Corporate Outsiders Attempt to Crush Cedar Rapids Standards

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When Ingredion Inc., headquartered in West Chester, Ill., purchased the Cedar Rapids, Iowa Penford Products plant this spring, company officials said that for the immediate future, there would not be drastic changes. However, contentious negotiations that began June 1, 2015 … Continue reading

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Medicare turns 50; don’t turn back clock

medicare for allJuly 30 is the 50th birthday of Medicare, a program that is a cornerstone of retirement security in America. This landmark occasion is the perfect time to examine the legacy of the program and reflect upon the positive impact it has had on the lives and health of our nation’s retirees.

Before President Johnson signed Medicare into law in 1965, growing older often meant poverty and illness. Only half of our nation’s seniors had health insurance. While some retirees received health coverage through union contracts, millions more faced premiums as much as three times that paid by younger workers. Insurance was a luxury that many seniors simply couldn’t afford.


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Medicare Plays Vital Role in Long-Term Financial Security of Working Families


On today’s 50th anniversary of Medicare, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka made the following statement:

The AFL-CIO’s commitment to helping working people achieve a better life includes wholehearted support for Medicare, which helps seniors lead healthier, more financially secure lives. Medicare provides essential healthcare to millions of Americans who have earned the right to live their golden years without fear that healthcare costs will wipe out everything they have worked so hard to achieve. We reject calls from Republicans in Congress who want to reduce services and increase costs. Rather than attacking Medicare, we should be working to strengthen and expand it.

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Mental health treatment must be available to Iowans

mental health

Public safety and medical professionals say Iowa has a mental health crisis. Legislators have been tackling that problem by improving the way mental health services are provided in our state. This year, we took steps to:

  • Make more emergency psychiatric beds available (SF 401).
  • Create a psychiatric bed tracking system so that medical professionals and law enforcement can quickly find openings (HF 449)
  • Help Iowans access mental health and substance abuse treatment services closer to home (SF 440).
  • Streamline the employment, qualifications and duties of mental health advocates (HF 468).

But Governor Branstad may be making Iowa’s mental health crisis worse. With a stroke of his veto pen, the Governor nixed a bipartisan plan to keep all four of Iowa’s mental health institutes (MHIs) operating (SF 505, HF 666).

Republican and Democratic legislators reached an agreement to keep open the Mount Pleasant MHI, which provided mental health and substance use disorder services, and to transition the Clarinda MHI to a private nursing facility for hard-to-place patients with aggression or other psychological conditions.

The Governor justified his veto of funding for the two MHIs by saying they are outdated and that services can be provided more effectively and efficiently by private agencies. Unfortunately, those services are not yet in place. With the Governor’s unilateral decision to close the Mount Pleasant and Clarinda facilities, Iowans in need of mental health services may find even fewer options available to them.

Health service providers, public safety officers, religious leaders and advocates worry that mentally ill patients with substance abuse problems will end up in emergency rooms, jails or worse—rather than getting treatment.

As we continue redesigning Iowa’s mental health system to better serve those in need, we’ll be looking for ways to patch the holes left by the Governor’s vetoes so that Iowans have better access to mental health services when they need them.

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Join in Protest of Walker Visit

A Meet and Greet with Governor Scott Walker in Glenwood, Iowa on Friday, July 31, 2015

Scott WalkerA Meet and Greet with Governor Scott Walker in Glenwood, Iowa on Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday, July 31, 2015 at 8:15 AM (CDT)

Tom & Tiff’s
607 S Hazel St
Glenwood, IA 51534

Hosted By:
Scott Walker Inc – Team Iowa

Register for this event now at :

Event Details:

Please join us for a meet & greet with Governor Scott Walker, July 31, 8:15 AM CDT, at Tom and Tiff’s in Glenwood, IA!

Address:  Tom and Tiff’s, 607 S Hazel St, Glenwood, IA 51534
Event Starts:  8:15 AM CDT

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AFL-CIO Launches Plan for Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice

Internal Labor Conversations Around Racism Will Begin in September (Washington, DC, July 29) – This week as part of the AFL-CIO Executive Council, the AFL-CIO Commission on Racial and Economic Justice held its first meeting.  The meeting was an opportunity … Continue reading

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Deadline approaching to reverse governor’s vetoes


We’ve joined the call for a special legislative session to reverse Governor Branstad’s vetoes of bipartisan funding for schools, colleges and universities, and mental health treatment.

Governor Branstad’s claim that fiscal responsibility required the vetoes doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. That’s because the budget that the Legislature finally approved was actually $165.8 million less than what he proposed in January. Since then, the budget estimates have only grown stronger with surplus and reserves topping $1 billion next year.

Two-thirds of Senators and Representatives must sign a petition to initiate the special session. If you believe schoolchildren, college students and Iowans needing mental health treatment deserve better, encourage all Iowa legislators to sign the petition requesting a special session. You can find out who has signed on and who hasn’t at

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AFL-CIO Announces New Executive Council Members

  [Washington, DC, July 28, 2015]  — Today, the AFL-CIO announced the addition of four new members to its Executive Council: Chris Shelton, president of CWA; Lonnie Stephenson, president of IBEW; Joe Sellers, general president of SMART; and Eric Dean, … Continue reading

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Tuition hike likely because of steps taken by legislative Republicans and Governor Branstad

  “Another good reason to override Governor’s education vetoes”   The agenda for next week’s meeting of the Iowa Board of Regents includes a proposal to increase spring tuition for all undergraduate students by 3 percent.   Senator Jeff Danielson … Continue reading

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Bring Donations to Iowa Fed Convention

solidarity for







Bring any and all of these items to the Iowa Federation of Labor Convention to be donated.

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Progressive Policy and Politics Drive AFL-CIO Executive Meeting

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on the AFL-CIO’s Executive Council meeting taking place this week on July 29th and 30th in Silver Spring, MD:   The Executive Council of the AFL-CIO is meeting this week to strategize and coalesce … Continue reading

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Penford Union supporters hold peaceful informational picket

penfordCEDAR RAPIDS — Tensions are rising between Ingredion Inc. and the Penford employee union.

Supporters met outside of the main office of the Penford Plant for an informational picket Monday, with the objective of letting the public know about Ingredion’s actions as the employees are in the midst of negotiations with Penford’s parent company, Ingredion. There is an August 1st deadline for the contract dispute.

“We’re hearing throughout the community that they’re in the middle of a hard negotiation and we just want to show support,” said Hawkeye Labor Council Executive Director Rick Moyle.


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ICYMI: “Mental Health in Crisis” Following Branstad MHI Closures

Branstad Approval Hits a “Low Point” Following His Unilateral Decision to Shutter Two Mental Health Institutes Key Point #1: Gov. Terry Branstad’s veto this month of mental health compromise legislation that would have salvaged the hospital facilities in Mt. Pleasant … Continue reading

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AFL-CIO Condemns State Department’s Upgrade of Malaysia on Trafficking List

human trafficingStatement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on the U.S. Government upgrading of Malaysia on its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report

 This decision is wrong and outrageous. It is a political decision that undermines the integrity of the TIP Report and signals that the U.S. is willing to turn a blind eye to modern slavery and grave human and labor rights abuses in order to advance its trade agenda.

The administration has had difficulty securing approval for fast track. Today’s cynical upgrade of a nation where forced labor, human trafficking, and exploitation remain pervasive, undermines its promises on labor rights, human rights, and anti-corruption in trade deals and does not bode well for TPP passage.

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The Hawkeye Labor Council AFL-CIO will hold an informational picket at the Penford plant in Cedar Rapids Iowa @ 4:00 PM on Monday July 27th. The picket will take place in front of the main office on the side walk at 1001, 1st Street SW Cedar Rapids Iowa 52404.

There is public parking all around this area. If you are attending the picket do not park on any Penford property or in parking lots. This will be a peaceful picket to raise awareness that our Brothers and Sisters of BCTGM 100G are coming to the end of a hard negotiation and that the company has used intimidation tactics over the past few weeks.

We want to send the message that we support the workers at Penford and we as a community would like to see fair and productive negotiations.

Please join your brothers and sisters in the labor movement to show our support. This should only take an hour of your time Signs/pickets will be provided .

Please contact the Hawkeye labor Council AFL-CIO with any questions.

In solidarity,


Rick Moyle

Executive Director

Hawkeye Labor Council AFL-CIO

1211 Wiley Boulevard SW

Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52404


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DES MOINES, IA – Yesterday, at the 19th Biennial Convention of AFSCME Iowa Council 61, Danny Homan was re-elected as President of AFSCME Iowa Council 61 by acclamation.

“I am honored by our membership’s decision to place their trust in me. AFSCME Iowa Council 61 will continue to strongly advocate for our members and all working families,” said Homan.

“AFSCME Iowa Council 61 members provide the services that make Iowa safer, fairer, and more prosperous. We are a Union that knows that by working together in solidarity, we can make a difference for our families and our communities,” added Homan.

Homan was first elected in 2005 and will now begin his 6th term. Danny Homan was born and raised in Sioux City, Iowa. He proudly served in the United States Army from October 1971 until August 1973 as an Atomic Weapons Specialist. Danny Homan started his public employee career in June 1984 with the Third Judicial District Department of Correctional Services as a Residential Advisor at the Residential Treatment Facility in Sioux City.

Danny Homan started his career with AFSCME Iowa Council 61 in December 1987 as a Political Organizer. In February 1988, Homan was hired as a Union Representative serving AFSCME members in Northwest Iowa until July of 2005. In July 2005, Homan was elected President of AFSCME Iowa Council 61.

Susie Baker, a Drafter at the University of Northern Iowa, was re-elected as Executive Vice President by acclamation. Jerry Jones, a Correctional Officer at the Newton Correctional Facility, was re-elected as Secretary-Treasurer by acclamation.


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Restoring School Funding Tool Kit

  A key compromise of the 2015 session of the Iowa Legislature was the approval of 55.7 million in one-time funding for Iowa’s local schools.  The Iowa Legislature, which approved this funding, can reverse Governor Branstad’s veto.  Urge your legislator … Continue reading

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Ensuring top-notch health care for vulnerable Iowans

  This next week marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, which were established on July 30, 1965. Today, Medicaid provides free or low-cost health coverage to just over a half million Iowans who are some of the most … Continue reading

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Minimum Wage Proposals are Important, Positive Steps for the Raising Wages Agenda

No More Poverty WagesStatement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on the introduction of the Pay Workers a Living Wage Act and the New York State Wage Board recommendation that fast food workers’ minimum wage be increased to $15 an hour:

In the past week there has been significant upward pressure on wages. Fast food workers in New York State winning a $15 minimum wage and new legislation proposing a national minimum wage of $15 are important, positive steps for the Raising Wages Agenda.

This week also marks nearly a decade since the last time the minimum wage was increased. We need game changing policies that drive up the wages of working people. From increasing the minimum wage to strengthening the right for workers to join together in a union, we’re done waiting on Washington. All across America, working people are marching forward to raise wages in every way possible – in cities, states, and at workplaces.  We need to raise wages for all working people together—that our economy works best when wages rise for all of us.

Statement online here:

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Residents rally in support of minimum wage increase

APWU1Dozens of activists gathered at the Johnson County Health and Human Services Building on Thursday, waving signs and leading chants at a rally in support of raising the minimum wage.

“I think it’s important for folks to understand that there are thousands of people in Johnson County who are in desperate need,” said Rod Sullivan, a member of the Johnson County Board of Supervisors.

At its meeting on Wednesday, the board agreed to move forward on an ordinance that would increase the minimum wage countywide to $10.10 an hour by 2017. The rally, held at 855 S. Dubuque St., was organized in part to show support for the supervisors’ efforts, and to encourage them in the face of opposition.

A draft version of the ordinance that would raise the wage states that the current minimum wage of $7.25 would increase by 95 cents on Nov. 1, to $8.20. An additional increase on May 1, 2016, would bring it up to $9.15 and the wage finally would reach $10.10 on Jan. 1, 2017. The board will next discuss the issue in a work session on July 29.


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