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Machinists Reach Tentative Contract with Caterpillar

Machinists Reach Tentative Contract with Caterpillar

Machinists (IAM) District 8 in Joliet, Ill., and Caterpillar Inc. reached a tentative contract agreement late Tuesday and members are now voting on whether to ratify it. Workers have been on strike against the heavy equipment maker since May 1.

The proposed six-year contract contains many improvements over previous offers, said District 8 Business Representative Steve Jones.

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Romney-Ryan—Inside and Outside the Beltway, and What's at Stake

AFL-CIO Political Director Michael Podhorzer sends us this. 

Inside the Beltway, (and among tea party activists for whom facts are not particularly relevant)—Paul Ryan is quite well known as a principled fiscal conservative by those who have not actually looked at his proposals but who have fallen for his supposed “truth telling” wonkery. The very "serious people" in Washington admire him because he talks about hard choices. Yet, every objective budget analyst who has looked at his plans know that he’s inviting us to engage in magical thinking. Cut just about everything (without getting too specific) to give even more tax cuts for the rich and, well, the budget will be balanced someday.  Some say that Romney’s already laughably low-paid tax rate would drop to near zero under Ryan’s plan.  

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Paramedics, Green Energy Workers and More Join AFL-CIO Unions

Ikea workers vote to join IAM in Danville, Va.

Emergency medical service professionals, Ikea workers and green energy geothermal technicians are among the latest workers to choose AFL-CIO unions.

More than 150 paramedics, emergency medical technicians, nurses, fleet techs and vehicle supply techs at Rural/Metro of Northern California voted overwhelmingly last week to join AFSCME Local 491/United EMS Workers. They join the more than 400 Rural/Metro EMS professionals in Santa Clara County and the Medic Ambulance EMS workers in Solano County, who earlier this year voted to join AFSCME.

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DREAMers Can Now Apply for U.S. Residency

Diana and Diana, two union DREAMers from the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA)

Starting today, more than a million young aspiring citizens who were brought to this country as children (known as “DREAMers”) can apply for U.S. residency and a work permit under the terms of a new policy announced by the Obama Administration last month.  The application forms are posted online at the Department of Homeland Security.

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National Leader Champions Inspiring Young Activists

Liz Shuler addresses activists in San Jose, Calif., who are working to increase the city's minimum wage.

Stacey Hendler Ross, communications director of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council, sends us this

Through rap, “spoken-word” poetry and music, one strong message permeated a room full of supporters for a November ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage in San Jose, Calif.: “It’s time for $10.” The event, held at IBEW Local 332 featured AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler who flew in from Washington, D.C., to throw her support behind the campaign. Shuler's labor roots are with IBEW Local 125 in Oregon.

Shuler offered her unwavering endorsement of the minimum wage increase as she lauded the group of young activists who launched the effort to create an ordinance mandating a $10 an hour minimum wage in San Jose. The current California state minimum is $8.

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Minimum Wage Boost Could Create 100,000 Jobs

min wage

When wages rise, workers and communities benefit. So imagine how improved our national economy would be if the wages of nearly 30 million workers got a boost?

If Congress acted to raise the federal minimum wage to $9.80 by July 1, 2014, some 28 million workers would see a pay increase, according to the Economic Policy Institute’s (EPI) latest report on the minimum wage. Further, those workers would receive nearly $40 billion in additional wages over the phase-in period.

During an across the phase-in period of the minimum-wage increase, the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) would increase by roughly $25 billion, resulting in the creation of approximately 100,000 net new jobs, according to EPI.

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U.S. Dept. of Labor Tells Georgia: 'You Violated the Law by Cutting Off UI Benefits'

After reviewing unilateral changes Georgia made to its unemployment insurance (UI) rules, the U.S. Department of Labor has declared that the state has no “adequate statutory basis” for denying UI benefits to seasonal employees who work for private contractors providing services to schools. The strongly-worded guidance to Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler came in an Aug. 2 letter obtained by the Atlanta Constitution Journal and publicized in their front page story: State ordered to reverse itself on some unemployment claims.

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Judge Upholds Pennsylvania’s Voter Suppression Law

Judge Upholds Pennsylvania’s Voter Suppression Law

A Pennsylvania state judge yesterday refused to block the voter suppression law that Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R) said “is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says the Pennsylvania law and other similar voter ID laws

are being pushed for partisan reasons to disenfranchise particular groups of voters.  They are cynical and wrong, and they undermine our democracy.

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Fire Fighters Launch Campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness

Fire Fighters Launch Campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness

This is a crosspost from the Fire Fighters (IAFF).

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the IAFF encourages affiliates to participate in fundraising and awareness campaigns in
support of women in their fight against breast and other cancers.

Over the last several years, IAFF affiliates across North America have participated in events throughout October, prompting a movement to wear and sell pink  t-shirts as part of their breast cancer awareness efforts. Inspired by the  success of these campaigns, in 2010, the IAFF passed a resolution  that supports and encourages IAFF members to develop campaigns to benefit local  and national organizations dedicated to finding a cure for cancer.

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Romney-Ryan Budget Plan Would Devastate Working Families; Union Activists Spread the Word

AFGE and area unions protest Paul Ryan's budget at the Venetian in Las Vegas.

As Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan travel the country peddling their budget that would decimate Medicare, cut Social Security and give millionaires more tax breaks they don't need, union activists are reminding voters what their economic plans mean for working families. AFGE and other unions protested outside Sheldon Adelson's Venetian hotel and casino in Las Vegas, Nev., yesterday during a Paul Ryan fundraiser. 

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