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Free At Last! Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup

Wed, 08/21/2019 - 13:07
Free At Last! 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.

Follow the links below to find podcasts. They also can be found wherever you listen to podcasts:

America's Work Force: "This week's guests include Cheri Honkala, founder of the Poor People’s Economic Rights Campaign, Frank Mathews, administrative director for Communications Workers of America District 4 in Chicago, and Jim Cullen, editor of the Progressive Populist."

Building Bridges: Your Community and Labor Report: "We welcome home Janet and Janine Africa, after 41 years, and won’t rest until all our political prisoners are free at last! With:

  • Sheroes Janet and Janine finally returned to the beloved community after 41 years of incarceration for a death that actually resulted from a police campaign of terror used against black community organizations;
  • Carlos Africa, Move organizer;
  • Pam Africa, Move organizer; and
  • Commentary by Mumia Abu-Jamal, a political prisoner who remains imprisoned for life without parole and continues his work as a journalist from his jail cell in Pennsylvania. Prior to his wrongful conviction in 1981, Abu-Jamal was a political activist and president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists."

CTU Speaks! Podcast: "The Chicago Teachers Union launched CTU Speaks! earlier this week. The monthly podcast by rank-and-file educators in Chicago Public Schools seeks to empower and unify members through discussions about the union, Chicago’s public schools and communities, and local and national public education issues. CTU Speaks! is the brainchild of the union’s member-led Public Relations and Communications Committee, hosted by committee members Andrea Parker and Jim Staros."

Heartland Labor Forum: "Missouri’s motto is 'Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law,' but the legislature still hasn’t passed Medicaid expansion. This week on the Heartland Labor Forum we’ll talk to Jobs with Justice’s Richard Von Glahn on a new coalition to use the initiative process to win health care coverage for thousands of Missourians. Then we’ll find out from Art Johnson, former president of the Social Security local in Kansas City, just how bad Donald Trump’s union-busting of federal unions is."

UComm Live with Kris LaGrange: "The governor of Massachusetts vetoes a popular bill that would protect employees' right to have a voice at work; ICE conducts their biggest workplace raid ever; Democratic candidate Jay Inslee talks green, union jobs; Rich Trumka warns the Democratic Party not to take its base for granted; what to do when a boss bargains in the press; and the Mets are only one game out of the wild card. PLUS: On Thursday, August 15th on UCOMM Live, we call out Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports for threatening his staff if they attempt to organize; Dave is scared of us, and he should be. Sarker goes into an interesting piece on where are all the union Muslims? Antonio Brown of the Oakland Raiders is not wearing his PPEs; his shop stewards are pissed. Chris Cuomo, Andy's little brother, caught on tape standing up for himself, and Beto O'Rourke comes out with a sensible gun control solution."

Union City Radio: Texas AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Montserrat Garibay; the toxic impact of private equity; AFSCME Local 3001 OmniRide drivers settle a new contract.

Union Strong - Call for Transparency on Campus Foundations: "SUNY’s 30 campus-related foundations have a lot of money⁠—millions. Where does it come from, where is it going and how is it being used? These are all questions raised by UUP, the nation’s largest higher education union. On this podcast, a conversation with UUP President Dr. Fred Kowal about campus foundations and much more."

Workers Beat: "Will have a lineup of local union and other progressive leaders to endorse labor outreach."

Your Rights at Work: "Hosted by Chris Garlock, with Mark Gruenberg; DC’s call-in show about worker rights: those you have, those you don’t, how to get them and how to use them. On this week’s show: Ghost Workers author Mary Gray and a sneak preview of Gene Bruskin’s new labor musical, 'The Moment Was Now.'"

State of the Unions: "Tim talks to NABTU Chief of Staff Mike Monroe about a Department of Labor proposal that would undermine world-class apprenticeships in the construction industry."

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 08/21/2019 - 14:07

Tags: Podcast

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Save Our Apprenticeships

Wed, 08/21/2019 - 09:46
‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Save Our Apprenticeships AFL-CIO

On the latest episode of “State of the Unions,” podcast co-host Tim Schlittner talks to North America's Building Trades Unions (NABTU) Chief of Staff Mike Monroe about a Department of Labor proposal that would undermine world-class apprenticeships in the construction industry.

Listen to our previous episodes:

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

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 08/21/2019 - 10:46

Tags: Podcast

Lesotho Plan Has All Elements to End Gender-Based Violence at Work

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 09:45
Lesotho Plan Has All Elements to End Gender-Based Violence at Work

A new worker-centered, precedent-setting program will comprehensively address the rampant gender-based violence and harassment (GBVH) denying thousands of women garment workers a safe and dignified workplace in Lesotho.

The program, established by two negotiated and enforceable agreements, will cover 10,000 Lesotho garment workers in five factories that produce jeans and knitwear for the global market. Lesotho-based unions and women’s rights groups, major fashion brands and international worker rights organizations, including the Solidarity Center, negotiated with the factory owner, Nien Hsing Textiles, to mandate education and awareness training for all employees and managers, an independent reporting and monitoring system, and remedies for abusive behavior.

The parties came to the table after the U.S.-based Worker Rights Consortium documented how the mostly female workforce at three Nien Hsing textile factories regularly was coerced into sexual activity with supervisors as a condition of gaining or retaining employment or promotions, and were persistently sexually harassed, verbally and physically.

The Lesothoan unions and women’s rights groups, all with proven histories of fighting to advance the rights of workers and women throughout the country, are: the Federation of Women Lawyers in Lesotho (FIDA), the Independent Democratic Union of Lesotho (IDUL), the National Clothing Textile and Allied Workers Union, Lesotho (NACTWU), the United Textile Employees (UNITE) and Women and Law in Southern Africa Research and Education Trust (WLSA)-Lesotho. They will administer the agreement and will serve on the oversight committee.

The Solidarity Center, WRC and Workers United joined these groups to negotiate the two agreements with Levi Strauss, The Children’s Place, Kontoor Brands and Nien Hsing Textiles.

“This is the first initiative in Lesotho that brings together workers, unions, women’s organizations and employers to work towards one common goal of improving the socioeconomic rights of women in the workplace,” said Thusoana Ntlama, FIDA programs coordinator, and Libakiso Matlho, WLSA national director.

Agreements Follow Report Documenting Abuse at Lesotho Factories

Nearly two-thirds of the garment workers WRC interviewed reported “having experienced sexual harassment or abuse” or having knowledge of harassment or abuse suffered by co-workers, according to the report. Women workers from all three factories identified GBVH as a central concern for themselves and other female employees.

“Many supervisors demand sexual favors and bribes from prospective employees,” one worker told WRC investigators. “They promise jobs to the workers who are still on probationary contracts.[…]All of the women in my department have slept with the supervisor. For the women, this is about survival and nothing else.[…]If you say no, you won’t get the job, or your contract will not be renewed.”

All the Elements to Prevent, Eliminate GBVH at Work

While sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence may happen at any workplace, GBVH is rampant in the global garment and textile industry. Globally, some 85% of garment workers are women. They are especially vulnerable to abuse and violence at work because of imbalanced power structures, high poverty and unemployment.

The Lesotho plan “has all the elements needed to prevent and eliminate gender-based violence at work,” says Solidarity Center Executive Director Shawna Bader-Blau. “First, there’s real accountability. It is binding and enforceable on all parties. And the global brands and the employer have guaranteed their commitment to enforcing and upholding the code of conduct by signing fully executed, binding and enforceable contracts.”

The agreements:

  • Establish an independent organization to investigate issues, fully empowered to determine remedies;
  • Create a clear code of conduct on unacceptable behaviors and a system for reporting abuse—with garment workers as full participants in creating, implementing and monitoring it; and
  • Establish an education and awareness program that goes beyond the typical harassment and gender violence training. It will be comprehensive and get at the root causes of gender discrimination and violence against women.

Importantly, says Bader-Blau, “the program is sustainable because it’s worker designed, with unions working together with women’s rights groups to deliver it.”

And because the freedom to form unions and collectively bargain has proven essential to addressing gender-based violence and harassment at work and in creating the space for workers to shape a future of work that is fair and democratic, it’s especially key that these agreements also protect workers’ rights to freely form unions, says Bader-Blau.

Nien Hsing, which manufactures apparel for global brands in several countries, signed one agreement with trade unions and women’s rights organizations in Lesotho to establish the GBVH program, and has committed to take recommended action when violations of the program’s code of conduct have been established.

The global brands entered into a parallel agreement in which, should Nien Hsing commit a material breach of its agreement with the unions and NGOs, it will take action, including a potential reduction in orders.

In the past, as one worker told WRC, “The [supervisors accused of harassment] are usually rotated to other departments,” arrangements the plan seeks to eradicate.

Putting the Plan into Action

Lesotho-based women’s rights organizations, unions, the Solidarity Center and WRC will jointly design the education and awareness program and curriculum, with input from the newly created independent investigative organization.

They also will carry out the two-day training in which all workers and managers will take part. Workers will be paid regular wages during the training.

And importantly, says Bader-Blau, “Empowered workers with a negotiated stake in the agreements can identify and report violence and harassment. And because they have established the terms with the employer as equals, they can be sure that retaliation for reporting abuse and the impunity of abusers will end. Unlike corporate social responsibility programs, the Lesotho program is a contractual agreement with the employer, the brands and the unions, which means everyone is accountable to the code of conduct–with workers able to enforce it as an equal party.”

The program is partially modeled after the Fair Food Program, a set of binding agreements between leading food brands, like McDonald’s and Whole Foods, and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Using the type of independent complaint mechanism that will be established by the Lesotho agreements, the Fair Food Program largely has eliminated what had been rampant sexual harassment and coercion in the tomato fields of Florida.

The agreements also build on the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, in which unions were key participants, and recognizes the fundamental role of collective bargaining in negotiating an agreement that is binding on employers and international brands and in bringing accountability to the global supply chain by ensuring the agreement is implemented and enforced.

Funding for the two-year program will come primarily from the three brands, in collaboration with the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the program will kick off in fall 2019.

This post originally appeared at the Solidarity Center.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 08/20/2019 - 10:45

Tags: Solidarity Center

Ahead of Election Season, New Jersey State AFL-CIO’s Labor Candidates School Grooms New Crop of Office-Seeking Union Members

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 10:58
Ahead of Election Season, New Jersey State AFL-CIO’s Labor Candidates School Grooms New Crop of Office-Seeking Union Members NJ AFL-CIO

It was a monumental weekend for 28 union members who graduated from the New Jersey State AFL-CIO’s 23rd Annual Labor Candidates School on Sunday.

The two-day immersion course, held at the union-staffed Rutgers University Inn and Conference Center on Aug. 17 and 18, featured lectures from a number of seasoned election experts. Topics included fundraising, election law, campaign research, message development, public speaking, media relations, voter contact, volunteer recruitment, targeting and digital strategy.

"To say I’m proud of the graduates of this year’s Labor Candidates School would be an understatement," said Charles Wowkanech, president of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO. “It’s exciting to see so many union members interested in running for elected office. These ambitious brothers and sisters understand the issues facing the working class, and once they’re elected, they’ll pursue a proactive and progressive labor agenda at the state and local level.

“This new crop of labor candidates has the full support of the state fed, and we look forward to mentoring them during this upcoming election season,” Wowkanech added.      

Wowkanech launched the Labor Candidates School in 1997 as part of the state federation's ongoing effort to recruit, train and support union members running for elected office. Since then, the school has helped 1,031 union members get elected to local, state and federal offices.

More than 150 Labor Candidates School graduates currently hold public office. Among them are U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, State Senate President Steve Sweeney, State Sen. Troy Singleton and Assemblymen Joe Egan, Wayne DeAngelo, Eric Houghtaling, Tom Giblin, Anthony Verrelli and Paul Moriarty. As officeholders, these graduates have championed policies that reflect the priorities of New Jersey’s working families, such as paid family leave and raising the minimum wage.

With its ever-increasing tally of election victories and 78% win ratio, the New Jersey State AFL-CIO’s Labor Candidates School has become a nationwide paragon of success. In fact, many state federations now are expanding their political programs based on New Jersey’s labor candidate training model. This includes the Minnesota AFL-CIO, which sent Field Director Pommella Wegmann to New Jersey to observe the school this past weekend.    

“Minnesota’s labor movement is excited to bring this tried-and-tested labor candidate training to the Midwest,” Wegmann said. “The New Jersey State AFL-CIO has built the premier program in the country, and I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to attend this school and learn from their staff.” 

As of now, 66 union members are running for political offices throughout New Jersey in November’s general election. For a complete list of New Jersey State AFL-CIO endorsements, click here.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 08/19/2019 - 11:58

AFL-CIO International Affairs Committee's Response to Israel's Denial of Entry to Reps. Omar and Tlaib

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 13:38
AFL-CIO International Affairs Committee's Response to Israel's Denial of Entry to Reps. Omar and Tlaib

The AFL-CIO International Affairs Committee issued the following response to the government of Israel’s decision to deny entry to Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib:

As longtime supporters of Israel, and its General Federation of Labor, the Histadrut, we urge the government of Israel to reverse its decision to bar Reps. Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) from entering Israel. We say this as close friends of our brothers and sisters in the Histadrut and the Israeli people.

While we strongly disagree with Reps. Omar’s and Tlaib’s positions on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, and maintain our longstanding commitment to meaningful, direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians toward a viable two-state solution, we also feel that all members of the U.S. Congress should be able to visit Israel. Regardless of Omar’s and Tlaib’s political positions, they should not be forbidden from visiting Israel.

The AFL-CIO International Affairs Committee:

Christopher Shelton, CWA, Co-Chair
Stuart Appelbaum, RWDSU/UFCW, Co-Chair
Robert Martinez, IAM, Vice Chair
James Boland, BAC
Harold Daggett, ILA
Jennifer Dorning, DPE
Leo Gerard, USW
Lorretta Johnson, AFT
Gary Jones, UAW
Sara Nelson, AFA/CWA
Fred Redmond, USW
Paul Rinaldi, NATCA
Michael Sacco, SIU
Baldemar Velasquez, FLOC

Dennis Loney Fri, 08/16/2019 - 14:38

Business is Booming: The Working People Weekly List

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 11:16
Business is Booming: 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.

NYC's $15 Minimum Wage Hasn't Brought the Restaurant Apocalypse—It's Helped Them Thrive: "New York City restaurant workers saw their pay increase by 20% after a $15 minimum-wage hike, and a new report says business is booming despite warnings that the boost would devastate the city's restaurant industry. As New York raised the minimum wage to $15 this year from $7.25 in 2013, its restaurant industry outperformed the rest of the U.S. in job growth and expansion, a new study found. The study, by researchers from the New School and the New York think tank National Employment Law Project, found no negative employment effects of the city increasing its minimum wage to $15."

ICE Raids Affect the Country's Economy, According to Experts: "Last April, an annual report published by the AFL-CIO indicated that in 2017, 5,147 workers died at their job sites due to 'traumatic injuries', and almost 3.5 million suffered workplace related injuries and diseases. Although there was a decline in accidental deaths in the agricultural sector, it is still one of the most dangerous in the US: for every 100,000 inhabitants, the sector had a rate of 23 deaths, compared to the construction sector, which had 9.5, or that of transport, with 14.3."

Trump Defends Immigration Raids in Mississippi to Deter Illegal Immigration: "Immigrant rights advocacy groups, including the AFL-CIO, the Hispanic Federation, and other civic groups, have also condemned the raids. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said that the raids are only intended to sow fear and ingratiate themselves with divisive elements of the country, and that the only 'crime' of those arrested 'is to work hard for a better life.'"

The U.S. Labor Shortage, Explained: "The U.S. economy doesn’t have enough workers. For a record 16 straight months, the number of open jobs has been higher than the number of people looking for work. The US economy had 7.4 million job openings in June, but only 6 million people were looking for work, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Labor. This is not normal. Ever since Labor began tracking job turnover two decades ago, there have always been more people looking for work than jobs available. That changed for the first time in January 2018."

Perkins Center to Honor AFL-CIO Senior Executive and Child Advocate: "The Frances Perkins Center will honor two women who exemplify Perkins’ inspiring leadership and commitment to social justice and economic security at its annual Garden Party: Liz Shuler, current secretary-treasurer and chief financial officer of the AFL-CIO, advocate for the welfare of working Americans, and Maria Mossaides, the director of Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate, defender of America’s most vulnerable citizens. 'We’re delighted to recognize Liz Shuler and Maria Mossaides for their decades of work in advancing the causes championed by Frances Perkins,' said Perkins Center Executive Director Michael Chaney. Liz Shuler, the second top-level officer for the AFL-CIO, the first woman elected to the position, and the youngest woman to sit on the federation’s Executive Council, will receive the Intelligence and Courage Award."

Save Veteran Construction Training Programs: "After coming home from the Army, Union Veteran Council Executive Director Will Attig struggled to find his place. 'I came home without a job, a degree or a future,' Attig said. That changed when he found a Registered Apprenticeship Program with the North America's Building Trades Unions (NABTU) and became a journeyman pipe fitter with the Plumbers and Pipe Fitters (UA)."

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

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

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast—Special Episode: The Labor Movement Responds to the El Paso Massacre: "On the latest episode of 'State of the Unions,' podcast co-hosts Julie Greene and Tim Schlittner talk with Texas AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Montserrat Garibay (Education Austin/AFT-NEA) in the wake of the deadly mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. They discuss immigration, organizing and the need for solidarity in times of darkness."

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 08/15/2019 - 12:16

Save Veteran Construction Training Programs

Wed, 08/14/2019 - 10:56
Save Veteran Construction Training Programs Union Veterans Council

After coming home from the Army, Union Veteran Council Executive Director Will Attig struggled to find his place. “I came home without a job, a degree or a future,” Attig said. That changed when he found a Registered Apprenticeship Program with the North America's Building Trades Unions (NABTU) and became a journeyman pipe fitter with the Plumbers and Pipe Fitters (UA).

This is not only Attig’s story but countless other veterans who have found the registered apprenticeship programs as a way to achieve the American dream after returning home from service. At the same time, we have seen private organizations and for-profit schools create phony programs that prey on veterans leaving them with sub-par training and no true education. Right now, the future of America's veteran construction workers, the integrity of their industry and programs that support tens of thousands of veterans' transitions are at risk. 

“The Registered Apprenticeship model gives us the same level and quality of training we received in the military,” Attig added. “This is one of the reasons why veterans choose to attend NABTU Registered Apprenticeship Programs and are joining construction unions at a rate almost double then non-veterans.”

A new proposal by the U.S. Department of Labor could drive down training and labor standards in construction registered apprenticeship programs and set off a race to the bottom throughout this industry. We have less than a month to stop it from becoming a reality. Here is how you can add your voice to the fight. While we applaud the government’s interest in expanding apprenticeship opportunities in new industries, [Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs] have no place in construction.

How Can You Help?

First, if you are a union veteran and a member of a building trades union, we need you to click the link below to submit a comment. It takes less than five minutes and could mean the difference in defending the way of life for your fellow construction workers, your family and yourself. 

Building Trade Veterans: Click here to take a stand!

Second, if you are not a member of the building trades but support your fellow union veteran brothers and sisters, please follow the link below to send in a comment voicing your support and solidarity for your fellow union veterans in the trades and the programs that are helping thousands of veterans find a way to truly return home.

Veterans and Supporters: Click here to take a stand!

The proposed IRAPs differ significantly from registered apprenticeship programs. Construction registered programs help recruit, train and retain workers through progressive wage increases; apprentice-to-journey worker ratios that promote safety; quality assurance assessments by the government; uniform standards; mandatory safety training; instructor eligibility requirements; and transparency requirements. The proposed IRAP regulations abandon the important protections of the registered model and give employers the license to implement whatever low-road standards they see fit.

IRAPs in construction would jeopardize both the quality of construction and the safety and security of veterans in the construction workforce, thereby weakening every community across the country where our fellow veterans and workers reside and are needed.

As veterans and supporters of veterans, the time is now to stand together and oppose second-rate IRAP certifications that would undermine the gold-standard that the registered apprenticeship programs have attained. 

This post originally appeared at the Union Veterans Council.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 08/14/2019 - 11:56

Tags: Union Veterans Council

Shatter the Silence: In the States Roundup

Wed, 08/14/2019 - 09:25
Shatter the Silence: In the States Roundup

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

Alaska AFL-CIO:

This is just wrong. It's unnecessary, immoral, disrespectful and frankly, inhumane. These attacks on our elders and seniors must stop. #akleg #akgov

— Alaska AFL-CIO (@AKAFLCIO) August 2, 2019

Arkansas AFL-CIO:

NYC's $15 minimum wage hasn't brought the restaurant apocalypse — it's helped them thrive via @businessinsider

— Arkansas AFL-CIO (@ArkansasAFLCIO) August 12, 2019

California Labor Federation:

In CA, we can #ShattertheSilence & protect workers from sexual harassment & discrimination w/ #AB51. Nothing in this bill runs afoul of federal law but it does give workers in CA an important tool to fight #ForcedArbitration @LorenaSGonzalez #YesonAB51

— California Labor Federation (@CaliforniaLabor) August 8, 2019

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

"Now we’ll not only be heard on our concerns about running short-staffed, we’ll have a seat at the table with management to do something about it." #UnionYES @AFTCT @AFLCIO

— Connecticut AFL-CIO (@ConnAFLCIO) August 5, 2019

Idaho State AFL-CIO:

I just wrote a @theactionnet letter: Federal Workers Under Attack. Write one here:

— Idaho State AFL-CIO (@IdahoAFLCIO) August 6, 2019

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

Trump campaigned in 2016 as a voice for forgotten workers, but he consistently sides with large corporations against workers, and his nomination of Scalia would amplify the sad and damaging war on unions. #1u

— Indiana AFL-CIO (@INAFLCIO) August 12, 2019

Iowa Federation of Labor:

Hundreds of Portillo's workers organize #1u

— Iowa AFL-CIO (@IowaAFLCIO) August 7, 2019

Maine AFL-CIO:

Graduation time at the 2019 Labor Summer Institute! #1U #UnionStrong

— Maine AFL-CIO (@MEAFLCIO) August 8, 2019

Massachusetts AFL-CIO:

We stand in #solidarity with the @UNITEHERE26 Battery Wharf Hotel workers after their unanimous strike vote! #1job #1u

— Massachusetts AFL-CIO (@massaflcio) August 6, 2019

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

Striking VA OmniRide drivers reach agreement - Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO with photos!

— MetroDCLaborCouncil (@DCLabor) August 6, 2019

Michigan AFL-CIO:


— Michigan AFL-CIO (@MIAFLCIO) August 8, 2019

Minnesota AFL-CIO:

U.S. Bank Stadium becomes first to achieve LEED Platinum status. And it’s #UnionBuilt by members of @MNBldgTrades unions.

— Minnesota AFL-CIO (@MNAFLCIO) August 10, 2019

Missouri AFL-CIO:

Unions provide workers with an opportunity to get their voices heard in policy debates that shape their lives. #UnionStrong

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

Montana AFL-CIO:

Montana's best interests lie with representatives who put workers first! #1u #UnionStrong

— Montana AFL-CIO (@MTaflcio) August 9, 2019

Nebraska State AFL-CIO:

The Nebraska State AFL-CIO stands in unity with the people of El Paso and Dayton - Hate has no place in America - hateful rhetoric has no place in America.

— NE State AFL-CIO (@NEAFLCIO) August 5, 2019

New Mexico Federation of Labor:

Really! #Solidarity for these #CommonSense proposals from our brothers and sisters.

— NMFL (@NMFLaflcio) August 7, 2019

New York State AFL-CIO:

Podcast Episode 16: Hard Hats. Strong Women. Building the Future. #UnionStrong #CountMeIn @NEWStrongWomen @NYCBldgTrades #1u

— NYSAFLCIO (@NYSAFLCIO) August 7, 2019

North Carolina State AFL-CIO:

.@MaryBeMcMillan to speak @UnionSportsmen's Inaugural NC State Conservation Dinner Nov. 6th in #Charlotte #1u

— NC State AFL-CIO (@NCStateAFLCIO) August 6, 2019


Say it loud and proud!

Raising wages actually helps the economy for all working people, passing a @GOP #TaxScam helps the economy only for billionaires and investor class. It’s time to #UnrigTheSystem and have it work for worker!

— Ohio AFL-CIO (@ohioaflcio) August 12, 2019

Oklahoma State AFL-CIO:

Check out our August Newsletter with information on Young Workers in the Labor Movement, Union Made Labor Day, our Convention, Saving Construction Apprenticeships, and more!

Check it out at h

— Oklahoma AFL-CIO (@OK_AFL_CIO) August 5, 2019

Oregon AFL-CIO:

Cara, a recent graduate of Portland State University, explains why she's not shopping at @FredMeyerStores until they #FixTheGap between pay for male and female employees.

Learn more and take action by visiting!

— Oregon AFL-CIO (@OregonAFLCIO) August 7, 2019

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

We’re talking the #PROAct, it’s time to protect the workers’ right to organize, and enforce that right! @SenBobCasey @AFLCIO

— PA AFL-CIO (@PaAFL_CIO) August 7, 2019

Rhode Island AFL-CIO:

An updated Union Directory listing union goods and services in RI can be found on our website. Here is the direct link --> Please use and share. #1U #AFLCIO #Union #UnionMade #UnionServices #Unions #UnionStrong

— Rhode Island AFL-CIO (@riaflcio) August 7, 2019

Texas AFL-CIO:

We are ready for Tuesday, Aug. 13th! Are you? The largest labor action in North Texas is prepared to show @americanair that workers deserve respect. #1u #1Job @unitehere @unitehere23

— Texas AFL-CIO (@TexasAFLCIO) August 10, 2019

Virginia AFL-CIO:

Thanks so much to @AFLCIO ‘s Secretary Treasurer @lizshuler for joining us this morning! Thanks for your hard work representing workers everywhere. Check out some of her speech highlights below:

— Virginia AFL-CIO (@Virginia_AFLCIO) August 10, 2019

Washington State Labor Council:

The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is proud to be part of this coalition and to support Opportunities For All!#ApproveR88

— WA State AFL-CIO (@WAAFLCIO) August 9, 2019

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO:

Laborfest information for Madison via @LaborSCFL #WIunion

— WI AFL-CIO (@wisaflcio) August 12, 2019 Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 08/14/2019 - 10:25

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Bricklayers

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 07:07
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Bricklayers AFL-CIO

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

Name of Union: International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC)

Mission: To help workers in the industry deal with unfair treatment, discrimination and other workplace issues in pursuit of balancing the power that an employer has over individual employees. To provide information, training and support for bricklayers and allied craftworkers.

Current Leadership of Union: James Boland serves as president of BAC. Boland became a BAC member in 1977 and worked on projects in the San Francisco Bay Area for a decade. In 1988, he became a business agent for BAC Local 3 before being elected president in 1992. A year later, he joined BAC's Executive Council. Boland joined the international union's headquarters staff as assistant to the vice president. Later that year, he became regional director for California and Nevada. He served as secretary-treasurer from 1999 to 2010. He became president in 2010 and was re-elected in 2015.

Timothy J. Driscoll serves as secretary-treasurer. Gerard Scarano and Carlos Aquin serve as executive vice presidents. The executive council also includes regional vice presidents, regional directors, craft vice presidents and at-large members.

Members Work As: Bricklayers, stone and marble masons, cement masons, plasterers, tile setters, terrazzo and mosaic workers, pointers, cleaners and caulkers.

Industries Represented: The organized masonry industry.

History: Watch this video about the history of the Bricklayers.

Current Campaigns/Community Efforts: The BAC Craft Awards recognize distinguished service that BAC members provide to our unions and communities. BAC runs an International Pension Fund, a Member Assistance Program and an International Health Fund to improve the quality of life for members. The Disaster Relief Fund helps members who are survivors of natural or other disasters. Through it's online store, BAC sells tools and branded clothing and other merchandise. BAC has several training and education resources. The BAC Journal provides information for working people in the masonry industry.

Learn MoreWebsiteFacebookTwitter, YouTube, Instagram.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 08/12/2019 - 08:07

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast—Special Episode: The Labor Movement Responds to the El Paso Massacre

Wed, 08/07/2019 - 08:51
‘State of the Unions’ Podcast—Special Episode: The Labor Movement Responds to the El Paso Massacre AFL-CIO

On the latest episode of “State of the Unions,” podcast co-hosts Julie Greene and Tim Schlittner talk with Texas AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Montserrat Garibay (Education Austin/AFT-NEA) in the wake of the deadly mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. They discuss immigration, organizing and the need for solidarity in times of darkness. 

Listen to our previous episodes:

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

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 08/07/2019 - 09:51

Tags: Podcast

A Labor Icon: The Working People Weekly List

Tue, 08/06/2019 - 14:06
A Labor Icon: The Working People Weekly List

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.

CWA's Morton Bahr Was a Labor Icon: "On Tuesday night, Communications Workers of America (CWA) President Emeritus Morton Bahr passed away. Bahr was an iconic leader in the American labor movement whose innovation and dedication will be felt for many years to come."

Drivers Win Dignity by Forming Union, Striking for Fairness: "Right in the heart of tourist season on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, visitors and residents alike now will be driven around the island by union bus drivers who just won their first contract."

Hotel Trades and Airbnb Square Off in Jersey City Over Ordinance Regulating Short-Term Rentals: "On June 26, the Hotel Trades Council celebrated the passage of a Jersey City ordinance that places regulations on Airbnb rentals. The ordinance safeguards the wages, benefits and jobs of hundreds of hotel workers in the Jersey City region. Moreover, it protects affordable housing and quality of life for tens of thousands of city residents."

Oregon AFL-CIO Cements Deal to Make Portland Baseball Stadium Union-Friendly: "The Oregon AFL-CIO and allies negotiated a historical deal with the Portland Diamond Project that will mean a stadium being built in order to attract Major League Baseball to the city will be union-friendly. In signing the labor harmony agreement, the Portland Diamond Project has voluntarily agreed to allow workers at the stadium to organize and form unions."

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

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

Labor Puts Candidates on Notice: ‘Let’s Be Honest About the Democratic Party’s Record’: "The president of the AFL-CIO labor federation spoke at a closed meeting with representatives from the entire field of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates ahead of Wednesday’s debate in Detroit. His message was straightforward: 'It’s time to do better.' Richard Trumka told attendees that while President Donald Trump is enacting bad policies for workers, Democratic leaders need to reckon with their own role in creating an unfair economy. He said 'both parties' are to blame for a system that caters to the rich."

AFL-CIO’s Trumka Looks for Workers’ Candidate: Campaign Update: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said he’ll be watching the Democratic debates to see which presidential candidate can best help working people. 'We ARE this country, yet more and more, the economic and political rules have been rigged against us,' Trumka, who heads the largest federation of U.S. unions, said in a statement. 'We’ll be listening for a candidate who will use the presidency to make our country work for working people. We’re not settling for anything less.'"

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Before Debate: "We’re everywhere. We make this country run. We ARE this country, yet more and more, the economic and political rules have been rigged against us. Today, here in Michigan, an autoworker woke up with a pain in her stomach, terrified that she’ll be the next to lose her job to NAFTA. A single mother heard pundits talk about our great economy and wondered when that greatness would reach her paycheck. An immigrant worker was exploited and threatened with deportation for daring to speak up for safety on the job. A nurse watched another patient walk away from medical care they couldn’t afford. A coal miner worried about the urgent threat of climate change AND the urgent threat to his hard-earned pension. Today, in small towns and big cities, in factories and in offices, co-workers joined together, trying to make things better, fighting to organize a union, only to find their voices silenced by unrestrained corporate greed and century-old labor laws."

MLB to Portland Group Expects to Meet with MLB Commissioner in Next Two Months: "Portland Diamond Project announced Monday it will allow employees who work at Portland's future ballpark to organize and join a union, and provided an update on the group's effort to bring a Major League Baseball team to Portland.During Monday's press conference, PDP also signed a labor peace agreement with the Oregon AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions. 'Oregon's unions are proud to be a part of the efforts to bring baseball to the Rose City,' Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain said. Chamberlain added that the future ballpark will be the only unionized sports arena in the state. 'This agreement is just the beginning of PDP's efforts to generate economic opportunities for Portlanders and people across the region,' PDP founder and president Craig Cheek said. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler called the labor agreement 'a significant milestone' in bringing a Major League Baseball team to Portland. Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury called it 'a strong first step.'"

Trumka Inspires at the WSLC Convention: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka brought hundreds of delegates to their feet Thursday at the 2019 Convention of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, with an inspirational call to action amid dark times in our nation. 'I started in the labor movement 50 years ago,' Trumka said. 'And I’ve never been more confident in the power of working people. Something is happening in America right now. You can see it, you can hear it, and God, you can feel it.' 'But even on our brightest day, it’s impossible to ignore the daily atrocities committed in the land that we love,' he added. 'Americans are being scapegoated, minimized, dehumanized, and told to go back to the country where they came from….Some say America has lost her way, but I think it’s even worse than that. The forces of greed in our nation, both elected and not, are pulling America apart deliberately and strategically in order to line their own pockets. Today they are laughing all the way to the bank. Donald Trump is a symptom of the problem. He capitalized on anxiety, fear, and divisions that have been sowed by the ruling class since the dawn of time….The cure for that cancer has always been the same one—solidarity, working-class solidarity.'"

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 08/06/2019 - 15:06

Global Champion for Working People, Barbara Shailor, Passes Away

Tue, 08/06/2019 - 08:49
Global Champion for Working People, Barbara Shailor, Passes Away Solidarity Center

Working people across the world lost an important champion last week when Barbara Shailor passed away. Shailor spent her life dedicated to helping improve the lives of working people, particularly women, both in the United States and around the world.

Shailor had a long and distinguished career fighting on behalf of working people across the world. She was committed to social justice, had a rigorous intellect and great style. 

Her career began when she first got a job as a flight attendant. After years of pioneering labor/community coalitions to address political issues such as energy and workers' rights, she rose up the ranks to become international director of the Machinists (IAM). She was chosen in 1995 by then-AFL-CIO President John Sweeney to reorganize and refocus the federation's international work. She served in the role of international affairs director for the AFL-CIO and oversaw the work of the Solidarity Center, refocusing its mission for modern times. After leaving the federation, she served as the U.S. State Department's special representative for international labor affairs until 2014.

In all of her roles, Shailor focused on the concerns and rights of women workers. She worked hard to promote women leaders and to develop younger women activists. The impact she had on the lives of millions of women around the globe cannot be measured.

Shailor is survived by her husband, Robert Borosage; their children, Alexander and his wife Stephanie,  Gregory and his wife Kimberly, and Frances; and two grandchildren, Jackson and Ben. She will be missed by friends around the world and the millions of working people whose lives are better because of her hard work and dedication.

About Shailor, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) said:

From her work in the movement to end the Vietnam War to Democratic Party politics and presidential campaigns to high-level legislative and organizing work at the International Association of Machinists (IAM) that brought together unions and citizen organizations like Jobs with Justice to her sophisticated leadership in international affairs at the IAM and later the AFL-CIO itself, Barbara exemplified the heart and skills that we need now more than ever in pursuing social justice. Along with John Sweeney, she led the AFL-CIO to create the Solidarity Center to build worker power around the world. As the U.S. State Department’s Special Representative for International Labor Affairs, she brought her considerable abilities to labor diplomacy, making clear the role workers and unions play in both economic justice and democracy.

And AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler (IBEW) said:

Barbara was a master at bringing global interests together, within the labor movement, but also across allied organizations, corporations and governments. I marveled at seeing her in action at the ILO annual conference in Geneva, where she brought a fierce and persuasive voice for working people to countless negotiations. She could travel seamlessly between different worlds—whether it was meeting with a high level diplomat or world leader, or an agricultural worker from a developing nation, Barbara brought her intellect, empathy and savvy diplomacy to every interaction—and working people are better off because of her heroic work.

Shailor's loss will be felt not only by those who knew her personally, but by anyone fighting on behalf of working people in the United States.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 08/06/2019 - 09:49

Tags: Solidarity Center

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Longshoremen

Mon, 08/05/2019 - 08:45
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Longshoremen AFL-CIO

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

Name of Union: International Longshoremen's Association (ILA)

Mission: To promote the best interests of our members and their families; to organize unorganized workers; to bargain collectively and to negotiate; to improve the wages, hours of work, job security, work and living conditions; to secure and promote laws for the benefit of all workers; to expand educational opportunities of our members and their families; and to promote health, welfare, pension, recreational and civic programs in the interests of our members and their families.

Current Leadership of Union: Harold J. Daggett serves as international president of ILA. Daggett began his career with ILA as a mechanic with Local 1804-1 in 1967. He is a third generation ILA member who worked with Sea-Land Services for more than a decade until he was appointed as secretary-treasurer and business agent for his local. He was re-elected to that position six times, while also serving as secretary-treasurer of the New York–New Jersey District Council. In 1991, he was elected secretary-treasurer of the ILA Atlantic Coast District, a position to which he was re-elected twice. In 1998, he was elected president of ILA Local 1804-1. He began serving as an ILA executive officer in 1999, the first eight years as assistant general organizer and then four years as executive vice president. He was first elected international president of the ILA in 2011 and has been re-elected in 2015 and 2019.

The other officers of ILA include: Stephen K. Knott (secretary-treasurer), Dennis A. Daggett (executive vice president), Wilbert Rowell (general vice president), John D. Baker (general organizer), James H. Paylor Jr. (assistant general organizer), Alan A. Robb (assistant general organizer), Benny Holland Jr. (executive vice president emeritus), Michael J. Vigneron (president, Atlantic Coast District), James Stolpinski (secretary-treasurer, Atlantic Coast District) and William Bernard Dudley (general vice president, Atlantic Coast District).

Current Number of Members: 65,000

Members Work As: Longshoremen

Industries Represented: Maritime workers on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, Great Lakes, major U.S. rivers, Puerto Rico and eastern Canada.

History: The roots of the ILA can be traced back to colonial America, as ships from the Old World needed workers to unload supplies. The earliest longshoremen in the United States lived a meager existence with horrible working conditions and low wages. Exploitation was widespread and workers were unhappy. In 1864, the first modern longshoremen's union was formed in New York, the Longshoremen's Union Protective Association (LUPA).

In 1877, an Irish tugboat worker from Chicago, Dan Keefe, formed the first local of the Association of Lumber Handlers, which would later become the ILA. Divisions among workers were exploited by big business in order to crush early unions such as LUPA. In 1892, delegates convened in Detroit where they officially became the National Longshoremen's Association of the United States. A few years later, it was changed to the "International" Longshoremen's Association to reflect the growing Canadian membership. Shortly after, ILA affiliated with the American Federation of Labor.

By 1900, ILA had grown to 50,000 members, most working the Great Lakes. Five years later, membership had doubled, with most of the new members coming from outside the Great Lakes region. The United States was the last country with large foreign commerce that hadn't passed any laws to protect the safety of longshoremen. During the Great Depression, unemployed Americans flooded the longshoremen job market with cheap labor. Company unions grew in power and in size. After the passage of labor-friendly laws like the Norris–LaGuardia Act and the National Labor Relations Act, the ILA began to reorganize and reclaim many lost members and ports. After that, membership soared to above prewar levels.

In the 1950s, New York Gov. Thomas E. Dewey conducted an investigation of the ILA over concerns about corruption and ties to organized crime. The ILA immediately worked to clean house and get rid of corrupt or criminal elements, but in 1953, the ILA was suspended by the AFL and the International Brotherhood of Longshoremen (IBL) was created to replace it. Even though the accusations against the ILA were later proved to be groundless, the turmoil nearly destroyed the ILA.

In order to address these problems, organizer Thomas "Teddy" Gleason was sent from port to port nationwide to overcome the rising negative opinions about the ILA. After the ILA won an important election to determine representation at the Port of New York, opposing forces ramped up their campaign against the union. Gleason ramped up his organizing efforts in response and the ILA won a slim victory in yet another election for representation in New York. After a third representation election in 1956, which the ILA again won, the IBL dissolved in 1959 and the ILA joined the AFL-CIO.

Gleason was unanimously elected president of the ILA in 1963. He moved the headquarters to its current location, began settling the union's troubled financial affairs and negotiated the longest-lasting ILA contract in history at that point. Gleason served as president for 24 years and his foresight saved countless jobs and increased job security and workplace safety. 

Today the ILA continues to grow and flourish, despite opposition from big business interests and competing labor organizations. Now, the ILA lives up to the vision of a modern union that leaders of the past saw for the organization and stands ready to face new challenges and technology that will affect working people's lives.

Current Campaigns/Community Efforts: The ILA Quarterly Safety Bulletin provides those working in the industry with safety guidelines and helpful information. The OSH Circular provides additional safety information. The Tracking Damages video describes the effects of improper handling of damaged shipping containers. The Civil, Human and Women's Rights Awards recognize the efforts of ILA members and allies who fight for a more inclusive workplace.

Learn MoreWebsiteFacebookTwitter, Instagram

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 08/05/2019 - 09:45

Economy Gains 164,000 Jobs in July; Unemployment Steady at 3.7%

Fri, 08/02/2019 - 09:35
Economy Gains 164,000 Jobs in July; Unemployment Steady at 3.7%

The U.S. economy gained 164,000 jobs in July, and the unemployment rate remained at 3.7%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Compensation in both union and nonunion sectors showed modest growth for the year ending June 2019. Meanwhile, productivity is rising faster than wages in too many industries.

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

The tepid 3.2% in wage growth in perspective: For a higher wage sector like manufacturing, wages were up 2.5%, but in lower wage sectors where the minimum wage increases have mattered, retail trade was up 5.3% and leisure and hospitality up 3.7% @AFLCIO #JobsReport

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 2, 2019


With continued revisions in previously release preliminary employment numbers, so far this year has averaged 164,000 jobs a month; compared to 223,000 jobs a month in 2018.  The @federalreserve rate cut should not be a mid-course correction; but, a time to change course. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 2, 2019


Changing job demographics.  Latinx unemployment has been rising consistently since April from 4.2 to 4.5% in July.  But, with higher labor force participation and rising employment-to-population ratio from 63.2 to 63.4% @UnidosUS_Econ @Marietmora @AFLCIO @LULAC

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 2, 2019


Black and white labor force participation continues to show convergence, with slight up tic in Black labor force participation in July for Blacks from 61.9 to 62.7, now virtually equal to white's 62.9% rate. @AFLCIO #JobsReport @rolandsmartin @CBTU72 @APRI_National

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 2, 2019


July continued to show that trying to explain the labor market using a skills argument is difficult.  Unemployment rates fell for less than high school and high school only workers, but rose for better educated workers with some college or a degree. @AFLCIO #JobsReport

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 2, 2019


Not good.  Since last July, unemployment among younger veterans has risen, while unemployment rates for older veterans and for non-veterans has gone down. @AFLCIO #JobsReport

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 2, 2019


To be clear. This July report is not good news for the President of Hate.  Unemployment is up from last July for blue collar jobs of construction, production workers and transportation jobs.  It was also up for current younger veterans. @AFLCIO #JobsReport

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 2, 2019


Legislation to ensure workers have regular schedules is important because 5.2% of the workforce hold multiple jobs.  For women, a large share are either putting together two part-time or one full-time and a part-time job to make it. #JobsReport @IWPResearch @AFLCIO @CLUWNational

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 2, 2019


On the good news front, slow but steady small increases continue in motor vehicle and parts manufacturing jobs, up 7,200 in July from June and 11,900 from last July. @AFLCIO @UAW

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 2, 2019


Given the heavy debt-overhang in many retail sector companies, continued job weakness is a concern.  July, retail shed 3,600 jobs since June and 59,900 since last July. (Though food and beverage stores show modest gains @UFCW ) @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 2, 2019


After finally recovering to near its 2008 peak in September 2018 a decade later, state government employment continues to show weakness; unchanged in June and down 23,000 since last July. @AFSCME @AFLCIO Low public investment is not good for our economy.

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 2, 2019


Local government employment continues its recovery, and after gaining 14,000 jobs in July, is about equal to its June 2008 peak (11 years later).  But this is late for our class rooms that have had too few teachers-per-student. @AFTunion @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 2, 2019


It's time to rebuild labor economics.  Our two largest broad industry categories are: 1) Education and Health Services and 2) Business and Professional Services. (1) is 77.3% female, the other (2) 45.6% female.  The two industries are over 1/3 of private employment. @CLUWNational

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 2, 2019


Continued weakness for women in the labor market.  Once again in July, women who were unemployed in June were more likely to drop out than find employment (763,000 to 711,000).  Except June, this has been the case most this year. @CLUWNational @IWPResearch

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 2, 2019

Last month's biggest job gains were in professional and technical services (31,000), health care (30,000), social assistance (20,000), financial activities (18,000) and manufacturing (16,000). Mining saw a loss of jobs (5,000). Employment in other major industries, including construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, leisure and hospitality, and government changed little over the month.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates rose for Asians (2.8%) and Hispanics (4.5%). The unemployment rates for teenagers (12.8%), blacks (6.0%), adult men (3.4%), whites (3.3%) and adult women (3.4%) showed little or no change in July.

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

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 08/02/2019 - 10:35

Tags: Jobs Report

CWA's Morton Bahr Was a Labor Icon

Thu, 08/01/2019 - 09:53
CWA's Morton Bahr Was a Labor Icon CWA

On Tuesday night, Communications Workers of America (CWA) President Emeritus Morton Bahr passed away. Bahr was an iconic leader in the American labor movement whose innovation and dedication will be felt for many years to come.

In 1951, Bahr took a job as a telegraph operator at Mackay Radio and Telegraph in New York. Not long after, he had organized his fellow workers into an independent union that later affiliated with CWA. He worked his way up to a leadership position, becoming district director and then vice president of the union's largest district, where he led CWA's first organizing campaign in the public sector.

Bahr's tireless efforts on behalf of working people led to his election as president of CWA in 1985, becoming only the third president in the union's history. He would win re-election to the position and remained president for 20 years. During this time, he also became an AFL-CIO vice president and Executive Council member.

The year before he was elected, the AT&T Bell System was broken up and the shakeup meant the telecommunications industry was in turmoil. Bahr created new bargaining and campaign strategies to help workers survive the turbulent times. One major strategy was to expand beyond telecommunications to include high technology, media, the airline industry, electronics, manufacturing, public service and more.

Bahr became an expert on the nexus of technology and the workforce, and he championed groundbreaking education and training programs that would help transform the labor movement. His dedication to worker education will endure, as a scholarship in his name continues to help working people enhance career opportunities through distance learning.

While serving on the AFL-CIO Executive Council, Bahr was active on the International Affairs Committee, the Industrial Union Council and the committees on Capital Stewardship, Community Partnerships, Political Education, Public Affairs, Women Workers, Political Funding and more. He also served on the boards of the National Labor College and Union Privilege, as well as secretary-treasurer for the Economic Policy Institute.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) mourned the loss:

Morty was a brother, a friend and a first-class leader. All workers are better off for his service and solidarity. The best way to honor his legacy is to confront the challenges of our time, from inequality to technology, with poise, purpose and passion.

Even after he retired in 2005, Bahr couldn't give up the labor movement. He became a volunteer organizer dedicated to bringing collective bargaining rights to every Verizon Wireless worker in the country.

Bahr laid out why he was so devoted to education and lifelong learning for workers:

A commitment to lifelong learning requires a change in lifestyle and values. Instead of going out for a beer with your co-workers at the end of the shift, you might have to go to the library. Education has to become a major part of your life, almost on a par with work and family. While the sacrifice can be great, the rewards are much greater. Taking advantage of educational opportunities will likely lead to a higher income, greater employment security and higher levels of job satisfaction. But the lifelong learner is also more active, better rounded and, there is growing evidence, a healthier individual.

Bahr will be sorely missed.


Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 08/01/2019 - 10:53

Drivers Win Dignity by Forming Union, Striking for Fairness

Wed, 07/31/2019 - 09:36
Drivers Win Dignity by Forming Union, Striking for Fairness ATU

Right in the heart of tourist season on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, visitors and residents alike now will be driven around the island by union bus drivers who just won their first contract.

Bus drivers represented by the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1548 on Martha’s Vineyard approved their first contract, which raises drivers’ pay by $3 per hour. The new contract with Martha’s Vineyard Transit Authority also recognizes seniority among the drivers, provides for double pay for holidays and gives protection to the drivers during layoffs.  

After a courageous 28-day strike, members of ATU Local 1548 voted to approve the new contract 32–1.  “This is a historical day for VTA drivers and a great day for the island. We can now better provide for our families, our jobs are more secure, and we can get back to safely transporting our riders, friends and allies, whose support on the picket lines and year-round was critical in achieving this fair contract,” driver Richard Townes said after the vote.

The agreement follows years of conflict between VTA drivers, the VTA administrator and Transit Connection Inc., the private contractor that operates the island bus lines. The bus drivers were motivated to form a union by concerns about bus safety, a severe driver shortage, wage stagnation, a dangerous reliance on overtime, and abusive management tactics by both TCI and VTA supervisors. TCI fought the union election and refused to recognize the union. The National Labor Relations Board and, eventually, the federal court of appeals ordered TCI to recognize and negotiate with the ATU. 

“After several years without a contract, the Vineyard Transit Authority strike has produced an inspiring victory for Massachusetts,” said Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Steven A. Tolman (TCU/IAM). “There was a great show of leadership from the ATU International as well as a groundswell of support from labor leaders from many unions—they came together united in support for the VTA drivers’ struggle for justice.”

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 07/31/2019 - 10:36

Hotel Trades and Airbnb Square Off in Jersey City Over Ordinance Regulating Short-Term Rentals

Tue, 07/30/2019 - 12:33
Hotel Trades and Airbnb Square Off in Jersey City Over Ordinance Regulating Short-Term Rentals Hotel Trades

On June 26, the Hotel Trades Council celebrated the passage of a Jersey City ordinance that places regulations on Airbnb rentals. The ordinance safeguards the wages, benefits and jobs of hundreds of hotel workers in the Jersey City region. Moreover, it protects affordable housing and quality of life for tens of thousands of city residents.

Unfortunately, Airbnb has aggressively opposed this crucial ordinance, churning out misinformation and attacking elected officials who support it. The company also explicitly has attacked HTC and union members at council meetings and in press forums.

Not long after the ordinance passed, Airbnb submitted a referendum petition to repeal it. According to HTC, the referendum petition may result in the ordinance being submitted to voters on this November’s ballot. 

If this happens, HTC will rely on its membership and allies to engage in a robust campaign to win the referendum election. 

“The New Jersey State AFL-CIO stands in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of HTC,” said Charles Wowkanech (IUOE), president of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO. “We support regulating Airbnb rentals in Jersey City, and if this ordinance appears on the ballot in November, we will exert maximum effort and use our wealth of resources to ensure our members vote in its favor.”

Short-term rentals such as those on platforms like Airbnb currently are entirely unregulated in Jersey City. HTC says these rentals pose harm to their members in two big ways: 1) by steadily reducing the city’s housing stock and therefore increasing the cost of housing, and 2) by unfairly competing with the region’s hotel industry and applying downward economic pressure on hotel workers’ ability to maintain decent wages and benefits.

The ordinance in question does not ban Airbnb rentals, but rather imposes regulations that limit the type and length of rentals that are allowed in the city. The ordinance also requires Airbnb hosts to register and obtain permits from the city.   

“It’s unfortunate that Airbnb, a $33 billion corporation, is choosing to spend its vast resources to force the city to repeal a law that would protect Jersey City’s housing stock,” said Rich Maroko, HTC recording secretary. “Hotel workers are ready to do the organizing necessary to win this referendum election, and we are thrilled to have the support of our allies at the New Jersey State AFL-CIO.”

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 07/30/2019 - 13:33

Oregon AFL-CIO Cements Deal to Make Portland Baseball Stadium Union-Friendly

Tue, 07/30/2019 - 09:38
Oregon AFL-CIO Cements Deal to Make Portland Baseball Stadium Union-Friendly Oregon AFL-CIO

The Oregon AFL-CIO and allies negotiated a historical deal with the Portland Diamond Project that will mean a stadium being built in order to attract Major League Baseball to the city will be union-friendly. In signing the labor harmony agreement, the Portland Diamond Project has voluntarily agreed to allow workers at the stadium to organize and form unions.

This is the first labor harmony agreement (also known as a labor peace agreement) for a sports arena in Oregon. The agreement sets rules for union organizing between the employer and the unions that could represent working people at the venue in the future. The agreement covers workers in concessions, sales, property service, security, hospitality, stage and theatrical presentations, entertainment and audiovisual services. Future discussions will address ballpark construction jobs.

Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain (IAFF) was excited by the agreement:

By signing this agreement, the Portland Diamond Project has shown us they value and respect the rights of working people and care for the prosperity of the community. Oregon’s unions are proud to be a part of the efforts to bring baseball to the Rose City and to be a part of the only unionized sports arena in the state of Oregon. By giving workers the unfettered opportunity for union representation, we are securing a bright economic future for the women and men who will make baseball happen in Portland. When working people stand together in unions, we get a fair return on our hard work.

Labor unions included in the agreement along with the Oregon AFL-CIO include: Oregon AFSCME Council 75; Machinists (IAM) Local Lodge 63; UNITE HERE Local 8; Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 5; Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 28; United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 555; Plumbers and Pipe Fitters (UA) Local 290; Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 48; Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 701; Public Service and Industrial Employees (LIUNA) Local 737; International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) Local 16; Boilermakers (IBB) Local 104; and SAG-AFTRA Portland.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 07/30/2019 - 10:38

Solidarity Makes us Strong: In the States Roundup

Mon, 07/29/2019 - 11:13
Solidarity Makes us Strong: 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.

Alabama AFL-CIO:

It's time #GOP to reel in the reins on this EO government #eohellno

— Alabama AFL-CIO (@AlabamaAFLCIO) July 17, 2019

Alaska AFL-CIO:

Let’s keep working together so we can keep building Alaska! We hope to see a full House on Monday for this very important vote. #akleg #akgov

— Alaska AFL-CIO (@AKAFLCIO) July 27, 2019

Arkansas AFL-CIO:

The Arkansas Labor Management Conference is coming up soon! It will be held at the Hotel Hot Springs on August 7th, 8th, and 9th. Check out our Facebook event for more details and registration information. #arlmc #labor #arklabor #1u #unionstrong.

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

California Labor Federation:

What if the problem isn’t that poor people have bad morals – that they’re lazy and impulsive and irresponsible – or that they lack the skills and smarts to fit in with our shiny 21st-century economy? What if the problem is that poverty is profitable?

— California Labor Federation (@CaliforniaLabor) July 29, 2019

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

"Public service workers are among Connecticut’s greatest assets. From teachers to sanitation workers to first responders, they care for our children, plow our roads, build our bridges and work to keep our neighborhoods clean and safe." @CtPensions #1u

— Connecticut AFL-CIO (@ConnAFLCIO) July 29, 2019

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

Campaign workers unite! ✊🏼

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

Iowa Federation of Labor:

Eugene Scalia’s Nomination Is a Threat to Working People by @IowaAFLCIO

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

Maine AFL-CIO:

Our statement from Maine AFL-CIO President Cynthia Phinney regarding the “white supremacist picnic” being held today. #mepolitics

— Maine AFL-CIO (@MEAFLCIO) July 27, 2019

Massachusetts AFL-CIO:

Solidarity makes us strong! #1u

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

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

@unitehere⁩ demo today in Baltimore

— MetroDCLaborCouncil (@DCLabor) July 28, 2019

Michigan AFL-CIO:

"When you see those contract negotiations, that ceremonial handshake, remember the almost 2,000 workers on a cold December day in Flint who made a decision to sit down, to stay sitting until they were recognized" #Solidarity #1u

— Michigan AFL-CIO (@MIAFLCIO) July 24, 2019

Minnesota AFL-CIO:

The YouTubers Union Is Not Messing Around All working people deserve a collective voice. #1u

— Minnesota AFL-CIO (@MNAFLCIO) July 28, 2019

Missouri AFL-CIO:

Quiet Trump Administration Rule Change Could Allow Federal Union-Busting Spree.

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

Nebraska State AFL-CIO:

The Nebraska State AFL-CIO Convention Call has been sent to all Affiliates. We are looking forward to a great convention in September!

— NE State AFL-CIO (@NEAFLCIO) July 24, 2019

New Hampshire AFL-CIO:

The 2019 New Hampshire AFL-CIO Labor Day Breakfast will be held at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 650 Hanover Street in Manchester, NH on Monday, September 2nd at 9am. For more info, check out our FB event at

— NewHampshire AFL-CIO (@NHAFLCIO) July 23, 2019

New Mexico Federation of Labor:

Remember to be safe in the heat.@NABTU @TheIronworkers @steelworkers

— NMFL (@NMFLaflcio) July 19, 2019

New York State AFL-CIO:

👎The new IRAP system will give private organizations, such as employers and trade associations, free rein to create new watered-down standards and certify subpar apprenticeship programs. #SaveUnionApprenticeships

Learn more at
saveconstructionapprenticeship dot org

— NYSAFLCIO (@NYSAFLCIO) July 24, 2019

North Carolina State AFL-CIO:

"UNHAPPY birthday, $7.25! UNHAPPY birthday, to you! Boo!" 🎵✊ #LaborSchool #RaiseTheWage #1u

— NC State AFL-CIO (@NCStateAFLCIO) July 24, 2019

North Dakota AFL-CIO:

Friends of the Building Trades: Email the Department of Labor and tell them IRAPS have no place in the construction industry! @nd_trades #registeredapprenticeship #buildyourfuture #ndbuildingtrades

— North Dakota AFL-CIO (@NDAFLCIO) July 25, 2019


Those @AFLCIO #UnionThugs are at it again!

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

Oklahoma AFL-CIO:

— Oklahoma AFL-CIO (@OK_AFL_CIO) July 25, 2019

Oregon AFL-CIO:

We're recording our July podcast today with the President and Vice President of AFSCME Local 328! #UnionStrong

— Oregon AFL-CIO (@OregonAFLCIO) July 26, 2019

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

1.75 MILLION Pennsylvania workers make less than $15/hour. Your vote today makes a difference! #RaiseTheWage #FightFor15 @RaisetheWagePA

— PA AFL-CIO (@PaAFL_CIO) July 18, 2019

Rhode Island AFL-CIO:

‘Times Are Changing:’ More Women Breaking Into Construction Industry #1U @unionsri #CLUW #UnionJobs #BuildingTrades #Constructions #Unions #UnionsForAll

— Rhode Island AFL-CIO (@riaflcio) July 19, 2019

Texas AFL-CIO:

With our 🇲🇽 Brothers of the Miners Union and 🇺🇸sisters and brothers from @steelworkers at the @texasaflcio 60th Constitutional Convention #BuildingBridges

— Texas AFL-CIO (@TexasAFLCIO) July 28, 2019

Virginia AFL-CIO:

Advocates all around VA are pushing for mandatory paid sick leave - read what President Doris Crouse-Mays had to say about it in this article-- #paidsickleave #joinaunion #unionstrong

— Virginia AFL-CIO (@Virginia_AFLCIO) July 29, 2019

Washington State Labor Council:

Here’s a great roundup of Friday’s WSLC Convention action, courtesy of The Entire Staff of The Stand. #WSLC2019

— WA State AFL-CIO (@WAAFLCIO) July 27, 2019

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO:

27,000 Wisconsin households could lose food stamps under Trump administration proposal,

— WI AFL-CIO (@wisaflcio) July 26, 2019 Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 07/29/2019 - 12:13

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Professional and Technical Engineers

Mon, 07/29/2019 - 07:17
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Professional and Technical Engineers AFL-CIO

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

Name of Union: International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers

Mission: Committed to achieving a real voice in the workplace for professional and technical workers through organizing, thereby increasing union density among professionals and building our collective strength. Using the legislative process, we strive to raise the standards by which professional and technical employees live and work by joining together in solidarity.

Current Leadership of Union: Paul Shearon serves as international president of IFPTE. After a distinguished career with the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA/IFPTE Local 2001), he was elected to serve as the international’s secretary-treasurer, a position he held from 2006–2015. In 2018, he was unanimously elected as international president.

IFPTE’s executive council is composed of the international president, secretary-treasurer and 14 vice presidents elected by the members to represent their respective areas. Gerald Newsome is IFPTE’s executive vice president and Atlantic area vice president. IFPTE’s other vice presidents are Mazen Alsabe (Northeastern), Ronda Cockrell (SPEEA), Joel Funfar (SPEEA), Laurence Griffin (Western), Gay Henson (Eastern Federal), Misty Hughes-Newman (Canadian), John Mader (Western), Sean McBride (Atlantic), Ryan Rule (SPEEA), Lee Stone (Western Federal), Scott Travers (Canadian), Gustavo Vallejo (Western) and Tina Zellmer (Midwestern).

Current Number of Members: 80,000

Members Work As: Engineers, scientists, technicians, auditors, drafters/designers, judges, lawyers, researchers, toll collectors and more.

Industries Represented: Federal, public and private sectors in the United States, and public, private and nonprofit sectors in Canada.

History: The story of IFPTE officially began on July 1, 1918, when the American Federation of Labor granted a charter to the International Federation of Draftsmen’s Unions (IFDU). The union was formed from 10 federal unions representing engineers, draftsmen and technicians, and was the first labor organization dedicated to the welfare of technical engineering employees.

At its second convention in 1919, IFDU extended its jurisdiction to include other crafts and changed its name to the International Federation of Technical Engineers, Architects and Draftsmen’s Unions (IFTEA&DU). The union continued to grow for almost two decades as municipal, county and state government employees sought affiliation.

In 1950, delegates to the 28th convention voted to change the union’s name to the American Federation of Technical Engineers (AFTE). 

After almost a half-century of exclusively representing professionals in the U.S., the union became international in 1953 with the affiliation of locals in Ontario. Today, IFPTE has four local unions and over 10,000 members throughout Canada.

In 1972, delegates to the 40th convention voted to change the union’s name to the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE).

IFPTE celebrated its 100th anniversary last year in Atlantic City, N.J. It is one of the fastest-growing labor organizations in North America.

Current Campaigns/Community Efforts: IFPTE is currently organizing aerospace employees at Boeing in Southern California, planners at Southern California Edison, legal professionals in Ontario, health care professionals and is working to increase national focus on nonprofits.

Learn More: Website, Facebook, Twitter.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 07/29/2019 - 08:17


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