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Victor Sanchez

Victor Sanchez

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Central Florida LCLAA Chapter congratulates Brother and LCLAA member Victor Torres for this Award.  Victor's lifetime of service began when he joined the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. After his service in the U.S. Marine Corps, he ensured safety and order in his community as a police officer for the New York City Transit Police. After twenty years, Victor retired from the New York City Transit Police as 2nd Grade Detective.

In 1993, Victor relocated his family to Florida, joined ATU Local 1596 and continued his community service as a volunteer and leader for several community organizations, the labor movement, and grassroots efforts. Victor has been married to Carmen L. Torres for over twenty years, and they are the proud parents of five children and grandparents to eight grandchildren.

Brother Torres has established a strong reputation as a committed political activist and an effective leader in the Labor Movement through his work as Political Coordinator for ATU Local 1596, Vice Chair of the Central Florida LCLAA Chapter, and strong dedication to the Central Florida Labor Council.Victor Torres

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Even in a state with a "right-to-work" law like Florida, workers still need to join unions and leverage their power by collectively bargaining with employers. That was the message Central Florida AFL-CIO Central Labor Council Secretary and Central Florida LCLAA chapter President Victor Sanchez had for the annual Labor Day picnic here last week.

More than 450 union members, their families and supporters flocked to the picnic at a downtown park here on Labor Day, Sept. 2. The annual event, organized by the Central Florida Labor Council to celebrate the contributions that working people make to the economy and to society, also attracted a wide range of groups from the local progressive community.

Florida is one of the 24 states that have so-called right-to-work laws (which rather than protecting the rights of workers, actually interfere with the right of organizations representing workers to negotiate contracts with employers that benefit workers). Sanchez, who is a member of the American Postal Workers Union, said that one of the points the CLC was trying to make with the picnic is: "By joining the union, we can build a stronger movement, and by building a stronger movement, we can stop bosses from abusing workers."

A 2011 study by the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute found that workers in "right-to-work" states earned lower wages and had lower rates of employee-sponsored health insurance and pensions.

Sanchez said that immediate goals for the labor movement should include ensuring that all workers earn living wages and have the right to organize, and making sure that younger workers remember the history and legacy of those in the labor movement who struggled before them for better pay, benefits and working conditions.

Timothy Murray, a community organizer with Organize Now!, a group that was heavily involved in the campaign for earned sick time for workers in Orange County, Fla. (the home of Orlando and Disney World), said that all workers need living wages of at least $10 an hour, sick time, vacation days and affordable housing.

"Every worker in this country should have at least five days of sick time or personal time and five days of vacation," said Murray. "Every worker in the country has earned that. Everyone deserves a week off."

More than 70,000 voters in Orange County signed petitions to put an earned sick time measure on the 2012 ballot that, if passed, would have mandated that companies with 15 or more workers give them one hour of paid sick time for every 37 hours worked--up to an annual limit of 56 hours.

In a brazen assault on democracy, the Orange County Commission, in violation of its own charter and after being intensively lobbied by local big business interests such as Disney and Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden, Red Lobster), refused to place the measure on the ballot. A three-judge panel later ruled that it had to be placed on the 2014 ballot.

Any vote on the measure has, however, been rendered moot by passage in this year's Florida legislative session of a bill, heavily backed by big business interests and Republicans, to prohibit counties and cities from mandating benefits such as sick time. The bill was signed into law in June by ultra-right millionaire Gov. Rick Scott.

A 2013 report by the Economic Policy Institute noted that the "inflation-adjusted value of the [federal] minimum wage today" - $7.25 an hour, last raised in 2009 - "is about $2.00 an hour less than it was at its peak value in 1968." Florida's minimum wage, last raised at the beginning of 2013, is $7.79 ($4.77 for tipped workers).

The report's authors also note that "in 2011, a full-time year-round worker needed to earn $11.06 an hour to keep a family of four out of poverty." Doing this in 2013 requires a yearly family income of $23,550 or above, according to the latest poverty guidelines from the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

According to the EPI, in 2011 - even if they were able to work full time - 36 percent of African American workers, 43 percent of Latino workers and around 25 percent of white workers were unable to raise themselves and their families above the poverty threshold.

Other community groups participating in the picnic included Central Florida Jobs With Justice, YAYA (Youth and Young Adult Network of the National Farmworker Ministry), the Farmworker Association of Florida, Mi Familia Vota, the Student-Labor Action Project at the University of Central Florida, LCLAA (The Labor Council for Latin American Advancement) and the A. Phillip Randolph Institute.

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Governor Vetoes Dream Act Driver’s License Bill

Republican Governor Rick Scott Bucks Fellow Florida Republicans; Continues National Republican Effort to Marginalize Hispanic and Other Legalized Immigrants

Orlando - Senator Darren Soto (D-Orlando) and Representative Randolph Bracy (D-Orlando)on Wednesday held a press conference to highlight GOP Governor Rick Scott's latest refusal to embrace the Hispanic community in Florida. The lawmakers met to discuss the Governor's veto on Tuesday of HB 235 which would have allowed legal Hispanic and other legal immigrants in the United States with no criminal history to obtain a driver’s license.  The measure was approved in the Republican-dominated legislature with a vote of 115-2 in the Florida House and unanimously in the Senate.
Hispanic and non-Hispanic members of the Florida Legislature are expected to join Sen. Soto and Rep. Bracy at the event, including Senator Geraldine Thompson, Representatives Victor Torres, Ricardo Rangel, Joe Saunders, and Linda Stewart.  Several local grassroots supporters of the failed legislation are also expected to attend.
The press conference was held on Wednesday, June 5th, at 11:00 PM outside the Orange County Courthouse, 425 N. Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801.

Here is the Gov's veto letter, explaining that yes, DACA recipients can still get a temporary drivers license card.
June 4, 2013Secretary Kenneth W. Detzner
Secretary of State
Florida Department of State
R.A. Gray Building
500 South Bronough Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399

Dear Secretary Detzner:

By the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Florida, under the provisions of Article III, Section 8, of the Constitution of Florida, I do hereby veto and transmit my objections to House Bill 235 enacted during the 115th Session of the Legislature of Florida, during the Regular Session of 2013 and entitled:

An act relating to requirements for driver licenses…

Florida is home to immigrants of many nationalities, who add to the cultural fabric of our great state, and whose productivity and hard work have contributed to our economic turnaround.  Still, our nation struggles with immigration issues every day, as Americans seek to reconcile the fact that at one point our families were immigrants who came, as many do today, to work and live the American dream with the fact that the federal government has failed at enforcing the nation's laws on this topic.

Despite the federal government's inability to enforce the nation's current immigration laws or to find common ground on how to change them, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced in a June 2012 memo the immediate establishment of a "Deferred Action Process for Childhood Arrivals." Through this process DHS provides that a young person illegally brought to the United States as a child will not be subject to removal if the individual meets certain criteria.  Qualifying for deferred action status does not confer substantive rights or lawful status upon an individual; it does not create a pathway to a green card or citizenship; nor does it extend to any family members of the person granted the status either.  Deferred action status is simply a policy of the Obama Administration, absent Congressional direction, designed to dictate removal action decisions using DHS agency discretion.  It was never passed by Congress, nor is it a promulgated rule.

Given that deferred action status does not confer substantive rights or lawful status upon an individual, Florida is best served by relying on current state law. Already, Florida law allows those with a federal employment authorization card, without regard to their deferred action status, to obtain a temporary Florida driver license.

Although the Legislature may have been well intentioned in seeking to expedite the process to obtain a temporary driver license, it should not have been done by relying on a federal government policy adopted without legal basis.

For the reasons stated above, I withhold my approval of House Bill 235, and do hereby veto the same.


Rick Scott

In Solidarity
Victor Sanchez
Central Florida LCLAA
Chapter President
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The FL AFL-CIO, Central Florida Labor Council for Latin American Advancement Chapter and the Hope Community Center have joined forces to hold a day of immersion with the Apopka farmworker community, and experience the "hands on" work in the fields and the subsequent community forum.Apopka is brimming with history and stories - from its rural farmworker roots, to its increasingly more urbanized, multicultural state. Service-Learning is a way to actively contribute to the community, while learning about its history, social justice issues, culture, and much more! We have developed a unique model which makes it possible for people of various talents and walks of life to participate in our community. Come join us for a day of immersion where we will explore issues of immigration, and farmworkers. Our program strongly feels that by building community across cultures and socioeconomic status we can effectively change the world! Won't you be part of our CommUnity?

Here's a link

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Good morning. I just got back from Washington DC and what an experience. LCLAA members participated at the 50 States United for Healthy Air this week. As one of the Florida Ambassadors we lobbied members of Congress and Senate demanding action for clean air, clean water and clean climate. Here is the press release. Organizations that participated ( American Nurses Association, Earthjustice, Hip Hop Caucus, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Council of Churches, National Latino Coalition on Climate Change, and Physicians for Social Responsibility  represented all 50 states and Puerto Rico ) Florida Team visited  Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio. Congress Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Bill Young, and John Mica. Florida Team ( Central Florida LCLAA Chapter, Sierra Club State, Hip Hop Caucus Miami and Physicians for Social Responsibility Indian Rocks.
Hi Everyone- It was so great having you all here. Telling your personal stories to both the EPA and congress.


Below is  the press release we sent out yesterday. Feel free to personalize it and share it with your local media contacts. It would be a good time to send  letter to  your local paper talking about your meetings and why you went to D.C.

Also you should go check out your ambassador page and see what people are posting.

What an amazing group.



May 15, 2013

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Raviya Ismail, Earthjustice, (202)

Jemarion Jones, American Nurses Association, (301) 628-5198,

Chanelle Blackwell, Hip Hop Caucus, (202) 293-5902,

Victor Baten, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, (561) 358-0254,  

Tanea Jackson, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, (410)

Tyler Edgar, National Council of Churches, (239) 560-1560,

Barbara Gottlieb, Physicians for Social Responsibility, (240) 461-2305,


Clean Air Takes Over Capitol Hill

More than 100 physicians, tribal leaders, labor leaders, clergy, nurses, parents to meet with Congress on carbon pollution, smog, ash, other clean air priorities


Washington, D.C. - Today on Capitol Hill nurses, physicians, clergy, labor and tribal leaders, and social justice advocates are meeting with their members of Congress to call for greater protections from smog, coal ash, carbon and other dangerous air pollutants.  This National Asthma Awareness Month is an opportunity for Congress and the Obama administration to protect the health of millions of Americans suffering from asthma by adopting strong air pollution standards and protecting the Clean Air Act.


Under the banner of 50 States United for Healthy Air, this diverse group of representatives from American Nurses Association, Earthjustice, Hip Hop Caucus, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Council of Churches, National Latino Coalition on Climate Change, and Physicians for Social Responsibility are representing all 50 states and Puerto Rico to clean up the air we all breathe.


These “Clean Air Ambassadors” are calling for:

  • Finalizing a pending standard to reduce carbon emissions from new coal-fired power plants, and to urgently move forward on a standard to reduce emissions from existing power plants. These plants are responsible for more than one third of the carbon pollution generated in our nation.
  • Finalizing a federally enforceable coal ash rule. Over 1,400 unregulated coal ash dams and landfills threaten the health and safety of hundreds of communities living near these dump sites. Despite a massive coal ash spill and a growing number of coal ash contamination cases (204 in 37 states), the EPA has not finalized federal regulations for the disposal of toxic coal ash.
  • Strengthening the current standard for ozone pollution, or smog. This could annually prevent up to 12,000 premature deaths, tens of thousands of asthma attacks and hospital visits, and hundreds of thousands of lost school and work days.
  • Finalizing the pending cleaner gasoline and tailpipe standards (Tier 3). This would reduce smog-producing pollution and soot emitted from our vehicles, preventing up to 2,400 premature deaths, 3,200 hospital admissions and 22,000 asthma attacks each year.


Stronger national air quality standards would force polluters to use available technology to clean up their act, reducing the threat to children, older adults, people with lung disease, people of color, low-income communities, and outdoor workers and recreators. 


Statement by Suzy Harrington, Director, Department for Health, Safety, and Wellness at American Nurses Association:


“As the largest group of health care providers, nurses see first-hand the devastating effects that air and water pollution can have on the health of individuals and communities if left unchecked. We encourage actions that will create healthy environments and improve the health of all Americans. We support regulations and standards that protect the public from the serious health risks linked to carbon, smog and other dangerous pollutants.”


Statement by Trip Van Noppen, President of Earthjustice:


“Congress needs to hear and see that cleaning up our air a priority for a broad spectrum of their constituents. We are grateful for every health professional, clergy, labor leader, tribal leader and community advocate that has come to Washington to meet their member and tell their own story. The power of those personal experiences is what will overcome the dozens of high-paid industry lobbyists wanting fewer protections and less oversight. We are proud to help carry the message that clean air is important to all.”


Statement by Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr.Hip Hop Caucus President and CEO:


“The poor and people of color suffer first and worst from high levels of air and water pollution and from devastation by natural disasters caused by extreme weather patterns linked to climate change. The Hip Hop Caucus' grassroots leadership has come to Washington, DC to urge President Obama to tell the EPA to implement vital protections to clean up our air, with the fierce urgency of now.”


Statement by Milton Rosado, President of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement:


“LCLAA fully supports the efforts of the 50 States United for Healthy Air. Upholding and improving air quality standards is imperative for the Latino community. Seven out of the 25 most polluted U.S. cities have Latino populations over 40 percent, threatening the health and well-being of our communities. Our 9 LCLAA Clean Air Ambassadors and the 52 LCLAA chapters are here to demand strong standards that will protect all communities from climate change and health-harming pollution.”


Statement by Jacqui PattersonNAACP Director of the Environmental and Climate Justice Program:


“Communities of color disproportionately endure higher rates of asthma, respiratory problems and other chronic diseases, not because of their lifestyles or because of genetics, but because of their zip codes. The NAACP will continue to stand up, speak out, and fight until all communities can breathe clean air, drink clean water, and live on uncontaminated land.”


Statement by Cassandra Carmichael, Director of the National Council of Churches Washington Office:


"As Christians, clean air and healthy communities are in keeping with our call to serve as stewards of God's creation and seek justice for the vulnerable and marginalized among us. Climate change, smog, and coal ash disproportionately harm communities of color, low-income communities, the young while threatening the health and well-being of the whole of god's creation.”


Statement by Barbara Gottlieb, Director of Environment & Health atPhysicians for Social Responsibility:


"As doctors and health professionals, we are seriously worried about the health effects of climate change. From potentially fatal heat stroke to life-threatening storms, the spread of insect-borne and waterborne diseases, worsening air pollution, drought and food shortages, climate change is first and foremost a threat to health."

 Because the earth needs a good lawyer


 In Solidarity,

Victor Sanchez

Central Florida LCLAA
Chapter President
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Next week from May 13-16, 2013, I will be representing the Central Florida LCLAA Chapter as an Clean Air Ambassador in Washignton DC together with NLCCC, NAACP and other organizations. For more information on this year's 50 States Effort, please visit and

Clean air and clean water are products of forests.

 The role of trees and forests in our ecosystems is absolutely critical. Forests renew our air supply by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. Trees also clean our atmosphere by intercepting airborne particles, and by absorbing ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and other greenhouse gases. A single tree can absorb 10 pounds of air pollutants a year, and produce nearly 260 pounds of oxygen- enough to support two people.

Urban trees can do even more for clean air. Depending on location, species, size, and condition, shade from trees can reduce utility bills for air conditioning in residential and commercial buildings by 15 to 50%. Through shade and the evaporation of water from their leaves, trees also provide natural, low-tech cooling that reduces energy use and the need to build power plants.

While the role of trees in cleaning the air is well understood, the ecosystem services that forests perform regarding water is still being explored. Forests, it turns out, act as natural reservoirs, treatment plants, and  management storm water systems.

Forests provide natural filtration and storage systems that process nearly two-thirds of the water supply in the United States. In their natural and healthy state, riparian forests help to keep the water in streams clear. The forests do such a good job that the city only needs to do a minimum of additional filtering.

The ability of forest vegetation and soils to absorb and filter water also increases groundwater, as clean water trickles down to feed aquifers that may be tapped hundreds of miles away by thirsty cities. This same capacity to absorb water helps moderate runoff during rainstorms, and is one reason that cities around the nation are aggressively planting trees. 

Victor Sanchez

Central Florida LCLAA

Chapter President


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Immigration reform negotiator and potential 2016 presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio said Sunday that he has not considered the 'political calculus' of pushing legislation that will be a magnet for criticism from some within his own party. 

"I, quite frankly, have avoided making the political calculus on this issue," the Florida senator said.

"What we have now isn't good for anybody," he added. "What we have in place today, the status quo, is horrible for America."

Seeking to assuage conservative concerns about the soon-to-be-unveiled immigration reform bill drafted by the bipartisan Gang of Eight, Rubio said the legislation, which would offer undocumented immigrants the opportunity to pursue legal status and eventually apply for a visa, does not "reward" those who broke the law.

"It doesn't reward or doesn't award them anything," he said. "But it does give them access to our legal immigration system through a process that will not encourage people to come here illegally in the future, and then through a process that isn't unfair for people that have done it the right way." 

Rubio, a conservative affiliated with the Tea Party and one of just three Latinos in the Senate, added that the bill will not allow undocumented immigrants to achieve citizenship faster than those waiting to come to the country legally. 

"If you're waiting to come legally to the United States now, no one who has done it the wrong way will get it before you.  In fact, it will be much cheaper, faster, easier and less bureaucratic if you're doing it the right way," he said. 

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio discusses certain details of bipartisan immigration overhaul framework and the potential for amendments and changes to the measure.

The interview with NBC's David Gregory was part of a weekend media blitz for Rubio, who appeared on all network Sunday shows as well as on Spanish-language programs to sell the immigration bill. The measure, which is expected to be unveiled on Tuesday, is sure to face fierce opposition from conservatives who oppose any legal status for undocumented immigrants.

While the full details of the path to citizenship have not been formally released by the Gang of Eight, reports have indicated that undocumented immigrants will be required to pay fines and back taxes and wait 10 years in a "probationary" status before becoming eligible to apply for a merit-based visa.

Asked if his shepherding of the immigration measure would help him in a potential matchup against a top Democrat like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016, Rubio again demurred. 

"This is not about improving anyone's poll number numbers," he said. "This is very simple. I'm a Senator. I get paid not to just give speeches. I get paid to solve problems."

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Last week, voters faced unacceptable delays to cast a ballot. Some people waited up to 9 hours to vote. In Miami, many stayed in line until 1 AM at night in order to vote.

That's just not right! Tell Governor Rick Scott that no one should have to wait so long to vote.

There are stories around the state about voters waiting unacceptable amounts of time to vote. One man near Fort Myers even lost his job after he was stuck in line for three hours and couldn't make it to work. He got pink slipped by Pink Slip Rick's voter suppression. And then there are many other people waited silently, uncomplainingly for far too long in order to make their vote count.

These problems weren't inevitable; the entire early voting mess was created by Rick Scott. In 2008, Florida had 14 days of early voting but Governor Rick Scott shortened that to only the final eight days. Even when numerous Supervisors of Elections warned of problems and urged Scott to allow more early voting, he ignored them.

Hours-long lines to vote are wrong! Call on Rick Scott to expand the early voting system.

No one should be forced to sit in line for hours to exercise their right to vote. Rick Scott has already said he's willing to consider changing so we're going to hold him to it! Urge Rick Scott to expand the early voting system, so that next time, we aren't forced to wait in line for hours to exercise our right to vote.


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Voter protection groups across the state are calling for complete election reform in Florida.

Last Tuesday, some central Floridians stood in line for four hours trying to cast their ballots.

It was a coalition of community organizations headed up the League of Women Voters who held a news conference demanding Florida reform its election system.

"Today we all come together with a joint call for the governor and Legislature to join together with a joint will that they too agree that election reform is needed in Florida," said League of Women Voters President Deirdre McNab.  "They must agree what happened last week in Florida will never happen again."

The speakers, representing groups from AARP to the ACLU cried foul over the long lines at some polling places last week, the delayed counts for absentee ballots and the high amount of provisional ballots cast.  They want the governor to form a bipartisan task force to study the issue and report its recommendations no later than two weeks before the next legislative session. 

The group's list of complaints was long and included a too long ballot and poll workers not equipped to deal with voter questions. They blamed much of the trouble on election laws passed by the Republican lead Florida Legislature in 2011 that shortened the number of days for early voting from 14 to eight.

"We warned the legislature that this would create a problem, hardship for historically ethnic and minority groups and they didn't listen," said ACLU spokeswoman Joyce Hamilton Henry.

Many speakers also claimed the problems disproportionately affected minority voters.

"Obviously, Florida now is the butt of every late night host's jokes as the state that can't count right," said the Rev. Randolph Bracy of the New Covenant Baptist Church.  "And it is my prayer that starting from the Gov. and the Legislator that a word has been sent across the bow. Florida, let us not be the butt of everybody's jokes but lets get it right."


Click on the above image to watch the news report of groups calling for voting reform.


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