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Time's Running Out for Congress to Act on Vital Issues

Time's Running Out for Congress to Act on Vital Issues

With the end of the legislative session looming, here’s a look at some of the key working family issues still on the congressional agenda. See the issues after the jump.

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4 Highlights from Richard Trumka and Tefere Gebre in Weekend Media

4 Highlights from Richard Trumka and Tefere Gebre in Weekend Media

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre gave interviews this weekend with The Hill and Huffington Post, respectively. Here are four highlights from those interviews.

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Can Congress Redeem Itself?

Can Congress Redeem Itself?

In the latest polls for May and June, Congress’ approval rating is a mere 14%. This reflects a clear dissatisfaction with Congress not doing something meaningful to help American households. Highjacked by the Tea Party, the Republican-led House of Representatives does not want to use government to help people at a time America’s people need help digging out from policies that let Wall Street bankrupt the country.

Now Congress has been thrown the Voting Rights Act by the Supreme Court, and it struggles with fixing a broken immigration system. But, as we celebrate the federal minimum wage law turning 75 this week, we should add to the list Congress’ duty to raise the minimum wage.

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Children Say, 'We Belong Together'

It's a simple holiday wish: having your family together. For many immigrant children, having mom or dad at home is all they want. In the first six months of 2011, 46,000 parents of children were torn away from their families and deported. Now, children are writing to Congress to ask for action to stop these deportations. 

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Lack of Staff and Bipartisan Expertise Makes Congress More Dysfunctional

Photo courtesy of IowaPolitics.com

The current state of the U.S. Congress—marked by gridlock and bad legislation—is attributable, in large part, to understaffing and a lack of bipartisan expertise, according to a new report from the New America Foundation.  Representatives and senators are barraged with an overwhelming amount of information and the methods they use to handle that flood of data is antiquated the report says.

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Why Are Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid Important to You?

We're asking our blog readers to tell us how Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid impact their lives. We've been hearing from working families all over the country that Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are essential lifelines that we just can’t cut. 

The upcoming lame-duck fight is urgent—we need stories from every single one of you to make sure Congress knows that these aren't just programs, they're your lives.

Share your Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid story

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Obama, Christie Cooperation Should Be Example to Lawmakers Everywhere

BCTD Ocean City, N.J. photo

The way President Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) have set aside partisan politics to “work in singular and cooperative fashion to relieve the pain and suffering of those whose lives have been turned upside down” by Hurricane Sandy should be an example to elected officials everywhere, including members of Congress, says Sean McGarvey, president of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD).

President Obama and Governor Christie do not see the victims of this tragedy as 'Democrats' or 'Republicans,' they simply see them as 'Americans' who are in dire need of the assistance and generosity of our government and its people.

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‘Do-Nothing’ Congress? Pelosi Explains Why

Photo courtesy of http://www.macrobusiness.com.au

Nearly nine out of 10 Americans say they disapprove of the U.S. Congress, and for good reason, too, says House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). The current Congress is the least productive in history. But, says Pelosi in a column in USA Today:

The source of congressional inaction today is a Republican congressional leadership that cannot, or will not, govern; that will not put aside partisanship to work together.

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State Department Report Fails to Address Serious Labor Rights Violations in Honduras

State Department Report Fails to Address Serious Labor Rights Violations in Honduras

There are doubts about the institutions responsible for the rule of law in Honduras and the government’s protection of human rights, acknowledged the U.S. State Department in an Aug. 8 report. Unfortunately, the State Department says virtually nothing about the widespread impunity regarding violations of freedom of association or the threats and violence aimed at labor activists.

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Minimum Wage Boost Could Create 100,000 Jobs

min wage

When wages rise, workers and communities benefit. So imagine how improved our national economy would be if the wages of nearly 30 million workers got a boost?

If Congress acted to raise the federal minimum wage to $9.80 by July 1, 2014, some 28 million workers would see a pay increase, according to the Economic Policy Institute’s (EPI) latest report on the minimum wage. Further, those workers would receive nearly $40 billion in additional wages over the phase-in period.

During an across the phase-in period of the minimum-wage increase, the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) would increase by roughly $25 billion, resulting in the creation of approximately 100,000 net new jobs, according to EPI.

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