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Rhode Island Unions Roll Up their 'Greensleeves' this Holiday Season

Rhode Island Unions Roll Up their 'Greensleeves' this Holiday Season

Jon Israel, a Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD) member, didn’t plan on falling off the roof of a house he was working on in Barrington, R.I. a few weeks ago. He also didn’t plan on the local labor movement organizing a holiday fundraiser to help his family get through his recovery from the serious injuries he sustained from the fall.

Yet there is a long history in the labor movement of stepping up community service during the holiday season. In Rhode Island, local labor unions are starting early with the holiday cheer this year. In addition to the fundraiser for Jon Israel, union members in Rhode Island are organizing a wide variety of community service opportunities.

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Unemployment Is Still the Real Crisis

Photo courtesy of, a project of the National Employment Law Project (NELP).

Paul Krugman reminds us in his New York Times column today that the real economic problem right now is a jobs crisis—not a deficit crisis. The unemployment rate may have dipped, but the number of jobless workers is more stubborn. So why aren’t pundits and the rest of the Inside-the-Beltway crew screaming about unemployment?

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Jobless Rate Drops to 7.7% as 146,000 Jobs Added

The nation’s jobless rate dropped to 7.7% in November—down from October’s 7.9% and the lowest level since December 2008—as the economy added 146,000 new jobs last month, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The 146,000 jobs created reflect 33 straight months of positive job growth.

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Michigan Republicans Pass 'Right to Work' for Less Bills Without Hearings or Input from Residents

Michigan Republicans Pass 'Right to Work' for Less Legislation Without Hearings or Input from Residents

Chris Savage is a Michigan-based political writer and owner of Eclectablog. You also can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and President Barack Obama spoke out against "right to work" for less legislation yesterday. These types of laws reduce wages and benefits for working families.  

Two days ago, I reported that Michigan Republicans, along with Gov. Rick Snyder, were planning on making Michigan the nation’s 24th “right to work” for Less (RTWFL) state by the end of the year. The timetable was, apparently, far more aggressive than that. The very next day after Snyder announced RTWFL was “on the table,” he held a joint press conference with House Speaker Jase Bolger and Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville saying that he was asking for the legislation to be passed and that he would sign it into law.

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Operation Christmas Solidarity Rescues Locked-Out American Crystal Sugar Workers from Scrooge

Photo courtesy of chicagogeek

More than 1,300 Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa have been locked out by American Crystal Sugar for more than a year and a half. These working families are being denied incomes and health care benefits.  

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Minnesota Lockouts Don’t Stop Holiday Music

Minnesota Lockouts Don’t Stop Holiday Music

In cities across the country this holiday season, theaters will be packed for performances of the Christmas classic ballet, the "Nutcracker Suite"—in many cases performed by dancers of the Musical Artists (AGMA). Symphony halls will be full as orchestra musicians—many who are members of American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM)—fill the air with holiday-themed concerts.

But in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., the home concert halls of Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra will be dark.

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Breaking: Michigan Senate Passes ‘Right to Work’ For Less Bill

The Michigan State Senate just passed the “right to work” for less bill. The House passed a similar bill earlier today and Gov. Rick Snyder (R) says he will sign the legislation that rolls back workers’ rights.

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Breaking: Obama Opposes Michigan 'Right to Work' for Less Proposal

White House spokesperson Matt Lehrich said Thursday the president opposes "right to work" for less laws like legislation proposed in Michigan.

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Breaking: Right to Work Bill Passes in the Michigan State House

"Right to Work" for less passes the Michigan State House by a 58-52 vote. The senate is debating a similar bill. 

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Michigan Protesters Maced; State Capitol Is Locked Down

Reports coming in from Twitter, via #saveMI and other hashtags, say that the Michigan state Capitol is locked down and protesters are being denied access. MLive confirms that several of the 3,000 protesters on hand have been arrested and that mace was used on several of them after they tried to enter the Senate chambers. Police say no one else is being allowed in the building because they fear that the structural integrity of the building was threatened. At least eight arrests were made, according to police, for "impeding the flow of pedestrian traffic." Working families and their allies are rallying at the Capitol in opposition to a new "right to work" for less proposal being put forth by Gov. Rick Snyder and legislative Republicans.

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