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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.

Some 275 volunteers – pilots, mechanics, flight attendants and other workers – took off from Newark International Airport on October 4 on a union-sponsored relief mission to hurricane-smashed Puerto Rico, the AFL-CIO announced. Some 50 unionized registered nurses, members of National Nurses United, flew in from San Francisco the day before to join the mission.

The unionists headed for the island commonwealth, whose 3.4 million residents lack power, food, drinkable water and other resources, two weeks after Hurricane Maria hit.

Our hearts break for the victims and families that were impacted by the horrific violence in Las Vegas last night. No community should have to experience this level of pain and loss of life. We are praying for the families of those who lost loved ones, the full recovery of all injured victims that are currently hospitalized, and the safety of our union sisters and brothers who work at the hotels and restaurants in Las Vegas.

When a tragedy like this occurs, the sliver of hope is in the first responders that put themselves in harms way to protect their community. Fire Fighters, Police, EMTs, medical professionals and volunteers are working nonstop to prevent further loss of life. These workers demonstrate the best of humanity in the worst of times.

For union members and families looking for a way to support, our sisters and brothers in Nevada have encouraged all of us who are able to visit our local blood bank and donate blood. We will continue to update with additional needs from Nevada's unions including victims funds as we receive them.

For those of you who have not yet confirmed the safety of your loved ones, the Las Vegas Police Department has set up a hotline to assist. That number is (866) 535-5654.

In a powerful illustration of the ability of grassroots activists to challenge corporate power, United Students Against Sweatshops, the nation’s leading student organization focused on issues of worker rights and economic justice, has just scored a crucial victory over the world’s biggest sports apparel and footwear brand: Nike.

Read the full article.

Working people are tired of hearing how tax giveaways for Wall Street billionaires and corporations will supposedly trickle down to the rest of us. Too many politicians and pundits want us to believe our country is broke, and we have no choice but to demand sacrifices from working people, yet they have no trouble finding trillions of dollars to waste on tax giveaways for people who do not need them. They want to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education and infrastructure to pay for tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.

Last week, the Republican-led House Committee on Education and the Workforce held a hearing on H.R. 3441, the so-called Save Local Business Act -- a bill that has almost nothing to do with saving small and local businesses. According to its sponsors, the legislation was introduced to overturn the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB’s) 2015 decision in Browning Ferris Industries.

Yahaira Burgos was fearing the worst when her husband, Juan Vivares, reported to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in lower Manhattan in March. Vivares, who fled Colombia and entered the U.S. illegally in 2011, had recently been given a deportation order. Rather than hide, he showed up at the ICE office with Burgos and his lawyer to continue to press his case for asylum.  

“What we know from RNRN’s work in previous disaster-stricken areas, including hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as post-earthquake Haiti and super typhoon Haiyan, is that after an initial surge of volunteers, many people have to return to work. That is true in this case, as well as some volunteers being pulled to Florida, to address the impending hurricane Irma,” said RNRN director Bonnie Castillo.