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Collective Action Continues to Rise: The Working People Weekly List

2 days 18 hours ago
Collective Action Continues to Rise: 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.

Number of Workers Striking Across the U.S. Jumped in 2018: "Almost 500,000 workers participated in work stoppages last year, driven primarily by protests in the education, health-care and social-assistance industries, the Labor Department said. Overall, there were more such disputes than in any year since 2007, and more people on strike or lockout than any year going back to 1987. 'If you think that neither the political system nor the economy is working for you, you turn to each other, knowing it’s the only way you can make change,' said Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, which represents 12.5 million unionized workers."

Let’s Not Forget Unions and Collective Action When Discussing Victories on Workers’ Rights: "Too often in our public discourse about workplace issues, the crucial role of labor unions and the legal right of workers to join together in collective action to improve their working conditions is forgotten or ignored."

Trump Wrong to Scapegoat Immigrants, AFL-CIO President Says: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka discusses the trade war between the U.S. and China and the implications for the U.S. labor force with Bloomberg's Jason Kelly on "Bloomberg Markets: Balance of Power."

Was It Worth It? Many Suffered in Trump’s Wall Budget Loss: "Wall or no wall, that wasn’t the question during a silent demonstration in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building. For 35 minutes on Wednesday afternoon, members of the American Federation of Government Employees and others held their fists high to mark the number of days in the longest shutdown that ended three weeks ago. In solemn fashion, they declared not to tolerate such an assault on the government and its workforce. Arms were raised. At the sound of triangle chimes and a small bell rung on each minute, individuals lowered one arm and then raised the other. Each minute was displayed on a paper plate, so the demonstrators would know how much they had to endure."

Congress’s Spending Deal Doesn’t Include Back Pay for Federal Contractors: "Democratic lawmakers led by Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith wanted to attach a bill guaranteeing back pay for federal contractors to a final spending package in an effort to provide some financial relief for as many as 580,000 workers who may have missed out on wages during the recent shutdown. Contractors say they struggled with everything from covering medications to buying baby formula. The legislation, which would have been the first law of its kind to grant contractors back pay after a government shutdown, had been caught up in spending negotiations and faced Republican pushback, according to multiple Democratic sources. As Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) told reporters pointedly on Wednesday, 'I’ve been told the president won’t sign that....I guess federal contractors are different in his view than federal employees.'"

Working People Rally to Protect Dreamers and Workers with TPS: "More than 1,000 of our union brothers and sisters from across the country marched on Capitol Hill Tuesday to call on Congress to save the temporary protected status (TPS) program and allow the workers who depend on it to continue to pursue their dreams in America."

Painters Lend Helping Hand in the Construction Trades: "Work in the construction trades is very physically and mentally demanding. For some workers, those conditions, combined with other factors, can lead to the need for support from the community. The Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) union is stepping up to provide that support for workers who are dealing with depression or substance abuse with IUPAT Helping Hand, a new program designed to raise awareness and provide resources for working people who are struggling."

No More Shutdowns: In the States Roundup: "It's time once again to take a look at the ways working people are making progress in the states. Click on any of the links to follow the state federations on Twitter."

U.S. Unions Bring Solidarity to Striking Mexican Workers: "A delegation of union leaders from the national AFL-CIO, the Texas AFL-CIO, the UAW and the United Steelworkers (USW) traveled to Matamoros, Mexico, last week to support tens of thousands of factory workers who have launched a wave of strikes to demand wage increases and democratic control of their unions."

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Amalgamated Transit Union: "Next up in our new series of taking a deeper look at each of our affiliates is Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU). The series will run weekly until we've covered all 55 of our affiliates."

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 02/15/2019 - 10:57
Kenneth Quinnell

Working People Rally to Protect Dreamers and Workers with TPS

3 days 16 hours ago
Working People Rally to Protect Dreamers and Workers with TPS AFL-CIO

More than 1,000 of our union brothers and sisters from across the country marched on Capitol Hill Tuesday to call on Congress to save the temporary protected status (TPS) program and allow the workers who depend on it to continue to pursue their dreams in America.

Despite the wind and rain, workers from UNITE HERE, the Laborers (LIUNA), the Bricklayers (BAC), the Ironworkers, the Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) rallied at the U.S. Capitol, demanding #TPSJustice.

TPS provides people from countries experiencing crises such as war, natural disaster or ongoing violence the opportunity to build a life in the United States. TPS holders are major contributors to our workplaces, economy and communities. They deserve a stable future, but the Trump administration has terminated the program for the 400,000 who have 275,000 U.S. citizen children.

Tell Congress that working people support immigrants and want to protect TPS and create a pathway to citizenship.

Here is what people said on Twitter from the rally:

Our big day is here, join us starting at 9 am, at the White House, as we march for the Justice of the TPS Community 👊🏾✊🏽. #TPSMarch #TPSJustice #ResidencyNow #ProtectTPSFamilies #TpsPeoplesSummit pic.twitter.com/KIrsBiXBHP

— Nat’l TPS Alliance (@TPS_Alliance) February 12, 2019

“Everything I do is for them. I can’t imagine what I would do if I lost them.” TPS recipient Doris talks about her 3 US citizen children and the nightmare she faces if Congress doesn’t act quickly to #ProtectTPS. Join us in fighting for #TPSjustice: https://t.co/YLAlU3HeBF pic.twitter.com/fqol6uXF9Q

— iAmerica Action (@iAmericaAction) February 12, 2019

CALL IN DAY: Has your Representative committed to preventing the termination of TPS and providing permanent protections for people whose lives are in limbo? Call and find out: 202-335-9949 #TPSJustice #SaveTPS pic.twitter.com/4J18UQzZwA

— Working Families United (@wfucoalition) February 12, 2019

It is cold and rainy at the White House today, but that won't stop us from fighting for #TPSJustice - we're out here to fight for our brothers and sisters who are TPS holders because they too deserve a pathway to become permanent residents. pic.twitter.com/cQWlcOdYGR

— APALA (@APALAnational) February 12, 2019

RIGHT NOW: A crowd led by @TPS_Alliance and other ntl. orgs has gathered outside the White House to demand #TPSJustice pic.twitter.com/5HD9FXvK41

— Juan Escalante (@JuanSaaa) February 12, 2019

“No lluvia, ni viento, detiene el movimiento!”
“Rain & wind can stop the movement”#tps #savetps #TPSJustice pic.twitter.com/5X833PehRp

— Student Immigrant Movement (SIM) (@Join_SIM) February 12, 2019

“We are not standing in the rain because we like to stand in the rain. We are here for a cause. We are here because we don’t know what is coming next!” - Cristina Wilson #TPSjustice pic.twitter.com/7zGVr0i6Hx

— Nat’l TPS Alliance (@TPS_Alliance) February 12, 2019

We're at the #TPSMarch march today in Washington, where thousands have shown up to defend this humanitarian program.

Find out more about Trump’s attacks against the TPS community and what’s at stake: https://t.co/jcJ5REuPXY#TPSJustice #ResidencyNow #ProtectTPSFamilies pic.twitter.com/lT7mR8mGBh

— WOLA (@WOLA_org) February 12, 2019

Our march to Capitol Hill is about to begin!

Nuestra marcha hacia el Capitolio ya empieza! #TPSJustice pic.twitter.com/qo163uAIO4

— Nat’l TPS Alliance (@TPS_Alliance) February 12, 2019

For Haiti, for 13 countries. We march for #tpsjustice. pic.twitter.com/XuuucwfuNT

— Working Families United (@wfucoalition) February 12, 2019

Lots of signs
Lots of enthusiasm
Lots of determination

ALL FOR #TPSJUSTICE pic.twitter.com/8SOl3wZqaD

— Nat’l TPS Alliance (@TPS_Alliance) February 12, 2019

I had the privilege of sponsoring “The Last Dream: Stories Created & Performed by the Children of TPS” by the #Boston Experimental Theatre to create space for these children, children of #TPS recipients, to tell their stories & demand #TPSJUSTICE. pic.twitter.com/ey4I3cLUOC

— Rep Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) February 12, 2019

Lobbying our Texas legislators to #ProtectTPSfamilies #TPSJustice #SaveTPS @GoIUPAT @TexasAFLCIO @unitehere @AFLCIO @wfucoalition @IUBAC pic.twitter.com/l0PgJvgwNE

— Montserrat Garibay (@MontseTXAFLCIO) February 12, 2019

Rain or shine, we're proud to stand with our partners who are fighting for TPS recipients — immigrants who have built careers and made their lives here for decades now. #SaveTPS #TPSJustice pic.twitter.com/k8DcQRiXrU

— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) February 12, 2019

Ana has lived & worked here for nearly two decades with #TPS. Today she is taking her mssg to Congress to advocate for a permanent solution for her & over 300,000 TPS holders who work hard for this country & deserve a pathway to citizenship. #SaveTPS #TPSjustice @WorkersUnitedWS pic.twitter.com/ysPfl4Dj6C

— iAmerica Action (@iAmericaAction) February 12, 2019

America’s mothers call on Congress to enact legislation that affirms the dignity of immigrant women & children and of our nation. We stand with TPS holders and their fight to stay with their families and continue building their lives in the U.S. #SaveTPS #TPSJustice pic.twitter.com/YyZAqkm4oI

— MomsRising (@MomsRising) February 12, 2019

“I came here in 1985 w/ dreams & am now a US citizen. I’m here to ask my sen @marcorubio to help us pass legislation to provide a permanent solution for #TPS recipients. If they’re forced to leave, there’s gonna be a big hole in this country.” -Javier, @WorkersUnited #tpsjustice pic.twitter.com/6n3XdDW5J6

— iAmerica Action (@iAmericaAction) February 12, 2019

Ending TPS would put more than 400,000 TPS holders and their families at risk for deportation. Advocates took to the streets of D.C. today to demand permanent protection for these workers and families. #TPSJustice #SaveTPS #ResidencyNow pic.twitter.com/PeDcrBE7Ut

— Advancing Justice | AAJC (@AAAJ_AAJC) February 12, 2019

Thank you Rep. @DonnaShalala staff for hearing our #TPS stories! Our Florida families need your support! #ResidencyNOW #TPSJustice @TPS_Alliance @afsc_org pic.twitter.com/LULYFTZMhC

— AFSC South Region (@AFSCSouthRegion) February 12, 2019

In DC fighting for TPS and DACA. Fighting with Working Families United. A group of about 15 international Unions who are fighting for our people. Thank you Congressman Ro Khanna for meetings with us.#SaveTPS #TPSJustice @wfucoalition pic.twitter.com/pHkNzprrdg

— IUPAT DC5 ORG (@IUPAT_DC5) February 12, 2019

Threatening #TPS families is just another form of family separation. Govt should lead with compassion, not cruelty and chaos. TY to everyone for sharing your story today. Together, we're going to #SaveTPS. #protectTPS #TPSJustice @fams2gether @MIRACoalition @TPS_Alliance pic.twitter.com/hlldi53DAj

— Katherine Clark (@RepKClark) February 12, 2019

This is what union solidarity looks like. Workers from 12+ states and eight+ unions pushing Congress to pass permanent protections for #TPSJustice NOW! pic.twitter.com/Rt7MhZ93Po

— Working Families United (@wfucoalition) February 13, 2019 Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 02/14/2019 - 12:52
Kenneth Quinnell

Painters Lend Helping Hand in the Construction Trades

4 days 21 hours ago
Painters Lend Helping Hand in the Construction Trades

Work in the construction trades is very physically and mentally demanding. For some workers, those conditions, combined with other factors, can lead to the need for support from the community. The Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) union is stepping up to provide that support for workers who are dealing with depression or substance abuse with IUPAT Helping Hand, a new program designed to raise awareness and provide resources for working people who are struggling.

Construction workers have the highest rate of suicide and drug abuse of any job category in the United States. Many of these addictions begin as treatment for work-related pain or injury. Workers often return to the job before they are fully healed in order to start earning a full paycheck again. Others come back to work still using painkillers that may affect job performance and safety.

IUPAT Helping Hand is designed to help construction workers and their family and friends get access to resources that can identify warning signs and prevent or alleviate these problems before they get out of hand. 

Watch the video above and visit the Helping Hand website to learn more. 

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 02/13/2019 - 08:34
Kenneth Quinnell

No More Shutdowns: In the States Roundup

5 days 20 hours ago
No More Shutdowns: In the States Roundup AFL-CIO

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

Alaska AFL-CIO:

After learning OMB Director Donna Arduin and Governor Dunleavy's plan for the budget as well as this newly rolled out supplemental budget, all we can say is someone needs a dictionary.

trans·par·ent:(of an organization or its activities) open to public scrutiny. #akleg #akgov pic.twitter.com/JqgYph6Exw

— Alaska AFL-CIO (@AKAFLCIO) January 30, 2019

Arizona AFL-CIO:

Congratulations to former UFCW member Cardi B on making history at last nights Grammy’s! https://t.co/yIdRhdgr8Q

— Arizona AFL-CIO (@ArizonaAFLCIO) February 11, 2019

California Labor Federation:

"Most gig economy workers are still classified as contract workers, meaning that they aren’t covered by federal minimum wage laws & other labor protections." We need to stop greedy corporations from cheating workers! #CaLeg must vote #YesOnAB5! https://t.co/Y3hoyx5iq8 @LorenaAD80

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

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

Sotonye Otunba-Payne, court reporter & member of @AFSCMECT4: "We believe that outsourcing will lead to the destruction of middle-class jobs that are the backbone of our economy" #ThriveTogetherCT #1u pic.twitter.com/76CwOCoPrz

— Connecticut AFL-CIO (@ConnAFLCIO) February 11, 2019

Florida AFL-CIO:

“There is a lot of uncertainty, and there is a high stress level in the people. It’s affecting the home life of people. Now they don’t know what their future is.” #NoMoreShutdowns https://t.co/rpipMtFYGI

— Florida AFL-CIO (@FLAFLCIO) February 7, 2019

Georgia AFL-CIO:

Instead of 4 beautiful words stamped on cars, we need 5: "UNION MADE in the USA". #1u #SOTU

— AFL-CIO Georgia (@AFLCIOGeorgia) February 6, 2019

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

“The GOP tax cut didn’t help. The free trade agreement hasn’t helped. There’s nothing Trump has done that has helped.” #1uhttps://t.co/OKnFM4jaEg

— Indiana AFL-CIO (@INAFLCIO) February 7, 2019

Iowa Federation of Labor:

Black Civil Rights Activists https://t.co/RyMY1W3IfC

— Iowa AFL-CIO (@IowaAFLCIO) February 11, 2019

Kentucky State AFL-CIO:

“Janus hasn’t had any effect at all on us,” said the Kentucky AFL-CIO president, Bill Londrigan, whose state gained 5,000 new public union members after a series of dramatic teachers’... https://t.co/iFFpkxtN4g

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

Maine AFL-CIO:

Federal workers Bill and Rob speak to fellow area union members about the impact of the lockout, aka shutdown, had on their members and families. Never again! @AFGENational #mepolitics #1u pic.twitter.com/R7PYr4e0vr

— Maine AFL-CIO (@MEAFLCIO) February 7, 2019

Massachusetts AFL-CIO:

Thank you to our union brothers and sisters working extra hard to keep the #MBTA running safely this morning during heavy use for the #PatriotsParade @carmensunion589 @IAM264Boston @IBEW103 @IBEW104

— Massachusetts AFLCIO (@massaflcio) February 5, 2019

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

DC's JW Marriott engineers join IUOE 99 https://t.co/mTbMguthIY

— MetroDCLaborCouncil (@DCLabor) February 8, 2019

Michigan AFL-CIO:

Wherein he passes the torch to all of us. Rest in power, John Dingell. #1u https://t.co/p60l38TK2E

— Michigan AFL-CIO (@MIAFLCIO) February 9, 2019

Minnesota AFL-CIO:

The Fight Against Labor Trafficking Expands https://t.co/Ev2ECr027Y (via @workdaymn) #1u pic.twitter.com/6gM0pvlKVU

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

Missouri AFL-CIO:

The enemies of open government in Missouri have made clear they have no regard for either the principle of transparency or the overwhelming will of the people. #moleg https://t.co/eVBiG2cjOM

— Missouri AFL-CIO (@MOAFLCIO) February 8, 2019

Nebraska State AFL-CIO:

Mark your calendars now to help Stamp Out Hunger. pic.twitter.com/YawTXOzhYq

— NE State AFL-CIO (@NEAFLCIO) February 6, 2019

Nevada State AFL-CIO:

Bright and snowy opening of #nvleg ❄️❄️❄️ Looking forward to warmer days and passing legislation to help NV working families #1u pic.twitter.com/7AtQxaU3IG

— Nevada State AFL-CIO (@NVAFLCIO) February 5, 2019

New Mexico Federation of Labor:

#StoptheShutdown ! Give our Brothers and Sisters the dignity they deserve! #Solidarity #1u pic.twitter.com/ukLH9JdheU

— NMFL (@NMFLaflcio) February 11, 2019

New York State AFL-CIO:

Labor leaders optimistic bill penalizing companies for outsourcing call-center jobs will pass in Dem-controlled Albany https://t.co/AJqcvdG2wE

— NYSAFLCIO (@NYSAFLCIO) February 11, 2019

North Carolina State AFL-CIO:

We need you in Raleigh Feb. 27th for 2019 Medicaid Expansion Advocacy Day! RSVP at https://t.co/Qwf0ZDcDGA https://t.co/cl4WQ3wju7

— NC State AFL-CIO (@NCStateAFLCIO) February 10, 2019

North Dakota AFL-CIO:

Rep. Nelson stands with North Dakota Firefighters and Police and their right to join together and negotiate the terms of their employment. Thank him! menelson@nd.gov - 701-550-9731 #HB1463 #NDPOL #1u pic.twitter.com/ealExPZn1T

— North Dakota AFL-CIO (@NDAFLCIO) February 5, 2019

Ohio AFL-CIO:

Fear @wrightstate faculty, staff, students & @aaupwsu,

Thank you for standing united in #solidarity for a better university. The lessons taught on the picket line will last a lifetime (and beyond).

Congratulations and in the best way possible, we say, “Now get o work.”

💪👏✊ https://t.co/w2z6FyymlF

— Ohio AFL-CIO (@ohioaflcio) February 11, 2019

Oklahoma State AFL-CIO:

Check out IBEW 1141 member Joshua Matthews giving back to his community! https://t.co/NvNHGF7EKX

— Oklahoma AFL-CIO (@OK_AFL_CIO) February 11, 2019

Oregon AFL-CIO:

This blocks working peoples' pathway to prosperity. Enough is enough. #YESonSB608 is our chance to fight the housing crisis head on. https://t.co/q5NC433lib

— Oregon AFL-CIO (@OregonAFLCIO) February 5, 2019

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

10s of thousands of Pennsylvanians are shut out of our workforce. If we want to address workforce development we NEED to address our criminal justice system! @GovernorTomWolf #BudgetAddress #CriminalJustice #CleanSlate pic.twitter.com/5lTNrXJlM2

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

Rhode Island AFL-CIO:

RI labor movement suffered a great loss when Teamster Assistant Business Agent Dennis Lavallee passed away unexpectedly. A planned fundraiser has been set for Saturday, February 23 a trust has been established to assist the Lavallee family.@IBT251 #1U #Teamsters #IBT pic.twitter.com/LMNF6xt4YK

— Rhode Island AFL-CIO (@riaflcio) February 11, 2019

South Carolina AFL-CIO:

Workers, AFL-CIO, Democrats open legislative push for $15 minimum wage https://t.co/h83fE8brTY

— SC AFL-CIO (@SCAFLCIO) February 9, 2019

Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council:

Electrolux fired 658 employees, contract workers in Memphis the year before closure announcement https://t.co/V9ZzWtVCZo

— Tennessee AFL-CIO (@tnaflcio) February 10, 2019

Texas AFL-CIO:

Write your Texas senator now: Vote NO on David Whitley https://t.co/Z4ZqoaPYLt

— Texas AFL-CIO (@TexasAFLCIO) February 9, 2019

Virginia AFL-CIO:

Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024 would lift pay for nearly 40 million workers | Economic Policy Institute https://t.co/y7yegm4gRw

— Virginia AFL-CIO (@Virginia_AFLCIO) February 5, 2019

Washington State Labor Council:

Our time counts—at work and away from it (WSLC Legislative Update) https://t.co/CGHD5Ve2Bs re: Secure Scheduling, funding community colleges, honoring labor on the 100th anniversary of the Seattle General Strike #waleg #1u pic.twitter.com/gotmegIqN3

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

West Virginia AFL-CIO:

Here’s an explanation for why Corrupt @SenCarmichaelWV is pushing an "omnibus" education bill no one wants. #hatesworkingfamilies https://t.co/ZcDMAiOL3y

— West Virginia AFLCIO (@WestVirginiaAFL) February 3, 2019

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO:

Unions Join Together to Challenge Wisconsin’s Lame Duck Laws, https://t.co/77fTdYIdIo

— WI AFL-CIO (@wisaflcio) February 9, 2019 Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 02/12/2019 - 09:17
Kenneth Quinnell

U.S. Unions Bring Solidarity to Striking Mexican Workers

6 days 16 hours ago
U.S. Unions Bring Solidarity to Striking Mexican Workers AFL-CIO

A delegation of union leaders from the national AFL-CIO, the Texas AFL-CIO, the UAW and the United Steelworkers (USW) traveled to Matamoros, Mexico, last week to support tens of thousands of factory workers who have launched a wave of strikes to demand wage increases and democratic control of their unions.

Since Jan. 25, at least 48 factories that produce auto parts and other goods for export to the United States have signed agreements to increase wages by 20% and pay a bonus of 32,000 pesos (about $1,750). This is a huge victory for the workers, most of whom make around $2 per hour. In the past week, the strike wave has spread beyond the factories to supermarkets and other employers, with all the workers demanding "20/32." The leaders of the Matamoros unions, which historically have been close to the employers, were forced to endorse the workers’ demands.

The delegation visited the picket line at Advanced Scientifics, a subsidiary of Massachusetts-based Thermo Fisher Scientifics, which produces medical supplies. Some 70 workers have been camped outside the plant 24 hours a day in near-freezing temperatures.

"It’s heartbreaking to see workers who make life-saving equipment treated with so little respect," said USW District 13 Director Ruben Garza. "This is what happens when we sign trade agreements like [the North American Free Trade Ageement] that have no real protections for workers’ rights."

While the wage increase and bonus are a huge victory, the employers and the Confederation of Mexican Workers unions are striking back already. In the past week, as many as 2,000 strike leaders have been fired and blacklisted, despite legal prohibitions and non-reprisal agreements signed by the employers. The U.S. delegation met with fired leaders from several factories who are planning a public protest to demand reinstatement. Here are their testimonies:

  • "We were told we were fired because we offended the company."
  • "The union never helped us, they deceived us. So we had to put our own courage on the line to confront them."
  • "We need to be firm. I have a family, too. My greatest wish is that justice is served. I don’t want just a salary, I want justice!"

"These workers—many of whom are working mothers—are fighting for the pay they’re owed, for better working conditions and for respect on the job," said Texas AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Montserrat Garibay. "They are using their voices, and it is time to listen. The Mexican and U.S. governments must both demand that these U.S. companies honor their agreements and stop firing and blacklisting these courageous workers."

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 02/11/2019 - 12:51

Tags: Mexico

Kenneth Quinnell

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Amalgamated Transit Union

6 days 21 hours ago
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Amalgamated Transit Union AFL-CIO

Next up in our new series of taking a deeper look at each of our affiliates is Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU). The series will run weekly until we've covered all 55 of our affiliates.

Name of Union: Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU)

Mission: To fight for the rights of transit workers and promote mass transit.

Current Leadership of Union: Lawrence J. Hanley is the current international president of ATU.

Oscar Owens serves as international secretary-treasurer and Javier M. Perez Jr. serves as international executive vice president.

Current Number of Members: Nearly 200,000.

Members Work As: Metropolitan, interstate and school bus drivers; paratransit, light rail, subway, streetcar and ferry boat operators; mechanics and other maintenance workers; clerks, baggage handlers, municipal employees and others.

Industries Represented: Mass transit and related industries.

History: As industrialization advanced in the United States in the late 1800s, more and more workers needed transportation and workers to run that transportation. Mass transit workers in the early days largely worked with horses that pulled streetcars. The drivers often worked 18-hour days while the horses actually only worked four hours a day or less. The harsh treatment, lack of benefits and low pay set the seeds for the rise of ATU.

Early on, there were numerous attempts to form a union of transit workers, but efforts had little success until 1888, when Samuel Gompers, president of the American Federation of Labor, led efforts to organize the streetcar workers. In 1892, the first convention of what would become ATU was held in Indianapolis. 

Although the year after the first convention was challenging, the union became a beacon of hope for transit workers. Within that first year, 28 local divisions were formed and the first Canadian local was chartered in 1893. Seven years later, membership had reached 8,000.

In the years that followed, ATU would continue to expand rapidly amid an era of strikes and violence. The stronger the organization got, the more impact it had. ATU not only pushed for labor reforms such as the six-day workweek and the eight-hour day, but championed technology and rules that make mass transit safer for both workers and riders.

Current Campaigns: Stop Assaults on Transit WorkersMake Sure Transit Operators Have Bathroom BreaksEnd Fatalities and Injuries Resulting from Poor Transit Bus Design.

Community Efforts: ATU has community partnerships with a wide variety of organizations in pursuit of their values and mission, including: the AFL-CIO, Americans for Transit, the BlueGreen Alliance, the Coalition for Smarter Growth, Good Jobs First, the Industrial Areas Foundation, Jobs With Justice, the Labor Project for Working Families, the Partnership for Working Families, the Sierra Club, Transit Riders for Public Transit, the Transportation Equity Network, Transportation for America, U.S. PIRG, USAction and Working America.

Learn More: WebsiteFacebookTwitterYouTube.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 02/11/2019 - 08:02
Kenneth Quinnell

Profiling African American Labor Champions: The Working People Weekly List

1 week 2 days ago
Profiling African American Labor Champions: 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.

Black History Month Labor Profiles: Arlene Holt Baker: "For Black History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various African American leaders and activists who have worked at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Our first profile this year is Arlene Holt Baker."

AFL-CIO Is Profiling Labor Leaders and Activists for Black History Month: "For Black History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various African American leaders and activists who have worked at the intersection of civil and labor rights. First, let's take a look back at our past profiles."

Writers Unite!: Worker Wins: "Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with writers organizing and winning new contracts and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life."

The State of the Union Is…: "When President Donald Trump takes to the House floor to deliver his State of the Union address this evening, we hope to hear a concrete plan to fund the government and make the economy work for those of us who work the hardest. But so far, his actions in office suggest otherwise. Ahead of the big speech, let’s break down his record."

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Air Line Pilots Association: "Next up in our series of taking a deeper look at each of the AFL-CIO's unions is the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). The series will run weekly until we've covered all 55 affiliates."

Thousands of NASA Contractors Still Without Pay After 5-week Shutdown. Can Congress Step In?: "Contractors are at the mercy of the deals that companies sign with federal agencies. In the case of the Space Coast and NASA, several workers represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 2061 in Cape Canaveral, including [Dan] Faden, say their contracts have changed in recent years to cut out the provision that previously guaranteed them back pay in the event of a shutdown. Some of the 600 Space Coast contractors represented by the union have already been told outright they won’t see those two paychecks. Others are in limbo, waiting for their companies to determine if they can scrape together back pay."

Hundreds of Federal Workers Haven’t Received Back Pay from Shutdown: Report: "Numerous federal workers still owed back pay have not received all of the compensation they are due from the recent 35-day partial government shutdown, The Associated Press reported Wednesday. The news outlet spoke to workers from various agencies that were shuttered from the end of December and through much of January, a period during which hundreds of thousands of federal employees missed two paychecks. Michael Walter, who does food safety inspections for the Department of Agriculture (USDA), told the AP that he got his back pay on Wednesday, nearly two weeks after the shutdown ended. Two co-workers told him they had not yet received back pay."

SAG-AFTRA Launches Podcast; First Two Episodes Available Now: "SAG-AFTRA today announced the launch of the SAG-AFTRA podcast. Hosted by President Gabrielle Carteris and National Executive Director David White, each episode features in-depth interviews, industry insights and compelling stories affecting the entertainment and media industry. The podcast soft launched in January with the introductory episode 'Making a Revolution.' The next two episodes are available now with subsequent releases available every other Tuesday. 'We are so excited to bring this podcast to the members. It is an opportunity for us to discuss the critical issues that affect our livelihoods within the industry, and will help us to continue laying the groundwork for the future,' said Carteris."

Raise the Wage Act Would Hike Salaries for 40 Million: "Backed by a wide range of unions and women’s groups, veteran lawmakers, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., have reintroduced the Paycheck Fairness Act—a measure designed to put enforcement 'teeth' into the nation’s 56-year-old equal pay law....The Coalition of Labor Union Women enthusiastically backed the Paycheck Fairness Act and helped ensure every House Democrat, plus one Republican is a co-sponsor....Other union signers were the AFL-CIO, the Pennsylvania Federation of Labor, the Government Employees (AFGE), both teachers’ unions, Graphic Communications Conference Local 24M/9N, IBEW District 3 and Local 29, the Machinists, the Auto Workers, the Letter Carriers, the Steel Workers and their District 10 and Local 1088, the Mine Workers, IATSE, the Service Employees and their Local 668, the Transport Workers."

Golden Invites Maine AFL-CIO Leader to Trump's State of the Union Speech: "In a move meant to send a message to Maine’s blue-collar workers, U.S. Rep. Jared Golden invited Cynthia Phinney of Livermore Falls, president of Maine’s AFL-CIO, to be his guest at Tuesday’s State of the Union speech. 'One of my top priorities in Congress is fighting for Maine’s working people,' the 2nd Congressional District Democrat said Friday. 'That’s something Cynthia has done every day for decades.' 'I am feeling tremendously honored,' Phinney said Friday. She said 'it’s a big deal' to be among the few able to attend “this most symbolic and substantial event.'"

GM to Start Laying Off 4,000 Salaried Workers on Monday: "Layoffs for about 4,000 salaried staff at General Motors are due to start Monday—a previously announced move that comes just as President Donald Trump prepares to trumpet American manufacturing at next week's State of the Union address. The layoffs are part of a 15% reduction in white collar jobs in North America that the automaker first announced back in November. At the same time, it announced plans to close four U.S. plants as well as a fifth in Canada."

Being a Union Member Offers Opportunities: "There are certainly many arguments regarding the pros and cons of unions. I spent time engaging with these arguments during my training to become a social scientist. Ultimately, I began to see the issue of union membership differently as I transitioned from primarily identifying as a student to identifying as a worker. Some economist's detached perspective on unions seemed much less important after I personally encountered issues with working conditions, wages or benefits across different employers. I came to a point where I was ready to join a union, and fortunately one was available to me."

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 02/08/2019 - 14:45
Kenneth Quinnell

Black History Month Labor Profiles: Arlene Holt Baker

1 week 2 days ago
Black History Month Labor Profiles: Arlene Holt Baker Center for Community Change

For Black History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various African American leaders and activists who have worked at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Our first profile this year is Arlene Holt Baker.

Arlene Holt Baker began her work in the labor movement in Los Angeles in 1972. As a member of AFSCME, she began organizing clerical employees who worked for the city. That process taught her that collective bargaining was the way to empower people economically. Her undying optimism was boosted by the fact that soon after she started her organizing work, William Lucy took office as AFSCME's secretary-treasurer, the first African American to hold one of the union's top offices. Her belief in the work she was doing was strengthened when she saw Lucy's picture hung on the wall in AFSCME's LA office. "I felt somehow that it was destiny to be there with an organization that believed in social and economic justice," she said.

Arlene's mother, Georgia Louise Leslie, was a domestic worker who sacrificed daily to make sure that Arlene and her six brothers and sisters could  thrive despite not having much. Georgia taught Arlene and her siblings to support their community and instilled in them the value of volunteerism. She inspired Arlene to continue fighting even when times got tough.

In the ensuing years, Arlene moved through the ranks of AFSCME while successfully helping organize California's public-sector workers and winning contracts that improved wages and secured equal pay for women. She worked as the international union area director for AFSCME from the late 1980s up until 1995. During that time, she worked on the state's Comparable Worth Task Force Committee and the Southern California Industrial Relations Research Association. She also worked on AFSCME's political activities, particularly in mobilizing voters.

In 1995, she joined the AFL-CIO as Executive Vice President Linda Chavez-Thompson's executive assistant. Among her successes in that role, she helped defeat the anti-working people Prop. 226 in California and helped organe support for migrant workers who wanted to unionize. She was chosen as the first director of the AFL-CIO Voice@Work campaign in 1999, launching a program to engage elected officials, religious and community leaders, and others to support workers' freedom to form unions. In 2004, she served as president of Voices for Working Families, an effort to register and mobilize women and people of color from under-registered communities. In 2006, she returned to the AFL-CIO to lead recovery efforts on the Gulf Coast, helping to bring good jobs and affordable housing in the aftermath of Katrina and other devastating hurricanes.

In 2007, Arlene was unanimously approved to serve the remainder of Linda Chavez-Thompson's term as executive vice president after Chavez-Thompson retired. Arlene became the first African American to hold one of the AFL-CIO's three highest offices. As executive vice president, Arlene fought for working people in many areas, with particular focus on collective bargaining rights, health care, fair trade, immigrant rights, LGBTQ+ rights, voting rights and the right for all union members to fully participate in democratic unions that reflect the rich diversity of the workplace. She was elected to a full term in 2009 and served the federation until her retirement in 2013.

Check out all of our Black History Month labor profiles.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 02/08/2019 - 10:50

Tags: Black History Month

Kenneth Quinnell

AFL-CIO Is Profiling Labor Leaders and Activists for Black History Month

1 week 4 days ago
AFL-CIO Is Profiling Labor Leaders and Activists for Black History Month AFL-CIO

For Black History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various African American leaders and activists who have worked at the intersection of civil and labor rights. First, let's take a look back at our past profiles:

New profiles:

Check back throughout February as we add even more names to this prestigious list. 

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 02/06/2019 - 09:51

Tags: Black History Month

Kenneth Quinnell

Writers Unite!: Worker Wins

1 week 5 days ago
Writers Unite!: Worker Wins Slate Union

Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with writers organizing and winning new contracts and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life.

Dodo Staffers Ratify First Contract with WGAE: Staffers at online publication, the Dodo, voted unanimously to ratify their first union contract. The publication, which is dedicated to compassion for animals and animal-related causes, has nearly three dozen covered employees. The bargaining committee for the workers said: "This contract was achieved through the collective action and mutual support of all of our colleagues, and we are so proud of the standards we established together. We are very excited to join our colleagues at Thrillist as we ratify the second union contract at Group Nine, and we look forward to other shops in digital media working together to provide themselves with the same fair and basic protections."

Slate Editorial and Podcast Staff Ratify First Collective Bargaining Agreement: Editorial and podcast staff at Slate, ratified their first collective bargaining agreement with the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). The 51 members will see annual pay increases, anti-harassment policies, a diversity task force, paid time-off and numerous other benefits. The bargaining committee issued a statement that said: "It’s a new day at Slate! Our contract is built on principles of equity and diversity. And yes, we have union security! Management recognized our profound objections to a 'right to work' provision and honored our demand for a union shop. We will all pay our fair share for the representation we receive. One of our primary reasons for undertaking this process was our profound love of Slate. We felt so lucky to work with management last week to put our shared goals into action. Our contract reflects our fundamental values as a company and a workplace. We’re very proud of it."

Writer-Producers at Peacock Productions Ratify First Collective Bargaining Agreement: Writer-producers at Peacock Productions, Comcast/NBCUniversal's nonfiction television division, ratified their first collective bargaining agreement. The workers, represented by WGAE, addresses one of the most pressing challenges in the field, portable health benefits. Lowell Peterson, executive director of WGAE, explained the importance of portable health benefits: "Nonfiction television writer-producers move from company to company as their shows wrap. Some producers make health benefits, but those benefits don’t mean much to freelance employees as it takes too long to qualify, the benefits aren’t worth the out-of-pocket cost, and employer-paid coverage terminates when the employee moves on. By contrast, if an employer pays contributions to the Entertainment Industry Flex Plan on behalf of a WGAE member, those contributions remain at the flex plan even if the employee changes jobs. The money can still be used to buy flex plan insurance or cover eligible benefits. As the WGAE negotiates more and more contracts that provide for employer contributions to the flex plan, health benefits in nonfiction television will become truly portable."

VICE Media Staffers Ratify Four New Contracts: Workers at VICE Media have approved four new collective bargaining agreements with WGAE. The contracts cover WGAE staff at VICE Editorial, VICE News, VICELAND and VICE Digital. WGAE's Peterson said: "Collective bargaining ensures that WGAE-represented employees have the opportunity to discuss what’s most important in their work lives, what needs to be changed and what needs to be strengthened. We are very pleased by the concrete gains negotiated for people who craft content on the entire range of platforms, and we look forward to a productive relationship with VICE management for years to come."

Unionized Cannabis Retailer Opens in Oregon: Seattle-based cannabis retail chain Have a Heart opened its first store in Oregon and quickly ratified a collective bargaining agreement with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). Have a Heart workers at five stores in Washington state are already represented by UFCW. The new contract provides health care, pension benefits, holiday pay, paid time off, bonuses, a joint labor-management committee to address safety and other benefits.

Steelworkers Ratify Six-Year Agreement with National Grid: After a lockout that lasted nearly seven months, members of the United Steelworkers (USW) at National Grid ratified a new collective bargaining agreement. The new contract includes wage increases, increases safety and preserves affordable health care for the 1,200 members covered under the contract. USW International President Leo W. Gerard said: "This agreement is a testament to the commitment these hardworking union members have to their community and to each other. They demonstrated their strength and solidarity every day, and they should be proud of what they’ve achieved with this contract."

Iowa General Mills Workers Join RWDSU: More than 500 workers at General Mills in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, voted to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). The union will now begin contract negotiations with General Mills. Employee Tim Sarver said: "I'm proud to say I’m now part of the RWDSU and I know everyone who works alongside me knows that representation from the union will change our future here. It’s about time General Mills workers had a real seat at the table with the company and we’re ready to get to work on a fair contract."

Workers at Irvine Marriott Join UNITE Here: More than 100 housekeepers, cooks, dishwashers and servers at the Mariott in Irvine, California, voted to be represented by UNITE HERE. Housekeeper Araceli De La Rosa said the resolve of the workers was enough to overcome a campaign from management that led to the filing of seven unfair labor practices with the National Labor Relations Board. She said: "Management used every trick in the book to try to confuse, intimidate and divide us. But I’m proud to say that we stood strong and we won! We voted 'yes' and now we can fight for the respect and the compensation we deserve."

Maine Millwrights Win Significant Wages Increases in New Contract: Millwrights in Skowhegan, Maine, represented by the Machinists approved a new contract that includes a significant wage increase and avoids a strike. The new contract between the union and Sappi North America lasts three years. Sarah Bigney, of the Maine AFL-CIO, said: "The contract ratification comes after an earlier contract offer was unanimously rejected in a vote last week, when the union then voted to authorize a strike. The union went back to the bargaining table with Sappi and won significant improvements. They voted last night to ratify that offer."

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 02/05/2019 - 14:25

Tags: Organizing

Kenneth Quinnell

The State of the Union Is…

1 week 5 days ago
The State of the Union Is… .

When President Donald Trump takes to the House floor to deliver his State of the Union address this evening, we hope to hear a concrete plan to fund the government and make the economy work for those of us who work the hardest. But so far, his actions in office suggest otherwise. Ahead of the big speech, let’s break down his record.

Over the past two years, the Trump administration has overseen a wide-ranging and deeply harmful assault on the rights, dignities and livelihoods of working people. Here are just a few of the president’s worst anti-worker actions:

  • Denied a pay check to 40% of the federal workforce through the longest government shutdown in history.

  • Jammed through massive corporate tax cuts on the backs of working people, encouraging further outsourcing and automation.

  • Derailed the Department of Labor’s overtime rule, blocking millions of workers from receiving a pay raise.

  • Proposed widespread cuts to health care, targeting critical funding for Medicare and Medicaid, as well as the health coverage of millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions.

  • Undermined the new conflict of interest rule, potentially costing working people more than one-quarter of our retirement savings.

  • Stacked the National Labor Relations Board with union-busting corporate lawyers.

  • Made workplaces more dangerous by rolling back important federal safety regulations.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 02/05/2019 - 13:39
Kenneth Quinnell

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Air Line Pilots Association

1 week 6 days ago
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Air Line Pilots Association AFL-CIO

Next up in our series of taking a deeper look at each of the AFL-CIO's unions is the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). The series will run weekly until we've covered all 55 affiliates.

Name of Union: Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA)

Mission: The mission of ALPA is to promote and champion all aspects of aviation safety throughout all segments of the aviation community; to represent, in both specific and general respects, the collective interests of all pilots in commercial aviation; to assist in collective bargaining activities on behalf of all pilots represented by the association; to promote the health and welfare of the members of the association before all governmental agencies; to be a strong, forceful advocate of the airline piloting profession, through all forms of media, and with the public at large; and to be the ultimate guardian and defender of the rights and privileges of the professional pilots who are members of the association.

Current Leadership of Union: Capt. Joe DePete is the 11th president of ALPA and was elected in 2018. Since joining the association in 1986, he has held several key positions, most recently as first vice president and national safety coordinator. Capt. Bob Fox serves as ALPA’s first vice president, Capt. Bill Couette is the organization’s vice president–administration/secretary and Capt. Joseph Genovese is the vice president–finance/treasurer.

Current Number of Members: More than 61,000.

Members Work As: Airline pilots.

Industries Represented: The airline industry in the United States and Canada; serving as the bargaining agent for pilot groups from 33 commercial airlines, including both passenger and cargo operations.

History: As the 1920s concluded, life for airline pilots was difficult and dangerous, with many companies treating this employee group like an expendable commodity. Consequently, many airline pilots died in aircraft accidents during this period.

In 1931, pilots in the United States came together to form the first professional union of pilots, ALPA, to promote aviation safety and give these flyers a greater voice in their workplace. During World War II, the union began advocating for the creation of an independent safety board (which would finally take shape in the 1960s, after decades of work).

After the war, ALPA would band together with pilot unions from around the world to form the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) to influence international travel and safety standards.

With new technological advances in air transportation, ALPA created an air safety structure to fight for crew fatigue rules and rest requirements, along with other safety priorities. The association began working with aircraft manufacturers to improve cockpit features. In addition, the rise of terrorist attacks on aircraft represented a new safety concern for ALPA, identifying the need for greater security measures.

The Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 would also change the landscape for the airline industry, reinventing the way airlines conducted business but also introducing a new wave of safety concerns. ALPA continued to fight to make the skies safer and achieved numerous victories (including securing mandated “fasten seatbelt” signs in aircraft cabins and policies such as a nationwide anti-skyjacking strategy, which was adopted by federal regulators).

The 9/11 terrorist attacks revitalized the need to revisit security, and ALPA responded, successfully pushing for programs to provide more thorough screening of passengers and cargo.

Decades of hard work on air safety concerns also paid off, as the total number of airline accidents in the United States and Canada dropped by more than 70% in the decade ending in 2007.

These and other accomplishments in recent years have not diminished the union’s focus on safety and security, with top priorities including science-based fatigue rules for all airline pilots, improved pilot training and professionalism, and the safe integration of commercial space vehicles and remotely piloted aircraft (such as drones) into civil airspace.

On the collective bargaining front, ALPA continues to promote a system of pattern bargaining to ensure that its members receive fair pay and benefits for the services they perform, safe and reasonable working conditions, and a better quality of life.

Current Campaigns: Known Crewmember helps improve the efficiency and effectiveness of security procedures for airline employees. Jumpseat works to establish guidelines and fairness in the use of airplane jumpseats. Cleared to Dream recruits new pilots into the industry. Trained for Life focuses on training and expertise in order to reduce airline-related death and injury.

Community Efforts: Pilots for Pilots helps ALPA members and their families who have been harmed by natural disasters.

Learn More: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube.

You can also check out this video to learn more about ALPA's history:

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 02/04/2019 - 08:46
Kenneth Quinnell

Get To Know Us: The Working People Weekly List

2 weeks 2 days ago
Get To Know Us: 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 this week’s Working People Weekly List.

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Actors' Equity: "This is the first post in our new series that will take a deeper look at each of our affiliates. The series will run weekly until we've covered all 55 of our affiliates. First up is Actors' Equity (AEA)."

Government Reopens, But Federal Workers Won’t Forget: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said he’s glad the shutdown is over, but he isn’t giving the president credit for it. According to Trumka, the president was forced to give in and capitulate to the people. 'President Trump didn’t want to end this shutdown—the collective action of working people demanded it,' stated Trumka. 'By marching, rallying and protesting together, we forced him to the table and ensured that the labor and dedication of our public servants will not be taken for granted.'"

House Approves Pay Raise for Federal Workers: "The House passed legislation to provide a pay increase for federal government workers on Wednesday, less than a week after the end of the partial government shutdown. Twenty-nine Republicans joined Democrats in supporting the measure, which cleared 259-161. The Federal Civilian Workforce Pay Raise Fairness Act, introduced by Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), would provide a 2.6% pay raise, matching what was approved for the military earlier this year."

While Everyone Was Focused on the Shutdown, the White House Rolled Back Worker Safety Rules: "During the president’s 35-day partial shutdown of the federal government, the White House quietly dissolved a 2016 regulation requiring certain employers to electronically submit reports of workplace injuries to the Department of Labor.... The process to amend the regulation was 'clearly rushed,' Peg Seminario, the safety and health director of AFL-CIO told Vox, 'because the Trump administration wanted to relieve employers of having to report their injury data.'"

Undocumented Worker Who Worked for Trump Golf Course to Attend State of the Union: "An undocumented worker who recently worked for Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., and left after she publicly disclosed her immigration status will attend President Trump’s State of the Union address next week. Victorina Morales, who was born in Guatemala, will be a guest of Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, a New Jersey Democrat, when the president speaks to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night. Watson Coleman’s office confirmed the decision Wednesday."

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Mornings with Maria: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka discusses the fallout from the government shutdown."

AFL-CIO President Shuts Down Fox Host's Attack on Immigrant Workers: "What we want to do is make sure every worker in this country has the same rights so that they can't be exploited, because what happens right now with undocumented workers is, they're great when no one's around; when they try to organize and get a voice, then they start squeezing them."

NASA Is Reopened, But Thousands of Contractors Are Still Waiting on Paychecks: "While the federal employees who returned to work Monday received backpay for the 35 days the federal government was shut down, Americans like [Michele] Seeley who work as contractors for federal agencies don’t have the same protections. Millions of contractors lost a month of paychecks, and legislation to get them backpay hasn’t made it out of committee in either the Senate or the House."

The Lowest-Paid Shutdown Workers Aren’t Getting Back Pay: "Unlike the 800,000 career public servants who are slated to receive full back pay over the next week or so, the contractors who clean, guard, cook and shoulder other jobs at federal workplaces aren’t legally guaranteed a single penny. They’re also among the lowest-paid laborers in the government economy, generally earning between $450 and $650 weekly, union leaders say."

Unionists, Allies to Keep Pressure on After Trump Lockout Ends: "Organized labor is not resting on its laurels after the nation’s unions led the people power movement that beat down GOP President Donald Trump’s partial federal government lockout/shutdown. 'Trump didn’t want to end this shutdown—the collective action of working people demanded it,' the AFL-CIO said. 'By marching, rallying and protesting together, we forced him to the table and ensured the labor and dedication of our public servants will not be taken for granted.'"

So Much for the Labor Movement’s Funeral: "Something funny happened on the way to the labor movement’s funeral. 'Folks were writing our obituary. They thought this was going to be our death knell. They failed,' Lee Saunders, AFSCME’s president, crows. 'They overreached. Now we’ve got the momentum. We’re organizing like never before.'"

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

 

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 02/01/2019 - 10:35
Kenneth Quinnell

Economy Gains 304,000 Jobs in January; Unemployment Rises to 4%

2 weeks 2 days ago
Economy Gains 304,000 Jobs in January; Unemployment Rises to 4%

The U.S. economy gained 304,000 jobs in January, and the unemployment rate rose to 4%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wage growth of 3.2% is positive but insufficient to restore labor's share of national income, and too low to conclude that labor markets are tight. Because 19 states boosted their minimum wage, wages in leisure and hospitality (the bulk of whom are fast-food workers) gained 4.7% in wage growth, while in manufacturing wages only rose 2.4%. The Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee made the right decision to hold back on further rate increases.

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

#JobsDay #NumbersDay In one sign the government shutdown effected today's @BLS_gov report, Investigation and security services show a drop of 4,800 jobs @AFGENational @AFLCIO @IAMBobMartinez

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) February 1, 2019

 

#JobsReport #NumbersDay Another sign of the government shutdown, payrolls for services to buildings and dwellings (janitorial support) shows a drop of 100 @AFGENational @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) February 1, 2019

 

#JobsReport #NumbersDay another sensitive area to the federal government shutdown, payrolls at museums, historical sites down 200.  Some employees at these facilities are private contractors @AFGENational @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) February 1, 2019

 

#JobsReport in the broadest measure of unemployment (U-6 including part-time workers who wanted full-time work) jumped up to 8.1%.  Suggesting some private contract workers got reduced hours instead of being totally laid off during the shutdown @AFGENational @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/1jpznG7YGE

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) February 1, 2019

 

#JobsReport Not a good sign, Hispanic unemployment rate increased in January from 4.4 to 4.9%, partly from an increase in participation but also a drop in employment of 122,000 @AFGENational @AFLCIO @LCLAA @Marietmora @WeAreUnidosUS

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) February 1, 2019

 

#JobsReport A likely outcome of the federal government shutdown was the 560,000 increase in workers reporting part time work who wanted full-time work, but had reduced hours because of business conditions @AFGENational @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) February 1, 2019

 

#JobsReport Compared to last January, wages were up 3.2%.  A good gain, but still modest for now the longest streak of monthly job gains.  The @federalreserve FOMC made the right call to keep rates constant. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) February 1, 2019

 

#JobsReport @BLS_gov revisions upward for November, but downward for December means a net decline of 70,000 in previously reported job gains over those two months. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) February 1, 2019

Last month's biggest job gains were in leisure and hospitality (74,000), construction (52,000), health care (42,000), professional and business services (30,000), transportation and warehousing (27,000), retail trade (21,000), manufacturing (13,000), mining (7,000) and federal government (1,000). Employment showed little change over the month in other major industries, including wholesale trade, information and financial activities.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates rose for teenagers (12.9%), blacks (6.8%) and Hispanics (4.9%). The jobless rate declined for Asians (3.1%). The jobless rate for adult men (3.7%), adult women (3.6%) and whites (3.5%) showed little change in January.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) declined in January and accounted for 19.3% of the unemployed.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 02/01/2019 - 09:58
Kenneth Quinnell

Improving Safety: What Working People Are Doing This Week

2 weeks 4 days ago
Improving Safety: 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:

D.C. Labor chorus: ‘The musical arm of the resistance’ https://t.co/dZfKQd1Tva

— APRI National (DC) (@APRI_National) January 24, 2019

Actors' Equity:

For the 43rd year, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA), will welcome members beginning Monday, February 4.

Visit the Member Portal today to download the necessary tax forms - https://t.co/ThcMrDCO5c pic.twitter.com/CnZgn4KhdO

— Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) January 28, 2019

AFGE:

This @AFGENational TSA officer reflects on the impact of the government #shutdown. #1u https://t.co/EVLTc7A1Ui

— AFGE (@AFGENational) January 28, 2019

AFSCME:

AFSCME President Lee Saunders blasted lawmakers for providing just a three-week reprieve from the government shutdown. What’s needed is a permanent solution – and an end to the poisonous brinkmanship over a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. https://t.co/WH1DrZPK1c

— AFSCME (@AFSCME) January 25, 2019

AFT:

This #RedForEd crowd in Richmond wants more resources for students and teachers. And there are a LOT of people in the crowd. #VirginiaEducatorsUnited #PublicEd pic.twitter.com/lwSlf2BPZN

— AFT (@AFTunion) January 28, 2019

Air Line Pilots Association:

ALPA's statement on the reopening of the federal government after the 35-day #Shutdown pic.twitter.com/gsqIp37J2e

— ALPA (@WeAreALPA) January 25, 2019

Alliance for Retired Americans:

Americans are forced to choose between paying for medicine and paying for other necessities like food and rent as drug costs continue to skyrocket. Congress must do the right thing and take action to lower prices NOW! https://t.co/PRGDEB9imJ #RxForAll #ProtectOurCare pic.twitter.com/vMpeoMBTZJ

— Alliance Retirees (@ActiveRetirees) January 28, 2019

Amalgamated Transit Union:

Let's make #publictransit safer for all - women, bus operators and all riders https://t.co/nP583YDsEi #transit #1u #p2 #safebus

— ATU, Transit Union (@ATUComm) January 24, 2019

American Federation of Musicians:

It's hard enough for working musicians to earn money from streaming—now there are fake “bands” on playlists.https://t.co/aH1N33fe0C

— Amer. Fed. Musicians (@The_AFM) January 28, 2019

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance:

This administration won't pay its workers for an inhumane & ineffective wall #StoptheShutdown, and yet they have funding to continue targeting and deporting refugees of war. Follow #RefugeeResilience this week to learn more about the rampant and quiet deportation of SE Asians. pic.twitter.com/j5IplELJbZ

— APALA (@APALAnational) January 23, 2019

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:

.@afa_cwa's @FlyingwithSara statement on deal to end the 35-day government #shutdown: https://t.co/ABWiW7SYii pic.twitter.com/Xd5IY8sGOx

— AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) January 25, 2019

Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers:

This week’s #MemberMonday features Sister Denise Gallegos-Cruz. Talented Cake Decorator at Smith’s Bakery and proud Union Member. Denise agrees that being a Decorator is sweet but being a Union Decorator is the icing on the cake! 🎂🍰🧁 pic.twitter.com/Jba5dBBO3f

— BCTGM Local 351 (@BCTGMLocal351) January 21, 2019

Boilermakers:

We want to be part of the climate-change solution. We CAN be a part of the solution. Visit https://t.co/aAomuuTgcs. Watch the video. Take action. Spread the word that #CCS needs to be part of the solution! pic.twitter.com/ArnVS6q5Zf

— Boilermakers Union (@boilermakernews) January 23, 2019

Coalition of Labor Union Women:

CLUW sisters rallying at the @AFLCIO before the #WomensMarch in DC. #WomensWave pic.twitter.com/TNX5OJa3XE

— CLUW National (@CLUWNational) January 19, 2019

Communications Workers of America:

HAPPENING NOW: Follow @TMSprintFacts for live updates from the Hill briefing on the T-Mobile & Sprint merger. CWA’s comprehensive economic analysis finds the #TMSprintMerger will result in the loss of 30,000 U.S. jobs. #StopTMobileSprint pic.twitter.com/zmTz3ESNu7

— CWA (@CWAUnion) January 29, 2019

Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO:

“Like the shortfalls for education West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona and Los Angeles, Virginia would need to invest $1bn in order to return to its pre-recession funding levels” - @AFTunion President @rweingarten #1u #RedForEd https://t.co/bR36bDHhb5

— Department for Professional Employees (@DPEaflcio) January 29, 2019

Electrical Workers:

#IBEW collaborates with entertainment unions to fight harassment on the job https://t.co/FIY3CuqtYf

— IBEW (@IBEW) January 29, 2019

Farm Labor Organizing Committee:

pic.twitter.com/mGBD0wQlI9

— Farm Labor Organizing Committee (@SupportFLOC) January 23, 2019

Fire Fighters:

Retirees demand answers at Ohio Police and #Fire Pension Fund Board meeting https://t.co/j1tNCMyVH5

— IAFF (@IAFFNewsDesk) January 28, 2019

Heat and Frost Insulators:

Advanced skills training taught in our numerous facilities across North America assist in delivering the expertise required in the precise, quality needs in specialized fabricating. To learn more about what they do, visit our website: https://t.co/AekNAQtBP5

— Insulators Union (@InsulatorsUnion) January 29, 2019

Ironworkers:

Ironworkers are working through the ice and snow on the I-74 bridge. https://t.co/tQglcTdasX @I74Bridge

— Ironworkers. (@TheIronworkers) January 28, 2019

Jobs With Justice:

Amazon's robots make its warehouse employees less safe, so what's the solution it proposed? Safety belts that ward off robots. (and no, this is not from the Onion). https://t.co/wbSl3vsbd7

— Jobs With Justice (@jwjnational) January 29, 2019

Labor Council for Latin American Advancement:

Trump's businesses have relied on the work of undocumented immigrants, even as he rallied the nation and demanded Congress for a budget to build a wall on the southern border to keep immigrants out.https://t.co/kYMqIWm4CS

— LCLAA (@LCLAA) January 28, 2019

Laborers:

The US will export more energy than it imports in 2020 for the first time since 1953. #UnionStrong #PipelinesAreLifelines #LIUNA #energyhttps://t.co/avY3mAapmS

— LIUNA (@LIUNA) January 25, 2019

Longshoremen:

ILA President Harold Daggett fought hard to keep automation away from East and Gulf Coast ports. He's looking like a genius now. Port of LA longshoremen protest plan to increase automation at one terminal https://t.co/0y3uRCvRlx

— Int'l LongshoreAssoc (@ILAUnion) January 25, 2019

Machinists:

For Machinists Union members who work as federal contractors at @NASA, the effects of the shutdown continue. https://t.co/4GnXzy9b39

— Machinists Union (@MachinistsUnion) January 29, 2019

Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO:

ALEC's new union-busting toolkit illustrates the goal is to bankrupt unions not protect workers
"This latest set of lawsuits and strategies is aimed simply at bankrupting unions," said Gordon Lafer, Associate Professor at the University of Oregon's... https://t.co/fHe6bcuyew

— Metal Trades Dept. (@metaltradesafl) January 23, 2019

Mine Workers:

129 years ago a group of coal miners, mostly immigrants, came together in Columbus OH and formed the #UMWA. They forbade discrimination against any member because of race, color, creed, religion or national origin. That remains our foundation today. Our door is open to all! #1u pic.twitter.com/UssgSU5UvS

— United Mine Workers (@MineWorkers) January 25, 2019

National Air Traffic Controllers Association:

Harry Smith on NBC Today Show Sunday praised the work and commitment to exceptional public service of air traffic controllers, TSA employees, and other federal employees who worked without pay during the #shutdown and, he added, "had the country's back." https://t.co/NOw7gJtBqE

— NATCA (@NATCA) January 29, 2019

National Association of Letter Carriers:

#StampOutHunger Food Drive full-color poster is now available for purchase! Download this order form and send it to us by April 12, 2019.
𝐃𝐨𝐰𝐧𝐥𝐨𝐚𝐝 𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐦: https://t.co/TGxD91173m
All artwork here: https://t.co/10G9XA6yal#foodrive #endhunger #zerohunger pic.twitter.com/cM9Ad9sRrp

— Letter Carriers (@NALC_National) January 28, 2019

National Day Laborer Organizing Network:

A workers justice parade in #Pasadena. Beautiful celebration and #resistance against the fear and dehumanization that opens the door to further exploitation. #CityofRaises #Fightfor15 https://t.co/JklV9YEP3H

— NDLON (@NDLON) January 26, 2019

National Domestic Workers Alliance:

"I am an enthusiastic defender of women."

In their new PSA for #MeToo, survivors including NDWA's Daniela Contreras make it clear:

✊🏼We hear you.
✊🏾We see you.
✊🏿We believe you.https://t.co/jylNuxN42l

— Domestic Workers (@domesticworkers) January 29, 2019

National Federation of Federal Employees:

“It is an honor to be arrested if that is what it takes to get the government reopened and paychecks to working families. The damage done to American working families is unforgivable. It's sad that it has come to this.” Randy Erwin, NFFE National President pic.twitter.com/KGdWzm1aOH

— NFFE (@NFFE_Union) January 24, 2019

National Nurses United:

"The union is the great equalizer, the place where every issue is ultimately addressed in the field, in the trenches, in the workplace, where people’s rights are on the line."

- @NNUBonnie, NNU Executive Director
Read more: https://t.co/6zkO1UaROy #UnionStrong #1u pic.twitter.com/6MRHvmQ1uw

— NationalNursesUnited (@NationalNurses) January 28, 2019

National Taxi Workers Alliance:

From the streets to the air, workers make the world go round. https://t.co/E3rlkI6hcY

— NY Taxi Workers (@NYTWA) January 27, 2019

The NewsGuild-CWA:

It might seem you could never get people in your local to do that. We had hesitant people The question is, can we convince them? Putting in that one-on-one work is the key. https://t.co/ltUIELbztO

— NewsGuild (@news_guild) January 26, 2019

North America's Building Trades Unions:

With #BlackHistoryMonth beginning this week, it serves as a reminder to take a step back and LISTEN to those whose voices aren’t amplified as much as they should be.

With that in mind, let’s hear from @ibew586 apprentice Andrew John on life as a Black apprentice: https://t.co/6RHXkoob3a

— The Building Trades (@NABTU) January 28, 2019

Office and Professional Employees:

We are thankful for a temporary end to the pain and suffering of federal employees, but we are still concerned about the fact that federal contractors—many of whom are OPEIU members—won't receive back pay for the unnecessary and foolish government shutdown https://t.co/NjCkQ2ShwZ

— OPEIU (@opeiu) January 25, 2019

Painters and Allied Trades:

Those who can, do. Those who can’t (yet) get the training to #doitright. If you’re willing to learn, we’re ready to teach you the skills to succeed in the painting & finishing trades. Learn more: https://t.co/h40Q3Dmyfp pic.twitter.com/hndcYzRRUT

— GoIUPAT✊🏽 (@GoIUPAT) January 24, 2019

Plasterers and Cement Masons:

"Together, we can lay the groundwork for infrastructure investment that delivers for generations to come." HERE HERE! Thank you @RepPeterDeFazio -- Let's ReBuild America!💪 https://t.co/pC1M0PeVIdhttps://t.co/oVR12HGtIF

— OPCMIA International (@opcmiaintl) January 29, 2019

Printing, Publishing and Media Workers-CWA:

Our brothers and sisters held a rally outside New Era Field to protest closure of the hat maker's local production facility. https://t.co/6lRychyluY

— CWA Printing Sector (@CWAPrintingSect) January 28, 2019

Professional Aviation Safety Specialists:

Thanks @PASSNational members in NH who braved frigid temps to picket at MHT this weekend. While shutdown has been ended for now, serious concerns about aviation safety remain. Thanks to our union brothers & sisters who joined picket @NHAFLCIO @NHLABOR_NEWS https://t.co/VVCghYBloG

— PASS (@PASSNational) January 28, 2019

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union:

How many confirmations does it take to end $3 billion in subsidies for @Amazon's #HQ2 in Queens? https://t.co/8dVOOLxlZR

— RWDSU (@RWDSU) January 29, 2019

SAG-AFTRA:

Nearly 1,000 SAG-AFTRA members and allies marched to a rally this week held at the La Brea Tar Pits’ Great Lawn. WATCH this video to see labor leaders and members come together to fight against ad agency @BBHblacksheep #StrikeBBH #AdsGoUnion pic.twitter.com/wHfcuQT93B

— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) January 28, 2019

Seafarers:

A Recapitalizing Sealift Fleet Is the Nation’s Most Important Military Program https://t.co/9GEoE5mGsd

— Seafarers Union (@SeafarersUnion) January 24, 2019

Solidarity Center:

New report from @BHRRC documents how the hotel and construction industry in #Qatar and #UAE are failing migrant workers: https://t.co/JgPqBk41at pic.twitter.com/tV4aaXNCOy

— Solidarity Center (@SolidarityCntr) January 29, 2019

Theatrical Stage Employees:

We give IATSE locals & members access to training & education so we can continue to provide excellent representation to the workers we represent & the best, most advanced and highly-skilled workforce to our employers. Check out some of our offerings here: https://t.co/pyWQR9xEtj pic.twitter.com/8APqikFK66

— IATSE (@IATSE) January 28, 2019

Transport Workers:

TWU International President John Samuelsen appeared on @CNBC discussing the temporary end of the govt shutdown. "Opening for only three weeks is like putting a Band-Aid on a deep, gaping wound." https://t.co/wjqNofuwTl pic.twitter.com/GmQfpZIdWe

— TWU (@transportworker) January 25, 2019

Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO:

Let's be clear: locking out 800,000 federal workers for 34 days never should have happened. Shuttering the government jeopardizes this nation's safety, security, and economic vitality, and we cannot allow it to happen again. Read TTD's full statement here: https://t.co/R9kXNhm08D pic.twitter.com/7g6NLqOSJ9

— Transp. Trades Dept. (@TTDAFLCIO) January 25, 2019

UAW:

Americans overwhelmingly oppose tax giveaways for corporations and the superrich. It's time for the officials we sent to Washington to do the same. https://t.co/6DE1JxY6Do

— UAW (@UAW) January 28, 2019

Union Label and Service Trades Department, AFL-CIO:

The iconic Sweethearts had been a union-made staple for Valentine's day. Will they be union again when they return in 2020? https://t.co/WjpQPju4am

— Union Label Dept. (@ULSTD_AFLCIO) January 24, 2019

Union Veterans Council:

UVC Executive Director @WillAttig took a stand for those affected by the government shutdown today during a peaceful protest. Attig was arrested, along with other labor leaders and federal workers outside Senator Mitch McConnell’s office on Capitol Hill. #StopTheShutdown pic.twitter.com/MNoS4fUm2y

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

UNITE HERE:

Anyone wanting to support Pablo and his coworkers can donate via UNITE HERE’s hardship fund. Federal contract workers like Pablo, a cook at a Smithsonian museum cafeteria, aren’t set to get backpay when the #shutdown ends. #1u https://t.co/gFsxrcy9te

— UNITE HERE (@unitehere) January 25, 2019

United Food and Commercial Workers:

MT @PaulMeinemaUFCW: #UFCW Local 500 members at Metro Plus in Lac-Mégantic, Québec have achieved a new union contract that provides higher wages, more bereavement leave & extra vacation pay. Fantastic work! Details here:https://t.co/Fx0ZS8QOcP #canlab pic.twitter.com/Est1txK6Ns

— UFCW (@UFCW) January 28, 2019

United Steelworkers:

. @RepPeteKing Thank you for your support for the Butch Lewis Act (H.R. 397). Our members deserve what they’ve worked for! #ProtectOurPension pic.twitter.com/xhGZHFOVIE

— United Steelworkers (@steelworkers) January 29, 2019

Utility Workers:

Last November, several UWUA members and their families were severely impacted by the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California’s history—the Camp Fire. Please take a brief moment to support their rebuilding efforts: https://t.co/VRTOsHOYav

— UWUA National (@The_UWUA) January 24, 2019

Working America:

We're in line at the Virginia State Capitol as part of the @Virginia_AFLCIO lobby day. We're asking our legislators to fund our schools, grant workers access to paid sick leave, protect our fed employees & contractors and give us the right to join a union at work. #VAleg pic.twitter.com/MuM1DKMmrO

— Working America (@WorkingAmerica) January 28, 2019

Writers Guild of America, East:

Workplace woes got you down? Company culture taking you from "always-on" to "always on-edge"? Unions are proven to treat several major causes of employee burnout—including pay inequity, high workloads and much, much more! Talk to your coworkers about organizing a union today. #1u https://t.co/0H5puJUOFw

— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) January 28, 2019 Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 01/30/2019 - 10:20
Kenneth Quinnell

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Actors' Equity

2 weeks 6 days ago
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Actors' Equity .

This is the first post in our new series that will take a deeper look at each of our affiliates. The series will run weekly until we've covered all 55 of our affiliates. First up is Actors' Equity (AEA).

Name of Union: Actors' Equity Association

Mission: To foster the art of live theater as an essential component of society. To advance the careers of members through negotiating wages, improving working conditions and providing a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans.

Current Leadership of Union: The current president of Equity is Kate Shindle. Shindle was elected in 2015 and is the youngest person to ever hold the Equity presidency (and only the third woman). She originally joined in 1999 and was first elected to Equity's national council in 2008 before starting a three-year term as eastern regional vice president the next year. As an actor, she made her Broadway debut in "Jekyll & Hyde" before appearing in "Cabaret," "Legally Blonde" and numerous other shows. She was an associate producer on the Broadway premiere of the Tony-nominated "A Christmas Story: The Musical." Before joining Equity, she earned the title of Miss America in 1998 and used her platform to advocate for HIV prevention and education, work she continued as a member of Equity. She is a board member of the Actors’ Equity Foundation, the Actors Fund, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and has been a vocal supporter of marriage equality and anti-discrimination laws for the LGBTQ community. Mary McColl currently serves as the executive director for Equity.

Current Number of Members: More than 51,000.

Members Work As: Actors, stage managers, dancers and singers.

Industries Represented: Equity has more than 40 contracts in the theater industry, from Broadway to dinner theater.

History: In the early 1900s, theater acting was alluded to with the phrase "life upon the wicked stage," as actors and stage managers were forced to rehearse without pay, left stranded throughout the country when shows closed on the road, required to pay for their own costumes and worse. In 1913, 112 actors in New York decided they'd had enough. They formed a union that day and adopted the name suggested by William Courtleigh, Actors' Equity. In 1919, the new union was recognized by the American Federation of Labor and shortly thereafter Equity launched the first actors' strike in American theater history. During the strike, chorus and ensemble members also went on strike and formed Chorus Equity, which would later formally merge with Actors' Equity in 1955. At the conclusion of the strike, the theater producers signed a five-year deal that met most of Equity's demands.

Equity has long fought for civil rights. In 1947, Equity resolved that its members would not play at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C., when the theater banned black audience members. This was an early bold stance that not only worked (the theater closed and re-opened with a nondiscrimination policy), it set the tone that Equity would follow to this day, fighting against discrimination in the theater, both on stage and off, and increasing employment opportunities for actors and stage managers of color, women, seniors and those with disabilities. The union has consistently fought to raise wages, expand benefits and protections, preserve historic and advance other reforms that benefit actors and stage managers in the theater and working people broadly.

Current CampaignsEquity's Annual Report gathers and collates data about employment, finances and membership. Equity’s Regional Theatre Report examines annually the density of work opportunities for Equity members across the country. Equity's annual awards recognize the contributions of Equity members to the theater industry. The Actors' Equity Foundation provides grants to nonprofit theaters and institutions serving the arts community. The #ChangeTheStage campaign fights for inclusive hiring across the entertainment industry. Ask if it's Equity! helps fight back against nonunion productions in areas covered by collective bargaining agreements. The Everyone On Stage petition is focused on getting chorus and ensemble performers the Tony Award recognition they deserve. The Not A Lab Rat campaign looks to win better wages and profit participation for Equity members working in the early stages of developing new Broadway shows.

Community Efforts: Equity supports many service organizations, including The Actors Fund, the Career CenterActors Federal Credit UnionArtists Health Insurance Resource CenterBroadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDSCareer Transition For Dancers, the Conrad Cantzen Shoe FundPhyllis Newman Women’s Health InitiativeThe Actors Fund Home and The Samuel J. Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts.

Learn More: WebsiteFacebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 01/28/2019 - 10:13
Kenneth Quinnell

Stay Strong: The Working People Weekly List

2 weeks 6 days ago
Stay Strong: 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 this week’s Working People Weekly List.

Los Angeles Teachers Stay Strong; Win Improvements: "Less than a month into 2019, the teachers of Los Angeles have proven that last year’s wave of collective action isn’t quieting down. After taking to the streets in a strike that has captured the country’s imagination, members of United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) are returning to classrooms today after overwhelmingly approving a paradigm-shifting contract that delivers on key demands."

Honoring Dr. King's Legacy: A Special Conversation with Andrew Gillum: "Julie and Tim talk with the former Tallahassee mayor and 2018 Florida gubernatorial candidate, Andrew Gillum, who calls himself a 'living, breathing, walking, talking result of [Dr. King's] legacy.' Gillum shares his experience on the campaign trail and previews the important fights ahead on voting, worker and civil rights.'"

The Fierce Urgency of Now: "Hundreds of labor and social justice activists descended on the nation’s capital this weekend for the 2019 AFL‑CIO Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka kicked off the gathering by telling participants that this is our moment for action: 'We’re living in the fierce urgency of now. This is a time to take risks. This is a time to get uncomfortable. That’s when real progress is made.'"

We've Had Enough; Do Your Job: In the States Roundup: "It's time once again to take a look at the ways working people are making progress in the states. Click on any of the links to follow the state federations on Twitter."

Future of Work Commission Urges Bargaining Rights for Digital Platform Workers: "A landmark report by the International Labor Organization’s (ILO’s) Global Commission on the Future of Work, released today, calls for giving full rights and protections, including collective bargaining rights, to digital platform workers. The ILO is the United Nations agency charged with promoting decent work and global labor standards."

The Government Shutdown Creates Headwinds for Airlines: "The Washington impasse comes at a time when the travel and hospitality industries have been reporting healthy profits but face strong headwinds from higher jet fuel prices and increasing costs for employee salaries and benefits. Meanwhile, a coalition of unions representing pilots, flight attendants and other airline workers issued a statement Thursday, calling for an end to the impasse, saying it is threatening the safety of the industry. 'The longer the shutdown goes on, the greater that threat becomes,' the coalition, dubbed the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, said. 'Lawmakers have a responsibility to preserve the safety and integrity of our nation’s aviation system by re-opening the federal government.'"

It’s Not a Shutdown, It’s a Lockout and a Shakedown of Federal Workers: "'Let’s call this shutdown what it is: It’s a lockout,' says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. American Federation of Government Employees President J. David Cox Sr. says this 'effort at extortion is more of a lockout than a shutdown. But maybe an even more accurate description of this is that it’s a shakedown.'"

Aviation Professionals Warn of Dire Risk Amid Shutdown: "The unions that represent the nation’s air traffic controllers, pilots and flight attendants issued a dire warning on Wednesday, calling the government shutdown an 'unprecedented' and 'unconscionable' safety threat that is growing by the day and must end. The union presidents—Paul Rinaldi of National Air Traffic Controllers Association, Joe DePete of the Air Line Pilots Association and Sara Nelson of the Association of Flight Attendants—did little to assuage those concerns in their statement, saying that the 'air safety environment' is 'deteriorating by the day.' They noted that 'staffing in our air traffic control facilities is already at a 30-year low and controllers are only able to maintain the system’s efficiency and capacity by working overtime.'"

Labor Voices: GM Leaves Workers' Futures Uncertain: "The focus of General Motors’ November announcement shutting down plants in Lordstown, Ohio; Hamtramck and Warren, Michigan; and Baltimore, Maryland, shouldn’t be about money. It should be about people. UAW GM members are dedicated and committed to making a great product, supporting the success of a company, and supporting a solid, prosperous community. Unfortunately, that’s not how it's playing out. UAW GM members are facing the disruption of their families."

At MLK Conference Andrew Gillum Talks About His Gubernatorial Race: "'You can’t call them racist,' Gillum said of the Trump supporters, replying to a question after his speech to the AFL-CIO’s Martin Luther King commemorative conference, in D.C., on Jan. 18. 'If we’re going to win, we have to put in the work, and it’ll require some conversations with people with whom we don’t really feel comfortable. We have to get them to a higher level where we can talk with them' on issues the two sides may have in common, he added."

Nurses Are Calling Out for Job Protections and Marching in the Women's March: "For our patients’ and our own safety, nurses must have the power to speak up. That’s why the right to form a union—what we call 'organizing'—is so important. Not only are the rules about our working conditions, wages, and benefits spelled out in a union contract we negotiate directly with our employers—a process known as 'collective bargaining'—the union harnesses our group power. With the strength of our numbers, we’re able to hold our employers accountable for prioritizing people and not just profits."

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 01/28/2019 - 08:35
Kenneth Quinnell

Stories of the Shutdown

3 weeks 2 days ago
Stories of the Shutdown

As the government lockout of hundreds of thousands of government employees goes into its second month, the burden on working people continues to grow. Many of the affected Americans have shared their plight via the #ShutdownStory hashtag. Here are the real stories of the people harmed by this shutdown.

My #cancer isn’t stopping working due to the #shutdown, so I’ve been busy seeking opinions on treating a rare mutation I have during⁩ a time of no income. Check out ⁦⁦@washingtonpost⁩’s update to my #shutdownstory #colorectalcancer #crcsm https://t.co/VrqopyCZjh

— Violet Kuchar (@ViolentKuchar) January 15, 2019

#ShutdownStory @CNN @MSNBC @FoxNews
So I can’t pay my 9 year old daughter’s private school tuition because I’m not receiving a paycheck. She’s missing valuable classroom learning time. The baby suffers because the grownups can’t act as such.

— Rochelle Samuels (@RockSmooth1) January 19, 2019

My #ShutdownStory was highlighted - how the shutdown is impacting my small business. What the Shutdown Means to Business Owners: ‘Time Kills Deals’ https://t.co/bjSIUuyQT9

— Katherine Watier Ong (@kwatier) January 24, 2019

Meet Leo. He's from Ohio, and because of the #TrumpShutdown he can't afford his life-saving prescription. Read his #ShutdownStory now! https://t.co/anH5dawSLq

— Joyce Beatty (@RepBeatty) January 8, 2019

Pregnant federal contractor: My bills are piling up and there won't be back pay to help me #TrumpShutdown #ShutdownStory https://t.co/6NoiQbcRtA

— Carpe Diem (@VinVinPhilly) January 24, 2019

@CNN you may want to state that eventhough we've, as in federal employees, have been called back to work without pay. How are we supposed to get there. Gas and tolls aren't payed with prayers and thoughts. Food or tolls, and I've got two small kids #ShutdownStory

— Bill Hankammer (@oljick) January 21, 2019

Before we went to the free dinner @MODPizza tonight, we explained to our 4yo that we were sharing pizza since we don’t have $ to spend out. We went to checkout & she had a meltdown b/c we couldn’t buy choc milk. Cried all dinner. This is impacting our kids too. #ShutdownStory

— Hilary Ann (@hilaryann86) January 24, 2019

This is what the #governmentshutdown looks like. #shutdownstory #sellingfurnituretopaybills pic.twitter.com/OIei0NJ3Fe

— Charles (@CharlesGue1) January 23, 2019

One of my Operation ABLE senior interns was told that her federally funded senior housing would end in March bc of government shutdown. She is frightened bc she will be homeless for the second time as a senior citizen. #ShutdownStory #ThisMustNotHappen

— zackboston (@zackboston) January 24, 2019

An eatery offers free food to federal government employees, and the line forms around the block. #shutdownstory #shutdown2019 pic.twitter.com/z34trZonvj

— Chantal Snowden (@chantalsnowden1) January 17, 2019

The FBIAA has compiled stories from active FBI Special Agents about the #GovernmentShutdown's impacts on their work in a report titled "Voices from the Field." Below are some excerpts on FBI operations. The full document can be downloaded at https://t.co/X9MwpvFCIq. pic.twitter.com/UKqS586f2V

— FBI Agents Association (@FBIAgentsAssoc) January 22, 2019

@crookedmedia here’s our #ShutdownStory - two millennials trying to figure out rent and medical bills. Partner has worked 30+ days and no paycheck. Thanks for reaching out to listening to us. #fanofthepod pic.twitter.com/rtHhtc3yuY

— DeeLane🌈 (@Resist_Repeat) January 23, 2019

#shutdown2019 update: It’s been 16 days since the #Smithsonian shut down along with the rest of the gov’t and I have since finished data entry and am now using my living room as lab space to count soybeans. #ShutdownStory pic.twitter.com/e8rLGMq7kQ

— Kathryn Bloodworth (@k_bloodworth) January 16, 2019

Want to help some Seacoast #NH pets affected by the federal #shutdown? A local business is collecting pet food and cash donations to help feed furloughed workers' furry friends. https://t.co/ls74DV96ml @FostersDailyDem #ShutdownStory

— Kyle Stucker (@KyleStucker) January 23, 2019

Such a heartwarming story! A teen in Virginia shares some of his lifetime supply of peanut butter w/ workers affected by the shutdown. https://t.co/wjRqoVp899@BeanPhilosopher is a superhero in my book!! @LidlUS is pretty darn awesome, too. #ShutdownStory

— Jim Gillespie (@jgillespie_us) January 24, 2019

Today we launched our #SoulPantry to share the #blessing of Bella’s Sweet Scrubs. Sharing food & love during the #shutdown. “Love is the most durable power in the world.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. #MLK2019 #soulpantry #bellasweetscrubs #takewhatyouneed #shutdownstory pic.twitter.com/ZiLKKGwwTL

— Bella Berrellez (@BellaBerrellez) January 21, 2019 Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 01/25/2019 - 08:39

Tags: Government Shutdown

Kenneth Quinnell

Los Angeles Teachers Stay Strong; Win Improvements

3 weeks 4 days ago
Los Angeles Teachers Stay Strong; Win Improvements UTLA

Less than a month into 2019, the teachers of Los Angeles have proven that last year’s wave of collective action isn’t quieting down. After taking to the streets in a strike that has captured the country’s imagination, members of United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) are returning to classrooms today after overwhelmingly approving a paradigm-shifting contract that delivers on key demands.

For six days, more than 30,000 UTLA teachers went on strike to shine a light on the daily realities of a neglected and underfunded public school system. They demanded better, and by standing together, they won it. Here are just a few critical improvements in UTLA’s new contract:

  • A much-deserved 6% pay raise with no contingencies;

  • A nurse in every school five days a week;

  • A teacher librarian in every secondary school five days a week;

  • Hard caps on class size that will go into effect immediately in 2019–2020, with additional improvements every year after;

  • A commitment to reduce testing by 50%;

  • Hard caps on special education caseloads; and

  • A clear pathway to cap charter schools.

“For too long teachers have lived with a hard truth to tell—that for years our students were being starved of the resources they need,” said UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl following the vote. “Our expectations were fundamentally raised by this strike. Together, we said we deserve better, our students deserve better. We must keep our expectations high and not let go of this moment, because the next struggle is right around the corner.”

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 01/23/2019 - 12:24

Tags: Organizing

Kenneth Quinnell

The Fierce Urgency of Now

3 weeks 5 days ago
The Fierce Urgency of Now AFL-CIO

Hundreds of labor and social justice activists descended on the nation’s capital this weekend for the 2019 AFL‑CIO Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka kicked off the gathering by telling participants that this is our moment for action: “We’re living in the fierce urgency of now. This is a time to take risks. This is a time to get uncomfortable. That’s when real progress is made.”

The MLK Conference also featured a number of panels on Friday evening, including a town hall conversation with Andrew Gillum, 2018 nominee for governor of Florida.

He told participants: “Nobody understands ‘the fierce urgency of now’ better than labor. Dr. King...was laboring to build a better environment. That if you do an honest day’s work, you ought to be paid an honest day’s wage.... You ought to have access to health care, a wage you can live on, and your race, your gender and whom you love should not dictate how you get treated at work.”

You can watch his entire conversation with Melanie L. Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, here.

Hundreds of participants kicked off Saturday morning by rallying at the AFL-CIO headquarters in solidarity with the federal employees affected by the government shutdown. They then took to the streets to join with thousands more activists from across the country to march for workers’ and women’s rights.

Sunday’s awards gala honored fighters like the late Augusta Thomas, national vice president for women and fair practices emeritus, AFGE. You can see a roundup of awardees here.

Monday was a day of community service throughout Washington, D.C. Activists visited patients in nursing homes, cleaned up and painted walls and murals at area schools.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 01/22/2019 - 13:34

Tags: MLK conference

Kenneth Quinnell