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April 23, 2014

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Union workers rally at Venetian to send the visiting Paul Ryan a message

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Steve Marcus

Bridget Martin, political director for the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, pickets against Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan in front of the Venetian on the Las Vegas Strip Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012. Ryan was reportedly meeting privately with a small group of supporters at the casino owned by Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire and major donor to Republican campaigns.

Unions Picket Against Ryan

Robert Autrey, a member of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), pickets against the Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan ticket in front of the Venetian on the Las Vegas Strip Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012. Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan was reportedly meeting privately with a small group of supporters at the casino owned by Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire and major donor to Republican campaigns. Launch slideshow »

The crowd was hard to miss outside the Venetian front entrance Tuesday night.

More than 500 AFL-CIO union workers flooded the walkway to protest Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, who was inside the resort meeting Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson as part of a nonfundraising event. The union dubbed it “Crash the Coronation” and asked for members of the “middle class” to meet outside the Venetian “moat.”

Plumbers, pipe fitters, construction and government workers marched in circles objecting to the economic policies of Ryan and presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Their chants such as “Save the what? The 99 (percent),” drowned out the roar of Las Vegas Boulevard. Above their heads they hoisted signs that declared phrases such as “Romney Pathway to Poverty.”

Their efforts caused baffled stares from some pedestrians walking along the Strip and cheers from others. Protester Kristel Farris hoped that inside the hotel, Ryan took notice.

Click to enlarge photo

Union members picket against Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan in front of the Venetian on the Las Vegas Strip Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012. Ryan was reportedly meeting privately with a small group of supporters at the casino owned by Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire and major donor to Republican campaigns.

“We’re here because Paul Ryan is in the building, and we want to send a message,” said Farris, who is from Portland. “I hope he looks, listens and pays attention. (Adelson’s) money will not hold back the power of the labor force.”

Darren Enns, secretary-treasurer of the Southern Nevada Building and Construction Trades Council, said it was a two-pronged protest. Local workers protested Adelson’s decision to remodel parts of his hotels with non-union workforces, while also objecting to Ryan and Romney’s financial policies on a national level.

The protest drew support from local AFL-CIO union members, as well as people from across the country attending the Boilermaker and American Federation of Government Employees national conventions.

“It’s a local issue for us that live here, and the AFGE workers were kind enough to join us,” Enns said. “With all 18 crafts in the building trades here, it has become quite the event.”

Protesters remained peaceful throughout the event, even maintaining a walkway for pedestrians. After chanting and marching for an hour, many of the union leaders in attendance grabbed a bullhorn and addressed the crowd.

Enns pointed out all the hotels and casinos the union was affiliated with on the Strip to contrast Adelson’s decision to use non-union workers. AFGE national President John Gage spoke about the impact many of Ryan’s tax cuts could have on labor workers. He emphasized his belief that they only help the rich “1 percent.”

“I think Ryan excites working Americans,” Gage said. “His policies could change the country so drastically that it wouldn’t be recognizable.”

Click to enlarge photo

John Gage, national president for the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) union, rallies members as they picket against Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan in front of the Venetian on the Las Vegas Strip Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012. Ryan was reportedly meeting privately with a small group of supporters at the casino owned by Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire and major donor to Republican campaigns.

Bridget Martin, who is a political director for the Boilermakers, said she was impressed by the number of people who showed up despite the 100-degree weather.

“It was exciting to see so many working people come out and stand up for the values they believe in,” Martin said.

Cecile Conroy, who is also a Boilermaker union member, said the Las Vegas protest is only the start.

“I think Romney and Ryan can expect a lot more of this in working towns,” Conroy said.

The Nevada Republican Party could not be reached for comment on the protest.

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  1. Were these union workers who were protesting paid to do so? Or did they protest on their own dime?

  2. The choice is clear!

    Either you want to preserve Medicare as we know it, or discard Medicare under the Ryan plan? Either eliminate the "Donut Hole" for seniors, or continue to pay higher prescription drug prices under the Ryan plan? In addition, Ryan is proposing to cut taxes for the upper income group without saying how the tax cut will be paid for! Normally a tax cut for upper income levels is paid by people making less than $40,000 per year. There is nothing in the Ryan plan to help the middle class. There is nothing in the Romney plan to help the middle class. The choice is clear! If you want higher taxes for the middle class vote for Governor Romney and Rep. Ryan. If you want seniors to paid more for health care and prescription drugs, vote or Governor Romney and Rep. Ryan. The choice is clear!

    Governor Romney firmly supports the Ryan plan. The question now for voters, do you support Governor Romney and Rep. Ryan?

    This election is the most clear election choice in the past 30 years.

  3. If the Ryan plan for Medicare is so great, why not put it into effect immediately? If seniors who support this plan like it so much, why don't they demand it take effect right now?

  4. What a joke! We see the silly and ignorant out there chanting about how greedy 1 percenters are while, at the same time, the heads of most unions are in the 1%, pocketing huge salaries, health & pension benefits and other outrageous perks their members can only dream about. Yet, the so-called "rank & file" is oblivious to the rip-off being perpetrated upon them. A friend of my dad's, a UAW member, told me when I was very young, he didn't care how crooked the union bosses were so long as they got him "his." That pretty much sums up the attitude of some union members.

  5. Take this whole bunch and add up their IQs and it would not total to 100.

  6. wow, Ryan really got them fired up!
    From Pres Obama's website on Ryan:
    'Paul Ryan's extreme budget includes a tax "reform" plan that would make the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy permanent, and give millionaires an additional tax cut worth over $250,000 a year. Paying for these tax cuts for the most fortunate families would require higher taxes on the middle class, gutting investments in our future, and ending Medicare as we know it."
    No actual link to the " would require higher taxes on the middle class, gutting investments in our future" so I guess speculation.

    ". Ryan would cut or eliminate middle-class tax deductions like mortgage interest, charitable contributions, and health premiums."
    I thought these were the things Democrats complain about that rich people deduct? Mitt donated some 2 million to charity and took a deduction for it allowed by tax code, same as Warren Buffet and his millions he gives away. It all makes no sense on the Obama page.

  7. There is a reality gap here...
    The base of the Republican Party is blue collar workers. The base is against NAFTA, Cafta, Rafta trade agreements..
    Now..since 1994 the Republican Party has been "cleansing" the Old Guard..
    But..there is still the "free traders"..Clinton/Rockerfeller Rhino/Republicans..and Wall Street Enablers..
    The Republican Party base is more pro-union than not...but that is not yet reflected in the Platform
    Also..Romney stated that he would get rid of Dodd-Frank..and Replace it with a modern bill..
    Dodd-Frank is a toothless, garbled, ineffectual bill..so..are the Republicans serious? Will they make coherent laws that will give clear guidelines and enforcable penalties to our wayward Wall Street 1%'ers?
    To paraphrase Pelosi...the only way to know what is in the Republican package is to vote Republican and then we will know..

  8. The ONLY reason RyAYN was in Vegas yesterday was to suckle at the teat of the Zionist Sheldon Adelson. The press was banned from this "financial meeting" at the Venetian. Financial meeting?....please. RyAYN was there to raise money for the Mittens/RyAYN ticket, nothing more. Wake up Nevada, especially anyone who has a job, or is retired, and most importantly, is not rich. RyAYN is a puppet; here for show. He has no skin in this campaign game. Most folks don't know that he will be on the ballot in Wisconsin running for Congress, while at the same time, running for VP of the US. Two offices at the same time. He CAN'T LOSE, but the rest of the US certainly will.

  9. Unions are the downfall of US companies. They suck up valuable resources and "protect" people who can no longer work efficiently and effectively. I work at a Strip casino that's been open for 30+ yrs and it's full of old, union workers who have "seniority". The porters can barely throw out the trash and lift the bags themselves, so they require 2 people to do it! Who got laid off when the economy tanked? The younger, union workers with less seniority who were capable and willing to do the job....they worked harder than the older workers, yet they were cut. With all of the extra work to be done, none of it gets done. Do these union people care? No! When you try to help out and clean an area that's dirty....they cry to their Union official and report that someone is "doing their job" and we get reprimanded for helping a fellow employee and other department. Instead of cleaning up the place and making it look nice, in order to "protect" union jobs, we have to let it stay dirty and nasty for our customers. I've been told that I will get written up and possible terminated if I do that again. That's complete BS....only in a Union house does that happen.

    Or when you ask someone to help out....they say "It's not my job and not in my job description"....or "I've got to take my break it's that time, sorry I'll get back to you later". No teamwork, not a care in the world about keeping the business alive. They only care about their paycheck and their 8 hr work shift and how to work the "sick call out" rules. It's ridiculous.

  10. Right wingnuts lying again, repeating the Romney-Ryan lies. Why are we not surprised? Seniors over 55 are not safe. Here's the truth about Ryan's plan to end Medicare:
    Paul Ryan's Original Medicare Plan Ends Medicare, Period
    By Ian Millhiser on Aug 11, 2012 at 12:10 pm
    "In April of 2011, after Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan had been House Budget Chair for only a few months, he convinced nearly the entire House GOP caucus to vote for a laissez-faire budget resolution that would slash education, raise taxes on the middle class, and destroy Medicaid's promise to provide health care to the most vulnerable Americans. Like his running mate Mitt Romney's tax plan, the Ryan Plan also combined austerity for the poor and the middle class with large tax cuts for the rich. The Ryan Plan that passed the House in 2011 is most famous, however, for its multiple step plan to phase out Medicare. Let us say that again so we are perfectly clear about what the Ryan Plan does to Medicare. It does not just "end Medicare as we know it" and it certainly does not "reform" Medicare." The Ryan Plan simply ends Medicare, although it admittedly takes some time for it to achieve this goal.
    "Stage One, Vouchers: Ten years after the Ryan Plan takes effect, it eliminates traditional Medicare entirely and replaces it with a voucher system that seniors can use to by a private health plan. Although this proposal does produce small savings for government when it takes effect, it does so by massively increasing the out-of-pocket costs to American seniors. According to the Congressional Budget Office, total health expenditures for a typical 65-year-old "would be almost 40 percent higher with private coverage under the [Ryan] plan than they would be with a continuation of traditional Medicare" in the first year that the Ryan Plan is in effect." ...

    http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/08/...

  11. Paul Ryan's Original Medicare Plan Ends Medicare, Period
    By Ian Millhiser on Aug 11, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    "Stage Two, Phase Out: After eliminating traditional Medicare, the Ryan Plan then begins to gradually phase out the Medicare program. Because Ryan vouchers do not grow in value each year at a rate that keeps up with the rising cost of health care, they effectively lose value every single year. According to the CBO, "[b]y 2080, Medicare would be cut 76 percent below its projected size under current policies." In other words, a child born in 2015 would receive less than one-quarter of the Medicare resources that today's seniors enjoy when that child became eligible for Medicare. And that child's Ryan vouchers would continue to lose value during each year of their retirement.
    It's worth noting that, by 2012, the original Ryan Medicare Plan proved so politically unpopular that even Paul Ryan recognized he could no longer publicly support it. Ryan's 2012 backed away significantly from his original goal of phasing out Medicare. Nevertheless, the original Ryan Plan remains the purest reflection of Ryan's vision for the country, before that vision collided headlong into electoral defeat.
    "The immediate impact of Paul Ryan's original vision is a massive, 40 percent spike in new retirees' health expenditures, followed by gradually increasing costs for the rest of those retirees' lives. And because the Ryan vouchers never stop losing value, they will eventually become practically worthless, providing no meaningful assistance whatsoever to seniors struggling to pay their medical bills."

    http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/08/...

  12. Romney Claims Obama 'Robbed Medicare' To Distract From GOP Plan To End Medicare
    By Igor Volsky on Aug 13, 2012 at 8:55 am
    " >>'There's only one president that I know of in history that robbed Medicare, $716 billion to pay for a new risky program of his own that we call Obamacare,'<< Romney said during the ticket's first interview together on CBS, honing in on a charge the pair has reiterated at every campaign stop since the two Republicans joined forces on Saturday:
    >>'What Paul Ryan and I have talked about is saving Medicare, is providing people greater choice in Medicare, making sure it's there for current seniors. No changes, by the way, for current seniors, or those nearing retirement. But looking for young people down the road and saying, "We're going to give you a bigger choice." In America, the nature of this country has been giving people more freedom, more choices. That's how we make Medicare work down the road.' (Romney said.)<<

    "The $716 billion figure comes from the Congressional Budget Office's latest estimate of the Republican proposal to repeal the law, though the office doesn't back up the charge that Obama stole the money from the current Medicare budget. Rather, the savings slow the growth of Medicare over the next decade: eliminate overpayments to private insurers, reform provider payments to encourage greater efficiency, tie reimbursements to improvements in economic productivity, and reduce fraud and abuse. As a result, "growth in spending will be restrained" and the life of the Medicare trust fund is expanded by eight years, the government estimates. Sixteen million seniors are also benefiting from the savings by receiving preventive benefits without deductibles or co-pays and saving more than $3.9 billion on prescription drugs."

    http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/08/...

  13. (continued) Romney Claims Obama 'Robbed Medicare' To Distract From GOP Plan To End Medicare
    By Igor Volsky on Aug 13, 2012 at 8:55 am

    "The Ryan-backed GOP budget maintains these cuts, but rather than using them to improve the Medicare program, it applies the savings to pay for massive tax cuts. As the budget chairman himself admitted during an April 5, 2011 speech at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), "We retain the Medicare savings" -- and that's not all. The Republican blueprint transforms the existing Medicare benefit guarantee into a premium support program that would provide seniors with depreciating vouchers to buy insurance from private plans.
    "The plan essentially institutes cuts on top of the $716 billion reduction. Total federal spending on Social Security, interest, and health care would plunge to 16 percent of GDP by 2050 under Ryan's budget -- "the lowest level since 1950, when Medicare, Medicaid, most federal funding for education, highways, and environmental protection, and various other significant federal activities did not exist," Congressional Budget Office data indicates. And federal spending per Medicare beneficiary would decrease "by 35 to 42 percent in 2050."
    "Romney's proposal -- which is short on details and does not outline cuts to specific programs -- is even more extreme. While Ryan would "cut entitlement and discretionary programs (outside of core defense and net interest) by $5.2 trillion over ten years," the Romney proposal would reduce spending "by between $7.0 trillion and $9.6 trillion." To meet this goal, "Medicare would be cut by $185 billion in 2016 and $2.0 trillion from 2014 through 2022," the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) estimates, leading to "large increases in premiums and cost-sharing charges" for beneficiaries.
    "So if Romney thinks that Obama "robbed Medicare," then he and Ryan prepared to bleed it dry entirely."

    Romney Claims Obama 'Robbed Medicare' To Distract From GOP Plan To End Medicare
    By Igor Volsky on Aug 13, 2012 at 8:55 am
    http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/08/...

  14. LMAO at the union comments. It's a joke. They don't work hard....they hardly work, and get large paychecks and don't work together as a team. When was the last time you saw a union worker pitch-in and help another employee (not the same job description)? NEVER

    When was the last time you saw a young, hard working person get a good shift or keep their job in a union environment? NEVER....why do you think nightclubs and strip clubs aren't union? If they were, they'd be full of old, decrepit entertainers and bartenders and nobody would spend a dime in there!

    Unions are a cancer to business and have been useless since the Jimmy Carter years.