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Fighting for Fair Treatment Amid Record Profits: Tenae Stover's Story

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 10:35
Fighting for Fair Treatment Amid Record Profits: Tenae Stover's Story AFL-CIO

My name is Tenae Stover. I am a native Washingtonian, and I have been working at Reagan National Airport for LSG Sky Chefs for the past three years. I’m a leader with my union UNITE HERE in our national fight for respect and dignity and for one job to be enough to live for airline catering workers across the United States.

Our jobs are hard, and we deserve more than Sky Chefs and American Airlines want to give us. We have been in negotiations since October of 2018, but Sky Chefs continues to reject our asks—a national $15 wage floor and affordable health care. Workers at more than 30 airports around the country, including National, took votes over the past month to authorize a strike when we are released by the government. At National, the vote passed by 100%. 

Sky Chefs is our employer, but it is a subcontractor of the airlines, merely the middleman. American Airlines ultimately has the power and influence over our wages and benefits. It’s the one who determines what food we prepare, how we prepare it and how much its willing to pay for our hours of difficult labor.

Sky Chefs is a 365-day business—it is open every single day of the year and never closes. My co-workers and I spend most of our time there, including holidays, which we are rarely able to spend with family members. Every day, we prepare meals and beverages for thousands of passengers traveling through National, many traveling on American Airlines. 

We all work on our feet for eight or more hours a day. Our health insurance is not good at all. My individual insurance costs me about $60 per week—some $250 per month—and others pay hundreds more for family plans. Even though some of my co-workers are older, right now they don’t have a pension they can benefit from and must continue to work these long hours just to survive. On top of all this, we only make around $13 per hour. One co-worker of mine who has been working there for 30 years makes the same low hourly rate as I do.

Two years ago, I was evicted from my home because Sky Chefs wasn’t paying me enough. At the time, I was making just over $9. I couldn’t afford to pay my rent, transportation, food and clothing with Sky Chefs as my only source of income. I was forced to move in with a family member, even though I want to be independent. Still to this day, Sky Chefs does not pay me enough and I cannot live on my own.

But I know that the way to stand up and fight back is through my union. I’m a proud member of UNITE HERE and proud to be a leader in this campaign, which is not only a fight for workers at National, but a nationwide fight for tens of thousands of workers. I decided I wanted to fight for myself as well as all the other workers in this industry. After getting more involved with my union, I can see that whether we’re workers for Sky Chefs in Washington, D.C., or at other American Airlines hub airports, in Marriott hotels in other cities, or even at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in my own hometown, we’re all fighting against corporations and their greedy, unfair labor practices that put our livelihoods and families at risk. I want to pave the way for the generations to come by setting the standard for a better living for all. 

Today, the economy is doing well and the airline industry continues to earn record profits, and yet airline catering workers like me continue to be forgotten. That’s why we fight back against these companies to win what we rightfully deserve. We’re simply tired of being overworked and underpaid. We are fighting for $15 and for affordable health care. I am proud that my union UNITE HERE is fighting for fair treatment and respect for all airline catering workers. This fight we’re in, and the strike authorization votes we’ve taken, show we have power. Without us, the workers, neither Sky Chefs nor the airlines would profit, and they know that. We’ll do whatever it takes within the law, even if that means a strike when we’re released, to get what we are fighting for.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 07/19/2019 - 11:35

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Electrical Workers

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 07:54
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Electrical Workers AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Electrical Workers.

Name of Union: International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)

Mission: The IBEW is committed to organizing electrical workers across North America and promoting on-the-job excellence, good wages and benefits, a safe workplace, and a voice on the job.

Current Leadership of Union: Lonnie R. Stephenson serves as international president of IBEW. Born and raised in Rock Island, Illinois, Stephenson began as an apprentice inside wireman in 1975 and became a member of Local 145. He rose through the ranks and was elected business manager in 1996. He was appointed international representative for the sixth district in 2002 and appointed as international vice president in 2010, winning election to the position the following year. Stephenson was appointed international president in 2015 and elected to a full five-year term at the 2016 IBEW International Convention. 

Kenneth W. Cooper serves as international secretary-treasurer, and the IBEW has 11 international vice presidents: Thomas Reid, Michael P. Monahan, Michael Welsh, Brian G. Malloy, Brian Thompson, David J. Ruhmkorff, Steven M. Speer, Jerry Bellah, John J. O'Rourke, Brent E. Hall and Curtis E. Henke.

The IBEW is governed by its International Executive Council, which has nine members: Christopher Erikson, Joseph P. Calabro, Myles J. Calvey, James Burgham, William W. Riley, Frank J. Furco III, Dean Wine, Patrick Lavin and Ross Galbraith. 

Current Number of Members: 775,000 active and retired

Members Work In/Industries Represented: Utilities, construction, telecommunications, broadcasting, manufacturing, railroads and government.

History: In the late 1800s, electricity began to be installed around the country and small unions of electrical workers started and stopped, with the 1883 Western Union Telegraph strike being the first known attempt to organize the industry's workers. While that first strike was unsuccessful, it left a strong desire for organization among electrical workers. 

At the 1890 St. Louis Exposition, electrical workers from around the country came together to wire buildings and erect exhibits. They gathered after each workday and shared stories about the hardships and danger of the industry. The logical answer was to form a union and in 1890, the Electrical Wiremen and Lineman's Union became AFL Federal Labor Union 5221, with Henry Miller of St. Louis elected as the first president. At the first convention of the National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in 1891, 10 delegates attended, representing 286 members.

In 1892, the first women became members of the union; and four years later, Mary Hoznik became the first woman hired as a paid union organizer. By 1897, the union had grown to 17,000 members and by 1905, that had risen to 24,000. In 1899, it expanded into Canada, becoming the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. In 1920, the IBEW relocated to Washington, D.C., to be closer to the center of government. In 1925, the IBEW gained representation on the AFL-CIO executive council.

In 2016, the IBEW celebrated 125 years of solidarity. The union now has more than 800 locals throughout the United States and Canada, with members in Puerto Rico, Panama, Guam and Saipan, as well.

Current Campaigns/Community Efforts: WePowerAmerica.org connects workers looking to get into the union electrical trade with IBEW locals and jobs in their area. The Electrical Worker is the official publication of IBEW. The Code of Excellence promotes on the job excellence, safety and labor-management partnerships at IBEW workplaces across North America. The IBEW Store sells branded products for electrical workers. The IBEW Museum chronicles the history of the union and electrical workers in the United States and Canada, while the Henry Miller Museum, housed in the same St. Louis brick house where the union’s first convention was held, commemorates the founding of the IBEW.

Learn More: WebsiteFacebookTwitter, YouTube

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 07/19/2019 - 08:54

Never Underestimate Our Collective Power: The Working People Weekly List

Thu, 07/18/2019 - 10:56
Never Underestimate Our Collective Power: 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 the latest edition of the Working People Weekly List.

Never Underestimate the Collective Power of Working People: "It has been a year since the Supreme Court awoke a sleeping giant: The labor movement."

Repression Continues in Kazakhstan as Union Leader Faces Seven Years in Prison: "The AFL-CIO strongly condemns the ongoing persecution of independent trade union leaders in Kazakhstan and the sentencing this week of Erlan Baltabai, leader of the Fuel and Energy Workers’ Union, affiliated with the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan (KNPRK). Baltabai was sentenced to seven years in prison and banned from exercising his right to engage in public life in what appears to be spurious criminal proceedings in retaliation for his trade union activism and support of other KNPRK leaders targeted by the government."

Sorry to Bother You: Worker Wins: "Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with big victories for working people in the Minnesota legislature and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life."

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

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Boilermakers: "Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Boilermakers."

Working Families Must Be Together, and Free: "As working families around the country prepare for likely immigration raids, we reaffirm this statement from the AFL-CIO Executive Council. America’s unions will continue to fight for all working people. The labor movement is taking steps to ensure that members of our communities and our unions know their rights and know that we will all stand together in the face of these attacks. Be safe out there."

Merkley Co-Sponsors Clean-Energy Jobs Bill: "At a press conference Thursday at the U.S. Capitol, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka unveiled the Good Jobs for 21st Century Energy Act, major new legislation to create good-paying jobs in the transition to clean energy. 'This is the right bill at the right time to fight climate change and create the kind of family-sustaining jobs our country is desperate for,' said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. 'For too long, the corporate right-wing—the polluters and the union-busters—conspired together to create a false choice: a raising wages economy or a clean environment. We can and must have both.'"

Norcross-Led Repeal of the ‘Cadillac Tax’ Passes House of Representatives, Poised to Lower Healthcare Costs for Americans: "'Working families have waited too long for repeal of the 40% health benefits tax,' said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. 'It’s a shame that health care remains out of reach for millions across the country because they can’t afford to see their doctor. It’s time to end this tax that drives up deductibles and copays that empty workers’ wallets.'"

'Prime Day' Is a Prime Time for Collective Action: "This week, millions of consumers flocked to Amazon looking for a deal on Prime Day, which brought in more than $3.9 billion for the retail giant last year. Maybe you were one of those shoppers. But, as you await the delivery of the trendiest tech or basic household items you bought for a bargain, remember that it takes hundreds of thousands of workers to turn your simple click of the button into a package at your door at breathtaking speed. And far too often, these workers say they are being treated terribly and denied basic rights on the job. That's why workers in Shakopee, Minnesota, took a stand and walked out on Monday. These workers aren't asking for the moon. They're demanding a safe and reliable working environment, the chance to advance in their career and the opportunity to organize and advocate for a better life."

USMCA Is Totally Unenforceable, AFL-CIO President Trumka Says: "Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, discusses the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), his views on the 2020 presidential election candidates and the Trump administration's approach to U.S. immigration policy with Bloomberg's Craig Gordon and Marty Schenker on 'Balance of Power.'"

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 07/18/2019 - 11:56

Repression Continues in Kazakhstan as Union Leader Faces Seven Years in Prison

Thu, 07/18/2019 - 09:51
Repression Continues in Kazakhstan as Union Leader Faces Seven Years in Prison IndustriALL Global Union

The AFL-CIO strongly condemns the ongoing persecution of independent trade union leaders in Kazakhstan and the sentencing this week of Erlan Baltabai, leader of the Fuel and Energy Workers’ Union, affiliated with the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan (KNPRK). Baltabai was sentenced to seven years in prison and banned from exercising his right to engage in public life in what appears to be spurious criminal proceedings in retaliation for his trade union activism and support of other KNPRK leaders targeted by the government.

The decision comes one month after the International Labor Organization’s Committee on Application of Standards concluded the government of Kazakhstan was systematically violating the rights to freedom of association and organizing, including the right to form independent unions. In 2017, the government of Kazakhstan dissolved the independent KNPRK and mandated that all unions must join a government-controlled national federation. On Sept. 25, 2018, government authorities raided the Fuel and Energy Workers’ Union offices and opened a case against Baltabai, saying he had no right to continue financial operations of a dissolved union. He was formally charged in March 2019 and his trial began the following month. Even though Baltabai could account for all expenditures, and the state used forensic economic examinations and audits based on regulations no longer in force, he has been sentenced to a lengthy prison term and banned from engaging in trade union activities in the future. 

The case against Baltabai is similar to one brought against former KNPRK President Larisa Kharkova. In July 2017, Kharkova was convicted on demonstrably false charges of embezzlement and sentenced to four years of modified house arrest and a ban on holding any position in a trade union or nongovernmental organization. Two other trade union leaders were convicted and imprisoned around the same time. Both have since been released, but they are banned from engaging in any trade union activities. Another leader suffered a brutal physical attack in November 2018, and yet another was set up on false assault charges with help from police in January 2019 after speaking out on Kazakhstan at a gathering of the International Trade Union Confederation. These cases, taken together with other actions against independent unions, leaders and their families, demonstrate a clear pattern of government harassment and criminalization. 

The AFL-CIO demands the unconditional acquittal and release of Baltabai and stands with others in the global labor movement to demand the government of Kazakhstan ends its anti-union practices and ensures independent trade union activists can exercise their fundamental rights.

Click here to read the AFL-CIO's letter to Kazak President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 07/18/2019 - 10:51

Sorry to Bother You: Worker Wins

Thu, 07/18/2019 - 08:55
Sorry to Bother You: Worker Wins

Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with big victories for working people in the Minnesota legislature and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life.

Minnesota Legislative Session Yields Victories for Working People: As the legislature finished up its work for the current session, several bills that will benefit working people were passed. Among the bills pursued as part of Minnesota AFL-CIO's Legislative Agenda of Dignity, Justice & Freedom for Working Minnesotans that passed are making wage theft a criminal felony offense, eliminating the sunset provision on the health care provider tax that funds care for hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans and expanding the Working Families Tax Credit for unreimbursed work expenses. About the legislation, Minnesota AFL-CIO President Bill McCarthy (UNITE HERE) said: "Despite being one of only two states with divided government, the 2019 legislative session yielded big wins for working Minnesotans, including the strongest law in the nation to combat wage theft. We applaud Governor Walz and the House majority for putting working people at the center of their legislative priorities this year."

Inspired by Rapper and Filmmaker Boots Riley, Salt Lake Film Society Staff Unionize: Front-of-house staff at the Salt Lake Film Society were inspired by Boots Riley's film "Sorry to Bother You" to reach out to the Utah AFL-CIO who connected them with an organizer from IATSE. After doing the hard work to organize the new unit, the staffers got more than 80% to sign cards in favor of unionizing. The drive got a boost from Riley himself when he sent the organizers a video message. Riley said: "So much of what you do is getting stories to people. And the thing about what happens when people come together and fight, especially when they do that on the job, is it starts to tell a story to other people…it’s about the story that is being told to millions of other people that will be finding out about what you are doing….What you’re doing is very important, and I’m inspired by you."

Vox Media Staffers Secure First Collective Bargaining Agreement: After 14 months of negotiations and a one-day walkout, staffers at Vox Media have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract. The bargaining committee tweeted: "We are thrilled to announce we have reached a tentative agreement with Vox Media for our first-ever collective bargaining agreement. Our unit still needs to ratify our contract, but we are proud of what we have won in this agreement and can’t wait to share the details."

Nevada Governor Signs Bill Extending Collective Bargaining Rights to 20,000 Working People: Gov. Steve Sisolak recently signed S.B. 135 into law. The legislation expands collective bargaining rights to more than 20,000 Nevada state employees. About the legislation, AFSCME President Lee Saunders said: "This bill is about respect for state employees who make their communities stronger every day. By signing this bill, Governor Sisolak demonstrates his understanding of the importance of giving working people a seat at the table and the voice on the job they deserve. Americans are looking for an answer to a rigged economy that favors the wealthy, and it’s clear that they are turning to unions in growing numbers. It is time to make it easier all across the country for working people to join in strong unions."

Fiesto Rancho Casino Workers Vote to Join Culinary Union: After 85% of the nearly 150 workers who voted said they were in favor of unionizing, the Fiesta Rancho Hotel & Casino becomes the sixth Station Casinos property in Las Vegas to unionize since 2016. Geoconda Argüello-Kline, secretary-treasurer of the Culinary Workers Union, said: "Workers are standing up and fighting! Two Station Casinos’ properties have voted to unionize by a majority this week. We call on Station Casinos to immediately negotiate and settle a fair contract for the workers at Fiesta Rancho, Sunset Station, Palms, Green Valley Ranch, Palace Station and Boulder Station."

Radio Station Employees at Santa Monica's KCRW Join SAG-AFTRA: More than 90 public media professionals at radio station KCRW voted to be represented by SAG-AFTRA. The workers delivered a petition signed by more than 75% of staffers with a request to form a union. SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said: "On behalf of SAG-AFTRA members, I am thrilled to welcome KCRW to our union family. KCRW is a one-of-a-kind radio station that produces some of Los Angeles’ most dynamic and diverse programming, and we’re excited to make sure everyone’s voice is heard through the collective bargaining process."

Stagehands Ratify Collective Bargaining Event with DNC Venue: Stagehands working at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee have ratified a contract with the venue, which will host the Democratic National Convention in 2020. IATSE Vice President Craig Carlson said: "This agreement illustrates that both parties believe in the dignity of hard work, the honor it instills and the respect it commands. Our agreement rewards all workers with safe working conditions, fair wages and meaningful benefits. I commend Fiserv Forum’s Management and [IATSE] Local 18 for putting together an agreement which will lead to the future success of both workers and management. We look forward to a wonderful relationship."

Working People at Ikea Distribution Centers in Illinois Vote to Join IAM: Nearly 200 distribution center workers employed at Ikea have voted to be represented by the Machinists (IAM). The organizing campaign is part of a larger IAM campaign to unionize workers at Ikea distribution and fulfillment centers throughout the world. Dennis Mendenhall, who led IAM's campaign in Illinois, said: "These hardworking men and women are proud to work at Ikea and do tremendous work for this company. Yes, joining the IAM gives them the opportunity to negotiate on wages, benefits and work rules. But this campaign was mostly about fairness and a voice on the job, as well as ensuring that the profits they create also benefit their families and communities."

AT&T Workers in the Midwest Reach Tentative Agreement on Contract: Technicians and Installers who work for AT&T and are represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), reached two tentative agreements with the telecom giant. Some 8,000 employees are covered by the agreements, which have to be approved by the union's membership. CWA District 4 Vice President Linda L. Hinton said: "I am incredibly proud of our AT&T Midwest bargaining teams and our members. We did not back down and our agreement reflects the priorities we brought to the bargaining table on jobs, health care and employment security."

Guggenheim Museum Staffers Join Local 30 of the Operating Engineers: Art handlers and facilities staff at the Guggenheim Museum in New York have voted to join the Operating Engineers (IUOE). The union will represent about 90 workers at the museum. An anonymous art handler, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "It’s incredibly exciting. Workers were able to unite behind a movement despite extensive attempts to exploit divisions by Guggenheim management. It signals a future ability to create a strong contract that benefits all of us equally."

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 07/18/2019 - 09:55

Missouri Needs Relief: In the States Roundup

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 09:52
Missouri Needs Relief: In the States Roundup

It's time once again to take a look at the ways working people are making progress in the states. Click on any of the links to follow the state federations on Twitter.

Alaska AFL-CIO:

It's time to abandon the sinking ship that is the #akgov - Don't let him take the state down with him! The #akleg needs to vote to override these vetoes and #SaveOurState from drastic and dangerous budget cuts - they are reckless and nonsensical. pic.twitter.com/vQg74VlXMH

— Alaska AFL-CIO (@AKAFLCIO) July 9, 2019

Arkansas AFL-CIO:

Learn about NEU: A union that provides a voice for nonprofit employees. #labor #1u #neu #unionstrong https://t.co/OoVv2HBAcW

— Arkansas AFL-CIO (@ArkansasAFLCIO) July 8, 2019

California Labor Federation:

Misclassified workers miss out on protections such as health benefits, minimum wage, & safety protections. With #AB5, we have the opportunity to protect workers from exploitation! It's time to #DisruptInequality and say #YesonAB5! pic.twitter.com/qy0hdIGLyA

— California Labor Federation (@CaliforniaLabor) July 9, 2019

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

.@UNITEHERE President @DTaylorUH: "We are in a moment of time where we have the opportunity to organize on a scale we have never seen in our lifetime. This moment will not last. And by the way, it won’t wait on us." https://t.co/x4HGf9EGwX

— Connecticut AFL-CIO (@ConnAFLCIO) July 3, 2019

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

Sending solidarity to Amazon workers in Minnesota. ✊🏼✊🏾✊🏽✊🏿

Skip #PrimeDay and stand with workers! #1u https://t.co/7XafI2W3tP

— Indiana AFL-CIO (@INAFLCIO) July 15, 2019

Iowa Federation of Labor:

The latest Iowa Daily Labor News! https://t.co/PmTM5ZBUXX Thanks to @AFGENational @IBEW @USWBlogger #1u #teach19

— Iowa AFL-CIO (@IowaAFLCIO) July 16, 2019

Maine AFL-CIO:

Here's our weekly labor update including a nurses contract rally in Machias, how public sector workers are responding to the Janus decision, the history of IBEW 1837 and more! https://t.co/KWvXbvD88H #mepolitics

— Maine AFL-CIO (@MEAFLCIO) July 5, 2019

Massachusetts AFL-CIO:

Did you catch it in the @BostonGlobe this morning? Chris Carlozzi of the @nfib_ma is actually arguing that we should weaken public sector unions because they advocate for raising the minimum wage and want "high earners" to pay their fair share in taxes!! #RaiseTheWage #janus #1u pic.twitter.com/GSAFVf9PV0

— Massachusetts AFL-CIO (@massaflcio) July 11, 2019

Metropolitan Washington (D.C.) Council AFL-CIO:

How a transit union triumphed in an anti-union stronghold https://t.co/ejPVJjJw3p

— MetroDCLaborCouncil (@DCLabor) July 12, 2019

Michigan AFL-CIO:

It’s no coincidence that these disparities begin to widen when corporate and political attacks set out to weaken unions. The labor movement was born from the need to protect the freedoms of working people. #1u #Solidarityhttps://t.co/0DiAXq8oEy

— Michigan AFL-CIO (@MIAFLCIO) July 10, 2019

Minnesota AFL-CIO:

Minnesota lawmakers, officials hail new wage theft law as nation's strongest https://t.co/pFhorgItxf #mnleg pic.twitter.com/9o85xqvtDg

— Minnesota AFL-CIO (@MNAFLCIO) July 16, 2019

Missouri AFL-CIO:

Natural disasters across #Missouri has affected many of our brothers and sisters. We have set up the Missouri Working Families Relief Fund to help union members in their time of need. We are seeking donations to help our brothers and sisters. #1u https://t.co/LEQ6nuhLS4 pic.twitter.com/yekFXeiGNV

— Missouri AFL-CIO (@MOAFLCIO) July 9, 2019

Montana AFL-CIO:

Just in case you didn't know why we should skip Prime Day read this. https://t.co/38UA1tcPKn https://t.co/4KIOpFT12d

— Montana AFL-CIO (@MTaflcio) July 15, 2019

New Mexico Federation of Labor:

“Why Young Workers Are Embracing Labor Unions” https://t.co/kH6wv2RGUj .@AFLCIO

— NMFL (@NMFLaflcio) July 12, 2019

New York State AFL-CIO:

President Cilento at 31:30 highlighting the work of the @Renew911health and our commitment to fighting for 1st responders and victims of 9/11. #NeverForget #Renew911vcf https://t.co/ldYQFkwvOB

— NYSAFLCIO (@NYSAFLCIO) July 15, 2019

North Carolina State AFL-CIO:

D Taylor, @unitehere: So you want a #GeneralStrike? Win victories first, and we can build on those wins. Dream big. Get creative. #NN19 #1u pic.twitter.com/JqGSuGgTKK

— NC State AFL-CIO (@NCStateAFLCIO) July 11, 2019

North Dakota AFL-CIO:

On #PrimeDay, @Amazon pays less in taxes than its employees do. It’s one of the largest companies on the planet. But many Amazon workers work full-time and still can’t afford the necessities. pic.twitter.com/Qhn1KI3cpl

— North Dakota AFL-CIO (@NDAFLCIO) July 15, 2019

Ohio AFL-CIO:

We don’t always agree with @gop @RepMikeTurner but we appreciate you standing up against hate. Now let’s agree on the #PROAct that will protect everyone at the workplace from same discrimination. https://t.co/NZs8UfIIY2

— Ohio AFL-CIO (@ohioaflcio) July 15, 2019

Oklahoma State AFL-CIO:

The YELL Conference is coming!

Sep 19-20! Send your young/new workers to not only become educated on Union history and issues, but return energized and engaged to recruit other young workers to follow suit.

For more info and to register go to https://t.co/8VSySApHDb pic.twitter.com/q5q12isL28

— Oklahoma AFL-CIO (@OK_AFL_CIO) July 16, 2019

Oregon AFL-CIO:

Telling #FredMeyer to fix the pay gap between women and men. #PayEquity now! pic.twitter.com/lLExhE48M1

— Oregon AFL-CIO (@OregonAFLCIO) July 16, 2019

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

KEEP! IT! OPEN! We were so proud to join the nurses and medical staff at #hahnemannhospital last week. Sending you #solidarity from across the Commonwealth.#keepitopen @pennanurses @PhillyAFLCIO @afscme DC33 pic.twitter.com/L7Z0A5DrlS

— PA AFL-CIO (@PaAFL_CIO) July 15, 2019

Rhode Island AFL-CIO:

Grilling Season https://t.co/ANn6BnH0ob #1U #UnionMade #Grilling #BBQ #Unions #UnionStrong #UnionsForAll #Solidarity

— Rhode Island AFL-CIO (@riaflcio) July 12, 2019

South Carolina AFL-CIO:

Do you fly? https://t.co/HKcvYyQtes

— SC AFL-CIO (@SCAFLCIO) July 2, 2019

Texas AFL-CIO:

”My name is Francisco, and I’m a member of Ironworkers Local 263. We proudly construct buildings. I'm here today with my family to better my immigration status and apply for U.S. Citizenship.” #1u #txlaborcitizenship @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/Lh9E6CNnBd

— Texas AFL-CIO (@TexasAFLCIO) June 29, 2019

Virginia AFL-CIO:

VIRGINIA AFL-CIO PRESIDENT, DORIS CROUSE-MAYS RESPONDS TO VIRGINIA’S #1 BUSINESS RANKING BY CNBC

Virginia: #1 for Business and Beyond Last for Workers

Virginia Ranks #51st for Workers ! Check out why: https://t.co/FyHsR8gtfq #WhatAboutWorkers #WorkersDeserveBetter pic.twitter.com/8TBq6OD7L3

— Virginia AFL-CIO (@Virginia_AFLCIO) July 11, 2019

Washington State Labor Council:

Make sure you read this important opinion column by Stan Sorscher of SPEEA/IFPTE 2001. https://t.co/oAkh4meJMI

— WA State AFL-CIO (@WAAFLCIO) July 8, 2019

West Virginia AFL-CIO:

Out early today with our team Union Labor in Solidarity Against Cancer at the CAMC Foundation Run for Your LIfe 5-Mile Run/2.5-Mile Walk in downtown Charleston! 💪👊❤️ pic.twitter.com/Esk3Ue5K0I

— West Virginia AFLCIO (@WestVirginiaAFL) June 22, 2019

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO:

Incoming acting Labor Secretary Patrick Pizzella under scrutiny for work with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, https://t.co/iqkBAgYhAD

— WI AFL-CIO (@wisaflcio) July 16, 2019 Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 07/16/2019 - 10:52

Never Underestimate the Collective Power of Working People

Mon, 07/15/2019 - 11:57
Never Underestimate the Collective Power of Working People

Working people accepted the challenge of Janus v. AFSCME and used this test to reignite our solidarity and prove that we are stronger than any corporation, politician or high court. It takes more than a court case to tear down a century and a half of grit and gumption. 

Together, union members from communities across the country reclaimed our power and redefined this past year with a historic movement of collective action.

Teachers captured the country's attention, walking off the job for the fair treatment they deserve in states where collective bargaining is illegal. Workers at Marriott hotels in eight major cities across the country won groundbreaking protections against harassment and assault and a voice in how technology impacts their work. Grocery store employees throughout New England won better wages and respect after a massive strike that garnered support from workers and communities across America. Now, airline catering workers voted to authorize a strike and demand that “One Job Should Be Enough.”

But, it’s not just union members calling for a fair return on work.

This week, Wayfair employees embraced the power of collective action when they walked out of their workplace to protest the immoral abuse of migrants in detention centers at the border. 

Google workers worldwide staged massive protests last fall, demanding an end to workplace harassment. 

And, video game developers are joining together to fight for a voice at work.  

Working people from every corner of the country are ready to experience the transformational power that comes with a union card. With the labor movement’s popularity at its highest point in more than 15 years, research from MIT shows that half of Americans would join a union today if they could. 

For too long, rugged individualism was the false narrative sold to generations of Americans. At the same time, corporate interests chipped away at our most fundamental rights and freedoms. The result we’re seeing today is a concentration of wealth and power for the 1% that shocks the conscience and threatens the democratic system we have come to rely on. 

But, the labor movement is refusing to settle for the false promises and comfortable confines of the status quo. We’re being bold. We’re taking risks. We’re helping to rewrite the American story. 

We’re standing together and fighting for the change we need. We’re debating and defining the future of work with life-changing contracts and through cutting-edge training and education that helps working people advance to better jobs and fulfilling careers. 

After all, we built the middle-class, won retirement security, created safe workplaces and determined what a fair economy could and should look like. That’s why the labor movement continues to be the most powerful force for working families. 

Our mission now, and in the years to come, is to convert today’s historic levels of collective action into resurgent collective bargaining, so we can build a fairer, stronger and more upwardly mobile America. 

There are signs of progress far and wide, and we are ready to give this moment everything we have. 

The Supreme Court didn’t deliver the labor movement’s eulogy. It sparked our triumphant rise, and we’re only getting started.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 07/15/2019 - 12:57

Tags: Janus

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Boilermakers

Mon, 07/15/2019 - 09:04
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Boilermakers

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Boilermakers.

Name of Union: International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers (IBB)

Mission: Uniting members across multiple industries and occupations in the union's common endeavor of improving each other's lives and lifestyles through union representation.

Current Leadership of Union: Newton B. Jones serves as international president of the Boilermakers. Jones began his career as a Boilermaker 47 years ago and has worked as a field construction boilermaker, high rigger, tube roller, certified pressure welder and in other jobs in the industry. In 1981, he joined the staff of the international union. Five years later, he was appointed director of organizing and communications. After that, he served as international vice president for the Southeast Section and in 2003 was chosen to complete the unexpired term of International President Charles W. Jones, who retired. Newton Jones was then re-elected as international president in 2006, 2011 and 2016.

William T. Creeden serves as international secretary-treasurer, and the Boilermakers have five international vice presidents that serve geographical regions, including Lawrence McManamon (Great Lakes Section), J. Tom Baca (Western Section), Warren Fairley (Southeast Section), John T. Fultz (Northeast Section) and Arnie M. Stadnick (Canada).

Current Number of Members: 60,000

Members Work In: Construction and repairing of electric power plants, refineries, pulp and paper and steel mills; building naval ships and commercial tankers; repairing locomotives; making cement; mining coal, gypsum and talc; forging tools for industry; and making consumer goods.

Industries Represented: Heavy industry, shipbuilding, manufacturing, railroads, cement, mining and others.

History: The Boilermakers are one of the oldest unions in the country, rising out of the Industrial Revolution's demand for steam power in 1880. The Boilermakers have been a part of many major events in American history, helping to build structural sections of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the machinery to make the Panama Canal, the world’s first nuclear submarine, the U.S.S. Nautilus, the U.S.S. New York amphibious transport dock (which includes steel from the Twin Towers), military ships and various submarines, nuclear, gas-fired and advanced coal-fired power plants and the aluminum-based fuel for the space shuttle’s solid rocket boosters. The Boilermakers have been headquartered in Kansas City, Kansas, since 1893, and there are now more than 200 Boilermaker local lodges across North America.

Current Campaigns/Community EffortsThe Boilermaker Reporter provides news and information useful to workers in the industry. The Boilermakers have established national funds for pensions, health and welfare, and an annuity trust. They also provide education and training, one of the best apprentice programs in the country and are partners in an award-winning alliance with construction industry contractors and owners resulting in innovations for improved safety, manpower availability, training and cost savings.

Learn More: Website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 07/15/2019 - 10:04

Demanding Better: The Working People Weekly List

Mon, 07/15/2019 - 08:44
Demanding Better: 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 the latest edition of the Working People Weekly List.

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Demanding Better: "Over three days in June, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka held town halls in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Detroit to talk with workers about the future of NAFTA. Listen to some of the highlights from that conversation on the latest episode of 'State of the Unions.'"

Make History: 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."

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: SMART: "Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers."

Union Member Brings Unemployment Benefit Increase Bill to Governor’s Desk: "Delaware Gov. John Carney signed a bill Sunday that raises the region’s lowest unemployment benefit. Under the bill, the maximum weekly payment will rise from $330 to $400—a long-overdue increase since the last update in 2002."

Pride Month Profiles: Joni Christian: "For Pride Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various LGBTQ Americans who have worked and continue to work at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Our next profile is Joni Christian."

Labor Activist Wins Primary Election for White Plains Common Council: "Jenn Puja (IUOE), a labor activist and organizer, won her primary race for White Plains Common Council in New York this week. Puja, along with two other labor-endorsed candidates, advanced to the general election in November."

We Must Not Forget Oregon Democrats’ Betrayal on PERS: "The best thing about being president of the Oregon AFL-CIO—with less than 100 days until the end of my term—is that I can now say whatever I want, whenever I want. For example, in the past, I felt limited in the ways I held legislative Democrats accountable. There is a tendency to soften one’s criticism, understanding that there is always a next session and another legislative agenda. Holding legislative leadership accountable with statements that are too harsh could impact future legislative agendas. I am sorry to say: There are too few Republicans that we can count on to help move our agenda, making the Democrats the only game in town for labor issues."

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

House to Pass $15 Minimum Wage; Studies Debunk GOP Job Loss Claims: "'Every time momentum builds for lifting wages, conservative ideologues say it will cost jobs. Every time they’ve been dead wrong,' said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. He estimated the hike would help 40 million workers. Scott put the figure at 27 million minimum-wage workers alone. 'Being consistently wrong and not caring about workers are the only two things conservative economists can be counted on for,' Trumka continued. 'This is more of the same noise. They want subservient, scared workers whose suffering will expand their stock portfolios. Our country is finally poised to lift millions out of poverty and make our country work for the people who work. Let’s raise the wage, and we’ll prove the CBO wrong again.'"

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 07/15/2019 - 09:44

Working Families Must Be Together, and Free

Fri, 07/12/2019 - 14:28
Working Families Must Be Together, and Free

As working families around the country prepare for likely immigration raids, we reaffirm this statement from the AFL-CIO Executive Council. America’s unions will continue to fight for all working people. The labor movement is taking steps to ensure that members of our communities and our unions know their rights and know that we will all stand together in the face of these attacks. Be safe out there.

From the Executive Council statement:

The escalating attack on immigrant and refugee families in our country is an affront to labor's values and a clear threat to the freedoms we all hold dear.

Family is the reason we go to work every day. America’s unions categorically reject policies that tear families apart. Yet what we see in our country today is a dramatic and deliberate increase in the casualties caused by our broken immigration system.

Instead of ensuring the safety of workers doing dangerous and difficult jobs, we see our workplaces raided and hard-working union members arrested while employers continue with business as usual.

Instead of welcoming refugees and asylum seekers, we see those fleeing violence cast back into harm’s way, shamefully imprisoned for profit and torn from their children, no matter what age.

Instead of expanding rights and protections for more of our workforce, we see a million working people with Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals needlessly stripped of their status and rights, making them once again subject to exploitation and separation from their loved ones.

These policies harm and offend all working families.

The AFL-CIO opposes immigration enforcement tactics that breed fear and chill the exercise of basic workplace rights. We demand government agencies that serve the greater good and are accountable both to their workforces and the public. We reject family and child detention, the “zero tolerance” policy at the border and any limits on due process for vulnerable populations. We insist that the way to raise wages and standards is by empowering workers and creating pathways to citizenship for all those whose labor helps our country to prosper.

We can and we must do better. The labor movement remains committed to the ongoing struggle to build an immigration system that lifts people up and ensures that we are all able to live and work with dignity, regardless of where we were born. We know that real security can only be achieved through humane approaches, and we will continue to demand justice for long-term members of our communities, our workforce and our unions, as well as for those who newly seek refuge in our country.

We will prevail by rejecting the politics of division and building a strong, inclusive and democratic movement for justice for all working families.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 07/12/2019 - 15:28

Make History: What Working People Are Doing This Week

Thu, 07/11/2019 - 10:35
Make History: What Working People Are Doing This Week AFL-CIO

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:

Help #APRINEC19 MAKE HISTORY!

Join @APRI_National as we make history at our 50th Annual National Education Conference, August 7 - 11, 2019 at the Radisson Blu Mall of America Hotel in Bloomington, MN near Minneapolis). Registration and hotel info https://t.co/mEcM7PLN7b pic.twitter.com/mccz3PbPUE

— APRI National (DC) (@APRI_National) July 2, 2019

Actors' Equity Association:

Thank you @AshleyJudd for sharing your story of getting your Equity Card! #HIGMEChttps://t.co/Q6HdrI07XS pic.twitter.com/8CYuzVlr1T

— Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) July 10, 2019

AFGE:

This hasty move could leave USDA with only 45% of its researchers. https://t.co/Os4hcvNyNf

— AFGE (@AFGENational) July 11, 2019

AFSCME:

“It has been proven that outsourcing does not save money in the long run and that the participants rarely have the same concerns for the students as those of us that live in the county." https://t.co/C9K2KTddsJ

— AFSCME (@AFSCME) July 11, 2019

AFT:

Teachers take on Capitol Hill on AFT #TEACH19 Lobby Day #AFTvotes #FundOurFuture https://t.co/1C4l71OLd1 pic.twitter.com/dYmFSyyDzp

— AFT (@AFTunion) July 11, 2019

Air Line Pilots:

The crew of Envoy 4215 experienced an autopilot system failure during final approach into Dallas-Ft. Worth. The two well-trained and highly-qualified pilots declared an emergency and safely landed 14 minutes after the emergency. https://t.co/LprYehj77J #twopilots pic.twitter.com/Qu0d4epmyi

— ALPA (@WeAreALPA) July 11, 2019

Alliance for Retired Americans:

The system is broken. No one should ever have to go to another country for lifesaving medicine or have to choose between paying for Rx drugs and paying for other necessities like food. Lawmakers must take action to #LowerDrugPricesNow and #ProtectOurCare! https://t.co/LR6ABC3Rem pic.twitter.com/iKqNzZGHxG

— Alliance Retirees (@ActiveRetirees) July 9, 2019

Amalgamated Transit Union:

As #VTA Blusters and Threatens, Vineyard Bus Drivers Offer Arbitration to End Dispute https://t.co/Lq6Y7P7Zxy #1u #UnionStrong #publictransit #transit pic.twitter.com/Na3fzTJRWV

— ATU, Transit Union (@ATUComm) July 3, 2019

American Federation of Musicians:

.@WaysMeansCmte passed #ButchLewisAct. Next step is a full vote on the floor of the House. #ProtectOurPensions https://t.co/LlURjJcDfq

— AFM (@The_AFM) July 10, 2019

American Postal Workers Union:

.@mrdannyglover's parents worked for the Postal Service and he knows first hand why we need to expand, not cut the Postal Service. #USMailNotForSale #APWUnited https://t.co/yvEExyaj2S

— APWU National (@APWUnational) July 11, 2019

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance:

.@HelenGymAtLarge: "We are standing up for @HUHospitalPHL nurses. There is something seriously wrong when a corporate profiteer can buy a community hospital and force it to close!"@PennaNurses @32BJSEIU @AFSCME #PatientsOverProfits pic.twitter.com/XgvCYf1QZO

— APALA (@APALAnational) July 11, 2019

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:

Patients over profits! Proud to join our @CWAUnion sisters and brothers and our #1u labor allies out here in Philly! #SaveHahnemann #nn19 pic.twitter.com/8BJ05k0kpi

— AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) July 11, 2019

BCTGM:

The hard-working men and women who gave their all to their Employer deserve to retire with dignity and respect. Please urge Congress to solve this crisis by supporting #HR397 – Take Action today! https://t.co/LMCjZjyla1 #Saveourpensions #1u

— BCTGM International (@BCTGM) July 10, 2019

Boilermakers:

Our 2019 Industrial Sector Operations conference is off and running. Lots of great speakers, workshops and idea-sharing happening now. Thanks to guests @The_UWUA @UllicoInc @UAPLUMBER1 @IndustriALL_GU @UnionSportsmen & more for joining us! pic.twitter.com/r2YwWSPLW9

— Boilermakers Union (@boilermakernews) July 10, 2019

Bricklayers:

These five states are the most in need of an #infrastructure overhaul. #InvestInInfrastructure #TimeToBuild #SkilledTrade #construction https://t.co/fQxV6ffVqH

— Bricklayers Union (@IUBAC) July 10, 2019

Broadcast Employees and Technicians:

#KOIN6BossesExposed https://t.co/iJub5jv7yw

— NABET-CWA (@NABETCWA) July 5, 2019

California School Employees Association:

Lisa McClelland, Inger McCormack, Linda Astesana from Ch. 894 are out showing their support for AB 1505 and AB 5! pic.twitter.com/WHY4aNTiVd

— CSEA (@CSEA_Now) July 10, 2019

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists:

Frederick Douglass is still the man. He keeps it real on America’s “Independence Day.” Read his searing indictment of the hypocrisy behind a nation celebrating freedom and liberty while oppressing its black citizens https://t.co/sCjYoSbQQ3.

— CBTU (@CBTU72) July 4, 2019

Coalition of Labor Union Women:

It's been 10 years since Congress has raised the minimum wage. Millions of working people are struggling to make ends meet while corporations are raking in record profits. It's time we #RaiseTheWage. Call your Member of Congress and make your voice heard: 1-877-782-8274 pic.twitter.com/XRWIy6HH3t

— CLUW National (@CLUWNational) July 10, 2019

Communications Workers of America:

Millions of workers in the U.S. haven't had a raise in 10 years - and that's unacceptable. Tell Congress to do their job and #RaiseTheWage to $15/hr. Dignity on the job starts with getting paid fairly. Call your Member of Congress and make your voice heard: 1-877-782-8274 pic.twitter.com/pFvVREYjxd

— CWA Political Action (@cwa_political) July 10, 2019

Department for Professional Employees:

DYK 64% of young professionals would join a union #1u https://t.co/l4kmG43iVq

— Department for Professional Employees (@DPEaflcio) July 11, 2019

Electrical Workers:

https://t.co/1SZ4vxftg8

— IBEW (@IBEW) July 11, 2019

Farm Labor Organizing Committee:

@SupportFLOC through the Black/Brown Unity Coalition, is involved in addressing lead paint poisoning-lead affects children. It's another reason they have trouble in school! Glad to see folks from the @UToledo nursing department featured. Pulling for #Flint https://t.co/TQLTrU8leO

— Farm Labor Organizing Committee (@SupportFLOC) July 11, 2019

Fire Fighters:

RT @WalterIAFF: Congrats to South Fulton Local 3920 on the passage of Local Collective Bargaining in the Atlanta area. Georgia "Firefighter's Mediation Act." #organizethesouth @IAFF12thDVP @IAFFNewsDesk pic.twitter.com/tlIYrA04Gs

— IAFF (@IAFFNewsDesk) July 11, 2019

Heat and Frost Insulators:

For the first time in the 116-year history of the union, the Insulators held the Local Union Officers Meeting, the Joint Apprenticeship Conference and the Master Apprentice Competition (MAC) at the same time and same location.
Read more in our blog here:https://t.co/HTl4olV6VB

— Insulators Union (@InsulatorsUnion) July 11, 2019

Ironworkers:

High standards of safety and quality are crucial in the construction industry, Protect the construction industry exemption from #IRAPs. #ApprenticeshipMattershttps://t.co/yILxoBYIXt

— Ironworkers. (@TheIronworkers) July 9, 2019

IUE-CWA:

Join us today for the National No More Off-Shoring Day of Action! Call your Representative to tell them to stop helping companies send our jobs overseas! Since the passage of NAFTA, the U.S. has lost over 1 million jobs! Enough is enough! Call today! 1-877-775-9294. pic.twitter.com/xGAUzBSaD8

— IUE-CWA (@IUE_CWAUnion) June 28, 2019

Jobs with Justice:

Forcing Medicaid recipients to work serves no purpose, other than trying to remove people from Medicaid rolls. https://t.co/fO4zdbS1Fg

— Jobs With Justice (@jwjnational) July 11, 2019

Laborers:

Let's join in SOLIDARITY and #SaveUnionApprenticeships. Go to https://t.co/eTIJKKVwXJ and tell the DOL to Protect LIUNA apprenticeship and say NO to #IRAPS pic.twitter.com/9w6En5rglR

— LIUNA (@LIUNA) July 11, 2019

LCLAA:

LCLAA would like to extend its most sincere gratitude to @AARP for supporting our 2019 National Conference! We will continue shedding light on those unions, organizations, and entities that encourage and enable spaces like this where our members can gather. #LCLAA19 pic.twitter.com/oAiGPayfLW

— LCLAA (@LCLAA) July 10, 2019

Machinists:

A fired Delta Air Lines worker is fighting back after the carrier fired her for publicly supporting the IAM's union organizing drive. pic.twitter.com/yeXZQjskWA

— Machinists Union (@MachinistsUnion) July 2, 2019

Maritime Trades Department:

MTD Exec Sec-Treas Daniel Duncan signs a petition for UFCW Locals 400 and 27 members to save Mid-Atlantic Shoppers grocery stores. pic.twitter.com/OOXQuYNi87

— MaritimeTrades (@Maritime_Trades) June 28, 2019

Metal Trades:

Steward's Corner: Don't Complain, Organize! Complaining isn’t the first step to organizing—it’s the graveyard of organizing. Just ask any union steward or rep who has listened to a member complain bitterly but refuse to take action.https://t.co/HGGdvZpQ5p

— Metal Trades Dept. (@metaltradesafl) July 1, 2019

Mine Workers:

"They may get an earful, but that is the only way to start the dialogue that needs to happen. This action is not about who we are supporting for President, it’s about finding out who is supporting us.”https://t.co/YW9mx3WRMV

— United Mine Workers (@MineWorkers) July 9, 2019

NABTU:

Recruiting women into Multi-Craft Core Curriculum (MC3) Pre-Apprenticeship programs is critical to creating a more diverse future for the #BuildingTrades.

With that in mind, check out today’s #FactOfTheDay ✊👷‍♀️ pic.twitter.com/1qyle6Rn4F

— The Building Trades (@NABTU) July 11, 2019

National Air Traffic Controllers Association:

Alternate NNE NLC Member Juan Ledesma (PVD), PVD Legislative Rep Jamie Green & Dan Turcotte (PVD) met with Rhode Island Congressman @JimLangevin at Finn's Harborside. "We had the opportunity to chat with the majority of his district staff," said Ledesma. "It was a great event." pic.twitter.com/sPN0o6JOEt

— NATCA (@NATCA) July 10, 2019

National Association of Letter Carriers:

Eye on the elderly! When our member Philip Davis noticed that his #elderly customer had not picked the previous day's mail, he reached out to the neighbors, who contacted the man's relative. They found the man had fallen out of bed. Paramedics soon arrived https://t.co/G9pPRsnW1g pic.twitter.com/Y3KfHSPlKA

— Letter Carriers (@NALC_National) July 11, 2019

National Day Laborer Organizing Network:

The struggle for equality, justice and liberation is more patriotic than a military parade. We will not rest until everyone is free. #CloseTheCamps #CourageOverFear #AltoTrump pic.twitter.com/7PopuLxjnp

— NDLON (@NDLON) July 4, 2019

National Domestic Workers Alliance:

#TBT to @ROMACuaron racking up:
1. Award nominations and wins
2. Supporters of the domestic worker rights movement

The momentum continues! Domestic workers across the country are demanding labor protections with a #DomesticWorkersBillofRights. https://t.co/dJhODEOiSw

— Domestic Workers (@domesticworkers) July 11, 2019

National Nurses United:

This is so dangerous!

"Three-fourths of the nation’s nursing homes never meet federal staffing expectations for registered nurse staffing, and RNs are often missing from such facilities on the weekends." #SafeStaffing #nurses https://t.co/2Wmp4EN60Z

— NationalNursesUnited (@NationalNurses) July 11, 2019

National Taxi Workers Alliance:

NYTWA ED Bhairavi Desai explains the math of debt forgiveness. Readjusting loans for drivers to forgive anything over current market value would cost $1.8-$2.4 billion — a fraction of the $13 billion estimated by the mayor’s office. pic.twitter.com/nooJDRSqFZ

— NY Taxi Workers (@NYTWA) July 11, 2019

News Guild:

The coolest! That's what it's all about. https://t.co/dfKZeC142r

— NewsGuild (@news_guild) July 11, 2019

NFL Players Association:

.@JOEL9ONE: our 2018 Alan Page #CommunityMVP and now the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian award winner. His heart for others continues to shine and change lives. #AthleteAnd pic.twitter.com/cUSE483zxF

— NFLPA (@NFLPA) July 11, 2019

Office and Professional Employees:

Just as predicted, #HQ2 is causing rent increases and skyrocketing costs for low- and middle-income residents in Northern Virginia. Their tax dollars paid for @Amazon to come – and now Amazon’s presence is forcing them to consider leaving. #1u https://t.co/w7gOnc6wv4

— OPEIU (@opeiu) July 11, 2019

Painters and Allied Trades:

Operatives in Washington are trying to destroy IUPAT apprenticeships. Only a few days left to submit comments against the Department of Labor's anti-union IRAPs! Click the link and share with your friends and family. #SaveUSApprenticeshipshttps://t.co/Qp2hrmdhfc pic.twitter.com/eaXwAcWB9j

— GoIUPAT✊🏽 (@GoIUPAT) July 11, 2019

Plasterers and Cement Masons:

The #OPCMIA Job Corps program gives underprivileged youth the power to bust the doors of opportunity wide open! Learn more about this outstanding pre-apprenticeship program connecting participants with rewarding careers as plasterers or cement masons. https://t.co/Qag16wq2Xa

— OPCMIA International (@opcmiaintl) July 11, 2019

Professional Aviation Safety Specialists:

"Bargaining in good faith" is the backbone of labor-management relations. Unilaterally imposing contracts without labor input is not. Thanks @AppropsDems for protecting the rights of dedicated federal employees who serve their country. #publicservice #1u #unionsolidarity https://t.co/ADZz3Vf9eW

— PASS (@PASSNational) July 3, 2019

Professional and Technical Engineers:

New day, new union members! Another example of nonprofit professionals joining together to make their organizations even stronger, by giving employees a voice! Welcome to your #union @equitablegrowth! https://t.co/3GKzYkZkkG

— IFPTE (@IFPTE) July 3, 2019

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Workers:

#Carwasheros, our union and community groups have fought for years to end the tip credit loophole. Thank you @jessicaramos @MarcosCrespo85 @AndreaSCousins & @CarlHeastie for your critical support passing this bill it will help so many workers! pic.twitter.com/RnnhUhp2Gr

— RWDSU (@RWDSU) July 10, 2019

Roofers and Waterproofers:

The United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers & Allied Workers strongly supports Helmets to Hardhats and encourages all local unions to register with the program. If you know a vet who is looking for a great, lifelong career, please have them check out H2H. https://t.co/9y0ipKHD4d

— Roofers Union (@roofersunion) July 11, 2019

SAG-AFTRA:

WARNING: @cadillac is casting for a NON-UNION commercial. Their crew will reportedly set performers on fire at the #LA shoot. Non-union = no guarantee of safe sets or stunt coordinator. Don’t get burned! #unsafesets #AdsGoUnion pic.twitter.com/OqMrVJhDEs

— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) June 28, 2019

Seafarers:

Nice read…The White Elephant is no more. https://t.co/8NYrlFPShp

— Seafarers Union (@SeafarersUnion) June 29, 2019

Solidarity Center:

The beauty and dignity of work: Crafting jewellery "brings us honor”— Srikant, a jeweler in #India who talks about how his trade has allowed him to connect to his artistry, his gift.https://t.co/oY3Kh89nAH

— Solidarity Center (@SolidarityCntr) July 11, 2019

TCU/IAM:

Amtrak’s National Network Must Be Preserved https://t.co/VbNbRpZTLh via @TTDAFLCIO

— Transportation Communications Union/IAM (@TCUnionHQ) July 8, 2019

Theatrical Stage Employees:

Is technology and automation in the entertainment industry a raging beast or a gentle giant? The 2019 second quarter edition of the Official IATSE Bulletin is out now! https://t.co/smErWUO0O4

— IATSE (@IATSE) July 11, 2019

Transport Workers:

Toxic Cabin Air is a safety issue that affects EVERYONE who flies. Have you sent a letter yet? #ToxicCabinAir #TWUAirDivision https://t.co/dejjUtf6TU

— TWU (@transportworker) July 10, 2019

Transportation Trades Department:

#FairOpenSkiesAct @afa_cwa @WeAreALPA @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/710nIxkc9u

— Transp. Trades Dept. (@TTDAFLCIO) July 10, 2019

UAW:

We are demanding that Congress make it easier for every working person to enjoy the rights and dignities that come with a union card. Make your voice heard loud and clear, and tell Congress to pass the PRO Act. https://t.co/VcAmpQpM59

— UAW (@UAW) July 11, 2019

UFCW:

Did you know July is National Grilling Month? Many of UFCW's members are butchers at your local grocery store -- ask them which cuts of meat are best for grilling! pic.twitter.com/lSIaDnSuJA

— UFCW (@UFCW) July 3, 2019

Union Label and Service Trades:

Editorial: One year later, Janus decision still hasn’t hurt unions https://t.co/mg6kzOSOU3 https://t.co/mg6kzOSOU3

— Union Label Dept. (@ULSTD_AFLCIO) July 1, 2019

Union Veterans Council:

Happy Independence day!
As we celebrate the 4th can you take a moment to help us spread the word that THOUSANDS of Viet Vets who worked tireless years as @MineWorkers coal miners are about to lose their promised retirement?
So let's do something really patriotic for these Vets! pic.twitter.com/vEsWXq4iFO

— Union Veterans Council (@unionveterans) July 3, 2019

UNITE HERE:

Housekeepers put in hard work every single day, but @Marriott’s “Green” Choice program makes it harder for us to do our jobs.
Stand with working women, turn down “Green choice!” #greedychoice #greenwashing #NN19 @Netroots_Nation pic.twitter.com/Vgt8ZIQqgn

— UNITE HERE (@unitehere) July 11, 2019

United Steelworkers:

Investigation finds thousands of tons of foreign steel used at cracker plant https://t.co/C2QEm6rXpT

— United Steelworkers (@steelworkers) July 11, 2019

Utility Workers:

Did you know lineworkers are first responders who are on the ground working to restore power immediately after a storm or major incident? Here's some of our members performing this important work. #ThankALineworker pic.twitter.com/ky5kOZYYNa

— UWUA National (@The_UWUA) July 10, 2019

Working America:

The Right loves to argue that minimum wage increases would reduce the number jobs. A new study shows that's just not true. #RaiseTheWage #1u https://t.co/jeF8JqUh80

— Working America (@WorkingAmerica) July 8, 2019

Writers Guild of America, East:

Congratulations to the @withMEAA members at @VICEAU, and welcome to the @VICEUnion family! #1u https://t.co/0lQXpoepuo

— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) July 11, 2019 Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 07/11/2019 - 11:35

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Demanding Better

Wed, 07/10/2019 - 08:19
‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Demanding Better AFL-CIO

Over three days in June, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka held town halls in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Detroit to talk with workers about the future of NAFTA. Listen to some of the highlights from that conversation on the latest episode of “State of the Unions.” 

State of the Unions is a tool to help us bring you the issues and stories that matter to working people. It captures the stories of workers across the country and is co-hosted by two young and diverse members of the AFL-CIO team: Mobilization Director Julie Greene and Executive Speechwriter and Editorial Manager Tim Schlittner. A new episode drops 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 our previous episodes:

State of the Unions” is available on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotifyStitcher and anywhere else you can find podcasts.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 07/10/2019 - 09:19

Tags: Podcast

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: SMART

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 14:40
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: SMART AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers.

Name of Union: International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART)

Mission: To advocate for fairness in the workplace, excellence at work and opportunity for all working families.

Current Leadership of Union: Joseph Sellers Jr., a second-generation sheet metal worker, serves as the general president of SMART. He began his career as an apprentice in 1980 at Local 19 in Philadelphia. In 1994, he was elected to the local's executive board and was appointed as training coordinator in 1996. He later served as business representative, president and business manager of Local 19.

In 2009, Sellers was elected as SMART's 11th general vice president. He became general secretary-treasurer in 2011 and was re-elected in 2014. He became general president in 2015. During his time in office, Sellers has "developed and led special campaigns to increase outreach and awareness for construction, production and transportation industries members, union industry officials and policy makers on key issues including pensions, health care, and apprenticeships." He "implemented and continues to lead enhancements to the union’s information technology, professional skills training and lifelong learning curricula."

Richard McClees serves as general secretary-treasurer and John Previsich serves as transportation division president. SMART also has 15 vice presidents with various areas of responsibility.

Current Number of Members: 216,000

Members Work As: Sheet metal workers, service technicians, bus operators, engineers, conductors, sign manufacturing and installers, welders, HVAC technicians, production employees and more.

Industries Represented: Sheet metal production and installation, HVAC service, air, rail, bus and other mass transit, among many others.

History: The history of this organization begins in the second half of the 19th century, with the founding of several unions that were forerunners of the Sheet Metal Workers' International Association (SMWIA) and the United Transportation Union (UTU), which later joined together to form SMART. In 1888, SMWIA formed and by 1901, the union had grown to more than 5,500 members from 108 locals in the United States and Canada. In 1899, SMWIA first received a charter from the American Federation of Labor.

In 1922, SMWIA railroad shop members launched one of the biggest strikes in U.S. history, when 400,000 workers walked off the job. After a federal injunction shut down strike support activities, the action ultimately failed. But the seeds were laid for future collective action and success. SMWIA continued to grow, particularly as many smaller unions in the industry came on board to help expand the power of their members . By 1925, membership had risen to 24,000 from more than 440 locals.

Over the ensuing decades, sheet metal workers rose to prominence. In 1927, members from Local 206 in San Diego built a major part of the Spirit of St. Louis, which Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic. During World War II, members were secretly part of the team that developed the atomic bomb. After the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, SMART members in the building trades helped search for survivors and SMART transportation workers evacuated as many people as possible from the danger zone.

In 1969, the UTU was officially formed with the merger of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen, the Order of Railway Conductors and Brakemen and the Switchmen's Union of North America. And in 2008, UTU and SMWIA merged to become the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART).

Current Campaigns/Community Efforts: SMART has numerous teams focused on member safety. The SMART Action Network gives members and supporters opportunities to make a difference on important issues with opportunities to take action on numerous issues and events as a rapid response network. SMART's Product and Services directory helps people find union-made in America products and services within the sheet metal industry. SMART also has the SMART Army that  engages members in local communities and events in order to build and promote members’ role in local communities while furthering an understanding of the values of the labor movement. SMART publishes The Member's Journal and the SMART TD News to provide news and additional resources related to the industry.

Learn More: WebsiteFacebookTwitter, YouTube

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 07/02/2019 - 15:40

Union Member Brings Unemployment Benefit Increase Bill to Governor’s Desk

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 10:14
Union Member Brings Unemployment Benefit Increase Bill to Governor’s Desk Delaware General Assembly

Delaware Gov. John Carney signed a bill Sunday that raises the region’s lowest unemployment benefit. Under the bill, the maximum weekly payment will rise from $330 to $400—a long-overdue increase since the last update in 2002.   

The bill was marshaled through the General Assembly by Rep. Ed Osienski, a member of Sprinkler Fitters Local Union 669. 

“The unemployment benefit provides a vital lifeline to residents who find themselves out of work due to no fault of their own. The bills don’t stop coming in, even if the pay does,” Osienski said after the bill was signed. “It’s troubling that we have not increased this weekly benefit since 2002, which has made it more difficult for Delawareans to make ends meet during these times when they’re most in need of this assistance.”  

The Delaware AFL-CIO worked with Osienski and other allies on the bill, which passed unanimously in both the House and Senate. The increase was the first in 17 years and comes long after the recession of 2008 and 2009. The high jobless rate at that time left no room for an increase.

This victory comes on the heels of several other legislative wins that the Delaware AFL-CIO has achieved by working with union members elected to state office. Earlier achievements this year include expanding collective bargaining rights and worker training programs.

Tim Schlittner Tue, 07/02/2019 - 11:14

Pride Month Profiles: Joni Christian

Fri, 06/28/2019 - 11:06
Pride Month Profiles: Joni Christian GenderIdentityWatch

For Pride Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various LGBTQ Americans who have worked and continue to work at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Our next profile is Joni Christian.

When she was growing up as a boy, Joni Christian used to pray that God would change her into a girl. At the age of 26, Joni's prayers came true and with the help of hormone therapy and surgery, she became the woman she always knew she was.

At the time of her surgery, Christian was an assembly line worker at the General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio. She also was a member of the UAW. Leading up to her surgery, Christian was undergoing hormone treatment, but she had kept the transition quiet at work and people had no idea that she was about to come out. When she returned, she dropped her birth name and introduced herself as Joni Christian. 

The reaction was not positive. Her workplace became hostile and supervisors were transphobic. She was met with ridicule and sarcasm, and people shunned her. Women at the plant circulated a petition to keep her out of women's restrooms. Men stared at her and subjected her to cruel remarks.

She responded by going to her UAW local and using her legal services benefit to sue GM for invasion of privacy. The company settled with her, and her workplace improved significantly. The president of the local, Gary Briner, was very supportive. About Christian's experience, Briner said:

We had only started having women working on the line in 1971, and we had to get tough then with how some of the men were acting. So, women alone were a scarcity, let alone what Joni was doing. Some of the workers were acting like animals. But there were other brothers who were pretty embarrassed. She was paying dues, she had the right to do whatever she wanted.

After winning the lawsuit, Christian remained at GM for 30 more years, and she retired in 1999 with a pension. Since then, she has been active in trans causes and in her church. She said that her union was vital in the happy outcome:

Returning to work after undergoing gender reassignment surgery was challenging. I would've been fired, if not for the union. The union respected me as a person, even if some of the members didn't approve of me. I learned that an injury to one was an injury to all....

Christian said that both her job at GM and her membership in UAW gave her the opportunity to become who she truly was:

The company provided the paycheck that enabled me to pay for medical treatment, and the union protected me from being fired or discriminated against on the job. The union respected me as a union person even if some of the members didn’t approve of me.

Christian's activism was driven by a simple idea:

Not everyone has a union, but everyone deserves to have confidence that whatever their gender expression is, they should be able to get up and go to work without fearing that their livelihood will be taken from them.

The situation at the time was a lonely one. No one in her plant was openly LGBTQ 40 years ago. Since then, GM has evolved and now offers diversity programs and sensitivity training. The UAW has done even more to promote equality, but there is still work to be done. 

Christian has a message about the future aimed at LGBTQ youth:

The world is coming to an understanding that God’s beautiful humanity is very diverse. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are telling the world that we are part of all societies and will settle for nothing less than respect.

When we tell the next generation that it really does get better, we have to stand up and tell our stories so that their stories will be respected as well.

Joni Christian stood up for herself and her gender identity at a time when the country was openly hostile to LGBTQ Americans. Not only did she use the tools at her disposal—her union and the legal system—to improve her own life, but Christian set a precedent and served as an example for those who now follow in her footsteps.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 06/28/2019 - 12:06

Tags: LGBTQ Rights

Labor Activist Wins Primary Election for White Plains Common Council

Fri, 06/28/2019 - 08:51
Labor Activist Wins Primary Election for White Plains Common Council Westchester-Putnam Counties Central Labor Body

Jenn Puja, a labor activist and organizer, won her primary race for White Plains Common Council in New York this week. Puja, along with two other labor-endorsed candidates, advanced to the general election in November.

Puja received strong labor backing and thanked local unions for their work once the primary results were in. Puja said, “There’s a first for everything. This is the first time the primary has ever been in June. This was the first time I’ve ever run for office, ever. I’m overwhelmed, and I’m proud of the people-powered, grassroots, positive campaign that we’ve all run.”

If elected in November, Puja will be the youngest woman ever elected to the Common Council.

Puja is the labor council director for the Westchester-Putnam (N.Y.) Central Labor Body. She was born into a union family and has fully committed herself to the advancement of the union movement. She saw this election as an opportunity to increase her impact fighting for working people in White Plains and around the region. 

Puja is proud to stand with her union brothers and sisters to support them with their local labor issues on picket lines, at rallies and behind the scenes. As an organizer, she has affiliated dozens of new locals as she cultivates coalition partners throughout Westchester and Putnam Counties. 

Tim Schlittner Fri, 06/28/2019 - 09:51

What You Need to Know About CEO Pay: The Working People Weekly List

Thu, 06/27/2019 - 13:30
What You Need to Know About CEO Pay: 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 the latest edition of the Working People Weekly List.

12 Facts You Need to Know from the 2019 AFL-CIO Executive Paywatch Report: "The AFL-CIO this week released its annual Executive Paywatch report. AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler discussed the federation’s findings during a call with reporters, highlighting the continuing pay inequity between workers and CEOs, discussing the impact of the Trump administration’s tax law on executive compensation and pointing out some of the worst offenders among major corporations."

International Labor Organization Fights Gender-Based Workplace Violence and Harassment: Eight years ago, women union leaders and activists began campaigning for the International Labor Organization to tackle gender-based violence and harassment at work. Last week, at the ILO’s100th anniversary, workers, governments and employers voted overwhelmingly to approve a binding Convention on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work."

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Machinists: "Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Machinists."

AFL-CIO Trade Tour: Demand Better in New NAFTA: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) hosted a series of town hall meetings in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan this week, where he talked with working people about NAFTA and what working families need from a new deal."

Pride Month Profiles: Jeanne Laberge and Ruth Jacobsen: "For Pride Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various LGBTQ Americans who have worked and continue to work at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Our next profile is Jeanne Laberge and Ruth Jacobsen."

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Heat and Frost Insulators: "Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Heat and Frost Insulators (HFIU)."

Hundreds of Thousands Demand, 'No Vote On NAFTA 2.0 Until It Is Fixed': "'Last week workers in Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Akron, Dayton, Cleveland and Detroit told me to bring back a message to D.C. that the new NAFTA is not good enough,' said Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO. 'People are hurting and searching for answers. They refuse to support another trade agreement that doesn’t account for their needs. Working people are ready to turn the page on NAFTA and end the era of outsourcing. It is time for negotiators to go back to the table and hammer out an agreement that is good for working people.'"

CEOs Made 287 Times More Money Last Year than Their Workers Did: "After years of kicking and screaming, corporate executives have finally released pay data on what their CEO makes versus their median worker. Unsurprisingly, the gap is obscene. The average chief executive of an S&P 500 company earned 287 times more than their median employee last year, according to an analysis of the new federal data released Tuesday by the AFL-CIO labor federation."

Trumka in Ohio: Fix Trade Pact: "Speaking to some 200 union activists here June 18, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called for renegotiation of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement to stop the ongoing tidal wave of plant closings. The shutdowns unleashed by the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have continued as recently as last March when General Motors closed its auto assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio. Trumka said NAFTA has caused elimination of almost one million jobs, destroying the lives of workers and their families, who lost homes, wages, pensions and  their entire way of life as communities were disrupted across the land. U.S. corporations, driven by greed for higher profits, often relocated plants to Mexico where U.S. companies pay little or no taxes, workers are paid much lower wages and goods they produce are exported to the U.S. without tariffs."

In Montana, AFL-CIO President Talks About the Future of Coal: "Rich Trumka, the president of the country’s largest union federation, the AFL-CIO, was in Montana for the state’s convention in Missoula last week. The federation represents many workers in Montana’s troubled coal industry. Trumka is a third-generation miner. The Pennsylvania native can’t accept that workers, like those in Colstrip, are getting squeezed out of their jobs. 'We sent a person to the moon and brought them back. We can’t figure out how to burn a lump of coal, cleanly? I just refuse to believe that,' he says."

AFL-CIO President Says 'Useless’ Trump Trade Deal Hurts Workers: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said a renegotiated trade deal between the United States and its neighbors will 'suck jobs' from America if stronger enforcement language isn’t included. President Donald Trump said the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement has 'tremendous union support' at the White House Thursday, but Trumka encouraged workers in the largest federation of American unions to oppose the deal as written. In a fiery speech, Michigan AFL-CIO President Ron Bieber said the USMCA is a 'bulls--t, non-enforceable, bad for workers trade agreement.'"

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 06/27/2019 - 14:30

We Must Not Forget Oregon Democrats’ Betrayal on PERS

Thu, 06/27/2019 - 13:11
We Must Not Forget Oregon Democrats’ Betrayal on PERS Oregon AFL-CIO

The best thing about being president of the Oregon AFL-CIO—with less than 100 days until the end of my term—is that I can now say whatever I want, whenever I want. For example, in the past, I felt limited in the ways I held legislative Democrats accountable. There is a tendency to soften one’s criticism, understanding that there is always a next session and another legislative agenda. Holding legislative leadership accountable with statements that are too harsh could impact future legislative agendas. I am sorry to say: There are too few Republicans that we can count on to help move our agenda, making the Democrats the only game in town for labor issues.

I don’t believe in exclusive support of political parties. Organized labor should support those who support workers, and hold those accountable who side with a corporate capitalist agenda at the expense of workers. But there was a wrong and a betrayal done to Oregon workers in 2019 that is so heinous it would be wrong to look the other way for the sake of future agendas.

The corporate capitalist agenda was on full display during the 2019 Oregon legislature as business beat the drum about PERS attacks and used the Student Success Act as leverage. The Student Success Act promises to increase much needed funding to Oregon schools by $1 billion per year. Oregon corporations will pay for the increase through a gross receipts tax. In 2016, Oregon corporations paid the lowest corporate taxes in the nation.

I commend the Oregon legislature for increasing K-12 funding. It is high time that Oregon corporations begin paying their fair share for Oregon services, and I hope this is the first step in achieving that goal.

Since 2008, Oregon corporations have pounded the drum on their perception that PERS provides overly generous retirement benefits and funding. PERS is currently funded at 80%. Translation: If every active PERS member were to retire today, Oregon would be $27 billion short. This shortfall is a result of the 2008 stock market crash and has little to do with tier three members who make up just over 60% of current active public employees. These employees receive a much smaller benefit than previous retirees. The PERS tier three payroll cost is 8%. Such legacy costs shouldn’t be the responsibility of workers, but treated as an Oregon debt that needs to be paid.

Oregon corporations involved with the passage of the Student Success Act exacted a price for their support. Senate Bill 1049 will result in a loss of between 7% to 12.5% in workers’ individual retirement accounts, according to the PERS agency. SB1049 does little to nothing toward paying down the PERS unfunded liability. Tier three recipients already receive the lowest retirement benefits in PERS, and the only thing SB1040 ensures is that tier three will see even lower benefits in the future.

The bill passed both the House and Senate by one vote. Seven House Democrats and five Senate Democrats stood with Oregon workers and voted against SB1049. Pressure from their leadership and the governor’s office did not dissuade them from fulfilling their promises to Oregon workers.

The 31 House Democrats and the 13 Senate Democrats who voted for the legislation, along with the governor, broke their promises to Oregon workers. I have reams of candidate questionnaires from union-endorsed House and Senate candidates who promised not to cut PERS benefits. The governor promised as well. To go back on that promise undermines their credibility with the unions who endorsed them. Worse yet, such action undermines the very credibility of our political programs. Our members spent their hard-earned money and dedicated countless volunteer hours electing Democrats that they trusted to fulfill the commitments they made to them through the endorsement process. These candidates sought our endorsements!

The Oregon Senate and House leadership kept in question exactly when SB1049 would be up for a vote until the last minute. This blatant political manipulation of the legislative process intentionally prevented workers from witnessing the betrayal. Then, the legislative handwringing and excuses for the vote came like an avalanche. Excuses ranged from: “We stopped the Nesbitt PERS initiative, which would have been worse,” to one senator actually saying: “You really didn’t believe us, did you?”

For the record, the Nesbitt PERS initiative, which takes an axe to PERS benefits, is still active and on course to be on the 2020 ballot.

It should not be lost on anyone that while corporations were at the table having input into the Student Success Act, Oregon public sector unions were not invited to have input into the governor’s PERS proposal, or the House and Senate proposals. The PERS reforms of 2005 and 2013 both included the leadership of public sector unions. This begs the question: Why would the governor and legislative leadership totally silence the voice of workers in this process?

If it wasn’t for the PERS betrayal, many would view the 2019 Oregon legislative session as the most successful in a decade. The SB1049 betrayal becomes the focal point because unions and our members worked hard and spent their hard-earned dollars based on promises made during the campaign season. Members ask: How can we elect a governor, achieve super majorities in the House and Senate, and still public employee unions weren’t even invited to the the table in PERS reform? Oregon unions should not base their endorsements on promises made by House and Senate members who are fast to break those promises when it is convenient. Rather, we must support candidates based on their demonstrated performance.

There must be an analysis made for those union-endorsed candidates who faced the greatest odds in crowded primaries and are only in the legislature due to the hard work of our members. We must not forget.

This post originally appeared at NW Labor Press.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 06/27/2019 - 14:11

Working People Deserve Better: In the States Roundup

Thu, 06/27/2019 - 12:08
Working People Deserve Better: In the States Roundup AFL-CIO

It's time once again to take a look at the ways working people are making progress in the states. Click on any of the links to follow the state federations on Twitter.

Alaska AFL-CIO:

This is from the National IBEW! Thanks for weighing in @IBEW ! Alaskans deserve certainty, stability and the ability to keep working during our busiest season. Add the capital budget to the call and sign the operating budget! #akleg #akgov https://t.co/ak13zHCry1

— Alaska AFL-CIO (@AKAFLCIO) June 25, 2019

Arkansas AFL-CIO:

More than 11K airline food workers authorize strike for better wages, healthcare https://t.co/cJEAQpSF2X

— Arkansas AFL-CIO (@ArkansasAFLCIO) June 26, 2019

California Labor Federation:

We should all expect a safe and healthy workplace, to make enough to live and thrive, and to have a say over our working conditions. #AB5 provides the basic foundation for our rights on the job, and make clear that employers have to follow the rules. #YesOnAB5 @LorenaSGonzalez pic.twitter.com/YUXxTvlwIs

— California Labor Federation (@CaliforniaLabor) June 27, 2019

Colorado AFL-CIO:

✈️ BREAKING: Prospect workers at Denver airport are ON STRIKE!

🚨 TAKE ACTION: Tell #PayAttentionProspect that you stand with Denver Airport passengers and workers who deserve better: https://t.co/EJLIEXbXHC pic.twitter.com/dKYPeAL9U7

— Colorado AFL-CIO (@AFLCIOCO) June 18, 2019

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

OSHA now has the lowest number of inspectors in its entire history. It will now take over 160 years for the agency to inspect every workplace under its jurisdiction just once. This does not bode well for workers. https://t.co/BPG17k6LbV @AFLCIO

— Connecticut AFL-CIO (@ConnAFLCIO) June 18, 2019

Idaho AFL-CIO:

Solidarity from Boise to Baltimore. We support @bso_musicians just like we support @musiciansboise. Stay strong, sisters & brothers. #bsostrong pic.twitter.com/D3C3aKYOqH

— Idaho State AFL-CIO (@IdahoAFLCIO) June 19, 2019

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

Sending solidarity to the workers at @Wayfair. There is power in collective action. ✊🏼✊🏿✊🏽✊🏾 #WayfairٍWalkout

— Indiana AFL-CIO (@INAFLCIO) June 26, 2019

Iowa Federation of Labor:

A message to State Leaders regarding new hotline for adult survivors to report child sexual abuse To: https://t.co/jlZLbJ0wlv by @IowaAFLCIO

— Iowa AFL-CIO (@IowaAFLCIO) June 27, 2019

Kentucky State AFL-CIO:

“Hoover emphasized a concern that several legislators of both parties have about the bill — that it will likely diminish the retirement... https://t.co/sGobvVaB40

— Kentucky AFL-CIO (@aflcioky) May 7, 2019

Maine AFL-CIO:

Truer words were never sung. #1U pic.twitter.com/jxKOXd2w3V

— Maine AFL-CIO (@MEAFLCIO) June 26, 2019

Massachusetts AFL-CIO:

The public good coalition is making two demands of @Fidelity: put a filter up to prevent funding organized bigotry and meet with the groups who would be affected. #banbigotrynotmuslims #servethepublicgood #solidarity pic.twitter.com/3VChHI5QnN

— Massachusetts AFL-CIO (@massaflcio) June 26, 2019

Metro Washington (D.C.) Council AFL-CIO:

On the picket line this morning with locked-out BSO musicians; photo by John Barry pic.twitter.com/gU5HkreNQb

— MetroDCLaborCouncil (@DCLabor) June 27, 2019

Michigan AFL-CIO:

Levin, Slotkin, Tlaib say USMCA must be rebooted ⋆ Michigan Advance https://t.co/bQJuUa1UbV

— Michigan AFL-CIO (@MIAFLCIO) June 27, 2019

Minnesota AFL-CIO:

Minimum wage workers in Minneapolis to see boost in pay in July https://t.co/HleptpFv7h pic.twitter.com/IzEyKS2Vc3

— Minnesota AFL-CIO (@MNAFLCIO) June 27, 2019

Missouri AFL-CIO:

The AVERAGE S&P 500 CEO pay in Missouri is: 💲 🔟 ,5️⃣ 5️⃣ 6️⃣ ,7️⃣ 8️⃣ 3️⃣ ... A lower tax bill and new loopholes for the wealthy are only one way CEOs benefited from the new tax laws. More info on the #PayWatch inequalities here: https://t.co/efXXK4C9qx#1u pic.twitter.com/a9PZRpe65u

— Missouri AFL-CIO (@MOAFLCIO) June 25, 2019

Montana AFL-CIO:

Congratulations to Sister Kim Rickard-Smeltzer the recipient of this year’s lifetime achievement award! #1u #UnionStrong pic.twitter.com/8pTZCZrnkA

— Montana AFL-CIO (@MTaflcio) June 22, 2019

Nebraska State AFL-CIO:

House Bill a Step Closer to Equal Rights for All Working People https://t.co/KTZMBcnvqe

— NE State AFL-CIO (@NEAFLCIO) June 11, 2019

Nevada State AFL-CIO:

NV labor unites with fast food workers on strike for their rights #unionsforall #1u pic.twitter.com/Y57KR2D7BA

— Nevada State AFL-CIO (@NVAFLCIO) June 14, 2019

New Hampshire AFL-CIO:

Great work to everyone who made the Public Workers Memorial possible. An important and long overdue tribute. https://t.co/Il4BInDykF

— NewHampshire AFL-CIO (@NHAFLCIO) June 7, 2019

New Mexico Federation of Labor:

“New Mexico governor reverses policy that asked union members to waive First Amendment rights” https://t.co/3teex71sRy @AFLCIO

— NMFL (@NMFLaflcio) June 20, 2019

New York State AFL-CIO:

Today is the one year anniversary of the #Janus decision. A decision that they hoped would kill off unions. We are proud to say the labor movement in NY is stronger than ever because of our amazing affiliates & their members! @Nysut @NYSPEF @CSEALocal1000 https://t.co/CfNf7ChsNn

— NYSAFLCIO (@NYSAFLCIO) June 27, 2019

North Carolina State AFL-CIO:

Bc #1job should be enough! ✊✊🏼 Frustrated workers who prep airline food for #CLT planes may go on strike. Here’s why https://t.co/0KBJeWJp8W via @daniellechemtob @theobserver #1u

— NC State AFL-CIO (@NCStateAFLCIO) June 26, 2019

Ohio AFL-CIO:

We will be working to elect @AFLCIO and #Union members across #Ohio in our #PathToPower program like @anthonycaldwell. Congratulations on you Central Ohio CLC endorsement! Let’s get to work to put our members in office this November!

— Ohio AFL-CIO (@ohioaflcio) June 27, 2019

Oklahoma State AFL-CIO:

Preventing falls in construction: NIOSH issues fact sheet https://t.co/xMno3qCmg4

— Oklahoma AFL-CIO (@OK_AFL_CIO) June 27, 2019

Oregon AFL-CIO:

“I found a family here. This career and the relationships I’ve built have molded me into a man, taught me patience, and have impacted me so much. It’s a brotherhood.” #1u #Union Strong https://t.co/U71EGmReHQ

— Oregon AFL-CIO (@OregonAFLCIO) June 27, 2019

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

.@UFCWLocal1776KS member and state fed staffer Jai’ahna is #StickingWithMyUnion pic.twitter.com/Tml2Ypx8V3

— PA AFL-CIO (@PaAFL_CIO) June 27, 2019

South Carolina AFL-CIO:

Take a second and hear how detrimental the new NAFTA will be https://t.co/VjW3epi4ZX

— SC AFL-CIO (@SCAFLCIO) June 24, 2019

Texas AFL-CIO:

VA management’s contract proposal turns a democracy into a dictatorship. @afgeunion is denouncing this sham proposal. Union leaders at the VA Hospital in Waco, TX are taking action. #1u pic.twitter.com/nY9YJgDHJ0

— Texas AFL-CIO (@TexasAFLCIO) June 26, 2019

Virginia AFL-CIO:

Ohio needs a NAFTA deal that works for all of us. We’re not there yet: Richard Trumka and Tim Burga (Opinion)-- Read what @AFLCIO President @RichardTrumka has to say about the new NAFTA deal ! https://t.co/tQoLKXQOMV pic.twitter.com/FOYPJplnA5

— Virginia AFL-CIO (@Virginia_AFLCIO) June 19, 2019

Washington State Labor Council:

In Washington state, T-Mobile CEO John Legere topped the list of local executives’ pay at $66,538,206 in 2018, which is 1,116 times the median employee pay at the Bellevue-based company. #PayWatch https://t.co/cEgxGQvUYE

— WA State AFL-CIO (@WAAFLCIO) June 26, 2019

West Virginia AFL-CIO:

Out early today with our team Union Labor in Solidarity Against Cancer at the CAMC Foundation Run for Your LIfe 5-Mile Run/2.5-Mile Walk in downtown Charleston! 💪👊❤️ pic.twitter.com/Esk3Ue5K0I

— West Virginia AFLCIO (@WestVirginiaAFL) June 22, 2019

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO:

President @s_Bloomingdale joins @AFGEdistrict7 National Vice President Dorothy James, officers of AFGE Local 3 and members of @AFGENational District 7 for a training earlier this week in Milwaukee.

Organizing, strategizing, and building for the future! #WIunion #1u pic.twitter.com/KpXJyXI6M4

— WI AFL-CIO (@wisaflcio) June 27, 2019 Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 06/27/2019 - 13:08

12 Facts You Need to Know from the 2019 AFL-CIO Executive Paywatch Report

Thu, 06/27/2019 - 10:38
12 Facts You Need to Know from the 2019 AFL-CIO Executive Paywatch Report AFL-CIO

The AFL-CIO this week released its annual Executive Paywatch report. AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler discussed the federation’s findings during a call with reporters, highlighting the continuing pay inequity between workers and CEOs, discussing the impact of the Trump administration’s tax law on executive compensation and pointing out some of the worst offenders among major corporations.

About the report, Shuler said:

Here’s the key point: Even with that extra cash, wages are not keeping up with inflation. The average worker isn’t making enough to cover rent for a two-bedroom apartment in 15 of the largest cities across the country! Meanwhile, 40% of hourly workers have nothing saved up for an emergency, while 75% have less than $500.

We know this equality gap isn’t new. Over the past decade, the average S&P 500 CEO’s pay increased by more than $5 million, while the average worker only saw an increase of less than $800 a year. Not surprisingly, the CEO-to-worker pay ratio remains high: 287 to 1.  

I’ll repeat that: 287 to 1. Meaning the average CEO earns 287 times what an average employee earns. 

This disparity represents a fundamental problem with our economy: Productivity and corporate profits are through the roof, but wages for working people are flat—and staying flat.

Here are 12 key findings from the report that illustrate Shuler's words:

  1. The average S&P 500 company CEO-to-worker pay ratio was 287 to 1. 
  2. In 2018, CEOs of S&P 500 companies received, on average, $14.5 million in total compensation. 
  3. This year marks the first where nearly all S&P 500 companies have disclosed the pay ratio between their CEO and median employee. This important disclosure did not come easy. Major corporations and industry groups lobbied long and hard to hide this valuable information from shareholders and the general public.
  4. The average S&P 500 CEO’s pay has increased by $5.2 million over the past 10 years, a CEO pay increase of more than half a million dollars annually.
  5. The average U.S. rank-and-file worker’s pay has increased only $7,858 over the past 10 years, a pay increase of less than $800 per year annually.
  6. Sixty of the largest U.S. companies paid $0 in income taxes in 2018 despite being profitable, including corporations like Amazon, Netflix, Delta and General Motors.
  7. Corporate income tax collections fell by $93 million in fiscal year 2018 after the passage of the 2017 Republican tax cut, a 31% drop.
  8. Stock buybacks by the top 15 U.S. companies with the largest holdings of cash abroad spiked dramatically after the 2017 corporate tax cut on overseas profits. Ten of the largest U.S. companies—Amgen, Apple, Bank of America, Cisco Systems, Citigroup, Facebook, JP Morgan, Microsoft, Oracle and Wells Fargo—combined to buy back more than a quarter-billion dollars of their own stocks in 2018. Not surprisingly, the average CEO pay for these companies increased dramatically as well.
  9. Tesla CEO Elon Musk was the highest paid CEO in 2018. His compensation package was estimated to be worth nearly $2.3 billion, although many doubt that he can achieve his performance targets. Tesla had the highest pay ratio out of all companies: 40,668 to 1.
  10. On the other hand, 14 companies paid their CEO one dollar or less in 2018.
  11. The highest pay ratio for S&P 500 companies was at clothing retailer Gap, where the pay ratio was 3,566 to 1 and the median employee earned $5,831 (a part-time sales associate).
  12. The lowest pay ratio in the S&P 500 was at Alphabet (parent of Google), where its co-founder and CEO Larry Page received just $1 compared to its median employee pay of $246,804.

In conclusion, Shuler said:

Bottom line: For too long, corporate greed and rigged economic rules have created a relentlessly growing pay gap between CEOs and the rest of us. It’s why everything from a college education to retirement security to gas prices are getting harder and harder for people to afford. We see it every day in communities across the country. And that must change. 

Our economy works best when consumers have money to spend. That means raising wages for workers and reining in out-of-control executive pay. This year’s report is a stark reminder that working people must use our collective voice to form bigger, stronger unions and rewrite the economic rules once and for all. 

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 06/27/2019 - 11:38

Tags: Paywatch

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