Memorial Day

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Can you join us again for the Iowa Working Families Summit?

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Can you join us again for the Iowa Working Families Summit? Two years ago you were there in 2015, at the first Working Families Summit hosted by the Iowa Federation of Labor and progressive partners from across the state. Now, … Continue reading

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Higher Minimum Wage Benefits All Working People in Iowa


View the Economic Policy Institute’s Report on Raising the Minimum Wage

 May 25, 2017 — Today, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), introduced the Raise the Wage Act of 2017, a bill that would raise the federal minimum wage in eight steps to $15 per hour by 2024.

A new report from the Economic Policy Institute shows that increase would lift wages for 41 million workers nationwide, reversing decades of growing pay inequality. In Iowa 38 % of workers would be positively impacted by a raise in the minimum wage (state breakdowns here).

“Today’s report shows that raising the minimum wage would be a positive economic step for all working people in Iowa,” said Ken Sagar, President of the Iowa Federation of Labor. “The increase in wages will help stimulate the economy, and create greater business activity and job growth. Workers deserve better, and this would be a great step toward changing the rigged rules of the economy so it benefits all working people. Iowa had increased in place, but recent Republican lead legislation took that away from working people.”

In real dollars, the federal minimum wage has fallen by 10% since 2009, when it last was raised. It is 25% below its peak value in 1968. What that means is that low-wage workers have to work longer hours just to have a standard of living that was considered the bare minimum almost 50 years ago.

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UVC stands in support of disabled Veterans targeted by unjust budget

Washington D.C. – President Trumps Fiscal year 2018 budget plan unfairly attacks elderly disabled Veterans, leaving thousands unsure about their financial future. This budget goes against the basic military ethos, “never leave a fallen comrade behind.” “Just because there is … Continue reading

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Labor History

Today’s Labor Quote: James Baldwin
“Fires can’t be made with dead embers, nor can enthusiasm be stirred by spiritless men. Enthusiasm in our daily work lightens effort and turns even labor into pleasant tasks.”

May 26
Men and women weavers in Pawtucket, R.I., stage nation’s first “co-ed” strike – 1824

Western Federation of Miners members strike for 8-hour day, Cripple Creek, Colo. – 1894

Actors’ Equity Assn. is founded by 112 actors at a meeting in New York City’s Pabst Grand Circle Hotel.  Producer George M. Cohan responds: “I will drive an elevator for a living before I will do business with any actors’ union.”  Later a sign will appear in Times Square reading: “Elevator operator wanted.  George M. Cohan need not apply” – 1913
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IWW Marine Transport Workers strike, Philadelphia – 1920

Some 100,000 steel workers and miners in mines owned by steel companies strike in seven states.  The Memorial Day Massacre, in which ten strikers were killed by police at Republic Steel in Chicago, took place four days later, on May 30 – 1937

Ford Motor Co. security guards attack union organizers and supporters attempting to distribute literature outside the plant in Dearborn, Mich., in an event that was to become known as the “Battle of the Overpass.” The guards tried to destroy any photos showing the attack, but some survived—and inspired the Pulitzer committee to establish a prize for photography – 1937

May 27
The U.S. Supreme Court declares the Depression-era National Industrial Recovery Act to be unconstitutional, about a month before it was set to expire – 1935

The CIO-affiliated Insurance Workers of America merges with its AFL counterpart, the Insurance Agents International Union to form the Insurance Workers International Union.  The union later became part of the United Food and Commercial Workers – 1959

May 28
The Ladies Shoe Binders Society formed in New York – 1835

Fifteen women were dismissed from their jobs at the Curtis Publishing Company in Philadelphia for dancing the Turkey Trot. They were on their lunch break, but management thought the dance too racy – 1912

At least 30,000 workers in Rochester, N.Y., participate in a general strike in support of municipal workers who had been fired for forming a union – 1946

—Compiled and edited by David Prosten

Union Communication Services

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Three Big Things Missing From Kim Reynolds Inaugural Speech – Iowa Starting Line


Iowa has a new governor.

Kim Reynolds was officially sworn in this morning at a large ceremony in the rotunda of the Capitol, with many of the state’s top officials, Republican legislators and major conservative activists in attendance. Terry Branstad resigned the office and was immediately installed as America’s next ambassador to China.

All those things have been in the work for months now, but the big question was what vision Reynolds would lay out for her administration. Would she set a separate path from Branstad or stay the course in both substance and style? Would she lay out key, measurable goals or stick to overarching values?

The answer is that she very much stuck to a theme of continuation of the Branstad Administration, with a simple, four-part agenda that focused on tax reform, renewable energy, innovative education and workforce training. In simple political and stylistic terms, it was a well-delivered speech that effectively laid out her life story – going from a rural Iowa upbringing to service in county government – and put forth a modest governing plan.


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Sad news from the Vilsack family

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Ella Vilsack October 7, 2011 – May 18, 2017 Born in Des Moines, IA Resided in Waukee, IA   Memorial Visitation Veterans Reception Center 910 Main Street Van Meter, IA Thursday, May 25, 2017 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM Memorial Service Private Charities Ella’s family suggests … Continue reading

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Statement of Iowa Fiscal Partnership • Mike Owen, Iowa Policy Project

Iowa has a new Governor. We cannot say that very often, as only four individuals previously held the office over the last 48 years. The swearing-in today of Governor Kim Reynolds offers all Iowans, including the Governor, an opportunity to … Continue reading

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Labor History

Labor Quote of the Day: Senator Hubert H. Humphrey “The first thing I want to say to you as individuals and as a movement-if you’re going to be something, if you’re going to do something, you have to be proud of … Continue reading

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President Trump’s Budget Betrays Working People

Bob Englehart / Cagle Cartoons

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on President Donald Trump’s FY2018 budget proposal:

President Donald Trump’s budget is the most significant betrayal yet of the working people he claims to support. This budget is a blueprint for how to rig the rules of the economy to favor the wealthy and corporations, while taking away our freedoms and protections at work.

The proposals presented in this budget defund core programs that are vital to working families. Breaking Trump’s promise from the campaign trail, this budget slashes $1.5 trillion from Medicaid, $59 billion from Medicare and up to $64 billion from Social Security. It strips funding for workplace safety research by 40% and totally wipes out health and safety training and investigations of chemical accidents, putting more working people at higher risk of dying on the job. It starves our children of the education they deserve by cutting $10.6 billion in education and $143 billion in student loan funds that help students afford college. And it forces a 6% pay cut on the people who make our government work.

The ultimate insult of this budget is that all of these sacrifices are levied on working families in order to justify massive tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations.

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Working Familes Summit – Standing Together – Fighting Back

Sisters and Brothers,

I know it seems like the 2015 Iowa Working Families Summit just happened yesterday. But now in 2017, Iowans have faced numerous attacks on so many fronts, and it’s been hard to keep up. Again, many of the same groups are planning another summit that will not just recap the carnage being leveled at the state and national level, but will also focus on how different groups are fighting back.

What: Iowa Working Families Summit
When: Saturday, June 10, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m
Where: Scheman Building, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

We’d also like you and your organization to be a part of this! If your organization would like to sponsor, please let Lance Coles of the Iowa Federation of Labor know at

Thanks for your participation in the past  and I hope to see you at this year’s summit on Saturday, June 10th!
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment Exposes Kim Reynolds’ Failed Priorities

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Reynolds set to take office as Governor tomorrow with a track record of attacking working families, equality, the environment, and more DES MOINES — Progress Iowa today launched, to expose the failed priorities of Kim Reynolds as she prepares … Continue reading

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Labor History

Today’s Labor Quote: George Carlin
“Some people see things that are and ask, Why? Some people dream of things that never were and ask, Why not? Some people have to go to work and don’t have time for all that.”

May 24
After 14 years of construction and the deaths of 27 workers, the Brooklyn Bridge over New York’s East River opens. Newspapers call it “the eighth wonder of the world” – 1883

Some 2,300 members of the United Rubber Workers, on strike for 10 months against five Bridgestone-Firestone plants, agree to return to work without a contract. They had been fighting demands for 12-hour shifts and wage increases tied to productivity gains – 1995

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Congressman David Young’s Bogus 60 Second Surveys – Iowa Starting Line

Each week Congressman David Young sends out a “60 Second Survey” seeking the opinion of those who read his weekly newsletters. He should be commended for seeking feedback from constituents, but virtually all of his surveys are bogus or – at best – disingenuous.

Last week he stated, “If people – as many have wished – get their way and the ACA continues to remain the exact same as it was signed into law by President Obama, the health care access for tens of thousands of Iowans begins to dry up. If President Obama’s law is not changed by a single word, every single one of the residents not getting their insurance through their employer or on another government health care program in the sixteen counties of the Third Congressional District would be left with zero health care options.”

Here is an excerpt from the Young survey:


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Free Bus ride to Working Families Summit

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ICAN is Hiring

We are excited to announce that ICAN is looking for comimmitted, enthusiastic people to join our organizing team!   We are hiring an organizer to focus on our small business project, the Main Street Alliance of Iowa.  We need someone with experience in grassroots organizing and leadership development, campaign management, partner and ally relationship building, as well as some fundraising.

The link to the job posting is below.  If you know of someone who would be right for the job, please pass this along!

Sue Dinsdale
Executive Director
Iowa Citizen Action Network (ICAN)
ICAN Education Foundation
1620 Pleasant, Ste. 225
Des Moines, IA 50314

Want to help support our work?  You can make a secure contribution on-line at: ICAN Donation Page
BUYING ON AMAZON???  Make a donation to Iowa Citizen Action Network! AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization.  Just “change your charity” under My Account and search Iowa Citizen Action Network!

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Labor History

Today’s Labor Quote: Eugene V. Debs “The issue is Socialism versus Capitalism. I am for Socialism because I am for humanity. We have been cursed with the reign of gold long enough.” May 22 Eugene V. Debs imprisoned in Woodstock, Ill., … Continue reading

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The AFL-CIO urges you to oppose the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act (S. 1094)

Dear Senator: The AFL-CIO urges you to oppose the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act (S. 1094) unless major changes are made to it. In its current form, it is a destructive piece of legislation that singles out the workers at the Department of the Veterans Affairs (VA)—eroding their collective bargaining rights and undermining their civil service protections from management retaliation when they report mismanagement or political corruption. Undercutting collective bargaining and civil service protections will not fix the VA’s management problems or help weed out bad employees. More likely, it will allow supervisors to shift the blame for mismanagement to front line employees, while at the same time diminishing protections against disciplinary actions that are politically motivated or based on personal animus. Specifically, the bill would weaken evidentiary standards for a discharge. It would lower the burden of proof needed to terminate VA employees for misconduct from a preponderance of the evidence to substantial evidence—which means the agency could fire an employee even when the majority of evidence is exculpatory. The bill also dramatically shortens timelines established both by law and through collective bargaining for the handling of grievances and appeals to the Merit Systems Protection Board. Finally, the bill eliminates the ability of a Merit System Protection Board administrative judge to mitigate a penalty proposed by the agency. The bill’s sponsors have offered no justification for trampling on the rights of VA employees, many of whom are veterans themselves, or singling them out for harsher treatment than other federal workers. We support Congress’ effort to address the mismanagement that has plagued the VA, but it is not reasonable to suggest that workers’ due process rights are at the root of those problems. Finally, the bill would permit the forfeiture of some employees’ pensions in certain circumstances—a practice that is prohibited in the private sector by federal pension law. Under this broad provision, a service-connected disabled veteran who works at the VA as a housekeeper or cemetery caretaker could lose his or her pensions as the result of a DUI conviction. AFL-CIO LEGISLATIVE ALERT 2 Unless these problems are addressed, I urge you to oppose S. 1094 and stand with the hardworking VA employees who provide vital services for our veterans. Sincerely, William Samuel, Director Government Affairs Department

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ATT – CWA workers on strike

On Strike


Des Moines area events

Times 05/19/17 – 2pm to 6pm, 05/20/17 – 10am to 4am and 05/21/17 12pm to 4pm. We could us everyone that has time to come help.

4100 University Ave, WDM
490 S 68th St, WDM
3737 Merle Hay Rd, Des Moines

More Info


Don Dawson II
President CWA 7102
3612 SW 9th St.
Des Moines, IA 50315
515 243-7102
515 988-1215 cell
515 243-2924 fax

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The First Amendment Is Dead In Muscatine – Iowa Starting Line

It was quite a week last week with the buzz about impeachment.

Relax. I’m not referring to President Donald Trump.

I’m talking about the mayor of Muscatine.

Diana Broderson was removed from office by a 7-0 vote of the city council on Thursday. The meeting lasted 3 minutes. There was no discussion by the council members, and they offered no explanation of their votes.


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