Author and activist Randy Shaw today spoke in remembrance of Cesar Chavez, founder of the United Farm Workers (UFW). He spoke to members of Local 12 of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). Randy recalled the sense of mission Chavez instilled as he recruited new activists. With his focus on the plight of immigrant farm workers, and the power of non-violent forms of protest, Chavez overcame the power of agribusiness and politicians. He sent organizers throughout the continent (without such luxuries as wages or expense accounts) who persuaded grocery stores to stop carrying non-union grapes, and blocked anti-immigrant and anti-labor state legislation. His book recounts the early days of UFW organizing, and relates it to modern movements for immigrant rights, pesticide regulation, and the election of a new president. It is Beyond the Fields: Cesar Chavez, the UFW and the Struggle for Justice in the 21st Century.
During the Presidential campaign, the staff at the National Whistleblowers Center worked hard to put the candidates on record with regard to their views on whistleblower protections. This survey response, from then candidate Obama indicated an unequivocal support for strong whistleblower laws. As we reported soon after the elections, the American people fully expect President Obama to keep that promise, by supporting legislation to strengthen employees' free speech rights and appointing whistleblower supporters to key positions.
It is for this reason that I found this post on the FedBlog (run by GovExec.com) to be so interesting. FedBlog is reporting that:
Apparently, Danielle Gray, the staffer who filled out [the National Whistleblowers Center] questionnaire for President Obama in which he expressed strong support for whistleblower protections, is now an associate counsel to Obama. It's not clear that she'll be working specifically on whistleblower issues in her new position, but it might affect how people read Obama's signing statement on whistleblower issues in the omnibus spending bill.
One can only speculate on the effect this will have on the administration's view of whistleblower rights, but it certainly seems like a good thing.
Keynote presenters at the National Whistleblower Assembly include Dr. Jeffrey Wigand, Dr. Janet Chandler, Stephen M. Kohn, Robert MacLean, Bogdan Dzakovic and Coleen Rowley. Thank you for posing for this group photo.
The National Whistleblowers Center is co-sponsoring a free conference beginning this Sunday, March 8th. The 2009 National Whistleblower Assembly has a wide variety of events running throughout Wednesday, March 11th. The conference highlights the contributions of whistleblowers including Dr. Jeffery Wigand (tobacco industry whistleblower), Coleen Rowley (FBI whistleblower and Time Magazine's Co-person of the Year), and Thomas Tamm (warrantless wiretapping whistleblower). The conference also includes workshops on currrent whistleblower laws and issues. You can view the full agenda for the conference by clicking here.Continue Reading...
Whistleblowers often complain about how they feel shunned at work. Who wants to endure the taunting and risk of retaliation that comes with hanging around a whistleblower? A recent decision from the Sixth Circuit federal Court of Appeals now makes it clear that employees can sue for discrimination based on harassment against any level of association with protected co-workers. The case is Barrett v. Whirlpool Corp., ___ F.3d ___, 2009 WL 425969, No. 08-5307 (6th Cir. Feb. 23, 2009).