our families and our children.

While Chinese and other imports are the major source of concern, domestically made products must be screened more carefully, especially in light of the Bush administration’s cuts in the number of inspectors and staffers at the Food and Drug Administration and Consumer Product Safety Commission. Gerard puts it this way:

China’s attempt to export its poor standards is a serious problem, but a huge number of dangerous imports are made for North American manufacturers that choose profits over safety. Meanwhile, our government regulatory agencies are being gutted. Those facts are equally as disturbing.

AFL-CIO Blog
In early August, John Edwards called for increased regulation of imported toys.  I’m sure he will support the Steelworkers in their efforts here.  Everyone should.

Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Aug 3, 2007
In the wake of a flurry of safety recalls of imported toys and other goods, particularly from China, Sen. John Edwards called on leaders in Washington to take immediate steps to reduce the growing risk posed by unsafe trade and ensure the health and welfare of American consumers. This week, for example, Fisher-Price issued a recall over concerns that imported toys, mostly from China, were tainted with levels of lead far above U.S. standards – thereby posing a serious health risk to America’s children.
snip
“The recall of Fisher-Price toys highlights the need for smarter, safer trade and consumer protection policies in this country. I’ve talked about what we have to do to make food safer. Now with nearly 80 percent of children’s toys made in China, we need to strengthen our ability to ensure the safety of products designed for our children’s hands. We need tougher penalties for safety violations and we need to look at solutions like third-party testing of imported toys. At the same time we need to put the Consumer Product Safety Commission back on the side of consumers—instead of having their travel bought and paid for by the industries they are supposed to regulate.

The Growing Threat To America’s Families Posed By “Unsafe Trade
Go to protect-our-kids (Protect-Our-Kids.org) for more information on the campaign and Safe Home Sessions, to order Get the Lead Out kits and to sign an online petition calling for stronger laws and regulations to stop toxic imports and other dangerous products.
Toxic Trade Petition

Sirs.
Our children should be the top priority of our government. That is why I am signing this petition imploring you to help put an end to unregulated toxic trade that is threatening our families with everything from lead-laced baby bibs and toys to toxic tooth paste. We need tougher trade laws that not only safeguard consumers but protect our jobs. We need to stop toxic imports from ending up on our store shelves and in our homes. We need a strong Consumer Product Safety Commission and other regulatory agencies in North America to inspect the imports flooding our countries. And we want corporations to be held accountable if they put profits over our families’ health and safety. Please take action now to protect our children and stop toxic trade!

From the CDC:

Exposure to lead should be avoided. Lead is highly toxic to humans, especially young children. It has no known physiologic value to the human body. Nearly half a million children living in the United States have blood lead levels high enough to cause irreversible damage to their health.

Center for Disease Control
Please sign the Petition and support this effort.  Lead causes brain damage and other organ damage in babies and small children.

Lead accumulates and can cause brain damage, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, behavioral problems, stunted growth, impaired hearing, kidney damage and even death. It can be removed – but only if you know it is there.

Get the Lead OUT!!!
Don’t let them harm our kids anymore for the almight buck!
online petition

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