Labor News

Economy Gains 266,000 Jobs in April; Unemployment Little Changed at 6.1%

1 day 3 hours ago
Economy Gains 266,000 Jobs in April; Unemployment Little Changed at 6.1%

The U.S. economy gained 266,000 jobs in April, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 6.1%, according to figures released Friday morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In response to the April job numbers, AFL-CIO Chief Economist William Spriggs said: "There was no progress in reducing the number of long-term unemployed, they remained nearly unchanged at 4.2 million and are 43% of the unemployed. That number will be difficult to clear by September when key provisions of federal support for unemployed workers will lapse." He also tweeted:

@BLS_gov reports those unemployed fewer than 5 weeks grew by 237,000, another sign of layoffs being an issue. Labor force participation remained about flat at 61.7% So this data shows the labor market is still sluggish and reports of labor shortages exaggerated. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) May 7, 2021

More signs the labor market is sluggish because of job losses, the only continued growth was in leisure & hospitality (mostly restaurants) which is the lowest wage industry. Temporary Services job losses led to big losses for higher wage Business Services. @AFLCIO #JobsReport pic.twitter.com/sL4xJOao2q

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) May 7, 2021

Another sign the labor market doesn't have shortages, the unemployment rate went up for those with less than a high school education to 9.3 in April from 8.2%. But that's still lower than THE Black unemployment rate that edged up from 9.6 to 9.7%. @AFLCIO #JobsReport

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) May 7, 2021

Another reason to not believe the hype on tight labor markets. Black labor force participation rose from March to April, so did Black employment. But, successes were offset by job match failures, so the Black unemployment rate rose. That's not a tight market. @AFLCIO #JobsReport pic.twitter.com/adt1FPCGzj

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) May 7, 2021

With the slow transition of unemployed workers to jobs, and weak growth in sectors outside the recovering restaurant sector, long term unemployment is at levels that will be hard to unwind by September when support for unemployed workers is set to fall. @AFLCIO #JobsReport pic.twitter.com/tuGAQcKlyR

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) May 7, 2021

April numbers do not show a scarcity of workers, but a weak labor market. New job entrants (who don't get unemployment benefits) had less luck finding jobs in April, the number unemployed up almost 130,000 and permanent and temporary layoffs were up. @AFLCIO #JobsReport pic.twitter.com/qjxnyo6KyZ

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) May 7, 2021

The #Shecession update. Women gained 161,00 of the 266,000 (60.5%) new payroll slots in April, mostly in leisure & hospitality (+150,000). There was some good news in public sector jobs (+45,000). The majority of public sector workers are women. @AFLCIO #JobsReport pic.twitter.com/yJnw8tZDvX

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) May 7, 2021

Last month’s biggest job gains were in leisure and hospitality (+331,000), other services industry (+44,000), local government education (+31,000), social assistance (+23,000) and financial activities (19,000). The biggest job losses were seen in manufacturing (-18,000), retail trade employment (-15,000) and health care (-4,000). Employment changed little in other major industries, including construction, mining, wholesale trade and information.

In April, the unemployment rates for teenagers (12.3%), Black Americans (9.7%), Hispanics (7.9%), adult men (6.1%), Asian Americans (5.7%), adult women (5.6%) and White Americans (5.3%) showed little or no change.

The number of long-term unemployed workers (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) barely changed in April and accounted for 43% of the total unemployed.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 05/07/2021 - 12:42
Kenneth Quinnell

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Profiles: Jeffrey Omura

1 day 6 hours ago
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Profiles: Jeffrey Omura

For Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month this year, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who have worked and continue to work at the intersection of civil and labor rights in the United States. Today's profile is Jeffrey Omura.

Jeffrey Omura was recently elected to his second term as a councilor of Actors’ Equity Association. Omura came to labor leadership through his work in member organizing as one of the creators and leaders of the #FairWageOnstage campaign. Realizing that arts workers were being forgotten in pandemic relief efforts at every level of government, Omura helped create the Be An #ArtsHero campaign to organize the industry to collectively lobby Congress for arts relief. He is currently running for New York City Council.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 05/07/2021 - 09:28
Kenneth Quinnell

Fighting for Worker Power: What Working People Are Doing This Week

2 days 4 hours ago
Fighting for Worker Power: 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.

A. Philip Randolph Institute:

pic.twitter.com/aF814euF9x

— APRI National (DC) (@APRI_National) April 27, 2021

Actors' Equity:

Members looking for notices for video audition submissions for chorus parts can now find them in the Auditions section of the member portal.

Visit the member portal to learn more about these updated audition submission steps - https://t.co/pEqingpoQ0 pic.twitter.com/2QuFKXPszl

— Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) May 5, 2021

AFGE:

The latest edition of the Government Standard has arrived – and it’s packed with information! Inside this issue, you’ll read about locals that are capitalizing on this momentum to recruit more members NOW and learn what you can do to get involved! https://t.co/3ilWusjJMe

— AFGE (@AFGENational) May 5, 2021

AFSCME:

Thank you to @SecCardona for lifting up the contributions of school support workers who’ve gone above and beyond in providing vital services to students throughout the pandemic, people like @CSEALocal1000 member Elizabeth Ramos in White Plains, NY. https://t.co/M2PGuxBmq4

— AFSCME (@AFSCME) May 4, 2021

Alliance for Retired Americans:

Millions of older Americans struggle to afford lifesaving medicine.

Enough is enough.

Congress must pass #HR3! https://t.co/4hsG7tzC5I

— Alliance for Retired Americans (@ActiveRetirees) May 5, 2021

Amalgamated Transit Union:

Congratulations to @ATULocal987-Lethbridge, AB members at #Airdrie for ratifying a strong first contract. https://t.co/ftPS2W7NeP #TogetherWeFightTogetherWeWin #Labour

— ATU, Transit Union (@ATUComm) May 5, 2021

American Federation of Musicians:

Rockers, orchestral musicians, freelance and recording musicians can rest a bit easier now knowing the AFM-EPF plan to reduce benefits has been negated. https://t.co/ulukTyF30h #UnionMusician

— AFM (@The_AFM) March 30, 2021

American Federation of Teachers:

This week, we're honoring teachers, public employees, and nurses as part of #TeacherAppreciationWeek, #PSRW2021, and #NationalNursesWeek with our new video tool!

Here's how YOU can #ThankATeacher, #ThankAPublicEmployee, and #ThankANurse. #Thread https://t.co/Wr8Jh91Edh pic.twitter.com/76S4kn4zzQ

— AFT (@AFTunion) May 4, 2021

American Postal Workers Union:

Yesterday the @SenateHomeland moved the BOG nominees forward! Now they are moving to the Senate floor. Make your voices heard & demand your Senator approve today! https://t.co/jNvDfqrMqA

— APWU National (@APWUnational) April 29, 2021

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance:

Support AAPI workers this Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 🌈 !

Workers are still struggling from the impacts of the pandemic. We need to support them -->

Donate here: https://t.co/nFC0xNZAVA#GiveinMay #APAHM #APAHM2021 pic.twitter.com/glgyzygPun

— Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (@APALAnational) May 5, 2021

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:

"The physical and verbal abuse that Flight Attendants have been taking has been way off the charts.” @FlyingwithSara says there will be no second chances for passengers who fail to comply with crewmember instructions that keep everyone safe. pic.twitter.com/YzXse6RphL

— AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) May 5, 2021

Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers:

“You’re the Union. YOU make the decisions. YOU vote. You tell what YOU want.” #bctgmvoices

Hear more from this dedicated BCTGM Retiree Activist and other Local 6 organizers on our latest podcast episode. Listen Now! 👉🏽 https://t.co/ryxU9wDZwa pic.twitter.com/6flhsnjEzi

— BCTGM International (@BCTGM) May 5, 2021

Boilermakers:

Free beer AND ending the pandemic, @GovMurphy?! What could be better! #Boilermakers agree that a "shot and a beer" is a great idea 🍺🥃💉 Let's do this, everyone: Get vaccinated and take your shot against COVID-19! https://t.co/lbMEC1rFWI

— Boilermakers Union (@boilermakernews) May 4, 2021

Bricklayers:

We’re happy to welcome Honorary Bricklayer Apprentice Nicholas of @Local1BAC into our union! Thanks to @MakeAWish, @MakeAWishPHL @EDAContractors and signatory contractors Rodriguez Construction Services for granting Nicholas’ wish of being a construction worker. 🧱 pic.twitter.com/8amwBGt4sf

— Bricklayers Union (@IUBAC) May 4, 2021

California School Employees Association:

We work collaboratively with our certificated colleagues every day to make sure our students receive the best education possible. We value your camaraderie, your friendship and your dedication. Happy #TeacherAppreciationDay! @WeAreCTA @CFTunion pic.twitter.com/7WOJH5bEOV

— CSEA (@CSEA_Now) May 4, 2021

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists:

Today, the Illinois Labor History Society and the Chicago Labor of Labor dedicated a plaque in honor of CBTU’s 50th anniversary on the famous Haymarket Memorial. @cbtu_stl @CbtuDelaware @cbtu_uk @CbtuDelaware @CBTU_Canada @cbtuontario @CBTU_DC @WSpriggs #mayday21 #Iu #Labor pic.twitter.com/NIuq3Y9zJP

— CBTU (@CBTU72) May 1, 2021

Coalition of Labor Union Women:

53% of mothers are pessimistic about achieving equal pay and state that their employers believe that they are less committed to their work due to caretaking responsibilities. It’s time to end this discrimination toward working mothers and their families. https://t.co/V1cWcEHpmT pic.twitter.com/nhgl11OrXt

— CLUW National (@CLUWNational) May 5, 2021

Communications Workers of America:

Our voting rights are under attack by legislators who think that democracy is a threat to their power. We cannot allow voter suppression to happen. Join us on Sat. May 8th for a Day of Action: https://t.co/yEjojC5DJ5 pic.twitter.com/izvSD023SU

— CWA (@CWAUnion) May 5, 2021

Department for Professional Employees:

Happy birthday @MachinistsUnion! https://t.co/7p8KlRt6mw

— Department for Professional Employees (@DPEaflcio) May 5, 2021

Electrical Workers:

Detroit #IBEW Local 58 member Felicia Wiseman joined a diverse set of women who were featured recently in the Lifetime special, “Women Making History." https://t.co/JFDNPgnZA1

— IBEW (@IBEW) May 5, 2021

Fire Fighters:

North Carolina #firefighters battle for occupational cancer benefits https://t.co/ejcELVBU8C @mullins_pffpnc @PFFPNC

— IAFF (@IAFFNewsDesk) May 5, 2021

Heat and Frost Insulators:

Becoming an insulator can offer someone many different career paths all starting with a registered apprenticeship. Learn about the different types of insulator trades and opportunities that come with each of them here: https://t.co/CIRF8Cr8RC

— Insulators Union 🦎 (@InsulatorsUnion) May 5, 2021

International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers:

COVID has proved how much workers can gain with a union! https://t.co/WRC9N5Ex5n

— IFPTE (@IFPTE) May 5, 2021

Ironworkers:

Kevin Bryenton, President, Ontario Ironworkers District Council and Jason Roe, Business Manager, Ironworker Local 700 share their thoughts on the importance of addressing mental health issues in the ironworking trade. https://t.co/O9MtLaiuOn

— Ironworkers. (@TheIronworkers) April 28, 2021

Jobs With Justice:

Most "gig" workers put in >40 hrs/wk for the apps they service. Despite this, many still make well below min wage 📉

Apps get away with not paying their workers fairly by misclassifying them as "independent contractors."

It has to stop. This will help 👇https://t.co/wiMG2CLHS9

— Jobs With Justice (@jwjnational) May 5, 2021

Labor Council for Latin American Advancement:

A study from the National Women's Law Center, showed that women made up 49% of the overall workforce earlier this year, but accounted for 55% of job losses in April. Unemployment of women is now 16.2%, compared to 13.5% for men.#MomsEqualPay #Trabajadoras pic.twitter.com/69q7OD77sL

— LCLAA (@LCLAA) May 5, 2021

Laborers:

As we close National Work Zone Awareness Week remember these three things: 1. Protect workers. 2. Protect road users. 3. Safe work zones for all! #NWZAW

Learn more: https://t.co/132JkD9DTC pic.twitter.com/btenYuj5OF

— LIUNA (@LIUNA) April 30, 2021

Machinists:

Thank you to all the hardworking men and women who have dedicated their lives to standing up for workers. The IAM’s 133rd anniversary is yours to celebrate. #1u pic.twitter.com/zthhZ81zNM

— Machinists Union ✈️🚊🚀 (@MachinistsUnion) May 5, 2021

Metal Trades Department:

The American Families Plan is designed to aid the lower and working class both in educational attainment and opportunity, as well as helping to curve the cost of quality child care, as lower and middle-class families spend approximately 7% of their income on child care. pic.twitter.com/smbkQmx9Xz

— Metal Trades Dept. (@metaltradesafl) May 5, 2021

Mine Workers:

Shout out to all of our Canadian members today! On May 5, 1903 the UMWA became an International Union with the chartering of its first Canadian Local Union! pic.twitter.com/XJnkCkuh8D

— United Mine Workers (@MineWorkers) May 5, 2021

Musical Artists:

The Met AGMA Negotiating Committee has committed to continue bargaining with the Met for another week, starting today. #WeAreAGMA pic.twitter.com/KuPAaZRd5k

— AGMA (@AGMusicalArtist) May 3, 2021

National Air Traffic Controllers Association:

We are pleased to announce that our Union has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to extend the Slate Book until July 24, 2026. https://t.co/hOZVPMDzkn pic.twitter.com/RiIYr37P58

— NATCA (@NATCA) May 4, 2021

National Association of Letter Carriers:

After 44 years of service, Elijah Allen, shop steward and member of Garden Grove, CA Branch 1100, is now a member of the "last punch bunch." Congratulations on your retirement, Elijah! pic.twitter.com/G2VKtkYPZV

— Letter Carriers (@NALC_National) May 5, 2021

National Domestic Workers Alliance:

The American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan make critical investments in the care economy that will create millions of good-paying jobs and allow working families to get back to work. @intoactionus pic.twitter.com/baA9KKAam3

— Domestic Workers (@domesticworkers) May 5, 2021

National Federation of Federal Employees:

“The most important part of this bill is that it brings #VA patients closer to those who care for them,” stated NFFE National President Randy Erwin, following yesterday's passage of the VA Employee Fairness Act out of committee. https://t.co/EJPKMlrrdF

— NFFE (@NFFE_Union) May 5, 2021

National Nurses United:

The mighty #HealthCareWorkers of Methodist Hospital of Southern California are taking action to end to the discriminatory pay structures that include huge wage disparities between BIPOC and white workers.#HealthCareJustice now!https://t.co/f8eZZg7aOR

— NationalNursesUnited (@NationalNurses) May 5, 2021

National Taxi Workers Alliance:

For our families: Debt forgiveness NOW! pic.twitter.com/438xpkkU1T

— NY Taxi Workers (@NYTWA) May 4, 2021

NFL Players Association:

You're hearing a lot about #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth - but how can you apply it to your everyday life? @bengarland63 shared a few things he incorporates into his routine to stay in a healthy space, like meditation, exercise, getting outside + being open about how he's feeling. pic.twitter.com/dDkZ3CXG56

— NFLPA (@NFLPA) May 5, 2021

North America's Building Trades Unions:

“It’s exciting to see so many girls in this class… it’s good for them to see that women can work in the trades and be successful."

Read more about the Learn2Build program in Minnesota that exposes students in grades 4-9 to the #BuildingTrades!https://t.co/VQYPrczPeR pic.twitter.com/GQUPU3YNPg

— The Building Trades (@NABTU) May 5, 2021

Office and Professional Employees:

Unions make a difference. That's why the multinationals are fighting an all-out war on the rights of working people.

This #InternationalWorkersDay, we say to @SenatorSinema, @SenMarkKelly and @MarkWarner: honor your pledge to stand with working people and #PassThePROAct. pic.twitter.com/3MApGTImfn

— OPEIU ║ #PassThePROAct ✊ (@OPEIU) May 1, 2021

Painters and Allied Trades:

An audit of Virginia's construction industry found 1 in 3 employers are misclassifying workers as contractors.

Senator Warner's defense of the status quo and continued inaction is a defense of rampant worker exploitation. https://t.co/lo8X0exUvS

— IUPAT | Pass the PRO Act! (@GoIUPAT) May 5, 2021

Plasterers and Cement Masons:

“The majority of likely voters support the proposed [#AmericanJobsPlan]... Crucially, this majority includes considerable support from likely voters that self-identify as Republican.” This bill is bipartisan even if GOP politicians vote against it.https://t.co/TU2SMy7fR1

— OPCMIA International (@opcmiaintl) May 2, 2021

Professional Aviation Safety Specialists:

It's #PSRW! PASS is proud of dedicated fed workers at FAA & @MCASCPPA; let's celebrate their service! “They never missed a beat as country went on lockdown & b/c of them, essential personnel, equipment & vaccines reached their destinations." @publicservice https://t.co/q44yYP1lVC

— PASS (@PASSNational) May 3, 2021

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union:

Once you’re 2 weeks out from either the 2nd shot in a 2-shot series (Pfizer/Moderna) OR 2 weeks out from a single shot (J&J), you’re fully vaccinated! What does that mean? Check out the @CDC’s guidance to find out what you can do – and what you shouldn’t: https://t.co/SU2zmZhjIt pic.twitter.com/ME8xPgiLR4

— RWDSU (@RWDSU) May 5, 2021

Roofers and Waterproofers:

Using the wrong hand tool, or the right tool the wrong way, can injure your hand, wrist, or arm. Learn how to protect yourself at: https://t.co/56UXItsoqI #roofersafety365 pic.twitter.com/4475AcAis8

— Roofers Union (@roofersunion) May 5, 2021

SAG-AFTRA:

New! SAG-AFTRA Safe Place allows #sagaftramembers to safely and securely submit workplace sexual harassment reports: https://t.co/0i4cJQwSbd. pic.twitter.com/3w3kWueaDE

— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) April 29, 2021

Seafarers:

Great Power Competition Demands Revitalization of America’s Military Sealift #maritime #1u https://t.co/wMiLurFRtc

— Seafarers Union (@SeafarersUnion) May 4, 2021

Solidarity Center:

Join us in welcoming 3 new Board members who'll help guide @SolidarityCntr as we strive to empower workers raise their voice for dignity at work & more equality in the global economy! @TheGabrielle_C @sagaftra Rory Gamble @UAW & @yehforvina @APALAnational https://t.co/uTFyiePTTG

— Solidarity Center (@SolidarityCntr) May 5, 2021

The NewsGuild-CWA:

Shareholders concerned about their reputation should acknowledge Alden’s practice of gutting newspapers. If you vote for an Alden takeover of Trib Pub, you hurt news coverage in NYC, Chicago, Baltimore, Allentown, Hartford, Virginia and Florida. https://t.co/Bvn7ufr33O

— NewsGuild-CWA (@newsguild) May 5, 2021

Theatrical Stage Employees:

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that workers need a stronger voice in the workplace to protect their health and wellbeing.

They deserve the #PROAct.https://t.co/3NbCbI2Te7

— IATSE // #PROAct (@IATSE) May 5, 2021

Transport Workers Union:

Last week, TWU Railroad Division Director John Feltz joined @POTUS and others at the @Amtrak 50th anniversary event to celebrate and honor the workers who make it all possible. @TTDAFLCIO @SenBlumenthal @RepDonaldPayne @RepLBR #Amtrak50 pic.twitter.com/lZOyJe9fvX

— TWU (@transportworker) May 3, 2021

Transportation Trades Department:

.@POTUS delivered one of the most pro-worker, pro-union speeches in presidential history.

We've compiled highlights so working Americans can see their president speaking about issues that impact their life, their work, and their families. Follow this thread. ⬇️

— Transp. Trades Dept. (@TTDAFLCIO) April 29, 2021

UAW:

The CDC and DHHS have released a new website and text service to help Americans trying to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine.

Learn more about the tools and how you can book an appointment today: https://t.co/rAluTIRk73

— UAW (@UAW) May 5, 2021

Union Label and Service Trades Department:

The impact of changes in public-sector bargaining laws on districts’ spending on teacher compensation | Economic Policy Institute https://t.co/MfceKzY1iV

— Union Label Dept. (@ULSTD_AFLCIO) April 29, 2021

Union Veterans Council:

There is nothing “historic” about right to work laws, except for the fact that they are archaic and patently anti-worker.

The #PROAct gives workers new tools to collaborate and fight for dignity and security. Now that’s historic. #Laborhttps://t.co/ozEUE4zBCL

— Union Veterans Council (@unionveterans) May 5, 2021

UNITE HERE:

“Black and Latina women act as their families’ primary or sole breadwinners at higher rates than white women, and we know pandemic shutdowns hit economic sectors that disproportionately employ them the hardest"#MomsEqualPayDay https://t.co/ixOOtamGWn

— UNITE HERE #PROAct (@unitehere) May 5, 2021

United Food and Commercial Workers:

BREAKING: @Macys workers with @UFCW 1445 win back pay and stop company from using mobile app to deny commission to union retail workers.

“Today’s victory sends a powerful message to CEOs that companies can't use apps to force backdoor pay cut on workers." https://t.co/CkwsqnMDBv

— UFCW (@UFCW) April 30, 2021

United Steelworkers:

. @SenatorSinema-A stronger working class is a stronger America! We demand organizing & bargaining rights for more workers. Support the #PROAct! #1u pic.twitter.com/00BWyEvTqE

— United Steelworkers (@steelworkers) May 5, 2021

United Students Against Sweatshops:

Students are going hungry because Whitworth decided to raise the price of meal plans and take away the unlimited swipe options during an economic crisis. Tweet TODAY to support USAS Local 50's demands for affordable and accessible meal plan options: https://t.co/VLCoufiT9d pic.twitter.com/q3UKkdKTWl

— USAS (@USAS) May 1, 2021

Utility Workers:

Solidarity with our sisters and brothers organizing with @RWDSU in Alabama; Everyone deserves respect, fair wages, and a voice on the job. ✊https://t.co/CGDnqg51hL

— UWUA National (@The_UWUA) May 5, 2021

Working America:

Working people say yes to higher wages, yes to quality benefits, yes to a voice on the job, and yes to the PRO Act! #StateOfTheUnion https://t.co/67BQI8f6wW

— Working America (@WorkingAmerica) April 29, 2021

Writers Guild of America, East:

From the @theblcklst to a #WritersGuildAward to an Academy Award for Original Screenplay. Congratulations to @emeraldfennell!

Listen to the @OnWritingWGAE podcast episode where Emerald talks about the writing and making of #PromisingYoungWoman here: https://t.co/2BIBbJGbJg https://t.co/3wbVG0WC2s

— Writers Guild of America, East / #PROAct (@WGAEast) April 26, 2021 Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 05/06/2021 - 11:15
Kenneth Quinnell

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Profiles: Betty Tam

2 days 5 hours ago
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Profiles: Betty Tam

For Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month this year, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who have worked and continue to work at the intersection of civil and labor rights in the United States. Today's profile is Betty Tam.

Betty Tam works as a marketing data analyst at Union Plus and is a member of the Office and Professional Employees (OPEIU). Tam is an essential asset at Union Plus and always has an uplifting, positive attitude, and co-workers say it is a joy to work with her. Tam's expertise in data analysis helps Union Plus promote union benefits to the right union audiences across many platforms. Her hard work deserves much praise and respect.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 05/06/2021 - 10:28
Kenneth Quinnell

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: SMART and AFSA Team Up to Tackle Indoor Air Quality in Schools

2 days 6 hours ago
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: SMART and AFSA Team Up to Tackle Indoor Air Quality in Schools

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) in schools not only can get students and educators sick, but it also impacts the teaching and learning of our children. The COVID-19 crisis has put a spotlight on decades of neglect and the growing deficiencies of school infrastructure, including heating, ventilation and air conditioning, also known as HVAC systems. The vast majority of classrooms in the United States fail to meet minimum ventilation rates, and those inadequacies have a major impact on our ability to provide safe learning environments as the virus remains in our communities.

Working with the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART), the School Administrators (AFSA) union is educating school leaders on what can be done in our communities. State federations and central labor councils can play a vital role in state capitols and with local governments to make sure the needed resources are allocated to help rebuild school infrastructure. To get involved, email takeaction@TheSchoolLeader.org. To read more about this issue or watch a webinar, click here.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 05/06/2021 - 09:32

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Kenneth Quinnell

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Profiles: Don Villar

3 days 6 hours ago
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Profiles: Don Villar

For Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month this year, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who have worked and continue to work at the intersection of civil and labor rights in the United States. Today's profile is Don Villar.

Don Villar was born into the labor movement and the spirit of social justice. His father was on strike at the time of his birth, fighting for better wages and benefits for bank workers in the Philippines. During his nearly 25-year broadcast journalism career at WLS-TV (ABC) Chicago, Villar won an Emmy for his breaking news coverage. Villar became a member of NABET-CWA Local 41 in 1991, was elected vice president in 2010 and then president in 2015. He became secretary-treasurer for the Chicago Federation of Labor in 2018 and continues to build solidarity across Chicago, Cook County and beyond.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 05/05/2021 - 09:28
Kenneth Quinnell

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: AFM Members Rally for a New Contract in Fort Wayne

3 days 7 hours ago
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: AFM Members Rally for a New Contract in Fort Wayne

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

With wages, benefits and working conditions on the line, members of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) rallied in Fort Wayne, Indiana, over the weekend to draw attention to their fight for a new contract with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. AFM International President Ray Hair spoke at the rally in support of the orchestra musicians, who have been furloughed because of the pandemic since August 2020. “Why are these musicians out on the street? Why haven’t they had paychecks since last summer? It’s because the management doesn’t want them to,” Hair told WPTA21. “They’re lining their own pockets. Nobody in management would have a job if it weren’t for us.”

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 05/05/2021 - 08:33

Tags: Organizing

Kenneth Quinnell

Nurses at Maine Medical Center Vote to Form First-Ever Union

4 days 3 hours ago
Nurses at Maine Medical Center Vote to Form First-Ever Union

A lengthy campaign to organize the registered nurses (RNs) at Maine Medical Center (MMC) in Portland, Maine, culminated in an overwhelming victory last Thursday, April 29. The RNs at MMC voted 1,001 to 750 in a mail-ballot election, counted by the National Labor Relations Board, to form their first-ever union.

The Maine State Nurses Association, an affiliate of National Nurses United (NNU), will now represent the nearly 2,000 registered nurses at Maine Medical Center. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Maine Med nurses to the labor movement. Their solidarity, courage and strength throughout this pandemic and in the face of an expensive, divisive anti-union campaign by hospital management is remarkable and an inspiration to all workers,” said Maine AFL-CIO President Cynthia Phinney (IBEW) in a statement from the state labor federation.  

“This is a historic union victory at the largest hospital in northern New England," Phinney continued. “We hope other health care workers in Maine will become inspired and organize together to win a voice in their workplaces.”

For over a year, Maine Med RNs have been speaking out against inadequate staffing, overscheduling, a lack of adequate meal and break relief, and inappropriate staffing assignments, among other workplace concerns. 

When it became clear in January 2020 that the nurses at MMC would be heading toward a union election, Maine AFL-CIO Organizing Director Sarah Bigney McCabe leaped the action to garner as much community support as possible.

“We realized pretty quickly how this would be a historic opportunity for workers in Maine,” McCabe said. 

McCabe worked to form the Facebook group “Friends of Maine Med Nurses,” which gained more than 4,500 members who have been using it as a tool to share stories, photos and encouragement throughout the campaign. 

“The energy in the group just immediately took over, it was like wildfire and you couldn’t stop it,” McCabe said. 

Another great aspect of community support during the campaign came from state elected officials, especially from Senate President Troy Jackson and House Speaker Ryan Fecteau, who both spoke out against the hospital’s choice to vaccinate out-of-state union-busting consultants in January ahead of the hospital nurses.

“This hospital serves our entire state—all four corners,” McCabe said. “If you have a serious surgery or injury, you go to this hospital. We want the nurses to have a good staffing ratio, to be well taken care for, because the nurses are such advocates for their patients. That’s why so many people—nurses, patients, union members, felt a stake in this.”

Due to COVID-19 safety restrictions, MMC nurses did not have any in-person rallies. Alternatively, the Maine AFL-CIO worked with the campaign to produce lawn signs and window posters. 

“The lawn sign became the hottest-ticket item in Maine,” McCabe said. Throughout the campaign, union members and leaders from the Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the Fire Fighters (IAFF) and several other unions came together to help distribute lawn signs as well as door-knock at homes and apartment buildings near the Maine Medical Center. According to McCabe, the nurses were overjoyed to see the solidarity from neighboring buildings as they commuted into work. 

“The statewide support that we received on this campaign was unbelievable,” McCabe said. “When we can all come together on these drives and support them, it’s for the better. Here in Maine, we stick together, we have each other’s back. All of our affiliates came out in support of the nurses, and the next time they have a campaign, we’ll be out there for them.” 

And next stop for the Maine AFL-CIO? 

“Passing the PRO Act,” said McCabe.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 05/04/2021 - 12:40
Kenneth Quinnell

18 Important Things You Need to Know from the 2021 Death on the Job Report

4 days 6 hours ago
18 Important Things You Need to Know from the 2021 Death on the Job Report

For the 30th year, the AFL-CIO has produced the 2021 edition of Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect report on the state of safety and health protections for America’s working families. Since the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 50 years ago, federal job safety agencies have issued many important regulations on safety hazards, strengthened enforcement and expanded worker rights. The toll of workplace injury, illness and death remains too high, and too many workers remain at serious risk. There is much more work to be done.

Here are 18 important things from the 2021 Death on the Job report you need to know. In 2019:

1. 275 U.S. workers, on average, died each day from hazardous working conditions.

2. 5,333 workers were killed on the job in the United States.

3. An estimated 95,000 workers died from occupational diseases.

4. The overall job fatality rate was 3.5 per 100,000 workers, the same as the previous year.

5. Latino and Black worker fatalities increased; these workers are at greater risk of dying on the job than all workers.

6. Employers reported nearly 3.5 million work-related injuries and illnesses.

7. Musculoskeletal disorders continue to make up the largest portion (30%) of work-related injuries and illnesses.

8. Underreporting is widespread—the true toll of work-related injuries and illnesses is 7.0 million to 10.5 million each year.

9. States with the highest fatality rates in 2019 were: Alaska, Wyoming, North Dakota, Montana and West Virginia.

10. Industries with the highest fatality rates in 2019 were: agriculture, forestry, and fishing and hunting; mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; transportation and warehousing; construction; and wholesale trade.

11. America’s workplaces have been a primary source of COVID-19 outbreaks, with thousands of workers infected and dying. However, workplace infection and outbreak information is limited because there is no national surveillance system.

12. Workplace violence deaths increased to 841 in 2019, while more than 30,000 violence-related lost-time injuries were reported.

13. Workplace violence is the third-leading cause of workplace death. There were 454 worker deaths that were workplace homicides.

14. Women workers are at greater risk of violence than men; they suffered two-thirds of the lost-time injuries related to workplace violence, and were five times more likely to be killed by a relative or domestic partner in the workplace than men.

15. Deaths among all Latino workers increased in 2019: 1,088 deaths, compared with 961 in 2018. Some 66% of those who died were immigrants.

16. The Black worker fatality rate of 3.6 per 100,000 workers continues to be higher than the national average. In 2019, 634 Black workers died on the job—the highest number in more than two decades.

17. Workers 65 or older have nearly three times the risk of dying on the job as other workers, with a fatality rate of 9.4 per 100,000 workers in 2019.

18. The cost of job injuries and illnesses is enormous—estimated at $250 billion to $330 billion a year.

There is a lot we can do to address these numbers, which are much too high. Read the full report to learn more about the solutions.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 05/04/2021 - 09:40
Kenneth Quinnell

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Profiles: Lucela Watson

4 days 6 hours ago
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Profiles: Lucela Watson

For Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month this year, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who have worked and continue to work at the intersection of civil and labor rights in the U.S. Today's profile is Lucela Watson.

Lucela Watson is a porter at Excalibur and has been a member of Culinary Workers Union-UNITE HERE Local 226 since 2015. “Being a Culinary Union member has changed my life and my family’s lives,” Watson said. “For me, job security is the most important part of being a member. Without a job, you cannot survive. My daughter is in the Philippines, and I am working on bringing her here to Las Vegas to be with me. But because I have a union job, I can support her in ways I couldn’t before. I have rights at work, job security, health care and, when I retire, I will have a pension. I love being a Culinary Union member!"

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 05/04/2021 - 09:27
Kenneth Quinnell

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Texas Labor Movement Speaks Out Against Voter Suppression Laws

4 days 7 hours ago
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Texas Labor Movement Speaks Out Against Voter Suppression Laws

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

Union members and labor leaders from across the Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation gathered to denounce efforts to pass oppressive voter suppression laws in the Texas Legislature, standing across the street from the site of Houston’s first sit-in in 1960.

Voter suppression bills under consideration in the Legislature are squarely aimed at counties such as Harris and Fort Bend with majority Black and Latinx populations that have worked to expand voting rights during the pandemic. Instead of focusing on solving problems such as our failing energy grid, big-government conservatives are working to disenfranchise people of color and take away power from the local officials who ran the safest, most secure election in Texas history.

The Texas labor movement is united in opposition to H.B. 6, S.B. 7 and all efforts to suppress the right to vote.

Participants in the event included leaders from Communications Workers of America (CWA) District 6, Transport Workers (TWU) Local 260, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) Gulf Coast, Office and Professional Employees (OPEIU) Local 129, CWA Local 6222, Teamsters Local 988, United Steelworkers (USW) Local 13-1, Machinists (IAM) District 141, IAM Local Lodge 811, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) Council 42, Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 51, and Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 88.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 05/04/2021 - 08:29

Tags: Community Service, COVID-19

Kenneth Quinnell

Empower Workers and Protect Rights: The Working People Weekly List

5 days 6 hours ago
Empower Workers and Protect Rights: The Working People Weekly List

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

Pass the PRO Act to Empower Workers, Protect Rights: "The United States Senate should pass the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act), five human rights and labor groups said today in releasing a question-and-answer document about the issue. The Senate should seize on a once-in-a-generation opportunity to tackle rampant economic inequality by empowering workers and building a more just and human rights-based economy."

Organized Labor Puts Heat on Democratic Holdouts to Support PRO Act: "Senators who haven’t yet voiced support for the Protecting the Right to Organize Act might soon hear from more constituents on the matter. The AFL-CIO labor federation says it’s spending seven figures on television and radio ads aimed at bolstering Senate support for the PRO Act, which would make it easier for workers to join unions. The ads will run in Arizona, Virginia and West Virginia―states with moderate Democratic senators whose support, or lack of it, could determine the bill’s fate."

Unions Applaud Biden OSHA for Advancing COVID Safety Standard to Protect Workers: "'Make no mistake, an emergency OSHA standard will save lives,' AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in response to the move. 'We're grateful for the Department of Labor's work in getting the standard to this point, and we urge swift issuance of the rule.' 'Strong enforceable standards that require employers to develop workplace COVID-19 safety plans, implement science-based protection measures, train workers, and report outbreaks are necessary for reducing infections and deaths, and beating this virus,' Trumka continued."

Biden to Raise the Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors to $15, Giving Roughly 390,000 Workers a Pay Bump: "'This is a victory for working people across the country, but we can’t stop fighting until everyone has the same guarantee,' John Weber, AFL-CIO spokesperson tells CNBC Make It in a statement. 'Building a just recovery means giving workers a fair return on our hard work and finally raising the federal minimum wage to $15.'"

Biden Names Former AFL-CIO Official Celeste Drake as 'Made in America' Director: "President Joe Biden on Tuesday named Celeste Drake, a former AFL-CIO official, as the first 'Director of Made in America' at the Office of Management and Budget. The White House said in a statement that Drake would shape federal procurement policy, to help carry out Biden's vision for a future 'made in all of America by all of America's workers.' One of Biden's early executive orders as president tightened 'Buy American' rules in government procurement. Drake joins the administration from the Directors Guild of America and was the trade and globalization policy specialist for the AFL-CIO."

President Biden Will Promote Unions Through a White House Task Force: "President Biden will sign an executive order on Monday creating a task force to promote labor organizing, according to a White House fact sheet. The task force, to be led by Vice President Kamala Harris and populated by cabinet officials and top White House advisers, will issue recommendations on how the federal government can use existing authority to help workers join labor unions and bargain collectively. It will also recommend new policies aimed at achieving these goals."

Labor Experts: The Power of Unions Could Be Rising Again: "Steven Tolman, the president of the AFL-CIO of Massachusetts, an umbrella union group, has seen unions’ longtime challenges firsthand. The former state senator was a railroad worker in the early 1970s, and he said he watched as businesses’ increasingly hardline stances toward unions became more common. Today, he said, unions remain critical for their ability to improve the lives of their working members. 'We are the only ones able to fight inequality,' Tolman said. 'If you have a union, you have the right to stand up against injustice, the right to advocate for safer working conditions, and most importantly, the right to good wages.' A bill, the Protecting the Right to Organize, or PRO, Act, would limit employers’ ability to stand in the way of union organizing and strengthen the government’s powers to punish companies violating workers’ rights. It faces a daunting challenge in the Senate, but experts nonetheless see a shift in place."

President Trumka Talks Infrastructure and PRO Act: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka joined Bloomberg Radio to discuss the importance of passing the PRO Act and a complete infrastructure package."

What This Workers Memorial Day Needs: "[Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Bill] Londrigan said it is undeniable that OSHA has greatly improved worker safety and health for all workers. 'Indeed, multiple studies bear out the fact that union workplaces have been far safer because unions provide a voice on the job where workers can join with management to address workplace hazards and implement solutions jointly.' Added Londrigan: 'Recognizing the linkage between worker safety and strong trade unions is another critical reason for Congress to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. For the past 50 years, trade unions and our members have been under constant attack from anti-union multinational corporations and politicians bankrolled by big business.'"

It’s All Too Easy for Employers to Interfere in Union Elections: "Earlier this month, we saw a more prominent example of this phenomenon, when workers at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, voted by more than 2 to 1 against joining a union. (Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.) It followed several other high-profile organizing defeats in recent years, including autoworkers at Volkswagen in Tennessee and Nissan in Mississippi, as well as Boeing employees in South Carolina."

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 05/03/2021 - 10:00
Kenneth Quinnell

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Profiles: Tina Chen

5 days 7 hours ago
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Profiles: Tina Chen

For Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month this year, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who have worked and continue to work at the intersection of civil and labor rights in the United States. Today's profile is Tina Chen.

Tina Chen serves as secretary-treasurer of UNITE HERE Local 2 in San Francisco. Chen is a first-generation immigrant from China who first joined the labor movement as a hotel housekeeper. She has helped lead victorious campaigns in San Francisco for good jobs, affordable health care and respect for a diverse workforce.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 05/03/2021 - 09:00
Kenneth Quinnell

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Honoring the Fallen Workers at the Foundation Food Group Poultry Plant on Workers Memorial Day

5 days 7 hours ago
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Honoring the Fallen Workers at the Foundation Food Group Poultry Plant on Workers Memorial Day

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

The Atlanta-North Georgia Labor Council was joined by GA Familias Unidas, Sur Legal Collaborative, Atlanta Jobs with Justice, and the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health for a vigil in Gainesville, Georgia, to commemorate the workers of Foundation Food Group who have died. Last Wednesday marked the three-month anniversary when six workers lost their lives during a deadly nitrogen leak at the plant.

“This is a crisis across Georgia,” said Executive Director Sandra Williams (RWDSU-UFCW) of the Atlanta-North Georgia Labor Council. “The figures from the [U.S.] Bureau of Labor Statistics show a 15% increase in deaths from workplace trauma from 2015 to 2019, and we mourn over 207 Georgians who died in work incidents in 2019, that’s not accounting for the pandemic’s toll on the lives of working people.”

In coming together to remember the fallen workers of Georgia, we urge our elected officials to support the PRO Act, a piece of legislation that will expand protection for workers in multiple industries by expanding coverage under the Fair Labor Standards Act and protecting workers’ rights to form unions, and we demand the White House and [the Occupational Safety and Health Administration] to stop delaying the emergency temporary standard to make COVID safety guidelines specific and mandatory.

Atlanta-North Georgia Labor Council President James Williams (IBEW) added:

January’s tragedy at Foundation Food Group should have been prevented, and those workers should be with us here today. All workers have the right to be safe on the job. Wednesday’s event in Gainesville for Workers Memorial Day was both to mourn those we have lost, but also to reaffirm that we are going to keep fighting like hell for the living.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 05/03/2021 - 08:37

Tags: Community Service, COVID-19

Kenneth Quinnell

In Honor of International Workers' Day, We Must Pass the PRO Act

1 week ago
In Honor of International Workers' Day, We Must Pass the PRO Act

May 1 is International Workers' Day, a symbolic time to conclude our PRO Act National Week of Action. To mark the occasion, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) sends the following message:

Every year on May Day, working people and our unions across the country and around the world take action to show that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. All working people are entitled to living wages, basic rights and dignity on the job—regardless of where we were born, what language we speak and what faith we practice. This International Workers’ Day, we are rising up and calling on senators to immediately pass the PRO Act and immigration reforms that will ensure all workers can join together to demand rights at work.

To fix the systems that have failed working families, we must be united across borders. Together, we can rewrite the rules of the global economy and ensure that workers are no longer treated like disposable commodities. America’s unions are fiercely committed to transforming the lives of working people through bold, structural changes that remove all barriers to the right to organize. In order to build worker power to lift standards in our workplaces, we must finally enact meaningful immigration and labor law reforms.

This includes the protection of and expansion of civil rights. The right to vote, and the right to have that vote accurately counted, is a fundamental building block of democracy and one of the most important ways for working people to express our voices. Just as it is important to fight for fairness in the workplace, it's also important that working people can vote for candidates who will work on our behalf. Protecting every working person's right to vote is a critical part of any labor reform effort.

As we mobilize this May Day, America’s labor movement and our allies are engaged in a full-scale, national campaign to win a long overdue path to citizenship and pass the PRO Act, which would give the tens of millions of workers who want to form a union a fair path to do so. There is much more we need to do to ensure all people are able to live and work safely and with dignity, which is why we are fighting for our right to join together and demand changes to the rules of our rigged system. We will continue to mobilize to demand reforms that uplift the standards and rights of all workers, with no exclusions.

Kenneth Quinnell Sat, 05/01/2021 - 09:00
Kenneth Quinnell

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: What Solidarity Means to the NFLPA and the Labor Movement

1 week 2 days ago
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: What Solidarity Means to the NFLPA and the Labor Movement

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

Solidarity is about teamwork, togetherness and toughness in the face of adversity. “Anytime someone asks our men to become less of a man, less of a person merely because they put on the uniform, I’d rather they not wear that uniform,” said NFL Players Association (NFLPA) Executive Director DeMaurice Smith (pictured above). “Why should our members not see an inextricable line that goes between what they are doing when they take a knee on the sideline to what men and women have done for hundreds of years, standing up for what they think is right?” Watch this new video from the AFL-CIO and the NFLPA about what solidarity means to our unions. And hear from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA), NFLPA President JC Tretter and others as they discuss the connections between the affiliated unions of the AFL-CIO.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 04/29/2021 - 09:47

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Kenneth Quinnell

5 Ways the PRO Act Will Help Address Systemic Racism

1 week 2 days ago
5 Ways the PRO Act Will Help Address Systemic Racism

Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.) and Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (Va.) have introduced the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which restores the right of workers to freely and fairly form a union and bargain together for changes in the workplace. The PRO Act is landmark worker empowerment, civil rights and economic stimulus legislation and an essential part of any plan to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic and recession. The provisions of the PRO Act will help all working families, but in particular, the PRO Act will help address systemic racism.

Here are five ways it does that:

1. The union advantage is greater for Black, Latino, women, immigrant, LGBTQ and other workers who have experienced workplace discrimination. Black, Latino and women workers are paid 13.7%, 20.1% and 5.8% more, respectively, when they belong to a union. Union contracts pay women and men the same for doing the same job. You cannot be fired for your sexual orientation or gender identity under a union contract.

2. The latest research shows that the rapid growth of unions in the 20th century dramatically reduced inequality by extending the union advantage to more workers, particularly lower-income workers and Black workers, while at the same time raising standards for nonunion workers across entire industries. Growing today’s labor movement is the only policy that has the scale necessary to take us off our current trajectory of ever-growing inequality. Without it, broadly shared prosperity that extends to most working people has virtually no chance.

3. Another consequence of declining worker power and economic failure is that more and more people lose confidence in the system as a whole. To restore that confidence and strengthen our democracy, we need to make the economy work for working people. The more our democracy functions properly, the more of a voice Black, Latino, women, immigrant, LGBTQ and other workers will have.

4. A union contract is the single best tool we have to close racial and gender wage gaps, and to ensure dignity and fair treatment for all workers, regardless of where we were born, who we are, or what industry we work in. More than 65% of union members are either women or people of color, and Black workers are the most likely of any demographic group to be union members (13.5%). The decline of unionization has played a significant role in the expansion of the racial wage gap over the past four decades, and an increase in unionization would help reverse this trend.

5. The PRO Act would reduce inequality, ensuring that workers share in the benefits of future economic growth and the rising productivity that will be fueled by technology, and give workers a say in how technology is deployed in the workplace. The PRO Act also includes specific provisions to correct trends that may be troubling in the future such as employers washing their hands of responsibility toward the workers who make them profitable. 

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 04/29/2021 - 09:30

Tags: PRO Act

Kenneth Quinnell

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Ohio AFL-CIO Calls on Business to Pay Fair Share to Repair Ohio Unemployment Compensation System

1 week 2 days ago
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Ohio AFL-CIO Calls on Business to Pay Fair Share to Repair Ohio Unemployment Compensation System

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

For the past decade, Ohio Republicans have yet to fix Ohio's broken unemployment system. Last week, Governor Mike DeWine has called on the legislature to tackle the issue, but rather than adjust the corporate taxable wage base to be in alignment with the national average (which is lower than any of Ohio’s neighboring states), the business lobby is calling on Republican legislators to limit eligibility and cut needed benefits to workers.

In an interview with WCBE’s Andy Chow, Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga (USW) said, “When you look at how front-line workers have put their health on the line to get us through this pandemic, I think we’re going to see an opportunity where the employers will understand that they need to step up and just do the average with what the rest of the country is doing to help move the system into a solvency place.”

In the interview, the business community believes workers should take a decrease in benefits. Burga disagrees, saying Ohio has a long history of extending a helping hand to workers laid off through no fault of their own, and this gives our state a competitive workforce advantage.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 04/29/2021 - 09:00

Tags: Community Service, COVID-19

Kenneth Quinnell

On Workers' Memorial Day, Ask Your Senator to Vote 'Yes' on the PRO Act

1 week 3 days ago
On Workers' Memorial Day, Ask Your Senator to Vote 'Yes' on the PRO Act

On Workers Memorial Day, we remember those who have suffered and died on the job. We have lost and continue to lose too many working people to COVID-19 and other workplace hazards. No one should die simply because we go to work.

Under the law, every employer is responsible for providing a safe workplace. But each year, thousands of people are killed and millions more get sick or are injured from preventable workplace hazards. And after this past year, it’s painfully clear that too many corporate interests just don’t care about worker safety, even during a global pandemic.

Throughout this crisis, unions and our allies stepped into action. We held state and local leaders accountable to enforce the law. We won protections for members, including personal protective equipment, ventilation and training.

Unions are, and will always be, working people coming together to demand safer working conditions. To honor those we’ve lost, we’ll keep fighting on their behalf. That’s why we built our PRO Act National Week of Action around Workers Memorial Day.

We need to ensure that future generations will always have a strong voice in the workplace. That every worker has the tools to demand safer working conditions. Worker safety and worker voice go hand in hand. And that’s why on this Workers Memorial Day, we are asking our senators to vote YES on the PRO Act.

Today, we remember. Today, we act.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 04/28/2021 - 10:15

Tags: PRO Act

Kenneth Quinnell

The PRO Act: Worker Safety and Worker Voice

1 week 3 days ago
The PRO Act: Worker Safety and Worker Voice

Fifty years ago today, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) went into effect, promising every worker the right to a safe job. The law was won in 1970 because of the tireless efforts of the labor movement and allies, who drew major attention to work-related deaths, disease and injuries, organized for safer working conditions and demanded action from their government. Since then, unions and our allies have fought hard to make that promise a reality—winning protections that have made jobs safer and saved lives. But there is much to be done before the promise to keep all workers safe on the job, during the pandemic and beyond, can be fulfilled.

Worker safety and worker voice go hand in hand. And as we grow our movement, we must use those voices to advocate for a strong workplace safety agenda. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the weaknesses in the OSH Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Mine Safety and Health Association’s capabilities to ensure workers are protected on the job and in structural failures that have prevented workers’ from organizing in our workplaces to demand safer working conditions.

The pandemic also highlighted the inextricable link between workplace safety and health and the safety and health of the community. Public health cannot begin to be addressed without attending to the needs and safety of workers on the job. The disproportionate impacts on people of color, widely represented in the essential workforce—health care, food supply, transit, grocery, corrections—has been devastating. Since the beginning of the pandemic, unions have won protections in states and held state and local leaders accountable. We demanded access to the ventilation, personal protective equipment and other measures to protect workers from inhaling the virus at work.

Today, the unions of the AFL-CIO observe Workers Memorial Day to remember those who have suffered and died on the job, and to renew the fight for safe jobs. We come together this year to call for action to protect workers from COVID-19 at work and stronger job safety and health protections and enforcement. We will organize to pass the PRO Act, so workers have a right to form a union and have a voice on the job. We will fight for the right of every worker to a safe job until that promise is fulfilled.

As we grieve those we have lost from COVID-19 and other workplace hazards, we must fight and continue to push forward. We must:

  • Pass the PRO Act to ensure workers have safe jobs and the right to freely form a union without employer interference or intimidation.
  • Pass the Protecting America’s Workers Act to provide OSHA protection to the millions of workers without it, stronger criminal and civil penalties for companies that seriously violate job safety laws and improved anti-retaliation protections.
  • Ensure that all workers have the necessary protections from COVID-19 at work.
  • Win new protections on workplace violence, silica exposure in mining, heat illness, exposure to asbestos and other toxic chemicals, and other hazards.
  • Defend hard-won safety and health protections and workers’ rights from attacks.
  • Increase the job safety budgets and improve job safety enforcement.
  • Increase efforts to protect the safety and health of Black, Latino and immigrant workers who are disproportionately affected and especially targeted for speaking up against unsafe working conditions.

Call your senators today at 866-832-1560 and urge them to pass the PRO Act.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 04/28/2021 - 10:00

Tags: PRO Act

Kenneth Quinnell
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