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Despite its setbacks, or perhaps because of them, organized labor has an energy level that AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka says he hasn’t seen before in his 50 years with the movement.

Vow of 'Bigger, Broader, Bolder' Labor Movement

Most media outlets continue to portray the federal “shutdown” as a political fight between a president who once said he would be proud to provoke a standoff and congressional leaders who have called the bully’s bluff. And it is that. But the story of President Trump facing off against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just scrapes the surface of what is really going on.

Teachers overwhelmingly approved a new contract Tuesday and planned to return to the classroom after a six-day strike over funding and staffing in the nation’s second-largest school district.

Although all votes hadn’t been counted, preliminary figures showed that a “vast supermajority” of some 30,000 educators voted in favor of the tentative deal, “therefore ending the strike and heading back to schools tomorrow,” said Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of United Teachers Los Angeles.

Eight hundred thousand workers. That is the number of government employees and contractors impacted by President Trump’s shutdown of the federal government. The average take home pay of impacted workers is around $500 per week, and any financial uncertainty is sure to cause stress and anxiety over how to make ends meet. Each day of this manufactured crisis, working families lose money for housing, healthcare and groceries — the essentials we need to get by.

Furloughed federal employees and out-of-work contractors greeted one another Thursday with a sarcastic nickname that, on the 20th day of a partial government shutdown, captured their feeling of powerlessness: “Hello, fellow pawns.”

They shouted it to one another over the brutal wind and bitter cold on Thursday in downtown Washington, where hundreds gathered to demand government leaders put an end to the shutdown and allow them to get back to work.

Today is Day 4 of the 140-day regular session of the 86thTexas Legislature.  

Texas AFL-CIO Opposes Workforce Commission Proposal That Could Convert Some Gig Economy Workers Into ‘Marketplace Contractors’

The Texas AFL-CIO has formally opposed a pending rule that would give employers who conduct business via digital networks blanket authority to deny basic employment benefits to employees simply by calling them “marketplace contractors.” 

The Texas Workforce Commission voted to publish the rule proposal in December and could enact it later this month. 

Texas AFL-CIO: Communities Everywhere Being Harmed

With President Trump in Texas today for a pointless “photo opportunity,” the Texas AFL-CIO called for a resolution of the nearly three-week government shutdown that is harming not just 800,000 federal workers, but the entire nation.

Welcome to the 2019 edition of The ULLCO Sentinel. “ULLCO” is the United Labor Legislative Committee, the lobbying arm of the Texas AFL-CIO representing Texas labor unions and participating allies.

Today is Day Minus-4 of the regular session of the 86th Texas Legislature. Blastoff and the start of a 140-day clock takes place Tuesday, Jan. 8th, with the session running until Monday, May 27th, Memorial Day.