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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.

AFL-CIO Executive Council: Shared Prosperity Dependent on Collective Bargaining

The AFL-CIO Executive Council endorsed Yale Professor Jacob Hacker’s just released economic blueprint, Prosperity Economics: Building an Economy for All, that says restoring the middle class must include restoring workers’ ability to bargain collectively.

The agenda for shared prosperity builds upon an understanding of the central role of workers, their unions and collective bargaining to address the full range of our society’s economic ills—our jobs and infrastructure deficits, our housing crisis, the hollowing out of our manufacturing sector, the disconnect between wages and productivity, the health care and retirement security crisis and the particular toll that these crises have taken on communities of color and women.

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Republican Ransom Demand: Tax Cuts for Wealthy and Cuts for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid

"Republicans are holding the middle class hostage to their demands on behalf of the richest 2 percent of Americans,” said the AFL-CIO Executive Council in a statement from its August meeting in Washington, D.C., this week. And, the council emphasized:

There can be no excuse for giving in to their demands to extend tax cuts for the 2 percent; cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits; tax workers’ health benefits; or sacrifice middle-class jobs.

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Romney Business Model and Economic Policy: Blueprint for Weak and Unjust Economy

The business model on which Mitt Romney built his private-equity, outsourcing career and fortune at  Bain Capital “has made our economy weaker and our society more unequal; it has hollowed out our tax base, and it has wreaked havoc on our communities,” said the AFL-CIO Executive Council in a statement from its August meeting this week in Washington, D.C.

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House Republicans Vote to Keep Bush Tax Cuts for the Richest 2%

In a reverse of last week’s Senate action, the U.S. House of Representatives today approved (256-171) a bill (H.R. 8) to extend the Bush tax cuts for the nation’s wealthiest 2%— about $160,000 a year for the average millionaire. The House defeated (257-170) a Democratic alternative amendment to maintain the cuts for the middle class but end the tax breaks for the rich.

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Laborers’ Honored as Apprenticeship Trailblazer and Innovator

LIUNA photo

Today marks the 75th Anniversary of the signing of the National Apprenticeship Act and at a ceremony marking the historic job training act, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis honored the Laborers’ (LIUNA)  apprenticeship programs with a 21st Century Trailblazer and Innovator award. Solis said the LIUNA program and other award winners were honored for their “long-standing success and innovative approaches” to training U.S. workers.

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Son of Texas Mail Handler Seeks Olympic Boxing Gold

Errol Spence (L) with mother Debra and father Errol Sr.

Friday night in London, Errol Spence Jr., a 152-pound welterweight will enter the ring looking for his second victory in this year’s Olympic Games. The top-ranked U.S. amateur in his weight class, Spence is the son of Debra—a Dallas, Texas, member of National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU) Local 311—and Errol Spence Sr. The 22-year-old Spence says in his official Olympic biography that the biggest influence in his life is his mother.

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Republicans’ Deadly Job Creation Plan

Republican bill blocks rule to cotrol combustible dust, the cause of the 2008 Imperial Sugar plant explsionh that killed 14 workers. Chemical Safety Board photo.

Republicans have a plan to create jobs and they’re going to stick by it whether it kills you or not. According to their twisted logic (shared by Mitt Romney, BTW) excessive federal regulation—especially workplace safety rules—is a major reason why unemployment is staying so stubbornly high. 

The answer according to House Republicans simple, just don’t allow any more regulations, from job safety to rules for big banks and public health. That’s theory behind the bill (H.R. 4078) the House passed last week that would bar any new federal rule until the jobless rate drops below 6 percent. How brilliant is that?

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Latest HIT Boston Investment Preserves Affordable Housing, Creates Jobs

Franklin Square Apartments. HIT Photo

The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) will provide $90 million towards rehabilitating and preserving affordability at two 30-year-old the Boston apartment complexes that serve primarily people with disabilities, low-income and senior residents. The project is part of HIT’s National Construction Jobs Initiative and the AFL-CIO’s Green Jobs Initiative. The project is expected to create about 150 union construction jobs for local workers.

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Ohio Union Members Pitch In to Help Wounded War Vet

Kyle Hockenberry

Union members in the Marietta, Ohio, area are joining with several charitable organizations to raise funds to build a “smart home” for Army Private First Class Kyle Hockenberry who lost both legs in an improvised explosive device attack in Afghanistan last year.

The Parkersburg-Marietta Building and Construction Trades Council has volunteered the labor to build the house. The group is also working with the Gary Sinise Foundation and the Tunnels to Towers Foundation’s Building for America’s Bravest initiative in promoting an Aug. 16 fundraising concert in Marietta featuring Sinise’s Lt. Dan Band. Sinise portrayed double amputee Lt. Dan in the movie “Forrest Gump.” 

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5 Reasons Why the Rich and Big Business Need Government

If the bad guys in the classic movie, “Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” had been corporate apologists or obnoxious Trump-like rich tycoons, the classic line about badges might read this way, “Government? We don’t need no stinkin’ government.”  

In a column on AlterNet Paul Buchheit dispels what he calls “the bull of Wall Street” and cites five good reasons why the super-rich and big business may need government more than the rest us.

We regularly hear variations on that theme from the wealthy in the form of the tired old saw “I made it on my own…didn’t need any government help.” Corporate CEO’s and lobbyists rail against rules and regulations that supposedly stifle entrepreneurship and eat profits.

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