Category: Worker advocacy

How Trump’s sabotage of the Post Office is playing out locally

Trump mega-donor and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy

In May of 2020, President Trump appointed Louis DeJoy, a Trump mega-donor with no postal experience as Postmaster General of the United States.

After taking office in June, Mr. DeJoy immediately started making changes to the Postal Service that resulted in delayed delivery of mail across the country. His actions included removal of 23 top postal executives, removing high-speed mail sorting machines from post offices around the country and prohibiting employees from logging overtime to deliver mail.

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters using taxpayer funds to burnish her tarnished image with professional PR project

Internal county email about Tina Peters’ public relations project, paid for with taxpayer funds

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters used taxpayer funds to pay for a professional PR campaign promoting herself and her running of the Clerk’s office to counter the recall effort ongoing against her. The PR project comes during a time when the county is financially strapped due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and at a time when local governments are talking about layoffs. And she’s doing it during regular work hours and on taxpayer time, too.

Sen. Ray Scott’s tweet opposes progress and planning for future

Ray Scott’s tweet lamenting planning for the future, and indicating he can’t wait for such folly to end

Is Republican State Senator Ray Scott concerned about Colorado’s economy and workforce?

It sure doesn’t look like it, judging from his twitter feed.

On September 4, Scott posted a tweet that said “2022 an’t come fast enough.” It was his response to an announcement that Governor Polis had just created a new government office to deal with pressing new problems facing Colorado’s workforce. Scott’s tweet referred to the year when Governor Polis’s first term in office will be over.

Sen. Scott tweeted his disdain Governor Polis’ newly-created “Office for the Future of Work,” announced September 4.

Sen. Scott either 1) failed to investigate the need for this office, or he 2) doesn’t care what’s going to happen to Colorado workers in the near future if we fail to plan for coming trends.

BLM to G.J.? Moving federal offices out of D.C. is a way to dismantle them, Mulvaney tells Republicans

 

Don’t cheer the relocation of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) out of Washington, D.C. to Grand Junction until you understand the Trump administration’s real motive behind moving federal agencies out of Washington. Hint: It’s not to help them, and it’s not to help us.

The real motive for moving agencies out of Washington is to hobble and destroy them.

Uprooting federal agencies and moving them out of D.C. into “red” areas is a method the Trump administration is using to pressure skilled federal workers to leave by attrition and destroy federal oversight agencies. Republican Senator Cory Gardner, all three of our Republican Mesa County Commissioners (John Justman, Rose Pugliese and Scott McInnis) and Trump administration employees have all been telling the public that moving the agencies out of Washington is a way to streamline them, and make them more efficient and responsive to the people and industries they oversee.

Hogwash.

Job openings with the county pay $87,500/year plus benefits and require no experience

Salaries for each of the three Mesa County Commissioners for the month of June, 2019

Mesa County has two job openings right now that pay $87,300/year gross salary with additional generous perks and benefits, and that require absolutely no experience and no required level of educational attainment. That’s a pretty good wage in Mesa County for someone with no experience and no particular educational attainment, since the wages here are so low compared to the rest of the state. (The average weekly wage in Denver in the last quarter of 2018 was $1,414. In Mesa County it was $895). The opening is for two new county commissioners. The only requirements to be county commissioner — literally — are that you have to be a minimum of 18 years old and have lived in either County Commissioner District 1 or District 3 for at least one year. That’s it. In case you don’t believe me, the photo above gives the salaries for each of our three county commissioners for just one month — the month of June, 2019. The information was printed in the legal notices in the Sunday, August 11, 2019 issue of the Daily Sentinel. You can see the minimal requirements for the job yourself posted on Mesa County’s website. Multiply the above salary by 12 to get your new annual gross salary if you land this job ($87,500/year). Oh, and did I mention it’s also free to apply? You can even have a criminal record and it’s okay. This position can be held for up to 8 years.

Lessons from past G.J. City Council elections

Rick Brainard, one of the best-funded candidates who ever ran for Grand Junction City Council, was backed to the bitter end by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and the Old Guard Republican Establishment

Were you around for the 2013 City of Grand Junction election?

If not, then you really missed a doozy.

That was a year in which Grand Junction residents learned some big, important lessons about city council elections.

Here is one of them:

The best-funded candidates for city council are often the  WORST people to sit on city council.

Sen. Ray Scott defends taking corporate PAC money

 

Colorado state Senator Ray Scott came out swinging in a blog posted four days ago defending himself against the hard-hitting new “Pay Scott” video posted online by his challenger, Chris Kennedy, that lists all the Corporate PAC money Scott takes.

Kennedy says he will not take any corporate PAC funds, “period.”

Scott justified his taking corporate PAC money by claiming that the PACs that fund him represent the “hard-working families of Mesa County.”

Ha!

Liberals, be very proud of who you are

Mesa County vehicle that displays enmity towards liberal and progressive residents

Right wingers often disparage political liberals in western Colorado with nasty names like “libtard” and “snowflake.” Some even claim without foundation that liberalism is a “mental disorder.”

But being politically liberal is a profoundly positive thing. 

Why?

Because liberals have made most of the progress in American society.

Senator Ray Scott’s absurd efforts to block progress in the energy industry

Colorado State Senator Ray Scott, die hard promoter of fossil fuels

State Senator Ray Scott (R-Mesa County) isn’t just your average fossil fuel cheerleader. He goes far beyond defending the oil and gas industry by working to hobble and block advancements in clean, renewable energy, including solar energy, electric cars and even by finding creative ways to attack bicycle transportation. Even worse, Scott ignores inevitable injuries and deaths caused in pursuit of fossil fuel development, like the deadly explosion of a home in Firestone, Colorado on May 4, 2017 that killed two people and the July 27, 2018 explosion at a gas collection facility just over the state line in Cisco, Utah that badly burned two workers. 

Club 20 screams like a spoiled toddler and charges $25 to attend it’s debate while Polis attends events that are free and open to everyone

Rep. Jared Polis

At the end of July, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis announced he was going to have to miss Club 20’s September 8 candidate debate. In response Club 20 took on the persona of a spoiled, whiny toddler, quickly issuing a nasty press release (pdf) that screamed Polis had — *gasp!* — snubbed it and was slapping the collective face of the entire western slope because he wouldn’t attend it’s exclusive, must-do event.

Come on, Club 20. Grow up. Polis has something else to do. Check it out:

Trump’s war on worker safety

Construction is one of the most dangerous occupations, but the Trump administration is not on the side of workers.

Falling from scaffolding, getting hurt by chemical hazards, getting cut by, caught in or crushed by equipment… many Mesa County workers face hazards like this every day on the job.

A significant number of people in Mesa County work in some the country’s most dangerous occupations. Nationwide 5,190 workers were killed on the job in 2016. On average, that’s more than 99 people a week, or over 14 worker deaths every day. The construction industry has by far the highest fatality rate of any industry in the U.S., accounting for fully 21% of workplace fatalities.  823 oil and gas industry workers were killed on the job in the U.S. from 2003 to 2010 — a fatality rate seven times greater than the rate for all U.S. industries. There were over a dozen fires and explosions at Colorado oil and gas facilities in the eight months following the fatal blast in Firestone, Colorado, in April, 2017 that killed two people in their home. In one 12 year span, one oil and gas worker was killed every three months in Colorado, all while workers face a system more focused on protecting drilling companies than the people who work for them.

CMU Staff and Students Unhappy with School’s Odd, Oppressive Administrative Structure

Tim Foster, President of Colorado Mesa University

Colorado Mesa University staff members are expressing frustration with the school’s unusual, flat administrative structure, which seems strategically designed to eliminate staff input into school operations, and prevent empowerment of the staff on campus.

CMU President Tim Foster over the years has reshaped CMU’s administration to eliminate the normal avenues of communication between staff and administration that most other universities have, employees say. Instead Foster has substituted an odd, flat administrative structure that eliminates staff’s input into school operations and serves as a firewall against opposition to the administration.

Rep. Scott Tipton: A One-Man Wrecking Ball for Coloradans

House Rep. Scott Tipton votes against financial transparency in government, against protecting citizens’ health and against American workers

Think House Representative Scott Tipton is on your side? Think again.

In the last couple of weeks, Rep. Tipton has voted against cleaner air, against creating more American jobs, and in favor of keeping financial information secret that would allow Congress to tell if changes President Trump proposes in the U.S. tax code would benefit his family’s income.

Mesa County Democrats Cheered at 4th of July Parade in Grand Junction


It’s a new thing for people on Grand Junction’s Main Street to cheer the Mesa County Democrats as they pass by in the Independence Day Parade. Years ago, the Democrats’ parade entry consisted four or five people and a donkey, and the crowd was stone-faced when we walked by.

But times are changing in Mesa County.

People are starting to see that the Democratic Party (pdf) isn’t just the party that goes to bat for working people on issues like a living wage, sick pay, parental leave and a diversified economy in Mesa County. It isn’t just the party that believes everyone should be able to get the health care they need. It isn’t just the party that recognizes the value of science and technology to humanity’s future. People now seeing that the Democratic Party is the party grown-up candidates who understand and respect America’s system of government and who show respect towards all people regardless of race, religion or non-religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity.

Yes, Mesa County. That recognition is worth cheering about.

Reality Check: Does Your Political Affiliation Match Your Best Interests?

Here’s a question for Mesa County workers:

When was the last time your political party helped make your life better?

If you can’t think of anything, there’s a reason.

The dominant political party in our area has long been the Republican Party, but if you work for a salary or hourly wage, or have a small business, are registered as a Republican and think the Republican party has your best interests at heart, think again.

G.J. City Council Candidate Jesse Daniels is Generating Buzz

Momentum is growing for Grand Junction City Council candidate Jesse Daniels, the youngest and most modern-thinking city council candidate we’ve ever had. He’s fighting for some long-needed beneficial change in Grand Junction, and it’s about time.

Jesse is different kind of candidate. He has special appeal to the younger set who’ve long felt completely unrepresented on city council and longed for a change. Jesse knows how to roll…He has a logo, a Facebook page, understands social media and the importance of the Internet, and like most hard-working city residents, Jesse is a working person himself, not a retiree. He’s been involved in the goings-on in downtown Grand Junction for over 20 years.

G.J. Area Chamber of Commerce Continues to be Anti-Worker, Anti-Family and Anti-Local Government

Family Unfriendly Chamber – The G.J. Chamber’s ad in the Daily Sentinel 2/20/17 says the chamber opposes a bill to require large employers to offer parents limited unpaid time off to attend kids’ academic activities, like parent-teacher conferences, meetings about dropout prevention, truancy, etc.

 

In its ad in yesterday’s Daily Sentinel, the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce announced it opposes HB-1001, “The Parental Involvement in K-12th Grade Education Act,” a family-friendly bill that requires businesses with 50 or more employees to offer workers 18 hours of unpaid leave per school year to attend their kids’ academic events, like parent-teacher conferences, meetings related to dropout prevention, attendance, special education services, truancy, discipline issues and the like. HB-1001 allows for exemptions in case a business is having an emergency and needs all of its employees, or if an employee’s absence would leave a business unable to operate. The unpaid leave time could not exceed six hours in any one month, and employees would have to request the leave a minimum of a week before it is needed. The bill passed out of the House Education committee on February 6 on a 7-5 vote, and went to the full House, where is passed on the third reading with a 37-28 vote. Western slope House Representatives Dan Thurlow and Yeulin Willett both sided with the Chamber and voted against the measure, making these two legislators family-unfriendly as well. Every single House member who voted against this act was Republican. Every legislator voting for it was a Democrat.

G. J. Chamber “Hasn’t Even Considered” Marijuana as a Way to Boost the Local Economy

CLUELESS - Diane Schwenke attending a meeting at Main Street Bagels this morning

Diane Schwenke attending a meeting at Main Street Bagels this morning

Diane Schwenke, the CEO of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, said at a meeting at Main Street Bagels this morning that the chamber’s board hasn’t even discussed or considered the possibility of bringing retail marijuana commerce to Grand Junction as a way to boost the local economy.

Schwenke made the statement after being asked about the chamber’s position on retail marijuana, which over the last two years has proven to be one of the biggest economic drivers in elsewhere in the state.