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AFL-CIO Now

Showing blog posts published on Feb 21, 2013

From Yogurt to Steel Mills, IBEW Members Put Skills to Use

Chobani photo

The recently opened Chobani yogurt plant—the world’s largest—in Twin Falls, Idaho, and several major construction projects—including a new steel mill—in the Youngstown, Ohio, area have been a boon for the skilled Electrical Workers (IBEW) members there who have been a blessing for the construction managers tasked with getting the jobs done quickly and efficiently.

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Immigration Campaign Kickoff: Seattle DREAMer Wants to See Her Family Again

Of all the reasons a path to citizenship is vital for our nation's 11 million aspiring citizens, one powerful reason stands out: It's the right thing to do. Check out this great new video from Seattle, where DREAMer Elizabeth Lara explains why she's excited to become a citizen. Lara was joined by union members and community leaders who gathered to support comprehensive, commonsense immigration reform this week. 

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How Do We Control Rising Health Care Costs? It's Medicare, Stupid

Photo courtesy of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare: www.ncpssm.org

Americans overspend $750 billion in health care each year. One-fifth of our economy enriches very few at the expense of everyone else. Labs, drug companies, medical device makers, hospital administrators and purveyors of CT scans, MRIs, canes and wheelchairs are some of the entities and people reaping the financial rewards by gaming the health care system, writes Time magazine's Steven Brill in a fascinating, in-depth look at why health care prices are just "too damn high" in Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us

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AFL-CIO, Chamber of Commerce Announce Shared Immigration Reform Principles

The AFL-CIO and the Chamber of Commerce have been working together to find common ground on comprehensive immigration reform. This morning, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Chamber of Commerce President Thomas J. Donohue released this statement on the groups’ shared immigration reform principles.  

The United States will always be a nation of immigrants who have contributed greatly to the vitality, diversity and creativity of American life. Yet, like the rest of America’s immigration system, the mechanisms for evaluating our labor market needs and admitting foreign workers—as well as recruiting U.S. workers—for temporary and permanent jobs are broken or non-existent. Current immigration policies are rigid, cumbersome and inefficient. What is needed is the creation of a professional bureau in a federal executive agency to inform Congress and the public about these issues together with a system that provides for lesser-skilled visas that respond to employers’ needs while protecting the wages and working conditions of lesser-skilled workers—foreign or domestic. Current efforts at comprehensive immigration reform present a unique and historic opportunity for American workers and businesses to work together to fix this aspect of the badly broken system.

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In Sequester Fight, Boehner's Willing to Sacrifice the Hostages

Photo courtesy of Rep. Ron Barber's congressional website.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) continues to lead the Republican charge to the March 1 deadline, when arbitrary, across-the-board sequestration cuts in everything from mental health services to public safety kick in. In a cynical drive to wring massive concessions in cuts from Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Boehner and the Republicans are willing to inflict hardships on working families and bring disaster to the economy.

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Union Members @Work: Quality

As the launch of the AFL-CIO’s new online hub @Work continues, today we are highlighting union members’ commitment to producing the highest quality of products and services. This is one of the seven categories of the new site.

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Twitter Chat: Can Labor Be Saved?

Photo courtesy of CWA's Flickr photostream.

Join Communications Workers of America (CWA) President Larry Cohen at 2 p.m. EST for a Twitter chat on the future of the union movement. Follow the hashtag #U1Nation to follow the chat. 

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As Immigration Reform Heats Up, Civil Rights Group Continues Campaign Against Exploitative Guest Worker Programs

Photo from an immigration rally in Southern California.

While the AFL-CIO continues to roll out its campaign for citizenship and fair, comprehensive immigration reform for aspiring Americans, lawmakers in Congress are considering a number of potential options for an immigration bill. It is no secret that the union movement and the business community have been discussing the “future flow” of lesser-skilled workers. There is consensus that, like the rest of America’s immigration system, the mechanisms for evaluating our labor market needs and admitting foreign workers (as well as recruiting U.S. workers) for temporary and permanent jobs are broken, or non-existent.

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