As previously reported, SeaTac, a small town outside of Seattle, voted to raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour on Nov. 5. The victory was confirmed Tuesday after a recount and will go into effect after a corporate-backed lawsuit over the wage is resolved. Now working family activists in Washington State are hoping to ride the success of the SeaTac vote to Seattle, and they’ve found support from the mayor and the majority of City Council members.
“We’re carrying the $15 victory from SeaTac to the destination of our next victory,” said Working Washington spokeswoman Sage Wilson.
The council set aside $100,000 for a study, to be completed by June, of a $15 wage. Mayor-elect Ed Murray (D) said he will bring labor and business groups into the discussion about the increase, which he said should be phased in over time to give employers time to adjust. Socialist council member-elect Kshama Sawant said she wants the process to happen more quickly and suggested she would pursue a ballot initiative on the $15 wage in 2014.
Photo via @SeaTimesPhoto on Twitter
Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW
Tags: aflcio, minimum wage, seatac, seattle, washington
It’s not a memory I’m fond of.
But one year ago, I remember watching news reports as the governor of my home state, Rick Snyder, emerged from police barricades after signing the so-called “right to work” bill into law in Michigan.
The whole thing was like a bad dream. Gov. Snyder had said for years that so-called “right to work” — restrictions on union dues aimed at weakening workers’ voices at the workplace — was not on his agenda. Then on December 6, 2012, he changed course, and called on the legislature to pass “right to work.”
With lightning speed, the Republican-controlled legislature went to work. There were no committee hearings, highly unusual for a major bill like this. The bill text was almost identical to an ALEC model bill, but that didn’t seem to faze the legislators.
On December 11, as more than 12,000 Michigan workers raged outside the state house, the bills for both public and private sector workers are passed despite bipartisan opposition, and Gov. Snyder had signed them into law by evening.
That was not a fun day.
After that fight, Working America pledged to continue the fight in Michigan and we have.
Will you stand with us to continue fighting into 2014?
December 11, 2012 was a rough day. But we know what it takes to win in Michigan: hold leaders accountable for their votes, mobilize a team of activists in communities across the state and support candidates that stand with working families.
The assault on my home state hasn’t stopped there. Gov. Snyder, the Republican-controlled legislature, and emergency managers like Detroit’s Kevyn Orr continue to impose a narrow, corporate-friendly agenda on Michigan without regard to the lives and livelihoods of Michigan’s working families.
With your help, we can fight back against the extreme agenda that Gov. Snyder has pushed through and make Michigan the state we all know and love again.
We’ve seen a lot of things we value come under attack in Michigan lately, but we don’t have to stand for it. With your help, Working America can make a difference in Michigan. Help us fight back now.
We really can’t do this without you.
Tags: Detroit, kevyn orr, Michigan, pensions, Rick Snyder, Right to Work, Rights At Work, secure retirement
Our country is split down the middle when it comes to Medicaid. Literally.
25 states and the District of Columbia have elected to expand Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act. That includes states with both Democrats and Republicans in control.
Unfortunately, politicians in 25 states have actively refused to expand Medicaid, even though the federal government would pay for 100 percent of costs through 2016, and never less than 90 percent after that.
The stubbornness of these politicians is leaving 5 million Americans without access to affordable health insurance.
Luckily, the White House and wide variety of activist groups are pursuing the issue in 2014. In Florida, Virginia, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Maine, there are signs that next year’s legislative sessions could offer a path to expanding the program in those states.
In addition, enough voters are waking up to the needless cruelty of blocking Medicaid expansion to make it a viable campaign issue. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, was elected governor in purple Virginia in part by promising to make expansion a priority. 200,000 Virginians would be helped by such an action.
Rep. Mike Michaud, the leading Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Maine, has made an issue out of Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s outright refusal to expand Medicaid. “It’s not just good economics; it’s the morally right thing to do,” Michaud writes on his campaign website.
However, the big win would be in Texas, which has the most uninsured of any state in the country. Nearly 2 million Texans would benefit from expansion, but Gov. Rick Perry refuses to take any action on the issue.
More than 16,000 Texans have signed our petition to Gov. Perry to expand Medicaid. Join them.
Tags: Florida, Health Care, Maine, Medicaid, Mike Michaud, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Paul LePage, Rick Perry, Terry McAuliffe, Virginia
The rivalry between Minnesota and Wisconsin should be over, because there’s a clear winner.
The next 5 battleground states for Medicaid.
Anti-corruption organization creatively shames pro-Wall Street congressman.
Expose the for-profit college group that is funding ALEC.
Related: One third of Wisconsin legislators have ties to ALEC.
Even in deep red Texas, people are sick of the for-profit prison business.
Meet the contractor that called work site safety laws “archaic.”
Finally: This 21-year old is about to become Mississippi’s newest elected official.
A new editorial from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch highlights the recent revelations about the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and its influence on state legislators. In particular, the editorial takes umbrage at a proposed loyalty oath for ALEC members that would have required them to place the extremist pro-corporate organization above the needs of constituents and the state and national constitutions:
Last week, British newspaper the Guardian published a series of stories based on secret ALEC documents obtained by reporters. Among the most insidious items was a loyalty oath the organization has proposed for the state chairs of its legislative members.
It reads: “I will act with care and loyalty and put the interests of the organization first.”
Imagine that, a Republican like state Sen. Ed Emery of Lamar, a man who claims to be a constitutional conservative, putting ALEC first, over his voters, over his oath to the state, over the very constitution he claims to value.
Mr. Emery, the current ALEC chair in Missouri, is already demonstrating his loyalty, filing an ALEC-inspired bill to erase teacher tenure in the state.
The former ALEC-chairman for Missouri, current Speaker of the House Tim Jones, R-Eureka, is doing his part, as well, supporting anti-union right-to-work legislation for 2014 even while pushing through special session legislation intending to lure thousands of union Boeing jobs to the state.
The editorial takes a strong stance against the influence of ALEC on the state:
Missouri voters should consider such front organizations as offensive to democracy.
Mr. Emery and his ilk can believe what they want, but they should play no part in allowing corporations to hide their agendas, and their lobbying expenses, by pretending to be something they are not. The proof is in ALEC’s actions, which, as Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank outlined, hid itself behind closed doors in a meeting last week in the nation’s capital, pushing reporters away while claiming they had nothing to hide.
No, ALEC exists solely to hide. To hide money. To hide agendas. To hide its hijacking of democracy.
Read the full editorial.
Tags: aflcio, ALEC, Missouri, Right to Work, Rights At Work, Saint Louis, Tim Jones, voting rights
Unionized women workers continue to have “a substantial boost in pay and benefits” compared to their nonunion counterparts, according to a new issue brief.
The brief by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), Women Workers and Unions, finds that:
Unionized women workers, on average, make 12.9 percent more than their nonunion counterparts, are 36.8% more likely to have employer-provided health insurance and 53.4% more likely to have participated in an employer-sponsored retirement plan.
The study also finds that:
- Being in or represented by a union compares with completing college in terms of wages, especially when tuition costs are factored in. All else equal, being in a union raises a woman’s pay as much as a full year of college does;
- For a women worker with a high school degree, being in or represented by a union raises her likelihood of having health insurance or a retirement plan by more than earning a four-year college degree would;
- Women will be a majority of the union workforce in 2023 if current trends continue.
Nicole Woo, co-author of the study, says:
Considering the great boost to pay and benefits that unions bring, it’s important that anyone who cares about the well-being of women workers also care about unions.
The CEPR report comes 50 years after the release of American Women: Report of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women.” On Tuesday, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler will take part in a Labor Department symposium, 50 Years Later: Women, Work and the Work Ahead, commemorating the anniversary.
Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW
Tags: aflcio, Health Care, paycheck fairness, unions, women
The next legislative session in New Mexico is coming up in January. Our REEL Working America chapter in Las Vegas, NM started conversations about what they would like to see from our lawmakers in 2014.
Many of the REEL members are part of the film industry and share a common interest to keep jobs coming to New Mexico by having strong tax incentives for film jobs. Having a steady stream of full jobs benefits the film community and the entire state of New Mexico.
At a recent series workshop event, REEL Working America hosted a movie night where we showed Made in New Mexico by Brent Morris. This documentary mapped out the history of film in New Mexico and highlighted the importance of making it a state that welcomes the film industry to its backyard.
In March 2013, Governor Susana Martinez vetoed a strong film incentives bill, known as the “Breaking Bad” bill. She signed a weaker version of the bill into law, but Gov. Martinez’s aversion to helping the NM film industry thrive is a big concern for REEL Working America members.
The members of REEL Las Vegas demonstrated their support by taking part in a photo petition that showing why they care about NM film.
The year is coming to a close. However, the REEL Las Vegas chapter will keep meeting and gathering local and statewide support to stand behind film workers across the state.
Tags: film, New Mexico, reel working america, Susana Martinez
In more than 60 cities across the country today, teachers, parents, allies and education supporters are rallying to save public education from a series of radical “reforms” pushed by corporations and politically motivated organizations that would do significant damage to our schools and limit the future of our students. The Reclaim the Promise of Public Education coalition was formed to fight for public education as our nation’s gateway to democracy and racial and economic justice. As part of the day of action, the AFT is running radio, print and online ads to spread the coalition’s message.
AFT President Randi Weingarten discussed the purpose of the day of action:
Teachers, parents, students and community members are banding together to demand a new direction for public education. In some ways, this Day of Action is years in the making. Parents, students, teachers and community members have been coming together in places like Chicago, Philadelphia and New York to call out what’s not working and create solutions that do. Text-fixation, austerity, privatization, division, competition are not working for our students—as we saw in the PISA results this week. Our schools need evidence-based, community-based solutions like early childhood education, wraparound services, professional autonomy and development, parent voices and project-based learning. That’s what this Day of Action is about. That’s what reclaiming the promise is about. These are our schools and they need our solutions.
AFT started a petition for those who support the goals of the day of action:
We want great neighborhood public schools that are safe and welcoming, are fully funded and have teachers who are well-prepared, are well-supported and have manageable class sizes and time to collaborate. We want our schools to be centers of our communities and ensure that children and families have access to wraparound services to meet their social, emotional and health needs. We want curriculum that focuses on teaching and learning, not testing, and that includes art, music and the sciences. We want to put the public back in public education.
In addition to the petition, supporters can join a Thunderclap for the day of action.
Some events are happening later in the day—find out if there is an event near you.
Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW
Tags: aflcio, Education, public schools, Randi Weingarten, Teachers
Legislators should think twice about joining ALEC, says PA editorial board.
Legislators should only take one loyalty oath, says MO editorial board.
Records reveal State Policy Network think tanks were created by ALEC.
Minnesota pizza place sets its own minimum wage at $10 per hour.
20 things the poor do every day that that the rich never have to worry about.
NYU grad students defeated the Tea Party and liberal hypocrisy to finally organize.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott has gone after workers’ rights, but hasn’t created many jobs.
The Wire creator David Simon’s impromptu speech: “There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show.”
Finally: Another great example of the labor movement standing up for the LGBT community.
Going searching for that perfect holiday gift? Make sure it’s union made in America. 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).
Apparel and Accessories
Brooks Brothers (UNITE HERE)
Joseph Abboud (UNITE HERE)
Majestic Athletic (UNITE HERE)
Timex watches (IAM)
Naturalizer shoes (UFCW)
Nunn Bush shoes (UFCW)
Red Wing Shoes (UFCW)
Caress skin care (UFCW)
Dove beauty products (UFCW)
Old Spice (UFCW)
(All made by RWDSU/UFCW)
Barrel of Monkeys
Chutes and Ladders
Game of Life
Hi Ho Cherry-O
American Athletic (Russell) (UAW)
Louisville Slugger (UAW and IBT)
MacGregor Golf clubs (Boilermakers [IBB])
Standard Golf (IAM)
Top-Flite golf balls (IBB)
Rayovac batteries (Teamsters and UAW)
Bic Lighters (USW)
Ghirardelli chocolates (BCTGM)
Jelly Belly (BCTGM)
Laffy Taffy (BCTGM)
Tootsie Roll Pops (BCTGM)
Wine and Beer
(Wines brought to you by UFW.)
Chateau Ste. Michelle (IBT)
Gallo of Sonoma
Miller Beer (UAW & IBT)
Miller High Life
Miller Genuine Draft
Anheuser-Busch (IBT & IAM)
Budweiser American Ale
If You’re in the ‘Big Spender’ Category (UAW)
See more cars made by UAW.
Editor’s note: This is not meant to be a comprehensive list of all made in America, union-made products. Some places to find more info on those products include but are not limited to Labor 411, Union Plus, American Rights at Work and the BCTGM website.
Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW
Tags: aflcio, union made, unionmade