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Protests Spread to 77 Cities in Turkey

Photo by Jan Schmidt-Whitley. See more at:

Over the past few weeks, Turkey has been rocked by unrest. The protests were sparked by peaceful resistance to the destruction of Istanbul’s Gezi Park in Taksim Square, the only green public place in central Istanbul, which was to be turned into a shopping mall and historical recreation of Ottoman Artillery Barracks. 

A harsh response from the state, characterized by extreme police brutality, has ensued in response to what have become the largest demonstrations the country has seen for decades. Protests have now spread to 77 cities in Turkey.

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Houston Union Members Hand Out Books at the COPA Soccer Tournament

Lizzet Lopez reads to children at the Houston COPA Texas AFT/AFL-CIO booth.

The Texas AFL-CIO and Texas AFT partnered this weekend with a Univision station in Houston to promote reading, immigration reform and workers' rights at the Houston edition of the COPA Univision amateur soccer tournament. The event included adult men's and women's and youth teams. During the tournament, several thousand people visited the AFL-CIO/AFT exhibit and volunteers gave out more than 1,800 books to children in attendance. Besides the ice cream truck, the exhibit was the second most popular, said Joe Arabie of the Texas AFL-CIO. 

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OSHA to Investigate Second Louisiana Chemical Plant Explosion

For the second time in the past few days, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched an investigation into a chemical plant explosion in Louisiana. On Thursday, a plant in Geismar, La., exploded, killing one person and injuring 73. On Friday, a blast in Donaldsonville, La., killed one person and injured seven. The plant that exploded on Thursday hadn't been inspected by OSHA in 20 years. It is not yet known when the last inspection was done at the Donaldsonville plant.

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Congress Considers Proposals to Enable High-Cost Mortgages

The ink has barely dried on new rules to protect working people from predatory mortgage lenders and the big bankers’ friends in Congress are already making moves to try to roll back protections. Tomorrow, a House hearing is scheduled to consider proposals to roll back protections against predatory mortgages.

To protect consumers from the types of predatory lending that led to the housing crisis, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 included the commonsense requirement that mortgage lenders consider a borrower’s ability to repay when issuing a mortgage.

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Supreme Court Strikes Down Arizona Law Requiring Voter Registration Applicants to Prove Citizenship

Photo courtesy: the U.S. Military Academy at West Point

In a 7-2 ruling and a major victory for voting rights advocates, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down an Arizona law that required people attempting to register to vote in the state to provide proof of citizenship. The court ruled the additional requirement, not required under federal law, was an overreach by the state. States cannot add extra voter requirements that go beyond federal law. The 1993 "motor voter" law was passed in order to simplify voter registration and only requires that potential voters state that they are citizens, under penalty of perjury, but doesn't require additional proof of citizenship. The majority opinion was written by Antonin Scalia, who said that federal law "forbids states to demand that an applicant submit additional information beyond that required by the federal form." The dissenting votes were from Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. 

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The Urgency of Now for the Unemployed

The Urgency of Now for the Unemployed

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate increased slightly from 7.5% to 7.6% in May. Each month, comments on this number include a discussion on “labor force participation"—the number that is released is based on people who are “in the labor force.” To be included in the labor force, someone has to either be employed, or actively looking for work. 

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Tell Us: How Can We Reverse the Trend of the Rich Getting Richer While Everyone Else Gets Less and Less?

Photo from the UC Berkeley blog:

Join Robert Reich on Thursday, June 20, noon–1 p.m. EDT for the seventh in the AFL-CIO series of live online discussions on how we build a movement for the future of working people. Reich, former secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton and Chancellor’s professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley—and the AFL-CIO—wants to hear your ideas on new ways the labor movement can change economic trends that hurt working people. He poses this question:

The rich keep getting a bigger share of the economic pie while everyone else’s share keeps shrinking. What should be done to reverse this trend?

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Trumka: 'Americans in All but Paper' Deserve a Road Map, not an Obstacle Course to Citizenship

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka released the following statement this morning on creating a commonsense immigration process:

Working people, including the 12 million members of the AFL-CIO, would like to remind our elected leaders why there is no higher legislative priority than immigration reform, which must include a certain and inclusive path to citizenship and respect the rights of America’s workers.

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Dominican Republic: Domestic Workers Wage Long Campaign for Rights

Domestic workers in the Dominican Republic are urging lawmakers to pass the "Decent Work for Domestic Workers" standard. Photo credit: Julio Lantigua

Workers this week are marking the second anniversary of the historic passage of a global standard covering the rights of domestic workers. The International Labor Organization's (ILO's) Decent Work for Domestic Workers Convention (No. 189) covers written employment contracts, protection from harassment, abuse and violence, hours of work, job safety and other workplace safeguards.

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