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

By RYAN J. FOLEY
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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Labor History

April 18

West Virginia coal miners strike, defend selves against National Guard – 1912

After a four-week boycott led by Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Jr., bus companies in New York City agree to hire 200 black drivers and mechanics – 1941

April 19

In Grand Rapids, Michigan, the nation’s “Furniture City,” more than 6,000 immigrant workers—Germans, Dutch, Lithuanians and Poles—put down their tools and struck 59 factories for four months in what was to become known as the Great Furniture Strike – 1919

2014.04.14history-murrah-bldgAn American domestic terrorist’s bomb destroys the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people, 99 of whom were government employees – 1995

April 20

Nearly 10,000 demonstrators celebrate textile workers’ win of a 10-percent pay hike and grievance committees after a one-month strike, Lowell, Mass. – 1912

Ludlow massacre: Colorado state militia, using machine guns and fire, kill about 20 people—including 11 children—at a tent city set up by striking coal miners – 1914

An unknown assailant shoots through a window at United Auto Workers President Walter Reuther as he is eating dinner at his kitchen table, permanently impairing his right arm. It was one of at least two assassination attempts on Reuther. He and his wife later died in a small plane crash under what many believe to be suspicious circumstances – 1948

National Association of Post Office Mail Handlers, Watchmen, Messengers & Group Leaders merge with Laborers – 1968

United Auto Workers members end a successful 172-day strike against International Harvester, protesting management demands for new work rules and mandatory overtime provisions – 1980

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Veterans Career Fair

Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs Director, Colonel Robert King (Ret), encourages Veterans to attend the upcoming Veterans Career Fair on Thursday, April 24, 2014 at Freedom Center – Building S-70, Camp Dodge: 7105 NW 70th Avenue, Johnston, Iowa. A government-issue ID is required for entry onto Camp Dodge.

The Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs and Home Base Iowa are partnering with the Iowa Business Council and the Central Iowa Building Trades to create career opportunities for unemployed and underemployed veterans. All active military servicemen and women, members of the National Guard and Reserves, their spouses, as well as veterans of all ranks and levels of experience are welcome to attend the Veterans Career Fair. Most of the participating Veterans Career Fair employers and organizations have current openings for immediate hiring.

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Lee County CLC Blood Drive Does Great!

24 units of blood were donated Tuesday April 8th at the Keokuk Labor Temple during the RedCross/Lee County Labor CouncilAFL/CIO/Keokuk Fraternal Council Blood Drive. “Thanks to all who gave. That’s the most we have collected. Let’s don’t stop there. The next drive will be Thursday June 26th Same time. Same place”. Said Lee County CLC President Buddy Howard.

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Muscatine WIN Meeting

I just wanted to update everyone that we will be meeting with two candidates at tonight’s Muscatine WIN Meeting at the Musser Library in Muscatine:
6:30: Nancy Long for Recorder

7:00: Rob Krysh for Supervisor District 2
It’s very important that you make it if you can. We can forward our recommendations to the QCFL which meets next Monday, April 21st to make endorsements.
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While Iowa Was Hellbent On Finding Voter Fraud, It Disenfranchised At Least 12 Legitimate Voters

  By Nicole Flatow on April 15, 2014 at 1:51 pm   Share this: Share on email   Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz defending two emergency rules he passed at the Statehouse in 2012. CREDIT: AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall   … Continue reading

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Iowa CEOs are Paid 30 Times More Than Average Worker, and over 70 Times More than a Minimum Wage Worker

For Immediate Release:                                                  Contact: Lance Coles, 515-669-8046                                                                                                   lance@iowaaflcio.org       2014 Executive PayWatch exposes high paid CEOs in the low wage economy       www.PayWatch.org       (Iowa, April 15 2014) – According to … Continue reading

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Political Fallout

http://whotv.com/2014/04/08/political-fallout-governors-reputation-at-stake/

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AFL-CIO Joins Coalition of Leading Businesses to Headline Infrastructure Week 2014

  Washington, D.C.—The AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest federation of unions representing 12.5 million Americans today joined the Infrastructure Week 2014 Steering Committee. This important committee of leading business groups is leading the charge to build awareness and educate the public … Continue reading

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Cost of Living in Iowa

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FRIENDS:

Today we put out the second installment of our Cost of Living in Iowa report, which found 1 in 6 Iowa households do not make what is needed for a basic-needs household budget (3 out of 5 single-parent households).

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As co-author Peter Fisher noted in our news release:

“No one discussing issues such as the minimum wage, and eligibility for child-care assistance, can reasonably ignore the economic realities facing these families.”
Kind regards,
The IPP Staff

Mike Owen
Executive Director


20 E. Market St. • Iowa City, IA 52245
(319) 338-0773(319) 331-1287 cell
iowapolicy@gmail.com
www.iowapolicyproject.org


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Something Everyone Should Know on Tax Day

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Polk County Dems Honor Kerry Bowen

2013 Volunteer of the Year Award – I am very pleased and excited to announce the recipient of the award this year will be Kerry Bowen. Thank you to everyone who participated in choosing Kerry by sending in so many wonderful nominations. Join us on May 13th to honor her and Congressman Leonard Boswell!kerry

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CEOs Paid 331 Times Average Worker, 774 Times Minimum Wage Worker

  2014 Executive PayWatch exposes high paid CEOs in the low wage economy       www.PayWatch.org       (Washington, April 15, 2014) – While Congress has left for recess failing to fully address economic issues from the minimum … Continue reading

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