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AFL-CIO Now Blog -- Recent News Stories
President Barack Obama today said that “a relentless, decades-long trend”—“a dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility…has jeopardized middle-class America’s basic bargain: that if you work hard, you have a chance to get ahead.”
Often we see labor and management on different sides of workplace issues, especially when it comes to the implementation of a new collective bargaining agreement. It was thus somewhat unusual to see the Longshoremen (ILA) union and its employer representative—the New York Shipping Association (NYSA)—come together to sue the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor over the commission’s heavy-handed tactics designed to derail a hiring plan worked out by labor and management.
On Nov. 5, the voters of SeaTac, a small suburban community near Seattle and Tacoma, Wash., voted to provide workers for the town's larger airport-related businesses a minimum wage of $15 per hour, 63% more than the state's current minimum wage of $9.19. See seven ways the new measure would change the lives of the workers after the jump.
A new campaign, launched by the New York State AFL-CIO, asks government leaders in Albany to stop thinking of corporations first and instead to focus on the needs of New Yorkers, to shift their policy proposals in the direction of 'Making NY work for hardworking New Yorkers." In addition to launching a new website and online video, the organization is asking the state's working families to sign a five-point pledge and take action to support the campaign.
New revelations about the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) illustrate the need for greater transparency by corporations for their political and lobbying spending. The internal documents released by The Guardian show that ALEC has targeted dozens of large corporations for fundraising in 2013, including what ALEC calls “prodigal son” corporations that had previously dropped their membership because of the organization’s controversial positions.
An article from the Guardian today revealed internal documents from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that show the conservative, pro-corporate organization is facing significant trouble, having seen sharp declines in membership, corporate sponsorship and income in recent months. The documents also show the organization, already known for supporting extreme policies that go against the wishes of the American public and attack the rights of working families, recently considered a number of even more extreme policies and is seeking to provide legal cover for its activities. Groups with the charitable legal status of 501(c)(3), which ALEC currently has, are forbidden from lobbying. ALEC claims it isn't engaged in lobbying, but documents show it has sought to create a 501(c)(4) spin-off organization that would not just allow it to engage more overtly in lobbying but, according to the documents, would provide cover for the activities it already engages in. Which it says totally aren't lobbying. Really.
A federal bankruptcy judge today ruled that the city of Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy protection and may cut pension benefits for retired city workers despite a provision in the state’s Constitution banning such pension cuts. Attorneys for city workers, firefighters and police officers say they will appeal the judge’s ruling.
In a preliminary vote expected to mirror the final vote early next year, the D.C. Council voted unanimously to support a plan to raise the minimum wage in the District of Columbia to $11.50. A final vote must still take place, but no member has expressed any intention to vote differently and Mayor Vincent Gray (D) has suggested he is willing to sign the bill, in contrast to his recent veto of a measure to require big-box retailers like Walmart to pay a living wage. The D.C. Council appears to have the votes to override an unlikely veto, something they fell one vote short of on the big-box store bill.
Today has been designated as "PISA Day" by the U.S. Department of Education and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)—the day that results of the 2012 math, reading and science tests are released by the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). PISA tests 15-year-old students every three years in more than 65 countries and issues reports of the data, which are then used to compare the education systems in the tested countries. Then, journalists and politicians with little understanding of how statistics work and with strong ideological agendas will make proclamations about the data—and propose policy solutions—that are not only inaccurate, but are often thinly disguised attacks on teachers, students and parents.
Corporations and their allies on Capitol Hill claim that if corporate tax rates were lowered, it would be a boon to the economy, with much of the tax savings fueling a U.S. job creation boom. The only problem with that theory is that there is no evidence to support it. In fact, a new study finds quite the opposite.
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