Update: 16 people were arrested at the rally, including UMWA President Cecil E. Roberts, after they refused police orders to move away from the Patriot Coal headquarters.
Thousands of people are rallying in Charleston, W.Va., Monday in support of retired workers from Patriot Coal, Peabody Energy and Arch Coal. Patriot filed for bankruptcy and is attempting to abandon its responsibilities to pay health care costs for retirees from the three companies, a strategy the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) argue was purposefully done when Patriot was created as a way to shed those costs. Along with current and retired mine workers, the rally includes family members, labor and faith leaders, elected officials and community supporters.
Hundreds of activists representing working families rallied in Chicago on Thursday in support of commonsense immigration reform with a path to citizenship. The event was held by the Chicago Federation of Labor, Instituto del Progreso Latino and the AFL-CIO.
More than 1,500 people rallied Tuesday on Capitol Hill in support of working families and to tell Congress not to make any benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. They also told Congress to close tax loopholes for big corporations and the wealthiest 2% and to prevent the sequester from going into effect and harming the country. Throughout the rally, working families spoke with a unified voice calling for "jobs, not cuts."
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka condemned the actions of Gov. Rick Snyder and the radical Republicans in Michigan who announced today that "right to work" for less legislation would be pushed forward in the state's "lame-duck" session. Working families filled the Lansing Capitol building Thursday, outraged at the attempts to strip them of their voice in the workplace. Snyder is the latest in a line of extreme Republican governors, such as Scott Walker of Wisconsin, John Kasich of Ohio and Rick Scott of Florida, who are assaulting the rights of working families.
The budget proposal President Obama gave Republicans yesterday "keeps faith with the voters in last month’s election, who overwhelmingly opposed tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans and benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare," says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
The ball is now in the Republicans’ court. Unfortunately, Republicans do not seem to have learned the lessons from their shellacking at the polls in November. They are still insisting on the very things voters rejected so resoundingly: tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% and benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
If you're a progressive activist seeking to make economic change, delving into the role of "derivatives" or other arcane discussions likely results in blank stares. Which is why Erica Payne, founder of the Agenda Project says that progressives need to cut through the right-wing noise and talk about what's really happening to the U.S. economy. For Payne, explaining the recession isn't complicated: "A bunch of rich privileged guys stole our money."