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Showing blog posts by Robert Struckman

About Robert Struckman

I’m the AFL-CIO’s speechwriter and a former newspaper reporter and magazine writer and editor. I’ve reported and written on a wide variety of topics, from business and city government to crime and politics. In my working life, I’ve been a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), the UAW and now the Communications Workers of America (CWA). My wife and two kids and I live in Maryland, but we are and always will be from Montana.

Tacoma Union Members Make It a Banner Year for Union-Made Peanut Butter Donations

Alice Phillips

Alice Phillips of Tacoma, Wash., is a union leader who’s willing to create a little buzz.

At least, that’s the sound the clippers will make when Phillips, the IBEW business manager, fulfills her pledge to get a Mohawk haircut if the members of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 483 would double last year’s donation of union-made peanut butter as part of the Letter Carriers’ National Food Drive. They brought the jars. So she’s on the hook.

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Ground Game: USA Helps Renew Wildlife Areas

Ground Game: USA Helps Renew Wildlife Areas

Under a white, wintry sky, nearly two-dozen union members volunteered to rebuild a 100-foot wooden bridge on a public trail in the Black Hills.

“When you’ve got skilled workers with the right tools, the work goes quick,” says Dana Garry, who manages the 109-mile Mickelson Trail for South Dakota’s Department of Game, Fish and Parks. In two days, the volunteers rebuilt abutments and replaced the bridge surface and railing. “It was just amazing,” she said. “These volunteers fill an important need.”

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Keeping it Clean—The Custodians of Dr. King’s Legacy

Keeping it Clean—The Custodians of Dr. King’s Legacy

On a bright, chilly Friday before the Martin Luther King Day weekend, Lapronda Eason wheeled a garbage can through the gleaming halls of the Smithsonian Museum of American History.

Eason has been a caretaker, literally, of American history for almost 13 years. She’s a janitor, a custodian, or a BSW, as the job is called at the Smithsonian, a building service worker.

The distinctive timbre of Dr. King’s voice could be heard in the museum’s gleaming entryway. It was his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, which he gave in 1963 during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

The speech recording is part of an exhibit called "Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863, and the March on Washington, 1963."

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No Depression: Pharmaceutical-Labor Alliance Flourishes

Eric Martinson speaks at a Sheet Metal Workers training facility.

Check out an excerpt of the AFL-CIO's new Innovators website feature, "No Depression: Pharmaceutical-Labor Alliance Flourishes."

“I certainly admit going in with an attitude of let’s-see-what-this-is-about,” Johnson & Johnson Vice President Donald Bohn says about cooperating with labor unions. “It turns out we have a lot more in common than you might think.”

And that’s why, about four years ago, Johnson & Johnson joined the Pharmaceutical Industry Labor-Management Association (PILMA), a growing coalition of pharmaceutical industry giants and the major building trades unions. Its goal is to foster good jobs in the domestic pharmaceutical industry while increasing access to affordable medicines.

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Wisconsin: Reports of Attempts to Suppress Anti-Walker Vote

Emmelle Israel

WI

Reports of sketchy robocalls, misleading e-mails and even canvassers urging  people not to vote have marred a day of Wisconsin recall elections otherwise notable for heavy turnout and enthusiastic volunteers. If the recall is successful, voters end the short-but-rocky tenure of Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

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Wisconsin: Reports of Efforts to Suppress Anti-Walker Vote

Wisconsin: Reports of Efforts to Suppress Anti-Walker Vote

Reports of sketchy robocalls, misleading emails and even canvassers urging people not to vote have marred a day of Wisconsin recall elections otherwise notable for heavy turnout and enthusiastic volunteers.

As of 6 p.m. in Wisconsin, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law had received 1,310 phone calls. The majority of those calls have been about polling locations and new requirements to vote—mainly a new requirement that voters prove 28-days of residency in Wisconsin. If the recall is successful, voters will end the short-but-rocky tenure of Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

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Nigerian Labor Activist: I Want Government to be Accountable

Nigerian Labor Activist: I Want Government to be Accountable

Sessi Agnes Funmi has the simple goal of awakening the “sleeping giant.” That’s how her Nigerian union has been tagged, she said. And
it’s starting to work.

Funmi is the head of the Lagos State University Branch of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities. The union has about
8,040 members, who are the non-teaching professional university staff. The members include nurses, physicians, administrators and senior housekeepers and security officers.

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