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The Trump Budget: The Other Shoe Drops

Tue, 02/11/2020 - 10:48
The Trump Budget: The Other Shoe Drops

When Congress passed a nearly $2 trillion tax cut for corporations and the wealthy in 2017, we warned that the obscene cost of this tax cut bill would be used as a pretext to cut programs that benefit working people.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) said at the time that the 2017 tax bill was:

Nothing but a con game, and working people are the ones they’re trying to con. Here we go again. First comes the promise that tax giveaways for the wealthy and big corporations will trickle down to the rest of us. Then comes the promise that tax cuts will pay for themselves. Then comes the promise that they want to stop offshoring. And finally, we find out that none of these things is true, and the people responsible for wasting trillions of dollars on tax giveaways to the rich tell us we have no choice but to cut Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, education and infrastructure. There always seems to be plenty of money for millionaires and big corporations but never enough money to do anything for working people.

Now those predictions are coming true, as President Trump has released his new budget plan for the coming year.

The president proposes to cut $2 trillion from safety net programs, which is about the same amount as the cost of the 2017 tax bill. His budget plan would cut $1 trillion from Medicaid and subsidies for the Affordable Care Act. The Labor Department gets whacked by $1.3 billion. Adjustment assistance for people who lose their jobs to imports is slashed by nearly $400 million, and a program to help U.S. manufacturing companies create jobs is eliminated. The budget plan also eliminates subsidized student loans and the public service student loan forgiveness program.

While supporters of the 2017 tax bill promised it would benefit working people, almost all of its benefits have gone to corporations and the wealthy, and very little has trickled down to working people. Paychecks are still flat, and too many working people still have to work more than one job just to make ends meet. Wages grew by only 0% in September, -0.1% in October, -0.1% in November and -0.1% in December, when adjusted for inflation.

To make things worse, the president’s budget proposes another tax cut that goes disproportionately to the wealthy⁠—extending the tax cuts from the 2017 tax bill for another 10 years at a cost of $1.4 trillion over the next decade. Two-thirds of these tax cuts would go to the richest 20% of all taxpayers. Here we go again.

They keep running the same play because it keeps working. Since 2001, the wealthiest 1% of all taxpayers have gotten $2 trillion in tax cuts, and federal tax revenues have been reduced by $5.1 trillion. This is money that should have been used to make life better for working people⁠—for example, by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, funding quality public education for every child and guaranteeing retirement security for our seniors⁠—rather than building up the fortunes of the 1%.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 02/11/2020 - 11:48

New Trump Rules Are a Sneak Attack on Medicaid

Fri, 02/07/2020 - 13:52
New Trump Rules Are a Sneak Attack on Medicaid

There are the things politicians say, and then there are things they do. When Donald Trump was running for office, he promised there would be no cuts to Medicaid. As president, he promised “health care for everyone.” His aides promised “no one will lose coverage” and “no one will be worse off.” These promises sounded great and reassured voters. 

But then last week, the administration quietly released a new policy that is the equivalent of a ticking time bomb⁠—a health care IED that looks harmless but has the potential to cause tremendous financial damage to state Medicaid programs and take health care away from people who can least afford it.

The new policy caps what the federal government will pay for health care under Medicaid. Currently, the federal government pays for at least half of the cost of all of the health care needed by everyone eligible for the coverage. Under the new policy, there will be a ceiling on federal funding for those people who qualified for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). That lump sum payment may not be enough, if for example, the cost of medical care rises faster than expected. Since the goal of the policy is to save money, it is expected that states will reduce the level of coverage or limit eligibility if they bump up against the ceiling of federal funding.  

According to Kaiser Family Foundation, some 12 million additional people in 35 states have used the ACA to get coverage through the Medicaid program. Many of these are workers who were not eligible for traditional Medicaid.

We often do not appreciate how access to Medicaid has improved the health of working families. According to the Center for American Progress, Medicaid expansion under the ACA has reduced mortality rates by 6% in the newly eligible beneficiary population and reduced racial disparities in cancer treatment. Medicaid expansion has also reduced the rate of hospital closures, lowered uncompensated costs, raised wages in the health care field and increased state revenue. States that expanded Medicaid saw an average 13% decline in residents with medical debt⁠—further evidence of how the Medicaid benefit improves the living standard of working families that would otherwise face major medical bills. 

A block grant would allow states to reduce benefits for this group of people that are new to Medicaid and cut funding for a range of “optional” services like dental care and prescription drug coverage traditionally offered under the program. Medicaid cuts would hurt immigrant enrollees, but it would also harm their U.S. citizen children. As FamiliesUSA notes, when parents have a hard time accessing Medicaid, their children are likely to lose access to care as well. 

The guidance issued by the administration ignores the historical lessons of the past: We need a flexible health care program that helps individuals and communities respond to recessions, epidemics or natural disasters. Would Houston or Iowa be better off with reduced Medicaid spending after the devastated floods in their community? Would California be better off after an awful series of wildfires destroyed whole communities? Would the country be better able to handle the thousands of people who may need emergency care in a medical pandemic with capped funding? 

Replacing the open-ended federal commitment to state Medicaid programs with block grants is a gamble for governors, and the odds are this bet will end up devastating state budgets and forcing harmful cuts in coverage and benefits.

Maybe that is why the administration’s new Medicaid policy was rolled out as if the president has something to hide. Department of Health and Human Services officials have purposely issued the policy through an administrative process that doesn't allow for public comment. Taking this quiet approach makes sense, though, since this is the same policy that was rejected three times by Congress in 2017 and was unpopular at the polls in 2018. We can only hope that voters will take the same notice of it in 2020 and let their state officials know that this is not a good option for their communities.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 02/07/2020 - 14:52

Economy Gains 225,000 Jobs in January; Unemployment Unchanged at 3.6%

Fri, 02/07/2020 - 11:46
Economy Gains 225,000 Jobs in January; Unemployment Unchanged at 3.6%

The U.S. economy gained 225,000 jobs in January, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 3.6%, according to figures released Friday morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the year, wages were up 3.1%. This was very tepid wage growth for this level of unemployment, and shows the labor market has not reached full employment.

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

Since last January, @BLS_gov reports wages were up 3.1% for all workers. This is modest for this point in a recovery with sustained low unemployment rates. @AFLCIO There is clear room for the @federalreserve to hold its policy as we remain far from indicators of escalating wages

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) February 7, 2020

 

Construction had continued gains, +44,000 for January, but manufacturing showed losses, led by a drop of 10,600 in autos and auto parts. Retail trade continued weakness, led by drops in department stores -16,900. And transportation showed gains led by messengers +14,300 @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) February 7, 2020

 

After many months where the adult white and Latino male unemployment rates were equal, the unemployment rate for Latinos jumped to 3.4% from 3.0%, while the white rate barely edged up from 2.8 to 2.9% @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) February 7, 2020

 

The unemployment rate for non-veteran women fell since last January from 4.0 to 3.7%, but rose for women veterans from 2.7 to 3.2% (it fell for male veterans) mostly because of a jump for the most recent Gulf War II era veterans. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) February 7, 2020

 

226,000 jobs was a good number, but job gains (moving to the right in the chart) were not broad across all industries. The Education & Health sector continued to be the strongest. Higher (moving up in the chart) and lower wage industries were mixed in gains and losses @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/I8RRNn8pkd

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) February 7, 2020

 

January is a trigger date for many states to automatically adjust their minimum wages. Average wages for retail trade jumped 4.1% since last January and 3.4% for leisure & hospitality (food services mostly) compared to the 1.5% in education & health (an average wage industry).

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) February 7, 2020

 

In a good sign for January, more women who were unemployed in December found a job (844,000) than quit looking and dropped out of the labor force (701,000); and the 2.633 million who found jobs, from having been out of the labor force, were 75% of net gains in women's employment.

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) February 7, 2020

 

Payroll employment +226,000 in January, @BLS_gov reports that their benchmark estimate for job gains in 2019 were revised downward by 12,000 from previous reports. There were also adjustments to the household survey effecting the counts of employed and work force size. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) February 7, 2020

 

January proves December was no fluke, women remain the majority of US workers. Education & health (77.4% female) a sector with 24.5 million workers is almost twice the size of the male dominated (72.3% male) manufacturing sector (12.8 million workers) and comparable average wages

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) February 7, 2020

Last month's biggest job gains were in construction (44,000), health care (36,000), leisure and hospitality (36,000), transportation and warehousing (28,000) and professional and business services (21,000). Manufacturing declined (-12,000). Employment in other major industries, including mining, wholesale trade, retail trade, information, financial activities and government, changed little over the month.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for teenagers (12.2%), blacks (6.0%), Hispanics (4.3%), adult men (3.3%), adult women (3.2%), whites (3.1%) and Asians (3.0%) showed little or no change in January.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was unchanged in January and accounted for 19.9% of the unemployed.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 02/07/2020 - 12:46

Sisters, Rebels and Social Justice: Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup

Fri, 02/07/2020 - 10:43
Sisters, Rebels and Social Justice: 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: Peter Dolack, an organizer with Trade Justice New York Metro and author of It’s Not Over: Learning From the Socialist Experiment and What Do We Need Bosses For: Toward Economic Democracy, discusses the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Heartland Labor Forum: "Very few newspapers have labor reporters any more, but these days there’s a proliferation of podcasts and blogs on the internet. We’ll find out about a website called organizing dot work. Then UAW Local 31 President Clarence Brown led his local in their 40-day strike against General Motors. We’ll talk to him about the strike and the future of labor and the UAW."

Labor History Today: "Jacquelyn Dowd Hall discusses her new book, Sisters and Rebels: A Struggle for the Soul of the South in an excerpt from the Working History podcast. Also this week, Karen Nussbaum on Iris Rivera’s historic refusal to serve coffee, Jessica Pauszek reads poetry by a striking British miner’s wife and Tom Zaniello remembers Charlie Chaplin’s 'Modern Times.'"

UCOMM Podcast: "Shedding light on UAW coup/corruption and Trump tries to ban impeachment talk, Remembering Kobe Bryant, Will C has some reflections, Trump is going out of his way to privatize the Post Office, Illinois wants to ban 'Right to Work,' Amazon employees are protesting climate change, [Brian] Schneck talks about his efforts to take the UAW back for the members, Trump bans impeachment talk and we have bets on the Iowa Caucus and the Super Bowl."

Union City Radio: "Big turnout for Murray Women's Club candidate education forum; how labor can help battle addiction; Washington labor leader Jackie Jeter retires; 'a slap in the face'; new online labor bookstore."

Union Strong (NYS AFL-CIO): "New York state has had a call center outsourcing problem that has resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of call center jobs over the past several years. Companies packed up and moved either out of state or out of the country and often after receiving state grants, guaranteed loans and tax benefits. On this podcast, Hae-Lin Choi, the statewide legislative and political director for CWA District 1, explains how a new law aims to change that."

Willamette Wake-Up: "Labor Report with Don Mcintosh on pensions and retirement."

Your Rights At Work (WPFW 89.3 FM, Washington, D.C.): D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine and Assistant Attorney General Randy Chen on recent wins against wage theft, Dolly Parton's pro-labor song from the film "9 to 5" and "Case Closed" with Bob Samet, senior partner at Ashcraft and Gerel.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 02/07/2020 - 11:43

Tags: Podcast

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: A Refugee’s Journey

Wed, 02/05/2020 - 12:29
‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: A Refugee’s Journey AFL-CIO

On the latest episode of "State of the Unions," podcast co-host Tim Schlittner talks 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.

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, 02/05/2020 - 13:29

Tags: Podcast

Media Unionization Wave Continues: Worker Wins

Tue, 02/04/2020 - 13:49
Media Unionization Wave Continues: Worker Wins

Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with organizing efforts at a publishing giant and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life. The end of 2019 saw a flurry of wins for working people, so this is the second in several posts that will cover the victories of the last quarter of the year.

Employees at Media Giant Hearst Magazines to Join Writers Guild: Employees at one of America’s oldest major magazine publishers are forming a union, becoming the latest big media organization to join the ranks of organized labor. Editorial, photo, video and social media employees working at 24 major Hearst publications voted to be represented by the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). The publications covered include Elle, Esquire, Town & Country, Cosmopolitan and others. Elle Culture Editor Julie Kosin, also a union organizer, said: “We’re excited to be a part of the labor movement among our peers, and most importantly create a fair and equitable workplace for the future of this industry.”

Chicago Teachers Union End Strike with New Contract: After an 11-day strike, the Chicago Teachers Union went back to work after approving a new contract. More than 25,000 teachers will be covered under the new contract and 300,000 kids returned to classes. Jesse Sharkey, president of the union, said: “This contract is a powerful advance for our city and our movement for real equity and educational justice for our school communities and the children we serve.”

New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority Workers Approve New Contract: The largest union representing Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) workers approved a new contract after six months of tense negotiations and no contract. Previous offers by the MTA sought to cut back on overtime, increase worker health care contributions and limit vacation time accrual for workers, proposals the union called "insulting." The workers are represented by Transport Workers (TWU) Local 100, whose president, Ton 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.”

Massachusetts Marijuana Workers Join UFCW: Working people at Sira Naturals, a marijuana company in Massachusetts, voted to be represented by Local 1445 of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). More than 100 workers will be covered by the new unit. Sira's chief executive, Mike Dundas, said the company voluntarily recognized the union. He said it would help attract and retain employees. 

Musicians Reach New Film and TV Contract: Musicians represented by the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) have reached an agreement on a new contract for film and television with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The two-year deal was reached after the two sides settled issues relating to residuals for films and television shows made for streaming services.

Los Angeles Proterra Electric Bus Assemblers to be Represented by Steelworkers: Working people at Proterra's electric bus assembly line plant California voted to join the United Steelworkers (USW) Local 675. The company's leadership was amenable to the drive and worked with USW to help workers understand the need to a carbon-neutral economy. Blanchard Pinto, a supervisor at the plant, said: “This is my first time being in a union, and I’m actually excited about it. It was a no-brainer for me that it was something we could use for the job stability.”

Cedar Rapids General Mills Workers Ratify New Contract: More than 500 workers represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union voted to approve a new three-year contract with General Mills. The workers had threatened to strike before the deal was reached. Tim Sarver, who has worked for General Mills for more than 37 years, said: “I am thrilled to know we will all be going to work tomorrow with the peace of mind of a strong union contract. Over 500 families can sleep well tonight knowing their needed benefits are secure for the next three years. The strength of our union during these first contract negotiations was extraordinary. I am proud to say that a union contract is now part of every balanced breakfast that comes from our General Mills plant.”

NBC News Universal Editorial Staff Vote to Join The NewsGuild: Editorial staffers at NBC News Digital voted overwhelmingly to affiliate with the The NewsGuild of New York (TNG-CWA). After the vote, the editorial workers requested that NBC voluntarily recognize the unit. The new unit covers staff from nbcnews.com, today.com, StayTuned, Left Field, msnbc.com and NBC News Now. Nigel Chiwaya, a data journalist and member of the new unit, said: “NBC News is a storied name in journalism, and we all feel proud to be a part of it. Forming the NBC NewsGuild is our way of protecting the legacy for everyone here now and for those who will come after us. We are organizing to make our newsroom stronger and safer for all.”

Content Producers at Philadelphia's WHYY Join SAG-AFTRA: Journalists and other content producers at WHYY in Philadelphia have voted to join SAG-AFTRA. The vote was nearly unanimous, and the 90 workers represented by SAG-AFTRA will next negotiate their first collective bargaining agreement. In a statement, the union said: “We’re thrilled by our strong showing. We look forward to beginning a democratic process to hear from our members about what they would value most from a contract with management.”

UAW and Ford Reach Agreement: The UAW reached a tentative contract in November. The contract covers 55,000 hourly Ford workers in the United States, the most of any domestic automaker. Rory Gamble, vice president of the UAW Ford Department, said: "Our national negotiators elected by their local unions have voted unanimously to recommend to the UAW-Ford National Council the proposed tentative agreement. Our negotiating team worked diligently during the General Motors strike to maintain productive negotiations with Ford. The pattern bargaining strategy has been a very effective approach for UAW and its members to secure economic gains around salary, benefits and over $6 billion in major product investments in American facilities, creating and retaining over 8,500 jobs for our communities."

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 02/04/2020 - 14:49

Tags: Organizing

No Más! The Working People Weekly List

Tue, 02/04/2020 - 11:42
No Más! 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.

No Más! Campaign Calls for Chilean Government to Protect Human Rights: "Since last October, sparked by a hike in public transportation fares, a broad alliance of Chile's unions and other social movements have been protesting against low wages, the high cost of basic necessities and persistently high social inequality. The country's extreme model of privatization of most public services and basic programs in health care, social security and education has guided most public policy since the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship (1973–1990). Since October, the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores (CUT), Chile's largest labor organization, has convened three general strikes, the largest of which brought more than 1 million people into the streets."

Washington Labor Leader Jackie Jeter Retiring: "Longtime labor activist Jackie Jeter (ATU), president of the Metropolitan Washington [D.C.] Council, AFL-CIO, will retire at the end of January after a lifelong career in the labor movement."

A Friend of the Workers: 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."

Safety in the Skies: 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."

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Healing a Community: "On the latest episode of 'State of the Unions,' podcast co-hosts Julie and Tim talk 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."

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

A Win for Nurses and Patients: Worker Wins: "Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with nurses banding together to make patients' lives better and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life. The end of 2019 saw a flurry of wins for working people, so this is the first in several posts over the next week that will cover the victories of the last quarter of the year."

Greater Boston Labor Council Makes History with Latest Election: "The Greater Boston Labor Council (GBLC), AFL-CIO, made history last week with the election of the first woman of color to its top office. Darlene Lombos takes over as executive secretary-treasurer, replacing Richard Rogers, who officially retired after leading the GBLC for the past 16 years."

Economy Gains 145,000 Jobs in December; Unemployment Unchanged at 3.5%: "The U.S. economy gained 145,000 jobs in December, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 3.5%, according to figures released Friday morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Preliminary data from BLS also shows, for the first time since 2010, the majority of workers on U.S. payrolls are women, underscoring the importance of addressing the gender wage gap."

A Future That Works for Workers: "At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, the AFL-CIO is partnering with SAG-AFTRA to host the second annual Labor Innovation & Technology Summit. The summit, led by AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler (IBEW), SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris and UNITE HERE International President D. Taylor, brings together union, technology, entertainment and media leaders to explore how these industries intersect and the potential impact for America’s workers and for the country’s creative culture."

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 02/04/2020 - 12:42

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Seafarers

Mon, 02/03/2020 - 09:47
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Seafarers

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

Name of Union: Seafarers International Union (SIU)

Mission: To represent the best-trained, most efficient crews in the world as a dynamic, politically active organization dedicated to protecting the membership’s job security in the face of the ever-changing needs of the industry.

Current Leadership of Union: Michael Sacco serves as president of the Seafarers International Union of North America, having first been elected to the position in 1988. He also serves as president of his home union, the Seafarers International Union; Atlantic, Gulf, Lakes and Inland Waters, which he has been a member of since 1958. Sacco also serves as president of the AFL-CIO's Maritime Trades Department. The Brooklyn-born Sacco served in the U.S. Air Force and he and his wife, Sophie, have four children.

Augustin Tellez serves as executive vice president, David W. Heindel serves as secretary-treasurer and SIU has six vice presidents.

Number of Members: 80,000.

Members Work As: Professional merchant mariners sailing aboard U.S.-flag vessels in the deep sea, Great Lakes and inland trades.

Industries Represented: Members work on a wide variety of vessels, including commercial container ships and tankers, military support ships, tugboats and barges, passenger ships, gaming vessels and many more.

History: Before the Seafarers International Union was formed in 1938, there were several other unions that organized maritime workers, including the International Seamen's Union (ISU), which formed in 1892 and was chartered by the American Federation of Labor. Pressures from the Great Depression and internal division led to the downfall of the ISU, despite some successes, including securing the passage of the Jones Act in 1915.

The SIU was formally given a charter in 1938 with nearly 7,000 members. World War II had a major impact on the maritime trades. SIU members were a huge part of the war effort, providing military support to the Allies and serving as the underpinning of the Allied supply lines. The casualty rate for merchant seamen was higher than any other branch of the armed services. The union managed to secure hazard pay for those sailing into war zones. After the war, the SIU made tremendous gains with organizing drives, a general maritime strike and the creation of AFL's Maritime Trades Department. 

Paul Hall was a charter member of the SIU and, by the late 1940s, he was in charge of daily operations of the union, and he took the union in a more militant direction. Hall stressed civic engagement and negotiation and took SIU to the streets in solidarity with other AFL unions. Reform and expansion were key among Hall's achievements, including securing the first hospital and death benefits for members, creating the Seafarers Vacation Plan and strengthening seniority provisions in hiring.

In the 1950s, the SIU continued to expand by merging with other smaller maritime unions. The union also opened up several training facilities to help Seafarers hone their professional skills. The union was successful in the 1960s in calls to modernize the U.S.-flag-bearing fleet. The 1970s would see the union successfully fight for the passage of the Merchant Marine Act, which gave a boost to the maritime industry, including boosting jobs.

The rapid changes in technology, trade and world politics in the 1980s and 1990s provided both opportunities and challenges for the SIU. The expansion of global trade and the growth in military conflict around the globe directly affected SIU's membership. SIU members were among the first responders after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, transporting evacuees from affected areas and served as crew on the USNS Comfort, a ship that served as a center for medical care for first responders and survivors. SIU members also would be key in stories in more recent years, such as the “Miracle on the Hudson” aircraft incident in 2009 and when the Maersk Alabama ship was hijacked by Somali pirates.

Whether it be in times of war, times of peace or in reaction to a tragedy, Seafarers are part of the solution; and they continue to do what they always do: "turning to and delivering the goods."

Current Campaigns/Community Efforts: The Seafarers provide training and apprenticeships through the Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education and the Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship. The Seafarers Disaster Relief Fund helps members and retirees who are hurt by hurricanes and other disasters. The Seafarers also assist members with pensions and share news and information through The Federal Mariner and the Mobile News Network.

Learn More: WebsiteFacebookYouTubeTwitterInstagram.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 02/03/2020 - 10:47

Washington Labor Leader Jackie Jeter Retiring

Tue, 01/28/2020 - 09:36
Washington Labor Leader Jackie Jeter Retiring Chris Garlock

Longtime labor activist Jackie Jeter (ATU), president of the Metropolitan Washington [D.C.] Council, AFL-CIO, will retire at the end of January after a lifelong career in the labor movement.

In addition to her incredible leadership with the council, Jeter served as an elected official with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 689 in Forestville, Maryland, for more than 25 years. She began as a shop steward for rail operations in 1994 and was elected assistant business agent, first vice president and financial secretary-treasurer before becoming president in 2007. With every new position, Jeter set a historical precedent as the first African American woman to hold those offices.

Jeter also made history at the council when she became its first female president in 2016. Previously, she served on the council’s executive board from 1996 to 2002. 

Jeter told the council that now is the right time for this decision. “When I retired from the ATU, I promised myself that I would give back to those who have given me energy, strength and unconditional love all these years, and that’s my family,” Jeter said. “My tenure at the Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO, has been a special experience capping a long career in the labor movement, and I’m especially grateful to the council’s board and staff, as well as to all of our wonderful affiliated locals who work so hard and so effectively every day for working men and women throughout the region.”

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) thanked Jeter for her service: “Throughout her career, Jackie never stopped protecting and championing the rights for working people. The labor movement has deeply benefited from her hard work and dedication, and we will miss her dearly.” 

The entire AFL-CIO wishes her a long and happy retirement.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 01/28/2020 - 10:36

No Más! Campaign Calls for Chilean Government to Protect Human Rights

Mon, 01/27/2020 - 10:01
No Más! Campaign Calls for Chilean Government to Protect Human Rights CUT

Since last October, sparked by a hike in public transportation fares, a broad alliance of Chile's unions and other social movements have been protesting against low wages, the high cost of basic necessities and persistently high social inequality. The country's extreme model of privatization of most public services and basic programs in health care, social security and education has guided most public policy since the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship (1973–1990). Since October, the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores (CUT), Chile's largest labor organization has convened three general strikes, the largest of which brought more than 1 million people into the streets. 

The government reacted to the protests with repression and violence reminiscent of the Pinochet era, leading to the deaths of at least 29 people, thousands of grave injuries and numerous rapes while protesters were in police custody. In response, 18 members of the U.S. House of Representatives called on the U.S. Embassy in Chile to defend the fundamental rights of the Chilean people and encourage the pursuit of peaceful, democratic dialogue.

The constitution drafted and imposed by the dictatorship in 1980 has blocked substantive changes to the extreme free-market model that has created a small wealthy class while making working peoples' and retirees' lives precarious and stressful, with most jobs paying too little to afford expensive privatized education, health care and pensions while investing little in public systems in these basic areas. 

For too long, Chile has been held up as an example for developing countries to follow to advance economically by extreme free-market measures while avoiding larger issues of sustainability, democracy and inclusion. With recent sustained protests, Chileans are overcoming that legacy in the face of excessive violence by the government and are claiming their rights. As result of sustained protest, nearly all Chilean political parties agreed to hold a referendum in April about replacing the constitution written under the Pinochet dictatorship. Chile has the opportunity to build a sustainable future with social justice. 

During this transition, the government must protect and respect human rights. As the CUT opened its 12th national congress on Jan. 24, bringing together its unions and an international delegation representing more than a dozen countries, CUT launched the campaign Chile: No Más! to mobilize the international community to increase attention to ongoing human rights violations in Chile and pressure the government to honor its commitments to human rights and democracy. The AFL-CIO has joined this effort.


 

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 01/27/2020 - 11:01

Tags: Chile

A Friend of the Workers: Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 11:39
A Friend of the Workers: 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: Which of the 2020 Candidates Is a Friend of the Workers?: "With Shaun Richman, program director for the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies at SUNY Empire State College....[We] talk about what the top Democratic Party contenders for the presidency are proposing to better the 'state of the state' of working men and women, as they ready themselves for the Iowa caucuses. We’ll also discuss who supports and the likelihood of the passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, which is scheduled to be introduced in the House of Representative in early February."

Heartland Labor Forum: Neoliberalism: "This week on the Heartland Labor Forum: Recently workers in France and Colombia have shut down their economies when confronted with pension reforms, which attacked their livelihoods. Tune in Thursday to the Heartland Labor Forum to hear from union leaders in both countries about why they’re in the streets and what a general strike is. Thursday at 6 p.m., rebroadcast Friday at 5 a.m. on KKFI 90.1 FM or streaming at kkfi.org."

Labor History Today: UAW’s Punch Press Strike Daily: "The Cool Things from the Meany Archives' crew features the Punch Press, an autoworker strike publication. Also this week, Saul Schniderman remembers contributions to labor history by both Johnny Paycheck and Bruce Springsteen."

Union City Radio: Latest D.C. Labor News: "Bus strike ends; D.C. wage theft; NABET-CWA members at CNN win $76 million in back pay; the toll on firefighter health; repealing the Veterans Affairs' fraudulent “right to work.”

Union Strong: Television Diversity Tax Credit: "The Television Diversity Tax Credit Bill has been signed into law. We talk to Lowell Peterson, executive director of the Writers Guild of America, East, to find out how it will change what we watch on television and the new opportunities it will create for writers and directors, who until now were overlooked."

WorkWeek Radio: Iran War and Labor And Fraud in California: "WorkWeek looks at the growing war threat of war by the U.S. when Donald Trump ordered the murder of the Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. We interview retired International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10 Secretary-Treasurer Clarence Thomas, who visited Iraq and met with trade unionists, Kambiz Sakhai, a labor political educator from Iran, and Alison Weir, with If Americans Knew. Then WorkWeek looks at the growing corruption scandal at the Fraud Assessment Commission, where the former Gov. Jerry Brown appointed disgraced former director Christine Baker of the Department of Industrial Relations to the FAC. We interview former Cal-OSHA Medical Director Dr. Larry Rose and former SEIU 250 Executive Board member and Kaiser Sacramento worker Dina Padilla. She is a longtime advocate for injured workers."

Your Rights at Work (WPFW 89.3 FM, Washington, D.C.): "Big win against wage theft in the District; Cinder Bed Road bus strikers win new contract; women leaders get empowered."

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 01/24/2020 - 12:39

Tags: Podcast

Safety in the Skies: What Working People Are Doing This Week

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 09:23
Safety in the Skies: 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:

Members representing all 28 Equity Liaison Areas convened last July in Minneapolis, MN for a two-day conference w/ staff & members of Council to focus on ways to grow leadership capacity & advance the goals of Equity 2020.

Read more in the Member Portal- https://t.co/ieOIUylvmn pic.twitter.com/ozf9fxVAjG

— Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) January 23, 2020

AFGE:

The @USDA's request to the FLRA is not consistent with the law or the facts. #1u https://t.co/AOEIFDKlx6 pic.twitter.com/jF0Qg3C6df

— AFGE (@AFGENational) January 23, 2020

AFSCME:

Public service workers in Puerto Rico work 24/7 to make their communities better. They never quit on their neighbors or fellow residents or on each other, which is why their union will never quit on them! ?? https://t.co/DfEqyuv133

— AFSCME (@AFSCME) January 23, 2020

AFT:

No child should have to learn in schools full of mold. And no educator should have to teach in one either. It's time to #FundOurFuture #FundOurFacilities and create safe, healthy environments for learning and teaching. https://t.co/s1jq1P4LOW

— AFT (@AFTunion) January 20, 2020

Air Line Pilots Association:

Safety in the skies is truly a team effort that revolves around the most important and effective safety feature on any passenger aircraft—two well-trained, highly-skilled, and experienced pilots. #TrainedForLife https://t.co/LUpvqZXJn7

— ALPA (@WeAreALPA) January 17, 2020

Alliance for Retired Americans:

After hobnobbing with billionaires at Davos, President Trump revealed that the door is open for Social Security and Medicare cuts. #Shame pic.twitter.com/ad7Rftpk2V

— Alliance Retirees (@ActiveRetirees) January 22, 2020

Amalgamated Transit Union:

Florida lawmakers, #HART spearhead bills to improve transit worker safety https://t.co/25NNlmjz7u #1u #UnionStrong #transit #SafeBus

— ATU, Transit Union (@ATUComm) January 21, 2020

American Federation of Musicians:

#UnionMusicians ratified a new 2 yr. contract w/major studios that includes for the first time—screen credits for musicians. It also includes yearly 3% wage increases & increased residuals for shows rented & purchased online. #1u https://t.co/qaWis6JsCe pic.twitter.com/ckY39maI4N

— AFM (@The_AFM) January 23, 2020

American Postal Workers Union:

Be like Will E Bear.
Support your public Postal Service. #usmailnotforsale https://t.co/2HOEXm33GA

— APWU National (@APWUnational) January 22, 2020

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance:

As a @CAPAC member, Rep Speier must protect immigrant families by cosponsoring the #ReunitingFamiliesAct! https://t.co/oMn7IeSITv

— APALA (@APALAnational) January 21, 2020

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:

We're contacting our airlines in an effort to put in place info & precautions for crewmembers. We're sharing what we know about virus now, although health officials are still determining full implications of virus & how it's spread. https://t.co/l75GhDrEic #CoronavirusOutbreak

— AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) January 23, 2020

Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers:

No Duh. #Organize
“Strengthening labor unions and worker power represents the most effective strategy to combat America’s economic inequality and corporations’ sway over the economy and politics.” https://t.co/P8OnjoP2mP

— BCTGM International (@BCTGM) January 23, 2020

Boilermakers:

Read how this #Boilermaker member from L-290 (Bremerton, Washington) and his wife used the @UnionPlus advantage here ➡️ https://t.co/cqR1TUU6e8 pic.twitter.com/ZcEMo2yCTW

— Boilermakers Union (@boilermakernews) January 23, 2020

Bricklayers:

⛑️✅?✅?✅ #WednesdayWisdom https://t.co/68Fhbg65xx

— Bricklayers Union (@IUBAC) January 22, 2020

California School Employees Association:

The labor movement is for everyone! Read about how milennials are picking up the torch: https://t.co/TR5tBNTEIn

— CSEA (@CSEA_Now) January 16, 2020

Coalition of Labor Union Women:

Workers lose $31.9 billion in wages each year that Congress refuses to pass #ChildCare4All & #PaidLeaveForAll.
Call your representative and tell them that families can’t afford to wait another year. https://t.co/JitrZ1yH0Z pic.twitter.com/TsFGlV8jYl

— CLUW National (@CLUWNational) January 23, 2020

Communications Workers of America:

"It’s time to fundamentally reform our political system by passing the #ForthePeopleAct. It’s time for Mitch McConnell to do his job and put this bill up for a vote.”

— CWA (@CWAUnion) January 22, 2020

Department for Professional Employees:

"The number of unionized professional employees, for example, increased by more than 90,000 people. About 6.27 million professional workers were union members last year, an all-time high." https://t.co/Z6CnwkvYBF

— Department for Professional Employees (@DPEaflcio) January 22, 2020

Electrical Workers:

Good riddance to the Cadillac Tax. https://t.co/80wG3qtqAW

— IBEW (@IBEW) January 23, 2020

Farm Labor Organizing Committee:

We are thankful for churches and other religious groups who stand with us. Will more of you join us? https://t.co/WF20tfe6hD

— Farm Labor Organizing Committee (@SupportFLOC) January 21, 2020

Fire Fighters:

AGP @jimmyjam1967 and @DougWStern lead an important discussion on how to communicate in a multi-cultural world at #ALTSHR20 pic.twitter.com/Y19MBqBNY8

— IAFF (@IAFFNewsDesk) January 22, 2020

Heat and Frost Insulators:

More from the Shakamak Jr. – Sr. High School Trades Career Fair yesterday in Indianapolis! We've got opportunities for joining the Registered Apprenticeship Program with Local 18 https://t.co/eVC8s9kFTG pic.twitter.com/lB0mLrmYQu

— Insulators Union (@InsulatorsUnion) January 23, 2020

International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers:

the #UnitedProfessionals of @IFPTE and @TheSocietySays stand with out @UniforTheUnion sisters and brothers! https://t.co/eVtGRe9hqZ

— IFPTE (@IFPTE) January 23, 2020

Ironworkers:

"Mykka Ellis, who joined the Ironworkers Union as a trans woman in 2016, says she got a lot of support when they would send her out to jobsites." #LGBTQ #transrights #BeThatOneGuy
https://t.co/7uPjRT9ecH

— Ironworkers. (@TheIronworkers) January 6, 2020

Jobs With Justice:

Big business thought it could take the new $15 #minimumwage in Minneapolis to court and win. Welp, they lost and working people WON. #fightfor15 https://t.co/IOB7MMWjwU

— Jobs With Justice (@jwjnational) January 23, 2020

Labor Council for Latin American Advancement:

LCLAA supports the Prince George's County NAACP chapter, as it is imperative that our communities are accurately represented in order for our voices to be heard!https://t.co/4f8gxEysiR

— LCLAA (@LCLAA) January 23, 2020

Laborers:

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.... #MLK #MartinLutherKingJr pic.twitter.com/JkWv8nBtqj

— LIUNA (@LIUNA) January 17, 2020

Machinists:

The @MachinistsUnion is urging members to write House members, urging them to pass the #PROAct, legislation that would bolster worker rights https://t.co/hsVuTNmq8B

— Machinists Union (@MachinistsUnion) January 22, 2020

Metal Trades Department:

The value of union membership. Have you checked out the Metal Trades Free College Benefit? Did you know that we now have a low-cost Bachelor's degree option? https://t.co/iMevQOKxjG pic.twitter.com/NmW4iqpVLZ

— Metal Trades Dept. (@metaltradesafl) January 23, 2020

Mine Workers:

UMWA International President @CecilRoberts met with @senatemajldr yesterday to thank him for his critical role in passing the Bipartisan American Miners Act. #TheyEarnedIt #PromiseKept pic.twitter.com/zMCTBN815g

— United Mine Workers (@MineWorkers) January 8, 2020

Musical Artists:

We had an amazing Delegate Training session today with some of our incredible Concert Singers! #WeAreAGMA #AGMA #UnionStrong #KnowledgeIsPower #UnionPower pic.twitter.com/e2SzD5GcMT

— AGMA (@AGMusicalArtist) January 16, 2020

National Air Traffic Controllers Association:

In a single year, nearly one billion passengers will take to the skies — more than twice the population of the U.S., and the number increases each year. The use of geospatial technology enables precision time-management for controlling air traffic. https://t.co/BrYhNf78c8

— NATCA (@NATCA) January 23, 2020

National Association of Letter Carriers:

One hot summer day, as carrier Joseph Loeser was delivering on his route, he saw one of his customers suffering from heat stroke. Joseph comforted the man and asked a security guard to call 911. Paramedics arrived and took the man to the hospital. Thanks, Joseph! #Heroes #1u pic.twitter.com/Wg6cPESyjC

— Letter Carriers (@NALC_National) January 23, 2020

National Domestic Workers Alliance:

Last week, NDWA leaders in Vancouver met with @HerreraBeutler about the personal importance of passing the national #DomesticWorkersBillofRights! Thank you for listening to our stories. We strongly encourage you to become a co-sponsor of this important legislation! pic.twitter.com/T6l8RXd07h

— Domestic Workers (@domesticworkers) January 23, 2020

National Federation of Federal Employees:

2019 was an huge year for our union and federal employees across the country.

Take a look at some of our biggest wins. #NFFE #IAMAW #1u https://t.co/1cLXat3wL0

— NFFE (@NFFE_Union) January 22, 2020

National Nurses United:

"We joined the union so that we can have a stronger voice on #SafeStaffing." ??

Welcome to the #UnionStrong family! ✊ https://t.co/oPZu8nmz4d

— NationalNursesUnited (@NationalNurses) January 23, 2020

National Taxi Workers Alliance:

NYTWA taxi medallion owner-drivers packed @TheNCUA board meeting in VA this morning to make our demands for debt relief heard. pic.twitter.com/vaDjuWV1GJ

— NY Taxi Workers (@NYTWA) January 23, 2020

The NewsGuild-CWA:

And we're off to a strong start in 2020! Three weeks into the new year, journalists at 5 publications have announced union drives with @NewsGuild @CWAUnion: Sports Illustrated, South Bend Tribune, Springfield News-Leader, Miami New Times & Phoenix New Times. https://t.co/tjRIad8JwA pic.twitter.com/bfXq9BV7Na

— NewsGuild (@newsguild) January 23, 2020

NFL Players Association:

These community superheroes together impacted thousands of lives through donations and special events. One of them will earn $100,000 for their charity as the Alan Page Community Award winner! @GenoSacks @BCarr39 @bcope51 @demario__davis @Bwagz pic.twitter.com/BK2Obb4j0s

— NFLPA (@NFLPA) January 22, 2020

North America's Building Trades Unions:

Hosting construction career fairs is a great way to show today’s youth that a #BuildingTrades union career is secure, safe & reliable ?

“A lot of us are told that college is our only option, but it’s really neat to see that it’s not"https://t.co/UPgi2SifS5

— The Building Trades (@NABTU) January 23, 2020

Office and Professional Employees:

Best of luck to our union family in Nevada, which is growing larger by the day! @NVAFLCIO #1u https://t.co/9PIXoujNXY

— OPEIU (@OPEIU) January 21, 2020

Painters and Allied Trades:

#TBT In January 1970, the union got a name change - from "Brotherhood of Painters and Decorators of America" to “International Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades." It would take another 30 years to settle on the IUPAT. In 1970 and 2020, we're fighting for working people. pic.twitter.com/7lN11UDf7k

— GoIUPAT✊? (@GoIUPAT) January 23, 2020

Plasterers and Cement Masons:

Read about 7 interesting construction industry trends — especially #1, Virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality, where the #OPCMIA International Training Fund Apprenticeship Program is on the cutting edge of the technology of the future!https://t.co/vYffyph9d1

— OPCMIA International (@opcmiaintl) January 22, 2020

Professional Aviation Safety Specialists:

Congrats @TheWNBPA on new contract! Fair pay, work/life balance & workplace protections are what all unions bargain for so that our members can do their jobs without distractions. Like PASS members @ FAA & DoD. And like DC's own @WashMystics WNBA champs! #1u #unionsolidarity

— PASS (@PASSNational) January 15, 2020

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union:

R.I.P. to Charlie Mae Brown Snowden, a 35-year employee at @Saks Fifth Avenue in Chicago and officer with RWDSU Local 291.

Read more about her amazing life: https://t.co/OAtLAf7X4K pic.twitter.com/S6uqM4i2u2

— RWDSU (@RWDSU) January 23, 2020

SAG-AFTRA:

And a few more from the #SeeHer platform at the 2020 @SAGawards. ♥️ pic.twitter.com/J4c5BiXvZS

— #SeeHer (@seeher2020) January 21, 2020

Seafarers:

#1u #JonesAct #Puerto Rico #Maritime #Unions
PMCs & Affiliates Deliver Badly Needed Relief to Puerto Rico Earthquake Victims https://t.co/IIhX9LQ9PC

— Seafarers Union (@SeafarersUnion) January 23, 2020

Solidarity Center:

Union power, pass it on! pic.twitter.com/RdC9CcFpuN

— Solidarity Center (@SolidarityCntr) January 23, 2020

Theatrical Stage Employees:

Our @GolfChannel crews continue to fight for a safe and fair contract ✊ Let them know you stand with them! https://t.co/5b6pi9EiU8

— IATSE (@IATSE) January 23, 2020

Transport Workers:

"Our society can rewrite the rules to put power in working people's hands, and strengthen our democracy, ensuring that no one is left behind." https://t.co/ZheD6v4uV2

— TWU (@transportworker) January 23, 2020

Transportation Trades Department:

After reuniting a lost boy with his family, MTA bus operator Tyrone Hampton said - and as many transit workers know - the good deed was just part of doing his job. https://t.co/81wtYcP8ek

— Transp. Trades Dept. (@TTDAFLCIO) January 19, 2020

UAW:

"Overhauling the North American Free Trade Act may have been a start, but the work has just begun."

Read the latest Labor Voices from UAW President Rory Gamble >>> https://t.co/S9OqZC9dwm

— UAW (@UAW) January 22, 2020

Union Veterans Council:

Shout out to the members of @PASSNational and @AFGENational working on the @AFLCIO #MLKconf day of service! pic.twitter.com/x4X1tGntue

— Union Veterans Council (@unionveterans) January 18, 2020

UNITE HERE:

"Is [@Marriott's] 'Make a Green Choice' about sustainability, or reducing labor costs? Real change, or customer-assuaging greenwashing?"@Sierra_Magazine investigates. READ: https://t.co/czaUxxqykV#GreedyChoice pic.twitter.com/ERHAndqs7M

— UNITE HERE (@unitehere) January 21, 2020

United Food and Commercial Workers:

Every year our @UFCW75 members in #Ohio honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy and continue his work to help hardworking families build a better life.

Thanks to all who joined the #Cincinnati and #Dayton march remembering #MLK. We’re proud to stand with you. #1uMLK #TBT pic.twitter.com/VcGdo02bLr

— UFCW (@UFCW) January 23, 2020

United Steelworkers:

Union Against Public Funding for Company Hiring Nonunion Custodians | Cleaning & Maintenance Management https://t.co/cqAZ2R7O1r #1u

— United Steelworkers (@steelworkers) January 23, 2020

United Students Against Sweatshops:

VICTORY!!! USASers at the UCs have been fighting alongside @AFSCMELocal3299 workers for the past 3 years. Today, service workers signed a historic agreement that sets the highest union standard at UC. This is a major win for USAS and for workers everywhere. When we fight, we win! pic.twitter.com/iYiAQ75J3J

— USAS (@USAS) January 23, 2020

United Union of Roofers and Waterproofers:

Hear workers recount their own experiences falling from ladders. https://t.co/KyrweOq0YY #roofersafety365 https://t.co/BmKqdbP2yd

— Roofers Union (@roofersunion) January 15, 2020

Utility Workers:

"When you look at wages that apprenticeships and other career areas pay and the fact that you do not pay four years of tuition and you're paid while you learn, these paths really need some additional consideration." https://t.co/ZP4a9upDx7 @UWUA_P4A @ashleykgross @JonMarcusBoston

— UWUA National (@The_UWUA) January 23, 2020

Working America:

In 2018, Amazon paid $0 in U.S. federal income tax on over $11 billion in profits before taxes, but somehow it's always the poor and elderly that get blamed for our budget deficit.

— Working America (@WorkingAmerica) January 23, 2020

Writers Guild of America, East:

Our statement on reports that @Spotify is in talks to purchase @Ringer. #RingerUnion pic.twitter.com/xU3Lj6fnqe

— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) January 21, 2020 Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 01/24/2020 - 10:23

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Healing a Community

Wed, 01/22/2020 - 11:30
‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Healing a Community AFL-CIO

On the latest episode of "State of the Unions," podcast co-hosts Julie and Tim talk with 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.

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, 01/22/2020 - 12:30

Tags: Podcast

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Plasterers and Cement Masons

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 07:31
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Plasterers and Cement Masons AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Plasterers and Cement Masons.

Name of Union: Plasterers and Cement Masons (OPCMIA)

Mission: To protect and promote the quality of the industry and the livelihood of members, to promote cement and plaster, to recruit and train skilled craftsmen to meet the demands of the industry, and to hold the union responsible to this commitment for the future of the industry and the welfare of all those who earn their living in it.

Current Leadership of Union: Daniel E. Stepano serves as the general president for the OPCMIA, a role he has served in since 2016. He first joined the union as a plasterer in 1980 in Pittsburgh for Local No. 31. After many years of service to the local and beyond, he was appointed international vice president in 2004. At that year's international convention, he was elected to serve as vice president. In 2007, he became executive vice president for the OPCMIA and was re-elected to the role before becoming president. 

Kevin D. Sexton serves as general secretary-treasurer. 

Members Work As: Plasterers, masons and shop hands.

Industries Represented: Members work in two major construction fields, concrete and plaster.

History: The OPCMIA is the oldest building and construction trades union in the United States, beginning during the Civil War. Leaders sought to unify various local craft unions in the trade. Once the union became active, it endorsed the eight-hour workday and instituted apprentice training and regulation. In 1887, the union became international by allowing Canadian workers to join. In 1951, Operative Plasterers were added to the name as a reflection that members did more than finish cement. For more than a century, the OPCMIA has lived by the principles upon which it was founded and upon which the OPCMIA will continue to be proud, strong and united.

Current Campaigns/Community Efforts: OPCMIA Veterans spotlights members who have transitioned from military service to their country into the industry. Plasterer and Cement Mason magazine provides news and information. The OPCMIA provides training to help working people expand their skills and pursue their goals. OPCMIA Gear offers branded merchandise for members and supporters.

Learn More: WebsiteFacebookTwitter

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 01/21/2020 - 08:31

A Win for Nurses and Patients: Worker Wins

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 09:52
A Win for Nurses and Patients: Worker Wins

Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with nurses banding together to make patients' lives better and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life. The end of 2019 saw a flurry of wins for working people, so this is the first in several posts over the next week that will cover the victories of the last quarter of the year.

California Nurses Win New Master Contract: Nearly 4,000 registered nurses at eight Tenet hospitals in California approved a new master contract. The nurses are members of California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU). The new agreement enhances recruitment and retention, assures eight-hour rest periods between shifts, adequate breaks, scheduling improvements, better health and safety, wage increases, and protections for the nurses' health care. “We are very proud of what we’ve achieved with this new contract. It is a testament to what registered nurses can accomplish collectively when we stand together as committed patient advocates,” said Ginny Gary, an registered nurse at the Los Alamitos Medical Center. “This new agreement is a win for the nurses and our patients, for our families and for the communities we serve across the state.”

University of Chicago Nurses Avert Strike with Tentative Deal: The nurses, members of National Nurses United (NNU), planned for a one-day strike and the hospital said it would lock out the nurses in response. The strike was canceled when the the agreement was reached. “Both sides have been working since March on a contract that not only recognizes the valuable contributions our nurses make to our organization, but also ensures [the University of Chicago Medical Center] remains at the forefront of medical care and scientific research for years to come,” said Debra Albert, the hospital’s chief nursing officer.

Last of the Big Three Detroit Auto Makers Reaches Agreement with UAW: UAW and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) reached a tentative four-year agreement that would cover hourly workers at the company. The deal secures $9 billion of company investments that will create nearly 8,000 jobs. "FCA has been a great American success story thanks to the hard work of our members. We have achieved substantial gains and job security provisions for the fastest growing auto company in the United States," said Rory Gamble, the acting president of the UAW.

Philadelphia Public Defenders to Become UAW Members: A majority of the 200 lawyers at the Defender Association of Philadelphia voted to be represented by the UAW. The lawyers represent some 70% of those arrested for criminal offenses or probation violations in the city. In a petition to management, the attorneys said: “We have all chosen this work because we are passionate about protecting the constitutional rights of our clients and giving them a voice in a system that otherwise does not. We believe that by collectively improving our workplace, we will better serve our clients.”

New Mexico Faculty Vote to be Represented by AFT: More than 70% of faculty at the University of New Mexico (UNM) voted to be represented by AFT. More than 1,600 full- and part-time faculty across five campuses will also be members of the American Association of University Professors. The new unit, United Academics of the University of New Mexico, will begin bargaining with the university on its first contract. Hilary Lipka, a temporary part-time faculty member in religious studies, said: "This is a historic moment for faculty at UNM. Our victory reflects how important it is that the university treats faculty with dignity and respect. We look forward to sitting down with the administration and negotiating a contract that acknowledges the work and value that part-time faculty contribute to the university."

Zoellner Arts Center Stagehands Join IATSE: In a unanimous vote, stagehands who work at the Zoellner Arts Center at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania voted unanimously to join Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 200. The workers support the 200-plus annual events held at the arts center. The new unit will meet with Lehigh to begin negotiations on a collective bargaining agreement.

Los Angeles Times Newsroom Employees Reach Tentative Agreement: Nearly 500 members of the Los Angeles Times newsroom will now be represented by the L.A. Times Guild, an affiliate of The NewsGuild-CWA (TNG-CWA). The contract is more than a year in the making and will provide raises and other benefits over the life of the three-year contract. “We’re really proud of what we’ve achieved together,” said Carolina A. Miranda, co-chair of the L.A. Times Guild. “It’s a difficult time in the industry, but we’ve landed significant pay increases and a broad safety net of job protections that are some of the best in the industry. We’re grateful that Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is actively reinvesting in The Times. This is a win for journalism and a win for L.A.”

Hormel Workers Across the Country Approve New Contract: Thousands of Hormel workers nationwide approved a new contract that strengthens wages, expands health care and increases pension security. The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), which represents the Hormel workers, said: “By strongly voting for a new contract that improves wages and benefits, thousands of our hardworking members sent a powerful message this week about the power that comes from workers standing together."

Houston Mayor Signs $12 Minimum Wage for Airport Workers: After months of workers demanding that city leaders raise the minimum wage at George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner signed an executive order raising the minimum wage for all airport workers in Houston to $12 an hour. The rate is a first step in pursuit of $15 an hour minimum wage at the airports in Houston. “We are excited that Mayor Turner met with airport workers and listened to their struggles, and thankful that he took action to raise wages," said Willy Gonzalez, secretary-treasurer of UNITE HERE Local 23. "This is a great step forward for Houston’s airport workers. For many of our members, this will make the difference between whether or not they can pay rent at the end of the month.

Actors' Equity Reaches Agreement with The Broadway League: An overwhelming 95% of Actors' Equity (AEA) members voted to approve the new production contract with The Broadway League. "This negotiation resulted in not only great compensation increases for our members but created new terms and conditions that provide further protections for stage managers and swings," said Mary McColl, executive director of AEA. "This is the third negotiation we have completed with The Broadway League this year. Thanks to the solidarity and support of our members, all three have been successful."

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 01/17/2020 - 10:52

Tags: Organizing

Greater Boston Labor Council Makes History with Latest Election

Mon, 01/13/2020 - 07:26
Greater Boston Labor Council Makes History with Latest Election

The Greater Boston Labor Council (GBLC), AFL-CIO, made history last week with the election of the first woman of color to its top office. Darlene Lombos takes over as executive secretary-treasurer, replacing Richard Rogers, who officially retired after leading the GBLC for the past 16 years.

Lombos brings more than 20 years of community and youth organizing experience in the labor movement to the position. She served as vice president of the GBLC and has been the executive director of Community Labor United since 2011. A vital asset to the greater Boston community, her work continues to protect and promote the interests of working-class families and communities of color in greater Boston and throughout the commonwealth.

“I am honored to lead such an amazing group of dedicated workers in the Boston area,” said Lombos. “Rich was a true mentor and I look forward to continuing his legacy of empowering working families for years to come.”

Rogers, a member of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) Local 391, leaves behind an impressive legacy in the labor movement. Prior to leading the GBLC, Rogers served on the staff of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO for 21 years, 12 of those as the state federation’s political director. He was the chief organizer for several influential political campaigns, including Ted Kennedy’s 1994 U.S. Senate race and the elections of Jim McGovern and John Tierney to the U.S. House of Representatives. He played an integral role during his four terms as GBLC executive secretary-treasurer in growing and strengthening the Boston-area labor movement.

In recognition of his lifetime of hard work and dedication to the movement, The Labor Guild awarded the prestigious Cushing-Gavin Award to Rogers in December 2019.

Dennis Loney Mon, 01/13/2020 - 08:26

Economy Gains 145,000 Jobs in December; Unemployment Unchanged at 3.5%

Fri, 01/10/2020 - 12:11
Economy Gains 145,000 Jobs in December; Unemployment Unchanged at 3.5%

The U.S. economy gained 145,000 jobs in December, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 3.5%, according to figures released Friday morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Preliminary data from BLS also shows, for the first time since 2010, the majority of workers on U.S. payrolls are women, underscoring the importance of addressing the gender wage gap.

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

@BLS_gov continues to show modest wage gains, up only 2.9 percent over the year. Combined with modest employment growth, clearly the @federalreserve was correct to reverse course on interest rate hikes it had planned beginning back in 2018. @AFLCIO #JobsReport

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) January 10, 2020

The industries with the lowest wages (moving down the graph below the dotted horizontal line) and the greatest job gains (moving to the right from the dotted vertical line). This composition effect helps to slow overall wage growth. @AFLCIO #JobsReport pic.twitter.com/QFrHWlT2M7

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) January 10, 2020

At 3.1% for Leisure & hospitality (mostly food service workers) and 4.2% for Retail trade, both industries where the minimum wage increases have been important, saw higher year-over-year wage growth than the average. @ernietedeschi @AFLCIO #JobsReport pic.twitter.com/D6XgCROogR

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) January 10, 2020

The weakness in wage growth, and the deceleration in job growth contribute to this sad statistic: Employment in motor vehicle production fell from 1.005 million in December 2018 to 986,900 last month. At 3.5% unemployment selling cars should be easy. @UAW @AFLCIO @bencasselman

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) January 10, 2020

State government (on left) and local government employment continue their climbs back to restoring the needed public investment for sustained growth. But, in December state government employment took a small dip, losing 8,000 while local employment grew 14,000. @AFSCME @AFTunion pic.twitter.com/YgVBb1QB9d

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) January 10, 2020

Last month's biggest job gains were in retail trade (41,000), leisure and hospitality (40,000), and health care (28,000). Mining lost jobs (-8,000). Employment in other major industries—including construction, manufacturing, financial activities, transportation and warehousing, wholesale trade, information, professional and business services, and government—showed little change over the month.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for teenagers (12.6%), blacks (5.9%), Hispanics (4.2%), adult men (3.1%), whites (3.2%), adult women (3.2%) and Asians (2.5%) showed little or no change in December.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was unchanged in December and accounted for 20.5% of the unemployed.

Dennis Loney Fri, 01/10/2020 - 13:11

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Collective Heroism

Wed, 01/08/2020 - 13:20
‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Collective Heroism .

On the latest episode of “State of the Unions,” AFL-CIO podcast co-hosts Julie Greene Collier and Tim Schlittner talk to Fire Fighters (IAFF) General President Harold Schaitberger about the union’s one-of-a-kind behavioral health treatment facility in Maryland dedicated to treating IAFF members struggling with addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder and other related behavioral challenges. They discuss 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.

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.

Dennis Loney Wed, 01/08/2020 - 14:20

A Future That Works for Workers

Mon, 01/06/2020 - 10:22
A Future That Works for Workers

At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, the AFL-CIO is partnering with SAG-AFTRA to host the second annual Labor Innovation & Technology Summit. The summit, led by AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler, SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris and UNITE HERE International President D. Taylor, brings together union, technology, entertainment and media leaders to explore how these industries intersect and the potential impact for America’s workers and for the country’s creative culture. 

As the voice of working Americans, unions play a critical role in ensuring that rapidly evolving technology, which will bring so many great things to humanity, doesn’t roll over humans in the process. Recognizing that this can only be accomplished by partnering with the tech industry, the second annual Labor Innovation & Technology Summit brings together diverse voices for a frank conversation about where we are, where we’re going and the critical milestones along the way.

About the AFL-CIO Commission on the Future of Work and Unions

For the better part of four decades, workers have been more productive than ever, creating massive amounts of wealth—but rigged economic rules, unmitigated corporate greed and unrelenting political attacks have weakened our voices, stifled our wages and eroded our economic security. Yet, as we write this report, a wave of collective action is sweeping the nation. Working people across industries and demographics are joining together for a better life. This uprising comes at a critical moment, as the astounding technologies of the digital revolution have the potential to improve workers’ lives but also threaten to degrade or eliminate millions of jobs.

The AFL-CIO Commission on the Future of Work and Unions, formed by a unanimous vote of the 2017 AFL-CIO Convention, is putting working people where we belong—at the center of shaping the economy, work, unions and the AFL-CIO.

Report AFL-CIO Commission on the Future of Work and Unions September 13, 2019 A report of the AFL-CIO Commission on the Future of Work and Unions, an initiative focused on bringing workers’ voices into the future of work debate and rebuilding worker bargaining power in an economy that is leaving too many people behind. Related Articles

An Open Letter to Game Developers from America's Largest Labor Organization
Kotaku
By Liz Shuler, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer

Now it’s time for industry bosses to start treating you with hard-earned dignity and respect. While you’re putting in crunch time, your bosses are ringing the opening bell on Wall Street. While you’re creating some of the most groundbreaking products of our time, they’re pocketing billions. While you’re fighting through exhaustion and putting your soul into a game, Bobby Kotick and Andrew Wilson are toasting to “their” success.

America’s Biggest Labor Federation Asks Game Developers to Unionize
Variety
By Emily Gera

A leading figure from America’s biggest labor organization penned an open letter to game developers encouraging unionization across the games industry. AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer Liz Shuler took to Kotaku with a post that asks workers in the games industry to fight for adequate pay, sensible work hours, and against toxic work conditions.

Amid Game Industry Layoffs, AFL-CIO Says It’s Time for Workers to Organize
Polygon
By Charlie Hall

On Feb. 15, just days after massive layoffs at Activision Blizzard, the AFL-CIO issued a powerful public statement of support to game developers in the United States. Also known as the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, the AFL-CIO represents more than 12 million workers in 50 different labor unions, including a unit here within Vox Media. Its message, published in an open letter at Kotaku, was both simple and profound.

Activision Blizzard CEO's $30M Pay Under Fire from Labor Union: 'Like Legal Highway Robbery'
Hollywood Reporter
By Patrick Shanley

The AFL-CIO, the nation's largest federation of unions, has taken aim at Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick and his annual compensation in 2018 following a massive round of layoffs earlier this year which saw nearly 800 employees lose their jobs. AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer Liz Shuler, in a statement published Tuesday, highlighted Kotick's financial compensation in 2018—which was $30.8 million, the majority of which came from stock options ($19 million)—saying, "This is like legal highway robbery."

Dennis Loney Mon, 01/06/2020 - 11:22

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: OPEIU

Mon, 12/30/2019 - 07:32
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: OPEIU

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Office and Professional Employees.

Name of Union: Office and Professional Employees (OPEIU)

Mission"To improve the lives of working families by bringing economic justice to the workplace and social justice to our communities. Acting as a strong and united voice in the workplace and in the communities in which we live, OPEIU seeks to bring the benefits of representation to all working people and their families."

Current Leadership of UnionRichard Lanigan serves as president of OPEIU. He was first appointed president by the OPEIU executive board in 2015 and was elected to the position in 2016. Lanigan worked his way through college as a union member before joining OPEIU Local 153 in 1980. After law school, he served as assistant to the OPEIU general counsel. In 1994, he was elected both as secretary-treasurer of Local 153 and joined the international executive board as vice president. Mary Mahoney has served as secretary-treasurer since 2010. OPEIU has 17 vice presidents.

Number of Members103,000.

Members Work AsHealthcare employees, including registered nurses and podiatrists, clerical workers, credit union employees, nonprofit employees, teachers, Minor League Baseball umpires and helicopter pilots.

Industries RepresentedOPEIU members work at credit unions, hospitals and medical clinics, insurance companies, higher education, nonprofits, transportation, shipping, utilities, hotels, administrative offices and more.

HistoryThe American Federation of Labor granted the first clerical federal charter to Local 1 of the Stenographers, Typists, Bookkeepers and Assistants Union in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1906. Membership grew slowly until the passage of the Wagner Act in 1935. The legislation granted collective bargaining rights to working people and propelled thousands of clerical employees to form dozens of clerical unions. In 1936, Mollie Levitas called for a resolution recognizing an international union of office workers. Nine years later, AFL granted a charter to the Office Employees International Union (OEIU), which had 22,000 members. In 1965, after the AFL merged with the Congress of Industrial Organizations, the OEIU rebranded as the Office and Professional Employees International Union. In the following decades, the union grew at a fast rate, reaching 110,000 members by 2010.

Current Campaigns/Community Efforts: White Collar Magazine provides news and information for office workers. The OPEIU Nurses Council brings together members of the union who work in nursing to address mutual concerns. OPEIU members have access to a free college assistance program and national 401(k) and health plans for local unions to negotiate into their employer contracts. The Rising Stars initiative seeks to create and network OPEIU youth programs across the country. The OPEIU Store sells merchandise branded with the union's name and logo.

Learn More: WebsiteFacebookYouTubeInstagramTwitter.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 12/30/2019 - 08:32

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