||Issue No. 332||10 November 2006|
Affairs of State
Interview: Common Ground
Industrial: A Low Act
Unions: The Number of the Least
Politics: The Smoking Gun
Economics: Microcredit, Compulsory Superannuation and Inequality
Environment: Low Voltage
History: The Art of Social Justice
Review: Work’s Unhealthy Appetite
Culture: A Forgotten Poet
States Fall to Unions
In what the AFL-CIO has dubbed the 'Victory for Working Families', an estimated 187,000 union volunteers mobilised voters in the final days of the campaign, delivering 74 per cent of all union votes to the Democrats.
In contrast, at the last federal election in Australian, the ALP received less than 50 per cent of votes from union members.
An increased minimum wage and a restoration of workers' union rights are now back on the political agenda after the successful campaign.
While the War in Iraq took centre stage, the minimum wage was one of the priority issues new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put at the top of her agenda as she became the first female majority leader in US history .
The key policy priorities identified by the AFL-CIO are:
* Raising the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour.
* Restoring workers' freedom to form unions: Pass the Employee Free Choice Act and reverse the National Labor Relations Board's recent ruling that allows employers to deny workers' union rights by classifying them as "supervisors."
* Overturning the ban prohibiting Medicare from negotiating with drug companies for more affordable prescription drugs.
* Stopping sending our best jobs overseas: Reward companies that create jobs at home instead of giving tax dollars to companies that export our jobs.
* and reversing the cuts in student loans made by the Republican Congress.
W"e're very proud and excited to see from the numbers this morning that union voters drove a wave that elected a pro-working families majority in the House and very likely in the Senate," said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney.
"The leaders in control of Congress neglected the needs of working Americans while catering to corrupt special interests, and working people said 'no more'."
The AFL-CIO's program reached out to 13.4 million voters in 32 battleground states. It reached union members, members of union households, retirees and members of Working America, the AFL-CIO's community affiliate for workers who don't have a union
"We knew that our challenge at the AFL-CIO was to provide the organizing to transform the frustration and anger into political power," said Sweeney.
"We responded with the biggest, most energetic grassroots program in our history, and it worked."
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