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Fifty-five years ago, in a speech to the convention of the Illinois AFL-CIO, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. laid out with characteristic moral clarity the essential role of unions in American life. “The labor movement,” he explained, “was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress … [When] the wave of union organization crested over the nation, it carried to secure shores not only itself but the whole society. Civilization began to grow in the economic life of man, and a decent life with a sense of security and dignity became a reality rather than a distant dream.”

This Labor Day, America’s working families are facing unprecedented challenges.

The path to the presidency runs through the labor movement.

The Trump administration plans to tackle two important labor policy issues in the coming months: overtime pay and “joint employer” liability for companies in staffing and franchise relationships.

For the people of Flint, justice may come from a courtroom, but change comes at the ballot box.

November 6 is Election Day.

In 2010 and 2014, as families in Flint went to the voting booth, little did they know that their decisions would impact something as fundamental as the water they drink. However, policies put in place by the state and local officials elected on those days put saving money ahead of the health and water quality of Flint residents.

It seems every talking head in Washington has been in a frenzy recently, rushing to either glorify or condemn the new North American Free Trade Agreement, known as the United States Mexico Canada Agreement. But the truth is that it is still too early to pass any final judgment.

Richard Trumka came to Milwaukee Tuesday to fire up labor activists and tear into Gov. Scott Walker.

The national president of the AFL-CIO used his address at the group's state convention to portray Walker as a "little puppet" of the billionaire Koch brothers.

Walker, the two-term Republican governor whose Act 10 crippled organized labor in 2011, faces Democrat Tony Evers in the fall.

"On November 6 we’re going to have one hell of a party — a Scott Walker retirement party," Trumka said.

Labor has always held electoral power, especially when wielded by women. Former Secretary of Labor Francis Perkins’s lifelong dedication to workers’ rights was sparked by witnessing the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911, in which 146 people — predominantly young Jewish immigrant women — died, most as a result of locked factory doors. Though they shunned the ballot box, legendary political radicals like Lucy Parsons, Emma Goldman, and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn were all labor organizers.

Lorraine Llauger is a journeyman electrician and a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) in Orlando, Florida. Llauger hoped to earn a college degree, but did not know how she'd be able to fit college in with her busy life as an electrician and a mother. A coworker mentioned the Union Plus Free College Program, and within weeks, Llauger was registered and taking classes online.

Labor union leaders Liz Shuler and Mary Kay Henry discuss how they rose up through the union ranks and what they’re trying to do to increase the number of women in the labor movement. Shuler, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, and Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, also weigh in on recent Supreme Court decisions, Brett Kavanaugh's nomination, and what that all means for the future of the labor movement.

Listen to the full episode.

AFSCME Local 123 member Demond Stanley used the Union Plus Disaster Relief Grant after catastrophic Hurricane Harvey to assist with damage to his Houston home.