My brother is in an Auto Insurance Commercial for 2 seconds…and they payed him over $3000 for it, God bless Unionized labor. :)

So, as some of you may know, my brother recently moved to the Los Angeles, California area.  Some of you may also know that my brother is an avid fan and player of “soccer” (football), by pressing play below you can see a local insurance ad that he and his teammates were asked to “stand in for.” (he is the dude in orange flipping the coin and the only guy form his team to actually be in the ad. (he was a very lucky man for this, as you will see.))

The crazy part is not that my bro was asked to be in a local commercial in L.A., but rather that the piece of paper he signed in compliance with California’s unionized laborforce of Actors ended up entitling him to over $3000.00 in “suprise” checks in his mailbox for his unexpected “role” as a “principle” for 2 seconds in the resulting local auto insurance company ad.  Amazing. (the ad IS slated to air over 2000 times on cable in California/WestCoast markets, but still seems like a nice chunk of change for 2 hours “work” 🙂 to me!)

While this is clearly an example of some rather unlikely “right place at the right time” luck and seemingly outrageous pay for 2 hours of “work”  :), I also see this as just one small example of how a nationwide/trade-wide return to the American tradition of Unionized Labor membership may soon help all working Americans regain fair value for their labors and hopefully a “LIVING WAGE” for anyone willing to work 40+ hours every week.  The point I want you all to see is that what happened to my brother here would never have been possible were it not for the long history of hard work, stubborn willpower, and years of sacrifice and organizing of thousands of people for many years.  People who had the courage, the optimism and the self-respect to fight for their own financial rights in the face of overwhelming structural/legal forces that have long been fostered to boost corporate profits at the expense of worker wage/living incomes.

The “Union-made” rule/regulation by which the corporation/production company/insurance company had to play by in California in this case is what allowed for my brother, the “worker” to be paid so handsomely for his “work.”


Connecticut General Assembly overrides Governor’s minimum wage increase veto

The following was published at, in the Hartford Courant:

HARTFORD, Conn. – With two votes to spare, the Democrat-controlled state legislature voted Monday to override Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s veto of a minimum wage increase.

It marked the second time that the General Assembly has overturned one of the Republican governor’s vetoes.

The override will ensure that the current minimum hourly wage of $7.65 an hour is boosted to $8 beginning in January, and to $8.25 an hour in 2010. The change will make Connecticut’s minimum wage among the nation’s highest.

“It’s a simple matter of equity,” said Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, D-New Haven, saying low-wage workers need the $14 weekly increase as gasoline and food prices are increasing.

House members needed a two-thirds majority – at least 101 votes – to override the veto. The final tally was 102-39.

The Senate’s vote was 25-9, a one-vote margin above the minimum 24 votes needed for the override. Both votes were mostly along party lines.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Washington currently has the highest minimum wage rate, at $8.07 an hour. Of Connecticut’s neighbors, the minimum wage is $8 in Massachusetts, $7.40 in Rhode Island and $7.15 in New York.

An estimated 65,000 workers in the state receive the minimum wage.

Rell, who supported past minimum wage increases, called Monday’s veto override “a seriously shortsighted decision” that will hurt small businesses during a difficult economic period.

“Even as the national economic picture continues to darken, the legislature has opted to further cloud Connecticut’s business environment,” she said.

Most of Rell’s GOP colleagues agreed.

“Please, before you cast your vote on this bill, think about what you’re doing,” pleaded state Rep. Anthony D’Amelio, R-Waterbury, who also owns a small business. “What you’re doing actually is hurting the people you’re trying to help.”

D’Amelio predicted that businesses will cut workers’ hours to cover the pay increase.

Some Democrats called the Republicans’ concerns a red herring. Senate President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, said similar dire predictions were made when lawmakers increased the wage in the past, but they never came true.

Sister Teresa Fonti, co-director of the House of Bread soup kitchen in Hartford, said she’s seeing more poor people with jobs seeking assistance.

“Obviously, this salary is not getting them through the week,” she said.

Democratic leaders initially were unsure how many legislators would attend Monday’s veto session because of summer vacations and work schedules.