KRAUSE: EMPLOYEES AT IOWA VETERANS HOME ILLEGALLY FIRED

Veteran Activist Bob Krause, president of the Veterans National Recovery Center of Des Moines, today charged that there are newly discovered illegalities at the Iowa Veterans Home (IVH), and that this has hurt veterans. “Illegal firings have occurred under the … Continue reading

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AFL-CIO PRESIDENT TRUMKA’S REMARKS ON USTR ANNOUNCEMENT

September 18, 2014     Good afternoon. I’d like to thank Ambassador Mike Froman for inviting me to participate in today’s event.   We welcome today’s historic decision by the U.S. government to resume the arbitration process with Guatemala, to … Continue reading

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Biden says incomes ‘out of whack’

Vice President Joe Biden scolded Democratic leaders Wednesday for not doing enough to close the growing gap between the richest Americans and the rest of the country’s citizens, raked Republicans for ideas he thinks would devastate the middle class, and then called for good old-fashioned cooperation in a divided government.

“There’s nothing inherently bad about corporations or wealthy people, but something happened. Things are out of whack. It comes down to a simple question of fairness,” Biden said during a Des Moines rally to kick off a national tour by Nuns on the Bus, a Catholic social justice organization.

The visit served as a reminder that he’s keeping his options open as a possible presidential candidate in the 2016 Iowa caucuses. His one-day visit came just three days after the Democrats’ presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton, made a highly publicized in-and-out trip here.

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Nuns on the Bus and Vice President Biden Photos

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AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Whatever the Color of our Skin Excerpt, Ferguson, Missouri Speech

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RTW Quietly Mutates, Taking Attack on Workers to City, County Councils

New tact’s ultimate goal: get to ‘corporate-friendly’ Supreme Court The ever nefarious right-to-work (RTW) legislation is evolving mutating into a local form, targeting city and county councils. Ed Finkelstein, publisher of the St. Louis/Southern Illinois Labor Tribune and ILCA treasurer, … Continue reading

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Elk Run Lending Library and Blackhawk Union Council

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Labor History

September 19
Chinese coal miners forced out of Black Diamond, Wash. – 1885

Between 400,000 and 500,000 unionists converge on Washington D.C., for a Solidarity Day march and rally protesting Republican policies – 1981

Musician and labor educator Joe Glazer, often referred to as “Labor’s Troubadour,” died today at age 88.  Some of his more acclaimed songs include “The Mill Was Made of Marble,” “Too Old to Work” and “Automaton.” In 1979 he and labor folklorist Archie Green convened a meeting of 14 other labor musicians to begin what was to become the annual Great Labor Arts Exchange and, soon thereafter, the Labor Heritage Foundation – 2006

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Hands off Social Security and Medicare

There will be a “Hands Off Social Security and Medicare” event taking place tomorrow at the Capitol in Washington, DC. For those of you who are unable to be there is person, there is a livestream link to watch the … Continue reading

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‘Protecting’ Social Security leaves much unsaid

The Des Moines Register’s Sept. 8 editorial voicing concerns about perceived gamesmanship over Social Security’s future in the Braley/Ernst U.S. Senate race tells only half the story. Across the nation, candidates in close elections are trying to win the messaging war on who is the better protector of Social Security.

This is not surprising. Yet, everyday Americans are not looking for mere protectors of Social Security, they are looking for champions.

Many Americans face a crisis in their retirement and are leaning more and more on Social Security. Pensions are disappearing, 401(k)s and IRAs are a poor replacement, and wages are not keeping up with gains seen in productivity. It is important to hear what the candidates think about a program that is of growing importance to all Americans.

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Comments to Kochs should worry us all

On Sunday in Indianola, Bill Clinton employed a campaign tactic the 42nd president has honed well to fire up voters: Use an infuriating little anecdote about the opposition to provoke a big sense of outrage.

He did that when Hillary Clinton was running for president six years ago against Barack Obama and at times went too far. He did it this time on a stage shared with Democrats running for U.S. House, U.S. Senate, governor and — if Hillary goes for it again — president. But after verifying the story he told at the steak fry, I’m thinking he didn’t go far enough.

Clinton told of a secret meeting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had with the billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David, this summer. It was secretly audiotaped and released by the left-leaning Nation magazine.

In it, McConnell tells the conservative businessmen that the worst day in his 30-year political life was when the McCain-Feingold bill became law in 2002. The bill prohibited large secret contributions by wealthy individuals and corporations to party committees. It was signed into law by President George W. Bush.

“I was particularly pleased when President Bush got elected, and we had a Republican House and a Republican Senate,” McConnell told the group. “I thought surely we won’t have to deal with an issue like this.” He meant industry should be able to spend unfettered amounts to influence legislation, and he boasted of leading “filibuster after filibuster” on the issue.

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The Register’s Editorial: King’s refusal to debate is a disservice to voters

Debates have been an important part of the American political process for many years, and for many good reasons.

The most famous debates probably were the seven meetings in 1858 up and down the state of Illinois between incumbent U.S. Sen. Stephen Douglas and his challenger, a country lawyer named Abraham Lincoln. John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon ushered in the television era of debates with their four face-offs leading up to the 1960 election. In Iowa, Gov. Terry Branstad and challenger Jack Hatch will meet on Saturday for the second of their three debates.

There are lots of excellent reasons for candidates to appear on the same stage together. It gives voters the opportunity to see how well the candidates can think on their feet, how well they frame their arguments and how their positions square with the voters’ views.

No one is entitled to hold a public office. Nor should anyone have the right to thumb his nose at the voters and refuse to debate.

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Labor History

September 18 The Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) is formally founded at an Ohio convention, during a period of serious corruption in the union. Two years earlier at an IBT convention in Las Vegas, a union reform leader who … Continue reading

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Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Vote by American Airlines and US Airways Workers

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  September 16, 2014   “Today, thousands of workers embraced a union future. The hardworking men and women of American Airlines and US Airways voted for union representation and a legally binding contract. Their collective skill has built successful airlines, … Continue reading

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Quad Cities Phone Bank

September 17: Quad Cities – Wed. : Phone Bank @ UA Hall 5-8PM Tracy Leone at 309-738-3196

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Gap between high and low income households grows

DES MOINES | Job growth in the retail and service sector has not matched the wages of manufacturing and other middle-skill level jobs lost over the last decade in Iowa. That’s according to a new report by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach rural sociologist David Peters.

The difference, Peters notes, has contributed to a growing disparity between low and high income households, which is especially profound in specific parts of the state. Inequality in Iowa is below the national average, but the rate of polarization has outpaced the national level, he added.

Peters said he analyzed 40 years of data from the U.S. Census Bureau to identify trends in income distribution and the potential impact on Iowa. During that time frame, he said, inequality grew faster in metropolitan areas and smaller cities, which is largely driven by growth in low-wage service positions in contrast to high-end professional and financial service jobs. “The bottom earners have really taken a hit, especially since the last recession, and that’s what is driving inequality,” Peters said. “The wage replacement for people who are laid off from middle-skilled, middle-wage jobs is much lower. They’re not able to recoup those wages and that’s where you see falling incomes.”

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The Sisters Are Back in Town

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-koch-sisters/the-sisters-are-back-in-t_b_5829462.html ‘The Koch Sisters’ So not related to those guys   Look out Washington, D.C. the Koch Sisters are back in town! We are so excited to be back in our nation’s capital and continuing in our fight to stand up … Continue reading

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Labor History

September 17 Seventy-five workers die in explosion at Allegheny Arsenal, Pittsburgh, Pa. – 1862 At a New York convention of the National Labor Congress, Susan B. Anthony calls for the formation of a Working Women’s Association. As a delegate to … Continue reading

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Braley calls on Democrats to get out and vote

INDIANOLA, Iowa — With more than 10,000 friendly faces watching in a field in rural Indianola, Bruce Braley made a call to action and his case as a candidate.

Saying there is a “clear choice” in Iowa’s open-seat U.S. Senate race, the Democratic congressman from Waterloo contrasted himself against his opponent, Republican state senator Joni Ernst, during his address at Sunday’s 37th annual Harkin Steak Fry.

Braley then called on the crowd to get involved by knocking on doors and making phone calls to ensure Democrats vote in this year’s midterm election.

“Never give up. Never give in. Fight for every single vote you can find. Let’s get to work,” Braley implored the crowd.

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Wanted: More ways into middle class

Millions of young people have headed to college and universities, aiming for a four-year liberal arts degree. They assume that degree is the only gateway to the American middle class.

It shouldn’t be.

For one thing, a four-year liberal arts degree is hugely expensive. Too many young people graduate laden with debts that take years, if not decades, to pay off.

And too many of them can’t find good jobs when they graduate, in any event. So they have to settle for jobs that don’t require four years of college. They end up overqualified for the work they do, and underwhelmed by it.

Others drop out of college because they’re either unprepared or unsuited for a four-year liberal arts curriculum. When they leave, they feel like failures.

We need to open other gateways to the middle class.

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