Here’s Your Union-Made in America Thanksgiving Shopping List

Before you put together your Thanksgiving dinner shopping list, check our list of union-made in America food and other items that are essential to a traditional family Thanksgiving feast. Speaking of thanks, a big “thank you” to the Union Label and Service Trades Department (ULSTD), Union Plus and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor’s resource site, Labor 411, for compiling their extensive catalogs of union-made products.

Here are some of the best union-made Thanksgiving eats and cookware from the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM); Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers (GMP); Machinists (IAM); United Steelworkers (USW); and United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).

Appetizers

Kraft/Nabisco crackers—BCTGM

Nabisco (Mondelez) crackers—BCTGM

Keebler (Kellogg) crackers—BCTGM

Turkey 

Boar’s Head—UFCW

Butterball—UFCW

Foster Farms—UFCW

Thumann’s—UFCW

Side Dishes

Ocean Spray whole berry cranberry sauce—IAM

Birds Eye vegetables—UFCW

Bread 

Pillsbury crescent rolls, frozen and ready to bake rolls/breads—BCTGM

Pillsbury pie crusts—BCTGM

Stroehmann bakery products (for stuffing)—BCTGM

Dessert

Sara Lee pumpkin, apple pie—BCTGM

Mother’s Kitchen cheesecakes—BCTGM

Nabisco (Mondelez) cookies—BCTGM

Rich Products pies and cakes—BCTGM

Cookware/Cutlery

Cutco knives—USW

All-Clad cookware—USW

Corning—USW

Ware—USW

Fiestaware—GMP

Anchor Hocking—GMP

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Jobless Rate Dips to 5.8% with 214 New Jobs Added in October

The economy added 214,000 jobs in October, down from September’s 248,000 new jobs, but the unemployment rate fell to 5.8% compared to last month’s 5.9%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Since the beginning of 2014, the unemployment rate has dropped by .8 percentage points and the number of jobless workers has decreased by 1.2 million.

While jobs are being created—about 200,000 a month for the past year—wages remain stagnant, with the median family income in the United States falling back to 1995 levels. Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul said:

The good news is that manufacturing jobs have grown over the past few months. The bad news is that they haven’t grown fast enough. I’m very concerned that a surge of imports from China and a paucity of public investment in infrastructure will continue to hamper the great potential of the productive sector of our economy….No doubt the economic anxiety that many Americans still feel is compounded by stagnant wage growth and diminished opportunities for middle-class careers.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was 2.9 million, slightly down from September’s 3 million. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term jobless workers has decreased by 1.1 million.

Last month’s biggest job gains were in food services (42,000), professional and business services (37,000), retail trades (27,000) and health care (25,000).

Other sectors that showed increases include manufacturing (15,000), transportation and warehousing (13,000) and construction (12,000).

Employment in other major industries, including mining and logging, wholesale trade, information, financial activities and government, showed little change over the month.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates in September declined for whites (4.8%) last month. The rates for adult men (5.1%), adult women (5.4%), teenagers (18.6%), blacks (10.9%) and Latinos (6.8%) showed little change in October.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Paid Sick Leave, Minimum Wage, Equal Pay and Other Ballot Measures Fare Well

In an election night that was rather bleak for working families and their candidates, one bright spot was the success of several state ballot initiatives dealing with some core worker issues, including wages, equal pay, education and paid sick leave. Here’s a quick look.

In an election night that was rather disappointing for working families and their candidates, one bright spot was the success of several state ballot initiatives dealing with some core worker issues, including wages, equal pay, education and paid sick leave. Here’s a quick look:

  • Voters approved increases to the minimum wage in Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota, as well as Oakland and San Francisco, Calif.
  • In victories for working women and families, voters in Oregon approved the Equal Pay Measure and in Massachusetts a measure calling for up to 40 hours a year of paid sick leave for employees was approved. Paid sick leave measures in Oakland, Calif., Montclair and Trenton, N.J., also won.
  • Measures to strengthen voting right were approved in Missouri, Montana and Illinois.
  • New York voters passed Proposal 3, an education funding initiative, and in Missouri, Amendment 3, which would have weakened due process for teachers and would take local control of schools away from parents, teachers and school districts, was defeated.
  • In Anchorage, Alaska, voters defeated AO-37, which would have introduced “right to work” for less measures in the city and prevented collective bargaining for city employees.
  • California voters also struck a blow to unfair laws and passed Prop. 47, dealing with mass incarceration and unfair sentencing for nonviolent crimes.
  • Important tax and budget ballot initiatives won approval in Alaska,
    Illinois and North Dakota.
  • Transportation funding measures were approved in Maryland, Rhode Island and Wisconsin. Clayton County, Ga., voters approved a contract with public transportation provider MARTA.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Call Now So You Don’t Get Creeped Out on Election Night

When Creepy the Clown elicited only screams and door slams during his first precinct walk, he knew he had to find another way to move voters to get out the vote and support working family candidates on Election Day.

Then he found www.aflcio.org/makeacall—and guess what? People started to listen when he talked about how important it is to vote on Election Day.

If Creepy the Clown can pick up the phone, so can you. So start making calls now and help make sure that as the results roll in on election night, it is a good night—not a scary one—for working families!

BTW, Creepy’s cousins Krusty and Killer are on the phones, too.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Yale Graduate Employees Rally for Recognition, Negotiations

Yale Graduate Employees Rally for Recognition, Negotiations

More than 1,000 Yale University graduate student employees, their allies and elected officials rallied on the Yale campus last week calling on the university’s administration to recognize their union and negotiate.

Aaron Greenberg, chairman of the Graduate Employees and Students Organization (GESO), said:

We are asking them to sit down and negotiate in the same way NYU and UConn found a way to sit down and talk to graduate employees there. That’s what we want Yale to do.

Graduate student employees at New York University and the University of Connecticut received recognition of their unions and are currently negotiating contracts with the schools.

Gov. Dan Malloy (D), who attended the march and rally, told the crowd:

You do the hard work of this university. This is a state that stands up for working class people. We have to stand up for you.

The students also unfurled (see photo below) a 525-foot banner displaying some 2,000 photographs of the graduate employees and their union and community allies, including Yale employees who are members of UNITE-HERE Local 34 and Local 35.

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Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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You Still Have Time to Influence the Outcome of the 2014 Election

You Still Have Time to Influence the Outcome of the 2014 Election

OK, so you’ve researched the candidates and figured out which ones are the best for working families. And you’ve either voted early or made a plan to vote. But you just don’t feel like you’ve done enough to make sure that Tuesday’s election doesn’t turn into a nightmare scenario where Republicans shut down the government or take away workers’ rights. What can you do?

Luckily, you still can make a big difference this election. It’s as easy as picking up the phone and making sure as many of your friends and neighbors show up to vote as possible. Nothing gets people to the polls like a reminder from someone they know that the election is important, and making calls is easy with our Friends and Neighbors tool.

Start making calls now and help make sure that election night is a good night for working families!

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Mark Schauer Will Fight for All Michiganders

In Michigan, voters have a clear choice in the governor’s race. Mark Schauer, who will fight for all Michiganders, not just the well-connected, or Rick Snyder, whose handouts to corporations and the super-rich have forced Michigan’s working families to foot the bill.

Read six reasons why Mark Schauer is a champion for Michigan working families. BTW, Mark is a member of Laborers (LIUNA) Local 3555.

See five reasons why Snyder is one of the worst candidates for working families in this election.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Just the Facts? Not from Rick Snyder

Just the Facts? Not from Rick Snyder

In this week’s debate between Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and Democratic challenger Mark Schauer, Snyder ignored the advice Sgt. Joe Friday in “Dragnet” always proffered to witnesses and suspects, “Just the facts” when it came to his record on education, jobs and the economy. That’s alright. The good folks at You Got Schooled 2014 have the facts that Snyder ignored.

Here’s a sample. Click here for the full story.

On charter schools:

Rick Snyder: “They are giving parents choice because we have had a lot of failing schools, and the point was to give parents the opportunity to give their kids an education, create competition.”

Mark Schauer: “The first thing I will do is put the money back [Snyder] took from public schools. It is irrefutable.…Charter schools were allowed to expand with no oversight. That was a big mistake by this governor.”

The facts:

  • Traditional public schools perform better than charter schools, even when poverty is taken into account.
    “According to the Free Press’ review, 38% of charter schools that received state academic rankings during the 2012–2013 school year fell below the 25th percentile, meaning at least 75% of all schools in the state performed better. Only 23% of traditional public schools fell below the 25th percentile.“Advocates argue that charter schools have a much higher percentage of children in poverty compared with traditional schools. But traditional schools, on average, perform slightly better on standardized tests even when poverty levels are taken into account.” —“Michigan Spends $1B on Charter Schools but Fails to Hold Them Accountable,” Detroit Free Press
  • More than 80% of Michigan charter schools are run by for-profit companies.
    “Michigan has more for-profit charter schools than any other state in the country. ‘We’re an anomaly in the nation,’ says Western Michigan University professor Gary Miron. He says over 80% of the charter schools in Michigan today are operated by for-profit companies, while the national rate is 35%.” —“Three Little-Known Facts About Charter Schools in Michigan,” Michigan Radio

On $1.7 billion business tax cut:

Snyder: He thinks business owners shouldn’t be taxed on income beyond what regular folks pay. He said, “We made a fair system to encourage job creation.”

Schauer: “Yes, I will repeal the job-killing pension tax. It is wrong, it is bad tax policy and it is breaking a promise.…Our ‘accountant governor’ is missing some columns on his spreadsheet and it is called people.”

The facts:

  • Snyder shifted the tax burden from businesses to individuals, so low-income individuals and seniors saw their taxes increase the most. 
    “A major tax shift approved by the Michigan Legislature in 2011 made the state’s tax system significantly more regressive by cutting business taxes by 83% while increasing taxes for individual taxpayers by 23%, with a net loss of state revenue. Low- and moderate-income families were hardest hit, as many of the credits and deductions  intended to reduce their income tax burden were reduced or eliminated, most notably a 70% cut in the state Earned Income Tax Credit—a refundable tax credit that has been shown to lift children and families out of poverty, increase employment and reduce the need for public assistance.” —“Losing Ground: A Call for Meaningful Tax Reform,” Michigan League for Public Policy
  • Snyder’s tax increases included a new tax on pensions.
    “A big and controversial part of that income tax increase was the taxing of public and private pension income. That change alone was expected to raise for the state, and cost pension-receiving taxpayers, about $343 million in fiscal year 2012–2013.

    “The changes are phased in, with those reaching the age of 67 in 2020 or after facing more taxes.

    “According to a House Fiscal Agency analysis, a retired couple born after 1952 with $48,000 in pension income would pay $3,130 more in taxes.” —“Foul on Snyder for Playing Word Games with Pension Tax,” Bridge magazine

For even more on Snyder, check out 5 Reasons Why Rick Snyder Is One of the Worst Candidates for Working Families in the 2014 Elections.

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Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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NNU, AFT Urge Stronger Patient–Worker Protections in Ebola Treatments

NNU, AFT Urge Stronger Patient–Worker Protections in Ebola Treatments

In a letter to President Barack Obama about the growing concern over Ebola in the United States, the National Nurses United (NNU) urged the president to “invoke his executive authority” to order all U.S. hospitals to meet the highest “uniform, national standards and protocols” in order to “safely protect patients, all health care workers and the public.”

Two nurses who cared for an Ebola patient in Dallas who later died have contracted the disease and there have been serious questions raised about that hospital’s protocols and preparedness and concerns if other health care facilities are prepared. In the letter, NNU Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro writes:

Not one more patient, nurse or health care worker should be put at risk due to a lack of health care facility preparedness The United States should be setting the example on how to contain and eradicate the Ebola virus.

Read more here and here.

At a press conference today, AFT, which represents nurses and other health care professionals, called on all health care facilities to adopt a three-point plan as the core of their response to treating possible Ebola victims and protecting the health care workers who treat them. It includes an infectious disease control protocol and worker protections; developing a dedicated treatment team of willing staff members—doctors, nurses and support staff and providing front-line health care workers a voice in developing the procedures, protocols and plans to deal with Ebola at their facilities.

Says AFT President Randi Weingarten:

Nurses and health care professionals are the front line in this fight, and their number one priority is to keep their communities safe….Health care professionals step up when there are crises, they run toward crises.

Read more here and here.

Along with calling for stronger protocols and protections, the United States along with NNU and AFT have been providing assistance to nurses unions and health care workers organizations in West Africa who are in the center of the Ebola battle. That includes working with international organizations to provide health care workers with education, training and other support. Weingarten says:

We must deal with the Ebola crisis globally and locally.

Bonnie Castillo, RN, director of NNU’s Registered Nurse Response Network, says:

All of us have a responsibility to support the humanitarian effort and assist the heroic nurses, doctors and other health care workers who are on the front lines risking their lives to heal the thousands of infected patients in West Africa.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Walker Says Minimum Wage Serves No Purpose

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) doesn’t believe the minimum wage “serves a purpose.” Yes, that’s what he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board Tuesday. It should come as no surprise then that Walker also opposes raising the federal minimum wage from the $7.25-an-hour level where it’s been stuck since 2009.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) doesn’t believe the minimum wage “serves a purpose.” Yes, that’s what he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board Tuesday. It should come as no surprise then that Walker also opposes raising the federal minimum wage from the $7.25-an-hour level where it’s been stuck since 2009.

For the 700,000 Wisconsin workers who earn less than living wages and would like to be able to support their families, Walker has some sound and sage advice. He says those workers in fast food and retail and other low-wage jobs just have to get better jobs. He suggests welding. Hand me my helmet and spot welder. Then beam yourself up, Scotty. Obviously you’re from another planet. Here’s proof.

Earlier this month, a group of low-wage workers filed a complaint with the state that the $7.25-an-hour minimum wage actually violates a state law that says the minimum wage must be a living wage.

According to the Walker administration, $7.25 an hour is a living wage. Who knew? This is what the state’sDepartment of Workforce Development said in rejecting the workers’ claim of poverty wages:

The department has determined that there is no reasonable cause to believe that the wages paid to the complainants are not a living wage.

You can’t make this stuff up.

The group Wisconsin Jobs Now said after that decision that Walker’s “political stance against raising minimum wage is one thing.”

But for the governor to brazenly say to the working families of Wisconsin that $7.25 an hour is enough to sustain themselves is not only misguided, it is incredibly ignorant and willfully obtuse.

We agree. So does Mary Burke who is running to unseat Walker. Burke, who supports increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, said the wage law does indeed serve a purpose.

It’s important that people who are working full-time are able to support themselves without government assistance. That’s just sort of common sense.

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Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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