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Showing blog posts by Tula Connell

About Tula Connell

I got my first union card while I worked my way through college as a banquet bartender for the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee (we were represented by a hotel and restaurant local union—the names of the national unions were different then than they are now). With a background in journalism—covering bull roping in Texas and school boards in Virginia—I started working in the labor movement in 1991. Beginning as a writer for SEIU (and OPEIU member), I now blog under the title of AFL-CIO managing editor.

Jobless Rate Declines from 8.3% to 8.1%, 96,000 Jobs Added in August

The unemployment rate declined from 8.3 percent in July to 8.1 percent in August, with 96,000 jobs added last month, according to data out this morning from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The improvement in the unemployment rate was due to workers dropping out of the labor force, not to an increase in employed workers, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). 

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Labor of Love or REAL Work?

Eileen Boris (foreground) and Jennifer Klein authored Caring for America./Bill Petros

The women and men—mostly women—who care for our aging and ill relatives, providing both physical and emotional support, sometimes for many years, are among a workforce that has long been underpaid, overlooked and, all-too-often, looked down upon. Yet these home health aides, personal care assistants and domestic workers toil in occupations described by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as among the fastest growing in the United States.

So what does this say about us as a nation?

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Jobs Crisis Spreads to Young Workers Worldwide

Young workers in the euro zone have been among the hardest hit by the global economic crisis, and now even those in regions like East Asia, where economies have remained strong through the recession, are struggling to get jobs, a new International Labor Organization (ILOreport shows (click chart to enlarge).

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Farm Workers Deliver 5,000 Letters in Kangaroo Campaign

roo 1

Farm workers and their allies delivered nearly 5,000 letters from consumers around the country to convenience chain Kangaroo Express at its headquarters in Cary, N.C., this week. The letters call on its chairman of the board, Edwin Holman, to visit the tobacco fields and see firsthand the harsh working conditions of those who toil for Reynolds American.

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Bob King, Workers Laid Off by Bain Show a Romney America

In 2008, at the height of the recession, Mitt Romney declared that government should “let Detroit go bankrupt” rather than providing federal aid to automakers. President Obama was a lot smarter than that. As a result of federal assistance, General Motors (GM) posted record profits and paid back its loans early, Chrysler paid back all its loans and hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers are on the job who otherwise would be out of work (click on chart to enlarge).

Karen Eusanio, a UAW Local 112 member and second generation auto worker, is one of those workers. Speaking last night at the Democratic National Convention, Eusanio recalled her struggle to support her children after GM laid her off, and the unpopularity of Obama’s plan to save the auto industry. Yet, President Obama didn’t think about the polls or the politics, said Eusanio.

He thought about the people. Because he put himself in our shoes, we’re back on our feet. Obama believed in us, he stood up for us.

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Bad Jobs on the Rise

Nearly one-quarter of America’s workers are in bad jobs—and the number is climbing, according to a new report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). “Bad Jobs on the Rise” defines a bad job as one that pays less than $37,000 a year—the inflation-adjusted earnings of a typical male worker in 1979—and offers no health insurance or retirement plan (click on chart to enlarge).

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USW: Salt Mine Owner Violated Worker Safety, Should Not Get Award

True Value should take back the 2011 Supplier of the Year Award it gave North American Salt, says United Steelworkers (USW) President Leo Gerard, because North American operates a salt mine in Louisiana that has received safety and health citations for serious violations and been shut down temporarily by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Some 100 workers at the company’s Cote Blanche mine in Louisiana are USW members.

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Hug A Thug Booth Big Hit in Charlotte

thug

Walking through CarolinaFest in Charlotte, N.C., this past Labor Day, you could buy a funnel cake, ride down a bouncy slide—and hug a union “thug.”

Compliments of the North Carolina State AFL-CIO, the Hug A Thug booth featured teachers, firefighters, nurses—just about everyone who’s a union member and/or thug, depending upon your political perspective. The union movement's "hug a union thug" campaign poked fun at conservative attempts to scapegoat union members.

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Labor Day Reports Show Long-Term Income, Wealth Decline

Several new economic reports out in time for Labor Day point to long-term trends that are driving a declining standard of living for America’s middle- and low-income workers. Here’s a quick summary (click on chart to expand).

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Fewer Workers in Unions = Growing Income Inequality

The U.S. public is painfully aware of the growing income inequality in this nation.

Now, a new report shows a big reason why the gap is growing: fewer workers in unions.

Declining unionization was responsible for roughly one-third of the growth of wage inequality among men from 1973 to 2007, a new Economic Policy Institute (EPI) report finds. Declining unionization can explain roughly one-fifth of the growth of wage inequality among women over the same period (click to enlarge chart).

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