Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Leader Harry Reid’s Retirement Announcement

March 27, 2015

Senator Reid has been a leader in title, but more importantly in practice. The lives of working people in Nevada and across the country are better because of his achievements in a long and illustrious career in public service. While the politics of Washington, DC can easily corrupt and distort, Leader Reid has never wavered from his core values or his agenda to help make America better. He is a first-class Senator, a true leader and a friend.

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Putting a Face on Immigration

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It could be easy for us here in Iowa to dismiss the need for immigration reform, and delegate debate of the issue to our country’s border states. But as we’ve been reminded in heartbreaking fashion recently, our defective immigration system … Continue reading

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NUHAWK Fundraiser

March 28: NUHAWK Poker Fundraiser. Sheet Metal Workers Local, 263 Training Center, 500  66th Ave. SW, Suite 3, Cedar Rapids, IA. Doors open at 6 pm.

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League of Women Voters to sponsor forum

The League of Women Voters of Johnson County will sponsor a Legislative Forum from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday in the Iowa City Council Chambers, Emma Harvat Hall.

Senators Joe Bolkcom, Robert Dvorsky and Kevin Kinney, and Representatives Sally Stutsman, Dave Jacoby, Bobby Kaufmann, Vicki Lensing and Mary Mascher have been invited.

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Labor History

March 28 Members of Gas House Workers’ Union Local 18799 begin what is to become a 4-month recognition strike against the Laclede Gas Light Co. in St. Louis. The union later said the strike was the first ever against a … Continue reading

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Reich to headline Working Families Summit in Ames

working family summit logoReich to headline Working Families Summit in Ames
Former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich will keynote a Working Families Summit scheduled for May 16 in Ames.
National labor leaders also will speak, including Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), and others.
The summit is designed to put higher wages and other working family issues in the forefront of public debate in advance of the 2016 Iowa precinct caucuses.
“We can help to shape the presidential debate for 2016 to focus more on issues related to working families,” said Ken Sagar, president of the Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.
“I want to see broader understanding of the number of issues from raising wages, to supporting families, to protecting civil rights, so that we all understand each other’s issues and can support each other.”

Click Here to Register

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Black Unemployment Is Still Higher Than Pre-recession Levels in 28 States

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In Projected Decline in Unemployment in 2015 Won’t Lift Blacks Out of the Recession-carved Crater, EPI economist Valerie Wilson finds that black unemployment levels remain higher than pre-recession levels in 28 states, even as unemployment rates for whites, Hispanics, and … Continue reading

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State’s moves hint at the loss of historical records

iowa flagEleven years after Iowa became a state in 1846 the State Historical Society of Iowa was established in Iowa City. In the ensuing 158 years the society has amassed an impressive collection of print, audiovisual materials and artifacts that document the history of the state and its citizens.

These collections, housed in repositories in Des Moines and Iowa City, include newspapers published between 1836 and the present representing hundreds of Iowa communities; census records from 1840-1930; birth, marriage, death and immigration records from all of Iowa’s counties; manuscript collections of personal papers; records of schools, clubs, corporations and churches; millions of photographs; audio and film collections; maps and atlases; permanent executive branch state government records; and tens of thousands of books, pamphlets and periodicals.

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The Register’s Editorial: Bill begins to address payroll card abuses

thou shall not wage theftPatrick Stall earns a living driving a taxi in Des Moines. He pays a flat fee to the cab company for dispatch and car rental. When customers pay fares in cash, he can keep the money. When they use credit cards, the cab company is paid. Stall receives that money on a debit card.

Though he’d prefer his compensation be deposited into his personal account at a credit union, he said he wasn’t given that option. The cab company provided the card. In a memo to drivers, it explains money can be withdrawn for free from about a dozen, specific ATMs in the Des Moines area. Yet Stall also received a list of fees he could incur using the card.

These include an $8 charge for “cash disbursement.” It costs 50 cents for each “point of sale” purchase and $1.50 for each “point of sale” refund. He’ll be charged $1.50 to check the balance on the card at an ATM or if the card is declined at a store.

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Congressional Update from the AFL-CIO

March 26th, 2015 Washington, D.C. Republicans began the 114th Congress with their biggest House majority since 1929 (247-188), but they are still six votes short of a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate (54-46). This lineup almost guarantees another two years … Continue reading

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School funding: Why Democrats stick with 4 percent

March 24, 2015 | 3:08 pm

You’ve got to wonder what other states think of the debate Iowa is having over local school funding.

Davenport’s school superintendent, Dr. Art Tate, recently announced his plans to disobey state school funding laws in order to do right by students in his district.

I don’t condone law breaking, but Dr. Tate’s threat is just one of many examples of Iowans becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of commitment that Governor Branstad and legislative Republicans have to local schools.

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Johnson County hopes to have community IDs available by July

Johnson County officials hope to to have the Community ID program up and running, with identification cards printed and available to residents, by July 4.

During a Wednesday work session, County Auditor Travis Weipert and members of the county’s Community ID Group spoke to the Board of Supervisors to seek support for issuing community IDs.

The idea, which originally was proposed by Iowa City’s Human Rights Commission and Ad Hoc Diversity Committee in early 2014, would allow access to local services for immigrants and others who may not have the documentation needed to obtain a state-issued ID.

This could include seniors who no longer drive and don’t have a birth certificate, homeless people who may have lost their ID or other documentation, spouses and dependents of international students, and people who have been displaced suddenly from their homes such as disaster victims or domestic violence victims.

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Parents, students rally for more school funding at Capitol

cap im worthless“Invest in our future,” said a sign, held by an elementary student Wednesday in the Capitol rotunda. “Invest in me,” said a second. “Please!” read a third.

Amid the ongoing, gridlocked debate over school funding, students and parents from Des Moines and Davenport rallied in the Statehouse on Wednesday to seek more money for education. In addition, organizers launched a letter-writing campaign and petition at MoveOn.org, which had more than 1,300 signatures by early evening.

“We want to provide our children with the best quality education that we can,” said Rose Green, a parent at Hanawalt Elementary in Des Moines and a rally organizer. “If we want to achieve in the schools, we really want to invest in them, and 1.25 percent is not enough.”

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Lawmakers hurt teachers, school funding

IMG_8394Two years ago, the Legislature and governor gave massive tax breaks to business, and now they claim that there is a budget funding problem for this year. How is it that at a morning committee the Republicans said there was not enough money for public schools, and then later that day propose a bill that will divert $200 million to private schools?

This session, House Republicans are on full attack mode against the teachers here in Iowa. They are now coming after their funding and their ability to negotiate contracts.

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Labor History

March 27 2015.03.23history ma jones
Mother Jones is ordered to leave Colorado, where state authorities accuse her of “stirring up” striking coal miners – 1904

U.S. Supreme Court rules that undocumented workers do not have the same rights as Americans when they are wrongly fired – 2002

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AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler on the “Lead on Leave” Road Show

afl cioMarch 25, 2015

 

In response to Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Senator Elizabeth Warren’s plans to travel to several states to promote paid leave polices, AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Liz Shuler released the following statement:

 

“The AFL-CIO is encouraged by the persistence being shown by the White House to pass a comprehensive Paid Sick Leave law. The “Lead on Leave” road show being headed by Secretary Perez and Senator Warren is exactly the type of leadership that working people need.

 

Too many people are still being forced to choose between getting a paycheck and taking care of a loved one. It is time for Congress to put politics aside and pass a law that will provide relief.”

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More Millions for Millionaires

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By Iowa Fiscal Partnership 3/25/15 IFP POLICY BRIEF / Flat-Tax Option Showers Benefits at High Incomes — Services Face New Cuts 2-page PDF By Peter S. Fisher Tax legislation pending in the Iowa House would shower most benefits on higher … Continue reading

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Protect Public Postal Service, Stop Using Staples

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I am writing to you today with a request to stop purchasing your school’s supplies from Staples. I also encourage you to contact your friends and colleagues on your district school boards and urge them to also stop using Staples … Continue reading

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School Bus Routes Saved!

school bus 2After hearing comments from a packed room of over 200 people, the Iowa City Community School District voted tonight to NOT end discretionary bus routes in the District.

The District’s Administration had originally made a recommendation to eliminate discretionary routes (routes not mandated by state law) in order to save $850,000.00.
Instead, the Board voted to maintain all bus routes.
This is a victory for working families.  Thanks to all who came out and thanks to those who supported this cause who couldn’t make it.
Iowa City  Federation of Labor
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Labor History

March 26
San Francisco brewery workers begin a 9-month strike as local employers follow the union-busting lead of the National Brewer’s Association and fire their unionized workers, replacing them with scabs. Two unionized brewers refused to go along, kept producing beer, prospered wildly and induced the Association to capitulate. A contract benefit since having unionized two years earlier, certainly worth defending: free beer – 1868

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