With the federal minimum wage stuck at $7.25 an hour and an increase facing stiff opposition from congressional Republicans, coalitions of union, community, faith and other groups are mobilizing to win increases in state and local minimum wage levels. Here’s a look at some recent wins and campaigns where AFL-CIO state federations and central labor councils are playing big roles.
After a conditional veto of an increase in New Jersey's minimum wage by Gov. Chris Christie (R), working families, the New Jersey State AFL-CIO and a coalition of 151 organizations are pushing for a measure that would raise the state's wage to $8.25 per hour and attach a cost-of-living adjustment to the wage for the future. Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D) also joined the "Raise the Wage" campaign. In November, voters will be able to decide on the ballot whether or not to increase the minimum wage.
The hundreds of thousands of East Coast residents—especially in New York and New Jersey—who continue to feel the sting of Hurricane Sandy more than two months after the storm, now are "feeling the sting of a House Republican slap to the face after Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) backed out of a promise to vote on an emergency aid package for hurricane victims," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) called Boehner’s decision to cancel the vote “a cruel knife in the back.”
The New Jersey State AFL-CIO, working together with its Executive Board members, central labor councils, Building Trades councils and affiliated unions, amassed a mountainous collection of union-made toys that was proudly presented to a team of U.S. Marines today in Trenton, on behalf of the U.S. Marine Corps' “Toys for Tots” program.
President Obama sent a request to Congress asking for $60.4 billion to fund Hurricane Sandy storm recovery efforts. The request is expected to be introduced in legislation next week and will be debated after that.
Several years ago, Roy Foster, president of the AFL-CIO Central Labor Council of Atlantic and Cape May Counties, was flipping through the radio stations in his car while driving through Philadelphia and landed on a program that peaked his interest.
New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech and New Jersey State AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Laurel Brennan send us this update on Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts.
The UAW in Atlantic City has thousands of members who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy. In addition to sustaining major property losses, our brothers and sisters have had their hours cut because of the devastation to the casino industry. The critical message to our members is that they are not in this alone. Various recovery resources are available, and we will do everything to get them the help they need as soon as possible.
While the election and other stories have taken Superstorm Sandy out of the headlines, millions of Americans who were in the storm's path are still in need of assistance. Don't let the the short attention span of the news cycle delay necessary aid to those whose lives have been permanently altered.
UNITE HERE Local 54 casino workers in Atlantic City, N.J., are pitching in to help their members and the local community impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Local 54 has started a Helping Hands Relief Center to provide the public with information and help to apply for services. Local 54 President Bob McDevitt told the Press of Atlantic City newspaper:
There is an incredible need in the community....We felt we should coordinate this. As far as organizations go, we connect to most of the people.
Charles Wowkanech, president of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO, and Laurel Brennan, secretary-treasurer of New Jersey State AFL-CIO, send us this.
The New Jersey State AFL-CIO is working diligently with election officials to ensure that first responders and our fellow New Jerseyans displaced by Hurricane Sandy can vote in this election. The destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy exceeded what any of us could have imagined, but we are determined to rebuild, restore and move forward. With Election Day tomorrow, one of our first challenges is to make sure our democratic process proceeds unimpeded. We will continue to provide updates on available voting options and currently recommend the following voting methods to displaced New Jerseyans and first responders to protect your right to vote this Election Day: