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AFL-CIO Now

Firefighters Wear Pink to Raise Awareness for Breast Cancer

IAFF rolls up sleeves and lends a hand in battle against breast cancer.

Check out the AFL-CIO's new In Our Communities website feature, "Firefighters Give Back to Their Communities On and Off the Job." 

It’s hard to miss a burly firefighter in a bright pink T-shirt. And for tens of thousands of Fire Fighters (IAFF) union members across the country, that’s exactly the point. When the public sees them in pink tees, they are reminded that breast cancer is a deadly disease requiring regular exams and mammograms. And they are urged to help women who can’t afford regular check-ups.

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Monday Night Football Disaster in Seattle Brings More Calls to End NFL Lockout of Refs

If you were building a bridge, would you hire a work crew with a few hours of metal shop on their résumés, or trained and certified Ironworkers? Would you go into surgery with someone who only has a CPR certificate, or a real doctor with a medical degree?

If you’re NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, or one of the 32 NFL team owners, you'd go with the newbie—at least it seems that way, given their decision to lock out professional NFL officials and instead use untrained, unprepared and in-over-their-heads replacement referees.

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America Suffers from Electoral Dysfunction

America Suffers from Electoral Dysfunction

It sounds counterintuitive to those of us who remember our history and civics lessons on American democracy, but U.S. voter registration laws—from early registration deadlines to voter ID laws—are some of the most restrictive in democratic nations and keep large portions of the eligible voting population out of the democratic process.

Victoria Bassetti, author of Electoral Dysfunction: A Survival Manual for American Voters (a companion book to an upcoming PBS documentary set to air in October), writes in The Washington Post that voters in most nations are allowed to register and cast ballots on Election Day and governments proactively seek out voters and continually update voter lists. But:

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Voter Suppression Laws Could Disenfranchise 10 Million Latinos

Approximately 10 million Latino voters could be disenfranchised thanks to new voting barriers enacted by legislatures and elected leaders in more than 20 states, according to an Advancement Project study released Monday.

The deluge of state-level voting restrictions passed in recent years has placed higher burdens on voters, even ones that already are registered in states like Pennsylvania. The Advancement Project study looks at requirements to prove citizenship and strict voter ID laws and how those affect Latino voters and people of color. 

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Today is National Voter Registration Day

Today is National Voter Registration Day. Volunteers, celebrities and organizations from all over the country are "hitting the streets" for National Voter Registration Day. This single day of coordinated field, technology and media efforts will create awareness of voter registration opportunities. Want to get involved? Find a National Voter Registration Day event near you

Are you on Twitter? Follow the action using the hashtags #925NVRD and #voteready. 

Make sure all your friends and family are ready to vote this November. Send them to www.aflcio.org/register.

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Tell Us What You Think: What’s Wrong With the U.S. Economy? The Long Answer.

This is the second of a four-part series describing what went wrong with America’s economy and how to fix it. See Part 3 tomorrow and read Part 1: "Tell Us What You Think: What’s Wrong With the U.S. Economy? The Real Scoop"—and please leave a comment to tell us what you think. (Click the chart to enlarge.)

If the short answer is “we’re still recovering from the Crash of 2008,” the long answer is “there was obviously something wrong with the economy long before the Crash of 2008.” 

There were obvious warning signs during the Bush years that should have set off alarm bells.  Most importantly, wages and middle-class family incomes were dead in the water.  The median income for working-age families started falling in 2000 and never recovered during the 2001-2007 recovery.

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Workers’ Kids Appeal to American Crystal to End Lockout

Photos by Ja-Rei Wang

Ten-year-old Sophia Frank wants American Crystal Sugar CEO Dave Berg and the firm’s board members to stop the 13-month lockout of her father and the more than 1,300 workers because, as she wrote in a letter to company officials:

I'm sorta worried that we're about to run out of food or lose our home because my dad’s out of work for so long.

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One Good Reason Why the Pa. Voter ID Law Must be Overturned: Jean Foreman

Don't forget to register to vote: www.aflcio.org/register

Jean Foreman, 80, had to wait four hours at the Pittsburgh PennDOT to get her voter ID last Tuesday. Foreman was denied a Pennsylvania state-issued  ID on the first try. The problem was, Foreman did not have a birth certificate (although she had tried several times to obtain one without any success). When she was born, the hospital did not record the births of African American children. Volunteer attorneys with the United Steelworkers (USW) at the My Vote, My Right event outside the PennDOT, were able to help Foreman come up with additional printouts of bills, voter registration paperwork and an affidavit from a person who swore Foreman lived at her residence. During the four-hour process hunting down paperwork, Foreman had to take a break to sip orange juice because as a diabetic, her blood sugar was getting low and she was feeling weak.

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Join Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele at the AFL-CIO Sept. 28

The Betrayal of the American Dream is a New York Times bestseller.

America’s middle class has been the backbone of our nation’s success. But now the opportunities and education long available to many are open only to a privileged few. In The Betrayal of the American Dream, a New York Times bestseller, Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele show how a prosperous new ruling elite has systematically impoverished our middle class and made it far less certain our children will enjoy a better life than their parents.

Join us at the AFL-CIO for the third event of our fall book series to discuss Barlett and Steele's book, The Betrayal of the American Dream, Friday, Sept. 28, at noon. Bring your lunch; beverages will be available. Books will be available for purchase and authors' signing.

Where: AFL-CIO

815 16th St., N.W.
When: Friday, Sept. 28, noon–2 p.m.

RSVP here

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Trumka: Mass. Senate Race Should Be Decided on Issues, Not Gender

Massachusetts AFL-CIO photo

Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Scott Brown (R) portrays himself as a pickup truck-driving, Boston Bruins jersey-wearing friend of union workers and working families. He paints his opponent in the Senate race, Elizabeth Warren, as a woman who is an elitist college professor. Both points are untrue. 

Today, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka set the record straight on Brown and Warren in an address in Boston to New England union members and leaders that media and political observers are comparing to his 2008 speech on the role race played in some workers’ opposition to President Obama’s candidacy.

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