A Toast to Our Heroes on Memorial Day

beer cheersBy Michael Messina

This Monday we celebrate Memorial Day. We remember and honor those who have lost their lives while serving to protect this country, its citizens and all the freedoms that we enjoy so much. Shake the hand of a veteran, hug a member of the United States military or simply say thank you for all they have fought for.

Five Luxury Union Hotels That Will Wow You

by Sahid Fawaz

With summer around the corner, it's a great time to book a getaway or two. And when you're trying to decide on a hotel, UNITE HERE has you covered with their terrific list of union hotels. We went through that list and picked some jaw-dropping hotels that set the standard for luxury and style. Everyone should experience at least one of these hotels at some point in their life - they are truly a breed apart. And the best thing is you will be supporting good union jobs by choosing these hotels!

1. Mandarin Oriental New York



Hope and Progress: More Car Washers Unionize

clean carwash

By Michael Messina

Workers who wash cars for a living have it tough. The water, the chemicals, the long hours all equal harsh working conditions.

But things are starting to look up for over 100 “carwasheros” in Los Angeles. Over a dozen car wash locations in Southern California, from Ventura to San Diego, have signed union contracts in recent months, thanks to our friends at the United Steelworkers and their terrific collaboration with the Community Labor Environmental Action Network (CLEAN) car wash campaign.  What will that mean for the workers? Better wages, better working conditions and a voice on the job. The CLEAN campaign, in conjunction with the United Steelworkers Local 675, has been working to spread the word of these unionized workers, now totaling 133 employees.

Retailer Only Sells American-Made Products

by Sahid Fawaz
One question consumers often have is where to buy American-made products. One store in Angola, Indiana has made it easier for them by running a business that sells only American goods. 
The American Store, formerly known as American Made Shopper, is on a mission to provide consumers a no-hassle way of finding and buying American products. Its founder, Jeff Face, says that upon return from military duty overseas, “I decided somebody had to stand up and provide leadership. I'm not talking about politics; I'm talking about practical businesses that care about the country. I cannot stand by and watch our country go down the drain.” 
To learn more about this visionary company, check out the video below; and, if you’re ever in Indiana, stop by the store and help support good American jobs.

Four Worker-Friendly Alternatives to Walmart

by Sahid Fawaz
Finding employee-friendly businesses to shop at nowadays can be a bit difficult. With a Walmart in virtually every town, it’s easy to forget that there are companies out there that pay their workers well.  With that in mind, we decided to put together this list of businesses to make it easier for you to shop responsibly.
With an average wage of $21/hour, a CEO who supports a minimum wage increase, and a labor force that is roughly 10% unionized, Costco is one of the best places to shop responsibly. And the membership fee is completely refundable if at any time you are not satisfied with shopping there.
Trader Joe’s
Trader Joe’s gets rave reviews by its workers. And for good reason. According to CNN, “full-time crew members can start in the $40,000 to $60,000 a year range.” That is more than double what workers earn at many other supermarkets. If there is a Trader Joe’s near you, definitely give it a shot.
With workers at many of its stores represented by the UFCW, Kroger pays union wages and good benefits to employees. These workers have the security of a union contract and the power to bargain collectively about their pay and working conditions.
This employee-owned store has “94 Employee Owned Stores in eight states (Washington, Idaho, California, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Arizona and Texas) with nearly 15,000 employees.” With prices just as competitive, if not more so, than Walmart's, Winco offers an alternative that is easy on your wallet while providing good paying jobs.

The Surprising Truth on How Little We Have to Spend on American Products to Make a Big Difference

by Sahid Fawaz

Via the Million Jobs Project comes this important video explaining how much of an impact we can all make by spending just a little more on American products. Share this with your friends to help us get the word out on the benefits of buying American. And make sure to visit our directory for a list of thousands of American products!

Walmart Executive Receives Bonus as Company Misses Growth Expectations


by Sahid Fawaz

Walmart is known for its abysmal wages, which has led to taxpayers footing the bill for many of its employees who have to rely on government assistance to survive.

If a Walmart employee meets expectations on the job, his reward is more of the same meager wages that he accustomed to. And if he doesn’t meet expectations? Our guess is that he would likely be reprimanded or fired.

But when you’re a Walmart executive, the rules apparently no longer apply. Failing to meet expectations does not lead to negative consequences. Instead, it leads to an executive bonus.

Walmart’s president and CEO of its United States unit has an agreement with the company that provides with him a bonus if it achieves sales growth of at least two percent.

But growth for Fiscal Year 2014 were only 1.8%. Yet Walmart gave him a $1.5 million bonus.

How did that happen? The New York Times explains:

“After adjusting for certain items relating to the company’s sales, the Walmart unit eked out a growth rate of 2.03 percent in 2014. On the strength of that “adjusted” performance, Mr. Simon received $1.5 million, the proxy noted. His total compensation was $13 million last year.

What adjustments helped Mr. Simon clear the bar? One action that the company took was to eliminate the decline in its United States sales that occurred after the government cut food stamp benefits — formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program, or SNAP — by 5 percent last November.

That reduction in benefits hurt Walmart’s sales, the company acknowledged, because many customers use food stamps in its stores.

But for executive-pay purposes, that sales decline never happened. And that meant a bigger payday for Mr. Simon.”

Examples like this one shed light on the protections that corporate executives build for themselves to find any way to justify a lavish bonus, even when their company misses expectations. Many retail workers live a completely opposite life. They work tirelessly to meet expectations and their reward is that the value that they create goes to a handful of executives who make obscene amounts of money at the expense of their company and the taxpayer. 

Mitt Romney Tells Republicans to Support a Minimum Wage Raise

by Sahid Fawaz

You know the minimum wage must be really, really low if conservative Mitt Romney is calling on Republicans to raise it. Romney says that the GOP needs to stand up for what they believe in - "more jobs, better pay" - by supporting the raise. Watch the full video below of Romney's interview on the MSNBC show Morning Joe.

Alaskan Lt. Governor Hopeful Apologizes for Comparing Unions to Slavery


Earlier this week, Anchorage mayor and Lieutenant Governor hopeful Dan Sullivan used the word slavery to describe unions.  According to the Achorage Daily News, Sullivan "compar[ed] rules that require union membership and payment of union dues to slavery."

Sullivan has been no friend of labor over the years. He fought public unions to restrict their right to strike and led a measure opposing raises for public servants.

According to the NPM News, "in a statement late Wednesday afternoon, [Sullivan] said he remains opposed to rules compelling mandatory union membership for certain work, which he referred to as a form of "'economic slavery.'

'To me, the term has no racial connotations except that people of all races may be prohibited from holding certain jobs unless they pay tribute to an organization they may not support,' he said in the statement, released by a city spokeswoman."

Sullivan ultimately apologized for his remarks and to all who he offended.

Five Union-Made Items for the Summer

by Sahid Fawaz

If the summer is anywhere near as extreme as this past winter was, then we’re to going to lots of supplies to cope. Fortunately, proud union members produce and deliver the best quality consumer products anywhere. Below are a few of our union-made items for the summer. And remember, each time you buy union-made, you support good middle-class jobs that pay fair wages and provide good benefits.

1. Coppertone Sunscreen (United Steelworkers)


2. Omaha Steaks (UFCW)


3. John Deere Mowers (UAW, IAMAW)


4. Naturalizer Sandals (UFCW)


5. Breyers Ice Cream (UFCW)


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