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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.

Tobacco Companies Agree to Talk Workers’ Rights with FLOC

FLOC Photo

After more than four years of pressure from the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) and other worker advocates, several of the largest tobacco companies, tobacco growers and workers are close to sitting down to discuss the issues of freedom of association without fear of retaliation, wages, housing, forced labor and other issues.

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Unions Focus on House After Senate Passes Flawed Postal Reform Bill

Unions Focus on House After Senate Passes Flawed Postal Reform Bill

The battle over postal reform legislation now moves to the House of Representatives after the Senate yesterday passed (62-37) a bill (S. 1789) that postal union leaders called flawed. They vow to fight the House version (H.R. 2309) that is even more damaging to postal workers and the communities they serve.

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Former Congressman, Veterans Denied Right to Vote

Over the past few years, dozens of states have passed restrictive voter ID and other voter suppression laws that could disenfranchise an estimated 21 million eligible voters, mostly people of color, young voters and senior citizens. The United Steelworkers (USW) just posted three videos of people—including a former congressman—who have recently been denied the right to vote because of new state laws.

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Catholic Leaders Reject Ryan’s Claim Budget Follows Church Teachings

Catholic Leaders Reject Ryan’s Claim Budget Follows Church Teachings

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), architect of the Ryan/Romney/Republican budget-for-the-1% plan, told a TV interviewer this month that his budget blueprint follows and upholds the social teachings of the Catholic Church. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and other Catholic leaders disagree. The USCCB says Ryan’s budgets failed to live up to Catholic “moral criteria.” Yesterday, more than 90 priests and faculty members at Georgetown University—a Jesuit school—sent Ryan a letter criticizing his plan.

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EEOC Updates Employer Criminal Background Check Rules

An estimated 65 million people in this country—or one in four adults—now have an arrest or conviction record that can show up on a routine criminal background check for employment. Today, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination, voted 4-1 to approve updated guidelines on how employers may use criminal background checks on job applicants and current workers.

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CEO Pay, Income Inequality Spawning Deep Divisions

CEO Pay, Income Inequality Spawning Deep Divisions

Citing our 2012 Executive PayWatch website—CEO Pay and the 99%—the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in an editorial today, says:

Income inequality is spawning deep divisions in America, and this is one problem that starts at the top. 

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'Boots on the Ground' Propel Working Families' Win in Pa. Primary

The biggest part of the working families’ political mobilization has always been “boots on the ground”—not ads on the airwaves. Yesterday’s primary victory in Pennsylvania for Rep. Mark Critz (D) shows just how much ground working families’ boots can cover.

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Walker Turns Wisconsin Into Job Loss Leader

Wisconsin AFL-CIO photo

So much for Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) stewardship of the Wisconsin economy and his promise that eliminating collective bargaining rights for public employees and massive budget cuts would turn the Badger State into a job growth miracle. A report today from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that Wisconsin is the only state in the nation to suffer “statistically significant” job loss during the 12 months from March 2011 to March 2012.

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Florida Potato Grower Accused of Labor Trafficking

A Florida potato grower and its labor contractor have been accused of labor trafficking and taking advantage of workers, according to a federal lawsuit filed yesterday in Jacksonville by Florida Legal Services and Farmworker Justice. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, on behalf of two farm workers who say they were victims of labor trafficking and other violations of federal and state labor laws while employed in 2009 and 2010 by Bulls-Hit Ranch & Farm, a potato grower in Hastings, Fla.

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Republican Attack on Fair Union Election Rule Fails in Senate

Congressional Republicans today failed in their latest attempt to roll back workers’ rights. The U.S. Senate defeated (45-54) a measure (S.J. Res. 36) to kill a new National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rule that makes modest changes in the procedures for workers who want to vote on whether to form a union.

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