July 4th message from Danny Homan

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Dear Sisters and Brothers, Today is July 2nd. 239 years ago today, the Continental Congress voted to declare independence. The actual text of the Declaration of Independence was finalized and approved two days later, on July 4, 1776. At the … Continue reading

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Jobs Numbers Deceiving As Workers’ Wages Continue to Suffer

lets create jobsIn response to the June Jobs report that showed no wage growth, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka made the following statement:

 

Although the job growth in June is promising, the fact that there was zero wage growth is appalling. Workers are tired of waking up every day and hearing about the so-called economic recovery. Working families are hurting because they have been left out of this “recovery.” We’ve heard enough double talk around wages. We will not stand by while corporations continue to annihilate any chance at real economic growth. Working families have earned the right to be paid fairly for hard work. And we will continue our tireless fight to raise wages because working families deserve an economy that works for all.

 

Statement online here: http://www.aflcio.org/Press-Room/Press-Releases/Jobs-Numbers-Deceiving-As-Workers-Wages-Continue-to-Suffer

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Good news on state income strengthens case for Governor’s signature on bipartisan investments in Iowa’s future

IMG_4561Statement by Sen. Bob Dvorsky, Senate Budget Chair

 

DES MOINES — Governor Branstad should play close attention to today’s good news as he works to meet the July 6th deadline for action on budget bills approved by the Legislature.

 

  • Real growth in state income was larger than the projections that the Legislature used to write the state budget for Fiscal Year 2015 (July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015).

 

  • While state law limits state spending to no more than 99 percent of revenue, the the budget on the Governor’s desk spends just 96.5 percent of available revenue for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2015.

 

Given these financial facts, there is no reason for Governor Branstad to harm families, students and communities by vetoing bipartisan investments to strengthen Iowa’s future.

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Trumka Denounces Administration’s Decision to Resume Military Aid to Bahrain

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Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on the Obama Administration’s decision to resume military aid to Bahrain despite its government’s failure to improve labor and human rights record:

 

We strongly disagree with the Obama’s Administration’s decision to resume military aid to Bahrain. We join a large number of human rights groups which are deeply concerned about the continuing decline of the human rights situation in the country.  The Bahraini government has failed to keep its promises to the American government to improve the administration of labor rights including eliminating widespread workplace discrimination based on religion and political belief.  This is why the AFL-CIO filed a case under labor rights provisions of the U.S. Bahrain Free Trade Agreement regarding Bahrain’s failure to live up to its commitments with respect to workers’ rights. By bolstering Bahrain’s government the Obama Administration is undermining the struggle of Bahraini families in their efforts to attain same basic human rights that we cherish here in the United States including the right to associate in unions.

 

Statement online here:  http://www.aflcio.org/Press-Room/Press-Releases/Trumka-Denounces-Administration-s-Decision-to-Resume-Military-Aid-to-Bahrain

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Expanding outdoor recreation in Iowa

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Iowa’s parks, recreation areas and open spaces contribute to our state’s environmental, physical, emotional and social wellbeing while bolstering the economy. A 2012 report on the Economic Value of Outdoor Recreation Activities in Iowa found that more than $3 billion … Continue reading

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Don’t be afraid to dream big, make a difference

taylorLast week was a good week to be an American. Many others have said so, and who am I to argue? I submit, however, that the significance of last week’s events extends beyond the immediate, direct effects they will have on our society. The groundswell of opposition to a symbol of racial hatred, the reaffirmation of every person’s right to affordable basic healthcare and the long-overdue recognition of the fundamental right of individuals to marry those they love harkens back to something America once was and can be again.

Our cultural narrative speaks of a time when America and Americans dreamed great big, audacious dreams. We believed that we could change society and ourselves for the better, and that meaningful change could happen in our lifetimes. The future was something to strive toward, not something to fear. That optimism, which would be seen nowadays as naivete, was borne out by the grand enterprises of the 20th century, from women’s suffrage to the public works of FDR, the integration of our public schools to the landing of an American on the moon. Progress sometimes stretched the country in uncomfortable ways and occasionally pushed it beyond its ability to adapt. But even when progress faltered, we grew as a nation. We reached for the stars — sometimes quite literally — and in so doing, we achieved greatness.

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Labor History

July 03 Children, employed in the silk mills in Paterson, N.J., go on strike for 11-hour day and 6-day week. A compromise settlement resulted in a 69-hour work week – 1835 Feminist and labor activist Charlotte Perkins Gilman born in … Continue reading

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On July 30, 2015, Medicare will celebrate 50 years since it was signed into law.

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The Medicare Rights Center is counting down to this historic anniversary by making 50 wishes for Medicare’s future.  The first five were sent out earlier. In those 50 years, Medicare has provided guaranteed health benefits to millions of older adults and people with disabilities. Today, 54 million … Continue reading

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Supreme Court Takes Case That Could Devastate Public Union Finances

union yesBy Doug Cunningham
The U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday decided to take on a case that could potentially devastate public union finances. Friedrichs v. California seeks to overturn the right of public unions to require all members who receive the benefits of representation, including higher wages and benefits, to pay union dues. Current law allows workers to withhold payment of any fees used for certain political activity. The anti-union National Right To Work Legal Defense Foundation is using this case to try and impose so-called ‘Right To Work’ conditions on public unions nationwide.

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Trumka: July Wage Increases Proof That Raising Wages Agenda Advancing

raise the wage iowa

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka praising the actions that have led to the minimum wage increasing in Maryland, Missouri, Chicago, Washington, DC, Portland, OR and one major corporation effective today.

Today, paychecks for working men and women will inch closer to the amount they deserve, as wages are raised for millions across our country. This victory for the raising wages agenda did not happen overnight or by the gracious signature of a politician’s pen; it happened because working people stood up, spoke out, and fought to earn a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work.

While we have seen progress, there are still too many who have gone too long without fair or equal pay. Working people have continuously been on the right side of history when it comes to fighting for better pay and rights, and they will continue that struggle in the months and years ahead.

Statement online here: http://www.aflcio.org/Press-Room/Press-Releases/Trumka-July-Wage-Increases-Proof-That-Raising-Wages-Agenda-Advancing

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AFSCME IOWA COUNCIL 61 STATEMENT ON MT. PLEASANT AND CLARINDA MENTAL HEALTH INSTITUTE LAYOFFS AND SHUTDOWNS

afscme DES MOINES – AFSCME Iowa Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement about the shutdown of Mt. Pleasant and Clarinda Mental Health Institutes:

“Last night, at midnight, the Mt. Pleasant and Clarinda Mental Health Institutes closed their doors and the entire staff was laid off. This is a sad moment for the people of Iowa, especially those patients and families that need the services provided by these two facilities.

“The real losers here are the patients and the citizens of the state of Iowa. Residents of southern Iowa no longer have these two excellent facilities as an option for the care of their loved ones facing mental health challenges. Iowa’s mental health safety net has been made weaker by the choices the governor has made.

“To the employees of these facilities, who have provided excellent treatment to patients for many years, I’m very sorry the governor has decided to take this action. I believe not only has he violated the collective bargaining agreement by his actions of laying everyone off effective at the end of June, but I also believe he is in violation of a state law and we will take the appropriate action and attempt to fix this situation.

“The governor has chosen to ignore the advice of patients, their families, mental health professionals, legislators, employees, and community leaders. He should be ashamed of the decision he made to shut down these facilities.”

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Labor History

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July 01 The American Flint Glass workers union is formed, headquartered in Pittsburgh.  It was to merge into the Steelworkers 140 years later, in 2003 – 1873 Steel workers in Cleveland begin what was to be an 88-week strike against … Continue reading

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Central Iowa Building Trades volunteers complete handicapped pier, fishing house restorations at Lake Ahquabi State Park

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FRANKLIN, Tenn. — As part of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s (USA) Work Boots on the Ground conservation program, members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 81 and the Central Iowa Building and Construction Trades … Continue reading

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Overtime Rules Change

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  rules to restore the overtime protection workers have lost to inflation since 1975. Under federal overtime regulations, workers who earn less than a certain salary level are generally entitled to overtime protection. The last regular adjustment to the salary … Continue reading

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Support for public education now a partisan issue

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When considering the accomplishments of the 2015 session of the Iowa Legislature, it makes sense to be clear about where we started.

In Iowa, Republicans control the governor’s office and the Iowa House. Democrats control the Iowa Senate. That means bipartisan support is required for any idea to pass the legislature.

Republican opposition, for example, prevented the following common sense ideas from reaching the governor’s desk:

An increase in the minimum wage.

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Strong hint AFSCME will sue governor over MHI closures

danny afscmeThe head of the union that represents the largest share of state employees is in southwest Iowa today meeting with workers who’re being laid off from the state-run Mental Health Institute in Clarinda. AFSCME Council 61 President Danny Homan said his message to the 53 employees serving their last two days is simple.
“I’m very sorry the governor has decided to take this action. I believe not only has he violated the collective bargaining agreement by his actions of laying everyone off effective at the end of the day June 30, but I also believe he is violation of a state law,” Homan said. “And we will take the appropriate action and attempt to fix this situation.”

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President Richard Trumka Applauds Overtime Expansion Proposal

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Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on the Department of Labor proposal to expand overtime protections:

 

Millions of America’s workers are one step closer to earning the overtime pay they rightfully deserve but have been systematically denied. Working people called on President Obama to go bold, and his response will provide a much needed boost to our entire economy. This is a critically important step forward for the Raising Wages Agenda, but it is just that — a first step.

 

The labor movement is committed to ensuring workers’ voices are heard, ensuring that this proposal is strengthened and fully implemented. We recognize that while the proposal will help millions of workers across the country, millions more will still be denied overtime pay by their employer. We will continue fighting until every worker who deserves overtime protections is paid for all their time worked.

 

Statement online here:  http://www.aflcio.org/Press-Room/Press-Releases/President-Richard-Trumka-Applauds-Overtime-Expansion-Proposal

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In Tax Battles, “Competitiveness” Means Coercion

off tax cheats

Watch out for this one. With fast track trade authority done, the big corporations are now pushing for massive tax giveaways. This is another exercise of raw corporate power by the few to take what they want from the many. The corporations use complexity to get people to tune out, and their schemes are masked by smooth words like “reform” and “competitiveness,” but it is all just another grab for (even more) money and power.

There are two areas where the corporations are coming at us. The first is a blatant grab to keep somewhere up to $700 billion in tax money they already owe on “offshore” profits. The second is a push to permanently cut corporate tax rates – even more.

Taxes Owed On Offshore Profits

Multinational corporations avoid paying U.S. taxes using a “deferral” loophole. This loophole lets them dodge taxes on profits made outside of the country until they bring the profits back into the country (called “repatriation”).

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Dollar General and overtime

Let me introduce you to Dawn. Dawn’s employer, Dollar General, basically cheated her out of money because an outdated rule about who is eligible for overtime pay said they could. And Dawn’s not alone. An estimated 6 million workers should … Continue reading

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APWU Reaches Tentative Agreement for Private-Sector Drivers

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06/26/2015 – The APWU and the Mail Contractors of America (MCA) have reached a tentative contract agreement for private-sector drivers in terminals in Des Moines and Kansas City. Union members at those terminals will have the opportunity to vote to … Continue reading

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