Labor History

Labor Quote of the Day: Martin Luther King, Jr.
“In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights… Wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer and there are no civil rights. We do not intend to let them do this to us. We demand this fraud be stopped.

November 03
Striking milk drivers dump thousands of gallons of milk on New York City streets – 1921

Some 5,000 Philadelphia-area public transit workers begin what was to be a 6-day strike centered on wages and pension benefits – 2009

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Official Marketplace Dates and Deadlines – Affordable Care Act

You can enroll in or change 2018 Marketplace health insurance right now. The 2018 Open Enrollment Period runs from November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017.

IMPORTANT: 2018 Open Enrollment is shorter than in previous years

This is a shorter enrollment period than previous years, so it’s important to act quickly. If you don’t act by December 15, you can’t get 2018 coverage unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Plans sold during Open Enrollment start January 1, 2018.

Click here to get started

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Reynolds Should Apologize For Supporting Social Media Troll Trump, Calling Constituents Unhinged

Des Moines — Progress Iowa executive director Matt Sinovic issued the following statement in response to Governor Reynolds’ longing for civil discourse after she was criticized for calling all liberal constituents unhinged, after a social media troll commented about her family on Facebook:

“Does Governor Reynolds still support Donald Trump?”

“Does Governor Reynolds still believe Trump saying he grabbed women by the p***** is ‘clutter’ that Iowans need to put aside?”

“The individuals who commented inappropriately on Governor Reynolds’ Facebook page owe her an apology. But Governor Reynolds owes every Iowan an apology for calling her constituents ‘unhinged’ and for her continued support of President Trump, who has called Mexicans rapists, assaulted women, and put into place racist and homophobic policies.”

“I hope the Governor apologizes, and helps lead by example, instead of following the divisive example of Trump, to create the civil discourse she claims to want. At a time when Iowa families face stagnant wages, decreasing access to health care, underfunded schools, unclean drinking water, and many other challenges, we need more than name-calling from our Governor.”

“Until the Governor apologizes and starts leading by example, her calls for civil discourse ring hollow.”

Progress Iowa is a multi-issue progressive advocacy organization with a network of nearly 70,000 progressives. Year-round, Progress Iowa advocates for a stronger middle class, first-class public education, and fairness for all Iowans under the law.



Reynolds says she longs for civil discourse

Governor Blames Social Media Trolls for Reason She Called Some Liberals ‘Unhinged’

Reynolds urges Iowans to put ‘clutter’ about Trump aside, focus on issues

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Labor History

Labor Quote of the Day: Douglas Fraser
“I would rather sit with the rural poor, the desperate children of urban blight, the victims of racism, and working people seeking a better life than with those whose religion is the status quo, whose goal is profit and whose hearts are cold.”

– Douglas Fraser (photo – left) was President of the UAW from 1977 to 1983

November 02
Police arrest 150 in IWW free speech fight, Spokane, Wash. – 1909

Railroad union leader & socialist Eugene V. Debs receives nearly a million votes for president while imprisoned for opposing World War I – 1920

President Reagan signs a bill designating a federal holiday honoring the civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. to be observed on the third Monday of January – 1983
(All Labor Has Dignity: People forget that Dr. King was every bit as committed to economic justice as he was to ending racial segregation. He fought throughout his life to connect the labor and civil rights movements, envisioning them as twin pillars for social reform.)

Carmen Fasanella retired after 68 years and 243 days of taxicab service in Princeton, N.J., earning himself a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.  He started driving at age 17 and, reportedly, chauffeured Princeton Professor Albert Einstein around town – 1989

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Labor History

Labor Quote of the Day: Alex Lichtenstein “For ex-slaves and their children, the right to leave one employer for another was second only to the desire to work for one’s self as freedom’s most precious gift.” – Lichtenstein is the author … Continue reading

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DES MOINES – AFSCME Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement following Judge Gamble’s ruling on the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of HF291: “Today we were notified that our request for summary judgment was overruled by Chief District … Continue reading

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Union Veterans Council Calls on President Trump to Veto Anti-Veteran Bill

The main veteran union constituency group joins other leading pro-veteran organizations in opposing S.J. Res 47 (Washington D.C, October 30, 2017) – The Union Veterans Council is urging President Donald Trump to veto S.J. Res. 47, and to stand with … Continue reading

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Many Republicans in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate have prided themselves on being “fiscal conservatives.” Now is the time for them to stand up and show they mean it by voting “no” on the reckless tax cut proposal.

With Republican control of government at both the national and state level, there is a grave danger of so-called “tax reform” that cuts taxes for the wealthiest individuals and corporations, blows an even bigger hole in the national debt, and … Continue reading

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Democratic Legislators Present Bold Healthcare Public Option Solution – Iowa Starting Line

Democratic Senator Matt McCoy and Representative John Forbes held a press conference last week and presented a simple, common sense health care solution for Iowans. Their proposal “Healthy Iowans for a Pubic Option” (HIPO) solves two Iowa health care emergencies facing thousands of Iowans. Republicans’ policies and actions have created two health care disasters for Iowans and now Republicans are ignoring the desperate pleas of these Iowans. The two urgent health care emergencies are the failed Medicaid privatization and the ballooning premium increases for Iowans buying insurance on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchange.

The first healthcare emergency is the privatization crisis. The Branstad/Reynolds regime moved the management of Iowa’s Medicaid population from the successful state management to a reckless experiment with for-profit insurance companies. That shift has proven to be a massive mistake, resulting in delayed, denied and inadequate services for Iowa’s 600,000 Medicaid recipients.


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Labor History

Labor Quote of the Day: Sebastian Junger “As societies become more affluent they tend to require more, rather than less, (work) time and commitment by the individual, and it’s possible that many people feel that affluence and safety simply aren’t a … Continue reading

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Iowa JobWatch: Big one-month drop in Iowa jobs

Jobless rate dips to 3.2 percent 4,000-job drop in payroll jobs largest in three years Manufacturing job rebound one brightening spot in 2017 IOWA CITY, Iowa (Oct. 26, 2017) — Iowa payroll jobs fell in September for the first time in five … Continue reading

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State Lawmakers Propose Healthy Iowans for a Public Option

Des Moines, Iowa – State Senator Matt McCoy, D-Des Moines, and State Representative John Forbes, D-Urbandale, said today they will propose a bill next session to 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.

 “With thousands of Iowans facing a health care crisis next year, 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 expect us to find solutions to the health care crisis we are facing, not just blame each other and bicker. We know the high cost of health care is draining family incomes and threatening the retirement security of too many Iowans.  Since the politicians in DC refuse to take action, it’s time for Gov. Reynolds and Republican lawmakers to work with us and make health care both accessible and affordable,” said Rep. Forbes.

 After President Trump threatened to reject Governor Reynold’s stop-gap plan that significantly raised premiums on the individual market earlier this year, the Governor withdrew her plan last week.  Next year, just one option will be available on Iowa’s health insurance Marketplace.

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IPERS in good shape – leave it alone

 DES MOINES, Iowa – There are growing worries that conservative budget-cutters at the Statehouse have their eyes on one of the biggest targets around – the giant Iowa Public Employees Retirement Fund, or IPERS.   “It’s political payback,” said Brad … Continue reading

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If all Iowa candidates had to win under rules Republicans forced on unions – Bleeding Heartland

If all Iowa candidates had to win under rules Republicans forced on unions “There’s not one Republican in this state that could win an election under the rules they gave us,” asserted AFSCME Council 61 President Danny Homan after the first round … Continue reading

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Labor History

Labor Quote of the Day: Luisa Capetillo
“Do not buy finery or jewels, because books are worth more than they are. Adorn your understanding with their precious ideas, because there is no luxury that dazzles like the luxury of science.”
October 28
Union organizer and anarchist Luisa Capetillo is born in Ariecibo, Puerto Rico.  She organized tobacco and other agricultural workers in Puerto Rico and later in New York and Florida. In 1916 she led a successful sugar cane strike of more than 40,000 workers on the island.  She demanded that her union endorse voting rights for women.  In 1919, three years before her death, she was arrested for wearing pants in public, the first woman in Puerto Rico to do so.  The charges were dropped – 1879

The St. Louis Gateway Arch is completed after two and one-half years. Originally sold as a jobs program for thousands of African Americans in St. Louis suffering from the Depression, the 630-foot high arch of stainless steel marks the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial on the waterfront of St. Louis, Mo. Although it was predicted 13 lives would be lost in construction, not a single worker died – 1965

October 29
Japanese immigrant and labor advocate Katsu Goto is strangled to death, his body then strung from an electric pole, on the Big Island of Hawaii by thugs hired by plantation owners.  They were outraged over Goto’s work on behalf of agricultural workers and because he opened a general store that competed with the owners’ own company store – 1889

Wall Street crashes—”Black Tuesday”—throwing the world’s economy into a years-long crisis including an unemployment rate in the U.S. that by 1933 hit nearly 25 percent – 1929

—Compiled and edited by David Prosten

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IFL Legislative Tour

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Main Street Alliance, Iowa business owners raise concerns about GOP budget

This gallery contains 1 photo.

WATERLOO | The expected passage of a budget resolution in the U.S. House Thursday is largely seen as a means for Republicans to more easily move ahead with tax reform. But a group of Iowa activists had a long list … Continue reading

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DES MOINES – AFSCME Council 61 President Danny Homan issued the following statement regarding the results of the October recertification elections:

“After over 24 hours of waiting for election results, I am proud to share that 100% of AFSCME-covered employees voted to retain their union, but because of a rigged law and an alleged voided ballot, we lost one bargaining unit of four employees by a single vote. This sweeping victory confirms what we’ve known since the gutting of collective bargaining rights in February: that unionized employees, both members and non-members, value their voice in the workplace and reject the actions of Kim Reynolds and legislative Republicans who turned their backs on working Iowans in February. I am confident that workers will once again claim victory in the November 2018 election when those politicians who stabbed them in the back are sent packing.

“While this process was unnecessarily challenging and unfair at every turn, I am immensely proud of our members and leaders who stepped up to earn every last vote. We worked hard to communicate the rigged system put in place to each and every eligible voter, and that work paid off. I congratulate the hardworking public employees who voted to recertify; this victory is all theirs.”

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Iowa Workers Overwhelmingly Support Unions In Recertification Vote

Iowa’s working families sent a clear message to Governor Reynolds and the Republican-controlled legislature today: we are not letting you take our unions away from us.

Iowans owe a thank you to every labor union who organized and turned out workers to vote in these elections, because when unions are strong, Iowa is much stronger.

After taking control of state government for the first time in nearly twenty years, Republicans went on the attack against workers and their ability to organize this year. One of the most extreme attacks forced recertification elections, including a provision that counted any absent vote as a ‘no’ vote. Even with those odds stacked against them, labor unions across Iowa fought back to protect their voice in the workplace, and today have won a resounding victory for working families.


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Labor History

Labor Quote of the Day: Eugene V. Debs
“What can Labor do for itself? The answer is not difficult. Labor can organize, it can unify; it can consolidate its forces. This done, it can demand and command.”

October 27
The New York City subway, the first rapid-transit system in America, opens. More than 100 workers died during the construction of the first 13 miles of tunnels and track – 1904
(Survival of the Fittest: Thanks to unions, construction jobs don’t cost lives the way they used to.  If you’d like to know more about construction unions, especially if you’re considering a career in the trades, read this book.  In clear, easy-to-read language it explains how to be successful in the trades and, directly linked to that success, how to make union construction thrive and prosper.)

Three strikes on works-relief projects in Maryland were underway today, with charges that Depression-era Works Projects Administration jobs were paying only about 28 cents an hour—far less than was possible on direct relief.  Civic officials in Cumberland, where authorities had established a 50-cent-per-hour minimum wage, supported the strikers – 1935

The National Labor Council is formed in Cincinnati to unite Black workers in the struggle for full economic, political and social equality. The group was to function for five years before disbanding, having forced many AFL and CIO unions to adopt non-discrimination policies – 1951

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