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IBEW Apprenticeship: One of the Most Rewarding Decisions I Ever Made

Photo of Hannah Cooper.

Over the next few months, we'll be following the story of Hannah Cooper, an apprentice with Electrical Workers (IBEW). Check out her first entry below:

My entire life my mother has been a union electrician—a fact of life I never thought to question. It was where she spent her days while I was growing up, and it gave her the means to support our family. Although I understood and in my own way appreciated this fact, it never once occurred to me when considering potential career paths. I had this idea that I was going to make a career for myself in the arts and spend my time traveling the world as a dancer—maybe do some part-time modeling for supplemental income—acquire a bachelor's degree at a four-year university back East and maybe try to join a dance company. This was the plan anyways, from my early years of childhood up through the first half of my senior year of high school, when I realized I didn’t want to be a dancer anymore. I stopped showing up to my college auditions, completely throwing a wrench in the plan.

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Rose Ann: Woman of Steel

Rose Ann Rhodes, a steelworker, Marine Corps veteran and mother of five, talks about her career at Elliott Group in Jeannette, Pa., and what it means to be a woman of steel.

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In Case You Missed It: Catch Up on Your Friday Reading

Photo courtesy of Christina Welsh's Flickr photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/christinawelsh/

In case you missed it, here are some important reads from the past week:

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It’s Time for a New Leader at the Federal Housing Finance Agency

A growing chorus of voices across the country is calling for President Obama to replace the acting director of Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Edward J. DeMarco. DeMarco, a holdover from the Bush administration, is responsible for overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. President Obama’s nominee to replace him in 2010 was blocked by Republicans.

DeMarco has prohibited Fannie and Freddie from providing responsible homeowners who are struggling to keep up with their mortgages with access to principal reductions. He has even refused to allow them to participate in the Obama administration’s principal reduction program (HAMP PRA), despite FHFA analysis showing that participating in the program could save $3.6 billion for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and $1 billion for the taxpayers.

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Join Drive to Save Saturday Delivery

Wisconsin AFL-CIO photo

This Sunday, you can rally and tell Congress to strengthen the U.S. Postal Service for the future and protect six-day mail delivery. The coalition Delivering for America is organizing hundreds of rallies across the country to save Saturday delivery, which Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says he will end Aug. 5. Find a rally near you.

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Las Vegas Strip Action Results in 98 Arrests

Las Vegas Strip Action Results in 98 Arrests

Nearly 100 workers were arrested Wednesday night in Las Vegas as they engaged in civil disobedience to protest the Cosmopolitan casino's refusal to agree to a fair contract with its workers. As reported Wednesday, members of Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Local 165 blocked the street on the Las Vegas Strip, leading to 98 arrests.

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A Road Map to Citizenship: The Sooner the Better

In recent weeks, there has been notable GOP floundering on the issue of creating a road map to citizenship as part of an overall immigration policy bill. From Rand Paul and Jeb Bush, who both struck a vague position on the issue, to those like Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), who has previously come out in support of a legalization program without a citizenship option, Republicans are struggling to find a coherent position on their level of support for citizenship for 11 million new American immigrants.

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CVS Demands Private Health Information from Employees or They'll Face Fine

Photo courtesy afagen

Pharmacy chain CVS announced a new policy that will require 200,000 employees who receive health care through the corporation to submit personal health information to the company or face a $50 monthly fine, ABC News reports. Workers must submit their weight, body fat, glucose levels and other vital signs or pay an additional $600 per year for their existing health coverage. Employees have until May 1, 2014, to comply with the new policy or face the fine.

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Trumka: Austerity Only Weakens the Economy

Trumka: Austerity Only Weakens the Economy

Calling sequestration “just a fancy word for a dumb idea,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says the 750,000 job-killing, across-the-board budget cuts and other moves toward fiscal austerity will “further weaken the economy and cost jobs” and make even worse “the crisis of mass unemployment. Millions of Americans who want to work cannot find jobs.”

Writing in a special report in The Hill on jobs and the economy, Trumka says:

On some days, it seems like all of official Washington is racing to embrace the most destructive consensus since the Iraq war.

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Day of Action Calls for Repeal of ‘Cockamamy’ Sequester

Photo of an Arizona "Repeal Sequester" event.

In more than 100 events across the country Wednesday, working families rallied outside lawmakers’ offices, federal agencies, military bases and elsewhere to shine a spotlight on the impact of the sequester’s across-the-board cuts that will cost more than 750,000 jobs this year alone and to call for its repeal.

While most of the actions aimed at members of Congress were focused on Republicans who are using the sequester as leverage to get their way in Congress, in Beckley, W.Va., a group of more than 50 AFGE and other union members and community supporters received a shout out of support from Rep. Nick Rahall (D).

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