A beat-up van pulls to a stop just up the road. A creaky screen door opens from the apartment at the end of the building. A young African American girl runs out toward the van, barely hanging onto a large gym bag that was obviously not meant for such a pint-sized carrier. The driver of the van, a middle-aged white man with glasses and a beard, throws the passenger door to the van open and the little girl tosses the bag onto the floor before climbing in. The apartment door, which had banged shut in the meantime, creaks open again as the girl’s mother waves goodbye.
“Be good. Have fun,” she tells her daughter.
“I’ll have her back by eight,” the driver replies, as the little girl shuts the van door and waves goodbye to her mom.
Ten years ago this week, the United States launched the invasion of Iraq. The nation remains divided on the wisdom, strategy and outcome of the war that claimed the lives of 4,488 U.S. service members and left more than 32,000 wounded.
But there is one certainty—the men and women who honorably fought and served in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade have come home to an economy that works even less for them than it does others. Job loss, stagnant wages and a widening gap between working families and the wealthy and Wall Street are some of these problems.
Many wondered why Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder changed his tune on "right to work" for less legislation abruptly this week. If you take a closer look at the makeup of the 2013 Michigan state legislature, the reason becomes clear.
The economy added 171,000 new jobs in October—the 32nd straight month of positive job growth—according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The nation’s unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 7.9%, up slightly from September’s 7.8%. The labor force grew by more than half a million workers in October, which is a positive sign, as more workers are seeking and finding jobs. The number of discouraged and involuntary part-time workers has fallen since last year.
The newly created jobs exceeded most economists’ predictions of 100,000 to 125,000 new jobs for the month. Also, September payrolls were revised to a gain of 148,000 from an initially reported 114,000, and August to 192,000 from 142,000.
Federal law does not require that employers allow their workers time off to vote, but the majority of states have at least some level of protection for employees who want to leave work to engage in their civic duty. The specifics vary by state, but in each state, the rules apply to almost every type of workplace. Employers are required to know what the laws are and to provide adequate accommodations, according to the rules of that state. Nearly all of the states allow employers to refuse time off to vote for those employees who have two or three hours off during the time the polls are open (the number of hours varies by state).
Thousands of grassroots activists have signed up for Workers' Voice's new, innovative online tool called RePurpose. RePurpose allows campaign volunteers to shape how campaign resources are spent. Have you signed up yet?
Campaign volunteers gain points based on activities through Workers' Voice, whether it is phone banking, knocking on doors or taking action online.
One day in Havertown, Pa., a neighborhood organizer in a red shirt knocked on Vicki’s door, asking how Vicki felt about cuts in her state’s school budget. A retired school teacher who has a grandson with special needs, Vicki worried the cuts her governor was pushing would eliminate resources for special education.
Vicki was already angry about these cuts. She felt that one of the most important people in her life was being targeted. But until that day, she felt powerless to do anything about it. Like so many people, she thought she couldn’t change the process, and that her elected leaders weren’t listening. Then someone showed up at her door with a solution—a strategy to change things.
The Labor Project for Working Families recently released a series of new “Unions Win It” fact sheets on bargaining for work-family benefits such as child care, family leave, worker-controlled flexibility, low-wage worker benefits, paid sick days and more. Download the fact sheets from its website and stay tuned for more fact sheets to be released in the coming months.