Colfax-Mingo Schools Outsourcing Proposal Fails to Pass

Last night, the Colfax-Mingo School Board considered a plan to outsource custodial services at Colfax-Mingo Schools. The plan failed because no school board member would second the motion!

AFSCME members worked hard to stop this outsourcing proposal: they attended multiple school board meetings, called school board members, and collected petition signatures from the public.

Thank you to the many AFSCME members who successfully fought this outsourcing proposal.

Colfax-Mingo students, parents, teachers, and staff can rest assured knowing they will continue to have experienced and trusted custodial staff in their schools.

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Of Monarchs, Wages and Schools

Of Monarchs, Wages and Schools It’s Earth Day, and We Need More Jobs and Better Budgets Today is Earth Day: IPP’s David Osterberg puts a good focus on it today in a column for the Cedar Rapids Gazette: Excerpt: When … Continue reading

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NEW POLL: Branstad Approval Rating Plummets After Scandals

  22 Apr 2014 — 02:46 PM   Governor Branstad’s approval rating has plummeted after a series of scandals in his administration, and Iowans do not believe the Governor is being honest about his knowledge of those scandals, according to … Continue reading

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Labor History


2014.04.21history-stullApril 23

The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) is founded through a merger of the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada (TLC) and the Canadian Congress of Labour (CCL), the two major union congresses in Canada at the time. The CLC represents the interests of more than three million affiliated workers – 1956

Death of Ida Mae Stull, nationally recognized as the country’s first woman coal miner – 1980
(I Knew I Could Do This Work: Seven Strategies That Promote Women’s Activism and Leadership in Unions: Although nearly half of union members in the United States are female, little more than one leadership position in five is held by a woman. This report is designed to promote women’s activism and leadership within unions across the country at the local, state, regional, and national levels.)

United Farm Workers of America founder Cesar Chavez dies in San Luis, Ariz., at age 66 – 1993

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Keeping Score: Old Fashioned Cronyism Alive and Well in the Branstad Administration

This gallery contains 1 photo.

By Charlie Wishman, Secretary Treasurer Iowa Federation of Labor I’m someone who actually likes to keep score through all nine innings at baseball games.  It’s an odd habit, but when you finish the game you have a better understanding about … Continue reading

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Voters: Don’t forget Chiodo’s voter suppression

As a union member, president of the South Central Iowa Federation of Labor and the chief lobbyist for the Iowa Federation of Labor before I retired, I worked to pass progressive legislation for working people. I’ve worked with Democratic officials for years to pass legislation designed to increase voter turnout.

That’s why I’m outraged to see Ned Chiodo who’s running as a Democrat for state Senate trying to strip 50,000 Iowans of their right to vote. I’m equally outraged at the silence of Democratic leaders who have remained mute as Chiodo continues his voter-suppression effort.

Does Ned Chiodo think he’s so important that it’s worth risking control of the Iowa Senate so he can remove a candidate from the ballot that he knows he can’t beat?


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Settlements scandal: Was there a mastermind?

It’s been five weeks since the public first learned that Gov. Terry Branstad’s administration engaged in secret settlements that included offers or actual payments of thousands of dollars to some former state employees in exchange for their silence.

That news has resulted in Branstad launching his own private work group to assess the issue, more than 10 hours of testimony before state lawmakers and the highly publicized termination of a state executive.

But despite the political stir and hundreds of pages of internal state documents being made public, Iowans have yet to learn how the administration wound up signing 24 agreements with confidentiality statements that cost taxpayers more than $500,000 over three years.

The agreements involved a dozen state agencies and were signed by two assistants in the Iowa attorney general’s office and eight state directors.


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QC Next Up Thank Yous

A huge “Thank You” to the following groups, organizations, and individuals for their support of America’s next generation of organized workers!*   Event Sponsors   Platinum Sponsor $500   United Way of the Quad Cities Area     Gold Sponsor … Continue reading

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Lee County Win Meeting

Tomorrow we are holding our regular monthly WIN Meetings. Note that since we have completed our work for the primary election candidate vetting, we will return to holding a WIN Meeting in Fort Madison at 4PM and in Keokuk at 6PM to accommodate all Lee County union members.


Tuesday, April 22
4PM: Fort Madison Labor Center, 728 1/2 Avenue G 


6PM: Keokuk Labor Temple, 301 Blondeau St.   
The Lee County Labor Council endorsed the following candidates for the June primary We will discuss how to promote their candidacy with union members:


Don Hunold Keokuk & Ft. Madison Lee Supervisor
Chris Greenwald Keokuk & Ft. Madison Lee Supervisor
Chris Spann Keokuk & Ft. Madison Lee Treasurer IUPAT
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AFL-CIO Releases Recommendations on Administrative Action on Immigration

  (Washington, DC, April 21, 2014) -  Since April 17, 2013, the AFL-CIO has joined its vigorous support for a comprehensive immigration reform bill with a call on the administration to cease needless deportations. Today, the AFL-CIO issues a detailed … Continue reading

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Labor History

April 212014.04.21history-hazel-dickens

New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller signs Taylor Law, permitting union organization and bargaining by public employees, but outlawing the right to strike – 1967

Some 12,500 Goodyear Tire workers strike nine plants in what was to become a 3-week walkout over job security, wage and benefit issues – 1997

April 22

Songwriter, musician and activist Hazel Dickens dies at age 75. Among her songs: “They’ll Never Keep Us Down” and “Working Girl Blues.” Cultural blogger John Pietaro: “Dickens didn’t just sing the anthems of labor, she lived them. Her place on many a picket line, staring down gunfire and goon squads, embedded her into the cause” – 2011

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The Register’s Editorial: An independent state probe is needed

The charges and counter-charges, first about one controversy, then another, and another, involving Gov. Terry Branstad’s stewardship of Iowa’s state government have dominated the headlines and coffee shop talk for several weeks. The Iowa Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee has held hearings, questioned witnesses, requested documents and talked about possible subpoenas as it delves into the issues.

But the committee’s work has become bogged down by charges of political opportunism. The allegations at the heart of these cases are much too important to Iowa’s reputation for good government to be brushed off.


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State Victories to Raise Wages Fueling Momentum Nationwide Workers Leading Efforts in Must-Watch States

  (Washington, DC – April 17, 2014) As efforts to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour move forward, working families across the country are leading winning movements to raise wages at the state and local level. These … Continue reading

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Iowa Latinos Mobilize off Rep. Steve King’s Rhetoric

Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King may soon feel some pushback from Latinos in his home state, who say they can no longer just ignore him or shake their heads at his rhetoric.

King has raised hackles with comments made over the years: that an electrified fence could be used to deter illegal border crossings, similar to keeping livestock contained, and that some young immigrants have calves the size of cantaloupes because they haul marijuana across the desert.

Most recently, King slammed plans by fellow Republicans to push a bill that would allow young immigrants here illegally to join the military. “As soon as they raise their hand and say ‘I’m unlawfully present in the United States,’ we’re not going to take your oath into the military, but we’re going to take your deposition and we have a bus for you to Tijuana,” said King.

Joe Enriquez Henry, state director of the League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa, (LULAC-Iowa) said he’s been asked over the years by leaders of the non-Hispanic community, usually Democrats, what Hispanic leaders planned to do about King.


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It’s time to raise the wage – small business owner

As a small business owner, I am a firm believer that raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do. It will mean more money in the hands of those who need it, allowing them to pay for daily … Continue reading

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The Register Editorial: Bias allegations deserve a full airing

The Branstad administration dismissed as partisan politics a state senator’s allegations that Iowa Workforce Development has tipped the scales in favor of employers in unemployment benefits cases. Now it is taking the same dismissive attitude toward a lawsuit that makes the same allegations.

These are serious allegations, and rather than attack the messengers, the governor and his staff should demonstrate that they will seriously investigate them.

Last month state Sen. William Dotzler, D-Waterloo, asked the U.S. Department of Labor to investigate what he called “improper actions” by Iowa Workforce Development Director Teresa Wahlert, who was appointed by Branstad. According to the senator, Wahlert is pressuring administrative law judges to rule in favor of employers and against workers in disputes over paying unemployment benefits. She harasses those who don’t make an effort to reduce employers’ costs for jobless benefits, Dotzler alleged.


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Iowa workforce chief gave judge positive reviews

Associated PressIOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Iowa Workforce Development Director Teresa Wahlert approved positive performance evaluations for the agency’s former chief unemployment appeals judge, records show, undermining her public claims that he was a poor manager who decided cases slowly.

Wahlert sharply criticized the agency’s former chief administrative law judge Joe Walsh on April 3, hours after he filed a wrongful termination lawsuit. He contends that Wahlert laid off both him and his wife, who worked in another agency division, after he opposed Wahlert’s efforts to change his job into a political appointment and to favor employers over workers in decisions.


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Chief: Board pressured to hire Branstad friend

Top staffers of Gov. Terry Branstad pressured the state’s employment board to hire a longtime friend of the administration as an administrative law judge in an attempt to stack the deck against public employee complaints, the chairman of the board told The Des Moines Register this week.

Iowa Public Employment Relations Board Chairman Jim Riordan said Branstad’s former chief of staff, Jeff Boeyink, and current staff attorney, Brenna Findley, threatened to cut the office’s budget if its three board members failed to comply with their demand.

To keep the office on stable financial ground, the board hired Robert D. Wilson, a former Polk County district judge, Riordan said.


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How One Iowa Local is Winning Back the Work

Burlington, Iowa, on the  banks of the Mississippi River,  is undergoing a construction boom. It’s the biggest construction project Iowa has seen in decades. The $1.8 billon Iowa Fertilizer Co. — a subsidiary of the Egyptian construction giant Orascom — … Continue reading

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Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Bemoaning Weak Response in Year since West, Texas Tragedy

April 17, 2014


(Washington, DC) Arguably the only thing more tragic than the West, Texas explosion that killed fifteen and injured hundreds one year ago today is that so little has been done to prevent another such man-made disaster.

In a well working democracy, this disaster would have been the subject of debate in which well-intentioned people of different ideologies came together to forge solutions to forestall the next threat. Instead, as noted by the Houston Chronicle last week, “The deadly explosion at West Fertilizer Co. leveled homes, shattered families and left a lasting mark on this small town in Central Texas. But little, if anything, has changed elsewhere in the state because of the catastrophe.”

The only way Texas, and the country as a whole, will become more responsive to the needs of society as a whole is if America’s working people band together to demand better. The single human innovation with the best track record of protecting working people is the union, and as we continue to invest in organizing workers in Texas, we will help make Texas work better for all Texans, not just the 1% who profit from the chaos of an unfettered market.

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