Don’t Let Congress Interfere with Airline Organizing: Call Your Representative Today!!

A provision that would force the National Mediation Board (NMB) to revert back to antiquated voting rules for union elections is contained in the FAA reauthorization bill. Before a final vote takes place, this provision must be removed from the bill.

The old rule automatically assigned “no” votes to workers who were eligible to vote in an election but who did not participate. On July 1, 2010, the old undemocratic rule was changed so that now, the NMB counts all votes cast in a union election—no less and no more. Americans wouldn’t tolerate this kind of voting in presidential or congressional elections; why should we allow it in union elections?

To maintain our democratic voting rights, call your U.S. Representative today. The vote on this amendment will likely happen tomorrow, 3/31/11.  Even if you’ve called previously, your Representative needs to hear from you again on this issue.  Once connected simply say:

“Hello, my name is:__________ and I am a member of the Association of Flight Attendants from (your city of residence). I believe that fair and democratic elections are a fundamental right. Please tell the Representative to support the LaTourette Amendment to the FAA bill.”

Not sure who represents you? Use this link to enter your Zip code to find your U.S. Senators and Representative, as well as your local legislators.

Union elections should be fair and conducted like all other elections in the country. Some more info…

AFA-CWA has long fought against the former federal rules that made it harder for workers in the transportation fields to win representation. For 75 years, individuals who did not cast a ballot were counted as “no” votes in representation elections.  Last year, we saw a major victory. Now, the NMB (the federal agency governing labor relations in the airline and railroad industries) requires a simple majority of votes cast – the same procedure used in NLRB union elections and to elect Senators and Members of Congress.

In the FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011 (H.R. 658), a provision was included that would reverse this recent victory.

The opponents of the agency’s election procedure have systematically advanced baseless and erroneous claims meant to distract policy makers from the merits of the rule in an effort to undermine core democratic principles of basic workers’ rights.

All across our nation, union members in coalition with progressive activists are joining together in solidarity to fight the most egregious attack on workers’ rights in decades.

This is an historic moment for the labor movement, and we are under attack on all sides- including our recent victory for fair union elections for airline employees. It’s critical that we stand together with all middle class workers to push back against big corporations and billion-dollar campaign contributors.

Please take the time to call your Member of Congress, and ensure your pro-union voice is heard.


Your Old Shoes Could Help Victims in Japan

Your Old Shoes Could Help Victims in Japan

Sport Chalet and Soles4Souls Charity team up to collect much needed footwear for the victims of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami.

Originally posted By Susan M. Ottalini | March 21, 2011

We all have an old pair of shoes in the closet. Now you can donate those shoes to a great cause.

The Sport Chalet has requested donations of gently worn men’s, women’s and kids’ shoes for victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami. From now through April 10th, all 55 Sport Chalet locations.

Sport Chalet is working for the second year in a row with the charity “Soles4Souls.” Last year, members and customers brought in more than 1.3 million shoes to help the victims of Haiti’s earthquake in January 2010.

“As we keep those affected by the tsunami in our thoughts, we cannot forget how important basic necessities — such as shoes — will be for our friends in Japan

Staying Healthy During Spring Break

Spring break is upon us all, and with does arrive many caveats for college students around the world. Cancun, Mexico happens to be one of the prime destinations for spring break goers in the US, and many college students will find themselves spellbound as they engage in the partying that is tantamount to this break that takes place to separate the first and second semesters of the college year. Many of those who are enjoying a spring break will find themselves soaking up the sun, drinking like there is no tomorrow and generally partying, dancing and enjoying fatty and calorie-rich foods like they are going out of style.

This is all in good fun, of course. But come the end of this two week break period, it’s not uncommon for college students to feel the brunt of their two week party endeavors. While a jovial time for them, the detoxification period post spring break can be harsh. However, it doesn’t have to necessarily be this way. Here are some really easy healthy spring break tips that can allow for you to avoid this conundrum when your break has ended and it’s time to hit the books again.

1. Swear an oath to sunscreen. Sunburn is one of the top ailments post spring break. So dab on ample amounts of SPF 30 before you head to the beach – and make sure to reapply it every four hours or so.
2. Drink plenty of water. A good rule of thumb for avoiding a hangover or moderate alcohol poisoning is to match every drink or shot that you consume with 8 ounces of water.
3. Get plenty of sleep. Make sure you are not partying until the wee hours of morning and then doing it all over again on two hours of sleep. Get your beauty sleep in; your body, mind and skin will thank you.
4. Eat healthier meals to balance toxin intake. Cheeseburgers for lunch is okay, but make sure to balance that out with a hearty and wholesome dinner, too.
5. Use natural detox supplements to cleanse your body. Look into natural detox supplements like Goldenseal, which you can take in capsule form and that you can find at most natural health stores for pretty cheap.

Delta IFS is committed to bring relief to our co-workers and friends in Japan

The employees of NRT have shown unbelievable and unwavering professionalism, dedication and tremendous resilience despite the threats to their homes and families.  Many of you have asked how you can help.  MSP Inflight is collecting donations of bottled water, food, blankets, general first aid (aspirin, band aids), batteries, radios, toilet paper, rice, canned goods, clothing, nuts, candy, soy milk, and toiletries.  They will be sending the corporate and employee dontations over to NRT, which will be distributed to the Delta employees and hotel staff affected by the recent disaster.  Please bring your items to the MSP check in lobby and look for the designated donation box.


Let’s Go Shopping!!!!

“Let’s go shopping!” that’s what I heard over the phone last weekend from my best friend. Well, not being one to turn that offer down, I pick her up and we’re off to Kohl’s, her favorite store. I wander around the store with her, not seeing anything I necessarily wanted to buy, but watched as she picked up one item after the other, listening as she told me where she was going to wear it and how great it would look with such and such items. She’s going through so fast that I failed to notice how she wasn’t trying these items on.

Finally we have an entire cart of clothing for her, and I mention, “Hey, are you going try all this on?” Nope. She was certain that the items fit her. After all, she knew the brand, she knew her size. I smile, nod and decide that some people just need to learn the lessons the hard way, and that I had no right to impede upon that education. We checkout, spending too much money on items that she was sure fit, but that I was less than thrilled about returning later, when they didn’t fit.

We talk a lot during the week. A LOT! Monday came, and she was telling me about how one shift didn’t fit right. Tuesday was a pair of jeans, Wendsday she didn’t wear her new clothes, Thursday was a pair of shoes, Friday she tried everything on and garnered a pile that she has to return. This weekend was spent returning the items and exchanging them for different sizes that she actually tried on. Lesson learned.


What can you take from this story? Well, hopefully the same lesson my friend took home, which was to try everything on. You may think you are saving time buy buying items without trying them on, you may even think you “know” your size. However, with all the different materials, cuts and styles out there, what is a size 8 and fit perfectly in one outfit can be a size 8 and way too small in other style. Take the minute, try on the outfit. After all, isn’t that half the fun of shopping with your best friend? Getting out of the dressing room and looking all goofy? I know that’s my favorite part.


Rest In Peace Clarissa Walker

Longtime Minneapolis activist and Sabathani Community Center leader died last week.

Find the original article at

For decades, friends and strangers knocked on Clarissa Walker’s door and rang her phone in the middle of the night, seeking shelter, food or homespun advice.

“She was the community’s mom,” said her daughter, Sara Rogers.

Walker, who mothered her south Minneapolis community for five decades as a social worker, activist and Sabathani Community Center leader, died March 7 of complications from dementia. She was 79.

“She was Sabathani; the community is missing a foundation,” said Pamela Weems, a professional makeup artist who said she was able to buy a home because Walker straightened out Weems’ taxes and got her years’ worth of refunds she didn’t know she had coming.

A Kansas City native who moved to Minneapolis in the mid-1950s, Walker transitioned from work as a nursing assistant to social work and community organizing.

She created the Sabathani Family Resource Center, which included two emergency houses, a food shelf and clothing shelf. She also brought Southside Neighborhood Housing Services, a national affordable housing program, to Minnesota in the 1970s. She helped south Minneapolis families plant community gardens on Sabathani property, and she helped many besides Weems prepare their taxes, securing millions of dollars in much-needed refunds.

A former welfare recipient, Walker didn’t pass judgment or ask questions about how or why people ended up in predicaments, Sara Rogers said, adding that Walker was concerned with one thing: “How can I help?”

Georgia Marinkov-Omorean worked alongside Walker at Sabathani for decades, serving families in the Central and Bryant neighborhoods and beyond.

‘Ability to touch so many’

Walker lived across the street from the community center, which is at 310 E. 38th St. Late nights, after fires or some other problem forced people from their homes, she’d dig out the keys to the center and find food and clothes for them.

“She had the ability to touch so many people,” said Marinkov-Omorean, director of the Sabathani Senior Center.

In Walker’s office in the basement of Sabathani, she hosted people who shaped policy and those affected by it. Her memorial service Monday drew more than 400 people from all walks of life, including politicians, panhandlers, preachers and professionals.

Weems told the crowd about her first meeting with Walker in that cluttered office. She recalled how Walker squinted at her W-2 forms, thumbed through a stack of papers and told her to come back in a few days.

“I was a nervous wreck,” said Weems, who hadn’t filed taxes in five years. “I didn’t think she could see.”

When Weems returned, the single mother of three walked out of Walker’s office with forms for five years’ worth of refunds, money she used for a down payment on a home.

Walker’s youngest daughter, Neva Walker, followed in her mother’s footsteps as a youth and housing organizer. She later served four terms in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

“I wasn’t there to fill the shoes; I was just here to push her accomplishments further,” said Neva Walker, the state’s first black female lawmaker. “She could’ve been so many things, but [she] wanted to stay close to the people and work with them.”

As her memory began to fail, Clarissa Walker lost track of time and badgered family about filing paperwork or completing tax returns for patrons from years before.

Finally, the woman who had for so long been a voice for the downtrodden lost her ability to speak. But she had left an example to follow.

“It wasn’t just a job for her,” Neva Walker said. “It was a way of living.”

Walker is survived by six of her seven children and many grandchildren and great grandchildren.


Support Those Affected By HIV/AIDS


Get your tickets now to the Fashion Dance for Life Production – A Benefit for HIV/AIDS Awareness and the Hughes Foundation.




Dealing with Slush and Ice

Winter is ending, finally. There are more days of bright sun and fewer days of snow. There are more days of warm temperatures than there are of negative degree nights. This being said, winter is not done, it is just changing. Gone are the days of feet of snow, but here are the days of ice and slush. This means a change in the wardrobe and in particular the shoes that one wears. While some shoes are ideal for the snow which provides some traction, these shoes are not always ideal for the wet ice and the freezing slush.


Winter boots, with their thick insulation and waterproof construction, are still considered the best footwear that a person can have. These come in a wide array of fashions, even heels, although on the ice, one would suggest a very short heel or flat. These come in an array of materials, most often leather or a rubber-like material. These boots provide the individual with the best traction and the best defense against the cold and wet that the slush and the ice are. In addition, these are easy to clean and easy to care for.


While the peep toes and the strappy heels look fun, one must remember what they are used for. They are used to look sexy and fun. This is nice, except they provide no protection against the weather. The soles on these shoes are often smooth, limiting the traction that a person has available. The material is thin and form fitting, keeping the sexy look and there is a lot of area on the foot that is not covered. These shoes are ideal for contracting frostbite in the winter/spring weather. Save these shoes for once you get to the event and in the door.


As for those horrid Uggs and the cloth version of these shoes, please, please use some common sense. If the shoe looks like a house slipper, do not wear it outside. If the construction of the shoe features cotton, remember, cotton is very absorbent; it is what towels are made of. These shoes may be warm and soft in the store, but they are not functional outside. Stepping in a puddle in these shoes will guarantee a chill; slush and ice will not only be outside of the shoe, but also in the shoe and against the skin. Not to mention that the shoe makes the individual look like they have blocks for ankles and calves, lost in all definition without the logic of a winter boot.


Showing Irish Pride

Moladh na hÉireann! It will soon be St. Patrick’s Day, a festival in which the Irish celebrate St. Patrick driving the snakes from Ireland by drinking and having a grand time. This is the only time of the year where EVERYONE is Irish. Even those who have no Irish blood in them are Irish, and the wearing the color red will warrant a punch in the arm. Green will be the color of the beer, the color of the eggs and the ham. Everything is Irish and everyone loves it.


However, St. Patrick’s Day is not all fun and games. There are serious concerns about this holiday where drinking is celebrated. There will be police out in force to prevent drunk driving, something that can get the innocent individual killed but leave the drunk unharmed. The police will also be out and about cooling the tempers of those who cannot handle their drinks with a smile. This is a festive holiday that can quickly turn to tragedy.


To keep yourself safe this St. Patrick’s Day, one should use common sense. Are you planning on getting piss drunk this year? Well, consider a taxi to get you there and back. This will help to keep the drunk driving down and will also allow you one less thing to worry about. Many times the taxis are free on St. Patrick’s Day to accommodate the safety of everyone, but do call ahead to make sure of this and to ensure the proper pick up time for the taxi.

Are you angry or irritated before you have even begun to drink? Yes? Please put down the whisky and take a moment to relax and have some fun before drinking. Alcohol has a way of removing our filters and what was minor irritation before can become rage with just a few car bombs. If you have had a history of being violent once drinking, consider not drinking for everyone’s sake, including your criminal record.


Above all, be aware that even the full blood Irish get hang-overs. Take the time to hydrate with water between drinks. The taste of Murphy’s does not depreciate if you have a glass of water with it. Killians is just as red after a glass of juice. Take care of yourself while drinking. Enjoy your drink with some food to prevent nausea. Relax, you have all day and all night to enjoy your drinks. There is no reason to hit it heavy right off the bat. Enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day and remember those snakes that left the Emerald Island in order for this holiday to come to be.  Eirinn go Brach.