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Stop Aspiring Citizen Deportations, Groups Tell White House

The Obama administration should suspend deportations of aspiring citizens who would be eligible for a pathway to citizenship under a commonsense immigration reform bill that is under consideration in the U.S. Senate, a group of labor—including the AFL-CIO—Latino and other immigration reform advocates told the White House earlier this week.

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Effort to Stop Koch Brothers’ Takeover of L.A. Times Gains Momentum

LA County Federation of Labor photo, via Facebook

Don’t sell out to the Koch brothers / Don’t let the brothers in the door / We don’t want them taking over / That is what we’re marching for!

That  was the message, as sung by acclaimed musician Ry Cooder, carried by hundreds of Los Angeles residents who marched and rallied Tuesday to urge Oaktree Capital Management not to sell the respected Los Angeles Times to right-wing extremists David and Charles Koch. The “No Koch Hate in L.A.” rally was sponsored by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and community allies.

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Bangladesh Government Moves to Ease Unionization

Arati Bala Das, 18, who lost her right leg in the Rana Plaza collapse, feeds her sister, Akhi

The Bangladesh Cabinet approved a change to the nation’s labor laws that it says would enable workers to more freely form unions. The proposal, which must be approved by Parliament, would allow workers to join unions without showing the list of union supporters to factory owners to verify their employment—a practice that effectively makes it impossible for unions to gather sufficient support to register with the government because factory owners often penalize or fire workers who support unionization.

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California Unions Launch 'Short and Strong' Student Video Contest to Capture Immigration Stories

Taking their cues from the young immigrant students, known as the Dreamers, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and UNITE HERE, the restaurant and hotel workers union, want to encourage more young students to share their stories of immigration—either their own or somebody else’s—with the country, especially with national lawmakers who may vote on an immigration reform bill as soon as later this year. The two labor organizations are sponsoring a student short film contest called “Cortos y Fuertes / Short and Strong.” The author of the best overall video will receive $2,000.

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U.S. Brands and Retailers Should Sign the Bangladesh Safety Accord

Rana Plaza, the Bangladesh factory that collapsed three weeks ago, killed more than 1,100 workers, many of them young women. This tragedy adds to the more than 1,500 Bangladeshi workers killed in preventable fires and building collapses since 2005. Documents found at the factory show that the workers produced for big names in global retail, revealing the link between poor workers in Bangladesh and major retail brands. Obviously, the government must improve local laws and their enforcement to stop these tragedies, but brands also must take responsibility for their supply chains. They must be held accountable to the tragedy that happened in their supply chain.

Last year, local Bangladeshi and international unions and workers’ rights groups negotiated an agreement to stop these deaths and help Bangladesh’s garment workers claim their rights. Two brands signed the agreement; the other major brands must sign on now!

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What Planet Is the Washington Elite on in Debating Social Security?

The National Academy of Social Insurance, a Washington-based organization of academics and policymakers who are experts on Social Security and other parts of the Social Security Act, released a recent survey of what Americans think about Social Security and how to “fix” it. Their report that came out last week is very telling of why Americans feel so disconnected from Washington.

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Attack on NLRB Goes Beyond Washington, Costs Illinois Worker His Home

Attack on NLRB Goes Beyond Washington, Costs Illinois Worker His Home

Marcus Hedger, illegally fired in 2010, will have to wait even longer to get his job back if the Senate fails to confirm President Obama’s bipartisan nominees to serve on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Call your senators toll free at 1-888-264-6154 and tell them to confirm the board nominations now.

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Tacoma Union Members Make It a Banner Year for Union-Made Peanut Butter Donations

Alice Phillips

Alice Phillips of Tacoma, Wash., is a union leader who’s willing to create a little buzz.

At least, that’s the sound the clippers will make when Phillips, the IBEW business manager, fulfills her pledge to get a Mohawk haircut if the members of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 483 would double last year’s donation of union-made peanut butter as part of the Letter Carriers’ National Food Drive. They brought the jars. So she’s on the hook.

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Colombia: Many Women Workers Face Job Discrimination

Afro-desendent women gathered in Medellin, Colombia, in April for the first domestic workers union congress. Photo: IDWN

In Colombia, “even when there’s an improvement in the overall economy, women don’t see any improvement,” says Sohely Rua Catañeda. As a result, many women who are unable to secure formal employment are forced into the informal sector to support themselves and their families, laboring as domestic workers or street vendors. Women in these low-paying jobs have limited or no access to social services and are unable to address workplace harassment or unsafe working conditions.

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