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Fifty-five years ago, in a speech to the convention of the Illinois AFL-CIO, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. laid out with characteristic moral clarity the essential role of unions in American life. “The labor movement,” he explained, “was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress … [When] the wave of union organization crested over the nation, it carried to secure shores not only itself but the whole society. Civilization began to grow in the economic life of man, and a decent life with a sense of security and dignity became a reality rather than a distant dream.”

This Labor Day, America’s working families are facing unprecedented challenges.

The path to the presidency runs through the labor movement.

Imagine this: It's Sunday morning and you walk into the church you grew up attending. You have not been to service in a few years. For most of that time, you worked the night shift as an emergency-room nurse and the occasional weekends you had off were filled with sick children, aging parents and digging out from snowstorms. But you are there now. The usher asks your name and when you answer, he frowns and says "I'm so sorry, since you haven't exercised your religious freedom in the last six years, I'll have to ask you to leave."

The Trump administration announced Monday that it will terminate the provisional residency permits of about 200,000 Salvadorans who have lived in the country since at least 2001, leaving them to face deportation.

The developers of a train that would travel nearly half the speed of sound and get passengers from New York to Washington, D.C., in about an hour signed a memorandum of understanding to only use union labor on the project.

Under the agreement, all work on the project will be done by members of unions that form the building trades, including the IBEW. In return, the unions commit to active involvement in bringing the project to fruition said Kirk Brungard, executive director of the Baltimore-D.C. Building Trades.

A decade ago or so, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center and the liberal-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimated that making the Bush tax cuts permanent — rather than letting them expire in 2010 — would increase the after-tax income of people earning $1 million or more up to 7 percent, an order of magnitude more than it would increase the size of the economy in the long term.

These days, it’s hard to keep straight all of Congress’ efforts to build plutocracy — the further consolidation of the power of the richest Americans at the expense of the rest of us. 

With the Senate passing a multi-trillion dollar job-killing giveaway of our tax dollars to the people and companies who need it least, you might have missed the bill moving through the Senate to deregulate Wall Street and consumer finance. 

As National Apprenticeship Week kicks off, a new report from the Working for America Institute and Jobs With Justice Education Fund profiles a Washington state apprenticeship program as a successful example of a workforce intermediary partnership. These partnerships bring together unions and employers to recruit, train, and diversify the workforce for a given industry or a specific employer.

As a pillar of the Democratic Party, unions have wanted for years to see mainstream Democrats push for major reforms to the law that would rejuvenate the ranks of organized labor. At the press conference Wednesday, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka applauded the proposals, but also emphasized that many Democrats have taken their union support for granted.