She Could Do It: The ‘Real’ Rosie the Riveter Dies

The “real” Rosie the Riveter—one of six million women who worked in factories and shipyards during World War II—has died at 96.
  • Iconic Poster: Naomi Parker Fraley was identified as the model for the iconic 1943 poster depicting a young worker wearing blue coveralls and a red-and-white polka dot bandana, with her sleeve rolled up to reveal her flexed bicep.
  • “We Can Do It”: The slogan on the poster—“We Can Do It”—says it all. These female factory workers built the planes, tanks, bombs, and munitions that won World War II.
  • Inspiring New Generations: Originally displayed by Westinghouse at its defense plants, this poster was rediscovered during the early 1980s, inspiring new generations of women in their fights for raises, rights, and respect.
    • Identifying the “Real” Rosie: After several credible contenders were reported to be the inspirations for the iconic poster, the scholar James J. Kimble identified Fraley from a photograph. She worked at a machine shop at the Naval Air Station in Alameda, California, during the war, and later worked in a restaurant in Palm Springs.
  • Her Legacy: “I didn’t want fame or fortune,” Fraley said in 2016. “But I did want my own identity.” She died on January 20, as hundreds of thousands of women rallied for the fairness and dignity still denied them, from the White House to their workplaces.

Taxpayer Dollars Should Support American Jobs

When the federal government spends the taxpayers’ money, these projects should support American jobs.

Buy American: That’s why Congress includes “Buy America” provisions in transportation and other infrastructure programs. Supporting the American steel industry is especially important since steel is used for everything from cars to construction, but the sector’s high-wage, union-represented jobs are threatened by imports.

American Workers Keep Watch and Blow the Whistle:  Working Americans and their allies need to keep careful watch on public projects to make sure they use American steel. Railroad workers tipped off Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey (D) that Amtrak is illegally using steel from Vietnam to upgrade its Mount Joy station in Lancaster County. In a letter to Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson, Casey reminded the federally-funded railroad corporation that it must make maximum use of American steel. Kudos to members of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes, a division of the Teamsters union, for blowing the whistle on the illegal use of imported steel.

“No Action” from Trump: American steelworkers are besieged by imports, which were 19.4 percent higher during the first 10 months of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016. Despite Donald Trump’s tough talk, his administration hasn’t taken action against unfair trade practices by China and other competitors. The United Steelworkers union says it’s “terribly disappointed and hugely frustrated … There’s been no action that has done anything to protect and defend American jobs.”

Related story: Facing layoffs, Pennsylvania steelworkers feel abandoned by Trump.

Trump Making Millions More in Shadowy Sales to Foreigners

Are you wondering why President Trump favors foreign steelmakers, pushed through a tax plan with incentives for offshoring American jobs and still hasn’t cracked down on China’s trade abuses?

Then as they say “just follow the money.” Or watch where the Trump family’s real estate empire is covering its tracks.

  • Shadowy Buyers: As USA Today recently reported, the Trump companies sold more than $35 million in real estate last year, “mostly to secretive shell companies.”
  • What Happens in Las Vegas: Look at Las Vegas, where Trump sold 41 luxury condo units for $1.6 million each. Most of the buyers hid behind “limited liability companies” without revealing their names. At least one known buyer was a German couple, but Trump’s company says the sale wasn’t a “foreign deal,” which the President promises to avoid.
  • Not the First Time: If Trump’s making megabucks from foreign buyers, it isn’t the first time. Ten years ago, Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev bought Trump’s Palm Beach mansion for $95 million — by $13 million more than the largest previous sale in Palm Beach.
  • Time for Transparency: Congressional watchdogs are demanding transparency from Trump about his companies’ real estate sales. After all, he’s promised to put America first, not foreign interests competing with our workers and businesses, while turning greater profits for himself and his family.Trump Making Millions More in Shadowy Sales to Foreigners

Foreign Steel Surging, American Workers Suffering

While President Trump talks about putting “America First,” Russian steelmakers are getting pipeline contracts – and American steelworkers are getting layoff notices.
Shortly after taking office, Trump signed memos supporting the Keystone XL pipeline, promising, “From now on, we’re going to be making pipeline in the United States.”
But at least a quarter of Keystone’s pipes came from Evraz North America, which supplied the pipeline from its plants in Canada. Evraz’s largest shareholder is a Russian oligarch, Trump family friend, and crony of Vladimir Putin.
In spite of Trump’s tough talk, steel imports to the United States went up by 19.4 percent during the first 10 months of 2017, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. Meanwhile, the Trump Administration has delayed its plans to take strong measures to reduce imports, which has encouraged foreign producers to increase imports before any tariffs take effect.
One result: layoffs, such as the loss of 150 of 207 jobs at the ArcelorMittal mill in Conshohocken, PA, in September.

Dr. King’s Holiday: A Legacy for Workers

On the Martin Luther King national holiday, Americans honor our foremost fighter for social justice who gave his life supporting striking workers.
Appropriately, the holiday is the product of three decades of struggle. After Dr. King was assassinated in 1968, the civil rights movement started campaigning for a holiday in his honor. When Congressional legislation fell short in 1979, advocates mobilized public support. In 1980, Stevie Wonder recorded his single “Happy Birthday,” which called for a national holiday on Dr. King’s birthday and  six million Americans petitioned Congress to create a day in King’s honor. Congress approved the holiday in 1983, and, after initially opposing the bill, President Reagan signed it into law. But 2000 was the first year when every state agreed to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Dr. King’s life and legacy have special meaning for working people. Declaring that African Americans’ needs “are identical with labor’s needs,” he supported “decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing, [and] old age security,” and unions were among his strongest allies. In fact, he delivered an early version of his “I Have a Dream Speech” at the “Walk for Freedom,” in Detroit in May, 1963, where he marched alongside the Rev. C.L. Franklin, the father of Aretha Franklin, and Walter Reuther, president of the United Auto Workers (UAW).
In 1968, Dr. King organized a national campaign against poverty, focusing on low-wage workers. On April 3, he visited Memphis, TN, to support striking sanitation workers, members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). The following evening, he was shot and killed.
This history explains why labor and civil rights activists often say that Dr. King’s holiday should be not only a day off but also “a day on” to rededicate ourselves to the ideals for which he lived and died.
To learn more about Dr. King’s alliance with the labor movement, watch this video.

Real News for Real People

Chances are you’ve been hearing a lot recently about “real news” and “fake news.”

Most of the back-and-forth between political and journalistic insiders has been about the endless round of scandals in Washington, DC, and New York, NY: Hacked emails, secret meetings, and foreign meddling in American democracy

Such stories must be reported because they help Americans hold elected officials accountable for how they’re breaking the promise of “government of the people, by the people and for the people.”

But what about what’s going on behind the scenes while the politicians and the press keep partisan bickering up-front? How can you learn about the governmental and corporate decisions that could cost you your job, your next raise, your family’s health insurance and your retirement security?

This news service shares these stories, along with informative links to in-depth news coverage and well-researched reports. If you have a question you want to ask or a tip you want to share, please send it along to