Sioux City WIN  meeting – Tuesday January 9th

Tuesday January 9th at 6 pm
Western Iowa Labor Federation Office
Agenda Items:

  1. Special Election for House District 6 – January 16th
  2. County offices up for election in 2018 – Start identifying possible candidates
  3. Legislative Forums
  4. Caucus night – February 5th
  5. IPERS Resolution
In Solidarity,

Scott Punteney
Field Coordinator
Western Iowa Labor Federation, AFL-CIO
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18 states saw increase take effect on January 1st, while Iowans have waited longer than anyone in the country for a raise   Des Moines, Iowa — Iowans today called on Governor Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Legislature to raise … Continue reading

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Lawsuit claims Iowa governor illegally transferred state funds

State Representative Chris Hall filed a lawsuit today, charging Governor Kim Reynolds and Department of Management Director David Roederer “conspired together to unlawfully appropriate and misuse state funds.” The ranking Democrat on the Iowa House Appropriations Committee is seeking to void “all actions taken as a result of the unlawful Official Proclamation signed on September 28, 2017,” which transferred $13 million from the Iowa Economic Emergency Fund.

That order allowed Reynolds to cover a projected budget shortfall at the end of fiscal year 2017 without calling a special legislative session. But State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald warned the governor that the planned transfer “would not be in compliance with Iowa law.” Hall’s petition, enclosed in full below, points to the same Iowa Code provision Fitzgerald cited in his letter to the governor.

The court filing alleges that Reynolds and Roederer “unlawfully transferred money” to balance the budget because calling lawmakers back to address the shortfall “would have created a political problem” for the governor, “drawing attention to her inability to adequately manage the State’s fiscal affairs.” Hall’s lawsuit notes Iowa law


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Iowa’s state workforce shrinks nearly 15 percent in 10 years

An across-the-board budget cut, early retirement incentives and the closing of state institutions have been key factors in shrinking the state of Iowa workforce by nearly 15 percent — or 3,663 full-time-equivalent positions — over the past 10 years, a new report says.

The total full-time positions on the state payroll — not including those employed by the Board of Regents — has fallen to 20,721, according to a report from the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency.

Despite that decrease, personnel costs have increased more than 11 percent, or $200.5 million, during that time period.

When adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Price Index, the Legislative Services Agency said personnel costs have decreased 3.7 percent, or $64.4 million, from 2008.


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Labor History


January 05
The nation’s first labor convention of Black workers was held in Washington, D.C., with 214 delegates forming the Colored National Labor Union – 1869

Ford Motor Company raises wages from $2.40 for a 9-hour day to $5 for an 8-hour day in effort to keep the unions out – 1914

Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge begins. Ten of the 11 deaths on the job came when safety netting beneath the site—the first-ever use of such equipment—failed under the stress of a scaffold that had fallen. Nineteen other workers were saved by the net over the course of construction. They became members of the (informal) Halfway to Hell Club – 1933

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Real Men Read

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Brothers and Sisters I have been contacted by United Way of Central Iowa to have us consider this opportunity to read to school children.  It is 45 minutes a month for 5 months.  Bellow is a list of the dates, … Continue reading

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Tax bill: Not just a 2017 story

It would be so easy to close the book on the 2017 tax bill, to allow our attention to be diverted to the next issue or threat, because there are so many. We owe it to ourselves and future generations … Continue reading

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Labor History


January 01
Emancipation Proclamation signed – 1863

Women weavers form union, Fall River, Mass. – 1875

John L. Lewis is elected president of the United Mine Workers. Fifteen years later he is to be a leader in the formation of what was to become the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) – 1920

With the Great Depression in full force, the year 1932 opens with 14 million unemployed, national income down by 50 percent, breadlines that include former shopkeepers, businessmen and middle-class housewives. Charity is overwhelmed: only one-quarter of America’s unemployed are receiving any help at all – 1932

Workers begin to acquire credits toward Social Security pension benefits. Employers and employees became subject to a tax of one percent of wages on up to $3,000 a year – 1937

Adolph Strasser, head of the Cigar Maker’s Union and one of the founders of the AFL in 1886, died on this day in Forest Park, Ill. – 1939

Members of the Transport Workers Union and Amalgamated Transit Union working for the New York transit system begin what is to be a successful 12-day strike. Fiery TWU leader Mike Quill, jailed for several days during the strike, then hospitalized, died three days after his release from the hospital – 1966

The federal minimum wage rises to $2.65 an hour – 1978

Int’l Typographical Union, the nation’s oldest union, merges with Communications Workers of America – 1987

United Furniture Workers of America merges with Int’l Union of Electronic, Electrical, Technical, Salaried & Machine Workers to become Int’l Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine & Furniture Workers, now a division of CWA – 1987

National Association of Broadcast Employees & Technicians merges with Communications Workers of America – 1994

Int’l Union of Allied & Industrial Workers of America merges with United Paperworkers Int’l. Later merged into the Steelworkers – 1994

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) takes effect, despite objections by labor – 1994

Bakery, Confectionery & Tobacco Workers Int’l Union merges with American Federation of Grain Millers to form Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers Int’l Union – 1999

January 02
Conference of 23 industrial unionists in Chicago leads to formation of IWW, the Industrial Workers of the World, also known as Wobblies – 1905

In what became known as Palmer Raids, Attorney General Mitchell Palmer arrests 4,000 foreign-born labor activists. He believed Communism was “eating its way into the homes of the American workman,” and Socialists were causing most of the country’s social problems – 1920

An underground explosion at Sago Mine in Tallmansville, W. Va., traps 12 miners and cuts power to the mine. Eleven men die, mostly by asphyxiation. The mine had been cited 273 times for safety violations over the prior 23 months – 2006

January 03
The ship Thetis arrives in Hawaii with 175 Chinese field workers bound to serve for five years at $3 per month – 1852

Wobbly Tom Mooney tried in San Francisco for Preparedness Day bombing – 1917

In a familiar scene during the Great Depression, some 500 farmers, Black and White, their crops ruined by a long drought, march into downtown England, Ark., to demand food for their starving families, warning they would take it by force if necessary. Town fathers frantically contacted the Red Cross; each family went home with two weeks’ rations – 1931

The Supreme Court rules against the closed shop, a labor-management agreement that only union members can be hired and must remain members to continue on the job – 1949

AFL-CIO American Institute for Free Labor Development employees Mike Hammer and Mark Pearlman are assassinated in El Salvador along with a Peasant Workers’ Union leader with whom they were working on a land reform program – 1981

January 04
Angered by increasing farm foreclosures, members of Iowa’s Farmers Holiday Association threaten to lynch banking representatives and law officials who institute foreclosure proceedings for the duration of the Great Depression – 1933

What many believe to be the longest strike in modern history, by Danish barbers’ assistants, ends after 33 years – 1961

Eight thousand New York City social workers strike, demand better conditions for welfare recipients – 1965

United Paperworkers Int’l Union merges with Oil, Chemical & Atomic Workers Int’l Union to form Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical & Energy Workers Int’l Union, itself later to merge with the Steelworkers – 1999

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Charities will need more but get less after GOP tax reform

Iowa’s two U.S. senators and three Republican members of the House of Representatives voted to approve a tax overhaul bill signed by President Donald Trump last week. The people of this state should now be crystal clear on the priorities of their elected officials.

What do Reps. David Young, Rod Blum and Steve King value? Big corporations, real estate developers, private equity firms and multimillionaires. All will enjoy significant tax cuts under the new tax law.

What don’t these members of Congress value? The federal government, which will be starved of $1.5 trillion in revenue, and individual taxpayers, whose modest breaks are temporary. It seems charities also received a lump of coal in the tax bill.

Philanthropic entities say changes in the law will discourage middle-class Americans from donating by narrowing who qualifies for the charitable tax deduction — a driver of gifts to nonprofits. The benefit allows individuals to avoid paying federal income tax on donations if they itemize deductions on their taxes.


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Silica Court Victory Is Lifesaving for Working People


AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka’s statement on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Decision Upholding the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard:

Working people won a huge victory today with the court’s decision fully upholding OSHA’s 2016 final silica standard. This will protect millions of workers from disabling disease and save thousands of lives. The court rejected industries’ arguments and directed the agency to further consider additional union safety recommendations.

The labor movement worked for decades to win these lifesaving measures, and we are proud to see these standards remain the law of the land. I want to thank all of those who contributed to this great victory, including the Obama administration and the career staff at the Department of Labor.

Now we must turn our efforts to making sure this standard is put into full effect, enforced and protected from further attacks so that workers are finally protected from deadly silica dust.

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Labor History

Labor Quote of the Day: Woody Guthrie “I ain’t a communist necessarily, but I been in the red all my life.” December 25 A dynamite bomb destroys a portion of the Llewellyn Ironworks in Los Angeles, where a bitter strike was … Continue reading

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Solidarity for the Holidays

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 DES MOINES – AFSCME Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement following a town hall meeting with employees of the State Training School at Eldora:

“It has become clear to me that recent reports out of the State Training School at Eldora from Disability Rights Iowa (DRI) tell a one-sided story that disregards the employees who have dedicated their careers to dealing with some of the most difficult and vulnerable kids in Iowa. Employees unanimously confessed that their work environment has become significantly more dangerous in the past few years.

“The frequency of staff assaults, including stabbings and beatings, demonstrate why staff turnover has increased with Disability Rights Iowa’s witch hunts. DRI has emboldened the residents by teaching them that they are exempt from discipline in any form. Workers report that it is common for residents to physically or verbally abuse staff while taunting them with phrases like, ‘You’re not allowed to touch me, or I’ll call DRI.’ Resident escapes and police interventions have also increased, due to staff fearing that even trying to break up a riot will result in DRI intervention.

“Beyond the culture of insubordination that has been created, the attorneys who make up Disability Rights Iowa have actually made the residents less safe when staff don’t feel they have the ability to do their jobs. For example, there was an incident in which a teenager escaped, stole a car, drove to Ankeny, and stabbed someone in the neck. If the staff felt empowered to stop this teenager from escaping, this incident likely would not have occurred.

“We absolutely believe that safety and oversight is extremely important, especially when dealing with vulnerable populations. What is equally important is that a balance is struck so that employees feel confident in creating the safest possible environment for both the residents and themselves.”

The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 61 represents 40,000 public employees in Iowa including law enforcement and correctional officers, firefighters, mental health workers, professional school staff, emergency responders, and many other workers. AFSCME Council 61 also represents home health care and child care providers across the state and private sector workers at Prairie Meadows, Palmer College of Chiropractic, Des Moines University, and ABM (Marshalltown).

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Message of the Day—We Can Raise Pay

The rules of our economy have been rigged against working people for decades, but our sustained activism can raise pay and build momentum for a new economy built on broadly shared prosperity.

We raise pay by negotiating with employers. As congressional leaders were ramming through a massive tax cut for corporations, Communications Workers of America (CWA) pressured employers to use the savings to raise pay. This week, AT&T will pass along a $1,000 bonus to workers.

We raise pay at the ballot box. Movements in 18 states and 20 cities from Arizona to Montana and Florida to Alaska are giving raises to the working poor.

When our pay goes up, communities thrive. Pay raises create a virtuous cycle of higher living standards, growing consumer demand and greater business investment, which fuels a race to the top.

Working people want a fair economy with good pay and benefits and a secure retirement, and we’ll organize and mobilize to win it.

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UAW chief rips Ford plan to move production to Mexico, says tax bill undermines NAFTA plan

UAW President Dennis Williams condemned Ford Motor’s strategy to move production of electric vehicles from Michigan to Mexico and noted the silence of President Donald Trump on Ford’s recent announcement.

“I’m angry at Ford,” he said during an interview Tuesday with the Free Press. “It has an opportunity to do something for the state of Michigan and the United States of America. People in Mexico are not going to buy electric vehicles. And we desperately need high-paying jobs and technology here. I mean, 7% of vehicle cost is labor. How much do they need to make in profits?”

Ford earlier this month said it planned to build electric vehicles in Mexico. Last year, amid pressure from Trump to keep jobs in the U.S., the company said it would build EVs at its Flat Rock plant south of Detroit. The new plan is to produce self-driving vehicles at Flat Rock while building traditional cars there as well.


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Class Action Lawsuit Hits T-Mobile, Amazon, Cox and Hundreds of Large Employers for Allegedly Using Facebook to Exclude Millions of Older Americans from Job Ads in Violation of Age Discrimination Laws

Wednesday, December 20, 2017 Today, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and three workers filed a class action lawsuit against T-Mobile US,, Inc. (Amazon), Cox Communications and Media Group (Cox), and hundreds of other large employers and employment agencies … Continue reading

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Labor History

Labor Quote of the Day:Chief Justice (and former president) William Howard Taft, who declared that picketing was, in part, “an unlawful annoyance and hurtful nuisance…” December 22 A group of building trades unions from the Midwest meet in St. Louis … Continue reading

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CWA Represented Workers at AT&T to Get $1,000 Bonus, ‘If You Don’t Ask for Your Fair Share, You’ll Never Get It’

Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Following discussions with AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, CWA President Chris Shelton reported that CWA represented workers at AT&T will receive a $1,000 bonus.
Last month, CWA said employers should guarantee the $4,000 wage increase promised by the Republican corporate tax cut, and contacted the CEOs of some of the largest corporations where CWA members work including Verizon, AT&T, CenturyLink, Frontier Communications, American Airlines, General Electric, NBC Universal and ABC Entertainment. “Together, through collective bargaining, we can ensure that promises about wages and jobs are kept,” Shelton wrote.
Republican leaders have promised that households would receive on average, a yearly $4,000 wage increase. They also claimed that the corporate tax plan would produce new jobs in the U.S. as companies return work from offshore.
“By pushing employers for this raise, CWA proves that working people have power when we join together to negotiate for a fair return for the work we do. Unions remain the most effective means for working people to stand together and achieve wage growth and keep good jobs in the U.S. If you don’t ask for your fair share you’ll never get it so join a union and start asking,” Shelton said.
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Labor History

Labor Quote of the Day: Sojourner Truth
“You have been having our rights so long, that you think, like a slave-holder, that you own us. I know that it is hard for one who has held the reins for so long to give up; it cuts like a knife. It will feel all the better when it closes up again.”

December 21
Powered by children seven to 12 years old working dawn to dusk, Samuel Slater’s thread-spinning factory goes into production in Pawtucket, R.I., launching the Industrial Revolution in America. By 1830, 55 percent of the mill workers in the state were youngsters, many working for less than $1 per week – 1790

Supreme Court rules that picketing is unconstitutional. Chief Justice (and former president) William Howard Taft declared that picketing was, in part, “an unlawful annoyance and hurtful nuisance…” – 1921

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State Lawmakers File Healthy Iowans for a Public Option Bill

Des Moines, Iowa – State Senator Matt McCoy, D-Des Moines, and State Representative John Forbes, D-Urbandale, filed a bill today that will make health care more accessible and affordable for Iowans.  Called the Healthy Iowans for a Public Option (HIPO), the new plan would give the 72,000 Iowans on the individual market another health insurance option.

“Thousands of Iowans are facing a health care crisis right now because of Medicaid privatization and uncertainty in the health insurance market. It’s time for the Legislature to work together and make sure that all Iowans have access to affordable health care.  Our plan will give the 72,000 Iowans in the individual market another option while repealing the GOP’s disastrous Medicaid privatization,” said Sen. McCoy.

The HIPO plan would first roll back Iowa’s Medicaid privatization and then create a new public health insurance option for Iowans to purchase on the individual marketplace. Iowans who currently receive financial assistance on the marketplace would still be eligible to receive it.

“Iowans deserve solutions to the health care crisis they face, not excuses and blame from politicians who won’t take action. We know the high cost of health care is draining family incomes and threatening the retirement security of too many Iowans.  Since politicians in DC keep making our health care system worse, it’s time for Gov. Reynolds and Republican lawmakers to work with us and make health care both accessible and affordable,” said Rep. Forbes.

President Trump is expected to sign a bill later this month that will leave millions of Americans without health insurance and add more uncertainty to Iowa’s health care marketplace. Next year, just one option will be available on Iowa’s health insurance Marketplace.  Medica is proposing raising premiums 57% compared to its current rates, making this option unaffordable for thousands of Iowans.

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