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Paul Ryan's Economy Isn't Working for His Constituents

Photo by cliff1066™/Flickr

This is a cross-post by Sara Jerving of the Center for Media and Democracy’s PR Watch.

When Dave Schumacher, 51 years old, lost his job in 2009 in U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, Wis., he wasn’t alone. Schumacher drove trucks for a supplier company that served the General Motors (GM) SUV plant, the economic heartbeat of this blue-collar town. GM consolidated production in Texas and Mexico.

When the four-million-square-foot GM plant in the southern part of town closed in 2009 after a series of layoffs, it took with it the jobs of some 2,800 employees, the single most significant economic blow inflicted upon any Wisconsin community since the economic collapse of 2008. But it wasn’t just GM workers who lost their jobs, the closure caused a ripple effect of business closings and layoffs in the area, leaving an ill-equipped safety net supporting the workers who remained in the community. 

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MSNBC’s Wagner Takes on Aiken’s ‘Legitimate Rape’ Claim, Lack of Women’s Voices in Politics

On the day after Missouri Republican U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin made some of the most ignorant and outrageous statements about women, pregnancy and so-called “legitimate rape,” MSNBC’s "NOW With Alex Wagner" explored how the debate over women’s issues is often done by men.

Wagner’s guests included U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren and equal pay advocate Lilly Ledbetter.

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Start Clipping those Romney-Ryan Medicare Coupons

Working Families protested the Romney-Ryan budget in Chillicothe, Ohio.

Are you a senior who needs life-saving cancer treatment? No problem, says Mitt Romney’s new running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Just make sure you brought your envelope of Romney-RyanCare coupons to the hospital (a.k.a. Medicare vouchers). 

Ohio AFL-CIO, SEIU, ProgressOhio and other allied groups gathered outside a Mitt Romney campaign stop last week in Chillicothe, Ohio, to spread the word about the harmful Romney-Ryan budget and how it would affect Medicare beneficiaries. 

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Ohio Officials Ratchet Up Voter Suppression Campaign

AFL-CIO Ohio and community groups protest the end of weekend voting directive today.

One Ohio election official said he frankly doesn’t care if the state’s attempt to curtail weekend early voting hours suppresses voting by minority and low-income voters. Meanwhile, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted suspended and will try to fire two county election officials who had the audacity to oppose his voter suppression tactics

Ohio AFL-CIO is protesting outside Husted's office today. They will march from Husted's office to the Franklin County Board of Elections for its meeting at 3 p.m. For more photos of the protest and updates, visit Ohio AFL-CIO's Facebook page here

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Some Free Advice for 'Right to Work' Law Supporters

Buddy Cutler has some free legal advice for supporters of "right to work" laws: You’re guilty of false and deceptive advertising.

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.

Buddy Cutler has some free legal advice for supporters of "right to work" for less laws:

You’re guilty of false and deceptive advertising.

“'Right to work' laws should be called the ‘right to freeload,’” adds the Louisville, Ky., labor lawyer.

Kentucky is not a "right to work" state. Cutler wants to help keep it that way.

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How the Ruling Class Engineered the Dismantling of Pensions

Alliance for Retired Americans stands up for retirement security for all.

Hugh Campbell of Philadelphia sends us this

The U.S. financial elite had its best 25 years ever from 1982 to 2007, while the majority of American voters have tolerated the unresponsiveness of their government leaders because they felt like they were also getting ahead. The excerpt, “Without a Pension’s Security,” from the book The Betrayal of the American Dream, by Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, tells how the ruling class has engineered the dismantling of pension security provided directly by employers.

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The Business of Being President

Actor Ian Ruskin portrays Thomas Paine and ILWU labor leader, Harry Bridges, in appearances and YouTube videos.

Ian Ruskin, the director of The Harry Bridges Project and of The Life of Thomas Paine, sends us this.   

Thomas Paine was a man of the enlightenment who saw “virtue” as a cornerstone of this new vision to “begin the world over again.” By virtue he meant rising above your own self-interests to do public good. He also said “the greatest offence of all to the great Father is when we seek to torment and render each other miserable.” Not, by the way, the words of an atheist. So should not our presidents be men and women who seek to be virtuous, who, to quote the Statue of Liberty, seek to turn the misery and torment of “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” into happiness?

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Mother Jones' Fighting Spirit Honored in Cork, Ireland

Cork, Ireland, recently celebrated Mother Jones as a labor leader and activist for working people.

Rosemary Feurer is producer of the documentary Mother Jones, America’s Most Dangerous Woman (2007) and is an associate professor of history at Northern Illinois University. 

The spirit of Mother Jones came home this month to Cork, Ireland. A festival honoring the Irish-American labor heroine that included the unveiling of a plaque in her honor highlighted her continuing relevance to the global project of social justice. For more on the Cork festival, see

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Richard Trumka's Statement on the Passing of Utah State AFL-CIO President Jim Judd

We are saddened to report that Utah State AFL-CIO President and Fire Fighters (IAFF) member Jim Judd passed away Thursday from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. 

Read the AFL-CIO statement here

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Here’s to the Future of the Labor Movement

AFL-CIO welcome 62 young union members this weekend for the 2012 Young Workers Leadership Summit.

If Julie Garrett wasn’t in her union, she says she would be working a minimum wage job with no benefits, barely able to support her 4-year-old daughter.

Young people need to know what we’re facing…corporations are taking over and workers are losing out. If we didn’t have unions, we’d all be working for minimum wage, or much lower.

Garrett, 35, a member of the Federation of Social Workers (IUE-CWA) Local 81381 in Rochester, N.Y., and an employee in the Monroe County Department of Social Work, is one of 62 young labor leaders who traveled all over the United States to convene at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C., for the first Young Worker Leadership Institute this weekend. 

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