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Our Response to the Coronavirus: The Working People Weekly List

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 13:28
Our Response to the Coronavirus: 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 President Richard Trumka Talks About the Coronavirus’ Impact on America's Workers: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka talks about the coronavirus’s impact on American workers and what he expects ahead. He talks about the U.S. economy more widely as well, labor’s relationship with Congress and the administration and presidential politics."

AFL-CIO President Trumka on Our Response to the Coronavirus: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka was on Bloomberg Radio discussing our response to the coronavirus and our demands moving forward."

AFL-CIO Calls on Federal Government to Protect Entertainment Industry Workers: "With hundreds of thousands of entertainment industry workers suddenly unemployed by the coronavirus shutdown, unions and guilds affiliated with the AFL-CIO’s Department for Professional Employees are calling on President Trump, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Congress to quickly pass emergency relief legislation to enhance and expand state unemployment benefits and send direct cash to the impacted workers they represent.” 

‘At War with No Ammo’: Doctors Say Shortage of Protective Gear Is Dire: "With coronavirus cases soaring, doctors, nurses and other front-line medical workers across the United States are confronting a dire shortage of masks, surgical gowns and eye gear to protect them from the virus."

The Delivery Workers Who Risk Their Health to Bring You Food: "As New Yorkers barricade themselves in their homes to practice “social distancing,” delivery workers, typically an overlooked group, have now taken on outsized significance and are on the front lines of the outbreak. With demand for deliveries surging, a largely immigrant work force has become a critical link, providing food, groceries, medication and many other items that many people can no longer easily access or are unwilling to go out and purchase. Beside risking their own health, workers typically earn meager salaries and have no health insurance or any other labor protections."

Airline Union Leader: ‘The Casualties Are Starting to Pile Up’: "The airline layoffs that began this week will snowball and cripple the industry’s ability to recover once the novel coronavirus pandemic is contained unless federal lawmakers act swiftly to prop up payrolls, the leader of the nation’s top flight attendants union said Friday."

Trumka Praises Workers, Slams Trump and Profiteers on Coronavirus Pandemic: "Workers, union and non-union, are responding magnificently to the coronavirus pandemic, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says. Business and GOP President Donald Trump are another matter."

'I Can’t Overstate How Devastating This Crisis Has Been': "Karen Kent, head of UNITE HERE Local 1, estimates that three-fourths of the 16,000 hospitality workers her union represents are out of work or laid off as a result of coronavirus-related cancellations and cutbacks."

How to Keep U.S. Workers Safe During Coronavirus: "Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka join 'Morning Joe' to discuss safety for U.S. workers and what the labor movement is doing in this time of crisis."

As Coronavirus Deepens Inequality, Inequality Worsens Its Spread: "As the coronavirus spreads across the globe, it appears to be setting off a devastating feedback loop with another of the gravest forces of our time: economic inequality. In societies where the virus hits, it is deepening the consequences of inequality, pushing many of the burdens onto the losers of today’s polarized economies and labor markets. Research suggests that those in lower economic strata are likelier to catch the disease. They are also likelier to die from it."

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on the Coronavirus Pandemic: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka was on Bloomberg Business discussing the coronavirus pandemic and its effect on the American worker."

Gig Economy Workers Are Our Newest First Responders: "These low-paid, unsung workers—Instacart shoppers but also the Amazon delivery folks and everyone else who is doing gig work today that helps other people engage in self-protective social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic—are now the equivalent of first responders."

Women's History Month Profiles: Elizabeth Gurley Flynn: "For Women's History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various women who were, and some who still are, leaders and activists working at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Today, we are looking at Elizabeth Gurley Flynn."

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Answers COVID-19 Questions on Facebook Live: "In a Facebook Live event Wednesday, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) spoke about working people's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and answered questions from union members."

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Working America, AFL-CIO's Community Affiliate: "On the latest episode of 'State of the Unions,' podcast co-host Julie Greene Collier and guest co-host Carolyn Bobb sit down with Matt Morrison, executive director of Working America, the 3.5 million-member community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, to discuss how the affiliate is mobilizing millions of workers from all demographics who otherwise lack representation at work."

Transit Workers Win Organizing Victories: Worker Wins: "Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with a series of wins for transit workers and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life."

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 03/23/2020 - 14:28

The Response to COVID-19: What Working People Are Doing This Week

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 12:10
The Response to COVID-19: 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.

Actors' Equity:

Thank you @SenGaryPeters for introducing this legislation. This would protect arts workers by allowing them to apply for unemployment insurance for jobs they had accepted but had not yet started due to postponement by the coronavirus. https://t.co/IZqyXvuPEG

— Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) March 20, 2020

AFGE:

Thank you @FederalNewsNet for recognizing federal employees who continue to make our government work during these uncertain times. #1u #COVID19 https://t.co/uIvVYpgz09

— AFGE (@AFGENational) March 20, 2020

AFSCME:

“When things like these episodes break out, we’re on the front lines.” – Leo Laffitte, a custodian for 18 years at the Hartford Public Library, a member of AFSCME Local 1716 and a district vice president for @AFSCMECT4. https://t.co/H6yOxL9LfE

— AFSCME (@AFSCME) March 20, 2020

Air Line Pilots Association:

READ: ALPA signs on to #aviation labor #union letter to Cong. "It is imperative that any relief package focus on the workers ...Any federal aid must keep employees on payroll, protect labor rights & come w/ statutory guarantees that the money will go to the frontline workforce" pic.twitter.com/j373hH293P

— ALPA (@WeAreALPA) March 19, 2020

Alliance for Retired Americans:

Election workers are wary. Fearing infection, voters aren't showing up at the polls. #COVID19 has made it even more important for all 50 states to have the option to vote by mail. Sign our petition to demand action: https://t.co/pQW6jlhT89 pic.twitter.com/xKmb0kwtWF

— Alliance Retirees (@ActiveRetirees) March 19, 2020

Amalgamated Transit Union:

ATU Coronavirus (COVID-19) Alert. To download and share with your fellow ATU members, please click here: https://t.co/Wxn91VBhUP #TogetherWeFightTogetherWeWin #1u #OneATU pic.twitter.com/dwnM64hwhX

— ATU, Transit Union (@ATUComm) March 16, 2020

American Federation of Musicians:

The Coronavirus Response Act helps many working people, but it does not help all of us. Many musicians can't qualify for unemployment or other benefits. Tell your legislators to provide relief NOW. #1u #CoronavirusResponse https://t.co/lq075gxbDp

— AFM (@The_AFM) March 20, 2020

American Federation of Teachers:

We want to take a moment to thank all the nurses, healthcare professionals, educators, faculty, support staff, public employees, and all others who are on the front lines to keep our communities safe during this pandemic. #ThankAFirstResponder pic.twitter.com/RNIxHNMUT4

— AFT (@AFTunion) March 19, 2020

American Postal Workers Union:

Today the union signed two memoranda of understanding with USPS temporarily expanding paid leave for PSEs and expanding the use of dependent care leave for postal employees with unexpected childcare needs as a result of the pandemic. #APWUnited https://t.co/e1GHBiOcEd

— APWU National (@APWUnational) March 18, 2020

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance:

APALA releases guidance on how to protect AAPI workers in light of the outbreak of COVID-19!

>>>TAKE ACTION<<<
1. Share the guidance on how to protect AAPI workers!
2. Print out and hang the poster in your workplace or place of business to show support!https://t.co/e2kl7jRfc5 pic.twitter.com/guW1vDfOWN

— Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (@APALAnational) March 5, 2020

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:

We've seen catastrophe before. We know what didn't work & we won't let that happen again. We need relief that focuses on REAL people.

Tell Congress: Any public relief plan should be #PeopleFirst plan w/ legally-binding rules, incl paycheck continuation. https://t.co/mkAhaRIVn4 pic.twitter.com/uty29doZkG

— AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) March 20, 2020

Boilermakers:

We can all use a little good news right now. If you or a #Boilermaker you know has stepped up in a special way during this pandemic crisis, share your story with the Boilermaker Reporter at https://t.co/DVYXDyb37i. We are #unionstrong in this together.

— Boilermakers Union (@boilermakernews) March 19, 2020

Bricklayers:

In response to questions from those in the #construction industry, @CPWR has developed guidance on #COVID-19. Check it out: https://t.co/iuZQVmvIlM #coronovarius #1u

— Bricklayers Union (@IUBAC) March 19, 2020

California School Employees Association:

Nearly all of California schools are closed or have announced that they will close because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Governor Newsom has indicated that they may not reopen before the summer break. Please view this thread for more information.
1/5 https://t.co/xClLPU2Dyw

— CSEA (@CSEA_Now) March 18, 2020

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists:

NEW: Statement by CBTU President Terry Melvin on the coronavirus and CBTU’s convention in May. https://t.co/ImGddZtpPW

— CBTU (@CBTU72) March 17, 2020

Coalition of Labor Union Women:

In EVERY state, public service workers are on the frontlines of fighting #COVID19. But in 24 states, they lack the freedom to collectively bargain for improvements that protect all of us. Tell your Rep. to pass the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act 1-877-682-6145 #PSFN

— CLUW National (@CLUWNational) March 12, 2020

Communications Workers of America:

Nearly all of California schools are closed or have announced that they will close because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Governor Newsom has indicated that they may not reopen before the summer break. Please view this thread for more information.
1/5 https://t.co/xClLPU2Dyw

— CSEA (@CSEA_Now) March 18, 2020

Department for Professional Employees:

"Elected officials have a moral responsibility to ensure emergency relief packages address these workers’ unique circumstances." - DPE President @J_Dorning #1u https://t.co/d0Ru1Ryeqr

— Department for Professional Employees (@DPEaflcio) March 20, 2020

Electrical Workers:

Message from @IBEW_CCO James Barry regarding recent updates and Government response to COVID-19 Pandemic https://t.co/D4LkDB4mKl

— IBEW (@IBEW) March 20, 2020

Fire Fighters:

Listen to Episode 1 of our #COVID-19 Podcast https://t.co/B4ZlrG3JrI
Please subscribe, like and share! pic.twitter.com/5AB6MlRRZF

— IAFF (@IAFFNewsDesk) March 19, 2020

Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers-USW:

The General Executive Board is placing a suspension on all Local Union Meetings until such time as the COVID-19 virus national emergency quarantine and isolation recommendations are lifted.
Read more from the General Executive Board here: https://t.co/BDJBz5aMWZ

— Insulators Union (@InsulatorsUnion) March 20, 2020

International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers:

Great resource for Californians from the amazing staff at @LegalAidAtWork !! https://t.co/yEYuxeGMeO

— IFPTE (@IFPTE) March 19, 2020

International Labor Communications Association:

Bookmark this @AFLCIO #COVID19 resource page #1u https://t.co/RwKBsHT4n4

— Labor Communications (@ILCAonline) March 18, 2020

Ironworkers:

The growing COVID-19 crisis has roiled the U.S. construction industry from coast to coast, with contractors large and small mired in uncertainty and wondering what their next steps should be. #SocialDistanacing #ThursdayThoughtshttps://t.co/gLVVVj7SX1

— Ironworkers. (@TheIronworkers) March 19, 2020

Jobs with Justice:

Like so many other working people, minor league baseball players are struggling to make ends meet. A brand new organization just launched with aims on changing that. Excited to see what @MiLBAdvocates has in store! https://t.co/GiFdMDr6aQ

— Jobs With Justice (@jwjnational) March 20, 2020

Labor Council for Latin American Advancement:

¿Qué debo hacer protegerme del coronavirus? ¿Cómo puedo evitar el contagio? ¿Quiénes son las personas que corren mayor riesgo? Mantengámonos informados! pic.twitter.com/W2iA08kLdL

— LCLAA (@LCLAA) March 16, 2020

Machinists:

We have updated our #COVID19 resource center.

📍 Virus prevention tips
📍 Specific guidance for transportation and healthcare workers
📍 Messages and status updates from IAM leadership https://t.co/xCm6Yg2GmO

— Machinists Union ✈️🚊🚀 (@MachinistsUnion) March 12, 2020

Maritime Trades Department:

We may be waiting on a vaccine for COVID-19, but we already have an antidote for when the boss tries to lay you off for getting sick. It’s called a union. Tell your Congressmember to support the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act at 1-877-682-6145 #PSFN

— MaritimeTrades (@Maritime_Trades) March 12, 2020

Metal Trades Department:

With all of the uncertainty surrounding the stock market and the economy the MTD has posted "A guide to market fluctuations" from Capital Group | American Funds. https://t.co/nPQnhJqPkt

— Metal Trades Dept. (@metaltradesafl) March 12, 2020

Mine Workers:

While the coronavirus, at this time, is primarily occurring in America’s coastal states, it will soon move inland. We want to make sure that UMWA members and their families have the proper resources to remain as safe and healthy as possible.https://t.co/jmPBpJsEYZ

— United Mine Workers (@MineWorkers) March 19, 2020

Musical Artists:

In response to the public health crisis brought on by COVID-19, members of the Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds (COBUG) issued the following statement: https://t.co/BWNHjlE5xy #AGMAendures #WeAreAGMA pic.twitter.com/6zBd4ofnqH

— AGMA (@AGMusicalArtist) March 18, 2020

National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA:

B U L L E T I N
WASHINGTON, DC
COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
March 16, 2020https://t.co/Uuimpfy8lU

— NABET-CWA (@NABETCWA) March 16, 2020

National Association of Letter Carriers:

Mandatory Stand-Up Talk on new customer signature capture process. (Mar 19): https://t.co/FfdnkDNskv

Executive VP Renfroe delivers updates on #COVID19, including the new signature capture process. Listen to the podcast (Ep. 2): https://t.co/xQv3bpaUs8 pic.twitter.com/wCSDANhdUx

— Letter Carriers (@NALC_National) March 20, 2020

National Day Laborer Organizing Network:

Too many low wage and migrant workers are excluded from paid sick leave n other protections, so we are launching the Immigrant Worker Safety Net Fund to provide immediate support so workers can take care of themselves and their families. Will you chip-in? https://t.co/wjJ2QI4sGy

— NDLON (@NDLON) March 19, 2020

National Domestic Workers Alliance:

Slowing the spread of the #coronavirus requires most of us to stay home. But many care workers cannot . We can help domestic workers — and all of us — stay safe by donating to the #CoronavirusCareFund. We're all in this together! https://t.co/EuZnHCFunc

— Domestic Workers (@domesticworkers) March 16, 2020

National Nurses United:

Solidarity with workers taking action to protect themselves and their communities during the #COVID19 pandemic!#1u https://t.co/HsZU7eEDLb

— NationalNursesUnited (@NationalNurses) March 18, 2020

National Taxi Workers Alliance:

Drivers: We want you to stay safe. We want you to have financial support. Please read our message about available resources. We are here for you during this crisis. https://t.co/dUnVNxCqQr

— NY Taxi Workers (@NYTWA) March 16, 2020

The NewsGuild-CWA:

Connectivity is essential in times of crisis.That's why our parent union @CWAunion & allies are asking broadband CEOs to lift data caps, waive fees, & do everything in their power to help people connect to the world from home & stop the spread of COVID-19. https://t.co/hJ5rKjZ3on

— NewsGuild (@newsguild) March 17, 2020

NFL Players Association:

Players: NOW is the time to reset and refocus. Work on your resume, connect with people you always said you'd get around to connecting with, take an online course.

We have resources with @AthlLife that can help you prepare: https://t.co/JgLJMDkd1f. https://t.co/wc1ISJ8kUm

— NFLPA (@NFLPA) March 19, 2020

North America's Building Trades Unions:

In response to the construction industry's questions regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, the following are steps EVERYONE should be taking now:https://t.co/SVMb7ncqwP pic.twitter.com/6K6ZDVqa34

— The Building Trades (@NABTU) March 12, 2020

Office and Professional Employees:

OPEIU members can access hardship benefits — including healthcare assistance, financial assistance, and homeowner assistance — via @UnionPlus. Learn more at the link below. #1u #COVID19 #OPEIU https://t.co/yfkmRyQLro

— OPEIU (@OPEIU) March 19, 2020

Painters and Allied Trades:

Construction workers demand health coverage for the insured and uninsured. Congress needs to recognize that layoffs, jobsite shutdowns, long-term unemployment and prolonged economic uncertainty put us ALL at risk. https://t.co/oA1D0Zv1FP #SaveWorkers #WeAreUnion pic.twitter.com/Q43r3vpI8e

— GoIUPAT✊🏽 (@GoIUPAT) March 20, 2020

Pride At Work:

Big heartfelt thanks to the millions of grocery and restaurant workers who are on the front lines making sure we have food. They all deserve affordable healthcare. pic.twitter.com/3tQq4fsLXo

— Pride at Work (@PrideatWork) March 16, 2020

Professional Aviation Safety Specialists:

LAS tower: PASS alarmed that FAA tech ops workers not immediately informed about test results so they could take proper precautions. Learned about exposure AFTER tower at McCarran was evacuated. FAA must act!@repdinatitus @SenJackyRosen @SenCortezMasto https://t.co/TMH560ff6P

— PASS (@PASSNational) March 19, 2020

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union:

RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum's latest column: "The goal of any recovery action and legislation needs to be simple: no worker should suffer loss of income because of this pandemic, including those who aren’t sick or caring for the ill." https://t.co/SY0Wsa9F7F pic.twitter.com/GtOSO8FKJr

— RWDSU (@RWDSU) March 19, 2020

SAG-AFTRA:

If your employer has reduced your hours or shut down operations due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance. We’ve built a database of governmental agency websites: https://t.co/T0pJWB0a8H pic.twitter.com/XTKf2PLlqz

— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) March 18, 2020

School Administrators:

School principals say, "It's time to shut down all U.S. schools." @khefling, @PerezJr, @NickNiedz, @cnnbrk, @MSNBC, @FoxNews, @CBSNews, @ABC, @NBCNews, @AP pic.twitter.com/TPcXKrPrZe

— AFSA Leadership (@AFSAUnion) March 15, 2020

Seafarers:

Important update for SIU members: https://t.co/q2Ad6ffaUT#1u

— Seafarers Union (@SeafarersUnion) March 20, 2020

Solidarity Center:

As #journalists are thrown out of countries or otherwise prevented from doing their job reporting on #coronavirus, govts are jeopardizing the dissemination of essential facts the public needs to keep themselves safe. #pressfreedom @pressfreedom @RSF_interhttps://t.co/w8Mqpk6MiX

— Solidarity Center (@SolidarityCntr) March 20, 2020

Theatrical Stage Employees:

#IATSEWomen are leading the charge in our efforts to get congress to include entertainment workers in a #COVID19 federal relief package.

Nearly 60% of those who sent letters to congress through our Action Network link are women!#WomensHistoryMonthhttps://t.co/5j63de0eyc

— IATSE (@IATSE) March 20, 2020

Transport Workers:

TWU Local 2055 Secretary Treasure Gary Criscuolo (left, green hard hat & Executive Board member Nick Pascale Chicago (right) appeared in a @FOX61News news segment about cleaning @MetroNorth trains during the #coronavirus pandemic #TWURailroadDivisionhttps://t.co/6DcJ4yJ2CT

— TWU (@transportworker) March 19, 2020

Transportation Trades Department:

From TTD President Larry Willis: Lawmakers must ensure bailout & stimulus funds flow to working families, collective bargaining rights must be preserved #COVID19 https://t.co/zoVJ06T1c1

— Transp. Trades Dept. (@TTDAFLCIO) March 17, 2020

UAW:

“We’ve been working very closely with the FCA leadership and are very pleased that they have taken this step to help us protect the hard-working men and women and our communities across the nation." - UAW President Rory Gamble https://t.co/OqQ4E8KDNM

— UAW (@UAW) March 18, 2020

UNITE HERE:

🙏Hope is NOT a strategy.

📝We need a PLAN OF ACTION that addresses urgent & immediate needs of the American worker—not just the American industry.

📲Tell Congress they MUST prioritize #WorkersFirst in any #AirlineBailout.

🔗SIGN & SHARE >>> https://t.co/y7UU00Trz8#COVID19 pic.twitter.com/JSr9gkQKHX

— UNITE HERE (@unitehere) March 20, 2020

United Food and Commercial Workers:

America’s grocery workers on front lines of #Coronavirus are working long hours to make sure families have food & supplies they need.

These workers need #PaidLeave to keep our communities strong.@SenateMajLdr @SpeakerPelosi @SenSchumer @GOPLeader must cover these workers now. https://t.co/GCRx2evRRz

— UFCW (@UFCW) March 17, 2020

United Steelworkers:

Help keep your members safe & healthy. Check out some materials you can download & share with your local at https://t.co/ckkjyKK2F9. #Coronavirus #Covid19 #1u https://t.co/ckkjyKK2F9 pic.twitter.com/EjxovgX0dy

— United Steelworkers (@steelworkers) March 20, 2020

Utility Workers:

If your lights are on, your home is warm, & you have fresh flowing tapwater... thank the UWUA members from across the nation working around the clock to keep all of these services intact. RETWEET to show your support for our hardworking utility workers! #1u #COVID19 #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/hF6eEDolOu

— UWUA National (@The_UWUA) March 18, 2020

Working America:

Big Pharma greed is death profiteering. https://t.co/M6g36GGJUJ

— Working America (@WorkingAmerica) March 20, 2020

Writers Guild of America, East:

Schiff is 💯! Many entertainment workers don’t get leave and unemployment benefits due to the unique nature of their work. We need that to change!

Pls call your Reps at 202-223-3121 & urge them to include entertainment industry workers in the next #COVID19 economic relief bill. https://t.co/6EGItWQpPp

— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) March 19, 2020 Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 03/23/2020 - 13:10

Tags: COVID-19

Women's History Month Profiles: Elizabeth Gurley Flynn

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 12:17
Women's History Month Profiles: Elizabeth Gurley Flynn AFL-CIO

For Women's History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various women who were, and some who still are, leaders and activists working at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Today, we are looking at Elizabeth Gurley Flynn.

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was born in 1890 in Concord, New Hampshire, to a radical, activist working-class family. When she was 10, the family moved to the South Bronx, where she attended public school. By the time she was 15, Flynn was active in socialist groups. At 15, she gave her first public speech, and the next year she was expelled from high school. She became a full-time organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).

In the years leading up to World War I, Flynn was active on women's rights, free speech for IWW speakers and organizing textile strikes in places like Lawrence, Massachusetts, and Paterson, New Jersey. She also worked to organize garment workers in Pennsylvania, silk weavers in New Jersey, restaurant workers in New York City and miners in Minnesota. 

Flynn opposed the war when it broke out, and like many war opponents, she was charged with espionage. The charges were dropped and Flynn began working to defend immigrants threatened with deportation for their opposition to the war.

In 1920, Flynn helped found the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and was elected to the national board. From 1927-1930, she chaired International Labor Defense. During that time she was active in trying to free jailed labor organizers Thomas J. Mooney and Warren K. Billings. For the first half of the 1930s, she withdrew from public life because of bad health, but she returned to public life in 1939 and was re-elected to the ACLU board. When Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin signed a nonaggression pact, the ACLU expelled all Communist Party members from its ranks, including Flynn.

Flynn ran for the Communist Party of America's Central Committee successfully, and ran for a seat in Congress unsuccessfully. During World War II, Flynn fought for women's economic equality. After the war, as communism grew more unpopular in the United States, Flynn shifted back to defending free speech rights for radicals. In 1951, she was arrested for conspiracy to overthrow the government based on the Smith Act of 1940. She spent more than two years in prison.

She returned to political action once she was out of prison, and in 1961, she became the first woman elected national chair of the Communist Pary. A critic of the Soviet Union, Flynn traveled behind the Iron Curtain and was stricken ill. She died in the USSR and was given a state funeral in Red Square.

In his autobiography, journalist Eugene Lyons described Flynn as "the most brilliant woman I had ever met. A veteran of the front trenches in the labor struggle since fifteen, she was, at thirty, attractive, winsomely Irish in her wit and her savor of life, with a remarkably cool intelligence behind her fiery oratory and personality. In the Mesaba Range strike, the Paterson and Lawrence strikes, her eloquence and courage and sweetness had won her tens of thousands of worshipful friends among the workers."

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 03/20/2020 - 13:17

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Answers COVID-19 Questions on Facebook Live

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 11:49
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Answers COVID-19 Questions on Facebook Live AFL-CIO

In a Facebook Live event Wednesday, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) spoke about working people's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and answered questions from union members. 

Lisa, a member of the Ohio Nurses Association/AFT, asked about getting N95 respirators and other vital supplies into the hands of front-line nurses.

Michael, an AFT member in New York, asked what message we can send to ensure that the rich and corporations don’t use this public health crisis to further erode the middle and working classes.

Garrett, a letter carrier in Seattle, asked whether or not this crisis may be an opportunity for the labor movement to increase the number of union jobs in the United States.

Watch the video below to see Trumka's answers to these questions and more discussion of our response to COVID-19. You also can read a transcript of his remarks.

Did you miss the live address that @AFLCIO President @RichardTrumka just gave on Facebook? No worries, we have it here for you. #StateofOurUnions #1u #CoronavirusResponse

Watch now: pic.twitter.com/ByahDOLUwy

— AFL-CIO ✊🏽 (@AFLCIO) March 19, 2020 Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 03/20/2020 - 12:49

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Working America, AFL-CIO's Community Affiliate

Wed, 03/18/2020 - 09:38
‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Working America, AFL-CIO's Community Affiliate

On the latest episode of "State of the Unions," podcast co-host Julie Greene Collier and guest co-host Carolyn Bobb sit down with Matt Morrison, executive director of Working America, the 3.5 million-member community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, to discuss how the affiliate is mobilizing millions of workers from all demographics who otherwise lack representation at work.

Listen to our previous episodes:

  • A discussion with M.K. Fletcher, AFL-CIO Safety and Health specialist, about all things COVID-19, what the labor movement is doing and how we are responding to ensure that front-line workers' needs are taken care of.

  • Talking with AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre (UFCW) about his journey from being an Ethiopian refugee to success in the labor movement in Orange County, California, and in Washington, D.C., and the people and institutions that helped him along the way.

  • A conversation with the Rev. Leah Daughtry, CEO of "On These Things," about Reconnecting McDowell, an AFT project that takes a holistic approach to revitalizing the education and community of McDowell, West Virginia, and how her faith informs her activism.

  • Talking to Fire Fighters (IAFF) General President Harold Schaitberger about the union’s behavioral health treatment center dedicated to treating IAFF members struggling with addiction and other related behavioral challenges. The discussion also addresses the toll of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on firefighters and their families, the response of the IAFF in its wake, and the life of a firefighter.

  • A chat with the podcast team on their favorite episodes of 2019.

  • A discussion with Cas Mudde, a political scientist at the University of Georgia, on the resurgence of right-wing politicians and activists across the world, much of it cloaked in populist, worker-friendly rhetoric.

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

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 03/18/2020 - 10:38

Tags: Podcast, Working America

Transit Workers Win Organizing Victories: Worker Wins

Mon, 03/16/2020 - 09:34
Transit Workers Win Organizing Victories: Worker Wins

Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with a series of wins for transit workers and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life. 

St. Louis Metro Transit Workers Agree to New Contract: After a months of difficult negotiations, working people at St. Louis Metro Transit won a new three-year deal that increases wages and benefits by more than $26 million. More than 1,500 Metro workers are members of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 788 who work as vehicle operators and mechanics.

Southern Poverty Law Center Employees Vote for NewsGuild-CWA Representation: Employees of the Southern Poverty Law Center voted to join the Washington-Baltimore News Guild/TNG-CWA. The members will now move forward on setting a "foundation for a legacy of equal rights, respect and dignity for all workers, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical ability, and national origin."

UNITE HERE Members at The Modern in Hawaii Win New Contract: Members of UNITE HERE Local 5 at The Modern Honolulu reached an agreement with Diamond Resorts, which owns and operates the property. The agreement includes a significant pay raise.

Editorial Employees at NBC News Digital Join NewsGuild-CWA: Some 150 editorial workers who create digital content for NBC News have voted to join The NewsGuild of New York/TNG-CWA. The unit includes reporters, video journalists, editors, social media strategists, designers and editorial staff from various NBC digital properties.

Registered Nurses at University of Chicago Hospitals Join NNOC/NNU: Nurses at two University of Chicago hospitals overwhelmingly voted to join National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU). More than the 90% of the 320 registered nurses voted to join NNOC/NNU. Kathy Haff, a RN for 27 years in the emergency department, said: “Joining the union means that we will now have a real voice in patient care decisions. We can be better advocates for our patients and make sure we have a say when policies are implemented.”

UAW Members Ratify New Fiat Chrysler Deal: After nearly five months of negotiations, UAW members approved a new four-year deal with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The deal decreases health care costs for lower-paid production employees, a key goal of the UAW.

New York MTA and Largest Union Reach Agreement: After six months without a deal, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and members of Transport Workers (TWU) Local 100 reached a tentative deal. Local President Tony Utano said: “I am happy to report that we have reached a negotiated settlement with the MTA that I believe the Local 100 membership will ratify in overwhelming fashion.” Previous proposals from management sought to cut back overtime payments, increase worker health care costs and limit vacation accruals for new employees.

Jews United for Justice Join NPEU: Working people at Jews United for Justice (JUFJ) announced they are unionizing with the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU), an affiliate of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE). The organization focuses on advancing economic, racial and social justice in the Baltimore-Washington area by mobilizing local Jewish communities into action. Rianna Lloyd, a JUFJ staffer, said: “We have campaigned for the rights of all workers in Maryland and [Washington,] D.C., including nonprofit employees. We know the importance of keeping dedicated, talented people on the job, and in negotiations we are going to focus on the well-being of JUFJ staff. We want to create a work environment that workers want to stay in.”

Los Angeles' Museum of Contemporary Art to Voluntarily Recognize Employee Union: Two weeks after workers at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) launched a campaign to join AFSCME, MoCA agreed to voluntarily recognize the new union. The new unit will represent more than 120 staffers. The workers sought to unionize in order to obtain higher pay and better benefits.

Fairfax Connector Strike Ends with ATU and Transdev Reaching Agreement: A strike that shut down service for Fairfax Connector bus rides ended with a victory for Transdev employees. The tentative agreement allows workers to go back on the job while details of a bigger deal are negotiated. ATU International President John Costa said: “Our strike was a victory, sending a loud and clear message to Transdev that we won’t tolerate their unlawful tactics at the bargaining table. We do reserve the right to walk off the job again if the good faith bargaining by Transdev disappears."

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 03/16/2020 - 10:34

Tags: Organizing

Government Must Act to Stop Spread of Economic and Financial Consequences of Coronavirus

Tue, 03/10/2020 - 12:31
Government Must Act to Stop Spread of Economic and Financial Consequences of Coronavirus

The stock market fell 7% at the open Monday morning. That may not sound like a lot, but it’s a catastrophic collapse—a financial crisis type number. Typically, the market might gain or lose in a whole year the value that was lost by the time the sound of the opening bell faded.

The collapse appears to be the result of a combination of the spread of coronavirus and falling oil prices—two events that are themselves connected. But it needs to be interpreted as an alarm bell, because we are dealing with the threat of two deadly kinds of contagions—one biological and the other economic and financial—both of which pose serious but manageable threats to the well-being of working people.

We have heard a lot about biological contagion and how to stop the spread of coronavirus in our workplaces and our communities. You can get up-to-date information on workplace safety and coronavirus at www.aflcio.org/covid-19 and at the websites of our affiliated unions. But what about financial and economic contagion? This is something elected leaders, economic policymakers and financial regulators must take action to stop.

How does it work? Coronavirus is a shock to the global economy. It stops economic activity of all kinds—shutting down factories, canceling meetings, sending cruise ships into quarantine. The only way to prevent that is to stop the spread of the virus (see above). The consequence of economic activity slowing down or stopping is that businesses lose revenue, and generally with loss of revenue comes loss of profits.

People who trade on the stock market usually price stocks by making projections about the future profits of the companies whose stocks trade on the public markets. The stock market reacts instantaneously to changing expectations about what may happen in the economy and to specific businesses. The stock market itself doesn’t create or destroy jobs, but it does contribute to the overall financial health of companies and of people. When stock prices fall rapidly, they can create their own kind of contagion—exposing fragile financing structures for both companies and people. That can in turn lead to retreat—companies pulling back on investments or, in the worst case, going bankrupt.

So the stock market can create contagion all by itself. But the much more serious kind of contagion has to do with corporate debt. We have had low interest rates for years, and businesses around the world have gone on a borrowing spree. This spree has been one of the causes of relatively healthy economic growth in the last few years, but it has also led to businesses carrying a lot of debt relative to their earnings and growth. 

Here is where the danger gets very real, because, as we all know, if you borrow money, you have to make payments on that debt. What if businesses that have borrowed a lot of money suddenly don’t have anywhere near the revenue they expected to have? This is what empty planes and blocked supply chains mean.  

If no one does anything and the coronavirus leads to months of revenue shortfalls in overleveraged companies, there is a real risk of pullbacks in investments by those companies or, worse, bankruptcy. Falling stock markets and debt defaults can lead to weak business balance sheets and to weak financial institutions. That is what financial contagion means. We saw that in 2008 when first mortgage intermediaries failed, then hedge funds and stock brokerages, and then major banks.  

Even more seriously, once investment pullbacks, bankruptcies and layoffs start, that leads, like a spreading virus, to more losses of revenue to other businesses—in other words, economic contagion. Economic contagion, once it starts, is even harder to stop than financial contagion. Economic contagion means recession, unemployment, falling wages. What makes this crisis different is that it starts with a kind of layoff—shutdown of economic activity and quarantines to stop the spread of disease. 

We need government to act to stop financial and economic contagion until the worst of the coronavirus passes and, most importantly, until everyone has a better sense of the exact nature of the threat—that is, until the uncertainty diminishes. Working people must demand that government act, or we and our families will pay the price for others’ lack of action, as we so often have in the past.

What should government do? First, it should directly address the source of economic contraction by dealing effectively with the coronavirus itself and making sure people who are sick or need to be quarantined are able to do what they need to do for themselves and for society without being impoverished. This means emergency paid sick leave for all who need it. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have proposed comprehensive emergency paid sick leave for all workers; this is an urgent medical and economic necessity. We need to recognize that until the coronavirus is contained, it will be very challenging to contain the economic consequences of the virus.

Second, government should deliver financial support credit on favorable terms to sectors of the global economy that are threatened by the coronavirus and vulnerable due to overleverage. The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee took a first step in that direction last week by lowering short-term rates by 0.5 percentage point, but that is unlikely to be enough. Central banks need to work with major financial institutions to target cheap credit to vulnerable businesses—airlines, hotels, manufacturers paralyzed by broken supply chains and the like. It is time to discard the old neoliberal idea that we should let banks lend to whomever they want when we appropriately subsidize them with cheap public assets.

Third, government should provide support to the economy as a whole. Congress cannot leave this job to the Federal Reserve. We need to look at bigger emergency appropriations to support our weakened public health infrastructure, particularly hospitals; if the Chinese experience is any indication, we are going to face serious strains to the system as the coronavirus spreads. We need to look at macroeconomic stimulus—public spending to help the economy. This would best be done in the form of investment, such as finally funding infrastructure. But we also need immediate spending; that is why universal paid sick days would be such a good idea, as would be steps to improve the effectiveness of our social safety net—Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—and make it easier for everyone to get the health care they need right now.

What we don’t need is the standard right-wing response to any and all problems—tax cuts for the rich. Even more than in a normal downturn, that would do harm, diverting desperately needed public resources to those who don’t need them at all.

Most of all, we need leadership and coordination among federal, state and local governments, between the U.S. government and the Fed and governments and central banks around the world, and with multinational bodies such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Health Organization. This is critical, because neither the coronavirus nor the world financial system respects borders, and because people will succumb to fear in the absence of credible leadership.  

If Monday morning tells us anything, it’s that we need that leadership now, because once fear becomes contagious, it may be the hardest thing to stop.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 03/10/2020 - 13:31

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: SAG-AFTRA

Tue, 03/10/2020 - 10:50
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: SAG-AFTRA

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is SAG-AFTRA.

Name of Union: Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA)

MissionSAG-AFTRA combines two great American labor unions, founded in the 1930s to fight for and secure the strongest protections for media artists. SAG-AFTRA was formed to preserve those hard-won rights and to continue the fight to extend and expand those protections. 

Current Leadership of UnionGabrielle Carteris serves as president of SAG-AFTRA. She served two terms as executive vice president before being elected president in 2016. She was re-elected in 2017 and again in 2019. Carteris has an extensive resume in television, film and theater, and is best known for the role of Andrea Zuckerman on “Beverly Hills, 90210.” She chairs the SAG-AFTRA National TV/Theatrical Contracts Negotiating Committee and leads the President’s Task Force on Education, Outreach and Engagement. 

Rebecca Damon serves as executive vice president, Camryn Manheim serves as secretary-treasurer, and SAG-AFTRA has seven vice presidents.

Number of Members160,000.

Members Work AsActors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other media professionals.

Industries RepresentedBroadcast, film, television, online media, sound recordings, new media, streaming.

HistoryThe Screen Actors Guild formed in 1933 during the heyday of the Hollywood studio system. Six actors came together to discuss forming a self-governing organization of film actors. One of the new organization’s first actions was protesting provisions in the U.S. government’s proposed code of fair competition for motion pictures that were objectionable to actors, including salary limitations, licensing of agents by the producers, and giving studios a right of first refusal when a contract ended, thus limiting an actor’s bargaining power.

In 1937, the American Federation of Radio Artists (AFRA), which would become AFTRA after the rise of television in the 1950s, was formed. That same year, SAG negotiated its first contract, with 13 producers signing on. AFRA signed its first national contract the next year. By 1941, both unions had moved toward more actively seeking to expand the rights of their members and other performers. AFRA engaged in its first strike in 1941, against radio station WKRC Cincinnati. SAG would hold its first strike, which related to televised commercials, in 1952–53.

During the 1950s and ’60s, a major shift for both unions was a stronger focus on battling discrimination, both in front of the camera and behind it. They spent the remainder of the century dealing with the expansion of broadcast productions and the growth of new technologies that would continually change the industry well into the 2000s.

Talk of merging the various performer unions, including SAG and AFRA (as it was known then) began as early as the late 1930s, but the eventually combined SAG-AFTRA wouldn’t officially be recognized until 2012, AFTRA’s 75th anniversary year. The merger was overwhelmingly approved by the membership of each union, and SAG President Ken Howard and AFTRA President Roberta Reardon became the first SAG-AFTRA co-presidents.

Current Campaigns/Community Efforts: For 26 years, the SAG Awards have recognized the most outstanding acting performances of the year. MOVE helps connect members to the greater labor movement as well as community and charitable activities. SAG-AFTRA’s diversity committees seek to improve diversity and protections for actors of diverse backgrounds. For news and announcements related to the industry, SAG-AFTRA publishes a magazine and a podcast in both English and Spanish. The SAG-AFTRA shop sells branded gear.

Learn More: WebsiteFacebookYouTubeTwitterInstagram.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 03/10/2020 - 11:50

Women's History Month Profiles: Alice Paul

Mon, 03/09/2020 - 09:13
Women's History Month Profiles: Alice Paul AFL-CIO

For Women's History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various women who were, and some who still are, leaders and activists working at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Today, we are looking at Alice Paul.

Alice Paul was born in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, in 1885, the daughter of Quaker parents. Her religious upbringing taught her a belief in gender equality and instilled in her a desire to work for the betterment of the whole society. Her mother, Tacie, was a member of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) and often took Alice to meetings.

Paul attended Swarthmore College and was taught by some of the leading female academics of the day. Her experiences in college emboldened her not only in student activism, but beyond the college campus when she graduated in 1905. After graduation, she went to Birmingham, England, to study social work at the Woodbrooke Settlement. There she spent time with Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters, the leaders of a militant suffragette faction that was focused on action, not just words. Paul participated in Pankhurst's political actions, including hunger strikes and other tactics. Paul spent time in prison, but noticed the impact the actions taken by the Pankhursts and their followers led to success, and she believed it was necessary to bring these tactics back to the United States.

Upon returning to the U.S., Paul enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania and followed in her mother's footsteps in joining NAWSA. She quickly became the leader of NAWSA's Congressional Committee, which was focused on a federal suffrage amendment. In 1912, Paul and friends organized a women's march to coincide with Woodrow Wilson's inauguration. When that event commenced the following March, Paul and her suffragists were so prominent that male onlookers insulted and assaulted the women marchers as the police looked on. But afterward, Paul and her fellow suffragists made headlines across the country.

Soon, Paul and several allies found themselves at odds with NAWSA's leadership and they broke off and formed the National Woman's Party (NWP). The NWP engaged in more active efforts to advocate for suffrage, including protesting the president during World War I, a serious break from prior protocol. The suffragists were painted as unpatriotic and were arrested or attacked by angry mobs. The threats of violence and imprisonment did not dissuade Paul or the other suffragists, even when the threats of imprisonment were carried out. Suffragists in prison were not passive, they engaged in hunger strikes and many came to support the cause of women's suffrage because of the treatment of Paul and others.

Not long after Paul was released from prison, Congress passed the 19th Amendment and sent it to the states for ratification. It soon passed, after a 72-year-long battle. Afterward, many suffragists left public life as much of the movement had been focused solely on winning the vote. But many activists, like Paul, saw suffrage as the beginning, not the end goal. In 1923, on the 75th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention that launched the women's rights movement, Paul began work on what she called the "Lucretia Mott Amendment," in honor of one of the key Seneca Falls activists. The Mott amendment was the beginning of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) that is still being fought for nearly a century later. The ERA was introduced in every session of Congress beginning in 1923 up until 1972, when it finally passed Congress. Beginning in 1943, the ERA was rewritten and popularly called the "Alice Paul Amendment." 

Paul continued to work on ratification of the ERA for the rest of her life. She also became a strong proponent for women's rights internationally. She was a founder of the World Woman's Party, which worked to make sure gender equality was included in the United Nations Charter. She also led numerous legislative victories in the United States, such as adding a sexual discrimination clause to the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Paul died in 1977 in Moorestown, New Jersey, only a few miles from her birthplace. The years in between were marked by the efforts of an incredible woman whose efforts and agenda still dominate the civil rights sphere in 2020. We are working on continuing the legacy left by Paul and so many other women who fought to change the country, and the world, into a better place for everyone.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 03/09/2020 - 10:13

Economy Gains 273,000 Jobs in February; Unemployment Unchanged at 3.5%

Fri, 03/06/2020 - 15:27
Economy Gains 273,000 Jobs in February; Unemployment Unchanged at 3.5%

The U.S. economy gained 273,000 jobs in February, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 3.5%, according to figures released Friday morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wages showed some improvement, rising 3.0% over last year.

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

 

Higher wage industries (moving up the chart) were part of job gains (moving right on the chart) but lower wage leisure & hospitality and education & health showed the biggest gains. Retail continued its weakness as the biggest job loser @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/QB3AzfQuRF

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) March 6, 2020

 

While the unemployment rate hovers near low rates, the share of Americans holding jobs shows a long road to return to 2008 level or record 2000 levels @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/H3W2KnDMri

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) March 6, 2020

 

Though showing a little improvement, the share of the unemployed still looking 26 weeks or more remains stubbornly above what was "normal" in 2000 @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/xe8UZRwnxr

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) March 6, 2020

 

Employment in motor vehicle & parts manufacturing rebounded in February, up 6,800 but not back to December's level and still 15,700 below last February @UAW @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) March 6, 2020

 

The labor force participation rates for Blacks and whites continue to show convergence. @APRI_National @CBTU72 @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/youB1s6g3e

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) March 6, 2020

 

 

Last month's biggest job gains were in health care (57,000), leisure and hospitality (53,000), government (45,000), construction (42,000), professional and business services (32,000) and financial activities (26,000). Employment in other major industries—including mining, manufacturing, information, transportation and warehousing, wholesale trade, and retail trade—showed little change over the month.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for Asians declined a half of a percentage point in February to 2.5%. Unemployment rates for teenagers (11.0%), blacks (5.8%), Hispanics (4.4%), adult men (3.3%), whites (3.1%) and adult women (3.1%) showed little or no change.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) showed little change in February and accounted for 19.2% of the unemployed.

Dennis Loney Fri, 03/06/2020 - 16:27

This International Women’s Day: End Gender-Based Violence and Harassment in the World of Work!

Fri, 03/06/2020 - 15:12
This International Women’s Day: End Gender-Based Violence and Harassment in the World of Work!

Gender-based violence and harassment (GBVH) in the workplace is a global epidemic, one that both reflects and reinforces patriarchal power hierarchies in the world of work. It is a pernicious barrier and threatens women, LGBTQ and gender non-conforming individuals from fully and freely participating in the economy and in society. 

Ten years ago, women trade unionists and allies from around the world came together to organize and demand an international response to eradicate GBVH in the world of work. They called on the International Labor Organization—the U.N. agency where workers, employers and governments come together to determine labor standards and policies—to develop a binding standard to prevent gender-based violence and harassment. That standard, Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work (C190), was overwhelmingly adopted last June by a global delegation of workers, employers and government representatives.

C190 articulates the right of all workers to be free from violence and harassment. This is the first time this right has been recognized in an international instrument, a critical acknowledgement that every worker should be treated with dignity and respect. C190 also explicitly recognizes that the task of ending GBVH requires confronting its root causes—gender-based discrimination, power relationships and precarious working arrangements—to transform workplace culture. 

Unions around the world are organizing to demand governments ratify C190 and protect all workers from GBVH, regardless of contractual status. Unfortunately, the United States has a long history of refusing to ratify international standards. 

But activists in the United States are using the C190 framework to push for protections through collective bargaining, to build accountability and transformation within our own movement structures, and to press for comprehensive legislation at the federal, state and local levels. 

One such piece of legislation introduced last year, the BE HEARD in the Workplace Act, would ensure all workers are legally protected against discrimination and harassment at work. The BE HEARD Act extends legal protections to independent contractors and workers in other non-standard employment arrangements such as unpaid interns, fellows, volunteers and trainees. These insecure forms of work are increasing as employers continue to seek ways to get out of direct employment relationships and decrease their own accountability. Ending GBVH in the United States requires addressing precarious work holistically, and ensuring non-standard forms of work are covered by discrimination laws is a critical first step.

C190 requires governments to protect workers made especially vulnerable to GBVH because of their identity in marginalized groups, including their sexual orientation or gender identity. LGBTQ individuals face particularly high rates of GBVH on the job and the BE HEARD Act addresses this as well, and at a critical time. The U.S. Supreme Court is currently set to decide whether our current discrimination laws cover harassment based on a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity. The BE HEARD in the Workplace Act would ensure LGBTQ individuals have these protections by clarifying that unlawful sex discrimination at work includes discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. 

This International Women’s Day, take action against gender-based violence and harassment. Support the BE Heard Act. Ask your representative to co-sponsor the bill and ensure all workers have the legal protections against discrimination and harassment at work. 

Learn More

The BE HEARD Act fact sheet from National Women's Law Center

Addressing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: There Is Power in My Union

Dennis Loney Fri, 03/06/2020 - 16:12

Tags: Gender-Based Violence

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Coronavirus and the Labor Movement’s Response

Wed, 03/04/2020 - 13:30
‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Coronavirus and the Labor Movement’s Response AFL-CIO

On the latest episode of "State of the Unions," podcast co-hosts Julie Greene Collier and Tim Schlittner talk with M.K. Fletcher, AFL-CIO Safety & Health specialist, about all things COVID-19, what the labor movement is doing and how we are responding to ensure that front-line workers' needs are taken care of.

Listen to our previous episodes:

  • Talking with AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre (UFCW) about his journey from being an Ethiopian refugee to success in the labor movement in Orange County, California, and in Washington, D.C., and the people and institutions that helped him along the way.

  • A conversation with the Rev. Leah Daughtry, CEO of "On These Things," about Reconnecting McDowell, an AFT project that takes a holistic approach to revitalizing the education and community of McDowell, West Virginia, and how her faith informs her activism.

  • Talking to Fire Fighters (IAFF) General President Harold Schaitberger about the union’s behavioral health treatment center dedicated to treating IAFF members struggling with addiction and other related behavioral challenges. The discussion also addresses the toll of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on firefighters and their families, the response of the IAFF in its wake, and the life of a firefighter.

  • A chat with the podcast team on their favorite episodes of 2019.

  • A discussion with Cas Mudde, a political scientist at the University of Georgia, on the resurgence of right-wing politicians and activists across the world, much of it cloaked in populist, worker-friendly rhetoric.

  • Talking with Guy Ryder, the director-general of the International Labor Organization, about the international labor movement, the idea of “decent labor” and the future of work.

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

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 03/04/2020 - 14:30

Tags: Podcast

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

Tue, 03/03/2020 - 12:33
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, and some who still are, 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 Tue, 03/03/2020 - 13:33

Tags: Women's History Month

Black History Month Profiles: Stacey Abrams

Thu, 02/27/2020 - 14:46
Black History Month Profiles: Stacey Abrams Wikimedia Commons

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, with a particular focus on voting rights. Without access to the ballot box and an assurance that everyone's vote counts, civil and labor rights are among the first to be taken away from working people. Today, we're looking at Stacey Abrams.

Stacey Abrams didn't let her loss in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election stop her from fighting for democracy. The 2018 election in Georgia was a contentious one, with Abrams losing by fewer than 55,000 votes to then-Secretary of State Brian Kemp. As secretary of state, Kemp oversaw the election race that he barely won. From the beginning, Kemp was under fire for allegations of voter suppression; and despite record turnout, Kemp became the state's governor.

At the time, Abrams refused to concede because she saw a Kemp-led election that was plagued with hourslong waits at polls (particularly those in African American neighborhoods), election server security breaches and reports of overly strict signature matching efforts that held turnout down. The election didn't seem fair.

Abrams looked at what she could do to still have an impact on the state and the country. 

"What work could I do to enhance or protect our democracy," she said. "Because voting rights is the pinnacle of power in our country."

She launched Fair Fight, to not only protect the voting rights of Georgians and other Americans, but to combat voter suppression as well. She goes around the country speaking on the importance of voting rights and explaining the assault our right to vote is under. Pundits and prognosticators have been focused on whether or not she'll run for president or serve as a vice president on someone else's ticket, but she's steadfastly refused such speculation to focus on voters.

In pursuit of her goals, Abrams launched a 20-state voting rights protection tour. “We’re going to have a fair fight in 2020,” she said, “Because my mission is to make certain that no one has to go through in 2020 what we went through in 2018.” Since it's inception, Fair Fight has raised more than $20 million to fight for voting rights. 

Fair Fight is designed to fight back against the many tools used to suppress the vote like strict photo ID requirements, limitations on polling place assistance, cutting of early voting hours, the closing of polling places, purging voters from state voter rolls, gerrymandering districts and others. The fight isn't limited to Georgia, either. After the gutting of the Voting Rights Act by the Supreme Court in 2013, states around the country have been pushing new limitations on voting, often with the direct or indirect effect of suppressing the votes of people of color, in particular.

Abrams' career is just getting started, but she's already made an impact and is shifting the focus of both punditry and money toward the important and growing problem of the assault on the voting rights of Americans.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 02/27/2020 - 15:46

Tags: Black History Month

Protect Yourself from Wage Theft: Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 12:41
Protect Yourself from Wage Theft: Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup

In addition to the AFL-CIO's own "State of the Unions," there are a lot of other podcasts out there that have their own approach to discussing labor issues and the rights of working people. Here are the latest podcasts from across the labor movement in the United States.

Building Bridges: Everything About ‘Medicare for All’ and Can It Provide Universal Access to Health Care?: Donald E. Moore, MD, is a primary care physician and is on the board of directors of the New York Metro Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP); Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, RN, is president of the New York State Nurses Association; and Steffie Woolhandler, MD, is a primary care physician, professor of public health and health policy at Hunter College, clinical professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and secretary of PNHP.

Heartland Labor Forum: Wage Theft: "It’s one of the most common crimes in the U.S. today. Its victims lose more to this kind of theft than robbery, burglary, auto theft and larceny combined, yet government spends less to protect us from it than all other crimes. What’s the crime? Wage theft, and we’ll have two lawyers to talk about it this week on the Heartland Labor Forum. Tune in to find out how to protect yourself."

Labor History Today (2/23/20): African American Lumber Workers in the Jim Crow South: "William P. Jones on 'The Tribe of Black Ulysses: African American Lumber Workers in the Jim Crow South,' plus a letter from Eleanor Roosevelt to the AFL-CIO urging the formation of a 'Committee on Inquiry Into the Administration of Justice in the Freedom Struggle.' Interviews by Chris Garlock and Alan Wierdak. 2020 Bonus: Patrick Dixon on Chaplin’s 'City Lights' as a labor film."

State of the Unions (AFL-CIO): "Redux: Can't Stop. Won't Shop. Stories from a UFCW Picket Line (2/19)."

Union City Radio: Latest DC Labor News: Updating "The Grapes of Wrath" (2/24).

Union Strong (New York State AFL-CIO): Revenue Options for a More Equitable New York: "We talk to the executive director and chief economist of the Fiscal Policy Institute about New York State's financial plan and our revenue system, which is proving to be unfair and unreliable. Ron Deutsch and Jonas Shaende run down some revenue options, discuss the states' spending cap, income inequality and the results of a recent poll on how New Yorkers feel about taxing the wealthy."

Your Rights at Work (2/20): Harold Meyerson on the "We Own the Future" book discussion and luncheon; Actor Tony Sancho starring in "Mother Road" and the "I'll Be There" speech from "The Grapes of Wrath."

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 02/25/2020 - 13:41

Tags: Podcast

Don't Silence Federal Employees: In the States Roundup

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 10:15
Don't Silence Federal Employees: 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 State AFL-CIO:

Valdez students talk about how important the ferries are to them and teachers explain how they must travel by bus on some dangerous winter roads to get around the state. #SaveOurFerries #DOTWTF #akleg #akgov

— Alaska AFL-CIO (@AKAFLCIO) February 10, 2020

Arizona AFL-CIO:

The ongoing #AsarcoStrike in Arizona & Texas has reached its 4th month. Thank you to @RickTxAFLCIO and the @TexasAFLCIO for everything y'all are doing for our Brothers and Sisters in Amarillo! #Solidarity #1U https://t.co/mHCpnz4D1K

— Arizona AFL-CIO (@ArizonaAFLCIO) February 19, 2020

Arkansas AFL-CIO:

Mark your calendars for March 6th! #ARLabor #ARUnions #ARStruggle #1u #elaine #frankmoore #elaine21 #ARnews #neverforgetelaine https://t.co/88QCXEcgdt

— Arkansas AFL-CIO (@ArkansasAFLCIO) February 25, 2020

California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO:

There's only 8 days left before the Primaries! Visit our *NEW* election website to find out who working Californians are supporting. For a list of CA labor endorsements, local GOTV and more click here -≥ https://t.co/UWJXpCWmhY #SuperTuesday #votecalifornia #1u #GOTV2020 pic.twitter.com/JojmSnCbW2

— California Labor Federation (@CaliforniaLabor) February 25, 2020

Colorado AFL-CIO:

╭━━━━━━━╮
┃ ● ══ ┃
┃ this account ┃
┃ is going silent ┃
┃ for one hour ┃
┃to stand with the┃
@afgenational
┃DOD employees┃
┃being silenced ┃
┃ at work #1u
┃ ○ ┃
╰━━━━━━━╯

— Colorado AFL-CIO (@AFLCIOCO) February 11, 2020

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

.@AFTCT President @Hochadel_Jan: "I think we are short on tradesmen, really good tradesmen. And this emphasis on this testing is making everyone child feel like if they don’t go to college, they’re a failure when there are other options" https://t.co/he90MVTRwr

— Connecticut AFL-CIO (@ConnAFLCIO) February 21, 2020

Florida AFL-CIO:

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Multiple bills are moving through the Florida Legislature that attack citizens' right to amend the Florida Constitution. Find out more here.https://t.co/8DsXQCV6Xl

— Florida AFL-CIO (@FLAFLCIO) February 24, 2020

Idaho State AFL-CIO:

https://t.co/9zRYXu6zrI

— Idaho State AFL-CIO (@IdahoAFLCIO) February 20, 2020

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

Join the #USPSFairnessAct National Call-In day.

We need to end the unfair pre-funding mandate that is putting union jobs and our public Postal Service at risk.

Dial 833-924-0085 #USMailNotForSale #1u pic.twitter.com/4VLnoHb27A

— Indiana AFL-CIO (@INAFLCIO) February 25, 2020

Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO:

Please also contact your legislators to oppose HSB 674 and SSB 3153. These bills ban design-build for all public owners in the state, forever prohibiting a city, county, school district or municipal utility from using the most efficient and cost-effective delivery method

— Iowa AFL-CIO (@IowaAFLCIO) February 14, 2020

Maine AFL-CIO:

Nice work! Go Kevin! #mepolitics https://t.co/rUiKdUDx1U

— Maine AFL-CIO (@MEAFLCIO) February 23, 2020

Massachusetts AFL-CIO:

12° out today, but that didn’t stop 25+ union members from talking to voters about why we need to elect @CarolDoherty13! Thank you to @roofersunion 33, @SMWLU17, @IUBAC 3, @MassNurses, @Local6Boston, @IUOELocal4, @TheIronworkers 37, @NASRCC_UBC, @OPEIU 6, & more! #1u #Solidarity pic.twitter.com/fRjLWSRBwo

— Massachusetts AFL-CIO (@massaflcio) February 15, 2020

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

Union City Radio: Fairfax Connector drivers get TA; strike averted https://t.co/zAHMLtPnKP

— MetroDCLaborCouncil (@DCLabor) February 25, 2020

Michigan State AFL-CIO:

“The central story of the 1996 film Space Jam is well-known… Less well-known is that the movie contains barely hidden pro-union messages.” https://t.co/GTAJWxK6aC

— Michigan AFL-CIO (@MIAFLCIO) February 21, 2020

Minnesota AFL-CIO:

White House Vows to Veto PRO Act’s Worker Protections https://t.co/FK1wCqTOMi This president has shown time and again that he and his administration will always choose corporate special interests over working people.

— Minnesota AFL-CIO (@MNAFLCIO) February 25, 2020

Missouri AFL-CIO:

President Trump has officially granted the Department of Defense the legal authority to abolish the collective bargaining rights of its civilian labor unions representing some 750,000 workers. And you think he is still on the side of workers? #1u https://t.co/vbgWUOcxkj

— Missouri AFL-CIO (@MOAFLCIO) February 21, 2020

Montana State AFL-CIO:

Stand in solidarity with the West Yellowstone snowmobile guides and coach drivers this Saturday, February 29. This is the second demonstration in two weeks against Delaware North after they illegally fired workers for trying to form a union. #1u #GuidesDeserveBetter pic.twitter.com/3f767ZGM0W

— Montana AFL-CIO (@MTaflcio) February 24, 2020

New Jersey State AFL-CIO:

Are robots coming for your job? The State of NJ Future of Work Task Force wants to hear from you. Share your concerns, hopes, and insights via a brief survey and help us shape the #FutureOfWorkNJ.
?https://t.co/lgZmEl2uoF? pic.twitter.com/7CXB0ZQ1VB

— New Jersey AFL-CIO (@NJAFLCIO) February 24, 2020

New York State AFL-CIO:

On the latest episode of the #UnionStrong podcast, we talk to the executive director & chief economist of the @FiscalPolicy00 Institute about NY State's financial plan & our revenue system which is proving to be unfair & unreliable. Full episode at https://t.co/Af4e4sQT6v pic.twitter.com/ZgVSH5rMsJ

— NYSAFLCIO (@NYSAFLCIO) February 19, 2020

North Carolina State AFL-CIO:

.@marybemcmillan: It’s time for a higher #minimumwage in North Carolina | The Progressive Pulse https://t.co/RrA5uVEuhC via @ncpolicywatch #1u #ncpol #ncga #fightfor15 #15forNC

— NC State AFL-CIO (@NCStateAFLCIO) February 24, 2020

North Dakota AFL-CIO:

https://t.co/T68jGHpJdb Great Job Minot!

— North Dakota AFL-CIO (@NDAFLCIO) February 14, 2020

Ohio AFL-CIO:

https://t.co/qnDBzJYsW4 pic.twitter.com/iVjhQOwmEj

— Ohio AFL-CIO (@ohioaflcio) February 25, 2020

Oklahoma State AFL-CIO:

Number of the day: 502 - Number of emergency certified teachers in Oklahoma elementary education (grades 1-8). This is the highest concentration of emergency certified teachers throughout the state.

[Source: Oklahoma State Department of Education]

— Oklahoma AFL-CIO (@OK_AFL_CIO) February 21, 2020

Oregon AFL-CIO:

Republican lawmakers walk out AGAIN rather than doing their job. They should listen to the Oregon newspapers who are editorializing against them refusing to compromise and walking off the job. #orleg #orpol #NoMoreCostlyWalkouts #DoYourJobs https://t.co/ZafyHCGh7A pic.twitter.com/usObWCC0ym

— Oregon AFL-CIO (@OregonAFLCIO) February 25, 2020

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

Our @UAW sisters and brothers are standing strong on the picket line in Langeloth. ✊ https://t.co/AnQYzjit08

— PA AFL-CIO (@PaAFL_CIO) February 21, 2020

Rhode Island AFL-CIO:

#1u https://t.co/AP0xr0Dh2L

— Rhode Island AFL-CIO (@riaflcio) February 25, 2020

Texas AFL-CIO:

2020 Texas AFL-CIO Women's Summit
May 1-2, 2020
$100- Registration until April 5th, 2020
Register TODAY athttps://t.co/oEdAmOVh8R@TexasAFT @CWA6186 @MachinistsUnion @gcaflcio @dallasaflcio @NationalNurses @NALC_National @AFSCME pic.twitter.com/zun7JDx4xu

— Texas AFL-CIO (@TexasAFLCIO) February 25, 2020

Virginia AFL-CIO:

Catch up on the news around collective bargaining

Article 1:https://t.co/0avmta8YBR @jmattingly306 @RTDNEWS

Article 2: https://t.co/Q0JVOoWnTW @lowkell @bluevirginia #strongercommunities #betterbargain #1u #workersfirst

— Virginia AFL-CIO (@Virginia_AFLCIO) February 25, 2020

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO:

In Amarillo, Copper Workers’ Strike Enters Fourth Month with No End in Sight, https://t.co/ILvvjkkfIv

— WI AFL-CIO (@wisaflcio) February 20, 2020 Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 02/25/2020 - 11:15

Black History Month Profiles: Lottie Rollin

Mon, 02/24/2020 - 12:43
Black History Month Profiles: Lottie Rollin South Carolina Women magazine

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, with a particular focus on voting rights. Without access to the ballot box and an assurance that everyone's vote counts, civil and labor rights are among the first to be taken away from working people. Today, we're looking at Lottie Rollin.

Charlotte "Lottie" Rollin was born in 1849, the second of five African American sisters born to a free black family in South Carolina. While older sister Frances would be more well-known and all five sisters were activists, Lottie would have a special focus on voting rights. 

Lottie followed Frances into activism after the family moved to Columbia. In March 1869, she argued for women's suffrage before the state legislature, becoming one of the first African American women to formally speak to a state government in the South after the Civil War. The next year she organized a "Women's Rights Convention." She chaired the event and her sister Katherine served as secretary.

In the following years, Lottie founded South Carolina's branch of one of the leading voting rights organizations in the country, the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA). She recruited her sisters to the state AWSA and they led a big push for a state constitutional amendment for women's suffrage in 1872. The amendment was defeated as radical Reconstruction ended. 

In the years after the failure of the amendment, the Rollin family, particularly Lottie, were more and more in danger from the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists. All five sisters eventually would be forced to leave the South. Lottie ended up in Brooklyn.

At the 1870 women's rights convention, Lottie Rollin spoke to her passion:

It had been so universally the custom to treat the idea of woman suffrage with ridicule and merriment that it becomes necessary in submitting the subject for earnest deliberation that we assure the gentlemen present that our claim is made honestly and seriously. We ask suffrage not as a favor, not as a privilege, but as a right based on the ground that we are human beings, and as such, entitled to all human rights...until woman has had right of representation this will last, and other rights will be held by an insecure tenure.

Read more about the Rollin sisters and their activism in Columbia, South Carolina, and beyond.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 02/24/2020 - 13:43

Tags: Black History Month

AFL-CIO Is Profiling Labor Leaders and Activists for Black History Month

Mon, 02/24/2020 - 12:39
AFL-CIO Is Profiling Labor Leaders and Activists for Black History Month AFL-CIO

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. First, let's take a look back at our past profiles:

New profiles:

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

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 02/24/2020 - 13:39

Tags: Black History Month

Black History Month Profiles: Rev. George W. Lee

Thu, 02/13/2020 - 12:20
Black History Month Profiles: Rev. George W. Lee Wikimedia Commons

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, with a particular focus on voting rights. Without access to the ballot box and an assurance that everyone's vote counts, civil and labor rights are among the first to be taken away from working people. Today, we're looking at the Rev. George W. Lee.

In 1955, the murder of Emmett Till shocked the United States and was a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement. But Till wasn't the only prominent murder of an African American in Mississippi that year and the murder of the Rev. George W. Lee not only informed the reaction to Till's murder, but Lee's murder was part of the pathway to the passage of the Voting Rights Act a decade later.

Lee lived in Humphreys County, which was only one county away from where Till was murdered later in the year. Before becoming an activist, Lee grew up in Edwards, Mississippi. His mother was an illiterate plantation woman who died when Lee was young. While living with his aunt, Lee successfully graduated high school, which was rare for Southern black men. He later worked in New Orleans before becoming a preacher in Belzoni, Mississippi, in the state's delta area.

Poverty was high in Belzoni, and Lee worked hard to improve himself. He served as pastor at four different churches, opened a grocery store and his wife, Rosebud, ran a printing business out of the house. Lee was the first black person in Humphreys County to register to vote in recent memory. He and a friend Gus Courts, then co-founded a local branch of the NAACP. By 1955, Lee and Courts had registered nearly all of the county's 90 eligible black voters. 

But local whites, led by the notorious Citizens Councils were purging black people from the voting rolls through economic pressure, intimidation and violence. Many of Belzoni's black citizens were pressured into dropping themselves from the voting rolls, but Lee and Courts stood firm. Lee was a vice president in the Regional Council of Negro Leadership. The organization not only focused on improving the skills of black people in the state, but they also pursued voting rights and led a successful boycott of gas stations that discriminated against black people.

Before long, Lee had developed into a top-notch public speaker who rallied black voters with words like: "Pray not for your mom and pop. They've gone to heaven. Pray you can make it through this hell." The racists of Belzoni reacted just as strongly. Less than a month after Lee gave spoke those words at the Regional Council of Negro Leadership convention, he was murdered. Just before midnight on May 7, 1955, an assailant fired three shotgun blasts into Lee's car and he died from the shots before he could be treated at the local hospital.

At the time Medgar Evers was a field secretary for the NAACP, and he was assigned to investigate the Lee murder. The work Evers did in this case was a springboard for his later civil rights activism. Evers found that Lee had received a threatening note to drop his voter registration three days before the murder. The autopsy found that lead pellets consistent with buckshot killed Lee, but the local sheriff claimed that the death was a traffic accident and that the lead pellets were "dental fillings" knocked loose during the car crash that ensued from the assault.

Much like Emmett Till later that year, Lee's funeral was a media event for black newspapers. Rosebud Lee decided to hold an open-coffin ceremony. Black newspapers shared the photo of Lee's mutilated corpse. When Till was lynched, his photo in black newspapers was an important part of spurring action in the civil rights movement. Lee's funeral was a precursor to that type of communication to the public during the civil rights movement. Civil rights activists continued searching for evidence to pinpoint Lee's killers, but the FBI investigation ran out of steam because potential witnesses were afraid to talk. No one was ever charged with Lee's murder. Later, Lee's partner Gus Courts was also shot, although he survived the assault.

The efforts of Lee (and Court) were important in showing how to register black voters in the South in the face of violent opposition. Rosebud's decision to reveal the violence against her husband to the world would set the table for the successes of the civil rights and voting rights movements.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 02/13/2020 - 13:20

Tags: Black History Month

Responsible Investors Overwhelmingly Reject SEC Proposals to Entrench CEOs

Tue, 02/11/2020 - 14:18
Responsible Investors Overwhelmingly Reject SEC Proposals to Entrench CEOs

Earlier this month, responsible investors filed thousands of comments with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to oppose a rule making that will entrench corporate CEOs from accountability on environmental, social and governance issues. Pension plans, socially responsible investors, faith-based funds, individual investors and investor rights groups strongly opposed the SEC power grab by CEOs and their corporate lobbyists.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) said: “We strongly oppose the SEC's shareholder proposal rule changes that will limit the ability of working people and their pension plans to have a voice in the companies that we invest in.” The SEC voted to propose these pro-CEO rule changes in a partisan 3–2 vote in November last year.

The SEC’s proposals include a variety of new restrictions on the ability of shareholders to file proposals. These shareholder proposals encourage reforms on topics including executive compensation, workers’ rights and board diversity. The SEC estimates that its proposed rule changes will reduce the number of shareholder proposals by more than 37%.

Secondly, the SEC has proposed to allow companies to undermine the independence of proxy advisers who recommend how shareholders vote at company annual meetings. The SEC proposal will allow companies to “pre-review” proxy voting advice before it is given to investors. Companies may threaten to sue if proxy advisers do not make their requested changes. 

In two letters to the SEC, the AFL-CIO defended the rights of union members’ pension plans to file shareholder proposals and to vote proxies using independent advice. “The SEC should protect the rights of working people as the real main street investors, not the interests of overpaid and unaccountable corporate CEOs,” Trumka explained.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 02/11/2020 - 15:18

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