Women's Groups Send Letter to Capitol Hill Supporting Employee Free Choice

Want to share with you this post by Mike Hall, one of our AFL-CIO bloggers.

A dozen of the nation's leading women's organizations has called on Congress to pass the Employee Free Choice Act. In a letter this week to every member of Congress, the groups say that restoring the freedom of workers to form unions and bargain for a better life would benefit women and all workers.

The letter notes that unionized women workers earn almost one-third more than nonunion workers--32 percent.

In addition, women in unions are 19 percent more likely to have health insurance benefits and 25 percent more likely to have an employer-provided pension. (Click here to learn more about the union difference.)

The letter was organized by the National Partnership for Women and Families (NPWF).

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Photo credit: USW (Left), robertodevido (Right)

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has been called a lot of names. Here's another one for him: cheater.

It's not surprising Steele and the Republicans are embarrassed about their party. But Steele has hit a new low (insert Munch's "Scream" here): He's set up an RNC fundraising page on Facebook made to look like it's the United Steelworkers union.

The "United STEELE Workers Union" page even features a hard hat with an American flag sticker front and center.

Just curious, Michael: Doesn't a white hard hat clash with your designer suits?

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Union Vets Speak Out Against McCain

Jim Wasser served in Navy combat during the Vietnam War. His father fought in World War II, a veteran of the Pacific theater.

Wasser, a member of the Electrical Workers (IBEW) union, respects Sen. John McCain's military service--but not his record in the Senate. Wasser puts it this way:

He wants us to keep spending $10 billion a month in Iraq, just like Bush. We could use that money to build schools, and roads, and create jobs with livable wages and benefits and insurance. He even took sides with Bush against increasing health care benefits for veterans.

People should let John McCain know: His agenda is not what we need, not now.

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AFL-CIO Endorses Obama, Launches 'Meet Barack Obama'

I want to share with you all our endorsement today of Sen. Barack Obama. Seth Michaels on our staff has the details below.

The AFL-CIO today endorsed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for president.

The AFL-CIO General Board, which voted to endorse Obama, includes presidents of all 56 unions in the AFL-CIO, as well as Executive Council members and representatives of state and local federations, trade departments and constituency groups. The General Board votes by per capita membership. In conjunction with the endorsement, the AFL-CIO launched a new website: Meet Barack Obama.

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Take It--The 2008 Ask a Working Woman Survey


A woman who spends years in medical school emerges to take her place alongside a panoply of male physicians--who, on average, make 38 percent more than she does. Female attorneys fare better--they make 30 percent less than their male counterparts. But it's not just a matter of higher pay for men in traditionally male occupations: Male registered nurses are paid 10 percent more than women--even though 90 percent of RNs are women.

This data, from a report by the AFL-CIO Department for Professional Employees, touches on just one of the many "challenges," to utilize a euphemism, U.S. working women face today.

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Pay Discrimination OK by McCain

This is a crosspost from AFL-CIO Now Blog.

So it seems Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) thinks it's just fine if women workers can almost never get redress for pay inequities they suffer on the job.

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate failed to get the 60 votes needed to vote on a bill that would have enabled women who are paid less than their co-workers doing the same job to challenge the inequity. Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama took time from their campaigns to vote for the Fair Pay Restoration Act.

McCain didn't show up. But he did make it a point to say that had he bothered to vote (McCain has cast the fewest votes in the Senate of any senator not seriously ill), he would have opposed it.

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AFL-CIO NOT Endorsing Prez Candidates in Next 4 Weeks

HOTLINE got it wrong today. The AFL-CIO is not endorsing a candidate for president in the next four weeks. Here's the HOTLINE correction from Amy Dudley:

According to AFL-CIO spokesperson Steve Smith, they are "working out details right now" for their endorsement process for WH '08 and are likely to announce particulars of their plan in early March, following their first Executive Council Meeting since the Nov. '06 elections in Las Vegas, NV, March 6th - 8th.

Each of the 54 national and international labor unions within the AFL-CIO has their own respective endorsement processes and must be considered in forming the general AFL-CIO endorsement.

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No Republican Photo Op at This Steelworkers Plant

Unions are in high gear getting out the vote around the country. There's so much going on, it's hard to capture it all. But wanted to share with you a slice of what it's like in the field. Mike Hall, who blogs for us at the AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C., is in heavily Republican WI CD 8, Green Bay, Wis., where he's phone banking, walking door to door talking with union members--and much more. Here's his latest dispatch from the North (cross-posted from AFL-CIO Now).

Talk about Rapid Response. Last week in Green Bay, the big chiefs at the Georgia-Pacific paper plant thought they had the picture perfect photo op for Republican 8th Congressional District candidate John Gard--a plant tour where he could mingle with a bunch of happy workers.

After all, anybody who might spot the photo wouldn't know that the 500-plus United Steelworkers (USW) Local 9 members at the plant are strongly and actively backing Gard's opponent Steve Kagen. The long-held Republican seat is up for grabs and could be one of the 15 turn-around races that will end Republican House rule.

Well you gotta get up pretty early to pull a fast one on educated union members.

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Second Court Blocks Voter Photo IDs in Georgia

Crossposted from Daily Kos.

With voting rights under attack in states across the nation--not to mention the effort by Southern Republicans to hold up reauthorization of the federal Voting Rights Act--it's great to learn today that a judge for the second time has blocked a Republican-sponsored effort to require Georgia voters to present government-issued photo identification cards before they can cast a ballot.

According the The New York Times:

The judge, Melvin K. Westmoreland of Fulton County Superior Court, said the requirement violated the State Constitution by placing an undue burden on the fundamental right to vote.

Although the legislature passed the requirement, Judge Westmoreland said, such a change would require citizens to approve an amendment to the State Constitution, which now says only that voters must be 18 years old, mentally competent and state residents.

The law was struck down in October by a federal judge, who said the requirement that voters buy the card amounted to an unconstitutional poll tax.

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Whose America?

This is a crosspost from Daily Kos.

It's the Fourth of July and thoughts turn to the essence of our nation's independence, the nature of freedom and what it means to be an American in the 21st century.

A collection of essays helpfully published in recent weeks goes a long way toward providing a look at how some of our predecessors--founders and slaves, lawyers and philosophers--have idealized, crafted and, ultimately, embodied the concept of being American.

Americanism: New Perspectives on the History of an Ideal, edited by Georgetown University professors Michael Kazin and Joseph McCartin, seeks, in part, to answer a fundamental question, one very much alive in current public debate:

Whose America?

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