Today’s the day! Enroll now at WorkingAmericaHealthCare.org

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Today, March 31st, marks the final day to enroll in a health insurance plan in the Health Insurance Marketplace for 2014.

On Sunday, it was reported that that healthcare.gov saw an unprecedented 2 million visits and last week it was reported that 6 million Americans have enrolled in an insurance plan through state or federal exchanges.

In a final push, members of the Obama administration have been using their voices to urge Americans to begin the registration process today. Over the weekend HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius popped up at a local Florida church urging regulars to enroll.

It’s been a long journey, but we’ve been there through it all. We heard your concerns and fought to get you good, affordable health care.

If you still need health insurance, visit WorkingAmericaHealthCare.org. Let us help you find the right plan, and get exclusive member benefits such as one-on-one help with coverage questions.

Prefer calling? Dial 855-698-2479 and speak to a licensed agent about a plan that works for you.

Open Enrollment Ends Today! #GetCovered: Punching In

Long lines as people across the country get help getting covered in the ACA health exchanges.

Seattle Times: Obamacare may have already brought the biggest increase in health coverage we’ve seen in decades.

Key Quote: “We didn’t expect an expansion anywhere near that magnitude,” said Nathan Johnson, policy director at the state health authority. “It’s been a good surprise. A lot of these folks have gone their entire lives without medical coverage.”

Sheesh. Right-wing activists steal blogger’s picture, claims she opposes Obamacare.

San Diego will begin process to raise the city minimum wage above the state minimum (and index to inflation).

Will Maryland’s minimum wage increase leave tipped workers behind?

Bill to raise tipped minimum wage advances in New Jersey.

Interns are now protected from sexual harassment in New York City.

Missouri’s faith community speaks with one voice: no on “right to work.”

Poll: Only 48 percent of Americans know who the Koch Brothers are.

Finally: Did you know that there are three kinds of tax subsidies for private planes? Oh, and there’s more.

Connecticut Jumps Ahead of the Pack, Will Raise Minimum Wage to $10.10 by 2017

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More than 227,000 Connecticut workers will see raises in the next 3 years, thanks to a bill signed into law by Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy on Thursday.

Connecticut legislators passed a bill by wide margins raising the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2017. In many respects, the bill mirrors federal legislation introduced by Senator Tom Harkin (I-IA) and Rep. George Miller (D-CA) raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 over a similar period and indexing it to inflation.

President Obama, who supports the Harkin-Miller proposal, praised the Nutmeg State:

“I hope members of Congress, governors, state legislators and business leaders across our country will follow Connecticut’s lead,” Mr. Obama said in a statement on Wednesday, “to help ensure that no American who works full time has to raise a family in poverty, and that every American who works hard has the chance to get ahead.”

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that if implemented nationally, Harkin-Miller would lift 5 million Americans out of poverty and reduce spending on public assistance programs by tens of billions of dollars.

This year, 29 states are considering either legislation or a ballot measure aimed at raising the minimum wage.

Image by Raise the Minimum Wage on Facebook

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Domino’s Workers Win Wage Theft Case

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Domino’s workers will share a near half a million dollar payout from 23 New York-based stores, State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said on Thursday.

It seems that the franchises participated in various forms of wage theft with delivery drivers and cooks. For years stores withheld tips and overtime, refused to pay for routine car maintenance and paid below the tipped minimum wage.

“The violations in these cases demonstrate a statewide pattern of Domino’s franchisees flouting the law and illegally chiseling at the pay of minimum-wage workers, who struggle to survive,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

This is the second wage theft case that Domino’s has settled in the past two months.

Photo courtesy of Janet McKnight for Flickr.

New Hampshire Ends Cruel Denial of Medicaid Expansion, Maine May Follow

New Hampshire officially expanded its Medicaid program this week, enabling about 50,000 more people in the Granite State to afford health coverage.

Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan signed the bill into law on Thursday, enacting a bipartisan compromise plan that would use federal Medicaid funds to buy private coverage for adults making less than 138 percent of the federal poverty limit, rather than providing state-funded health insurance.

When the Supreme Court declared the Affordable Care Act constitutional in July 2012, they left the option open for states to reject the federal funds that would be used to expand their Medicaid programs. As of now, 25 states and the District of Columbia have accepted the expansion in full. 21 states, all with Republican governors or Republican-controlled legislatures, have formally rejected Medicaid expansion.

New Hampshire was one of six states where the final call had not yet been made on Medicaid expansion.

On the same day, legislators in Maine granted final passage to a bill that would expand Medicaid to about 70,000 low-income Mainers. The bill now goes to Republican Governor Paul LePage for his signature or veto.

LePage has expressed opposition to Medicaid in the past, calling it “sinful” just a few weeks ago. But many of his fellow Republicans don’t share this view:

Despite the references to different numbers and analyses, many lawmakers have conceded that support or opposition of the bill is as ideological as it is pragmatic.

The bill approved by the Legislature was crafted by moderate Republican Sens. Roger Katz of Augusta and Tom Saviello of Wilton as a compromise, designed to bring more Republicans on board.

Assistant State Majority Leader Anne Haskell (D-Portland) also pointed out that 10 other Republican governors, including Govs. John Kasich (R-OH) and Jan Brewer (R-AZ) have accepted expansion.

The last time a Medicaid expansion bill hit Gov. LePage’s desk in July 2013, he vetoed. Now, with more Republicans on board, we hope he makes a different choice.

Send a message: Tell Gov. LePage to accept federal Medicaid funds.

Photo by Governor Maggie Hassan on Facebook

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Trumka Calls Minimum Wage a Good “First Step”

'Give America a Raise' Bus Tour Rolls into Pennsylvania

In a recent opinion piece that ran in USA Today, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka tackled the issue of minimum wage, calling it the first step towards combating the larger issue of falling wages.

In his piece Trumka asserts that the great inequality, a hot topic for many world leaders, in this country is not a cause, but in fact it’s an effect of the “disassociation between wages and productivity.”

Falling wages is no longer a class issue; instead it’s an epidemic that, due to the aforementioned disassociation, affects the majority of working Americans, he says.

“We have broken the virtuous cycle in which rising wages drive increased demand, which induces business investment and funds public investment, which leads to increased productivity, which in turn supports rising wages.”

To combat this, it will be up to organized workers to restore balance in a “new, global economy,” similar to what organized workers have done for countless decades past.

Still, Trumka notes that progression is gradual and the debate on minimum wage will forge a pathway for the debate on other, deeper issue that affect working Americans.

Photo courtesy of AFL-CIO NOW.

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Punching In: The ACA Enrolls 6 Million People

Good news for UI?

Senate advances a UI extension bill for long-term unemployed; House Republicans may prove more difficult.

The ACA is working

One woman’s pleasant experience signing up for Obamacare.

With just days until the deadline, Obamacare has seen 6 million enrollees, according to the White House.

Raise the wage makes major progress

Connecticut is the first state to raise the wage to $10.10, in 2017.

Right-to-work

Right-to-work could cost Missouri families $1,945 to $2,547 a year in income

Domestic violence bill discriminates

A would-be helpful piece of domestic violence legislation has turned into a dangerous anti-worker tool.

While you were working hard…

After tax profits for corporations hit an all-time high last year, probably because they weren’t paying much in taxes anyways.

And as always, there’s strength in numbers

Cincinnati residents successfully organize to save retirement benefits.

The Voting Issue Heats Up in NC and We’re Striking Back

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Things are heating up in North Carolina over the controversial Voter Suppression Law that ends same-day registration, serves up harsh voter ID provisions and slashes days from early voting.

The law is a modern day form of discrimination against the state’s most vulnerable individuals and has caused a wave of backlash among citizens and community groups.

Working America’s members are leading the pack and fighting back.

Our North Carolina members have started a campaign to promote voter education and registration throughout the state. We’ll show residents how to exercise their right to vote in the wake of these new laws, and send a message to politicians that they can’t take our power away from us.

WA member Howard Hill phrased it perfectly in a recent letter to the editor when he wrote, “The truth is, with these laws in effect, people who need to vote the most will have that much more difficulty doing so… This isn’t about Republicans or Democrats. We know what’s better for the working class and our community. So let’s act like it.”

We’re working to ensure that our fellow citizens have the information that they need to ensure their voices are heard by focusing on key issues like the importance of absentee ballots and registration deadlines.

Our members hope to reach and educate 364,250 North Carolinians in the Triad area about the laws, and so far activists have written letter to editors, canvassed neighborhoods, and reached out to community groups and classrooms.

We’re fired up and ready to go, ensuring that the voice of the working class is heard, and telling politicians that we have the power.

Anti-labor candidates everywhere should be very afraid.

To find out how you can help, email Jasmine Whaley at: [email protected]

Photo courtesy of -ted on Flickr.

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Why The Kochs’ Influence Matters: Punching In

Fight for $15 taking a toll

SeaTac update: Parking company fires workers who complained about not getting wage increase.

 

The Kochs own the House Republicans, and it shows

Not just Boehner: many House Republicans seemingly indifferent on unemployment insurance.

Is “Obamacare repeal fatigue” setting in? Yes. And yes.

House Democrats attempt discharge petition on immigration reform.

Discharge petition strategy aims to make immigration an issue in November.

Must read Facebook post: Robert Reich on why Koch Brothers’ influence matters.

 

On minimum wage, Demint and Co. can’t make their case

Richard Trumka: The facts are on our side in the minimum wage debate.

New report: If you work 40 hours a week on minimum wage, you can’t afford rent. In the United States. Anywhere.

Why a minimum wage increase is good for (all) women.

 

Finally: Dispatches from Walmart

Walmart manager speaks up about awful conditions at his store.

Key Quote: “There’s not enough time in the day to do it…They don’t have enough people to get the job done. And it shows. It shows on the shelves, in terms of the stock. You know, it shows with the morale of the associates. That definitely has issues.”

Northwestern Football Players Win Big Labor Case

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In a decision that could vastly improve the treatment of collegiate athletes, National Labor Relations Board just ruled in favor of the Northwestern University football team starting a union.

Just last week the case was deemed as an unlikely win for the athletes, and the decision will likely go through multiple appeals, but as of right now the team is considered a group of laborers which means that they’re eligible to unionize.

If the decision is upheld it would only apply to private institutions, and doesn’t include walk on athletes.

Photo courtesy of Jim Longstreet on Flickr. 

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