In the Wake of Sandy, Books
The AFT and First Book—a nonprofit that has distributed more than 90 million new books to children across the United States—have joined forces with New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) to help encourage a culture of reading for low-income and middle-class students.
This video features AFT’s team-up with First Book to place books in the homes of the children of Freeport, N.Y., a community devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
After 45 years of driving a cab in New York City, Beresford Simmons says the emergence of the National Taxi Workers Alliance in the past few years is helping his family and those of other drivers reach the middle class. Simmons’ story is one of three illustrating that unions make the middle class strong, giving workers a voice in our economy, portrayed in a trio of new videos by the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
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AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka released the following statement in response to the Senate Judiciary Committee's immigration bill: Today brings to mind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s wise and hopeful words, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” More than 11 million aspiring Americans took a big step toward becoming citizens today with the bipartisan Senate Judiciary Committee vote. That reflects an enormous step toward healing an injustice, the deportation crisis that has wrecked families, communities and workplaces for far too long. Read more >>>
Wilma Liebman who served 14 years on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)—including chairwoman from 2009–2011—says, “Appointments to the NLRB have been a political battleground for decades.” But, in a column in Politico, she says the current attack on the NLRB is the most vicious since the board was created in the 1930s. Read more >>>
Writing Across Borders
After her husband was murdered while working as a journalist in the Philippines, Marivir Montebon arrived in the United States seeking political asylum with the hope of finding a better, safer life for herself, and for her daughter who arrived two years later.
“I always thought of a green card as a second birth certificate—a second life,” Montebon says.
When she presents at the Writing Across Borders Conference in New York on June 1, Montebon will join other women and people of color on a panel to tell their stories about escaping abuse, oppression and the legacy of slavery. See more.
Leading up to the AFL-CIO convention in September 2013, the AFL-CIO is hosting a crucial conversation about the future of working people and of unions—in union halls and online at www.aflcio2013.org.
Rana Plaza, the Bangladesh factory that collapsed three weeks ago, killed more than 1,100 workers, many of them young women. This tragedy adds to the more than 1500 Bangladeshi workers killed in preventable fires and building collapses since 2005. Documents found at the factory show that the workers produced for big names in global retail revealing the link between poor workers in Bangladesh and major retail brands.Obviously, the government must improve local laws and their enforcement to stop these tragedies, but brands must also take responsibility for their supply chains. They must be held accountable to the tragedy that happened in their supply chain. Read more >>>
AFL-CIO Now Blog -- Recent News Stories
Q&A with Saru Jayaraman
The partition that separates diners from the inner workings of the restaurant industry toppled for Saru Jayaraman shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Fekkak Mamdouh, one of the headwaiters of the restaurant housed on the top floor of the World Trade Center, approached Jayaraman seven months after the attacks. His former boss deemed him and his former crew “not experienced enough” to work in his new Times Square restaurant. Jayaraman, a 27-year-old organizer of immigrant women, took up the case to advocate for the displaced workers, organized protests and won—most of the workers were awarded the good jobs their former boss promised.
Jayaraman and Mamdouh formed Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United in April 2002 and were flooded with stories of workplace atrocities in New York City and, eventually, across the country. We spoke with Jayaraman earlier this month about her new book on the ills of the restaurant industry, Behind the Kitchen Door.
For Lapronda Eason and the other building service workers at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, the link to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.--who died in Memphis in 1968 advocating for the rights of city sanitation workers to form a union--is as real as the job they do every day.
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The time for immigration reform is now, says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. This will be a focus for labor in 2013 as the country needs to create a common-sense immigration process with a road map to citizenship. Read more >>>
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