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  • Tuesday, September 27, 2005 Statement By Anna Burger, Chair Of Change To Win, on the Change To Win Founding Convention

    September 27, 2005

    Good morning. Brothers and Sisters, I am honored to be here as the chair of this historic founding convention.

    Today, seven unions representing 6 million members stand together and commit to each other,

    and to the unorganized American workers, that we will rebirth the union movement.

    I grew up in the 1950's in Levittown, Pennsylvania, in a working class family, believing in the American Dream. My mom was a nurse, working the 3 to 11 shift at a nursing home and when I was 9 my dad, a truck driver, was permanently disabled in a terrible accident.

    Mom's enormous strength and Dad's social security and Medicare allowed my sisters, brother and me to live decently and to go to college, without being buried by debt.

    After I got my first union job and went on my first strike my Dad gave me some good advice. He said, "Anna, whatever you do, stick to the union, it's what makes a difference for working people like us." And that was the one thing that my dad told me that I listened to... so Dad, you were right, and I'm still sticking to the union.

    Unions are a gift. They allow ordinary working class Americans like me to join my strength with the strength of a truck driver, a hotel porter, a retail worker, a nursing home worker, a carpenter... all of us here today.

    The fact is, that each of us by ourselves are just ordinary people, but together, when we unite our strength, together all of the ordinary people in this room can do the most extraordinary thing.

    We will change the lives of American workers.

    When I was growing up, one in three workers was in a union, and a union job raised up whole families, whole communities, whole generations.

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  • Friday, September 23, 2005 Change to Win Unions, Rainbow/PUSH, Community Groups Commit Resources and Know-How to Massive Worker Training Initiative to Rebuild the Gulf Coast

    WASHINGTON, DC - In partnership with community groups like Rainbow/PUSH and the Black Leadership Forum, the Change to Win Coalition today rolled out a blueprint for a massive, multi-industry program to train an army of workers to rebuild the Gulf Coast.

    "We have the resources and know-how to create the most successful worker training initiative in American history so that poverty is something we can look at in the rearview mirror," said Anna Burger chair of Change to Win, a coalition of seven major unions representing six million workers. "We will train thousands of workers from the Gulf Coast and place them in good paying jobs with benefits you can raise a family on."

    The Change to Win unions already have extensive experience in recruitment and training that can be rapidly deployed, and have committed this expertise to undertake a community-based effort unique it its scope and spirit.

     The coalition is ready to execute a comprehensive renewal and retraining program for Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama that allows families in these ravaged communities to rebuild their lives by putting them on a path to a better economic future. The plans include coordinating and implementing the following:

        * Stationary training facility operated by the Laborers in Livonia, Louisiana that is staffed with skilled instructors certified to provide training in hazardous waste, OSHA 10-hour, mold remediation, first aid/CPR and basic construction. The Laborers also have multiple mobile training facilities already in the Gulf region that can do on-site training for contractors.
        * Worker Assistance Center that expands on services already provided by UNITE-HERE in the region. In addition to providing immediate relief like food, housing, health care, day care and legal services, the center will include comprehensive case management and labor-exchange data capacity to match local workers and evacuees to training and jobs.

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  • Wednesday, September 21, 2005 Change to Win Coalition to Hold Founding Convention of New Labor Federation in St. Louis

    Convention to Focus on Growth and Creating Economic Opportunity for Workers

    Washington, DC - The Change to Win Coalition will hold the founding convention of a new labor federation in St. Louis on Tuesday, September 27, 2005 at the Renaissance Grand Hotel. The one-day convention will be centered on growing the union movement and creating economic opportunity for workers. It will feature workers from the US and abroad, including workers from the Gulf Coast, speaking firsthand about how the new federation will change their lives.

    "The Change to Win Coalition has real solutions for working families, and on September 27th we'll share our vision for empowering the close to 90 percent of workers who lack a voice on the job," said Anna Burger, Chair of the Coalition. "Our 7 unions have made a commitment to devoting the vast majority of our resources to ensuring that workers are rewarded with a paycheck that supports a family; quality, affordable health care; and retirement with dignity."

    The convention will run from 9 am -- 5:30 pm on September 27th, and will be preceded by a kickoff celebration in the America's Center from 6 -- 9 pm on Monday evening. The Coalition is also holding a roundtable discussion on Monday afternoon with national leaders of progressive organizations to share their plan for improving workers' lives, beginning with a massive training and rebuilding effort in the Gulf Coast.

    The Change to Win Coalition was founded in June by unions representing more than 5 million workers, with a key focus to unite the 90 percent of workers not yet in a union so that all working people in this country can build the power to make their voices heard in their jobs, their communities, and in Washington.

    Only journalists with valid press credentials will be admitted. To obtain a press credential, please contact Stephanie Mueller at 202-842-9884.

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  • Thursday, September 15, 2005 President's Plan for Rebuilding Gulf Coast - No Plan for Working Families

    Change to Win Coalition to Propose Real Solutions for Rebuilding Lives In Addition to Homes That Were Destroyed

    Washington, DC - In response to President Bush's speech tonight, the Change to Win Coalition called for more of the focus of the recovery efforts to be on rebuilding the lives of those affected.

    "Americans want to hear a real plan for giving hope to the families affected by Katrina," said Anna Burger, Chair of the Change to Win Coalition. "In order to build a new future, the families of the Gulf Coast need good jobs to come back to. We support the call to action released today by the Congressional Black Caucus, which emphasizes ensuring that local residents have the first choice at reconstruction jobs and contracts. American taxpayers have a right to expect that the projects they're paying for are rebuilding lives and sustainable communities through training and jobs for workers in the Gulf Coast region."

    The Coalition unions have already sent construction workers, health care workers, truck drivers and others to the area to assist in the relief efforts. In addition to that work, the Coalition will unveil a plan at their founding convention on September 27 that will include an unprecedented training effort to help the displaced workers get back on their feet and play an integral part in the rebuilding of their communities.

    "Our next step is to get workers in this area back home and trained to be part of rebuilding cities and towns, hospitals and schools," said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. "The federal government must work in partnership with the community, religious organizations, employers and labor to get this region working again, instead of giving their corporate friends no-bid contracts that increase their profits at the expense of working families."

    Contact:
    Stephanie Mueller, 202-256-0833

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  • Wednesday, September 14, 2005 UNITE HERE Announces Disaffiliation from the AFL-CIO

    Convention to Focus on Growth and Creating Economic Opportunity for Workers

    The Change to Win Coalition supports UNITE HERE's decision to focus their energy and resources on a strategy ensuring workers are able to build a better future for themselves and their families. This dynamic union has set the standard for their commitment to organizing and growth and is a prime example of how our coalition will win for all workers. All of the unions of the Change to Win Coalition, and working people throughout the US, will be better off because of UNITE HERE's affiliation.

    We look forward to standing together with them in the months and years ahead as we chart a new course for working families.

    Contact:
    Stephanie Mueller, 202-256-0833

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