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Musician and “Workingman’s Warrior” Steve Earle Releases New Album

image via the Sun Times

image via the Sun Times

Back in 2011, when the collective bargaining rights of public sector union members in Wisconsin were being threatened by union-busting Governor Scott Walker, legendary Steve Earle released two songs–‘Harlan Man’ and ‘The Mountain’–with all proceeds going the Labor Unity Fund. The songs were glimpses into the life of a union member. Just like the hundreds of other angry union members that showed up at the capital building in Madison to defend their rights, Earle was adamant that letting collective bargaining be taken away would be detrimental to our system of democracy.

Fast forward four years and we are back in the same situation: despite the objections and testimonials from countless working men and women, Wisconsin lawmakers are again attacking our rights. The state senate passed Right to Work legislation last week, which, if passed in the Assembly this week as it’s expected to be, will make Wisconsin the 25th Right to Work (for less) state in the country. No matter what happens, the labor movement and its supporters will always stand together and speak out about defending our rights.

Earle, whose support of union members in 2011 made him a beloved “workingman’s warrior” has now released a collection of blues songs. Read more about his new album–called Terraplane–at Rolling Stone. If you’d like to support Earle the way he has supported labor while simultaneously enjoying some great tunes, you can purchase the album here.

 

UFCW International President Elected to AFL-CIO Executive Council, Executive Committee

UFCWnewsWASHINGTON, D.C.—Marc Perrone, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today was elected to the AFL-CIO Executive Council and Executive Committee. He released the following statement.

I am honored and humbled to represent the 1.3 million members of the UFCW on the Executive Council and Executive Committee of the AFL-CIO. As a labor movement, we have enormous challenges ahead of us. Workers are counting on us to organize more members, bargain good contracts, and defeat the corporations and politicians who are trying to silence their voice. I intend to play an active role in putting our movement in the best position to meet the needs of working families. We have to be more strategic. We have to communicate with our own members and non-union workers better. We have to become more diverse and immerse ourselves in the communities where our members live and work. Working with President Trumka and my colleagues from all of the AFL-CIO affiliates, I believe we can build a labor movement that is bigger, stronger, and more ready than ever to truly serve working men and women.

Statement by UFCW International President Marc Perrone on Walmart’s Wage Announcement

UFCWnews(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Marc Perrone, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement about Walmart’s wage announcement:

“Walmart’s announcement yesterday that it will raise wages for 500,000 hourly associates is an important step forward for Walmart workers and their families. This is not an act of corporate benevolence. It would not have been possible without the courage of countless workers who are standing together, taking risks, and demanding wages and schedules that can support their families. Walmart is responding directly to calls from workers and their allies to pay a living wage.

Because of a strong and organized movement that includes many UFCW members, half a million Walmart workers will now get a raise. Because workers spoke out, $1 billion will now go directly into our economy instead of onto the Walton family’s balance sheet.

Walmart should know that we will continue to stand with workers and the community to be more transparent about exactly how much the company pays each of its 1.4 million associates. Today’s announcement calls to question Walmart’s long-term inconsistencies about its wage claims – even ten years ago it claimed workers were paid an average of $10 an hour.  High turnover leaves the vast majority of Walmart workers toiling at the lowest wage scales which will now pay at least $9 an hour. We know that Walmart can and should do better.

Yesterday marks a victory for Walmart workers but more importantly, a call to action for the UFCW and the entire labor movement.  The largest private employer in the nation is feeling the pressure to do better for its workers. We must seize this opportunity and keep fighting until every single worker – in retail stores, supermarkets and beyond – is paid a living wage.”

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The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries. The UFCW protects the rights of workers and strengthens America’s middle class by fighting for health care reform, living wages, retirement security, safe working conditions and the right to unionize so that working men and women and their families can realize the American Dream. For more information about the UFCW’s effort to protect workers’ rights and strengthen America’s middle class, visit www.ufcw.org, or join our online community at www.facebook.com/UFCWinternationaland www.twitter.com/ufcw.