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A Driving Force in This Election

Wed, 11/07/2018 - 15:15
A Driving Force in This Election

We did it!

The labor movement helped elect a wave of union members and pro-worker allies across the country last night. We proved that if you support working people, we’ll have your back. And we sent a resounding message to every candidate and elected official that if you seek to divide and destroy us, we’ll fight back with everything we have.

While many races have yet to be called, make no mistake: This is a historic election for working people. Union members in every community, city and state were a driving force in this election. We fought for our issues, union candidates and proven allies, and we filled the halls of power with our own.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) and AFL-CIO Mobilization Director Julie Greene spoke to the press early this morning. Check out what they had to say about this victory for working people here.

We’re still gathering and compiling the data, but here are four key takeaways from our work last night:

  • Seven hundred and forty-three (and counting!) union members were elected to office from the U.S. Senate to state capitols, including U.S. Sen.-elect Jacky Rosen (UNITE HERE) of Nevada; Michigan Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer (AFT); Minnesota Gov.-elect Tim Walz (Education Minnesota); and U.S. Reps.-elect Jahana Hayes (CEA and AFSA) of Connecticut and Ilhan Omar (AFSCME) of Minnesota.

  • We sent union-busting Govs. Scott Walker (Wis.) and Bruce Rauner (Ill.) packing, and we elected an army of pro-worker governors in Wisconsin, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Colorado, Maine and Kansas.

  • Union members knocked on more than 2.3 million doors this election cycle.

  • We distributed 5 million fliers at more than 4,600 worksites, sent more than 260,000 texts and delivered over 12 million pieces of direct mail.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 11/07/2018 - 16:15

Working People Respond to Midterm Election Results

Wed, 11/07/2018 - 14:45
Working People Respond to Midterm Election Results

Across the country, yesterday's elections showed that where candidates appealed to working people and championed policies that support us, working people will support those candidates. Working people provided winning margins in races across the country, sending a clear message that the pathway to winning elections in the United States goes through the labor movement.

Here is what the leaders of the AFL-CIO's affiliates and other national organizations said about yesterday's results.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA):

Union members made our voices heard loud and clear last night. Working people trust our unions, and that trust was at the core of an unmatched political program. For months, street by street and person by person, we talked about the issues that matter most and the candidates who will put working families first. We have been mobilizing on a scale that I’ve never seen in my 50 years in the labor movement. In every corner of the country, working people showed up to fill the halls of power with union members and our allies. We made clear that we won’t stand for those who prioritize the demands of an elite few—whether they’re anti-labor Republicans or pro-corporate Democrats.

AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr.:

For the last two years, the administration and its allies in Congress have run roughshod over the federal workers who keep this country running, and have launched a series of unprecedented attacks on our union in the process. Now, thanks to tremendous voter turnout and enthusiasm, we can once again count on Congress to provide checks and balances on the White House.

No longer will the president and his congressional allies have free reign to politicize the civil service and reduce civil service protections or union rights. We expect the new Congress to respect the apolitical civil service and our union rights in order to promote a better tomorrow for federal workers.

We expect the 116th Congress to respect workers’ voices in the workplace, respect the collective bargaining process, and respect the important work federal employees do on behalf of the American people. And with narrow-majority Senate returning, there will be opportunities for bipartisan efforts.

We look forward to working with leaders on both sides of the aisle to protect union rights and protect federal pay and retirement. We will also work with the bipartisan majority that opposes costly and unaccountable outsourcing of federal government work.

We are extremely proud of the efforts put forth by our members this year.

AFGE activists turned out in unprecedented numbers, and spent a tremendous number of hours knocking on doors, mailing literature, holding candidate town halls, making phone calls and texts and working tirelessly to get out the vote. We endorsed candidates from both major political parties in federal, state, and local races and we know that our efforts had an important impact on tonight’s outcome.

Today is a win for America’s workforce, and we look forward to working with members of Congress the next two years on progressive change. This wouldn’t have happened without the hard work of our 318,000 members nationwide, and we know tonight they are celebrating the election of Congressional leaders who will stand by their side and fight for them in Washington.

AFSCME President Lee Saunders:

With great courage and conviction, working people fought back in this election against the rigged economy, standing together and sending a message to the wealthy special interests.

For the first time in nearly a decade, the U.S. House of Representatives will have a pro-worker majority. And in many states, where extremist governors have spent years viciously attacking the rights of public service workers, we fought back and prevailed. Bruce Rauner, the multimillionaire governor of Illinois who was the original plaintiff in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, was trounced in his re-election bid. Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin who stripped away our collective bargaining rights in 2011, also went down. Pro-worker governors in Pennsylvania and Oregon retained their seats. And in Nevada, Minnesota and Michigan, voters elected new governors who are champions of working people. Governors will receive help in advancing a pro-worker agenda from newly elected allies in state legislatures across the country.

Some important races have yet to be called, but we know this: AFSCME members organized and mobilized in overwhelming numbers during this election. Working with our allies, we harnessed the power of grassroots organizing to make a powerful case for real change.

The corporate CEOs and the politicians that do their bidding do not relinquish power without a struggle. And they rig the rules not just of our economy but our democracy—giving themselves a built-in and unfair electoral advantage.

But AFSCME members and their allies are resilient. We woke up today even more confident in our values, more determined than ever to stand up for our union, our families and our communities. Because we never quit.

AFT President Randi Weingarten:

In a sharply divided electorate, the American people sent two very important messages. First, on a federal level, they voted for a check and balance on President Trump and were inspired by the women on the ballot. Our values and aspirations as a nation were on the ballot, and, in district after district, the American people chose decency over cruelty, fairness over prejudice, and democracy over demagoguery, by electing a new majority in Congress.

Second, on a state level, people voted for problem solvers as governors and in their statehouses—governors committed to finding solutions that make life better for children and families, and who believe in public education, good healthcare and rebuilding roads and bridges and water systems. Voters flipped statehouse after statehouse by electing new Democratic governors in Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico and Wisconsin, and they maintained Democratic governors in every state Democrats already held. And the wins were even more impressive in state legislatures, from New York to Colorado to Oregon to pro-worker, pro-civil rights, pro-public education ballot initiatives.

Working people in many of these states have faced years of attacks on their rights, disinvestment of public schools to fund tax breaks for the rich, and attacks on healthcare and voting rights. When public education was on the ballot, voters overwhelmingly chose to invest in public schools and stand with teachers, even electing AFT members as governors in Michigan and Minnesota. And while the safe staffing initiative narrowly lost in Massachusetts, we will continue to fight for affordable healthcare and safe staffing across the country.

Trump spent this campaign doubling down on hate, division and lies. And in a divided country, it’s disappointing that this demagoguery helped some of Trump’s acolytes narrowly win in places like Florida and Ohio. But even with this divisiveness, voters in Florida also restored voting rights for felons, which is not just a win for democracy but shows what is possible when lies, racist attacks and misrepresentations aren’t front and center.

On balance, it was a night in which a majority of Americans voted for a check on Trump’s cruel and inhumane agenda, and for leaders who will find solutions to make life better for people.

Alliance for Retired Americans Executive Director Richard Fiesta:

Voters over the age of 50 rejected Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s mid-October pledge to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to pay for the deficit created by last year’s tax cuts for the wealthy.

Older voters shifted their votes significantly toward House Democrats last night, with 49% voting for the Democrat for the House and 50% for Republicans, an increase of 13% over 2014, according to the national exit polls. Health care and protection for people with pre-existing conditions were clearly on the ballot, and older voters crossed traditional party lines to vote for candidates who would support them.

The most engaged voting bloc in the months leading up to the election, comprising 56% of the mid-term electorate, was over the age of 50. For the last two years we’ve seen unprecedented political engagement by retirees, with more attending candidate events and rallies, contacting their representatives and donating to candidates.

Now we must go to work to bring drug prices down, expand Social Security and make health care more accessible and affordable.

All elected officials should be on notice that retirees are watching their actions closely and will vote for those who fight for them.

Amalgamated Transit Union International President Larry Hanley:

Workers across this great country mobilized for the midterm elections. It is time for our nation to move forward and continue the fight for economic and social justice for all Americans.

Throughout this politically divisive and bruising midterm election season, we are proud of the role ATU members across the country played to mobilize transit riders to vote and elect more diverse, pro-transit, and pro-worker candidates like Jennifer Wexton in Virginia, Susan Wild in Pennsylvania, Mikie Sherrill in New Jersey, Abby Finkenauer in Iowa, and others. Public transit was also a winner on election night with transit ballot initiatives passed including in Connecticut and Tampa.

From Pensacola to Las Vegas, to Lansing and many other cities, our brothers and sisters reached out to passengers at bus stops and transit centers, and provided transportation to voters who could not get the polls to vote.

On behalf of the more than 200,000 members of the Amalgamated Transit Union, we pledge to continue to fight for better public transit, health care for all Americans, and the right for workers to have a voice in the workplace as the assault on the middle class across the United States continues.

Communications Workers of America President Chris Shelton:

This election represents a beginning, not an end. CWA members are ready to make sure that a progressive pro-worker agenda that puts the needs of working families ahead of corporate CEOs and Wall Street bankers is at the center of the discussion in Congress, in state capitals and in communities across the country.

Working families needed a victory in the midterms and CWA helped deliver it. We now have a check on the whims of a president who prefers attacking people on Twitter to addressing the real problems that our communities face and a Congress that focused on tax cuts to corporations and the one percent at the expense of programs that help everyone else. And in the states we have powerful new voices that will advocate for the advancement of the priorities of working families.

Electrical Workers International President Lonnie R. Stephenson:

Last night, I was in Madison, Wis., watching the election results come in, and I was overwhelmed with gratitude for all of the hard work so many of you put in over the last many months.

I was the Sixth District vice president in 2011 when Gov. Scott Walker decided to make destroying unions the centerpiece of his right-wing agenda, and to be back in that state on the night we sent him packing was quite a moment. Governor-elect Tony Evers will be a friend to working families, and I’m proud of the work IBEW members did to put him in office.

More importantly, I’m proud that we stuck to the issues. Whether it was protecting Social Security and Medicare or making sure that folks with pre-existing medical conditions can get the care they need; or making sure that working people have the right to join together in union and negotiate for a fair deal at work; or putting an end to the partisan gerrymandering that stacks the political deck against the least powerful; we stood up and made ourselves heard and backed candidates—regardless of party—who pledged to put working people first.

We didn’t win every race that we wanted to, but there are signs for hope. Gov. Bruce Rauner in Illinois—another politician who decided unions were the enemy—is looking for a new job this morning. In Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer reclaimed the governor’s mansion in a union stronghold that inexplicably went right-to-work in 2012. Now, we start to turn the tide.

There were victories from IBEW members running for office and family members of IBEW members, and I hope even more of you will choose to run in the future.

Moving forward, there are area where we can work together, Republicans and Democrats alike. America’s infrastructure badly needs an upgrade, and IBEW members are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work. On trade and jobs and workplace safety, we can find common ground and make real progress over the next two years. I look forward to getting started.

But, for now, for every one of you that made phone calls, sent letters, knocked doors or talked about the candidates and the issues on the jobsite, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Whether your candidate won or lost last night, you made a difference, and you did the IBEW proud.

Longshoremen International President Harold J. Daggett:

Americans voted in record numbers in yesterday’s 2018 mid-term elections where ILA members and working families everywhere help return the U.S. House of Representatives to a Democratic Majority. The ILA celebrates the reelection of our endorsed candidates Senator Robert Menendez in New Jersey and Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York and applauds the efforts of Andrew Gillum in Florida; Beto O’Rourke in Texas and Stacey Abrams in Georgia.

The face of American politics is changing for the better and for the ILA. A record number of women were elected to the House of Representatives which will now serve as a much-needed check on an anti-union president and Senate. Labor’s voice has returned to Washington and to many state houses across the nation.

Machinists International President Robert Martinez Jr.:

The American people have chosen action over distraction. This is a clear sign that the political pendulum had swung too far in favor of Wall Street and corporate CEOs.

It is past due for politicians in Washington and across the country to set aside their differences and unite to find real solutions. Instead of pursuing policies that hurt working people, like so-called ‘right-to-work’ laws, our elected officials need to put power back in the hands of working families.

The answer is not another tax break to pad the pockets of millionaires. Nor is it to slash Social Security and Medicare, which we have paid for and count on. Attacks on working people and our unions will not be tolerated.

We stand ready to work with this Congress and the administration to stop the outsourcing of jobs, raise wages, defend pensions and healthcare, strengthen laws against discrimination of all kinds and protect the right of every worker to join unions.

I want to especially thank Machinists Union members who took time out of their busy schedules to vote and volunteer this election cycle. The voice of working people was heard loud and clear thanks to you.

National Nurses United:

With much of the national focus on changing control of the House, National Nurses United today highlighted what may be the most significant, and lasting election development—ongoing momentum for grassroots activism, especially on the critical issue of health care.

NNU welcomed the unmistakable rebuke to the corporate agenda, especially on health care—as reflected in multiple House races, and in the election of many candidates who better reflect the diversity of the nation, and said the new majority in the House should serve as a brake to some of the worst abuses on worker’s rights and public protections.

In particular, NNU hailed “the movement led by RNs around the country, including Florida and Texas, that put Medicare for All at the center of the national debate,” said NNU Co-President Jean Ross, RN.

Numerous NNU endorsed candidates were elected Tuesday, including Governors Gavin Newsom in California and Tim Walz in Minnesota, and dozens of House candidates from coast to coast who will strengthen support for the growing movement for Medicare for All.

They include the first two Muslim women in Congress, Ihlan Omar in Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib in Michigan, Deb Haaland in New Mexico, in a breakthrough for Native American women, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who becomes the youngest woman elected to Congress and a national progressive champion.

Widespread dismay over health care costs, and access, especially for people with pre-existing conditions made health care the leading issue for voters.

Public demand for real solutions on health care were seminal in flipping the House; expanding Medicaid coverage in red states Nebraska, Idaho, and Utah; and electing additional advocates for guaranteed health care through Medicare for All.

NNU, said NNU Executive Director Bonnie Castillo, RN, will work with the growing House Medicare for All caucus to press for action on Medicare for All, while also continuing to escalate movement building in states from coast to coast.

NNU also hailed the passage of several additional ballot measures such as votes in Arkansas and Missouri to raise the minimum wage.

Most notably, said Castillo, was the passage of Amendment 4 in Florida which will restore voting rights to about 1.5 million formerly incarcerated people, including about 20 percent of Florida’s African American adult population—“a huge victory for voting rights, that will also have a major impact on national and state politics.”

At the same time, Castillo said, the demagogic incitement of racism and anti-Semitism, and widespread cases of voter suppression, especially evident in Georgia, cast a dark shadow over the future of democracy and must be directly challenged.

“We must do everything we can to encourage and assist this process, including continuing to build a broad movement for the transformative social change we need on issues that unite people, from health care to environmental protections to voting rights and confront the enormous powerful interests who dominate our economic and political system,” Castillo said.

The best antidote to those politics, like the campaign for real health care reform, is activism, said Castillo. “Mass action by a diverse array of activists, especially young people—the defining development in this election year.” 

Office and Professional Employees President Richard Lanigan:

To put the blue wave in context, 46,466,425 people voted for Democratic Senate candidates and 33,239,469 people voted for Republican Senate candidates, resulting in Democrats losing a net 2 seats in the senate. 

While that might not be considered a blue wave, millions of working people mobilized to vote for representatives who support their issues. Yesterday’s midterm results mean there will not be a rollback of Social Security or the elimination of safeguards for the millions of Americans with pre-existing health conditions.

With more women and people of color in history now taking their place in the House and anti-worker governors such as Scott Walker roundly voted out of office, the working people of this nation have made it clear they want leaders who reflect them and their values and who will work to protect their hard-fought rights and freedoms.

Theatrical Stage Employees International President Matthew D. Loeb:

Last night’s results were a victory for working people all across the country.

Worker champions defeated anti-worker governors in Wisconsin and Illinois. We elected labor-endorsed congressmembers in New York and California. New and returning labor-friendly Senators will head to the Senate from Nevada, Pennsylvania and several other states.

IATSE-supported candidates won in almost every state where we competed, and even where the final result didn’t go our way, the hard-fought organizing of IATSE members and allies from across the labor movement made races competitive in places we never thought we had a chance before.

This election marks an important beginning to our efforts to return power to the working families of this country, and we will not rest until every IATSE member is represented by people who understand the value of our work and of workers’ rights.

UAW President Gary Jones

This vote was a loud statement by Americans that they want action on jobs, healthcare, education, fair trade, income growth and a future for their children. If 2016 was a statement about being fed up with politics as usual and wages being too low to make ends meet—2018 was about working people telling politicians they want less rhetoric and more action and progress. It is time to come together and deliver for working families in this country and future generations. We must not go backwards.

UAW members demand progress and unity from all our elected leaders. They want an end to fear mongering and bickering. They insist on real progress on trade, creating more good paying jobs, raising wages, and lowering health care costs. Progress is needed for not just their sake but for them on their children’s and grandchildren’s future—and they want politicians to stop their constant attacks on their health care, social security, job protections and civil/human rights. Enough is enough.

The American people told our elected leaders yesterday that it is time to stop dividing us and to start uniting us and work for all of us. For UAW families this should mean an end to the constant assault on common sense health and safety protections in the workplace; on the right of workers to join together to organize; and on economic policies that favor billionaires over working families. This means an end to constant attacks on our right to affordable and comprehensive health care and the ability to retire with dignity. This means putting an end to schemes from special interests and wealthy campaign contributors to gut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Skyrocketing prescription drug and education costs must be curtailed. Powerful special interests must be directly confronted. No more kicking the can. Americans sent a message that they demand an end to divisive politics on civil rights and human rights. Congress must work to protect the dignity of all Americans. The message is clear—it is time to unite and it is time for our politicians to represent all Americans and discard the poll-driven politics of hate that have become so dominant in recent years.

In Statehouses across the country, voters also made their message clear on Tuesday. Voters expect government to focus on quality of life issues like the water we drink, the roads we drive on, the education of our children and the jobs of the future. The working men and women of this country are tired of partisan attacks on working families, on workplace health and safety, on privatization schemes that benefit wealthy donors who focus less on public services and more on profit. Tuesday, voters told governors and legislatures across the nation to stay out of stoking partisan fires over our private lives and focus instead on our public services. It was a back to basics message.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 11/07/2018 - 15:45

Tags: Elections 2018

Get Out and Vote

Tue, 11/06/2018 - 08:57
Get Out and Vote AFL-CIO

It's finally here! Election Day! The day you get the opportunity to express your voice and cast your ballot for candidates who support working people.

Here are some key resources you might need today:

  • Need to find your polling place or have other questions? Go here
  • My Union, My Vote also has information on our endorsed candidates. In addition, you can learn more about some of the best candidates for working people by checking out our blog series.
  • Have trouble casting your ballot? Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683), text "OUR VOTE" to 97779 or visit 866OurVote.org.
  • Here's what you can do if you are turned away at the polls.
  • Follow us on Twitter (@aflcio) to keep up with the latest results and what they mean for working people.

OK, now get out there and vote to improve the lives of working people!

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 11/06/2018 - 09:57

Tags: Elections 2018

Who Says Union Organizer Debriefs Can't Be Fun?

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 15:04
Who Says Union Organizer Debriefs Can't Be Fun? OI

We are coming off of an exciting two days of Debriefs: Successful Strategies and Tactics for Winning Campaigns! This Organizing Institute (OI) Exchange Clinic took place Oct. 22-23 and was held at the historic AFSCME Local 1733 union hall in Memphis, Tennessee.  Sixteen advanced and lead level organizers from Ironworkers International Union and Communications Workers of America (CWA) leading campaigns across the country participated. The clinic focused on how lead organizers understand and apply the components of effective debriefs into their campaigns.

It was amazing to have so many engaged, energetic and thoughtful lead organizers share their experiences with each other and reinforce best practices of incorporating effective debriefs into their campaigns. Bringing organizers together to reinforce best practices is always the highlight of the OI Exchange Clinics, and best practices are also key to winning organizing campaigns! 

Some of the organizer's takeaways from the clinic were:

  • How to be more deliberate about having planned debriefs after meetings, one-on-one conversations and actions;
  • Timely follow-up/debriefs with organizers, activists, and leaders;
  • Creating an open, honest and learning environment for feedback/critique during debriefs;
  • Incorporating role-playing into the debriefing process;
  • Being intentional about including the organizing committee and workplace leaders in  debriefs;
  • Challenging our current practices by digging deeper during debriefs;
  • Why we need to ask the right questions during debriefs;
  • Being intentional about using debriefs as a campaign planning tool.

We want to send a very special thank you to AFSCME 1733 Executive Director Gail Tyree for opening AFSCME's historic local union hall for this clinic; CWA Organizing Director Sandy Rusher for committing to be the primary anchor for this clinic; CWA District 3 Organizing Coordinator Tom Smith and CWA District 9 Organizing Coordinator Vic Serrano for helping to facilitate this clinic. Lastly, big shout-outs to OI Senior Trainer TJ Marsallo (lead), Tiffany Bender (co-lead) and OI Administrator Camille West-Eversley for leading this clinic, and the CWA and Ironworkers organizers for making this a success!

Lastly, space is very limited for the Dec. 5-7 Advanced Organizing Workshop taking place at the Tommy Douglas Conference Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.  Should you be interested in registering your organizing staff, please email OI Senior Trainer Tiffany Bender at tbender@aflcio.org at your earliest convenience for information regarding the training and the registration link.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 11/05/2018 - 16:04

Tags: Organizing

AFL-CIO and Anti-Slavery Activists Get Results on Mauritania

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 13:05
AFL-CIO and Anti-Slavery Activists Get Results on Mauritania

On Friday, in response to a petition originally filed by the AFL-CIO in 2017, the U.S. government gave Mauritania an ultimatum: It must make sufficient progress toward protecting internationally recognized workers' rights, including combating the scourge of hereditary slavery, or face the loss of trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Mauritania has until Jan. 1, 2019 to take action.  

Mauritania was the last country on Earth to prohibit slavery—in 1981. However, slavery persists. Since at least 2002, the International Labor Organization has tried—without success—to work cooperatively with the government of Mauritania to end the practice. That’s why the AFL-CIO’s petition and the corresponding U.S. government action are so important. The trade benefits that Mauritania stands to lose create an incentive for action.

While Mauritania prohibits slavery in law, it fails to take action to abolish the practice. To the contrary, human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch and Anti-Slavery International have documented harassment and jailing of anti-slavery activists. Mauritania has even charged some activists with blasphemy—a crime subject to the death penalty.  

Let’s be clear: Mauritania doesn’t simply allow “slavery-like” conditions. It allows chattel slavery, in which people are treated as personal property to be disposed of as owners please. Most slavery victims in Mauritania are ethnic Haratines, who are rented, loaned, given away and even passed along as inheritance. These enslaved people have no freedom and suffer serious physical abuse, including sexual abuse and rape. No country that knowingly allows such practices should receive benefits from the U.S. government.

The AFL-CIO is hopeful that this notice will be a wake-up call for the government of Mauritania to stop paying lip service to ending slavery and protecting workers, and to start enforcing anti-slavery laws, vigorously prosecuting slaveholders, and otherwise protecting fundamental labor and human rights for all its people. We also hope that other governments will follow the United States’ lead and put pressure on Mauritania to end slavery once and for all.

The AFL-CIO’s most recent petition on Mauritania can be found here.

More on the Department of Labor’s work in Mauritania can be found here.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 11/05/2018 - 14:05

Tags: Mauritania

The Final Countdown: The Working People Weekly List

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 10:12
The Final Countdown: The Working People Weekly List AFL-CIO

Every week, we bring you a roundup of the top news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here’s this week’s Working People Weekly List.

Trumka: Record Labor Voter Mobilization Emphasizes Pocketbook Issues: "Organized labor’s record voter mobilization efforts this year, which started earlier than ever before for a mid-term election, emphasized pocketbook issues and—says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka—will produce huge 'momentum at the ballot box' on Nov. 6. It also produced a record number of unionists running for everything from city council and county commissioner to Congress and governor, Trumka and Julie Greene, the federation’s mobilizing—and politics—director said in an Oct. 30 telephone press conference."

Equal Pay for All: "Today is Latina Equal Pay Day, the day in the year when Latina pay catches up to that of white, non-Hispanic men. That means Latinas work nearly 23 months to make what white, non-Hispanic men earn in one year."

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Bill Kidd: "This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Missouri state Rep. Bill Kidd."

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Claire McCaskill: "This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Sen. Claire McCaskill from Missouri."

'State of the Unions' Podcast: Union Members in Public Office: "The AFL-CIO has launched another tool to bring you the issues and stories that matter to working people. Welcome to the latest episode of our podcast, 'State of the Unions,' where we talk about the upcoming election with special guest Dahlia Vertreese, the mayor of Hillside, New Jersey."

Get Out the Vote: What Working People Are Doing This Week: "Welcome to our regular feature, a look at what the various AFL-CIO unions and other working family organizations are doing across the country and beyond. The labor movement is big and active—here's a look at the broad range of activities we're engaged in this week."

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Susie Lee: "This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Susie Lee, who is running for the U.S. House of Representatives from Nevada."

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Sherrod Brown: "This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Sen. Sherrod Brown from Ohio."

NALC Opposes State Department Decision to Leave UPU: "The U.S. State Department announced last week that the United States will withdraw from the Universal Postal Union (UPU) after a special meeting of the UPU failed to adopt pricing policies (so-called terminal dues) advocated by the United States at the urging of private delivery companies (i.e., UPS and FedEx). The proposals were outlined in an August 2018 memorandum, just a few weeks before the September 2018 meeting of the 192-nation UPU in Ethiopia. The private companies have complained that the UPU terminal dues rules result in business going to the USPS by offering below-cost delivery to the U.S.—especially from China."

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 11/05/2018 - 11:12

Hurricane Michael Relief Efforts Continue in Florida

Fri, 11/02/2018 - 12:48
Hurricane Michael Relief Efforts Continue in Florida AFL-CIO

This is the second installment of AFL-CIO National Media Manager Carolyn Bobb’s documentation of Hurricane Michael relief efforts in the Florida Panhandle. Read the first piece here.

Disaster relief is a long-term commitment that can become more difficult once immediate needs are met. For the Florida AFL-CIO, which is leading Hurricane Michael relief efforts, the work of rebuilding now begins.

“We cannot forget our members. A lot of basic needs have been met and now we’re focusing on getting people back to some sense of normalcy in their lives, which includes getting members back to work,” said Teamsters National Disaster Relief Coordinator Roy Gillespie.

This next stage of recovery, known as Phase 2, is about stabilization, and it focuses on targeted union member outreach. Many people have had a chance to assess the damage to their homes, and now they’re able to begin the cleanup process. That’s where the Florida AFL-CIO team comes in, delivering key supplies like trash bags, bleach and sponges, along with clothes, diapers, laundry detergent and personal items.

The Florida AFL-CIO serves as a command and control center, fielding a constant stream of calls, texts and emails to figure out how to get the thousands of supplies to those most in need. The team also is able to help a key community partner. After receiving notice that a local Red Cross facility had poor lighting, they called Miller Electric Co. out of Jacksonville to assist. Within a few days, the lighting was fixed. This can-do attitude is a constant during this labor-led relief effort.

“Our hearts go out to all of our sisters and brothers and their families during this difficult time,” said Mike Williams, president of the Florida AFL-CIO. “We are going through all the requests for help and getting supplies out to the most impacted communities. Because of all the great volunteers, we’ve been able to coordinate Phase 2 supply distribution in hard-hit areas such as Panama City, Blountstown, Marianna and Wewahitchka.”

We see firsthand the dual lives many union members are living when we make our first Phase 2 delivery to Panama City 15 days after the hurricane hit. Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 624 member Greg Cramer finishes a shift at a nearby mill and then opens up the union hall so we can unload two trucks. He is part worker, part volunteer. It is a blessing to have a place to store and distribute these supplies because the rain is relentless for several hours.

The Phase 2 coordination is led by Executive Assistant Helen Parker of the state federation. Helen is a seasoned disaster relief coordinator, having worked on efforts after Hurricane Irma in 2017 and most recently in North Carolina, still recovering from its own hurricane. Husband and wife team Fred with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and Carol Croon with BESPA—who evacuated and came back to some pretty major house damage—are pros at organizing the supplies and sorting through clothing that has been donated.

The first distribution is a success, and at other sites over the weekend, some 100 families are able to pick up items that will help them get started on the long road to recovery. The Florida AFL-CIO will be there every step of the way. Anyone wanting to make donations may continue to do so through the Florida Workers Relief Fund.

See photos from Phase 2 of the recovery efforts.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 11/02/2018 - 13:48

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Chuck Brannan

Fri, 11/02/2018 - 12:40
Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Chuck Brannan

This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Chuck Brannan who is running for state legislature in Florida.

Here are some of the key reasons why Brannan is one of the best candidates for working people in 2018:

  • He supports a defined-benefit retirement system for public-sector workers.

  • Brannan will make it a priority to fund health and safety protections for public employees.

  • He wants to expand funding for the state's college system, with an emphasis on workforce development.

  • Brannan supports increasing salaries and maintaining good benefits for public-sector workers.

  • He will insist that apprenticeship programs be included as a key element of the state's workforce development strategy.

  • Brannan supports allowing both state and local governments to enact minimum examination, certification and licensing requirements for skilled craftsmen.

  • He supports legislation that would protect pensions and other benefits from being used to offset workers' compensation payments.

  • Brannan opposes private school voucher programs that take funding from public schools.

To learn more about Brannan, visit his website.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 11/02/2018 - 13:40

Tags: Elections 2018

Economy Gains 250,000 Jobs in October; Unemployment Unchanged at 3.7%

Fri, 11/02/2018 - 09:02
Economy Gains 250,000 Jobs in October; Unemployment Unchanged at 3.7%

The U.S. economy gained 250,000 jobs in October, and unemployment was unchanged at 3.7%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Continued slow wage growth means the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee should pause current plans to raise interest rates.

In response to the October job numbers, AFL-CIO Chief Economist William Spriggs tweeted:

From last October, wages rose 3.1 percent.  That is a slight improvement, but still sufficiently modest for the @federalreserve to modify its rate hike strategy and pause. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) November 2, 2018

Labor force participation increased in October by 0.2 points.  The increase for Blacks explains the increase the unemployment rate from 6.0 to 6.2% that took place despite the share employed also increasing @aflcio @rolandsmartin

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) November 2, 2018

Labor force participation increased in October by 0.2 points.  The increase for Blacks explains the increase the unemployment rate from 6.0 to 6.2% that took place despite the share employed also increasing @aflcio @rolandsmartin

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) November 2, 2018

The convergence in Black and white labor force participation rates continues.  This month they were virtually equal, 62.8% for whites and 62.6% for Blacks @AFLCIO @rolandsmartin @CBTU72 @dchometownboy @JointCenter pic.twitter.com/6OUpRsWIvZ

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) November 2, 2018

While the top-line U-3 unemployment rate was flat at 3.7%, the broadest measure of labor slack, U-6 including involuntarily part-time and the marginally attached to the labor force inched down from 7.5 to 7.4% getting closer to 1999 lows @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/hsxpWOo84G

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) November 2, 2018

Let's be clear on Republican congressional ads bragging about the economy.  Trump took office with the unemployment rate already below 5% and falling.  The current trend in falling unemployment rates since October 2009--9 years ago--is not accelerating @AFLCIO thanks @POTUS44 pic.twitter.com/BmRJKmoBGo

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) November 2, 2018

As a nation, we are not going to get ahead if we continue to follow Republican governors in austerity--cutting workers in local education hurts us all.  Maryland voters need to remember Governor Hogan's sequestering education funds. @AFTunion @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/JoYgerwlVG

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) November 2, 2018

Last month's biggest job gains were in leisure and hospitality (42,000), health care (36,000), professional and business services (35,000), manufacturing (32,000), construction (30,000), transportation and warehousing (25,000), and mining (5,000). Employment in other major industries—including wholesale trade, retail trade, information, financial activities and government—showed little change over the month.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for teenagers (11.9%) declined. The jobless rates for blacks (6.2%), Hispanics (4.4%), adult men (3.5%), adult women (3.4%), whites (3.3%) and Asians (3.2%) showed little or no change in October.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged in October and accounted for 22.5% of the unemployed.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 11/02/2018 - 10:02

Equal Pay for All

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 13:30
Equal Pay for All AFL-CIO

Today is Latina Equal Pay Day, the day in the year when Latina pay catches up to that of white, non-Hispanic men. That means Latinas work nearly 23 months to make what white, non-Hispanic men earn in one year.

More than 50 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act, women still get paid less for the same work. But women of color—Latinas especially—experience the widest wage gap for the same jobs.

While it’s shameful that women are still fighting for equal pay, there are steps we can take to close the gap. The best way is to join a union. Through union contracts, women have closed the wage gap and received higher pay and better benefits. In fact, union women earn $231 more a week than women who don’t have a union voice.

When women are represented by unions and negotiate together, they have the power to create a better life.

Check out some facts below about Latina Equal Pay Day, and learn more from AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler here.

  • Latinas get paid only 53 cents to every dollar a white, non-Hispanic man makes—the largest gap in the nation.

  • Latinas must work 23 months to earn what a white man does in 12 months.

  • The average weekly earnings for Latinas is $621, compared to the $815 that white, non-Hispanic women bring home every week.

  • Latinas in unions earn 48% more.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 11/01/2018 - 14:30

Tags: Equal Pay

Are You Ready for Election Day?

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 12:21
Are You Ready for Election Day?

Tuesday is Election Day. It seems like every recent election has been powerfully important to working people and 2018 is certainly no exception. Are you ready? Have you prepared everything you need in order to make sure that you can use the power of your voice? 

Earlier this week, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka joined other advocates for working people on a tele-town hall, emphasizing the importance you, as a voter, have on the outcome of this election:

You have the power to write the next chapter of the American story.... You are our most powerful asset. You can make the difference in this election...this is the moment where we determine our future. This is the moment you’ll look back on. Don’t let yourself wonder if you could have done more.

Are you ready to do your part? We're in the last days before the election, so the top thing left to do for most people is to actually cast their ballot. Here's what you can do:

1. Make a plan to vote: The simple fact is that people who make a plan are more likely to vote. When are you voting? Where are you voting? What do you need to bring with you to the polling location? These and other questions need to be answered before Election Day, so you can make sure that your vote is counted. We can help: Visit aflcio.org/plan.

2. Know who you're voting for: Don't wait until you arrive at the polling booth to know what's on your ballot. If you want to maximize the impact of your vote, you need to know which candidates and ballot initiatives are supported by working people. We can help: Visit MyUnionMyVote.org to find a list of the endorsed candidates in your area. You can also read more about the best candidates for working people in our blog series which highlights dozens of worker-champions across the country.

3. Know your rights: Not a week has gone by this year without some kind of attempt to deny people the right to vote. We've been fighting back against those efforts all year, but lots of money and energy is being put into voter suppression in 2018. Voting is a right and you need to know what your rights are. We can help: Read our blog post on what to do if you are turned away at the polls. If you have any problems trying to vote or have more questions, call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683) or visit 866OurVote.org.

4. Help others: If you've already voted or plan to vote, you can expand the impact your voice has on this election. There are still GOTV-related events happening across the country. Phone banks, canvasing and other related activities will be ongoing until the polls close. We can help: Click here and type in your zip code to find events near you.

You still have time to make sure that your voice is heard in this election. Are you ready?

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 11/01/2018 - 13:21

Tags: Elections 2018

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Bill Kidd

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 10:37
Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Bill Kidd AFL-CIO

This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Missouri state Rep. Bill Kidd.

Here are some of the key reasons why Kidd is one of the best candidates for working people in 2018:

To learn more about Kidd, visit his website.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 11/01/2018 - 11:37

Tags: Elections 2018

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Claire McCaskill

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 10:07
Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Claire McCaskill AFL-CIO

This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Sen. Claire McCaskill from Missouri.

Here are some of the key reasons why McCaskill is one of the best candidates for working people in 2018:

  • She worked to pass the first boost in the federal minimum wage in more than a decade and supports raising the current minimum wage.

  • McCaskill wants to invest in the nation's infrastructure to improve access to good-paying jobs.

  • She has long opposed "right to work" legislation.

  • McCaskill supports providing student loan forgiveness to public school teachers who have served at least 10 years.

  • She has sponsored legislation to provide financial assistance to veterans for college or vocational training.

  • McCaskill worked in a bipartisan manner to lower the cost of prescription drugs.

  • She is an outspoken advocate for those who have faced sexual harassment in the workplace.

  • McCaskill is a founding member of the Senate Veterans Jobs Caucus and has worked in a bipartisan way to incentivize companies to hire and train veterans.

  • She has worked to bring affordable broadband access to rural communities.

  • McCaskill fought to save rural post offices and maintain delivery standards for the United States Postal Service.

  • She successfully pushed President Donald Trump to allow Missouri rice and beef producers to export goods to China.

  • She supports a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United.

To learn more about McCaskill, visit her website.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 11/01/2018 - 11:07

Tags: Elections 2018

'State of the Unions' Podcast: Union Members in Public Office

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 07:12
'State of the Unions' Podcast: Union Members in Public Office AFL-CIO

The AFL-CIO has launched another tool to bring you the issues and stories that matter to working people. Welcome to the latest episode of our podcast, “State of the Unions,” where we talk about the upcoming election with special guest Dahlia Vertreese, the mayor of Hillside, New Jersey.

One in four Americans listen to podcasts on a monthly basis. “State of the Unions” is capturing the stories of workers across the country. It’s hosted by two young and diverse members of the AFL-CIO team: Political Mobilization Director Julie Greene and Executive Speechwriter Tim Schlittner. A new episode will drop every other Wednesday featuring interesting interviews with workers and our allies across the country, as well as compelling insights from the podcast’s hosts.

Listen to Wednesday's episode with Hillside Mayor Dahlia Vertreese. You also can learn more about Julie and Tim in their inaugural episode and check out an interview with Flint, Michigan, water crisis whistleblower, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha.

The upcoming schedule is as follows:

  • Wednesday, Nov. 14: Post-election recap and analysis.

State of the Unions” is available on iTunes, Google Play Music, Spotify, Stitcher and anywhere else you can find podcasts.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 11/01/2018 - 08:12

Tags: Podcast

Get Out the Vote: What Working People Are Doing This Week

Wed, 10/31/2018 - 08:30
Get Out the Vote: What Working People Are Doing This Week APALA

Welcome to our regular feature, a look at what the various AFL-CIO unions and other working family organizations are doing across the country and beyond. The labor movement is big and active—here's a look at the broad range of activities we're engaged in this week.

A. Philip Randolph Institute:

NAACP hopes to improve voter turnout after winning lawsuit against election commission https://t.co/uNiCrefqgC

— APRI National (DC) (@APRI_National) October 26, 2018

Actors' Equity:

Looking to hire Equity actors and stage managers? We've revamped our website to make it easier than ever to find the info and forms you need. https://t.co/eCv8x5fqnA

— Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) October 26, 2018

AFGE:

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are coming together to stop the proposed federal retirement cuts. https://t.co/14vdiWgRcc

— AFGE (@AFGENational) October 26, 2018

AFSCME:

Des Moines Register: State workers' unions in Iowa overwhelmingly win re-certification https://t.co/L9ztGxEy8u #voteyesIA

— AFSCME (@AFSCME) October 30, 2018

AFT:

.@AFTHealthcare nurses care, fight and show up for their patients every day. And until Nov. 6, @MassNurses are also getting ready to VOTE #Yeson1 for #SafePatientLimits! #AFTVotes pic.twitter.com/gDGfnbpcqs

— AFT (@AFTunion) October 30, 2018

Air Line Pilots Association:

Thank you to the Honorable Howard "Skip" Elliott of @PHMSA_DOT for sharing how the #aviation community can partner with regulators to ensure that the U.S. aviation system is the safest in the world. Read more: https://t.co/krTUNR56rW pic.twitter.com/ndOitSLB06

— ALPA (@WeAreALPA) October 26, 2018

Alliance for Retired Americans:

Big Pharma's greed has forced older and working Americans to choose between paying for their medicine and paying for other necessities like food. That's why we must elect people who will fight to lower drug prices. https://t.co/G24qVXTQ9Z #Vote2018 #Midterms2018 #RxForAll pic.twitter.com/AZQi0K5wKP

— Alliance Retirees (@ActiveRetirees) October 30, 2018

Amalgamated Transit Union:

#Denton County Transportation Authority workers reach tentative agreement https://t.co/oMKj4aihGA #DCTA #transit #publictransit pic.twitter.com/Sczn6EiGcu

— ATU, Transit Union (@ATUComm) October 22, 2018

American Federation of Musicians:

Support workers on strike fighting for fair treatment, dignity and respect! If you’re booked in one of the hotels on strike, please make alternate plans to not cross the picket line until the strike has ended. #MarriottStrike https://t.co/jLK3syFOKi

— Amer. Fed. Musicians (@The_AFM) October 19, 2018

American Postal Workers Union:

“Postal Banking brings a service to the people that’s not only important to the community of the Bronx...it's important to this nation.” - Jonathan Smith, NY Metro Area Postal Union President https://t.co/gQH2scBWTw @bankpostal @agrandalliance #apwunited #postalbanking #usps

— APWU National (@APWUnational) October 22, 2018

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance:

One week until #ElectionDay! Elect leaders who will put the interests of working people first, whether they’re white, Black, Brown, or Asian. #WeVoteWeCount
Check out this voter guide by @SAALTweets: https://t.co/WUPNINoiMk pic.twitter.com/b1H95Tp0Rq

— APALA (@APALAnational) October 30, 2018

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:

Our hearts are with the 189 passengers and crew of Lion Air flight JT-610, and we send our love to their family and friends. AFA EAP stands ready to assist anyone in need following this tragedy. Call 1-800-424-2406. https://t.co/qbbDdjMAiO

— AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) October 29, 2018

Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers:

Don't forget to support hardworking UNION CANDY MAKERS tomorrow! Buy #Unionmade treats for your Halloween festivities!

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Susie Lee

Tue, 10/30/2018 - 12:37
Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Susie Lee AFL-CIO

This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Susie Lee, who is running for the U.S. House of Representatives from Nevada.

Here are some of the key reasons why Lee is one of the best candidates for working people in 2018:

  • She wants to ensure that working-class families have health care and can save for retirement.

  • Lee will protect service industry employees who rely on tips in addition to their wages.

  • She will fight to make sure that no worker faces discrimination because of their disability, race or sexual orientation.

  • Lee will protect Social Security and Medicare for future generations, including making sure they keep up with cost-of-living increases.

  • She wants to increase funding for early childhood education and programs for children living in poverty.

  • Lee wants to increase funding for training and apprenticeship programs.

  • She favors allowing Medicare to negotiate with insurance companies for lower prescription drug prices.

  • Lee supports comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.

  • She supports legislation that will protect temporary protected status recipients and Dreamers.

  • Lee supports efforts to achieve gender pay equity.

  • She will fight for fair representation of women in leadership roles as part of a comprehensive approach to reducing sexual misconduct and harassment in the workplace.

  • Lee will fight for paid family leave.

  • She will advocate for training and education programs that help veterans smoothly enter the civilian workforce.

To learn more about Lee, visit her website.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 10/30/2018 - 13:37

Tags: Elections 2018

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Sherrod Brown

Tue, 10/30/2018 - 11:33
Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Sherrod Brown AFL-CIO

This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Sen. Sherrod Brown from Ohio.

Here are some of the key reasons why Brown is one of the best candidates for working people in 2018:

  • Brown opposes trade agreements that negatively impact American manufacturing and he voted against the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other bad deals.

  • He supports steel and aluminum tariffs to protect America's manufacturers against being undercut by cheap imports from countries that don't play by the rules.

  • Brown has fought to crack down on currency manipulation, which he argues is effectively an unfair subsidy supporting Chinese manufacturers.

  • He fought to save the U.S. auto industry, protecting hundreds of thousands of jobs in Ohio.

  • Brown has secured millions of dollars to invest in job creation and training for manufacturing and helped create a national network of innovation hubs to boost manufacturing.

  • He has worked to pass legislation that rewards manufacturers and small businesses that hire more employees and invest in job training and retraining.

  • Brown has secured more than $17 million to support job creation and training in Ohio since 2013.

  • He stood with working people in the fight to overturn Ohio's anti-collective bargaining law.

  • Brown wants to make sure that teachers get the salaries and benefits they deserve for preparing students for the future.

  • He introduced legislation that would repair, renovate and build schools across the country, which would create nearly 2 million jobs.

  • Brown has consistently voted against any attempts to undermine Social Security benefits.

  • He championed legislation to allow Medicare to directly negotiate with insurance companies for lower drug prices.

  • Brown introduced a plan to stabilize pension funds to make sure that promises are kept to retirees.

  • He has introduced and co-sponsored a number of programs to provide veterans with job training and placement services.

  • Brown sponsored legislation that rewards companies that hire veterans and service members. He also launched Solar by Soldiers to help veterans prepare for jobs in the clean energy economy.

  • He co-sponsored an expansion of GI Bill to provide education benefits to post-9/11 veterans.

  • Brown voted to create job training programs that help Ohioans with disabilities get jobs.

  • He has secured more than $2.5 billion to expand broadband and invest in infrastructure in rural areas.

  • Brown supports legislation that protects LGBTQ Americans from discrimination in the workplace, housing and other key areas.

  • He co-sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act and helped pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

  • Brown voted to give workers more paid family, medical and sick leave.

  • He will fight to close the gender wage gap.

  • Brown wants to make the minimum wage a living wage.

  • He frequently works in a bipartisan manner to get results; and in the current Congress, he ranks fourth in terms of senators who have passed the most laws, despite serving in the minority.

To learn more about Brown, visit his website.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 10/30/2018 - 12:33

Tags: Elections 2018

NALC Opposes State Department Decision to Leave UPU

Mon, 10/29/2018 - 09:25
NALC Opposes State Department Decision to Leave UPU

This post comes from Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC).

The U.S. State Department announced last week that the United States will withdraw from the Universal Postal Union (UPU) after a special meeting of the UPU failed to adopt pricing policies (so-called terminal dues) advocated by the United States at the urging of private delivery companies (i.e., UPS and FedEx). The proposals were outlined in an August 2018 memorandum, just a few weeks before the September 2018 meeting of the 192-nation UPU in Ethiopia. The private companies have complained that the UPU terminal dues rules result in business going to the USPS by offering below-cost delivery to the U.S.—especially from China.

NALC opposes the decision to withdrawal from the UPU— the problems identified by the August memorandum are best solved through multilateral diplomacy. Leaving the UPU could have unintended negative consequences on American citizens and businesses and hurt the Postal Service financially. This is certainly what is driving the private shippers, which are targeting the Postal Service’s $2.7 billion in international mail revenue.

Background

The UPU was already moving forward with measures to eliminate the U.S. Postal Service’s losses on inbound small packages resulting from the terminal dues system. (Terminal dues are the fees postal operators pay each other to deliver international letters and small packages.) Based on changes adopted by the last UPU Congress in 2016, China’s country status was already changed (it was removed from the poorest developing country status that had allowed it to pay the lowest rates in the past) and a series of terminal dues increases on e-packets (small parcels) were implemented—rates are increasing 13% annually starting in 2019 and continuing through 2021. The goal is to eliminate any Postal Service losses on inbound international mail that unfairly subsidizes overseas sellers. 

A uniform system of terminal dues—like that provided by the UPU—serves to promote universal service in the same way that uniform domestic postage rates benefit all Americans, rural and urban alike. Terminal dues make possible the benefits of universal service on a global scale. 

The UPU is the United Nations agency that allows 192 countries to provide universal postal services worldwide. It allows Americans living overseas to send letters and packages back home and for their families to reach them at affordable rates. It provides the infrastructure for the transport and exchange of letters, e-packets and packages that benefit all Americans and their businesses—including payment systems, automated processing systems and advanced electronic data (AED) for customs officials.

Pulling out of the UPU would deny ourselves access to this infrastructure and threaten the world’s invaluable system of universal postal services. This would raise costs for consumers and reduce access for millions of American families with overseas ties—and have unpredictable impacts on international mailers. For that reason, the International Mailers Advisory Group, a trade association of international shippers, also opposes exiting the UPU.

Although the State Department announcement indicated a willingness to rescind the withdrawal if bilateral and multilateral negotiations succeed, making a threat to leave makes the success of those negotiations unlikely. Threats are not conducive to diplomacy.

It is not practical to negotiate bilateral agreements with 191 other countries—and it certainly cannot be done within a year. It makes much more sense to go to the next UPU Congress in 2020 and continue to pursue our goals on a multilateral basis in a way that will preserve universal service. 

Staying in the UPU gives us the mechanism and leverage to continue the progress made in 2016, which included the adoption of an integrated product plan that is being used to fight the international shipment of opioids with the transfer of AED (advanced electronic data) technology to developing country postal operators. Increasing the provision of AED on international shipments is part of our government’s plan, as required by the recently adopted STOP Act, to combat the importation of illicit opioids into the United States.

Sadly, this UPU policy, and the August memorandum that proceeded it, was developed to serve the interests of large private companies such as UPS and FedEx. It emerged from the White House Domestic Policy Council and was hidden from public view. Neither the August memorandum nor last week’s announcement was presented to the advisory committee of the International Postal and Delivery Services (IPoDS) by the State Department—as intended by law. In fact, the IPoDS has not met since November 2017.

This post originally appeared at NALC.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 10/29/2018 - 10:25

Steps to Protect Your Vote: The Working People Weekly List

Fri, 10/26/2018 - 14:55
Steps to Protect Your Vote: The Working People Weekly List AFL-CIO

Every week, we bring you a roundup of the top news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here’s this week’s Working People Weekly List.

What to Do if You're Turned Away at the Polls: "Last week, reports came out that because of Georgia's 'exact match' law, 53,000 residents of the state who registered to vote have had their registration marked as 'pending,' raising questions about whether or not those voters will be allowed to cast their ballots in this year's election. An analysis of the pending applications by The Associated Press showed that they overwhelmingly belong to African American applicants. The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia responded to the news by ensuring Georgians that the 'pending' status does not prohibit them from voting if they have proper identification."

Dispatches from Hurricane Michael Relief Efforts in Florida: "AFL-CIO National Media Manager Carolyn Bobb was given access to see how a multifaceted union disaster response comes together. What follows is her experience documenting a four-day period of Hurricane Michael relief efforts in the Florida Panhandle."

A Landmark Moment: "After a five-week organizing election, catering workers at United Airlines have overwhelmingly voted to join UNITE HERE. After celebrating late last night, 2,700 United employees in Cleveland, Denver, Honolulu, Houston and Newark, N.J., will soon head to work with the hard-earned rights and dignities that come with a freshly printed union card."

Union Strong: In the States Roundup: "It's time once again to take a look at the ways working people are making progress in the states."

A Series of Firsts: Worker Wins: "Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with more victories for working people in digital media and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life."

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Chris Smith: "This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Rep. Chris Smith from New Jersey."

Reaching the Unorganized: "The results of a recent Department for Professional Employees (DPE) campaign with the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU) demonstrate that low-cost social media advertising is an effective way to generate quality organizing leads."

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 10/26/2018 - 15:55

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Tom Wolf

Fri, 10/26/2018 - 12:31
Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Tom Wolf AFL-CIO

This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.

Here are some of the key reasons why Wolf is one of the best candidates for working people in 2018:

  • He approved nearly $1 million in new training programs across Pennsylvania to give job-seekers the skills needed for careers in manufacturing.
  • Wolf passed a tax credit to spur investment in manufacturing in the commonwealth.
  • His programs have helped train more than 120,000 workers.
  • Wolf investments in infrastructure repaired or rebuilt 1,300 roads, 600 bridges and more than 6,000 miles of roadway. This $6 billion investment has created jobs across Pennsylvania, and Wolf plans to invest $2 billion more over the next 10 years.
  • He created a one-stop shop that has assisted more than 7,000 business owners, helping to spur job growth.
  • Wolf created more than 15,000 jobs by investing in the Port of Philadelphia, a steel plant in Johnstown and a new Shell Chemicals cracker plant in western Pennsylvania.
  • He restored $1 billion in education funding cut under the previous administration.
  • Under his programs, Pennsylvania has risen to third in the nation in STEM education.
  • The number of students earning credentials from career and technical education programs has risen 32% under his leadership.
  • His efforts have increased high school graduation rates in the commonwealth to 86%, among the best in the country.
  • Upon becoming governor, he expanded Medicaid, giving health care to more than 720,000 Pennsylvanians.
  • He re-opened a loan program that encourages the use of solar energy in the commonwealth, spurring job creation in the renewable energy sector.
  • Wolf expanded protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender expression or identity for state employees.
  • He has fought to end mass incarceration in Pennsylvania and banned the box on noncivil service jobs under his jurisdiction.
  • Wolf signed comprehensive pension reform for state employees that reduces risk, pays down the debt and cuts Wall Street fees.
  • He introduced reforms to expand the right to vote, including same day and automatic voter registration, online registration, modernized absentee voting and campaign finance reform.

To learn more about Wolf, visit his website.

    Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 10/26/2018 - 13:31

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