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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.

Republicans’ Deadly Job Creation Plan

Republican bill blocks rule to cotrol combustible dust, the cause of the 2008 Imperial Sugar plant explsionh that killed 14 workers. Chemical Safety Board photo.

Republicans have a plan to create jobs and they’re going to stick by it whether it kills you or not. According to their twisted logic (shared by Mitt Romney, BTW) excessive federal regulation—especially workplace safety rules—is a major reason why unemployment is staying so stubbornly high. 

The answer according to House Republicans simple, just don’t allow any more regulations, from job safety to rules for big banks and public health. That’s theory behind the bill (H.R. 4078) the House passed last week that would bar any new federal rule until the jobless rate drops below 6 percent. How brilliant is that?

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Latest HIT Boston Investment Preserves Affordable Housing, Creates Jobs

Franklin Square Apartments. HIT Photo

The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) will provide $90 million towards rehabilitating and preserving affordability at two 30-year-old the Boston apartment complexes that serve primarily people with disabilities, low-income and senior residents. The project is part of HIT’s National Construction Jobs Initiative and the AFL-CIO’s Green Jobs Initiative. The project is expected to create about 150 union construction jobs for local workers.

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Ohio Union Members Pitch In to Help Wounded War Vet

Kyle Hockenberry

Union members in the Marietta, Ohio, area are joining with several charitable organizations to raise funds to build a “smart home” for Army Private First Class Kyle Hockenberry who lost both legs in an improvised explosive device attack in Afghanistan last year.

The Parkersburg-Marietta Building and Construction Trades Council has volunteered the labor to build the house. The group is also working with the Gary Sinise Foundation and the Tunnels to Towers Foundation’s Building for America’s Bravest initiative in promoting an Aug. 16 fundraising concert in Marietta featuring Sinise’s Lt. Dan Band. Sinise portrayed double amputee Lt. Dan in the movie “Forrest Gump.” 

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5 Reasons Why the Rich and Big Business Need Government

If the bad guys in the classic movie, “Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” had been corporate apologists or obnoxious Trump-like rich tycoons, the classic line about badges might read this way, “Government? We don’t need no stinkin’ government.”  

In a column on AlterNet Paul Buchheit dispels what he calls “the bull of Wall Street” and cites five good reasons why the super-rich and big business may need government more than the rest us.

We regularly hear variations on that theme from the wealthy in the form of the tired old saw “I made it on my own…didn’t need any government help.” Corporate CEO’s and lobbyists rail against rules and regulations that supposedly stifle entrepreneurship and eat profits.

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AFT’s Weingarten Calls for ‘Solution-Driven Unionism’

America’s unions need to focus on “solution-driven unionism,” that advances solutions centered on uniting union members, the people they serve and the communities in which they live, AFT President Randi Weingarten told delegates at AFT’s convention in Detroit today.

More than ever, we need to act in innovative, creative and new ways—simultaneously refuting our critics, advancing our values, connecting with community and proposing solutions. That’s solution-driven unionism.

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Overtime Wage Theft Complaints Soar

Illustration by Arenamontanus/Flickr

Not only are corporations sitting on more than $1 trillion in cash and refusing to hire workers, now it appears employers who are making fewer workers do even more aren’t paying their overtime wages. The number of overtime wage theft complaints, filed by workers in the first half of this year, matches last year’s total filed under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to a new report.

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Alliance Launches ‘Let’s Not Be the Last Generation to Retire' Campaign

Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are under attack by Republican lawmakers. Whether it is the Romney/Ryan budget that would end Medicare as we know it or proposals to privatize and cut Social Security, members of the Alliance for Retired Americans are pushing back and mobilizing with new “Let’s Not Be the Last Generation to Retire” campaign. Actions across the country will coincide with Medicare’s and Medicaid’s 47th anniversary July 30 and Social Security’s 77th on Aug. 14.

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Readers Slam Caterpillars’ Greed, 6-Year Worker Wage Freeze

Photo by peoplesworld/Flickr

On Wednesday, we asked you to tell us what you think about Caterpillar, which made $4.9 billion in profits last year, demanding the nearly 800 workers accept a six-year wage freeze, doubled health care premiums and cuts to pensions. The workers, members of Machinists (IAM) Local 851, said “NO!” and have been on strike for more than three months. On the blog and through Facebook some 200 of our readers left comments. Here’s a sample of what you told us:

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July 31 Is Deadline for 2012 Edna Award Nominations

Less than a week remains before the deadline—July 31—to submit nominations for the 2012 Edna, a $10,000 award for young women making a mark in labor, women’s and other social justice movements.

The award honors Edna Berger, a pioneer for women’s rights who rose from a receptionist at The Philadelphia Inquirer to become a writer, editor and the first female organizer in The Newspaper Guild-CWA.

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