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Sarandon: 'I’ve Always Known that Unions Made America'

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, left, with actor Susan Sarandon

“That was the turning point for a lot of actors," said actor Susan Sarandon to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka about the national commercial actors strike 12 years ago. "It wasn’t until we felt threatened that we realized the importance of our union.”

In a casual moment in a midtown Manhattan hotel Friday evening, Sarandon, a longtime member of SAG-AFTRA, and Trumka spoke at length before she introduced him to a gathering held by Local 1 of the American Federation of School Administrators.

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Writers, Producers Race to the Top with WGAE

Writers, Producers Race to the Top with WGAE

A banner for Atlas Media Corp. fluttered in a light breeze above 36th Street in Manhattan. In this morning's sunlight on the sidewalk below, nearly 100 nonfiction TV writers and producers, members of the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), waved signs and chanted, demanding health care benefits and better treatment.

Then they staged a footrace, complete with numbered bibs and a finish line held on one end by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, that was dubbed a “Race to the Top” to end the “race to the bottom” at Atlas—a company named for the right-wing polemical novel Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

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'Taxi Drivers Unite!'

'Taxi Drivers Unite!'

Yesterday, 40 members of the National Taxi Workers Alliance (NTWA) and taxi workers from San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia cheered, chanted and waved signs outside the Midtown Operating Corp. garage in Long Island City, N.Y. Their messages: “Lower the Lease!” and “Stop the Greed!” In the midst of the drivers were AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and NTWA Executive Director Bhairavi Desai, who hollered into the bullhorn, “We’re your union! Taxi drivers unite!” The NTWA has held 50 such marches in the past four months to protest crippling fees that guarantee profits for owners of taxicabs and medallions and a tough existence for drivers.

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APALA Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Twenty years ago, when the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) was founded, “you could almost count the number of Asian Pacific American (APA) organizers on one hand,” says APALA Executive Director Gregory Cendana. But in the two decades since, "That has clearly changed when you look around at the growing number of Asian Pacific American union leaders, staff and organizers." 

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Adviser Left Romney Campaign During NLRB Ethics Probe

Former National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) member Peter Schaumber, involved in an ethics probe by the board’s inspector general, no longer is an adviser to presidential candidate Mitt Romney, according to a report in The Hill.

“It’s hardly a coincidence that Schaumber resigned from the Romney campaign the same time that his inside source at the board was notified he was being investigated,” says AFL-CIO spokesperson Alison Omens.

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Tobacco Companies Agree to Talk Workers’ Rights with FLOC

FLOC Photo

After more than four years of pressure from the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) and other worker advocates, several of the largest tobacco companies, tobacco growers and workers are close to sitting down to discuss the issues of freedom of association without fear of retaliation, wages, housing, forced labor and other issues.

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Taxi Workers Protest High Fees, Daily Struggles

Taxi Workers Protest High Fees, Daily Struggles

Members of the National Taxi Workers Alliance (NTWA) protested today outside three Long Island City, N.Y., garages that lease vehicles and broker permits for taxi drivers, calling attention to their daily struggles. Led by Bhairavi Desai (shown speaking in photo) and joined by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, the Taxi Workers are calling for lower lease rates, credit card fees and permit costs.  In October, the NTWA became the most recent AFL-CIO affiliate.

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Machinists Reject Lockheed's Health Care, Pension Cuts

Machinists (IAM) members at three Lockheed Martin locations are on strike after voting overwhelmingly to reject a company contract offer that reduced health care benefits and dropped defined-benefit pensions for newly hired workers. Some 3,700 members are on strike in Fort Worth, Texas, Edwards Air Force Base in California and Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland.

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Sutter Nurses Set 1-Day Strike for Patient Care

National Nurses United photo.

Some 4,500 RNs at eight Sutter Health Bay Area hospitals will hold a one-day strike May 1 to dramatize the highly profitable health care chain’s demand for more than 100 sweeping reductions in patient care and nurses’ standards and workplace conditions. Sutter Health has made $4.2 billion in profits over the past five years, pays its CEO $4 million a year after a 215 percent raise and pays 21 top executives $1 million or more a year.

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New Union Mentoring Guide Helps Build Future Leaders

New Union Mentoring Guide Helps Build Future Leaders

The Next Generation: A Handbook for Mentoring Future Union Leaders, just released by the Berger-Marks Foundation and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), provides hands-on advice and concrete tools for unions and other organizations to develop and implement mentoring programs for members and staff.

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