Captain America wouldn’t take kindly to someone raking in U.S. taxpayers’ dollars and then turning around and shipping American jobs overseas. Neither does the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM). But that’s exactly what Marvel Entertainment did with the musical score for its blockbuster, "The Avengers," and that’s why AFM members today will picket the Wilmington, N.C., location where Marvel (a Walt Disney Co. subsidiary) is shooting "Iron Man 3."
In West Seattle, workers from the unions of the Seattle Building and Construction Trades Council (SBCTC) are in the middle of a major green construction project that will convert an area that sat vacant for more than five years into a nearly 200-unit rental property.
The $48 million Youngstown Flats project, funded by the AFL-CIO Building Investment Trust (BIT), will be completed in the spring and is bringing a big boost to the local economy. Last week, BIT officials and local labor leaders took time off to honor the workers at a ceremony and special luncheon on site for “dedicating their time and skills to making this building project a reality.
“Something is changing in America,” AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker told delegates to the Washington State Labor Council’s (WSLC's) convention.
The pieces are coming together and the picture is getting clear. We will change America. But we won’t do it alone. As mighty as our labor movement is—and here in Washington you are a powerful force—we cannot do it alone.
The phrase “trickle-down” economics has always been ripe for derision. Not only because it doesn’t work—the idea that if we ply the rich with more money from taxpayers’ pockets some eventually will “trickle down” in the form of jobs and prosperity is a myth. But also because, let’s face it, “trickle down” conjures up a variety of images we won’t mention here.
Now, cartoonist Mark Fiore has created an animated video, “Once Upon a Trickle Down,” that puts the entire corporate/Republican-backed theory and its effects into an easy-to-understand children’s rhyme. Here’s a taste:
Some good news on the job front: 163,000 jobs were created in July, although the unemployment rate ticked up from 8.2percent in June to 8.3 percent last month. So far this year, employment growth has averaged 151,000 per month, roughly the same as in 2011, according to Department of Labor data released this morning (click on chart to expand).
The big rise in jobs—many analysts expected 100,000 jobs or fewer would be created in July—is a good step toward economic recovery. But the July data also include several indicators showing difficulties in recovering gains lost since the recession. For instance, long-term jobless workers—those without work for 27 weeks or more—continue to see little change, with 5.2 million remaining unemployed. They account for 40.7 percent of jobless workers.
"Republicans are holding the middle class hostage to their demands on behalf of the richest 2 percent of Americans,” said the AFL-CIO Executive Council in a statement from its August meeting in Washington, D.C., this week. And, the council emphasized:
There can be no excuse for giving in to their demands to extend tax cuts for the 2 percent; cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits; tax workers’ health benefits; or sacrifice middle-class jobs.
At the AFL-CIO this Friday, Aug. 3, at 12 p.m., economist Simon Johnson, co-founder of the popular blog, The Baseline Scenario, will show why the debasement of our political system in the 1980s and 1990s has produced a dysfunctional Congress that perpetuates our debt-based economy. (Be sure to RSVP for the event here.)