Actions speak louder than words.

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This weekend we watched in horror as white supremacists marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, waving Nazi symbols, chanting hateful Nazi slogans, and committing violent acts of terrorism. Their hatred and their violence should be condemned, and has no place in our … Continue reading

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Health Care Forum to be held in Ames

  Health Care Field professionals will be participating in an Ames town hall forum Tuesday, August 15 to discuss health care. The presentation will focus on the impact of potential legislative/administrative changes at both the state and national levels. Those … Continue reading

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Working People Set High Bar for NAFTA Renegotiation

Statement from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on the first NAFTA renegotiation round:

The North American Free Trade Agreement has flat-out failed working people. For more than two decades, NAFTA has damaged communities and lowered wages for working people across North America. As renegotiations begin today, there is an incredible opportunity to replace this fundamentally flawed trade deal with new rules that work for working families. But how we do it matters. The administration can choose to use this opportunity to benefit working families, or it can further rig the rules to favor corporations and CEOs.

We are setting the bar high. We will only accept a deal that is renegotiated the right way. That means having a transparent process in which working families have a seat at the table, and ensuring that our freedom to stand together is protected and that all of us can receive a fair return on our hard work. We need to replace benefits for the few with a fair deal that raises wages, stops outsourcing and provides a path to the middle class, no matter where working families live or what their background is. America’s working people have earned this. We deserve nothing less.

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Special Election Winner Notes Failure of Transgender Attack Ads

  August 14, 2017 – Kevin Patrick Allen, Public News Service (IA) Play Audio in Browser Window As a Fairfield school board member, Phil Miller voted to allow transgender students to use restrooms based on their gender identity. (martyspittle/Pixabay) FAIRFIELD, Iowa – … Continue reading

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“Speaking of Work”: Look for Iowa Labor History in the UI Mobile Museum this summer!

The Labor Center’s “Speaking of Work” exhibit, featuring Iowa labor history and the Iowa Labor History Oral Project, is now touring the state in the UI Mobile Museum, making stops at schools, festivals, and fairs across the state – and a planned stop at the 2017 Iowa Federation of Labor convention in August. You can read more here, or contact the Labor Center at 319-335-4144 to submit a visit request to have the Mobile Museum on site for an upcoming event.

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Senator Flake Busts Estate Tax Myths

Senator Flake Busts Estate Tax Myths | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Republican Senator Jeff Flake busted several myths about estate tax repeal, a central part of both President Trump’s and the House GOP’s tax plans, in a recent interview with Bloomberg View. He noted that the tax has shrunk significantly over the last few decades, said he was “concerned that we don’t take the deficit into account” in considering repeal, and expressed skepticism over whether repeal would stimulate the economy. He’s right on all three counts:

(1) Policymakers have weakened the tax so much that very few estates face it at all. Senator Flake said that Congress has “done pretty well” in changing the federal estate tax. While we disagree with the policy direction policymakers have taken with the tax, he correctly notes that they’ve weakened it significantly in recent decades.

Legislation enacted in 2001 gradually phased out the tax by raising the exemption level and reducing the rate, leading to the tax’s temporary repeal in 2010. The tax returned in 2011 but in much weaker form. Today, the first $5.49 million of a person’s wealth ($10.98 million per couple) is completely exempt from the tax and passed on tax-free to heirs, up from $650,000 per person in 2001.

As a result, the number of estates that face any estate tax has fallen by more than 90 percent, from over 50,000 in 2001 to fewer than 5,000 in 2015 (the latest year for which we have comparable data). Put another way, the wealthiest 2 out of every 100 estates faced any estate tax in 2001, but only the wealthiest 2 out of every 1,000 do today. (See chart.)

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Alternative license plates — your choice?

Alternative license plates — your choice? – Iowa Policy Points

The state of Iowa wants to redecorate Iowans’ vehicles with a new license plate design. And Iowans get a say in it — a public vote is underway on three options at the State Fair and online, here.

Nothing against the proposed designs that you can find at the links above, but we might want to consider alternatives that deal with critical issues facing our state:

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Labor History

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Labor Quote of the Day: Lech Walesa “He who puts out his hand to stop the wheel of history will have his fingers crushed.” Walesa co-founded and headed Solidarity, the Soviet bloc’s first independent trade union, won the Nobel Peace Prize … Continue reading

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Labor History

Labor Quote of the Day: Ludwig von Mises “It is labor alone that is productive: it creates wealth and therewith lays the outward foundations for the inward flowering of man.” Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises — 1881-1973 — was an Austrian-American … Continue reading

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Grassley and Ernst Town Hall Meetings

Ernst Town Halls

Boone
Friday (today) 8/11/17 @ 6:00PM Fareway Education Center, 1215 S Marshall St,

Ft. Dodge
Monday, 8/14/17 @ 4:30PM Monday, Fort Dodge Middle School, 800 N 32nd St,

Washington
Tuesday, 8/15 17 @ 12:30 PM, Washington High School Auditorium. 1111 S Ave

Grassley Town Halls

Bedford
Thursday, 8/24, @ 11:30 Bedford City Hall, 625 Court Ave

Primghar
Tuesday, 8/29 @3:45 Pimghar Community Building, 215 1st St SE

Sibley
Wednesday, 8/30 @ 8:00AM, Sibley Senior Center, 612 8th St.

Mapleton
8/31 Thursday@10:00AM @Mapelton Community Center, 511 Main Street

Harlan
8/31 Thursday@ 2:45, Harlan Community Center,718 Court St.

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Ottumwa – rich with Labor History

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In early May, Southern Iowa Labor Council and South Central Iowa Area Labor Federation, hosted a solidarity event , Working Families Celebration, that drew hundreds of people to march from downtown to a city park where they help an open … Continue reading

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Exciting times at the Union Veterans Council

You may have heard, Will fischer has moved on from the UVC, he’s taken a position at VoteVet. Fischer did an outstanding job in bringing the veterans council to the forefront of the labor movement. William Attig will now take on the role of Executive Director.

Attig is a combat Army Veteran who served several tours in Iraq, with the First Infantry Division. Upon returning home, like a lot of other Veterans, Attig found that finding a civilian job wasn’t easy. In 2010 he was introduced to the Helmets to Hardhats program, where he was able to become a UA Pipefitter.

Rest assured the Union Veterans Council program is in good hands. Attig’s strategic plan for building the movement involves a large scale membership drive with a mission to engage as many veterans in the union ranks as possible. Attig will also work to create state and local level veterans councils/committees and support the veteran community through legislation and policy on a state and federal level.

“I am proud and honored  to be able to lead this movement. Together we can support the veterans programs that are established throughout organized labor, build local programs, train and motivate new leaders and help shape the future of the labor movement.”  Attig also wants to make sure that the story of veterans in labor is being told, “there is no group of people or organization in America that does what labor is doing to give veterans careers.”

The union Veterans Council needs your help to get the word out. If you are or know a Veteran that is working in labor reach out and have them sign up. The application process is easy, you can find it on our website www.unionveterans.org.

 

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Labor History

Labor Quote of the Day: Barack Obama
“It is wrong that in the United States of America that a teacher or construction worker making $50,000 should pay more (taxes) than someone who makes $50 million.” 

August 11
Federal troops drive some 1,200 jobless workers from Washington D.C. Led by unemployed activist Charles “Hobo” Kelley, the group’s “soldiers” include young journalist Jack London and William Haywood, a young miner-cowboy called “Big Bill” – 1884

One hundred “platform men” employed by the privately owned United Railroads streetcar service in San Francisco abandon their streetcars, tying up many of the main lines in and out of the city center – 1917

Int’l Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union receives CIO charter – 1937

Maine lobster fishers form a local of the Machinists union as they face a 40-year low price for their catches, and other issues.  By October, the New York Times reported, it had 600 members, 240 of them dues-payers – 2013

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Quad-City Fed endorses in school board races

The Quad-City Federation of Labor announced Monday its endorsements for the Sept. 12 school board elections in Davenport and Bettendorf.

The federation picked three candidates in Davenport. It endorsed a single candidate in Bettendorf.

Both school districts will see a robust ballot for the elections, with seven people running in Bettendorf and six in Davenport.

The federation endorsed Allison Beck, Elliott Grier and Rodney Blackwell in the Davenport race. It endorsed Richard Lynch in the Bettendorf race. The federation praised the four candidates’ commitment to education, as well as noting their union backgrounds or support for collective bargaining and working people.

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Union Lawyer Warns of Lawsuits on Overtime Pay

Iowa’s largest public employees union is warning of likely legal action after hundreds of government workers lost their overtime rights as of July 1st.

Under Iowa’s new collective bargaining law, professional employees who hold 160 different government jobs will no longer get paid for overtime.

There will be lawsuits it will cost the state to defend. -AFSCME lawyer Mark Hedberg

Mark Hedberg is an attorney for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees or AFSCME.

Hedberg told the legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee that under the new policy, federal law will provide the main oversight for professional employees.

That means complaints will move into the courts.

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Union Made School Supplies

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UI’s current lowest wage for student employees? $8.20

More than half of the 10,000-plus undergraduate student employees at the University of Iowa make less than $10.10 per hour this year, according to data recently released by the university.

The $10.10 level represents the local minimum wage for 2017 approved by the Johnson County Board of Supervisors. The Iowa Legislature, however, voted this year to strip local governments of their authority to set a minimum wage higher than the state’s.

Iowa’s minimum wage has been set at $7.25 for the past decade.

“It’s really disappointing that the university doesn’t pay over half its student employees $10.10 an hour,” said Brad Pector, a UI senior who requested data from the university. “That’s just barely a living wage in Iowa City.”

So far in 2017, 809 student employees made $8.20 per hour, the lowest wage listed among the 10,269 employees. An additional 1,179 made between $8.21 and $9.14 per hour, according to the data released Monday.

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STATEMENT FROM IOWA HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADER MARK SMITH

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“Congratulations to Dr. Phil Miller on tonight’s decisive victory in Southeast Iowa. Dr. Miller will be a strong voice for the people of his district next session. His victory shows the people of Iowa are tired of divisive politics. They expect us … Continue reading

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WE’RE NOT FOOLS, SENATORS GRASSLEY AND ERNST: MEDICAID IS WORKING

Right now we have a reprieve on behalf of Americans who need and deserve health care. But we know this is just the beginning. Over the past few weeks Iowa Citizen Action Network has been reaching out to Iowans – small business owners, farmers, families, the self-employed, seniors and others – and what we are hearing is that health care is a major concern for them and that the plans being proposed in Washington DC are frightening and are having a destabilizing effect on our communities.

So those in Washington can’t fool us. We know that even though Republican Members of Congress have failed dozens of times in their efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, they are still working for the rich and big business by proposing massive tax breaks for the wealthiest and the rest of us pay the price.

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Labor History

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Labor Quote of the Day: Knights of Labor “We mean to uphold the dignity of labor.” From their initiation oath August 10 The Air Line Pilots Association is founded at a meeting in Chicago attended by 24 activists from across the … Continue reading

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