More Than 50,000 NYC Children Start Universal Pre-K This Week: Punching In

Changing minds on voting rights

A former Republican describes how his attitudes changed on “voter ID” laws.

Only states that begin with “C”

California will soon join Connecticut as the only states with statewide paid sick days laws.

“Right to work” goes local

Through its new local affiliate ACCE, ALEC is figuring out how to enact city-level union-busting laws.

“It’s worth pausing to note what an accomplishment this is.”

The New York Times editorial board lauds NYC’s new universal pre-K.

Scott Walker, Sam Brownback, Jimmy John’s, and An Explosive Email From A Walmart Manager: Punching In

More proof that he needs to go

6 must-read passages from newly released Scott Walker documents.

What’s so awesome with Kansas?

Kansas’ Gov. Brownback is Exhibit A in what could be the Tea Party Governor Backlash of 2014.

Sub-standard treatment

NLRB rules that Jimmy John’s must rehire workers who protested company’s (lack of) sick leave policy.

“I’ve witnessed so many labor violations I couldn’t even remember them all”

A Walmart manager describes how the company pits middle management against low-income workers.

If You Doubt That Raising The Minimum Wage Is A Bipartisan Issue, Check Out These Numbers

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For the first time since 2008, voters in Nebraska will vote on a statewide ballot initiative. And luckily, it’s one to raise the minimum wage.

A measure to raise the minimum wage to $9 over two years qualified for Nebraska’s ballot with about 90,000 signatures–9,000 more than needed. For comparison, that’s about 11 percent of Nebraska’a 2012 voting population.

When it comes to smaller states seeing huge responses to chance to raise the minimum wage, Nebraska isn’t alone. South Dakotans turned in 26,000 signatures to get the chance to raise their minimum wage to $8.50. And at the same time Mark Begich and Dan Sullivan go head-to-head in a tight contest for U.S. Senate, Alaskans will vote in November on a measure raising the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation.

If you need proof that raising the minimum wage is an issue that crosses party lines, look at these three states.

In Nebraska’s race for U.S. Senate, Republican Ben Sasse is consistently leading Democrat Dave Domina by 17 to 25 percent. But 55 percent of Nebraskans support raising the wage, according to a poll by Voices for Children.

Over in South Dakota, voters are split between three candidates for U.S. Senate, with Republican Governor Mike Rounds ahead. On raising the wage? SurveyUSA found 60 percent support the minimum wage ballot measure.

And finally, Alaska is the site of what many expect to be one of the year’s closest U.S. Senate races. However–you guessed it!–the minimum wage increase is crushing with 67 percent, according to Public Policy Polling.

Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., Congress left for August recess with no action on wages. In the Senate, Mitch McConnell lead a knee-jerk filibuster against a bill raising the minimum wage to $10.10, and Speaker Boehner refuses to bring it before the House for a vote.

If Congress continues to be unresponsive to the key economic issue facing working families today, expect more cities and states to take it upon themselves to act. And expect candidates in 2014–mostly Republican, but some Democrats as well–to be in an awkward position while they stick with their default opposition to raising the minimum wage.

Photo by @BetterWagesNE on Twitter

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K&P Carwasheros Ignore Intimidation, Organize Instead

Photo courtesy RWDSU

Despite attempts by both the ownership of the K&P Car Wash and the Association of Car Wash Owners to intimidate them, workers at the K&P Car Wash in New York voted to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), an affiliate of the United Food and Commercial Workers. K&P becomes the ninth car wash to unionize since a campaign was launched in 2012.

K&P employee Jose Pedro Calderon said:

We organized ourselves because we want to have a union contract that guarantees us better working conditions. But, most importantly, we organized ourselves because we wanted respect.

As the organizing drive was ongoing, K&P shut down the car wash one afternoon while members of the Association of Car Wash Owners led a captive-audience meeting. Workers report that the meeting was an attempt to make them fearful that the business could be shut down if they joined the union.

RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum said the latest victory in the WASH campaign to organize carwasheros in New York was part of a larger movement:

This is our ninth victory in a row, and we have achieved first contracts in every other organized car wash thus far. Low-wage workers—regardless of immigration status—are coming together and standing up for better working conditions and respect on the job. We are proud of the carwasheros and welcome them to the RWDSU family.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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How The Co-Op Model Breathes New Life Into Our Poorest State’s Economy: Punching In

Making history in Ohio

A stand for voting rights: Why you should know the name Nina Turner.

Dancing around the answer in New Hampshire

Former Senator and current candidate Scott Brown refuses yet again to give his stance on raising the minimum wage.

Mississippi rising

Cooperation Jackson is using the co-op model to transform our country’s poorest state.

Recess is over

Eighth grader announces candidacy for Cedar Rapids school board on a pro-union platform.

We have the facts and we’re voting yes

Boss’s can afford it, our economy needs it: 5 charts that show it’s (long past!) time workers got a raise.

What Happened In San Diego Serves As A Powerful Reminder That Local Elections Matter

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On July 14, the San Diego City Council voted 6-3 to raise San Diego’s minimum wage to $11.50 by 2017.

On August 8, Mayor Kevin Faulconer vetoed the bill.

That’s the part of the script you’ve seen before. But this time, the ending was different.

On Tuesday, six members of the City Council overturned Mayor Faulconer’s veto. The city’s business establishment, lead by the Chamber of Commerce, is seeking to gather 34,000 signatures in 30 days to put the issue to voters in November, which would delay its implementation. But otherwise, the measure is on its way to becoming law.

Faulconer, a Republican, was elected in a close special election in February following the resignation of Democrat Bob Filner. Because of his conservative leanings and close business ties, his victory was seen as a loss for working people.

But the minimum wage fight is another example of why you should never count out your local elections. Instead of an utter defeat at the hands of Mayor Faulconer, the Council’s one-vote-margin super-majority has given the bill another shot.

With no federal action on wages expected anytime soon (Thanks archaic Senate rules! Thanks Mitch McConnell! Thanks gerrymandered, unresponsive Congress!), the action is all in states and cities. Ten states have raise the minimum wage this year alone, and Seattle has a plan to raise their wage to $15 over the next few years. It’s no coincidence that ALEC has formed a new offshoot to focus on city and county issues.

In the country’s eighth-largest city, one city council member had the power to keep a bill raising wages for an estimated 172,000 people from dying.

That’s why you have to vote, and not just for President. For Senate, Congress, Governor, State Senator, and State Representative. Vote for County Commissioners. Vote for Mayor and City Council. Vote for municipal positions like Clerk and Auditor. Vote for hyper-local positions if you have them, because they might be City Councilors someday.

Our opposition isn’t taking any chances. ALEC and the Chamber of Commerce take a great interest in current (and future) city officials to make sure they will be on their side when things like minimum wage reach their desks.

One local election made the difference for 172,000 weekly paychecks. Replicate that in every city and town? That’s what change looks like–not just one victory or defeat at the top of the ticket.

Photo via Raise Up San Diego on Facebook

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What It’s Like Driving Google And Facebook Employees To Work: Punching In

A dispatch from the class divide in Silicon Valley

Big tech companies operate private buses and shuttles to move their workforce. Here’s what it’s like to drive them.

Another reminder that local elections matter

San Diego’s Republican mayor vetoed their minimum wage increase, but the City Council had the votes to overturn it.

A future for the Labor College

The Amalgamated Transit Union has purchased the National Labor College campus, will continue to train workers there.

Could this be the guy to turn back the “right to work” tide?

Florida’s Democratic nominee for governor (and former Republican governor) Charlie Crist is open to changing that state’s “right to work” law.

NBA Players Elect First Woman To Lead a North American Sports Union: Punching In

When the workers own the business

New York City is doubling down on worker-owned co-ops that help lift workers out of poverty.

A ‘Shameless’ request

One artist’s response when Showtime asks him for free labor.

Nothing but net

Michele Roberts takes on gender barriers as new head of the National Basketball Players Association.

Aloha means goodbye

How Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie lost last week’s primary 2-1 in one of the biggest upsets in state history. Other governors: take note.

No lockout for the Met

Early today union representatives reached a deal with the Metropolitan Opera,preventing a potentially disastrous lockout.

Does your lawmaker deserve to be reelected?

According to a Gallup poll, only 19 percent of Americans believe their elected officials deserve to be reelected, the lowest in 22 years.

Pennsylvania’s Police Union Ditches Anti-Worker Governor Corbett: Punching In

Never ever ever ever getting back together

They endorsed Tom Corbett in 2010, but after four years of union-busting and privatization schemes, the Pennsylvania FOP is going with Democrat Tom Wolf.

Who needs drinking water when you can have yummy chemicals?

The Libertarian agenda in chart form.

Flying in the face of ordinary

Flight attendants at Virgin American vote to join TWU, a victory three years in the making.

Here are the cities where income inequality is widest

Silicon Valley, the D.C. Beltway, Bridgeport CT have biggest income gaps, 9 out of the 10 lowest income areas are in the South.

The People Who Make Reality TV Make Trashy Wages, But That Could Change: Punching In

What’s the matter with Alabama?

In the Deep South, the number of African-American elected officials is increasing while their political power is shrinking. What’s going on?

New Koch is about as good as New Coke

AFSCME’s Lee Saunders picks apart the Koch Brothers’ recent charm offensive.

The reality of reality television

New York City Councilman Daneek Miller stands up for mistreated reality show writer-producers.

Coffee with a side of social justice

This new coffee shop is staffed by homeless people…and it’s working.