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The Supreme Court handed a victory to slaughterhouse employees seeking to recover overtime wages, but the suit was just one in a string of cases against the food giant with a penchant for flouting fair labor laws.

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When Bill Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act on Feb. 5, 1993, almost exactly 20 years ago as the first legislative act of his presidency, its establishment as law marked a progressive victory after nearly a decade of ferocious opposition by corporate lobbyists, Republican legislators, conservative media and right-wing pundits.

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This would feel like horse-race politics, employment edition, if only the stakes weren't so high: The Department of Labor released employment data on Friday for the month of March, and the results didn't match more optimistic projections for the blustery month.

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For the millions of Americans who have lost their livelihoods over the last few years and the millions more who have been unemployed since before the 2008 financial crisis, Labor Day will underscore the daily suffering. (more)

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The official unemployment rate dropped from 9.2 to 9.1 percent last month as 117,000 new jobs were added to the American economy. The improvement in the rate, however, was almost entirely due to Americans giving up the search for work. (more)

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Maine's Republican Gov. Paul LePage, the same man who ordered the removal of a mural depicting American workers from a state office building, this week signed into law a bill that should please the business community. It allows 16- and 17-year-olds -- who make considerably less than older co-workers -- to work longer hours and later into the evening on school nights.

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In news that reflects the weakening pulse of the economy, the Labor Department reported that initial claims for jobless benefits rose last week to a seasonally adjusted level of half a million, the highest since last November.

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The news continues to get worse after the government finally put the "official" stamp on the current recession. The Labor Department has announced that 533,000 jobs were lost in November, the biggest monthly cut in 34 years -- with analysts fearing that the 11-month trend of increasing job losses will deepen even further.

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