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AFL-CIO Now

Bernstein: Inequality and Budget Deficits—Why Is Only the Latter an Emergency?

Source: Piketty and Saez, 2012, link in the blog.

"Inequality and Budget Deficits: Why Is Only the Latter an Emergency?" is a cross-post from Jared Bernstein's On the Economy blog. 

I just read two sweeping reports on the state of income inequality in the U.S. (the second link focuses on state-level inequality) and other advanced economies.  Perhaps it’s because I’ve been so ensconced in fiscal cliff discussions, but I was struck by how much more alarmed policymakers are by the budget deficit than by the inequality situation. There are reasons for that tilt—some good, some bad—but based on magnitudes of the problem, it’s far from clear that our current sole policy focus is warranted.

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What Working Families Need to Know About the Supreme Court Ruling in United States v. Texas

What Working Families Need to Know About the Supreme Court Ruling in United States v. Texas

The Supreme Court’s ruling in the United States v. Texas case was a setback for working families. The court could have cleared the way for millions of hardworking immigrants to finally gain a measure of increased dignity on the job and security in their lives. Instead, hardworking members of our communities, our families and our unions will continue to live in limbo and in fear.

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In the Wake of Deadly Clashes, AFL-CIO Stands with Mexican Teachers Union

At least eight protesters were killed and 53 injured earlier this week in clashes with police in Oaxaca, Mexico, during demonstrations against neoliberal education reforms. The teachers union in Oaxaca has been leading protests this summer against the federal government’s move to impose a national education plan that blankets over indigenous concerns in Oaxaca and imposes teacher evaluations that disadvantage schools in the poor region, as well as attacks against the union, including the controversial arrests of union leaders, mass firings of protesting teachers and the freezing of union bank accounts.

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How Much Does Our Failing Child Care System Cost You?

In the United States, our child care system is failing and this has hidden costs for working families. The typical annual cost for child care for a family with two children (an infant and a four-year-old) is nearly $18,000. That averages to about 30% of the typical working family's paycheck. This cost is so high that many can't afford it and leave the workforce altogether, with 75% of mothers and 50% of fathers in a recent poll saying they either left the workforce or switched to a less-demanding job.

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Faith and Labor: A Reunion for Economic Revival

Faith and Labor: A Reunion for Economic Revival

A remarkable union is about to take place—the partnership between the AFL-CIO and Gamaliel, an interfaith national community organizing network. This partnership reunites two important pillars in American history—faith and working people in unions—and is crucial for the survival of this nation.

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AFL-CIO Reacts to Supreme Court Ruling on DAPA/DACA Case

After hearing the ruling on the United States v. Texas, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka made the following remarks:

Today's Supreme Court ruling is a setback for all those who have fought for more humane and rational enforcement of our nation's immigration laws. While we are deeply disappointed by the court's failure to reach a decision, we will redouble our organizing efforts to defeat the obstructionist, anti-immigrant forces behind this lawsuit and ensure that all working people can assert their rights on the job and in the community without fear of deportation.

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Medical Experts, Union Veterans Council Say, 'Don’t Shut Down Veterans Hospitals'

Medical Experts, Union Veterans Council Say, 'Don’t Shut Down Veterans Hospitals'

A wide range of experts, including veterans service organizations, leading academics and medical experts came together in Washington, D.C.., to oppose cuts to the VA and to explore the future of veterans' health care. They explained that the VA provides an array of important services that are vital to the lives of U.S. veterans. In addition to taking care of veterans and their medical needs, the VA also trains doctors, researchers and other health care providers, provides telehealth services to our communities, legal services for veterans and takes part in disaster response efforts.

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Social Security and Medicare Trustees' Reports Deliver Reassuring News

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued the following statement in response to the release of the 2016 Social Security and Medicare Trustees' Reports (after the jump):

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Thousands of Nurses to Strike This Week in Minnesota, California and Massachusetts

Thousands of Nurses to Strike This Week in Minnesota, California and Massachusetts

Starting this week, nearly 10,000 registered nurses, affiliated with National Nurses United (NNU), are striking in Minnesota, California and Massachusetts in order to improve patient safety and quality care at the hospitals where they work. The nurses are taking a stand on behalf of their patients at hospitals in the three states owned by various corporations that are raising serious questions about their commitment to patients and their health care providers. While the nurses are striking against the specific details of each situation, they are fighting back against similar problems seen at hospitals throughout the country.

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'Women Can Build: Re-Envisioning Rosie' Art Exhibit Highlights Working Women at White House Summit

'Women Can Build: Re-Envisioning Rosie' Art Exhibit Highlights Working Women at White House Summit

On June 14, 5,000 people gathered in Washington, D.C., for the first-ever White House Summit focused on gender equity. Union women and allies from AFT, AFSCME, the Bricklayers (BAC), Coalition of Labor Union Women, Electrical Workers (IBEW), Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, North America's Building Trades Unions, Office and Professional Employees (OPEIU), the United Steelworkers (USW), United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) and other unions stood united to make sure working women had a strong presence alongside the entrepreneurs that were being celebrated by corporate funders. As celebrities took center-stage, at the entrance all eyes were on working women.

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South Korean Trade Union Leaders and Members Face Harsh Jail Sentences for Peaceful Demonstrations

South Korean Trade Union Leaders and Members Face Harsh Jail Sentences for Peaceful Demonstrations

Union leaders and members have been at the forefront of the fight for social justice in South Korea, organizing and participating in peaceful demonstrations throughout 2015, including protests against the weakening of worker protections. Disturbingly, the South Korean government has increasingly responded to dissent with police brutality, mass arrests and harsh jail sentences targeted at leaders.

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