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AFL-CIO Now

Is the U.S. Headed for a Fiscal Cliff?

Is the U.S. Headed for a Fiscal Cliff?

Economist Simon Johnson, co-founder of the popular blog, The Baseline Scenario, joined us here today at the AFL-CIO for a discussion of his new book, White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt and Why It Matters to You. Co-authored with law professor James Kwak, White House Burning shows why the debasement of our political system in the 1980s and 1990s has produced a dysfunctional Congress that perpetuates our debt-based economy.

Johnson, a professor of entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management, joined us in a Q&A on his findings and analysis of where we go from here.

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Fish, Chips and Solidarity

Photo by L.Richarz/Flickr

Looking for a little taste of England as you settle in for a weekend of the Olympic Games? How about some fish and chips—union made? Our friends at Labor 411, the union business directory from the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, have compiled a list so you can have this classic fare with a side of solidarity.

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163,000 Jobs Created in July, Jobless Rate Ticks Up to 8.3%

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Some good news on the job front: 163,000 jobs were created in July, although the unemployment rate ticked up from 8.2 percent in June to 8.3 percent last month. So far this year, employment growth has averaged 151,000 per month, roughly the same as in 2011, according to Department of Labor data released this morning (click on chart to expand).

The big rise in jobs—many analysts expected 100,000 jobs or fewer would be created in July—is a good step toward economic recovery. But the July data also include several indicators showing difficulties in recovering gains lost since the recession. For instance, long-term jobless workers—those without work for 27 weeks or more—continue to see little change, with 5.2 million remaining unemployed. They account for 40.7 percent of jobless workers.

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6 Ways to Get Better Media Coverage of Your Union

Photo by Timothy J. via http://www.flickr.com/photos/tjc/

Berry Craig, recording secretary for the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council and a professor of history at West Kentucky Community and Technical College, is a former daily newspaper and Associated Press columnist and currently a member of AFT Local 1360. Craig sends us this.

How can you help your union get better coverage in small-town media? 

First, try getting to know the newspaper, TV and radio reporters. Introduce yourself by calling them up or sending them an email with your photo. It’s a good idea to put a face with an email. Better yet, drop by for a visit. 

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Tips to Get Better Media Coverage: Union Members Make Good Copy

Berry Craig, recording secretary for the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO and a professor of history at West Kentucky Community and Technical College, is a former daily newspaper columnist and Associated Press columnist and currently a member of AFT Local 1360. Craig sends us this.

How can you help your union get better coverage in the small-town media? First, try getting to know the newspaper, TV, and radio reporters. Introduce yourself by calling them up or sending them an email with your photo. It’s a good idea to put a face with an email. Better yet, drop by for a visit. 

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AFGE, TSA Reach First-Ever Contract for Airport Screeners

AFGE, TSA Reach First-Ever Contract for Airport Screeners

In 2003, as Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers at several airports were readying to vote on joining AFGE, the Bush administration, citing so-called “national security” concerns, terminated the screeners’ collective bargaining rights.

Today, after a nearly 10-year battle, AFGE and the TSA have reached their first-ever labor contract and it covers the TSA’s 45,000 workers.

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Affordable Care Act is First Step Toward Health Care for All

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is constitutional “is only beginning of the next phase of health care reform,” said the AFL-CIO Executive Council in a statement from its August meeting in Washington, D.C., this week.

The path forward should be clear: First, we must move full speed ahead to implement the ACA; second, we must firmly reject efforts to undo the progress that already has been made with the ACA, Medicaid and Medicare; and third, we must build upon the ACA, Medicaid and Medicare to achieve our goal of quality health care for all.

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AFL-CIO Executive Council: Shared Prosperity Dependent on Collective Bargaining

The AFL-CIO Executive Council endorsed Yale Professor Jacob Hacker’s just released economic blueprint, Prosperity Economics: Building an Economy for All, that says restoring the middle class must include restoring workers’ ability to bargain collectively.

The agenda for shared prosperity builds upon an understanding of the central role of workers, their unions and collective bargaining to address the full range of our society’s economic ills—our jobs and infrastructure deficits, our housing crisis, the hollowing out of our manufacturing sector, the disconnect between wages and productivity, the health care and retirement security crisis and the particular toll that these crises have taken on communities of color and women.

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Republican Ransom Demand: Tax Cuts for Wealthy and Cuts for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid

"Republicans are holding the middle class hostage to their demands on behalf of the richest 2 percent of Americans,” said the AFL-CIO Executive Council in a statement from its August meeting in Washington, D.C., this week. And, the council emphasized:

There can be no excuse for giving in to their demands to extend tax cuts for the 2 percent; cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits; tax workers’ health benefits; or sacrifice middle-class jobs.

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Join Economist Simon Johnson for a Talk on ‘White House Burning’

Join Economist Simon Johnson for a Talk on ‘White House Burning’

At the AFL-CIO this Friday, Aug. 3, at 12 p.m., economist Simon Johnson, co-founder of the popular blog, The Baseline Scenario, will show why the debasement of our political system in the 1980s and 1990s has produced a dysfunctional Congress that perpetuates our debt-based economy. (Be sure to RSVP for the event here.)

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