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AFL-CIO Now

Guest Column: The Scoop on Media Bias

Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/petroleumjelliffe/

 “Why is the media so anti-union?”

This old reporter-turned-history-teacher could retire if he had a dime for every time he’s heard a union brother or sister ask that question. They mostly mean Fox News and local newspapers and radio and TV stations.On the other hand, the anti-union slant of small-town media news reporting is subtler. Unions are all but ignored, except during strikes – more on that in a minute. Of course, unions are commonly demonized on the editorial pages of small town papers. They routinely get trashed by Rush Limbaugh wannabes on boondocks radio stations. Tiny market TV station owners sometimes go after unions, too. 

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New Members Elected to AFL-CIO Executive Council

New members were elected to the AFL-CIO Executive Council this morning. Sean McGarvey, president of the Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD), will fill the seat of former President Mark Ayers, and Laura Reyes, secretary-treasurer for AFSCME, will fill the seat of retiring AFSCME President Gerry McEntee. AFSCME President Lee Saunders was named chair of the Executive Council Political Committee.

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APWU: Congress’ Failure Pushes USPS to Brink of Default

This is a cross-post from the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) News Bulletin 18-2012, July 26, 2012.

The failure of House Republican leaders to take action to resolve the congressionally-manufactured USPS financial crisis has brought the Postal Service to the brink of default, APWU President Cliff Guffey is warning union members. A $5.5 billion payment is due to the U.S. Treasury today (Aug. 1), but the Postal Service cannot make the payment.

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Decline of Good Jobs Tied to Workers’ Decreased Bargaining Power

Many U.S. workers don’t have jobs—nearly 13 million. Less known, however, is that many more don’t have good jobs—fewer than one-quarter of America’s workforce, according to a new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). The center defines a good job as one that pays at least $18.50 an hour, or $37,000 per year, equal to the inflation-adjusted earnings of the typical male worker in 1979.  A good job also includes employer-provided health insurance and a retirement plan (click on chart at left to expand).

The lack of available good jobs is not new. As CEPR finds, compared with 1979, the U.S. economy has lost about one-third (28 percent to 38 percent) of its capacity to generate good jobs.

But why?

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Trumka: Denying Relief to Millions of Struggling Homeowners is 'Irresponsible'

Federal Housing Finance Agency Acting Director Edward DeMarco is denying relief to as many as half a million struggling homeowners by refusing to allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to engage in principal reduction, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said Tuesday. Trumka's comments came after DeMarco announced he will continue to prohibit Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from participating in the Obama Administration’s mortgage principal reduction program. Read the rest of Trumka's statement here

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Hugs from Union 'Thugs'

Hugs from Union 'Thugs'

Forget the kissing booth, a hug from a union "thug” is so much better.

This Saturday Oregon AFL-CIO set up three “Hug-a-Thug” tables in Portland, Ore., parks (Jamison Square, Laurelhurst Park and Irving Park) where passersby were treated to hugs from Letter Carrier Willie Groshell (NALC) and members of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Leah Okin and Patrick Landers.

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Republicans’ Deadly Job Creation Plan

Republican bill blocks rule to cotrol combustible dust, the cause of the 2008 Imperial Sugar plant explsionh that killed 14 workers. Chemical Safety Board photo.

Republicans have a plan to create jobs and they’re going to stick by it whether it kills you or not. According to their twisted logic (shared by Mitt Romney, BTW) excessive federal regulation—especially workplace safety rules—is a major reason why unemployment is staying so stubbornly high. 

The answer according to House Republicans simple, just don’t allow any more regulations, from job safety to rules for big banks and public health. That’s theory behind the bill (H.R. 4078) the House passed last week that would bar any new federal rule until the jobless rate drops below 6 percent. How brilliant is that?

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Boeing Basks in Profits but Targets Technical Employees Who Engineer and Design the Products

As the Boeing Company boasts to Wall Street about record sales and income, the message they are bringing to negotiations is that engineers and technical workers have had it too good. The company wants cuts in the new contract. New employees won’t have a pension. Salary pools will be smaller, maybe much smaller. And, get ready to pay a higher share of your family’s medical costs because a company goal is to shift more of those costs onto workers.

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Thomas Palley: The Fed’s 2% Inflation Target Trap

The Federal Reserve recently adopted a two percent inflation target, reports Thomas Palley, AFL-CIO senior economic policy advisor. The Fed should be looking at policies that improve wages, not ones that will undercut the possibility of future wage increases and make it more difficult to achieve full employment, Palley writes In an Op-Ed published in the Economists' Forum blog titled, "The Fed's 2% Inflation Target Trap.

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Latest HIT Boston Investment Preserves Affordable Housing, Creates Jobs

Franklin Square Apartments. HIT Photo

The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) will provide $90 million towards rehabilitating and preserving affordability at two 30-year-old the Boston apartment complexes that serve primarily people with disabilities, low-income and senior residents. The project is part of HIT’s National Construction Jobs Initiative and the AFL-CIO’s Green Jobs Initiative. The project is expected to create about 150 union construction jobs for local workers.

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