The State of the Unions: The Working People Weekly List

Every week, we'll be bringing you a roundup of the important news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here's this week's Working People Weekly List.

People of Color Deserve to Work and Live with Dignity: "Black people have contributed, both voluntarily and enthusiastically, to America’s economic growth. People of color work hard, low-earning, thankless jobs as domestic workers, and landscapers with little security, and often with no retirement or healthcare. Today, the workforce is more stratified than ever, with White working people earning astronomically higher wages than anyone else and gatekeeping access to high paying jobs. All of this notwithstanding, Black people aspire and work toward a better life, sharing Dr. King’s vision for parity and equal pay for equal work."

Cortez Masto Stresses Middle Class at Union Pay Summit: "Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democratic candidate for the seat of retiring U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, said Tuesday that barriers to the middle class need to be torn down. Cortez Masto spoke at the Raising Wages Summit in North Las Vegas that was organized by the Nevada AFL-CIO. The event, with heavy involvement from labor groups, focused broadly on the issue of raising wages for working families. Cortez Masto touched on broad labor themes, saying there's a need to close the wage gap and for working families to have family and sick leave. 'Our economy needs to work for everyone,' Cortez Masto said."

At Union Confab, All Eyes on 2016: "Union members from across the state came together Tuesday for a summit on the minimum wage hosted by the Nevada AFL-CIO at the College of Southern Nevada Cheyenne Campus. The policies that union leaders discussed were nothing new: a living wage, immigration reform and health care. But the summit foreshadowed something else — the significant push that Nevada unions plan to before the 2016 election in the wake of a dismal midterm election for the state’s Democrats in 2014."

The U.S. Supreme Court Must Protect the Right of Teachers to Speak In A Loud Voice: "As a government and history teacher, I spend my days talking about the principles of democracy and about the role each of us has to play in our society. I teach my high school students about the importance of our fundamental rights to come together and stand up for our beliefs. And now, I’m proud to be taking this lesson from my classroom to our nation’s highest court."

The State of the Unions: "The logic is that all teachers benefit when, for example, pay is increased, and the law shouldn’t allow free riders to reap those benefits without sharing in the costs of achieving them. It seems to us that the court is really being asked to decide whether public employee unions have become too powerful and need to be reined in. It’s a question worth debate. But it is more of a political than a constitutional issue, best answered on the state and local levels by voters and the people they elect."

Working People (and the Facts) Stand Up to Right to Work Push in West Virginia: "That didn't take long. As the West Virginia Legislature opened Wednesday, the first bill out of the gates was "right to work" legislation that does nothing more than attack the rights of working people. As the video above shows, workers weren't happy about the proposal and flooded the Capitol to express their opposition to the dangerous bill."

Your 2016 UAW Vehicle Buying Guide: "Are you in the market for a car? Want to make sure that you buy a good union-made vehicle? The UAW has you covered. Here is a list of UAW-made vehicles."

Unions Must Address Racism: "Unions must mobilize to defeat racism because it destroys solidarity and brutalizes union members, the demographics of working people are changing rapidly and morality demands action. But mobilizing all of labor to join the fight against racism will not be easy: Race fractures the labor movement itself. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said of Ferguson, Mo., “our brother killed our sister’s son,” and, in doing so, he spoke to the tragic facts and also to the internecine racial fault lines that shatter worker solidarity."

Worker Protests in Ciudad Juárez Shine a Light on Ongoing Workers' Rights Violations in Mexico: "Just across the border with Texas, workers in Ciudad Juárez have been launching brave actions against global manufacturing giants to improve conditions in the low-wage maquiladora sector. Over the past six months, workers at large assembly plants owned by Commscope, Eaton, Foxconn and Lexmark, producing electronics, auto parts and printing supplies for the U.S. market, have launched a series of mobilizations to protest wages as low as $30 per week, unsafe working conditions, sexual harassment and discrimination. Juárez is a major location of such industry, accounting for well over 10% of all such exports from Mexico. In several cases, workers have attempted to form independent unions to defend their rights and have a voice at work."