Fact-checking Chicago’s claims about why it’s closing so many schools.
This new reality show sounds like everything wrong with our economy, played as entertainment.
Fast Food Crime Wave: Employees share their stories of wage theft.
The problems with Penny Pritzker.
Unemployment: It’s mostly a demand problem, not a skills problem.
The vicious cycle of austerity: “corporate hoarding is both a symptom of shaky economic growth and a contributing factor to it.”
A calm, reasonable explanation of why the argument for austerity is bunk.
Michigan’s car factories are seeing higher demand, putting more people to work this summer.
Bernanke to Congress: You’re blowing it, guys.
Senators of both parties go along with a terrible proposal on food stamps.
Related: two House members who quoted the Bible in support of food stamp cuts are themselves benefiting from huge farm subsidies.
Sen. Mitch McConnell thinks rich people’s political spending needs special protection.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage is a small, petulant child.
We already knew that the general concept of a minimum wage increase was popular with Minnesota, with 70 percent saying they support an increase without mentioning a number. But new polling shows that a substantive increase – one that would give Minnesota one of the country’s highest minimum wages – also has a majority behind it.
Public Policy Polling, which independent studies have shown to be one of the most accurate pollsters in the country, asked Minnesotans about minimum wage along with a battery of other issues. The question “Would you support or oppose raising the minimum wage to $9.50 per hour?” received 54 percent supporting, 37 percent opposing, and 10 percent undecided.
To put that in perspective, that large minimum wage increase was more popular with those surveyed than Gov. Dayton (49 percent approval), DFL legislators (36 percent), Republican legislators (23 percent), and using money from the cigarette tax to pay for the new Vikings stadium (35 percent).
In fact, the only question that unified Minnesotans more than raising the minimum wage was allowing liquor sales on Sunday (62 percent).
The increase also receives support from:
- 58 percent of self-identified moderates.
- 24 percent of those identifying as “very conservative.”
- 59 percent of women.
- 45 percent of independents.
- 29 percent of Republicans.
- 61 percent of 18 to 29 year-olds and 51 percent of those older than 65.
The Minnesota House passed a bill earlier this month raising the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2015 and indexing it to inflation, but the bill did not receive a full vote in the Senate before the end of session. The Senate passed its own version, which raised the wage to a meager $7.75 and ignored the question of inflation.
These numbers show what many Working America members already know: that fighting to put more money in the pockets of workers has support across the ideological and partisan spectrum, and that pursuing policies that raise wages can only help, not hurt, an elected official’s standing with the public.
The issue of raising the minimum wage can next be brought up in Minnesota in February 2014.
Tags: Jobs, minimum wage, Minnesota
Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW
Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff to the summer holiday season. While the day honors those who have given their lives defending the nation—and Jimmy Gilbert, director of the AFL-CIO’s Union Veterans Council, will write more on that next Monday—the weekend also marks the start of grilling season. Here’s some union-made food and drink to get your barbecue off to a great start.
Our list comes courtesy of Union Plus, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor’s LA Labor 411′s website. You can find these and other union-made products on your smart phone with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Buy Union app for iPhones, Androids and other phones.
Hot Dogs, Sausages, Other Grill Meats
Ball Park, Boar’s Head, Calumet, Dearborn Sausage Co., Fischer Meats, Hebrew National, Hofmann, Johnsonville, Oscar Mayer. See MORE.
French’s Mustard, Guldens Mustard, Heinz Catsup, Heinz Ketchup, Hidden Valley Ranch, Lucky Whip, Vlasic. SeeMORE.
Buns and Bread
Ottenbergs, Sara Lee, Vie de France Bakery. See MORE.
Sodas and Bottled Water
Bart’s, Coke, Diet Sprite, Pepsi, Sprite, American Springs, Pocono Northern Fall’s, Poland Spring. See MORE.
Budweiser, Bud Light, Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserve, Mad River, Michelob, Miller, Rolling Rock. See MORE.
Snacks and Dessert
Breyers Ice Cream, Flips Pretzels, Frito-Lay Chips, Good Humor Ice Cream. See MORE snacks and MORE sweets.
Visit our Made in America board on Pinterest.
Tags: aflcio, union, veterans
America’s teachers: heroes in a crisis but too often embattled.
More than 50 Chicago public schools are being closed down.
A view from this week’s DC protests by low-wage workers and homeowners.
How student debt is dragging down the housing market.
Washington state passes a bill protecting employees’ Facebook passwords from their employers.
Sen. Harry Reid delays key nomination votes to set up a showdown over the filibuster.
The loathsome “pitchbook” of one of Wall Street’s most notorious firms.
How to make voting easier.
Gov. Rick Scott reverses himself and restores early voting days in Florida.
Iowa’s Gov. Terry Branstad is the latest Republican to accept expanded Medicaid funds.
In the deep South, people overwhelmingly want Medicaid expansion funds even as their governors reject them.
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar has an important question for Ben Bernanke.
The 2013 legislative session in Minnesota will certainly go down in history, as that state became the first in the Midwest to approve marriage equality through the legislature.
However, relief for over 300,000 minimum wage workers in Minnesota was kicked to the curb, as the session ended Monday at midnight with no action on HF 92, the bill that would have raised the minimum wage to $9.50 and tied it to inflation.
Legislators arrived at an impasse after the Senate passed its own minimum wage bill, which raised the wage to only $0.50 above the federal minimum and had no ties to inflation – meaning years upon years could pass without another increase.
Outside the capital, support for a minimum wage increase is broad. A recent Star Tribune Minnesota Poll showed nearly 70 percent of Minnesotans support an increase in the state minimum wage, with 41 percent supporting the House’s $9.50 per hour increase.
Republicans were uniform in their opposition the increase in both houses. Unfortunately, too many DFL senators also fell prey to the influence of restaurant industry lobbyists and other special interests like ALEC and the Chamber of Commerce. Rumors suggest that the minimum wage increase may have been used as a bargaining chit in negotiations on other issues.
“We’re talking about a pay increase for 350,000 Minnesota workers that would help the economy and make a big difference in their lives,” said Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley), the sponsor of HF 92 in the House, “And if the people who say they’re Democrats aren’t willing to do that then I question whether they’re being honest about their own values.”
“Hard work should pay for all Minnesotans and a minimum wage increase would ensure that low-wage workers are part of Minnesota’s economic recovery,” said MN AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson, “We’re not going to give up on them.”
Working America, along with the Minnesota AFL-CIO and other allies, will continue to advocate for a minimum wage increase over the summer and into the 2014 legislative session. In the meantime, we can recognize some of the 2013 session’s other accomplishments including: the extension of unemployment benefits for locked out workers, improvements to workers’ compensation, an infrastructure bonding bill, the passage of an MN “Dream Act,” and an incredible investment in education that includes universal all-day kindergarten.
Tags: Education, Jobs, minimum wage, Minnesota
In the coming days, the Senate will have the opportunity to vote on some extremely important nominees for jobs that protect working people—unless, as has so often happened with important votes, the Senate’s Republican minority blocks the vote from happening in the first place. What’s at stake isn’t just the people nominated, but the very laws they’re being nominated to enforce.
The National Labor Relations Board: Since the 1930s, workers who are subject to abuse on the job have had a federal body tasked with hearing their complaints and remedying them. But right now, the very ability to enforce laws protecting workers’ rights at all is in doubt. As former chair Wilma Liebman notes, the board hasn’t been fully staffed with Senate-confirmed appointees in 10 years and has been in chaos since 2008 thanks to court cases and the refusal of Senate Republicans to allow nominations to proceed. That has real consequences for workers like Marcus Hedger, who was fired for advocating for a union. That’s illegal, but without anyone to enforce the law, it doesn’t matter—it’s as if Hedger’s house had been broken into, and when he called 911, he was told that the police had been shut down.
President Obama has nominated a bipartisan slate of five people to the NLRB, but they have to get Senate confirmation before the board can function.
The Department of Labor: Thomas Perez, currently an assistant Attorney General, is a great choice to be the next Secretary of Labor. He has a long record of enforcing civil rights and workplace law, and last week, his nomination was approved by a Senate committee. So naturally he’s the target of a filibuster threat, for the most tenuous of reasons. But why rush to fill the position? After all, all the Department does is oversee wage and hour laws, workplace safety, medical leave and pensions (among other things).
The CFPB: Here we go again. This week Sen. Harry Reid, the majority leader, will schedule a vote on Richard Cordray’s nomination to head the Consumer Financial Protection Board. The CFPB is a huge success—one of the best things to come out of the 2010 Wall Street reform bill that most Senate Republicans opposed. Rather than let a duly-passed law take effect, Republicans are attempting to nullify it by preventing a vote on Cordray. Without a director, the CFPB can’t do its job.
By blocking these nominees, Senate Republicans are wiping the laws they’re meant to enforce off the books without taking a single vote. These are laws that protect people from mistreatment by corporations that have enormous power over their lives. This is not an accident—Senate Republicans know exactly what they’re doing here.
The first attempt at fixing the Senate’s nominations process this year fell flat. Sen. Reid is looking at the possibility of giving filibuster reform another try. As Ed Kilgore notes, it’s about time.
Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW
Thanks to what Texas AFL-CIO President Becky Moeller calls a “historic, robust bipartisan effort,” the Texas Legislature approved on Monday a “Buy American” provision for water projects that establishes a preference for iron, steel and manufactured goods produced in the United States. Says Moeller:
For the first time in memory, Texas, under this legislation, will give strong priority to American goods and products in the course of major construction projects. The Texas Legislature deserves high commendation from working families for sending a message that buying American creates jobs. This bill will benefit our economy.
The Buy American provision included a major water development bill (H.B. 4) and includes a requirement that iron and steel products and manufactured goods used in the project be produced in the United States. The bill received overwhelming support, passing 141-4 in the House and 30-1 in the Senate.
Earlier in the session lawmakers approved a “Buy Texan, Buy American” bill that applies to state purchases of manufactured goods. Texas AFL-CIO Communications Director Ed Sills says both bills ”have the potential to create jobs in Texas and in the U.S.”
The labor movement has always been about good jobs. In a legislative session that had the look of potential disaster on several fronts at the start, seeing two “Buy American” ideas succeed in bipartisan fashion is a signal accomplishment that is at the core of what we do.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is expected to sign the bill.
Tags: aflcio, buy american, insourcing, Jobs, outsourcing, Texas