Over the past few weeks, Turkey has been rocked by unrest. The protests were sparked by peaceful resistance to the destruction of Istanbul’s Gezi Park in Taksim Square, the only green public place in central Istanbul, which was to be turned into a shopping mall and historical recreation of Ottoman Artillery Barracks.
A harsh response from the state, characterized by extreme police brutality, has ensued in response to what have become the largest demonstrations the country has seen for decades. Protests have now spread to 77 cities in Turkey.
The Texas AFL-CIO and Texas AFT partnered this weekend with a Univision station in Houston to promote reading, immigration reform and workers' rights at the Houston edition of the COPA Univision amateur soccer tournament. The event included adult men's and women's and youth teams. During the tournament, several thousand people visited the AFL-CIO/AFT exhibit and volunteers gave out more than 1,800 books to children in attendance. Besides the ice cream truck, the exhibit was the second most popular, said Joe Arabie of the Texas AFL-CIO.
Clarence Adams from Brooklyn, N.Y., was fired by Cablevision for asking for a fair contract. He explains here why a functioning National Labor Relations Board is important for America's working families.
For the second time in the past few days, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched an investigation into a chemical plant explosion in Louisiana. On Thursday, a plant in Geismar, La., exploded, killing one person and injuring 73. On Friday, a blast in Donaldsonville, La., killed one person and injured seven. The plant that exploded on Thursday hadn't been inspected by OSHA in 20 years. It is not yet known when the last inspection was done at the Donaldsonville plant.
The ink has barely dried on new rules to protect working people from predatory mortgage lenders and the big bankers’ friends in Congress are already making moves to try to roll back protections. Tomorrow, a House hearing is scheduled to consider proposals to roll back protections against predatory mortgages.
To protect consumers from the types of predatory lending that led to the housing crisis, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 included the commonsense requirement that mortgage lenders consider a borrower’s ability to repay when issuing a mortgage.
In a 7-2 ruling and a major victory for voting rights advocates, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down an Arizona law that required people attempting to register to vote in the state to provide proof of citizenship. The court ruled the additional requirement, not required under federal law, was an overreach by the state. States cannot add extra voter requirements that go beyond federal law. The 1993 "motor voter" law was passed in order to simplify voter registration and only requires that potential voters state that they are citizens, under penalty of perjury, but doesn't require additional proof of citizenship. The majority opinion was written by Antonin Scalia, who said that federal law "forbids states to demand that an applicant submit additional information beyond that required by the federal form." The dissenting votes were from Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate increased slightly from 7.5% to 7.6% in May. Each month, comments on this number include a discussion on “labor force participation"—the number that is released is based on people who are “in the labor force.” To be included in the labor force, someone has to either be employed, or actively looking for work.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka released the following statement this morning on creating a commonsense immigration process:
Working people, including the 12 million members of the AFL-CIO, would like to remind our elected leaders why there is no higher legislative priority than immigration reform, which must include a certain and inclusive path to citizenship and respect the rights of America’s workers.
Workers this week are marking the second anniversary of the historic passage of a global standard covering the rights of domestic workers. The International Labor Organization's (ILO's) Decent Work for Domestic Workers Convention (No. 189) covers written employment contracts, protection from harassment, abuse and violence, hours of work, job safety and other workplace safeguards.