ARA Alert

Here is your November 21 Friday Alert: Thank Social Security Hero Tom Harkin! Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) is retiring after 40 years of dedicated public service, including the championing of policies and legislation benefiting Social Security and Medicare recipients and … Continue reading

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Postal Rally Photos

https://www.flickr.com/photos/iowafedaflcio/

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President Obama takes appropriate steps to fix broken immigration process

  November 21, 2014– Last night the President of the United States took a long overdue and necessary step towards fixing our broken immigration system We applaud his willingness to act to address this crisis, for the good of all … Continue reading

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Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka    On Immigration Accountability Executive Action

  November 20, 2014   Today is an important step toward rational and humane enforcement of immigration law. On behalf of America’s workers, we applaud the Administration’s willingness to act.  We have been calling upon the White House to halt … Continue reading

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Labor History

November 22 “The Uprising of the 20,000.” Some 20,000 female garment workers are on strike in New York; Judge tells arrested pickets: “You are on strike against God.” The walkout, believed to be the first major successful strike by female … Continue reading

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NEW REPORT REVEALS THAT WALMART AVOIDS BILLIONS IN U.S. TAXES

  And is working to change the law so it can dodge billions more   WASHINGTON – A new report released Thursday by Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) reveals that Walmart uses tax breaks to dodge a whopping $1 billion annually, … Continue reading

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Labor History

November 21 Six miners striking for better working conditions under the IWW banner are killed and many wounded in the Columbine Massacre at Lafayette, Colo. Out of this struggle Colorado coal miners gained lasting union contracts – 1927 The 1,700-mile … Continue reading

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AFL-CIO Seeks End to “Revolving Door” Payments

  Large financial institutions give bonuses to their employees for taking jobs in government.   (Washington DC, November 20th, 2014) AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka today sent letters to seven large Wall Street banks calling for the banks to explain questionable … Continue reading

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Robert J “Bob” Soesbe

CLINTON — Robert J. “Bob” Soesbe, 88, of Clinton, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loved ones, Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014, at Mercy Medical Center, Clinton, after a brief illness.

The memorial mass will be 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 21, 2014, at Prince of Peace Catholic Church, 1105 Lametta Wynn Drive, Clinton. The family will greet relatives and friends 9-11 a.m. before the service at the church Friday. A luncheon will be held for family and friends at St. Boniface Church Hall, 2520 Pershing Ave., after the service. Per Bob’s wishes, his body was donated for medical education and research to University of Iowa College of Medicine. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Clinton County Historical Society or to the family for a memorial in Bob’s name. Pape Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences and remembrances may be expressed by visiting his obituary at www.papefh.com.

Robert John Soesbe was born Jan. 17, 1926, in Manchester, Iowa, the son of Philip C. and Frances Barbara (Siegel) Soesbe. He graduated from St. Mary’s High School in Clinton in 1944. He attended college at St. Ambrose and was awarded a medal honoring his military service by the university. Bob married Ethel M. Saffer on Aug. 23, 1947, at Our Lady of Angels Academy in Clinton.

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Attack on unions is an attack on workers

Attack on unions is an attack on workers – TheGazette

November 19, 2014 | 9:32 am

I am writing in response to a guest column by Jay Ambrose, “Fighting public unions, saving the future,” which was published in The Gazette Nov. 13.

Ambrose praises Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin for his attack on public sector collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin and goes as far as to call Walker a hero.

He states that public sector union workers are a tax burden but mentions nothing about all the workers’ tax dollars going to corporations while many corporations pay nothing in taxes themselves.

The entire column is an all-out assault on working people. Is Mr. Ambrose unaware that the very people he feels do not deserve decent wages, pensions and voices in the workplace are taxpayers?

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Mr. Goodfellow: AFSCME Local 212

DONOR: AFSCME Local 212

AMOUNT: $1,000

ABOUT THE DONOR: The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 212 represents more than 300 people, including Sioux City Community School District bus drivers, Sioux City Assessor’s Office, Sioux Gateway Airport, Sioux City Field Services and Operations Unit workers, and Technical and Clerical Unit workers.

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Center to file complaint against IC employer

An Iowa City workers’ rights group backed by several state lawmakers says it is filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor alleging wage theft by an Iowa City manufacturer.

The Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa said Tuesday that RockTenn, a Norcross, Ga.-based company with a plant at 2561 Independence Road in Iowa City, is violating labor laws by failing to pay some workers the wages they are due and requiring workers to report well before their shifts begin without pay.

The Iowa City-based center announced the filing of the complaint in a news conference where about three dozen supporters gathered, including plant workers and state Sens. Joe Bolkcom (D-Iowa City) and Bob Dvorsky (D-Coralville), and state Rep. Art Staed (D-Cedar Rapids).

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Labor History

November 20
First use of term “scab,” by Albany Typographical Society – 1816

2014.11.17history-norman.thomasNorman Thomas born, American socialist leader – 1884

The time clock is invented by Willard Bundy, a jeweler in Auburn, N.Y. Bundy’s brother Harlow starts mass producing them a year later – 1888

Mine fire in Telluride, Colo., kills 28 miners, prompts union call for safer work conditions – 1901

A total of 78 miners are killed in an explosion at the Consolidated Coal Company’s No. 9 mine in Farmington, W. Va. – 1968

The Great Recession hits high gear when the stock market falls to its lowest level since 1997. Adding to the mess: a burst housing bubble and total incompetence and greed—some of it criminal—on the part of the nation’s largest banks and Wall Street investment firms. Officially, the recession lasted from December 2007 to June 2009 – 2008

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Cash Mob

Friends, We are organizing ‘Cash Mobs’ to support local businesses across the state, and we need your help! Next week the holiday shopping season will being in full force, and people will flock to stores to buy Christmas presents and get … Continue reading

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“Symposium on the Impact of Wealth Disparity on America”

Saturday, November 22nd 9:00 AM Economic Justice Forum Augustana College’s Olin Center auditorium The Symposium will moderated by Morning News Anchor Emily Scarlett (TV4) and will feature Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist David Cay Johnston as the Keynote Speaker. Break-out … Continue reading

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Labor History

November 19
Joe Hill, labor leader and songwriter, executed in Utah on what many believe was a framed charge of murder. Before he died he declared: “Don’t waste any time mourning. Organize.” – 19152014.11.17history-joehill.bookcover
(The Man Who Never Died: The Life, Times and Legacy of Joe Hill, American Labor Icon: This is the definitive, well-illustrated biography of Joe Hill, legendary American songwriter and labor hero, with explosive new evidence pointing to his innocence of the crime for which he was executed nearly a century ago. 
     In 1914, Joe Hill was convicted of murder in Utah and sentenced to death by firing squad, igniting international controversy. Many believed Hill was innocent, condemned for his association with the Industrial Workers of the World—the radical Wobblies. Following four years of intensive investigation, William M. Adler gives us the first full-scale biography of Joe Hill, and presents never before published documentary evidence that comes as close as one can to definitively exonerating him.)

The nation’s first automatic toll collection machine is used at the Union Toll Plaza on New Jersey’s Garden State Parkway – 1954

The National Writers Union is founded, representing freelance and contract writers and others in the trade. In 1992 it was to merge into and become a local of the United Auto Workers – 1981

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Black Friday Walmart Action

November 28: Black Friday Action – at Walmart. Cedar Rapids, IA.  SW Side of Walmart. Meet outside of Video Game Store. 7 am. Peaceful, quick and easy. Will march outside of store, deliver letter to manager, give information to employees about OurWalmart.  AFL-CIO Link to eventsblack friday protests

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The Register’s Editorial: Branstad’s comittment to transparency hazy

In 2010, while campaigning against then-Gov. Chet Culver, Terry Branstad spoke out against the incumbent’s policy of charging citizens an hourly legal fee to have state lawyers review government documents before they were released.

At the time, Branstad publicly condemned the practice and made it a campaign issue. So did Brenna Findley, then the Republican candidate for attorney general. But once Branstad took office, he installed Findley as his chief legal counsel, and together they immediately began charging those same fees — and at an even higher rate than Culver had imposed.

When the Register asked Governor Branstad about this recently, his response was emphatic and to the point: “That’s not true,” he said.

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After months of organizing and community pressure, Kossiwa has been paid!

Thanks to your efforts through phone calls, rallies and action the Outback Restaurant has paid Kossiwa for the hours she worked at their now closed Coralville location.
During this fight, Organized Labor stepped up to organize rallies in 4 different Iowa Cities, sent delegations to the Outback and fought back against wage theft sending a message that an injury to one is an injury to all.
Special thanks to State Representative Art Staed for his work and dedication to working families throughout this process.
Now, join us tomorrow, Tuesday November 18, at 3pm at 940 S. Gilbert Court in Iowa City as we shine a light on another large employer in our community and the workers who are fighting back.
Also, don’t forget the monthly meeting of the Iowa City Federation of Labor this Thursday, November 20 at 6pm.
Jesse Case
Iowa City Federation of Labor
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Unions Are Among the Very Few Interest Groups that Represent the Middle Class

Buried deep inside Princeton University political scientist Martin Gilens’ research highlighting the excessive influence the rich have on modern U.S. politics, there is a hidden gem exploring which interest groups best represent the priorities of the middle class. Gilens found that, while most powerful interest groups advocate for policies that predominately benefit their narrowly defined members, relatively few focus on policies that the middle class supports. According to Gilens, most of these middle-class oriented groups are unions, which is a big problem for the United States, as unions have been declining in membership and losing power for decades.

Gilens determined how closely the positions taken by leading interest groups matched up with the preferences of the middle class by measuring the correlations between the policy preferences of Americans at the 10th, 50th, and 90th income percentiles—as recorded in more than 1,000 poll questions—and the public stances of powerful interest groups on these particular questions. Groups were selected from Fortune magazine’s “Power 25,” lists of the most powerful interest groups in Washington during the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, in addition to the 10 industries with the highest lobbying expenditures. The chart below illustrates Gilens’ key findings. The groups listed at the top tend to share the policy preferences of Americans earning near the 50th percentile, which we define as the middle class, while the groups at the bottom consistently take positions that conflict with the preferences of the middle class. Our figure only includes interest groups where the correlations with middle-class positions were highly statistically significant, but it is worth noting that most of the groups not shown also tended to take positions opposed by the middle class.

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