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In 2012, four-year tuition at the average public university cost more than $15,000 – not counting books, meals or housing. At the average private institution, that figure was even higher, clocking in at over $32,000. Even two-year and vocational programs ran nearly $9,000 per certificate.

With the cost of higher education skyrocketing, it’s easy to assume that professors – the men and women who educate our students – are doing quite well for themselves. In some cases, that’s true: tenured faculty members’ salaries at leading universities can top $160,000 a year. But the average adjunct professor makes just $2,700 per course, with no health care insurance or other benefits.

Here’s the kicker: 76 percent of university faculty in the United States are adjunct professors. Most have to work at multiple universities and still don’t make enough to stay above the poverty line. And considering the amount of time involved in preparing, teaching and grading each class, many adjuncts make less than minimum wage.

With statistics like these, it’s no surprise that adjunct professors nationwide are forming unions through Adjunct Action, a project of the Service Employees International Union. This past weekend, faculty from more than 20 Bay State campuses kicked off their own organizing drive with an ‘Adjunct Faculty Symposium’ in Boston.

More than 100 professors from across Eastern Massachusetts gathered at the JFK Presidential Library Saturday for the daylong conference – discussing everything from classroom challenges to coalition building. Participants also met in small breakout groups to develop campus-specific organizing strategies and plan next steps, joined by scores of student supporters who were ready to stand in solidarity with their professors.

By the end of the symposium, adjunct professors were well prepared to launch organizing drives on campuses throughout greater Boston. And soon, they’ll be standing arm-in-arm with 15,000 other faculty members who have already unionized through Adjunct Action at SEIU.

For more information on the fight to raise wages and improve working conditions for adjunct faculty, check out this great interview from WBUR’s All Things Considered – or visit Adjunct Action online at www.adjunctaction.org.

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Event attendees at Boston’s Symphony Hall were in for a different kind of entertainment this week, as more than 150 local seniors and unemployed workers staged a processed meat-themed demonstration outside the historic venue. Their target: self-proclaimed ‘deficit hawk’ Erskine Bowles and his baloney push to slash Social Security, Medicare and other vital programs in favor of new corporate tax breaks.

When Mr. Bowles made a Bay State stop on his speaking tour, affected residents braved below-freezing temperatures outside the venue, clad in baloney costumes and handing out “Stop the Baloney!” sandwiches – even singing a remixed “Oscar Mayer Balogna” song to drive their point home.

Despite their frequently-delivered platitudes on “shared sacrifice,” Erskine Bowles and his partner-in-crime, Alan Simpson, have used their Fix the Debt lobbying group to push hundreds of billions in corporate tax giveaways – all while balancing the budget on the backs of low-income workers and seniors. In short, the Simpson-Bowles/Fix the Debt blueprint demands $3.8 trillion (with a ‘T’) in cuts to the programs working families and retirees depend on…just so they can hand the proceeds over to major corporations like Bank of America, GE and Verizon.

Sound like a raw deal? We certainly think so – and plenty of community advocates across the country feel the same way. Sign up to help stop the Simpson-Bowles/Fix the Debt baloney here.

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It seems that recently-unemployed Scott Brown has found himself a new line of work – and shown us his true colors in the process.

Has the former Massachusetts Senator joined a think tank devoted to bi-partisan solutions? No. Started a new organization to address the dysfunction in Washington? Nope. How about signing on with a group that works to create all those great jobs he promised us all? Definitely not.


Instead, on Wednesday night, Scott Brown made his debut as a commentator for none other than Fox News (no joke). Apparently, in a bid to escape from the political system he refers to as "dysfunctional" and "extremely partisan," Brown has taken on the mantle of political pundit for one of the most extreme and combative outfits promoting partisan rancor. Call us crazy, but the likes of Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly don’t exactly seem like poster children for all the “independence” we heard so much about on the campaign trail.


Of course, our former senator did not discuss his anti-jobs voting record on Hannity’s show, nor did he talk about his recent defeat to progressive champion-turned-senator, Elizabeth Warren. Instead, Brown spent the majority of his relatively brief inaugural segment bemoaning “partisan gridlock” in Washington. Nevermind the fact that Brown was labeled one of the most partisan members of the senate during his brief tenure, or his consistent support of right-wing Republican obstructionism on just about every vote that mattered. Oh, and definitely disregard the fact that he delivered this partisanship diatribe on Fox News. FOX NEWS!


Asked why he decided against running for senate again, Brown replied: "I felt I could make a difference being on this show [Hannity’s] and doing other things." We couldn’t make up this kind of material if we tried.


So for everyone out there missing Scott Brown's campaign prop pick-up truck and faux barn jacket – never fear. Brown will be "doing things" (whatever that means) and has promised to "be a part of the election process back home." Thank God!



One thing is clear: we definitely haven't seen the last of our former senator. So if you can stomach it, stay tuned to Fox News for what will undoubtedly be more unpolished “true colors” moments in the evolution of Scott Brown.

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It’s Valentine’s Day, and we at MassUniting couldn’t help taking a peek at the personal ads to see what lonely souls out there might be looking for love on this particularly romantic holiday. Imagine our surprise when we came across the “Gold Diggers Looking 4 Love” ad below:
 

 
This personal ad may be a bit of a joke, but there’s nothing funny about Fix the Debt or their gold-digging agenda. While the corporate front group whispers sweet nothings in our ears about “shared sacrifice” and “debt reduction,” they’re hiding their true plan to break our hearts by cutting Social Security, raising the retirement age and taking more from our paychecks.

As it turns out, the corporate gold diggers at Fix the Debt don’t really care much about the national debt at all, let alone taxpayers – the targets of their alleged affection. These well-heeled gold diggers have their eyes on one thing and one thing only: our wallets. And they plan to use our tax dollars to bankroll corporate jets, CEO bonuses, and whatever else they can buy with their new handouts.

We get it’s hard to be alone on Valentine’s Day – we’ve all been there. But it’s clear that the corporate gold diggers behind Fix the Debt are just looking for susceptible singles to fund their massive tax giveaways. So don’t let these pigs break your heart today – or any other day for that matter. Click here to learn more and take action against corporate gold digging.

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You may have seen their ads on TV or been accosted by a Fix the Debt canvasser on the street – they claim to be a grassroots effort promoting steps to reduce the national debt. But the truth is, Fix the Debt is just another corporate-financed DC lobbying group looking for taxpayer handouts.

That revelation prompted a flashmob-style demonstration today outside the New England headquarters of a major Fix the Debt funder and beneficiary, Bank of America.  More than 75 workers and retirees, police in tow, descended on the financial giant’s Federal Street building to call Fix the Debt corporations out for what they really are: gold diggers.

The action comes on the heels of a report from the non-partisan Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), which reveals that Fix the Debt’s legislative agenda has little to do with the national debt at all. In fact, the bulk of the group’s lobbying activities have focused on securing billions in new corporate tax breaks at the expense of American workers and seniors.

Make no mistake, Fix the Debt does support cuts to Social Security and other vital programs – as well as raising the retirement age – as a way to reduce federal spending, But according to the IPS report, Fix the Debt plans to use those savings to fund more than $134 billion in tax giveaways for its 63 publicly-held member corporations -- including Bank of America, Verizon and General Electric. Keep in mind, 24 of these Fix the Debt companies already pay their CEOs more than they paid in federal corporate income taxes. Twenty-two spent more on lobbying than they did on their tax bill.

So much for “fixing the debt.” As it turns out, the corporate-financed Fix the Debt campaign amounts to old school gold digging at its worst. Might want to mind your pocketbook.

Want to put a stop to Corporate America’s gold digging? Tired of your tax dollars paying for bank profits and CEO bonuses? Visit www.MassUniting.org/GoldDiggers to sign up and help expose Fix the Debt’s corporate greed!

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With the fiscal cliff looming, Congressmen Mike Capuano (D-Boston) and John Tierney (D-Salem) yesterday kicked off a major rally against potential cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall. The event, which drew a crowd of more than 500 Bay State seniors, workers and healthcare advocates, marked a nationwide day of action calling for new revenue and investments in job creation as key components of a potential deal on the fiscal cliff.

Following remarks from Capuano and Tierney, Massachusetts residents amongst the most likely to be impacted by cuts to vital federal programs spoke out about what these cuts would mean in their lives. Among them were local seniors, healthcare providers and unemployed workers.

There's a lot at stake for the people of Massachusetts in the upcoming debates, and the vital services that many seniors and working families depend on are on the line.

“These services are so critical to helping people like me get back to work, and they’re also incredibly important to the people I now work with every day,” said Charlene Saulnier, a West Medford nurse who serves low-income seniors. “That’s why we’re here today, calling on our senators to preserve funding for these programs. We need champions for our families and seniors.”

It's up to all of us to keep up the pressure on our elected officials over the coming weeks, and ensure that we have those champions on our side. Call 1-888-979-7518 to be connected to your member of Congress TODAY.

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In a widely-reported reversal last week, Scott Brown canceled the final US Senate debate -- dismissing it as unnecessary. As a result, voters in Massachsuetts have been left to a barrage of biased and often less-than-honest campaign advertisements, mailers and phone calls in the final days of the election season.

Candidates can talk all they want, but when it comes down to it, it's the votes that matter. That's why we've put together a full online timeline of Scott Brown's less-discussed positions -- from his votes to kill job creation and unemployment extension bills to Brown's efforts to weaken Wall Street regulations.

Check out the full timeline of Scott Brown’s votes against his Massachusetts constituents here. With the election just days away, it's critical that everyone you know learns the truth about Scott Brown’s record. Not the sugar-coated, made-for-TV version — the real Brown record.

Here are a few examples of Brown's votes:

- March 9, 2010 - Brown votes to slash $86 million in federal job creation funds, killing 7,000 jobs for Bay State youth [US Senate vote #45]

-July 20-21, 2010 - Brown votes yet again to end Massachusetts unemployment benefits – bringing his total to eight votes to kill unemployment. [US Senate vote #209 and #214]

-Dec 9, 2010 - Brown votes against health services for 9/11 First Responders exposed to toxins. [US Senate vote #269]

-Dec 4, 2010 - Brown defends millionaires and billionaires while voting against tax cuts for middle class and low-income families. [US Senate vote #258, #259 and #275]

-Oct 11, 2011 - Brown votes “No” on American Jobs Act, killing 16,000 Massachusetts construction jobs. [US Senate vote #160]

-Feb 25, 2012 - Brown supports bill that denies women access to contraceptives and other basic healthcare services like mammograms and cancer screenings. [US Springfield Republican, 2/25/12]

Learn more. Click here to see the full timeline of Brown's votes.

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They've been traveling across the country over the past few weeks, but today workers from Sensata and other Bain-owned companies brought their message straight to Mitt Romney's campaign headquarters in Boston -- and they made damn sure their message would be seen:

Message for Romney

To the shouts of “We are the people! We are united! We don’t want a Romney Economy!” and “Hey, Mitt Romney, you can’t hide – we can see your greedy side!,” activists unveiled a 40-foot tall banner reading ‘STOP THE ROMNEY-BAIN ECONOMY’ outside Romney's campaign office in Boston's North End. The mass demonstration and rally came as part of the nationwide Bain Worker Bus Tour, which has visited 14 states to share stories from the communities impacted by the Romney-Bain model – one that ships good, family-supporting jobs overseas and slashes wages, hours and benefits for the few positions that remain.

“Our jobs are going to China because of Bain, and Mitt Romney will make a fistful of money on the deal,” said Dot Turner, a 43-year veteran of Bain-owned Sensata Technologies, who trained her Chinese replacement as a condition of her severance. “This is what we can expect from a Romney-Bain economy – more corporate greed that exploits workers like me for profit.”

In the shadow of Bain Capital’s headquarters at Copley Square, the workers testified to the devastating impact of Bain’s outsourcing schemes on communities across the country. Others like Simara Martinez, an employee of Dunkin’ Donuts under Bain’s ownership, took Romney to task for the economic vision he put in place at Bain.

“My co-workers and I have first-hand experience with the Romney-Bain agenda and all the wage theft and slashed hours and benefits that come with it,” said Martinez, a Dorchester native. “It’s like modern-day slavery, and if we don’t speak out now it could be too late.”

Click here to check out video of the banner drop in Boston

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At a noon press conference in Randolph, Mass today, US Senator Scott Brown delivered what his office claimed would be a "€œmajor policy speech"€ on taxes. To the surprise of no one in Massachusetts, Brown's remarks turned out to be nothing more than the stereotypical, failed "gut-and-cut" tax rhetoric of his Republican colleagues in Washington. Yet Brown failed to mention a few key points (i.e. the truth)€“ about his voting record on taxes. Here are five true statements we didn't hear from the junior senator today:

  1. "€I voted to give tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas."
    Scott Brown voted to filibuster the Creating American Jobs & Ending Offshoring Act, a bill would have ended tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs or build plants and offices offshore to replace American facilities. The vote came as thousands of American workers face impending layoffs while training their replacements from China, India, and elsewhere. (US Senate roll call vote #242, 9/28/10)    
  2. "€œI gave $24 billion of your tax dollars to Big Oil."
    In the face of drastic budget cuts, Scott Brown voted three times to give more than $24 billion in taxpayer funds to the oil industry over the next decade. The top five Big Oil companies -- BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell -- are amongst the most profitable corporations in the world, posting $137 billion in profits in 2011 alone. (US Senate roll call votes #187 6/15/10; #72, 5/17/11; #63, 3/29/12)   
  3. "I'€™d really like to take more money out of your paycheck."
    Scott Brown voted to filibuster legislation to extend the payroll tax cut for working families --€“ holding low and middle income workers hostage to shield the wealthiest Americans from a small surtax on income over $1 million. In effect, Brown cast a deciding vote to raise taxes on 113 million working families. In Massachusetts, the surtax would have affected just 0.6% of taxpayers with an average income of more than $2 million. (US Senate roll call vote #219, 12/1/11)   
  4. "€œI support tax breaks for millionaires--just not middle class or low-income families."
    Three times in 2010 and again in 2012, Scott Brown voted to kill measures that would extend tax cuts for the middle class. Like his vote for payroll tax hikes, Brown used the same rationale to justify his votes to raise taxes on middle and low-income families: those making $250,000 to $1 million or more each year shouldn'€™t have to pay their fair share like the rest of his Massachusetts constituents. (US Senate roll call votes #258 & #259, 12/4/10; #275, 12/15/10; #184, 7/25/12)   
  5. "I filibustered tax credits and loans that help small businesses grow and create jobs."
    Despite his claims of supporting job creators, Scott Brown repeatedly filibustered and opposed major legislation that helps small businesses grown and create jobs. Brown twice voted to filibuster the Small Business Jobs & Credit Act -- a bill that connected growing small businesses to credit through community banks and offered significant tax credits to small firms that create American jobs. When his filibuster failed, Brown voted again to kill the legislation. The Massachusetts Bankers Association stated that failure to act on the bill "would be a missed opportunity that our struggling economy cannot afford."€ (US Senate roll call votes #218 & #221, 7/29/10; #237, 9/14/10)

Anyone who takes issue with Brown's out-of-step voting record on taxes --€“ or any other issue, for that matter --€“ may contact his office at (617) 565-3170 or by emailing Brown here.
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In what has clearly become a trend, Massachusetts constituents who tried to visit Scott Brown's office today were met with a locked door and no answers.

They had gathered outside Brown's campaign office on Summer St in Boston to urge their Senator to drop his effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Even after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law, Brown is supporting his party’s effort to repeal the historic health care reform act. The U.S. House of Representatives has already scheduled a vote to repeal the law for Wednesday, July 11.

A wide range of Massachusetts organizations representing families, women, seniors, young adults, and small business owners joined together in a letter to Brown, which was left taped on the office door. Check out this video from the action:

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Over the last month, we’ve seen thousands of people across the country rise up to call out big companies like General Electric, Wells Fargo and Bank of America for their “economic crimes against the 99%”  –  whether inside shareholder meetings or out in the streets. Now it’s our turn to take on corporate greed right here in Massachusetts.

In boardrooms from Wall Street to the West Coast, major corporations are hatching new schemes to line their pockets at the expense of low and middle-income families, destroying communities across the country in the process. Here in Massachusetts, State Street Bank is one of the worst offenders – exploiting loopholes to take $1.88 billion from taxpayers, eliminating thousands of jobs through outsourcing and offshoring, and investing tens of millions in private, for-profit prisons and detention centers.

That’s not all.  State Street has gotten into hot water in recent years over business practices that hurt investors and drained pensions. Investors lost $450 million when State Street lured them into a ‘CDO’ managed by Magnetar – a hedge fund investigated by the SEC for fueling the mortgage crisis (a practice for which they have since been fined). Additionally, more than a dozen states, US Attorneys, the SEC and other regulators that are suing, investigating or outright dumping State Street as a result of its pension pricing.

That’s why we’ve created an Economic ‘Crime’ Unit at MassUniting to educate people about corporate abusers like State Street. To learn more about State Street and how you can get involved visit StopEconomicCrime.org and check out our video below:

As it turns out, there’s no such thing as an official “economic crime against the 99%” in Massachusetts (or anywhere else, really.) But given the way many big banks and corporations exploit the 99%, there sure ought to be – and we are shining a spotlight on these companies to show that things need to change. So while we can't say State Street did anything illegal, we can see the very real, very negative impact their actions have on Bay State families. We hope you'll join the Economic Crime Unit in our effort to hold companies like State Street accountable for the harm they've done to our communities.

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What happens when a flash mob of dozens of shareholders and concerned citizens confronts General Electric's notorious tax dodging practices? The "General Electric Slide" of course!

The lunch hour flash mob descended on GE's Boston headquarters yesterday sporting blaze orange MASSUNITING hats to perform their own version of the 1976 Marcia Griffiths classic. You can see all the lyrics to the "General Electric Slide" here, but here's a sample of the retooled tune:

GE pays no taxes! It’s pathetic!
Billions in refunds! It’s pathetic!
You know that ain’t fair – ain’t fair anywhere!
A new report by the non-partisan Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy and Citizens for Tax Justice reveals that General Electric is amongst the worst tax dodgers in America. Despite posting profits of more than $19.6 billion over the last three years, GE managed to draw in a federal tax refund of $3.7 billion. The resulting net-negative tax rate of -18.9% placed GE near the top of the non-profits’ “Dirty Thirty” list of corporate tax dodgers.

“As a shareholder, I’m saddened to see General Electric has been crowned a top tax dodger yet again,” said Bethanne Sullivan, a GE shareholder from Brockton. “GE brought in nearly $20 billion in profits over the last three years. No one in their right mind can say the company’s billion-dollar tax refunds are justifiable.”

In 2010 alone, General Electric’s federal tax subsidy cost Massachusetts nearly $100 million in federal spending and direct aid – including $15 million for Medicaid, $1 million for education programs and $981,000 in disability compensation for veterans.

“Every year, budgets get tighter and tighter – and every year, taxpayers have to come up with more money just to maintain the basic services we all depend on,” said Lesley Stafford of Boston, who joined Thursday’s flash mob. “If General Electric just paid their fair share like the rest of us do, we wouldn’t be in this mess.”

General Electric shareholders plan to join hundreds of other Massachusetts residents Tuesday, April 17 for a Tax Day rally and march through Boston’s financial district. The day of action will highlight several of the hub’s most notorious tax-dodging corporations, including GE. Details available at www.TaxDayBoston.org.

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