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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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Executive Council Says New Coal Dust Standard Will ‘Save Miners’ Lives’

Executive Council Says New Coal Dust Standard Will ‘Save Miners’ Lives’

A new standard that limits miners’ exposure to the coal dust that causes black lung “will save miners’ lives,” said the AFL-CIO Executive Council in a statement approved today at the council’s summer meeting at AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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Senate Passes Highway Funding Bill, But House Balks

Senate Passes Highway Funding Bill, But House Balks

The Senate, with a large bipartisan majority, passed (79–18) legislation Tuesday to keep money flowing into the Highway Trust Fund and keep hundreds of thousands of workers on the job building and repairing the nation’s highways, bridges and other transportation projects. It also sets the stage for coming to an agreement for a long-term solution before the year is out. But House Republican leaders say they will not vote on the Senate bill.

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Something Old, Something New

This past week, The Wall Street Journal published an interview with former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan. He was asked to comment on an address that current Fed Chair Janet Yellen delivered at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in early July. In that address, Yellen laid out her strategy to address asset bubbles primarily through using regulation and counter-cyclical capital requirements of financial institutions placed at risk by the bubbles. Her speech was a sage response to what we have learned from the bubbles of the last 25 years.

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Students Protest at REI in Rockville, Md., Demanding It Stop Stocking North Face Products

Photo courtesy of USAS

On Saturday, 20 activists were arrested during a protest outside Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) in Rockville, Maryland. Students and community leaders came together to demand REI stop stocking The North Face, whose parent company VF Corp. has been linked to serious ongoing labor violations in Bangladesh, including a deadly factory fire in 2010 that claimed at least 20 lives. Despite repeated incidents and issues, VF Corp. has refused to sign the Bangladesh Accord on Fire Safety (the Accord).

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

Photo via The J-Walk Blog

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

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Unions Hope to Avert Off-Stage Tragedy at N.Y.’s Metropolitan Opera

IATSE photo

An epic tragedy is unfolding at the Metropolitan Opera, but the drama isn’t onstage. Six local unions of the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees (IATSE) represent backstage employees at the Metropolitan Opera and they, along with the other Met Opera unions, are getting blamed for the Met’s growing financial crisis.

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300,000 More People Just Got Paid Sick Days

Photo courtesy Allan Ferguson on Flickr

Yesterday, the United States became a little bit better place to be a sick worker, as two more cities joined the growing wave of localities that have passed paid sick days laws. The city councils in San Diego and Eugene, Ore., each voted to require employers to make sure that workers don't have to choose between working sick and losing pay. Nine cities and the state of Connecticut now have paid sick leave laws.

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AFGE: Veterans' Health Care Bill 'Critical First Step' in Addressing VA Failures

Spurred by the recent revelations about long waiting lists, denied critical health care for military veterans, management cover-ups and other serious problems at Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals and health care facilities, Senate and House leaders have agreed on veterans' health care funding and reform package.

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We Love How This ‘Frozen’ Star Sang About the Minimum Wage. But There Are Three Problems With It

We Love How This ‘Frozen’ Star Sang About the Minimum Wage. But There Are Three Problems With It

Kristen Bell, the voice of Princess Anna in the blockbuster Disney hit “Frozen” and dozens of other films, put on a different costume this week to talk about something you wouldn’t expect.

Fans of the humor website Funny or Die were surprised to find a new video of Bell portraying Mary Poppins, the famous fictional British governess. In the video, she is telling her two young wards that she has to quit. Why? She makes minimum wage, and it’s not enough to live on.

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

AmericanCowboy.com photo

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

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