Even In Red States, Minimum Wage Increase Is Too Popular to Oppose: Punching In

Even in red states, some candidates don’t dare oppose minimum wage increases

It’s too unpopular not to! GOP Senate candidates in Alaska and Arkansas support minimum wage increases.

Ohio early voting schedule set

Court order keeps Secretary of State John Husted from running amok–famous “Golden Week” restored, where you can register and cast a ballot early.

Fast food owners: Help us, Congress!

The International Franchise Association (IFA) is lobbying Congressional leaders to fight back against fast food strikers and NLRB decisions that make franchises liable for how they treat workers.

Four more companies leave ALEC

Raytheon, Sempra Energy, Illinois Tool Works, and Southern California Edison all cut ALEC ties. Even under pressure, Google remains.

Union YES! American Airlines Passenger Service Agents Win Largest Organizing Victory in the South in Decades

Union, YES! American Airlines Passenger Service Agents Win Largest Organizing Victory in the South in Decades

In what Communications Workers of America (CWA) heralds as “the largest labor organizing victory in the South in decades,” passenger service agents at American Airlines voted to form a union after a 19-year struggle.  In the vote announced today, 86% of the 9,000 agents who voted favored the union, which will now represent 14,500 agents, the vast majority of whom live in the South. American Airlines agents in the West are represented by the Teamsters and the two unions form a joint CWA-IBT unit to bargain with the airline.

Nearly three-quarters of the agents work in Texas, North Carolina, Florida and Arizona and several thousand are home-based reservations agents.  The wide range of jobs the members work include: reservations, ticket and gate agents, baggage service agents, customer assistance representatives, customer service supervisors, club representatives, passenger operations center representatives and special service counter agents.

About the result, CWA said:

The vote clearly shows that workers who can make a fair choice about union representation want bargaining rights. New American agents are concentrated in southern states and work at diverse locations, including large and small airports, call centers and at home. Across every group, they voted for bargaining rights and union representation.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka spoke about the broader importance of the victory:

Clearly, one of the largest labor organizing victories in the South in decades is a historic day. But it also shows that the future of the U.S. labor movement is alive, as these workers can be found at airports, call centers, even working from home. The right to collectively bargain will always be what our working family fights for.

The agents themselves were ecstatic about the victory. Richard Shaughnessy, who has been an agent at Miami International Airport for 27 years, said:

The merger between American Airlines and US Airways is an exciting time for all of us. But even more exciting is our victory today. We’re the front-line employees who interact with our customers every day, and we are looking forward to a positive relationship with management to make this merger ‘work’ for all of us. We are anxious to get to the bargaining table.

Carroll Locklear, a home-based reservations agent in Texas, said:

I’ve been with American Airlines for 18 years, and through all of those years I have been praying for this day. We have been the odd employees out for so long because we were the only employees without union representation. Gone are the days that management can take what they want when they want. This will be a win-win for all of us.

Eula Smith, a customer service agent in Charlotte, N.C., added:

We feel stronger now with this vote. I’m a 60-year-old woman with 42 years with this employer. You can’t live in the South and make a decent wage unless you are in senior management in a corporation or belong to a union. We need this. We need not just a union, we need CWA.

Ken Grunwald, a 23-year reservations agent at the call center in North Carolina, said:

I’m proud to remember everyone over the years who worked so hard for our union voice, who never gave up in the face of adversity, and who gave their blood, sweat and tears so that we would have the opportunity to celebrate this victory today. It’s a victory for all American Airlines employees! I’m so excited to think that we will finally be able to negotiate a legally binding contract. We now all have each others’ back.

Janet Elston, an agent at Dallas International Airport, concluded:

Nineteen years ago, a handful of agents started a drive to obtain representation for [American Airlines] airport and reservations agents. Many hundreds of activists have spent thousands of hours over the years to get us to today’s election result. They never wavered and never, ever gave up. We have finally achieved what most thought was impossible: union representation for our work group. Now we’ll begin a new working relationship with our company, with a legal binding contract.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Pennsylvania Cyber School Will Hold Union Election: Punching In

Polling confirms what we already knew about the Kochs

Being tied to the Koch Brothers is becoming a huge problem for key Republican Senate candidates

The horrible truth about American elections in one chart

Spending more money is the best determinant of victory in an American election, and only 0.13 percent of the population provides that money.

Ridiculous education official in Ohio thinks considers StudentsFirst “neutral”

Seriously? Pro-charter, pro-privatization group is being allowed to advise parents on school closings.

Beep borp…does…not…compute…

A Pennsylvania cyber school tried (and failed) to stop a union election.

New Website Keeps You on Top of Southern California Carwash Workers’ Fight for Justice

New Website Keeps You on Top of Southern California Carwash Workers' Fight for Justice

We’ve been reporting on the fight for justice for Southern California carwash workers—and their CLEAN Carwash campaign’s many victories—since the carwasheros launched their campaign. Now with a new website, you can keep up with the latest developments in the workers’ campaign.

Here are some of the new features:

  • There’s the “A Better Carwash” map of union carwashes, which is constantly updated as we have more victories for workers. This way, you’ll always know where the latest carwashes are that have fair wages and working conditions throughout California.
  • There’s also an Action Center that gives people more ways to help carwash workers beyond “Like” us on Facebook (which is cool, too, but sometimes we want to do more, right?).
  • The campaign’s blog features regular and personalized blog posts from a worker’s perspective about important issues, struggles and developments in the campaign that you’ll want to know about.
  • A new Worker Center page that not only lays out the work of this important service to “carwasheros” but creates ways to contribute to it in different forms as well.

Check it all out, bookmark the site and use it as a resource for knowing all about the campaign, its progress and changes in the industry. You also can follow the CLEAN Carwash Campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

For news on New York City carwash workers, visit the WASH New York campaign and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union website.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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7 Reasons Why Paul LePage Is One of the Worst Candidates for Working Families in the 2014 Elections

It’s an election year and we are quickly approaching the time when working families will have the opportunity to go to the polls and vote against a whole host of extreme candidates who support policies that limit rights, make it even harder to afford a middle-class life and pad the pockets of their corporate buddies. One of the “Worst Candidates for Working Families in the 2014 Elections” is Maine Gov. Paul LePage.

1. In 2013, Maine was ranked the second worst state for job growth by Business Journal. [Morning Sentinel, 1/6/11; Business Journal, 6/27/13]

2. Rather than working on the business of the people of Maine, LePage has instead focused on petty things like removing a pro-labor mural from the Department of Labor office and ordering the names of conference rooms changed because they weren’t “pro-business enough.” He’s been so extreme that Politico called him “America’s Craziest Governor” and the Daily Beast called him a “Madman Governor.” [Politico, 1/8/14; The Daily Beast, 4/16/11; The Washington Post, 4/14/11]

3. LePage is so out of touch with working families that he claimed 47% of able-bodied Mainers don’t work and said they should “get off the couch and get yourself a job.” [Kennebec Journal, 10/23/13; Bangor Daily News, 5/6/12]

4. While working families are seeing their incomes fall behind the cost of living, LePage vetoed a bill that would’ve raised the state’s minimum wage to $9 per hour. [Bangor Daily News, 7/8/13]

5. LePage also vetoed a bill that would have required Maine to purchase American-made goods and services whenever possible. [Bangor Daily News, 7/8/13]

6. While most Mainers believe that all children deserve access to good education, LePage disagrees. He said: “If you want a good education, go to private schools. If you can’t afford it, tough luck. You can go to the public school.” [Bangor Daily News, 3/30/13]

7. During tough economic times, working families have found access to affordable health care harder to come by and LePage vetoed legislation to help them get access to health care and he also vetoed a bill to expand Medicaid coverage to 70,000 low-income Mainers. [Bangor Daily News, 4/9/14]

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Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Free Community College Could Soon Be A Reality in Tennessee: Punching In

Forbes punctures corporate myth about raising the wage

Yes, Fortune 500 companies can pay their workers better, says a publication you wouldn’t expect.

Making community college free for all

Sound like a pipe dream? It may soon be reality in Tennessee.

What I did on my summer vacation

Students in the “Summer for Respect” program spent their vacation organizing with Walmart associates.

How we talk about the economy

Every day we use simple phrases that play into a corporate-driven vision of the economy. Let’s look at this language.

Read This Before You Pre-Order the iPhone 6: Punching In

Huge report released on crooked state executives

Everything you ever wanted to know about the scandals enveloping 13 Republican governors.

Read before you buy the iPhone 6

Wage theft is widespread across Apple’s global supply chain.

Minimum wage increases abound in California

With Los Angeles considering a massive hike, West Hollywood and Santa Monica city councils considering their own wage ordinances.

“Foreclosure king” seeks a spot in Congress

Michigan Congressional candidate Dave Trott made a fortune on foreclosures. Will it hurt his chances?

California Passes Paid Sick Days Law but Home Health Care Workers Left Out

Six and a half million California workers will now have access to paid sick days, thanks to a new law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. Workers will be able to earn three paid sick days a year. Unfortunately, home care workers were excluded from the final bill.

California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski said in a statement:

While this law is a historic step forward, California’s unions won’t rest until every single worker in our state receives equal access to paid sick days. Home care workers, like all workers, deserve the opportunity to earn paid sick days on the job. We’ll continue to fight for In-Home Supportive Services workers to ensure that California treats all workers with fairness and dignity.

California has become only the second state in the United States to offer guaranteed earned paid sick days (cities and municipalities across the country have been taking the lead in this area).

Read more about the legislation and the home care worker exclusion from Ellen Bravo, director at Family Values@Work.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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13 Years After 9/11, Honor the Victims, Help Those Still Suffering

IAFF photo illustration

Today we mark the 13th anniversary of Sept. 11. As we honor the memories of the lives that were lost that day, we also should remember the thousands of people who are still suffering.

More than 100,000 rescue and recovery workers—including firefighters, police officers, emergency medical technicians, building and construction trades workers and transit workers—and hundreds of thousands of other workers and residents near Ground Zero were exposed to a toxic mix of dust and fumes from the collapse of the World Trade Center. Now more than 30,000 responders are sick and many have died from respiratory diseases and other health problems.

The AFL-CIO is a longtime advocate of the World Trade Center Health Program and supported the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which passed in 2010 and provided medical care and compensation to the victims. The law, which expires after five years, needs to be extended and has garnered bipartisan support to achieve that goal. This year, in remembrance of all who lost their lives on 9/11 and in honor of the brave responders who are still suffering, we ask you to contact your member of Congress and urge them to support the 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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Meet the Veterans Who Rebuilt the World Trade Center

On the anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, here’s a little “Throwback Thursday” recognition of the veterans who rebuilt the World Trade Center and became highly skilled members of the union building and construction trades through the Helmets to Hardhats apprenticeship program.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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