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.
What did your grandparents do for a living? What did your grandparents teach you about work? How did your grandparents work lives shape who you are today?
These are the questions asked by a new website launched in honor of Labor Day by Jobs With Justice called The Way They Worked. And rather than providing readers with the answers, the site asks Americans to tell their stories and honor their grandparents and the lives they lived and the jobs they worked.
More than 250 working women, along with AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler, attended the White House Summit on Working Families on Monday to join with the president in calling for more family- and women-friendly workplace policies. There are some employers participating in the president's agenda to raise wages and improve working conditions, but Shuler and the AFL-CIO emphasize that the best path to most women workers seeing improvements is through collective action and bargaining. While the summit had a broad focus on issues important to working families, Shuler emphasized that workers talk to her about issues like raising wages, paid sick days, paid family leave, pay equality, flexible work practices, stability in scheduling and others.
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.
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.
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.
Ruben Jones is a man closer to the age where he should be thinking about retirement, contrary to the "teens who don't need the money" stereotype of minimum and low-wage workers, and makes $8.00 working at a Golden Corral location in the Washington, D.C., area. He's worked for the company over the past five years without seeing a raise. He has two children and four grandchildren who live in Ocean City, Md., who he can't visit because he can't afford to make the trip. Ruben works hard every day, but he lives at home with his mother and grandmother because his low wages, even though they are above the minimum wage, aren't enough for him to get his own apartment.