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AFL-CIO Now

10th Anniversary of Iraq War Reminds Us Veterans Face Jobs Crisis

Photo courtesy of the VoteVets Facebook page.

Ten years ago this week, the United States launched the invasion of Iraq. The nation remains divided on the wisdom, strategy and outcome of the war that claimed the lives of 4,488 U.S. service members and left more than 32,000 wounded.  

But there is one certainty—the men and women who honorably fought and served in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade have come home to an economy that works even less for them than it does others. Job loss, stagnant wages and a widening gap between working families and the wealthy and Wall Street are some of these problems.  

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Harkin and DeLauro Introduce Healthy Families Act to Allow Earned Paid Sick Leave

Photo courtesy America 2050

On Wednesday, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) introduced the Healthy Families Act, which would give workers the opportunity to earn paid sick leave they could use for personal illnesses or to take care of sick family members, among other uses. The act also would allow workers to use earned sick time to deal with the effects of domestic violence.

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MLB Owners Foul Ball on Worker Pensions

Photo by peterjr1961/Filckr

What comes to mind when you think about Major League Baseball (MLB)? Multimillion-dollar ball players and even multier-million-dollar owners? Shiny new stadiums with $300 luxury VIP seating and $10 beers and $8 hot dogs for those of us in the bleachers? The $6 billion Fox Sports/Los Angeles Dodgers TV deal and others like it?

While MLB seems to be printing money faster than Topps prints baseball cards, ESPN New York reports that the club owners are considering eliminating pensions for the everyday, regular folk employees who work behind the scenes to keep the glitter dome running—club employees from office workers to trainers to minor league coaches and staff to scouts.

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Casino Workers to Engage in Civil Action on Las Vegas Strip

Photo courtesy: Culinary Workers Union Local 226

On Wednesday night, members of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Local 165 will engage in the first act of civil disobedience on the Las Vegas strip by union members in more than 20 years in solidarity with workers from the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas casino. The workers have been negotiating a contract with the casino owner, Deutsche Bank, for more than two years and they contend that the owner refuses to agree on measures that are standard in other major casino contracts on the strip. Workers plan to engage in action by blocking traffic. Contracts for workers on the Strip will expire June 1.

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Made in America: Union-Made Easter

Photo courtesy of cafemama's Flickr Photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cafemama/

If the Easter bunny knows what's good for him, he'll make sure to drop off union-made in America sweets on Easter weekend. Check out some highlights from the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor's resource site, Labor 411. These Easter shopping list ideas are brought to you by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) and United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).

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Why the AFL-CIO Is So Invested in This Push for a Commonsense Immigration Process

Photo from an immigration reform rally.

Ana Avendaño, assistant to the president and director of immigration and community action at the AFL-CIO, sent the following message to working family activists:

Immigration has been all the buzz here in Washington, and you might have heard about it on your local news or radio station. 

It’s great news, because the story of immigrants in this country is rich and complex, and there’s a lot that goes into finding a road map to citizenship for the 11 million aspiring Americans. 

We’re hosting an online education session next week in the evening for anyone who wants to learn more about why the AFL-CIO is so invested in this fight for a commonsense immigration process. We want you to be there, so every member of our community knows how to talk about this issue. Will you join us?

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100 Days to Fix What Wall Street Broke: Wells Fargo Shatters Retirement Dreams

Photo by OccupyFightsForeclosure/Flickr

Wall Street wrecked the economy and banks are still refusing to work with people who are trying to stay in their homes. The Campaign for a Fair Settlement, along with other partners, is calling on President Obama over the next 100 days to champion an agenda that would:

1. Hold bankers accountable for their crimes.

2. Keep people in their homes by resetting their mortgages.

Sign the petition here

Beverly Jones shared this story of how Wells Fargo hurt her family. Read more from 100 Stories of What Wall Street Broke:

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Union Radio Show Spotlights Sequester as Working Families Call for Repeal

As part of  Wednesday’s national day of action to repeal the sequester, “Building Unions,” a weekly radio show from the Connecticut AFL-CIO and Greater Hartford Central Labor Council will discuss sequestration, its impact on working families and the drive to repeal the across-the-board budget cuts.

The show airs from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on WATR 1320 AM. Click on the “Listen Live” button to stream the show that will feature Connecticut AFL-CIO President John Olsen, labor council President Peggy Buchanan and members of AFGEAFT and the Machinists (IAM).

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Waiting in Line for 30 Years

Jennifer Angarita, national worker center coordinator at the AFL-CIO, sent the following message to working family activists:

I’m going to tell you something very personal: My father finally became a citizen of the United States after almost 30 years of waiting. 

My parents brought me to the United States when I was 13 months old to escape economic hardship and war in Colombia. I grew up in Dallas and my favorite foods were pizza, chocolate chip cookies and empanadas. My parents worked hard to put me through school, and I was proud to be the first person in my family to graduate from college.

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