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The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division announced a final rule today extending the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime protections to most of the nation’s direct care workers who provide essential home care assistance to elderly people and people with illnesses, injuries, or disabilities. This change, effective January 1, 2015, ensures that nearly two million workers – such as home health aides, personal care aides, and certified nursing assistants – will have the same basic protections already provided to most U.S. workers. It will help ensure that individuals and families who rely on the assistance of direct care workers have access to consistent and high quality care from a stable and increasingly professional workforce.

To help families, other employers, and workers understand the new requirements, the Department will be hosting five public webinars during the month of October and has created a new, dedicated web portal at dol.gov/whd/homecare with fact sheets, FAQs, interactive web tools, and other materials.

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Lori WallachSeats still remain for next Thursday’s Crucial Conversation luncheon:

Worse than NAFTA? Why North Carolinians should be very, very worried about the so-called “Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

Click here to register

Featuring Lori Wallach, Director of the Global Trade Watch Division at the national advocacy group Public Citizen.

Co-sponsored by AFL-CIO of North CarolinaWitness for Peace and Balance & Advocacy in Journalism.

Few American states have experienced the devastating impact of global “free” trade more directly and painfully than North Carolina. Our shuttered manufacturing plants and record unemployment rates both serve as powerful daily reminders of the lasting impact of NAFTA, CAFTA and other alphabet soup trade deals negotiated by far-off politicians and corporate giants.

Now, amazingly enough, yet another such trade agreement is being negotiated in secret, and it could be the worst one yet. Read More

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Lori WallachBe sure to mark your calendar for Thursday September 26 for the next NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation luncheon:

Worse than NAFTA? Why North Carolinians should be very, very worried about the so-called “Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

Click here to register

Featuring Lori Wallach, Director of the Global Trade Watch Division at the national advocacy group Public Citizen.

Co-sponsored by AFL-CIO of North Carolina and Witness for Peace.

Few American states have experienced the devastating impact of global “free” trade more directly and painfully than North Carolina. Our shuttered manufacturing plants and record unemployment rates both serve as powerful daily reminders of the lasting impact of NAFTA, CAFTA and other alphabet soup trade deals negotiated by far-off politicians and corporate giants.

Now, amazingly enough, yet another such trade agreement is being negotiated in secret, and it could be the worst one yet. As you read this, trade officials from the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim nations are negotiating something called the Trans-Pacific Partnership in hopes of reaching agreement this fall.

Lori Wallach thinks this is a big mistake. Read More

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Lunch sandwichHere’s something to spur a little dyspepsia on the first day of a short work week: The General Assembly is back in Raleigh!  Yes, just six weeks or so after blowing town, the honorables are back for what will apparently be a two-day veto session. In case you’ve forgotten, the state Constitution (Article II, Section 22) requires an affirmative vote of three-fifths of those present and voting to override a gubernatorial veto and, at this point, it looks very much as if both the House and Senate will produce margins of this amount or greater on both bills at issue. In other words, it would appear that Governor McCrory’s September is about to get off to a start very much consistent with his extremely lousy August – a month so bad that it prompted his hometown newspaper to question his truthfulness.  

And speaking of important official events in Raleigh today, the State Board of Elections will convene at 1:00 to take up an appeal of a candidate challenge to Montravias King from Pasquotank County. Click here to watch the live feed from WRAL. The Board will also consider the appeals for one-stop alternate plans for 2013 municipal elections in Watauga and Pitt counties. Students and civic groups including NCPIRG, Common Cause, Ignite NC, NCSU Student Power Union, Democracy NC and Rock the Vote will be on hand to call on the Board to reverse recent decisions by local county boards of elections that make it harder for young people to vote.

And speaking of “must see” video, Read More

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Lunch sandwich

TGIF indeed. Well, it’s been another fun week in the North Carolina policy world. And as usual, one of the best end-of-the-week wrap-ups can be found in Friday Follies. Today, Chris Fitzsimon has the latest on the conclusion to Gov. McCrory’s terrible, no good, very bad month and, from the looks of things, what promises to be a lousy start to September as well.

Meanwhile, all the hubbub and protests of the last few weeks over the General Assembly’s disastrous 2013 legislative session appear to be stirring at least the beginnings of a smidgen of regret and remorse. Ann Doss Helms of the Charlotte Observer reports that two GOP state reps from Mecklenburg are making noises about at least softening the impact of the absurd decision to do away with the pay bump that teachers have long received for obtaining a master’s degree. There’s no indication, however, that conservative lawmakers have any interest in reversing their decision as they should.

And speaking of people admitting errors, Steve Benen at The Maddow Blog has a rare sighting to report: a direct and sincere apology from Fox Noise blowhard Bill O’Reilly. Read More