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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.

LIUNA’s Booker New BCTD Secretary-Treasurer

Brent Booker, former director of the Construction Department at the Laborers' (LIUNA) is the new secretary treasurer of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD). He was elected today by the BCTD’s Governing Board of Presidents. Booker succeeds Sean McGarvey, who was elected BCTD president following the April death of Mark Ayers.

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Blue-Collar Workers Hurt Most by Simpson’s Plan to Raise Social Security Retirement Age

Even as Alan Simpson rants against anyone who dares to oppose his scheme to raise the Social Security retirement age, a new study finds such an action would have the greatest impact on workers in the most physically demanding occupations—but would have little overall impact on the financial health of  Social Security.

Meanwhile, the California Alliance for Retired Americans—the group at which Simpson directed his most recent rant, calling them “a wretched group of seniors” and “greedy geezers” full of “blather and drivel,” who are “shoveling out bullshit”—is fighting back.

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Trumka: Rio Tinto Tarnishes Olympic Spirit

Trumka: Rio Tinto Tarnishes Olympic Spirit

Summer Olympic Games medal supplier, Rio Tinto—a union-busting global mining conglomerate with a track record of worker and environmental abuse—should be kept off the podium in London, says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. In a letter sent to the chairman of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), Trumka points to Rio Tinto’s Jan. 1 lockout of 750 USW members in Alma, Quebec.

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Wisconsin: Walker’s $50 Million Doesn’t Sway Union Voters

Wisconsin: Walker’s $50 Million Doesn’t Sway Union Voters

WI

Yesterday’s Wisconsin election results, in which Gov. Scott Walker (R) held onto his office—thanks to a $50 million war chest—but lost the state Senate, “is not the end of the story, but just the beginning,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka at an afternoon press conference today.   

Noting that Walker was the best-funded politician in state history, Trumka said, “We knew a recall election would be tough, and we knew we would be outspent.” But he added Wisconsin working people provided an incredible counter to Walker’s mostly out-of-state funded campaign that held a seven-to-one spending edge. 

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Wisconsin: Working Families Win Back Senate

WI

Despite retaining his seat, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), in last night's recall election, appears to have lost control of the state Senate with former state Sen. John Lehman’s (D) victory over Walker ally state Sen. Van Wanggaard. If Lehman’s win holds up, it will give Democrats a one-seat (17-16) majority in the state.

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LAX Hilton Workers Share in $2.5 Million Settlement

UNITEHERE! photo

Some 1,200 workers at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport (LAX) hotel will share a $2.5 million settlement to a class-action suit that alleged the hotel withheld wages, failed to pay overtime and failed to provide meal and rest breaks to workers from 2004 to 2011. Hilton agreed to settle the suit filed in 2008. Juan Banales, a Hilton LAX cook of nearly 20 years, says:

For years, I was unable to take breaks. The law says you have the right to take breaks. It's a shame we had to file a lawsuit to get the hotel to understand that.

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Wisconsin: Packers Receivers Join Recall Drive

Jermichael Finley. Photo by elviskennedy/Flickr

WI

Let's give a shout out to Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley and wide receiver Tori Gurley who are urging Wisconsin voters to cast their ballots for Tom Barrett in his race to recall Gov. Scott Walker.

Both players say they are “proud to be union” workers. Four-year veteran Finely has more than 127,000 followers on Twitter; and Finley, entering his second year with the Packers, has more than 12,000. Both are members of the of NFL Players Association (NFLPA) .

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Wisconsin: Turnout and Enthusiasm High in Recall Balloting

TweetPic by bluecheddar1

WI

Turnout is high across Wisconsin today as working families are getting out the vote to recall Gov. Scott Walker (R) and elect Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett as the state’s new governor.

Voters also are casting ballots in recall races that pit Mahlon Mitchell, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin, against Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four state Senate recalls. A pickup of one seat would swing control of the Senate away from Walker’s Republican allies who spearheaded his 2011 drive to eliminate the collective bargaining rights of 380,000 public workers.

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Wisconsin: Nationwide GOTV Recall Drive's Ringing the Phones

WI

The battle in Wisconsin resonates far beyond its borders. That’s why working people across the country are volunteering their time at phone banks in a huge get-out-the-vote (GOTV) drive for Tom Barrett in today’s recall election against Gov. Scott Walker (R).

The 40 lines at the Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 14 have been buzzing since Wednesday, says Chicago Federation of Labor (CFL) Political Director Hanah Jubeh.

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ALEC Resignations Grow, Pressure on Others Mounts

For those of us keeping score, 19 major corporations and 54 state legislators have cut their ties with the extremist American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Now pressure is mounting for other major corporations to join the exodus from ALEC and its agenda of voter suppression, union-busting and immigrant bashing.

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