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Latinos and Nurses Helped California Union Membership Grow in 2012

While most states saw a decline in union membership in 2012, California bucked the trend as 100,000 new workers joined collective bargaining units. Pushing the growth were Latino workers and nurses, the Los Angeles Times reported today. Overall, 11.3% of America's workers are current union members, which is a smaller percentage from 2011, but in California, the number is closer to 18% and is growing. Other southwestern states, such as Nevada and Texas, are also seeing growth in union membership.

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Chicago Workers Win Tough New Wage Theft Protection

Arise Chicago photo

Chicago now has one of the nation’s strongest anti-wage theft laws after the City Council last week unanimously passed a bill that the Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ) affiliate Arise Chicago, immigrant workers groups and unions supported. The new ordinance could revoke business licenses for businesses found guilty of wage theft.

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Sign White House Petition Urging Action on Silica Dust Rule

About 1.7 million workers in the United States each year are exposed to silica dust and run the risk of developing silicosis, lung cancer and other debilitating diseases. Public health experts estimate that 280 workers die each year from silicosis—and thousands more develop silicosis as a result of workplace exposures.

But a proposed workplace standard on silica dust exposure from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been delayed for nearly two years as the Office of Management and Budget reviews the proposed standard.

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‘Jobless Need Not Apply’ Signs Coming Down in NYC

‘Jobless Need Not Apply’ Signs Coming Down in NYC

One of the ugliest side effects of the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression is the continuing practice among many employers of refusing to consider applications of job seekers who are unemployed.  

But the New York City Council yesterday overwhelmingly (44-4) passed a bill that prohibits discrimination against the unemployed in hiring.

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House Postpones Debt Limit Deadline to May 18

Photo courtesy Gage Skidmore

The U.S. House of Representatives, led by Speaker John Boehner and his Republican allies, voted to put off the debt ceiling fight until May 18

This is good news—no doubt about it—and it shows the power of working people when they make their voices heard. But don’t think for a second that Republicans have given up trying to tank the economy to get their way. Or trying to cut Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare benefits. Or trying to cut taxes for Wall Street and rich people. Because they haven’t and they won’t. This fight is still on.

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Track Switch: TCU/IAM Job Corps Program Delivers Careers

Track Switch: TCU/IAM Job Corps Program Delivers Careers

In a tough economy, how does a kid from a rough-and-tumble neighborhood go about finding a good job that pays well or obtain the skills needed to become the worker employers want to hire?

One path is through the TCU/IAM Job Corps Program. In 1971, TCU/IAM partnered with the U.S. Department of Labor to provide advanced transportation training to young people looking for careers. Today, hundreds of students take part in the program each year and more than 8,400 young men and women have been placed in meaningful jobs in rail, mass transit and airline companies since its inception.

Check out the AFL-CIO's new website Innovators feature, Track Switch: TCU/IAM Job Corps Program Delivers Careers.

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Oxfam: 2012 Wealth and Income of World's 100 Richest People Could Eliminate World Poverty

Photo courtesy net_efekt

According to a new report from Oxfam, the wealth and income that the world's richest people accumulated last year would be enough to eliminate world poverty four times over. Ben Phillips, a campaign director at Oxfam, said that extreme wealth is now one of the major obstacles to solving the problems of extreme poverty. The $240 billion the top 100 billionaires in the world made in 2012 would completely eliminate extreme poverty, the report concludes.

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Market Discipline for the Boeing 787

My career is invested in the aerospace industry, so it was very sobering to me when the Federal Aviation Administration ordered that 787 airplanes be grounded.

Friends ask me to explain the situation— what lessons can we draw from the 787? Invariably, we start with "outsourcing."

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Richard Trumka Reacts to 2012 BLS Numbers on Union Membership

Photo courtesy of UNITE HERE.

The union membership rate was 11.3% in 2012, down from 11.8% in 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which released updated figures today. This decrease in union membership highlights the painful fact that people are working harder but are making less and less. 

One area that saw a significant loss was in the public sector. There are nearly 400,000 fewer union members, from teachers in the classroom to police and firefighters that keep us safe. In manufacturing, the jobs that have returned so far are largely low-wage, nonunion jobs. 

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California Coalition Supports Path to Citizenship and Effort to Keep Families Together

Maria Elena Durazo, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor executive secretary-treasurer

Christian Torres worked as a cook in the Pomona College dining hall for more than six years. Torres and 16 of his co-workers were fired from Pomona College for not re-verifying their work eligibility after the college asked for documents, which were requested while he was leading an effort to organize to form a union. Torres and his brother came to the United States while still teenagers to join their mother and father who were already in the U.S. He supports the movement to create a common-sense immigration process. Although Torres was fired from Pomona, he continues to support his co-workers in their struggle for better working conditions at the college. 

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