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AFL-CIO Now

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.

More than 2,000 Workers Join AFL-CIO Unions

Chicago State University workres. UNITE HERE photo.

College professors, cable television installers and employees at donut shops, a hotel and in telecommunications are the latest workers to join AFL-CIO unions.

Nearly 400 AT&T Mobility retail store workers in Mississippi and Wyoming have chosen Communications Workers of America (CWA) representation. AT&T which has agreed to management neutrality, recognized the workers’ choice of CWA when majorities signed union authorization cards. The Mississippi unit includes 314 workers.

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IAFF on Colorado, New Mexico Fires’ Front Lines

IAFF photo

Several hundred members of the Fire Fighters (IAFF) from locals surrounding the wildfires in Colorado and New Mexico are working hard to contain the blazes. Fortunately, there have been no reports of major firefighter injury. IAFF 9th District Vice President Randy Atkinson says:

Getting a wildfire under control in that part of the state is difficult because of the tough terrain. There are a lot of canyons, so just getting to the fire is a challenge.

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VA Health Care Workers: ‘Stop the Downgrades’

DC Metro Labor Council

Richard Fleming served 12 years in the U.S. Army and has worked for the past 20 years at the Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA's) Temple Texas hospital. He began with an entry-level job in the kitchen and, with training and education, became a surgical technician. He also is one of the thousands of modestly paid VHA workers whose jobs have been arbitrarily downgraded.

Nobody talked  to me about it. I found out I was downgraded through a memo….I was downgraded by people who do not ever see what I do on a day-to-day basis.

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Udall Praises Unions’ Role in United Way

This year marks the 125th anniversary of the United Way and, in a floor statement (see video) honoring the occasion, U.S. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) notes that the “success and strength” of the partnership “between the United Way and America’s workers cannot be overstated.”   

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Union Investment Renovates Senior Housing, Creates Green Jobs

The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) is investing $10 million toward a $14 million project to rehabilitate the Mayfield Manor Apartments in Canton, Ohio, as part of HIT’s national Construction Jobs Initiative and the AFL-CIO’s Green Jobs Initiative. The project will keep 144 units affordable for current residents at the senior citizen facility for 20 years and is expected to create 100 union construction jobs in an area hard-hit by the economic slowdown. Rehabilitation work on the six-story building will be done with 100 percent union labor.

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Sutter Nurses on 1-Day Strike to Protect Patient Care, Community Health Services

NNU Photo

Some 4,500 RNs at 11 San Francisco Bay area hospitals—including 10 Sutter Health facilities—are holding a one-day strike today to dramatize the highly profitable health care chain’s demand for more than 100 sweeping reductions in patient care, community health services and nurse standards and workplace conditions. Sutter Health has made $4.2 billion in profits over the past five years, pays its CEO $4 million a year after a 215 percent raise and gives 21 top executives $1 million or more a year.

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Most States Flunk Wage Theft Test

PSN Graphic

A new report from the Progressive States Network (PSN) finds that workers in 44 states have little to no protection against wage theft. “Where Theft Is Legal: Mapping Wage Theft Laws in the 50 States" reports that:

States’ wage theft laws are grossly inadequate, contributing to a rising trend in workplace violations that affect millions of people throughout the country.

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Trumka: Questions Remain About Appeals Court Nominee Srinivasan

The White House announced yesterday that it is nominating Caitlin Halligan and Sri Srinivasan to two of the three vacant seats on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. This court is considered by many to be the most important federal appeals court because it reviews the decisions and rule making of many federal independent agencies of the U.S. government. These include cases involving core workplace rights and protections—the right to a safe and healthy workplace, the right to join together with co-workers in a union to have a voice at work and the right to a workplace free of race, gender and other forms of discrimination.

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Alabama Poultry Workers Buck Anti-Union Campaign, Choose RWDSU

RWDSU photo

In one of the largest union elections in Alabama in the past decade, workers at the Pilgrim’s Pride poultry plant in Russellville voted last week by a better than two-to-one margin to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). The main reason the 1,200 workers sought a union voice was to be able to exercise more control over their work lives, said workers and union leaders.

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VA Health Workers to Rally Against Job Downgrades

Thousands of hardworking Veterans Health Administration (VHA) employees—including many veterans—have seen their job classifications arbitrarily downgraded over the past two years. Tomorrow, VHA workers from health care facilities in 20 states will march from Veterans Affairs headquarters in Washington, D.C., to the White House.

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