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Worker-Friendly Legislation in Congress

The 116th US Congress has in it new legislation that would, if passed-God and the public getting to work willing-benefit working and low-income families. These are:

The Paycheck Fairness Act; this updates and strengthens the Equal Pay Act of 1963 to ensure against gender-based pay inequities. It also prohibits employers from retaliating against workers who speak about their wages-it has happened.

The Raise The Wage Act; this calls for raising the federal minimum wage, from $7.25 an hour to $15.00 an hour by 2024, and phase out unfair exclusions for tipped workers, youth, and people with disabilities. (workers in these minimum wage jobs, in spite of the stereotype of them being kids working after school, are really adults trying to raise families on these merger wages, often two or three such jobs at a time.)

the Healthy Families Act; this bill would guarantee working people the ability to earn up to seven paid sick days a year to recover from short-term illnesses, care for a sick family member, and seek assistance for such things as domestic violence and sexual assault.

The Equality Act; this would add protections for LGBTQ people to existing Civil rights laws, and prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Medicare For All Act; this would turn Medicare into a single-payer health care system, like in Canada, ending the starting age of 65 and making it available for all, with no co-pays, premiums, or deductibles. This plan would cover prescription drugs, vision, dental, mental health, substance abuse, and maternal care. This bill would go towards making health care a right and not a luxury for the affluent, and families would not go bankrupt paying for long-term care.

Please contact your member of Congress about this. Public protest and pressure-“heat from the street”-makes a difference.

Workers’ Memorial Day

Workers’ Memorial Day, a day to honor the lives of workers who died on the job trying to make a living for themselves and their families-and a day to advocate for greater occupational health and safety measures-will take place in Philadelphia, at the Sheet Metal workers’ Hall, 1301 South Columbus Blvd., on Friday, April 26, 2019.

This event is sponsored by the Philadelphia Area Project for Occupational Safety and Health (PHILAPOSH) and the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO.

We will begin with a breakfast and discussion about workers’ health and safety issues. After that, we will have a funeral procession, with Brian Wydlitz on the bagpipes. The procession will end at Penn’s Landing, where we will place flowers into the Delaware as we read the names of workers in the region who were killed on the job. This is a beautiful ceremony honoring someone’s father, friend, son, or brother. Please support the work of defending the right of workers to safe working conditions.

Strike at CCP?

Faculty at the Community College of Philadelphia (CCP), members of AFT Local 2026, are preparing to go out on strike. Here are the issues:

CCP administration wants full-time faculty to teach up to 65 more students each semester than professors in other local community college. That would greatly affect the ability to learn, the one-on-one connection to the professor is important.

The college refuses to pay for such support staff as counselors, librarians, advisers, and tutors, even though tuition has increased five times in the past ten years, and such support greatly increases the ability of students to learn.

The college wants to take away the right of faculty and students to express their opinions in committees, or in any other way.

The faculty of CCP is 25% white, but the student body is 75% of people of color. The union calls for hiring more professors of color, but the college wants to impose contracts that would frighten away new faculty.

For further information, please contact facebook.com/aft2026, or twitter@fsfccp.

Labor Seder in Philadelphia

The Philadelphia chapter of the Jewish Labor Committee (JLC)-of which I am a proud member-will hold the Second Annual Bobbi Willig Memorial Labor Seder, at the Germantown Jewish Center, 400 W. Ellet Street, on Tuesday, April 9, 2019.

The theme of the Seder this year will be “A Woman’s Place Is In Her Union.”

The Jewish Labor Committee (http://jewishlabor.org/) was formed in the 1930s as a bridge between the Jewish Community and the organized Labor movement, and as part of the struggle of that era against Fascism (like we’re going through today). The Labor Seder is a program connecting the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt to current struggles for life and dignity in the workplace in this era.

For further information,and to purchase tickets, please contact Michael Hersch, (215)668-5454, or mhersch@comcast.net.

Memorial for the Global War On Terror

The Philadelphia AFL-CIO is one of the many sponsors of the development of a memorial to honor US military personnel who have lost their lives during the Global War On Terror, which includes the activity in Afghanistan and Iraq. The purpose of the memorial is to honor the sacrifice of those brave young Americans who died in the service of their country in this period. the memorial is to be located at Penn’s Landing, close to the memorials for the veterans of the wars in Korea and Viet Nam. The builders of the memorial need you support to raise funds for the memorial.

For further information, and to make a donation, pleas contact:

PA GWOT Memorial

PO Box 14554

Philadelphia, PA, 19115

www.gwotmemorial.org