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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.

Catastrophic Events Even Riskier with Manufacturing’s Decline

Photo by USACEpublic affairs/Flickr

Whether it's a Katrina-like hurricane, major earthquake or devastating terrorist attack, the decline in America’s industrial manufacturing base and the nation’s reliance on foreign suppliers for goods formerly made in the U.S.A. threatens our ability to prevent, repair and recover from a major catastrophe, a new report reveals.

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Republicans Seek to ‘Strengthen’ Labor Law

Photo by jackace/Flickr

OMG, look up! Is that a flying pig? That was my thought when I read the latest bulletin from the Republican-controlled House Education and Workforce Committee announcing a hearing that would be “Examining Proposals to Strengthen the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).”

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Tell Us What You Think: Caterpillar Makes Billions, Demands 6-Year Wage Freeze

Caterpillar workers and their families recently rallied against the massive giveback demands. Photo by peoplesworld/Flickr

Braving record heat and dangerous midwestern summer thunderstorms, groups of 15 members from the Machinists (IAM) Local 851 take four-hour shifts every day picketing the gates of the Caterpillar factory in Joliet, Ill. This is their 12th week on strike after Caterpillar, which made $4.9 billion in profits last year, demanded the nearly 800 workers accept a six-year wage freeze, doubled health care premiums and cuts to pensions. What do you think about Caterpillar making record profits and demanding its workers take a six-year pay freeze?

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Tell Your Senators to End the Bush Tax Cuts for the Richest 2%

The U.S. Senate will vote tomorrow on a measure to end the Bush tax cuts for the nation’s richest 2 percent but maintain the cuts for middle-class families. Because of a Republican filibuster, it will take 60 votes before the Senate can even take up the legislation. Call your senators at 888-744-9958 and tell them to vote for the Middle Class Tax Cut Act (S. 3412).

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Justice Department Probes Pennsylvania’s Voter ID Law

Orginal photo by Sun Dazed/Flickr

The U.S. Department of Justice has launched a formal investigation into Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law that, by some estimates, could disenfranchise nearly one in 10 eligible voters—mostly people of color, students, seniors and low-income voters. The bill mirrors other voter suppression laws Republican-controlled state legislatures have passed in recent years based on model legislation from the extremist American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

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Workers Stand for America and a Second Bill of Rights

Workers Stand for America and a Second Bill of Rights

On Aug. 11, thousands of American workers will come together in Philadelphia in the first major action of the Workers Stand for America campaign, the centerpiece of which is America’s Second Bill of Rights:

  • Full employment and a living wage.
  • Full participation in the political process.
  • A voice at work.
  • A quality education for all.
  • A secure and healthy future.

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AFL-CIO to Release New Report on Colombian Labor Action Plan

Colombian workers, union leaders and the director of Colombia's national union school will take part in a panel discussion at AFL-CIO headquarters tomorrow following the release of a new report by the AFL-CIO on the Labor Action Plan that was intended to reduce the violence directed at Colombian workers and union activists and increase their ability to exercise basic labor rights such as free association and collective bargaining.  

The Labor Action Plan was negotiated to ease the passage of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. The AFL-CIO and allies successfully held off the vote for years over Colombia's troubling human rights record. Colombia has been the deadliest nation in the world for trade unionists. Thirty were slain in 2011 and another 10 were killed already this year. Impunity from prosecution for such killings remains high, at around 95 percent.

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Economists Say Minimum Wage Boost Would Help 20 Million Workers

Photo by Spike55152/Flockr

A group of prominent economists today urged President Obama and congressional leaders to raise the federal minimum wage, which has been stuck at $7.25 an hour for three years. In a letter to the president and lawmakers they wrote: 

A higher minimum wage at this juncture will not only provide raises for low-wage workers but would provide some help on the jobs front as well.

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Hyatt Boycott Aims to End Worker Abuse

Hyatt Boycott Aims to End Worker Abuse

Hyatt “systematically abuses housekeepers and other hotel workers,” said UNITEHERE! President John Wilhelm this morning in announcing a worldwide boycott of the hotel chain.

A wide range of groups, including the AFL-CIO, NFL Players Association (NFLPA), Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ), Pride At Work and several civil rights and women’s groups, are backing the boycott.

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Boston Unions Stand Up for Exploited Workers

Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 35, working with other area unions, the Greater Boston Labor Council and community groups, helped expose the exploitation of a group of Philadelphia workers hired by a subcontractor to renovate the Boston Marriott Copley Place hotel. Earlier this week, the workers were awarded $31,000 in back pay.

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