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Everyone Needs an ‘Equity Card’

Wed, 19 Sep 2018 13:16:08 +0000

Everyone Needs an ‘Equity Card’

Lily Tomlin at An Evening for Women
Harmony Gerber

The younger people in my life introduce me to songs they consider vintage but that are completely new to me. The Dead Kennedys, for example, are alive and well on my most recent playlist. And just this morning I heard, for the first time, "Work Bitch," by Britney Spears. As I listened to her sing "Bring it on/ring the alarm/don’t stop now/just be the champion," I added, in my best BritBrit voice, "and get a labor union, get some collective bargaining." (This is what it is like to ride in the car with me.)

The movie "9 to 5" came out when I was in sixth grade. It was a hit, even in West Texas. The decade that was the '80s was full of "Work Bitch" songs—beats to sweat off the toxic stress of the union-busting Ronald Reagan era. But no "Eye of the Tiger" could compare with the thrill of the fight that Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda carried out together on screen. I had overheard grown women around me shaking their heads with a kind of laughter mixed with wistful, delayed revenge. When I saw the movie with friends in the theater, my laughter was mixed with dread. Is this what work looks like for grown women? Are there really bosses who actually pull this sort of crap with women? No wonder my mother and her friends wanted a labor union.

When looking up more about Tomlin, the first news item to pop up was her recent interview with Shalini Dore for Variety, a source for "the Business of Entertainment" (Aug. 24, 2018). Tomlin recently has received yet another Emmy nomination for the TV series "Grace and Frankie." Right off the bat, Tomlin brings up her Equity card. Dore’s first question is about the first time Variety noted Tomlin’s work (in 1964) and Tomlin’s immediate response is "I got my Equity card then." Three sentences later, she repeats "It was terrific to get my Equity card." Yes, it was fantastic to be mentioned in Variety in 1964, but Tomlin impresses on Dore and Variety readers that this was the year she became part of the Actors’ Equity (AEA), a labor union that represents people working in live theater performance. She names for readers following "the Business of Entertainment" that her career in the business included, from the get-go, the collaborative kinship of courage that is collective bargaining.

Mitchell Robinson teaches music education at Michigan StateUniversity, and he recently published a blog post that was picked up by Business Insider under this headline: "Beneath the 'heartwarming' teacher stories, there’s a real issue with the way public school teachers are treated." His essay names the lie behind the kind of "Work Bitch" news pieces published regularly in too many outlets—tales of individuals in public education whose "sacrifice" shows "resilience," "tenacity" and "dedication." In other words, stories about how one person’s effort is "making a difference" for families. Robinson concludes:

These stories aren’t "heartwarming" and they don’t show "dedication." They demonstrate that we as a society are unwilling to spend our resources on supporting and caring for the schools and teachers that we entrust with the support and care of our children—and refuse to treat the persons we entrust their care to as professionals or even as human beings deserving of our respect and some basic human dignity.

Journalist Adam Johnson has called these stories out as "perseverance porn." From coverage of NFL players to Hollywood actors to public school teachers, even liberal media outlets churn out features about individuals who contribute to sports, entertainment or education against all odds and alone. Meanwhile, the real news is that, against all odds and together, NFL players and public school teachers are, across the country, engaging in efforts to bargain collectively for the good of their sport, their teams and their schools. Even without a labor union, in states and in professions that try structurally to prohibit labor unions, they are engaging in union-like behavior.

The three women working together in "9 to 5" fantasize about ways they can, individually, rectify their crooked workplace. Their revenge montages may appear campy today. But my sixth-grade self took note. You can pour yourself a "cup of ambition" (as Dolly sings). But what you really need is a group of co-workers who will have your back. Their collective courage on screen was inspiring, but I wanted more. I wanted a world where I didn’t need a gun, rat poison or rope at my workplace. Like Lily Tomlin, we each need an Equity card. We need one another for the collective courage that was and is collective bargaining.

Amy Laura Hall has taught ethics at Duke University since 1999. Her most recent book is Laughing at the Devil: Seeing the World with Julian of Norwich. This post originally appeared at the North Carolina State AFL-CIO.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 09/19/2018 - 09:16

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018

Tue, 18 Sep 2018 15:11:31 +0000

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018

Best Candidates Series
.

This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Here are the candidates we've covered so far!

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 09/18/2018 - 11:11

You Can Be Fired for Not Showing Up to Work During a Hurricane

Tue, 18 Sep 2018 14:22:46 +0000

You Can Be Fired for Not Showing Up to Work During a Hurricane

Flooding from Hurricane Harvey on 8/31/2017
Jobs With Justice

Ahead of a natural disaster like Hurricane Florence, politicians and safety officials tell the public to evacuate early and not wait until conditions get bad. We all know that you can lose your home and your belongings, but politicians never talk about the fact that during a disaster, many people can lose their jobs as well.

Even when there are mandatory evacuation orders, many businesses insist that employees still show up for work. Many more won’t pay employees for time missed ahead of, during and after a storm. This forces many to make an impossible choice between protecting their lives or protecting their jobs.

In September 2017, Hurricane Irma wrecked vast portions of Florida. In its wake, Irma left many Floridians without power, shelter or essential belongings. Worse, the impact of the storm meant many people did not know how they would earn their next paycheck. Some lost their jobs because they couldn’t make it into work during the storm, while others were left unemployed after businesses had to shut down for repairs. After hearing about employer threats against people who were evacuating instead of going to work during the hurricane, Central Florida Jobs With Justice conducted a survey to determine how widespread the practice of requiring employees to show up to work in the middle of a Category 4 hurricane really was.

What they found was striking. More than half of those who responded to the survey said they faced disciplinary action or termination if they failed to show up to work during the storm. Others didn’t have to show up to work, but weren’t paid if they couldn’t make it during the evacuation, putting similar pressures on them to show up even in the worst conditions.

To put it bluntly: Even in the middle of a hurricane, many businesses still put their own profits over the well-being of their employees.

But this isn’t the way things have to be. In the wake of Hurricane Irma, the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners passed an ordinance prohibiting employers from retaliating against employees who comply with evacuation orders during a state of emergency, and some employers are taking the initiative to put "climate leave” policies in writing. However, the number of communities and companies with such policies is small and likely will remain so until working people are able to band together to demand protection from the increasing threat of hurricanes, wildfires and other disasters. And while federal programs already exist that provide assistance to people put out of work due to disasters, they need to be strengthened and expanded at the state and local levels.

As our climate changes, we can expect stronger hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters. Recent hurricanes like Harvey, Irma, Maria and now Florence have impacted millions of people, disrupting lives, destroying communities and killing thousands. The struggles that individuals face before, during and after a major event like Irma or Florence are already great enough without adding the stress of losing your job or wondering when you’ll get your next paycheck.

Now is the time to write new rules to ensure working people can protect themselves and their livelihoods before, during and after big disasters. We know that the climate crisis is already hurting poor people more severely than the wealthy. There’s no need to exacerbate this inequality and force people to lose a paycheck or their job due to our man-made climate crisis.

This post originally appeared at Jobs With Justice.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 09/18/2018 - 10:22

What's Up with NAFTA, Anyway? Some Frequently Asked Questions

Mon, 17 Sep 2018 18:23:58 +0000

What's Up with NAFTA, Anyway? Some Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve been getting so many questions about NAFTA, I thought I’d answer a few for everyone.

Why are they renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement? I thought NAFTA was bad.

NAFTA is bad. But the reason NAFTA is bad is not because trade is bad, or even that trading with Mexico and Canada is bad. NAFTA is bad because it is a set of rules that gives advantages to employers over workers, multinational companies over local firms, and giant corporations over communities. It has cost jobs and pushed down wages in all three countries.

In particular, NAFTA set up incentives to outsource U.S. jobs (by lowering tariffs on imports from Mexico) without requiring firms that operate there to meet basic international labor standards or minimum protections for the environment. It also incentivized additional outsourcing by creating a private justice system for firms that allows them to bypass local courts and go straight to international tribunals to argue that some health and safety standard or water protection rule or any other action by a host government deprives them of their expected profits. NAFTA’s rules empower global employers, undermine unions, and weaken the ability of local, state and federal governments to be responsive to citizens.

NAFTA does not have to be this way. Its rules can be changed to put working people first. And that requires renegotiation.  

I heard they’re finished renegotiating NAFTA. Are they?

Not really. On Aug. 31, the president sent notice to Congress that he had concluded negotiations with Mexico and intended to sign a deal with Mexico in 90 days (this waiting period is required by the Fast Track law). Canada was not included in this announcement, but can be included in a final deal "if it is willing." Since talks are ongoing with Canada, and Mexico would have to agree to any changes made to accommodate Canada, the renegotiations aren’t really over. That means we have a chance to improve its labor rules and add other things important to workers, such as COOL labeling.

So, is Canada in or out?

The talks are ongoing. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and others have made clear Canada should be included, but whether it will be remains to be determined. (Watch a video here.)

Does Congress have to vote on a new NAFTA?  

Yes.  

When will Congress vote?

It seems likely that, assuming a final-final deal is reached this fall, the vote would occur in 2019.  

Will the AFL-CIO support the new deal?

That depends on what the new deal looks like and how close it comes to meeting the 17 benchmarks we set out in June 2017. We don’t expect a new deal to be perfect or to incorporate every one of our recommendations. However, it must include Canada, show meaningful progress on critical issues, including by reducing incentives to outsource, protecting fundamental labor rights and freedoms for working people in all three countries, eliminating the private justice system for foreign investors known as ISDS, promoting greater North American content—particularly U.S. content—in NAFTA-traded goods, and by strengthening enforcement, not just on labor, but on all trade issues, including currency manipulation and misalignment.

On labor in particular, if the deal does not include strong and clear rules that protect working people in all three countries and require Mexico to abandon its "protection contract" system (which keeps wages down and interferes with the right to join unions), and if we cannot be confident that the rules will be swiftly and certainly enforced, it won’t be worth endorsing. A deal that doesn’t get the labor provisions and enforcement tools right won’t protect U.S., Mexican or Canadian workers and won’t reduce outsourcing. A deal that allows abuse and exploitation of working people to continue is just another corporate deal.  

So...where is the text?

Most of the text is available to "cleared advisers" (which includes the AFL-CIO) now. Trumka and officers of both affiliate and non-affiliate unions who serve as cleared advisers are studying the text right now. Unfortunately, due to the secrecy allowed under Fast Track, the text won’t be available to the public until after Sept. 27, 2018.

Do we know what it is in it?

A bit, but most of the contents are still secret. We know the labor rules are on the right track, but they do not yet include swift and certain enforcement mechanisms. We know there will be changes to ISDS that appear to be in the right direction and changes to medicine rules that appear to be in the wrong direction. And we need to learn a lot more about automobile rules of origin to figure out if they will actually promote high wage U.S. jobs. Look for more information after Sept. 27 at aflcio.org.  

When will we know if the deal meets our standards?

Trumka and other labor leaders said on Aug. 31 that, based on what we know so far, "more work needs to be done" for the deal to meet our standards, including, most importantly, enforcement tools that will ensure that all parties live up to their labor obligations and that Mexico ends it repressive protection contract system. But, since talks are continuing, that means we have an opportunity to get that work done. This is not over and the text isn’t really final. That’s where you come in. We need your help.

How can I help?

You can call or email your senator and tell them to contact U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (the U.S. lead on the NAFTA talks) to make clear that in order to get approval in Congress, the new deal must:

  1. Include strong and clear labor standards based on the International Labor Organization’s fundamental labor rights and end the protection contract system in Mexico.

  2. Include enforcement tools that will make certain that violations are swiftly identified and fixed—or else sanctions will be promptly imposed.

  3. Eliminate ISDS (the private justice system for foreign investors) and other incentives to outsource (including in both manufacturing sectors such as auto, aerospace, steel and aluminum and in services sectors such transportation and call centers); and

  4. Put working people’s interests ahead of profits, including by eliminating giveaways to Wall Street and Big Pharma and ensuring that we can protect our food supply and provide consumers the information they want about the products they buy.

Call 855-856-7545 to be connected to your senator today!  

Here are some NAFTA talking points. Please  join our trade activist list by texting TRADE to 235246.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 09/17/2018 - 14:23

Not OK: The Working People Weekly List

Mon, 17 Sep 2018 13:30:02 +0000

Not OK: The Working People Weekly List

Working People Weekly List
AFL-CIO

Every week, we bring you a roundup of the top news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here’s this week’s Working People Weekly List.

Work Without Pay Is Not OK: "Beginning next year, Congress will finally start paying its interns!"

Trumka Says Climate Change Battle Must Include Workers: "The labor movement must be included in initiatives to fight climate change, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said Sept. 12. Workers are prepared to sacrifice, 'but we will not bear the cost of climate change alone,' Trumka said at a conference at the University of California at Berkeley Labor Center. 'The most equitable way to address climate change is for labor to be at the center of the solution.'"

Trump Fails to Make Inroads with Organized Labor Despite Populist Message to Working Class: "Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, labor's umbrella organization, has gone to the White House several times and served on the president's jobs council for several months. He resigned last year, along with corporate representatives on the council, after Trump failed to forcefully denounce white nationalists who rallied violently in Charlottesville, Va. 'When he was elected, I said I would call balls and strikes,' Trumka said in a Fox News interview just before Labor Day. 'When he did something that was good for workers, we'd support him. When he did something that was bad for workers, we would oppose him. Unfortunately, to date the things that he's done to hurt workers outpace what he's done to help workers,' Trumka said."

Union Leaders Move to Keep Kavanaugh from Supreme Court: "As Judge Brett Kavanaugh faces Senate confirmation to the Supreme Court, organized labor is unveiling a playbook that may look familiar to Washington Republicans. 'We intend to make it the same thing as repealing Obamacare, Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, told Politico in the latest Women Rule podcast. 'We are going to organize the three votes that are required to block this nomination.' Another labor leader, Liz Shuler, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, echoed Henry’s protest against Kavanaugh during the podcast: 'We cannot let this court continue to swing to the extreme right. It’s out of step with what America believes.'"

Women Rule Podcast: 'I Didn’t Challenge Sexism at Every Turn': "Labor union leaders Liz Shuler and Mary Kay Henry discuss how they rose up through the union ranks and what they’re trying to do to increase the number of women in the labor movement. Shuler, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, and Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, also weigh in on recent Supreme Court decisions, Brett Kavanaugh's nomination, and what that all means for the future of the labor movement."

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Bill Nelson: "This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida."

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Kyrsten Sinema: "This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Rep. Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona, who is running for U.S. Senate."

The Union Difference Is Even More Pronounced for Families of Color: "A new report from the Center for American Progress shows that union membership helps increase wealth and prosperity for families of color. The research comes on top of recent polls showing that more and more people are embracing the powerful benefits of collective bargaining."

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Andrew Gillum: "This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum."

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 09/17/2018 - 09:30

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler on Women Rule Podcast

Fri, 14 Sep 2018 13:07:28 +0000

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler on Women Rule Podcast

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler joined SEIU President Mary Kay Henry for a conversation with Politico's Anna Palmer on the newest edition of the Women Rule podcast. Shuler discussed the surging wave of collective action, the state of the labor movement and her groundbreaking path to becoming the highest-ranking woman in the history of the AFL-CIO. Listen to the episode here, and check out some of Shuler's highlights below.

On the future of the labor movement:

"I think we're at a moment. Yes, people want to write the labor movement's obituary. But, with the rise in collective action that we've been seeing, I think it's signaling something: that people want to come together. They want to fight back. Unions are the best way to do that....The bottom line is that we make change when we speak up together....The labor movement's needed now more than ever, and I think it's an opportunity for collective action and collective voice to grow."

On Brett Kavanaugh:

"We're working with allies and partner organizations to say enough is enough. We can not let this court continue to swing to the extreme right. It's out of step with what America believes. We're seeing this moment of collective action, where people are starting to rise up....We're going to continue to organize workers, focus on the grassroots, focus on our communities. And we think that we can put up a fight like you've never seen, because that's what we do best in the labor movement."

On getting involved in the labor movement:

"I worked at Portland General Electric, the same utility that my dad worked at and my mom worked at, through summers in college. So all of that came together when the clerical workers decided to try to organize at PGE. I was thinking, I know these women. I want to be a part of this. And the local union needed organizers. And it was an all-male local. And so, they said, hey, we could use somebody like you. And that was kind of how my activism was born."

On being the only woman in the room:

"I was the only woman on staff at the local, and we didn't have many women members. And, yes, you did find yourself kind of in a lonely place, most often. But I think it really did bring a different perspective, often, to the conversations....People talk about women's leadership style being very different. More collaborative. More listening takes place, and you can actually sometimes de-escalate situations when there's a lot of testosterone in a room, so I did find myself often playing that role."

On building the next generation of labor leadership:

"I've been thinking a lot about that, because often we emulate the mentors or the leaders we study under, and I see it in our next generation. Next Up is our young worker program, and a lot of the young men, for example, who are studying under male leaders tend to start to morph into that leadership style if you're not raising awareness and, as Mary Kay said, fighting these systems and deep cultural traditions that we've had. I focused a lot of attention and energy around the next generation of leadership. How do we cast our net and open our doors as wide as ever, and especially for young women?"

On union members running for office:

"The AFL-CIO has really prioritized union members being primed and ready to go to take on this moment, because there's something in the air. People are ready to rise up, and there's a moment of collective action unlike we've seen....So, how do we capitalize on that? And how do we make the change that we need with policies and our economy? Well, it's to elect union members to office. They're the perfect candidates because they have a lived experience that they can bring to the table. Especially women, we're seeing in bigger numbers than ever before running for all levels of government."

On combating sexual harassment:

"Most women have dealt with some form of sexual harassment throughout their careers. And the AFL-CIO takes it incredibly seriously. And we've been actually out fighting against sexual harassment in the workplace—sexual assault in the workplace—since our inception, because, through collective bargaining, that's where you'll find language in your contracts for a process in how to remedy when things go wrong—how to have some form of enforcement if the bosses aren't actually coming to your assistance. The AFL-CIO, both as an institution and how we run our own organization, as well as how we're leading in the workplace through our individual union affiliates, has been on record opposing this issue forever. But I think the key here is cultural change. And this is a moment where women are starting to feel safer coming forward because we're all standing up together. And collective action, as I said, is the key."

On defeating 'right to work' in Missouri:

"The vote in Missouri was nothing short of inspiring....The labor movement was more unified than I'd ever seen it. It was laser-focused on defeating the initiative. So it brought people together in a way that I haven't seen in a long time. And secondly, the way the community rallied around the labor movement, because they realized that if 'right to work' were to pass in Missouri, wages would go down for everyone. So to see folks in the small business community responding—working people who don't have a union know that this is going to impact them, too. That's why I think you saw the big number—the big defeat—because everyone knew exactly what was going to happen in that state. Wages would go down. Safety protections would go down. Opportunities and job growth would be sacrificed."

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 09/14/2018 - 09:07

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Bill Nelson

Fri, 14 Sep 2018 11:49:14 +0000

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Bill Nelson

Bill Nelson
AFL-CIO

This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida.

Here are some of the key reasons why Nelson is one of the best candidates for working people in 2018:

  • He has led efforts to expand Florida's investment in STEM skills and training that helps workers keep up with advances in technology and automation.
  • Nelson supports tax credits for working people looking to change careers or transition into new industries.
  • He supports education-related tax breaks that help prepare students for industries that need more skilled workers.
  • Nelson supports increasing the minimum wage.
  • Nelson is leading the push to invest in the infrastructure necessary to protect Florida's coastlines against rising sea levels and damage from hurricanes.
  • He co-authored the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, which is designed to improve gender, racial and socioeconomic diversity in the federal workforce and in the science, technology, engineering and math education.
  • Nelson supports career and technical training and job readiness programs.
  • He is leading the charge to reduce student loan debt.
  • Nelson has long been a supporter of public higher education and has helped obtain funding for key programs and facilities in Florida's public colleges and universities.
  • He supports increasing funding for public education and improving pay for teachers and other crucial staff, including secretaries, bus drivers, cafeteria and maintenance workers, janitors, counselors and teachers’ aides.
  • Nelson is a champion of fighting against companies using the personal data of working people for profit or in violation of privacy rules.
  • He is working to protect consumers from companies that hide information about flaws and safety defects.
  • Nelson has spent much of his career fighting back against cuts to Medicare and Social Security.
  • He is leading the fight in Congress to lower prescription drug costs and eliminate the Medicare Part D donut hole.

To learn more about Nelson, visit his website.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 09/14/2018 - 07:49

Work Without Pay Is Not OK

Thu, 13 Sep 2018 15:03:21 +0000

Work Without Pay Is Not OK

Union Summer
AFL-CIO

Beginning next year, Congress will finally start paying its interns!  

For years, people who want to help build a better America by working in Congress have been offered "jobs" with no pay—as congressional interns. These internships are coveted because they help open doors to prestigious scholarships and graduate schools, and they help young people get started on careers in law, politics, diplomacy, business and many other fields.

But think about it. Who can afford to take a nonpaying job? Not me. And certainly not most people who come from a working-class background. I was lucky enough to have my first congressional job come with a paycheck. Otherwise, I’d have had to turn it down.

So who can afford to take these jobs, and all the doors they open? Often, it’s the very folks who already have lots of economic advantages. If you’re lucky enough to come from a family who can afford to pay your Washington, D.C., living expenses for a summer or semester or even a whole year while you learn how Congress works and rub elbows with this country’s current and future power players, that’s awesome!

But having lots of money is not a valid way to choose congressional aides. And, think about how that skews the policies that come out of Washington. What if there is a vote coming up on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, and no one in the office can speak to how the program helped keep their family in their home when mom was between jobs? Or no one to say they could not have afforded college without a Pell Grant? Or to explain why having the freedom to join a union can mean better health care and an annual family vacation for millions of America’s families? In the end, working in a congressional office isn’t just a learning experience for the intern—it provides valuable input into the decisions that senators and representatives make. And it is important that elected officials interact with people from all walks of life, not just D.C. elites.

Congressional internships should be open to all—not just to those who can afford it. Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio), a supporter of this provision, explained to The Hill: "By providing this dedicated funding to help House offices pay their interns, we are moving to level the playing field and provide opportunities for young Americans who may not otherwise have the financial means necessary to dedicate a full semester or summer to an unpaid internship."

We’re glad Congress has decided to pay its interns and encourage all U.S. employers to follow suit.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 09/13/2018 - 11:03

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Kyrsten Sinema

Thu, 13 Sep 2018 12:25:03 +0000

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Kyrsten Sinema

Kyrsten Sinema
AFL-CIO

This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Rep. Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona, who is running for U.S. Senate.

Here are some of the key reasons why Sinema is one of the best candidates for working people in 2018:

  • She has a record of working across the aisle to help create good-paying jobs.

  • Sinema is committed to equal pay for equal work.

  • She has supported legislation to expand rural broadband and help family farmers.

  • Sinema has fought to expand school funding and to make college and skills training more affordable.

  • She opposes efforts to cut Medicare and Social Security and opposes raising the retirement age.

  • Sinema opposes efforts to let employers deny coverage for birth control.

  • She is committed to lowering the cost of prescription drugs.

  • Sinema has worked to expand educational opportunities for veterans and hosts Boots to Books resource fairs to help veterans get started on careers in civilian life.

  • She supports immigration reform that keeps families together and gives Dreamers a pathway to citizenship.

  • Sinema, the first openly bisexual member of Congress, is a co-sponsor of the Equality Act, federal legislation that would extend key civil rights protections to LGBTQ Americans, including in employment and housing. 

  • She fought to save military jobs in Arizona and to get service members a pay raise.

To learn more about Sinema, visit her website.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 09/13/2018 - 08:25

The Union Difference Is Even More Pronounced for Families of Color

Tue, 11 Sep 2018 13:32:17 +0000

The Union Difference Is Even More Pronounced for Families of Color

A new report from the Center for American Progress shows that union membership helps increase wealth and prosperity for families of color. The research comes on top of recent polls showing that more and more people are embracing the powerful benefits of collective bargaining.

Here are some of the key findings of the report:

  • When working people collectively bargain for wages, benefits and employment procedures, as union members they have higher wages, more benefits and more stable employment as a result of the bargaining agreement.

  • Household wealth is dependent on several factors, including income, savings, people having benefits like health insurance and life insurance.

  • Higher wages lead to higher savings, particularly when combined with job-related benefits, such as health and life insurance, since those benefits require union members to spend less out-of-pocket to protect their families.

  • Union members have higher job stability and protections, which lead to longer tenures at a workplace. This can lead to more savings as longer-tenured employees are more likely to be eligible for key benefits that accrue over time.

  • Nonwhite families with a union member in the household have a median wealth that is 485% as large as the median wealth of nonunion families of color.

  • Union members' annual earnings are between 20 and 50% higher than those for nonunion members.

  • The benefits of union membership for nonwhite families is more significant than it is for white families because nonwhite workers tend to work at jobs with lower pay, fewer benefits and less stability. Union membership lowers the gap for everyone, but the gains are larger when you are starting from a lower level of income and benefits.

  • Union members also are less likely to experience a negative shock (a large change in income) and more likely to experience a positive shock.

Read the full report.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 09/11/2018 - 09:32

   
  

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