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Showing blog posts by Kenneth Quinnell

Kenneth Quinnell

I am a long-time blogger, campaign staffer and political activist.  Before joining the AFL-CIO in 2012, I worked as labor reporter for the blog Crooks and Liars.  Previous experience includes Communications Director for the Darcy Burner for Congress Campaign and New Media Director for the Kendrick Meek for Senate Campaign, founding and serving as the primary author for the influential state blog Florida Progressive Coalition and more than 10 years as a college instructor teaching political science and American History.  My writings have also appeared on Daily Kos, Alternet, the Guardian Online, Media Matters for America, Think Progress, Campaign for America's Future and elsewhere.  I am the proud father of three future progressive activists, an accomplished rapper and karaoke enthusiast.

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Netroots Nation: How We Won the Janet Yellen Fight

Photo courtesy IMF on Flickr

The chair of the Federal Reserve is by many accounts the second most powerful person in the United States after the president, but what the Federal Reserve does is a mystery to most Americans. Last year, there was an unusual public debate about who President Barack Obama should appoint as chairman of the Federal Reserve to replace departing chair Ben Bernanke. Bernanke’s vice chair, Janet Yellen, a renowned economist, had worked with Bernanke to prevent a second Great Depression, and it was widely expected that President Obama would appoint her. Then, suddenly, it seemed as though former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, with the backing of powerful Wall Street Democrats, was going to get the job. Then, equally suddenly, Summers withdrew his name, paving the way for President Obama to appoint Yellen as the first woman chair of the Fed.

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5 Things that Have Changed Since the Federal Minimum Wage Was Last Increased

5 Things that Have Changed Since the Federal Minimum Wage Was Last Increased

The federal minimum wage was last increased on July 24, 2009, and since then, a lot has changed (don’t forget tipped workers haven’t seen a raise since 1991). There have been so many attacks on working families since that time that it would be difficult to catalog them all. But workers and their allies haven't taken the attacks sitting down, and many are finding new ways to organize and stand up for their rights. 

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11 Ways the 'Schedules that Work' Act Would Make the Lives of Working Families Better

11 Ways the 'Schedules that Work' Act Would Make the Lives of Working Families Better

On Tuesday, Reps. George Miller (D-Calif.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) introduced the "Schedules That Work" Act to provide federal guidelines for making sure that employers offer fair, flexible and reliable schedules for working families who are often left in difficult situations because of erratic employer scheduling. Miller said the act is about "dignity" and ensuring workers can earn a decent living and meet family responsibilities.

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Union Plus Sponsors $20,000 Student Loan Contest

Union Plus Sponsors $20,000 Student Loan Contest

In its continuing mission to find new ways to serve union members and their families, Union Plus is sponsoring a contest to help three winners pay off a portion of their student loan debt. The Grand Prize winner will receive $10,000 toward their student loan obligations, while there also will be two $5,000 prizes for runners-up.  The contest also will give way other prizes, including courses, consultations and books provided by the Princeton Review.

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Can Small Victories Lead to Large Victories? Winners and Losers of the Week

Can Small Victories Lead to Large Victories? Winners and Losers of the Week

In our regular weekly feature, we'll be taking a look at the winners and losers of the week in the struggle for the rights of working families. The winners will be the persons or organizations that go above and beyond to expand or protect the rights of working families, while the losers will be whoever went above and beyond to limit or deny those rights.

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Trumka: Working Families Stand with President Obama Against Workplace Discrimination

Photo courtesy Adam Fagen on Flickr

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued a statement today proclaiming the federation's support for an executive order issued by President Obama protecting federal employees and employees of federal contractors against discrimination based on gender identity.  

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Low-Wage Villain of the Week: T-Mobile CEO John Legere

In our regular feature, we'll be taking a look at the villains who are doing their best to prevent the United States from raising wages. In this series, we're going to look past the usual suspects—for example, it's not only elected officials who get in the way of a fair economy.

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Your Inspiration for Today: 11-Year-Old Asean Johnson

You may have seen a video of him before, but if 11-year-old Asean Johnson can stand up to Rahm Emanuel and school "reformers" like he does in this video from the AFT convention, you can stand up and fight the important battles in your community.

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Ruffalo and a Cast of 1,000 Look to Smash Back Against Republican Attacks on Poor in Detroit

Photo courtesy of National Nurses United

Actor Mark Ruffalo, most famous for playing the Incredible Hulk in the Marvel Comics movie "The Avengers," led a crowd of 1,000 through the streets of Detroit in protest of Republican policies that have led to water being shut off for thousands of the city's residents. National Nurses United (NNU) organized the rally. The United Nations and others have called the city's actions a violation of human rights, and demands that the water be turned back on have come from across the political landscape. Hundreds of different organizations and their members showed up at the march, which began outside Detroit's Cobo Center, where the annual Netroots Nation convention is being held. Protesters marched passed the city's Water and Sewerage offices before ending at Hart Plaza.

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Organizing for Respect, Recognition, Raise in N.C. Tobacco Fields

FLOC photo

AFL-CIO Union Summer interns have joined members of the Farm Workers Organizing Committee (FLOC) in a drive to organize thousands of North Carolina tobacco farm workers as part of FLOC's "Respect, Recognition, Raise" campaign and fight for a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, respect in the workplace and union recognition. Many farm workers who harvest and tend tobacco often live in labor camps with inadequate or nonfunctioning toilets and showers and other substandard conditions, suffer from illnesses resulting from nicotine poisoning and exposure to dangerous pesticides and work long hours for below-poverty wages.

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