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Action Alert - September 1, 2023

Advancing Workers' Rights

When he took office in 2020, President Joe Biden promised to be "the most pro-union president you've every seen," and he has largely delivered on that pledge, passing key legislation supporting workers and workers' rights. Recent rulings by the reinvigorated National Labor Relations Board significantly strengthen employee rights to unionize and engage in collective bargaining, countering unprecedented efforts by the Trump administration to roll-back worker protections. These actions, coupled with the American Rescue Plan, and infrastructure investments which are creating millions of union and high wage jobs, earned Biden the early endorsement this summer of the AFL-CIO and 17 other major labor organizations in his re-election bid. Support for unions is a key Bidenomic strategy for growing the economy from the middle out, rather than the top down. As described in a newly released report by the U.S. Treasury Department, "unions play an important role in addressing longstanding challenges faced by the middle class – including stagnant wages, high housing costs, and reduced intergenerational mobility. In doing so, unions contribute to a more robust and resilient economy." A key finding of the report is the "spillover effect" that advances by organized labor have on all workers, union or not, in securing higher wages and benefits. The study also recognizes the contributions of unions in reducing race and gender disparities in earnings, and in improving business productivity. While right-to-work laws and other policy barriers have eroded union membership to just over 10% of the workforce, there has been a significant uptick --- 53% --- in organizing activities over the last year, according to the Department of Labor. The contrast between Biden's efforts and the vindictive actions of FL Governor Ron DeSantis and the state legislature in the last session making it harder for teachers and other workers to participate in unions is stark and telling. Communicating Biden's accomplishments and commitment to workers, including those who have benefitted the most from administration policies, remains a challenge with competition from headline-grabbing indictments, ghost debates, handwringing over Biden's age, stubborn inflation and the GOP's success in waging culture wars. It is up to us to make the case everywhere to anyone we can: the Biden administration has created jobs, raised the pay of everyday workers, and reduced economic inequities. Enjoy your Labor Day weekend!

Thank You Card Presented to AB City Commission

Thank you to the Ring sisters (daughters of City Council-Seat 5 member Jessica Ring) for

presenting the Donner Splash Pad Thank You card at last week's AB City Commission meeting! The card, recognizing the city's decision to fund the splash pad, featured photos from the recent Beaches Back-to-School Book Bash, and was signed by kids at the community event. Special thanks to Jane Stevens and the other BAM members who advocated for the funding request!

Sign it! Support Mayor Deegan

We could not be more proud of Jax Mayor (and Beaches resident) Donna Deegan. Her response and empathy in the face of last weekend's racist mass shooting were pitch perfect (unlike comments by Gov. DeSantis and a few other politicians that were disingenuous and stunningly tone-deaf). During her short tenure, she has faced multiple crises and continues to work hard to unify a divided community. Unfortunately, she has hit a brick wall with City Council approval of three of her staff appointments. At least two appear to be victims of political retribution --- they are Republicans who broke rank to join a bipartisan administration. The last is the appointment of Dr. Parvez Ahmed as the city's first Chief of Diversity and Inclusion. Finance Committee chair and Council member Nick Howland nixed the position as "duplicative." The irony of going after this particular appointment should not be lost on anyone. If any city needs a high-level position promoting diversity and inclusion, it is Jacksonville. Join with other concerned citizens and urge the City Council to approve Mayor Deegan's requested appointments by signing this petition, started by community advocate Sherry Magill. You can also contact the City Council directly to express your support. Find their contact information here.

BAM Meeting September 14

Join us for September 14th BAM Membership meeting at 7 p.m. at the Adele Grage Cultural Center. Guest speakers Millie Leeds, president of the Jacksonville Young Democrats, and Era Gashi, president of the UNF Democrats, will join us to talk about Gen Z and young Millennial voters --- what issues they care about, where they get their information, and how they vote. This historically diverse voting group is poised to make up nearly half of the electorate in the next election. RSVP here and plan to attend as we discuss ways we can support and engage younger voters who will be critical to the outcome of the 2024 election!

First Coast Relief Fund Offers Support for Communities

in Mass Shooting

The First Coast Relief Fund, originally established by United Way and a coalition of funders to provide hurricane and COVID relief, is turning its attention to the communities impacted by last weekend's mass shooting. The fund is raising money to provide grants to support those affected by this hate crime as well as address “systemic issues that have created disparities in our communities,” according to a city of Jacksonville press release. Focus areas of the grants could include community mobilization, grief counseling or capacity building for addressing racial inequities. To make a donation, click here.

Share this email with your friends! Only 432 days until the 2024 election!

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