Peosta, IA – The Dubuque Federation of Labor Working Iowa Neighbors’ Committee has a strong commitment to better the working class through political and community action. We are a group of active labor union members and community leaders whose goal is to raise the standard of living for working class families. During the 2017 legislative session, it became apparent that working families’ voices needed to be heard, not just in Des Moines, but in their home districts. Because of the overwhelming participation across the state of Iowa during the 2017 legislative session, the need to host a Peosta Legislative Forum became long overdue.
What: Peosta Legislative Forum
When: Saturday, February 24th, 2018
Time: 9:30am to 11am
Where: NICC Peosta Campus, Conference Rooms 1,2,3, and 4, 8342 NICC Dr., Peosta, IA, 52806
All area legislators have been invited to attend this bipartisan legislative forum. This forum is also free and open to the public. The format will follow previous legislative forums as there will be a moderator and questions will be asked from the audience. The goal of this form is to keep the issues affecting our state in the forefront of the discussion. This Working Iowa Neighbors’ Committee has a commitment to keep the forum respectful and ask that participants be respectful towards legislators and other audience members.
The Peosta Legislative Forum will be held at the NICC Peosta Campus Conference Rooms 1, 2, 3, and 4. The South (lower) entrance has been confirmed. While signs will be placed to direct folks to and from, we would like for participants to know that after entering through the south entrance, you simple turn right and head down the hallway.
We’re just starting Week 3 of the Iowa Legislature. At the bottom of this email, you’ll find the list of bills we are watching this year and where they stand right now in the legislative process. Here’s quick update on … Continue reading
January 20th marks the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Since taking office, President Trump has overseen a string of policies that will harm working people and benefit corporations and the rich. Here we present a list of the 10 worst things Congress and Trump have done to undermine pay growth and erode working conditions for the nation’s workers.
1) Enacting tax cuts that overwhelmingly favor the wealthy over the average worker
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) signed into law at the end of 2017 provides a permanent cut in the corporate income tax rate that will overwhelmingly benefit capital owners and the top 1%. President Trump’s boast to wealthy diners at his $200,000-initiation-fee Mar-a-Lago Club on Dec. 22, 2017, says it best: “You all just got a lot richer.”
2) Taking billions out of workers’ pockets by weakening or abandoning regulations that protect their pay
In 2017, the Trump administration hurt workers’ pay in a number of ways, including acts to dismantle two key regulations that protect the pay of low- to middle-income workers. The Trump administration failed to defend a 2016 rule strengthening overtime protections for these workers, and took steps to gut regulations that protect servers from having their tips taken by their employers.
“For Republicans to be unable to pass a bill to fund the government when they control the House, the Senate, and the White House is unacceptable. Their inability to govern will affect not only federal workers, but seniors and disabled Americans.
“While Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid recipients will continue to receive their benefits, new claims for Social Security and disability benefits will not be processed. Just last year, 1.1 million disability claims were filed, and there is a tremendous backlog. A shutdown only exacerbates the situation and will mean even longer wait times for people who need help.”
“We are also concerned about a government shutdown in the middle of influenza season. Workers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are needed to respond to this serious health issue. This year’s most common form of flu, H3N2, is associated with more severe illness, especially among children and the elderly. Those older than age 65 are experiencing the highest hospitalization rates, but those age 50 to 64 also have seen high numbers.”
“Funding the government — without drama and chaos — is a basic responsibility of Congress and the President. Shutting it down is irresponsible and will hurt real people. The GOP has dropped the ball, and must be held accountable.”
TULSA — Tom Coomer has retired twice: once when he was 65, and then several years ago. Each time he realized that with just a Social Security check, “You can hardly make it these days.”
So here he is at 79, working full-time at Walmart. During each eight-hour shift, he stands at the store entrance greeting customers, telling a joke and fetching a “buggy.” Or he is stationed at the exit, checking receipts and the shoppers that trip the theft alarm.
“As long as I sit down for about 10 minutes every hour or two, I’m fine,” he said during a break. Diagnosed with spinal stenosis in his back, he recently forwarded a doctor’s note to managers. “They got me a stool.”
The way major U.S. companies provide for retiring workers has been shifting for about three decades, with more dropping traditional pensions every year. The first full generation of workers to retire since this turn offers a sobering preview of a labor force more and more dependent on their own savings for retirement.
(Washington, DC, Jan. 19, 2018) — Today, the AFL-CIO joined unions, public and private employers, elected officials from both parties, religious organizations, academics and civil rights organizations filing amicus briefs in Janus v. AFSCME, defending working people’s right to effectively organize and negotiate.
“Working people have always had to fight for the freedom to work and retire in dignity. Corporate CEOs and special interests have spent millions in their attempts to strip that away,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Today, working people are taking this fight to the Supreme Court. We’re standing up for the freedom to sustain a family while still being able to take time off to care for a loved one, receive quality health care and enjoy a secure retirement.”
Working people’s freedom to join together in strong public-sector unions has been protected since a unanimous Supreme Court ruling more than 40 years ago. That ruling secured these unions’ ability to effectively advocate and negotiate on behalf of their members.
Now, a Koch-backed network of corporate interests is challenging those longstanding legal precedents. Their goal is to undermine working people’s right to organize—and they’ve said so themselves. These same right-wing special interests have previously attacked LGBTQ rights, voting rights and women’s health care.
The AFL-CIO was joined today by the State of California, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, several U.S. senators, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 20 state attorneys general, Republican elected officials, former presidents of the District of Columbia Bar Association, distinguished law professors and others. This action comes as organizers prepare to stand against the corporate interests behind this case during a Working People’s Day of Action on Feb. 24. This will mark the 50th anniversary of striking African American sanitation workers’ first march with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee.
Kim Reynolds and Republican leadership have signaled they may tackle IPERS this legislative session. They have already brought in the Reason Foundation, another Koch Brothers funded group, to give false fears on Iowa’s pension system. Although some legislators have said they do not plan to change plans for current employees, by gutting pensions for new hires, our current system would be weakened. We are fighting back by creating a coalition of stakeholders with the help of the National Public Pension Coalition. We must educate both our members and the general public on protecting IPERS and the importance of retirement security for all Iowans. If you haven’t already, sign up to receive email updates from the Iowa Coalition for Retirement Security and follow them on Facebook and Twitter. They will be sending important action alerts, keeping a current list of legislative forums, and sharing ways that we can all say #HandsOffIPERS!
On a bright and sunny Saturday afternoon, one year to the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration, close to 10,000 people gathered outside the Iowa State Capitol building for this year’s Women’s March. Thousands of activists, voters and concerned citizens came out sporting pink clothing and hats, homemade signs and a passion for fighting back in 2018.
Angered by both the Trump presidency and Iowa Republican legislators who rolled back rights and healthcare access for women last year, the crowd was once again one of the largest demonstrations in recent Iowa history (though smaller than the 2017 gathering). Beyond the issues discussed by the event’s speakers, the attendees had thoughts about Trump’s presidency, the campaign for Iowa governor and getting local Democrats elected to the state legislature.
“We’ve made so many strides in the last 30, 40 years that basically everywhere you turn, there’s somebody trying to undo it,” said attendee Rachel Prescott, who wore one of the pink hats that’s become a common sight at Trump-era protests. “And now they have the power to undo it and it makes me angry.”
Alex Schuman and Tiffany Morlan marched at the Inauguration Women’s March in Washington, D.C. last year and have since moved to Iowa.
Statement from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on the government shut down:
When Washington politicians fail to govern, it’s working families across America who pay the price. Shutting down our government cripples our country and denies federal employees from earning a living. The Republican leadership has chosen a path that is irresponsible and shows a total disregard for working people.
While working people continue to go to work every day, Republicans in both houses of Congress have used every single excuse to refuse to get their job done. They have demonstrated more interest in massive, unfair tax cuts for the rich than protecting the health of our children and safeguarding the rights of immigrant workers. These are not the priorities of working people.
Simply keeping the lights on is Congress’ most basic function. Working people do our job, we expect Congress to do theirs.
Labor Quote of the Day: Terence V. Powderly
“Give men shorter hours in which to labor, and you give them more time to study and learn why bread is so scarce while wheat is so plenty.”
Powderly (left) was a leader of the Knights of Labor
This Week in Labor History
Indian field hands at San Juan Capistrano mission refused to work, engaging in what was probably the first farm worker strike in California – 1826
Birth of Terence V. Powderly, leader of the Knights of Labor – 1849
The United Mine Workers of America is founded in Columbus, Ohio, with the merger of the Knights of Labor Trade Assembly No. 135 and the National Progressive Miners Union – 1890
Five hundred New York City tenants battle police to prevent evictions – 1932
Some 10,000 clothing workers strike in Rochester, N.Y., for the 8-hour day, a 10-percent wage increase, union recognition, and extra pay for overtime and holidays. Daily parades were held throughout the clothing district and there was at least one instance of mounted police charging the crowd of strikers and arresting 25 picketers. Six people were wounded over the course of the strike and one worker, 18-year-old Ida Breiman, was shot to death by a sweatshop contractor. The strike was called off in April after manufacturers agreed not to discriminate against workers for joining a union – 1913
In Allegany County, MD, workers with the Civilian Conservation Corps, a New Deal era public works program employing unmarried men aged 18-25, are snowbound at Fifteen Mile Creek Camp S-53 when they receive a distress call about a woman in labor who needs to get to a hospital. 20 courageous CCC volunteers dig through miles of snow drifts until the woman is successfully able to be transported – 1936
Union Communication Services
(Washington, D.C., Jan. 19, 2018) — Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual report on union membership, which found that the number of union members rose by 260,000 in 2017. This reflects critical organizing victories across a range of industries, which have reaped higher wages, better benefits, and a more secure future for working people around the country.
“In the face of a challenging year, the power of working people is on the rise,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Together, we organized historic new unions, stood up to powerful corporations, and won higher wages. But today’s data is more than numbers on a page, it’s a growing movement of working people that can’t be measured as easily. When more union members fill the halls of power, when wages rise and inequality shrinks, and when a growing number of people see that we can and will change the rules of this economy – that’s when you’ll know unions are on the rise.”
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We’re marching on January 20, 2018 and we’re asking you to join us! On the anniversary weekend of the historic 2017 Women’s March worldwide, we’re inviting everyone back to the Iowa Sate Capitol. This is not a re-enactment of last … Continue reading
Labor Quote of the Day: Pablo Manlapit “It is one of the cherished American ideals that each generation shall stand in advance of the preceding one: better physically, mentally, spiritually. And America demands for her workers this opportunity for development.” -Manlapit (left) was … Continue reading
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Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on the passing of labor activist and leader Paul Booth: I offer my deepest condolences to Heather and the entire Booth family. Everyone who had the privilege of knowing and working with Paul are … Continue reading
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It would be so easy to close the book on the 2017 tax bill, to allow our attention to be diverted to the next issue or threat, because there are so many. We owe it to ourselves and future generations … Continue reading
The president of the United Steelworkers union says the group is “terribly disappointed” with President Trump, who he says has done nothing to protect American jobs since taking office last January.
In an interview with CNN, United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard said that American workers are in some ways worse off now than they were just a year ago.
“We’re terribly disappointed and hugely frustrated,” Gerard told CNN. “There’s been no action that has done anything to protect and defend American jobs. … In some cases we’re worse off now than we were then.”
Labor Quote of the Day: Johnny Paycheck
“And I’ve seen a lot of good folks die
That had a lot of bills to pay
I’d give the shirt right offa’ my back
If I had the guts to say
Take this job and shove it
I ain’t working here no more”
– From Paycheck’s hit song, “Take This Job and Shove It”
Twenty strikers at the American Agricultural Chemical Co. in Roosevelt, N.J., were shot, two fatally, by factory guards. They and other strikers had stopped an incoming train in search of scabs when the guards opened fire – 1915
Some 3,000 members of the Filipino Federation of Labor strike the plantations of Oahu, Hawaii. Their ranks swell to 8,300 as they are joined by members of the Japanese Federation of Labor – 1920
Yuba City, Calif., labor contractor Juan V. Corona found guilty of murdering 25 itinerant farm workers he employed during 1970 and 1971 – 1973
Bruce Springsteen makes an unannounced appearance at a benefit for laid-off 3M workers, Asbury Park, N.J. – 1986
IOWA — Iowans will deliver more than 130,000 signatures to Senator Chuck Grassley tomorrow at his offices in Des Moines and Waterloo, calling on him to stop rubber-stamping the judicial nominations made by President Trump.
The signatures come from Iowans and Americans who want their senators to provide a check on President Trump, not to give him a rubber stamp. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Chuck Grassley, in his powerful position as Chair of the Judiciary Committee, have pushed through twice as many judicial nominees than were confirmed at this point during President Obama’s term.
WHO: Americans for Democratic Action Iowa, Iowa Citizen Action Network, One Iowa Action, Progress Iowa
WHAT: Delivering more than 130,000 signatures to Senator Grassley to stop rubber-stamping President Trump’s judicial nominees
WHEN: Thursday, January 18, 2018, 12:00 PM CT
A number of national and local organizations sponsored this petition drive, including American Bridge 21st Century, Americans for Democractic Action – Iowa, Battle Born Progress
Daily Kos, Iowa Citizen Action Network, NARAL Pro-Choice America – Iowa, One Iowa Action, People’s Action, People for the American Way, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Progress Florida, Progress Iowa, and ProgressOhio. You can view the petition by clicking here: https://actionnetwork.org/peti
Arlington Legislative Forum – Arlington January 20, 2018 9:00AM – 10:00AM Arlington Community Center, 853 Main St., Arlington, IA 50606 (Click here for directions) Bettendorf Legislative Luncheon – Bettendorf January 19, 2018 11:30AM – 1:00PM Isle of Capri Ballroom, … Continue reading