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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.

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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Second Judge Blocks Wisconsin Voter Suppression Law

peoplesworld photo/Flickr

A second Wisconsin judge has found that the state's voter ID restriction—built on a template from the extremist American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)—creates a “substantial impairment of the right to vote” and violates the state’s constitution.  

Dane County Circuit Judge David Flanagan wrote the law:

tells more than 300,000 Wisconsin voters who do not now have an acceptable form of photo identification that they cannot vote.

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Senate Republicans Say ‘Don’t Bring Jobs Home’

Senate Republicans Say ‘Don’t Bring Jobs Home’

Given the choice between supporting American workers or the corporations that ship U.S. jobs overseas, Senate Republicans sided with the job exporters today and blocked a vote (56-42) on the Bring Jobs Home Act. That’s not a surprise to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.):

It's no surprise Republicans are on the side of corporations making big bucks sending American jobs to China and India. After all, their presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, made a fortune outsourcing jobs, too.

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Mr. 1%—The Wrong Way to Get Rich

Mr. 1%—The Wrong Way to Get Rich

Some people get rich the old-fashioned way—hard work. Mitt Romney—Mr. 1%—got rich the new-fashioned, wrong way. As head of Bain Capital, he’d swoop down on companies like Ampad and GS Industries, pull out tens of millions of dollars in dividends, declare bankruptcy and kill thousands of jobs.

And that’s just the part of the story of how Romney got rich the wrong way. Check out our new Meet Mr. 1% website for a closer look.

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Tell Your Senators to Bring Jobs Home

Wisconsin AFL-CIO Photo

Time is running out. Tomorrow (Thursday) the U.S. Senate will vote on the Bring Jobs Home Act (S. 3364 [formerly S. 2884]). Make your voice heard in the battle to stop corporate tax breaks for firms that export American jobs overseas and reward companies that bring jobs home.

Call your senators at 888-659-9401 and urge them to support the Bring Jobs Home Act.

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Buying Value, not Volume, Lowers Health Care Costs

Illustration by Tax Credits/Flickr

The AFL-CIO, several unions, employer groups and a number of large corporations—all major purchasers of health care benefits—are working together to bring down the cost of health care and improve quality through a new Buying Value initiative. The goal is to change the way health benefits are purchased, away from volume to value.

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Ohio’s Early Voting Suppression Law Challenged

Photo by Vincent J. Brown/Flickr

Earlier this year, Ohio Republican lawmakers pushed through legislation curtailing the state’s early voting period. Yesterday, a suit was filed in federal court to block the voter suppression law. Previously early voting had been allowed through the Monday before the election. The Republican bill cuts off voting on the Friday before Election Day for all voters except military personnel. In 2008, an estimated 93,000 votes were cast during the last three days of early voting in Ohio.

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Economic Mobility More Hollywood than Reality

Photo by Lisa Norwood/Flickr

In the past generation, the rich did get richer and the poor did get poorer, according to a new report from the Pew Center on the States. Project manager Erin Currier of Pew's Economic Mobility Project says the report, "Pursuing the American Dream: Economic Mobility Across Generations,"

calls into question the quality of the opportunity Americans believe exists in the United States.

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