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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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Low-Wage Villain of the Week: T-Mobile CEO John Legere

In our regular feature, we'll be taking a look at the villains who are doing their best to prevent the United States from raising wages. In this series, we're going to look past the usual suspects—for example, it's not only elected officials who get in the way of a fair economy.

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Your Inspiration for Today: 11-Year-Old Asean Johnson

You may have seen a video of him before, but if 11-year-old Asean Johnson can stand up to Rahm Emanuel and school "reformers" like he does in this video from the AFT convention, you can stand up and fight the important battles in your community.

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Ruffalo and a Cast of 1,000 Look to Smash Back Against Republican Attacks on Poor in Detroit

Photo courtesy of National Nurses United

Actor Mark Ruffalo, most famous for playing the Incredible Hulk in the Marvel Comics movie "The Avengers," led a crowd of 1,000 through the streets of Detroit in protest of Republican policies that have led to water being shut off for thousands of the city's residents. National Nurses United (NNU) organized the rally. The United Nations and others have called the city's actions a violation of human rights, and demands that the water be turned back on have come from across the political landscape. Hundreds of different organizations and their members showed up at the march, which began outside Detroit's Cobo Center, where the annual Netroots Nation convention is being held. Protesters marched passed the city's Water and Sewerage offices before ending at Hart Plaza.

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Organizing for Respect, Recognition, Raise in N.C. Tobacco Fields

FLOC photo

AFL-CIO Union Summer interns have joined members of the Farm Workers Organizing Committee (FLOC) in a drive to organize thousands of North Carolina tobacco farm workers as part of FLOC's "Respect, Recognition, Raise" campaign and fight for a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, respect in the workplace and union recognition. Many farm workers who harvest and tend tobacco often live in labor camps with inadequate or nonfunctioning toilets and showers and other substandard conditions, suffer from illnesses resulting from nicotine poisoning and exposure to dangerous pesticides and work long hours for below-poverty wages.

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Should a Criminal Record Make You Jobless and Homeless?

Photo courtesy Unarmed Civilian on Flickr

When someone is convicted of a crime in the United States, the law provides a range of possible penalties. In most cases, there is some discretion for the judge in terms of the specific penalty, but there are usually minimum and maximum penalties that have some relation to the crime. The American justice system is based on the idea that once you are convicted of a crime, you pay your penalty, and then you get a chance to learn from your mistake and improve your life.  But the reality is often something quite different.

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Trumka: Humanitarian Crisis Has Brought Out the Best and Worst in Us

Photo via Twitter #borderchildren

In response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis of unaccompanied immigrant children fleeing violence in Central America and coming into the United States and surrendering to Border Patrol agents, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued a statement saying that the crisis has brought about the best and worst amongst us.

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Janet Yellen, Organizing in the South and Women Workers Bargaining Collectively Highlight Netroots Nation Labor Panels

Janet Yellen, Organizing in the South and Women Workers Bargaining Collectively Highlight Netroots Nation Labor Panels

The annual Netroots Nation convention for progressive bloggers and activists will be held in Detroit this year, with a strong selection of labor panels, including the rise of Janet Yellen as the chair of the Federal Reserve, worker organizing in the South and how the original way to "lean in" is by worker solidarity and collective action. The full schedule of panels and speeches, which includes appearances by Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, can be found online.

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Saunders: AFSCME Adds 92,155 New Members in 2014

Photo courtesy AFSCME

In January, AFSCME committed to helping 50,000 people join the union with a “50,000 Stronger” campaign. AFSCME President Lee Saunders announced on the first day of the organization's international convention that the union has nearly doubled that goal, with more than 90,000 workers choosing AFSCME so far in 2014. More than 20,000 of the new members are home care workers, who were recently the target of the troubling Supreme Court ruling in Harris v. Quinn.

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Oh, No, Not this Guy Again: Winners and Losers of the Week

Photo courtesy Wisconsin AFL-CIO

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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Taylor Branch: College Athletes' Unpaid Labor Is Un-American

Speaking to the American Enterprise Institute, author and civil rights historian Taylor Branch tackled the concept of the unpaid labor that college athletes engage in while large profits are made off of their labor.  

Read more why college athletes need a union voice

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