Layoffs Have a Human Cost

October 25, 2016  
By AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

Washington, DC – Jobs are central to this election. We hear about the 1,000 workers laid off here, 600 laid off there, 5,000 from another place. These reports have become so commonplace that it’s easy to forget the human toll behind the numbers.

But these aren’t just numbers. They’re real people, like Michael and LaDonna, who have endured the enormous stress of being laid off at their jobs at the Nabisco factory in Chicago.

Nabisco’s greed is no different than the greed of Donald Trump. Trump manufactures his clothing line overseas and buys cheap Chinese steel for his buildings. He just doesn’t care about America’s working people.

Michael and LaDonna have seen firsthand how corporate CEOs, who already make billions, put the pursuit of even more profits ahead of working people. And billionaire Donald Trump is no different. He’s exported jobs overseas without ever taking into account the human toll.

If we do our part to share Michael and LaDonna’s stories, we can turn the tide against the kind of corporate greed that allows Donald Trump and other billionaires to keep themselves at the top while the rest of us remain at the bottom.

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Union floats in Homecoming parade

iowa-city-float-1This year, as always, the Iowa City Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO and the University of Iowa Employee’s Union – AFSMCE Local 12, had floats in the UI Homecoming Parade on September  30. Our City Fed float even had a guest appearance by the “Dues Brothers.”

The Local 12 float came in second in the university section of the float competition.


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APWU Local wins organizing drive

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Labor Quote: AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

“Donald Trump’s a disrespectful hypocrite, and we stand in solidarity with the workers at Trump Hotel Las Vegas. His unwillingness to bargain with the hard-working people who make his hotel successful is shameful. It tells you all you need to know about his feelings toward all working people.”

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Iowa JobWatch: Jobs dip, break momentum

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First nonfarm job loss in four months; jobless rate stable at 4.2 percent Editor’s Note: Today, Iowa Workforce Development is releasing local unemployment data for September. The news release below, drawn from IWD data on state jobs and unemployment trends, … Continue reading

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Labor Veterans Rally For Hillary Clinton and Jim Mowrer


The Iowa Federation of Labor hosted a rally for Secretary Hillary Clinton and Jim Mowrer, candidate for congress in Iowa’s 3rd congressional district. Speakers at the event included AFSCME Council 61 President and United States Army Veteran Danny Homan, Mowrer and Union Veterans Council Executive Director and Marine Corps veteran and a Purple Heart Recipient Will Fischer.

Danny Homan started out by saying, “In 15 days, we will make a choice that will steer the direction of this great nation. For veterans, the choice could not be clearer. Hillary Clinton has developed a comprehensive plan to support veterans and ensure access to the opportunities and tools they need to succeed once home. She believes we have to invest in our vets and make sure that the men and women who risk their lives for our country have access to a good education, good jobs, and a reformed VA.” Homan continued, “Meanwhile, Donald Trump dishonors Veterans and their service. He is so thin-skinned that he attacked the parents of a fallen soldier, insults POWs, says that vets with PTSD aren’t strong, and wants to privatize the VA. Homan ended by saying, “Bottom line, the choice is clear: Hillary Clinton believes that we are stronger together – when we work with our allies to keep us safe and when we lift each other up instead of tear each other down – Donald Trump will tear this country apart and do serious harm to our security. Hillary Clinton is ready on day one to be commander in chief – Donald Trump is simply temperamentally unfit and unqualified for the job.”

Jim Mowrer said, “We need more veterans in Congress who will stand up for those who served our nation in uniform and work across the aisle to create jobs and opportunity and keep our nation safe.  I’m proud to have served in Iraq as both a soldier and a civilian and to have worked at the Pentagon strengthening our military while saving billions in taxpayer money.’’ He continued, “Donald Trump thinks our military is a disaster and that veterans with PTSD are weak.  He denigrated a Gold Star family and says we should break our alliances.  David Young believes this man should be our commander-in-chief.  Iowa veterans know that’s the wrong call, and I’m proud to stand with my fellow Iowa veterans in opposing the Trump-Young agenda.”

Will Fischer said “Jim Mowrer didn’t begin his service to his country by putting his name on a ballot, he did it by putting on a pair of combat boots. As a US Congressman, Jim will continue his service by standing shoulder-to-shoulder with his fellow veterans and the working class.’’ Fischer continued, “Donald Trump is the most unfit, unqualified, and unequipped person to ever seek the presidency. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is aptly prepared to serve as president of the United States and commander-in- chief. She has a plan to keep America safe, defeat our enemies, and connect veterans with what we need most after completing our service: good jobs.

A large crown of veterans gathered at USW Local 105’s union hall in Bettendorf , later that day to hear Congressman Dave Loebsack, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos and Will Fischer.

Photos from both events – click here

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IDP Statement on Gov. Branstad’s Support of Statewide Minimum Wage

raise the wage iowaDES MOINES–Iowa Democratic Party Chair, Dr. Andy McGuire issued the following statement in response to Governor Branstad’s backing a statewide minimum wage increase:

“After they have stonewalled on this important issue for Iowa families for a decade, why would any Iowa worker believe Governor Branstad and legislative Republicans are sincere today about raising the minimum? During this campaign cycle, they have shown their true colors by lining up beside Donald Trump and his proposals to provide tax cuts for the super rich rather than a meaningful effort to expand Iowa’s middle class. The only way the minimum wage will be increased for Iowa workers is if there are Democratic majorities in the Iowa House and Senate.”

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Labor History

October 24
The 40-hour work week goes into effect under the Fair Labor Standards Act, signed by President Roosevelt two years earlier – 1940

U.S. minimum wage increases to 40¢ an hour – 1945

October 25
What many believe to be the first formal training on first aid in American history took place at the Windsor Hotel in Jermyn, Penn., when Dr. Matthew J. Shields instructed 25 coal miners on ways to help their fellow miners. Upon completion of the course each of the miners was prepared and able to render first aid. The training led to marked decreases in serious mining injuries and fatalities – 1899

Some 25,000 silk dye workers strike in Paterson, N.J. – 1934

In what becomes known as the Great Hawaiian Dock Strike, a 6-month struggle to win wage parity with mainland dock workers, ends in victory – 1949

The Tribune Co. begins a brutal 5-month-long lockout at the New York Daily News, part of an effort to bust the newspaper’s unions – 1990

John Sweeney, president of the Service Employees Int’l Union, elected president of AFL-CIO – 1995

After a two-year fight, workers at the Bonus Car Wash in Santa Monica, Calif., win a union contract calling for pay increases, better breaks and other gains.  “They didn’t treat us like people,” nine-year employee Oliverio Gomez told the Los Angeles Times – 2011

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AFSCME response to issues at Coralville Center

afscme 61


DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding inmates with contraband and positive drug tests at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville:

“Four inmates have tested positive for methamphetamine at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center and several inmates have been found in possession of tobacco and oxycodone. It is believed the inmates acquired these substances through the Visiting Room, where visitors are now only screened via x-ray machine, when it is in working order. A dire shortage of Correctional Officers means that the strip searches of inmates before and after a visit are rushed and with less scrutiny than adequate staffing would provide.

“The cause and effect here is alarming. When the Department of Corrections is underfunded, we eliminate and don’t replace security staff. When our prisons are understaffed, we end up with lax security procedures. When we shortchange security, our facilities are not safe. When our facilities are not safe, fellow inmates, staff, and the public are all in jeopardy.

“I will continue to sound the alarm on our critically low staffing levels until someone in the failed Branstad-Reynolds Administration wakes up and adequately staffs our prisons. IMCC Warden Jim McKinney can’t balance his budget on the backs of our Correctional Officers. In doing so, he is putting us all in harm’s way.”…

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Voting tools for Iowans with disabilities

Voting tools for Iowans with disabilities

Voting at the polls can present unique challenges to Iowans with disabilities, including military veterans.

Iowa is one of the nation’s leaders in voting accessibility. We want to make sure all Iowans are fully able to exercise their right to vote.

If you or someone you know needs special assistance to vote, you have the right to an accessible voting location, to accessible voting equipment and to receive assistance in casting your ballot. Get full details from the Iowa Secretary of State at

vote labor day 2016Those with vision impairment can call 888-SOS-VOTE (888-767-8683) or to receive accessible information and services.

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Veterans encouraged to attend media event

union vetsOctober 24: Veterans Vote Rally and Press Conference – Des Moines, Noon, West steps of the Veterans Memorial Auditorium, 833 5th Ave. Bettendorf, 5 PM, USW Local 105 Hall, 880 Devils Glen Rd. Guest speaker at both events – Will Fischer, Director AFL-CIO Union Veterans Council.

The Iowa Federation of Labor is asking for Veterans to attend these events.

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Time for a Change

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By Richard Bloomingdale and Frank Snyder If America truly wants to make this November a “change election” we can. Not by electing Donald Trump who is a false prophet of change. The change he offers is regression. He would take … Continue reading

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Labor History

October 22
Bank robber Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd is killed by FBI agents near East Liverpool, Ohio. He was a hero to the people of Oklahoma who saw him as a “Sagebrush Robin Hood,” stealing from banks and sharing some of the proceeds with the poor – 1934

October 23
President Theodore Roosevelt establishes a fact-finding commission that suspends a nine-months-long strike by Western Pennsylvania coal miners fighting for better pay, shorter workdays and union recognition.  The strikers ended up winning more pay for fewer hours, but failed to get union recognition.   It was the first time that the federal government had intervened as a neutral arbitrator in a labor dispute – 1902

Explosion and fire at Phillips Petroleum refinery in Pasadena, Texas, kills 23 and injures 314 – 1989

Postal workers Joseph Curseen and Thomas Morris die nearly a month after having inhaled anthrax at the Brentwood mail sorting center in Washington, D.C.  Other postal workers had been made ill but survived. Letters containing the deadly spores had been addressed to U.S. Senate offices and media outlets – 2001

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National History Day: Prizes for Best Labor History Project


 Do you know a middle or high school student preparing a project for the National History Day competition? This year the Iowa Labor History Society will award fifty dollars to the best labor history project in both the junior and senior competitions in Iowa! Read more about National History Day here and this year’s contest theme “Take a Stand in History.” Contact for more information about the labor history prizes.

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Do Buy Halloween Candy

HALLOWEEN When those little goblins and ghosts come rapping at your door, make sure you have union-made treats to fill their sacks. This year shop for these products made by members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers … Continue reading

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State worker union leader questions staff levels at Independence Mental Health Institute

independence_mental_hospitaThe union representing a majority of state workers is blaming “inappropriate staffing levels” for recent incidents at the Independence Mental Health Institute where a patient injured three staff members.

Two of the workers required a trip to a hospital emergency room, according to a news release from AFSCME Council 61. The Department of Human Services has oversight of the state’s two mental health institutes.

DHS spokesperson Amy McCoy says while she’s not aware of any staffing shortages in Independence, workers know there are risks with direct care of patients. “Unfortunately, from time to time at the facilities, assaults do happen where patients who have psychiatric diagnoses may have some behavioral issues and act out,” McCoy said.


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Veterans Vote Rallies in Des Moines and Bettendorf

UnionVetsLogoWill Fischer, Executive Director of the Union Veterans Council, AFL-CIO to Join Iowa AFL-CIO President for Early Vote Rally

Who: Will Fischer, Executive Director- Union Veterans Council, AFL-CIO, Ken Sagar, President- Iowa AFL-CIO, Jim Mowrer, Veteran, Democrat and Labor Endorsed Candidate for Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District and other Union Veterans

What: Early vote rally and speaking program in support of our Labor Endorsed candidates

When: 12:00 p.m., Monday, October. 24, 2016

Where: West steps of the Veterans Memorial Auditorium – 833 5th Ave, Des Moines, IA 50309


Bettendorf details:

Will Fischer, Executive Director of the Union Veterans Council, AFL-CIO to Join Iowa AFL-CIO President for GOTV Rally

Who: Will Fischer, Executive Director, Union Veterans Council, AFL-CIO; Ken Sagar, President- Iowa AFL-CIO; Brad Greve, Veteran and Local President;- United Steelworkers 105 and other area Union Veterans

What: GOTV rally and speaking program in support of our Labor Endorsed candidates

When: 5:00 p.m., Monday, October. 24, 2016

Where: United Steel Workers Local 105 Hall: 880 Devils Glen Rd, Bettendorf, IA 52722

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Will local wage laws spark state action?

iowa-minimum-wageThe question in October is a question for January: Will local minimum wage efforts force a serious debate and action on a meaningful minimum wage for Iowa?

The pressure is building in Iowa for a minimum wage increase.

Polk County last week became the latest county to take matters into its own hands as Iowa lawmakers and Congress have left the state and national minimum wages at $7.25. Four counties have now approved minimum wage increases above $10 per hour by 2019, with one of them — in Johnson County — scheduled to be fully phased in by Jan. 1.

Within several days of that, the Iowa Legislature will convene and the ball will be in state lawmakers’ court.

In the meantime, Iowans tired of the nine-year wait for an increase may keep acting locally to boost prosperity for low-income working families — which is critical as about 1 in 5 Iowa do not earn enough for a basic-needs household budget.


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Iowa Secretary of State: Elections Are Not Rigged

union-members-voteGov. Terry Branstad said on Monday morning that he has “great confidence” Iowa’s Secretary of State, county auditors and poll watchers will make sure the upcoming election is “honest and clean.”  But when asked about GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump tweeting that Republican leaders deny that there’s “large scale voter fraud,” the governor pivoted to discussing what he perceives as a media bias against his party’s nominee.

“The integrity of our electoral process is critically important, and a lot of people are very skeptical today because they see the bias of the national press,” says Branstad. “They see what they consider to be collusion between the Clinton machine and [and the media.]”


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Register’s endorsement: Clinton a vote for American values

hillary-with-flagThe outcome of the 2016 presidential election won’t tell us anything we don’t already know about the two major-party candidates — but it will say a lot about who we are.

Are we a nation that believes in freedom of religion, a right our founders held so dear they enshrined it in the First Amendment, or are we a nation that denies entry and citizenship to people of one specific faith?

Are we a nation that believes in the rule of law and the limited powers of the presidency, or are we a nation that wants its president to prosecute and jail his political opponents?


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