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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 https://t.co/E0ncCiZZJd

— 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 pic.twitter.com/xJ8wPVLESO

— 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. pic.twitter.com/i48Gzxksk9

— 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? https://t.co/o6O2n4puwI

— 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 https://t.co/rdbFjG41Gk

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

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

Campaign workers unite! ✊🏼https://t.co/0vt4db2FLB

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

Iowa Federation of Labor:

Eugene Scalia’s Nomination Is a Threat to Working People https://t.co/AIyL8gfx2I 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 pic.twitter.com/CTjy0EeEyz

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

Massachusetts AFL-CIO:

Solidarity makes us strong! #1u https://t.co/gNg7sewWy7

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

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

@unitehere⁩ demo today in Baltimore pic.twitter.com/dc7FMPsDgu

— 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 https://t.co/LjjcIdFFP9

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

Minnesota AFL-CIO:

The YouTubers Union Is Not Messing Around https://t.co/qC6mtu1MlW 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. https://t.co/AlfDD9nmua

— 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! pic.twitter.com/bPsKiAS3j7

— 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 https://t.co/6dB44B9Tpl

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

New Mexico Federation of Labor:

Remember to be safe in the heat.@NABTU @TheIronworkers @steelworkers https://t.co/U4Bqua0gX7

— 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 pic.twitter.com/hR4yJ8QElx

— NYSAFLCIO (@NYSAFLCIO) July 24, 2019

North Carolina State AFL-CIO:

"UNHAPPY birthday, $7.25! UNHAPPY birthday, to you! Boo!" 🎵✊ #LaborSchool #RaiseTheWage #1u pic.twitter.com/dSkM7DbFdB

— 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! https://t.co/Q94FKrxI9Q @nd_trades #registeredapprenticeship #buildyourfuture #ndbuildingtrades pic.twitter.com/HQb5rMIvbw

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

Ohio AFL-CIO:

Those @AFLCIO #UnionThugs are at it again! https://t.co/USOMEeJfJ6

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

Oklahoma AFL-CIO:

pic.twitter.com/bm2sh39hJx

— 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 https://t.co/KQaMrpSx94

— 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 https://t.co/yCm9PH9Dzf

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

Rhode Island AFL-CIO:

‘Times Are Changing:’ More Women Breaking Into Construction Industry https://t.co/OLeJBLxYj4 #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 pic.twitter.com/uzWce8i6HZ

— 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--https://t.co/4vgqcY5KJA #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 https://t.co/0rwKF5SvbY

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

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO:

27,000 Wisconsin households could lose food stamps under Trump administration proposal, https://t.co/SfV1dUTywI

— 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

Paving the Way for Worker Justice: The Working People Weekly List

Mon, 07/29/2019 - 07:00
Paving the Way for Worker Justice: 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.

New Collective Bargaining Law Paves the Way to Worker Justice at Delaware DMV: "After Delaware Gov. John Carney signed a bill to expand collective bargaining rights for public employees in June, workers have begun organizing at state agencies. Employees of the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles voted last week to join Laborers (LIUNA) Local 1029, establishing a union there for the first time."

Maine Union Members Answer the Call on Path to Power: "Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1253 member Tina Riley never had any desire to get involved in politics until she was recruited to run for the Maine Legislature in 2015."

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: UNITE HERE President D. Taylor: "On the latest episode of “State of the Unions,” Julie and Tim talk to UNITE HERE President D. Taylor about the activism of airline catering workers and the current moment for union organizing."

The Future Is at Stake: What Working People Are Doing This Week: "Welcome to our regular feature, a look at what the various AFL-CIO unions and other working family organizations are doing across the country and beyond. The labor movement is big and active—here's a look at the broad range of activities we're engaged in this week."

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

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

The Video Game Industry Can't Go On Like This: "At about this time next year, we’ll have a pretty good idea of what the next generation of video games will look like. New consoles will likely be shown off, bold new streaming initiatives will begin to launch, and we’ll see all the wonderful kinds of games they will bring us. All these new things will come, and we’ll close the book on a generation that saw the industry that makes games come under greater scrutiny than ever before, as studios shuttered, developers burned out and toxic work culture fostered environments hostile to marginalized people."

BuzzFeed Staffers Establish NewsGuild as Union Bargaining Agent: "A bitter five-month battle between BuzzFeed management and its workers’ union ended Tuesday when a third-party definitively established the NewsGuild of New York as the official bargaining agent for about 80 U.S. news-side employees. Now comes the really hard part: Hammering out a first contract covering everything from wages and severance to diversity and retirement and health plans. 'We stayed strong in the face of fierce resistance from BuzzFeed management,' said Rachel Sanders, deputy culture editor and member of the union’s organizing committee. 'Now that we’re finally recognized, I’m excited to bargain for a contract that will not only make this a stronger newsroom and company, but raise the bar for how workers are treated across our industry.'"

Labor Groups Rally Against Medical Debt Lawsuits: "Labor leaders spoke from a stage on a hot July afternoon Saturday in Baltimore near the hospital. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka spoke at the event, as well as Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler and National Nurses United Executive Director Bonnie Castillo. They called on Johns Hopkins to cancel all medical debt lawsuits filed against low-income patients. They say the hospital has filed more than 2,400 lawsuits in Maryland courts seeking payment of alleged medical debt from former patients since 2009."

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 07/29/2019 - 08:00

New Collective Bargaining Law Paves the Way to Worker Justice at Delaware DMV

Thu, 07/25/2019 - 13:58
New Collective Bargaining Law Paves the Way to Worker Justice at Delaware DMV Delaware AFL-CIO

After Delaware Gov. John Carney signed a bill to expand collective bargaining rights for public employees in June, workers have begun organizing at state agencies. Employees of the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles voted last week to join Laborers (LIUNA) Local 1029, establishing a union there for the first time.  

Gurvis Miner, business manager for Local 1029, said the organizing win was hard earned and well worth it.  

“Employees at the DMV now have a voice on the job, and I commend the state Legislature and Gov. Carney for changing the law to expand our rights and making this all possible,” he said. 

The new bargaining unit includes 340 workers at the DMV.  

SB 8, the bill that provided these employees their new collective bargaining rights, was made possible through the diligent advocacy efforts of the Delaware State AFL-CIO and others. The law expanded collective bargaining rights for about 2,000 workers across the state. 

“We congratulate LIUNA Local 1029 and all of the DMV workers, and we welcome these brothers and sisters to our growing labor movement in Delaware,” said Delaware State AFL-CIO President Jim Maravelias (LIUNA).

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 07/25/2019 - 14:58

Maine Union Members Answer the Call on Path to Power

Wed, 07/24/2019 - 13:55
Maine Union Members Answer the Call on Path to Power AFL-CIO

Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1253 member Tina Riley never had any desire to get involved in politics until she was recruited to run for the Maine Legislature in 2015.

She knew it would be a challenging race. The district was traditionally a union stronghold, but it had been trending conservative in recent years due to a decline in union membership caused by union busting, layoffs and mill closures. But with strong union support and preparation, Riley said, she had the tools she needed to run her first successful campaign in 2016, narrowly winning by 57 votes.

Riley was instrumental this session in requiring the use of registered apprenticeship programs on larger renewable energy projects as a way to build good jobs in the energy sector and blocking attempts to weaken electrical licensing standards.

“The state employees union and the teachers union are quite visible to the Legislature. They’re focused on the kinds of jobs in which their members are engaged. Most people are less aware of how trade unions operate,” Riley said. “Sometimes legislators would speak disparagingly of short-term construction jobs. They needed to hear that thousands of construction workers depend on those jobs to feed their families—and they did hear it. And it changed their thinking at times.”

Riley herself came into the union through an IBEW apprenticeship nearly 30 years ago and has worked as a maintenance mill electrician as well as run her own contracting firm with her husband, who is a union worker at the Rumford Mill. 

For union members considering a run for office, she encourages them to take the Maine AFL-CIO Worker Candidate Training as well as meet with party leaders and local legislators to learn about the job.

“I think it’s essential that we, as a legislature, be extremely cost-conscious, but foremost, we need to consider the overall well-being of the people we serve,” Riley said. “Good jobs, with good pay and dignified treatment by our employers, is a critical piece of that overall well-being, and it is always the union voice that brings that perspective to the table.”

When Rep. Scott Cuddy, an IBEW 1253 member, talks about the need for more labor voices in the Maine Legislature, he gets pretty passionate. 

“You can serve in the Legislature,” he advises union members. “Every union member that I’ve met who has shown any interest in politics could absolutely do a great job in the Legislature. And I really hope they do, because there needs to be more of us.” 

Cuddy knew he wouldn’t have an easy path to the Statehouse when he made the decision to run. After losing his initial race in 2016, he persisted and won his seat in the 2018 election. He had just started a night job installing lighting on the Bar Harbor Airport runway, but he was able to campaign during the day and take candidate training offered by the Maine AFL-CIO. 

“It was actually the best job I could have had in terms of getting the time to knock on doors,” he said. “So by the time I was done with that, I was so happy when the election rolled along.”

Cuddy says union members bring a unique perspective to government in that they have a sense of class consciousness and understanding of the employer-employee relationship. He says that many union members are uniquely suited to legislating because they understand how to negotiate, so they can prevent bills from getting watered down in the political process. 

Cuddy emphasizes that union members also can have a positive influence on their colleagues. He noted that while some legislators may not want to listen to a union staffer, they are more willing to hear from other legislators on important labor bills. 

“A lot of decisions get made in the caucus room,” Cuddy said. “People stand up, they make their pitch, and when you have union members in the room who can talk about the importance of collective bargaining rights, it carries a lot of weight.”

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 07/24/2019 - 14:55

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: UNITE HERE President D. Taylor

Wed, 07/24/2019 - 12:42
‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: UNITE HERE President D. Taylor AFL-CIO

On the latest episode of “State of the Unions,” Julie and Tim talk to UNITE HERE President D. Taylor about the activism of airline catering workers and the current moment for union organizing.

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, 07/24/2019 - 13:42

The Future Is at Stake: What Working People Are Doing This Week

Mon, 07/22/2019 - 13:05
The Future Is at Stake: What Working People Are Doing This Week AFL-CIO

Welcome to our regular feature, a look at what the various AFL-CIO unions and other working family organizations are doing across the country and beyond. The labor movement is big and active—here's a look at the broad range of activities we're engaged in this week.

A. Philip Randolph Institute:

#APRINEC19 We are thrilled that Actor Danny Glover @mrdannyglover will be our keynote luncheon speaker on Thursday, August 8 at @APRI_National ‘s 50th Annual NEC conference in Bloomington, MN near Minneapolis). Registration and hotel info https://t.co/mEcM7PLN7b pic.twitter.com/8HQUSNVZRb

— APRI National (DC) (@APRI_National) July 18, 2019

Actors' Equity:

Have you ever wondered what makes the New England Area Theatre (NEAT) Agreement unique? Learn more about it in the Member Portal - https://t.co/4AnkY3vpHn pic.twitter.com/blf50P7yWF

— Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) July 22, 2019

AFGE:

“The future of our planet is at stake."@AFGENational says as White House guts EPA worker contract. #1u https://t.co/4pkpVrN73o pic.twitter.com/MrNXzZzmZM

— AFGE (@AFGENational) July 22, 2019

AFSCME:

You won’t see L.A. County Fire Department helicopter mechanic and AFSCME #NeverQuit Service Award winner Joe Martinez in the spotlight. Instead, with lives on the line, Martinez works behind the scenes repairing helicopters so their crews can save lives. https://t.co/K2AwTau2MN

— AFSCME (@AFSCME) July 20, 2019

AFT:

At AFT’s Summer Educator Academy, these educators are working on reading comprehension instruction. #AFTPD #AFTSEA19 pic.twitter.com/ryLkrGOf7o

— AFT (@AFTunion) July 22, 2019

Air Line Pilots Association:

ALPA won’t jeopardize lives to save a buck. It’s simple: #TwoPilots help #KeepFlyingSafe. Tell Congress to keep two pilots in the cockpit: https://t.co/SfnEe6D8L4 pic.twitter.com/tQfA4wN7jS

— ALPA (@WeAreALPA) July 18, 2019

Alliance for Retired Americans:

No one should be forced to ration, stockpile, or skip doses of lifesaving medicine. The system is broken. Sign our petition to demand that lawmakers take action to #LowerDrugPrices NOW! https://t.co/jtCJC665j1 https://t.co/J17ypBm5dE

— Alliance Retirees (@ActiveRetirees) July 22, 2019

Amalgamated Transit Union:

As temperatures soaring to the 100’s our members will face dangerously hot and humid conditions on the job, here are tips to stay safe for ATU. https://t.co/HX4LPAMcqB #transit #publictransit #UnionStrong #1u pic.twitter.com/xUZRNvb5gC

— ATU, Transit Union (@ATUComm) July 19, 2019

American Federation of Musicians:

The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to debate and vote on the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act (H.R. 397), also known as the Butch Lewis Act, on WEDNESDAY!
Contact Congress to #ProtectOurPensions.https://t.co/3qxfQ5Q6wD pic.twitter.com/oDDjAsbidZ

— AFM (@The_AFM) July 22, 2019

American Postal Workers Union:

Pres Dimonstein: There are so many things we can do to improve the Postal Service with creativity, but to have that creativity, we need the funds to give space to make that happen.

— APWU National (@APWUnational) July 15, 2019

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance:

Working people deserve income security and should be able to organize their co-workers to demand living wages and healthy working conditions. We need legislation to protect our right to organize.

Sign the petition: Demand that Congress pass the #PROActhttps://t.co/YvDELkBhdr pic.twitter.com/DVeD2jjH39

— APALA (@APALAnational) July 22, 2019

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:

ICYMI: PSA Flight Attendants voted to ratify a new contract this week covering over 1,300 PSA Flight Attendants. In addition to immediate pay raises, the new contract includes increased vacation, improved work rules and increased scheduling flexibility. https://t.co/kr7SdPGvN4

— AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) July 20, 2019

Boilermakers:

ICYMI: The 2nd quarter edition of the #Boilermaker Reporter is available. Read 👓 it in hard copy or online: https://t.co/LzfRJ5ieVI pic.twitter.com/gIMLrNfA2Q

— Boilermakers Union (@boilermakernews) July 22, 2019

Bricklayers:

The @USDOL wants your feedback on the proposed IRAPs rule. IRAPs could destroy our long-standing and successful #apprenticeship & training programs. Give them the feedback they need to hear: https://t.co/gquQvirTJ6 #RApprentices4America #SkilledTrade #construction #1u

— Bricklayers Union (@IUBAC) July 22, 2019

Broadcast Employees and Technicians:

#KOIN6BossesExposed https://t.co/a9Fp6oK5jy

— NABET-CWA (@NABETCWA) July 8, 2019

California School Employees Association:

pic.twitter.com/dQHG3FoY21

— CSEA (@CSEA_Now) July 22, 2019

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists:

https://t.co/twdF2BAcNx

— CBTU (@CBTU72) July 22, 2019

Coalition of Labor Union Women:

.@domesticworkers have been leading the fight for worker dignity in states & cities for more than a decade. Now they’re going national. We’re proud to endorse @SenKamalaHarris and @RepJayapal’s soon to be introduced National #DomesticWorkersBillofRights. pic.twitter.com/MdeZDWusFl

— CLUW National (@CLUWNational) July 15, 2019

Communications Workers of America:

A @verizon Wireless worker has filed an EEOC complaint for racial discrimination after management permitted racial slurs and jokes and accommodated customers who refused to be served by a black man.https://t.co/YwownxwAFm

— CWA (@CWAUnion) July 21, 2019

Department for Professional Employees:

"As we continue to expand and adapt in response to evolving threats to press freedom around the world, we want to ensure that our internal structures can do the same” - @CPJ_union. #1u https://t.co/xlbUAOiryD

— Department for Professional Employees (@DPEaflcio) July 21, 2019

Electrical Workers:

Say hello to the #IBEW 's newest local. https://t.co/MfcyO2mEa7

— IBEW (@IBEW) July 22, 2019

Farm Labor Organizing Committee:

Thank you compadres! We echo @UFWupdates! #Solidarity https://t.co/1gAZXXHwGP

— Farm Labor Organizing Committee (@SupportFLOC) July 19, 2019

Fire Fighters:

The Senate will vote on #Renew911VCF on Tuesday, July 23. The IAFF is urging lawmakers to reject the Lee and Paul amendments, which would delay relief for 9/11 responders and threaten passage of the underlying bill. pic.twitter.com/yWXqpAgoj7

— IAFF (@IAFFNewsDesk) July 22, 2019

Heat and Frost Insulators:

The @UnionSportsmen is proud to award the John Heinz NWR and lead volunteer, Brother John Stahl of Insulators Local 14, with its 2019 Volunteer Project of the Year award for its value and impact on the community.
Watch the USA video here:https://t.co/TuB4yTNA2s

— Insulators Union (@InsulatorsUnion) July 22, 2019

International Labor Communications Association:

A preview of the lead story in our Friday newsletter 👀 pic.twitter.com/3H8BEf4m8w

— Labor Communications (@ILCAonline) July 11, 2019

Ironworkers:

Deep South recently ranked 9th in the International Cranes & Specialized Transport’s IC 50 Index, which ranks the largest crane companies worldwide! So proud of our partner contractor and great employer of the ironworkers! #MondayMotivationhttps://t.co/tgMbtrUOrz

— Ironworkers. (@TheIronworkers) July 22, 2019

Jobs with Justice:

Conditions for working people inside Whole Foods deteriorated following Amazon's takeover. https://t.co/pGwVHav8Rb

— Jobs With Justice (@jwjnational) July 22, 2019

Laborers:

Help #LIUNA save #union apprenticeships! Send an email NOW to the DOL, telling them to protect LIUNA apprenticeships! https://t.co/yF76tGBlu0 pic.twitter.com/NwlWyDmvEE

— Midwest Laborers (@LIUNAmidwest) July 19, 2019

LCLAA:

Be part of the movement for change! Stay tuned as we continue to announce insightful topics of discussion that will take place during LCLAA’s 2019 National Conference on August 15-17. #LCLAA19 pic.twitter.com/GaAiAFMcJX

— LCLAA (@LCLAA) July 19, 2019

Longshoremen:

@ILAUnion @TheILAApp Supports @ILWU Canada in Vancouver Dispute. https://t.co/JVHDnIiieO

— Int'l LongshoreAssoc (@ILAUnion) May 29, 2019

Machinists:

So proud. #Apollo50 https://t.co/snEeLB6RGg

— Machinists Union (@MachinistsUnion) July 20, 2019

Metal Trades Department:

Event explores skilled trade construction jobs for women #WomeninConstruction https://t.co/WjwRI5o5eP

— Metal Trades Dept. (@metaltradesafl) July 16, 2019

Mine Workers:

We commend Ms. Ritter for her amazing op-ed in the Register-Herald yesterday.

Her willingness to fight for workers' rights during a time when some state politicians are not looking out for their own constituents is praiseworthy. #1u https://t.co/dL4U1AggzN

— United Mine Workers (@MineWorkers) July 19, 2019

National Air Traffic Controllers Association:

NATCA President Paul Rinaldi is live now on EAA Radio at #OSH19. Tune in now to listen: https://t.co/leMsNSpOrX

— NATCA (@NATCA) July 22, 2019

National Association of Letter Carriers:

A customer's accumulated mail drove our member Clinton Wood to act! Clinton knew that his elderly customer was weak & has a bad hip. He also knew that the man's granddaughter was the local postmaster, so he immediately contacted her. They called 911 & paramedics arrived. #heroes pic.twitter.com/rtxl1TP538

— Letter Carriers (@NALC_National) July 22, 2019

National Domestic Workers Alliance:

Domestic worker rights are immigrant rights
Domestic worker rights are women’s rights
Domestic worker rights are LGBTQ rights
Domestic worker rights are Black and Brown people’s rights
Domestic worker rights are workers’ rights
Here’s why👇🏾 pic.twitter.com/u2Pfu51m3r

— Domestic Workers (@domesticworkers) July 22, 2019

National Nurses United:

Absolutely outrageous. There’s no place in #healthcare for this kind of immoral, unjust denial of care.

For your family and the countless others with stories like this one, we're in the fight to GUARANTEE health care for all.#MedicareForAll https://t.co/hBa67Dd10i

— NationalNursesUnited (@NationalNurses) July 22, 2019

National Taxi Workers Alliance:

32BJ members and VP Shirley Aldebol joined us at City Hall today to say: “Keep the cap.” Thank you to our ⁦@32BJSEIU⁩ family for standing with us! ✊✊✊ pic.twitter.com/RxZjyWQrdQ

— NY Taxi Workers (@NYTWA) July 18, 2019

News Guild:

Alden Global Capital is one of the offenders. In addition to destroying jobs and playing fast and loose with employee pensions, #AldenExposed is destroying newspapers and depriving communities of news about local govt, schools and neighborhoods. https://t.co/Mz2bzjCGz7

— NewsGuild (@news_guild) July 19, 2019

NFL Players Association:

The grind starts now. 😤
We rounded up a few vets to drop some knowledge on training camp. What ONE WORD describes how you feel going into camp? https://t.co/BDk5YH1zRW

— NFLPA (@NFLPA) July 22, 2019

North America's Building Trades Unions:

Registered Apprenticeships provide men AND women with successful careers in a rewarding line of work!

“I went from living hand-to-mouth and being uncertain about my future to earning wages I NEVER dreamed of.” @IBEW @necanet#SaveUnionApprenticeshipshttps://t.co/s2i5dOCFcf

— The Building Trades (@NABTU) July 22, 2019

Office and Professional Employees:

No amount of corporate spin can erase the voices of @Amazon workers, who say the company’s warehouses resemble sweatshops. #1u https://t.co/ZHPXCkdNVZ

— OPEIU (@OPEIU) July 22, 2019

Painters and Allied Trades:

Our General Convention in August is dedicated to celebrating the work that our union brothers and sisters have accomplished - from the front lines of the labor movement. Can't be there? Make sure you're signed up to our text message blasts to follow along! #WeAreUnion pic.twitter.com/gvlsilz5AB

— GoIUPAT✊🏽 (@GoIUPAT) July 22, 2019

Plasterers and Cement Masons:

The #OPCMIA International Training Fund produces the best plasterers and cement masons in North America. Learn more about how our Apprenticeship program and mid-career training set the standard for craftsmanship. The OPCMIA ITF means quality all the way! https://t.co/TbwntCobGr

— OPCMIA International (@opcmiaintl) July 19, 2019

Professional Aviation Safety Specialists:

As world commemorates #Apollo50th , PASS recognizes federal workers @NASA & across government who made it possible: astronauts, engineers, mission control, scientists, celebrated #HiddenFigures, support staff & so many more. #Publicservice is a noble calling & look what they did!

— PASS (@PASSNational) July 19, 2019

Professional and Technical Engineers:

#Union members taking about the benefits of organizing from 1st hand experience! What a beautiful thing. https://t.co/tSy10VGZ6e

— IFPTE (@IFPTE) July 16, 2019

Roofers and Waterproofers:

Do you know somebody who has a great #career thanks to an #apprenticeship with the Roofers & Waterproofers? Show your support for union registered apprenticeships--it takes less than a minute--and ask all your friends and family to do the same. https://t.co/u6y481mVed pic.twitter.com/jfnNIcVEnh

— Roofers Union (@roofersunion) July 22, 2019

SAG-AFTRA:

https://t.co/LzrqIPxjOz pic.twitter.com/GSUNTo71zw

— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) July 21, 2019

School Administrators:

ASASP and PG BOE Reach Deal on Salaries in Record Time https://t.co/zb1z3CaCAK

— AFSA Leadership (@AFSAUnion) June 17, 2019

Seafarers:

The Jones Act Is About Protecting America - The Resurgent https://t.co/V71ME6PiMN

— Seafarers Union (@SeafarersUnion) July 17, 2019

Solidarity Center:

One in every 20 employees in #HongKong is a #migrantworker. Yet for migrant #domesticworkers , whose working visas require them to live at their employers’ homes, becoming pregnant means they can be fired & become homeless overnight. @IDWFED @ndwa https://t.co/tslKLxWSUC

— Solidarity Center (@SolidarityCntr) July 22, 2019

TCU/IAM:

Thank you @GetGephardt & @KUTV2News for telling the truth about Union Pacific and their unsafe practices being dictated by Wall Street.

Our Carmen members are dedicated to their work, and to keeping trains and our communities safe. #RailSafetyhttps://t.co/KuCvFSICPh pic.twitter.com/endMsQHFO1

— Transportation Communications Union/IAM (@TCUnionHQ) July 19, 2019

Theatrical Stage Employees:

Education Department Director Pat White announced that Steward Training Materials are now available to Locals upon request.

The materials include a toolkit, glossary, case studies, and helpful suggestions for new Stewards. #IATSEGEB2019 pic.twitter.com/p5R3mmCzXW

— IATSE (@IATSE) July 22, 2019

Transport Workers:

Mechanical maintenance of U.S. flagged passenger aircraft is a potential disaster awaiting air travelers. The airline industry's lust for profit could have catastrophic consequences. Profits are not more important than the American people. https://t.co/ImMNQELXRS

— TWU (@transportworker) July 22, 2019

Transportation Trades Department:

We're proud to be here today with our operating engineer brothers and sisters at the IUOE legislative conference! #Solidarity pic.twitter.com/7Kkb2RwLDt

— Transp. Trades Dept. (@TTDAFLCIO) July 22, 2019

UAW:

Museum workers are turning to unions to ensure higher wages, fair benefits, and a seat at the table to improve their workplaces. https://t.co/n1PVHhx64W

— UAW (@UAW) July 22, 2019

UFCW:

Congrats to the members of @ufcw1189 who work at the Wedge Co-op in Minneapolis on ratifying a new contract that raises wages and improves benefits! "I’m proud of my co-op and this contract,” says negotiation committee member Nathan Coombes: https://t.co/G32XwdTaOt pic.twitter.com/JMOqXq5IA1

— UFCW (@UFCW) July 22, 2019

Union Veterans Council:

If you have 5 mins today use it to give your member of congress a call.
1-866-829-3298
A livable wage is a much better way to support these vets than a yellow sticker or saying "Thank you for your service" #Raisethewage #1u pic.twitter.com/Gkjkgx9lUu

— Union Veterans Council (@unionveterans) July 18, 2019

UNITE HERE:

"Hotels felt pressure from their unions — which represent thousands of immigrants — as well as from customers angered by recent scenes of overcrowding and other squalid conditions at detention facilities."#MondayMotivation #NoHotelsForICE #1u https://t.co/Pm2ztD66t0

— UNITE HERE (@unitehere) July 22, 2019

United Steelworkers:

DID YOU KNOW - Workplace violence is a serious and growing problem for workers in America. Stand up for #SafeJobsNow here: https://t.co/YEdaL1zgh5 pic.twitter.com/02OoWrEryi

— United Steelworkers (@steelworkers) July 22, 2019

United Students Against Sweatshops:

Get hype - we're less than a month away from the 2019 USAS Summer Conference! Register at https://t.co/Cw8808ORLj! pic.twitter.com/YOX5c9J3rN

— USAS (@USAS) July 12, 2019

Utility Workers:

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

— UWUA National (@The_UWUA) July 10, 2019

Working America:

While airlines rake in billions in profits, food service workers for @Delta, @AmericanAir and @united struggle with poverty wages and are often forced to choose between paying bills or insurance premiums. Join us in supporting @unitehere members at DCA this Tuesday at 5pm pic.twitter.com/oGAHYSGXgY

— Working America (@WorkingAmerica) July 22, 2019

Writers Guild of America, East:

Tailored for senior citizens in the entertainment community, this @TheActorsFund seminar helps participants better understand the #AffordableHousing landscape in NYC. Learn about eligibility requirements & how to get organized to apply. RSVP now! https://t.co/pwK4pFA983

— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) July 22, 2019 Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 07/22/2019 - 14:05

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Current Number of Members: 775,000 active and retired

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn More: WebsiteFacebookTwitter, YouTube

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

Never Underestimate Our Collective Power: The Working People Weekly List

Thu, 07/18/2019 - 10:56
Never Underestimate Our Collective Power: The Working People Weekly List AFL-CIO

Every week, we bring you a roundup of the top news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here’s the latest edition of the Working People Weekly List.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sorry to Bother You: Worker Wins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Missouri Needs Relief: In the States Roundup

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

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

Alaska AFL-CIO:

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

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

Arkansas AFL-CIO:

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

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

California Labor Federation:

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

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

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

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

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

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

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

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

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

Iowa Federation of Labor:

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

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

Maine AFL-CIO:

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

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

Massachusetts AFL-CIO:

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

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

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

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

— MetroDCLaborCouncil (@DCLabor) July 12, 2019

Michigan AFL-CIO:

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

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

Minnesota AFL-CIO:

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

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

Missouri AFL-CIO:

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

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

Montana AFL-CIO:

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

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

New Mexico Federation of Labor:

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

— NMFL (@NMFLaflcio) July 12, 2019

New York State AFL-CIO:

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

— NYSAFLCIO (@NYSAFLCIO) July 15, 2019

North Carolina State AFL-CIO:

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

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

North Dakota AFL-CIO:

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

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

Ohio AFL-CIO:

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

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

Oklahoma State AFL-CIO:

The YELL Conference is coming!

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

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

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

Oregon AFL-CIO:

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

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

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

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

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

Rhode Island AFL-CIO:

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

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

South Carolina AFL-CIO:

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

— SC AFL-CIO (@SCAFLCIO) July 2, 2019

Texas AFL-CIO:

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

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

Virginia AFL-CIO:

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

Virginia: #1 for Business and Beyond Last for Workers

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

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

Washington State Labor Council:

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

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

West Virginia AFL-CIO:

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

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

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO:

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

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

Never Underestimate the Collective Power of Working People

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tags: Janus

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Boilermakers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Current Number of Members: 60,000

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

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

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

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

Learn More: Website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube.

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

Demanding Better: The Working People Weekly List

Mon, 07/15/2019 - 08:44
Demanding Better: The Working People Weekly List AFL-CIO

Every week, we bring you a roundup of the top news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here’s the latest edition of the Working People Weekly List.

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

Make History: What Working People Are Doing This Week: "Welcome to our regular feature, a look at what the various AFL-CIO unions and other working family organizations are doing across the country and beyond. The labor movement is big and active—here's a look at the broad range of activities we're engaged in this week."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Working Families Must Be Together, and Free

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

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

From the Executive Council statement:

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

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

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

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

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

These policies harm and offend all working families.

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

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

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

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

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