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Labor unions at another crossroad

Next month, the AFL-CIO, the largest federation of labor unions in the United States, will hold its convention in Los Angeles. Breaking with tradition, the AFL-CIO will be opening its doors to community-based organizations, limiting the number of plenary speakers and seeking to focus its resolutions on “action items” such as proposals that aim to produce a specific outcome rather than general statements. ...

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What is a living wage?

Workers at fast food restaurants recently demonstrated outside their places of work, highlighting the low wages they receive and demanding more. They say twice as much, or $15 an hour, will provide them with a living wage. In Washington, D.C., the City Council has sent legislation to Mayor Vincent Gray, requiring “big box” stores like Walmart and Best Buy to pay $12.50, more than the D.C. minimum wage of $8 ...

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Student loan resolution: Better than nothing?

The United States Senate finally stepped up to ensure that student loan rates would not double, as might have happened. There have been weeks of back and forth, but now the Senate says they will tie student loan rates to the federal funds rate, which means in the short run — until next year — the lowest student loan rates will be 3.86 percent; this will be up slightly from 3.4 percent. ...

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The profit of protest: Definitely in the black

Overruling myself, I am now doing what I said I would not; I am writing a column in which I mention two items: Skittles and iced tea. I cringed every time I heard those words during the pursuit of justice for Trayvon Martin and his family and throughout the trial of George Zimmerman. They became synonymous with Trayvon himself and were mentioned just as much as his name was mentioned. ...

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One city pensioner’s perspective

As a retired city worker receiving a pension after 32 years of dedicated service, I am filled with trepidation about the much talked about reduction or elimination of retirement benefits that the bankruptcy may demand. Twenty thousand city workers played by the rules throughout their careers, with the expectation that their pension would be fully honored upon retirement. ...

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Put the blame on me

Jefferson County, where I was born in 1938, filed for bankruptcy two years ago. Last week, Detroit, the city where I was raised, filed for bankruptcy, though that situation remains up in the air after a judge stepped in and said such action was unconstitutional. I left the Motor City, which is now running on fumes, in 1985 for the greener and certainly much more promising precincts of Harlem. And while bank ...

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‘Refuse complicity, go on the record, make a history of conscience, come into exile’

I have never been arrested before for any reason. It has become necessary to confront immoral legal authority. If we do nothing, we are complicit. As an elected school board member, I have been sued by the attorney general of Michigan for being elected. Judges, lawyers, teachers, politicians and citizens are afraid to speak out against this abuse of power. The rich do not have to pay taxes and are able to e ...

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Do we say white people can’t run Chrysler?

When GM and Chrysler went bankrupt for something like $80 billion, nobody said white people are not ready to be in charge of transnational industrial corporations or Chrysler was dependent on free tax money from us. No one said to the too big to fail auto corporations that they wanted free stuff, as corporation leader and presidential candidate Mitt Romney insultingly said to the NAACP convention. Chrysler ...

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Will Detroit’s mayoral election be stolen?

Watching Kevin Dietz’s report “Was Duggan Involved in EM Search?” on WDIV July 17, with the e-mail trail showing Mike Duggan’s involvement helping to select Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr — after 2.3 million people in the state of Michigan voted against an EM — I couldn’t help but wonder how will Detroiters get a fair shake during the August 6 primary. Duggan has spared no expense launching his write-in campai ...

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