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At Va. Shipyard, Steelworker Volunteers Pass the Word on Kaine

Steelworkers join Virginia Senate hopeful Tim Kaine and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) on the campaign trail.

AFL-CIO Media Outreach fellow Luis Santoyo sends us this report from the battleground state of Virginia. 

Since June, workers with United Steelworkers (USW) Local 8888 have diligently passed out election-related fliers to their co-workers outside the Newport News Shipbuilding shipyard in southeastern Virginia.

True to their commitment to get worker-friendly candidates elected on Nov. 6, Local 8888 members stood outside the shipyard early Saturday ready to greet and encourage their fellow co-workers to vote for former Gov. Tim Kaine and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) who, respectively, are running for the U.S. Senate and Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District. Both candidates joined the shipyard workers early Saturday morning.

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Spreading the Call for Boycott of American Crystal Sugar Products

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

While the children of the locked-out workers at American Crystal Sugar Co. have written CEO Dave Berg, urging him to end the 14-month lockout of their parents, support for the boycott of American Crystal Sugar products is growing.  

This slideshow highlights some of the action last week as union and community allies took the boycott call to Denver; Duluth, Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.; Appleton, La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee and Wausau, Wis.; Wichita, Kan.; Kansas City, Mo.; and Parkersburg, W.Va.

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Florida Leads Race to the Bottom on Unemployment Compensation

Photo by Gage Skidmore, via Flicker Creative Commons

Americans faced with a tough economy face significant struggles when they lose their jobs. Since the 1930s, workers who are without jobs through no fault of their own have had the safety net of the unemployment compensation program to serve as a backup plan until they get back on their feet. Under new rules implemented by Florida Gov. Rick Scott and his allies in the state legislature, it's getting harder and harder for working families who have lost their jobs to obtain the unemployment compensation that they have earned.

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Eight Facts You Need to Know on Health Care

Photo Credit: Neil Parekh/SEIU Healthcare 775NW

Arm yourself with these eight facts on health care, Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act:

1. We have a health care cost problem, not a Medicare or Medicaid problem. Health care costs overall, including through employment-based plans, individual coverage and Medicare and Medicaid, have been growing faster than the whole economy—2.4% greater on average since 1970. Between 2000 and 2010, workers’ contributions to premiums for health insurance at work jumped 147%, compared to just a 36% increase in workers’ earnings. See "Medicare, Medicaid and the Deficit Debate," a report from the Urban Institute.

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Chicago Activists Take American Crystal Sugar Products Boycott to Walmart

Members of unions from the Chicago Federation of Labor (CFL) and activists from Jobs with Justice demonstrated in front of a Chicago Walmart and urged customers to boycott American Crystal Sugar products and support the workers who have been locked out since Aug. 1, 2011. There have been several actions around the nation this week in support of the workers and the boycott. 

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AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Shuler Hits the Campaign Trail

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler in Portsmouth, N.H.

Union members and working people are mobilizing all over the country in labor walks, phone banks and leafletting, getting the word out about what's at stake this election. AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler has been meeting with working people and joining labor walks from coast to coast this past week.

On Wednesday, Shuler helped kick off the first local chapter of  Young Emerging Labor Leaders (WA YELL) in Spokane, Wash.

Shuler thanked the young workers’ group for their activism on the Verizon and T-Mobile campaigns and encouraged the group to stay energized for Nov. 6. Shuler reminded the group that good jobs and college loans are on the line this November.

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What's Mitt Romney's Plan for Unions and Workers?

The Transport Workers (TWU) union is reminding all working people why they should get out and vote Nov. 6. What are Mitt Romney's plans for collective bargaining, project labor agreements and "right to work" for less laws? Watch TWU's new video,"Mitt's Plan for the American Worker," to find out. 

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Retired Ironworker and Ground Zero Volunteer Honored as Conservation Hero

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka with John Sferazo.

Retired Ironworkers Local 361 member John Sferazo, a longtime member of Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA), was honored for his contributions to conservation at the Field & Stream Heroes of Conservation gala on Oct. 4 in Washington, D.C.

After suffering physical and emotional trauma as a Ground Zero volunteer on Sept. 11, Sferazo has worked to provide free hunting opportunities for first responders and veterans with disabilities. With the support of 30 organizations, his nonprofit group American Greenlands Restoration Inc. has turned a former 1,000-acre asphalt plant site in Maine back into a thriving forest habitat. “Being outside gave me an outlet, and I wanted to give others the same,” he said. “It’s the right fight, at the right time, for the right reason.”

Sferazo was nominated by the USA. Currently in its seventh year, the program honors individuals involved in grassroots projects to preserve the land, water and wildlife vital to sportsmen’s pursuits.

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Nicaragua the Third Nation to Adopt Domestic Work Standard

Nicaragua the Third Nation to Adopt Domestic Work Standard

This is a cross-post from the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center, by Tula Connell.

Nicaragua this week became the third country to ratify the International Labor Organization (ILO) convention on domestic workers. An ILO “convention” sets international labor standards, and the “Decent Work for Domestic Workers” convention addresses issues such as working conditions, wages, benefits and child labor while requiring nations to take measures making decent work a reality for domestic workers.

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Show-Me Power: The Coalition that Terrifies Payday Lenders and Their Corporate Allies in Missouri

New coalition terrifies payday lenders in Missouri.

This is a guest post by Mike Louis of the Missouri AFL-CIO and Sean Soendker Nicholson of Progress Missouri

Ever wondered what keeps payday lenders and the CEOs who pay poverty wages up at night? It’s not the 1,950% interest rates they’re allowed to charge Missourians on payday loans, or how the employees who make them rich are able to survive on $290 a week.  

Here in Missouri, we know what terrifies the payday lending companies and corporations who want to keep paying poverty wages: It’s the convergence of faith, community, student and labor organizations who collected 350,000 signatures in the past 18 months to cap the rate on predatory loans and give minimum wage-earning workers a raise. 

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