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Labor Reacts to Selection of Tim Kaine


Richard Trumka photo by Ben Wikler via Flickr Creative Commons

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

“The AFL-CIO supports Hillary Clinton’s selection of Tim Kaine as her running mate. Tim Kaine is the son of an ironworker and a teacher, and is grounded in the values of working people.

“He has a strong record on workers’ issues, ranging from raising the minimum wage to securing equal pay for equal work.  He has always been a strong leader and will be an asset to the ticket. He is moral and honest and true to the values he espouses. Clinton – Kaine is a winner for America.”

Mary Kay Henry by The Leadership Conference via Flickr Creative Commons

Mary Kay Henry photo by The Leadership Conference via Flickr Creative Commons

SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry:

“For working families, the 2016 election is the most consequential of our lifetimes. The stakes couldn’t be higher – nor the contrast starker – on all of the issues our families need to get ahead. In choosing Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton has tapped as her running mate the right partner to move our country forward and build a better future for all families by rebalancing our economy and democracy to work for everyone, not just greedy corporations and wealthy special interests.

“Tim Kaine is an experienced leader with a proven track record on issues from raising wages to immigration reform and racial justice. He has voted and fought for higher wages, and ensured home care workers had the ability to stand together in a union. His Senate record shows that working families have been his priority as he has worked to expand child care, protect voting rights, address mass incarceration, preserve the Affordable Care Act, and promote opportunities for women and immigrants. He was the first person ever to deliver a speech on the Senate floor entirely in Spanish, and it was to demand action on commonsense immigration reform with a path to citizenship.

“Above all, we know what is in Tim Kaine’s heart. He is someone who is the son of an ironworker and a teacher, who served as a Catholic missionary, whose first case out of law school was representing at no cost a Black woman who had been the victim of housing discrimination. Tim Kaine’s convictions are rooted in justice for all.

“Together, Clinton and Kaine will stand with working families who have come together in the broadest modern grassroots movement to raise wages and protect opportunities for people to join together in 21st-century unions; increase access to affordable care for our children and aging parents; and advance racial, immigrant and environmental justice for all communities across our country.  SEIU members will continue to come out in record numbers across the country to elect Clinton and Kaine as the next president and vice president of the United States.”

Randi Weingarten

Randi Weingarten

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten:

“The choice of Tim Kaine, the son of a welder who has lived middle-class values and has a long track record of progressive accomplishments, reiterates Hillary Clinton’s commitment to building a government that will level the playing field for working families. While the GOP ticket masks irrational ideas behind a morally bankrupt message of fear, bigotry and hatred, a Clinton-Kaine ticket will be focused on helping people see higher wages, lower student debt, good jobs, successful public schools, and safety and security here and abroad.

“The contrasts between a Clinton-Kaine ticket and a Trump-Pence ticket couldn’t be more stark. Donald Trump, the narcissist, believes that he alone can fix our nation’s problems and peddles fear in a campaign devoid of facts, plans or humanity. Clinton and Kaine choose to confront fear and solve problems, and they will use their vast experience to help ensure the American dream is within reach for everyone.

“Strong public education runs deep in the Kaine household. In the U.S. Senate, he took the lead on supporting career and technical education programs in the new federal education law, and he has fought for funding to modernize public school buildings. And as Virginia’s governor, he expanded pre-K programs by 40 percent. His wife, Anne Holton, has been dedicated to fighting for great public schools for decades—she helped integrate Richmond, Va., public schools as a child and today is Virginia’s secretary of education.

“Our nation and the world can feel confident that the Clinton-Kaine ticket will be a great leadership team that will work to break down walls, disarm hate, and make educational and economic opportunity a reality.”

Labor Leaders Applaud Supreme Court Nomination, Demand Senators #DoYourJob

Supreme Court of the US (Image Mark Fischer Flickr)

Supreme Court of the US (Image Mark Fischer Flickr)

Today, President Obama announced Merrick Garland as his nominee to replace Justice Scalia on the Supreme Court.

“Merrick Garland, the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, has more federal judicial experience than any other Supreme Court nominee in history. No one is better suited to immediately serve on the Supreme Court,” said Obama.

Chief Judge Garland was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit 76-23, with majority support from both Republicans and Democrats. He has served for 19 years on that court – often considered the most important appellate court in the nation.

Labor leaders were quick to applaud Obama’s nomination and condemn the Republican senators who have vowed to block this nomination for eleven months until a new President is inaugurated.

“Chief Judge Merrick Garland of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit brings impeccable credentials and deep experience to this nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. “Judge Garland’s career shows a deep commitment to public service and to the rule of law. These qualities are why he was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit 19 years ago by a bipartisan majority and with the strong support of then Judiciary Committee chairman Orrin Hatch. Judge Garland is a superbly qualified nominee who deserves prompt consideration and confirmation by the United States Senate. Working people deserve and expect no less.”

American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. is also calling on the Senate to hold a nomination hearing and vote on President Obama’s selection for the U.S. Supreme Court.

“President Obama has done his job by nominating his choice to fill the vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Now the U.S. Senate needs to do its job and fulfill its Constitutional responsibility by swiftly holding a hearing and vote on the nomination,” Cox said.

“There are too many pressing issues facing the court to allow a vacancy to linger until after the November presidential election. President Obama is the commander in chief until Jan. 20, 2017, and he is responsible for carrying out the duties of the office until his successor has been elected and sworn in.”

“Likewise, the 100 members of the U.S. Senate have a responsibility to do the job that the American people elected them to do. And that includes considering all of the president’s nominations to vacant positions in the executive and judicial branches.”

“The American people expect our elected leaders to do their job. Anything less is obstructionist and a miscarriage of justice.”

Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, also had some harsh words for these Senators who plan to obstruct Garland’s nomination.

“As we teach high school government students, the Constitution is crystal clear about what to do when there’s a Supreme Court vacancy: The president of the United States nominates a candidate for the bench, and the Senate provides advice and consent.

“The Constitution does not say the president shall nominate a justice—unless it is the fourth year of his term. Six times since 1900, the president has put forth a nominee during the final year of his term. All six—as well as Anthony Kennedy, who was nominated in November 1987 and confirmed in 1988—were given hearings and nearly all received an up-or-down vote.

“For the last seven years, Senate Republicans have attempted to block President Obama at every turn, with no regard for the damage they inflicted on American families. Their stubborn refusal to consider a nominee puts politics over responsibility and, in so doing, dishonors our Constitution. The people of their states elected them to do a job. They swore an oath to uphold the Constitution. They are doing neither of those things.

“So I have a simple message to Mitch McConnell, Chuck Grassley, and other senators who say they will not even schedule a hearing. Working people across America get up every day and do our jobs. We expect the same from our United States senators. Do. Your. Job.”

Every case that is heard by the Supreme Court could have long lasting effects on our judicial system. It is imperative that we have nine justice’s sitting in the Supreme Court.

Demand that all of our elected representatives in the Senate do their job.


AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Blasts Trump As An Anti-American Bigot

(Fort Lauderdale, Florida – March 3, 2016) – In a speech today to the Plasterer’s and Cement Workers union (OPCMIA), AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka challenged Donald Trump’s appeal to working class voters:

Trumka said:

Richard_TrumkaWe must come together to elect a president who will raise wages, so working people can build better lives…

That is the choice we face in this presidential election.

On the one hand, Republican candidates have used some of the ugliest, most racist and destructive language I have heard in my lifetime… 

On the other hand, the Democratic candidates have engaged in a substantive and vigorous debate about how best to raise wages.

Donald Trump is tapping into the very real and very understandable anger of working people. 

A majority of people in this country are living paycheck to paycheck.  It’s a precarious way to live…

Listen, I know real down-home talk when I hear it, and I know a load of baloney and bluster, too, and I don’t think I have to tell you that Trump is full of baloney and bluster.

He is also a bigot.  From his anti-American proposal to ban Muslims to his horrendous comments about women and immigrants, Trump is running on hate.  It seems the only group he won’t criticize is the KKK.

Those statements and positions are bad enough.  But what’s getting less attention is how Donald Trump really feels about working people…

First, Trump loves right to work.  He said it is “better for the people” and his position is “100 percent.”  Meanwhile, he is fighting tooth and nail against workers at his hotel in Las Vegas. 

Second, Trump was a major financial backer of Scott Walker and says he admired the way Walker took on public unions in Wisconsin.

Finally, and most disturbingly, Trump says our wages are already too high.  Can you believe that?  Trump is advocating the polar opposite of our raising wages agenda.

You see, Trump says he’s with the American working class, but when you look close, it’s just hot air.

For the full speech click here: http://www.aflcio.org/Press-Room/Speeches/At-the-2016-OPCMIA-West-Coast-Business-Managers-Meeting

Trumka To Senate Republicans: Do Your Job

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has some harsh words for Republicans who have vowed to obstruct the Constitution and block any Supreme Court nomination by President Obama until after the 2016 Presidential Election.

“The Supreme Court is not a game and the Constitution is not a toy,” stated Trumka in a press release earlier this week.

Trumka continued, “The stated intent of Senate Republican leaders to refuse consideration of a Supreme Court nominee is an appalling breach of their constitutional responsibilities.”

“At this time Republican leaders in and out of the Senate must act as U.S. leaders, regardless of party affiliation. The American people do not want them to politicize such a vital responsibility. They want them to carry out their constitutional duty to their country.”

In the video Trumka says it is time for Republicans to “Do Your Job.”

“We don’t just do the parts of the job that we like. Or only work with people we like.  Or choose when to show up on the job.”

Failure to appoint a new Supreme Court Justice could send the national into legal chaos. If the Supreme Court ends up in a deadlocked tie, 4-4, then the lower courts ruling would stand.  In the case of Friedrichs v California Teachers Association this would mean that the California Supreme Court ruling against Friedrichs would stand.

The same thing could happen if the court ends in a tie over the constitutionality of President Obama’s Executive Order stopping deportations, the Texas Supreme Court unconstitutional ruling would stand.

The chaos comes when two different lower court districts have challenged the same law and has resulted in two different rulings.  This would mean that what is constitutional in California would be deemed unconstitutional in Texas.

We need to fill the vacancy left by the untimely death of Antonin Scalia as soon as possible. The US Senate has a duty to vet nominees quickly so the Supreme Court can do it’s job.

It is time for the Senate to #DoYourJob.


AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka To Demand An End To Deportations At Pasadena’s Worker Center

(Photo by Bill Burke, Page One Photography)

(Photo by Bill Burke, Page One Photography)

During the event, day laborers, elected officials and immigrant and community leaders will highlight how failed enforcement policies undermine workers’ rights  

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka will be at a worker center in Pasadena, Calif., today where he will oppose the ongoing deportations that undermine family unity and weaken rights for all workers. He will be joined by Los Angeles Labor Federation of Labor President Rusty Hicks; Pasadena City Mayor, Terry Tornek; Pasadena Councilmember, District 5, Victor Gordo; California State Labor Commissioner, Julie Su; and dozens of day laborers and workers who will share their experiences as immigrant workers.

During the event President Trumka plans to deliver the following remarks [Excerpts]:

“America’s deportation crisis is a bipartisan failure. 

“And I could not come here today without saying how disappointed I am with the Obama Administration’s recent decision to send women and children back to dangerous Central American nations.

“I have an enormous amount of respect and admiration for President Obama, yet the plague of immigration raids in America is nothing less than a travesty.  A human travesty.

“All over our country, those who fled violence and poverty to come here for a better life are being forced to live in fear.  This is wrong and today we say once again: stop the era of deportations!

“It’s time for us to ramp up the pressure on our elected leaders.  Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with America’s labor movement and our allies, we are going to protect all working people.

“We demand an end to deportations and safe haven for workers who speak up on the job.

“We call on the Supreme Court to give DAPA and DACA the green light.  But no matter what the justices decide, we will keep mobilizing and keep organizing.

“We shouldn’t be building walls.  We should be building bridges—to security and prosperity and a better life.

“The future of immigrant workers is not in detention centers.  It’s in worker centers like this one.

“So brothers and sisters, continue to stand up when your communities are under attack.  Your bravery is inspiring.  Your courage lifts us all.”

Richard Trumka Takes On Donald Trump’s Racist Hate Filled Campaign

Working families deserve better than a campaign fueled by fear and hatred.

Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, has some straight forward talk about Donald Trump’s campaign that divides workers, attacks immigrants and people of color.

From his initial campaign announcement, Trump’s campaign has been focused on immigrants and people of color.  He referred to Mexican’s as “rapists” and “drug dealers” and wants to build a wall across our southern border to keep people out. Trump spews hatred like an erupting volcano.

Trump’s campaign stops have been riddled with violent acts against people of color for speaking out against Trump’s fear mongering and oppressive ideas.

Recently Trump said that workers wages are “too high.” I would expect nothing less from a greedy capitalist who has been taking advantage of working men and women his entire career.

Too many Americans are struggling to make ends meet. Many are working 50 or 60 hours a week between two and three jobs and still one-in-four children are food insecure.  Trump makes more in one minute ($434) than a minimum wage earner makes in an entire week.

Listen to the strong warning offered by Trumka, the son of an Italian and Polish immigrant family, about how America deserves better than Donald Trump.

Video Link

Labor Continues Fight for Justice for all Immigrant Working Families

(Photo by Bill Burke, Page One Photography)

(Photo by Bill Burke, Page One Photography)

A year after the executive action on immigration,
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued the following statement:

Today should have been a day of celebration for working families across the nation. Instead, thanks to partisan legal obstructionism of the DAPA and expanded DACA policies, millions of people continue to live and work in fear in our country. Nonetheless, we continue to press forward.

This year working people have been standing together to fight for just wages and fair treatment in communities across the country. Millions of workers of all immigration statuses have been negotiating with a collective voice for a better life; and we have seen how labor unions have embraced the Adelante! We Rise! campaign by opening their halls to empower immigrant working families.  Our movement, including community allies and worker centers, is more energized than ever.

Right now, the Texas AFL-CIO and the Workers Defense Project are holding a three day pilgrimage to Austin to remind the nation that in Texas immigrant families are a vibrant part of the community and that they refuse to remain in the shadows. Our movement has been at the forefront of a wide range of issues related to bettering conditions for workers and their families. Last week the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, the National Day Labor Organizing Network and community groups gathered outside Los Angeles’ downtown immigrant detention center to honor all the families that have suffered unnecessary separations as a result of our nation’s broken immigration system. 

The AFL-CIO was pleased to see the Administration file a formal request today for the Supreme Court to hear the case on DAPA and expanded DACA.  We remain deeply committed to ensuring that the promise of these programs to improve the lives of millions of working people is realized, and we intend to make our support clear in the streets, at the polls, and to the Court directly.

Meanwhile, we will press forward in the struggle for equal rights for all working people. Roadblocks test our determination, but we will not rest until families can remain united and all working people are treated with respect and dignity.

AFL-CIO President Trumka Addresses The NH Raising Wages Summit

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka NH Raising Wages Summit Image by Matt Murray

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
NH Raising Wages Summit
Image by Matt Murray

We are going to stand united and defeat the TPP so we can start investing in working men and women again,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka at the Raising Wages Summit in Concord, NH.

The New Hampshire Raising Wages Summit is the second of four planned summits to bring attention to the fact that working families have not seen a real raise in years, if not decades.  The minimum wage has been stagnant for far to long, and the median wage in this country continues to fall.

“Raising wages is what we’re all about. It’s good for working families and the nation. And it comes from activism and the collective voice. This agenda is about much more than wages, though. It’s about—the opportunity to work for a better life. It’s a philosophy, a vision, and a plan all rolled into one. It starts with the absolute truth that we should be decently paid for the work we do. No one should make less than the minimum wage, everyone should make a living wage, and collective bargaining should be available for all workers,” said Trumka.

The AFL-CIO chose New Hampshire because we have a very unique opportunity to meet and talk with the next President of the United States.  Being the First in the Nation primary state allows us unprecedented access to candidates and the media following them around like lap dogs.

We have a responsibility to put real pressure on these candidates and ask them, “What are you going to do to raise the wages for working families?”

The Raising Wages Summit was not only about raising the minimum wage but for pushing back against policies like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, that will harm working families.

“On Thursday, after six long years, the Obama Administration finally released the text of the TPP. To our disappointment but not our surprise, it is a bad deal for workers. It would drive down wages, kill jobs, give corporations special rights, hurt consumers, and jeopardize the public health,” said Trumka.

The fight over the TPP was almost over when labor activist came within three votes of killing the “fast-track authority” in Congress.  Now the text of the TPP has been released and Congress must decide to accept or reject it once and for all.

“The release of the TPP text confirmed our worst suspicions—this deal would be a disaster for America. So brothers and sisters, we are going to continue to make our voices heard. We are going to fight like hell against the TPP. And when it comes up for a vote, we are going to kill this bad trade deal once and for all,” Trumka stated.

“We are going to stand united and defeat the TPP so we can start investing in working men and women again,” said Trumka

Below is the full video of President Trumka’s speech and the text as prepared.


Full Remarks by Richard Trumka, as prepared for delivery

Good morning brothers and sisters. It is great to be back in New Hampshire. There is something extra special about coming here during the political season. There is a buzz in the air. Fall, football, and the New Hampshire primary. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Voters in New Hampshire don’t rely on debates or television interviews to get to know the presidential candidates. You interact with them one on one—in town halls and diners and often in your own living room. New Hampshire plays a unique role in choosing our next president. What an awesome responsibility.

So I thought I’d talk today about the state of the labor movement, the role we are playing in this election, and why that role is so important.

In January, the AFL-CIO hosted a national summit to launch an agenda for shared prosperity called Raising Wages.

Raising wages is what we’re all about. It’s good for working families and the nation. And it comes from activism and the collective voice.

This agenda is about much more than wages, though. It’s about—the opportunity to work for a better life. It’s a philosophy, a vision, and a plan all rolled into one. It starts with the absolute truth that we should be decently paid for the work we do. No one should make less than the minimum wage, everyone should make a living wage, and collective bargaining should be available for all workers. But it goes far broader and deeper than that.

Raising wages means trade policies that lift incomes in America and around the world. It means modern labor laws that give everyone who works a real opportunity to bargain for higher wages without fear. It means allowing workers to demand and win paid time off and fair schedules so we can sustain healthy families.

Now those of you who have worked in Washington know that summits and conferences happen all the time. More often than not, after the last speech is given and the lights are turned off, people go back to business as usual. Not this time. Our national summit was a beginning, not an end. We created an agenda—a standard by which all things would be measured. We also scheduled 4 regional summits in the early campaign states. We previously had one in Iowa and will bring our message to Nevada and South Carolina in the coming months.

We knew this time had to be different for two important reasons.

First, labor is under attack like never before. The corporate right-wing and their allies are waging the most sophisticated anti-worker campaign we have ever seen. They are holding down our pay. On purpose. They are coming after us in all 50 states. In city halls and state legislatures. In Congress and even at the Supreme Court.

So we need allies. Allies like Governor Maggie Hassan. The 2014 election was a tough one for working families. But we were proud to come together and re-elect Governor Hassan. Under her leadership, New Hampshire had more economic growth last year than any other state in New England. Governor Hassan understands that we must invest in infrastructure, education, and most of all, working men and women. She pushed through the Paycheck Fairness Act to guarantee women equal pay for equal work. She successfully worked to freeze college tuition for New Hampshire students. She has been a champion of a living wage. And she has stood strong against efforts to pass right to work in New Hampshire.

Governor Hassan also knows that our trade policies should export American products, not American jobs.

That brings me to the second reason we couldn’t settle for the status quo after our national summit: fast track.

The truth is unfair trade deals have ripped apart the fabric of our nation. You know it and I know it. We’ve seen the shuttered factories. We’ve visited the towns that look like they are stuck in the 1970s. We’ve talked to the workers who lost everything, only to be told they should retrain in another field. That’s why we fought so hard against fast track. We were fighting for the future of the American Dream.

The work you did and the solidarity you showed was an inspiration. Your letters, your phone calls, your e-mails, and most of all your energy, helped moved the dial. It was a sight to see.

In the end we came up just a few votes short, but we changed the trade debate forever. The Wall Street and Washington elite thought the Trans-Pacific Partnership was a slam dunk, but we have slowed down the entire process.

On Thursday, after six long years, the Obama Administration finally released the text of the TPP. To our disappointment but not our surprise, it is a bad deal for workers. It would drive down wages, kill jobs, give corporations special rights, hurt consumers, and jeopardize the public health.

The release of the TPP text confirmed our worst suspicions—this deal would be a disaster for America. So brothers and sisters, we are going to continue to make our voices heard. We are going to fight like hell against the TPP. And when it comes up for a vote, we are going to kill this bad trade deal once and for all.

Just as the Raising Wages agenda is about more than wages, the fast track fight was about more than trade.

Fast track was a symbol of an economy out of balance—a set of rules written by and for big corporations.

So the debate raised a fundamental question: do we want to be a nation that values work, community, investment, and productivity?

Or will we continue to reward wealth, profit, monopoly, and inequality?

Brothers and sisters, we may have lost the vote. But we won the debate. We changed the conversation in America. We can raise wages!

We see it in new worker organizing in manufacturing, construction, retail, and fast food.

We see it in 5 million union workers are speaking up together, the biggest year for collective bargaining in American history.

We see it in a recent Gallup poll that shows support for unions at a 7-year high. And we see it in the 2016 presidential campaign.

I don’t know about you but I thought the first Democratic debate was one of the best I have ever seen. Here are just a few of the highlights.

Hillary Clinton came out against the TPP and emphasized the words “raising wages.”

Bernie Sanders decried the “casino capitalist process.”

Martin O’Malley talked about passing a living wage and investing in infrastructure in Maryland.

Make no mistake, labor is influencing the debate. We are setting the terms and conditions of this election.

We have said all along that the presidential candidates must explain what they will do to make our economy fairer for working families. That’s what we insisted on at our national summit in January, and that’s what you are demanding here in New Hampshire today.

We have also been crystal clear that we do not work for any political party or candidate. We work for working people, plain and simple, because we want the freedom to live better lives, to take care of our families and to improve our jobs and our communities.

Brothers and sisters, for too long we’ve worked for the Democratic Party. In this election, we’re making the Democratic Party work for us.

Heck, even last week’s Republican debate included a discussion about inequality.

It is clear we are part of a powerful movement at an historic time and you are on the front lines. It starts with us and it starts here in New Hampshire.

We’re building collective power in the workplace, in the economy and in politics.

From now until the New Hampshire primary and beyond, we need to keep up the pressure.

We need to keep shaping the debate and making our voices heard.

We have a message for all the presidential candidates and anyone else who will listen.

We are going to do everything in our power to raise wages.

We are going to join together for good pay, great benefits and safe workplaces.

We are going to fight to guarantee women are paid one hundred cents on the dollar.

We are going to push for policies that make it easier to form a union and bargain collectively, and harder for employers to deny us those rights.

We are going to stand united and defeat the TPP so we can start investing in working men and women again.

And we are going to spend every single day building an America of shared prosperity that gives every one of us the opportunity for a better life.

Thank you! God bless you, and the work you do!

Raising The Minimum Wage Is Long Overdue

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I used to say, “It is time to raise the minimum wage.” However that moment has passed and we are seriously behind the 8-ball. We must raise the minimum wage now to help the millions nation-wide who are suffering through life, in poverty, working 40,50, even 60 hours a week.

Right now the National Minimum Wage law is set at $7.25 an hour, and that is completely unacceptable. People are working more hours now than at any point in our history and yet they are still losing ground as Congress and our State Legislatures fail to increase the minimum wage.

Just look at this image from the Economic Policy Institute that shows if the minimum wage would have kept up with productivity they would be earning over $18.00 an hour.


Over 50,000 Granite Staters are earning at or below the Federal Minimum Wage, yet our Republican controlled Senate refuses to raise the NH Minimum Wage.

The economists at MIT calculated what a “living wage” would be in New Hampshire and the results are staggering. A single worker would need to earn $11.51 an hour. If your break that down to todays numbers that is almost 60 hours a week at $7.25 an hour. But it gets much worse. A single parent working would need to earn $24.66 an hour. That equates to about 137 hours a week at minimum wage. Considering there is only 168 in a week, that would leave a whopping 31 hours a week to sleep, raise their child, cook, clean, grocery shop, and whatever else needs to be done.

I know what your thinking, “the minimum wage is for teenagers and part-time employees.” You would be half right, because the majority of these workers are considered part time, not because they do not want to work full time, but because their employer refuses to make them full time to avoid having to pay for any healthcare or retirement options.

As for being only teenagers, yes teenagers make up a quarter (24%) of the minimum wage workforce, but how many of these teenagers are working at Dunkin Donuts at 8 am on a Tuesday? Not many because most of them are still in school.

The fact is that another 25% of minimum wage workers are between 20-24 and 50% of minimum wage workers are over 25. In 2013 it was reported that 27.9% of those effected by raising the minimum wage to $10.10, are parents raising at least one child.

It is time to take action. The New Hampshire AFL-CIO will be hosting a “Raising Wages Summit” with special guest speaker, Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO.

Raising Wages SummitThe summit will include information sessions and workshops designed to expand your knowledge of who is effected by raising the minimum wage, how to talk to legislators (and your crazy Uncle Joe) about why it is important to raising the minimum wage, and to start building a coalition of activists who will stand up for working families here in the Granite State.

The Raising Wages Summit will be held at the IBEW 490 Hall, 48 Airport Road, Concord, NH, on Saturday November 7th, from 9:30a-1:30p.

(More information can be found on the NH AFL-CIO’s Facebook event, or by contacting Judy Stadtman at the New Hampshire AFL-CIO, (603) 632-7302 x19 or email 2015wagesummit@nhaflcio.org.)

Labor And The Church Share Many Of The Same Progressive Values

Pope Francis (republic of Korea FLIKR)There has always been a strong relationship between the church and labor. The church teaches us to help feed the needed, pay your workers well, and not to fall victim to vanity and greed.

Here are just a few of the hundreds of examples in the Bible:

“Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”
Luke 3:11

“If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother.”
Deuteronomy 15:7

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
1 Timothy 6:10

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

The teachings of the Bible are simple, help and love your fellow man, and you will be blessed.

Social justice is the bedrock of the labor movement. Fighting for equal pay for equal work regardless of skin color, gender, or sexual preference. Fighting to ensure that everyone earns an honest wage for the work they do. In short, standing together to help all mankind.

So why are conservatives freaking out over the Pope addressing a joint session of Congress?

There is no denying that the political right believes they own the monopoly on religion. They preach the gospel and claim to be good Christians. The problem is that many of their party’s priorities do not fall in line what the Bible teaches and Pope Francis has been speaking out against the foundations of the Republican Party.

Pope Francis says greed ruins society.

The earth, entire peoples and individual persons are being brutally punished. And behind all this pain, death and destruction there is the stench of what Basil of Caesarea called “the dung of the devil.” An unfettered pursuit of money rules. The service of the common good is left behind. Once capital becomes an idol and guides people’s decisions, once greed for money presides over the entire socioeconomic system, it ruins society, it condemns and enslaves men and women, it destroys human fraternity, it sets people against one another and, as we clearly see, it even puts at risk our common home.
Pope Francis.

Recently the Pope has come out and said the church should forgive women who had abortions, in support of LBGT rights, that women should be paid equally, and even went as far to say that the church should pay taxes like everyone else.

“If someone is gay and searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”
Pope Francis.

“Why should it be taken for granted that women must earn less than men? The disparity is pure scandal. The witness of the social dignity of marriage shall become persuasive, precisely by this way: the way of witness that attracts.”
Pope Francis.

Many are looking forward to the Pope’s arrival including Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO.

“Pope Francis’ arrival is a watershed moment for working people in the United States and an opportunity for every American, regardless of faith, to reexamine the values that drive us as a country. His message of inclusion, economic justice, and social progress transcends party and represents the best of humanity,” said Trumka.

“Working people stand with Pope Francis and look forward to welcoming him to the United States, as he puts forward an agenda that lifts spirits and wages,” added Trumka.

So again I will ask, why does the Pope’s visits scare conservatives? Because he is bringing a message of social progress, that is unheard of on the political right. He is also empowering many of the leaders in the church to speak out against the oppressive right wing policies.

Recently the Archbishop of Chicago spoke out against Right To Work and the demonizing of workers. “I have come today to tell Chicago workers the Catholic Church is with you,” said Archbishop Cupich. “You put your faith into action… You are Catholic social teaching at work.”

“History has shown that we’re better off when the rights of workers (are) protected,” said Cupich.

It is good to finally see organized religion using their immense power and influence to effect positive change in the world.

Be sure to check out this great collection of progressive quotes from Pope Francis at Addicting Info.


Below is the entire speech from Archbishop Cupich.  If you have not seen it, you should check it out.

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