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This Memorial Day, Remember Those Who Gave Their Lives for Freedom

This Memorial Day, Remember Those Who Gave Their Lives for Freedom

James Gilbert is director of the AFL-CIO Union Veterans Council.

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer. Many Americans will enjoy a day off with family and friends, perhaps at a barbecue or baseball game. Those times and the memories that are created are precious and should be celebrated. Since 1868, this holiday has served as a moment when Americans remember the men and women of the military who lost their lives to preserve our freedom.

In that spirit, I ask that you take time this weekend to do something with your family to pass along the tradition of remembrance. All across the country, there will be ceremonies at many of the 131 Department of Veterans Affairs cemeteries. The National Cemetery Administration honors veterans with final resting places in national shrines and with lasting tributes that commemorate their service to our nation. To find out where and when a wreath-laying is happening in your area, go to the National Cemetery Administration’s website.

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Shawnee Police Association Members Respond Quickly to Tornado Tragedy

Cpl. Andrew Terry

When the tornado hit Moore, Okla., on Monday, International Union of Police Associations (IUPA) members Andrew Terry, Jay Keehn, Michael Myers and David Carpenter were quick to respond to the tragedy in their hometown. All of the members of IUPA Local 3 offered their services, as did members of numerous other locals in the area. The response was so overwhelming that officials on the ground had to put many volunteers on standby.

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10 Jobs You Probably Didn't Know Were Union Jobs

When most people think about union members, they probably picture blue-collar workers in factories. Maybe teachers, police, firefighters and other government employees come to mind.

But workers in many more fields come together in unions to have a voice on the job to improve their lives and the lives of their families—from rocket scientists at NASA (members of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers [IFPTE]) to actors like Alec Baldwin (a member of SAG-AFTRA) and all across the spectrum of work that goes on in the United States.

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Under Cover Inside Bangladeshi Garment Factory

CBS News secretly filmed inside a Bangladesh apparel factory recently. There they found emergency fire doors blocked and just two fire extinguishers for a 100,000-square-foot area—another 11 shown on an evacuation plan were nowhere to be seen. Recent fires have claimed the lives of more than 400 Bangladeshi clothing workers.


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UNITE HERE: Hyatt’s Pritzker Wrong for Top Commerce Job


Penny Pritzker is President Obama’s nominee to be the next secretary of commerce. She is also a longtime member of the board of directors of the Hyatt hotel chain and heir to the Hyatt fortune. But her nearly decade-long record on the board, says UNITE HERE President D. Taylor, shows why the U.S. Senate should not confirm her. In a letter to Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Taylor writes: 

Under her leadership, Hyatt has exhibited a broad pattern of labor abuses, including aggressive outsourcing, low wages and the mistreatment of housekeepers. Together these practices single out Hyatt as the worst hotel employer in the United States.

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Walker’s Greek Tragedy for Wisconsin

AFSCME photo

AFSCME President Lee Saunders finds some dangerous parallels between the crushing austerity measures that have “left the Greek economy dangling on a ledge, threatening to prolong the recession and sending unemployment skyrocketing,” and Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) economic prescription for Wisconsin. In a column at The Huffington Post, Saunders writes:

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Trade You a Mohawk for That Peanut Butter

Trade You a Mohawk for That Peanut Butter

She said she’d get a Mohawk. She got a Mohawk.

“I’m sporting a new ‘do,’” says Alice Phillips, business manager for Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 483 of Tacoma, Wash. “It feels…light. It’s different.”

The shaved head and spiked hair came about because Phillips wanted her union local to double last year’s donation of union-made peanut butter as part of the Letter Carriers’ (NALC's) National Food Drive. The 21st annual drive to combat hunger is the nation’s largest single-day food drive and is held annually on the second Saturday in May in 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In 2012, letter carriers collected 70 million pounds of food donations along their postal routes.

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UC Medical Center Strike Focused on Better Patient Care, Safe Staffing Levels

AFSCME photo by Kevin Brown

Thousands of University of California patient care workers are back on the job today after a two-day strike at five UC medical centers demanding better patient care and safe staffing levels. Outside the centers, members of AFSCME Local 3299—the nurses, surgical and X-ray technicians, custodians, servers, cooks and others who keep one of the largest medical systems in the country running—chanted:  

What’s this about? Patient care! All day, all night—safe staffing is our fight.

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Homeowner Protests Continue at Law Firm

Photo courtesy: HDL

Homeowners supported by the Home Defenders League (HDL) and Occupy Our Homes participated in a third day of protest Wednesday, this time at the law firm Covington & Burling, which represents several major U.S. banks and is the former workplace of Attorney General Eric Holder, a key target of the week's protests. Eight more protesters were arrested, bringing the total for the three days to 34. A message on the HDL Facebook page Thursday said that all of those arrested were released and will not face charges stemming from the protests.

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