North Dakota AFL-CIO

 The North Dakota AFL-CIO is a federation of North Dakota unions working to build power for all North Dakota workers.

Working people are tired of hearing how tax giveaways for Wall Street billionaires and corporations will supposedly trickle down to the rest of us.

On Friday, September 22nd, North Dakota Union members Travis Swanson, United Steelworkers Local 560 President and Dan Jackson, USW Local 560 member and Vice President of the Northern Plains United

Governor’s Workforce Development and HR Conference

In a functioning democracy, a government responds to its people’s needs.

“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

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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.

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The Trump administration and Republicans in Congress want to give tax breaks to millionaires through an expensive tax plan that gives corporations more incentive to offshore jobs.

In a functioning democracy, a government responds to its people’s needs. This is a democracy’s strength. On the other hand, North Dakota has substituted a polite government for a responsive one, especially in regards to working families’ issues.

They listen to you. They smile and nod, then they say they some variation of, “We understand that you’re concerned, but we know better and will continue as before.” Whether the issue is healthcare, wages, or workplace safety, they sincerely believe that by being polite to working people, they are responding to their needs. They are not.

Is this truly what representative government has become?

Our issue with the Governor’s Workforce Development Conference this coming Wednesday is a great example of the lack of responsiveness. This conference is bringing in two anti-worker lawyers to present their version of labor law. Yeah! The law that protects working people from abuse is going to be presented by people who have made millions by guiding businesses through loopholes in the same law.

We have been working to get this changed for six weeks to no avail. Understand our demand is a small one. We just want this one session to be presented by our own North Dakota Labor Department. This entire issue could be solved in 20 minutes, but we get nothing but a paternalistic attitude that they know best.

Remember that we have the lowest unemployment rate in the nation while maintaining low wages outside the oilfield. We don’t need to become more business friendly. To the contrary, we need to become much more worker friendly to keep and attract more working families to this state. We need better wages, more fairness and improved safety on the job.

Yet our state will never achieve anything if our government continues to be unresponsive to working families’ issues.

There are questions that we need to start asking. When is North Dakota going to start listening to its working families? When is our government going to be as responsive to us as it is to businesses and corporations? When are working families going to matter as much as money?

I guess the real question is when are we going to return a government of the people, by the people, for the people?

The time to start is now!