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Senate OKs End of Bush Tax Cuts for Wealthy, but House Will Block

The U.S. Senate today voted 51-48 to end the Bush tax cuts for the nation’s richest 2% and maintain the cuts for middle-class families. Also, by a 45-54 margin, lawmakers defeated a Republican bill that continued the tax breaks for the wealthy. However, today’s action was largely symbolic as the Republican-controlled House will not take up the Senate bill that ends the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy. But it's certainly further evidence about whose side congressional Republicans are on.

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House GOP Voted to Increase the Deficit 33 Times

House GOP Voted to Increase the Deficit 33 Times

House Republicans shed crocodile tears about the deficit in the same breath they cast votes for legislation like the Ryan budget plan, which asks the poor to pay for deficit reduction. The Ryan budget ends Medicare as we know it, guts low-income programs and gives millionaires another tax cut they don’t need.

As much as the GOP claims they are the party willing to tackle the deficit (mainly by gutting federal programs), the House Republicans voted 33 times to increase the deficit. That’s right: 33.

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AFL-CIO Joins Groups Calling for Regulation of the H-2B Guest Worker Visa Program

The H-2B guest worker visa program is plagued by fraud and abuse. Designed to allow employers to hire temporary guest workers for nonagricultural labor, the H-2B program lacks provisions, which would protect workers from wage theft, forced labor, predatory recruitment fees and other forms of exploitation. Guest workers in the United States are legally tied to their employer and are often forced to assume crippling debts for the opportunity to pursue low-wage work.

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Catastrophic Events Even Riskier with Manufacturing’s Decline

Photo by USACEpublic affairs/Flickr

Whether it's a Katrina-like hurricane, major earthquake or devastating terrorist attack, the decline in America’s industrial manufacturing base and the nation’s reliance on foreign suppliers for goods formerly made in the U.S.A. threatens our ability to prevent, repair and recover from a major catastrophe, a new report reveals.

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Republicans Seek to ‘Strengthen’ Labor Law

Photo by jackace/Flickr

OMG, look up! Is that a flying pig? That was my thought when I read the latest bulletin from the Republican-controlled House Education and Workforce Committee announcing a hearing that would be “Examining Proposals to Strengthen the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).”

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U.S. Secretary of Labor, Union Leaders and Workers Call on Congress to Bring Jobs Home

California labor activists call on Congress to Bring Jobs Home.

This is a cross-post from the California Labor Federation's blog, Labor's Edge, by Danielle Tipton. 

There is no issue more important in California and America right now than jobs. All of us know someone struggling to find one—you might even be struggling to find one yourself. So why is our tax money helping to ship jobs to other countries?

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BCTGM Escalates Campaign for Contract American Crystal Sugar

Photo courtesy of http://www.bctgm.org/ACS_Lockout.html

It’s been nearly a year since the 1,300 American Crystal Sugar Co. workers with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) have gone to work. The workers are locked out of five American Crystal Sugar processing facilities and other facilities.

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Can Obama Win Back the Youth Vote?

Photo by greenforall.org/Flickr

This is a cross-post from The Huffington Post by Amy B. Dean, a fellow at The Century Foundation and co-author of A New New Deal: How Regional Activism Will Reshape the American Labor Movement.

In 2008, young people in America—including many who voted in their first presidential election—rallied behind a youthful senator from Illinois campaigning on the promise of change and hope. Now the incumbent in the White House, Barack Obama, faces a difficult challenge in recapturing the youth vote for his re-election. Early this month, The New York Times reported that enthusiasm for Obama among voters aged 18 to 24 has fallen sharply since the past election cycle. And many of the young people interviewed in the article spoke of feeling alienated from politics.

So what is behind young people's disaffection? And what must President Obama do if he is serious about winning back the country's youth?
 

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Harold Meyerson: Bankrupt Cities? Don't Blame Unions

The bankruptcies of California cities Stockton and San Bernardino weren’t caused by unions, Washington Post op-ed columnist Harold Meyerson points out in a new column, “Bankrupt Cities? Don’t Blame Unions.” Contrary to reporting on the subject, the bankruptcies of these two cities were caused by Big Banks “peddling subprime mortgages to poorly paid workers.”

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Union Summer—An Education in Union and Community Organizing

Cuahuctemoc Salinas marches in a boycott picket line. He is in the orange vest.

A question Cuahuctemoc Salinas often gets when he tells carwash customers about the poor working conditions carwash workers experience is “So why are they still working here?”

To which he replies:

They’re afraid. Jobs are sacred right now. They have to provide for their families.

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