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Phoenix Rising: Betty Guardado Ousts Incumbent in City Council Race

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 11:48
Phoenix Rising: Betty Guardado Ousts Incumbent in City Council Race AFL-CIO

Labor union member and activist Betty Guardado was elected to the Phoenix City Council this week, and with strong union support, she ousted the incumbent. Guardado easily beat her opponent as she won more than 62% of the vote.

Guardado, who started off as a housekeeper at a hotel in 1996, became an organizer with UNITE HERE Local 11, for which she now serves as vice president. And now she has risen to become a City Council member for the fifth largest city in the United States.

"I've worked hard for every single thing I’ve had in my life. I feel great, humbled, honored to have the voters decide I was the person to represent them at City Hall," Guardado said after her victory.  

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler (IBEW) was in Phoenix for Guardado’s win and tweeted: "Honored to be at her victory party to congratulate her and the many dedicated @UNITEHERE11 volunteers who made it happen. Working people are lucky to have her powerful voice in office!"

"Betty Guardado is one of us and we are proud of the work she has done for working families, her union and her community," Local 11 posted on social media on election night. "We cannot wait to see what she will do for the people of District 5. Sí, se puede!"

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 05/22/2019 - 12:48

Power Connection: Connecticut AFL-CIO Empowers Fight for $15

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 10:23
Power Connection: Connecticut AFL-CIO Empowers Fight for $15 Connecticut AFL-CIO

In a monumental leap of economic justice last week, the Connecticut Legislature passed a law that increases the state minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2023. The increase brings Connecticut into parity with its neighboring states of New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey, which have passed similar increases. The victory comes as a result of unprecedented coordination among labor unions and allied advocates in the state that have been fighting for an increase for years.

"After years of grassroots organizing, Connecticut will finally catch up to our neighbors," said Connecticut AFL-CIO President Sal Luciano. "We applaud the legislature for doing the right thing and raising wages for over 330,000 workers in our state."

The victory was aided by a number of union members who have been elected to the state's General Assembly. Of critical importance to the bill’s passage were the co-chairs of the assembly's Labor and Public Employees Committee, state Sen. Julie Kushner, former director of UAW Region 9A, and state Rep. Robyn Porter, who was once a single mother who worked three jobs to make ends meet.  

The state legislature also has a paid family and medical leave bill that is tentatively scheduled for a vote the week of May 20. "All these combined are going to make a huge difference in people’s lives," Kushner said.

The significance of the measure is not lost on those who will immediately benefit from the increase. "When fast-food workers walked off the job nearly seven years ago demanding $15 and a union, nobody thought we had a chance," said Joseph Franklin, a leader in the Fight for $15 coalition and a McDonald’s worker in Hartford. "Our movement is gaining momentum."

The Connecticut AFL-CIO has been diligently working to elect union members and allies to office, and this victory shows that the path to power flows directly through the labor movement.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 05/21/2019 - 11:23

Path to Power Is Clear in the Ocean State

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 10:24
Path to Power Is Clear in the Ocean State

The Rhode Island AFL-CIO has been busy in 2019, leading the fight on a number of important legislative initiatives. There are numerous union members who have been elected to the state legislature and that has provided an opportunity to pass legislation that will make a huge difference for our members and for working people across the Ocean State.

Earlier this month, the state legislature passed, and Gov. Gina Raimondo signed, a continuing-contract bill that would indefinitely lock in wages and benefits in expired public-employee contracts. The law now prevents cities and towns from unilaterally slashing pay and making employees pay more for their health insurance during deadlocked negotiations.

The state federation also was involved in passing a bill that established fairness in the overtime laws to firefighters and relieves them of burdensome shift scheduling practices. A top priority for the Rhode Island State Association of Firefighters/IAFF, the new law sets the overtime threshold at 42 hours per week, bringing firefighters’ overtime protections more in line with other industry workers.

The Rhode Island AFL-CIO is also advocating for the passage of an increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour for care providers for developmentally disabled individuals in the state. The legislation has broad support in the legislature and will end the discriminatory minimum wage disparity for these essential care workers.

All of these advancements were made possible through an unrelenting advocacy effort that coordinated many union members elected to the Rhode Island state legislature, including state Senate President Dominick Ruggerio (LIUNA). Ruggerio was instrumental in guiding these initiatives through a complicated political effort and ultimately passed the bills with overwhelming support.

The Rhode Island AFL-CIO is proving that the path to power runs through the labor movement.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 05/20/2019 - 11:24

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Farm Labor Organizing Committee

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 09:51
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Farm Labor Organizing Committee AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC).

Name of Union: Farm Labor Organizing Committee

Mission: To challenge the deplorable conditions of the broader workforce that remains voiceless, powerless and invisible to mainstream America by giving farm workers a voice in the decisions that affect them and bringing all parties to the table to address industry-wide problems.

Current Leadership of Union: Baldemar Velasquez is the founder and president of FLOC. Justin Flores serves as vice president and Christiana Wagner serves as secretary-treasurer.

Members Work As: Farm workers.

Industries Represented: Agriculture throughout the United States.

History: Baldemar Velasquez and a small group of migrant farm workers in northwest Ohio came together in the mid-1960s and FLOC was formally established in 1967. In the ensuing years, FLOC expanded its membership beyond Ohio, organizing thousands of new members. 

After successfully leading a strike in Ohio in 1978, the largest agricultural work stoppage ever in the Midwest, FLOC held its first constitutional convention as a labor union. They began a boycott of Campbell's Soup that year, and in 1983, Velasquez led a 600-mile march as part of the boycott. After eight years of the Campbell's fight, FLOC successfully negotiated the first tri-party agricultural contract between the workers, the company and the growers associations. The success of the Campbell's boycott led to improvements in working conditions, wages and benefits and the end of exploitative sharecropping arrangements at Heinz and other food-processing corporations in the Midwest. 

In the 1990s, FLOC began organizing farm workers in the South. Thousands of farm workers were organized during a five-year boycott of Mt. Olive Pickles that led to a 2003 contract with the farm workers, Mt. Olive and the North Carolina Growers Association. These contracts changed the way the agricultural system works and brought H-2A guest workers under union contracts for the first time. Today, FLOC is working to organize tens of thousands of tobacco farm workers in North Carolina and throughout the South.

Current Campaigns: The Reynolds campaign calls upon tobacco company R.J. Reynolds to create a written agreement guaranteeing the collective bargaining rights of farm workers and calls for a boycott of Reynold's e-cigarette brand VUSE. FLOC focuses on organizing efforts in the Midwest, the South and Mexico.

Community Efforts: We Are FLOC compiles the stories of how FLOC has affected the lives of farm workers. The FLOC Homies Union provides a democratic, unified collective voice for the Latino community in Toledo, Ohio. The Black/Brown Unity Coalition works to empower black and brown communities. 

Learn More: WebsiteFacebookTwitterYouTube.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 05/20/2019 - 10:51

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Profiles: Arlene Inouye

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 12:24
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Profiles: Arlene Inouye UTLA

For Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various Asian Americans and Pacific Americans who have worked and continue to work at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Our next profile is Arlene Inouye.

Arlene Inouye was born and raised in Los Angeles and has spent her life working for the students and teachers of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Her grandparents immigrated from Japan, and they and her mother were placed in internment camps during World War II. Inouye went on to earn a bachelor's and a master's degree from Long Beach State University and she has been a Spanish bilingual speech and language specialist for 18 years. She has also worked as an adult education teacher, master teacher, mentor, multicultural and human relations trainer, school reform trainer, and financial manager.

After she began working in education, Inouye quickly got in her union. She ascended to leadership roles, including treasurer for the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA), as well as various positions with the AFT, the National Education Association and their affiliates. She also serves on the executive board of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance. Most recently, Inouye served as the lead negotiator in the contract talks between UTLA and the LAUSD during the January 2019 teachers strike.

Inouye has a history of activism. In the 1990s, she was working on building peace-based organizations and helping refugees when she launched the Coalition Against Militarism in Our Schools. Unions were among the supporters that made up the coalition and she eventually focused her activism more on collective bargaining rights.

As UTLA's lead negotiator during the weeklong strike, Inouye helped plan strategic efforts that prepared teachers for the work stoppage, built community coalitions and achieved significant gains. She spoke about the value of community:

But what really moved the dial was the fact that we had thirty-two thousand members picketing at every single school, together with fifteen thousand parents and community members. And we had fifty thousand members and supporters out here rallying almost every day. That’s real power. So they knew that if they didn’t meet our demands, we’d prolong the strike—and they didn’t want that. We had tremendous leverage and that’s why we were able to get everything we thought was critical—and more.

And about what it took to win:

We’ve really been building over the past years. I learned that there’s nothing that can stop you when you’re very organized, when you have the structures, the internal systems, the rank-and-file participation, the staff, and when you’re working together for a common agenda. I’m still amazed about what we as a union have been able to accomplish.

We were able to motivate our members and to walk them through the steps of overcoming their real fears and doubts; we were able to help them take a big risk. We stood strong for the issues of all our members, not just our teachers. When you’re inclusive like that you really experience unity. We were all able to come together.

In the end, the teachers won significant victories on behalf of themselves and their students and: a full-time nurse in every school, additional counselors and librarians, smaller class sizes, pay increases without health care concessions, increased oversight for charter schools, and political momentum for a moratorium on charter schools, among other gains. Not only did Inouye help secure victory for the teachers of Los Angeles, she set a standard for other trade unionists to follow.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 05/17/2019 - 13:24

It's Time to Fix Our Roads and Infrastructure with Funding from Congress

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 10:18
It's Time to Fix Our Roads and Infrastructure with Funding from Congress Infrastructure Week

Bent rims. Broken springs. Bridges and roads unfit for drivers. Search #FTDR (short for “Fix the Damn Roads”) on social media, and you’ll find countless stories from Michiganders who are paying the price of crumbling, potholed roads and highways.

Michigan’s roads cost the average driver more than $640 every year, and not a cent of that goes toward actually fixing the problem. The state of Michigan’s infrastructure is downright dangerous. School buses full of kids cross bridges held up with temporary supports. Chunks of concrete from overpasses fly into windshields, causing injuries. We’re running out of time to act.

Unfortunately, nightmare bridges and roads are just one example of how underinvestment in infrastructure hurts working families—and not just in Michigan. Many of America’s transit systems, airports, railways and ports—once a point of deep pride for our country—are sorely outdated and can barely keep up with demand.

As a result, Americans from all walks of life are suffering. Office workers endure grueling, hourslong commutes to and from work. Air travelers experience increasingly long lines at our nation’s airports. Small business owners face delays getting their goods to market. And those unable to afford vehicles find it difficult to access reliable transit options.

These experiences add up to a national crisis. Failing to act on infrastructure makes the United States less competitive than 15 of our major trading partners and could cost us 2.5 million jobs by 2025.

This Infrastructure Week, we’re calling on Congress to invest in our nation’s roads, bridges, schools and more. For every dollar spent on public infrastructure, we get $3.70 back in economic growth. That’s a phenomenal return on investment, putting an additional $1,400 per year back into the pockets of everyday Americans.

A robust federal investment would ensure safe roads, sturdy bridges, clean drinking water, quality public schools, dependable transit systems and ports that can keep up with global demand. The package we need wouldn’t just address our current shortfall, but would help propel America forward as a global leader in the technologies and infrastructure of the future, such as high-speed rail and smart utilities.

Improving our infrastructure also will help our families and communities by creating good-paying, family-sustaining jobs, lowering unemployment, raising wages and reducing inequality. This virtuous growth cycle can usher in a new era of broadly shared prosperity and, in turn, provide equality and justice within our communities. Without it, countless working families will be left to suffer the consequences—something Michigan knows all too well.

Last month marked five years since the Flint water crisis began. Michigan’s recent proposal for a $120 million investment to replace lead service lines and clean up contaminated water is a critical step forward. What’s more, it would immediately put hundreds of women and men to work in good-paying union jobs across the state, replacing and building pipelines so this never happens again.

Many of these jobs in infrastructure begin with a union apprenticeship. Workers receive education and on-the-job training—often at little or no cost—and afterward, they receive a career filled with dignity, opportunity, advancement and no debt.

These workers are willing and able to tackle the enormity of our nation’s crumbling infrastructure crisis. But, like Michiganders and all Americans, they are waiting for the federal government to act.

While Washington debates its next move, American families are footing the bill—paying more than $3,000 every year for government inaction—and wasting the equivalent of four full days a year sitting in unnecessary traffic.

Michigan and other states are stepping up to fill in the gaps where they can, but we need federal leadership to get the job done. With 79% of Americans agreeing that it’s extremely important to invest in infrastructure, Congress and the administration are out of excuses.

It’s time to fix the damn roads.

This post originally appeared in the Lansing State Journal.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 05/17/2019 - 11:18

The PRO Act: Pathway to Power for Workers

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 09:57
The PRO Act: Pathway to Power for Workers

Abigail Disney, granddaughter of the co-founder of the Walt Disney Co., called out the family business’ current CEO last month for making what’s supposed to be the happiest place on earth pretty darn miserable for its workers.

All of the company profits shouldn’t be going into executives’ pockets, she said in a Washington Post column. The workers whose labor makes those profits should not live in abject poverty.

This is what labor leaders have said for two centuries. But Disney executives and bank executives and oil company executives don’t play well with others. They won’t give workers more unless workers force them to. And the only way to do that is with collective bargaining—that is, the power of concerted action.

The United States recognized this in the 1930s and gave Americans the right to organize labor unions under the National Labor Relations Act (NRLA). The increase in unionization encouraged by the law significantly diminished income inequality over the next 40 years. American workers prospered as a result of having a voice in the workplace.

But right-wing politicians, at the beck and call of CEOs, have chiseled large chunks out of labor organizing rights, diminishing unions and breeding vast economic disparities.

The decline in union density accounts for one-third of the rise in income inequality among men and one-fifth among women, Economic Policy Institute researchers found.

The solution, of course, is the same as it was in 1935. In order to restore balance to an astronomically uneven economy, Congress must restore workers’ power to organize. Democrats took a first step last week toward accomplishing that when they introduced the Protect the Right to Organize (PRO) Act in the U.S. House and Senate. It would give back to workers the power they need to demand their fair share of the profits created by the sweat of their brows.

It’s great that some billionaires and millionaires like Abigail Disney want CEOs to give their workers raises. But workers need the PRO Act, the power of collective bargaining, to make them do it. Workers know this intrinsically and want union representation. A survey last year showed that nearly half of nonunion workers would join a union if given the opportunity to do so. For that to happen, the law must change.

The PRO Act addresses several major problems with the current gutted NLRA that render too many workers powerless. Its intent is to give working people a fair shot when they try to form a union and bargain for a better life for themselves and their families.

The defects of the current law can be clearly seen in the case of Kumho Tire. In 2017, the union I lead, the United Steelworkers (USW), filed a petition to represent workers at the major international tire producer’s plant in Macon, Georgia. The company ran a vicious $500,000 campaign against the union, including daily, mandatory captive audience meetings, designed to coerce workers into voting against union representation.

Kumho also fired the lead supporter of the organizing drive, Mario Smith, to intimidate his fellow workers. There are currently no penalties for employers who take such retaliatory actions. The best a wrongly fired worker can hope for is receiving back wages, but only once the case is settled, which can sometimes be years after the termination.

Meanwhile, corporations routinely forbid outside union organizers from entering the workplace, and workers are restricted from speaking about the organizing campaign while on the clock. Such limitations violate the intent of the NLRA, which was to encourage collective bargaining, not hinder it.

The USW filed more than 30 Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges against Kumho Tire, including for the unjust termination of Mario Smith, but this process takes time, sometimes years. And time doesn’t pay unjustly fired workers’ bills.

Under the PRO Act, rather than making fired workers endure long periods of uncertainty while waiting for their ULP cases to be heard by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), unions would be able to immediately seek an injunction to reinstate employees like Smith while their cases are pending. The bill would also authorize the NLRB to assess monetary penalties for each violation in which a company wrongfully terminates a worker or causes serious economic harm.

And those mandatory captive audience meetings would be banned, giving workers the power and freedom to decide for themselves if union representation is right for them.

The PRO Act would also forbid freeriding, which is when workers who choose not to join the union but benefit from union representation don’t pay fair share fees to cover the cost of bargaining and administering the collective bargaining agreement. This would beat back one of the major assaults on labor rights—so-called “right to work” laws—by allowing unions to function fully for their members.

The bill proposes a system to ensure that workers who succeed in a union organizing drive actually obtain a first collective bargaining agreement, establishing terms for pay, benefits and working conditions. As it stands now, nearly half of newly formed unions are denied a first labor agreement as the result of companies’ refusal to negotiate in good faith.

Volkswagen, for example, has spent years and millions thwarting their employees’ attempts to unionize at the VW plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Since 2015, when a group of 160 skilled-trades workers in the plant voted to join the UAW, the company has refused to negotiate and appealed to the NLRB and the courts to get the election overturned. With courts and the now Republican-dominated NLRB upending union-friendly Obama rulings, that looks likely.

Not to be defeated, however, the UAW has collected signatures from 65 percent of the plant’s 1,709 hourly workers, including the 160 skilled-trades workers. The cards say the workers want an election for union representation, and the UAW asked the NLRB to set a date. Instead, the GOP NLRB postponed the election indefinitely, giving VW all the time it wants to continue waging its aggressive anti-union campaign on their workers.

Newspaper columns and calls for compassion by Patriotic Millionaires like Abigail Disney can only do so much to convince CEOs to treat their workers fairly. Americans need more than nice rich people speaking up for them—they need the power to speak and stand up for themselves. An economy is only as healthy as its workers are empowered.

The PRO Act is the pathway to that power.

This post originally appeared at Common Dreams.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 05/17/2019 - 10:57

Invest in Infrastructure: In the States Roundup

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 09:48
Invest in Infrastructure: In the States Roundup AFL-CIO

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

Alaska AFL-CIO:

Time to tell your legislator to support an Alaska with a strong economy and vital services. #akleg #akgov pic.twitter.com/65gzVsHuxP

— Alaska AFL-CIO (@AKAFLCIO) May 15, 2019

Arizona AFL-CIO:

'It's because we were union members': Boeing fires workers who organized https://t.co/6E2fLhLQH5

— Arizona AFL-CIO (@ArizonaAFLCIO) May 4, 2019

Arkansas AFL-CIO:

Video Games and Drinks, or Union Dues? Delta’s Pitch Draws Fire https://t.co/AtDxvRjEtC

— Arkansas AFL-CIO (@ArkansasAFLCIO) May 15, 2019

California Labor Federation:

Trump's illegal move to revoke #HSR funding from CA is an attempt to "kill thousands of good, family-supporting jobs our state desperately needs. We stand with @GavinNewsom to vigorously defend these funds & the #HSR project that’s so vital to California’s future." -- @ArtPulaski

— California Labor Federation (@CaliforniaLabor) May 16, 2019

Colorado AFL-CIO:

We see you Senate Democrats-thank you for your leadership and support for Colorado workers and communities by passing HB 1314 on second reading! #coleg pic.twitter.com/kM4sMHLhqh

— Colorado AFL-CIO (@AFLCIOCO) April 30, 2019

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

Connecticut will finally catch up to our neighbors – MA, NY & NJ – who have already passed a $15 minimum wage. We applaud the legislature for doing the right thing and raising wages for over 330,000 workers in CT. Full @15andaUnion statement:https://t.co/nElHwR5wQ1 #FightFor15 pic.twitter.com/dAsgOB1IH6

— Connecticut AFL-CIO (@ConnAFLCIO) May 17, 2019

Florida AFL-CIO:

The smoke is clearing from this year's attack on Working Families. Watch our final update video to see what happened in the last week of Session. Sign up for email alerts at https://t.co/tDa78A8Tvyhttps://t.co/x9QK5k5g74

— Florida AFL-CIO (@FLAFLCIO) May 16, 2019

Georgia AFL-CIO:

Union member and State Senator @SenNanOrrock pumping up the crowd at the @AFLCIO Southern District meetings! #1u pic.twitter.com/X7MoAumY7S

— AFL-CIO Georgia (@AFLCIOGeorgia) April 4, 2019

Idaho AFL-CIO:

Write Your Representative: Co-Sponsor H.R. 2474, Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2019#1u #Solidarity #UnionStrong #Organize #UnionsForAll #RightToOrganize https://t.co/Q8uBoBq6Cp pic.twitter.com/72SHASm5dH

— Idaho State AFL-CIO (@IdahoAFLCIO) May 8, 2019

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

44% of major roadways are in poor or mediocre condition, costing the average driver $533 each year in repairs. #BuildForTomorrow https://t.co/lEae1GhNya

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

Iowa Federation of Labor:

STATEMENT ON IOWA SUPREME COURT RULING https://t.co/BzyVbmEyp1

— Iowa AFL-CIO (@IowaAFLCIO) May 17, 2019

Kansas State AFL-CIO:

We are very happy to announce that Delía García has been confirmed as the Secretary of KDOL!

We look forward to Sec. García's continuing leadership. The future is bright for KDOL!

Pictured: Sec. García and staff watching the official announcement.#KSDOL #ksleg @GovLauraKelly pic.twitter.com/J7MkEDhSuQ

— Kansas Dept of Labor (@KansasDOL) May 3, 2019

Kentucky State AFL-CIO:

“Hoover emphasized a concern that several legislators of both parties have about the bill — that it will likely diminish the retirement... https://t.co/sGobvVaB40

— Kentucky AFL-CIO (@aflcioky) May 7, 2019

Maine AFL-CIO:

✊✊✊ https://t.co/mJFwcIsN6j

— Maine AFL-CIO (@MEAFLCIO) May 15, 2019

Massachusetts AFL-CIO:

They heard us loud and clear today! We will continue to fight for the schools our students and communities deserve. #FundOurFuture #1u #mapoli pic.twitter.com/MePq3CdnoS

— Massachusetts AFL-CIO (@massaflcio) May 16, 2019

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

Daryl Davis Quintet closes out #dclaborfest concert with Whole Lott’s Shakin’ ⁦@busboysandpoets⁩ Takoma ⁦@The_AFMpic.twitter.com/jjVp3PYhZK

— MetroDCLaborCouncil (@DCLabor) May 17, 2019

Michigan AFL-CIO:

A well-deserved lifetime achievement award for Sander Levin. Always standing with us. #MIAFLCIO19. pic.twitter.com/kJs1XlNLX2

— Michigan AFL-CIO (@MIAFLCIO) May 16, 2019

Minnesota AFL-CIO:

Heat grows in the union debate at Delta Air Lines as senators scold CEO. https://t.co/ZnAPVeSYd8 Thank you @SenTinaSmith for standing with working people and our freedom to join together! #1u @MachinistsUnion pic.twitter.com/w189bkHmwk

— Minnesota AFL-CIO (@MNAFLCIO) May 17, 2019

Missouri AFL-CIO:

Some in the Missouri Legislature are trying to kill one of the largest energy projects in the state's history! Stand with the workers, rural schools and communities who will benefit from the Grain Belt Express project and tell the #MoLeg to #SaveGBX. https://t.co/GJu0xFRVbi pic.twitter.com/03TQdAhetk

— Missouri AFL-CIO (@MOAFLCIO) May 15, 2019

Montana AFL-CIO:

Bill signing ceremony for SB 264. Bill provides prevailing wages for remediation work at Colstrip when units close and allows the local union workforce to compete for those jobs. Thank you Sen. Jason Small for all your work! #mtpol pic.twitter.com/mBJ1MYSND1

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

Nebraska AFL-CIO:

Shout out to all who helped with the 27th Annual Letter Carriers Food Drive in Nebraska! We had an amazing response. #stampouthunger #unionproud pic.twitter.com/ktg1VE6Mqb

— NE State AFL-CIO (@NEAFLCIO) May 12, 2019

Nevada State AFL-CIO:

Solidarity with state workers as they fight for a voice on the job ✊🏽✊🏾✊🏼@Local4041 @Culinary226 #1u pic.twitter.com/JPBMmOy3n9

— Nevada State AFL-CIO (@NVAFLCIO) May 14, 2019

New Hampshire AFL-CIO:

By acclamation @PresBrackett has been elected to a second term as NH AFL-CIO President! #nhpolitics

— NewHampshire AFL-CIO (@NHAFLCIO) April 13, 2019

New Mexico Federation of Labor:

Putting money into our communities is what makes it grow, not taking it away. #BuildForTomorrow pic.twitter.com/fEcs510rU5

— NMFL (@NMFLaflcio) May 17, 2019

New York State AFL-CIO:

NESE approval is essential to grow our economy. The project will not only provide good-paying construction jobs, it will create countless economic opportunities through new residential, industrial, and commercial development. When NESE is resubmitted @NYSDEC must approve quickly.

— NYSAFLCIO (@NYSAFLCIO) May 16, 2019

North Carolina State AFL-CIO:

Yes! Adjuncts win latest round in union bid at Elon University: https://t.co/c5n3IXU0uM @SEIUForwardNC #1u #organizethesouth

— NC State AFL-CIO (@NCStateAFLCIO) May 16, 2019

Ohio AFL-CIO:

This needs more attention. Thx to the @OHDems @RepMarcyKaptur @RepMarciaFudge @RepTimRyan @RepBeatty for supporting Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act), Not one @GOP member signed up protect our @AFLCIO #Union, which protects our #MiddleClass. https://t.co/0RW6bYxoHH

— Ohio AFL-CIO (@ohioaflcio) May 16, 2019

Oklahoma State AFL-CIO:

pic.twitter.com/zKmtd442MK

— Oklahoma AFL-CIO (@OK_AFL_CIO) May 14, 2019

Oregon AFL-CIO:

https://t.co/lerh40Uzy4

— Oregon AFL-CIO (@OregonAFLCIO) May 17, 2019

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

If you learn anything from @hardball tonight, it is that WORKERS’ issues at the heart of Pennsylvania’s communities! @HardballChris @ueunion #union #1u

— PA AFL-CIO (@PaAFL_CIO) May 16, 2019

Rhode Island AFL-CIO:

Sign up today to receive our weekly ENews. Send us a request by E-Mail to Info@RIAFLCIO.com. #1U #UnionNews #UnionStrong #UnionYes #Unions #AFLCIO

— Rhode Island AFL-CIO (@riaflcio) March 15, 2019

Texas AFL-CIO:

SB 9 wants to suppress the elderly and disabled voters that often times can't drive to the polls," said Texas AFL-CIO's #NOSB9 @MontseTXAFLCIO https://t.co/Ou9iNmujQK

— Texas AFL-CIO (@TexasAFLCIO) May 16, 2019

Virginia AFL-CIO:

Millions of Americans Could Finally Get Paid Family Leave—If Lawmakers Can Agree On Who Pays https://t.co/XJVQkGPX7n pic.twitter.com/ntU6yZWTb9

— Virginia AFL-CIO (@Virginia_AFLCIO) May 17, 2019

Washington State Labor Council:

WSLC President Larry Brown: "A healthy environment and good jobs go hand in hand. We must have both, or in the end, we’ll have neither." #WAleadsonclimate https://t.co/Hvb5lRgrTT

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

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO:

For Equality, This Labor Leader Gave a Maximum Effort, https://t.co/Y5kNpspR6E

— WI AFL-CIO (@wisaflcio) May 16, 2019 Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 05/17/2019 - 10:48

Profiling Asian Pacific American Labor Leaders: The Working People Weekly List

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 09:19
Profiling Asian Pacific American Labor Leaders: 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.

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Profiles: Sumi Sevilla Haru: "For Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various Asian Americans and Pacific Americans who have worked and continue to work at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Our next profile is Sumi Sevilla Haru."

Murdered Trade Unionists: The Truth Behind Colombia’s Trade Agreement: "Any mention of Latin America has become a synonym of mass migration, autocratic governments and unstable economies. Yet, Colombia continues to shine as the exception. This week marks the seventh anniversary since the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) entered into force. It can be argued that during these years this South American nation has become a haven of economic and social stability. Or not."

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Confronting the Health Care Crisis: "In the latest episode of 'State of the Unions,' Tim talks to National Nurses United Executive Director Bonnie Castillo, RN, about the growing movement of registered nurses organizing for better jobs, a more just society and health care as a fundamental human right."

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

Save Our Pensions: 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."

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Profiles: Chinese Railroad Laborers: "For Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various Asian Americans and Pacific Americans who have worked and continue to work at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Our first profile this month features the Chinese laborers who helped build the first transcontinental railroad in North America."

Colorado Legislature Votes to Protect Local Minimum Wage Laws: "Last week, the Colorado Legislature passed a bill to repeal the state's 1999 law that prohibits local governments from setting a minimum wage higher than the state level. The Colorado law was part of a wave of measures nationwide pushed by corporate interests trying to keep wages low by preempting democracy. Since then, working people in Colorado have been working to overturn the limitations placed on the minimum wage and will finally do so when Gov. Jared Polis signs the bill, which he is expected to do in the coming days."

North Woods North Star: "After years of dealing with an intransigent governor, the Maine AFL-CIO is advancing a pro-labor agenda in the state after victories at the ballot box last year. With their endorsed candidate for governor elected to the Maine House with strong union support, the door is now open for opportunities to pass meaningful legislation for the working people of Maine."

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: California School Employees Association: "Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the California School Employees Association (CSEA)."

Paducah Unions Observe Workers Memorial Day by Helping Feed the Hungry: "Union families gather on Workers Memorial Day to remember men and women who lost their lives on the job the previous year. 'This year, we wanted to do something different,' said Kyle Henderson, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council."

Economy Gains 263,000 Jobs in April; Unemployment Declines to 3.6%: "The U.S. economy gained 263,000 jobs in April, and the unemployment rate declined slightly to 3.6%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Continued lower levels of job growth provide good reason for the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee to express caution in considering any interest rate hikes."

What (Guest-Worker) Women Want: "We’re farm workers, crab pickers and cruise ship workers. We’re chocolate packers, engineers, veterinarians, nurses and teachers from all around the world. We are united by our motivation, yearn for knowledge and commitment to creating change in our communities. We stand with guest-worker women from around the world to ensure that the policies that affect us reflect our experiences."

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Not Good Enough: "In the latest episode of 'State of the Unions,' podcast, co-hosts Julie and Tim talk to Celeste Drake, the AFL-CIO's recently departed trade policy specialist, about flaws in the proposed new NAFTA and outline the labor movement's high standards for current and future trade agreements."

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

Marriott Should Tell the Truth About Sexual Harassment: "Marriott International, the biggest hotel chain in the world, is hiding the truth about the dangers its workers face. UNITE HERE members are demanding that the company comes clean. "

12 Things You Need to Know About Death on the Job: "The AFL-CIO today released its 28th annual Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect report. Each April, we examine the state of worker safety in America. This year's report shows that 5,147 working people were killed on the job in 2017. Additionally, an estimated 95,000 died from occupational diseases."

What Happens When Call Center Jobs Are Shipped Abroad and Workers Try to Organize?: "One of the world's largest 'contact center' companies, U.S.-based giant Alorica, has been expanding in the Philippines, where more than 1.3 million women and men work in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector. These workers and their allies came together through BIEN, the BPO Industry Employees Network, to defend workers' interests in this booming sector. Alorica, a global player in this industry, offers 'customer experience' services to the U.S. market for clients like Comcast, AT&T, Citibank, Barclays and Caesars."

USITC Report Backs Up the Need to Fix New NAFTA to Add Real Enforcement: "On April 18, the United States International Trade Commission released its analysis of the likely economic impacts of the new NAFTA (also known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement or USMCA). The report supports the AFL-CIO’s position on the new NAFTA: Congress should not vote on it until it is fixed."

The U.S. Postal Service Is Owned by the People—Let's Keep It That Way: "As the tax deadline looms and millions scurry to get their forms sent on time, Tax Day is a good time to dispel the myth that the U.S. Postal Service is funded by tax dollars."

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

Powerful Victory: "A tentative agreement between the 31,000 members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) in New England and management at Stop & Shop supermarkets has been reached, effectively ending the historic strike that captured the country’s attention."

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 05/17/2019 - 10:19

Murdered Trade Unionists: The Truth Behind Colombia’s Trade Agreement

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 11:23
Murdered Trade Unionists: The Truth Behind Colombia’s Trade Agreement Rhett Doumitt, Solidarity Center

Any mention of Latin America has become a synonym of mass migration, autocratic governments and unstable economies. Yet, Colombia continues to shine as the exception. This week marks the seventh anniversary since the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) entered into force. It can be argued that during these years this South American nation has become a haven of economic and social stability. Or not.

One only has to look behind all the fanfare and a “parallel reality” appears. Violence in Colombia is still harrowing. From the oil to the sugar to the flower sector, workers and trade unionists report a deterioration of their rights at the workplace, continued labor intermediation that weakens the power of workers, and an increase in the culture of violence and impunity. From January 2016 through April 2019, 681 social leaders and human rights defenders have been murdered; and between 2016 and 2018, 70 trade unionists have been killed. In fact, from the year the TPA went into force until today, 172 trade unionists have been murdered.

When the United States and Colombia began negotiating their trade agreement, we already saw the negative effects of the original NAFTA—from mass migration and a spike in violence in Mexico to widening inequality in the United States. After pressure from labor and human rights organizations, in April 2011, the U.S. and Colombian governments agreed to an “Action Plan Related to Labor Rights” (Labor Action Plan) that outlined specific steps to be taken by the Colombian government within a concrete timeline.

Colombia made commitments, both under the trade agreement and in other global fora, to improve worker rights, end attacks and murders of trade unionists, and bring perpetrators of violence to justice. The country also signed a peace accord with the FARC that committed to ending the conflict and addressing many of the core factors that continue to lead to high levels of inequality and violence.

But despite these ongoing commitments by various Colombian administrations and President Iván Duque Márquez, the situation for Colombian workers and trade unionists continues to deteriorate.  

As a side agreement, the Labor Action Plan had no effective enforcement mechanism, and in May 2016, the AFL-CIO and Colombian unions submitted a complaint under the FTA documenting ongoing egregious violations of the agreement’s labor commitments. Currently, the agreement remains inadequately implemented with new policies like the recently passed National Development Plan that actively undermines its implementation.  

Today is the third anniversary of the submission of the labor complaint, and the AFL-CIO and Colombian unions continue to demand real action toward compliance with all international commitments that include full respect for and implementation of International Labor Organization’s  fundamental rights that are critical to not only securing rights, but the ongoing transition to an inclusive and lasting peace.

In the context of the ongoing peace process, on May 2 the Colombian Congress approved the National Development Plan, a four-year plan that includes changes to labor rights. The plan contradicts many of Colombia’s commitments under free trade agreements with both the United States and Canada and with the European Union, as well as commitments made at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the ILO. It undermines efforts to redress broader problems such as the exclusion and poverty and violence faced by Afro-Colombians, indigenous people and rural workers. Seven years after the trade agreement went into force, neither the Colombian nor U.S. government are in a position to speak of progress.

The ongoing failure to address egregious worker rights violations and violence against trade unionists in Colombia underscores the lack of effective enforcement mechanism in our current trade model. We must inform the current debates around the need to develop a new trade model that creates an effective enforcement mechanism, mandatory monitoring, reporting and assurances that actions will be promptly taken when workers' rights violations occur. Guaranteed funding is needed to ensure monitoring, enforcement and technical assistance happen.

The United States must address the vain attempts by the Colombian government to uphold its commitments outlined in the TPA and ensure that any future trade agreements, including the renegotiated NAFTA, incorporate an effective mechanism that ensures that working families’ lives can benefit from trade.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 05/16/2019 - 12:23

Tags: Colombia

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Confronting the Health Care Crisis

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 09:08
‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Confronting the Health Care Crisis AFL-CIO

In the latest episode of "State of the Unions," Tim talks to National Nurses United Executive Director Bonnie Castillo, RN, about the growing movement of registered nurses organizing for better jobs, a more just society and health care as a fundamental human right. 

"State of the Unions" is a tool to help us bring you the issues and stories that matter to working people. It captures the stories of workers across the country and is co-hosted by two young and diverse members of the AFL-CIO team: Mobilization Director Julie Greene and Executive Speechwriter Tim Schlittner. A new episode drops every other Wednesday featuring interesting interviews with workers and our allies across the country, as well as compelling insights from the podcast’s hosts.

Listen to our previous episodes:

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

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 05/15/2019 - 10:08

Tags: Podcast

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Profiles: Sumi Sevilla Haru

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 12:11
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Profiles: Sumi Sevilla Haru Sumi Sevilla Haru

For Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various Asian Americans and Pacific Americans who have worked and continue to work at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Our next profile is Sumi Sevilla Haru.

Sumi Haru was born in Orange, New Jersey, to Filipino immigrant parents, and she grew up in Colorado. When she was young, she dreamed of being an actress after meeting the cast and crew of the film "Soldier in the Rain" on a California vacation. When she arrived in Hollywood in the late 1960s, she started getting small roles in movies like "Krakatoa: East of Java" and "M*A*S*H" and TV shows like "The Beverly Hillbillies" and "Marcus Welby, M.D." In 1968, she became a member of the Screen Actors Guild.

It wasn't until 1970 that she caught the activism bug. That year, Haru joined a picket line in Los Angeles, protesting the musical "Lovely Ladies, Kind Gentlemen," which cast white actors in Japanese roles. After that protest, she founded or got involved in numerous organizations that promoted the rights of actors. In 1981, as president of the Association of Asian/Pacific American Artists, she protested the movie "Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen," which cast Peter Ustinov as the fictional Chinese detective. About the film, she said: "It isn't only dated and racist, it's insulting to our sense of logic and fair play. White actors, with their eyes taped, can portray us on the screen, but we as Asian-Pacifics are not permitted to portray them."

Between Haru's activism and her refusal to audition for roles that she believed stereotyped Asians, acting roles became a smaller part of her life and she became more active in SAG. She joined the union's board in the mid-1970s, and she co-founded SAG's Ethnic Employment Opportunities Committee and negotiated for inclusion and more realistic representation of people of color in Hollywood.

In addition to serving on the SAG board for nearly 40 years, Haru also served in several leadership positions, including recording secretary and first vice president. In 1995, when SAG President Barry Gordon resigned to run for Congress, Haru became interim president of the union, the first woman of color to hold the position. That year, she also began a six-year term as an AFL-CIO national vice president, the first time an Asian American served on the federation's Executive Council.

In 2009, Haru was honored with SAG's Ralph Morgan Award for distinguished service. In 2012, she published her memoir, "Iron Lotus."

At the time of her passing, then-SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard said:

It is with great sadness that our SAG-AFTRA family says goodbye to Sumi Haru. Sumi notably represented SAG-AFTRA and its predecessor unions for decades on our local and national boards, and as Screen Actors Guild recording secretary and interim president. Sumi served our members through her lifelong dedication to actors, the labor movement and civil rights and equal employment. She did that with conviction, passion and grace. Our deepest condolences go out to her loved ones. We will miss her.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 05/13/2019 - 13:11

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Communications Workers of America

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 10:51
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Communications Workers of America AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Communications Workers of America (CWA).

Name of Union: Communications Workers of America

Mission: CWA members and retirees fight for economic justice and democracy at the bargaining table, on the job, and in the legislative and political arena. They are committed to building a powerful movement that reaches beyond the workplace to build power for working families.

Current Leadership of Union: Christopher Shelton was elected president of CWA in 2015. Sara Steffens serves as the secretary-treasurer of CWA. In addition to the president and secretary-treasurer, CWA executive board includes vice presidents and leaders from seven geographic districts, seven industry sectors, four at-large members and the Canadian director.

Current Number of Members: 700,000.

Members Work As: A wide range of occupations in communications, customer service, technology, the airline industry, manufacturing, media, the public sector, health care, education, public safety, and many other fields in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Industries Represented: Telecommunications and information technology, the airline industry, news media, broadcast and cable television, education, health care and public service, law enforcement, manufacturing, and other fields.

History: CWA was founded in 1938 as the National Federation of Telephone Workers. The union became the Communications Workers of America in 1947. Because of CWA's democratic tradition and member involvement, a number of other unions have affiliated with CWA over the years, including: the International Typographical Union (1987), the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (1994), The Newspaper Guild (1997), the Independent Association of Publishers’ Employees (1997), the International Union of Electronic Workers (2000) and the Association of Flight Attendants (2003).

Current Campaigns/Community Efforts: CWA members are engaged on the local, state, federal and international levels in the fight for economic justice and democracy and to build power for working families. They are calling on Congress to hold corporate executives accountable for their broken promise to use their enormous tax cuts to create jobs, raise wages and end offshoring. They are advancing legislation to help keep call center jobs in the United States and are taking on Wall Street and the big banks.

CWA is a founding member of The Democracy Initiative, working to ensure that we all have an equal say in a democracy of, by and for the people.

Learn More: WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 05/13/2019 - 11:51

Letter Carriers' 'Stamp Out Hunger' Drive Is This Saturday

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 09:19
Letter Carriers' 'Stamp Out Hunger' Drive Is This Saturday NALC

For the 27th year in a row, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) will be conducting its "Stamp Out Hunger" Food Drive. Every year on the second Saturday in May, postal carriers, in addition to their regular workload, collect food from people in more than 10,000 cities across the country. Each year, it is the largest one-day food drive in the world.

Doing your part in the food drive is super easy. On May 11, leave bags of nonperishable food items by your mailbox. During their regular mail route, letter carriers pick up the bags and deliver the food to local food agencies with the help of countless volunteers.

Over time, more than 1.5 billion pounds of food have been collected and distributed through the drive, boosting pantries and agencies during one of their slowest periods for donations.

This year's partners include: the AFL-CIO, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, the U.S. Postal ServiceUnited Way WorldwideValpakValassis, CVS Health and Kellogg's.

To learn more about the drive, visit NALC's website and follow the drive on social media with the hashtag #StampOutHunger.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 05/10/2019 - 10:19

Save Our Pensions: What Working People Are Doing This Week

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 07:47
Save Our Pensions: 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:

New Report Names Nearly 4,000 Companies Profiting Off of Private Prison Industry https://t.co/dbtJPY3lA6

— APRI National (DC) (@APRI_National) May 6, 2019

Actors' Equity:

Tony award nominee @LilliCooper shares how she relates to the sacrifice that comes with being a performer. #TuesdayThoughts pic.twitter.com/zEgRZACOyT

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

AFGE:

The @DeptVetAffairs proposals are geared toward changing VA employees from “civil servants” into just plain “servants.” https://t.co/OJNoYyjB0U

— AFGE (@AFGENational) May 2, 2019

AFSCME:

A new rule from the Trump administration’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services hurts home care workers & makes it more difficult for these workers, who are overworked in stressful jobs, to join together and speak with a powerful voice. https://t.co/6GblsuhNuf

— AFSCME (@AFSCME) May 6, 2019

AFT:

“We want every public school to be a place that parents want to send their kids, where teachers want to work, and where students are engaged.” @rweingarten notes a paradigm shift towards neighborhood schools from WV to CA. #EWA19 pic.twitter.com/waYJthGPfR

— AFT (@AFTunion) May 7, 2019

Air Line Pilots Association:

A Pilot’s View: Celebrate #NationalPhotographyMonth with These Can’t-Miss Photos from the Cockpit: https://t.co/OWFZJl70HP pic.twitter.com/39bHey0tI9

— ALPA (@WeAreALPA) May 2, 2019

Alliance for Retired Americans:

Enough blaming hard working people. They can't save what they don't earn. We need to #SavePensions and #ExpandSocialSecurity https://t.co/PqyAZiXMkb pic.twitter.com/e180MwHZU7

— Alliance Retirees (@ActiveRetirees) May 6, 2019

Amalgamated Transit Union:

Bus Drivers Reveal 'Wild' Side of Public Transit in CT https://t.co/JuyLnKS3if #safebus #publictransit #transit #1u

— ATU, Transit Union (@ATUComm) May 2, 2019

American Federation of Musicians:

Congratulations to all the nominees—and to the #UnionMusicians who perform 8x a week every week! 🙌🏾🙌🏽🙌🏿 #TonyAwards #TonyNominations #1u
https://t.co/SgG8AvBWa6

— AFM (@The_AFM) April 30, 2019

American Postal Workers Union:

.@RepKatieHill cuts past the BS and gets to the point.
These privatization proposals mean cutting jobs, cutting wages and cutting service.
🙅No 🙅No 🙅No#USMailNotForSale https://t.co/G9t88jadJu

— APWU National (@APWUnational) May 3, 2019

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance:

A1. Our favorite part of APAHM is uplifting the fact that Asian American is a political term used to build power in our communities and was created to combat U.S. militarism in SE Asia. Every year we strive to continue this legacy!https://t.co/i9C1EcNRkb#MillennialMon #AAPI2020 pic.twitter.com/HvAuJwl9NT

— APALA (@APALAnational) May 6, 2019

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:

.@afa_cwa members & aviation’s first responders safely evacuated the Miami Air International plane last night. We commend their actions.
AFA EAP & Safety are providing support to the crew. More: https://t.co/0g47bNl6Ad

— AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) May 4, 2019

Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers:

Local 6 members at the Lehigh Valley, Pa. Bimbo Bakeries USA plant took time out of their breaks to send emails to their U.S. Representatives to urge support for the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act (H.R. 397).

Help #SaveOurPension here: https://t.co/LMCjZjyla1 pic.twitter.com/D3sKehZflt

— BCTGM International (@BCTGM) April 25, 2019

Boilermakers:

Way to represent #Boilermakers and an important issue, @martywill76! https://t.co/YX9z8i1tBj

— Boilermakers Union (@boilermakernews) May 7, 2019

Bricklayers:

Learn more about #SkilledTrades and how our training programs can help you: https://t.co/Jrhkxk1Cfy #construction #apprenticeships #1u https://t.co/Zfp7jxZkq0

— Bricklayers Union (@IUBAC) May 7, 2019

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists:

Like the vicious white backlash that followed Reconstruction, the angry prowl of white supremacy after the Obama presidency is stalking black voters openly, with the blessing of the criminal white nationalist in the White House. Be ready. https://t.co/V2ULwPFUkm

— CBTU (@CBTU72) May 4, 2019

Coalition of Labor Union Women:

CLUW Takes On Capitol Hill - April 10, 2019 https://t.co/98hZChSmOA #CLUWSNAP pic.twitter.com/jPaKkeduLA

— CLUW National (@CLUWNational) April 27, 2019

Communications Workers of America:

If you use Uber or Lyft on Wed, May 8 you're crossing a picket a line. Don't. #1u https://t.co/iG890jVr8y

— CWA (@CWAUnion) May 7, 2019

Department for Professional Employees:

“We all came here with prior experience. The job requires a college degree and people have student debt. Yet it feels like they’re treating us like interns.” #1u https://t.co/SC74p2ZVzk

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

Electrical Workers:

Stay safe with National Fall Prevention Safety Stand-Down week https://t.co/Z7jYAJ4aHp

— IBEW (@IBEW) May 7, 2019

Farm Labor Organizing Committee:

We hope to change this. Our members do trust us because we are on the ground with them and we have a constitutional convention every four years for them to tell us what they want us to focus on. https://t.co/qxywa4lmaW

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

Fire Fighters:

#Firefighters rescue residents trapped due to flooding in Dearborn Heights https://t.co/DO2hrdBh00

— IAFF (@IAFFNewsDesk) May 7, 2019

Heat and Frost Insulators:

Welcome to our newest Brothers and Sisters at Local 34 in Minnesota!

📷: Local 34 President George Kisel swearing in 16 new apprentices. pic.twitter.com/tXPBlgLIdR

— Insulators Union (@InsulatorsUnion) May 7, 2019

International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers:

#RiotWalkout is an example of workplace democracy in action!! All the nerds at @IFPTE stand firmly with these workers excersizing their rights!!

— IFPTE (@IFPTE) May 6, 2019

International Labor Communications Association:

#WednesdayWisdom = this enlightenment. See more tagged #MayDay #MayDay2019 #InternationalWorkersDay #IWD2019 #1u https://t.co/OXa7u3IBoQ

— Labor Communications (@ILCAonline) May 1, 2019

Ironworkers:

Iron Workers Local 118 Retiree’s Club formed a committee to create a mural in the hall depicting the past, present and future of Local 118. The 6-month long project was celebrated on Aril 13, 2018 with a ceremony that drew ironworkers and their families. pic.twitter.com/0Wy2vSL69u

— Ironworkers. (@TheIronworkers) May 2, 2019

IUE-CWA:

In 1935 on this day the Works Projects Administration (WPA) was established providing work opportunities for millions during the Great Depression pic.twitter.com/1hT8OBtb4P

— IUE-CWA (@IUE_CWAUnion) May 6, 2019

Jobs With Justice:

Another black eye for Boeing, as fired employees accuse the aviation giant of unionbusting. #1u https://t.co/bcgkRRPFgY

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

Labor Council for Latin American Advancement:

LCLAA stands in support of Uber and Lyft drivers who have announced a 24-hour strike as they demand fair wages! https://t.co/PRrNpERU1O

— LCLAA (@LCLAA) May 6, 2019

Laborers:

Today, working men and women around the globe will commemorate the strife, struggle and sacrifice of workers who came before us and find inspiration to carry on the battle for social and economic justice #MayDay #labormovement #1u pic.twitter.com/7jiD6sjuic

— LIUNA (@LIUNA) May 1, 2019

Machinists:

What’s up, DC?!

This week is the 2019 IAM Legislative Conference. Follow along with #IAMLegConf19 as we hear from allies on Capitol Hill and go out in force to lobby on issues that matter to working families. pic.twitter.com/RZkrWpW1Ih

— Machinists Union (@MachinistsUnion) May 6, 2019

Metal Trades Department:

Union-made Cutco Knives. Need a gift idea for Mom, Mother's Day is Sunday. Or maybe Dad for Father's Day next month. https://t.co/m0iaThyimn

— Metal Trades Dept. (@metaltradesafl) May 6, 2019

Mine Workers:

There is no more time to wait. Congress must do the right thing and live up to America’s promise to its retired coal miners, now! Call them NOW! 202-224-3121. #TheyEarnedIt pic.twitter.com/bsWREvk2x4

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

National Air Traffic Controllers Association:

On April 9, NATCA UAS National Rep Steve Weidner spoke on a panel at the @AvWeekEvents #urbanairmobility Conference & discussed adding thousands of new users into what is currently the safest, most efficient & most complex airspace in the world. https://t.co/k0CESCJcat pic.twitter.com/97iPZQLbPG

— NATCA (@NATCA) May 7, 2019

National Association of Letter Carriers:

Listen up 🎧! Listen to Letter Carrier Jeff Kranz talk about the upcoming #StampOutHunger Food Drive on @WKXA 100.5 this morning. Jeff gives a few exciting food drive tips. Thanks for the show, @BigDaveInTheAM! https://t.co/61ZKhEM82b #FoodDrive #zerohunger pic.twitter.com/BM7LQnFcsP

— Letter Carriers (@NALC_National) May 7, 2019

National Day Laborer Organizing Network:

Beautiful day for a massive #MayDay march with Los Jornaleros del Norte! #ndlon #daylaborers #endwagetheft pic.twitter.com/DJXdgEyvKu

— NDLON (@NDLON) May 2, 2019

National Domestic Workers Alliance:

.@FGossGraves of @NWLC breaks down why the #BeHEARD act is such a crucial piece of legislation for making *everyone* feel safe in the workplace. https://t.co/oyLQTHGAn9

— Domestic Workers (@domesticworkers) May 7, 2019

National Nurses United:

The best way for lawmakers to honor #NursesWeek is by working to pass bills which improve patient safety protections.⁰
Last week, union nurses brought this message to legislators in Washington, D.C. and this week, nurses are taking the California Capitol! https://t.co/Pjx9YBojQ6

— NationalNursesUnited (@NationalNurses) May 7, 2019

National Taxi Workers Alliance:

STRIKE STRIKE STRIKE! We are calling on all people of good conscience in NYC to log off of the apps in 7 AM to 9 AM Wednesday, May 8th to support our strike. Don't use Uber, don't use Lyft. Log off of all the apps! Support app drivers demanding job security and livable incomes!

— NY Taxi Workers (@NYTWA) May 3, 2019

The NewsGuild-CWA:

“Don’t give up on us,” says Todd Cooper, head of the Omaha World-Herald’s @news_guild.

If local reporters don’t cover the local courts, and City Hall, and zoning board meetings, and the goings-on of the local chamber of commerce, who will? https://t.co/dp5mKlkl8h

— NewsGuild (@news_guild) May 7, 2019

NFL Players Association:

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Keep the conversation going. #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth https://t.co/yrbQlqBfLN

— NFLPA (@NFLPA) May 6, 2019

North America's Building Trades Unions:

There’s no better time to get started in unionized construction! Read up on some of the great benefits NABTU apprenticeships provide 💪

“It’s an incredible program and when people hear about it, their jaws generally drop.” @necanet @IBEW
https://t.co/2lvTh3QcDb

— The Building Trades (@NABTU) May 7, 2019

Office and Professional Employees:

Local 459 RNs Liz Gray, Malinda Green & Julie Fuller are longtime union supporters because they know the solidarity that comes with a member-led union gives them the power to negotiate the safe staffing ratios that allow RNs to provide patients the best possible quality of care. pic.twitter.com/mWDGtIUJgH

— OPEIU (@opeiu) May 7, 2019

Painters and Allied Trades:

As the weather gets warmer, we recognize all the workers who trudged through the snow, the cold and the rain to continue to build up our cities and communities. We thank you for all that you do! #StrongerTogether #WeAreUnion

— GoIUPAT✊🏽 (@GoIUPAT) May 7, 2019

Plasterers and Cement Masons:

“To attract replacements who grew up playing Call of Duty, some construction companies, unions and schools have turned to simulators that replicate jobs done by heavy equipment.”https://t.co/9XHI3mEWWt

— OPCMIA International (@opcmiaintl) May 6, 2019

Pride At Work:

"Queer children face challenges regardless of their race, but the intersection of Blackness and queerness in one of an especially layered oppression. And it’s important to remember how this reality creates unique risks factors for non-white LGBTQ people."https://t.co/BQTT0hYtdd

— Pride at Work (@PrideatWork) April 29, 2019

Professional Aviation Safety Specialists:

Thank you @SenatorLankford for your support of #federalemployees and the workers PASS represents at the Federal Aviation Administration. We appreciate your support during our fight to defeat air traffic control privatization last year! #PSRW #DontPrivatizeOurSkies #publicservice https://t.co/xqdSzEIDuT

— PASS (@PASSNational) May 7, 2019

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union:

RWDSU Prez @sappelbaum: "Forcing customers to use only credit or debit is a discriminatory business model that disadvantages low-income people, people of color, and seniors.”

We need to push back on the growing trend of cashless stores. #1u https://t.co/LSx8Nt2htK

— RWDSU (@RWDSU) April 30, 2019

SAG-AFTRA:

We fondly remember the life & career of founding member Barbara Perry, who died Sunday at 97. Her performing career is one of the longest in history, spanning 90 years of dance, theater, film and TV & she received the SAG-AFTRA Founders Awards last Oct. #sagaftramember since 1934 pic.twitter.com/qEUkTFhAn6

— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) May 7, 2019

School Administrators:

Union actors are fighting for a fair wage and health care. It's time we join together and stand our ground. AFSA stands with our sisters and brothers at @SAG/AFTRA. #StrikeBBH pic.twitter.com/CZV8Fg5MrT

— AFSA Leadership (@AFSAUnion) March 22, 2019

Seafarers:

Mr. President: America needs the Jones Act https://t.co/D4GfqYBtXI

— Seafarers Union (@SeafarersUnion) April 30, 2019

Solidarity Center:

Migrant #domestic workers in #Lebanon rallied to demand the scrapping of a sponsorship syst that enables employer abuse. The 250,000+ registered domestic workers, mostly women, are excluded from labor law & are tied to employers who sponsor them.https://t.co/UuoCcuO8Ob

— Solidarity Center (@SolidarityCntr) May 7, 2019

TCU/IAM:

THANK YOU to @RepLipinski, @RepChuyGarcia & @RepSchakowsky for standing with and supporting members of the @AmtrakCouncil in their fight to be treated with respect. Outsourcing = Union-busting.
Read more here: https://t.co/0dQ9PnN8wx pic.twitter.com/Na2ASqE9WU

— Transportation Communications Union/IAM (@TCUnionHQ) April 24, 2019

Theatrical Stage Employees:

With so many moving pieces in a theatrical environment, there are situations that can elevate safety risk. But, these risks can be mitigated with vigilance on behalf of both employers and employees. #SafetyAndHealthWeek #StandDown4Safety @TheatreAlberta https://t.co/oqgmWfM9SY pic.twitter.com/kxRXlNjYl3

— IATSE (@IATSE) May 7, 2019

Transport Workers:

The threat is real! #PeopleBeforeRobotshttps://t.co/eqOCyn05oq

— TWU (@transportworker) May 6, 2019

Transportation Trades Department:

It’s easy to say Gateway is a New York or New Jersey problem, but that just isn’t true. What happens or doesn’t happen here will impact the entire country & the economy. We need to fund the Gateway project now. https://t.co/EVYKIu5whm

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

UAW:

Last year, GM's CEO made $21.87 million. That's 281 times the salary of the company's median employee. https://t.co/eNKEypydsP

— UAW (@UAW) May 7, 2019

United Food and Commercial Workers:

Historic victory by 31,000 #StopAndShopWorkers is a wake-up call for corporations. American workers are standing up to protect good jobs and put people first. Must-read from UFCW President @Marc_Perrone in @ProJo: https://t.co/vuO4dQlXUw pic.twitter.com/3Pq5aN9VBC

— UFCW (@UFCW) May 6, 2019

Union Label and Service Trades Department:

The Stop & Shop Strike Is Showing There’s Still Power in a Union https://t.co/slSfzq6c6G

— Union Label Dept. (@ULSTD_AFLCIO) April 25, 2019

Union Veterans Council:

Trump's tax cut was a disaster for some Gold Star families, but it's a symptom of a larger problem https://t.co/ixd0X6qd83

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

UNITE HERE:

"We recognize how #Dreamers & #TPS holders have enriched & strengthened our cities, states, schools, businesses, congregations & families."#DreamAndPromiseNow #1uhttps://t.co/L6RJzpXLMI

— UNITE HERE (@unitehere) May 6, 2019

United Steelworkers:

. @RealDonaldTrump Labor Board Postpones VW Vote while Company Manufactures Climate of Fear https://t.co/W69e9aTgmY #1u

— United Steelworkers (@steelworkers) May 7, 2019

United Union of Roofers and Waterproofers:

Let's hear it for the newest #apprenticeship grads out of Roofers Local 42 Cincinnati. On their way to a great #roofing #career! pic.twitter.com/sZ6qqeOcuV

— Roofers Union (@roofersunion) May 2, 2019

Utility Workers:

The #USEITAct would boost development and deployment of #carboncapture. Tell Congress to pass this important bill. Find out why it’s important below. #CCSTechFactshttps://t.co/alKwyTvDXC

— UWUA National (@The_UWUA) May 7, 2019

Working America:

Happy #NationalTeacherDay! #ThankATeacher #1u pic.twitter.com/Ka8v5nU3TL

— Working America (@WorkingAmerica) May 7, 2019

Writers Guild of America, East:

Welcome #VoxEntertainment to the union family! https://t.co/iKNIVT2ZvD

— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) May 7, 2019 Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 05/10/2019 - 08:47

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Profiles: Chinese Railroad Laborers

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 12:54
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Profiles: Chinese Railroad Laborers Harper's Weekly, 1867

For Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various Asian Americans and Pacific Americans who have worked and continue to work at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Our first profile this month features the Chinese laborers who helped build the first transcontinental railroad in North America.

May 10 marks the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad. As the Civil War ended, Congress passed legislation granting land and funding for the Union Pacific Railroad and the Central Pacific Railroad companies to begin construction on the western portion, which would connect with existing rail lines in the east. Central Pacific began building eastward from Sacramento, California, while Union Pacific worked westward from Council Bluffs, Iowa.

As the project ramped up, Central Pacific put out an ad to hire 5,000 workers, but only got hundreds of responses from white laborers. Those they did hire quickly tired of the low pay and hard work, and Leland Stanford and the leaders of Central Pacific began experimenting with Chinese laborers on the railway, despite Stanford and others believing that  Chinese workers were inferior. Chinese laborers had come to California in significant numbers to work in mines. Some had also worked on rail projects in the state, and Central Pacific began hiring these workers in small groups of 50. 

Before long, Central Pacific learned that the Chinese workers not only could do the work, they were willing to endure worse conditions for longer hours than white workers would. Soon, the company had hired almost all of the available Chinese laborers and started paying to import more workers directly from China. By 1867, more than 90% of Central Pacific's crew working on the transcontinental railroad were Chinese, with anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 workers at any given time. Union Pacific, on the other end of the railroad, hired no Chinese workers, and most of their laborers were Civil War veterans and Irish immigrants. 

While the Union Pacific workers did much of their job on flat plains, the Central Pacific laborers not only worked in mountainous and other dangerous terrain, they were paid significantly less than the Irish workers. The conditions were harsh:

Often toiling in extreme weather, they cleared obstructions, moved earth, bored tunnels and built retaining walls—work done virtually all by hand. They became experts in drayage, masonry, carpentry and track laying. Sometimes they were lowered off cliffs to plant explosive charges when blasting was necessary, knowing that once the fuse was lit the difference between life and death hinged on how fast they were brought back up.

They worked during two of the harshest winters on record to that point. Snow and avalanches were constant fears in the winter months. Few records were kept about the Chinese workers, particularly about deaths on the job, but estimates suggest that more than 1,000 Chinese laborers died during the construction of the transcontinental railroad. Letters home, diaries and other documents are believed to have been destroyed or otherwise lost to time. Few, if any, of the laborers who helped build the railroad have been memorialized, and it took 100 years to get even a statue to honor the sacrifice these workers made to build the United States. 

The disparate pay and working conditions led the Chinese workers to engage in what was then the biggest strike in U.S. history. In 1867, thousands of Chinese workers in the Sierra Nevada walked off the job and returned to their camps. The strike lasted eight days before Central Pacific cut off food and supplies. The workers went back on the job and over time, reports say that conditions improved, even if the strike wasn't a total success.

After the completion of the railroad, the Chinese workers dispersed to many other projects across the country. They helped on more than 70 other railroad projects and helped build roads and contribute other work that would launch Yellowstone Park and other national treasures. 

White Americans didn't take kindly to the competition for jobs and rising anti-Chinese sentiment was powerful in the next decade, leading to the Chinese Exclusion Act being passed in 1882. The act was accompanied by anti-Chinese violence. In California alone, there were more than 200 round-ups of rural Chinese who were killed, lynched or forced to leave town. Forced migrations, such as that in Tacoma, Washington, were common.

For a long time after, the contributions of Chinese laborers, the creation of the transcontinental railroad and the economic boon it helped usher in were ignored. Later, American history textbooks began to include a paragraph or short section on the contributions of the Chinese, but too little has been done to recognize the harsh working conditions and the terrible treatment Chinese laborers faced while helping build the foundation for America's future. Efforts are underway to record and save as much of this chapter in America’s history as possible.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 05/09/2019 - 13:54

Colorado Legislature Votes to Protect Local Minimum Wage Laws

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 09:07
Colorado Legislature Votes to Protect Local Minimum Wage Laws Denver Area Labor Federation

Last week, the Colorado Legislature passed a bill to repeal the state's 1999 law that prohibits local governments from setting a minimum wage higher than the state level. The Colorado law was part of a wave of measures nationwide pushed by corporate interests trying to keep wages low by preempting democracy. Since then, working people in Colorado have been working to overturn the limitations placed on the minimum wage and will finally do so when Gov. Jared Polis signs the bill, which he is expected to do in the coming days. 

After the passage of the 1999 law, the state legislature kept Colorado's minimum wage at the federal level. In 2006, though, voters approved Initiative 42, which increased the state's minimum wage and required adjustments based on inflation. But by 2016, the state's minimum wage had only risen to $8.31 per hour, an amount that made it nearly impossible for working families to afford basic needs. In 2016, voters proposed and passed Amendment 70, which will raise the state minimum wage to $12 an hour.

But in certain parts of Colorado, even $12 an hour isn't enough. A recent study showed that a single full-time worker with no children needs $21.88 to make ends meet in the Boulder area and $19.81 in the Denver metro region. With one child, the cost of living rises to $35 an hour in Boulder and $34 an hour in Denver. Clearly, local governments need the freedom to address the needs of their residents.

Working people across the country support local minimum wage ordinances. A recent survey from the National Employment Law Project (NELP) found that nearly 60% of voters believe that legislatures threaten democracy and silence the voices of the people when they pass such preemption laws.

And the evidence shows that local minimum wage laws are not only popular—more than 40 cities or counties have passed such measures—they also work. When local governments can raise the minimum wage above state minimums, local leaders are able to overcome gridlock at the state or national level to take action that appropriately helps their communities. The most recent study of local minimum wage increases shows that a 10% bump in the minimum wage increases the earnings of food service workers between 1.3% and 2.5% without any discernible decline in employment.

The new legislation gives local governments the authority to adopt minimum wage laws above the state and national minimums so they can address local costs of living and worker needs. Colorado is the first state to repeal a local minimum wage preemption law through their legislature. Arizona voters repealed a preemption law via ballot initiative in 2006. Legislation to repeal similar laws has been introduced in Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 05/09/2019 - 10:07

Tags: Minimum Wage

No Place for Violence: The Working People Weekly List

Thu, 05/09/2019 - 08:40
No Place for Violence: 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.

Violence Has No Place in the Workplace: "Violence should never be part of the job. But the reality is violence is now the third-leading cause of workplace deaths, resulting in nearly 29,000 serious injuries every year. Nurses, medical assistants, emergency responders and social workers face some of the greatest threats, suffering more than 70 percent of all workplace assaults. Women workers are also at particular risk, suffering two out of every three serious workplace violence injuries. The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Services Workers Act (H.R. 1309, S. 851), introduced by Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), would help protect these workers."

Paducah Unions Observe Workers Memorial Day by Helping Feed the Hungry: "Union families gather on Workers Memorial Day to remember men and women who lost their lives on the job the previous year. 'This year, we wanted to do something different,' said Kyle Henderson, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council.'"

Economy Gains 263,000 Jobs in April; Unemployment Declines to 3.6%: "The U.S. economy gained 263,000 jobs in April, and the unemployment rate declined slightly to 3.6%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Continued lower levels of job growth provide good reason for the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee to express caution in considering any interest rate hikes."

What (Guest-Worker) Women Want: "We’re farm workers, crab pickers and cruise ship workers. We’re chocolate packers, engineers, veterinarians, nurses and teachers from all around the world. We are united by our motivation, yearn for knowledge and commitment to creating change in our communities. We stand with guest-worker women from around the world to ensure that the policies that affect us reflect our experiences."

Profiling Labor Leaders and Activists for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: "For Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various Asian and Pacific Americans who have worked and continue to work at the intersection of civil and labor rights. First, let's take a look back at Asian and Pacific Americans we've profiled in the past."

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Not Good Enough: "In the latest episode of 'State of the Unions,' podcast co-hosts Julie and Tim talk to Celeste Drake, the AFL-CIO's recently departed trade policy specialist, about flaws in the proposed new NAFTA and outline the labor movement's high standards for current and future trade agreements."

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

Marriott Should Tell the Truth About Sexual Harassment: "Marriott International, the biggest hotel chain in the world, is hiding the truth about the dangers its workers face. UNITE HERE members are demanding that the company comes clean."

12 Things You Need to Know About Death on the Job: "The AFL-CIO today released its 28th annual Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect report. Each April, we examine the state of worker safety in America. This year's report shows that 5,147 working people were killed on the job in 2017. Additionally, an estimated 95,000 died from occupational diseases."

What Happens When Call Center Jobs Are Shipped Abroad and Workers Try to Organize?: "One of the world's largest 'contact center' companies, U.S.-based giant Alorica, has been expanding in the Philippines, where more than 1.3 million women and men work in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector. These workers and their allies came together through BIEN, the BPO Industry Employees Network, to defend workers' interests in this booming sector. Alorica, a global player in this industry, offers 'customer experience' services to the U.S. market for clients like Comcast, AT&T, Citibank, Barclays and Caesars."

USITC Report Backs Up the Need to Fix New NAFTA to Add Real Enforcement: "On April 18, the United States International Trade Commission released its analysis of the likely economic impacts of the new NAFTA (also known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement or USMCA). The report supports the AFL-CIO’s position on the new NAFTA: Congress should not vote on it until it is fixed."

The U.S. Postal Service is Owned by the People—Let's Keep it That Way: "As the tax deadline looms and millions scurry to get their forms sent on time, Tax Day is a good time to dispel the myth that the U.S. Postal Service is funded by tax dollars."

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

Powerful Victory: "A tentative agreement between the 31,000 members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) in New England and management at Stop & Shop supermarkets has been reached, effectively ending the historic strike that captured the country’s attention."

No Enforcement, No Treaty: 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."

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 05/09/2019 - 09:40

North Woods North Star

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 09:39
North Woods North Star Dan Neumann

After years of dealing with an intransigent governor, the Maine AFL-CIO is advancing a pro-labor agenda in the state after victories at the ballot box last year. With their endorsed candidate for governor elected to the Maine House with strong union support, the door is now open for opportunities to pass meaningful legislation for the working people of Maine.

Meanwhile in the legislature, Senate President Troy Jackson, a member of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), has been a strong advocate for a number of pro-worker policies. Along with a number of other union members elected to state office through the Maine AFL-CIO union candidates program, working people in Maine have a reason to believe that real change is achievable, and the Maine AFL-CIO is leading the way.  

Working together with Machinists (IAM) District 4, the Maine AFL-CIO is supporting an effort by a group of North Woods loggers and wood haulers to urge lawmakers in Augusta to support a bill that would grant them the right to organize. The woods workers, who recently formed the New England Loggers Cooperative/IAM, are advocating for legislation that would allow loggers and wood haulers to form cooperatives and demand better wages and working conditions, in brave defiance of the large timber companies who threaten to blacklist workers for standing up for their rights.

On another front, the Maine Legislature approved a bill that will ensure employees are given proper notice when a large employer closes, down-sizes or relocates a facility. The bill will extend the state Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act to require Maine employers with more than 100 employees to provide workers and communities with 90 days advance notice prior to closures, relocations or mass layoffs. Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1400 members worked with the Maine AFL-CIO to organize the advocacy effort in favor of the bill, which now heads to Gov. Janet Mills’ desk for her signature.  

The Maine AFL-CIO is providing support and assistance on a number of other legislative initiatives, including a responsible contracting bill that is a priority bill for state building trades unions (North America's Building Trades Unions [NABTU]); a 911 dispatcher bill that will provide fair retirement benefits for these public employees (Fire Fighters [IAFF]); an effort to improve the timeliness and safety of public bus service (Amalgamated Transit Union [ATU]); a bill establishing wage and employment parity for social workers with the Maine State Employees Association (MSEA); and a number of other collective bargaining and job creating initiatives that working people across Maine have been waiting for.

Emblazoned on the Maine state flag is the term Dirigo, which is Latin for “I direct,” referring to the North Star that also adorns the state banner. In that same spirit, the work that our brothers and sisters in Maine are accomplishing is a guide for how working people can right the ship of state—by organizing to achieve electoral success and doing the hard work to translate those wins into meaningful change. Dirigo, indeed.  

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 05/08/2019 - 10:39

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: California School Employees Association

Mon, 05/06/2019 - 10:51
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: California School Employees Association AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the California School Employees Association (CSEA).

Name of Union: California School Employees Association

Mission: CSEA represents classified school employees across California in collective bargaining efforts while working to further the professional and legislative goals of its members, students and communities.

Current Leadership of Union: Ben Valdepeña is the 45th president of CSEA. He has worked as a custodian with the Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District since 1983. He has held a variety of elected and appointed leadership positions locally and with CSEA. He also serves as an executive vice president of the California Labor Federation.

Keith Pace serves as executive director, Rob Feckner is vice president of the CalPERS Board of Administration, and Clyde Rivers represents CSEA on the AFL-CIO Executive Council and California Labor Federation Executive Board. The CSEA board of directors is made up of five officers and 10 area directors, all of whom work as volunteers.

Current Number of Members: 240,000.

Members Work As: A wide range of essential work, including security, food services, office and clerical, school maintenance and operations, transportation, academic assistance and paraeducator services, library and media assistance, and more.

Industries Represented: Public schools and community colleges in California.

History: In 1927, a group of custodians in Oakland came together to support another custodian who couldn't afford to retire because California's public schools offered no pension plan. The group formed CSEA to bargain for rights for themselves and other school employees.

In the years after World War II, CSEA's membership grew from 1,400 members to nearly 10,000. In the 1950s, they helped establish the "Classified Bill of Rights," which helped increase benefits and legal protections for classified employees. 

After Prop. 13 passed in 1978, CSEA fought budget and program cuts that targeted music, art, athletics and school transportation. In 1988, they helped pass Prop. 98, which established a minimum level of state funding for public schools.

In the ensuing years, CSEA would grow to nearly 800 local chapters. In 2001, it became an independently chartered member union of the AFL-CIO. CSEA fought back against pension raids and voucher campaigns, and worked to maintain and improve school funding to protect crucial services for California students.

Current Campaigns: CSEA has a variety of campaigns to fight outsourcing, promote school safety, protect school funding, and defend against staff layoffs and pension cuts.

Community Efforts: CSEA honors and awards members for their efforts in the community, provides them a variety of benefits and publishes a series of periodicals to keep them informed. 

Learn More: WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 05/06/2019 - 11:51

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