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Costco CEO Supports Fair Minimum Wage Act

Photo courtesy Rod Begbie

Costco CEO Craig Jelinek has joined the push to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by saying he supports the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, which would not only raise the current wage from $7.25, but would index the wage to inflation and raise wages for tipped employees, too. Costco already pays its starting employees a wage of $11.50 per hour while maintaining a higher sales volume than competitors such as the WalMart-owned Sam's Club and ranking in the top 25 of the Fortune 500 in terms of revenue.

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Future of Unions: New Models of Worker Representation

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

The basic system of worker representation is failing to meet the needs of America’s working men and women by every critical measure, said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka at today's 2013 Conference on New Models of Worker Representation in Chicago. Labor unions are vulnerable, which is a challenge, but this vulnerability also presents an opportunity to innovate, he said. 

The AFL-CIO, along with its affiliate unions, community partners and allies, are embarking on a deep evaluation of the future for working people and the labor movement and exploring innovations for the future of worker organizing. 

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Working Women Empowered: Honduran Women Build Leadership

Photo courtesy STICH

Irís Munguía began toiling at a banana packing plant at age 18, living on the banana finca (plantation) as a condition of employment. After 22 years at the plant, the longtime union activist now heads the Honduran banana and agricultural worker confederation, COSIBAH (Coordinadora de Sindicatos Bananeros y Agroindustriales de Honduras), founded in 1993. Munguía also is the first female coordinator of COLSIBA, the Latin American coordinating body of agricultural unions.

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New Models of Worker Representation Conference

Photo courtesy of the Chicago Center for Working-Class Studies

Live from Chicago, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is talking about the future of the union movement and new models of worker representation. This event is hosted by Chicago Center for Working-Class Studies and televised and streamed by Chicago Access Network Television (CAN TV). Watch the live stream after the jump. 

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New NELP Study Shows that ALEC Is Engaged in Widespread Campaign to Suppress Wages

new report from the National Employment Law Project (NELP) shows that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is engaged in a widespread campaign to suppress the wages of already low-wage workers. ALEC has created model legislation that is designed to weaken or repeal state minimum wage laws, reduce minimum wages for young workers and tipped workers, weaken overtime compensation rules and stop local governments from passing living wage ordinances.

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Illinois Union Members to the Rescue

Illinois Union Members to the Rescue

Martina Sangster’s ceiling was on her floor. Living room, dining room and entryway—all tumbled down after what started as a small crack.

Her insurance wouldn’t cover the mess and her family couldn’t afford the extensive work that was needed. But help came from a different direction: the AFL-CIO community services liaison for United Way of the Quad Cities Area and local union members who donated their skills and also got the materials contributed.

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Why Immigration Is a Top Priority for U.S. Labor

Maria Elena Durazo. Photo courtesy of the Department of Labor via Truthout.

Today, labor is one of the key forces pushing for comprehensive immigration reform in Washington, D.C. To learn more about the movement's advocacy and more about how unions transformed themselves into outspoken champions of immigrant rights, I spoke with Maria Elena Durazo. A daughter of Mexican immigrant farm workers, Durazo rose to become the leader of the hotel and restaurant workers union in Los Angeles, the dynamic UNITE HERE Local 11. And, as chair of the national AFL-CIO’s Immigration Committee, Durazo is now a leading point person in the national immigration debate.

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Peterson’s Puppet Populists

Photo from the PR Watch blog.

Fix the Debt is the most hypocritical corporate PR campaign in decades, an ambitious attempt to convince the country that another cataclysmic economic crisis is around the corner and that urgent action is needed. Its strategy is pure Astroturf: assemble power players in business and government under an activist banner, then take the message outside the Beltway and give it the appearance of grassroots activism by manufacturing an emergency to infuse a sense of imminent crisis.

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