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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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Oh, No, Not this Guy Again: Winners and Losers of the Week

Photo courtesy Wisconsin AFL-CIO

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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Taylor Branch: College Athletes' Unpaid Labor Is Un-American

Speaking to the American Enterprise Institute, author and civil rights historian Taylor Branch tackled the concept of the unpaid labor that college athletes engage in while large profits are made off of their labor.  

Read more why college athletes need a union voice

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Shelby's Story: The Case for Paid Family Leave

The latest video in the Workonomics series by Upworthy takes a look at Shelby, a mother who was forced to choose between taking care of her family and getting paid, a choice all too many workers in America are forced to make. The AFL-CIO supports expanding paid family leave as a way to make fewer Americans have to make such tragic and difficult decisions.

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Auto Workers to Form Chattanooga Local

UAW members didn't give up after a vote to unionize at Volkswagen's plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., barely missed passage in February. They continued to move forward, and the union announced Thursday that it had reached a consensus with VW and will form Local 42 for workers at the Chattanooga plant. While no formal agreement has been reached, UAW officials say they expect the automaker to recognize the union once enough of the plant's employees have signed up, although no specific threshold was announced.

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10 Truths About Tipped Workers You Might Not Know

A new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) takes a look at a variety of myths about tipped workers and the truths behind those myths. It has been 23 years since the federal minimum wage for tipped workers, currently $2.13 an hour, was last raised. Meanwhile, the federal minimum wage for other workers, which also has lost much of its value in recent years because of wage stagnation, is set at $7.25 an hour. Here are 10 truths about tipped workers and the tipped minimum wage from the EPI report.

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Teachers Convene at National Convention in Los Angeles

Photo courtesy @Social_ChAN_ge Twitter

Starting tomorrow in Los Angeles, teachers from all around the country will be arriving in Los Angeles for the AFT convention. AFT President Randi Weingarten will preside over a convention that will feature speakers like Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.); Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.); California Gov. Jerry Brown; Tom Torlakson, who is running for California superintendent of public instruction against an opponent funded by corporate "reformers"; the Rev. William Barber, the driving force behind North Carolina's Moral Mondays; and, most importantly, the teachers who work hard every day to educate the country's future generations. The convention runs through Monday morning.

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Economic News Roundup

Economic News Roundup

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) and the Center for American Progress (CAP) have released important research about the economy in the past few weeks. Here's a look at some of their key findings (after the jump).

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13 Things You Need to Know About Social Security Disability as Republicans Try to Dismantle It

Earlier today, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) spoke at a Center for American Progress event about Republican attempts to use Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) as a way to cut and undercut the whole Social Security system. Rather than sticking with the conventional wisdom that Republicans, the media and even some Democrats cling to, Brown argues that what we should be doing now is not just protecting Social Security and SSDI, we should be expanding the programs.

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Building Trades Surpass $50 Million Raised for Diabetes Research

Photo courtesy Pavel Maltsev on Flickr

In 2014, North America's Building Trades Unions will raise some $1.3 million for diabetes research, bringing their total to more than $50 million since they became involved in the effort in 1986. The money goes to the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami, which recently announced the development of the "BioHub," which mimics the pancreas, producing insulin for patients with diabetes who can't produce the necessary levels of insulin for themselves.

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States that Have Raised the Minimum Wage this Year Have Faster Job Growth

States that Have Raised the Minimum Wage this Year Have Faster Job Growth

In the 13 states that saw their minimum wage rise on Jan. 1, 2014, job growth has been higher so far this year than in states where the minimum wage stayed the same. Extreme pro-business interests often argue that raising the minimum wage will lead to job losses, but once again, the evidence suggests otherwise.  The Center for Economic and Policy Research looked closely at the data and found states that raised their minimum wage increase have seen an average increase in employment of 0.99%, while the static states saw an increase of only 0.68%.

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