Union-Made in America Halloween Candy Shopping List

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If you want your Halloween to be all treats and no tricks, make sure all your candy is union-made in America. The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor’s resource site, Labor 411, has an extensive list of union-made candies. Here are some highlights, featuring sweets made by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW):

1. Baby Ruth
2. Butterfinger
3. Candy House Buttons
4. Caramello
5. Clark Bar
6. 5th Avenue chocolate bar
7. Ghirardelli Chocolates
8. Halloween Candy Corn (Herman Goelitz Company)
9. Hershey’s Candy Corn Kisses
10. Hershey’s Extra Dark Chocolate bar
11. Hershey’s Hugs
12. Hershey’s Kisses and Kissables
13. Hershey’s Nuggets
14. Hot Tamales
15. Jelly Belly
16. Kit Kat bars
17. Laffy Taffy
18. Malted Milk Balls
19. Mary Jane
20. Mike and Ike
21. Peanut Chews
22. Rolo
23. Smarties
24. Super Ropes
25. Tootsie Roll
26. Trolli

What are your favorite union-made candies? Comment below.

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In Ferguson and California, Labor Is Vocal on Mass Incarceration: Punching In

AFL-CIO gets vocal on mass incarceration

Trumka: “It’s a labor issue because mass incarceration means literally millions of people work jobs in prisons for pennies an hour — a hidden world of coerced labor here in the United States.”

Karen Lewis has a brain tumor, not running for mayor

The Chicago Teachers Union, which remains tight-lipped about Lewis’ medical condition, already handed Lewis’ duties as union president to Vice President Jesse Sharkey which he would retain “until she’s recovered.”

Could Alaska be the showdown where the Koch Brothers meet their match?

“They’re up here on the airwaves 24 hours a day, seven days a week, trying to tie Mark to Obama. They say things 50 times a day on the airwaves that aren’t true. You gotta push back.”

Challenge to Arkansas minimum wage ballot measure fails

Voters in Arkansas will have the chance to vote to raise the state minimum wage to $8.50.

AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre: ‘We Will Get $10.10, but It’s Not Enough’

Photo by Joe Kekeris/AFL-CIO

Workers across the country are using the symbolism of Oct. 10 to amplify the call for raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10.

AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre commemorated the day by meeting with low-wage workers from the D.C. region who would be impacted by a minimum wage increase. Over lunch, the workers talked about what it’s like to raise their families on low pay and the challenges they face every day to make ends meet.

Here are two of their stories:

Fatmata, an immigrant from Saudi Arabia and mother of two, works at Walmart for $8 an hour. She used to dream of coming to America and providing a good life for her family, but her life doesn’t feel like the American dream. She cannot afford to feed her children without government assistance, and she frequently is forced to borrow money to pay for transportation to work and for rent. She doesn’t want to depend on outside assistance—she wants to be financially independent—but she has no choice. For Fatmata, a $2 an hour increase would be significant in many ways.

She’s asked her manager to make her full-time, but her hours vary from one week to the next, which is common practice throughout the retail industry. The United Food and Commercial Workers has strived for years to bring more attention to this problem, particularly at Walmart. This has led many Walmart employees to speak out and advocate for scheduling improvements and other workplace rights through the Our Walmart campaign.

Akofa is a taxi cab driver in Montgomery County, Md. Every day is a challenge. She’s raising three children on a single source of income. Her husband is sick and can no longer work, so she works long hours to make ends meet for her family. After deducting for gas, insurance, credit card fees and the daily expenses the cab company charges, Akofa barely takes any money home. She has no ability to save, and she struggles to even pay her rent. She described her daily life as “slavery, not work” and told Gebre, “Something is wrong if a job can’t feed you,” especially when you work more than 12 hours a day.

Akofa is grateful for the labor federation’s support and is joining her fellow drivers in organizing a union, which has already made a big difference in the way she has been treated by the cab company. A higher minimum wage would make life less burdensome, and give her and her co-workers more leverage in contract negotiations.

After hearing the workers’ stories, Gebre thanked them for having the courage to speak out. He reminded the workers that these struggles are not new, telling them, “There has been economic injustice throughout the history of our country…but it’s important to remember that things like slavery, sharecropping and child labor did not end because corporations came together and suddenly decided to. Workers came together to make the change, and the bravery of everyone here today gives me hope that it will change again.”

“The minimum wage will not be raised if politicians are not held accountable,” Gebre continued. But, as he reminded the room, a higher minimum wage is not enough. “Wages have been stagnant for a generation, and tens of millions of families live in economic insecurity. It will take political intervention to change the course of our nation, and it will take a wave of workers who are willing to stand up for their rights.”

Having heard the conviction in each of the workers’ voices and seen the look of determination in their eyes, Gebre told the room he was confident justice is coming. And, he said, it will arrive soon.

Stand with workers who want to raise the federal minimum wage and sign the petition. 

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Supreme Court Blocks Wisconsin’s Voter ID Law

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday blocked Wisconsin from implementing the nation’s strictest voter photo ID law that could have denied more than 300,000 registered voters the right to vote in the Nov. 4 election.

The one-page order gives opponents of the law 90 days to file a formal petition asking the Supreme Court to take up the case. The court’s three most conservative justices, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, dissented.

It is estimated that some 300,000 registered Wisconsin voters—mostly African American, Hispanic, students and young voters (18–24) and those older than 65—do not currently have the types of IDs the law requires.

There have been a number of legal challenges to the photo ID law that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and the Republican-majority state legislature passed in 2011. The most recent when the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Advancement Project filed an emergency request asking the Supreme Court to block the ruling.

Advancement Project Co-Director Penda D. Hair says:

As we showed in the federal District Court, approximately 300,000 registered Wisconsin voters, disproportionately voters of color, lack the forms of ID that would have been required under the state’s restrictive voter ID law. These voters have a fundamental right to vote, a right that should not be denied by politicians who manipulate the voting rules weeks before Election Day. In a democracy, elections should be free, fair and accessible to all Americans.

Also announced yesterday, a federal judge struck down Texas’ very strict voter ID law.

On Oct. 8, the key parts of North Carolina’s restrictive voting rights law go forward, and last week the court allowed new voting restrictions in Ohio that severely curtailed early voting opportunities to go forward.

The Fair Elections Legal Network says that over the past two years, more than 30 states have introduced legislation or enacted laws that would curb voters’ access to voting. Find out more here.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Working Families to Join ‘Justice for All’ March in Ferguson

In September, when AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka spoke to the convention of the Missouri AFL-CIO, he addressed the recent events in Ferguson, Mo., that led to the shooting of Michael Brown, saying that it was important for labor to be a part of the necessary conversation about race in the United States. Now the AFL-CIO, including the federation’s director of civil, human and women’s rights, Carmen Berkley, and Neidi Dominguez, assistant director of community engagement, will be in Missouri this weekend as part of the “Justice for All” events, including a national march and rally in St. Louis and Moral Monday-themed civil disobedience.

If you are going to be in the area for the national march on Saturday, please RSVP to be included as part of the working families contingent.

Learn more about all of the events, which begin today at the Ferguson October website.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Political Spotlight Turns Unexpectedly on South Dakota: Punching In

Supreme Court strikes down Wisconsin and Texas voter ID laws

There will be appeals, but extremely unlikely that these voter suppression tactics will be enforced this November.

South Dakota three-way Senate race becoming increasingly complicated

The DSCC and MAYDAY PAC make surprise investments as GOP nominee faces serious allegations.

LaGuardia airplane cleaners use strike tactics to win better working conditions

SEIU: “The goal today was to shine a light on the health and safety violations Air Serv workers face in order to protect themselves and keep airplanes safe and clean.”

Thousands descend on Ferguson, MO for “Weekend of Resistance”

Richard Trumka and the labor movement are all in with Ferguson October.

Horrible: Supreme Court Allows North Carolina’s Voting Restrictions to Go Forward

North Carolina AFL-CIO photo

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday allowed key parts of one of the most restrictive voting rights laws in the nation to go forward. A federal appeals court had enjoined the provisions and North Carolina officials asked the Supreme Court to stay that ruling.

The majority of justices who voted to stay the appeals court ruling that would have reinstated same day voter registration during the early vote period and allowed the counting of ballots that were cast in the wrong precinct did not comment on their reasoning.

But Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, who dissented, wrote that allowing the two provisions to stand “risked significantly reducing opportunities for black voters to exercise” their right to vote.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court gutted (5–4) the Voting Rights Act by eliminating a provision that allowed the federal government to step in and preserve the people’s right to vote in all or parts of 16 states with long histories of voter discrimination.

Justices Ginsburg said Sotomayor said North Carolina’s new restrictions on voting “likely would not have survived” scrutiny under the Voting Rights Act.

Studies show that in North Carolina, African Americans were more likely to use same-day registration than other groups. The Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP and organizer of the “Moral Monday” protests, said:

Tens of thousands of North Carolina voters, especially African American voters, have relied on same-day registration, as well as the counting of ballots that were cast out of precinct, for years.

The ruling means that Friday is the last day North Carolinians can register to vote. Find the latest information on voter requirements from the North Carolina Board of Elections.

The 2013 North Carolina law was pushed by extremist lawmakers, including North Carolina House Speaker and current U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis and Gov. Pat McCrory (R). It directly targets the voting power of working people by shortening early voting periods, imposing restrictive voter ID requirements in 2016, along with eliminating same-day voter registration. The law faces further legal challenges next year.

USA Today reports that Tillis trails Sen. Kay Hagen (D) by just two percentage points. Figures from the North Carolina State Board of Elections show that more than 21,000 voters registered and voted on the same day during the early voting period in 2010, and more than 6,000 voters were able to have their ballots counted even though they voted in the wrong precinct.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on Wisconsin’s strict voter photo ID law soon. Last week, the court allowed new voting restrictions in Ohio that severely curtailed early voting opportunities to go forward.

In a video posted Monday on the Department of Justice website, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said:

The early voting times targeted for cancellation, including weeknight and Sunday hours, previously provided critical opportunities for many people to get to the polls [and] disproportionately affect people with child care responsibilities, hourly salaries and reduced access to transportation—people who may have difficulty getting to the polls at any other time, and who are much more likely to be low income or minority individuals.

The Fair Elections Legal Network says that over the past two years, more than 30 states have introduced legislation or enacted laws that would curb voters’ access to voting. Find out more here.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Unlike Walmart, Costco Has No Plans to Cut Employee Health Care Benefits: Punching In

Why Richard Trumka still thinks Mitch McConnell will lose

“He’s running against Barack Obama, but Barack Obama isn’t on the ballot. Alison Lundergan Grimes is, and she is going to beat him in the election.”

Philadelphia students protest SRC elimination of teachers’ contract

“I think that there’s a mindset still that no matter what we do that students are complacent in their relationship with schools – that they’re not working to help solve this problem. I think that us being here proves that we are ready, willing, and able to be involved in this.”

Taxi drivers tie up DC traffic to protest new UberX, Lyft regulations

DC drivers, now affiliated with the Washington DC Taxi Operators Association, say they have to abide by regulations that the app-based services don’t. Here’s a list of the differences.

Unlike Walmart, Costco has no plans to get employee health care benefits

And by the way, sales at key Costco stores are up 6 percent while remaining flat at Walmart and Sam’s Club.

Bill Gates, Walmart, and the Strange Case of Virginia’s Congressional Map: Punching In

Bill Gates and the big-money plot against public education

Politico goes in-depth on the billionaires who spend big to influence education reform.

Court agrees that Virginia’s Congressional map ridiculously favors Republicans

Even though Obama beat Romney there by three points, Republicans control 72 percent of Congressional Districts. Court orders new maps by 2016.

It’s not a skills gap that’s holding wages down

Workers’ ability to handle technological advances doesn’t explain what’s happened to American wages.

Walmart cuts health benefits for most of its part-time workers

30,000 workers at the country’s largest private employer will be affected.

Koch Sisters Speak Out, eBay Stands By ALEC, and FedEx Gets Caught Red-Handed: Punching In

Have you met the Koch Sisters?

Karen and Joyce Koch spoke to ABC News about their transformation into the Koch Brothers’ foil.

eBay under pressure to follow Google out of ALEC

More than 80 groups sign onto letter asking Pierre Omidyar to cut ties with the secretive right-wing organization.

The evolution of New York City’s living wages law

A peek at policy-making in the era of  Mayor de Blasio.

FedEx illegally misclassified workers, court finds

The company has long employed the practice of classifying workers as independent contractors to avoid providing good benefits.