116 Win Union Plus Scholarships

116 Win Union Plus Scholarships

The 2014 Union Plus Scholarship program has awarded 116 union members and union family members $150,000 in higher education scholarships, ranging from $500 to $4,000. Click here to see the scholarship winners and their unions.

Union Plus Scholarships were introduced in 1992 to help support union members, leaders and families in their pursuit of higher education. To date, Union Plus has awarded more than $3.6 million in educational funding to more than 2,400 active and retired union members, their spouses and dependent children.

Union Plus Scholarship awards are granted to students attending a two-year college, four-year college, graduate school or a recognized technical or trade school. Recipients are selected based on academic ability, social awareness, financial need and appreciation of labor.

The students selected for university, college, trade school or technical scholarships represent a wide sampling of backgrounds, union affiliations, goals and accomplishments. The selection process is very competitive, with more than 5,000 applications each year.

For information about obtaining the Union Plus Scholarship and how to apply to the program, click here.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Edna Nominations Due by Aug. 28

Edna Nominations Due by Aug. 28

The deadline for nominations for the Berger-Marks Foundation’s annual Edna Award is Aug. 28. The $10,000 award recognizes young women making a mark in labor, women’s and other social justice movements.

The award is named after Edna Berger, a pioneer for women’s rights who rose from a receptionist at the Philadelphia Inquirer to become a writer, editor and the first woman organizer for The Newspaper Guild-CWA. The foundation is named for Berger and her husband, “Tin Pan Alley” composer Gerald Marks (“All of Me”).

Along with the Edna Award winner, two other nominees will receive $1,000 Awards of Note. Also this year, the foundation will present the Kate Mullany Courageous Young Worker Award to a young woman who has been a voice in the workplace in the face of overwhelming opposition. The $1,000 award is named for an inspiring laundry worker who helped win one of the first strikes by a women’s union.

Nominees must be 35 or younger as of Dec. 31, 2014. They may be from labor unions, women’s groups, workers’ rights groups or other areas of social justice for both of these prestigious awards. Nominations must be made online. Click here for the nomination form.

Click here to learn more about the Berger-Marks Foundation, the Edna Award and the Kate Mullany Award.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Family Leave Turns 21, Now It’s Time for Paid Sick Leave

Photo via National Partnership for Women and Families

Since the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) took effect Aug. 5, 1993, the groundbreaking law has been used 100 million times and has helped 36 million workers keep their health insurance and jobs while taking care of a newborn child, themselves or a family member during a serious illness.

First introduced in Congress in 1984, it took nearly 10 years to overcome a well-funded campaign against the legislation by corporations and two successful vetoes by President George H.W. Bush before President Bill Clinton signed it into law.

The FMLA’s unpaid leave with job protections was a good first step. But today, there are millions of workers who can’t afford to take time off for their own or a loved one’s illnesses. Forty percent all private-sector workers don’t have any paid sick days and that doubles to 80% for low-wage workers.

That’s why there is a growing move across the nation, from Congress to statehouses to city halls, to pass paid family leave–sick days legislation.

Just last week, city councils in San Diego and Eugene, Ore., passed paid sick days measures. Overall nine cities and the state of Connecticut now have paid sick leave laws, and efforts are underway in a number of other cities and states. It was a major topic of conversation at the recent White House Summit on Working Families.

On the federal level last year, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) introduced the Healthy Families Act, which would give workers the opportunity to earn paid sick leave they could use for personal illnesses or to take care of sick family members, among other uses.

Find out more about paid sick leave efforts from Family Values at Work.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Good News for All Americans in Social Security, Medicare Reports

Photo via the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare

The annual reports from the Social Security and Medicare Trustees released today “have good news for all Americans,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

Social Security and Medicare will be there for us and our families if elected leaders listen to the American people and reject calls to cut benefits. Instead of undermining these crucial programs, we must build on their success and adopt measures to strengthen and expand them.

Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, said the most important lesson from the Social Security report “is that Social Security has a large and growing surplus. Today’s report projects Social Security’s cumulative surplus to be roughly $2.8 trillion in 2014, growing to about $2.9 trillion around 2020.

Trumka noted that while “America’s most important retirement program” will remain strong for many more years to come:

It has become increasingly clear, however, that strengthening Social Security for the future must include improvements in benefits. Social Security remains the sole retirement income plan that is broadly available and that Americans can count on to provide secure lifetime benefits.

The Medicare report, Fiesta said, “reminds us once again that the Affordable Care Act is controlling health care costs.” He said:

It is great news that the life of the Medicare Trust Fund has been extended by another four years to 2030. Attempts to repeal health care reform would only undo the progress we have made in controlling health care costs.

The Social Security Trustees reported once again that the Disability Trust Fund can pay full benefits until 2016, with enough revenue after that time to cover about 80% of promised benefits. Trumka said:

Congress should act soon to ensure disabled workers and their families will continue to receive the benefits they have earned.  This can be done by allocating a larger share of current payroll tax contributions to the Disability program, as has been done many times before. Congress should reject calls to misuse this opportunity to undermine the sole source of disability income protection that is working well for America’s families.

Fiesta warned:

Current and future retirees must be wary of those politicians who will use today’s Social Security and Medicare Trustees reports as political cover for radical changes that would put seniors, the disabled and the families of deceased workers at risk.

Read Trumka’s full statement here and Fiesta’s here.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Union-Made-in-America Snack Time—Grab a Handful

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No doubt during this upcoming long July 4 weekend—maybe at a backyard gathering of your family and friends or during the World Cup games—you’ll likely feel like a little snack. Well, here’s a list of union-made-in-America snacks—from the salty, like Lay’s Potato Chips and Cheez-Its, to the sweet, such as Cracker Jacks and Oreos. And for those of you trying to keep the weight off, we have some more healthy options, too.

These treats are made by members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM), United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), Machinists (IAM) and United Farm Workers (UFW) and Teamsters (IBT). For more union-made-in-America products, be sure and visit the Labor 411′s website and the Union Label & Service Trades Department.

To get more made-in-America product lists sent right to your phone, text FLAG to 235246.

Sweet and Salty Snacks

Act II Popcorn, Bagel Bites, Bakenets, Barnum Animal Crackers, Better Cheddars, Bugles. Cameo Cookies, Cheese Nips, Cheetos, CheezIt, Chex Mixes, Chips Ahoy!, Cornnuts, Cracker Jack, Crunch N’ Munch, Doritos, Fig Newtons, Frito Lay Dips, Fritos, FudgeO’s, Funyuns, Ginger Snaps, Grandma’s Cookies, Honey Maid Graham Crackers, Keebler Cookies.

Krispy Crackers, Lay’s Potato Chips & Dips, Lorna Doone, Mallomars, Marshmallow Peeps, Matador Beef Jerky, Maui Style Potato Chips, Miss Vickie’s Potato Chips, Mission Chips, Munch ‘Ems, Munchos Potato Crisps, Nabisco Nilla Wafers, NutriGrain Bars, Nutter Butter, Old El Paso Chips, Dips and Salsa, Oreos, Orville Redenbacher Popcorn.

Pinwheels, Premium Crackers, Quaker Oats Granola Bars, Quaker Snack Mix, Rice Krispies Treats, Ritz Crackers, Rold Gold Pretzels, Royal Brand Pudding & Gelatin, Ruffles, Slim Jim, Smartfood Popcorn, Snackwells, Snyders of Berlin, Stacy’s Pita Chips, Sun Chips, Tastykake, Teddy Grahams, Tostitos, Tostitos Dips & Salsa, Triscuit, Vegetable Thins, Welch’s Fruit Snacks, Wheat Thins, Wheatsworth Cracker, Wise Chips & Snacks.

Healthier Alternatives

Andy Boy Vegetables, Blue Diamond Almonds, California Mushroom Farm Inc., EuroFresh Farms Vegetables, Fresh Express Salads, Hidden Valley Salad Kits, Monterey Mushrooms, Ocean Spray Cranberries, Sunkist Citrus Fruit—look for the UFW black eagle.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Quench Your Thirst with a Union-Made-in-America Brew

Quench Your Thirst with a Union-Made-in-America Brew

Like the song says, “Summer’s here and the time is right for dancing in the streets.” Then you can cool off with a made in America and union-brewed cold beer. There’s a wide range of union-made beers to please any palate, from the ubiquitous Bud Light from Anheuser-Busch to the hard to find Talon Double IPA from Mendocino Brewing Co. to organic brews from Butte Creek Brewing and the classic “Land of Sky Blue Waters” Hamm’s from Miller/Coors.

Below is a partial list from Labor 411’s Definitive Union Beer List and from the Union Plus website of beers brewed by Machinists (IAM), United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), UAW, Teamsters, Operating Engineers (IUOE) and IUE-CWA members.

To get more made-in-America product lists right to your phone, text FLAG to 235246.

1845 Pils, Alexander Keith’s, Anheuser-Busch, Bass, Beck’s, Black Eye Ale, Black Hawk Stout, Blue Heron Pale Ale, Boxer, Bud Light, Budweiser, Budweiser American Ale, Busch, Butte Creek Organic Collection, Carmel Wheat Beer, Clear Creek Ice, Czechvar, Dundee Craft Beer, Eye of the Hawk, Genesee Brewery, Goose Island, Hamm’s, Henry Weinhard’s Blue Boar, Henry Weinhard’s Private, Hoegaarden, Honey Amber Rose, Huber Bock, Huber Premium.

Icehouse, Kirin, Labatt Blue, Labatt Blue Light, Landshark Lager, Lazy Mutt Farmhouse Ale, Leffe Blonde, Lionshead, Mad River Brewing Co., Mendocino Imperial, Michelob, Miller Beer, Miller Genuine Draft, Miller High Life, Miller High Life Lite, Miller Lite, Miller Lite Ice, Milwaukee’s Best, Milwaukee’s Best Ice, Milwaukee’s Best Light, Minhas Oktoberfest.

Natural Ice, Natural Light, O’Doul’s, Olde English 800, Pabst,  Peregrine Pilsner, Pyramid, Red Dog, Red Tail Ale, Reserve, Rolling Rock, Sam Adams, Sharp’s, Shergill IPA,  Shock Top, Sparks Malt, Staropramen, Stegmaier, Stella Artois, Swiss Amber, Talon Extra Select Double IPA, White Hawk Select IPA.

Get the full list here.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

July 4 Made-in-America Flags and BBQ Shopping List

Annin Flagmakers photo

A week from today, we’ll be gathering with families and friends for the nation’s birthday, July 4. Many of us will celebrate with a barbecue. We can keep the red, white and blue in the holiday with this made-in-America, union label backyard barbecue checklist, compiled from the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM), the LA Labor 411′s websiteUnion Plus and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).

Before we get into the menu, if you want to wave that flag wide and high, American flags from Annin Flagmakers and Artflag carry the union label. In the photo above, UFCW members Tanya Mounts and Jackie Darr add the grommets to a large American flag at Annin’s Coshocton, Ohio, plant.

To get more made-in-America product lists right to your phone, text FLAG to 235246.

Be sure to check AFL-CIO Now everyday through July 4 for more made-in-America, union product spotlights.

Picnic Supplies

Weber Q series grill, coolers by Igloo and Rubbermaid, red Solo cups and don’t forget the sunscreen by Coppertone and Bain de Soleil.

Hot Dogs, Sausages and Other Grill Meats

Ball Park, Boar’s Head, Calumet, Dearborn Sausage Co., Fischer Meats, Hebrew National, Hofmann, Johnsonville, Oscar Mayer. See more.

Condiments

French’s Mustard, Guldens Mustard, Heinz Ketchup, Hidden Valley Ranch, Lucky Whip, Vlasic. See more.

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.

Beer

Budweiser, Bud Light, Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserve, Lionshead, 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 .

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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California Ruling Ignores Real Factors Behind School Performance

Earlier this week in a suit financed and backed by corporate and wealthy benefactors—including those with investments in charter schools and educational technology—a California judge ruled that the state’s teacher tenure and seniority-based layoff statutes were unconstitutional.

Students Matter, the group that initiated the suit (Vergara v. California), claims tenure protects bad teachers and is the root cause for student underachievement, especially in schools that serve low-income students.

AFT President Randi Weingarten noted that on the day the decision was handed down:

Thousands of California classrooms were brimming with teachers teaching and students learning. They see themselves as a team, but sadly, this case now stoops to pitting students against their teachers. The other side wanted a headline that reads: ‘Students win, teachers lose.’

The suit, said California Federation of Teachers (CFT) President Joshua Pechthalt, “is not pro-student.”

It is fundamentally anti-public education, scapegoating teachers for problems originating in underfunding, poverty and economic inequality.

California ranks at the very bottom of all states in its per-pupil expenditures, at $8,342 (in 2011), according to the quality index published by Education Week. That’s 30% below the national average of $11,864, “reflecting the consistent shortchanging of the K-12 system by the state,” writes Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik.

Hiltzik also points out that the backers of the suit blame the teachers for the state of education in California but:

Not the imbalance of financial resources between rich districts and poor. Not the social pathologies—poverty, joblessness, racial discrimination, violence—that affect educational attainment in disadvantaged communities.

Says Weingarten:

It’s surprising that the court, which used its bully pulpit when it came to criticizing teacher protections, did not spend one second discussing funding inequities, school segregation, high poverty or any other out-of-school or in-school factors that are proven to affect student achievement and our children.  We must lift up solutions that speak to these factors—solutions like wraparound services, early childhood education and project-based learning.

Read Weingarten’s full statement here.

The ruling will be appealed.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Moral Monday’s Focus on Education Gets Lawmaker’s Attention

Photo via Hannah Rose Mendoza's facebook page

More than 1,000 North Carolinians called on the state legislature to restore funding for public school students’ education and to back off its attack on teachers’ rights and its support of school privatization in a Moral Monday rally at the state Capitol in Raleigh.

The Moral Monday protests began last year in response to Gov. Pat McCrory’s (R) and the Republican legislature’s extremist agenda that has attacked voting rights, education, the environment, unemployed workers, health care and women’s rights.

Showing Moral Monday’s mounting pressure and its growing state and national high profile, for the first time a leader of the legislature met with the protesters who had been prepared for a sit-in and possible arrest.

North Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R) met with some 15 teachers and student outside his office for about two hours. According to news reports, it was an occasionally heated but mostly civil conversation about the cuts to public education funding, the elimination of nearly 700 teaching assistants, public funds for private school vouchers and tying teacher raises to eliminating tenure rights.

While protesters said they appreciated that Berger met with them, they said they would continue their drive to protect students and public education. Bryan Proffitt, a 10-year teacher, said:

I won’t be satisfied until my students have what they need and our schools aren’t bleeding every day….We’ll be back if these conditions are not met. The reality is, with all the media attention we’re getting right here and all this conversation, we’re going to be back with a whole lot more folks.

The Next Moral Monday on June 16 will focus on workers’ rights.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Lawmakers Duck Moral Monday Protesters

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Several hundred people rallied at the state Capitol in Raleigh, N.C., yesterday in a Moral Monday action focused on environmental and health care issues. Eleven of the protesters were arrested on trespassing charges after a sit-in at the Capitol building, but none were arrested for violating the recent “imminent disturbance” gag rule.

The Moral Monday protests began last year in response to Gov. Pat McCrory’s (R) and the Republican legislature’s extremist agenda that has attacked voting rights, education, the environment, unemployed workers, health care and women’s right.

Those arrested were trying to deliver a letter to McCrory whose office, normally opened on a Monday, was closed. The letter urged the governor to:

“Reverse course by repenting, repealing and restoring our state to higher ground by eliminating the laws and policies pushed by this N.C. Legislature, led by Speaker [Thom] Tillis and Senate Leader [Phil] Berger and signed by you.”

Also, the legislature, which normally holds Monday evening sessions, was adjourned yesterday in an effort, some said, to avoid the demonstrators from faith, civil rights, labor, environmental, women’s health care and other groups. Said Rakhve Devasthklia.

“Deliberately not showing up on Monday for their constituents to speak with them shows who they’re representing. I don’t think they would do this when Duke Energy shows up.”

In February, Duke Energy’s Dan River plant was the site of the nation’s third largest spill of toxic coal ash that spread 70 miles downriver. Also, in March, North Carolina regulators said Duke Energy illegally pumped 61 million gallons of contaminated water from a coal ash pit into the Cape Fear River.

Moral Monday demonstrations are set for the next several Mondays, including next week, highlighting education and a June 16 action focused on workers’ rights.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW.

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