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Freelancers Union Provides Workers With Health Care

When learning that she would be classified by her employer not as an employee, but as an "independent" contractor, Sara Horowitz decided to do something, not just accept denial of benefits and security from her job.  She grew up in a labor-oriented family and even though her position didn't qualify her to join any existing union, she decided to form her own

Horowitz and her work with the Freelancers Union were recently covered in a New York Times article

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Study: State Tax Cuts Don't Spur Economic Growth

new study from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) shows states that cut tax rates do worse in terms of economic growth than other states.  Numerous Republican governors have pushed for tax cuts under the premise that lower tax rates lead to greater economic growth, but the CBPP study concludes that this premise is wrong. 

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30 Dow Firms Dodge Taxes, Boost Profits with Overseas Tax Havens

30 Dow Firms Dodge Taxes, Boost Profits with Overseas Tax Havens

Over the past 40 years, some of the nation’s biggest and most profitable companies have not only moved America's jobs and manufacturing overseas, but by taking advantage of a U.S. tax code that encourages companies to shift their income overseas, they have cut the taxes they owe by more than half. The result, writes Jia Lynn Yang in The Washington Post,

is lower revenue here that could pay for infrastructure, education and other services that support domestic growth—and that make life easier for U.S. firms.

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Imagine 2050: Supporting Working Families with Immigration Reform

Imagine 2050 sends us the following story from its blog.

The AFL-CIO and the SEIU are standing up to Republicans and business groups for fair wages in federal immigration reform. While the group of bipartisan senators, called the “Gang of Eight,” working on the immigration bill say that the bill is 90% done, much contention remains around the "guest" worker provisions in the bill. [In fact, the so-called “guest” worker provisions in the bill are not “guest” worker provisions at all. The AFL-CIO has insisted that any new foreign workers be allowed a road map to citizenship and portability between employers so that they are not indentured to a single employer as a condition of remaining in the United States —as is the case under most existing temporary worker programs.]   

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Our Health Care Prices Are 'Ludicrous'

Our Health Care Prices Are 'Ludicrous'

Wonkblog's Ezra Klein published 21 charts yesterday from the International Federation of Health Plans that illustrate just how ridiculous our health care prices are in the United States.

Klein writes:

This is the fundamental fact of American health care: We pay much, much more than other countries do for the exact same things. For a detailed explanation of why, see this article. But this post isn’t about the why. It’s about the prices and the graphs. 

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AFT and Gates Foundation Provide Principles for Teacher Evaluation

The AFT and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have been working on finding a better way to evaluate and develop teachers, using research to determine the best ways to train teachers and ensure that students get the best educational experience possible

Although the AFT and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation don’t always agree on everything, they share the firm belief that students have a right to effective instruction and that teachers want to do their very best. 

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Squared Circles, Luchadoras and Tax Fairness?

Squared Circles, Luchadoras and Tax Fairness?

With corporations and the wealthy pulling the strings and puppet politicians dancing on command, the outcome of battles in Congress and state legislatures over tax fairness is fairly predictable. But the North Carolina State AFL-CIO may have an answer. On April 15—Tax Day—the state federation is sponsoring a unique “Fair Fight” to stop state lawmakers from continuing to shift the tax burden of the Tar Heel State’s wealthiest and corporations onto middle- and low-income working families.

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Selling the Store: Why Democrats Shouldn’t Put Social Security and Medicare on the Table

Prominent Democrats—including the president and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi—are openly suggesting that Medicare be means-tested and Social Security payments be reduced by applying a lower adjustment for inflation. 

This is even before they’ve started budget negotiations with Republicans—who still refuse to raise taxes on the rich, close tax loopholes the rich depend on (such as hedge-fund and private-equity managers’ “carried interest”), increase capital gains taxes on the wealthy, cap their tax deductions or tax financial transactions. 

Read the rest of Selling the Store: Why Democrats Shouldn’t Put Social Security and Medicare on the Table on Robert Reich's blog

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New Bill from House Dems Renews Drive for Mine Safety

Not quite three years ago 29 coal miners died in an explosion in a West Virginia mine with a history of deliberate safety violations and a corporate CEO who put “running coal” over miner safety. New legislation would bring the nation’s mine health and safety laws up to date, give mine safety officials the ability to effectively investigate and shut down habitually dangerous mines and hold mine operators accountable for putting their workers in unnecessary danger.

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