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While much of the Internet this week was focused on escaped llamas, figuring out what color a dress is or mourning the loss of SAG-AFTRA member and Star Trek icon Leonard Nimoy, we can forget that legislation is still being pushed that would make the lives of working families worse. Whether it is the "right to work" policies pushed by the allies of Gov. Scott Walker (Wis.), who likes to compare workers to terrorists, and in other states like New Mexico and West Virginia, or the ongoing negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) using the Fast Track process, we need to stay alert. Read more >>>

  A bill that would outlaw payroll dues deduction for all public-sector unions except police and firefighters has been filed in the Texas Legislature.

  HB 1749 by Rep. Gary Elkins, R-Houston, would prevent state or local governments from continuing the decades-old practice of allowing public employee union members to ask voluntarily to pay their dues through payroll deduction. Although police and firefighters would still have access to dues deduction, they would face more restrictions as well.

  See more below.



  Forty-eight members of the Texas Legislature have signed the "Texas Needs a Raise" petition, which calls for increasing the state minimum wage to at least $10.10 an hour and giving a pay raise to state workers.

  The list is below. The absence of a name does not imply opposition. We are still delivering petitions to lawmakers in person and we will update the list as we add signatures.

  To sign the petition, go to: http://act.aflcio.org/c/256/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=9693

  The United Labor Legislative Committee has endorsed a "Texas Needs a Raise" campaign that will promote a state minimum wage increase to at least $10.10 an hour and a pay raise for state employees.

  A Texas AFL-CIO news release on the ULLCO initiative is below.

  To sign the petition, go to: http://act.aflcio.org/c/256/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=9693


Friends of the Feathered

As part of the Union Sportsmen's Alliance's (USA's) Work Boots on the Ground project, New Jersey union members built and painted 52 pheasant and 10 quail transport boxes to support the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, which raises and releases some 50,000 pheasants and 11,000 quail annually across the state. Read the full article>>>

Share of Households Earning Middle-Class Income

Income inequality became a hot topic of economic conversation in 2014, and publications like The Atlantic have taken notice. In 17 Things We Learned About the Economy in 2014, the authors explore the growth of low-income jobs, stagnant wages for families and shrinking wages for younger workers, the racial and gender wage gap, taxes and the dwindling middle class.

Read more >>>

The 2015 Texas AFL-CIO Scholarship Program Application is now available.  The postmark deadline for applying is Monday, February 2, 2015.

Rules and printable application are in Additional Resources. Read more >>>

It's pretty frustrating seeing all the headlines that claim the economy is alive and kicking. Sure, there is economic growth and a steady increase in jobs, but what kind of jobs are we talking about exactly? Well, they aren't the kind of jobs we think of first when it comes to steady, middle-class jobs. No big surprise here, low-wage service sector jobs like those in the fast-food industry are seeing the biggest gains. Bryce Covert at The New Republic has a nice summary of what America's workers are up against when it comes to wages. Read more >>>

When President Barack Obama first announced his candidacy for president, he said: “I am running in this race because of what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called ‘the fierce urgency of now.’ Because I believe that there’s such a thing as being too late. And that hour is almost upon us.” Like Dr. King, our president was calling on America to make real the promises of our democracy. That fierce urgency of now is here for thousands of refugee children from Central America. I know many of these kids’ stories because it is my story, too. Read more >>>

The 2014 Texas AFL-CIO Scholarship Program Winners and 2015 Scholarship information. Read more >>>

Learn more about the attack on pensions and how you can pledge to stop it! Read more >>>

Texas AFL-CIO “Labor News” is published monthly
Read more >>>

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