Labor History

April 29 Coxey’s Army of 500 unemployed civil war veterans reaches Washington, D.C. – 1894 An estimated one thousand silver miners, angry over low wages, the firing of union members and the planting of spies in their ranks by mine … Continue reading

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Ken Sagar Speaking at the Des Moines Workers Memorial Day Event

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TAPS

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Tell Grassley to do his job.

meet chuck grassleyUpcoming Events

WHAT: #DoYourJob Demonstration!
WHEN: Wednesday, May 4, 12:00 p.m.
WHERE: Outside the federal building, 210 Walnut St, Des Moines, Iowa
RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/263562540658270/

WHAT: Sen. Grassley Town Hall
WHEN: Thursday, May 5, 3:45-4:45 p.m.
WHERE: Taylor County Farm Bureau Meeting Room, 607 Pollock Blvd, Bedford, Iowa
RSVP: http://bit.ly/grassleytownhalls

WHAT: Sen. Grassley Town Hall
WHEN: Friday, May 6, 8:00-9:00 a.m.
WHERE: Ringgold County Courthouse, 109 West Madison St, Mount Ayr, Iowa
RSVP: http://bit.ly/grassleytownhalls

WHAT: Sen. Grassley Town Hall
WHEN: Friday, May 6, 10:00-11:00 a.m.
WHERE: Leon Community Center, 203 NE 2nd St, Leon, Iowa
RSVP: http://bit.ly/grassleytownhalls

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Workers Memorial Day and Vets

UnionVetsLogoToday is Workers Memorial Day. More than 150 work-related deaths occur every single day in the United States.

I often remark to folks that there’s not an issue affecting the working class that isn’t also affecting veterans. Workers Memorial Day is no exception.

Here’s a quick story. Christian Ginesi served five years in the US Air Force. He served in Iraq. He served in Afghanistan. He put his life on the line.

Then he came home.

But one month into his work at an unlicensed, non-union construction company, Christian had a preventable accident and fell 24 flights down an elevator shaft.

Christian survived war, but died at work back here at home.

He mourn for Christian and our other brothers and sisters who die on the job. And, as Mother Jones said, we “fight like hell for the living.”

In Solidarity,
Will

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Early Voting at Auditors Offices

i voted2If there is a primary election in your county, you can vote no at your county auditors office. The General election is June 7.

Click here to get the location of your county auditors office

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Let’s reduce workplace death to zero

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We all remember the excitement of the first day of our first job. As grocery store cashiers or waiters or whatever we do, we take pride in our work from day one. That passion makes the reality of death on … Continue reading

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Democrat Kim Weaver is focused on ousting the King

kim weaverMy name is Kim Weaver, and I’m running for Congress in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District to defeat Steve King. I was born in Des Moines and obtained my Bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University. In 1991 I moved to Sheldon in far northwest Iowa, where I’ve raised my three children and built my career.

In 2002 I became a single mom. I know firsthand how hard it can be to make ends meet. All three of my kids now have graduated from high school and gone on to college. Like most of our kids, they had to rely on Pell Grants, scholarships, and student loans to do so. I believe that having the opportunity to obtain a quality education is critical for all children as well as for the future of our country. I believe that we must make college affordability a priority so that young adults who have the determination and drive to succeed are able to do so.

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Let’s Reduce Workplace Death to Zero

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We all remember the excitement of the first day of our first job. As grocery store cashiers or waiters or whatever we do, we take pride in our work from day one. That passion makes the reality of death on … Continue reading

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A squeaky wheel is heard — but not fixed​

Davenport has been the squeaky wheel on school funding inequity in Iowa, and the Iowa House this week tried to apply a drop of oil. Problem is, the whole axle is rusty, and cracked. By law, 164 school districts — … Continue reading

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150 Workers Killed on the Job Every Day

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View Report here: aflcio.org/death-on-the-job  (Washington, DC, April 27, 2016) – More than 4,820 workers were killed on the job in 2014, according to a new report by the AFL-CIO. Additionally an estimated 50,000-60,000 died from occupational diseases, resulting in a … Continue reading

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Editorial: Repeal Obamacare and replace with … nothing?

affordablecareactIt has been more than six years since the Affordable Care Act became law. During that time, Republicans in the U.S. House have voted dozens of times to repeal, defund or dismantle it. Never have they voted on a bill to replace the health reform law. Now we know why: They’re still working on coming up with a plan.

Last week The Hill reported that a group of senior House Republicans is “making headway” in crafting legislation. “Give us a little more time, another month or so,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich. “I think we’ll be pretty close to a Republican alternative.”

Upton is among a four-member task force assigned by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to develop an alternative to Obamacare. In December, Ryan vowed to reveal a plan in 2016 that would “replace every word” in the law that has been implemented in every state and insured millions of people. But apparently doing so is more challenging than anticipated. The group is still in “listening mode,” Upton said.

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Prince Was a Champion for Working People

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by Kenneth Quinnell, AFL-CIO  |  April 26, 2016 The world lost a musical icon last week. You’ll read about his impact as a musician and an entertainer elsewhere, but let’s take a second to look at Prince’s career-spanning fights on behalf of … Continue reading

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Labor History

April 28
Coal mine collapses at Eccles, W.Va., killing 181 workers – 1914

A total of 119 die in Benwood, W.Va., coal mine disaster – 1924

United Wallpaper Craftsmen & Workers of North America merges with Pulp, Sulfite & Paper Mill Workers – 1958

American Federation of Hosiery Workers merges with Textile Workers Union of America – 1965

Congress creates OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The AFL-CIO sets April 28 as “Workers Memorial Day” to honor the hundreds of thousands of workers killed and injured on the job every year – 1971
(Tools of the Trade: A Health and Safety Handbook for Action is a valuable resource for those who want to promote worker health and safety while building their unions and community groups at the same time.  It includes examples of successful workplace health and safety campaigns and lists strategies to actively engage workers in advocating for their own protection.)

First “Take Our Daughters to Work Day,” promoted by the Ms. Foundation, to boost self-esteem of girls with invitations to a parent’s workplace – 1993

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ATTENTION! CRITICAL ACTION ALERT ON DOT FUNDING!

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The Transportation Budget Bill, Senate File 2320, is now in a Conference Committee. Conference Committees are used to resolve differences between versions of bills passed by the House and Senate. The Senate Majority passed a budget that includes $9.7 million … Continue reading

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Congress Must Pass Pro-Worker Puerto Rico Debt Legislation

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Factsheet: Union Recommendations on Amendments to PROMESA (Washington, DC, April 26, 2016) – On a conference call today, union and faith advocates for the people of Puerto Rico discussed ways Congress can do its job and help end the humanitarian … Continue reading

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republican medical cannabis plan fails

 republicans ignore comprehensive iowa plan, fail to pass an alternative

cap windowsDes Moines, Iowa – After refusing to debate a comprehensive plan offered by Democratic lawmakers to allow Iowans to access medical cannabis in Iowa, House Republicans failed to pass their own flawed plan that would have required Iowans suffering from diseases like MS and cancer to get cannabis in another state.

“The Republican plan clearly had little support and would have provided zero relief to Iowans suffering from cancer, epileptic seizures, or MS,” said Rep. Bob Kressig, D-Cedar Falls. “I’m disappointed that House Republicans have turned their back on thousands of Iowans who need our support again this year.”

Similar to one already approved by the Iowa Senate, the comprehensive plan offered by Democrats (H-8288 to House File 2467) would make medical cannabis available in Iowa for conditions like intractable epilepsy, cancer, MS, AIDS, HIV, Crohn’s disease, intractable pain, glaucoma, or a terminal illness with less than a year to live.  After Republicans refused to debate the comprehensive Iowa plan, Republicans failed on a 32-63 vote to pass a different bill (House File 567) that would have made Iowans travel to another state to get medical cannabis.
“Iowans deserve access to medical cannabis and the Republican plan that failed tonight does nothing to increase access for them.  As a pharmacist, I know hundreds of families who could benefit from medical cannabis are waiting today and it could dramatically improve their quality of life,” said Rep. John Forbes, D- Urbandale.
Prior to this debate, House Republicans had refused to allow Iowans with medical condition like epilepsy and cancer get life-saving medicine.  Last month, Republican Rep. Dean Fisher of Tama walked away from an Iowa mother trying to get help for her son who suffers from seizures and told her to “move to Colorado.”
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Labor History

April 27
First strike for 10-hour day, by Boston carpenters – 1825

James Oppenheim’s poem “Bread and Roses” published in IWW newspaper Industrial Solidarity – 1911

President Dwight Eisenhower signs Executive Order 10450: Security Requirements for Government Employment. The order listed “sexual perversion” as a condition for firing a federal employee and for denying employment to potential applicants – 1953

A cooling tower for a power plant under construction in Willow Island, West Virginia collapses, killing 51 construction workers in what is thought to be the largest construction accident in U.S. history.  OSHA cited contractors for 20 violations, including failures to field test concrete.  The cases were settled for $85,000—about $1,700 per worker killed – 1978

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Worker’s Memorial Day Events around Iowa

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Working for Safe Jobs Iowa Workers Who Lost Their Lives on the Job to Be Honored  Iowa Working families call for further safety measures at all workplaces On April 28, 2016, local workers, labor and faith leaders will gather to … Continue reading

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Basu: It’s time to crack down on wage discrimination

abbyThe wage gap between Iowa’s men and women, especially women of color, has far-reaching consequences: More than 110,000 households in Iowa are headed by women, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Partnership for Women and Families. Seventy-one percent of Iowa women are the sole, co- or primary breadwinners, according to Democratic state Rep. Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque. But her most dramatic illustration of the impact of pay differentials, as shared on the House floor last week, is that the average white man in our state could retire 33 years earlier than the average Latina woman.

How long have we been talking about the wage gap? Long enough that it’s time for the state to start tracking and punishing overt discrimination. That is, cases in which women and men hold the same jobs and have equal work experience and education, but earn different salaries.

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