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Women's History Month Profiles: Dolores Huerta

6 hours 53 min ago
Women's History Month Profiles: Dolores Huerta Wikimedia Commons

For Women's History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various women who were leaders and activists working at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Today's profile is Dolores Huerta.

Huerta was born in 1930 to Alicia and Juan Fernández in Dawson, New Mexico. Her father was a farmworker and miner who became a state legislator after her parents divorced and Huerta moved with her mother to California. There, her mother worked as a waitress and cannery worker before eventually buying a small hotel and restaurant. Huerta learned her compassion from working people and her dedication to community activism from her mother.

After graduating from the University of Pacific's Delta College, Huerta taught school. After witnessing many hungry children of farmworkers in her classes, she decided she could do more good by organizing farmworkers than she could teaching their children. In 1955, she co-founded the local chapter of the Community Service Organization. While registering Hispanic voters and fighting for economic rights for farmworkers, she also founded the Agricultural Workers Association. After meeting César Chávez, the two founded the National Farm Workers Association, the predecessor to the United Farm Workers (UFW), which formed in 1965.

With UFW, Huerta organized workers, negotiated contracts and advocated for safer work conditions for farmworkers. She was a key organizer in the 1965 Delano grape workers strike and lead negotiator for the contract that followed. She built upon that success and led the table grape boycott efforts of the late 1960s that led to a collective bargaining agreement in 1970. The 1973 boycott of grapes led to the passage of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975.

Huerta continued to serve as vice president of UFW until 1999. In the years after the successful grape boycotts, she fought for legislation that would expand working people's voices in government and politics and focused on helping elect more Latinos and women to public office.

She was awarded the Elanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award in 1998 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012. She remains active today, serving as a board member of the Feminist Majority Foundation, president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation and in an emeritus role for UFW.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 03/21/2019 - 09:24

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: A Conversation with House Blue Collar Caucus Co-Chairs

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 09:22
‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: A Conversation with House Blue Collar Caucus Co-Chairs

In the latest episode of "State of the Unions," Julie and Tim talk to the co-chairs of the House Blue Collar Caucus. Reps. Brendan Boyle (Pa.) and Marc Veasey (Texas) both come from union families and formed the caucus in the aftermath of the 2016 election to better connect with blue-collar workers. They say the path to a stronger America runs through the labor movement and any plan to rebuild our economy must include the working people who make it go. 

"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 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 Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and anywhere else you can find podcasts.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 03/20/2019 - 10:22

Tags: Podcast

Disgraceful: The Working People Weekly List

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 13:54
Disgraceful: 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.

Obama Expanded Overtime Pay to 4 Million Workers. Now Trump Is Scaling That Back: "Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO labor federation, called the new rule 'disgraceful.' '[This] is part of a growing list of policies from the Trump administration aimed at undermining the economic stability of America’s working people,' he tweeted on Friday. The public can comment on the rule proposal for 60 days before the Department of Labor sends a final version to the White House for review. If the White House approves the new rule, which is likely, it will be the Trump administration’s latest victory in its quest to undo Obama-era regulations meant to benefit workers."

Organized Labor Opposes Proposed New NAFTA Deal: "The AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest federation of labor unions, won’t support the USMCA trade agreement if an early vote is pursued, the organization announced March 14. The federation’s executive council voted to oppose the deal after a two-day meeting, saying that it lacks sufficient enforcement mechanisms that would strengthen labor conditions in Mexico. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, if ratified, would replace the existing North American Free Trade Agreement."

AFL-CIO Backs Legislation That Would Power Up American Working Families: "Bill Samuel, the AFL-CIO’s Government Affairs Director, discussed some of the labor federation’s top legislative goals with People’s World as the council meeting opened here Tuesday. High on labor’s list is 'some version,' as he put it, of the Workers Freedom to Negotiate Act, a bill that has already been introduced into Congress. What the federation is aiming for is a law that will make it much easier to organize a union and bargain with employers. As it stands now, workers who try to form a union often face harassment and loss of their jobs. Current law also allows employers not just to target organizers but to drag their feet and stall in the bargaining process after the union has been established."

Steelworker Wins Election to Local Maine School Board: "United Steelworkers (USW) Local 9 member Kathy Wilder won a write-in election for school board in Maine School Administrative District (MSAD) 54 on March 4. Wilder, who works as a chemical prep operator at Sappi Fine Paper in Skowhegan, says that her priorities will be student achievement, fiscal responsibility, clear communications and social justice."

Paving the Way: 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: AFSCME: "Next up in our series taking a deeper look at each of our affiliates is AFSCME."

Our Time Is Now: Leading with Passion, Purpose and Power: "More than 300 union sisters from all sectors of organized labor gathered at the Hilton East Brunswick Hotel on March 1 for the 16th annual Women in Leadership Development (WILD) Conference. This two-day conference featured several distinguished speakers, including Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler (IBEW) and Alice Paul Institute Executive Director Lucienne Beard."

Economy Gains 20,000 Jobs in February; Unemployment Down to 3.8%: "The U.S. economy gained 20,000 jobs in February, and the unemployment rate fell to 3.8%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is a dramatically lower level of job growth than we have seen in recent years and is good reason for the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee to express caution in considering any interest rate hikes."

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 03/19/2019 - 14:54

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Actors and Artistes

Mon, 03/18/2019 - 08:51
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Actors and Artistes

The AFL-CIO is taking a deeper look at each of our affiliates in our regular weekly series. Next up is the Actors and Artistes (4As).

Name of Union: Associated Actors and Artistes of America

The 4As works to advance and protect the welfare of the people who work to entertain and inform others in person and through every medium of recording and transmission. There are five member unions that make up the 4As. Actors' Equity (AEA) and SAG-AFTRA are directly affiliated with the AFL-CIO. Three other unions are part of the AFL-CIO through their membership in the 4As: the Musical Artists, the Variety Artists and the Italian American Actors.

AGMA Musical Artists (AGMA)

Mission: To represent members and to guarantee that our nation's artistic institutions adhere to fair labor practices, securing both gainful employment and quality of life for our artists.

Current Leadership of Union: John Coleman serves as president. The other officers are: Gregory Stapp (first vice president), George Scott (second vice presiden), J. Austin Bitner (third vice president), Jane Shaulis (fourth vice president), Louis Perry (recording secretary) and Raymond Menard (treasurer).

Members Work As: Soloists, choral singers, actors, ballet dancers, production staff and related jobs.

Industries Represented: America's operatic, dance and choral heritage.

History: AGMA formed in 1936 as an organization of solo musical artists. In August of the next year, AGMA was granted a charter from the 4As to cover the fields of grand opera, concert and recital. AGMA pursued a campaign to organize artists throughout the country and the first collective bargaining agreement that AGMA successfully negotiated that fall was with the Southern California Symphony Association.

Current Campaigns and Community Efforts: AGMA maintains an active list of auditions relevant to members, provides visa consultation services and publishes AGMAzine.

Learn MoreWebsiteFacebookTwitter.

AGVAAGVA Logo Variety Artists (AGVA)

Mission: To represent performing artists and stage managers for live performances in the variety field.

Current Leadership of Union: Judy Little serves as executive president. Other officers include Christopher Johnson (executive vice president) and Susanne K. Doris (executive secretary-treasurer).

Members Work As: Variety performers, including singers and dancers in touring shows and in theatrical revues, theme park performers, skaters, circus performers, comedians and stand-up comics, cabaret and club artists, lecturers, poets, monologists, spokespersons and those working at private parties and special events.

Industries Represented: Any performances in the variety area.

History: AGVA was founded in 1939.

Current Campaigns and Community Efforts: AGVA helps members obtain benefits beyond timer periods specifically related to shows and contracts. It also offers current and previous members assistance through the AGVA Sick & Relief Fund, which also regularly contributes to industry-related charities and presents shows to raise the funds available for relief. AGVA also provides members visa application assistance.

Learn MoreWebsiteFacebookTwitter.

GIAA Italian American Actors (GIAA)

Mission: To preserve the history and promote awareness of Italian heritage amongst its members. GIAA is committed to helping advance, promote, foster and protect the welfare of its members, not only within its own jurisdiction, but within the jurisdiction of its sister unions.

Current Leadership of Union: Carlo Fiorletta is the president of GIAA. Other officers include: Carson Grant (first vice president), Debbie Klaar (second vice president), Mara Lesemann (secretary/treasurer), Elaine Legaro (councilor), Ron Piretti (councilor), Simcha Borenstein (alternate councilor), Dana Halsted Moss (alternate councilor) and Lauren Cozza (alternate councilor).

Members Work As: GIAA is the only ethnic acting union in the United States. It is an Italian actors union for Italian speaking performers.

Industries Represented: The arts and entertainment industries.

History: GIAA was founded in 1937.

Community Efforts: GIAA provides news and casting opportunities to its members.

Learn MoreWebsiteFacebook.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 03/18/2019 - 09:51

A Just, Inclusive and Sustainable Economy

Fri, 03/15/2019 - 14:12
A Just, Inclusive and Sustainable Economy AFL-CIO

This week, labor leaders from across the country descended on New Orleans to map out the path ahead for our movement. From trade and public education to equal pay and paid leave to back pay for federal contract workers and bargaining power for all, the AFL-CIO Executive Council tackled the issues that will define working people’s fight for economic justice in 2019 and beyond.

Sending waves through Washington yesterday, the Executive Council’s most notable decision was its announcement that, “if the administration insists on a premature vote on the new NAFTA in its current form, we will have no choice but to oppose it.” Here are a few highlights from the statement:

  • Trade policy must be judged by whether it leads to a just, inclusive and sustainable economy....By that measure, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which has driven the outsourcing of so many good jobs, has been a catastrophic failure.

  • By design, NAFTA distorted power relationships in favor of global employers over workers, weakened worker bargaining power and encouraged the de-industrialization of the U.S. economy.

  • After a quarter-century of this race to the bottom, workers in all three NAFTA countries find it more difficult to form unions and negotiate collective bargaining agreements.

  • The NAFTA renegotiation requires strong labor rights provisions and strong enforcement provisions that as of today are not yet in the agreement.

  • The current effort by the business community to pass the new NAFTA is premature, and if it continues, we will be forced to mobilize to defeat it, just as we mobilized to kill the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 03/15/2019 - 15:12

Women's History Month Profiles: Frances Perkins

Fri, 03/15/2019 - 09:37
Women's History Month Profiles: Frances Perkins AFL-CIO

For Women's History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various women who were leaders and activists working at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Today's profile is Frances Perkins.

Perkins was born in Boston in 1880, descendant from a long line of Maine farmers and craftsmen. At Mount Holyoke College, she studied the natural sciences and economic history and was exposed to a variety of works and lectures who exposed her to new ways of thinking about the social problems she witnessed.

After graduation, she learned more about the plight of working people when she volunteered in New York's settlement houses. She heard stories directly from workers about the dangerous conditions of factory work and the desperation of being unable to collect promised wages or secure medical care for workplace injuries. She left her teaching career, just as it was beginning, to earn a master's degree in economics and sociology.

In 1910, she became secretary of the New York Consumers' League and was part of a team that lobbied the state legislature for a bill limiting the workweek for women and children to 54 hours. On March 25, 1911, she was attending a social function near the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory when the fire began. She witnessed the entire event. She was deeply affected by it:

Up until that point she had lobbied for worker rights and on behalf of the poor, but she had been on a conventional trajectory, toward a conventional marriage, perhaps, and a life of genteel good works. After the fire, what had been a career turned into a vocation. Moral indignation set her on a different course. Her own desires and her own self became less central and the cause itself became more central to the structure of her life. The niceties of her class fell away. She became impatient with the way genteel progressives went about serving the poor. She became impatient with their prissiness, their desire to stay pure and above the fray. Perkins hardened. She threw herself into the rough and tumble of politics. She was willing to take morally hazardous action if it would prevent another catastrophe like the one that befell the women at the Triangle factory. She was willing to compromise and work with corrupt officials if it would produce results. She pinioned herself to this cause for the rest of her life.

The results were obvious. 

Perkins began to focus more on practical remedies to the challenges faced by working people. She held to a strong belief that legislation was the most important avenue to "right industrial wrongs," and she simultaneously championed labor organizing and collective action. In 1918, she was invited by Gov. Al Smith to join the New York State Industrial Commission, becoming the first woman to serve. By 1926, she had become the commission's chairwoman. In 1929, Gov. Franklin Roosevelt appointed her as the industrial commissioner for the state. She led a series of progressive reforms that included expanding factory investigations, reducing the workweek for women to 48 hours and championing minimum wage and unemployment insurance laws.

In 1933, Perkins was chosen by President Roosevelt to serve as secretary of labor, making her the first woman ever appointed to a federal Cabinet position. She focused on creating a safety net to counteract the Great Depression's effects on working people. This was evident in the legislation she helped secure, including the Wagner Act (which gave workers the right to organize unions and bargain collectively), the Fair Labor Standards Act (which established the first minimum wage and created a maximum workweek) and the Social Security Act of 1935.

She also played a crucial role in the dramatic labor uprisings of the 1930s and 1940s. She consistently supported the rights of workers to organize unions of their own choosing and to pressure employers through economic action. She successfully resolved strikes with gains for workers time and time again, most notably helping end the 1934 San Francisco General Strike without violence or the use of federal troops, an option that was on the table.

In 1945, Perkins resigned from her position as labor secretary to head the U.S. delegation to the International Labor Organization conference in Paris. President Harry Truman appointed her to the Civil Service Commission, a job she held through 1953. She also returned to the classroom to teach at Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations. She died in New York in 1965 at the age of 85 and was buried in her family's plot in New Castle, Maine.

Read more about Perkins.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 03/15/2019 - 10:37

Steelworker Wins Election to Local Maine School Board

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 11:42
Steelworker Wins Election to Local Maine School Board Maine AFL-CIO

United Steelworkers (USW) Local 9 member Kathy Wilder won a write-in election for school board in Maine School Administrative District (MSAD) 54 on March 4. Wilder, who works as a chemical prep operator at Sappi Fine Paper in Skowhegan, says that her priorities will be student achievement, fiscal responsibility, clear communications and social justice.

"Being elected to the school board is really exciting for me because I grew up in Norridgewock and attended K-12 in MSAD 54," said Wilder after finishing a night shift at the mill. "Now I have to give back to the community by working to make the future a brighter and stronger place for today’s youth."

Wilder worked with the Maine AFL-CIO in 2018 as part of our labor candidates training program to elect more union members and working class people to elected office at all levels. She previously ran for the Maine State Legislature in 2018.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 03/12/2019 - 12:42

Paving the Way: What Working People Are Doing This Week

Tue, 03/12/2019 - 10:48
Paving the Way: 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:

Strong Unions Mean Strong African-American Communities https://t.co/teHSH89X2k

— APRI National (DC) (@APRI_National) March 4, 2019

Actors' Equity:

Looking forward to working with @TheUmbrellaArts for their upcoming season, expanding their ability to work with more actors in Boston! #EquityWorkshttps://t.co/IQgbOGa3ET pic.twitter.com/3s1RFpILPF

— Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) March 7, 2019

AFGE:

This #WomensHistoryMonth, we're celebrating labor and civil rights leaders who have paved the way for generations to come. #AFGEWomen #1uwomen #1u pic.twitter.com/PF93ESFjz4

— AFGE (@AFGENational) March 7, 2019

AFSCME:

San Mateo County human services workers are on strike, demanding greater recognition for the critical role they play in their community. Some 600 members of Local 829 are asking for a fair contract to address caseloads, staffing, retention and more. https://t.co/TuDkKoHQJn

— AFSCME (@AFSCME) March 6, 2019

AFT:

After a decade of neglect, AFT members across the country are standing up. They are taking to the streets to demand the teaching and learning conditions they and their students deserve. #FundOurFuture https://t.co/VbXBpaPHxk pic.twitter.com/a2KiuzKJQP

— AFT (@AFTunion) March 7, 2019

Air Line Pilots Association:

Get to know your Canadian @WeAreALPA pilot groups. First up, Air Georgian: https://t.co/BAMInPB3a9 pic.twitter.com/vuQDnbYO97

— ALPA Canada (@ALPACanada) March 7, 2019

Alliance for Retired Americans:

Lawmakers are trying to curb sepsis infections and get better care for patients with a new bill that would boost punishment for understaffed nursing homes: https://t.co/GHeHNL0KyE pic.twitter.com/EKJr4eAWhq

— Alliance Retirees (@ActiveRetirees) March 7, 2019

Amalgamated Transit Union:

Milwaukee bus drivers stage protest over proposed health care cuts https://t.co/ZrSARrRKXw #MCTS #transit #publictransit #1u

— ATU, Transit Union (@ATUComm) March 7, 2019

American Federation of Musicians:

“As Music Director and a musician of this orchestra, I am with the Musicians," said Ricardo Muti in a letter delivered to Chicago Symphony management. BRAVO! 👏👏👏👏👏https://t.co/HxF9qRfMXX via @crainschicago

— Amer. Fed. Musicians (@The_AFM) March 7, 2019

American Postal Workers Union:

For too long Wall Street robber barons have gambled with our economy while not even paying their fair share in taxes. Enough is enough! #WallStreetTax #TaxTheRich pic.twitter.com/ZB32SZ3eH7

— APWU National (@APWUnational) March 6, 2019

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance:

"Cindy Domingo epitomizes public service with her tireless dedication and long string of accomplishments in repping communities so often left from the table.” Shout out to our APALA Seattle member for receiving the MLK Jr. Medal of Distinguished Service! https://t.co/QeOdJInkem pic.twitter.com/AR0sVqccbt

— APALA (@APALAnational) March 7, 2019

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:

Over 70 years of experience and heart in aviation, the members of the Association of Flight Attendants know the realities of the aircraft cabin better than anyone. We don't just serve drinks. We save lives. pic.twitter.com/yzqoYXUecS

— AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) March 7, 2019

Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers:

Educators, parents, students and their communities are standing up with a clear message: that we’re not going to accept underfunding and scarcity. It's time to #FundOurFuture! Share this video from @AFTunion: https://t.co/GYf20DOjvz

— BCTGM International (@BCTGM) March 4, 2019

Boilermakers:

Incredible @ChadlHymas at #Boilermakers CSO Conference: "People who refuse to change the way they’ve done things in the past never solve problems. They find themselves paralyzed by their own patterns...they find themselves trapped in the patterns they’ve created for themselves." pic.twitter.com/Rrs4rxxuHD

— Boilermakers Union (@boilermakernews) March 5, 2019

Bricklayers:

Making a successful transition from the #military into the civilian workforce can be difficult, but with the help from @H2Hjobfairs, you can build a lifelong career in the trowel trades. Check it out: https://t.co/fs0PPoDhe3#ApprenticeshipWorks #skilledtrades #1u #construction

— Bricklayers Union (@IUBAC) March 6, 2019

California School Employees Association:

Great keynote speech by State Superintendent @TonyThurmond to a crowd of more than 1,200 @CSEA_Now members attending the 22nd Annual Paraeducator Conference in Sacramento today. “Classified employees are the backbone of our schools!”

— CSEA (@CSEA_Now) March 6, 2019

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists:

Another great piece by Bill. https://t.co/rD9f8eJrg3

— CBTU (@CBTU72) March 7, 2019

Coalition of Labor Union Women:

The #UnionDifference is clear: women in unions earn $231 more a week than non-union counterparts. #AAPIEqualPay pic.twitter.com/S31pKt2uKV

— CLUW National (@CLUWNational) March 5, 2019

Communications Workers of America:

It's Throwback Thursday! CWA Local 7800 members & family picket outside the US West Headquarters in Seattle, on Aug. 16, 1998. Members were striking against mandatory overtime & reduction of wages & benefits. 34,000 union workers in 13 states participated. #tbt #ThursdayThoughts pic.twitter.com/Av2JveDhvu

— CWA (@CWAUnion) March 7, 2019

Department for Professional Employees:

“Strategic investment in our arts and cultural organizations is not an extra, it’s a path to prosperity.” #artsadvocacy #UnitedForTheArts https://t.co/QHWsl0oO3r

— Department for Professional Employees (@DPEaflcio) March 7, 2019

Electrical Workers:

‘Times Are Changing:’ More women breaking into construction industry https://t.co/q8LgtVLTii

— IBEW (@IBEW) March 4, 2019

Farm Labor Organizing Committee:

Hooray! https://t.co/jBOxJ9n7Su

— Farm Labor Organizing Committee (@SupportFLOC) March 7, 2019

Fire Fighters:

The #IAFF is urging Congress to support federal #firefighters need for fair and equitable compensation and retirement benefits #FirefightersforFairness pic.twitter.com/shgDXYfuGw

— IAFF (@IAFFNewsDesk) March 7, 2019

Heat and Frost Insulators:

Unlike typical post-high school education, a registered apprenticeship won’t leave you in debt, but rather help you build a stable, middle class life. Does this appeal to you? Learn more about joining the Insulators Union here: https://t.co/3Odj5kfMCh

— Insulators Union (@InsulatorsUnion) March 7, 2019

International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers:

Great article! The struggles facing #GameWorkers have been faced by many different industries in the past. The answer is to take your voice back, and form a #union! https://t.co/qDOcuW24d5

— IFPTE (@IFPTE) March 5, 2019

International Labor Communications Association:

If March roars in like a 🦁, we’re editing the thought to say the first two months of 2019 were roaring, if partially hibernating. Let's catch up and plant the seeds for a fruitful year. https://t.co/3XUC6y6UmA

— Labor Communications (@ILCAonline) March 1, 2019

Ironworkers:

Iron Workers General Organizer Vicki O'Leary addressed the North American Iron Workers/IMPACT Conference general session about how workplace harassment threatens job site safety. https://t.co/RthABSKNoX #NWIC #InterntionalWomensDay #BeThatOneGuy #ImpactOfChange

— Ironworkers. (@TheIronworkers) March 7, 2019

Jobs With Justice:

This is more like it: working people > subsidies for the biggest and wealthiest companies in the world. https://t.co/5CtPm7cXf2

— Jobs With Justice (@jwjnational) March 7, 2019

Labor Council for Latin American Advancement:

LCLAA is proud to have played a role in this amazing outcome aimed at protecting equal pay!https://t.co/7MEupRn1BL

— LCLAA (@LCLAA) March 7, 2019

Laborers:

ICYMI - Another win for workers in West Virginia, Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Bailey has tossed out #RighttoWork” law – AGAIN! #RightToWorkIsWrong #RTW https://t.co/Ful35s8kGF

— LIUNA (@LIUNA) March 7, 2019

Machinists:

After decades of anti-worker rulings, unions are now challenging Taft-Hartley on free speech and other constitutional grounds. Via @theprospect: https://t.co/ecrXj0rhee

— Machinists Union (@MachinistsUnion) March 6, 2019

Maritime Trades Department:

UMWA’s Allen Updates Board on Pension Crisis | Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO https://t.co/4yozRPzRCQ

— MaritimeTrades (@Maritime_Trades) February 28, 2019

Metal Trades Department:

“The AFL-CIO and our affiliates have long supported a substantial, long-term infrastructure investment plan — one that lifts up working people, grows the economy, creates ‘high... https://t.co/tLYq9iqx2R

— Metal Trades Dept. (@metaltradesafl) March 7, 2019

Mine Workers:

UMWA members attend the Congressional hearing on “The Cost of Inaction: Why Congress Must Address the Multiemployer Pension Crisis.” Retirees and employers will speak about their concern that some of the nation’s largest multiemployer pension plans soon becoming insolvent. pic.twitter.com/Am1atiqdKy

— United Mine Workers (@MineWorkers) March 7, 2019

Musical Artists:

Today, the American Guild of Musical Artists announced the installation of John Coleman as President of the Union, following the resignation of James Odom.

To view the press release, please visit our website - https://t.co/hAtRl61guI#SolidarityForever #UnionStrong

— AGMA (@AGMusicalArtist) March 1, 2019

National Air Traffic Controllers Association:

NATCA members at Atlanta-area facilities safely handled more than 1,500 general aviation flights in the 36 hours surrounding #SuperBowl LIII. Feb. 4 was the busiest day for the Atlanta TRACON in more than a decade, handling more than 4,000 total flights. Well done! pic.twitter.com/6J8b3XR95J

— NATCA (@NATCA) March 7, 2019

National Association of Letter Carriers:

Our member Chris Metropulos rescued a woman trapped on the second floor of a burning building. With help from a man, Chris locked elbows w/ the man & convinced the woman to jump to safety. Emergency responders later arrived to battle the fire & treat the woman. #Heroes #Wisconsin pic.twitter.com/V0i7OnOTh4

— Letter Carriers (@NALC_National) March 7, 2019

National Day Laborer Organizing Network:

“There is nothing temporary about our families.” - @TPS_Alliance Coordinator Jose Palma#TPSJustice #ResidencyNow pic.twitter.com/aoUmJcUWED

— NDLON (@NDLON) March 6, 2019

National Domestic Workers Alliance:

Mechelle Vinson filed a lawsuit against her supervisor for sexual harassment in the office and took her case all the way to the Supreme Court. In 1986, the Court ruled, for the first time, that sexual harassment is discriminatory and illegal. #WHM2019https://t.co/2XXTqoFYFJ

— Domestic Workers (@domesticworkers) March 7, 2019

National Nurses United:

No one should be left to die simply because they are too poor to afford health care.

Take action- make sure your Congressperson is on the right side of history and supports #MedicareForAll.

Call 202-858-1717 today. #ThursdayThoughts pic.twitter.com/B3YeLoA6qK

— NationalNursesUnited (@NationalNurses) March 7, 2019

National Taxi Workers Alliance:

Good news folks: Uber is now on the hook for unemployment insurance contributions for NY drivers! Uber withdrew its appeal of a ruling that found 3 former NYC Uber drivers and ALL SIMILARLY SITUATED drivers to be employees for the purposes of unemployment benefits!

— NY Taxi Workers (@NYTWA) March 4, 2019

The NewsGuild-CWA:

Great showing by our @BostonNewsGuild members in support of a fair contract for their members @BostonGlobe https://t.co/0MWPNSXJHz

— NewsGuild (@news_guild) March 6, 2019

NFL Players Association:

ICYMI: Our president dropped some knowledge about the salary cap https://t.co/DHA5WirHDx

— NFLPA (@NFLPA) March 7, 2019

North America's Building Trades Unions:

To celebrate National Women in Construction Week, we will share some of the top stories and initiatives highlighting the increased role that WOMEN play in the #BuildingTrades.

Keep up with the thread here 👀 #WICWeek2019

— The Building Trades (@NABTU) March 4, 2019

Office and Professional Employees:

The apparent contempt for working people shown by this administration is appalling. First, nearly 1m federal workers are forced to go w/o pay for 35 days. Now they want to roll back OT protections for millions, again shifting wealth from the many into the hands of the few. #1u https://t.co/CQJNYaiTZ9

— OPEIU (@opeiu) March 1, 2019

Plasterers and Cement Masons:

“The building trades have always maintained a healthy supply of job-ready, skilled, safe workers. ... But [we] cannot do it alone. ... [We] need continued support from the Department of Labor and the Trump administration for their apprenticeship programs.” https://t.co/iMvdGAZ0So

— OPCMIA International (@opcmiaintl) February 28, 2019

Plumbers and Pipe Fitters:

Today Working Families United, the AFL-CIO, and more than 30 national unions and labor institutions sent a letter to Congress expressing their support for legislation that makes the protections for TPS holders and dreamers permanent. Find letter below. https://t.co/Lnd4chIdVt

— GoIUPAT✊🏽 (@GoIUPAT) March 4, 2019

Printing, Publishing and Media Workers-CWA:

Union Printers Home Foundation Now Accepting Applications for Scholarships https://t.co/9NFp5AsjXl

— CWA Printing Sector (@CWAPrintingSect) March 7, 2019

Professional Aviation Safety Specialists:

"MLB players love our caps. People who make them for us deserve fair wages" TY @whatwouldDOOdo @Nationals for supporting union members at New Era—losing jobs as work sent overseas. Unions=America=baseball PASS members at FAA get you safely to games. #1u https://t.co/1qKH5DN88B

— PASS (@PASSNational) March 4, 2019

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union:

We need mayoral control of @NYCSchools. RWDSU is proud to stand with our brother and sisters in the labor movement to call on the NYS Legislature to renew mayoral control of the NYC school system without delay. #1u pic.twitter.com/aYsV5uItLE

— RWDSU (@RWDSU) March 7, 2019

SAG-AFTRA:

#Chicago Local Volunteer Day at the Greater Chicago Food Depository (@FoodDepository) was a success! Thank you to all of our members and staff volunteers. #sagaftramembers pic.twitter.com/FeNlvOW9aQ

— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) March 6, 2019

Seafarers:

Climb aboard and sign the petition to support and embrace diversity and not contribute to gender, race, ethnicity, and age stereotypes. https://t.co/rP8gXTLjX9

— Seafarers Union (@SeafarersUnion) March 7, 2019

Solidarity Center:

This #IWD2019 Kenya union leader Rose Omamo is championing passage of a proposed @ILO global standard that would address #genderbasedviolence at work. “Our job is to lobby, lobby, lobby and make sure we get support.” @ituc @equaltimes https://t.co/1IvYMPQGQj

— Solidarity Center (@SolidarityCntr) March 7, 2019

TCU/IAM:

“He kept the whole train connected in a family kind of way...It rekindled my faith in humans," said passenger Barbara May. So why does @Amtrak want to cut these jobs and service? Stop the #ColdCuts, Mr. Anderson.
CC: @AmtrakCouncil https://t.co/Y61KGnytFC

— Transportation Communications Union/IAM (@TCUnionHQ) March 2, 2019

Theatrical Stage Employees:

This Women's History Month, we're highlighting the stories of IA women who came before and blazed the trail for all of us. Tell us about the groundbreaking women in your local in the replies! #WomensHistoryMonth #UnionStrong pic.twitter.com/I0QJkUou4f

— IATSE (@IATSE) March 4, 2019

Transport Workers:

UnAmerican continues to undermine the safety of its fleet by penny wise, dollar foolish outsourcing. TWU Jet Mechanics uncovered dangerous conditions which included improper electrical wiring. UnAmerican Air needs to stop putting profits before people. @AmericanAir pic.twitter.com/qWUGZYcAEW

— TWU (@transportworker) March 7, 2019

Transportation Trades Department:

Teachers, bus drivers, and school support workers want the best for the kids they serve. That's why they're standing united with @AFTUnion to fight for #FundOurFuture - and we're standing with them. https://t.co/XiGSWptZsQ

— Transp. Trades Dept. (@TTDAFLCIO) March 7, 2019

UAW:

This week, GM is idling the GM Lordstown Plant. On Friday, show your solidarity with the affected workers by wearing blue and posting your photo online with the hashtag #GMinvestinUS. pic.twitter.com/rJ6u90pQGN

— UAW (@UAW) March 6, 2019

United Food and Commercial Workers:

Citing civil rights, cities are banning cashless retail: Some New Yorkers want to join cities like Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington in banning them, because cashless business discriminates against low-income people. https://t.co/NvU8fI4iQA @RWDSU

— UFCW (@UFCW) March 7, 2019

Union Label and Service Trades Department:

"There are many team members working at Whole Foods today whose total compensation is actually less than what it was before the wage increase due to these labor reductions," says Whole Worker, a group organizing for a union at the high-end grocery chain... https://t.co/md7LE1DbJD

— Union Label Dept. (@ULSTD_AFLCIO) March 6, 2019

Union Veterans Council:

Fact of the day: Veterans have a 15% union density #1u @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/BntDh5jQoA

— Union Veterans Council (@unionveterans) February 23, 2019

UNITE HERE:

"That humble piece of cardboard is a symbol of solidarity—a sign of what labor movements are made of, and a sign of the racial unity they should continue to strive for."#1u #WomensHistoryMonth https://t.co/lYyyicah58

— UNITE HERE (@unitehere) March 7, 2019

United Steelworkers:

Yes! We're so happy @PittGrads! Let's do this! More: https://t.co/ADIVJC6Gn1 #1u #UnionYes pic.twitter.com/td5rJIcn3n

— United Steelworkers (@steelworkers) March 7, 2019

United Students Against Sweatshops:

Instead of praising @nike for doing the minimum, call on them to rehire hundreds of Indonesian women organizing for higher pay and better working conditions. Sign our petition here: https://t.co/zgjMXgCjpx

— USAS (@USAS) February 27, 2019

Utility Workers:

A truly excellent article from @USATODAY on the enormous potential of carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) to address climate change. https://t.co/wiCTxG8IeO pic.twitter.com/lJV9lGODhu

— UWUA National (@The_UWUA) March 5, 2019

Working America:

Abandoning white-working class voters to Republican racial messaging is bad politics and bad for the country. In @Newsweek's new cover story, @MattMorrison explains that politicians can address racial and economic justice at the same time https://t.co/wFXSt5CWc2 pic.twitter.com/AJzABtqQZg

— Working America (@WorkingAmerica) March 7, 2019

Writers Guild of America, East:

We are thrilled to announce that the 169-member editorial staff at Gizmodo Media Group has unanimously ratified its second collective bargaining agreement with the Writers Guild of America, East! #1u https://t.co/PRHG9f2Oyo

— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) March 5, 2019 Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 03/12/2019 - 11:48

Profiling Women Labor Leaders and Activists: The Working People Weekly List

Mon, 03/11/2019 - 11:41
Profiling Women Labor Leaders and Activists: 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.

AFL-CIO Is Profiling Labor Leaders and Activists for Women's History Month: "For Women's History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various women who were leaders and activists working at the intersection of civil and labor rights. First, let's take a look back at women we've profiled in the past."

New Proposal Would Keep Millions of Working People from Getting Overtime: "The Donald Trump administration is proposing a new overtime regulation that would protect at least 2.8 million fewer workers than the overtime regulation proposed by the Barack Obama administration in 2016."

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: School Administrators: "Next up in our series that will take a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the School Administrators (AFSA). The series will run weekly until we've covered all 55 of our affiliates."

Black History Month Labor Profiles: William Burrus: "For Black History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various African American leaders and activists who have worked at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Our next profile is William Burrus."

AFSCME Member Elected to Connecticut State Legislature: "Anthony Nolan, a New London, Connecticut, city councilman and member of AFSCME Local 724, won his race yesterday in a special election to fill an open seat in the state legislature."

Caring for Our Caregivers: Workplace Violence Hearing Highlights Job-Related Assaults for Health Care and Social Service Workers: "Workplace violence is a serious and growing problem for working people in the United States: It causes more than 450 homicides and 28,000 serious injuries each year. Workplace homicide now is responsible for more workplace deaths than equipment, fires and explosions. Two of every three workplace violence injuries are suffered by women."

The Key to Genuine Equality? A Union Card: "Whenever I face adversity—when my faith is shaken or my confidence falters—I turn to a woman I carry in my heart every day. Too often forgotten in Dr. King’s shadow, Coretta Scott King embodied everything at the core of an intersectional fight for justice. Above all, she recognized that the movement for civil rights could not stop at the voting booth. It had to be a fight for dignity in every facet of our lives—the right to stand tall at work and to live with security at home."

Union Politicians Helped Achieve Labor’s Progressive New Jersey Policy Goals: "Today’s progressive, pro-worker victories in the halls of Trenton were born more than 20 years ago at the New Jersey State AFL-CIO headquarters on State Street, only a couple hundred or so yards from the capitol building. The passage of a $15 minimum wage, a landmark paid family leave program and other legislation to lift up New Jersey’s working families are the culmination of an idea we had in 1997. Tired of politicians who took our money and turned their backs, we asked this simple question: Instead of hoping for our leaders to do right by union members, what if we elected union members themselves?"

Support Public Education: 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."

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: American Federation of Musicians: "Next up in our series that will take a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the American Federation of Musicians (AFM). The series will run weekly until we've covered all 55 of our affiliates."

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 03/11/2019 - 12:41

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: AFSCME

Mon, 03/11/2019 - 07:25
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: AFSCME AFL-CIO

Next up in our series taking a deeper look at each of our affiliates is AFSCME. The series will run weekly until we've covered all 55 of our affiliates.

Name of Union: American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees

Mission: AFSCME members provide the vital services that make America happen. With members in communities across the nation, serving in hundreds of different occupations, AFSCME advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services and the freedom and opportunity for all working families.

Current Leadership of Union: Lee Saunders was elected AFSCME president in 2012, the first African American to hold that position, after previously serving as secretary-treasurer and in many other roles with AFSCME since 1978. He comes from a union family, raised in Cleveland as the son of a city bus driver and a community organizer. Elissa McBride serves as secretary-treasurer, and AFSCME has 35 international vice presidents serving different regions

Members Work As: Nurses, corrections officers, child care providers, EMTs, sanitation workers, early childhood educators, home care workers, police officers, library workers, probation and parole officers, parks and recreation workers, biologists, environmental planners, watershed rangers, vehicle emissions testers, groundskeepers, food service employees, administrators, support services, information technology, waste disposal, bridge inspectors, parking attendants and many others.

Industries Represented: States, cities, counties and other local governments, as well as the federal government and private employers performing public services.

History: During the depths of the Great Depression, a group of state employees in Madison, Wisconsin, formed what would later become the Wisconsin State Employees Union/Council 24 in an effort to successfully defend the state's civil service system and stand up to political cronyism. Four years later, in 1936, the American Federation of Labor granted a charter for AFSCME, which united the Wisconsin group with numerous others that had formed across the country after the success in Madison.

At the end of 1936, the union had 10,000 members. Growth was difficult at first, but by 1946, the union had grown to 73,000 members. The AFL-CIO merger brought AFSCME another 40,000 members.

In the 1960s, during the presidency of Jerry Wurf, AFSCME was active in the struggle for racial justice. The 1968 strike of AFSCME sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee, was a signature moment in civil rights and labor rights history. It was in Memphis, in support of the sanitation workers’ struggle, that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

AFSCME continued to grow during the 1970s and 1980s, with a focus on bringing together independent associations of public employees in an effort to harness the collective power of so many voices. Almost 60 associations, representing 450,000 people, joined AFSCME by affiliation or merger, pushing total membership past the 1 million mark.

AFSCME’s growth across the country gave the union a more powerful voice when it came to fighting injustice. In September 1981, AFSCME’s 60,000-member delegation, the largest from any single union, led the march at the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Day, a massive demonstration in Washington, D.C., demanding fair treatment for workers. That same year in San Jose, California, AFSCME Local 101 staged the first strike in the nation’s history over the issue of pay equity for women. The action attracted national media attention and helped spark the pay equity movement.

For decades, corporations, billionaires and their allies have engaged in a coordinated and well-financed effort to weaken the power of public-sector unions like AFSCME. Last year, in a case called Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, the most business-friendly Supreme Court in history ruled in favor of anti-worker forces, overturning decades of precedent to make the entire public sector so-called right to work. Many pundits predicted this would be a death blow. But because of the work put in by AFSCME, together with other public-sector unions and the AFL-CIO, AFSCME has emerged in the strongest possible position. No politician or judicial decision can contain the collective power of working people. More than 300,000 fee payers converted to AFSCME members since early 2014; and since the Janus ruling, seven times more people have joined AFSCME than have chosen to drop.

Current Campaigns: AFSCME People works to elect politicians who promote policies that support working people. AFSCME Strong is building a culture of activism—in particular through member-to-member engagement and one-on-one conversations—that blunts the impact of attacks like the Janus case. I AM 2018, a 50th anniversary commemoration of the Memphis sanitation strike, is a call to action to continue the work of Dr. King and the sanitation workers of 1968.

Community Efforts: The AFSCME Free College program pays for higher education for members and their families. AFSCME Advantage offers discounts and benefits to members. The Never Quit Awards spotlight members who go above and beyond in performing their jobs. Next Wave seeks to empower and unite young AFSCME members. AFSCME Now serves as a daily digest of news and information about AFSCME members and the labor movement.

Learn More: WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 03/11/2019 - 08:25

Our Time Is Now: Leading with Passion, Purpose and Power

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 12:12
Our Time Is Now: Leading with Passion, Purpose and Power New Jersey AFL-CIO

More than 300 union sisters from all sectors of organized labor gathered at the Hilton East Brunswick Hotel on March 1 for the 16th annual Women in Leadership Development (WILD) Conference. This two-day conference featured several distinguished speakers, including Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler (IBEW) and Alice Paul Institute Executive Director Lucienne Beard.

"WILD brings a multifaceted approach to leadership development through interactive education, mentorship and enduring networks of solidarity, and every year we are proud to add new layers to this foundation that reflect our changing culture and political environment," said New Jersey State AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Laurel Brennan. "This year, the atmosphere of unity and sisterhood was remarkable as both first-time and longtime WILD sisters joined together to listen, learn and lead in the fight to strengthen our labor movement and nation."

On Saturday, the second day of the conference, attendees participated in two workshop discussions—Lobbying/Advocacy and Making a Difference: A Guide to Forming Women’s Committees—which provided the latest insights into building leadership skills and how to apply those strategies and tools to strengthen the collective voice of organized labor.

During the Lobbying/Advocacy session, attendees learned essential skills and strategies for making sure key issues are addressed by elected public officials. The panel featured a number of experienced lobbyists, including Kaufman Zita Group Senior Vice President Jeannine Frisby LaRue, CWA Political and Education Director Michele Liebtag and Assemblywoman Carol A. Murphy. New Jersey State AFL-CIO Legislative Director Eric Richard served as moderator.

The next workshop, Making a Difference: A Guide to Forming Women’s Committees, outlined the steps one would need to follow in order to form a women’s committee, get it established and assure support for its goals. The discussion was guided by the vast knowledge and experience of several women union leaders—including Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) Director of Government and Community Maria Foster, United Steelworkers (USW) Women of Steel coordinator Teresa Hartley, Utility Workers (UWUA) National Organizer/Women’s Caucus Chair Valerie King and United Brotherhood of Carpenters Chair of Sisters in the Brotherhood Susan Schultz—while AFT Professional Negotiations coordinator Jennifer S. Higgins acted as moderator.

"We were honored to welcome a distinguished panel of speakers and hundreds of our sisters to our conference this year," said New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech. "This conference builds on WILD’s tradition of empowering ourselves, our unions and our communities. And now, as we move forward, we will make sure that our sisters and brothers continue to lead the way in advancing a justice-driven agenda for all working people."

The New Jersey State AFL-CIO is the only state federation in the nation to host an annual women’s leadership conference. We thank our WILD sisters and sponsors for their many years of support, enabling our state to champion a diverse, strong and durable labor movement.

See pictures from the event.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 03/08/2019 - 13:12

Economy Gains 20,000 Jobs in February; Unemployment Down to 3.8%

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 10:58
Economy Gains 20,000 Jobs in February; Unemployment Down to 3.8%

The U.S. economy gained 20,000 jobs in February, and the unemployment rate fell to 3.8%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is a dramatically lower level of job growth than we have seen in recent years and is good reason for the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee to express caution in considering any interest rate hikes.

In response to the February job numbers, AFL-CIO Chief Economist William Spriggs said:

While wages were up 3.4% over last February, wage increases were not widespread. In leisure and hospitality they were up 4.6%, but in manufacturing they were only up 2.6%. In retail trade they were up 5.0%, but in transportation and warehousing they were only up 2.4%. Retail and leisure and hospitality have large shares of minimum wage workers who got boosts from automatic inflation adjustments because of state laws protecting the real wages of minimum wage workers.

He also tweeted:

#JobsReport in looking over today's @BLS_gov figures it is important to keep in mind three sector where women are disproportionate share of the work force @CLUWNational @HeidiatIWPR @IWPResearch @APRI_National @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/fFL0f8L6zR

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) March 8, 2019

Here are the trends for employment in government @CLUWNational @HeidiatIWPR @IWPResearch @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/sGaXQdHqGE

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) March 8, 2019

And, this chart overlays education and health services employment with the trend in government employment @CLUWNational @IWPResearch @HeidiatIWPR @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/1FRLNIPeQH

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) March 8, 2019

#JobsReport both the "official" widely reported U-3 measure of unemployment and the broadest measure, including part-time workers who want full-time work and the marginally attached workers frustrated by poor search results, declined @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/1415yD9PLz

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) March 8, 2019

#JobsReport Ignore the outlier of job growth in services to buildings as a rebound from dropping in January from the government shutdown and bad weather and contract delays caused by the shutdown in construction and this report shows little change for high and low wage industries pic.twitter.com/1HrGEIAFo0

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) March 8, 2019

#JobReport Now would be the time for the @federalreserve to worry, three straight months of increases in the Black unemployment rate from three straight increases in unemployed workers. They better listen to @neelkashkari more often. @rolandsmartin @LVBurke @AFLCIO @CBTU72 pic.twitter.com/QHKInrhK1J

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) March 8, 2019

#JobsReport since reaching a low of 6.0% in November, the Black unemployment rate has climbed three straight months on a climb in the number of unemployed Black workers. Given the relationship of the Black community to predatory sub-prime auto loans this is not good. @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/wwARya7JYx

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) March 8, 2019

Last month's biggest job gains were in professional and business services (42,000), health care (21,000), wholesale trade (11,000) and manufacturing (4,000). Construction employment saw losses in February (-31,000). Employment in other major industries, including leisure and hospitality, mining, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities and government, showed little or no change over the month.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates rose for teenagers (13.4%). The jobless rate declined for Hispanics (4.3%). The jobless rate for blacks (7.0%), adult men (3.5%), adult women (3.4%), whites (3.3%) and Asians (3.1%) showed little change in February.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) rose in February and accounted for 20.4% of the unemployed.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 03/08/2019 - 11:58

Tags: Jobs Report

New Proposal Would Keep Millions of Working People from Getting Overtime

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 08:52
New Proposal Would Keep Millions of Working People from Getting Overtime

The Donald Trump administration is proposing a new overtime regulation that would protect at least 2.8 million fewer workers than the overtime regulation proposed by the Barack Obama administration in 2016.

The AFL-CIO and other overtime advocates had urged the Trump administration to implement the Obama administration’s overtime rule and defend it against a court challenge by business trade associations and Republican state governments, but the Trump administration has refused to do so.

The 2016 Obama administration’s proposal would raise the overtime threshold from $23,660 to $47,476. However, because the Obama rule provided for automatic updates of the threshold to keep overtime protections from being eroded by inflation, the threshold under the Obama rule would be $51,064 today and $55,000 in 2022.

By contrast, the Trump administration’s proposal sets the overtime threshold at $35,308 and does not provide for automatic updates. By the administration’s own estimates, 2.8 million fewer workers would be newly eligible for overtime in the first year of the new rule.

The way the overtime regulations work is like this: Salaried workers who make less than the threshold are automatically eligible for overtime protection, whereas salaried workers who make more than the threshold may or may not be eligible for overtime protection, depending on their job duties. The higher the overtime threshold, the more workers are under the threshold, the more workers are automatically protected, and the better it is for workers.

In 2016, it was estimated that the Obama overtime rule would extend overtime eligibility to 4.9 million workers and bring another 7.6 million workers who already are eligible for overtime below the threshold, thus making it harder for employers to deny them overtime protection. According to the Economic Policy Institute, under the Trump administration’s proposal less than half as many workers would be either newly eligible or brought below the threshold.

The Trump administration proposal is especially troubling because the Obama administration’s proposal was not overly generous to workers. Back in 1975, the administration of President Gerald Ford set the overtime salary threshold at more than $55,000 in today’s dollars. The erosion of overtime protections over the past few decades is one of the ways the rules of our economy have been rewritten to favor corporations over working people.

Working people desperately need a pay raise. We need overtime protection to ensure we get paid for all the hours we work and that we can spend more time with our families away from work.

As we have before, the AFL-CIO will again urge the Trump administration to implement the Obama overtime rule and defend it in court. The Labor Department does not need to propose a new overtime rule; it just needs to defend the Obama administration’s 2016 proposal.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 03/08/2019 - 09:52

Tags: Overtime

AFL-CIO Is Profiling Labor Leaders and Activists for Women's History Month

Thu, 03/07/2019 - 11:37
AFL-CIO Is Profiling Labor Leaders and Activists for Women's History Month

For Women's History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various women who were leaders and activists working at the intersection of civil and labor rights. First, let's take a look back at women we've profiled in the past:

Check back throughout March as we add even more names to this prestigious list. 

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 03/07/2019 - 12:37

Tags: Labor History

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: School Administrators

Mon, 03/04/2019 - 08:55
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: School Administrators AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that will take a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the School Administrators (AFSA). The series will run weekly until we've covered all 55 of our affiliates.

Name of Union: American Federation of School Administrators

Mission: To promote the professional, occupational and economic interests of its members and fight for the highest quality public school education for all pupils.

Current Leadership of Union: Ernest A. Logan began serving as president in July 2018, succeeding the late Diann Woodard. Leonard Pugliese serves as executive vice president and Lauran Waters-Cherry serves as secretary-treasurer.

Current Number of Members: 20,000

Members Work As: Principals, assistant principals, administrators, supervisors and other school leaders

Industries Represented: Public schools across the United States.

History: The origins of AFSA begin in 1962 when the Council of Supervisory Associations (CSA) was formed in New York city to fight for collective bargaining rights. By 1968, CSA formally became a union and changed its name to the Council of Supervisors and Administrators. In 1971, CSA was granted a charter by the AFL-CIO and CSA became Local 1 of the School Administrators and Supervisors Organizing Committee (SASOC), a national union. SASOC held its first convention in 1976 and changed its name to the American Federation of School Administrators.

Current Campaigns: Build a Coalition helps administrators build community partnerships to help support their schools and students. AFSA's Action Center is the home to resolutions passed by AFSA in support of its mission and provides members and allies opportunities to help out. AFSA is committed to providing support to all of its locals, working to support the organizing efforts of its existing locals and increase efforts to organize unaffiliated school leader associations.

Community Efforts: The School Leadership Forum helps principals and other school leaders by underwriting research, resources and training needed to improve the learning environment in classrooms across the country. The Student Grief Support Resource provides tools to help administrators address grief among students. The School Leadership Forum also supports funding for the Diann Woodard AFSA Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships to children of AFSA members.

Learn MoreWebsiteFacebookTwitter.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 03/04/2019 - 09:55

Black History Month Labor Profiles: William Burrus

Thu, 02/28/2019 - 12:05
Black History Month Labor Profiles: William Burrus APWU

For Black History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various African American leaders and activists who have worked at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Our next profile is William Burrus.

Born in Wheeling, West Virginia, William Burrus attended West Virginia State College after graduating high school with honors. Betwen 1954–1957, he served in the 101st Airborne Division and the 4th Armored Tank Division of the U.S. Army. After his time in the Army ended, he began his employment with the U.S. Postal Service, working as a distribution clerk and maintenance employee in Cleveland.

A participant in the Great Postal Strike of 1970, Burrus was elected president of the Cleveland local of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU). He served in that role until 1980. While president of his local, Burrus became the founder and first president of the APWU National Presidents Conference. He also was a leader in the fight to reject a collective bargaining agreement proposed in 1978 that would've limited cost-of-living increases for postal workers.

In 1980, Burrus began a 21-year run as APWU's executive vice president, working alongside APWU President Moe Biller. During this time, he led the APWU negotiations in securing four collective bargaining agreements with the U.S. Postal Service. He was directly involved with every national negotiation between the APWU and USPS from 1980 to 2006. His leadership helped win substantial gains for members over and over again, including countless arbitration settlements and memorandums of understanding with postal management that greatly enhanced the rights, benefits and safety of postal workers.

His dedication and hard work on behalf of his fellow postal workers led to him being elected national president of APWU in 2001, the first African American of any national union to win the top office by a direct ballot of the membership. During his time as president, he successfully fought back against Bush administration efforts to reverse the gains achieved through the Great Postal Strike of 1970. He also successfully advocated for better working conditions after two postal workers and one customer died in the anthrax attacks in 2001. 

In 2010, Burrus retired after 10 years of leadership at APWU. Numerous times during his career of service, Burrus was named one of the 100 Most Influential Black Americans by Ebony magazine. Upon his passing last year, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) said Burrus was "an unabashed advocate for his fellow postal workers and an unwavering fighter in the struggle for social and economic justice."

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 02/28/2019 - 13:05

Tags: Black History Month

AFSCME Member Elected to Connecticut State Legislature

Thu, 02/28/2019 - 08:48
AFSCME Member Elected to Connecticut State Legislature Connecticut AFL-CIO

Anthony Nolan, a New London, Connecticut, city councilman and member of AFSCME Local 724, won his race yesterday in a special election to fill an open seat in the state legislature.

Nolan will continue to serve as a New London patrol officer in addition to his new role as state representative.

"The union is a brotherhood and sisterhood that stands up and fights for you," Nolan said of his labor backing in the race. "It means a great deal to have the support of the people who stand with you every day."

The Connecticut AFL-CIO proudly endorsed Nolan. "Because of his experiences, Anthony understands how important it is to be a voice for working families," Connecticut AFL-CIO President Sal Luciano (AFSCME) said. "He pledges to fight for labor’s priorities, including an increase in the minimum wage, paid family and medical leave, a more progressive income tax and limiting the practice of captive audience meetings during organizing drives."

The state federation and affiliates organized labor-to-labor activities for their union brother during the short special election time frame. Nolan joins 19 other union members who serve in the Connecticut state legislature.

Connecticut AFL-CIO Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 02/28/2019 - 09:48

Caring for Our Caregivers: Workplace Violence Hearing Highlights Job-Related Assaults for Health Care and Social Service Workers

Wed, 02/27/2019 - 13:00
Caring for Our Caregivers: Workplace Violence Hearing Highlights Job-Related Assaults for Health Care and Social Service Workers AFL-CIO

Workplace violence is a serious and growing problem for working people in the United States: It causes more than 450 homicides and 28,000 serious injuries each year. Workplace homicide now is responsible for more workplace deaths than equipment, fires and explosions. Two of every three workplace violence injuries are suffered by women.

Health care and social service workers are at greatest risk of violence on the job because of their direct contact with patients and clients. They are five times as likely to suffer a workplace violence injury as workers in other occupations.

Violence against health care and social service workers is foreseeable and preventable but the Trump administration has refused to act. That is why Rep. Joe Courtney (Conn.) introduced legislation last week that would require the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue a standard to protect these workers. The standard would reduce violence by requiring employers to develop workplace violence prevention programs that identify and control hazards, improve reporting and training, evaluate procedures and strengthen whistlebower protections for those who speak up, which lead to safer staffing levels, improved lighting and better surveillance systems.

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor, Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, held a hearing to highlight this severe and growing problem and the need for an OSHA standard to protect working people. Patt, an AFT member from Wisconsin, testified about her traumatic experience of assault as a registered nurse. She and her colleagues had tried to speak to management and press for improvements, but their voices were not heard. Then she was attacked by a teenage patient with a history of aggression at a county mental health facility. He kicked her in the throat, collapsing her trachea, requiring intubation and surgery. She suffers severe post-traumatic stress disorder and can no longer work in her dream job as a nurse. It was not a random event, but a predictable scenario that could have been prevented with a clear plan and better-trained staff.

Watch the hearing.

Here are other union members’ experiences of violence on the job that could have been prevented with an enforceable OSHA standard:

Helene: An AFT member and psychiatric nurse in Connecticut for 16 years in an acute care hospital who attempted to hand a patient his pain medication when he punched her in her jaw, knocking her to the floor and breaking her pelvis. Helene was unable to return to work for six and a half months, had to go through rehabilitation and physical therapy, and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. This patient had a history of violence, including previously attacking a social worker, but there was no system in place to alert her.

Brandy: A National Nurses United (NNU) member and registered nurse in California for 18 years in general pediatrics who was assigned to a 14-year-old patient with a diagnosis of aggressive behavior. When Brandy entered the patient’s room, the patient had his mother pressed against the closet door with his hands around her neck. Brandy called for security and additional staff assistance. They were able to safely remove the patient’s mother, but the patient threw a chair at Brandy, who was trapped between a wall and a bed. Brandy suffers from tendonitis in her right elbow, which makes it difficult to do simple everyday tasks such as opening jars, typing and hanging bags of fluids at work. Appropriate violence-prevention controls include ensuring that large furniture and other items that can be used as weapons are affixed to the floor in rooms with aggressive patients.

Eric: An AFSCME member and security counselor at a Minnesota hospital who has administered treatment to the mentally ill for nearly a decade. Eric was assigned to monitor a highly assaultive patient who continually attacked his fellow patients. The patient then turned his assaultive behavior on Eric and punched him in the right eye, causing him to instantly lose sight in the impacted eye. Eric managed to restrain the patient until his co-workers arrived to assist. Eric was rushed to the emergency room via ambulance where they discovered he had a blow-out fracture of his orbital bone and a popped sinus. He received 17 stitches, and his eye socket has never fully recovered. The hospital did not have a comprehensive workplace violence prevention program that would have prevented this.

John: A United Steelworkers (USW) member and certified nursing assistant in California for 18 years who tried to change a male veteran’s wet bed when the patient became agitated and attacked John, breaking his arm. He was out of work for four weeks. John didn’t know the patient was prone to violence. At his facility, workplace violence comes from patients, visitors and other employees. There is at least one incident every week, ranging from slapping to breaking arms or punching. After John’s incident, the employer began requiring a note on the patients’ charts when they are prone to agitation or violence. Sometime later, the employer also began using red blankets on the beds to denote a combative patient so all employees would know when they interacted with the patient.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 02/27/2019 - 14:00

Tags: Workplace Violence

The Key to Genuine Equality? A Union Card

Tue, 02/26/2019 - 10:00
The Key to Genuine Equality? A Union Card Wikimedia Commons

Whenever I face adversity—when my faith is shaken or my confidence falters—I turn to a woman I carry in my heart every day. Too often forgotten in Dr. King’s shadow, Coretta Scott King embodied everything at the core of an intersectional fight for justice. Above all, she recognized that the movement for civil rights could not stop at the voting booth. It had to be a fight for dignity in every facet of our lives—the right to stand tall at work and to live with security at home.

The day before she buried her husband, King had flown to Memphis to lead 50,000 people marching in solidarity with striking sanitation workers, bolstering their fight to win just wages, safety on the job and recognition of their union. It was no accident; recognizing the strike’s significance, Dr. King had spent his final hours in Memphis.

“Now our struggle is for genuine equality, which means economic equality,” he had told the strikers. “For we know, that it isn’t enough to integrate lunch counters. What does it profit a man to be able to eat at an integrated lunch counter if he doesn’t have enough money to buy a hamburger?”

Those striking workers’ fight pointed to the broader struggle ahead, one that we are still waging half a century later. Coretta understood that truth, and she spent decades advancing what she called Phase Two—the fight for our right to a good job and economic security.

Whether we’re securing just pay or eliminating discrimination on the job, there’s still one unparalleled vehicle for winning that progress: joining together in a strong labor union.

The movements for civil rights and labor rights have always been powered by the same principle. We draw strength by standing together and fighting alongside each other. And that’s because these two great efforts are integrally tied to one another.

A fight for social justice can’t ignore the economic suffering of the oppressed, and a struggle against economic oppression will fail if it turns a blind eye to bigotry and social inequality.

The Memphis sanitation strike was about more than a demand for higher paychecks. It was about coming together in an age-old struggle to demand the dignity inalienably endowed to us.

Step by step, that struggle has borne fruit. Unionized public-sector jobs continue to offer one of the best paths to prosperity for people of color. Union contracts enforce fair hiring practices. They provide us with just wages today and a secure retirement tomorrow. They ensure that we can walk with our heads held high, knowing that our value is recognized.

And above all, they offer us hope for a better future. “Struggle is a never ending process,” King warned in her memoir. “Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation.”

We might not reach the end of the path our ancestors set out on. But joining together in strong unions is the surest way to reach ever closer.

This Black History Month, we should remember the bloody, painstakingly-secured victories our community has won through the labor movement. And even more importantly, we should boldly secure the desperately-needed progress yet to be won by organizing, marching and fighting together.

This post originally appeared at The Root.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 02/26/2019 - 11:00

Tags: Black History Month

Union Politicians Helped Achieve Labor’s Progressive New Jersey Policy Goals

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 12:04
Union Politicians Helped Achieve Labor’s Progressive New Jersey Policy Goals

Today’s progressive, pro-worker victories in the halls of Trenton were born more than 20 years ago at the New Jersey State AFL-CIO headquarters on State Street, only a couple hundred or so yards from the capitol building. The passage of a $15 minimum wage, a landmark paid family leave program and other legislation to lift up New Jersey’s working families are the culmination of an idea we had in 1997. Tired of politicians who took our money and turned their backs, we asked this simple question: Instead of hoping for our leaders to do right by union members, what if we elected union members themselves?

An idea that began on State Street in Trenton soon grew to every corner of our state. The New Jersey State AFL-CIO Labor Candidates Program—a strategic, long-range campaign to make government more worker-friendly—was founded at the local level. Our inaugural class in 1997 featured 17 labor candidates. In the two decades since, we have helped union members achieve 1,025 election victories. This includes a member of Congress, the state Senate president, the chairs of several legislative committees and representatives on county freeholder boards and city councils from Bergen to Cape May County. New Jersey is one of the most pro-worker states in the entire country.

It wasn’t always this way. In the same year that our program was founded, New Jersey had a governor, legislature and congressional delegation openly hostile to working people. We set out to change that, one precinct at a time. Our affiliated unions and local labor bodies began aggressively recruiting and training rank-and-file union members on the basics of running for elected office. Now, the national AFL-CIO is modeling our program to the other 49 states.

While we increasingly rely on cutting-edge data and analytics, our success is still driven by old-fashioned grassroots organizing. Not a day goes by that we aren’t mobilizing and engaging union members through voter registration, political education or get-out-the-vote drives. As a result, the proportion of the electorate from union households has surged. In 2012, the last year exit polling was available on labor turnout, an incredible 38% of all votes cast in New Jersey came from union households—the highest in the nation. Why the record numbers? Union members were coming out to vote for one of their own.

With pro-labor, progressive-minded policymakers came pro-labor, progressive laws. Two of the most significant examples are the recently enacted $15 minimum wage and New Jersey’s enhanced paid family leave program, the latter of which Gov. Phil Murphy will sign shortly.

The paid leave expansion was originally pushed by Assemblyman Nelson Albano, a union shop steward with United Food and Commercial Workers 152, and state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a card-carrying member of the Ironworkers. Sweeney also was the prime sponsor of a law this year that significantly reformed and increased the benefit rates for paid leave. He was joined by Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, a longtime labor supporter; Assemblyman Thomas Giblin, business manager of Operating Engineers 68; and Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, a SAG-AFTRA member.

The minimum wage bump started in 2013 with a referendum that increased New Jersey’s rate to $8.25 an hour and included an automatic annual cost-of-living-adjustment. The New Jersey State AFL-CIO and its affiliates went all in to secure passage of the increase, which former Gov. Chris Christie had vetoed. Sweeney was the prime sponsor of the ballot measure and is now the driving force, along with Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, behind the passage of legislation to increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2024. Several other sponsors, including Assemblyman Joseph Egan, business manager of Electrical Workers 456, joined them. This time around, Murphy, who strongly advocated for the raise, signed the bill immediately. Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo, IBEW 269, Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli, Carpenters 254, and Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, IBEW 400, also voted in favor of the bill.

We haven’t done this alone. From the beginning, we were made stronger by other community partners that shared our policy goals. Together, we created Working Families United for New Jersey, a progressive powerhouse focused on doing what’s right for working people, regardless of whether or not they have a union card. Experience has shown us that real social and economic progress is possible when union members hold office. And with more labor candidates interested in running than ever before, I am confident the best is yet to come.

This guest post from Charles Wowkanech, president of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO, originally appeared at The Press of Atlantic City.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 02/25/2019 - 13:04

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