Saturday, September 13, 2008

Labor Day 2008

I retain all my copyrights. Text and Photos Copyright Maria Merlino 2008. Do not publish to any other site.

The Apostle of the Labor Movement
Eugene V. Debs

“Ten thousand times has the labor movement stumbled and fallen and bruised itself, and risen again; been seized by the throat and choked and clubbed into insensibility; enjoined by courts, assaulted by thugs, charged by the militia, shot down by regulars, traduced by the press, frowned upon by public opinion, deceived by politicians, threatened by priests, repudiated by renegades, preyed upon by grafters, infested by spies, deserted by cowards, betrayed by traitors, bled by leeches, and sold out by leaders, but notwithstanding all this, and all these, it is today the most vital and potential power this planet has ever known, and its historic mission of emancipating the workers of the world from the thralldom of the ages is as certain of ultimate realization as is the setting of the sun.”

(Eugene V. Debs, Apostle of the Labor Movement-1898)

In the late 1800s, as the Industrial Revolution took hold of the nation, the average American, in order to make a basic living, worked 12 hours a day and seven days a week. Children were also employed, as they provided cheap labor to the bosses. Laws against child labor went largely ignored. In 1852, Philadelphia required children to attend not school, but a job!

With the long hours and appalling working conditions, American unions became more prominent and voiced their demands for a better way of life. On Tuesday September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers marched from City Hall to Union Square in New York City, holding the first-ever Labor Day parade. Participants took an unpaid day-off to honor the workers of America, as well as vocalize issues they had with employers. It took more than a decade for Congress to finally legalize Labor Day.

While the Industrial Revolution did provide many jobs to scores of people, which resulted in the beginning of the middle-class, the heartbreaking reality, jobs created by Industry, were low-wage positions such as assembly line workers and machine operators, that barely allowed workers to subsist. Many workers found themselves living in squalor as they came home to filth-ridden housing. In great contrast, the investors and the owners of the factories and companies prospered financially on the back of labor. Labor Day resonants historical significance as it honors the efforts of early union organizers, like Eugene Victor Debs who established the standards that even non-union workers enjoy today: a 40 hour work week, sick leave, paid holidays, and a package of benefits. Debs played an important role in popularizing ideas and ideals which were denounced as radical, even un-American, in the early part of the 20th century. Branded a radical, government threw him in jail for his thoughts. These ideas later were considered acceptable and are now viewed as traditional. was that the vast majority of the

Although many of us see Labor Day as the last long week-end of summer, Labor Day is meant to be a celebration of the labor movement and its many achievements so that all of us can take this paid holiday to honor those workers who struggled in violent repression to attain a living wage to support families with security and well-being.

Dr. Jim Moylan, Political Director, Robert Henon and son Matthew

IBEW 98 Labor Leader John Dougherty, Hall of Fame athlete, Ken Adams

Telecommunication Local 98, Bob “Bubba” Adams,

Republican Ward Leader, Michael Cibik, Esq.

Friday, September 12, 2008

State Representative Bill Keller

I retain all my copyrights. Text and Photos Copyright Maria Merlino 2008. Do not publish to any other site.

Cement Masons & Plasterers Local 592 President/Business Manager Mike Fera President of the Building Trades Council Pat Gillespie, Assistant Business Manger IBEW Local 98 Mike Hnatkowsky State Rep Bill Keller, Ironworkers Local Union #405 NJ Councilman Al Fratalli

Local Labor leaders gathered at Doc’s Union Pub last week and joined in solidarity to help re-elect State Rep Bill Keller.

State Rep and Longshoreman, from ILA, Local 1291 Bill Keller with International Longshoreman Association friends, Sonny Howlette, Lou Carberry, Flip Renzi

Holding his pen and speaking of the The Delaware River Main Channel Deepening Project , Governor Rendell reckoned ,“I believe nothing is more important to the future of the ports of Philadelphia, southern New Jersey and Delaware than this project,” as he signed into law a bill drafted by State Rep Bill Keller. Later on, Keller explained that "The new law created by House Bill 1691 takes care of the project agreement by allowing a hold harmless provision for the Corps of Engineers during the project's execution. Essentially, this bill set the plan into motion and will ultimately protect the Army Corps from paying damages associated with it." The last time the river was deepen, was during WWII.

State Rep Bill Keller and former 175 th Rep Marie Lederer

Still service oriented and caring about her Fishtown neighborhoods, retired State Rep Marie Lederer gives her nod of approval to State Rep. Bill Keller. Keller wants to grant older Pennsylvanians the opportunity to live in their current place of residence for as long as possible, also known as "Age in Place." Keller is drafting a bill that would establish and support NORCs, or Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities, so senior citizens do not need to leave their homes and live in an institutionalized setting. The Age in Place legislation also will aim to help the residents of aging communities obtain the federal and state funding needed to live in their neighborhoods, prolong their independence, and improve their quality of life.

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President, Jerry T. Jordon

City Comptroller Alan Butkavitz,

State Rep. Bill Keller

AFT Pennsylvania President, Ted Kirsch

State Rep Bill Keller encourages college bound high school seniors to apply to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Scholarship Program.“I know how many students may not attend college because they can’t afford it,” Keller said. “A scholarship opportunity like this shouldn’t be passed up.” Administered by the Foundation for Enhancing Communities, or FEC, the program is not affiliated with any political party and is renewable for up to four years of college. Two scholarships are awarded per year in the amount of one semester at a State System of Higher Education university, approximately $2,500.

K-9‘s for Keller

Keller is a co-sponsor of H.B. 2525 that would eliminate the substandard conditions and abuse that has been documented at some of Pennsylvania's large-scale dog breeding operations. Specifically, the bill would establish minimum and humane standards for the safety, health and care of dogs to ensure they are protected from injury and inclement weather and are housed in clean, adequately sized and heated enclosures. "Currently, a kennel owner can detain dogs in cramped, wire cages stacked from floor to ceiling with no heat, no exercise and little medical attention. I want to make my voice heard on behalf of the animals that can't protect themselves. We need to enact stricter guidelines for breeders now," said a compassionate Keller .

District Office

1531 South Second St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Phone: (215) 271-9190

Here is a nice tribute by Bill:


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Daddy Wags

By Maria Merlino

Shouts of “Happy Birthday, Marine!” and “Semper Fi!” filled the air last Saturday as thousands of Marines converged at Cookie’s Tavern on 10th and Oregon Avenue to celebrate the 232nd birthday of the United States Marine Corps. And since the nativity of the Corps began in a colonial Philadelphia bar at The Tun Tavern November 10th, 1775, it is so very fitting to have this remarkable annual event take place in a South Philadelphia bar.

Read the full story HERE

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Johnny Doc----Family Man!

Doc's wife, Cecilia Dougherty, determined and steadfast.

Daughter Erin runs the Charter school Doc founded.

Johnny Doc embracing Daughter Tara and Nephew George Fiocca

Doc is the type of guy that likes to take people under his wing. He's a husband, a father, a mentor, and a friend. He cares about people. He wants to make sure that folks can make a living wage. His neighborhood means the world to him, so much so, that he never left it. His love for all children, especially those kids that need a little extra help, is one of his shining points. As the past President of the Variety Club, a charity dedicated to handicapped children, Doc's raised millions of dollars for them and then some.

When he first ran for office, I attended his kick-off party. Here is my column from that day.
Doc Announces His Candidacy

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pep Rally for Johnny Doc!

A Huge Crowd Out to Support Doc

Doc with Mummers Captain of the Shooting Stars Michael "Mickey" Adams and Southern Athletic Hall of Fame Member Ken Adams

Philadelphia Councilman Bill Green IV

Finnegan's Wake Restaurant Owner Mike Driscoll with Philadelphia Soul and ESPN radio announcer Joe Krause

I took these photos at McFadden's during a pep rally for Doc. I wrote about the event in my column, Within Walking Distance for The South Philadelphia Public Record
Here is the story about that evening.
Within Walking Distance-Pep Rally for Doc