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Showing blog posts by Kenneth Quinnell

Kenneth Quinnell

I am a long-time blogger, campaign staffer and political activist.  Before joining the AFL-CIO in 2012, I worked as labor reporter for the blog Crooks and Liars.  Previous experience includes Communications Director for the Darcy Burner for Congress Campaign and New Media Director for the Kendrick Meek for Senate Campaign, founding and serving as the primary author for the influential state blog Florida Progressive Coalition and more than 10 years as a college instructor teaching political science and American History.  My writings have also appeared on Daily Kos, Alternet, the Guardian Online, Media Matters for America, Think Progress, Campaign for America's Future and elsewhere.  I am the proud father of three future progressive activists, an accomplished rapper and karaoke enthusiast.

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A History of the Minimum Wage

As working families across the country fight to raise the minimum wage, it's important to keep in mind the history of the wage. This entertaining video, created by the people at Time magazine, gives a pretty good overview and makes it clear the minimum wage is worth a lot less now than it used to be.

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7 Reasons Right to Work Is Wrong for Warren County, Ky. (and Everywhere Else)

7 Reasons Right to Work Is Wrong for Warren County, Ky. (and Everywhere Else)

In Warren County, Ky., a fiscal court has given preliminary approval to a local "right to work" for less ordinance. The measure is worded as to prevent any worker covered by the National Labor Relations Act from being required to join or pay dues to a union as a condition of employment. Since it is already illegal in the United States to require workers to join unions, the real focus of the measure is to weaken workers in negotiations with employers for decent wages and benefits. Instead of passing illegal ordinances that are a big waste of time and resources for the county, those efforts should be spent in other ways like focusing on raising wages for Warren County residents. 

If you're in Kentucky, call the fiscal court today and tell them you oppose the right to work ordinance: 1-855-721-3304

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What Is Kentucky's Bluegrass Institute?

Something stinks in Kentucky politics.  A "think" tank, supposedly with the interest of Kentuckians at heart, but funded by extreme out-of-state interests, is pushing policies that will hurt the state's working families.  Take a look at the Bluegrass Institute.

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Despite Projections, Little Improvement in Retirement Security Picture Since 2010

Despite Projections, Little Improvement in Retirement Security Picture Since 2010

Every three years, the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College issues the National Retirement Risk Index, taking a look at the percentage of America's households that are at risk of seeing a decline in quality of life after retirement. In the recently released report for 2013, 52% of households were at risk, a marginal improvement from the 2010 rate of 53%. The result is surprising, considering the rise in the stock market over those three years and the beginning of a rebound in housing prices, two factors that are key in influencing the overall retirement security picture.

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10 Ways to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Create Jobs in New York City

10 Ways to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Create Jobs in New York City

A new report, Climate Works for All: A Platform for Reducing Emissions, Protecting Our Communities and Creating Good Jobs for New Yorkers, details 10 proposals that would help New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio achieve his goal to reduce the city's greenhouse gas emissions 80% by the year 2050. In addition to achieving the desired emission reductions, if the city follows these proposals, it would not only make the city more resilient, but it also would create 40,000 jobs a year. The report was produced by the Alliance for a Greater New York, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, New York City Central Labor Council, Blue Green Alliance and the AFL-CIO.

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A Novel Idea—Let's Expand Social Security: Winners and Losers of the Week

Photo courtesy USDA on Flickr

In our regular weekly feature, we'll be taking a look at the winners and losers of the week in the struggle for the rights of working families. The winners will be the persons or organizations that go above and beyond to expand or protect the rights of working families, while the losers will be whoever went above and beyond to limit or deny those rights.

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NLRB Rules Employees Can Use Work Email for Organizing

Photo courtesy Phil Swansen on Flickr

Workers were given a potentially significant tool when the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that employees can use work email accounts in union organizing activities, as long as they do it on their own time. The decision reversed a 2007 decision. Workers also are allowed to use work email to discuss wage and other workplace issues. The three Democrats on the board voted yes on the ruling, while the two Republicans abstained.

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7 Reasons Fast Track Is Off Track

Image courtesy DonkeyHotey on Flickr

During the secret discussion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, extreme corporate interests are pushing for a Fast Track process that would not only hurt working families in the United States, but in the other countries involved in any final deal. Here are seven reasons why Fast Track is off track.

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Supreme Court Rules That Companies Don't Have to Compensate Workers for Required Time at Work

Photo courtesy Scott Lewis on Flickr

Using logic so tortured that Dick Cheney would approve, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that companies didn't have to compensate workers for required security checkpoint waits that take as long as 30 minutes a day to complete. The ruling overturned a federal appeals court decision from 2013, which held that workers at a warehouse that provides services for Amazon.com should be compensated for the time they were required to go through security checkpoints whose purpose was to prevent employee theft. The workers don't work directly for Amazon but are hired by Integrity Staffing Solutions. The outcome of the case is likely to affect workers at other companies, such as Apple and CVS, who are currently engaged in similar lawsuits.

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Economic News Roundup

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) has released important research about the economy in the last few weeks. Here's a look at some of the key pieces it has uncovered about the U.S. economy.

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