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Showing blog posts by Liz Shuler

About Liz Shuler

Liz Shuler was elected AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer in September 2009, the youngest person ever to become an officer of the AFL-CIO. Shuler previously was the highest-ranking woman in the Electrical Workers (IBEW) union, serving as the top assistant to the IBEW president since 2004. In 1993, she joined IBEW Local 125 in Portland, Ore., where she worked as an organizer and state legislative and political director. In 1998, she was part of the IBEW’s international staff in Washington, D.C., as a legislative and political representative.

Three Ways to Raise Wages

Three Ways to Raise Wages

For a lot of working people, this holiday season will be one of belt-tightening rather than shopping sprees. Let’s face it, our wages just aren’t keeping up the way they used to. Here’s a fact: Average income for the least rich 90% of us has been flat since the 1970s, although people are working more hours. Not a recipe for a holiday-buying bonanza.

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Support Walmart Workers

Walmart. On one hand we have the Walton family—Walmart’s owners. With almost $150 billion in wealth, they are the richest family in the nation. On the other hand, we have Walmart workers, most of whom work for less than $25,000 a year. Most are women. And this Thanksgiving, more than 1 million of them have to go to work instead of spending the full day with their families. The following day—Black Friday—thousands of Walmart workers and community allies will be striking and protesting all over the country, calling on Walmart to end retaliation for workers who speak out for better working conditions and pay.

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Many Paths to Succeed

For a long time, we’ve assumed there was one path to success for America’s kids: College prep courses in high school followed by four or more years of a college education.

But that formula leaves a lot of people out—like people whose families can’t afford college, those who can’t face the huge debt burden of college loans and young people whose career goals do not require a four-year bachelor’s degree.

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Nov. 4: It’s All About Women

Nov. 4: It’s All About Women

The other day I read a statistic that made me laugh a little. It said women’s issues are shaping up as the second-biggest issue among voters this year, behind only the economy.

Really? I don’t think so.

We are the economy.

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11 Great Reasons to Vote

I’m sure you are planning to vote, but maybe you know people who are on the fence—who think elections in non-presidential years just aren’t that important. Not true!

Here are 11 great reasons you can share with them to get them to the polls (after the jump). 

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I'm a Koch Sister, Too!

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler with Joyce and Karen Koch

You’ve heard of the Koch Brothers, the ultra-rich, corporate extremists whose deep pockets are flooding election-season airwaves. Too often, their goals are part of a political playbook to drive down wages, cut Social Security and Medicare and secure more corporate tax breaks at the expense of our environment. Their money may dominate America's politics and lawmaking, but their values and ideals sure don’t.

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Beyond Summit, Sustained Focus Needed for Working Women and Families

Aisha Thurman makes tipped minimum wage as a server in Michigan and is a member of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United.

Next week, people from all over the country will convene in Washington, D.C.—and many more will log in to participate virtually—at a White House Summit on Working Families. Under the banner of “creating a 21st century workplace that works for all Americans,” we’ll hear from businesses, economists, advocates, workers and, yes, labor leaders to discuss policy solutions that can make a difference in the lives of working families. It’s an important conversation, and I look forward to seeing great examples of companies that give their employees meaningful benefits, fathers who take family leave when a new baby arrives and communities coming together to support workers struggling to get by.

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Walmart Moms: ‘Their Fight Is Our Fight’

Our walmart photo

This an open letter from AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler to the nation's working women.  

In a show of national unity, Walmart moms are walking off the job in stores throughout the country this week. After years of trying to support themselves and their families on wages that are too low, with schedules that rob them of full-time benefits and an employer who fires co-workers who audaciously ask for more pay, they have had enough.

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Senate Hearing Today: When Women Organize, America Succeeds

Image via the Economic Policy Institute

Today, the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hosts a roundtable discussion on economic security for working women (you can see the live-stream starting at 2:30 p.m. and find the participants’ testimony at http://help.senate.gov). Lori Pelletier, executive secretary-treasurer of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, is taking part in the roundtable and pointing out some of the reasons a union card is one of the best things a woman can have in her wallet—including better pay and benefits, family-friendly work policies and a strong and effective voice in enacting women’s legislative priorities. Lori’s state, Connecticut, was the first in the country to pass legislation requiring paid sick days, and that would not have happened, she says, without the labor movement. 

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Young People Understand Unions Can Solve Problems

Image via Working America

The National Labor Relations Board’s Chicago regional director issued a notable finding last week: Football players at Northwestern University are employees of the university for purposes of federal labor law. The legal finding, however, is the result of something even more striking. The overwhelming majority of the talented young men who have been awarded scholarships to play on the Northwestern football team expressed their desire to be represented by a union. And they turned to the College Athletes Players Association to file a petition with the NLRB asking for an election to bargain collectively with the university. 

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