The May 2013 CLC Meetings will be held on Tuesday, May 14, 2013, in the Cordoba Room at the Argosy Casino, located at 777 NW Argosy Casino Parkway, Riverside, MO. The Executive Board Meeting will be held at 4:00 PM and the Delegate Meeting will be held at 5:30 PM.
Please call Dutch Newman 816.561.6260 to purchase your tickets for the Truman Days Breakfast. The breakfast will be held at 10:00 AM, Saturday, May 18th, Holliday Inn-Coco Key, located at 9103 E. 39th Street, Kansas City, MO 64133.
The U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Labor Relations, Region VII, in collaboration with the U. S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour, Kansas City, Kansas and the State of Missouri, Department of Labor and Industrial Relations will present compliance requirements for HUD grantees, contractors, subcontractors, and others participating in federally-funded construction work that is subject to federal prevailing wage requirements. Representatives from the State of Missouri, Department of Labor and Industrial Relations will present a workshop for construction work subject to state of Missouri prevailing wages. Additionally, the U. S. DOL, Wage and Hour, Kansas City, Kansas will present workshops applicable to Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and federal prevailing wage requirements.
Event Date: April 25, 2013
Event Time: 8:30 AM-3:30 PM
Location: NOAA Training Center, 7220 NW 101st Terrace, Kansas City, MO 64153
Today is the 102nd anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in New York's Greenwich Village. This tragedy took the lives of 146 young immigrant garment workers. Most were trapped and died behind the building’s locked doors and others plunged to their deaths as they jumped from windows from the eighth floor and above.
It also galvanized a movement to raise workplace safety standards and enact other labor law reforms.
Ten years ago this week, the United States launched the invasion of Iraq. The nation remains divided on the wisdom, strategy and outcome of the war that claimed the lives of 4,488 U.S. service members and left more than 32,000 wounded.
But there is one certainty—the men and women who honorably fought and served in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade have come home to an economy that works even less for them than it does others. Job loss, stagnant wages and a widening gap between working families and the wealthy and Wall Street are some of these problems.
They have come home to the toughest job market in decades. Even with the recent improvement in the economy and the jobless rate, veterans lag behind.
The U.S. unemployment rate in February was 7.7%, but for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, the jobless rate was 9.4% last month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And that's an improvement. In recent years, it has been well into the double digits.
Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have served with honor, courage and commitment that deserves our country's respect. Looking forward, we need to ensure that they have every opportunity to gain a secure job, quality health care and educational benefits that will afford them a successful future.
Working families across the United States are asking their elected representatives to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid from benefit cuts, repeal the sequester and close tax loopholes for corporations and the wealthiest 2%.
Missouri's everyday heroes worked through the night yesterday in the cold and snow - out in hazardous conditions working for us.
Politicians in the Missouri Senate were also at work last night - with some extremists pushing a paycheck deception bill that would silence the voices of snow plow drivers, street crews, nurses, grocery store workers and other hardworking Missourians.
Take action right now by calling your senator at 1-888-907-9711.
Attacks on front line workers are the last thing our state needs. It won't create a single job, but the paycheck deception bill and similar measures will make life more difficult for the front line workers who work for us every day.
Call your state senator now at 1-888-907-9711. Speak up for the workers who keep our communities safe.
Please join us for an IMPORTANT Train-the-Trainer Seminar about: The Threat of Right-To-Work & Paycheck Deception Bills in Missouri. This event will be held on Wednesday, March 6, 2013, from 5:30 PM till 7:30 PM at Laborers Local 264 Union Hall, located at 1101 E. 87th Street, Kansas City, MO 64131.
A light dinner wiil be served so please R.S.V.P. to Becky Capper: 816.221.6163 (Office) or via E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seminar will cover the following:
Learn about the threat of Right-To-Work and Paycheck Deception Laws bring to Missouri Workers.
How to talk to members about these critical issues.
Steps you and your members can take to stop these attacks.
The United Labor Credit Union is hosting its 5th Annual Union Retiree Financial Forum on Thursday, March 7, 2013, from 2:00 PM till 8 PM at Gladden Hall, located at 6320 Manchester Ave, Kansas City, MO 64133 (Lower Level of the Visions Building/IAFF Local 42 Union Hall).
Traditionally, this event has been held during the day; however, this year this event will be held later in the day to allow more individuals who are still employed the opportunity to attend this year’s forum.
The Union Retiree Financial Forum is FREE and open to all Union members and households, retired or considering retirement and credit union membership is not required. This event which promises NO sales pitches for specific programs or services.
This year’s Forum will feature the following speakers:
Robert Burks, RBC Wealth Management, “Dos and Don’ts of Retirement Planning”
Chad Terry, National Marketing Director, BlackRock Investments, “Your Blue Collar Guide to Social Security”
Clark Creighton, Pacific Life, “Get Answers to your Medicare, Medicaid and Long-Term Care Questions”
Craig C. Reaves, CELA, Reaves Law Firm, P.C. “Protecting your assets, qualifying for public assistance benefits and planning for the long term”
Ed Smith, Ullico CEO, “Your significance as an active Union retiree”
H&R Block Senior Tax Adviser, “New tax implications for seniors and retirees.
Brian McRae, Keynote Speaker, Kansas City Royals Baseball Club Alumni, “Life after baseball – Retiring from MLB meant new opportunities for life”.
For more information, call ULCU at 816.313.2848 during business hours or visit their website by clicking here. Reserve your spot by Registering Now.
The Kansas City Public Library and UMKC Institute of Labor Studies present Bill Fletcher, Jr. - There is no going back: The Future of Unions. This event will be held on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, at the Central Library, located at 14 West 10th Street, Kansas City, MO. Reception starts at 6:00 -- Talk starts at 6:30 PM.
Bill Fletcher Jr. is a racial justice, labor and international activist and writer. His new book "They are bankrupting Us and 20 Other Myths about Unions" is on why Unions are essential to their members and to democracy itself and how working people can rebuild the labor movement. Please R.S.V.P. at 816.701.3407. Click here for Event Flier.
There will be a change to the Meeting Times for the February Meetings. The Executive Board will meet at 3:00 PM and the Delegates Meeting will be held at 4:30 PM on Tuesday, February 12, 2013. These meetings will be held at the Argosy Casino, in the Casablanca Room on the 2nd Floor.
February 6, 2013 - Can we just keep things in perspective? On Tuesday, the President asked Republicans to join him in finding more spending cuts and revenues before the next fiscal cliff whacks the economy at the end of the month.
Yet that same day, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal budget deficit will drop to 5.3 percent of the nation’s total output by the end of this year.
This is roughly half what the deficit was relative to the size of the economy in 2009. It’s about the same share of the economy as it was when Bill Clinton became president in 1992. The deficit wasn’t a problem then, and it’s not an immediate problem now.
Yes, the deficit becomes larger later in the decade. But that’s mainly due to the last-ditch fiscal cliff deal in December. Read the entire article by clicking here.
February 5, 2013 - The Republicans in Jefferson City are taking another stab at implementing a new Voter ID Bill that will make Missouri voters show a government-issued photo ID when they show up at the polls on Election Day. So far, they have met strong oposition by leaders of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus.
These efforts on the part of the Republican held Legislature is nothing new. For the past seven years, this party has attempted to push through new laws; however, their efforts have been stopped by the court rulings or the gavel of Governor Jay Nixon's Veto. Read more about this in the KC Star article by clicking here.
AFT Missouri is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and the AFL-CIO. We represent educational and public employess AFT-MO supports members and our leaders by providing professional leadership, organizing, legislative/political involvement, contractural support and member servicing. AFT-MO is governed by an elected member governing body.
AFT-MO is a union of professionals that face challenges over the next few years that includes:
Attacks on public education, public services and the rights of workers in Missouri
Funding for quality public education and services
Attacks on tenure, pensions and other benefits that advance quality jobs and public services
And the need to increase our membership strength, developing union leaders and strenghtening our union via an increased member involvment/mobilization around issues that matter to public school employees and the students we serve and issue-based organizing.
We seek an Executive Director that can provide the day-to-day field services -- organizing, mobilization and contractural support - to our Missouri locals, except for Kansas City Local 691 and St. Louis Local 320, and help coordinate any statewide activities with all locals. View Job Description by clicking here.
A coalition of Michigan labor unions—including the UAW—and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asked a judge Thursday to strike down the recently passed "right to work" for less law because it was enacted while the public was locked out of the Capitol, which is a violation of the Open Meetings Act, the First Amendment and the Michigan Constitution.
While the "right to work" bills were being debated in the Michigan House and Senate Dec. 6, the Capitol doors were locked, preventing additional people from coming to witness or engage their legislators and also blocking journalists from covering the proceedings. Says Michigan State AFL-CIO President Karla Swift:
Regardless of how you feel about right to work laws, everyone has a stake in seeing that our government conducts business in a democratic and transparent way. Any law passed while citizens were locked out of their Capitol building should be struck down.
According to the lawsuit, the lockout at the Capitol merely added to the legislators’ attempts to swiftly pass these bills with little public input. The bills were abruptly introduced during the last days of the lame-duck legislative session, already a period of diminished public accountability. Rather than allowing the bills to go through the standard committee hearing process where the public would have been invited to comment, the "right to work" language was introduced for the first time on the House and Senate floors on the same day the bills were passed.
The union membership rate was 11.3% in 2012, down from 11.8% in 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which released updated figures today. This decrease in union membership highlights the painful fact that people are working harder but are making less and less.
One area that saw a significant loss was in the public sector. There are nearly 400,000 fewer union members, from teachers in the classroom to police and firefighters that keep us safe. In manufacturing, the jobs that have returned so far are largely low-wage, nonunion jobs.
The BLS union density numbers reflect the political and ideological assaults on workers’ rights that peaked over the past two years. These attacks on working people resulted in membership losses, stagnant wages and increasing income inequality.
Still, the number of union members is increasing in growing sectors of the economy, and union membership is also rising among nonwhite workers, including Hispanics and Asians, who are beginning to show meaningful job growth following the economic downturn. There were gains in business and professional services, which includes waste services.
Looking at the states, there were increases in union membership in Texas, Georgia, Nevada and North Carolina and continued growth in California. Membership is also up in Oklahoma.
Working women and men urgently need a voice on the job today, but the sad truth is that it has become more difficult for them to have one, as today’s figures on union membership demonstrate.
Union membership impacts every other economic outcome that matters to all workers – falling wages, rising health care costs, home foreclosures, the loss of manufacturing jobs and disappearing retirement benefits. Collective action through unions remains the single best way for working people to effect change. But our still-struggling economy, weak laws and political as well as ideological assaults have taken a toll on union membership, and in the process have also imperiled economic security and good, middle class jobs.
What will define the labor movement of the future, however, is not assaults or the changing economy, but how working people come together to respond to them. We enter 2013 with our eyes open and understand that these challenges offer real opportunities for working people to reshape the future. Working families are building community alliances, engaging with young workers and immigrants, fighting right-wing politicians and organizing in innovative ways. From taxi workers to teachers to nurses to Wal-Mart workers to port workers to freelance writers, working Americans are committed to building a new movement for the future and to creating good jobs and an economy that works for all.
On Monday, January 21, 2013, we will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, which was first enacted by Congress in 1986 as a federal holiday. This was in part to celebrate Dr. King’s life and to recognize him for what he did with his life serving others.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was born January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. His father and grandfather as well as Dr. King were Baptist Ministers. Dr. King is well known for his role in the Civil Rights movement in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s; however, he was also an activist for union members who were struggling to be recognized.
After Rosa Parks was arrested on December 1, 1955, for failing to give up her seat on a bus to a white male in Montgomery, Alabama, Dr. King helped organize a boycott that lasted for approximately thirteen months. During this time the more than 17,000 blacks that resided in Montgomery refused to ride a bus. Because of the financial impact to the city and the decision that was handed down by the Supreme Court forced the Montgomery Bus Company to accept integration, thus the boycott came to a halt in December 1956.
In 1963, Dr. King stood with members of organized labor including the UAW, International Ladies Garment Workers, when they met with President Kennedy and Vice President Johnson at the White House (see photo below).
In 1964, Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence.
On several occasions in early 1968, Dr. King traveled to Memphis and stood with black sanitation workers who walked off the job because their employer failed to recognize their union (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees AFSCME). At this time black sanitation workers earned $1.70 and hour and the city failed to listen to ongoing grievances that dealt with deplorable work conditions and a request to increase their salaries to $2.35 an hour, overtime pay and merit promotions regardless of race.
Dr. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee.
U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis resigned on Wednesday, January 9, 2013.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said Solis "brought urgently needed change to the Department of Labor, putting the U.S. government firmly on the side of working families."
"Under Secretary Solis, the Labor Department became a place of safety and support for workers. Secretary Solis’s Department of Labor talks tough and acts tough on enforcement, workplace safety, wage and hour violations and so many other vital services. Secretary Solis never lost sight of her own working-class roots, and she always put the values of working families at the center of everything she did. We hope that her successor will continue to be a powerful voice both within the Obama administration and across the country for all of America’s workers."
This afternoon, I submitted my resignation to President Obama. Growing up in a large Mexican-American family in La Puente, California, I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to serve in a president’s Cabinet, let alone in the service of such an incredible leader.
Because President Obama took very bold action, millions of Americans are back to work. There is still much to do, but we are well on the road to recovery, and middle class Americans know the president is on their side.
Together we have achieved extraordinary things and I am so proud of our work on behalf of the nation’s working families.
Please be advised that the January Labor Council Meetings will be held at the Argosy Casino, located at 777 NW Argosy Casino Parkway, Riverside, MO. The Executive Board will meet at 1:30 PM and the Delegates will meet at 6:00 PM in the Casablanca Room, 2nd Floor.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka responds to the Senate agreement on the "fiscal cliff":
The agreement passed by the Senate last night is a breakthrough in beginning to restore tax fairness and achieves some key goals of working families. It does not cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits. It raises more than $700 billion over 10 years, including interest savings, by ending the Bush income tax cuts for families making more than $450,000 a year. And in recognition of the continuing jobs crisis, it extends unemployment benefits for a year. A strong message from voters and a relentless echo from grassroots activists over the last six weeks helped get us this far.
But lawmakers should have listened even better. The deal extends the Bush tax cuts for families earning between $250,000 and $450,000 a year and makes permanent Bush estate tax cuts exempting estates valued up to $5 million from any tax. These concessions amount to over $200 billion in additional tax cuts for the 2%.
And because of Republican hostage taking, the deal simply postpones the $1.2 trillion sequester for only two months and does not address the debt ceiling, setting the stage for more fiscal blackmail at the expense of the middle class.
Instead of moving to address our nation’s real jobs and public investment crisis, our leaders will be debating a prolonged artificial fiscal crisis. In the weeks to come, as the confrontation over the economic direction of our country continues, the working men and women of the AFL-CIO will continue to fight to keep poor and middle class families from giving more so rich people can continue paying less. That means a fairer, more progressive tax system, an end to Bush tax rates for the 2% and protection of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid from benefit cuts.
Our Office will be closed on Monday, December 24 and Tuesday, December 25 for Christmas and Monday, December 31 and Tuesday, January 1, 2013 for New Years. On behalf of the Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO Principal Officers, Stafff and Executive Board we would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Finding that perfect gift this holiday season doesn't have to be a headache. Check out this Made in America, union-made gift guide. Here are some highlights from the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor's resource site, Labor 411. Gifts include those made by members of UNITE HERE, Boilermakers (IBB), Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM), Machinists (IAM), United Steelworkers (USW), Teamsters (IBT), UAW, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union/UFCW (RWDSU/UFCW) and United Farm Workers (UFW). Read the entire article by clicking here.
Gov. Snyder showed his true colors today: He’s a puppet of extreme donors, and he is willing to ignore and lie to his constituents. His action will undoubtedly please the Koch Brothers and corporate CEOs, but it will diminish the voice of every working man and woman in Michigan.
To make ‘right-to-work’ a reality, Governor Rick Snyder ignored working Michiganders, the faith and civil rights community, President Obama, people in his own party, autoworkers, nurses, teachers, firefighters, the Detroit Free Press editorial board and voters. He listened to Grover Norquist, Dick DeVos, the Koch brothers and the extremes of his party. In Gov. Snyder’s office, they might call that political reality. On Main Street, we call it a sham of democracy.
The so-called ‘right to work’ laws have never fostered employment, but they do bring out the worst kind of divisiveness. Gov. Snyder knows this is true. He publicly acknowledged this reality for years, and yet ultimately he chose to ignore it and embrace extreme politics under the guise of a job creation agenda.
But working people are resilient – and just like we’ve patiently worked together to rebuild after the Great Recession, we will continue to come together to say ‘no’ to overreach and to oppose this radical governor and state legislature. And we will continue to work for policies to put America back on track with good jobs and shared prosperity, because working people have always been the solution, not the problem.
What ‘Right to Work’ Really Means for Real People:
We invite you to attend the Candlelight Campaign Againts Cuts on Monday, December 10, 2012 on International Human Rights Day. This event will be held at 4:00 PM outside the Office of Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II, which is located at 101 W. 31st Street, Kansas City, MO. For more details please contact the Labor Council at 816.221.6163.
Attention "Unionmade": We're not flattered by imitation.
What happens when a company that acknowledges its clothing is not union-made names itself "Unionmade" anyway? Count on union members proud of their reputation for quality work to say, "Give it up." In a letter Thursday, the AFL-CIO demanded that the apparel company Unionmade—which also has a logo suspiciously like the historic AFL-CIO “handshake” logo—stop its trademark infringement and unfair competition.
The federation told the company to immediately stop using the logo (including not selling items showing it and removing the sign from stores and online sites) and change the store name so it “does not deceive the public into thinking that they are purchasing items that are actually made by union workers….”
Hamilton Nolan at Gawker.com recently covered Unionmade’s deceptive presentation of its products. When pushed, Nolan wrote, Unionmade admitted “some of the brands we carry are union made, many are not.” In a September Huffington Post column, professor Peter Dreier at Occidental College described his discovery of the not-union-made phenomenon and his interview with Unionmade's Todd Barket:
So isn't the store's name, Unionmade, a bit misleading?
"It had nothing to do with unions," Barket said. "I'm surprised that people took the name literally."
The AFL-CIO’s cease and desist letter to Barket spells out the problem with the company’s name this way:
The AFL-CIO finds your use of the UNIONMADE mark highly misleading as the dictionary definition and understanding amongst the public is that “union-made” means “produced by workers belonging to a labor union.”
A victory for organized labor - bargaining in “good faith”
American Federation of Teachers et al. v. Richard Ledbetter Supreme Court of Missouri (November 20, 2012)
November 26, 2012
On November 20th, the Missouri Supreme Court issued its opinion in the Ledbetter case, reversing the lower court and reaffirming the principle that the Missouri Constitution (Art. I, §29) required the Board of Education (“Board”) to “meet and confer” with the union in good faith with the present intention to reach an agreement. The AFT had appealed a lower court ruling which found that the Missouri Constitution imposed no duty on a public employer to “meet and confer” or to bargain in good faith with a collective bargaining representative. The Board agreed that it did have a responsibility to meet and confer with representatives, but did not have to bargain in good faith. The Court was asked to decide whether Article I, §29 also imposed the requirement that public employers bargain in good faith?
The Court undertook a lengthy analysis of the history of collective bargaining in the U.S. and the duties that are inherent in “bargaining” and held that if public employers were not required to negotiate in good faith, they could act with the intent to thwart collective bargaining so as never to reach an agreement, which frustrates the very purpose of collective bargaining. Admittedly, there is still no requirement that an agreement must be reached between the parties. It found that historically, “collective bargaining” has always been construed to include a duty to negotiate in good faith – even when not required explicitly by statute. Starting with World War I and the creation of the War Labor Board, U.S. history reflects a consistent observation that collective bargaining carries the corresponding
responsibility to meet and confer in good faith. What followed was a series of federal legislation, all of which began to refine the responsibilities of parties involved in the collective bargaining process: The Transportation Act; the Railroad Labor Act; the National Industrial Labor Act; the National Labor Relations Act. The Court found that these historical pieces of legislation carried the implicit requirement that parties had to do more than simply “meet” and “confer” and actually bargain in good faith. Further refinement of this requirement occurred with the passage of the National Labor Relations Act and the creation of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Multiple NLRB decisions that followed, confirmed the growing consensus that both parties must engage in “good faith” discussions to find a basis of agreement. In 1985, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued its opinion in Comite v. Levin and summed up rather accurately, the reason why the “good faith” requirement was read into New Jersey’s constitutional guarantee for collective bargaining: “to say that the right to bargain collectively does not confer upon the employer a corresponding duty to likewise bargain is preposterous. Surely, employees do not organize in order to conduct a sewing circle.......To hold any other way would emasculate the constitutional provision.”
In light of these historical references and case law, the Court has now definitively held that “Because Article I, §29 of Missouri’s constitution imposes on employers a duty to meet and confer with collective bargaining representatives, employers must also engage in the bargaining process in good faith.” This applies to public sector employers. We invite you to contact our office should you have any questions or concerns regarding this decision and look forward to helping you and your members in the future.
The United Food & Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) is supporting the organization "United for Respect at WalMart" (O.U.R. WalMart) in its plan for nationwide strikes on Friday, November 23. Strikers are asking that the company stop retaliating against them for speaking out in an effort to improve their working conditions and benefits.
In Kansas City, there will be a Solidarity Rally at noon on Friday, November 23, to show support for the WalMart workers at 5150 Roe in Roeland Park, Kansas. All are invited to come show support for these workers who are employed by one of the largest and most profitable companies in the world.
Prior to the noon rally, we are also handing out literature at several other area WalMart stores. If you would like to participate, please meet at the UFCW Local 2 Office, located at 1305 East 27th Street (southeast corner of 27th and Tracy - 2 blocks east of Troost/2 blocks west of Paseo) in Kansas City, Missouri, at 9 AM on Friday, November 23.
If there are questions, please contact Mike Frommer at 816-728-6131.
St. Louis, MO – Missouri will increase its minimum wage from $7.25 to $7.35 on January 1, 2013, the state’s Department of Labor and Industrial Relations announced Friday. The raise comes as part of a state law that provides for annual rate adjustments based on the Consumer Price Index so that the minimum wage keeps pace with the rising cost of living. Missouri’s minimum wage increase will translate to an additional $200 per year in wages for a full-time minimum wage worker.
“It’s encouraging that the lowest-paid workers in Missouri will finally receive a raise next year, if only a small one,” said Lara Granich, director of Missouri Jobs with Justice. “While extensive corporate-backed opposition has allowed Missouri’s minimum wage to remain decades out of date, these annual indexing adjustments will at least prevent the purchasing power of the minimum wage from falling even further as the cost of living continues to rise.”
Missouri Jobs with Justice said the measure will help boost consumer spending and that such annual adjustments to the minimum wage help combat stagnant wages, particularly in a weak economy. A proposal to raise Missouri’s minimum wage to $8.50 per hour nearly reached the November ballot this year, yet was narrowly blocked by corporate-backed opponents who used the legal process to exhaust the timeline for appearing on the ballot. Missouri’s minimum wage has remained at $7.25 for the past 3 years.
Ten states currently increase their minimum wage annually to ensure pay rates for the lowest-paid workers keep up with rising living costs, including Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. Missouri joins eighteen states plus the District of Columbia in having minimum wage rates above the federal level of $7.25 per hour, which is just over $15,000 per year for a full-time minimum wage earner.
Strengthening the buying power of low-wage workers is especially critical in this economic climate. A recent study by the National Employment Law Project confirms that low-wage occupations have accounted for a majority of jobs created in the post-recession recovery. The unbalanced recovery has contributed to the long-term rise in inequality in the United States: Since the first quarter of 2001, employment has grown by 8.7 percent in lower-wage occupations and by 6.6 percent in higher-wage occupations; by contrast, employment in mid-wage occupations has fallen by 7.3.
A large body of research shows that raising the minimum wage is an effective way to boost the incomes of low-paid workers without reducing employment. A groundbreaking 1994 study by David Card and Alan Krueger, current chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, found that an increase in New Jersey’s minimum wage did not reduce employment among fast-food restaurants. These findings have been confirmed by 15 years of economic research, including a 2010 study published in the Review of Economics and Statistics that analyzed data from more than 500 counties and found that minimum wage increases did not cost jobs. Another recent study published in April 2011 in the journal Industrial Relations found that even during times of high unemployment, minimum wage increases did not lead to job loss.
Workers at Hostess Brands—who in September overwhelming rejected a contract that cut wages and benefits by as much as 32%—began a strike today against the maker of Wonder Bread, Twinkies and other well-known baked treats. Hostess has imposed the terms of the rejected contract.
Frank Hurt, president of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) says:
"Hostess Brands is making a mockery of the labor relations system that has been in place for nearly 100 years. Our members are not just striking for themselves, but for all unionized workers across North America who are covered by collective bargaining agreements."
BCTGM says the company has ceased making contractually obligated payments to the Hostess workers’ pensions since July 2011 and has pocketed approximately $160 million—money earned by and owed to its dedicated workforce.
Hostess Brands is in bankruptcy for the second time in eight years. Since the first bankruptcy in 2004, BCTGM members across the country have taken dramatic wage and benefit concessions and watched as 21 Hostess plants were shut down and thousands of jobs were lost. At the time of the first bankruptcy, Hostess workers were assured by management that money saved via concessions and plant closings would help make the company stronger, more vibrant and more competitive.
Instead, according to the union, the money has gone towards executive bonuses and payments to the hedge fund that owns Hostess brands. Hurt says:
"Our members have now said NO to Hostess and the Wall Street investors in the only means available to them, the strike. [We] stand in full and uncompromising support of our striking members."
Last night, working families across the country celebrated the re-election of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden—and breathed a sigh of relief that our country will move forward on the path of sanity and shared prosperity. Nothing about the last four years has been easy, from the Great Recession to Hurricane Sandy, from unrelenting partisan obstruction by Republicans to the greatest onslaught of negative ads ever unleashed against an American president.
Throughout the tumult, President Obama and Vice President Biden have been steadfast allies of working men and women and the values we cherish, focused on repairing the economy, rebuilding the ladder to the middle class and investing in our shared future. That’s why workers and their unions made a historic effort on their behalf, bringing home the vote for the president from Nevada to Ohio, from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania.
With “Osama dead and GM alive” and the economy beginning to pick up steam, we are ready to work together with the president and all willing parties to win greater equality and economic opportunity for all—starting with ending the Bush tax cuts for the rich and opposing any cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits.
Because of American Crystal Sugar’s continued refusal to end its 14-month lockout of more than 1,300 workers and return to the bargaining table, working families across the country today launched a boycott against American Crystal Sugar (ACS) products. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says:
Making record profits while giving working families and communities the shaft is just plain wrong.
Moyers & Company presents “United States of ALEC,” a report on the most influential corporate-funded political force most of America has never heard of — ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. A national consortium of state politicians and powerful corporations, ALEC presents itself as a “nonpartisan public-private partnership”. But behind that mantra lies a vast network of corporate lobbying and political action aimed to increase corporate profits at public expense without public knowledge.
Using interviews, documents, and field reporting, the episode explores ALEC’s self-serving machine at work, acting in a way one Wisconsin politician describes as “a corporate dating service for lonely legislators and corporate special interests.”
Emanuel Cleaver of the 5th Congressional District wants you to stop by his office headquarters for coffee to discuss his 2012 campaign! Cleaver has a record of fighting for Kansas City union families, and is running for office again. He has stood behind the middle class by fighting for a minimum wage increase, bringing jobs home to Missouri, and strengthening programs such as Social Security and Medicare. We need to keep this labor friendly incumbent in office! Good dialogue between our labor leaders in Kansas City and the surrounding area is a big part of keeping this great Congressman in office. Add this event to your calendar now and we hope to see you and your staff there! Please call (816-853-1099) or email Danielle with the AFL-CIO if you have questions or need more information.
Kansas City, Missouri – In the constant fight for America’s work force and the middle class, the Kansas City AFL-CIO commissioned a poll to examine the venerability of Congresswoman Hartzler’s (MO-4) re-election efforts. What this poll demonstrated was that Cass County Prosecuting Attorney Hensley’s challenge is unquestionably winnable and the public’s support of Congresswoman Hartzler is non-existent. 54% of those surveyed do not know her well or at all. Only 34% would vote to send her back to Congress while 41% stated that they would vote for someone else while 25% were undecided.
33% of the surveyed voters “don’t know” about Congresswoman Hartzler’s job performance and 25% rate her job performance in Congress as “not so good” or “poor”.
Not surprising that 82% of the surveyed disapprove, with 59% strongly disapprove, of how Congress is handling or has handled major issues facing the Nation. Hartzler, being an incumbent cannot separate herself from the negative discernment the public has for Congress. This negative perception of Congress combined with her extremely low name recognition demonstrates that she is vulnerable to defeat in November.
Even Congresswoman Hartzler’s advantage is limited. 45% of the respondents consider themselves Republicans versus 27% Democrats. But 20% of those Republicans would prefer to vote for someone else. This race will be decided by the Independent voters.
26% of the surveyed were Independents and 46% would prefer to vote for someone else.
Congresswoman Hartzler has failed to represent Missouri’s Fourth Congressional District. She remains virtually unknown in her district and fails to work on issues that can positively impact and change the lives of the people that she continues to fail. It is these failures that have made this race very competitive.
This survey was conducted by telephone with 402 registered voters in Missouri's 4th Congressional District September 4-8, 2012. The sample for the survey was drawn from a list of current registered voters provided by the Missouri Secretary of State. The sample data was further stratified to reflect the percentage of registered voters in each of the 24 counties in the Congressional District. A screening question about voting in the upcoming November general election was asked at the beginning of the survey and only those who answered 'yes' or 'maybe' were interviewed. The margin of error in this survey is plus/minus 4 percent.
Fellow Union Brothers and Sisters filled the Legislative Assembly Area of the Jackson County Courthouse Annex this past Monday, August 27, 2012, in celebration. Newly elected Building and Trades Business Manager Alise Martiny was presented with a courtesy Resolution by Jackson County Legislators Theresa Garza-Ruiz and Crystal Williams. She was commended for her many years of great service to worker issues, and congratulating her on being the first female to be elected to that position. We look forward to her upcoming successes as business manager.
The Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO is happy to announce that the Executive Board recently voted to appoint Reggie Thomas, President/Business Manager of Laborers 264 as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Central Labor Council. Mr. Thomas will fill the remainder of the term until the next regular election. Congratulations Reggie!
On a day when even Karl Rove had the guts to cut Congressman Todd Akin loose, we didn’t hear a peep from Congresswoman Hartzler.
By now you’ve probably heard that Congressman Akin believes there are variations to rape. He defines “legitimate rape” as those cases where a woman can’t get pregnant.
Yesterday, Teresa asked Congresswoman Hartzler to set aside their differences on policy issues and join her in condemning these outrageous and offensive comments, but we haven't heard anything from her.
And that’s what’s wrong with Vicky Hartzler. She can’t set aside partisanship when partisanship is the last thing on anyone’s mind. At a moment when women in the 4th district need her to give her position, she has failed to do that.
As a prosecutor, Teresa has personally helped protect victims of rape. She’s sent sexual predators to jail, and she knows that there is no grey area when it comes to rape.
We need people in Congress who will fight for women - especially those who are victims of terrible crimes, and Teresa is ready to do that.
The Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO has been asked to research the Constitutionality of the Ordinance that Kansas City, Missouri is planning to place on the November Ballot. The following questions were asked of Legal Counsel and opinion rendered regarding this matter.
No, the proposed ordinance violates two major provisions of the United States Constitution: the Commerce Clause and the Supremacy Clause.1 It is Unconstitutional on its face.
The Commerce Clause empowers the federal government to regulate multi-state businesses like the nuclear industry. Local laws that unduly burden the free flow of business are unconstitutional.
In reviewing ordinances, federal courts look at whether the local benefits justify burdening interstate commerce. Courts assess the local benefits of the ordinance, and balance those against the burdens on interstate commerce. To assess the burdens, courts examine what would happen if every municipality adopted the same ordinance.
Locally, it’s pretty clear what would happen: because large-scale construction deals don’t get off the ground without local government involvement, there would be essentially no nuclear defense production.
In summary: this proposed ordinance, while well-intentioned, ignores clear state and federal constitutional law. It is unconstitutional on its face and will fail court review. The City Council should not put it on the ballot.
The AFL-CIO endorsed a nationwide boycott of Palermo's Pizza (Palermo Villa Inc.) in response to the company’s blatant disregard of its workers’ choice to form a union. The boycott covers Palermo’s brand pizza, “Classics” brand pizza and private-label brand frozen pizza produced by Palermo's, including Costco’s Kirkland brand. This endorsement is part of the continued support for the efforts of the Palermo Workers Union by the United Steelworkers and the AFL-CIO, community and immigrant rights groups like Voces de la Frontera and students from the United States Student Association, the nation’s largest and oldest student-led organization.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said:
"The twelve million union families of the AFL-CIO are proud to stand with these Wisconsin workers who have bravely joined together for a voice on the job....Their courage and strength are a model for working people around the country whose rights are being violated and voices silenced. We hope that this boycott will encourage Palermo to finally respect its workers who work so hard for them every day."
Workers from Palermo's, a large frozen pizza manufacturer in Milwaukee, have been on strike since June 1, 2012, to protest unfair labor practices. After the workers requested that Palermo's recognize their union and bargain with them over serious workplace problems, Palermo's fired more than 75 workers. Many workers at Palermo's face serious health hazards, have no sick days and make little more than the minimum wage.
Raul De la Torres, a Palermo's worker, said,
"Everyone—workers, consumers and the community—have a reason to be very concerned about Palermo’s actions. It’s shameful the company still refuses to recognize the workers’ concerns or hear the voices of the community."
REP. HARTZLER SIDES WITH ROMNEY AND COMPANY AND VOTES TO GIVE TAX BREAKS TO THE RICHEST 2% WHILE RAISING TAXES FOR MIDDLE CLASS...
(August 1, Jefferson City) Representative Vicky Hartzler voted today to support massive tax breaks for the wealthiest 2% of Americans at the expense of the middle class. According to a new report by The National Economic Council, the House GOP legislation gives someone who makes more than $1 million a year an average tax break of about $150,000 more than other plans, while raising taxes on 25 million mostly middle- and lower-income families by an average of $1,000.
“At a time when Americans face deep, ongoing cuts to our schools, public safety, infrastructure and healthcare, Rep. Hartzler voted in line with Mitt Romney’s vision for an economy that benefits corporate CEOs and the super-rich at the expense of average Americans," said Missouri AFL-CIO President Hugh McVey. "It is simply unacceptable that Rep. Hartzler would vote to protect the richest 2% while raising taxes on 25 million mostly middle and lower-income families. The country simply can't afford to keep giving out tax breaks to the wealthy and large corporations and still meet our pressing needs."
"In the past month, working families here in Missouri and across the country have taken part in hundreds of events to urge Congress to bring jobs home from overseas and to invest in America. Ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% and giveaways to companies that ship jobs overseas is a good first step. Working families will continue to urge Congress to make our tax code fair to average people who work hard and play by the rules, not just the wealthy who lobby hard so politicians will rewrite the rules in their favor."
Berry Craig, recording secretary for the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO and a professor of history at West Kentucky Community and Technical College, is a former daily newspaper columnist and Associated Press columnist and currently a member of AFT Local 1360. Craig sends us this.
“Why is the media so anti-union?”
This old reporter-turned-history-teacher could retire if he had a dime for every time he’s heard a union brother or sister ask that question.
They mostly mean Fox News and local newspapers and radio and TV stations.
There’s not much to say about Fox except that it’s blatantly biased. It’s the Republican Party’s propaganda ministry.
“Fair and balanced” is the network’s motto, but I’ll believe that when hogs fly and kids don’t shoot hoops in my native Kentucky any more. Nah – I won’t believe it even then.
On the other hand, the anti-union slant of small-town media news reporting is subtler. Unions are all but ignored, except during strikes – more on that in a minute. Of course, unions are commonly demonized on the editorial pages of small town papers. They routinely get trashed by Rush Limbaugh wannabes on boondocks radio stations. Tiny market TV station owners sometimes go after unions, too.
Most small-town publishers and TV and radio station owners are among the local powers-that-be. They are usually well-heeled and often active in the local Chamber of Commerce. The fact that the chamber is openly pro-business and anti-union apparently doesn’t trouble local media owners about conflicts of interest. More than a few local papers and TV and radio stations proudly plaster Chamber of Commerce stickers on their front doors.
Almost all small-town media owners believe that what’s best for local businesses – of course, including their media businesses – is best for the community. So local business leaders get a lot of ink and on-camera time. They are depicted as “solid citizens” who are “pillars” in their communities.
On the other hand, union leaders almost never enjoy such positive press. The president of the local bank gets in the paper or on TV or the radio all the time. About the only time a local union president is in the news is during a strike.
Reporters commonly call strikes “labor disputes,” not “labor-management” disputes. “Labor dispute” implies, on purpose on not, that unions are solely to blame for work stoppages. Too, strike stories seldom focus on why workers go on strike. Instead, they concentrate on how strikes might inconvenience the public.
Therefore, newspaper readers, TV viewers and radio station listeners are led to believe that the public is the innocent victim in “labor disputes.” Striking workers, no matter how aggrieved, come off as greedy malcontents who just cause trouble, not only for their employers, but for everybody.
Some of the anti-union bias in the media is rooted in a lack of understanding on the part of reporters. Not that many small town print or broadcast newshounds even have a basic idea of how unions and collective bargaining work. Almost no small-town papers or TV or radio stations have unions. Few reporters have ever been in any kind of union.
Of course, well-paid company PR flaks are always glad to “help” the reporter with skillfully spun news releases. Like the company’s hired guns, most reporters are middle-class college grads. Hence, many reporters sympathize with management. These scribes see themselves as "professionals," too, whose station in life is above that of blue collar workers -- even though many union members enjoy better wages and benefits than they do.
Even reporters and editors who consider themselves liberals often stereotype union members as dimwitted, Archie Bunker-style bigots. At the same time, the liberalism of many big city newspaper editorial writers doesn’t necessarily translate into consistent support for organized labor and its positions.
Anyway, labor reporting is specialized reporting. Time was, big city daily papers recognized that fact and had full-time labor reporters. Few do any more. (But large or small, almost all papers have business pages or sections.)
“Labor reporters knew how unions functioned and why they existed,” said Bill Londrigan, president of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO. “They tended to be more balanced in their labor reporting.” Londrigan said it’s no accident that labor reporters are all but gone. “It was coincident with the corporatization and concentration of media ownership.”
On Tuesday, August 7, 2012 the voters of Kansas City, Missouri will have Questions 1 & 2 on the Ballot. The Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO has endorsed both of these Questions. Get the FACTS about Questions 1 & 2 by clicking here.
Attorney General warns consumers to beware of fake letters sent from Attorney General’s Office, other government agencies.
July 25, 2012
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster today warned that scam artists are contacting Missourians by telephone and mail, telling them they have won cash prizes in excess of one million dollars, and claiming that the recipient must pay fees and taxes to several government agencies, including the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, to collect their prize.
According to Koster, the letters are sent on official-looking letterhead allegedly from government agencies including the FBI, the IRS, the Department of Justice and the Missouri Attorney General’s Office. One of the letters claims that “due to the constitution and the legislation rights of the State of Missouri, the procedures require that 50% of the Revenue Tax should be submitted within 3-5 days of the actual notification date.” The letters include specific amounts the consumer should pay. The letter falsely attributed to the Missouri Attorney General’s Office makes reference to a law that does not exist in Missouri.
“These letters are fake, and we do not want any Missourians to fall for this scam,” Koster said. “We are warning Missourians not to send money to anyone who contacts you by mail or telephone without independently contacting the government agency to verify that the money is due.”
Koster said if consumers are ever in doubt as to whether a letter they receive is from the Missouri Attorney General’s Office or any other government agency they should contact his Consumer Protection Hotline at 800.392.8222.
NOTE: Attached is a copy of a letter provided to the Attorney General’s Office by a consumer who received it in the mail.
The furor is growing since it was reported Wednesday that the spiffy red, white and blue outfits U.S. Olympians will wear in the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games in London were Made in China.
Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) blasted the committee’s choice to offshore the Olympians’ uniforms.
I think the Olympic committee should be ashamed of themselves. I think they should be embarrassed. I think they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over again.
On Thursday, July, 5, 2012, the Kansas City Business Journal featured a story that announced the Kansas City FORD Plant in Claycomo, MO is ranked as the Top Producing Factory in the entire United States of America.
During last year FORD Claycomo Plant cranked out over 460,000+ Automobiles and Pick-Up Trucks. The Ford Escape seized production in Claycomo in April and is now being produced in Louisville, KY. The Claycomo Plant will down in production this year as a result of the "Retooling" that will take place for the production of a new vehicle.
The members of UAW Local 249 at the FORD Claycomo Plant should be very proud of the work that they have accomplished over the past year. We acknowledge them and congratulate them on being at the TOP.
Read the entire story at the Kansas City Business Journals website by clicking here.
Mitt Romney seems to have difficulity with those two words—perhaps it's because because he made millions doing both.
America’s workers know, no matter how you define those two words, both mean lost jobs.
More proof of that today:
According to Cornell University study of janitors and security guards, when service sector jobs are outsourced, even within the United States, workers in those jobs are paid lower wages and receive fewer health benefits.
Economist Paul Krugman pointed to this study from Cornell University, which found the outsourcing wage penalty ranged from 4 percent to 7 percent for janitors and from 8 percent to 24 percent for guards, with health benefits similarly hurt. In sum:
Over the past few decades, we have seen a substantial rise in the share of janitors and security guards who are employed by service contractors. These outsourced workers receive lower pay, unionize at substantially lower rates, and are paid lower union wage premia. [Evidence suggests that benefits decrease with outsourcing, both in an absolute sense and in relation to wages.]
As Krugman writes, “Supposedly, [Romney’s] record as a successful businessman should tell us that he knows how to create jobs.” Romney’s record at Bain Capital, however, tells a different story.
Bain invested in companies that specialized in helping other companies get rid of employees, either in the United States or overall by outsourcing work to outside suppliers and offshoring work to other countries.
How many jobs will our nation lose if Romney is elected president?
Today the United States Supreme Court upheld the Health Care Law. You can read the decision by clicking here.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka released the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision this morning upholding the Affordable Care Act.
We are pleased and relieved that the Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Today’s decision means that we can continue moving full speed ahead to implement and build upon the Affordable Care Act. We have no illusion that the destination has been reached, and we are more committed than ever to the hard work necessary to achieve our dream of quality health care for all.
With this decision, more than 105 million Americans will continue to benefit from the elimination of lifetime limits and the coverage of preventive services without cost-sharing, and more than 6 million young adults will remain covered by their parents’ health care plans. Seniors will continue to save money on prescription drugs as the Part D donut hole closes over the next eight years; already over 5 million seniors have saved $3.7 billion on prescriptions in 2010 and 2011. And insurance companies will not be able to deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions, charge women more or drop coverage for those who get sick.
To assure that 33 million Americans will be able to obtain health care coverage through the exchanges and Medicaid beginning in 2014, all states, including those that waited for this decision to be issued, must now do their job and act without delay. We are troubled by the Court’s decision limiting the ability of the federal government to encourage states to extend Medicaid coverage to certain lower income individuals, and it would be unconscionable for states to refuse to extend that coverage, using today’s decision as a pretext.
The Affordable Care Act is our first step in expanding health care coverage, improving care and beginning to get control of health care costs. We will need to build on the achievements of the Act, Medicare and Medicaid in order to fix our broken health care system and advance along the path to a more equitable and cost-effective system.
We believe the way forward is to build on the Affordable Care Act reforms that strengthen Medicare’s historic leadership in containing health care costs, without cutting benefits. A simple indisputably constitutional solution is to allow Americans of all ages to buy into an improved Medicare program. We believe every baby in America—whether rich or poor—deserves the same standard of quality care, and we will keep moving forward until we make this a reality.
We cannot afford to go backward, but that is what Mitt Romney and the Republican leadership in Congress would do. Their prescriptions would not expand coverage or control health care costs. Instead, they would shift costs to working families, retirees and the states.
The election this November provides a clear choice between the President, who has stood for fairness and for working men and women, and Romney, who urges repealing health insurance protection for working families. We stand with the President.
Justin Joe Huerta filed a civil lawsuit against E. L. Crawford Construction, St. Joseph; Paxton Contracting, Lincoln, Neb.; Exterior Wall Specialist, Pleasant Hill; KC Plastering, Pleasant Hill, Mo.; and the Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland.
"This case reflects the labor movement's ongoing commitment to deter prevailing wage violations and ensuring fair working conditions for all Missourians," said Edward Keenan, a lawyer representing the defendant. Mr. Keenan said he frequently represents the AFL-CIO. Read the entire story by clicking here.
American Rights at Work (ARAW) and Jobs with Justice (JwJ) are joining forces. In a joint statement, American Rights at Work Executive Director Kimberly Freeman Brown and Jobs with Justice Executive Director Sarita Gupta say:
"Unions are about the collective being stronger than the individual—that together we can achieve what we cannot on our own. What's true for construction workers and nurses, for janitors and teachers, is also true for the workers' rights movement. That's why American Rights at Work is joining together with Jobs with Justice by merging."
The new organization will be in place by this fall and American Rights at Work will continue serving as an independent and credible resource on labor law reform as well as organizing and bargaining rights through the production and release of strategic research and timely rapid response and critical public education work.
JwJ and its network of 45 locally autonomous coalitions in 24 states will continue partnering with community, faith and student organizations to build a broader global progressive movement for economic and social justice through solidarity, mobilization, strategic campaigns and, of course, direct action.
Gupta will lead the new organization while Freeman Brown will serve as a senior adviser. American Rights at Work’s Communications Director Liz Cattaneo and Research Director Erin Johansson will be part of the senior management team.
Gupta and Freeman Brown say:
"Collectively, we are greater than the sum of our parts, and that's why we are truly looking forward to building this new entity—and a bigger, bolder and brighter future for workers with you."
The AFL-CIO today announced a far-reaching, multi-partner campaign to register voters, ensure they can cast their ballots without intimidation and follow through to make sure those votes are counted. Speaking at a press conference here in Washington, D.C., AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker said this campaign represents the union movement’s most aggressive push ever because:
"The attacks we are seeing on the right to vote are unprecedented."
“Over the past several months, the AFL-CIO has been working with our affiliates to ensure that registered voters are able to cast their votes without intimidation and to ensure that their votes are counted,” Holt Baker said, with a focus on Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Nevada. Some of those partners joined Holt Baker today, including NAACP President Ben Jealous, National Council of La Raza’s Clarissa Martinez-De-Castro and Generational Alliance’s Carmen Berkley.
AFL-CIO outreach will address such challenges registered voters face as inadequate election administration, lack of access to required photo ID and intimidation and dirty tricks on Election Day. The AFL-CIO website MyVoteMyRight.org offers a resource hub for voters, which includes state-by-state fact sheets on voting laws and voter registrations rules. The site offers a story feature that allows voters to submit their stories online to be gathered as a resource.
Voters such as Gil Paar. Parr served in the U.S. Air Force from 1962-1966, but his military ID isn’t good enough to let him vote in Wisconsin. New rules pushed through by the Republican-controlled legislature and championed by Gov. Scott Walker (R) limit the type of government identification acceptable to let him cast a ballot. Speaking at today’s press conference, Paar said:
I've always used my military ID to vote and for a lot of other things, but now it’s not good enough for identification to vote? There are disabled vets who no longer have a license and won't be able to use their military IDs. What will happen to them? I didn’t serve my country for four years so I, or any other folks, could be denied the right to vote. Voting ID bills in Wisconsin and other states need to be stopped.
Wisconsin is one of 34 states where legislators introduced reasonable-sounding voter ID laws in the first few months of 2011 that would effectively disenfranchise more than 21 million eligible voters who don’t possess the kind of ID these laws mandate.
Saying the number of laws passed to restrict voting in the past 12 months exceeds any similar effort since the days of Reconstruction after the Civil War, Jealous summed up the situation bluntly:
What we’re facing is a coordinated effort to block the vote.
If the right to vote wasn’t so important, said Martinez-De-Castro,
There wouldn’t be such a dogged effort to take it away.
By registering new voters, she said La Raza and other groups are “upholding the integrity of our electoral system.”
But, more importantly, we’re upholding the core of our democracy.
With 16.8 million people turning 18 this year, Berkley said the Generational Alliance plans to register as many of them as possible, while combating laws that turn young people away from the polls because they are students with out-of-state ID or because they face other restrictions.
Holt Baker also said there are some 2.3 million active union members who are registered, and the AFL-CIO seeks to raise the overall union registration rate from 70 percent to 75 percent, which would add about 400,000 new union voters. As in years past, the AFL-CIO will continue to offer a voter hotline, 1-866-OUR-VOTE.
Good News for UFCW Local 1500 and the Employees of Target at Valley Stream.
A National Labor Relations Board Judge has ruled Target violated numerous federal labor laws in an effort to keep their employees from joining the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500 last June. We said it last year when we filed our complaint and charges against Target, now an NLRB Judge agrees.
The ruling confirms Target violated the law and poisoned the democratic election process in order to keep their employees from gaining a voice and better working conditions.
Looking for the nearest union grocery store? There’s an app for that. The new United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) app lets U.S. and Canadian shoppers find the closet union grocery store. A great tool at home or on the road.
You also can find action updates, the latest working family news, messages from union members, photos, videos and more. It is available at the iPhone app store.
In a customer review, Nightbeast writes:
"Awesome app, especially the feature that uses your location to send you to your closest union grocery store. It even gives you driving directions".
With all the great news out today about how U.S. automakers are pushing factories to the limit because of demand for new vehicles, surely presidential candidate Mitt Romney is praising the auto industry’s comeback?
Well, maybe not. Here’s what he said in the face of the nation’s helping hand to the auto industry a few years ago:
Let Detroit go bankrupt.
Romney opposed federal money spent to aid General Motors and Chrysler in the depths of the recession. Good thing the Obama administration didn’t. From USA Today:
Some plants are adding third work shifts. Others are piling on worker overtime and six-day weeks. Ford Motor and Chrysler Group are cutting out or reducing the annual two-week July shutdown at several plants this summer to add thousands of vehicles to their output.
Sales for 2012 are estimated at 14.3 million vehicles, according to IHS Automotive, up from 12.8 million last year.
More car sales mean more jobs for America’s workers—and the auto industry is hiring, including Chrysler, which is adding 1,100 jobs on
a third shift and also just added 1,800 workers in Belvidere, Ill., to make the new Dodge Dart.
As UAW President Bob King points out:
The industry has added more than 200,000 jobs in the last few years and 2011 was the strongest year of industry job growth since 1994. None of this would have happened if Romney had been the one making the decisions.
Creating jobs is what a president should be about.
The National Labor Relation Board (NLRB) has taken action against Verizon for the firing and disciplining of its workers after a two-week strike last August.
NLRB Region 2 has authorized the issuance of a complaint against Verizon for 58 of the 63 cases of unfair dismissal or discipline charges brought by the Communications Workers of America (CWA).
Ron Collins, CWA chief of staff, says, “This is tremendous news for workers who have faced harsh discipline, even firing, from Verizon that was completely unwarranted.”
This fight has been about economic justice from the beginning. Some 45,000 CWA and IBEW members spent two weeks on the picket line to force this $100 billion company to bargain fairly, not continue to demand givebacks of $1 billion a year.
Jennifer Travis, a 15-year Verizon employee in Pittsburgh, Pa., never once was disciplined or written up, but was unfairly fired last August by Verizon. She says that a few days after the strike began:
I took my husband and two of my three kids with me to the picket line. For us, being union is all in the family! There were a lot of us on the picket line that day. Management was bringing scabs across the line to work our jobs. We were loud and boisterous, but peaceful. The company says that I assaulted a manager. Those are outrageous and false allegations.
Travis says that many of the workers who were fired or disciplined are local union leaders or activists.
It makes me wonder if the company retaliated against us in an effort to intimidate other members who would consider standing up for their union in the future. If true, that’s flat out bullying and it’s disgusting.
The complaint is the first step of the NLRB process. Now Region 2 will seek to negotiate with Verizon to settle these cases.
Most recent young college graduates are a carrying a heavy debt load for their education, and they face a harder time paying it off because their wages have plummeted as well—part of a decade-long decline, according to a new Economic Snapshot from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).
Between 2007 and 2011, the wages of young college graduates dropped by 4.6 percent (5.1 percent for men and 4.1 percent for women). However, the wage growth of young graduates was weak even before the recent recession began. They have fared poorly over the entire period of general wage stagnation that began during the 2000-2007 business cycle. Between 2000 and 2011, the wages of young college graduates dropped 5.4 percent (1.6 percent for men and 8.5 percent for women).
This morning Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO President Patrick Dujakovich was interviewed by KMBC Channel 9 Reporter Micheal Mahoney regarding the visit by Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney to Kansas City, MO. Here is a copy of that interview:
KC Union Leader: ” I’m Amazed Romney Has the Balls to Show His Face in Kansas City”
Kansas City AFL-CIO President Pat ‘Duke’ Dujakovich used some blunt language to day to blast Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Thursday night fundraiser in Kansas City.
“I’m amazed Romney has the balls to show his face in Kansas City”, Dujakovich told reporters Thursday.
Dujakovich and a former steelworker criticized Bain Capital, a company where Romney was a leading executive.
Bain took control of a troubled Kansas City Steel plant about 20 years ago. After Bain took over, the GST steel plant failed. About 700 workers lost their jobs.
Many US steel companies had trouble during that era. Many other plants had to close. Many of Bain’s take over bids worked, GST, however, was not one of them.
A former GST worker, Jeff Jones, charged after a hard labor strike at the plant, Bain deliberately managed the plant in a fashion that forced it to close. Ban’s track record overall was a strong one.
About 75% of it’s operations moved forward after Bain came in. Developing.
For more information or to follow this story on the 20 Pounds of Headlines Blog by clicking here.
Please be advised that the May 8, 2012 Executive Board Meeting and Delegate Meeting will be held at the Argosy Casino, located at 777 N.W. Argosy Casino Parkway, Riverside, MO, in the Marrakesh Room on the Upper Level.
IWPR Study Director Cynthia Hess, Ph.D., wrote the handbook with funding provided by the Berger-Marks Foundation. The handbook includes step-by-step guidance, as well as sample surveys and other tools, which can be used to ensure a successful mentoring program. Hess drew on the experiences of several union leaders who have participated in or led mentoring and leadership development programs.
“Mentoring can help unions diversify their leadership,” Hess writes in her introduction.
This handbook examines the positive aspects of mentoring and provides a resource for expanding mentoring to take into account the diversity of the labor movement.
Linda Foley, president of the Berger-Marks Foundation, writes in the manual’s foreword:
Systematic access to good advice and non-judgmental evaluation by other activists and leaders is essential for the development of future activist leaders. In today’s complex and difficult economic environment, we can’t leave tomorrow’s leadership to chance.
"The Next Generation: A Handbook for Mentoring Future Union Leaders" is available in print or online from the Berger-Marks Foundation. Contact the foundation at email@example.com for more information about obtaining single or multiple copies.
Every year on April 28, the unions of the AFL-CIO observe Workers Memorial Day to remember those who have suffered and died on the job and to renew our efforts for safe workplaces. This year we the struggle continues to create good jobs in this country that are safe and healthy and to ensure the freedom of workers to form unions and, through their unions, to speak out and bargain for respect and a better future. It's time for our country to fulfill the promise of safe jobs for all.
Four decades ago, Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act, promising every worker the right to a safe job. Unions and our allies have fought hard to make that promise a reality—winning protections that have made jobs safer, saved hundreds of thousand of lives and prevented millions of workplace injuries and illnesses.
But our work is not done. Many job hazards are unregulated and uncontrolled. Some employers, like Massey Energy and BP, cut corners and violate the law, putting workers in serious danger and costing lives. Each year thousands of workers are killed and millions more injured or diseased because of their jobs.
The Obama administration has moved forward to strengthen protections with tougher enforcement on serious violators and proposed new safeguards for workplace hazards. But business groups and the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives are attacking these stronger measures, falsely claiming they kill jobs. They are pushing legislation to make it difficult, if not impossible, to issue needed safeguards to protect workers and the public.
We cannot and will not let them turn back the clock and destroy the progress we have made to make jobs safer and save lives. Safety laws and regulations don't kill jobs—but unsafe jobs do kill workers.
What’s the “job creation" centerpiece of the Romney/Ryan/Republican budget?
Cutting those burdensome, job-killing corporate taxes. American firms, according to Romney and friends, are being bled dry by the oppressive U.S. corporate tax rate. That might be good rhetoric, but it’s nowhere close to the truth.
A new report shows that most of the 30 Fortune 500 companies that paid no federal income tax from 2008 through 2010 were able to keep up their tax dodge two-step in 2011. Those nimble firms include Verizon, G.E., Boeing, Wells Fargo, Tenet Health Care and more.
Don't feel bad for the other four. Their effective tax rate was less than 4 percent. Overall, says the report:
In total, 2008-11 federal income taxes for the 30 companies remained negative, despite $205 billion in pretax U.S. profits. Overall, they enjoyed an average effective federal income tax rate of negative 3.1 percent over the four years.
It’s not just the dirty 30 ducking taxes. Overall the actual tax rate corporations pay, called the "effective" tax rate, is at 12.1 percent of profits—far, far less than what most of us pay.
But these corporations and other big companies have armies of tax lawyers who squeeze cash through the tiniest of loopholes. If they paid their fair share—along the lines of what working families pay—it would help raise the kind of revenue needed to support essential programs and services for working families, military service personnel, students, veterans, seniors and the poor. The same vital programs Romney, Ryan and the Republicans want to cut.
Join 100,000 activists of the 99% Spring on April 17, Tax Day, to demand that the 1% and corporations pay their fair share. Click here to find a Tax Day action near you. Click here to find a training session near you.
On April 19, we will launch our updated Executive PayWatch site that will look at the hundreds of billions of dollars of cash from profits and tax breaks corporations are stashing while they lay off workers, send jobs overseas and pay outrageous CEO salaries, bonuses and perks.
Workers at the Valley Stream, New York Target Store attempted to Unionize during the summer of 2011. UFCW Local 1500 held an Organizing Campaign and due to intimidation tactics by Target Management the campaign failed. Now the Target Store in Valley Stream is temporarily closing its doors to remodel for six-moths. The employees who were vocal during the campaign and supportive of the Union Organizing have been told they will not be offering them employment when the store reopens and have not allowed them to transfer to other Target Stores within the area. Some employees have been working for Target for over a decade.
Last Friday this story appeared on ThinkProgress.org Blog and you can read the entire article by clicking here.
This same thing happened in 2005 when UFCW attempted to organize nearly 200 employees at a Walmart in Quebec. The employees voted in favor of the Union and Walmart closed the store stating it was losing money and all 200 employees lost their employment. Read the details of this UFCW Campaign by clicking here.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) announced it would shut more than half its mail processing plants and about 3,600 post offices, costing as many as 100,000 jobs. It also is proposing to end Saturday mail delivery. As the postal unions work to persuade Congress to act, the Postal Workers (APWU) union also is reaching out to the public to build support.
The Save America’s Postal Service campaign is a joint effort of the Letter Carriers (NALC), APWU, National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU), an affiliate of the Laborers (LIUNA), and the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association (NRLCA).
On the congressional front, the unions support a package of amendments to the 21st Century Postal Service Act (S. 1789) that would prevent the closures and other service cutbacks. The bill is expected to come up for a vote in the Senate soon.
NALC and the NRLCA collected signatures on a petition to Congress opposing the USPS’ proposal to end Saturday mail deliveries, along with the closing of the processing facilities and post offices. The members of APWU and NPMHU also are circulating petitions opposing the cuts. Those will be delivered to lawmakers’ district offices.
In the latest action, APWU this week launched a series of TV ads that will appear on the NBC Nightly News, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, in which postal workers and customers talk about the importance of the USPS to the nation and the devastating effect closing post offices and consolidating mail processing plants would have on communities and the economy. Says APWU President Cliff Guffey:
The ads are intended to build public awareness and support for congressional efforts to resolve the Postal Service’s financial crisis without cutting pay, reducing benefits, eliminating collective bargaining rights or slashing service.
A county judge in Wisconsin ruled today that the law backed by Gov. Scott Walker requiring voters to show photo ID is unconstitutional.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess blocked the law, saying it would unconstitutionally disenfranchise citizens who do not have photo IDs. Addressing claims that the photo ID law would prevent voter fraud, Niess wrote, "fraud is no more poisonous to our democracy than voter suppression."
Last week another judge temporarily blocked the law, which now is on hold until Niess' ruling can be appealed. Meanwhile, the state's Republican presidential primary is scheduled for April 3.
Since tea party Republicans took control of many state legislatures, governorships in 2010, they've been enacting or considering laws to suppress voting among people of color, young voters and senior voters, backed by corporate lobbying groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
Funding to build and maintain the nation’s highways, roads, bridges and transit systems runs out March 31, but a long-term transportation bill is being bottled up by Republican lawmakers.
This week, the Laborers (LIUNA) launched a multimedia campaign to highlight the growing public safety crisis posed by America’s crumbling bridges, deteriorating roads and struggling transit systems.The campaign appeals to voters to call on the Republican leadership in Congress to support a long-term highway bill that protects investment in transportation systems.
LIUNA President Terry O’Sullivan says the average age of bridges in the United States is 45 years, “dangerously close to the designed lifespan of 50 years.”
With this campaign, we’re letting Congress know that while they’re busy playing politics, Americans are being forced to risk their safety every time they cross a deficient or obsolete bridge.
The campaign includes radio spots in Ohio and Kentucky, home states of House Speaker John Boehner (R) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), and mail to voters, including a tongue-in-cheek manual “How to Survive a Bridge Collapse.” It also includes a tour of “The Emergency Bridge Repair Team” aboard a flatbed truck loaded with a giant roll of duct tape that will travel through the two states.
For more information, to view campaign ad materials and listen to the ads, visit www.highwaybill.org.
A tentative agreement that will bring 2,000 jobs back from overseas and other outsourced facilities has been reached between the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and AT&T Mobility. The four-year pact covers more than 9,000 workers in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.
CWA District 6 Vice President Claude Cummings Jr. says:
I am pleased to present this proposal to our members, a proposal that supports a fair standard of living and reflects AT&T Mobility’s acknowledgment of the role our members play every day in the company’s success particular, I am pleased that we were able to bring back a significant number of jobs.
The agreement now goes to the full membership for ratification. Click here for more information from CWA.
Meanwhile, separate negotiations continue between CWA and AT&T Midwest, AT&T West, AT&T Legacy and AT&T East. Click here for more information.
Tell Congress to support The United States Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Bill
With American families struggling, it's time for companies to bring good jobs home. Foreign call centers not only ship jobs abroad, but they endanger our confidential personal information because they operate without U.S. data regulation.
You can tell lawmakers to support the U.S. call center bill. The bill would build jobs in America by:
Creating a customers' right to know—Ending the secrecy about call center locations, so outsourcers and offshorers can't hide anymore.
Forcing companies that outsource abroad to return federal funding—Because our hard-earned tax dollars shouldn't go to support corporations that ship American jobs to foreign countries.
Giving you the right to be transferred to a US-based operator.
But we need your support. Members of Congress will only sign on if they hear our voices loud and clear. Use our simple tool to send a message to your members of Congress.
All trade unions in India united around a common agenda and staged a general strike Tuesday demanding workers’ rights and economic justice.
The Indian newspaper The Hindu reports that the solidarity of the more than 5,000 unions representing millions of members affiliated to India’s trade confederations centers around demands, which seek:
strict enforcement of all basic labor laws without any exception or exemption and stringent punitive measures for violation; a universal social security cover for unorganized sector workers without any restriction and creation of a National Social Security Fund.
India’s union members represent the nation's full political spectrum and Gurudas Dasgupta, general secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress, says the government’s economic policies:
have undermined the interests of workers to such an extent that trade unions representing the Left, Right and Centrist parties have been forced to come together. Such unity was not witnessed even during or after the Emergency.
For 21 months in 1975 to 1977, the Indian government declared a state of emergency and suspended civil liberties and elections.
Click here and here to read more about the general strike from the Hindu.
The Greater Kansas City Labor Beacon which is the ENDORSED Labor Newspaper for the Metropolitan Area has launched a new website. We invite you to visit the site and keep informed of current events that affects us all. You can access their website by going to www.kclaborbeacon.com.
Locked-out workers from American Crystal Sugar and Cooper Tire will begin a 1,000 mile Journey for Justice tomorrow from Fargo, N.D., to Findlay, Ohio. The journey will highlight the corporate greed that marks their lockouts, and the growing drive by corporate CEOs to drive down wages and benefits to pad their own pockets.
More than 1,300 Crystal Sugar workers–members of Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM)–have been locked out of seven facilities in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Iowa since last August. More than 1,000 United Steelworkers (USW) members were locked out of their jobs at Cooper Tire’s Findlay, Ohio plant in November.
The justice trek kicks off with a rally in Fargo and then workers and their allies will deliver tens of thousands of signatures on a petition to American Crystal CEO David Berg at company headquarters in Moorhead, Minn. The six-day journey will make stops in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana, before concluding in Findlay, with a “hands around the plant” action. There will be rallies, fundraisers for the locked out workers and their families and other actions along the way.
The march will not only highlight the plight of the Crystal Sugar and Cooper Tire workers but also focus attention on the most recent wave of greed-motivated corporate attacks on workers and their unions including recent lockouts of thousands of workers at Caterpillar, Rio Tinto Alcan, HealthBridge and elsewhere.
Outraged at the inhumane treatment of workers in China who make iPads, iPhones and other Apple products, protesters visited a half-dozen Apple stores around the world yesterday to deliver petitions calling for reforms in the working conditions at factories run by Apple’s suppliers, accroding to Democracy Now!
A demonstration at Apple’s Grand Central Terminal store in New York City drew a dozen people, who peacefully handed over a petition with 250,000 signatures to an Apple store manager. Shelby Knox, the director for Change.org, led the effort to collect the signatures.
Knox and New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg, who helped break the story about the horrific conditions involved in producing the world’s most popular products, spoke today with Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman. Also on the show: Mike Daisey, whose one-man play, “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” is based partly on his visits to Apple’s Chinese factories and his interviews with the workers there. Daisey pointed out one of the key reasons the ability of Apple suppliers like Foxconn to institute slave-like working conditions–lack of a free labor movement. Read the rest of this entry »
The Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO is proud to recognize the accomplishments of African Americans during the month of February which is Black History Month. We are featuring A. Philip Randolph and his involvement as a Labor Organizer and Civil Rights Leader.
Randolph had some experience in labor organization, having organized a union of elevator operators in New York City in 1917. In 1919, he became president of the National Brotherhood of Workers of America, a union which organized amongst African-American shipyard and dock workers in the Tidewater region of Virginia. The union dissolved in 1921, under pressure from the American Federation of Labor. In 1925 Randolph organized the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP) and was elected president. This was the first serious effort to form a labor institution for employees of the Pullman Company, which was a major employer of African Americans. The railroads had expanded dramatically in the early 20th century, and the jobs offered relatively good employment at a time of widespread racial discrimination. In these early years, however, the company took advantage of the employees. The union helped support The Messenger until 1928, when it needed to use funds for other purposes.
With amendments to the Railway Labor Act in 1934, porters were granted rights under federal law. Membership in the Brotherhood jumped to more than 7,000. After years of bitter struggle, the Pullman Company finally began to negotiate with the Brotherhood in 1935, and agreed to a contract with them in 1937. This gained employees $2,000,000 in pay increases, a shorter workweek, and overtime pay. Randolph maintained the Brotherhood's affiliation with the American Federation of Labor through the 1955 AFL-CIO merger.
Civil Rights Leader:
Randolph emerged as one of the most visible spokesmen for African-American civil rights. In 1941, he, Bayard Rustin, and A. J. Muste proposed a march on Washington to protest racial discrimination in war industries and to propose the desegregation of the American Armed forces. The march was cancelled after President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8802, or the Fair Employment Act. Some militants felt betrayed because Roosevelt's order applied only to banning discrimination within war industries and not the armed forces.
But, the Fair Employment Act is generally perceived as a success for African-American labor rights. In 1942, an estimated 18,000 blacks gathered at Madison Square Garden to hear Randolph kick off a campaign against discrimination in the military, in war industries, in government agencies, and in labor unions. Following the act, during the Philadelphia Transit Strike of 1944, the government backed African-American workers' striking to gain positions formerly limited to white employees.
In 1947, Randolph, along with colleague Grant Reynolds, renewed efforts to end discrimination in the armed services, forming the Committee Against Jim Crow in Military Service, later renamed the League for Non-Violent Civil Disobedience. On July 26, 1948, President Harry S. Truman abolished racial segregation in the armed forces through Executive Order 9981.
Overall union membership increased by 49,000 from 2010 to 2011, including 15,000 new 16-to 24-year-old members, according to new U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data out this morning. An increase of 110,000 in the private sector was partially offset by a decline of 61,000 in the public sector, making the rate of union membership essentially unchanged at 11.8 percent, with some 14.8 million U.S. workers union members.
Public-sector density increased from 36.2 percent to 37 percent though November 2011. Private-sector union membership remains at 6.9 percent. The largest increases in union membership were in construction, health care services, retail trade, primary metals and fabricated metal products, hospitals, transportation and warehousing.
Despite an unprecedented volley of partisan political attacks on workers’ rights and the continuing insecurity of our economic crisis, union membership increased slightly last year. Working men and women want to come together and to improve their lives.
January 26, 2012: 282 Cablevision technicians and dispatchers in Brooklyn voted to join the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1109 in a union election administered by the National Labor Relations Board, overcoming a vigorous anti-union campaign led by Cablevision. They are the first Cablevision workers to join a union. Cable TV is an overwhelmingly nonunion industry while the traditional telecommunications industry remains highly unionized.
“I’ve waited 13 years for this,” said Cablevision technician Clarence Adams. “United, as members of Communications Workers of America, we now have the power to negotiate a fair contract that will give us the dignity and respect on the job we deserve.”
Cablevision workers are currently subject to arbitrary discipline and favoritism by managers, their health care coverage is inadequate, their workload is unreasonable and they have insufficient 401(k) retirement plans. Cablevision workers also make at least one-third less than Verizon workers, who are represented by CWA.
Register NOW for the FREE, 4th Annual Union Retiree Financial Forum which will be held on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 by clicking here. This event will be held at Gladden Hall adjacent to the Credit Union, 6320 Manchester Ave., KCMO 64133.
This year the featured speakers and special guest that will be part of the program are Chris Koster, Missouri Attorney General; Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Special Agent; Robert Burks, Senior Vice President of RBC Wealth Management; Chad Terry, Certified Financial Planner with BlackRock Investments; Jeff Easterday, Attorney Parman & Easterday; Representatives from AARP will be on hand to explain its new Home Fit Program and Walter White, former Kansas City Chiefs Player.
put an end to his disastrous agenda and stop his attacks on working families. Putting corporate allies above the people of Wisconsin has led to months of job loss and a compromised economy.
Walker is giving $2.3 billion in new tax breaks to corporations and his rich cronies.
Stephanie Bloomingdale, secretary-treasurer of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, applauded union and community members whom she said have been gathering signatures “at union halls, grocery stores and bowling allies.”
Last February, when Gov. Walker announced his plan to bust public sector unions and the middle class, a spark was lit and the people of Wisconsin began to take notice of Gov. Walker’s real agenda. This is a governor who crippled the rights of workers, raised taxes on the poor, compromised our children’s education and made it harder for Wisconsinites to vote. The signs are clear, his agenda is not working and the people of Wisconsin won’t stand for two more years of Gov. Walker.
Illegal Procedure? Dallas Cowboys Called on Sweatshop Connections
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spent $1 billion to build the gilded palace his legendary National Football League team plays in eight Sundays a year. But in the gift shops inside Cowboys Stadium and in sports apparel stores around the nation, Cowboys fans are buying fancy jackets, jerseys and other gear made by Cambodian workers earning just 29 cents an hour for 10-hour days, six days a week.
And now the Cowboys merchandising arm—Silver Star Merchandising—is pursuing deals with major U.S. universities for exclusive rights to produce the schools’ logo apparel, reports ESPN’s Outside the Lines. A recent episode spotlighted the Cambodian supplier’s factory where workers:
fear the wrath of their supervisors if they talk to a co-worker sitting next to them or take too long at the bathroom. They say they are essentially forced to work overtime daily and describe a hostile work environment in which supervisors yell and insult them. They work while sick because either they can’t afford to go to the doctor or fear they will be fired if they miss work.
One of the schools Silver Star has its sights set on is Ohio State and student activists there are outraged, says Rob Battista of the Ohio State chapter of United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS). In letter urging students to fight the proposed 10-year deal he writes:
Through a Freedom of Information Act request, our group revealed disturbing collusion between the Cowboys and our university to completely restructure our licensing program and to give the Cowboys exclusive rights to make Buckeye gear, cutting off ties with dozens of local Ohio businesses. For months, we have been pleading with our university administration to restart this unethical process, yet they refuse to. How can OSU continue to entertain a rigged deal with a company that abuses workers’ rights and conspires to obtain backdoor deals?
Click here for the Outside the Lines Report and here for more from Ohio State USAS.
The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) today urged the Indiana state legislature to reject a so-called right to work bill that the union says is a “political ploy designed to destroy basic workers’ rights. It’s not about jobs or rights.”
As Indianapolis proudly prepares to host the Super Bowl, it should be a time to shine in the national spotlight and highlight the hard-working families that make Indiana run instead of launching political attacks on their basic rights.
In a statement released this morning, the NLFPA says, “As NFL players, we know our success on the field comes from working together as a team.”
We’re not just a team of football players—we’re also the fans at games and at home, the employees who work the concession stands and the kids who wear the jerseys of our favorite football heroes. NFL players know what it means to fight for workers’ rights, better pensions and health and safety in the workplace. To win, we have to work together and look out for one another.
The union points to a recent Economic Policy Institute (EPI) report that shows so-called right to work legislation would lower wages for a worker in Indiana by $1,500 a year because it weakens the ability of working families to join together and get a fair shake on the job, and it will make it less likely that working people will get health care and pensions.
So-called “right-to-work” bills divide working families at a time when communities need to stand united. We need unity—not division. We urge legislators in Indiana to oppose “right-to-work” efforts, and focus instead on job creation.
In an effort to provide you the latest and most up to date SAFETY Information regarding Nail Guns please click on the link to take you to this informative website that will provide additional resources not covered in the OSHA/NIOSH Guidance Docments.
The National Nurses Organizing Committee - Missouri/National Nurses United will be conducting an Informational Picket on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 from 3:30 PM till 4:30 PM at Research Medical Center, located at the Corner of Meyer Blvd & Prospect. While the RN's in other NNU-Represented HCA Facilities make landmark gains, the Research Medical Center RN's are waiting for HCA to bargain in good faith.
Recently a story appeared on the ABC Evening News regarding a home that is being constructed in Bozeman, Montana and every piece of building materials used to construct this home is Made In America. This very interesting story shows that the cost of construction using American Made products over Imported products is essentially the same.
The big benefit is the amount of American Workers who will immediately go back to work if everyone starts to use materials manufactured right here within the USA. Please take a moment and watch this news clip and we have also attached a copy of the Made In America list.
The Teamsters are currently in negotiations with County Beverage and its contract expired earlier this week. The Union has requested a modest hourly wage increase for a small amount of the workforce and County Beverage countered with a reduction in hourly wages and benefits on average between $10,000 and $18,000 annually for employees who earn a base salary plus commission.
County Beverage dispenses Budweiser products to business south of 85th Street in Kansas City and east of Interstate 435 in Jackson County, Missouri. Some of these businesses include Arrowhead Stadium, Costco in Independence, Gomer’s on 99th & Holmes, Royal Liquors on 103rd, Berbiglia on 103rd, Lukas Liquors, Target Super Store and grocery stores such as Price Chopper and Hy-Vee in South Kansas City, Independence, Raytown and Lee’s Summit.
We ask that you do the right thing and boycott puchasing any Budweiser products while Teamsters Local 838 Members are on Strike.
The Occupy Kansas City rally and march filled the Prospect bridge over I-70, echoing the message heard across the nation that Congress needs to get to work passing legislation that will create jobs now and strengthen our crumbling infrastructure. Union workers, retirees and Occupy KC rallied for investments in our communities and an end to policies that simply benefit the top one percent.
This powerful visual of protesters at this major overpass over I-70 during rush hour sent a strong message that Occupy KC and union members are committed to speaking up for those underpaid, unemployed and exploited by the one percent, raising the voices of the 99% in Kansas City and across the country.
After a failed special session and dissents on the American Jobs Act by Missouri lawmakers, we're all fed up with too many politicians' inability or unwillingness to act on job creation. Now more than ever, it is time for Congress to act on the jobs bill and help put Missourians back to work.
Please be advised that the delegates voted during the November Meeting to cancel the December Executive Board Meeting and the Delegate Meeting. We look forward to seeing you in January. Happy Holidays!
On September 27, 2011, the United States Senate unanimously approved Senate Resolution 275, designating Sunday, October 30, 2011, as a National Day of Rememberance for All Nuclear Weapons Program Workers. This Resolution of Congress affords us all the opportunity to recognize and honor those men and women who have tirelessly served country building and maintaining our nuclear forces during WWII through the Cold War and continuing till today.
On Saturday, October 29, 2011, at 1:00 PM the International Association of Machinist Local 778, located at 9404 Grandview Rd., Kansas City, MO 64132 will conduct a ceremony to honor those men and wome who have served our nation proudly. We invite you to attend.
Carwash Campaign Announces First Union Contract October 25, 2011
CLEAN Secures Historic Agreement in Fight to Protect Rights of LA Carwasheros
October 25, 2011 (Los Angeles, CA) –Today carwash workers with the CLEAN Carwash Campaign announced a union contract with Bonus Car Wash in Santa Monica, making Los Angeles home to the only unionized carwash in the country. The agreement marks the first contract won by the CLEAN (Community Labor Environmental Action Network) Campaign in its efforts to end decades of abuses suffered by Los Angeles carwash workers.
Secured with the help of community partners across Los Angeles and the national AFL-CIO, these agreements mean workers at Bonus will become members of the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, (United Steelworkers). Workers at Marina Car Wash in Venice, which is owned by the same company but was closed last December, also won recognition of the union and a contract, and the owners have committed to working to reopen the well-known carwash.
Oliverio Gomez, who has worked at Bonus Car Wash for nine years, said, "I'm so happy we have a union and a contract. Now we get to take our breaks, if we're thirsty we can drink water, and they respect the schedule, and all of the hours we work are in our paycheck. But the biggest difference is we finally get respect as workers." Read the entire story by clicking here.
The Occupy Kansas City movement has also been alive and well this past month, holding marches, information meetings, and camping out by the Kansas City Federal Reserve. The occupiers have been making their voices heard all over Kansas City – whether it’s handing out fliers during rush hour or making a stand at the Kansas City Federal Reserve. This movement is picking up strong momentum and media coverage, and many teachers, unemployed workers, retirees, students, and concerned citizens participated in the Occupy KC movement.
“It was heartening to see hundreds of Kansas Citians coming together to demand jobs, justice and fairness in the economy. For too long Wall Street and Big Banks have gone unchecked,” said Alexandra Townsend of AFSCME Council 72. “We look forward to continuing to stand and march in solidarity with Occupy Kansas City.”
The Occupy Kansas City movement will continue to hold events and meetings in Kansas City – their next big march will be on October 30, 2011 to Kansas City, Missouri City Hall (414 E. 12th Street, KCMO 64106). For more information and to get involved, check out their web page at occupykc.com or their Facebook page.
The AFL-CIO is proud to announce its new partnership with the National Labor College in launching an Investor Education Program.
Working families face tough financial questions everyday on topics such as saving for retirement or for college, from purchasing a home to preventing foreclosure, and the financial implications of a new baby, marriage, divorce, or the loss of a loved one. These issues are particularly important for distressed communitites that have suffered from the jobs crisis.
This new Investor Education website offers commonsense, plain English overviews of these subjects and more. This project is the only one that offers financial education specifically designed for union members and doesn't have any sales pitches or endorse any products.
We congratulate the National Nurses Organizing Committee for a victory during its most recent Organizing Campaign to have a Union in place for the Nurses at Research Medical Center. This is the second vote in the past two years and the vote was 260 to 92 in favor of the Union. More information is availabe via the KC Star website.