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Now That the Election Is Over, the Real Battles in the States Begin

Photo of Rick Snyder courtesy Michigan Municipal League

While government in Washington, D.C., remains divided and marked by long-term gridlock, governments in the states are much less divided. Of the 50 states, 37 now feature state governments where the governor and majorities in both legislative houses are controlled by one party—24 of those are controlled by Republicans. Extreme, anti-working family Republicans have repeatedly assaulted the rights of people in recent years and, by all accounts, the trend looks to expand in 2013. Working families are mobilized and fought back in 2012 and will continue to fight in 2013.  The response to the "right to work" for less push in Michigan was so strong, that governors in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin have since declared that they won't push for right to work in their states.

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Here’s What We’re Reading: Friday News Roundup

Here’s What We’re Reading: Friday News Roundup

Here are some headlines from the working family’s news we're reading today (after the jump).

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The Voice of Thomas the Tank Engine Quits Over 'Survival' Wages

Photo courtesy Ollie Brown on Flickr

The song "Rules and Regulations" from the popular children's television show "Thomas the Tank Engine" contains these lines:

Although sometimes you'll find it so hard
And the wrong way may seem easier
It doesn't matter who you are
Obey the rules and you'll go far

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Bloomsbury, N.J., Subway Workers Vote to Join Union

Photo courtesy Chapstickaddict on Flickr

Notoriously anti-union Gov. Bill Haslam (R-Tenn.) can't be happy about this story. Haslam's family owns Pilot Flying J, a chain of travel centers, and workers at a Subway sandwich shop in Bloomsbury, N.J., just voted to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). Earlier this year, Haslam was one of the key players in the effort to defeat a union vote at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga. The company run by his brother, Jimmy, hasn't been as successful in denying workers their rights, as other workers at the Bloomsbury Pilot Flying J location voted to join RWDSU earlier this year.

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AFGE Applauds Move to Reduce Federal Prison Overcrowding

Photo courtesy Julie Tuason on Flickr

AFGE issued a release today in support of the U.S. Sentencing Commission's (USSC's) unanimous vote on Friday to allow federal prisoners serving time for low-level drug offenses to apply for early release. Overcrowding in federal prisons has become a significant problem in recent decades. AFGE notes that federal prison incarceration levels have risen 50% since 2000, and nearly 900% since 1980, much of it relating to drug sentences. The federal prison system is overcrowded by an average of 43%, with some prisons being much higher, and this increases dangers for both correctional officers working in the prisons and inmates.

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Here’s What We’re Reading: Thursday News Roundup

Here’s What We’re Reading: Thursday News Roundup

Here are some headlines from the working families’ news we're reading today (after the jump).

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Netroots Nation: How We Won the Janet Yellen Fight

Photo courtesy IMF on Flickr

The chair of the Federal Reserve is by many accounts the second most powerful person in the United States after the president, but what the Federal Reserve does is a mystery to most Americans. Last year, there was an unusual public debate about who President Barack Obama should appoint as chairman of the Federal Reserve to replace departing chair Ben Bernanke. Bernanke’s vice chair, Janet Yellen, a renowned economist, had worked with Bernanke to prevent a second Great Depression, and it was widely expected that President Obama would appoint her. Then, suddenly, it seemed as though former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, with the backing of powerful Wall Street Democrats, was going to get the job. Then, equally suddenly, Summers withdrew his name, paving the way for President Obama to appoint Yellen as the first woman chair of the Fed.

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5 Things that Have Changed Since the Federal Minimum Wage Was Last Increased

5 Things that Have Changed Since the Federal Minimum Wage Was Last Increased

The federal minimum wage was last increased on July 24, 2009, and since then, a lot has changed (don’t forget tipped workers haven’t seen a raise since 1991). There have been so many attacks on working families since that time that it would be difficult to catalog them all. But workers and their allies haven't taken the attacks sitting down, and many are finding new ways to organize and stand up for their rights. 

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Tobacco Growers Rep Resigns Following Punching Incident

FLOC photo

Last week, we reported on an incident caught on video where a representative of the North Carolina Growers Association (NCGA) punched an organizer from the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) in the face during an outdoor meeting with workers. Now, FLOC reports that the NCGA accepted the resignation of the representative identified by BuzzFeed and FLOC as Paul Saffle.

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11 Ways the 'Schedules that Work' Act Would Make the Lives of Working Families Better

11 Ways the 'Schedules that Work' Act Would Make the Lives of Working Families Better

On Tuesday, Reps. George Miller (D-Calif.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) introduced the "Schedules That Work" Act to provide federal guidelines for making sure that employers offer fair, flexible and reliable schedules for working families who are often left in difficult situations because of erratic employer scheduling. Miller said the act is about "dignity" and ensuring workers can earn a decent living and meet family responsibilities.

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Will Republicans Vote to Export U.S. Jobs?

Photo of Bring Jobs Home Rally, courtesy of the United Steelworkers

Republican senators have a golden opportunity today to show whose side they are on. In a vote on the Bring Jobs Home Act (S. 2569), the GOP can come down on the side of America's workers who are seeking good, middle-class jobs in an economy that’s not creating enough of them, or they can choose to stand with the corporations that ship U.S. jobs overseas.  

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