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Striking Palermo's Workers Ask Costco to Enforce Suppliers Code of Conduct

Laura Torres. Photo ©Wendi Kent used by permission.

Workers at Palermo's Pizza in Milwaukee, Wis., have been on strike for nearly two months in a struggle for justice with one of the largest frozen pizza manufacturers in the nation. You can help the workers—like Laura Torres, a single mother of six who has worked at the Palermo's plant for 10 years—by asking Costco, Palermo’s biggest customer, to urge the pizza maker to respect workers and improve working conditions at the plant.

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Chilean Mine Accident Sparks College Student's Interest in Unions

Photo Credit: Hugo Infante/Government of Chile

Two years ago on Aug. 5., a San José copper-gold mine located in Chile’s northern Atacama Desert, caved in, trapping 33 miners 2,257 feet underground. “The 33,” as they were quickly known around the world, survived a staggering 69 days underground before their rescue.

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Once Upon a Trickle Down

The phrase “trickle-down” economics has always been ripe for derision. Not only because it doesn’t work—the idea that if we ply the rich with more money from taxpayers’ pockets some eventually will “trickle down” in the form of jobs and prosperity is a myth. But also because, let’s face it, “trickle down” conjures up a variety of images we won’t mention here.

Now, cartoonist Mark Fiore has created an animated video, “Once Upon a Trickle Down,” that puts the entire corporate/Republican-backed theory and its effects into an easy-to-understand children’s rhyme. Here’s a taste:

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Son of Texas Mail Handler Falls Short of Olympic Dream

Errol Spence Jr., the son of Debra—a Dallas, Texas, member of National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU) Local 311—lost his 152-pound welterweight bout tonight in round of 16 in boxing competition in Olympic Games in London.

Spence, the top-ranked U.S. amateur in his weight class, lost to Vikas Kisham of India, who was the 2011 World Amateur bronze medalist. Click here for more on Spence.  

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Gender Diversity in the Boardroom—Good for Corporations

The AFL-CIO recently joined with other investors to ask corporations to nominate more women as directors. The AFL-CIO’s Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler co-signed a letter with state officials from California, New York, Washington, Massachusetts and other states, as well as executives from the nation’s largest state pension funds, mutual fund companies, and women’s organizations.

Investors sent the letter to the nominating committees of S&P 500 companies that do not have any women on their boards.

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Texas Judge Blocks Key Part of State's Voter Suppression Law

Good news in from Texas. This from Think Progress:

A federal judge in Texas has blocked a key provision of the state’s recent voter suppression law that limited the ability of outside groups to register new voters.

The law, which was passed by the Republican-held legislature in an emergency session last year, placed new restrictions on groups like the League of Women Voters, making it significantly more difficult for them to register voters. The law also imposed a strict voter ID requirement for the state, which has since been blocked by the Department of Justice.

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Is the U.S. Headed for a Fiscal Cliff?

Is the U.S. Headed for a Fiscal Cliff?

Economist Simon Johnson, co-founder of the popular blog, The Baseline Scenario, joined us here today at the AFL-CIO for a discussion of his new book, White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt and Why It Matters to You. Co-authored with law professor James Kwak, White House Burning shows why the debasement of our political system in the 1980s and 1990s has produced a dysfunctional Congress that perpetuates our debt-based economy.

Johnson, a professor of entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management, joined us in a Q&A on his findings and analysis of where we go from here.

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Fish, Chips and Solidarity

Photo by L.Richarz/Flickr

Looking for a little taste of England as you settle in for a weekend of the Olympic Games? How about some fish and chips—union made? Our friends at Labor 411, the union business directory from the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, have compiled a list so you can have this classic fare with a side of solidarity.

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163,000 Jobs Created in July, Jobless Rate Ticks Up to 8.3%


Some good news on the job front: 163,000 jobs were created in July, although the unemployment rate ticked up from 8.2 percent in June to 8.3 percent last month. So far this year, employment growth has averaged 151,000 per month, roughly the same as in 2011, according to Department of Labor data released this morning (click on chart to expand).

The big rise in jobs—many analysts expected 100,000 jobs or fewer would be created in July—is a good step toward economic recovery. But the July data also include several indicators showing difficulties in recovering gains lost since the recession. For instance, long-term jobless workers—those without work for 27 weeks or more—continue to see little change, with 5.2 million remaining unemployed. They account for 40.7 percent of jobless workers.

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6 Ways to Get Better Media Coverage of Your Union

Photo by Timothy J. via

Berry Craig, recording secretary for the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council and a professor of history at West Kentucky Community and Technical College, is a former daily newspaper and Associated Press columnist and currently a member of AFT Local 1360. Craig sends us this.

How can you help your union get better coverage in small-town media? 

First, try getting to know the newspaper, TV and radio reporters. Introduce yourself by calling them up or sending them an email with your photo. It’s a good idea to put a face with an email. Better yet, drop by for a visit. 

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