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Meany-Kirkland Human Rights Award Honors Labor in the Arab Spring

March 15th, 2012 No comments

The 2012 George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award will honor the Tunisian General Union of Labor (UGTT) and the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU)—two unions whose struggles over the past year are emblematic of labor’s role in the Arab uprisings, the AFL-CIO Executive Council announced at its annual winter meeting in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

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Quality Health Care for Women Includes Contraceptive Equity

March 15th, 2012 No comments

Women must have the right to quality health care, including equal access to contraception, and have the ability to exercise that right regardless of where they work, the AFL-CIO Executive Council said today in a statement at its annual winter meeting in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

The council reaffirmed a 2001 Convention resolution promoting contraceptive equity in national health plans and in collective bargaining agreements, saying Wednesday that all women “should have universal access to quality health care at a reasonable cost that is not determined by political agendas.”

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Council Says 30 Years of Policies for the 1% Caused Crisis, Outlines Steps to Fix Economy

March 15th, 2012 No comments

In a broad statement today at its annual winter meeting in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on “How to Fix What Is Wrong with Our Economy,” the AFL-CIO Executive Council details the step-by-step policy decisions by business and government and the rise of corporate power over the past decades that brought the economy to its knees and outlines ways to fix the economy for the long term.

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AFL-CIO Calls for Overturning Citizens United Case

March 15th, 2012 No comments

Two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court gave business corporations and other groups the green light for unlimited independent campaign spending. That decision in the Citizens United case, says the AFL-CIO Executive Council, has “undermined democracy.”

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AFL-CIO Calls for Across-the-Board Raise in Social Security Benefits

March 15th, 2012 No comments

America has a retirement security crisis—not a Social Security crisis, the AFL-CIO Executive Council said today in its annual winter meeting in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. And the answer is an across-the-board increase in Social Security benefits.

Half of working Americans have no retirement plan at all at work. Most of those who have a retirement plan are in 401(k) savings accounts where the median balances are less than $30,000. Taking into account all sources of income, it is estimated that the gap between what working Americans need to maintain their standard of living in retirement and what they actually have is $6.6 trillion.

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Council Urges Action on Deadly Silica Dust Rule, Condemns N.Y. Pension Cuts

March 15th, 2012 No comments

While the Obama administration has worked closely with unions and other job safety advocates to overcome the eight years of neglect and inaction by the Bush administration on vital workplace safety issues, the AFL-CIO Executive Council says, “There still is much work to be done.” At its annual winter meeting in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., the council also condemned New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) Tier-6 pension proposal.

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Senate OKs Bipartisan Transportation Bill

March 15th, 2012 No comments

The U.S. Senate today passed (77-22) a bipartisan surface transportation bill. The two-year, $100 billion funding bill will create hundreds of thousands of jobs and help build and maintain the nation’s highways, roads, bridges and transit systems. The current funding runs out March 31. The bill now goes to the House, which introduced a job-killing, partisan version earlier this year.

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Wisconsin Recall Election Dates Set

March 15th, 2012 No comments

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), his lieutenant governor and four Republican state senators will face voters in recall elections this spring under an agreement approved today by a Dane County judge.

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N.H. ‘Right to Work’ Not Veto-Proof—Again

March 15th, 2012 No comments

If madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, it may be time for N.H. House Speaker William O’Brien to get a little help.

As we had all predicted, O’Brien held a vote on New Hampshire’s newest so-called right to work bill (H.B. 1677). Predictably, it passed. Predictably, it didn’t get the two-thirds vote needed to overturn a governor’s veto. 

The vote count (198-139) was essentially unchanged from last year, leaving workers and labor leaders asking: What exactly was the point? 

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Obama Takes on China’s Export Restraints on Rare-Earth Minerals

March 15th, 2012 No comments

Yesterday, President Obama announced the United States, in cooperation with the European Union and Japan, will bring a trade case against China’s export restraints on so-called “rare-earth minerals,” which are a vital component in highly advanced products the United States manufactures—or wants to manufacture. The move is a step in the right direction to create more well-paying jobs for America’s workers.

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