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AFT President Randi Weingarten Arrested at School Closure Protest

Photo courtesy Ra Hurd

Randi Weingarten, president of AFT, was arrested Thursday for blocking access to a school closure hearing in Philadelphia. AFT spokesman Marcus Mrowka told The Huffington Post that Weingarten was arrested with 18 other community activists for blocking the entrance to the meeting. Weingarten said afterward she knew her actions would lead to arrest, but it was a last-resort attempt to stop the Philadelphia School Reform Commission from closing some of the city's public schools, which she argues would detrimentally affect students, particularly African American and Latino students.

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Economy Adds 236,000 Jobs but Recovery Is Still too Slow

Economy Adds 236,000 Jobs but Recovery Is Still too Slow

The nation’s economy added 236,000 new jobs in February and the jobless rate was 7.7% from January's 7.9%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The 236,000 jobs created reflect 35 straight months of positive job growth. But the number of long-term unemployed (those who are jobless for 27 weeks or more) was unchanged at 4.8 million. These people account for 40.2% of the unemployed.

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International Women's Day: ITUC Calls to End Violence Against Women

Photo courtesy of the ITUC

Ending violence against women is something everyone can agree on and shouldn't be controversial. Astonishingly, some Republicans in Congress held up the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) for more than a year because it has protections for Native Americans, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and immigrant women without documents. President Obama just signed VAWA into law yesterday. This Senate-version of the bill was voted down by 138 Republicans in the House. Today, unions across the world are celebrating International Women's Day and raising awareness about violence against women and girls. 

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Workplace Rules to Battle Bullying on the Rise

A number of states are considering legislation that would allow workers to sue for on-the-job harassment and bullying that causes physical or emotional harm. Some employers have already instituted anti-bullying policies, but advocacy groups want a more comprehensive response to what has been a problem on the rise since the economic downturn began. More than a dozen states have considered legislation to combat on-the-job bullying in the past year.

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President Obama Signs Re-Authorization of the Violence Against Women Act into Law

President Obama signs a bill into law.

This afternoon, President Obama signed into law the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). 

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Costco CEO Supports Fair Minimum Wage Act

Photo courtesy Rod Begbie

Costco CEO Craig Jelinek has joined the push to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by saying he supports the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, which would not only raise the current wage from $7.25, but would index the wage to inflation and raise wages for tipped employees, too. Costco already pays its starting employees a wage of $11.50 per hour while maintaining a higher sales volume than competitors such as the WalMart-owned Sam's Club and ranking in the top 25 of the Fortune 500 in terms of revenue.

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Future of Unions: New Models of Worker Representation

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

The basic system of worker representation is failing to meet the needs of America’s working men and women by every critical measure, said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka at today's 2013 Conference on New Models of Worker Representation in Chicago. Labor unions are vulnerable, which is a challenge, but this vulnerability also presents an opportunity to innovate, he said. 

The AFL-CIO, along with its affiliate unions, community partners and allies, are embarking on a deep evaluation of the future for working people and the labor movement and exploring innovations for the future of worker organizing. 

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Working Women Empowered: Honduran Women Build Leadership

Photo courtesy STICH

Irís Munguía began toiling at a banana packing plant at age 18, living on the banana finca (plantation) as a condition of employment. After 22 years at the plant, the longtime union activist now heads the Honduran banana and agricultural worker confederation, COSIBAH (Coordinadora de Sindicatos Bananeros y Agroindustriales de Honduras), founded in 1993. Munguía also is the first female coordinator of COLSIBA, the Latin American coordinating body of agricultural unions.

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New Models of Worker Representation Conference

Photo courtesy of the Chicago Center for Working-Class Studies

Live from Chicago, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is talking about the future of the union movement and new models of worker representation. This event is hosted by Chicago Center for Working-Class Studies and televised and streamed by Chicago Access Network Television (CAN TV). Watch the live stream after the jump. 

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New NELP Study Shows that ALEC Is Engaged in Widespread Campaign to Suppress Wages

new report from the National Employment Law Project (NELP) shows that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is engaged in a widespread campaign to suppress the wages of already low-wage workers. ALEC has created model legislation that is designed to weaken or repeal state minimum wage laws, reduce minimum wages for young workers and tipped workers, weaken overtime compensation rules and stop local governments from passing living wage ordinances.

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