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Showing blog posts by Mike Hall

Mike Hall

I’m a former West Virginia newspaper reporter, staff writer for the United Mine Workers Journal and managing editor of the Seafarers Log. I came to the AFL- CIO in 1989 and have written for several federation publications, focusing on legislation and politics, especially grassroots mobilization and workplace safety. When my collar was still blue, I carried union cards from the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers, American Flint Glass Workers and Teamsters for jobs in a chemical plant, a mining equipment manufacturing plant and a warehouse. I’ve also worked as roadie for a small-time country-rock band, sold my blood plasma and played an occasional game of poker to help pay the rent. You may have seen me at one of several hundred Grateful Dead shows. I was the one with longhair and the tie-dye. Still have the shirts, lost the hair.

Verizon Day of Action for Fair Contract Aims at Company’s Board

Photo credit: CWA

Today, at more than 300 events around the country, activists from the Communications Workers of America (CWA), other AFL-CIO unions, Jobs with Justice (JwJ), 99% Power coalition and other allies are mobilized for a National Day of Action for a fair contract for 45,000 Verizon workers who are members of CWA and the Electrical Workers (IBEW).    

Verizon is a $100 billion company that has made tens of billions in profits, yet is demanding $10,000 a year from each worker in compensation cuts. At the same time, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam got a 200 percent raise from $7.2 million to $23.1 million, courtesy of the communication giant’s board of directors.

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Music, Art, Comedy, Organizing Come Together at Great Labor Arts Exchange

Music, Art, Comedy, Organizing Come Together at Great Labor Arts Exchange

The 34th Annual Great Labor Arts Exchange and Conference on Creative Organizing kicks off today and runs through Monday at the Conference Center at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum Heights, Md. Sponsored by the Labor Heritage Foundation, the Great Labor Arts Exchange celebrates the rich cultural heritage of working people and brings together talented labor artists, activists, cultural workers, educators and students.

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Financial Experts Urge Global Leaders to Adopt Financial Transaction Tax

A group of 50 financial professionals—investors, traders, academics and banking executives—urged G-20 and European leaders to back small financial transaction taxes (FTTs) on financial industry speculation.    

In a letter to world leaders, the group notes that FTTs “have a proven track record” and would help rebalance financial markets away from “a short-term trading mentality that has contributed to instability in our financial markets.” It also says FTTs have the potential to raise significant revenue.

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DREAMers Celebrate Win, Vow Continued Action for Immigration Reform

Courtesy of the United We Dream Facebook Page (Jose Antonio Vargas)

Clad in graduation robes and mortarboards, dozens of young “DREAMers,” who no longer face deportation, celebrated President Obama’s action last week that will allow them to remain in the nation in which they grew up. Welcoming the young students from the United We Dream coalition to AFL-CIO headquarters this afternoon, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said:

In this house, we’re not divided as immigrants or native-born. We are united by our vision and values—our vision of an America where hard work is fairly rewarded.

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Legal Resident’s Immigration Nightmare Yields Artistic Tribute to Immigrants

Last year, Christine Ashley, a legal U.S. resident for 42 years, returned from a visit to the United Kingdom. In this video, Scottish-born Ashley says that when she arrived at Boston’s Logan Airport:

I went through immigration as I always do, showed them my green card as I always do, had my thumb scanned as I always do. But this time was different, they took me away in handcuffs.

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AFGE’s Cox Named New Veterans Council Chair

AFGE’s Cox Named New Veterans Council Chair

AFGE Secretary-Treasurer J. David Cox has been named new chair of the AFL-CIO Union Veterans Council. He previously served as the council’s vice chair. The Union Veterans Council focuses on veterans’ issues and advocates public policies to improve the quality of life for U.S. veterans and their families. The two primary areas of focus for veterans are access to good jobs and to quality health care. Cox says:

The care of our nation’s veterans is of utmost importance to me. They have sacrificed so much to this country.

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NLRB Website Outlines Rights of Nonunion Workers to Act Together

Even if workers are not in a union, they have the right to act together to improve their working conditions and for other mutual aid and protection. A new website by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) explains those rights and tells workers how to contact the nearest NLRB office if they have questions or believe their rights have been violated.

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Mexico Entering Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement

Today, the United States Trade Representative announced that Mexico will be invited to join the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement (TPP).  Although the U.S. already has extensive trade relations with Mexico through the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says. Mexico’s inclusion in the TPP could have significant impacts on workers in both countries.

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Dancers' Alliance Wins First Pact for Video Performers

Earlier this spring, we highlighted the creative action by dancers and other music video performers as they mobilized for a fair contract—and they now have one. SAG-AFTRA and the Dancers' Alliance reached the first-ever industry-wide contract to cover dancers and other performers on music videos with Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, EMI Music and The Walt Disney Co.

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Workers and Their Unions Key to Economic Turnaround, Election Outcome

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and Columbia University Professor Dorian Warren both say the best way to solve the nation’s economic crisis is to grow the middle class rather than allowing wealth to concentrate in fewer and fewer hands. Unions, they say, will play a vital role politically and economically in building a strong middle class.

O'Malley and Warren spoke on a conference call with reporters Friday to counter recent attacks by Republican lawmakers on workers and their unions.

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