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What Happens When Call Center Jobs Are Shipped Abroad and Workers Try to Organize?

1 day 6 hours ago
What Happens When Call Center Jobs Are Shipped Abroad and Workers Try to Organize? BIEN

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.  

Since 2015, Unified Employees of Alorica (UEA) has been organizing to defend these workers' rights. At every step, Alorica has denied workers their right to form a union, broken laws and refused to recognize the union, retaliating against workers who unionize by firing them.

In September 2018, the union filed a notice of strike and began planning a legally protected strike to protest union-busting by Alorica. The United Employees of Alorica have the following demands:

  1. Drop the criminal charges filed against the union leaders.
  2. Reinstate the terminated officers of UEA.

Just this week, Michael Concepcion, a regional organizer for BIEN who has worked directly with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), received a death threat by text message. 

This and previous threats show a pattern of harassment, extra-judicial detentions and killings that have affected more and more union activists in the Philippines under the Duterte administration. Large corporations like Alorica and AT&T use this repressive climate to their own benefit.

Starting today, CWA and Filipino activist groups Migrante and Bayan are holding solidarity protests in San Francisco and Los Angeles, along with other local supporters in California.  

Support the UEA and allies like BIEN in their efforts to defend workers’ rights in this key industry in an economy globalized according to rules written by corporations and governments desperate to attract investment. Please tweet or post the following to Facebook and other social media:

Respect workers’ rights in the Philippines @OfficialAlorica @ATT Drop charges against UEA union leaders. #HumanRights #AloricaPH

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 04/24/2019 - 10:02
Kenneth Quinnell

USITC Report Backs Up the Need to Fix New NAFTA to Add Real Enforcement

1 day 6 hours ago
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 usual Washington, D.C., pundits will talk a lot about how the report "proves" that the new NAFTA is good for the economy. But they probably won’t talk very much about the most important thing: Does the report provide useful insight on what matters most to workers?

An important caveat: The USITC has a history of wrong predictions. Not just randomly wrong. The USITC has only erred in one direction: to overestimate how great trade deals will be.  

For instance, the USITC predicted the original NAFTA would have small positive effects on wages in the United States and Canada and large positive effects on wages in Mexico. Instead, NAFTA suppressed wages in all three countries. Many U.S. union members saw their workplaces transfer production to Mexico, while others were forced to accept concessionary contracts to keep their jobs. In Mexico today, the minimum wage has less purchasing power than before NAFTA and there is a bigger gap between U.S. and Mexican manufacturing wages. This is because the original NAFTA puts the interests of global corporations ahead of the interests of working people.

Importantly, the new USITC report notes: "The agreement, if enforced, would strengthen labor standards and rights." In fact, it predicts that with enforcement, wages for union workers in Mexico would rise by 17.2%. This prediction may be another wild exaggeration (and even if it is not, a 17% raise on $2.00 per hour is still only $2.34 per hour). But it confirms what the AFL-CIO has been saying all along: A new NAFTA is useless to working people without swift and certain labor enforcement.

With or without NAFTA, America’s working families live in a global economy. We are exposed to international competition no matter what. One great way to increase our leverage to negotiate better pay and benefits is to help workers in other countries—including Mexico—raise their wages and benefits, too. The USITC is right that Mexican wages will only rise if Mexico completes its labor law reform process and all three NAFTA parties work hard to monitor and enforce the labor provisions of the deal.

But enforcement can’t happen unless the text is repaired to make sure that one party can’t block enforcement, unless labor loopholes are eliminated, unless new swift and certain monitoring and enforcement tools are added, and unless adequate, long-term resources are devoted to enforcement. And those changes to the deal can’t happen unless Congress tells the administration that it refuses to vote on the new NAFTA until it is fixed.

Please help us get this right. Call Congress today at 855-856-7545 and tell your representative: No vote until NAFTA is fixed!

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 04/24/2019 - 09:50

Tags: NAFTA

Kenneth Quinnell

The U.S. Postal Service is Owned by the People—Let's Keep it That Way

2 days 1 hour ago
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.

In fact, the Postal Service receives zero tax dollars for its operations. Without taking a dime in taxes, the Postal Service maintains the lowest prices for mail services in the industrialized world and delivers to 159 million addresses, six—and now often seven—days a week—all funded by revenue from the sale of stamps and other postal products.

While private courier companies only deliver where a profit can be made, the public post office provides universal service to everyone, no matter age, wealth, race, who we are or where we live.

It is little wonder that the Postal Service, a public institution enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and the crucial anchor of the growing e-commerce revolution, remains the most trusted federal agency. A recent Pew Research Center survey revealed that 88% of the population has a favorable view of the Postal Service, with the highest favorability ratings coming from young adults. Whether sending or receiving medicine, packages, greeting cards, letters, periodicals, catalogs or ballots, every person, household and business in this country is a postal customer.

Still, that persistent myth—that the Postal Service is a burden to taxpayers—is precisely the false narrative that led Congress to pass the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. That act manufactured a financial crisis by compelling the Postal Service to pre-fund all retiree health care costs, 75 years into the future—for workers not even born yet. This mandate transferred postal revenues to the U.S. Treasury and robbed the Postal Service of $5.6 billion a year over a 10-year period. No other company or agency faces, or could be expected to survive, such an onerous financial burden.

Adding to the absurdity is the fact that, prior to the 2006 law, the Postal Service had been reliably paying its annual retirement health benefit premiums on time.

Fast forward from 2006 to last year. Exactly one year ago, in April 2018—again using the guise of taxpayer protection—President Donald Trump established a postal task force to study Postal Service finances. However, before the task force even published its findings, the White House Office of Management and Budget in a June 2018 report on reforming government laid bare their goal of selling the Postal Service to the highest corporate bidder.

Postal privatization, if allowed to move forward, would surely enrich some Wall Street investors and a few powerful corporations. For the rest of us, it would result in diminished postal services and higher prices. This is exactly what happened when other nations, such as the United Kingdom, went down this path. Evidence of this can be seen in both the OMB report and the task force report that followed in December, which called for higher rates, cuts to service and lower wages and benefits for postal workers, all as a first step toward total privatization.

Other task force “solutions” include eliminating delivery days, slowing service speed, allowing anyone who pays a fee access to your secure and private mailbox, reducing door delivery, undermining the universal service obligation and piecemeal privatization that will all undermine the future of a vibrant public postal service.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Congress should simply fix the pre-funding fiasco they created in 2006. In addition, the Postal Service should provide an array of expanded services such as increased financial services and paycheck cashing, notary and various licensing services, internet access and electric automobile charging stations.

Everyone who sends and receives mail and packages has a stake in making sure that the U.S. Postal Service remains owned by, and in the service of, the people. Ask your member of Congress to co-sponsor House Resolution 33 and Senate Resolution 99. Both resolutions oppose privatizing the Postal Service.

Let’s ensure that the postal eagle, symbolizing its public ownership, is never sacrificed on the altar of private profit and replaced by the vulture of corporate greed. The U.S. Postal Service operates without tax dollars and provides a necessary and popular public service. Keep it—it’s yours.

This post originally appeared at The Cap Times.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 04/23/2019 - 14:40
Kenneth Quinnell

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Railroad Signalmen

3 days 2 hours ago
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Railroad Signalmen AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Railroad Signalmen (BRS).

Name of Union: Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen

Mission: To represent the men and women who maintain railroad signal systems and highway-rail grade crossing warning devices across the nation. In addition, the BRS negotiates contracts and promotes safety in the industry for its members and the traveling public. Local lodges elect delegates to national conventions, which is the organization's supreme authority. Delegates set policy, review the general state of the union, establish collective bargaining goals and elect Grand Lodge officers, who direct the organization between conventions.

Current Leadership of Union: Jerry Boles was elected to serve as president of the BRS in 2019. Mike Baldwin serves as secretary-treasurer. The BRS also has six vice presidents who serve in various capacities: Joe Mattingly (Midwest), Kelly A. Haley (Headquarters), James Finnegan (Commuter/Passenger), Tim Tarrant (East), Cory Claypool (West) and Brandon Elvey (NRAB).

Current Number of Members: 10,000-plus.

Members Work At: various railroad and supplier locations installing, repairing and maintaining railroad signal systems and highway-rail grade crossing warning devices. The signal system is used to direct train movements and the crossing warning devices warn motorists when a train is approaching a crossing. These members have been installing positive train control (PTC) equipment since Congress mandated the railroads install PTC back in 2008. PTC is an advanced train control system designed to automatically stop a train before certain accidents occur. In particular, PTC is designed to prevent train-to-train collisions, over speed derailments, train movements over track switches not properly lined and train movements into roadway worker work zones.

Industries Represented: The railroad industry and suppliers in the United States.

History: At the turn of the century, railroad signaling became an emerging craft as railroads increasingly incorporated new technology. In 1901, the BRS was founded to improve the safety and efficiency of railroad operations, and to represent the men and women who install and maintain signal systems. Over the ensuing decades, the organization grew into a national union consisting of working people across the Unites States.

Community Efforts: The BRS maintains a regular schedule of training for members as well as ongoing membership on various committees including the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee, which assist the Federal Railroad Administration in developing new regulatory standards to promote railroad safety. The BRS is actively engaged in Operation Lifesaver, a nonprofit public safety education and awareness organization dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings, and trespassing on or near railroad tracks.

Learn More: Website.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 04/22/2019 - 13:51
Kenneth Quinnell

Powerful Victory

3 days 2 hours ago
Powerful Victory Getty

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.

The proposed deal will preserve health care and retirement benefits, provide wage increases and maintain time-and-a-half pay on Sundays for members of UFCW locals 328, 919, 1459, 1445 and 371.

Workers walked off the job on April 11 after management proposed cuts to their health care benefits and wages, despite the company receiving a $225 million tax break in 2017.

The entire labor movement stood behind the workers, with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) and AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler (IBEW) visiting picket lines last week.

In response to the tentative agreement, UFCW said in a statement:

We are incredibly grateful to our customers and everyone who proudly stood together with us every day for a contract that invests in the communities we serve, and makes Stop & Shop a better place to work and a better place to shop.

Under this proposed contract, our members will be able to focus on continuing to help customers in our communities enjoy the best shopping experience possible and to keep Stop & Shop the number one grocery store in New England. The agreement preserves health care and retirement benefits, provides wage increases, and maintains time-and-a-half pay on Sunday for current members.

Today is a powerful victory for the 31,000 hardworking men and women of Stop & Shop who courageously stood up to fight for what all New Englanders want—good jobs, affordable health care, a better wage, and to be treated right by the company they made a success.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 04/22/2019 - 13:44
Kenneth Quinnell

No Enforcement, No Treaty: What Working People Are Doing This Week

3 days 4 hours ago
No Enforcement, No Treaty: 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:

Attention all brothers and sisters, AND Youth Members! Please find the application for the A. Philip Randolph Institute 2019 NEC here!! If you have any questions, please direct them to Jaida Curtis at jcurtis@apri.org. Looking forward to seeing you all!

— APRI National (DC) (@APRI_National) April 10, 2019

Actors' Equity:

Ballots for the upcoming referendum vote will be sent out during the last week of April. Make sure your contact information, including your email and mailing address, is up to date in the Member Portal. https://t.co/KlcvpKvaYM pic.twitter.com/Tr4bTGehY7

— Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) April 18, 2019

AFGE:

Good luck to @pittgrads who are voting for their union this week. Vote yes and know that the entire labor movement has your back! #1u #GradsTogether pic.twitter.com/2aHSyDEoAv

— AFGE (@AFGENational) April 18, 2019

AFSCME:

Trade proposals for #NAFTA 2.0 fail to ensure labor rules will be enforced. Contact your Representative at 855.856.7545 and tell them no vote on #NAFTA 2.0 until its fixed. #NoVoteTillItsFixed pic.twitter.com/YaiRYNcHFj

— AFSCME (@AFSCME) April 17, 2019

AFT:

The ideals and ideas I have outlined are not quixotic fantasies. They are pragmatic strategies that create the sustainable teaching and learning culture that enables the freedom to teach. - @rweingarten #FreedomToTeach

— AFT (@AFTunion) April 18, 2019

Air Line Pilots Association:

DYK: Our ALPA pilots are busy promoting the #pilot profession to members of the military at today's @Rotary2Airline Convention in Fort Campbell, KY. Thank you to our ALPA pilot volunteers! #aviationcareers pic.twitter.com/f8SQipHewF

— ALPA (@WeAreALPA) April 13, 2019

Alliance for Retired Americans:

The #GOPTaxScam did nothing for working Americans. Wealthy corporations didn't even use the millions they made from the tax cuts to raise wages or give out bonuses. https://t.co/ZAzYzyHXnL #Shame #RepealTaxCuts pic.twitter.com/j26tBNjcye

— Alliance Retirees (@ActiveRetirees) April 17, 2019

Amalgamated Transit Union:

Public transit: An essential public service not to be privatized! Please share. https://t.co/3L3sjm9V7e #publictransit #transit #1u #UnionStrong

— ATU, Transit Union (@ATUComm) April 17, 2019

American Federation of Musicians:

Management did not budge an inch & just restated their “last, best and final” offer AGAIN to @MusiciansChiSym Outrageous & Unacceptable! 😡😠😡😠 #1u #UnionMusicianshttps://t.co/VDzIm0xOGR

— AFM (@The_AFM) April 17, 2019

American Postal Workers Union:

President Dimondstein writes:
Pres. Dimondstein:
“The U.S. Postal Service operates without tax dollars and provides a necessary and popular public service. Keep it — it’s yours.” #TaxDay #USMailNotForSalehttps://t.co/4UAZSYE02P

— APWU National (@APWUnational) April 15, 2019

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance:

Our TPS, DACA, and DED siblings belong in our communities. Call on Congress to be bold and pass the #DreamAndPromiseNow ! Show your support and sign the petition today: https://t.co/mmwUWsgYvl#SaveTPS #TPSJUSTICE #DACA pic.twitter.com/KIJ5Voqc9E

— APALA (@APALAnational) April 17, 2019

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:

#TBT to last week's Chicago (ORD) demonstration to support AFA Air Wisconsin Flight Attendants! Almost 100 people demonstrated to pressure Air Wisconsin management and United Airlines to negotiate a FAIR contract. #1u #ContractNow pic.twitter.com/m1topQ03wT

— AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) April 18, 2019

Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers:

BCTGM stands in #solidarity with striking @UFCW members @stopnshop_ne in New England. If you see a picket line - don’t stop & shop there until the strike is over! sign the petition at https://t.co/irbqoqbS9R #1u #jobs #wages #LaborRights pic.twitter.com/Ifp17tXIhj

— BCTGM International (@BCTGM) April 17, 2019

Boilermakers:

Back at it today on Capitol Hill with Local 5, Zone 5. #Boilermakers are ready to discuss issues and advocate for working Americans. pic.twitter.com/PDK6hwsHVN

— Boilermakers Union (@boilermakernews) April 16, 2019

Bricklayers:

Our #union #apprenticeship allows younger students to make a living much faster, especially when #construction industry needs labor: https://t.co/gV016ilnJb #1u #SkilledTrade #Wisconsin @BuildingWI

— Bricklayers Union (@IUBAC) April 5, 2019

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists:

https://t.co/AhGyIzV9Hs

— CBTU (@CBTU72) April 11, 2019

Coalition of Labor Union Women:

Did you know your post office receives ZERO tax dollars to deliver mail to every address in our country at consistently low rates? Let’s keep the USPS a public good, not sell it to corporations for private profit. #USMailNotForSale #TaxDay https://t.co/opknPNw9cy

— CLUW National (@CLUWNational) April 15, 2019

Communications Workers of America:

Before the #GOPTaxScam passed, massive companies made promises that they'd use their tax breaks to create jobs & raise wages. That's not what happened.

Check out the op-ed by CWA President Shelton. Congress needs to start holding corporations accountable!https://t.co/mhwst57szH

— CWA (@CWAUnion) April 17, 2019

Department for Professional Employees:

According to a report by @EconomicPolicy teachers are paid significantly less than comparable professionals #FreedomToTeach #1u https://t.co/XNbeu75sYC

— Department for Professional Employees (@DPEaflcio) April 18, 2019

Electrical Workers:

The fastest growing jobs in nearly a quarter of U.S. states are #IBEW jobs - and they're green jobs too https://t.co/D1JnEwOYOB

— IBEW (@IBEW) April 17, 2019

Farm Labor Organizing Committee:

This is a great short on getting underrepresented groups into agricultural degree programs. Shout out to @SankofaFarmsLLC! https://t.co/8fNvCkS4Af

— Farm Labor Organizing Committee (@SupportFLOC) April 16, 2019

Fire Fighters:

It's a day of tribute to the Paris #firefighters who saved Notre Dame Cathedral from collapse and rescued its treasures from the flames https://t.co/BRr7UuESci

— IAFF (@IAFFNewsDesk) April 18, 2019

Heat and Frost Insulators:

Mechanical Insulation is the one thing that goes into a building and starts paying for itself as soon as the system is activated - immediately saving energy and reducing greenhouse emissions. Learn more here: https://t.co/2daFpcwFV0

— Insulators Union (@InsulatorsUnion) April 17, 2019

International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers:

Great article telling us what we already know, #unions are a HUGE benefit for professional workers!! JOIN THE MOVEMENT!! #1u #NerdUnion https://t.co/qRFDooJaxJ

— IFPTE (@IFPTE) April 13, 2019

International Labor Communications Association:

Our annual ILCA Labor Media Contest is open. The first and largest competition exclusively for labor journalists, the contest recognizes excellence in labor journalism, photography, film, podcasts, websites, and social media. https://t.co/CIvnK9ZwBD

— Labor Communications (@ILCAonline) April 9, 2019

Ironworkers:

Iron Workers from local 433/416 topped out Los Angeles Stadium in Inglewood on Monday. https://t.co/LdFQUNKGiB

— Ironworkers. (@TheIronworkers) April 17, 2019

IUE-CWA:

Workplace violence is the 3rd leading cause of death on the job. One in every 6 workplace deaths are from workplace violence. Help end workplace violence and support HR 1309 Workplace Violence prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act

— IUE-CWA (@IUE_CWAUnion) April 18, 2019

Jobs With Justice:

For years, working people have joined together and rallied for higher minimum wages across the country. Not only are we winning that fight, but big opponents are starting to back down. #fightfor15http://bit.ly/2ZeB0c9

— Jobs With Justice (@jwjnational) April 17, 2019

Labor Council for Latin American Advancement:

LCLAA proudly supports the work of @AnnaAlvaradoArt who is an artist and youth empowerment advocate from East LA. With her art, she seeks to capture the emotional rawness of the female spirit encouraging Latinas to see perfection in their imperfections. #TrabajadorasTuesday pic.twitter.com/6LoE9WuaWi

— LCLAA (@LCLAA) April 16, 2019

Laborers:

Our second session in #PuertoRico was emotional and inspirational. In partnership with @LIUNA @LiUNAEasternReg and @LiunaPR these sisters, brothers and now, new Instructors, are leading the #rebuilding of their Island. Power of #training #education. #feelthepower #trainingliuna pic.twitter.com/wc4vXv6Ofc

— LIUNA!Training (@TrainingLiuna) April 18, 2019

Machinists:

Demonstrating solidarity and sending a clear message to @GeneralElectric. https://t.co/vlKc8rawlb

— Machinists Union (@MachinistsUnion) April 18, 2019

Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO:

Trade Unions Pave Pathways to Good Jobs https://t.co/KP5p8mzl4g

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

Mine Workers:

In Morgantown, WV today! President Roberts is speaking to District 2 and District 31 members about our pension fight. “We will win, because we will never quit.” -@CecilRoberts pic.twitter.com/rtzFvGyZfs

— United Mine Workers (@MineWorkers) April 4, 2019

Musical Artists:

Attention Chicago/Midwest AGMA members - On May 6th, The Actor's Fund (in partnership with SAG-AFTRA) will present a Myers-Briggs Career Development Workshop led by T.A.F. Career Counselor and Myers-Briggs Master Practitioner Maryellen Langhout.

https://t.co/5ZaAOuTNxZ

— AGMA (@AGMusicalArtist) April 17, 2019

National Air Traffic Controllers Association:

After 53 years, retired charter member Joe Bellino – the Union’s first NGL RVP & second EVP – was invited by the National Pathfinder Association (NPA) to become a lifetime Associate Member #3. Less than 1% of military members are Pathfinder qualified. https://t.co/MZVRJIuk9x pic.twitter.com/CGomRsw02j

— NATCA (@NATCA) April 18, 2019

National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA:

#NABShow pic.twitter.com/Mo7tZ1l1tH

— NABET-CWA (@NABETCWA) April 10, 2019

National Association of Letter Carriers:

Thank you for supporting the #StampOutHunger #FoodDrive, Mayor @billpeduto! NALC Branch President Ted Lee, left, & Retired Letter Carrier Alex Criego (food drive coordinator), right, met w/ City of Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto who committed to assisting in this year's food drive. pic.twitter.com/g8WTXZcp5n

— Letter Carriers (@NALC_National) April 18, 2019

National Domestic Workers Alliance:

Teresita also wrote a piece for the @nytimes in 2017 about why she and other caregivers, housecleaners and nannies participated in the #WomensMarch: “to show our collective power as the past, present and future of America.” https://t.co/k7ctPk0uWt

— Domestic Workers (@domesticworkers) April 18, 2019

National Federation of Federal Employees:

NFFE FSC Vice President (CCC's) Beverly Tobin Ford Speaks at 2019 IAM Women’s Conference https://t.co/mH3ftDh1wq pic.twitter.com/7hVG6QBR8R

— NFFE (@NFFE_Union) April 15, 2019

National Nurses United:

.@NNUCorey closes out with a call to action: The way we win is to educate, agitate, and organize. #Veterans, nurses and other VA workers have to join together, take to the streets, and organize town halls to educate the community about what is happening in the VA. ✊ pic.twitter.com/HjRTt8EjL4

— NationalNursesUnited (@NationalNurses) April 18, 2019

National Taxi Workers Alliance:

Brothers & sisters, reach out for help if you need it. We are here for each other. Come by the NYTWA office any time you need to talk or be in the company of fellow drivers M-F 12pm-8pm. There are resources available for you. We are in this fight together. https://t.co/Wf1FxvLsuk

— NY Taxi Workers (@NYTWA) April 13, 2019

The NewsGuild-CWA:

Welcome to the @news_guild! https://t.co/Ou1HR9zZ63

— NewsGuild (@news_guild) April 15, 2019

NFL Players Association:

.@bcope51 is about that action! #AthleteAnd #sportsbiz https://t.co/0CcCvwELey

— NFLPA (@NFLPA) April 17, 2019

North America's Building Trades Unions:

Family-sustaining wages and ZERO college debt. Why NOT join a #BuildingTrades union?

“From day one you’re earning money in an apprenticeship program.”https://t.co/PpTcRHlhXU

— The Building Trades (@NABTU) April 17, 2019

Office and Professional Employees:

Working families have suffered as a direct consequence of #NAFTA. We can’t let the renegotiation of the trade deal be dominated by corporations and billionaires. Call your representative NOW at 1-855-856-7545 and tell them to stand up for working families. #1u #UnionStrong pic.twitter.com/Vt3aIeY1Up

— OPEIU (@opeiu) April 16, 2019

Painters and Allied Trades:

The United States is receiving a D+ on its Infrastructure Report Card. The IUPAT has joined the fight to push Congress to pass an infrastructure bill that will change this ranking significantly. #InfrastructureNow #RebuildUSA pic.twitter.com/VHsnqy0dG0

— GoIUPAT✊🏽 (@GoIUPAT) April 18, 2019

Plasterers and Cement Masons:

“Today, the biggest obstacle that stands between us and the places we work, live and play is thousands of miles of crumbling roads, highways and bridges ... Every day we fail to invest, we’re putting more lives at risk.” https://t.co/KXSI1G1cEk

— OPCMIA International (@opcmiaintl) April 15, 2019

Pride At Work:

"Anyone who qualifies for service under military standards should be allowed to serve.

This unfair policy treats transgender people different than other service members, which is antithetical to the core values of our military." #TransMilitaryBan pic.twitter.com/4hQOhLjI3g

— Pride at Work (@PrideatWork) April 12, 2019

Professional Aviation Safety Specialists:

PASS is honored to support @FedsHelpingFeds at this year's Public Service Walk & Run April 28, on behalf of our members @FAANews. Join the PASS team here: https://t.co/NPiYWr0PVi All proceeds go to the only charity dedicated to helping federal workers in need. #publicservice

— PASS (@PASSNational) April 12, 2019

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union/UFCW:

ICYMI: 1,800 RWDSU members secured a new union contract in Camilla, GA! #OrganizeTheSouth #1u @AFLCIO @AFLCIOGeorgia @UFCW https://t.co/soF9CmLccg

— RWDSU (@RWDSU) April 18, 2019

SAG-AFTRA:

Congrats to #sagaftramember Vickie Thomas on her well-earned induction to the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame. For more than 25 years she’s kept Detroiters informed and her service as a union steward and mentor to fellow members has been invaluable. https://t.co/dVwa3WWjsr pic.twitter.com/FFSeMUyhsv

— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) April 16, 2019

Seafarers:

Big win for the U.S. Merchant Marine (and apologies for the double post) https://t.co/1j58Yn5BHP

— Seafarers Union (@SeafarersUnion) April 3, 2019

Solidarity Center:

The world creates as much as 50 million tons of e-waste/yr valued at $60 billion+ dollars but only 20% is formally recycled. This “toxic flood of electronic waste” should be converted into source of #decentwork per @ilo@LURNetwork @ClimateReality https://t.co/VpKi5dGU01

— Solidarity Center (@SolidarityCntr) April 18, 2019

TCU/IAM:

"Too often, politicians & CEOs forget that behind every train that rolls across the country…Are thousands of dedicated, hardworking union members...And too often CEOs think it’s ok to attack your rights to be part of the labor movement." - @TTDAFLCIO Larry Willis #IAMtranspo19 pic.twitter.com/gCg4fB5xFC

— Transportation Communications Union/IAM (@TCUnionHQ) April 9, 2019

Theatrical Stage Employees:

Congratulations to the technicians at @tarragontheatre who yesterday voted unanimously to be represented by @iatse58. Welcome to the @IATSE and @IATSECANADA family! #growthequalsstrength pic.twitter.com/5vOf6Ss3qS

— IATSE Local 58 (@iatse58) April 17, 2019

Transport Workers:

The Richmond Board of Education has refused to listen to parents, to drivers, to children and have neglected the system putting Augusta's children in harms way. The TWU is leading the charge to ensure the safety of our children! #ToxicSchoolBus https://t.co/2Xgm3efthh

— TWU (@transportworker) April 18, 2019

Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO:

This 👏 is 👏 not 👏 okay. Last year there were more than 100 documented assaults on transit workers & more than 2,300 cases of harassment. Congress must act now by passing the Bus Operator and Pedestrian Protection Act.https://t.co/rfLWUcbWec

— Transp. Trades Dept. (@TTDAFLCIO) April 17, 2019

UAW:

Did you pay federal income taxes this year? 60 of America's largest corporations didn't! Get the details: https://t.co/e73Wz58rb6

— UAW (@UAW) April 17, 2019

Union Label and Service Trades Department:

Stamp Out Hunger food drive is next month. pic.twitter.com/kofTYqcuoa

— Union Label Dept. (@ULSTD_AFLCIO) April 11, 2019

Union Veterans Council:

Congrats to Union Veteran @pamforpa for flipping a red seat blue with the help of the Allegheny/Fayette Union Veterans Council.

This is what happens when me mobilize our veterans to be their own voices of change. @Darrinkellypgh @PaAFL_CIO pic.twitter.com/aF5V7t57Ez

— Union Veterans Council (@unionveterans) April 3, 2019

UNITE HERE:

We’re demanding that Marriott disclose the total number of incidents of sexual harassment and assault in their hotels.
The public, survivors, and employees deserve to know the REAL totals, not just the 44 formal legal complaints. #MeTooMarriott #MoreThan44 pic.twitter.com/mqgowYBvFV

— UNITE HERE (@unitehere) April 18, 2019

United Food and Commercial Workers:

Kristen with @UFCW Local 1445 works at #StopandShop as a deli manager & joins @AFLCIO's State of the Unions podcast to share why she's on the picket line & how its bringing people together to protect good #NewEngland jobs. RT and listen here: https://t.co/JQEFJRRj6e pic.twitter.com/XFnYRO5nZx

— UFCW (@UFCW) April 17, 2019

United Steelworkers:

Activists vow to fight back as Tennessee lawmakers attempt to criminalize some voter registration https://t.co/DqenN396Ok via @thinkprogress #USWVotes

— United Steelworkers (@steelworkers) April 17, 2019

United Students Against Sweatshops:

USAS students from across the country are sharing the stories of brave Indonesian Nike workers who are ready to fight by spreading their truth. Meet the women behind the Nike swoosh. #nikewalkthetalk #nikewomentruthtour pic.twitter.com/RwDhmdDGxZ

— USAS (@USAS) April 11, 2019

United Union of Roofers and Waterproofers:

We need roofers in Nashville! Pref. journey level, but all levels welcome. Great wages + benefits. More info--> https://t.co/4SIbO2r5wo #hiringroofers pic.twitter.com/HWXbEQrvcF

— Roofers Union (@roofersunion) April 17, 2019

Utility Workers:

Former Marine & Local 126 member Micah Herndon "is guts personified"! His determination to finish #Boston2019 inspires us all. @washingtonpost @BostonMarathon https://t.co/Ux4EyW3hia

— UWUA National (@The_UWUA) April 17, 2019

Working America:

Although the reasons are complex, 2 leading factors of why black women have a higher risk of dying from pregnancy complications are b/c of lack of access & poor quality of care.

We can change that. #BMHW19 #BlackMaternalHealthWeek #MedicaidExpansion https://t.co/eafp8R9niG pic.twitter.com/AMEhPZ29BO

— Working America (@WorkingAmerica) April 17, 2019

Writers Guild of America, East:

"The Writers Guild of America today filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court seeking to establish that talent agency packaging fees are illegal under both California and federal law." #ClientsOverConflictshttps://t.co/2eygQvFWXN

— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) April 17, 2019 Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 04/22/2019 - 11:34
Kenneth Quinnell

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Can't Stop, Won't Shop

1 week ago
‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Can't Stop, Won't Shop AFL-CIO

In the latest episode of "State of the Unions," podcast co-hosts Julie and Tim talk to Kristen Johnson, a deli manager and shop steward at the Stop & Shop in Somerville, Massachusetts. Kristen and more than 30,000 of her co-workers, members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), are out on strike for fair pay, benefits and respect on the job.

"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 PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotifyStitcher and anywhere else you can find podcasts.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 04/18/2019 - 11:36

Tags: Podcast

Kenneth Quinnell

Stand with Stop & Shop Workers: The Working People Weekly List

1 week 1 day ago
Stand with Stop & Shop Workers: 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.

Support Stop & Shop Workers: "Some 31,000 members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) are on strike at Stop & Shop supermarkets across New England, walking off the job to fight back against slashed health care benefits. Stand with our brothers and sisters today and sign UFCW’s petition demanding that executives agree to a fair contract that reflects the true value of their workers."

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

Meet the First Woman President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO: "Elected the first woman president of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, Stephanie Bloomingdale has more than two decades of experience in labor as an organizer, negotiator, trainer and activist. She served as secretary-treasurer of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO for eight years before her election as president in September 2018. Previously, she was director of public policy for the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, working on behalf of nurses and health care workers throughout the state. Bloomingdale has a statewide reputation as a tenacious fighter and tough negotiator, skills she says she had to develop to survive 20 years of arbitrations, grievance hearings and battles in the legislature."

Rutgers Faculty Picket Board of Governors Meeting at University’s Newark Campus: "'An injury to one is an injury to all!' 'Rutgers is for education! We are not a corporation!' The chants of frustrated faculty members disrupted an otherwise quiet campus in Newark on Tuesday, as hundreds gathered outside of the Rutgers University Paul Robeson Center to picket the board of governors meeting."

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: American Postal Workers Union: "Next up in our series that will take a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the American Postal Workers Union (APWU)."

Collective Voices Lead to Victory: Worker Wins: "Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with grocery store workers using their collective voices and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life."

Economy Gains 196,000 Jobs in March; Unemployment Unchanged at 3.8%: "The U.S. economy gained 196,000 jobs in March, and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.8%, 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."

Education Minnesota Is Gaining Strength One Conversation at a Time: "Just over 18 months ago, the leaders of Education Minnesota (an affiliate of both the AFT and the National Education Association) decided that something had to change. With the Janus v. AFSCME decision looming, and the 2018 midterm elections set to follow, the 90,000-member union knew that membership engagement had to be its top priority."

‘Anthem’ Voice Actor on Unionization, Struggles of Creation: "The refutation came as there is a growing push for more workers rights and unionization from many members of the gaming community, including the grassroots organization Gamer Workers Unite. Even the AFL-CIO, America’s largest labor organization, recently asked games industry employees to fight for adequate pay and sensible work hours. 'This is a moment for change,' said AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer Liz Shuler. 'It won’t come from CEOs. It won’t come from corporate boards. And, it won’t come from any one person. Change will happen when you gain leverage by joining together in a strong union. And, it will happen when you use your collective voice to bargain for a fair share of the wealth you create every day.'"

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 04/17/2019 - 10:14
Kenneth Quinnell

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: BCTGM

1 week 3 days ago
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: BCTGM AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM). 

Name of Union: Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union

Mission: The primary goal of the BCTGM has not changed in more than 130 years—to bring economic justice in the workplace to all workers in our jurisdiction and social justice to workers throughout the United States and Canada.

Current Leadership of Union: David B. Durkee has served as BCTGM international president since September 2012. Prior to his election as international president, Durkee served as international secretary-treasurer, international executive vice president, international director of organization and international representative.

Durkee began his life as a BCTGM activist in 1973 when he joined Local 280 (Evansville, Indiana) as a baker at Lewis Brothers Bakery. He was re-elected as international president by delegates to the BCTGM international constitutional conventions in 2014 and 2018.

Members Work As: Manufacturing, production workers, maintenance and sanitation workers.

Industries Represented: The BCTGM represents working men and women at some of the most widely recognized companies in the baking, candy, snack food, dairy, tobacco and grain milling industries in North America.

History: The Bakery and Confectionery Workers International Union of America, one of the pioneers of the North American labor movement, was organized in 1886. In 1957, the American Bakery and Confectionery Workers' International Union was formed. In 1969, the two organizations united.

The Tobacco Workers International Union was founded in 1895 and was also in the forefront of the labor movement. As it and the Bakery and Confectionery Workers' International Union of America shared many common goals, both organizations came to realize those goals best could be achieved through a merger. That merger, creating the BC&T, took place in 1978.

The American Federation of Grain Millers (AFGM) had roots stemming back to the late 1800s. In 1936, the National Council of Grain Processors was formed when federal grain milling unions agreed to unite as a national union under the American Federation of Labor (AFL). In 1941, the council was renamed the American Federation of Grain Processors and in 1948 was granted an international charter as the AFGM.

Shared goals and industries caused the Jan. 1, 1999, merger between the BC&T and AFGM, resulting in the BCTGM.

Current Campaigns: The BCTGM's Check the Label campaign urges consumers to boycott Nabisco-Mondelēz products made in Mexico. The BCTGM also is leading the fight to find a legislative solution to America’s growing pension crisis.

Community Efforts: The BCTGM partners with the United Way and provides scholarships for members and their children.

Learn More: WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 04/15/2019 - 11:30
Kenneth Quinnell

Support Stop & Shop Workers

1 week 6 days ago
Support Stop & Shop Workers AFL-CIO

Some 31,000 members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) are on strike at Stop & Shop supermarkets across New England, walking off the job to fight back against slashed health care benefits. Stand with our brothers and sisters today and sign UFCW’s petition demanding that executives agree to a fair contract that reflects the true value of their workers.

Thanks to the tireless labor of tens of thousands of working people, Stop & Shop is thriving. Its parent company, Ahold Delhaize, recorded profits of more than $2 billion last year. Over the past three years, its shareholders have pocketed $4 billion in stock buybacks.

Yet, Stop & Shop executives want even more—and they’re targeting the same workers who built that immense wealth. Going nearly two months without a contract, UFCW members have faced threats to their wages, health care, retirement and overall livelihoods.

Walking out of more than 240 stores throughout New England, working people are standing up for their most fundamental rights and dignities in the country’s largest private-sector work stoppage in years.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka sent a message to the Stop & Shop workers:

The 31,000 striking @UFCW members at @StopandShop have the support of our 55 affiliates and 12.5 million members across the country.

For those in the striking areas remember — don’t cross the picket line. #1u pic.twitter.com/AxRJZdGilb

— Richard Trumka (@RichardTrumka) April 11, 2019

Stand with them in this fight: Sign UFCW’s petition—and don’t cross a picket line!

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 04/12/2019 - 15:16
Kenneth Quinnell

Protecting the Most Vulnerable: In the States Roundup

2 weeks ago
Protecting the Most Vulnerable: 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:

11th annual "Road Kill BBQ" is getting off to a great start. #1U pic.twitter.com/Cm9BXBUSX0

— Alabama AFL-CIO (@AlabamaAFLCIO) April 3, 2019

Alaska AFL-CIO:

Thank you, @AKHouseMajority for protecting Alaska's most vulnerable. #akleg https://t.co/UTA3jaTd8r

— Alaska AFL-CIO (@AKAFLCIO) April 7, 2019

Arizona AFL-CIO:

Proposal to lower minimum wage for young workers dead https://t.co/aGJRsWeL9N

— Arizona AFL-CIO (@ArizonaAFLCIO) April 8, 2019

Arkansas AFL-CIO:

The official vote for HB1955.

Thank the 52 members who voted to keep in place the very limited protections for injured workers & surviving families. #arpx #arleg
501-682-6211 pic.twitter.com/KKQkGV37BN

— Arkansas AFL-CIO (@ArkansasAFLCIO) April 5, 2019

California Labor Federation:

"Side hustles are not simply a new version of working as a “wage slave” so that we can do what we love...Instead, far more often, people take on 2nd or 3rd side hustles because of wage stagnation or low pay at their full-time jobs." #AB5 #DisruptInequality https://t.co/MnX5AqDUUa

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

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

There’s only one way for these workers to push back against the way they’re exploited while franchises like Call of Duty churn out money for those at the very top: unionization. https://t.co/sX5DrSm9z2

— Connecticut AFL-CIO (@ConnAFLCIO) April 9, 2019

Florida AFL-CIO:

“This is not about protecting the constitution,” @rtemplin. “This is about protecting the status quo.”https://t.co/7LgAMq2xta

— Florida AFL-CIO (@FLAFLCIO) April 9, 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 State AFL-CIO:

Thanks @GovernorLittle https://t.co/CeuPtH161n

— Idaho State AFL-CIO (@IdahoAFLCIO) April 5, 2019

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

Sending solidarity to @UniteHerelocal1 workers who have been on strike for 7 months at @CambriaMagMile in Chicago
✊🏾✊🏽✊🏼✊🏿 #1u https://t.co/Bgulzz3ZUF

— Indiana AFL-CIO (@INAFLCIO) April 8, 2019

Iowa Federation of Labor:

Submit 2019 Hall of Fame Nominations https://t.co/VTyaL6CbDC

— Iowa AFL-CIO (@IowaAFLCIO) April 9, 2019

Kansas State AFL-CIO:

Working people everywhere thanks you Governor Kelly for the veto of
SB 22. pic.twitter.com/ZEDqMXlbc6

— Kansas AFL-CIO (@KansasAFLCIO) March 25, 2019

Kentucky State AFL-CIO:

From Insider Louisville: “City worker unions reject mayor’s request for pay freeze”

“Ron Richmond of AFSCME Council 962 — representing city workers at the Louisville Free... https://t.co/CRhvRAFA1i

— Kentucky AFL-CIO (@aflcioky) April 8, 2019

Maine AFL-CIO:

Sherry Nadeau delivering powerful testimony about how unfairly the workers comp system has treated her husband, who was disabled 13 years ago after his employer accidentally ran him over #mepolitics

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

Massachusetts AFL-CIO:

Proud to honor workers and leaders at the annual Jewish Labor Committee's #LaborSeder @StevenATolman @UNITEHERE26 @Usw04 pic.twitter.com/BU1063o6pB

— Massachusetts AFLCIO (@massaflcio) April 8, 2019

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

Teachers circulate petition to fully fund DC schools https://t.co/de6xcOreP3

— MetroDCLaborCouncil (@DCLabor) April 5, 2019

Michigan AFL-CIO:

This is an important victory for working people who were denied the opportunity to seek justice after being wrongfully accused of committing fraud by the Snyder Administration
ttps://fox17online.com/2019/04/05/mi-supreme-court-rules-victims-in-uia-cases-can-sue-the-state/

— Michigan AFL-CIO (@MIAFLCIO) April 5, 2019

Minnesota AFL-CIO:

Scapegoating Unions for the Postal Service’s Phony Crisis https://t.co/8ywhIzI2aW #1u @NALC_National @APWUnational pic.twitter.com/KoQ6qpF50f

— Minnesota AFL-CIO (@MNAFLCIO) April 8, 2019

Missouri AFL-CIO:

IBEW Local 1’s Tom George honored with 2019 Kortkamp Humanitarian Award. Way to go Tom! https://t.co/6dorl1uGAK pic.twitter.com/tBZpetSPoI

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

Montana AFL-CIO:

When public workers are shifted into private compensation programs it weakens their access to benefits and their negotiating power. 👇#mtpol #mtleg19 https://t.co/lIn1dbUECZ

— Montana AFL-CIO (@MTaflcio) April 5, 2019

Nebraska AFL-CIO:

https://t.co/oX6u0IqQB1

— NE State AFL-CIO (@NEAFLCIO) March 28, 2019

Nevada State AFL-CIO:

Apprenticeship Day 2019 at the #NVLeg happens on April 23 from 10a-3p. Apprenticeship programs are a key piece of the future of Nevada's workforce. Stop by and learn more! https://t.co/RUyUvSs9ux

— Nevada State AFL-CIO (@NVAFLCIO) April 8, 2019

New Hampshire AFL-CIO:

Thanks to the Portsmouth Herald & Foster's Daily Democrat for running Pres. Glenn Brackett's op-ed: ""Now is the time to remember those who kept our towns safe, educated our children, and managed our roads and parks." https://t.co/5vToZ0Zjq6

— NewHampshire AFL-CIO (@NHAFLCIO) March 27, 2019

New Mexico Federation of Labor:

We are supporting our Brothers and Sisters who are fighting for their right to bargain and gather in union!#RedforFeds #Solidarity #1u pic.twitter.com/es7sEgD8mb

— NMFL (@NMFLaflcio) April 4, 2019

New York State AFL-CIO:

Wearing 🔴 RED 🔴 today to support our @AFGENational sisters and brothers. #1u #UnionStrong #Solidarity pic.twitter.com/16gtpcxnnU

— NYSAFLCIO (@NYSAFLCIO) April 4, 2019

North Carolina State AFL-CIO:

#TogetherWeWin! Will you say #CountMeIn to win even more victories for NC working families in 2019? https://t.co/S1Esw1Klo0 #1u #ncpol #OrganizeTheSouth

— NC State AFL-CIO (@NCStateAFLCIO) March 26, 2019

North Dakota AFL-CIO:

Here in North Dakota, women are paid on average $0.79 for every $1 paid to male counterparts. All women deserve to be paid equally & recognized for their contribution to the economy and our communities.
https://t.co/Oqrju3Ff7s #EqualPayDay pic.twitter.com/CmnAtkCLDK

— North Dakota AFL-CIO (@NDAFLCIO) April 2, 2019

Ohio AFL-CIO:

Usually we turn on the news and are divided. We need to hear and see more stories like this showing the goodness of people and celebrating our differences! pic.twitter.com/0ZLQCbwI9T

— Ohio AFL-CIO (@ohioaflcio) April 7, 2019

Oklahoma State AFL-CIO:

Did you know that the average 1st year apprentice in OK makes $16.52 an hour?

Check out the 2019 OK Apprenticeship Book and Report which goes into detail on all the union construction apprenticeship programs in OK and how to apply.

Check it out here - https://t.co/0cRhuarw8r

— Oklahoma AFL-CIO (@OK_AFL_CIO) April 8, 2019

Oregon AFL-CIO:

https://t.co/xNPo2BZfxJ

— Oregon AFL-CIO (@OregonAFLCIO) April 8, 2019

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

ICYMI: PA Workers were winning all over the Commonwealth! https://t.co/akNQZI4tF2

— PA AFL-CIO (@PaAFL_CIO) April 5, 2019

Rhode Island AFL-CIO:

#NationalBeerDay #1U https://t.co/haS2qriFWq

— Rhode Island AFL-CIO (@riaflcio) April 8, 2019

South Carolina AFL-CIO:

Please keep our Brothers family and friends in your thoughts and prayers. https://t.co/xXbSSAEGeH

— SC AFL-CIO (@SCAFLCIO) April 7, 2019

Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council:

This practice is disturbingly common in many states, including Tennessee.

"In all, these copycat bills amount to the nation’s largest, unreported special-interest campaign, driving agendas in every statehouse and touching nearly every area of... https://t.co/QxtZryu4op

— Tennessee AFL-CIO (@tnaflcio) April 9, 2019

Texas AFL-CIO:

Texas AFL-CIO Launches Union Candidate Training https://t.co/RaXkXsXwxZ

— Texas AFL-CIO (@TexasAFLCIO) April 8, 2019

Virginia AFL-CIO:

The Gender Wage Gap Is Robbing Women Of Billions | WUNC https://t.co/YNf6T8iRUg

— Virginia AFL-CIO (@Virginia_AFLCIO) April 4, 2019

Washington State Labor Council:

Contact your WA State Senators and tell then NO on the amended SB 5313! #waleg https://t.co/bORxW4RO9d

— WA State AFL-CIO (@WAAFLCIO) April 5, 2019

West Virginia AFL-CIO:

Working WVians, who struggle to have their voices heard above special interests, cannot compete w/political donations of wealthy residents & out-of-state corporations. WV needs more transparency of political spending, not more money flooding into our state’s elections! pic.twitter.com/G2oxgX2A28

— West Virginia AFLCIO (@WestVirginiaAFL) March 21, 2019

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO:

Get the WI AFL-CIO Union Families Budget Breakdown:https://t.co/Jq5YuB86UT

— WI AFL-CIO (@wisaflcio) April 6, 2019 Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 04/11/2019 - 15:34
Kenneth Quinnell

Meet the First Woman President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO

2 weeks ago
Meet the First Woman President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO Wisconsin AFL-CIO

Elected the first woman president of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, Stephanie Bloomingdale has more than two decades of experience in labor as an organizer, negotiator, trainer and activist. She served as secretary-treasurer of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO for eight years before her election as president in September 2018. Previously, she was director of public policy for the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, working on behalf of nurses and health care workers throughout the state. Bloomingdale has a statewide reputation as a tenacious fighter and tough negotiator, skills she says she had to develop to survive 20 years of arbitrations, grievance hearings and battles in the legislature.

What is the state AFL-CIO? What is its role?

The Wisconsin AFL-CIO is a federation of many different labor unions from many different sectors, public and private, service workers, manufacturing, building trades, retail, health care, transportation...people doing all types of work come together in the AFL-CIO to maximize our collective power.

You have the honor of being the first woman elected president of the state AFL-CIO, so can you talk to us about that?

My hope is that we’ll soon reach a time when this is no longer notable, a time when it’s simply accepted that the president, man or woman, was elected based on the qualities and skills that he or she brings to the job. I do believe that my election is a step in that direction.

As I travel around the state, so many of the women union members I meet are very excited, not only for me but also for themselves and their daughters. They see that they also can raise their hands and say, “why not me?” as they move into leadership roles. That’s why I think this is significant for all of us in the state of Wisconsin. Some people have said, “Well, Stephanie, isn’t this a good ol’ boys club?” and I can honestly say that has not been my experience. The men and women I work with value effective leadership and dedication. I think what’s important to them is that they can trust my commitment to building our collective power through the union movement.

We understand that your family is also involved in the labor movement in Wisconsin. Can you talk about that, as well as what inspires you personally to do this work?

The reason I do this work is because I do believe that unions are the only way that working people can truly get ahead. Now, if you’re fortunate enough to be born to billionaire parents with connections that will never allow you to fail and will always provide you with a golden parachute, that’s great. But for everyone else that has to get up every day and go to work for someone else, there has to be a way to protect and expand the opportunity to do better. The best way to do that is to have strong unions.

As for my family, my husband, Doug Savage, is an AFT [American Federation of Teachers] member and he has been very supportive of my work in the union movement since day one.

Lots of women carry full loads. Our work, our families, taking care of the kids, being involved in the community, involved in the PTOs, and for me, I believe that I’ve been fortunate in that my kids really have grown up in the labor movement. They’ve been helping out with the union since they were very little. I think that not only helped them to solidify their beliefs and attitudes and opened up new opportunities for them, but it also helped me to be able to do my job, because it was a family affair. I’ll never have to tell my children to vote; they’ve been coming with me whenever I’ve gone to vote, and they’ve learned that it’s their responsibility in this country to be a part of the solution. If they see something that’s wrong, it’s up to them to make it right. That is something we believe very strongly in our family.

When the kids were very little, I would bring them to the union office (the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals), I would give them little jobs to do, like paying them five cents a table for each one they cleaned, and after a while, my oldest son, Nicholas, said, “This is not enough money. This five cents a table is not enough.” So he called my Aunt Audrey, and he had her help him negotiate a better rate. It cost me more than double to get the tables washed after that, but Nicholas learned how to get what he needed and he didn’t even have to go on strike!

Not only did they do that, but they grew up going door-to-door with me, candidate after candidate, learning about the issues and the tools we use to make politics work for working people. In the November 2018 election, my younger son Spencer and I were going door-to-door for Tony Evers and Mandela Barnes. Once we got out there, I realized that he knows how to do all this on his own. He wanted to knock on the doors and talk to the voters himself about why Evers and Barnes were the best candidates for working people. I was very proud of him.

Can you tell us about Scott Walker’s attempts to bust the power of labor unions in the state of Wisconsin through Act 10 and “Right to Work,” and how labor has responded?

Scott Walker made it his mission to try to destroy the middle class each and every way he could while he was in office. He started with Act 10, which sought to destroy the collective bargaining rights of teachers and public-sector workers. His plan was to divide and conquer; we know that for a fact because he was caught on tape talking to Diane Hendricks [the conservative billionaire owner of ABC Supply who contributed $500,000 to Walker’s 2012 campaign to defeat a recall effort] when she asked him what he was going to do about the unions, and he said he would start with the public-sector unions and then use divide and conquer and go after the private-sector unions.

One thing he didn’t count on was our solidarity as union men and women. I think we demonstrated very clearly that “an injury to one is an injury to all” is more than just a labor movement platitude. Public- and private-sector unions stuck together throughout these attacks, beginning with Act 10 and on through Right to Work, attacks on prevailing wage and all the other anti-worker policies. Speaking of that, “Right to Work” is really a misnomer. It may sound good to some, but it’s just another attack on labor unions that amounts to the right to work for less. We like to say it’s a so-called right to work, because what it actually is meant to do is weaken unions.

Truly, attacks on working people happened throughout Walker’s entire tenure as governor. By any standard, Wisconsin workers have suffered some of the nation’s most serious attacks on our ability to have a voice in our workplace through a strong union. Scott Walker prided himself on being the union-buster-in-chief. So, was it difficult? Yes. Did we suffer a lot of hard knocks over those eight years? Sure, but we’ve taken those punches and we’ve always come back swinging. We know no matter how long the odds, the only time we’re sure to lose is if we leave the ring. Even though we had a governor and state legislature stacked against us, we never gave up, we never stopped fighting, because we knew we were on the right side—and no governor, no politician anywhere has the right to take away the ability of workers to organize ourselves into unions.

And in retrospect, these attacks had a silver lining. More people today know about unions and their importance in the economy, and more people understand that you can’t have a fair society, democracy or economy if workers don’t have the ability to come together as a team to advocate for ourselves; the way they accomplish this is through a union. Speaking at the Italian equivalent of the AFL-CIO recently, Pope Francis actually said that without strong unions there can be no strong society.

Because of these fights, many people, union or non-union, became energized and activated around these issues for the first time in their lives. Our issues were elevated to the forefront more than they had been in many decades. We’ve seen the effects of this not only in Wisconsin but also nationwide; we see this reflected in polling, which shows that unions are more popular now than they have been in decades, and in particular with millenials. They see unions in a positive light, because they sense opportunity and a chance for a decent life slipping away from their generation. Unions represent an opportunity to get that back.

Speaking of millennials, can you talk about the current labor movement and the young people now joining the workforce?

Millennials rightly have a lot of angst about the future. There’s a lot to worry about, starting with the basic question of how to make ends meet. We know we have an economic situation where we have a great deal of wealth in this country, but it’s very sharply divided between a few at the very top and the rest of working people. We want millennials to know exactly what a union is and does and why they’re so important. Without strong unions, there is simply no possibility of having a healthy middle class, and a strong middle class has always been the foundation of our economy. A union enables workers to stand together to maximize our power, negotiate for better wages and better safety conditions. The financial security a union job provides allows workers to truly participate in their communities. It’s hard to coach Little League or organize a neighborhood food drive if you have to work three jobs. So unions not only benefit our members, but the community as a whole.

If we want to talk about how that happens, it’s part of the basic human condition of people wanting to support each other and deliver mutual aid to one another, and this is the way that families support one another, and workers support each other in the workplace.

There are some studies that predict millennials may not be as prosperous as their parents’ generation, despite their generally being better educated through college, training and so forth than any previous generation. How does the labor movement feel about this? Are there reasons for optimism?

I think we are at a real turning point. I think many people now are coming to understand that we can’t just rely on politicians to make sure that workplaces are safe, and workers are paid fair wages. More and more, working people are realizing that we have to take action ourselves to protect our rights to these things. Unions allow us to act together. So if there’s any group of workers that need help, we’re all going to be there for them.

The American myth about the rugged individual really falls apart in the modern workplace. Did you ever notice the people telling workers to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps are the same people making it hard for us to buy boots? I believe that people, especially millennials, are waking up to this and coming to understand that the only way to make sure to have a decent life— not living on a hamster wheel of long hours, low pay and no time for anything else—is to stand together and organize. Again, this is exactly where an organized labor union comes into the picture.

As for our nation’s millennials, more now than ever before, with our gig-economy, people will have to stick together and make sure they don’t get the short end of the stick when it comes to having a fair share of the economic pie and their employer’s profits.

How do you, as president of the state AFL-CIO, feel about things in Wisconsin now, after the election of Gov. Evers and Lt. Gov. Barnes?

The voters made it very clear they were sick of Walker and the direction in which he was taking our state as governor. We’re very excited about Tony Evers and Mandela Barnes; already, we’re seeing positive changes since they took office. The budget that Gov. Evers has proposed is very good for working people; it repeals the so-called Right to Work, and it reinstates prevailing wage for construction jobs and project-labor agreements. It doesn’t do everything that we want, but it absolutely is moving us in the right direction.

But we’re also not naïve. We can do the math in the state Legislature. Because of the gerrymandered electoral maps, anti-worker Republican politicians are still in control. But there’s enormous value in having a governor and lieutenant governor willing to serve as a check on the worst abuses of power and set a new agenda that invests in our roads and other infrastructure, gets rid of the lead in our water pipes and make sure all of our drinking water is safe, makes sure we take the Medicaid expansion and making sure we invest in our kids by putting much-needed dollars into education at all levels.

At the same time, the labor movement knows there is never a political ‘savior’, right?

Yes. We’re well aware that, ultimately, we can’t rely only on our elected officials to ensure workers’ rights. We need to rely on ourselves and on each other to remain very active in our communities and unions. From the earliest days of the union movement, we’ve always been our own best champions. We’ll continue to support our political allies, but we’re well aware that it’s ultimately up to all of us working together for the common good and exercising what really is democracy in the workplace. You soon learn in the labor movement that we’re in a race without a finish line. The secret to success is to stay united. Keep one eye on the horizon and keep putting one foot in front of the other. If we do that, unions will stay strong, our middle class will prosper, and the American Dream will be there for generations to come.

This post originally appeared in the Shepherd Express.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 04/11/2019 - 09:43
Kenneth Quinnell

Rutgers Faculty Picket Board of Governors Meeting at University’s Newark Campus

2 weeks 1 day ago
Rutgers Faculty Picket Board of Governors Meeting at University’s Newark Campus New Jersey AFL-CIO

“An injury to one is an injury to all!”

“Rutgers is for education! We are not a corporation!”

The chants of frustrated faculty members disrupted an otherwise quiet campus in Newark on Tuesday, as hundreds gathered outside of the Rutgers University Paul Robeson Center to picket the board of governors meeting.

Rutgers AAUP-AFT, the school’s largest faculty and graduate employee union, organized Tuesday’s picket as a "final warning" to Rutgers University President Robert Barchi and his administration. After more than a year of negotiations, the Barchi administration refuses to meet the union’s demands for a fair contract.

AAUP-AFT’s demands include more full-time faculty, equal pay for female staff, increased staff diversity and a salary increase for graduate workers. The union is also pushing for the school to hire more librarians—a position that is currently in jeopardy due to proposed budget cuts to the library system.

While members protested outside the Paul Robeson Center, union officials and labor leaders brought the fight inside to the board of governors. Among the first to speak at the meeting was Laurel Brennan, secretary-treasurer of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO.

"The New Jersey State AFL-CIO is proud of the women and men of Rutgers represented by our unions—20,000 strong—and the great work that they do in front of classrooms, in research laboratories, advising government or in keeping the campuses safe and clean," Brennan said. "We demand that Rutgers University remain a source for fair, dignified union jobs and equal pay for workers from all backgrounds."

"Equity. Security. Dignity.," she added. "These aren’t outrageous demands. These are our basic rights as working people, and we demand that our concerns be acknowledged and addressed by this board at the bargaining table."

Rutgers AAUP-AFT’s lowest-paid members face poverty-level wages and little assurance of professional advancement. Recent studies show faculty on the school’s New Brunswick campus are paid at a significantly higher rate than their peers at Camden and Newark. Moreover, female faculty members on each campus are paid at a lower rate than their male peers with the same years of experience.

In March, an overwhelming majority of the faculty and graduate employee union voted to authorize the leadership to call a strike. If the union goes on strike, this would be the first strike of faculty and graduate workers in the 253-year history of Rutgers University. It would also be the first strike of tenured faculty at a Big 10 university.

The AAUP-AFT full-time and teaching and graduate assistant unit is only one of a coalition of labor unions currently bargaining with Rutgers. These locals represent over 19,000 workers at Rutgers, including HPAE, URA, AAUP—Medical, PTL, EOF, CIR and CWA.

Learn more.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 04/10/2019 - 10:35

Tags: Organizing

Kenneth Quinnell

#StampOutHunger: The Working People Weekly List

2 weeks 1 day ago
#StampOutHunger: 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: #StampOutHunger: "In the latest episode of 'State of the Unions,' podcast co-host Tim Schlittner talks to Brian Renfroe, National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) executive vice president, and Christina Vela Davidson, assistant to the president for community services, about #StampOutHunger, the annual one-day drive that has collected more than 1 billion pounds of food for the hungry."

The Center of Victory: "The labor movement helped elect a wave of union members and pro-worker allies across the country last night. We proved that if you support working people, we’ll have your back. And we sent a resounding message to every candidate and elected official that if you seek to divide and destroy us, we’ll fight back with everything we have."

It's Time for Equal Pay: "Equal Pay Day serves as a reminder of how far we still have to go to close the gender pay gap. AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler (IBEW) has more on why unions are the best tool to achieve pay parity."

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: AFT: "Next up in our series that will take a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the AFT. The series will run weekly until we've covered all 55 of our affiliates."

New North American Trade Deal Faces Hurdles in U.S. Congress: "'This agreement right now, for it to be voted on, would be premature,' Richard Trumka, president of America’s largest labor federation, the AFL-CIO, told Bloomberg TV. 'The Mexican government has to change their [labor] laws, then they have to start effectively enforcing them, and then they have to demonstrate that they have the resources necessary to enforce those laws, because if you can’t enforce a trade agreement, it’s useless.'"

At Our Current Pace It'll Take 80 Years to Repair All the Structurally Deficient Bridges in the U.S., A Report Finds: "Officials have dubbed Monday's bridge collapse in Tennessee a freak accident, but that might be turning a blind eye to a larger issue. Bridges across the United States are deteriorating, and a new report estimates it will take more than 80 years to fix all of them. More than 47,000 bridges in the United States are in crucial need of repairs, says the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, or ARTBA. The group, which advocates for investment in transportation infrastructure, analyzes data from the Federal Highway Administration and releases an annual Deficient Bridge report."

Trumka Warns Lawmakers: Don’t Vote for Quickie ‘New NAFTA’: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is warning lawmakers that voters will oppose any solon who votes for a 'quickie new NAFTA,' so to speak. That means workers would oppose lawmakers who favor a quick vote on legislation implementing the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement—before Mexico has both enacted stronger worker rights and put in place the systems and people to implement them. Even a stronger Mexican labor law, but without enforcement in place, won’t satisfy U.S. workers, or the U.S. labor movement, he adds. Trumka forecast such electoral retribution in an April 1 telephone press conference on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), also known as NAFTA 2.0 or the 'new NAFTA.' The GOP Trump administration negotiated it with—Canada would say strong-armed it on—the other two North American nations to replace the 25-year-old original NAFTA."

Women Can Close the Pay Gap by Forming Unions: "In 2018, women once again came home with over 16% less money in their paychecks. Tuesday is Equal Pay Day, which means women had to work until April 2—92 days longer—to be paid the same amount as a comparable man in 2018. For many women of color, this gap is much worse. For the past 15 years, the gender wage gap has barely budged and persists across all wage levels and among employees at every education level. More and more, women are turning to their unions to implement workplace tools to narrow the gender wage gap."

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 04/10/2019 - 09:49
Kenneth Quinnell

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: American Postal Workers Union

2 weeks 3 days ago
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: American Postal Workers Union AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that will take a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the American Postal Workers Union (APWU). The series will run weekly until we've covered all 55 of our affiliates.

Name of Union: American Postal Workers Union

Mission: Through collective bargaining, legislative action and mobilization of its members and the public, APWU fights for dignity and respect on the job for postal workers throughout the postal industry—for decent pay and benefits and safe working places, for defense of the right of the people to public postal services and for solidarity with all workers, at home and abroad.

Current Leadership of Union: Mark Dimondstein was elected president of APWU in 2013 and won a second term in 2016. He began his postal career in 1983. In 1986, he was elected to the first of six consecutive terms as president of the Greater Greensboro (N.C.) Area Local. Beginning in 2000, he served as APWU's national lead field organizer. He won AFL-CIO's Southern Organizer of the Year Award in 2001. 

Debby Szeredy serves as APWU’s executive vice president, Elizabeth Powell serves as secretary-treasurer and Vance Zimmerman is the industrial relations director. The national executive board also includes four craft division directors who oversee the clerk, maintenance, motor vehicle service and support service crafts at the United States Postal Service (USPS), as well as five regional coordinators.

Current Number of Members: 222,000.

Members Work As: Retail postal clerks, mail processors and sorters, building and equipment maintenance, custodial workers, truck drivers and mechanics, information technology workers, nurses and others.

Industries Represented: Members are active and retired workers for the USPS, as well as private-sector workers employed in the mailing industry.

History: The American Postal Workers Union was founded on July 1, 1971, when five postal unions merged after the Great Postal Strike in 1970. The two largest unions involved in the merger were the United Federation of Postal Clerks—which represented employees who "worked the windows" at post offices and workers who sorted and processed mail—and the National Postal Union—who represented postal workers in multiple crafts. The National Association of Post Office and General Service Maintenance Employees, the National Federation of Motor Vehicle Employees and the National Association of Special Delivery Messengers were the other three unions who merged to create the APWU.

Before the Great Postal Strike, early postal unions essentially had no collective bargaining rights, with wage increases dependent on the whims of Congress, i.e. "collective begging." As a result, postal workers were chronically underpaid, barely making enough to make ends meet.

Workers grew increasingly frustrated with Congress’ inaction, and on March 18, 1970, thousands of New York City postal workers walked off the job in protest, starting the Great Postal Strike. During the strike, mail service ground to a halt and the plight of postal workers was brought to the public’s attention. The strike was soon settled, with Congress approving a 6% wage increase and other gains for postal workers.

The strike motivated the enactment of the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, which granted unions the right to negotiate with management over their wages, benefits and working conditions.

Since that first contract almost 50 years ago, the APWU has fought for dignity and respect on the job for the workers they represent, as well as decent pay and benefits and safe working conditions. As a result, the postal unions have achieved unprecedented job security provisions.

Current Campaigns: APWU is a partner in A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service that fights back against efforts to dismantle the USPS. APWU has many current campaigns to protect the workers and customers of the USPS, including fighting: against privatization, for a fair and decent contract protecting their entire bargaining unit, against post office closures and to promote safe postal jobs. With the solidarity of the labor movement and community allies, the APWU led the successful "Stop Staples" fight against the privatization of postal retail services.

APWU is also pushing for postal banking as a way to expand basic financial services to those whose needs are unmet by the corporate-dominated financial sector, and protect them from the predatory Payday Loan and check cashing industry.

Community Efforts: The American Postal Workers Accident Benefit Association provides insurance and pays benefits to postal workers and their families in the case of accidental death or disability. The E.C. Hallbeck scholarship provides educational benefits for children of APWU members while the vocational scholarship program helps the children of APWU members pursue trade, technical, vocational or industrial occupations. The Postal Employees Relief Fund helps postal workers and their families recover from natural disasters and house fires. The APWU promotes strong alliances and common bonds between the labor and civil rights communities.

Learn More: WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 04/08/2019 - 11:28
Kenneth Quinnell

Collective Voices Lead to Victory: Worker Wins

2 weeks 6 days ago
Collective Voices Lead to Victory: Worker Wins

Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with grocery store workers using their collective voices and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life.

UFCW Workers at King Soopers/City Market in Colorado Reach Tentative Agreement to End Prevent Strike: United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) members who work at King Soopers and City Market in Colorado have accepted a tentative agreement to prevent a strike and the new deal must be approved by the membership. The new contract addresses wage increases, health care costs, improved benefits and increased safety requirements. UFCW Local 7 President Kim Cordova said: "Today’s deal represents an important investment in King Soopers and City Market workers and strengthens our ability to continue providing shoppers with the high-quality customer service they deserve. The fact that this offer is significantly better than where we started in December is a tribute to the hard work of every member."

Two More Condé Nast Publications Join Organizing Wave: Pitchfork and Ars Technica, two publications owned by Condé Nast, have become the latest publications to join the wave of organizing that has been sweeping newsrooms and digital media in recent years. Employees at both publications have asked for voluntary recognition of their union representation. Ars Technica covers technology and science and Pitchfork publishes music criticism and news. Pitchfork's senior editor Stacey Anderson said: "The editors, writers, producers and strategists of Pitchfork are deeply proud of the work we do here. We believe that forming a union will keep this a sustainable place for all of us. We’re ready for management to address our concerns and work as hard for us as we do for them."

Boise Philharmonic Musicians Vote for Representation by American Federation of Musicians: With 96% of the vote, musicians at the Boise Philharmonic have voted to join the American Federation of Musicians (AFM). Kate Jarvis, a violinist and assistant concertmaster, said: "We're excited to join the community of working musicians, and we think this is an exciting time in the life of our orchestra. We have a vested interest in the organization, and we think it's important for the musicians to have a voice in the organization."

Staff at Podcast Startup Gimlet Media Join Writers Guild: More than 80 staff who work for Gimlet Media have asked management to voluntarily recognize their unionization with the Writers Guild of America, East. Gimlet produces popular podcasts such as Reply All and StartUp and the membership includes producers, engineers, reporters and hosts. Among the issues the new union will be negotiating with management are fair treatment for contractors, increased workplace diversity, protection of employee intellectual property, and transparency around pay, promotions and firings.

Flying Food Workers Avoid Strike and Ratify New Contract: Nearly 700 catering employees of Flying Food Group who work at Los Angeles International Airport averted an approved strike after 98% voted to ratify a new contract. The workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 11, will see wage increases and the end of costly monthly health care premiums. Flying Food Group worker Juan Varela applauded the agreement: "This new contract is going to change my life. I used to pay $332 a month for my health insurance and now I won’t have to pay any money out of my check for full coverage for me and my family."

Tufts Dining Workers Reach Tentative Agreement After Nearly a Year: Dining workers represented by UNITE HERE at Tufts University have reached a tentative contract after nearly a year of negotiations. The contract would be the first for dining workers at the university. The contract addresses wage increases, health care, the conversion of temporary employees to regular status, maintaining employees' existing time-off benefits and other issues.

Ohio Teachers End Strike After Ratifying New Contract: Teachers at Summit Academy Parma in Ohio ended a nine-day strike after the members of the Ohio Federation of Teachers overwhelmingly voted to ratify a new contract. OFT President Melissa Cropper said: "The teachers and intervention specialists at Summit Academy Parma organized their union to improve their students’ learning conditions. That’s what this contract does with language on staffing and class sizes, and by establishing a labor-management committee so that we can solve problems as they arise." The contract was secured after the teachers went on strike in order to improve teaching and learning conditions at the charter school, which serves special needs students.

New Jersey State Workers and Gov. Phil Murphy Agree to New Contract: After a long-fought battle with former Gov. Chris Christie, New Jersey's new governor, Phil Murphy, is much more open to working with state workers. A breakthrough contract last year was followed by a tentative agreement on a four-year contract with the state and the Communications Workers of America New Jersey. The new contract was approved by the membership at the end of March.

BuzzFeed Workers Join NewsGuild: The overwhelming majority of U.S. journalists working for online news outlet BuzzFeed voting to be represented by The NewsGuild of New York, CWA Local 31003. Earlier this year, BuzzFeed moved to eliminated 15% of its workforce and the new unit is seeking better benefits and fair pay. The BuzzFeed workers said: "We want to remain spry and competitive, but we reject the argument that we must choose between freelancing in a hellscape gig economy for vampirical platforms or submitting to the whims of a corporation that botches basic HR tasks." The BuzzFeed workers have asked management to voluntarily recognize the union.

Boston's WBUR Staff Overwhelmingly Vote for Representation Through SAG-AFTRA: With 96% voting in favor, staff at radio station WBUR in Boston voted to recognize SAG-AFTRA as their union. They are in the beginning stages of negotiating their first contract. Ally Jarmanning, a digital producer at WBUR, said: "We are thrilled to officially be recognized as a union at WBUR. Organizing has brought our staff closer together and we can't wait to get to work negotiating a contract that will be fair for all. We know together we can make WBUR an even better place, both for workers and listeners."

Machinists at Boeing Win Mid-Contract Pay Raise: Thousands of Machinists who work for Boeing in Seattle have won a $4-per-hour increase of minimum pay rates. While their current contract sets pay rates through 2024, the Machinists fought for an increase after management responded to a labor shortage by offering new hires wages higher than the existing contract. The union successfully argued to management that the contract's minimum wage should be raised so that already hired workers would be making as much or more than new hires.

Gizmodo Editorial Staff Unanimously Ratifies New Contract: Nearly 170 members of the editorial staff at Gizmodo Media Group voted unanimously to ratify their second collective bargaining agreement. The staff is represented by the Writers Guild of America, East, and about the contract the bargaining committee said: "We’re incredibly proud of the contract we won. With a strong union, and the support of our colleagues at other unionized shops across digital media, we were able to build on our first contract and help elevate industry standards to better protect workers and the independence of our newsrooms. But building labor power in digital media is bigger than just a contract, so the struggle for a more democratic, transparent industry continues. There’s power in standing together, and when we fight we win."

Nurses Vote to Join Minnesota Nurses Association: An overwhelming majority of nurses at CHI St. Alexius Health in Bismarck, North Dakota, voted to be represented by the Minnesota Nurses Association. The nurses sought union representation after operational changes and layoffs had a negative impact on patient care. Nurse Leslie Wenger said: "We’re all extremely excited. We just really wanted to come together and have a voice to get heard and to get a seat at the decision-making table."

Journalists at The Morning Call Join NewsGuild: By a vote of 31-12, reporters, photographers and other staff at The Morning Call, located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, voted to be represented by The NewsGuild-CWA. Peter Hall, a senior reporter, said: "For a lot of people, this is about improving our sense of certainty about the future. Everyone involved in this has really worked hard."

San Francisco Bikeshare Workers Vote for TWU Representation: Workers at Ford GoBike in the San Francisco Bay area have voted to join the Transport Workers (TWU). The maintenance workers are employed by Motivate LLC and are seeking wage increases, better scheduling practices and other quality of life factors. TWU already represents Motivate workers in New York City, Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Jersey City.

 

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 04/05/2019 - 13:11

Tags: Organizing

Kenneth Quinnell

Economy Gains 196,000 Jobs in March; Unemployment Unchanged at 3.8%

2 weeks 6 days ago
Economy Gains 196,000 Jobs in March; Unemployment Unchanged at 3.8%

The U.S. economy gained 196,000 jobs in March, and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.8%, 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.

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

Payroll numbers up 196,000 in March according to @BLS_gov unemployment holds steady at 3.8%, payroll numbers adjusted up for January and February by a combined 14,000 jobs. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) April 5, 2019

Average hourly earnings moderate to a 3.2% increase comparing March 2018 to March 2019. Moderating wage growth and job growth under 200,000 for two months coincide with moderation in GDP growth. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) April 5, 2019

After three straight months of increase in the Black unemployment rate, it falls to 6.7% in March, but for the wrong reasons, labor force participation dips from 62.5 to 62.1% and the share employed falls for third straight month. @rolandsmartin @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) April 5, 2019

 

Unemployment rate holds steady in March at 3.8% from a decline in labor force participation and a slight dip in the employment-to-population ratio. With February and March numbers, shows a slowing labor market. Obviously, the @federalreserve got it right. @AFLCIO #JobsReport pic.twitter.com/4iiCq7sLEm

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) April 5, 2019

 

Labor Force Participation rate drops for all education attainment levels in March in new @BLS_gov report, except for college educated workers. So, unemployment is steady for the wrong reasons. @AFLCIO #JobsReport pic.twitter.com/oIeQAfF1Tv

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) April 5, 2019

 

Another, its not a good sign when... The share of the unemployed who are long time unemployed (over 6 months) has been increasing three straight months. Meaning its getting more difficult to get back into jobs. @AFLCIO #JobsReport pic.twitter.com/uMZMofHiae

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) April 5, 2019

 

Weakening auto sales showing in manufacturing of motor vehicles, down 6,300 in March. This doesn't erase the gain over the year from last March, but makes the annual gain now only 3,500 jobs. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) April 5, 2019

 

Skills shortages? Computer systems designs payroll up by 11,500 in March. But the problem is scale. That industry employs 2.18 million; compared to 12.1 million workers in food services, where jobs increased 27,300. @AFLCIO #JobsReport

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) April 5, 2019

 

Dip in the share of Americans employed in March shows how hard the recovery to more employment has been for Americans. This shows there is still more room for growth. @AFLCIO #JobsReport pic.twitter.com/TVdiYcboQa

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) April 5, 2019

 

Retail trade employment drops 11,700 in March and over the year is down 35,900 over the year shows effect of reckless private equity firms destabilizing the industry, sluggish consumer spending growth and the internet @AFLCIO #JobsReport

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) April 5, 2019

Last month's biggest job gains were in health care (49,000), professional and technical services (34,000), food services and drinking places (27,000), and construction (16,000). Manufacturing employment declined in March (-6,000 jobs). Employment in other major industries, including mining, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, showed little change over the month. 

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates fell for teenagers (12.8%) and blacks (6.7%). The jobless rate increased for Hispanics (4.7%). The jobless rate for adult men (3.6%), adult women (3.3%), whites (3.4%) and Asians (3.1%) showed little change in March.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) rose in March and accounted for 21.1% of the unemployed.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 04/05/2019 - 12:57
Kenneth Quinnell

Education Minnesota Is Gaining Strength One Conversation at a Time

2 weeks 6 days ago
Education Minnesota Is Gaining Strength One Conversation at a Time

Just over 18 months ago, the leaders of Education Minnesota (an affiliate of both the AFT and the National Education Association) decided that something had to change. With the Janus v. AFSCME decision looming, and the 2018 midterm elections set to follow, the 90,000-member union knew that membership engagement had to be its top priority.

Education Minnesota President Denise Specht embarked on an ambitious internal organizing campaign, aiming to bolster members’ commitment to the union. The campaign sought to reach 100% of members, reduce the number of fee payers before the Janus decision and minimize membership losses following the ruling.

At its core, that effort would be built on value-centered, one-on-one conversations with individual members. Rather than focusing on benefits or contract language, these discussions would center on the needs of each member and the full value of belonging to a union.

By tying the core principles of unionism—having power in the workplace and joining together in a common fight—to individual members’ tangible experiences, organizers would build a foundational relationship with members that could weather both internal and external turbulence.

Specht knew that this would be no small task. With 460 locals across the state, varying priorities and internal politics threatened to derail the urgently needed program. While most local leaders embraced the opportunity, some initially resisted changes in how they communicated with their members. The program’s effectiveness, however, quickly spoke for itself.

In one region, two locals fully implemented the approach using stories and conversations about the value of belonging to a union during new employee orientation, while one carried out old habits by selling the union as insurance.

In a stunning feat of organizing, the two reformers signed up 100% of new employees. Meanwhile, the other local struggled to sign up 40%.

Specht’s vision for value-based conversations soon became a reality at union halls, worksites and orientations across the state. By the time the Janus decision was handed down, they were ready.

The union managed to recommit 95% of its members and, in the wake of the decision, limited membership losses to only 600. Far from receiving the gut punch pundits had expected, Education Minnesota came through stronger and better organized than ever.

But Specht wasn’t finished, and she wasted no time in channeling that energy toward the midterm elections. After a year of building and cementing relationships, organizers were in a newly strengthened position to mobilize members to the ballot box.

Across the state, the union recruited and trained more than 1,500 worksite leaders, who applied the successes of membership engagement to their political program. Through one-on-one conversations about the issues that mattered to them, members felt invested in the upcoming election—and turned out in droves.

Capping off a year that was supposed to mark the death of labor, Education Minnesota proved that it wasn’t going anywhere, showing its power on the campaign trail and catapulting one of its own members, Tim Walz, into the governor’s mansion, and another, Julie Blaha, into the state auditor’s office.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 04/05/2019 - 11:58
Kenneth Quinnell

The Center of Victory

3 weeks 1 day ago
The Center of Victory Natasha Lindstrom/Tribune-Review

The labor movement helped elect a wave of union members and pro-worker allies across the country last night. We proved that if you support working people, we’ll have your back. And we sent a resounding message to every candidate and elected official that if you seek to divide and destroy us, we’ll fight back with everything we have.

The labor movement fought for our issues, union candidates and proven allies, and we filled the halls of power with our own.

We’re still tracking races and results, but here are the main takeaways:

  • Pam Iovino (USW) flipped Pennsylvania’s 37th state Senate District.

  • Union members Eric Genrich (AFSCME) and Satya Rhodes-Conway (AFT) were elected as the mayors of Green Bay and Madison, Wisconsin, respectively.

  • A slate of union members (from the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association and AFSCME) and allies swept the Milwaukee School Board elections, and Danielle Shelton (AFT) won the election for a seat on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court.

  • In Missouri, Tommie Pierson Sr. (UAW) and Mike Corcoran (UA) won mayoral elections in Bellefontaine Neighbors and St. Ann, respectively. Meanwhile, Nick Trupiano (UFCW) was elected alderman in St. Peters and Orlando Smith (UA) won election as the Fire Protection District director for the city of Black Jack.

Working people win when working people run. In 2017, the AFL-CIO passed a powerful national resolution promising to train and campaign for union members to win public office through the Path to Power program.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 04/03/2019 - 15:08
Kenneth Quinnell

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: #StampOutHunger

3 weeks 1 day ago
‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: #StampOutHunger AFL-CIO

In the latest episode of "State of the Unions," podcast co-host Tim Schlittner talks to Brian Renfroe, National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) executive vice president, and Christina Vela Davidson, assistant to the president for community services, about #StampOutHunger, the annual one-day drive that has collected more than 1 billion pounds of food for the hungry. 

"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 PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotifyStitcher and anywhere else you can find podcasts.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 04/03/2019 - 10:00

Tags: Podcast

Kenneth Quinnell