Former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich will keynote a Working Families Summit scheduled for May 16 in Ames.

National labor leaders also will speak, including Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), others to be announced.

The summit is designed to put higher wages and other working family issues in the forefront of public debate in advance of the 2016 Iowa precinct caucuses.

"We can help to shape the presidential debate for 2016 to focus more on issues related to working families," said Ken Sagar, president of the Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.

"I want to see broader understanding of the number of issues from raising wages, to supporting families, to protecting civil rights, so that we all understand each other's issues and can support each other."

While the event will be promoting critical issues for the presidential campaign, no presidential candidates will be speaking at the event ? though all are welcome to attend.

"This will be a great opportunity for presidential candidates to hear the concerns about concrete issues facing Iowa's working families," Sagar said.

The summit will run from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Scheman Building on the Iowa State University campus. More information about the agenda and arrangements will be provided in the coming weeks.

Sponsors so far include : the AFL-CIO along with many Iowa labor and advocacy organizations focused on concerns for working families in Iowa: the Iowa Federation of Labor; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); Communications Workers of America (CWA); Iowa Postal Workers Union (APWU); Progress Iowa, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC); Iowa State Education Association (ISEA); Iowa Citizens Action Network (ICAN); Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), Laborers International Union of Northern America (LIUNA); Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA); Iowa Policy Project; Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa; Iowa Community Action Association; and the American Friends Service Committee.

Members of the public are welcome.

Facebook Page - Working Families Summit



Des Moines, IA -- Raise the Wage Iowa, a coalition of small business owners, faith leaders, as well as labor and community organizations, will rally to raise the minimum wage on Tuesday, March 31st, at 5 events across the state of Iowa. Events will begin in Des Moines at the state capitol, continue in the home districts of the 'Terrible Trio' in the Iowa House who are blocking a minimum wage increase.

The Iowa Senate passed a bipartisan compromise minimum wage increase last month, but Speaker of the House Kraig Paulsen, Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer, and Labor Committee Chair Greg Forristall have not allowed it for a vote in the Iowa House. If the legislation does not move forward by Friday, April 3rd, it will not survive the legislative 'funnel' and working Iowans will have to wait at least one more year for a raise.

Next Tuesday's statewide day of action will call on the 'Terrible Trio' of Paulsen, Upmeyer, and Forristall to allow a vote on a minimum wage increase. Iowa is falling behind our neighboring states in wage growth, and we cannot afford to wait any longer!

Event Details - Tuesday, March 31st


9:30 AM Kick-Off Press Conference at the Capitol

Iowa State Capitol, Room 116

1007 East Grand Ave, Des Moines, Iowa


Sue Dinsdale, Iowa Citizen Action Network, Matt Sinovic, Progress Iowa, Chris Schwartz, Americans for Democratic Action.


2:30 PM Press Conference in Clear Lake, Majority Leader Upmeyer's hometown

LOCATION: Lakeview Community Center, 10 N Lakeview Drive, Clear Lake

Speakers: Chris Petersen, Iowa Main Street Alliance; Sue Dinsdale, Iowa Citizen Action Network and Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans



4:30 PM Press Conference in Hiawatha, Speaker Paulsen's hometown

Hiawatha Public Library , 150 Willman St, Hiawatha Iowa

Speaker: Rick Moyle , Hawkeye Labor Council AFL/CIO & Mike Owen Iowa policy Project


12:00 PM Press Conference in Macedonia, Rep. Forristall's hometown

US Post Office, 319 Main St, Macedonia, Iowa

Speaker: Matt Sinovic, Progress Iowa


5:00 PM Rock the Wage Front Porch Concert

1105 Mulberry St, Waterloo, Iowa

Speaker: Chris Schwartz, Americans for Democratic Action

Band: False Indigo




AFSCME Iowa Council 61

American Friends Service Committee

Americans for Democratic Action

Des Moines Education Association

Food & Water Watch

Hawkeye labor Council AFL/CIO

Interfaith Alliance of Iowa Action Fund

Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans

Iowa Citizen Action Network

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund

Iowa City Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO

Iowa Community Action Association

Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL/CIO

Iowa Main Street Alliance

Iowa State Education Association

Methodist Federation for Social Action, Iowa Chapter

Planned Parenthood Voters of Iowa

Progress Iowa


SEIU Iowa - Local 199

South Central Federation of Labor, AFL/CIO

UNI Americans for Democratic Action

As Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker makes his first appearances in Iowa after making comments at CPAC comparing union members protesting his policies to ISIS, Iowa workers are speaking up and demanding an apology.  While Scott Walker fundraises in Dubuque, workers will speak out to demand an apology for Walker's unpatriotic remarks at a press conference in front of the Hotel Julien, at 6 pm on Saturday March 7.

Gov. Walker owes the workers of Wisconsin, Iowa and the entire United States an apology.  We are not ISIS. The hundreds of thousands of students, workers, veterans, grandmothers, aunts and uncles and children who came to Madison to stand together for worker rights are not terrorists. It is offensive to compare firefighters, police, nurses, teachers and construction workers with murderous terrorists.

To compare hard-working men and women who work for a living to terrorists is a disgrace. Coming together to peacefully protest for union rights and a better Wisconsin is not an act of terror. Iowans are offended by a candidate who would run for president by denigrating the working people in his home state. The working people who serve our country overseas and who make our country work are the real patriots and deserve better from a man who wants to be Commander in Chief.

DATELINE -- Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and the USPS Board of Governors, the board that oversees the U.S. Postal Service, are poised to make devastating cuts in service to the American people - cuts so severe that they would forever damage the U.S. Postal Service.

·       On Jan. 5, the USPS is slated to lower "service standards" to virtually eliminate overnight delivery - including first-class mail from one address to another within the same city or town.

·       All mail (medicine, online purchases, local newspapers, newsletters of religious organizations, bill payments, letters and invitations) throughout the country would be delayed.

·       Our entire community would lose business opportunities associated with ecommerce, which relies on the speedy delivery of goods ordered online.

·       Beginning Jan. 5, 82 Mail Processing & Distribution Centers are scheduled to close.



The cuts would cause hardships for the public and small businesses, eliminate jobs, and destroy the world's most efficient and affordable delivery network by driving away mail and revenue. They are part of the same flawed strategy that's behind efforts to end Saturday and door-to-door deliveries, cut back post office hours, and make other reductions in mail service.

The travesty is that the cuts are absolutely unnecessary - because postal operations are profitable. The Postal Service, which isn't funded by taxpayers, has earned an operating profit so far this year of more than $1 billion. For four years running, its finances have been improving.

And, while revenue from First Class Mail has been declining, package delivery, largely due to the growth of e-commerce has been rapidly expanding.

There is red ink, but it stems from political interference, not from the mail. In 2006, a lame-duck Congress mandated that the Postal Service pre-fund future retiree health benefits 75 years in advance - something no other public agency or private firm is required to do. That costs the Postal Service $5.6 billion a year - and that's the red ink.

Fifty-one senators and 160 House members have called for a one-year moratorium on the reduction in service and the closure of the mail processing centers to allow Congress time to enact postal legislation that would improve, not degrade, postal service. The Postmaster General and USPS Board of Governors should honor their request.

For more information, visit


# # #
The 2014 Midterm elections will go down as the most expensive in American history, and it was clear that money won.

"We ran a robust program, talked to tens of thousands of union members, retirees and households, but we were not able to compete with all the money the Koch Brothers and others poured into this election." Said Ken Sagar, President of the Iowa Federation of Labor. "Clearly we are disappointed in that the 1% have purchased the outcome."

Unions all over Iowa made contact with over 100,000 Iowans, called many thousands more, sent mail to educate members on the stands of the candidates, yet all the negative advertisements appear to have turned even more voters away from the polls.

"I want to thank all the Iowans who took the time from their busy schedules to take time to vote. Iowans have made their choice." said Sagar. "We will continue to work to promote legislation to help working Iowans.  I also want to thank all our volunteers that helped with labor 2014."

The Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO looks forward to working with all elected candidates.


Union members turning out the vote to protect important issues

Des Moines - Ken Sagar, President of the Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO, announced today that their program, which began in August, is well on track to complete over hundreds of volunteer shifts and reached over tens of thousands of voters before election day.

"This election is very important to our members. We are running a great program and our brothers and sisters knocking on doors all over Iowa, are making the difference," said Sagar. "Iowa is a very important state and we are doing everything we can to get our labor endorsed candidates elected."

"Our staff and volunteers are walking neighborhoods and talking to voters one-on-one about our issues," said Charlie Wishman Secretary/Treasurer of the Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO. "We care about all Iowa working families and we are working hard to encourage union members to exercise their right to vote. "

Iowa AFL-CIO volunteers across the state say that most people they talk with know how important this election is for Iowa's working families.


Ernst Earns 'F's On Issues Important to Iowa's Working Families

DES MOINES, October 21, 2014 - The Iowa AFL-CIO today released the Working Family Values Report Card, which gives grades to the candidates for U.S. Senate on a handful of issues critical to Iowa's working families. Candidate Joni Ernst earned all 'F's on issues ranging from increasing the minimum wage to protecting Social Security and Medicare, whereas Rep. Bruce Braley earned 'A's due to his strong support for pro-working family policies.

"Whether it is raising the minimum wage to help low-wage employees afford a few more groceries every week or supporting equal pay for equal work so that women aren't forced to continue earning 78 cents for every dollar earned by men, Joni Ernst earned an F on every subject," said Ken Sagar, Iowa AFL-CIO President. "On issues important to the working families of Iowa, Joni Ernst needs to go back to school and study harder on the challenges facing hard-working women and men in our state."

The AFL-CIO Working Family Values report card was created by grading each candidate for U.S. Senate on a handful of key issues important to working families in Iowa. Those issues include :

  • Increasing the minimum wage

  • Pay equity

  • Protecting Social Security and Medicare

  • Supporting job creation in America and opposing outsourcing of American jobs overseas

  • Tax fairness and closing corporate tax loopholes

"It's hard enough for working families in Iowa to make ends meet these days. The last thing they need is for Joni Ernst to go to the U.S. Senate to push an agenda that puts corporate interests ahead of their needs," added Sagar. "That's why we support Bruce Braley, because he will look out for working families."

Dear Ms. Ernst,

You recently said that a federal minimum wage was "ridiculous." A policy that protects tens of millions of American workers and whose erosion due to Congressional passivity has left 200,000+ Iowans making less today, adjusted for inflation, than low­wage workers made 46 years is far from ridiculous.

Are the 70­80% of Americans ­­ across every demographic group, including a majority of Republicans ­­ who, in poll after poll, support raising the federal minimum wage ridiculous?


Are the four Republican Presidents ­­ Eisenhower, Nixon, and both Bushes ­­ who raised the minimum wage ridiculous?


Are the 61% of small business employers polled by the American Sustainable Business Council who support a raise in the federal minimum wage ­­ including 49% of Republican small business employers ­­ ridiculous?


Are the seven Nobel Prize­winning economists who support a raise in the federal minimum wage ­­ citing the "stimulative effect on the economy as low­wage workers spend their additional earnings" ­­ ridiculous?


Are conservative leaders like Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Bill O'Reilly, and Phyllis Schlafly ­­ who point out that indexing the minimum wage assures business certainty and that rewarding work lessens public assistance expenditures ­­ ridiculous?


Are the 65% of Iowans polled who favor raising the minimum wage ­­ including Senator Tom Harkin, who drafted the federal bill that would bring $430 million in aggregate wage increases to hundreds of thousands of Iowans ­­ ridiculous?


A growing substantial consensus of Americans, Republicans, small business employers, economists, conservative leaders, and, specifically, Iowans believe that the minimum wage should be restored to its past purchasing power: $10.94, which the minimum wage would be today if the 1968 minimum wage was adjusted for inflation. They also believe it should be preserved through indexing so that the purchasing power of the federal minimum wage is never eroded again.

You are running for Senator ­­ a federal office ­­ and the people of Iowa deserve to know your stance on the federal minimum wage. The question is simple: If elected, would you support or oppose restoring the purchasing power of the federal minimum wage?


The 200,000+ Iowans who are making less today, adjusted for inflation, than minimum wage workers made 46 years ago await your answer.


Charlie Wishman, Secretary/Treasurer Iowa Federation of Labor - AFL-CIO

One Year Later: A Vote for Steve King or Joni Ernst is a Vote for Another Government Shutdown

Des Moines, Iowa - One year ago, Congressman Steve King and members of the Republican Party shut down the federal government at an enormous cost. Their actions roiled the country as federal workers were furloughed, national parks were closed, and Social Security checks were delayed. Now, with Joni Ernst is running for Senate, and Steve King is running for re-election.

Ken Sagar, President of the Iowa Federation of Labor issued the following statement:

"It's despicable that Steve King is running for re-election to the House after he voted to shut down the government and supported the government shutdown last year.

Does he think that's a qualification for public office? Will he assume that an election victory is a vote for another government shutdown?" Rather than demonstrate responsible leadership, Steve King supported Republicans when they inflicted a serious wounds on our economy and punished federal workers and American taxpayers.

"This November, voters in Iowa have a clear opportunity to reject Steve King's style of hostage taking and elect Jim Mowrer, a responsible veteran leader and a champion of working people. This November, it's time to hold the Republican Party accountable."

If Joni Ernst is elected to the Senate, she will join King in attacking workers and our economy.

Ernst Said "We Must Stand Firm In The Fight Against" The Affordable Care Act On The First Day Of The Government Shutdown. According to a Facebook post by state Sen. Joni Ernst, Ernst said, "LIKE if you believe that on this first day of Obamacare exchange signups, we must stand firm in the fight against this damaging, job-killing legislation. #standfirm." [Sen. Joni Ernst - Facebook, 10/1/13]

The government shutdown cost our economy $24 billion. Our economy created 120,000 fewer private sector jobs. Federal workers lost 6.6 million work days while food safety inspections, small business loans, life-saving medical research, and investigations into wage violations all ceased to take place.


Burlington: Des Moines/Henry County Labor Council - Labor Day Picnic 4 - 7 PM/  40 & 8 Park. Single $5, family $10. Tickets include : Meal, Door Prizes, Kids Games and Bounce House. 319-753-1647 .

Cedar Rapids: Hawkeye Downs 4400  6th St SW. 11:30 to 1:30 PM Food Served. Door Prizes. Entertainment to 4 PM. 319-396-8461.

Clinton: - Clinton Labor Congress will be having our annual picnic on Sunday August 31st Noon until 3pm  Eagle Point Park lodge in Clinton.   Free food  Free beverages   Kids games   Door prizes and raffles      Local, State and Federal candidates are invited. 309-788-4569.

Des Moines: Parade line up 8 am at Iowa State Capitol.  Parade will run from the Iowa State Capitol to the State Fairgrounds east on Grand Ave. Post parade, gathering at the Labor Park 4640 NW Morningstar Drive. Grills, charcoal and water provided at park, live music from Local #75 musicians.  515=265-1862

Dubuque: Parade starting at 9:30 am in Downtown Dubuque. 563-599-7725,

Iowa City: Iowa City Fed Picnic. Upper City Park. Shelter 2. Noon to 5. 310361-3212.

Keokuk: Lee County Labor Council - 301 Blondeau St., Keokuk, IA. Parade 11 AM, Music and Kids activities in the afternoon. Food at Noon.  319-524-9861 or

Lucas: John L Lewis Labor Festival. Saturday, August 30, 2014. Lucas Iowa. Parade 11 am. Breakfast 6 - 10 am. Events all day. 641-766-6421 or 641-766-6544

Mason City - North Iowa Nine: North Iowa Nine Labor Council, AFL-CIO Picnic - FREE
Georgia Hanford Park Mason City, IA 50401 11am to 3pm on Sept 1st. Barbara Oelberg 641-430-3697

Quad Cities: Parade in East Moline, IL. Parade starts at 11AM. 31st anniversary. East Moline along 15th Avenue.  309-738-6536 or  309-788-1303

Sioux City - Northwest Iowa Labor Council - Labor Day Activities. Noon Riverside Park. Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, pop, ice tea. Games for Children. Speakers - Jim Mowrer, Chris Hall, Monica Vernon, Dave Dawson and Jim France.

Waterloo: Blackhawk Union Council -September 1st at Gateway Park Cedar Falls, IA "Stronger Together" Labor Day Picnic Starts at 11:00AM and runs till 3:00PM.Union Brothers and Sisters please join us in a day of celebration of solidarity with food and fun and fellowship. For more information contact John Padget at

"Today, we are celebrating the power of working people who built this country and make it run every day. Labor Day was created to honor them, but words alone don't put food on the table and gas in the tank. In Iowa and across the country, millions of working families cannot support themselves with stagnant wages and disappearing benefits in this tough economy. It's time to end the corporate and political attacks on working people and create good public policy that will raise wages and restore our faith in the American Dream," said Ken Sagar, President Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO

The Iowa AFL-CIO, along with the broader labor movement, launched a national Raising Wages campaign this year. United under the banner of Raising Wages, working people throughout the country are advocating for good public policies like an increased minimum wage, universal earned sick days and workplace fairness and collective action to create an economy of shared prosperity.