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This Labor Day, Working Families Join Together to Change a Rigged System

New AFL-CIO Labor Day Report Shows Working People are Working More and Taking Fewer Vacation Days  

View Report Here: https://aflcio.org/reports/laboring-labor-day

(Washington, DC) – This Labor Day working families across the nation are participating in hundreds of events to commemorate the achievements of workers and to confront a rigged system that has favored CEOs and corporations for decades.

More than 200 events are taking place today, from barbecues to parades, where thousands of working people are massing to celebrate work, and urge elected officials to restore the freedom to join together and negotiate for better wages, benefits and time to spend with their families.

In Cleveland, families are gathering in a parade and picnic. In downtown Philadelphia, more than 5,000 people are expected to attend the 30th Annual Tri-State Labor Day Parade and Family Celebration, while across the state in Pittsburgh, working families are marching through the downtown area and in nearby northwestern Pennsylvania towns. Working people in Detroit are joining in the “Rise Up Unions—Fight for Your Rights” parade.

In addition, in Milwaukee more than 4,000 working people and their families will join under the theme “Stand Together, Stand Strong: Join the Fight for Workers’ Rights.” The day’s activities include a Labor Day parade followed by a festival (Laborfest), with local labor and community leaders on the bill.

“Labor Day is an opportunity to both recognize the achievements of working people and identify areas for improvement,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Today, work and time off are badly out of balance. More people are working more holidays, taking fewer vacations and bringing more work home at night. This means less freedom—freedom to take time off when you or a loved one gets sick, rest and recharge after giving birth, attend your child’s recital or sporting event, or just catch up on some household chores.”

A poll released by Gallup last week showed 61% of adults surveyed approved of labor unions—the highest percentage since 2003. According to this poll, most respondents would like unions to have greater influence. This could be the result of the continuous erosion of wages and rights, including paid time off, as outlined in a Labor Day report commissioned by the AFL-CIO.

The federation’s report found that while 78% of workers say they have the day off on Labor Day, more than a quarter of those people expect to do some work, and more than half of those working will not receive overtime benefits. More than half of Americans surveyed said they were working more holidays and weekends than ever, and 43% said they brought work home at least one night a week.

Union members are more likely to receive Labor Day off and overtime pay compared with their nonunion counterparts. Sixty-six percent of union members receive overtime pay on Labor Day, compared with 38% of nonunion members. Women, often the primary caregivers in their families, are less likely than men to report access to paid time off—68% vs. 74%.

“Whether it’s raising wages, paid leave, gender and racial equality or simply the freedom to negotiate for a better life, unions are needed now more than ever,” Trumka said. “We can help deliver the economic rules working people are hungry for. That’s our focus and mission this Labor Day and beyond.”

Shea-Porter Calls for Congress to Remain In Session and Work on Jobs Bills


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives asking Congress to extend its current session in order to end sequestration and pass job-creating legislation. On August 2rd, the House is scheduled to leave for summer recess for over a month before returning in September.

Shea-Porter criticized Congress’ inability to pass legislation that grows the economy and strengthens the middle class.

We did not pass a single jobs bill, not one,” Shea-Porter said.

It’s been 212 days since the start of the 113th Congress. Only 22 bills have been signed into law, and none are jobs bills or legislation to replace the devastating cuts of sequestration.

A CNN analysis shows Congress has spent less time on Capitol Hill so far this year than in any of the previous five years.

“Congress is not coming back until September. Did we get everything done? No, we did not…I urge Congress to stay here. I urge the Speaker to call us back and make us do the job the American people sent us here to do,” Shea-Porter said.

Outrageous; Congress Leaves Town While Budget Cuts Are Loom Over Americans

Absolutely Outrageous!

With the entire economy hanging in the balance from yet another manufactured crisis from Washington, Congress goes on vacation.  This is just hours after Senate Democrats introduced a bill that would be 50-50 spending cuts and revenue increases.  $60 Billion dollars in new revenue would be gained just by closing tax loopholes.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., slammed for GOP leadership for putting the House in recess for a week before voting on the plan.

“We don’t think there’s any time to waste,” she said yesterday. “Every minute counts, and it’s really hard to explain to the American people [that] tomorrow we’ll be leaving for more than a week when a deadline is looming. Sequester is out of the question.”

Millions of jobs hang in the balance as the dreaded sequestration cuts are set to take effect on March 1st.   An Air Traffic Controller from New Hampshire fears that sequestration would mean 14-30 days off.

“The (FAA) administrator said furloughs would be applied to all employees, a minimum of one per pay period and not to exceed two through the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30. By my calculation, that is 14 or 15 pay periods for a potential of being furloughed 14-30 days.”

In a recent press release from the Association of Government Employees explained how these budget cuts would effect seniors and have a direct impact on their Social Security.

“If sequestration is allowed to go into effect”, said AFGE Council President Witold Skwiercznski, “applicants and beneficiaries will have more difficulty getting answers to their questions and confidence in the Social Security system’s ability to function effectively will erode.  Lawmakers need to wake up and know that further cuts at SSA cannot be sustained”.

SSA expects to lose an additional 2,000 employees in FY 2013, which means the agency will lose a total of more than 9,000 federal and state employees from FY 2011 through FY 2013.  SSA will have approximately the same number of employees in FY 2013 as it did in FY 2007, even though workloads have increased dramatically with retirement and survivor claims up 30 percent, and disability claims up 25 percent.

President Obama issued a warning of what these cuts would mean for working families in his weekly address.

“If the sequester is allowed to go forward, thousands of Americans who work in fields like national security, education or clean energy are likely to be laid off.  Firefighters and food inspectors could also find themselves out of work – leaving our communities vulnerable.  Programs like Head Start would be cut, and lifesaving research into diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s could be scaled back.  Small businesses could be prevented from getting the resources and support they need to keep their doors open.  People with disabilities who are waiting for their benefits could be forced to wait even longer.  All our economic progress could be put at risk.”
(see all the areas that would be effected by sequestration cuts in the White House fact sheet)

In an obvious statement of disgust, Rep Annie Kuster sent out this tweet.

If sequestration is so damaging then why is Congress not spending every second to stop it? Why would they go into a recess with less than 15 days to resolve their differences.

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