Barbara J. Easterling: We Must Educate Younger People About Unions

 

09/02/2012; Barbara Easterling

 Barbara J. Easterling is president of the Alliance for Retired Americans. She was previously the secretary-treasurer of the Communications Workers of America.

Barbara J. Easterling is president of the Alliance for Retired Americans. She was previously the secretary-treasurer of the Communications Workers of America.  

As we near Labor Day, I want to encourage you to help younger generations better understand why labor unions are so important. Too many people either know very little about unions or only know what politicians and Fox News tell them.

I joined a union on my very first day on the job as a telephone operator in Akron, Ohio. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. Our generation—and those who came before us—used our rights at work in the community to create good jobs and good wages. We helped build strong neighborhoods where you could raise a family.

In my experience, a union is the only way workers can earn good pay and be treated with respect and fairness on the job. It’s just too tough any other way.  When you look at the powerful interests that workers are up against—whether it is right-wing politicians or cold-hearted corporations—you see how badly the deck is stacked against you if you don’t have a union.

As union members, you can speak firsthand how collective bargaining helps earn the wages and benefits that support families and build strong, stable communities. And for former union members, collective bargaining directly affects retirement—the better you work, the better you retire. I worry that decades of low wages, little or no health insurance and inadequate savings are sowing the seeds for a serious retirement security crisis that will affect everyone in our country.

While some politicians mock unions as a cheap way to score political points, we all know the truth—collective bargaining is a backbone of the American middle class. We have a lot to be proud of—so let’s get out there and spread the word!

The AFL-CIO and other unions such as ASFCME have young worker outreach programs designed to get younger union members more involved. Learn more about the AFL-CIO’s outreach with young workers.

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Special Labor Day Message from Secretary Hilda Solis

08/30/2012; Hilda Solis

 Special Labor Day message from U.S. Secretary of Labo, Hilda Solis.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis sends us this. 

Today, I want to extend my warmest wishes to you, the working men and women of America. You remain the beating heart of the greatest middle class in the world. Thank you for your commitment, your talent, your hard work and your service to this country. On behalf of everyone at the Department of Labor, I’m honored to wish all of you a great Labor Day.

Every day, you are creating an America built to last by harvesting our food, building our automobiles, constructing our buildings, providing energy for our homes and caring for our loved ones. Labor Day is our opportunity to honor that work, and that means standing up and speaking out and taking pride in what we do. You show us that each of us makes a profound contribution to our communities and our nation with the work we do; because the work of every person is built on the work of another, we all rely on one another. Work connects us all. Continue reading “Special Labor Day Message from Secretary Hilda Solis”

RNC Speech: Romney Can’t Avoid Poor Record for Working Families

08/30/2012; Jackie Tortora

Tonight Mitt Romney tried to reinvent himself, appealing to Americans’ aspirations and hunger to come together while trying to show his personal side. But his policy proposals or record do not reflect the kind of America where working families get a fair shake. Whether it’s proposing to cut back severely on Medicaid, forcing seniors on fixed incomes to pay more out of pocket for their health care or cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans, the Romney-Ryan budget doubles down on the failed economic policies that brought on the economic crisis in the first place.

He touted his business experience, despite his business record as an outsourcer. He called out divisiveness, despite proposals that would provide bigger income disparities and ignored Republican obstructionism for the past two years.  Continue reading “RNC Speech: Romney Can’t Avoid Poor Record for Working Families”

RNC Convention Workers Being Paid Below Minimum Wage

RNC Convention Workers Being Paid Below Minimum Wage

Posted: 08/31/2012 1:37 pm

Rnc Convention Workers

TAMPA, Fla. — During these past four days at the RNC convention, janitors have worked around the clock picking up after delegates, conservative stars like Ann Coulter and Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), and the thousands of reporters in cavernous filing rooms. And many are doing so making less than minimum wage.

Carolyn Walker said she has been cleaning the convention center for 13 years. She had been making $8 per hour until a few years ago, when the cleaning contract went to another company, Cleanevent USA. The new company meant a new, downsized paycheck. She’s now making minimum wage — $7.67 per hour. But that wasn’t the only hit to her wallet.

Walker said the company charges her $6 per week for uniforms. “It stinks to tell you the truth,” she said. “We work very hard.” It effectively means she’s making less than Florida’s minimum wage. Continue reading “RNC Convention Workers Being Paid Below Minimum Wage”

RNC Speech: Romney Can’t Avoid Poor Record for Working Families

08/30/2012; Jackie Tortora

Tonight Mitt Romney tried to reinvent himself, appealing to Americans’ aspirations and hunger to come together while trying to show his personal side. But his policy proposals or record do not reflect the kind of America where working families get a fair shake. Whether it’s proposing to cut back severely on Medicaid, forcing seniors on fixed incomes to pay more out of pocket for their health care or cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans, the Romney-Ryan budget doubles down on the failed economic policies that brought on the economic crisis in the first place.

He touted his business experience, despite his business record as an outsourcer. He called out divisiveness, despite proposals that would provide bigger income disparities and ignored Republican obstructionism for the past two years.  Continue reading “RNC Speech: Romney Can’t Avoid Poor Record for Working Families”

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