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Union Summer Interns Share Their Vision for Change

Meet the faces of Union Summer in our new Innovators website feature. Watch the video in this post or on the website here

Union Summer, an educational internship that introduces young people to the labor movement, sent interns across the United States to organize for change. For more information on Union Summer, visit www.aflcio.org/unionsummer. Share the video on Facebook here.  

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40% of America’s Workers Live Paycheck to Paycheck

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America’s workers are existing on the edge of financial disaster: 40 percent say they live paycheck to paycheck, according to a recent CareerBuilder survey. Worse, 37 percent say they sometimes need to rely on the next payday to make ends meet. Although the percentage of those literally living for payday has decreased from 42 percent in 2011 and from 46 percent in 2008, the height of the recession, this is not good news.

In addition, the survey found:

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Texas Insurance Commissioner Sides with Health Insurance Companies, Not Consumers

One of the important consumer protections of the Affordable Care Act—the health care reform law that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to repeal—is that health insurance companies must clearly tell people what their policies cover and what they don’t when it comes to treatments, services and providers. 

In Texas, the withdrawal, by the state insurance commissioner, of new rules that would have helped consumers know if they were facing huge out-of-network costs when they are hospitalized shows why those protections in the Affordable Care Act are needed.

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A Growing Problem for All Families: Student Loan Debt

Today college graduates face crippling amounts of student loan debt.

Jessica Camacho is a policy intern at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C.

As a low-income and first-generation college student in my family, the subject of student loans has been a matter of acute concern to me. High school counselors constantly told me that student loans are “good debt.” This type of information made it justifiable for peers in similar socioeconomic situations to borrow federal and private loans. But lenders take advantage of first-time borrowers by failing to explain in full detail future payment plans, which may cause individuals to be fiscally unprepared for post-graduate life. Current student debt trends must be fixed in order to stop setting up graduates for a lifetime of financial struggles.

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Madison Mental Health Workers Vote for AFSCME

Nearly 300 workers at Journey Mental Health Center in Madison, Wis., voted overwhelmingly to join AFSCME Council 40 last week. The two groups that chose AFSCME are the professional staff and the center’s paraprofessional workers. Journey is a private, non-profit organization and the workers provide mental health services at nine sites in Dane County.

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What Workers Really Fear on the Job

What’s your biggest worry about your job?

Some 40 percent of America’s workers say they fear their benefits will be reduced in the near future, according to Gallup’s annual Work and Education poll released today. That compares with 28 percent who are afraid their wages will be cut back and 28 percent who fear they will be laid off, a percentage that's still high compared with pre-recession levels. (Click on chart to enlarge.) In addition, 26 percent fear their hours will be cut back.

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Ryan’s Rage?

Photo by Dave Hoefler/Flickr

It’s darn hard to find an area where we and Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan agree. But there is at least one. Ryan says he is a big fan of the band Rage Against the Machine. Who knew Ryan—the Ayn Rand disciple and worshipper of unfettered corporate power—could find common ground with Rage, which has made a career out of singing and fighting for progressive causes and against corporate greed?

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New Immigrant Businesses Are Good for U.S. Economy

New Immigrant Businesses Are Good for U.S. Economy

Immigrant-owned new businesses are critical to jump-starting the U.S. economy and creating jobs, according to a recent report by
the Partnership for a New American Economy.

Immigrant-owned businesses now employ one out of every 10 U.S. workers at privately owned companies and add more than $775 billion of revenue to the U.S. gross domestic product.

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Union Summer Organizes for Change with New York City Taxi Drivers

Photo Credit: Robert Struckman

The next time you take a cab, take a moment to think about the person driving the car. Taxi drivers typically do not have the same benefits as workers in other professions. But the National Taxi Workers Alliance (NTWA) is working to change that. 

NTWA in New York City is the largest taxi driver union in the United States working to ensure that its members can make a living wage. This summer, Sahar Khan, one of the nine New York Union Summer interns, is learning about NTWA's innovative strategies to grow the union's membership.

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Mitt Romney: BainOfOurExistence.com

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Mitt Romney likes to cite his experience as a businessman as qualifying him to be president.

A new website takes a close look at Romney’s participation in the corporate world—his many years as CEO of the hedge fund Bain Capital. The closer you look, the uglier it gets.

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