Before the National Rifle Association press conference today with NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, who claimed having armed cops in schools would end gun violence in schools, AFT President Randi Weingarten and the National Education Association (NEA) President Dennis Van Roekel released a statement to proposals to arm teachers from Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas).
For those interested in learning more about the state of labor activism at Walmart and how worker-employer relations got to this point at the nation's biggest employer, read Josh Eidelson's latest article in The Nation, The Great Walmart Walkout. Eidelson also examines Walmart's effect on local communities and the supply chain that provides the company's products.
UAW locals 531 and 2317 in Lafayette, Ind., served a piping hot Christmas meal on Dec. 19 to local people who live on a low income or don't have a home. The union members split the cost of the meal between the two locals.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued the following statement on House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) “Plan B” failure and the latest fiscal developments:
Speaker Boehner’s failure last night should be seen as one thing: A reset button to listen to the will of the American people. The slate is clean and we call on the President to come forward with an offer that reflects the reasons he won the election. Across the country working people continue to demand no tax cuts for the richest two percent and no benefit cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. At this point, cuts to the Social Security COLA to pay for more tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent should be off the table. The President and Congress have no obligation to radical Republicans who have no ground to stand on. What they do have is the backing of millions of hardworking women and men tired of being held hostage by far right-wing Republicans who clearly have little interest in governing.
Check out the heartbreaking story of some of the many workplace deaths where companies are found liable and penalties are issued but never collected as corporations game the bankruptcy system, lawyers aggressively fight and, sometimes, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fails to follow through. Peg Seminario, director of safety and health at the AFL-CIO, is quoted in the article.
The time for immigration reform is now, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said to union leaders today. This will be a focus for labor in 2013. Hardworking immigrant families came to this country for the promise of freedom and the opportunity to provide a better life for their children—even if it meant uprooting their families. Working families are all the better for having hardworking new immigrants as contributing members of the communities, with full rights and equal protections. The country needs to create a common-sense immigration process with a road map to citizenship.
It could have been a pretty bleak and hungry holiday season for the families of the 1,300 American Crystal Sugar workers who have been locked out of their jobs since August 2011. But thanks to the combined efforts of the unions of the St. Paul (Minn.) Regional Labor Federation and the American Income Life Insurance Co., there’ll be presents under the trees and food in the pantries.
As the new year starts, Arizona's lowest-paid workers will see a gift—the state's minimum wage will go up 15 cents, to a new total of $7.80 an hour. More than 72,000 workers will get a boost in their pay equaling an average of $320 annually. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the increased consumer spending generated by the increase will add $13 million to the local gross domestic product (GDP). Nine other states also will be raising their wages on Jan. 1, 2013, helping nearly 1 million workers across the nation.