It’s Equal Pay Day

It’s Equal Pay Day and I need your help.

Americans are working harder and longer than ever, but wages remain too low for millions of families to make ends meet. The lack of basic labor protections makes it nearly impossible for many workers to balance the demands of job and family.

At this very moment, we have the opportunity to advance legislation—more than 20 years in the making—that will help close the pay gap between women and men. We need you to take action to ensure that the U.S. Senate passes the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 7).

Add your name in support now.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.) in January, passed the House of Representatives last week and is headed for the Senate. First introduced by DeLauro in 1997, the bill would begin to close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act by:

  • Increasing penalties for wage discrimination and assuring that employers determine wages through the factors of experience, training and education rather than sex.
  • Directing federal agencies to collect data on compensation discrimination and share it publicly.
  • Barring retaliation against women who seek information on pay disparity in their workplace.

I need you to take action and add your name in support. Please click here to add your name.

In Solidarity,

Liz
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Liz Shuler
Secretary-Treasurer, AFL-CIO


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State of the Union (Podcast Mar 25, 2019)

My co-host Tim Schlittner and I wanted to be sure you got the chance to listen to our newest episode, an interview with Reps. Brendan Boyle (Pa.) and Marc Veasey (Texas) of the House Blue Collar Caucus.

We need your help to make “State of the Unions” a success. Make sure to share with your friends and colleagues, and subscribe so you’ll know when we release the next episode.

In Solidarity,

Julie
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Julie Greene
Mobilization Director, AFL-CIO
Co-Host, “State of the Unions” Podcast

Vote To Raise the Minimum Wage

We are closer than ever to a historic vote to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour nationwide.

For millions of working people across the country, working 40 hours or more per week is not enough to make ends meet. In fact, one in nine U.S. workers are paid wages that leave them in poverty, even when working full time and year-round.

A new bill in Congress will gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour. This is an easy and necessary way to lift millions of working people out of poverty and get our economy moving.

Three weeks ago, lawmakers in the House brought that bill one step closer to a floor vote. Now, we’ve got to keep the momentum going.

We are counting on you to call your congressperson today. Help us get this bill passed! When you click to call, you’ll automatically be connected with your representative.

This is our chance to make a $15 per hour minimum wage a reality for ALL workers. Tell your congressperson that raising the wage is a win-win for workers and the economy. Raising the wage will mean our neighbors can worry less about where their next meal comes from or how to pay for rent. And it will improve the local economy and help small businesses.

Call the House and tell your congressperson to co-sponsor the Raise the Wage Act and vote yes when it comes to a floor vote.

Thank you for standing up for workers.

In Solidarity,

Rich
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Richard Trumka
President, AFL-CIO

Salt in the wound

Some people say that Trump isn’t lifting a finger to help laid-off Ohio workers, but that’s not quite true — Trump is lifting exactly one finger, and he’s using it to tweet.

In the last few days, Trump has tweeted multiple times about Lordstown’s GM plant closing. But what did those tweets accomplish? Nothing. Not a single worker went back to their job and not a single family gained certainty about their next paycheck. But that’s part of the pattern with President Trump — insist that he can solve the problem, do nothing to solve it, then tweet about why someone else deserves the blame for his own failures.

Working families deserve better than Trump’s broken promises and empty tweets. And since the president won’t protect workers and their families, Congress must. Sign our petition and fight back.

Ohio’s laid-off workers have lost more than a paycheck, more than the health insurance their kids rely upon — they’ve also lost a piece of their identities and the sense of dignity that comes with a job well done.

Ohio families don’t have time to waste on a president who insists on rubbing salt into the wound, one tweet at a time. Sign my petition and stand up for the people Trump has forgotten.

With gratitude,

Sherrod

WWW.SHERRODBROWN.COM

Paid for by Friends of Sherrod Brown

Contributions or gifts to Friends of Sherrod Brown are not tax deductible.

Six guys on a roof…

I was 20 minutes late to my appointment this afternoon, interpreting between a Honduran guy with no documents who almost lost a fingertip at work a couple of months ago and an experienced Workers Comp lawyer maybe a decade away from retirement. In the building trades, if you’re not at least a half hour early, you’re late.  Lucky I just work on the fringes of the trades, and in this case was working for free.  The local worker center was foregoing any interpreting fee in the interest of helping people get compensation when they get hurt on the job, even if they don’t speak English, even if they’re working without documents. I’m on salary, paid by hardworking union members’ dues, so I have no excuse, but no one was

The lawyer thinks the system is fixed against workers generally, and increasingly so under Ohio’s rightward drift the last few years.  I’m pretty sure he’s a Democrat, but he thinks Strickland was terrible for workers, that he didn’t do anything as the legislature took away protections.  The Honduran, however, was going to be compensated, once a few obstacles were surmounted.  The doctor’s records were late in appearing, for one.  A functionary at BWC was going to cancel the case, but agreed to deny the claim instead, upon which the lawyer would appeal, and it would all go before a judge.  That would have had to happen anyway, even if the doctor’s office had been on the stick, because the second obstacle was that the employer was denying that the worker was an employee — instead he was listed as an independent contractor.  “It’s bullshit,” said the lawyer.  “Six guys on a roof, and they’re all independent contractors?  Bullshit.”

Not uncommon, however, especially when it comes to undocumented immigrants in the construction trades.  Does the worker own his own tools or does a supervisor provide them?  Does the worker decide when and where and how to do the work?  If the answers are no, yes, no, no, and no, the worker is likely legally an employee, even if the employer is 1099ing him.

Know what else is common with undocumented immigrants?  Lots of overtime hours with no overtime pay.  This worker got on the job at 8 and worked till the boss said to quit, sometimes for 70 hours a week, at $13 an hour.  The Mexican guy who got him the job would say that he had no right to overtime because he didn’t have any documents.  Not true, under Ohio law.  If someone works more than 40 hours in a week and they’re not in some exempt status like salaried workers, you owe that person time and a half for every hour above 40, whether they were born here or fooled you with a social security number they bought from some connected fellow immigrant.  The federal Department of Labor or the Ohio Department of Commerce will take the case and not ask a single thing about immigration status.  Otherwise we might find ourselves in a situation where employers routinely rob wages from their workers, and no one wants that.

The Mexican guy also told him that he wouldn’t get Worker’s Comp, it would be thrown out because he’s here illegally and doesn’t have any rights.  Not true.  His medical bills are now being paid through Worker’s Comp, and he’ll get some compensation for the time he’s been unable to work.

The other reason the Mexican guy said he’d lose his case was that the owner had better lawyers.  The Worker’s Comp attorney laughed when I translated this.  “He could hire Johnnie Cochran and F. Lee Bailey from the grave, and that wouldn’t change the fact that this guy’s an employee who got hurt on the job.”

Not too many people want a system in which employers cut corners on safety because they know they won’t be responsible when workers get hurt, either.

 

Paul Breidenbach

Labor-Community Mobilization Coordinator

 

Teen Vogue labor columnist and Writers Guild of America, East, (WGAE) council member Kim Kelly on “State Of The Unions”

“State of the Unions” co-hosts Julie Greene and Tim Schlittner wanted to be sure you got the chance to listen to their newest episode, an interview with Teen Vogue labor columnist and Writers Guild of America, East, (WGAE) council member Kim Kelly.

Listen to the new episode here.

We had the opportunity to discuss so many things with Kim. From her Teen Vogue column and forming a union at Vice Media to growing up in rural New Jersey and her desire for young people to challenge capitalism in today’s economy.

We need your help to make “State of the Unions” a success. Make sure to share with your friends and colleagues, and subscribe so you’ll know when we release the next episode.

In Solidarity,

Julie
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Julie Greene
Mobilization Director, AFL-CIO
Co-Host, “State of the Unions” Podcast