Our Issues In The News

Union Leaders On Federal Aid-To-Education Law

WASHINGTON —Leaders of the nation’s two large teachers’ unions are split on a bipartisan effort by a key Senate committee to rewrite the federal aid-to-education law. Lilly Eskelsen-Garcia, president of the independent 3.2-million member National Education Association, says the rewrite doesn’t do enough for the kids who need federal help the most – students coming from families in poverty. Meanwhile, [...]

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New Jersey Establishes Regulations for “Independent Contractor” Dodge

TRENTON, N.J.− In a ruling last month, the justices unanimously cited New Jersey law and regulations to establish a 3-part test employers must meet before they can use that “independent contractor” dodge to avoid paying Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes and workers’ comp – and to prevent workers from union organizing.   Millions of workers nationwide are misclassified as [...]

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New Legislation Would Protect Workers from Wage Theft

ST. PAUL, Minn.− Workers can see their wages stolen in many ways: Not receiving the minimum wage or compensation for overtime. Not receiving their final paycheck after leaving a job. Not being paid at all.   “It’s a problem that happens more often than most people think,” said Steve Hunter, secretary-treasurer of the Minnesota AFL-CIO, the labor federation representing some [...]

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GOP Gov. Yanks Union Rights to Collect Dues from Caregivers

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.− New Illinois GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner yanked union rights to collect dues or fees from thousands of home health caregivers in the state, drawing protests from AFSCME, which represents the workers.   This impacts nurses, emergency responders, child welfare advocates and workers who enforce public oversight.   His announcement of anti-worker plans during his State of the State [...]

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Manufactures Push Bill to Avoid Worker Liability for Illness and Suffering

WASHINGTON− The remaining firms that manufactured items containing cancer-causing substance, asbestos, are pushing legislation to remove their remaining legal liability to pay workers for their illnesses and suffering.   Asbestos has killed thousands of shipyard workers, factory workers, construction workers and still kills 10,000 people yearly.   Their bill, HR526, in a GOP-run House Judiciary subcommittee, drew opposition from the [...]

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Unemployment Rate at 5.7%; Businesses Create More Jobs

WASHINGTON− The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that U.S employment rate was 5.7 percent in January, 0.1 percent higher than at the end of 2014. Another survey shows businesses created a net of 257,000 jobs last month.   BLS also reports that in January 2014, there were 10.28 million unemployed workers and unemployment rate was 6.6 percent.   Elise [...]

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Illinois Legislature Democrats Defend Unions Against RTW Laws

SPRINGFIELD, ILL.− Democrats who still control the Illinois legislature vow to continue to protect working families.   First, they plan on stopping GOP Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposal on “right to work” (RTW) laws in Illinois. These laws ban unions from negotiating contracts that include mandatory dues collection.   RTW laws let “free riders” use union services without paying for them. [...]

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Workers Forced to Strike After Oil Companies Refuse to Discuss Safety Issues

PITTSBURGH- Tens of thousands of Steelworkers were forced to strike due to the oil industry’s obstinacy and its refusal to discuss worker safety issues.   Workers walked out of refineries in Houston, Texas City and Deer Park, Texas, Anacortes, Washington. And Martinez and Carson, California. Although United Steel Workers (USW) bargained with Shell, workers had to strike at other refineries [...]

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New Labor Coalition Pushes for Worker Equality Proposals

PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon’s five biggest labor organizations have united with civil rights and community groups in a new coalition, Fair Shot for All, to back a bold agenda in this year’s session of the Oregon legislature. It will campaign for a large minimum wage increase, paid sick leave law, “ban the box” and racial profiling laws, and legislation to [...]

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Education Groups Respond to NCLB Proposals

POLITICO Pro reported that No Child Left Behind (NCLB) proposals are receiving a great amount of feedback, especially from education groups, after Senator Alexander released his discussion draft.   The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights denounced the bill, stating that it “undermines the core American value of equal opportunity in education embodied in Brown v. Board of Education.” [...]

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