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AFL-CIO Now

Showing blog posts published on Feb 28, 2013

Republicans Continue Hostage Crisis

Republicans Continue Hostage Crisis

Holding out for ransom demands in the form of benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Senate Republicans today again refused to surrender their hostages—the nation’s economy and working families who will be hurt by the upcoming Republican sequester.

Republicans led the charge to defeat a Democratic plan that would have eliminated the across-the-board sequestration budget cuts for the remainder of 2013, which the Congressional Budget Office has estimated would cost 750,000 jobs.

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North Dakota American Crystal Sugar Workers Win UI Benefits

BCTGM Photo

More than 400 locked-out North Dakota American Crystal Sugar workers got some good news this week when the North Dakota Supreme Court ruled they were eligible to collect unemployment benefits. When the lockout began in August 2011, North Dakota Job Service ruled the workers were ineligible for the benefits.

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Working Families Rally for Safer Construction Work in Austin, Texas

Photo courtesy of the Workers Defense Project Facebook page.

Members of the Reagan High School band stopped rush hour traffic yesterday in front of the federal building in Austin, Texas, along with hundreds of advocates, community leaders, families and construction workers, as they celebrated the Workers Defense Project’s (WDP's) biannual Day of the Fallen.

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Broken Immigration Systems Puts Workers' Rights on ICE

Broken Immigration Systems Puts Workers' Rights on ICE

A new report outlines how employers across the country are gaming today’s broken immigration system to exploit immigrant workers and evade both labor and immigration laws. The report by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) uses two dozen case studies—including the recent action at Palermo’s Pizza—as examples of employers’ use of immigration enforcement or the threat of it to retaliate against workers who seek their basic workplace rights.  

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Nebraska Union Members Join Walk to Aid Energy Assistance Program

Nebraska IBEW member joins Walk for Warmth in Omaha.

Hundreds of Omaha, Neb., area residents worked up a sweat to raise money for the Omaha-area Energy Assistance Program. Union members from Electrical Workers (IBEW) locals 1483 and 1521 and the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) Local 70-558 participated in the Heartland Walk for Warmth.

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50 Years After the March on Washington, the Fight for Jobs and Freedom Continues

Aug. 28 of this year marks the 50th anniversary of the famous March on Washington. For many people, the march was simply the site where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. However, the full name of the march was the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and the march marked a high point of the modern civil rights movement, after black communities and their supporters throughout the country boycotted buses, sat-in at lunch counters, rode in Freedom Rides and marched in the streets. These massive protests were aimed at destroying, once and for all, the era of legal segregation— which was a blot on this country since the end of slavery.

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New Jersey Van Takes Voter Registration to the Streets

New Jersey voter registration van.

If you're in New Jersey and trying to register your friends and family to vote, keep your eyes peeled for a bright green van. 

The New Jersey State AFL-CIO is teaming up with Working Families United for New Jersey Inc. and coalition partners to debut a brand-new, state-of-the-art voter registration van, which will make it easy to register voters where they work and live and engage the community. Equipped with Internet access and computers, this van, according to the state federation, "allows us to take our entire voter registration operation to the streets and to engage communities in the democratic process."

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Voting Rights Act and the Supreme Court: What Happened Yesterday

Angelia Wade is an associate general counsel at the AFL-CIO. She sends us this takeaway of the opening oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder. This is a case of extreme importance for voting rights advocates.

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Shelby County, Alabama versus Holder. It was a spirited oral argument that drew clear and noticeable reactions from otherwise staid attorneys as we sat in the lawyers’ lounge, an area for attorneys barred before the Supreme Court but who are unable to get in the courtroom if the courtroom is at capacity, as it was yesterday. We could only hear the argument, not see the justices. The comment that received the most attention was that of Justice Antonin Scalia, who claimed the renewal of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act represented the "perpetuation of racial entitlement.” He further insinuated that no one in Congress was going to vote against the renewal of Section 5 in 2006, (Section 5 was renewed 98-0 in the Senate and 390-33 in the House) because lawmakers did not want to lose votes. He stated, "Even the name of it is wonderful, the Voting Rights Act. Who's going to vote against that?" He further claimed, “I don't think there is anything to be gained by any senator to vote against continuation of this act. And I am fairly confident it will be re-enacted in perpetuity unless—unless a court can say it does not comport with the Constitution.” But this case is not about the Court’s opinion of why senators or representatives vote the way they do, even if it is out of some kind of “political correctness” or fear.  

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