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Showing blog posts by Mike Hall

Mike Hall

I’m a former West Virginia newspaper reporter, staff writer for the United Mine Workers Journal and managing editor of the Seafarers Log. I came to the AFL- CIO in 1989 and have written for several federation publications, focusing on legislation and politics, especially grassroots mobilization and workplace safety. When my collar was still blue, I carried union cards from the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers, American Flint Glass Workers and Teamsters for jobs in a chemical plant, a mining equipment manufacturing plant and a warehouse. I’ve also worked as roadie for a small-time country-rock band, sold my blood plasma and played an occasional game of poker to help pay the rent. You may have seen me at one of several hundred Grateful Dead shows. I was the one with longhair and the tie-dye. Still have the shirts, lost the hair.

Workers Memorial Day: Honor the Dead with a Fight for Safe Jobs

Photo by Sara Wallenfang

In hundreds of Workers Memorial Day ceremonies across the country, working families are honoring workers who have died or been hurt on the job and carrying on the fight for safe workplaces. (Click here to find an event near you.) David Michaels, director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), says: 

Making a living shouldn’t include dying.

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APALA Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Twenty years ago, when the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) was founded, “you could almost count the number of Asian Pacific American (APA) organizers on one hand,” says APALA Executive Director Gregory Cendana. But in the two decades since, "That has clearly changed when you look around at the growing number of Asian Pacific American union leaders, staff and organizers." 

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Affordable Care Act Spurs $1.3 Billion in Rebates from Health Insurers

About 15.8 million people will receive an estimated $1.34 billion in insurance company rebates on their 2011 health care premiums under a provision of the Affordable Care Act, according to a new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). The rebates should be in consumers’ hands this August.

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Tobacco Companies Agree to Talk Workers’ Rights with FLOC

FLOC Photo

After more than four years of pressure from the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) and other worker advocates, several of the largest tobacco companies, tobacco growers and workers are close to sitting down to discuss the issues of freedom of association without fear of retaliation, wages, housing, forced labor and other issues.

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Unions Focus on House After Senate Passes Flawed Postal Reform Bill

Unions Focus on House After Senate Passes Flawed Postal Reform Bill

The battle over postal reform legislation now moves to the House of Representatives after the Senate yesterday passed (62-37) a bill (S. 1789) that postal union leaders called flawed. They vow to fight the House version (H.R. 2309) that is even more damaging to postal workers and the communities they serve.

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Former Congressman, Veterans Denied Right to Vote

Over the past few years, dozens of states have passed restrictive voter ID and other voter suppression laws that could disenfranchise an estimated 21 million eligible voters, mostly people of color, young voters and senior citizens. The United Steelworkers (USW) just posted three videos of people—including a former congressman—who have recently been denied the right to vote because of new state laws.

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Catholic Leaders Reject Ryan’s Claim Budget Follows Church Teachings

Catholic Leaders Reject Ryan’s Claim Budget Follows Church Teachings

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), architect of the Ryan/Romney/Republican budget-for-the-1% plan, told a TV interviewer this month that his budget blueprint follows and upholds the social teachings of the Catholic Church. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and other Catholic leaders disagree. The USCCB says Ryan’s budgets failed to live up to Catholic “moral criteria.” Yesterday, more than 90 priests and faculty members at Georgetown University—a Jesuit school—sent Ryan a letter criticizing his plan.

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EEOC Updates Employer Criminal Background Check Rules

An estimated 65 million people in this country—or one in four adults—now have an arrest or conviction record that can show up on a routine criminal background check for employment. Today, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination, voted 4-1 to approve updated guidelines on how employers may use criminal background checks on job applicants and current workers.

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CEO Pay, Income Inequality Spawning Deep Divisions

CEO Pay, Income Inequality Spawning Deep Divisions

Citing our 2012 Executive PayWatch website—CEO Pay and the 99%—the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in an editorial today, says:

Income inequality is spawning deep divisions in America, and this is one problem that starts at the top. 

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'Boots on the Ground' Propel Working Families' Win in Pa. Primary

The biggest part of the working families’ political mobilization has always been “boots on the ground”—not ads on the airwaves. Yesterday’s primary victory in Pennsylvania for Rep. Mark Critz (D) shows just how much ground working families’ boots can cover.

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