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TAA Works—Just Ask Michael Smith

Michael Smith worked for 13 years as a crane operator at Bethlehem Steel’s Sparrows Point, Md., plant. But in 2012 the plant—then owned by R.G. Steel—was forced to shut its doors after a series of flawed trade deals and U.S. policy decisions allowed cheap, subsidized foreign steel to flood the market. Smith was among 2,500 United Steelworkers members who lost their jobs. 

 

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Week of Action Against Fast Track Capped by Rally and March in D.C.

Photo courtesy Campaign for America's Future

On Monday, hundreds of workers and their allies rallied in front of the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C., then marched to the U.S. Trade Representative's office in opposition to Fast Track trade legislation that would allow the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to pass with little oversight or public input. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was a featured speaker at the rally and joined AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre, Communications Workers of America (CWA) President Larry Cohen, political commentator Jim Hightower, Campaign for America's Future, National People's Action, Alliance for a Just Society, USAction and workers from numerous unions in the rally, which also featured a giant TPP Trojan horse.

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Solidarity Produces Results: Winners and Losers of the Week

Solidarity Produces Results: Winners and Losers of the Week

In our regular weekly feature, we'll be taking a look at the winners and losers of the week in the struggle for the rights of working families. The winners will be the persons or organizations that go above and beyond to expand or protect the rights of working families, while the losers will be whoever went above and beyond to limit or deny those rights.

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Tentative Deal Reached in Oil Strike

The United Steelworkers (USW) have reached a tentative agreement on a new four-year contract with Shell Oil Co., the union announced Thursday. The deal will serve as a pattern agreement for the rest of the industry. USW members at several refineries struck on Feb. 1, and the strike grew to include about 7,000 workers at 15 sites across the country.

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Mexican Union Leader: Stop TPP, Demand Real Labor Reforms

Mexican Union Leader: Stop TPP, Demand Real Labor Reforms

“As long as Mexican workers don’t have rights, workers in America are under threat.”

With these words Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, president of the Mexican mine and metalworkers’ union Los Mineros, addressed the AFL-CIO Executive Council at its meeting in Atlanta on Feb. 25.

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Wisconsin Republicans Silence Debate to Advance 'Right to Work' Bill

Photo courtesy Wisconsin AFL-CIO on Flickr

UPDATE, Feb. 26: The Wisconsin State Senate approved the right to work bill 17-15 late Wednesday night. Thousands of workers, community supporters and others rallied outside the Capitol earlier in the day to protest the bill and later packed the Senate chambers for the floor debate and vote. The bill now goes to the State Assembly for vote likely next week. We’ll bring you more details later today.

Wisconsin Republicans, led by state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) and state Sen. Steve Nass (R), have made it abundantly clear this week that they don't care about the voices of their state's working families. They had previously made it clear that they didn't care about the rights of working families. On Tuesday, Nass shut down debate on a proposed "right to work" bill, with hundreds of Wisconsin workers still waiting to testify about the bill. Nass previously admitted that the Fast Track process through which the bill was brought up was intentionally designed to limit public protests. But thousands gathered at the state House in protest of the legislature's actions, with more planned rallies already set to go. The Senate Labor Committee advanced the bill on a party-line vote, and it now goes to the full floor for a vote.

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USW Oil Workers Expand Strike, Cite Safety Concerns

Photo via USW Facebook page

Oil workers at three more refineries and a chemical plant joined the United Steelworkers’ (USW’s) unfair labor practice strike against the oil industry over the weekend. With workers and plant safety a major concern, USW President Leo W. Gerard said:

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Refinery Blast Exemplifies Striking Oil Workers Safety Concerns

An explosion at an ExxonMobil refineryin Torrance, Calif., earlier this week that injured four workers and shook homes for miles around was a chilling reinforcement of the safety concerns that striking oil workers have stressed, as the above video from the United Steelworkers (USW) shows.

 

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Global Unions Defend Right to Strike

Global Unions Defend Right to Strike

In events and rallies around the world Wednesday the global labor movement acted together to defend the right to strike of workers everywhere. That basic labor right says the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) is under attack by employer groups at the International Labor Organization (ILO)   

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Christie Says ‘NO!’ to Buy American

Christie Says ‘NO!’ to Buy American

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) made it very clear last week where he stands on American jobs and Buy American provisions in state laws—he’s firmly against them. He didn’t veto just one Buy American bill, he vetoed five Buy American bills that passed the New Jersey Legislature with bipartisan support.

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