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AFL-CIO Now

Health Coverage for Retirees Continues Decline

A new report on retiree health care reinforces the need to maintain the Affordable Care Act—not repeal it, as presidential candidate Mitt Romney vows to do—and strengthen Medicare by rejecting “coupon care” private system proposals like the Romney-Ryan plan.   

The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) report, “Employment-Based Retiree Health Benefits: Trends in Access and Coverage, 1997‒2010,” quantifies what we all know, fewer employers are offering health care benefits to their retirees—both early retirees and those Medicare-eligible at 65—and those that do are raising the cost to retirees.

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Michigan Seeks to Enshrine Collective Bargaining Rights in Constitution

Governor Rick Snyder

After a long series of coordinated attacks on the collective bargaining rights of working families in states like Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida and elsewhere, union members and their allies in Michigan are being proactive. They have placed a referendum on the ballot, known as Proposal 2, which would make the right to collective bargaining part of the state's constitution and would ban "right to work" for less laws.

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AFL-CIO President Trumka Rallies California Union Volunteers to Get Out the Vote, Stop Prop. 32

Photo by Niesha Lofing

This is a cross-post from the California Labor Federation’s blog, Labor’s Edge, by Communications Director Steve Smith.

AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka wasn’t about to let a little airplane mechanical trouble stop him from getting out the vote in California. Despite being delayed in Chicago for several hours, Trumka arrived in Sacramento fired up and ready to hit the doors with union volunteers.

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The Boss Fires Up Obama Supporters in Virginia

AFL-CIO Media Outreach fellow Luis Santoyo sends us this report from the battleground state of Virginia.

People started lining up outside the nTelos Wireless Pavilion in Charlottesville, Va., three hours before the start of the rare concert Monday. By 1:30 p.m., the two lines leading up to the small outdoor concert venue stretched more than two blocks through the city’s historic downtown mall.

The local Obama for America office was giving away tickets for a live performance of Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen—whose band played at the much-larger John Paul Jones Arena later that day. 

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Restaurant Worker Advocate Wins 2012 Edna Award

Restaurant Worker Advocate Wins 2012 Edna Award

Veronica Avila, the daughter of immigrants who rose out of Chicago's poor meatpacking neighborhood and later organized restaurant workers, has been named winner of the 2012 Edna Award.

The Edna, which has a $10,000 prize, honors women age 35 or younger who already have distinguished themselves as leaders of the social justice movement. The award honors Edna Berger, a pioneer for women’s rights, who rose from a receptionist at The Philadelphia Inquirer to become a writer, editor and the first female organizer in The Newspaper Guild-CWA.

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AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker Phone Banks in Florida

AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker

Union members and working family activists all over the country are joining phone banks and other get-out-the-vote actions to make sure everyone gets to the polls Nov. 6. AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker traveled this week to Florida, where she joined the Florida AFL-CIO in Miami and made calls to voters. 

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Know Your Rights: State Laws on Employee Time Off to Vote

Photo by Ho John Lee

Federal law does not require that employers allow their workers time off to vote, but the majority of states have at least some level of protection for employees who want to leave work to engage in their civic duty. The specifics vary by state, but in each state, the rules apply to almost every type of workplace. Employers are required to know what the laws are and to provide adequate accommodations, according to the rules of that state. Nearly all of the states allow employers to refuse time off to vote for those employees who have two or three hours off during the time the polls are open (the number of hours varies by state).

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Los Angeles County Federation of Labor Launches Smartphone App Opposing Prop. 32

Dolores Huerta, labor leader and civil rights activist.

The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor is making creative use of modern technology to fight the anti-working families Prop. 32, a law that would prevent unions from using any money raised through payroll deduction on political causes. People who have iPhones or iPads can download an application that allows them to take a photograph of themselves and turn it into a representation of the effects of Prop. 32, if it were to pass—the silencing of people's political voices.

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AFT's GOTV Bus Tour Hits the Sunshine State

AFT Photo

AFT’s "Your Vote–Your Right–Their Futures” bus tour is rolling through Florida this week building support and getting out the vote for President Obama and other working family candidates. AFT President Randi Weingarten, AFT Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson, along with local and state AFT officials and members, will meet with union and community election volunteers and activists for rallies, marches and neighborhood walks.

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Sensata Tells Workers End Protests or Ax Falls Sooner

Photo by Allison Pasek

The workers at Sensata Technologies, who’ve established the tent city “Bainport” across the street from the Bain Capital majority-owned plant that is shutting down and shipping the 170 U.S. jobs to China, filed unfair labor practice charges Wednesday against Sensata.

The workers charge that the company has threatened to shut down the plant before its end-of-the-year scheduled closure if the workers continue to organize to stop the outsourcing of their jobs to China.

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