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More Workers are Claiming ‘Wage Theft’
Even though Guadalupe Rangel often clocked 70 hours a week at the Schneider warehouse in Mira Loma, California, he was never paid time-and-a-half overtime, he said. And now, having joined a lawsuit involving hundreds of warehouse workers, Rangel stands to receive more than $20,000 in back pay as part of a recent $21 million legal settlement with Schneider, a national trucking company.


401(k) Breaches Undermining Retirement Security for Millions
A large and growing share of American workers are tapping their retirement savings accounts for non-retirement needs, raising broad questions about the effectiveness of one of the most important savings vehicles for old age.


A Vermont Senator Asks, Why Not a Socialist President?
Sanders is in Iowa hoping to make headlines. At 73 and famously gruff, he may be on one of the most quixotic adventures in American politics: In a country that just put Republicans in charge of Congress, he is testing whether Democrats will embrace a socialist for the White House in 2016.


AFL-CIO Seeks Political Alliance with Progressive Groups
As it kicks off its convention in Los Angeles this weekend, the 12-million-member AFL-CIO says it is aligning itself with progressive groups such as the NAACP, the Sierra Club and the National Council of La Raza to strengthen the left's political power. The effort aims to create a strong voice within the Democratic Party while at the same time restoring the power of labor in a country increasingly unfriendly to unions.


AFL-CIO: Journalists Debate Impact of Potential Koch Takeover of Tribune Newspapers
“What would happen if David and Charles Koch, the conservative billionaire brothers, bought the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun and other leading newspapers from the Tribune Co.?” writes Vineeta Anand in the AFL-CIO blog Now.


AFSCME: Support for ALEC Agenda Continues to Crumble
Google and several other high profile companies recently dropped their membership or support from the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). This is evidence that ALEC’s power to set the agenda in statehouses across the country is waning. That’s great news for working families.


At Last, Recovery Heads Where the Fed Wants It
Two indicators of economic health that the Fed and its chairwoman, Janet Yellen, have identified as keys to a stronger recovery -- modestly higher inflation and a more robust job market -- finally seem to be moving in the right direction, according to new data released by the government on Thursday. Data on producer prices showed a rise of 0.6 percent last month, an indication that demand for a number of basic goods is growing faster than economists expected.


BBC Documentary Shows Harsh Conditions for Workers in iPhone Factories
A video documentary about Chinese factories that assemble Apple products has refocused public attention on labor issues like excessive work hours.


Business Groups Alarmed by Rise of ‘Micro-Unions’
Business groups are sounding the alarm over decisions from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that they say would make it easier for small groups of people to create “micro-unions” in the workplace.


California Assembly Approves Hike in State's Minimum Wage
The Assembly passed a proposal Thursday to hike California's minimum wage from $8 to $9.25 an hour over the next three years and require future increases to keep pace with inflation.


Con Ed Curtails Services After Talks Break Down
As the city heads into a week of expected high temperatures that could strain the electricity grid, managers at the Consolidated Edison Company began settling into new roles on Sunday, doing the jobs of more than 8,000 unionized workers who were sent home after an early morning breakdown in contract negotiations prompted the company’s first labor lockout in decades.


Cowie: The Future of Fair Labor
“Seventy-five years ago [Monday], President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act to give a policy backbone to his belief that goods that were not produced under ‘rudimentary standards of decency’ should not be ‘allowed to pollute the channels of interstate trade,’” writes Jeffersin Cowie in The New York Times.


De Blasio Focuses on Inequality as He Courts Business Elite
Bill de Blasio delivered on Friday his most detailed blueprint yet for how he would reimagine New York as a more equitable and populist metropolis, even as he works diligently behind the scenes to send a subtler message to the city’s corporate titans: He is not their enemy.


Dignity: Fast-Food Workers and a New Form of Labor Activism
“For the customers, nothing has changed in the big, busy McDonald’s on Broadway at West 181st Street, in Washington Heights,” writes William Finnegan in The New Yorker.


Egan: Walmart, Starbucks, and the Fight Against Inequality
"For some time now, Republicans in Congress have given up the pretense of doing anything to improve the lot of most Americans," writes Timothy Egan in The New York Times. "Raising the minimum wage? They won’t even allow a vote to happen."


Essif: The Sub-Subminimum Wage: Is it Legal to Pay $2 an Hour?
“The first lawsuit to be filed against a crowdsourcing company for violation of minimum wage laws, Otey v CrowdFlower, was granted collective action certification on August 27 and will now represent CrowdFlower, Inc.’s army of workers -- whose numbers are estimated to be in the millions,” writes Amien Essif in In These Times.


Female Farmworkers Said to Face Rampant Harassment
Female farmworkers across the United States are commonly sexually harassed and assaulted, in part because their immigration status makes them fearful of calling police, according to a report released Wednesday by Human Rights Watch.


Fines Remain Rare Even as Health Data Breaches Multiply
In a string of meetings and press releases, the federal government’s health watchdogs have delivered a stern message: They are cracking down on insurers, hospitals and doctors offices that don’t adequately protect the security and privacy of medical records.


Gallup: Workers Feeling More Secure in Their Jobs
Fewer workers worry they will be laid off in the near future, according to a new Gallup poll. In fact, workers haven’t been this confident since the beginning of the Great Recession.


Healthcare Law Could Raise Non-Employer Provided Premiums 30%
About 5 million Californians got a first glimpse at what they might pay next year under the federal healthcare law. For many, that coverage will come with a hefty price tag. Compared with what individual policies cost now, premiums are expected to rise an average of 30% for many middle-income residents who don't get their insurance through their employers.


Hiltzik: After Waging War on Poverty for 50 Years, Let's Not Surrender
“Fifty years ago Wednesday, President Lyndon B. Johnson delivered what may have been the last genuinely uplifting State of the Union speech we've had,” writes Michael Hiltzik in The Los Angeles Times.


In Democratic Convention Speech, Obama Vows ‘Our Problems Can Be Solved’ -- With More Time
President Obama appealed to the nation Thursday night for another four years in office, asserting that his policies are slowly returning the country to economic prosperity while arguing that his Republican opponents would pursue a course that would set the country back and harm the well-being of middle-class families. Obama said the choice between him and Republican Mitt Romney represents the clearest in a generation, a choice between sharply contrasting visions and political philosophies. But after entering office in January 2009 amid outsized expectations, he cautioned that the path he offers may be hard but will lead to “a better place.”


In Nation’s Costliest Senate Race, GOP’s Brown, Dems’ Warren Make Final Appeals
Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown is casting himself as an independent Republican voice and Democratic rival Elizabeth Warren says she’ll guarantee women equal pay as the nation’s costliest Senate contest races toward an Election Day finale. But for all of the cash and careful messaging, the result could hinge on which campaign is better organized to turn out voters.


Judge Lets American Airlines Toss Out Its Pilot Contract
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane ruled Tuesday that American Airlines can throw out the labor contract with its pilots’ union.


Kaplan Teachers Win Contract, Proving For-Profit Ed Can Be Unionized
Manhattan-based English language schools run by Kaplan, Inc. have won their first union contract with the corporation, breaking new ground in efforts to organize the booming for-profit education sector.


Kochs’ Network Wrestles with Expectations for Presidential Primaries
The network overseen by Charles and David Koch has knocked on the doors of a million voters this year, elbowed aside some of the Republican Party’s top strategists and built one of the biggest fund-raising operations in politics.


Krugman: Fear of Wages
“Four years ago, some of us watched with a mixture of incredulity and horror as elite discussion of economic policy went completely off the rails," writes Paul Krugman in The New York Times. "Over the course of just a few months, influential people all over the Western world convinced themselves and each other that budget deficits were an existential threat, trumping any and all concern about mass unemployment. The result was a turn to fiscal austerity that deepened and prolonged the economic crisis, inflicting immense suffering."


Labor Leaders Seek to Stop Trade Deal
The Senate has already approved fast track authority. If the House follows suit, the president will sign it and the trade agreement with 11 other nations will take effect.


Los Angeles, Long Beach Dock Workers Protest Management’s Partial Work Stoppage
Dock workers at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports on Friday protested a partial work stoppage ordered by a group representing West Coast terminal operators, saying it will slow down the unloading of cargo by several days.


Macaray: Our Sad, Misunderstood Labor Unions
“A union official I correspond with (the International Vice-President of a West Coast labor union) recently shared an interesting anecdote,” writes David Macaray in CounterPunch. “He said that whenever he meets someone for the first time and they casually ask what he does for a living, he answers by saying he’s a ‘workers’ rights activist.’"


Martelle: Right to Work Laws and Why Labor Unions Are in Crisis
“In the midst of the Michigan legislature’s move this week to gut organized labor’s power in the heart of modern American industrial unionism, an interesting discussion played out on my Facebook page,” writes Scott Martelle in The Daily Beast.


Meyerson: If Labor Dies, What's Next?
“Imagine America without unions,” writes Harold Meyerson in The American Prospect. “This shouldn’t be hard. In much of America unions have already disappeared. In the rest of America they’re battling for their lives."


N.H.L. Resumes Labor Talks, but Insists Classic is Off
The cancellation of the Winter Classic on Friday may prove to be a catalyst for a solution to the seven-week-old N.H.L. lockout.


Nurses Bring U.S. Support for Robin Hood Tax to Global Union Movement
The worldwide campaign to enact Robin Hood taxes on financial speculation received a real boost in a major meeting of global union activists this week -- with the help of U.S. nurses whose Robin Hood hats and messaging is becoming a familiar site at home.


Obama to Suspend Trade Privileges with Bangladesh
The Obama administration on Thursday announced plans to suspend trade privileges for Bangladesh over concerns about safety problems and labor rights violations in the country’s garment industry.


Obama Urges Tax Cuts for Families Under $250,000
President Barack Obama, eager to shift election-year attention away from the nation's lackluster jobs market, called on Congress Monday to extend tax cuts for families earning less than $250,000 a year while allowing taxes to rise for households making more.


One Year After 15 Died in Preventable Texas Fertilizer Blast, Safety Rules Stalled
When the West, Texas, fertilizer plant, where 30 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate -- stored in wooden sheds without sprinkler systems and near other combustible material -- caught fire, exploded and killed 15 people, including 10 emergency responders, the state of Texas had virtually no regulations governing ammonium nitrate and other hazardous chemicals. A year later, it still doesn’t.


Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach Congestion Worsens, Labor Talks Escalate
The “PMA's [Pacific Maritime Association] press statement dishonestly accuses the ILWU [International Longshore Workers Union] of breaking a supposed agreement ‘that normal operations at West Coast ports would continue until an agreement could be reached.’ This is a bold-faced lie,” according to a statement by the ILWU.


Report for July Weaker than Expected with 162,000 Jobs Added. Jobless Rate Falls to 7.4%. U6 at 14%
Contrary to higher expectations, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that, seasonally adjusted, the private sector added just 161,000 new jobs in July. The federal government shed 2,000 jobs, but governments at all levels added 1,000 jobs for an overall private-public sector gain of 162,000 in July. The official unemployment rate fell to 7.4 percent.


Rivals Bring Bare Fists to Rematch
President Obama and Mitt Romney engaged Tuesday in one of the most intensive clashes in a televised presidential debate, with tensions between them spilling out in interruptions, personal rebukes and accusations of lying as they parried over the last four years under Obama and what the next four would look like under a President Romney.


Some Outrageous Facts about Economic Inequality
Studying inequality in America reveals some facts that are truly hard to believe. Amidst all the absurdity a few stand out.


Supplier for Samsung and Lenovo Accused of Using Child Labor
China Labor Watch said it had found more than 10 children working at the factory of a China-based supplier for the technology giants Samsung Electronics and the Lenovo Group in an investigation in July and August.


Supporters of Senate Immigration Bill Voice Confidence of Passage as GOP Backing Grows
Supporters of bipartisan immigration legislation smoothed the way Friday for likely Senate passage of their handiwork, overcoming last-minute disagreements at the bill’s controversial core and tacking on other items certain to build support.


The ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Approaches, But Some Investors are Already Looking Beyond
You’ve heard the predictions for what happens if the country goes over the “fiscal cliff”: The economy will shrink, nervous consumers will stop spending, and the stock market will plunge. But those doomsday predictions are overblown, some professional investors say.


The Devalued American Worker
Ed Green once held a middle-class job. Now, to make enough money to send his children to college, he works the equivalent of two full-time jobs: one maintaining highways for the state of North Carolina and one ushering fans and collecting trash for a variety of sports teams around Winston-Salem.


Trying to Understand the Impact of a Higher Minimum Wage on Small Businesses
"The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently estimated that if the federal minimum wage rose to $10.10, a total of 16.5 million workers now paid $10.10 an hour or less would make more money," writes Ron Mandelbaum in The New York Times.


UAW Rejects Boeing C-17 Labor Offer as 'Economically Inferior'
The aerospace union that represents an estimated 1,000 workers on Boeing Co.’s dying C-17 cargo jet program in Long Beach rejected a proposed contract because of cuts to pension and medical benefits, union officials announced Thursday.


Vail: Machinists Rapidly Unionizing Ikea Warehouses: 3 Down, 2 to Go
“The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) gained international attention in 2011 with its startling win in an election to represent about 300 production workers at an IKEA-owned plant in Danville, Virginia,” writes Bruce Vail in the on-line In These Times.


Wendy Greuel, Eric Garcetti Dash Across L.A. to Shore Up Support
After remarks by Magic Johnson and U.S. Representative Maxine Waters, it was Wendy Greuel's turn to remind a few dozen black supporters at a South L.A. rally on Saturday that African Americans could swing the mayoral election Greuel's way on Tuesday.


Whole Foods Workers Demand Higher Wages and Union
Last Thursday afternoon a delegation of 20 cashiers, stockers, and cooks at Whole Foods Market initiated a temporary work stoppage to deliver a petition to Whole Foods management demanding a $5 an hour wage increase for all employees and no retaliation against workers for organizing a union.


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