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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.

Romney-Backed Ryan Budget for the 1% Passes House

Romney-Backed Ryan Budget for the 1% Passes House

In a strictly partisan vote this afternoon, House Republicans passed Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget-for-the1% plan. The 228-191 vote didn’t draw a single Democrat. While the proposal has no chance of passing in the Senate, it serves as a stark example of Republican priorities, including those of presidential candidate Mitt Romney who has endorsed Ryan’s plan.

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Massey Official Pleads Guilty in Upper Big Branch Case

A former superintendent at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch (W.Va.) mine, where 29 miners were killed in an April 2010 explosion, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to violate federal mine safety laws. He faces up to five years in prison.

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House Leaders Duck Long-Term Solution, OK Temporary Transportation Funding

Instead of acting on a long-term, bipartisan surface transportation bill, House Republican leaders today pushed and passed another short-term extension, just hours before they are due to leave town on a two-week recess. Funding authorization expires Saturday, and the Senate is expected to approve the 90-day extension.

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Harkin’s Rebuild America Act Builds Economy for 99%

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) today introduced the Rebuild America Act. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says the bill would "achieve shared prosperity by putting America back to work, rebuilding our infrastructure, repairing our safety net and insisting that shared sacrifice start at the top—with Wall Street and the wealthiest Americans."

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New Co-Op Model for Sustainable Main Street Jobs

The United Steelworkers (USW), the Spanish worker cooperative Mondragon—the world’s largest worker cooperative—and the Ohio Employee Ownership Center (OEOC) this week unveiled what they describe as a “template that combines worker equity with a progressive collective bargaining process.” USW President Leo Gerard says that “to survive the boom and bust, bubble-driven economic cycles fueled by Wall Street, we must look for new ways to create and sustain good jobs on Main Street.”

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Romney Finds Soul Mate in Walker’s Assault on Workers’ Retirement Security

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney today praised Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s attack on public employees’ collective bargaining rights and singled out Walker’s assault on workers’ retirement security. In an expected move, Romney endorsed Walker in the upcoming recall election.

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Upper Big Branch Shows Need for Stronger Whistle-Blower Laws, Tougher Penalties

Upper Big Branch Shows Need for Stronger Whistle-Blower Laws, Tougher Penalties

If deadly mine disasters like 2010’s Upper Big Branch (W.Va.) that killed 29 coal miners are to be prevented, miners must have stronger protections to report safety violations, mine safety law must be stronger and mine operators must face tougher penalties for violating safety and health laws, witnesses told a House hearing yesterday. 

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Do the Math: The Rich Can Pay More

When we talk about letting the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire, or asking the wealthy to pay more, it’s often described in terms of “tax fairness” and “paying their fair share.” And indeed that's a big part of it. But there is more to it than that. As Eduardo Porter writes in The New York Times today, the math works, too.

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Cummings Seeks Info from Romney Aide in NLRB Flynn Probe

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s labor adviser Peter Schaumber needs to tell Congress just how he used insider information, "including attorney-client privileged information,” funneled to him by National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) member Terence Flynn, says Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.). 

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On Supreme Court Steps, Mom Credits Affordable Care Act for Life-Saving Treatment

This morning before the U.S. Supreme Court began its second day of hearing arguments on the legal challenge from 26 Republican attorneys general to the Affordable Care Act, Spike Dolomite Ward said the health care reform law means she is now getting treatment for her stage 3 breast cancer.

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