Tell the Labor Department you support strengthening overtime protections.

overtime 5 millionFor nearly two months, we’ve been asking people to support the U.S. Department of Labor’s new overtime rules because they will give working people—particularly women, youth and people of color—more time and money to care for their families. Now, we’ve got one more week before the comment period ends.

Because these overtime rules will make 36% of working women eligible for overtime pay, and as a woman myself, I’m asking you to take a second right now to leave a comment for the Labor Department.

Click here now to tell the Labor Department you support strengthening overtime protections.

You can help America’s workers get the overtime pay they deserve with a simple comment supporting the new rules. We owe it to working families to make this right.

Add your comment now to let the Labor Department know how important it is to you that we strengthen overtime protections for working people.

In solidarity,
Liz
———-
Liz Shuler
Secretary-Treasurer, AFL-CIO

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Hightower Lowdown | The rebellious spirit of Matthew Maguire’s first Labor Day is spreading…

labor day hightowerMore than just a day at the beach

The rebellious spirit of Matthew Maguire’s first Labor Day is spreading again across our country. Join the parade

It’s a bit odd that in America’s thoroughly corporatized culture we have no national day of honor for the Captains of Industry, and yet we do have one for working stiffs: Labor Day! Where did it come from? Who gave this day off to laboring people? History books that bother mentioning Labor Day at all usually credit president Grover Cleveland with its creation: He signed a law in July 1894 that proclaimed a holiday for workers in Washington, D.C., and the federal territories.

Cleveland? Holy Mother Jones! He was an extreme laissez-faire conservative, a “Bourbon Democrat” who never lifted a presidential pinkie to ameliorate the plight of exploited workers. To the contrary, in that same month of 1894, Cleveland enshrined himself in Labor’s Hall of Eternal Infamy: At the behest of robber baron George Pullman and other railroad tycoons, he ordered some 12,000 U.S. Army troops in to crush the historic Pullman Strike, which was being led by union icon Eugene V. Debs. Thirty workers were killed, Debs was arrested on trumped-up charges of conspiracy, and all workers who supported the strike were fired and blacklisted.

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Be Wary of call from watchdog.org

watchdog

It appears that this group is making calls to unions pretending to be a real news outlet. They are not!

Rightward-Facing Dog: Who is Watchdog.org?

Cross-posted at Blue Virginia

If you want to know the source of the conspiracy theories floating around Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe’s former company, GreenTech Auto, look no further than a little website named Watchdog.org and its so-called “Virginia bureau.”  It sounds like some sort of muckraking investigative site — until a closer look reveals that this is in fact a watchdog trained to only bark at Democrats and wag its tail at Republicans.

However, it’s not just another volunteer-based, opinionated blog like, say, Blue Virginia.  Watchdog is funded by big corporate, conservative interests — including the Koch brothers — to essentially manage the opposition research for campaigns like Ken Cuccinelli’s so that the campaigns can focus their time and money on other things.

They’re certainly not legitimate journalists, but they’ve established their “bureaus” in state capitals across the country, and some state capital correspondents’ associations grant them press credentials.  Unfortunately that includes our very own Virginia Capital Correspondents Association, of which Watchdog’s Kenric Ward — unlike any other blogger or lobbyist — is allowed to be a member.

Thanks to some investigative journalism done about them, here’s what we do know about the shadowy Watchdog.org:

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Report: Wage theft an issue in Johnson County

IPP-webbanner-draft5Wage theft is not just a state concern, but is a serious problem in Johnson County, according to a report released Wednesday by the Iowa Policy Project.

The report, called “Stolen Chances: Low-Wage Work and Wage Theft in Iowa” and authored by IPP senior research consultant and University of Iowa history professor Colin Gordon, is an update to the nonpartisan research group’s 2012 report that found Iowans experienced an estimated $600 million annually in wage theft.

In his new research, Gordon focused on the frequency of wage theft in Johnson County, using a 2014 survey of 300 low-wage workers in eastern Iowa that was conducted by the Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa, a worker’s rights group that works in part to recover withheld or underpaid wages and educate workers about their rights as employees.

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Labor History

September 04 Twelve thousand New York tailors strike over sweatshop conditions – 1894 More than 140 attendees at a benefit for a civil rights group are injured in the “Peekskill Riots” in Peekskill, N.Y. The victims were among the 20,000 … Continue reading

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People, not business, business of government

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“In what, then, consists the alienation of labor? First, in the fact that labor is external to the worker, i.e., that it does not belong to his nature, that therefore he does not realize himself in his work, that he … Continue reading

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Stolen Chances: Low-Wage Work and Wage Theft in Iowa

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Report, survey stress persistent problem and inaction on wage theft See PDF of this release or Full report (16 pages) or Executive summary (2 pages) IOWA CITY, Iowa (Sept. 2, 2015) — As we approach Labor Day 2015, many Iowans … Continue reading

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Wages And Private Sector Unions

labor movement2As we approach Labor Day, the lockout of United Steel Workers at six Allegheny Technologies plants is a sad commentary on the state of affairs of public sector unions.

“Management has locked out more than 2,000 workers in an effort to extract concessions on health and retirement benefits from union members,” according to Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times.

“ATI is demanding steep increases in out-of-pocket health care expenses and the elimination of pensions for new hires, essentially creating a two-tier wage and benefit system. In addition, ATI wants to expand the use of outside contractors and impose work rule changes that would turn workers into casual laborers, with irregular and unpredictable shift times, less access to overtime pay and worse working conditions,” according to Evan Winters of the World Socialist Web Site.

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Iowa Workers Demand Rod Blum Support Pro-Worker Policies

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Iowa Workers Rally in Cedar Falls to Call on Rod Blum to Finally Support Policies that Help Iowa’s Workers   CEDAR FALLS – In advance of Labor Day, Iowa workers today joined together in Cedar Falls to call on Rod … Continue reading

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Labor History

September 032015.08.31 history cotton.harvesters
African-American cotton pickers organize and strike in Lee County, Texas, against miserably low wages and other injustices, including a growers’ arrangement with local law enforcement to round up blacks on vagrancy charges, then force them to work off their fines on select plantations. Over the course of September a white mob put down the strike, killing 15 strikers in the process – 1891

Some 300 musicians working in Chicago movie houses strike to protest their impending replacement by talking movies – 1928

Twenty-five workers die, unable to escape a fire at the Imperial Poultry processing plant in Hamlet, N.C. Managers had locked fire doors to prevent the theft of chicken nuggets. The plant had operated for 11 years without a single safety inspection – 1991

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Labor Day Parade, Picnics and other events around Iowa

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“Working For a Better Life” Union members, families, and faith and community leaders will gather over the Labor Day weekend to celebrate the incredible achievements of people who are working for a better life. “Every day, working people get up … Continue reading

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Report: Johnson County wage increase could benefit 19,000

wage raise the wageA nonpartisan research group says a minimum wage increase in Johnson County could benefit more than 19,000 workers and have little negative impact on area businesses paying the higher wage.

The nonprofit Iowa Policy Project released a report Tuesday that shows the benefits of a phased-in $15-an-hour minimum wage in Johnson and Linn counties. The report, written by the group’s research director Peter Fisher, said implementing a $15-an-hour wage by 2020 would lead to higher incomes for at least 19,300 Johnson County and 24,300 Linn County residents.

“You can make a good case for that being the minimum in a couple of ways,” Fisher said Tuesday, noting that the minimum wage has not kept pace with either inflation or productivity since the early 1970s.

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United Way Day of Action

united way (2)The Women of Steel Committee is looking for volunteers to join us for United Way’s Day of Action on September 15. We will be involved in two different events and will be needing 15 volunteers for each. The first event, Sod and Landscaping for Habitat for Humanity Houses, will be from 8:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. at MLK Park, 1650 Garfield. The second event, Building Storage Sheds, also for Habitat for Humanity, will be from 12:30 p.m.- 4:00 p.m. at the Elwell Family Food Center at the State Fairgrounds.

**UPDATE: Rain date for Sod and Landscaping will be Thursday, Sept 17.

Sign up here

You may register for one or both events. If you wish to register for both, you must fill out the form twice, once for each event. Please register by September 8.

 

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Union Sportsmen’s Alliance and Sportsman Channel Host Brotherhood Outdoors Labor Day Marathon Salute to American Workers and Great American Products

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The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) and Sportsman Channel are teaming up to honor the American worker and showcase the great products still being made in the U.S.A. by hardworking Americans. Sportsman Channel’s Brotherhood Outdoors Labor Day Marathon, a salute to … Continue reading

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Labor History

September 02 White and Chinese immigrants battle in Rock Springs, Wyo., fueled by racial tensions and the practice of Union Pacific Railroad of hiring lower-paid Chinese over whites. At least 25 Chinese died and 15 more were injured. Rioters burned … Continue reading

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Fisher: $10.10 minimum wage is first step toward progress in local economy

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By Peter Fisher, Resarch Director As published August 25, 2015, by The Press-Citizen, Iowa City The proposal to set a minimum wage for Johnson County workers at $10.10 is an important first step toward creating a local economy that provides … Continue reading

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Progressive policies get focus at corn feed

progress iowaAbout 200 people gathered Sunday at the Simon Estes Amphitheater in downtown Des Moines to rally for progressive causes and Democratic congressional candidates.

The event, hosted by activist organization Progress Iowa, was intended to spotlight progressive policy goals rather than specific candidates, said director Matt Sinovic.

“We are nonpartisan,” Sinovic said. “These are just ideas that we want to see put out there. I don’t care if it’s a Democrat or a Republican to do it. It just so happens that one party does it more than the other.”

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Informational Picket Line With Bernie Sanders

bctgmInformational Picket Line With Bernie Sanders
This Friday, September 4th
5:00 pm
Penford/Ingredion
1001 1st Street SW, Cedar Rapids
 
Our Brothers and Sisters in BCTGM Local 100G who work at Penford need our help to stop the company from trying to bust their union!
Penford was bought out by a company called Ingre(e)dion for $340 million dollars and now they want to gut the union contract to put more money in their shareholders pockets.
Join us this Friday to send Penford/Ingredion a message – we demand a fair contract!
Union busting in our state affects all workers.  I hope to see you Friday at 5pm on the picket line!
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CLUW Launches First National Survey: Focus is on Health Needs, All Union Women Are Asked to Take A Few Minutes to Answer

clue survey“As part of its commitment to empower union women, the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) provides its members with health information. To assist us in tailoring that information, we created a short survey with one of our Spread the Word campaign partners, HealthyWomen,” announces CLUW President Connie Leak.

 

Pres. Leak explains the survey results will allow HealthyWomen to work with CLUW to provide CLUW members with the health information they want on a regular basis, delivered via the communications format/s they prefer.

 

The short survey (which is going out via “Survey Monkey”) is called Getting to Know You and Your Health Needs: Audience Survey for Women. You can access it here:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/cluw-survey

 

HealthyWomen will work with CLUW to compile the aggregate survey results and implement an action plan, which will be presented at the CLUW Convention in November.

 

As an incentive to fill out the survey, HealthyWomen will be holding a drawing for a $100 gift card that every woman completing the survey can enter to win.

 

Pres. Leak extends her thanks to everyone answering the survey, pointing out that it will take no more than five minutes. She also notes that CLUW is hoping that women who are union members – not just CLUW members – will take the survey, as CLUW wants to have their input, as well.

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Get off the caucus sidelines

iowa caucusThe biggest field of presidential candidates ever takes the field for the Iowa caucuses.

If Iowa traditions continue, the vast majority of Iowa voters will sit this game out.

The record caucus turnouts reported by each party represent just a fraction of the registered active voters now on file at county auditor offices.

Republicans reported the best caucus turnout ever in 2012 with 121,503 participants. The Aug. 1 voter registration totals by the Secretary of State show 609,427 active, registered Republicans. That means the 2012 record represents 20 percent of involved Republicans.

Democrats aren’t much better. Their best caucus turnout of 227,000 in 2008 totals 39 percent of the active registered Democrats now on file.

That would leave 80 percent of Republicans and 61 percent of Democrats on the sidelines, even if turnout equals those records.

Now add in the 711,472 active voters who register with no party.

Total all of Iowa’s currently registered active voters. Compare that with the best-ever caucus turnouts reported by each party, and the conclusion is dismal: Just 18 percent of Iowa active registered voters will participate in the caucuses.

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