Archive for June 2nd, 2017

Ohio Eliminates Benefits for Undocumented Immigrant Workers

Posted on 02. Jun, 2017 by .


Taken from –

A typically routine workers’ compensation budget bill has generated outrage from Democrats over amendments eliminating benefits for undocumented immigrants and paring back a new law recognizing cancer as an on-the-job illness for firefighters.

The House voted 65-29, along party lines, Wednesday to approve the two-year $566.5 million workers’ compensation budget bill. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Democrats, who were not initially opposed to the bill, said several recent amendments made the legislation too political and dangerous for workers.

Among them:

Rep. Bill Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican, said the prohibition on benefits to undocumented workers disincentivizes employers to knowingly hire such workers, which is illegal under federal law. Seitz noted that undocumented immigrants are not eligible for food stamps or unemployment benefits either.

Seitz said it sends the message “we do not want illegal aliens in our workforce sucking on our worker’s comp system.”

Rep. Dan Ramos, a Lorain Democrat, said the move would make workplaces less safe.

“We cannot allow unscrupulous employers to hire people knowing they can cut corners by not paying worker protection premiums for undocumented workers, effectively refusing to take responsibility should those workers suffer an injury on the job,” Ramos said.

The bill also addresses benefits paid to firefighters under the “Michael Louis Palumbo Jr. Act,” named for a fire captain from Beachwood and Willowick, which took effect in April.

Republicans scrapped a proposal to require firefighters to prove they had used their protective equipment properly and added working wage loss the list of benefits available to firefighters disabled due to cancer. But the bill allows a rebuttal of those claims based on scientific evidence and would reduce the time under which the presumption applies from 20 years since active duty to 15 years.

And the bill would shorten the timeframe during which all workers comp claims must be filed from two years to one year.

“This legislation is a massive disservice to hardworking Ohioans because it will leave more workers facing medical hardships and financial ruin should they suffer a workplace injury,” Rep. Emilia Sykes, an Akron Democrat, said in a statement.

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May Message for the Month of Ramadan

Posted on 02. Jun, 2017 by .

Letter taken from – 

To our Muslim brothers and sisters throughout the World:

As-salaamu ‘alaykum! Peace be upon you!

On behalf of the Special Commission for Dialogue with Islam of the Order of Friars Minor, it gives us great pleasure to extend our greetings to you as you begin the observance of Ramadan, a month devoted to fasting, prayer and almsgiving, honoring God (swt) and the revelation of the Holy Qur’an.

Franciscan friars and Muslims have a history together than stretches back almost eight hundred years, beginning with our founder St. Francis of Assisi. We friars continue to take great inspiration from the meeting of St. Francis and the Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil in 1219, an encounter based on peace, and mutual admiration and respect. It is in this spirit that we greet you.

During this holy month of Ramadan, we encourage and support you as you undertake a rigorous fast. Fasting is a practice enjoined upon all the children of Abraham (upon him be peace!) by our respective holy books. As a religious order in the Catholic Church, we friars practice fasting during the season of the Lent, preceding our celebration of Easter, following the example of Jesus (upon him be peace!) who fasted for forty days (Luke 4.2). The fast that you undertake now is indeed a powerful sign of your commitment to faith and of your obedience to God (swt) so that, as it says in the Qur’an (al-Baqara 183): “you may become more righteous,” and that you may glorify God and be grateful (al-Baqara 185). Your fast expresses our common hunger and thirst for a closer relationship with God (swt), for faith and forgiveness, for justice and peace.

Pope Francis has often spoken about the connection between fasting, praying, and peace. In the first year of his pontificate, on September 7, 2013, he called upon all people of faith everywhere to fast and pray for peace in Syria, the Middle East and throughout the world. This day was chosen to coincide with the celebration of the birth of Mary, whom both Christians and Muslims honor as the mother of Jesus, whom we Catholic Christians call the “Queen of Peace.”

Today, Muslims and Christians around the world face discrimination, persecution, violence and war. As adherents of the two largest religions in the world, it is incumbent upon us, as brothers and sisters in Abraham (upon him be peace!) to join our hands and hearts to build a world of peace and justice.

With the breaking of your fast at the end of each day of Ramadan, you express our shared value of community, of gathering around a meal, a meal that is shared with all so that all might benefit from the bountiful goodness of God’s creation. ‘Iftar, shared with all, vividly demonstrates what Pope Francis wrote in his encyclical on the Creation:

We need to strengthen the conviction that we are one single human family. There are no frontiers or barriers, political or social, behind which we can hide, still less is there room for the globalization of indifference. (Laudato Si’, 52)

During this month, in addition to fasting, many of you will also fulfill the religious duty of zakah, charity that is given for the care of the poor. As with fasting, care for the poor in enjoined upon all the children of Abraham. It is a consistent concern of all God’s prophets (upon them be peace!). In the Psalms of David (upon he be peace!), we read:

Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the     oppressed. (Psalm 82.3)

And in the New Testament, Jesus (upon him be peace!) says:

But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. (Luke 11.41)

Today, more than 740 million people in the world live in extreme poverty[1], the majority of which live in Africa and Asia in countries shared by Muslims and Christians. Poverty is not a sectarian problem; it is a human problem for which we share responsibility to all regardless of religion, race, ethnicity and country of origin.

During Ramadan you devote yourselves to prayer with particular attention and frequency, beyond that of the five daily prayers. As men of daily prayer, we Franciscans greatly admire the great devotion with which our Muslim brothers and sisters approach prayer. Quoting the great Christian theologian, St. Augustine, Pope Francis recently reminded us (Ash Wednesday Homily, 2017), that fasting and almsgiving are “the two wings of prayer,” because they are signs of humility and charity.

Above all, however, the month of Ramadan is the time when you celebrate the revelation of the Holy Qur’an. As “people of the Book,” we also recognize that God (swt) communicates with humanity in His Word revealed to the prophets (upon them be peace!). For over fourteen hundred years, the Holy Qur’an has served as the foundation of Muslim life across many cultures and countries, engendering great devotion, scholarship and sublime works of art and architecture. May it continue to inspire great and holy works and deeds.

Together with Franciscan friars around the world, we wish you a most blessed Ramadan. Ramadan Mubarak! Ramadan Kareem!


Mübarek Ramazan ayının insanlara Barış getirmesi dileklerimizle hayırlı ramazanlar

May 22, 2017

Michael D. Calabria, OFM
Manuel Corullón, OFM
Ferdinand Mercado, OFM
Jamil Albert, OFM
OFM Special Commission for Dialogue with Islam

[1] Please see:

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Renegotiating NAFTA?

Posted on 02. Jun, 2017 by .


Will the administration fight for a trade deal that benefits people and the environment? Or will it just use this as a way to give Big Oil, Big Ag and Wall Street even more of what they want?

We need your help to put an end to devastating trade deals!

Sign the petition: Replace NAFTA with a deal that’s good for people and the planet, not giant corporations!

There’s no question about it — NAFTA has been a good deal for corporations, and a bad deal for people like you and me.

It made it easier for corporations to offshore jobs and to attack environmental, health, and other safeguards.

It killed jobs and depressed wages for millions. Hundreds of corporate advisors helped negotiate it behind closed doors.

Now, we have a chance to replace NAFTA with a deal that benefits people, not just corporations. But we need you to speak up!

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