IAM Local 700 Member Leads Connecticut AFL-CIO – 21st Century Labor Union – IAMAW

The Machinists Union applauds the election of IAM Local 700 member Lori Pelletier to become the next Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Connecticut AFL-CIO.

Pelletier becomes the first openly gay woman to lead a state labor federation in the United States. She is the co-president of Pride at Work, an AFL-CIO constituency group that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers.

“For close to three decades, Lori Pelletier has fought for IAM members and working families in Connecticut,” said IAM International President Buffenbarger. “The Connecticut AFL-CIO will be well-served by such a devoted public servant and strong voice for equal rights and the middle class.”

Before becoming Secretary-Treasurer of the Connecticut AFL-CIO in 1999, Pelletier worked in the quality assurance department at Pratt & Whitney’s plant in Middletown, CT. After joining the IAM in 1986, she served as Shop Steward, Recording Secretary and eventually Vice President of her local.

Pelletier was also a delegate to the Connecticut State Council of Machinists and the New England Conference of Machinists, and has served the IAM on political, legislative and organizing initiatives. She was appointed to the Blue Ribbon Commission by President Buffenbarger and has been honored by the Coalition of Labor Union Women twice.

Currently, Pelletier serves on the Board of the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF), a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to empowering women, girls and their families to achieve equal opportunities in their personal and professional lives. She also represents the Connecticut AFL-CIO on the executive committee of Citizens for Economic Opportunity and serves as Vice-Chair of the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut.

via IAM Local 700 Member Leads Connecticut AFL-CIO – 21st Century Labor Union – IAMAW.

U.S. Inequality is Even Worse Than You Thought – 21st Century Labor Union – IAMAW

A new study confirms what America has been feeling for decades: the rich are getting richer while the rest of the country struggles to make ends meet.

The study, released by economists at UC Berkeley, shows the wealth gap between the top 1 percent of earners and the bottom 99 percent is the widest it’s been since 1928. Between 1993 and 2012, real income for the top 1 percent rose 86.1 percent, while the bottom 99 percent saw their income rise by only 6.6 percent.

The top 1 percent, defined as households with incomes of over $394,000 in 2012, also recovered from the Great Recession faster than anyone else. Ninety-five percent of income gains reported since 2009 have gone to the top 1 percent.

Ultimately, the study says, the choice of how much inequality we tolerate is up to us.

“A number of factors may help explain this increase in inequality, not only underlying technological changes but also the retreat of institutions developed during the New Deal and World War II – such as progressive tax policies, powerful unions, corporate provision of health and retirement benefits, and changing social norms regarding pay inequality,” wrote UC Berkeley Researcher Emmanuel Saez. “We need to decide as a society whether this increase in income inequality is efficient and acceptable and, if not, what mix of institutional and tax reforms should be developed to counter it.”

Click here to read the full text of the study.

via U.S. Inequality is Even Worse Than You Thought – 21st Century Labor Union – IAMAW.

Tell Congress to Vote ‘No’ On Any Proposal to Cut U.S. Pensions – 21st Century Labor Union – IAMAW

America’s pensions are under attack. And it could be getting worse.Right now conservative members of Congress are preparing to introduce a bill that would allow trustees of “deeply troubled” pension plans to cut benefits for people who have already retired. The bill would give Corporate America and others the green light to further slash retirees’ payouts and reduce already-earned credits for current workers.This all comes at a time when more than approximately half of American workers have less than $2,000 saved for retirement. Thirty-five percent of Americans over the age of 65 rely almost entirely on Social Security payments alone. And, only 20 percent of American full-time employees have a defined benefit pension plan.This nation’s pension system is not broken, busted or in need of a radical overhaul that shifts ever more wealth from the nation’s middle class to the top one percent. Click here to tell your Senators and Representative to vote “NO” on any proposal that cuts America’s pensions.

via Tell Congress to Vote ‘No’ On Any Proposal to Cut U.S. Pensions – 21st Century Labor Union – IAMAW.