Donald Norcross

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Donald Norcross


Donald Norcross (born December 13, 1958) is an American labor leader and Democratic Party politician who has represented the 5th District in the New Jersey Senate since 2010. In 2014, he announced his candidacy for the United States House of Representatives following the resignation of former Rep. Rob Andrews.

Norcross is a graduate of Camden County College. He and his wife Andrea live in Camden City.

Background

An electrician by trade, Norcross worked for years installing power lines in refineries and on the tops of bridges. He rose through the ranks and eventually became assistant business manager for Local 351 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and President of the Southern New Jersey AFL-CIO, where he advocated on behalf of thousands of hardworking men and women for nearly 20 years.

Congressman Norcross has been active in a number of community service organizations, such as the Camden County United Way where he once served as chairman and the Home Port Alliance, which was instrumental in bringing the Battleship New Jersey to Camden’s Waterfront. Donald also previously ran a non-profit organization that connected local families with community resources, built wheelchair ramps for seniors and disabled veterans, and offered job training for local residents.

Norcross previously served in both the New Jersey General Assembly and State Senate where he developed a reputation as an effective, bipartisan reformer. Among his accomplishments, he championed a groundbreaking effort to improve the region’s economic competitiveness and bring new, family-sustaining jobs to our region. These efforts have resulted in the announcement and opening of new manufacturing, service, and retail businesses along the ports of the Delaware River and throughout South Jersey.[1]

Support for the Council on American Islamic Relations

Donald Norcross wrote a letter of support to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on the occasion of their 24th anniversary in September 2018.[2]

Progressive Caucus Action Fund Session

Donald Norcross was involved in the Progressive Strategy Summit named "Building Power for the Rest of Us" held on October 24-25 2019 at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. Donald Norcross was listed as one of those "featured" in a panel headlined "From the Shop Floor to the House Floor: Bringing; Lessons from the Picket Lines into Policy Debates" which aimed to "discuss our shared goals of rebalancing our economy to achieve racial, gender, and economic justice."[3]

Verbatim:

"A hallmark of the progressive movement is a belief that the experiences and needs of working people should animate our policy and politics. This session will bring together organizers, policy makers, labor leaders, advocates, and activists to discuss our shared goals of rebalancing our economy to achieve racial, gender, and economic justice. Bank workers from Santander and Wells Fargo, women working at Walmart, warehouse workers at Amazon, federal contract workers, and striking UAW workers will describe their campaign goals. Special guest members of Congress and national policy leaders will have the opportunity to describe the change they're fighting for in Washington and recent progress building worker power through legislative campaigns. Some of the questions that may be addressed include: How do we achieve better alignment between policy in Washington and people organizing on the front lines? What are the gaps in existing legislation that need to be filled to support working people in a rapidly changing economy? What are the steps we need to take to rein in corporate power, beyond traditional labor legislation? How does the legislation currently on offer build worker power and achieve racial, economic and gender justice?
Moderator: Dorian Warren, Center for Community Change
Featuring: Rep. Donald Norcross; Rep. Mark Pocan, CPC Co-Chair; Rep. Mark Takano; Randy Bryce; Emily Chatterjee, Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights; Jaya Chatterjee, Service Employees International Union (SEIU); Judy Conti, National Employment Law Project; Andrea Dehlendorf, United for Respect; Vasudha Desikan United for Respect; Jasmine Dixon, United for Respect; Richard Eidlin, American Sustainable Business Council; Joseph Geevarghese, Our Revolution; Terrysa Guerra, United for Respect; Desiree Hoffman, United Automobile Workers; Shane Larson, Communications Workers of America; David Madland, Center for American Progress; Emily Martin, National Women’s Law Center; Michelle McGrain, National Partnership from Women & Families; Guled Mohamad, United for Respect; Josh Nassar, United Automobile Workers; Jackie Parncutt, United Auto Workers, General Motors worker; Dania Rajendra, United for Respect; Larriese Reeves, Santander Bank worker; Alex Ross, Wells Fargo worker; Bill Samuel, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO); Heidi Shierholz, Economic Policy Institute

ARA PAF endorsement, 2014

The Alliance for Retired Americans Political Action Fund endorsed Donald Norcross in 2014.[4]

Elected to Congress

Said the Peoples World;

In New Jersey, Don Norcross, a member of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 351, was elected to the U.S. House. He had run on a strong pro-labor platform.[5]

Meyerson connection

Norcrosss.JPG

Donald Norcross, John Meyerson and Laura Wentz.

2016 campaign

In the June 5 primary race Rep. Donald Norcross, D-N.J., won easily over a Bernie Sanders supporter, Alex Law, by 70 percent-30 percent.

Norcross' support was wide and deep, from President Barack Obama on down. The president made an unusual endorsement in a contested congressional primary.

"Donald has been there with me on critical issues before Congress in the last two years - and has always stood up for what's right," Obama said in his May 31 endorsement letter.

"Ever since his days as a leader of organized labor, Donald has worked tirelessly for working men and women and continues to be a powerful voice in Congress fighting for a higher minimum wage, demanding equal pay for women, and pushing for incentives to create good jobs here in America.

"Donald is the kind of forward-thinking progressive leader we need in Congress. He stood with me to support the Affordable Care Act. He strongly supports a woman's right to choose. He is fighting for ways to make college affordable for our nation's youth. And he is working with me to pass stronger laws to crack down on gun violence," the president added.

Other Norcross backers included his own local-Electrical Workers Local 351 - the Communications Workers, the labor-backed Alliance for Retired Americans, North America's Building Trades President Sean McGarvey, the New Jersey Education Association, the Service Employees' state affiliate and New Jersey AFL-CIO and building trades union leaders.

Norcross said he would continue to push for more jobs and safer neighborhoods. His overwhelmingly Democratic district in southern New Jersey is centered in economically depressed Camden.[6]

CPC

By February 2018 Donald Norcross had joined the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Trade rally

A coalition of pro-worker House Democrats, led by veteran Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., opened talks on June 25 2019 with President Donald Trump’s trade negotiator about writing strong and specific worker rights straight into Trump’s “new NAFTA,” rather than just into U.S. legislation to implement the controversial “free trade” pact.

“We have made it clear from Day One there must be changes in the agreement” itself, DeLauro said in an interview after a Capitol Hill press conference that day with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, other union reps, and other pro-worker lawmakers.

Trumka called the confab to present more than 200,000 names on petitions to Congress demanding Congress not even consider, much less approve, legislation implementing the “new NAFTA”—formally called the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement—unless there are strong and enforceable worker rights sections.

With such strictures, Mexican wages would increase, unions and workers say. “If Mexican wages are not allowed to increase, they”—corporations—“will continue to suck jobs out of the U.S.,” Trumka warned.

One reason the lawmakers and unions want the pro-worker requirements written into the trade pact’s text itself is they don’t trust Trump, or U.S. multinationals, to follow any law implementing the new agreement.

“Go back to 1992-93, when NAFTA passed,” said Rep. Donald Norcross, D-N.J., an Electrical Worker and former head of the South Jersey Building Trades Council. NAFTA proponents “promised we’d get more and better-paying jobs, but if you were a worker, you got royally screwed.”

“So the idea of ‘Trust me again and somehow it’ll be different’ isn’t going to do it.”

“My workers asked for” a new trade pact, “but they also said ‘Don’t give us the shaft,’” said Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., whose district includes Detroit 3 auto plants, such as Ford’s River Rouge. “We need an enforceable deal that pays American workers fairly and Mexican workers fairly.”

The worker rights sections of the USMCA are important. NAFTA, the 25-year-old pact it would replace, cost the U.S. between 770,000 and one million industrial jobs and thousands more white-collar jobs, such as in call centers. Machinists Legislative Director Hasan Solomon said his union alone lost 40,000 aerospace jobs as bosses moved 300 factories to Mexico.

As a result, the AFL-CIO and its member unions have been lobbying hard for enforceable worker rights, and Trumka led a three-day trade pact town hall listening tour to Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Detroit earlier in June.

Those enforceable worker rights include extensive labor law reform in Mexico, the establishment of a Mexican Labor Department, and a new court system to handle worker rights, free Mexican unions (not pro-company ones), and hiring of thousands of labor rights inspectors there.

They also include an end, in four years, to the 700,000 contracts those sham unions signed with multinational corporations, Trumka said. He previously doubted Mexico could achieve those goals, even more so since he reported multinationals are now challenging USMCA’s Mexican ratification in 96 court cases.

All those worker rights proposals and more were thought to be in the enabling legislation Trump has yet to send to Congress to implement the USMCA. DeLauro and Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., made it clear those rights must be in the pact itself, especially since lawmakers theoretically cannot change the USMCA or the legislation Trump sends with it.

“There must be amendments to the text” of the “free trade” pact, DeLauro said in an interview after the press conference. “That has been our understanding from the outset and the U.S. Trade Representative has been told that,” DeLauro said of Trump’s top trade negotiator, Robert Lighthizer.

“We have said we want changes in the agreement,” not just in the bill Trump sends to Capitol Hill, Schakowsky added.

“Activists are demanding there be no vote on NAFTA 2.0”—the USMCA—“until it’s fixed,” said Lori Wallach, a trade expert who heads Public Citizen’s Trade Watch. “The petitions demand strong labor and environmental standards” in all three countries, but particularly in Mexico, “and that enforcement be swift and certain.”

And both Wallach and Hassan warned of political trouble should Lighthizer, and Trump, not budge. “Expect an ugly fight” in Congress over the USMCA if Trump stays stubborn, said Wallach.

“I want to be crystal clear,” Solomon added.” This message is for any candidate for president or running for Congress: If you support NAFTA 2.0 as currently written, please do NOT call the Machinists union for an endorsement, political support or a contribution. You need to call Mexico for support! Because that’s exactly where NAFTA 2.0 will send our good American jobs.”[7]

References