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AFL-CIO Now

Locked-Out Sugar Workers’ Kids to Tell Their Stories

BCTGM Photo

Since August 2011, the more than 1,300 workers at five American Crystal Sugar sugar beet processing plants in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa have been locked out. While CEO Dave Berg took in nearly $2.5 million in total compensation last year, the workers and their families have been struggling to keep roofs over their heads and food on the table.

On Saturday, Sept. 22, in East Grand Forks, Minn., the children and grandchildren of the locked-out workers will write Berg and board members to tell them how the lockout has affected their families and their lives and urge the company to return to the bargaining table.

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Mitt Romney Pays a Lower Total Tax Rate Than the Average American

What's Mitt's Secret? Photo courtesy of United Steelworkers.

Damon Silvers is the policy director and special counsel of the AFL-CIO. 

Mitt Romney’s 2011 tax return is an education in injustice, just like his 2010 return was.  The peculiar letter he released from his tax accountant Pricewaterhouse Coopers concerning his taxes before 2010, simply adds to the mystery—why won’t he follow his father’s and President Obama’s example and release ten years of tax returns?

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Letter Carriers' Heroes: A Safety Net of Service

NALC honors its everyday heroes.

Charlie Rose, a 23-year veteran Letter Carriers (NALC) member from Athens, Ohio, has sniffed out more than a dozen natural gas leaks in homes along his route, preventing what could have been deadly explosions. He also was the driving force behind the effort that convinced the city to replace more than 17,000 feet of aging gas pipeline and require carbon monoxide detectors in new rental units. For that, he was honored with the union’s Special Carrier Alert award. He was one of six NALC members recognized yesterday at ceremonies in Washington, D.C., as 2012 Heroes of the Year.

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Have You Signed Up for RePurpose Yet?

RePurpose: You're in charge.

Thousands of grassroots activists have signed up for Workers' Voice's new, innovative online tool called RePurpose. RePurpose allows campaign volunteers to shape how campaign resources are spent. Have you signed up yet?

Campaign volunteers gain points based on activities through Workers' Voice, whether it is phone banking, knocking on doors or taking action online. 

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Adiós Arpaio Group Registers 21,571 Voters

Photo courtesy of Adiós Arpaio's Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/AdiosArpaio

Donna Gratehouse, who blogs at Democratic Diva and elsewhere on all things Arizona, sends us this.

With a recent poll showing Paul Penzone, Joe Arpaio’s challenger for Maricopa County Sheriff, trailing the longtime incumbent by only a few points, Penzone’s campaign got a shot in the arm yesterday when a coalition of Latino and progressive activists and the Adiós Arpaio campaign delivered more than 21,571 new voter registrations to the county. The effort was led by the Campaign For Arizona’s Future, and on Thursday, a crowd wearing “Adiós Arpaio” T-shirts announced the bonanza of newly registered voters at the Wells Fargo building in downtown Phoenix, where Sheriff Arpaio’s suite of offices is located.  

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Austin’s Workers Defense Project: A Decade Winning for Workers

WDP Photo

The Austin, Texas, worker center Workers Defense Project worker center (WDP) celebrates its 10th anniversary later this month of battling against wage theft, spotlighting the dangers and winning reforms of the Texas construction industry and standing up for workplace justice and immigrants’ rights.

An in-depth article in the current issue of The Austin Chronicle traces the history of the WDP worker center, from its 2003 inception as a one-person staffed operation, helping low-income, mostly immigrant Austin workers pursue wage theft claims, to its present day incarnation as an influential 1,000-member force and partner with the union movement in the championing of workers’ rights, especially in the construction industry, with an estimated 60% Latino workforce.    

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Union Volunteers Inspire Minn. Youth at Outdoor Events

Union Volunteers Inspire MN Youth at Outdoor Events.

Laura Bliss-Morris of the Union Sportsmen's Alliance sends us this report.

Nearly 150 union members, shooting enthusiasts and other guests—including United Union of Roofers and Waterproofers President Kinsey Robinson, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and state Attorney General Lori Swanson—teamed up to support conservation at the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s (USA's) second annual Roofers International Twin Cities Sporting Clays Shoot and Get Youth Outdoors Day on Sept. 15 and 16 at Wild Marsh Sporting Clays in Clear Lake. 

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The 1% Court—And What We Can Do About It

The 1% Court—And What We Can Do About It

This is a cross-post from the Alliance for Justice blog, Justice Watch. 

We all know how big business has eroded the American dream by getting Congress and the executive branch to change the rules to favor corporations and the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us. But it hasn’t stopped with two branches of government. Corporate special interests have spent decades working to put their thumb on the scales of justice. The campaign finance decision in Citizens United is only the most prominent example. 

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Get Your 'Vote Hands' Ready: National Voter Registration Day

Are you warmed up to vote? Are your "vote hands" ready? Ours sure are. 

Tuesday, Sept. 25, is National Voter Registration Day and we're reminding everyone to make sure all their friends and family are registered to vote. Send them to www.aflcio.org/register. The process is simple and quick. 

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My Memorable Visit with FLOC

IFPTE President Greg Junemann talks to a farm worker.

This is a cross-post from A View from Left Field blog by Gregory Junemann, president of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE).

At its meeting in August, the AFL-CIO Committee on Civil and Human Rights was given a presentation from the committee’s chairperson, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker, on her recent trip to meet with the immigrant farm workers in North Carolina. Sister Holt Baker had been invited to visit the workers by Baldemar Velasquez, the president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC). I, along with the other members of the AFL-CIO Executive Council, was invited by Brother Velasquez to travel to North Carolina to meet with the immigrant workers. I proudly accepted, and I made the trip late last month.

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