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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.

Cilento Re-Elected New York State AFL-CIO President

New York State AFL-CIO photo

New York State AFL-CIO (NYS AFL-CIO) President Mario Cilento was elected to a full four-year term by the delegates to the state federation’s convention in New York City this week. Cilento told the delegates that the state federation will mobilize the New York union movement’s 2.5 million members in the public sector, private sector and building trades. “We will educate and engage them year-round from Buffalo to Montauk and Plattsburgh to Brooklyn.”

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Texas Insurance Commissioner Sides with Health Insurance Companies, Not Consumers

One of the important consumer protections of the Affordable Care Act—the health care reform law that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to repeal—is that health insurance companies must clearly tell people what their policies cover and what they don’t when it comes to treatments, services and providers. 

In Texas, the withdrawal, by the state insurance commissioner, of new rules that would have helped consumers know if they were facing huge out-of-network costs when they are hospitalized shows why those protections in the Affordable Care Act are needed.

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Madison Mental Health Workers Vote for AFSCME

Nearly 300 workers at Journey Mental Health Center in Madison, Wis., voted overwhelmingly to join AFSCME Council 40 last week. The two groups that chose AFSCME are the professional staff and the center’s paraprofessional workers. Journey is a private, non-profit organization and the workers provide mental health services at nine sites in Dane County.

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Ryan’s Rage?

Photo by Dave Hoefler/Flickr

It’s darn hard to find an area where we and Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan agree. But there is at least one. Ryan says he is a big fan of the band Rage Against the Machine. Who knew Ryan—the Ayn Rand disciple and worshipper of unfettered corporate power—could find common ground with Rage, which has made a career out of singing and fighting for progressive causes and against corporate greed?

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Pa. and N.H. Union Members Tell Ryan: Hands Off Medicare

Photos by Dave Vinski.

This morning in Carnegie, Pa., union activists and allies were on hand to greet Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan to protest his and Mitt Romney’s plan to end Medicare as we know it and shower even more tax breaks on the wealthy and corporations, with working families footing the bill.

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California’s Prop. 32: How Does It Affect Union Members?

Why would corporate CEOs and deep-pocketed conservative campaign contributors finance and push a California ballot initiative that purports to keep “Special Interest” money out of politics?

Because thanks to loopholes big enough to drive armored trucks full of campaign cash through, it doesn’t keep their money out of politics. Prop. 32 keeps union members’ money out of politics.

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Atlanta Falcons Players, Labor Council Team Up for Voter Registration Drive

Photo by DawgFanJeff/Flickr

If you live in the Marietta, Ga., area and haven’t registered to vote and are a football fan, you have a chance Wednesday to make your voice heard at the ballot box and meet members of the Atlanta Falcons and NFL Players Association (NFLPA). The players are pitching in with the Atlanta-North Georgia Labor Council for a voter registration event from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches at 801 Church St., N.E.

No matter where you live, if you haven’t registered to vote, click here to find out how to register in your state. 

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Union Good Samaritan Makes Sure Money for the Homeless Not Gone with the Wind

A lot of us—I confess I’ve done it—have gotten distracted getting into the car and left something on the roof or trunk and driven off. That’s what Jane Corbett of Shrewsbury, Mo., did last week near St. Louis, with more than $800 earmarked to feed the homeless. Thanks to the fast action of Plasterers and Cement Masons (OPCMIA) member Ray Leuthauser and the generosity of his fellow union members, nobody missed a meal.

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MSNBC’s Wagner Takes on Aiken’s ‘Legitimate Rape’ Claim, Lack of Women’s Voices in Politics

On the day after Missouri Republican U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin made some of the most ignorant and outrageous statements about women, pregnancy and so-called “legitimate rape,” MSNBC’s "NOW With Alex Wagner" explored how the debate over women’s issues is often done by men.

Wagner’s guests included U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren and equal pay advocate Lilly Ledbetter.

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Ohio Officials Ratchet Up Voter Suppression Campaign

AFL-CIO Ohio and community groups protest the end of weekend voting directive today.

One Ohio election official said he frankly doesn’t care if the state’s attempt to curtail weekend early voting hours suppresses voting by minority and low-income voters. Meanwhile, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted suspended and will try to fire two county election officials who had the audacity to oppose his voter suppression tactics

Ohio AFL-CIO is protesting outside Husted's office today. They will march from Husted's office to the Franklin County Board of Elections for its meeting at 3 p.m. For more photos of the protest and updates, visit Ohio AFL-CIO's Facebook page here

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