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Romney Defines Middle-Class Income as $250Gs a Year

Romney Defines Middle-Class Income as $250Gs a Year

When you are at the very top, the middle must look higher than it really is, at least according to Mitt Romney’s latest financial optical illusion. In an interview today on ABC’s "Good Morning America," host George Stephanopoulos asked Romney how he would define middle-class income. “Is $100,000 middle income?’’ Stephanopoulos asked. Romney replied:

No, middle income is $200,000 to $250,000 and less.

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County Officials Silence Voters on Sick Leave Initiative

Photo by Shainelee/Flickr

Four county commissioners in Orange County, Fla., told more than 50,000 voters there that their voices don’t count. By a 4-3 margin Tuesday, the Orange County Commission voted to keep a paid sick leave initiative off the November ballot by requiring further review of the proposal, even though the petition for the ballot measure had been signed by more than 50,000 people and certified. Moving in the right direction, a three-judge panel ruled Friday that Mayor Teresa Jacobs has until Sunday, Sept. 16 at 3:30 p.m. to explain why the Earned Sick Time campaign’s emergency request for voters to be allowed to have their say should not be granted.

Take action at Vote Yes for Sick Earned Time!

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IBEW Takes to Airwaves for Sunday’s NFL Games on CBS

If you’re watching NFL football on CBS this Sunday, watch for a new ad from the Electrical Workers (IBEW). The union’s 30-second commercial spotlighting IBEW members will air during the pre- and post-game shows and during the games. Says IBEW President Edwin Hill:

Our ad is a reminder that real people bring their skills to work every day to provide our nation with the power and the electrical and communications infrastructure that are often taken for granted. And in the case of our members, the people behind this success are making a decent living and are part of the fabric of their communities and the backbone of North America.

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Support, Solidarity for Crystal Sugar Workers

Pickets at the Drayton plant.

When Susan dePasquale, a former AFSCME member in Cleveland, heard that 1,300 workers at American Crystal Sugar had been locked out from their jobs for more than a year, she immediately volunteered her support.

I was just very moved by what I heard…I wanted to do something. Instead of sending well wishes, I thought I’d write a check.

Help locked-out American Crystal workers. Please donate to the BCTGM Lockout Action Fund, care of  the Minnesota AFL-CIO, 175 Aurora Ave., St. Paul, MN 55103.

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Crystal Sugar Shareholders Paid 25% Less Since Lockout

When American Crystal Sugar Co. locked out 1,300 workers from five plants in August 2011 because they wouldn't accept a contract that included significant increases to their health care costs and major changes to job security, the company replaced the highly skilled workers (click to enlarge image).

As a result, productivity has plummeted and American Crystal shareholders are losing money. Another sugar beet processing company, Minn-Dak, paid its shareholders roughly the same in 2010 as did American Crystal. But when replacement workers stepped in, American Crystal Sugar's shareholders received $59 a ton—and Minn-Dak's got an estimated $75.05. That's 25 percent less for American Crystal shareholders in fiscal 2011.

Two words describe such management: Really dumb.

Tell American Crystal CEO Dave Berg to stop wasting shareholders’ money and go back to the bargaining table.

Help locked-out American Crystal workers. Please donate to the BCTGM Lockout Action Fund, care of the Minnesota AFL-CIO, 175 Aurora Ave., St. Paul, MN 55103.

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ALEC’s Funnel Turns Public Dollars to Corporate Profits

Illustration from watchingfrogsboil/Flickr

We’ve traced the fingerprints of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to the growing voter suppression efforts in more than a dozen states under Republican control in recent election season blog posts. But don’t forget that the extremist, corporate-backed ALEC is attacking working families on many fronts. A new report from In the Public Interest tracks ALEC’s footprints down the path of privatization.

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10 Ways to Rebuild the Middle Class

10 Ways to Rebuild the Middle Class

The middle class is the great engine of the American economy, but that engine is sputtering. Today, the National Employment Law Project (NELP), the AFL-CIO and more than a dozen other worker advocate and economic research organizations are proposing “10 Ways to Rebuild the Middle Class for Hard Working Americans: Making Work Pay in the 21st Century.”

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Who Stole the American Dream? A Q&A with Hedrick Smith

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Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Hedrick Smith joined us here today to discuss his new book, Who Stole the American Dream? Can We Get It Back? at an event sponsored by the AFL-CIO and the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

In Who Stole the American Dream? Smith deploys his formidable investigative skills to trace how we got to a point where U.S. economic policy overwhelmingly favors the rich—and looks at whether it's possible to undo the damage done to our working and middle class. Smith, known for his investigative journalism, is author of the national bestseller, The Power Game: How Washington Works. In 1971, as chief diplomatic correspondent for The New York Times, he was a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team that produced the Pentagon Papers series. We asked Smith a few questions about what he found in researching his new book.

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Less Upward Mobility for U.S. Students Than for British

Britain has long had a reputation as rigidly divided by class, with little opportunity for people to move higher up the socio-economic ladder.

No more. There is now more upward mobility for students at British schools than in the United States, according to a new report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

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Community-Labor Partnerships 'TRADE-UP' to Create a Pipeline to Good Jobs in Atlanta

This is an excerpt from "Community-Labor Partnerships 'TRADE-UP' to Create a Pipeline to Good Jobs in Atlanta," by Deborah Scott, executive director, STAND-UP; founder, TRADE-UP. 

The Atlanta/North Georgia Building Trades Council and STAND-UP, a nonprofit "Think and Act Tank for working communities" have partnered to create Trade-Up, a pre-apprenticeship program. Trade-Up addresses a critical gap in the regional labor force. Despite the fact that unemployment in Atlanta building trades remains mired in double digits, the aging construction workforce is leading to shortages of workers in specific trades. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that through the remainder of this decade, employment openings will come mainly from the replacement of retiring workers on existing jobs, not from new jobs created by economic growth. Skills linked to apprenticeships and other forms of on-the-job training are expected to be among the fastest-growing categories of employment. Apprenticeships are an efficient way to address the paradoxical imbalance between increasing market demand for specialized trade skills in an environment otherwise plagued by high unemployment and declining labor force participation.

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