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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.

Who Stole the American Dream? A Q&A with Hedrick Smith

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Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Hedrick Smith joined us here today to discuss his new book, Who Stole the American Dream? Can We Get It Back? at an event sponsored by the AFL-CIO and the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

In Who Stole the American Dream? Smith deploys his formidable investigative skills to trace how we got to a point where U.S. economic policy overwhelmingly favors the rich—and looks at whether it's possible to undo the damage done to our working and middle class. Smith, known for his investigative journalism, is author of the national bestseller, The Power Game: How Washington Works. In 1971, as chief diplomatic correspondent for The New York Times, he was a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team that produced the Pentagon Papers series. We asked Smith a few questions about what he found in researching his new book.

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Less Upward Mobility for U.S. Students Than for British

Britain has long had a reputation as rigidly divided by class, with little opportunity for people to move higher up the socio-economic ladder.

No more. There is now more upward mobility for students at British schools than in the United States, according to a new report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

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We Gave 110% for Crystal Sugar

Former American Crystal Sugar retirees support locked out workers.

Despite waking up with the flu one morning this week, Bonnie Holter headed out to take part in a 6 a.m. vigil outside the home of a member of the American Crystal Sugar Co. board of directors in East Grand Forks, Minn. Tired and ready to head back to bed after returning home, she still exuded the resolve that, despite having retired from American Crystal Sugar this year, propels her to actively back the 1,300 locked-out workers.

“It’s important to support the workers,” says Holter, 60. “They were our family. I was proud to be a union member and I still want to help the union out.”

Holter and her husband, Jerome, who most people call Jay, spent decades working for the sugar beet processing company before management locked out workers in August 2011.

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Join Hedrick Smith at the AFL-CIO Sept. 13

Join Hedrick Smith at the AFL-CIO Sept. 13

Many people can no longer attain the American Dream—and high-level decisions over the past few decades have led our nation to this point.

Join us on Thursday, Sept. 13, when Pulitzer Prize-winning author and reporter Hedrick Smith will discuss his new book, Who Stole the
American Dream? Can We Get It Back? In his latest look into the deepest layers of Washington politics, Smith deploys his formidable investigative skills to trace how we got here—and whether we can undo the damage. (RSVP here.)

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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

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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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