Thanks to what Texas AFL-CIO President Becky Moeller calls a “historic, robust” bipartisan effort, the Texas Legislature approved on Monday a "Buy American" provision for water projects that establishes a preference for iron, steel and manufactured goods produced in the United States. Says Moeller:
While, according to official government statistics, union density declined last year, there were a handful of states that actually saw an increase in membership. California placed at the top of this list.
After a debate that took nearly 10 hours over three legislative days, the Minnesota House of Representatives approved historic legislation Monday that extends collective bargaining rights to family child care providers and personal care attendants. The bill passed 68-66 after surviving 20 Republican amendments trying to undermine it. Gov. Mark Dayton promises to sign the bill.
Fast food workers in Milwaukee, Wis., became the latest to join a nation-wide movement for a living wage by walking off the job on Wednesday and calling for both an increase in wages and the recognition of their right to form a union free from employer harassment or retaliation. Hundreds of workers joined the walkout, leaving restaurants like McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Old Country Buffet and Popeye's. A rally is scheduled for Thursday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. at the Milwaukee County Courthouse.
Minnesota is part of a growing group of states and localities that aren't sitting around and waiting for the federal government to take the lead on pushing to increase the minimum wage and move it closer to a living wage. Recently, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) introduced the Fair Minimum Wage Act, which hasn't gone anywhere in Congress. But that isn't stopping states like Minnesota, which are stepping up and getting the job done when it comes to raising the minimum wage.
Journalists are fixated on union members' donations to the Los Angeles mayoral race to elect Wendy Greuel, Maria Elena Durazo, executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, writes in a Los Angeles Times column. But one issue is being largely ignored: the working poor.
"But if the discussion about the role of unions in the campaign is going to focus almost exclusively on money, shouldn't we talk about money in its entirety?" writes Durazo. "What motivates me and so many others in L.A. labor when it comes to money are the hundreds of thousands of our fellow workers in Los Angeles who don't earn enough of it."
The American Legislative Exchange Council, its corporate backers and extremist Missouri lawmakers may have won the first round in their drive to silence working people with a paycheck deception bill, when the House gave it final approval (86-69) earlier this week.
The Home Defenders League is holding a Wall Street Accountability Week of Action in Washington, D.C., from May 18-23. Families directly affected by the foreclosure crisis are traveling to the nation's capital to make their voices heard. On May 20, at 1:30 p.m., home defenders and their allies are rallying to "Bring Justice to Justice." The week also will include community organizing and training in home defense and other nonviolent tactics.
Across the country, low-wage workers at McDonald's, KFC, Jimmy John’s and other service-sector jobs are joining together to improve wages and working conditions for the entire industry. This growing movement is one of the largest grassroots workplace mobilizations in recent history. Recently, workers in New York City, Chicago, St. Louis and Detroit went on strike, demanding a minimum wage of $15 an hour and the right to form a union free from employer harassment and retaliation.
The AFT has been a partner in helping revitalize McDowell County, W.Va., for more than a year now, and those efforts are paying major dividends for the local education system. On Wednesday, the West Virginia Board of Education unanimously approved a community schools plan for McDowell County Public Schools. In a separate vote, the state board also voted to return the county's schools to local control. The board had taken control of the schools in an attempt to save them from the poor conditions the county was experiencing.