Children who grow up in homes with books, research shows, have much higher reading scores and go farther in the education system than others. But many children can’t get books at home because their families just don’t have the money or have other problems. The AFT partners with First Book to help reduce the achievement gap between low-income and middle-class students. First Book has distributed more than 90 million new books to children across the United States, many of whom could not afford them.
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.
Gaby Pacheco, the leader of the DREAM youth movement from Miami and one of the co-founders of Students Working for Equal Rights, tells her story in a recent TEDx Talk. Pacheco moved to the United States from Ecuador when she was eight. She grew up a hardworking student who was elected student government president of Miami Dade Community College and the statewide community college student government organization. Along the way she faced many obstacles as an aspiring citizen, from an encounter with the Ku Klux Klan to the inability to find work because of her lack of papers verifying citizenship.
Hundreds, possibly thousands, of robocalls were sent out from the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections office this morning instructing voters that they could vote tomorrow. After about 30 minutes of the calls going out, they were stopped and the elections office issued a statement saying that the calls were inaccurate.
This week, Broward County—one of the most populous counties in South Florida—became the second county in the state to pass a local wage theft ordinance, joining Miami-Dade County. In a 7-2 vote, the Board of County Commissioners voted to create the new law to deal with a significant and growing problem in Florida. Wage theft occurs when workers are not paid overtime, not paid at least the minimum wage, are forced to work off the clock or are not paid at all for work they have completed.
Union members and working family activists all over the country are joining phone banks and other get-out-the-vote actions to make sure everyone gets to the polls Nov. 6. AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker traveled this week to Florida, where she joined the Florida AFL-CIO in Miami and made calls to voters.
AFT’s "Your Vote–Your Right–Their Futures” bus tour is rolling through Florida this week building support and getting out the vote for President Obama and other working family candidates. AFT President Randi Weingarten, AFT Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson, along with local and state AFT officials and members, will meet with union and community election volunteers and activists for rallies, marches and neighborhood walks.
Recent years have seen an assault on the rights of voters across the country, from stringent identification requirements to the throwing away of valid voter registration applications. While most states are seeing only one or two of the variety of assaults on the rights of voters, Florida, as it has in the past, is leading the way in different ways of denying legitimate citizens their right to vote.
Americans faced with a tough economy face significant struggles when they lose their jobs. Since the 1930s, workers who are without jobs through no fault of their own have had the safety net of the unemployment compensation program to serve as a backup plan until they get back on their feet. Under new rules implemented by Florida Gov. Rick Scott and his allies in the state legislature, it's getting harder and harder for working families who have lost their jobs to obtain the unemployment compensation that they have earned.
Four county commissioners in Orange County, Fla., told more than 50,000 voters there that their voices don’t count. By a 4-3 margin Tuesday, the Orange County Commission voted to keep a paid sick leave initiative off the November ballot by requiring further review of the proposal, even though the petition for the ballot measure had been signed by more than 50,000 people and certified. Moving in the right direction, a three-judge panel ruled Friday that Mayor Teresa Jacobs has until Sunday, Sept. 16 at 3:30 p.m. to explain why the Earned Sick Time campaign’s emergency request for voters to be allowed to have their say should not be granted.