Labor News

In Memoriam: Union Members Lost in COVID-19 Pandemic

18 hours 4 minutes ago
In Memoriam: Union Members Lost in COVID-19 Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the United States, our sisters, brothers and friends in the labor movement are among the first casualties. It is important for us to work together during this crisis to prevent further deaths. It is important to thank those who are doing the work to keep us safe and fed. It is important to remember those who we lost because of the coronavirus.

This list includes those deaths we have currently learned of. If you aware of additional union members we should include on this list, please send details to and we will add them to the list.

Mark Blum of New York, SAG-AFTRA and Actors' Equity: "Though he was perhaps best known for the 1985 film 'Desperately Seeking Susan,' in which he starred alongside Madonna and Rosanna Arquette, he most recently appeared in supporting TV roles on the HBO series 'Succession,' the Netflix drama 'You' and Amazon's 'Mozart in the Jungle.' He was a staple in the New York theater community, frequently appearing on Broadway, including the revival of 'Twelve Angry Men,' though he appeared off Broadway much more often." SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said: “This is a painful loss to our SAG-AFTRA family. Mark Blum understood that all performers working in this industry share the same employers and that our strength depends on our unity. He was a visionary. Mark will be deeply missed, and our hearts go out to his wife, Janet Zarish, his friends and all of his loved ones.”

Raul Clarke of New York, Transport Workers: TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano said: “I offer my deepest condolences to all of our Local 100 members at Big Bus here in New York and across the country. I can only hope and pray that this dark cloud over our country passes quickly.”

Oliver Cyrus of Brooklyn, New York, Transport Workers: "We have lost a second union brother to the coronavirus. [Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority] Bus Operator Oliver Cyrus out of the Manhattanville Depot passed away today. Local 100 Vice President Richard Davis, who has known Brother Cyrus for most of his 21 years on the job, said he was 'a quiet, humble man. He was well liked by all his co-workers. The workers at Manhattanville are all very upset. There's a somber mood at the depot.'"

Scott Elijah of New York, Transport Workers: In addition to his work for New York City Transit, Elijah was pastor of the Bethany AME Church in Yonkers. President Utano said "I wish I had the words to say to bring comfort to Brother Elijah’s family, his friends and co-workers in Track. But I don’t. I can only wish that the support our union will bring to his family now and into the future will bring them strength in their moment of grief."

Paul Frishkorn of Philadelphia, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA: "Earlier this week, we lost a respected, longtime member of the American Airlines family, who tested positive for COVID-19. Our hearts go out to Paul’s loved ones, many of whom work for American."

Jason Hargrove of Detroit, Michigan, Amalgamated Transit Union: Passed after coming in contact with an infected person on his bus route. He posted in a video before his passing: "Ya’ll need to take this serious. This is real."

Ernesto Hernandez of New York, Transport Workers: Transit Authority Surface Vice President J.P. Patafio called Hernandez "a kind man who was loved and respected by his co-workers and [he was a] hard worker. His death is a shock to us all."

Araceli Buendia Ilagan of Miami, Florida, nurses union, SEIU: Roy Buendia said: “My dearest sister, we admired you for your dedication on your profession….You’re a true ‘hero’ in this fight against COVID-19.”

Patrick Patoir of Coney Island, New York, Transport Workers: TWU Local 100 Vice President Shirley Martin, who worked with Patoir for 29 years: "Patrick was one of the most beautiful souls I have ever known. He was always the first to help. If you wanted something done, ask Patrick. Everyone at Pitkin is in mourning. Many of his co-workers where in tears when they found out." Patrick’s brother, Wendell, is a Machinist at the Coney Island Wheel and Axle Shop. Patrick leaves behind his grieving wife and four children.

Peter Petrassi of Long Island City, New York, Transport Workers: Interim New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg said: "Our hearts are absolutely broken. Peter was a vital member of our team, and a valued friend. We are honored to have worked with him, and our thoughts are with his family and loved ones."

Dez-Ann Romain of Brooklyn, New York, School Administrators: Allison Farrington, principal of Research and Service High School in Brooklyn, said: “She loved her kids, she loved her community, she loved service. You could see it in how she and her students would look at each other. I can’t imagine what they are dealing with now.”

Scott Ryan of Everett, Washington, Amalgamated Transit Union: ATU International President John Costa said: “The tragic reality of this devastating and deadly pandemic has now taken the life of one of our own. I hope the entire continent will join us in a moment of silence tonight at 7:10 p.m. ET to remember Local 1576 shop steward Scott Ryan, who was just 41 years old. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Brother Ryan and his sisters and brothers of Local 1576 in Lynnwood, Washington.”

Caridad Santiago of New York, Transport Workers: IB ImageStations Division Vice President Lynwood Whichard said Santiago's passing is a "terrible loss to the Local 100 family. She was a wonderful mother, loved by everyone. We are all praying for her family to get through this time of grief."

Warren Tucker of New York, Transport Workers: IB ImageStations MTA Bus Vice President Peter Rosconi said that Tucker's passing was "tough to take. All of MTA is in mourning." Division Vice Chair Mike Capocci said, "He was such a sweetheart. This is such a shame."

An autoworker (name withheld) from Wayne, Michigan, UAW: UAW President Rory Gamble said: "I’m very sad to report that we had one more UAW member fall to the virus yesterday, from Ford Michigan Assembly in Wayne, Michigan. I want to extend our sincere sympathies to family and friends."

An autoworker (name withheld) from Sterling Heights, Michigan, UAW: President Gamble said: "Today, I am so sorry to report that one of our members at FCA Transport in Sterling Heights, Michigan, has died from the virus. I, along with Vice President Cindy Estrada and the entire International Executive Board extend our heartfelt sympathies and prayers to our dear brother’s family and friends."

Two autoworkers (names withheld) from Dearborn, Michigan, UAW: Gamble said: "We have been notified today that two more members of our UAW family have fallen to the virus. One member worked at Ford Motor Company's Dearborn Stamping [plant] and a skilled trades brother who worked at the Ford Data Center in Dearborn, Michigan. Our prayers and support go out to their families and communities."

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 04/02/2020 - 10:37

Tags: COVID-19

Kenneth Quinnell

On the Front Lines: What Working People Are Doing This Week

1 day 17 hours ago
On the Front Lines: 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.

Actors' Equity:

We are proud to do our part in support of the actors & stage managers out of work due to COVID-19, and have established the #CurtainUpFund. We hope that anyone who is able to support @TheActorsFund's vital social services and financial aid will join us -

— Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) March 24, 2020


We've been requesting better protection for TSA officers since January.

We urge all agencies to follow TSA's example and take the necessary steps to protect front-line workers. #COVID19 #1u via @hugomartin @latimes

— AFGE (@AFGENational) March 30, 2020


In Arizona, paramedic Seth Cribb and his co-workers, members of AFSCME Local 2960, wait.

“There is a sense that it’s the calm before the storm.” But when the storm hits his community, those on the #COVIDfrontlines with Seth will need the proper equipment to fight this pandemic.

— AFSCME ✊🏽 (@AFSCME) March 31, 2020

Air Line Pilots Association:

Thank you to the House and the Senate for putting #aviation frontline workers first and passing the #CARESAct! Join us in sending a #ThankYou note to your Members of Congress:

— ALPA (@WeAreALPA) March 27, 2020

Alliance for Retired Americans:

#PandemicProfiteering will continue unless we do something. Sign our petition to demand that Congress takes action to make sure greedy pharmaceutical corporations don't do this during the Coronavirus outbreak:

— Alliance Retirees (@ActiveRetirees) March 30, 2020

Amalgamated Transit Union:

#Transit workers are heroes, too — and we need to get them protected #COVID19 #FrontlineHeroes

— ATU, Transit Union (@ATUComm) March 31, 2020

American Federation of Musicians:

Learn more about expanded unemployment—including benefits for 1099 workers.

— AFM (@The_AFM) March 31, 2020

American Federation of Teachers:

We are proud to announce the launch of, a new site to help families & educators adapt to online learning due to COVID19. A free collection of the best online learning experiences & activities for kids curated by @CommonSense & organized by grade&subject.

— AFT (@AFTunion) March 31, 2020

American Postal Workers Union:

👏 A round of applause to our postal workers, health care workers, grocery workers and other front line fighters! 👏 #ClapBecauseWeCare #APWUnited

— APWU National (@APWUnational) March 30, 2020

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance:

The #2020census counts people where they “eat and sleep most of the time,” so incarcerated folks will be counted at the location of their prison, not their residential address.

Check out for more info#CountUsIn #AAPI2020

— Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (@APALAnational) March 30, 2020

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:

Airline relief is structured to put #WorkersFirst. From the UK to Denmark, countries are using government aid to keep people in their jobs w/ the continued paychecks they’ve built their lives around. Don’t let Sec. Mnuchin screw it up. Watch @AliVelshi & @sheelahk discuss w/ us.

— AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) March 29, 2020

Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers:

The @BCTGM is deeply saddened to announce the passing of our President @DavidBDurkee.

Forever a union organizer, he often quoted Mother Jones. Today he would urge us all to: “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.” Our full statement:

— BCTGM International (@BCTGM) March 31, 2020


Check out this special edition IBB Update with info and resources regarding the COVID-19 pandemic: Please forward and share! To receive future issues of the IBB Update straight to your email, subscribe here:

— Boilermakers Union (@boilermakernews) March 26, 2020


In Canada, brothers and sisters of our building trades union are also donating extra masks to support frontline workers: #1u #solidarity #coronavirus #COVID19

— Bricklayers Union (@IUBAC) March 31, 2020

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists:

It is with tremendous sadness that we inform the CBTU family of the passing of Rev. Joseph Lowery, a civil rights legend and a loyal friend of CBTU and unions. He is irreplaceable. R.I.P. great warrior. Your feet can rest now. #RestNowJoeLow #CivilRights

— CBTU (@CBTU72) March 28, 2020

Coalition of Labor Union Women:

Equal Pay Day 2020: a day recognizing when the average woman in the United States will have finally earned what her male peer earned during the 2019 calendar year. #EqualPay

— CLUW National (@CLUWNational) March 31, 2020

Communications Workers of America:

.@ATT made the right decision to cancel stock buybacks & agree to boost pay during this crisis. Let's restore balance to our economy & ensure that recovery money benefits working people & doesn't just go into the pockets of CEO's and hedge fund managers.

— CWA (@CWAUnion) March 31, 2020

Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO:

Are you a professional who has lost work due to #COVID19? Here's how you access economic relief from the #CARESAct

— Department for Professional Employees (@DPEaflcio) March 31, 2020

Electrical Workers:

"Nobody knows how long this crisis is going to go on, and offering these lights is a great, out-of-the-box way to help.”

— IBEW (@IBEW) March 30, 2020

Fire Fighters:

RT @TheVaPFF: COVID-19 added to list of reportable diseases under Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 - @IAFFNewsDesk

— IAFF (@IAFFNewsDesk) March 30, 2020

Heat and Frost Insulators:

This is the latest update (March 27) from CPWR concerning COVID-19. Please share this with your Insulators Brothers and Sisters, families and friends.

— Insulators Union (@InsulatorsUnion) March 30, 2020

International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers:

During this crisis, Local 21 members are showing the value of public service. This is especially true of our union siblings working in healthcare, who are extremely vulnerable right now. We can only protect all of us if we protect frontline workers.

— IFPTE Local 21 (@IFPTE21) March 31, 2020

International Labor Communications Association:

Historical perspective via our board member @chelseaconnor who leads this comms shop

— Labor Communications (@ILCAonline) March 25, 2020


Read General President Eric Dean's remarks in Chicago-based @inthesetimesmag about the impact of #COVID-19 on the construction industry. #COVID19 #COVID2019

— Ironworkers. (@TheIronworkers) March 27, 2020

Jobs With Justice:

Help us continue to hold bad actors like @amazon accountable during the #COVID19 pandemic.

Sign up and become a member of our #UnifiedAction Team to receive more specific actions you can do from home on behalf of working people ✊

— Jobs With Justice (@jwjnational) March 31, 2020


#LIUNA on CARES Act: Response package is a step forward but does not address many critical issues.

— LIUNA (@LIUNA) March 30, 2020

Labor Council for Latin American Advancement:

Farmworkers continue to work the fields lacking proper protections, vital safety information and training. They play an essential role in our nation’s food supply chain. LCLAA supports all efforts aimed at their protections and safety! Si se puede! #Trabajadoras #CesarChavezDay

— LCLAA (@LCLAA) March 31, 2020


Today is #EqualPayDay and we can’t forget the fact that women EACH lose an average of $10,000+ to the wage gap each year – the equivalent of several months of rent. Amidst the #COVID19 pandemic, too many families are scrambling to be able to pay rent tomorrow.

— Machinists Union ✈️🚊🚀 (@MachinistsUnion) March 31, 2020

Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association:

USNS MERCY in San Pedro on Friday. M.E.B.A., MM&P & SIU civilian mariners make this vessel go! 1,000 beds on board will help relieve area hospitals dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.

— M.E.B.A. (@MEBAUNION) March 30, 2020

Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO:

COVID-19 | Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO
The Metal Trades Department has posted new guidance regarding COVID-19 in Oregon and Washington State and guidance from the Department of Homeland Security. Visit the COVID-19 page to download the files.

— Metal Trades Dept. (@metaltradesafl) March 24, 2020

Mine Workers:

We must keep our miners, their families and communities safe! Time for @MSHA_DOL to act! #wearestillworking #protectus

— United Mine Workers (@MineWorkers) March 26, 2020

Musical Artists:

AGMA members impacted by the #COVID19 pandemic qualify for government economic support. Here’s an overview of how to access your benefits. Contact AGMA for more information. #1u #AGMAendures

— AGMA (@AGMusicalArtist) March 27, 2020

National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA:


— NABET-CWA (@NABETCWA) March 30, 2020

National Association of Letter Carriers:

Episode 6 of You Are the Current Resident Podcast is out! Executive VP Renfroe gives an update on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Listen here: #YATCRPod

— Letter Carriers (@NALC_National) March 27, 2020

National Day Laborer Organizing Network:

Immigrants, we get the job done!

Now let's make sure all immigrant workers are included in local and state responses.#WorkerMigrantJustice@chefjoseandres

— NDLON (@NDLON) March 28, 2020

National Domestic Workers Alliance:

The #COVID19 crisis is impacting domestic workers worldwide, and workers everywhere are organizing for better protections.

— Domestic Workers (@domesticworkers) March 31, 2020

National Nurses United:

THIS is why it is urgent to #ProtectNurses.

Sign the petition: #COVID19

— NationalNursesUnited (@NationalNurses) March 30, 2020

National Taxi Workers Alliance:

Here is our latest eblast on resources available to drivers.

***NYC Uber drivers can apply for unemployment benefits NOW***

Please click link for info on what’s available for all drivers - yellow, green, app

And call our office with any questions.

— NY Taxi Workers (@NYTWA) March 31, 2020

The NewsGuild-CWA:

Gannett’s furloughs jeopardize the public’s health. They should reconsider & seek support for news operations that are essential during the pandemic. We’d support them in that — with conditions that protect workers & strengthen publications. @CWAUnin #1u

— NewsGuild (@newsguild) March 30, 2020

NFL Players Association:

One of the most inspiring #AthleteAnd stories there is. Thank you @MyronRolle for tackling this pandemic with all you've got! Stay safe! #coronavirus

— NFLPA (@NFLPA) March 28, 2020

North America's Building Trades Unions:

Looks like Detroit is working to build 900 beds for hospital overflow!

“Construction at the center will be done by @TCFCenter employees and UNION labor in ‘the most efficient way possible.’”#BuildingTradesWhateverItTakes

— The Building Trades (@NABTU) March 30, 2020

Office and Professional Employees:

We MUST protect frontline professionals and the patients they heroically care for. Tell our lawmakers to use the Defense Production Act to rapidly produce crucial life-saving masks, gowns, gloves, defibrillators, and ventilators.

📝Add your name here: #1u

— OPEIU (@OPEIU) March 26, 2020

Painters and Allied Trades:

| ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄|
| Solidarity with |
| Instacart and |
| Amazon workers |
| |
(\__/) ||
(•ㅅ•) ||
/   づ#AmazonStrike #InstacartStrike

— GoIUPAT✊🏽 (@GoIUPAT) March 30, 2020

Plasterers and Cement Masons:

In this video, #OPCMIA GP Daniel E. Stepano discusses the steps your union is taking to protect the health and financial security of you and your family during the #coronavirus pandemic. Together, we will get through this — stronger than ever.

— OPCMIA International (@opcmiaintl) March 30, 2020

Pride At Work:

Workers need union representation more than ever. Sign this petition to tell the @NLRB to resume elections immediately!

— Pride at Work (@PrideatWork) March 31, 2020

Professional Aviation Safety Specialists:

PASS is proud to represent the technicians, safety inspectors, support staff & more at Fed Aviation Admin who are doing the nation's work during this natl emergency. Thank you @SecElaineChao for recognizing their dedication to the mission @FAANews #publicservice #aviationsafety

— PASS (@PASSNational) March 31, 2020

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union:

"Workers should be protected when speaking out about safety conditions during this crisis...It is unacceptable that Amazon has terminated Chris Smalls for doing that today rather than addressing their serious COVID-19 safety problems.”

— RWDSU (@RWDSU) March 31, 2020


Be vigilant and aware of various scams during this time. We have been made aware of fake casting notices purporting to be seeking models, referencing SAG-AFTRA and the COVID-19 crisis to solicit self-tape “auditions.” #sagaftramembers

— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) March 31, 2020


Includes section on #maritime Coronavirus Highlights U.S. Strategic Vulnerabilities Spawned By Over-Reliance On China via @forbes

— Seafarers Union (@SeafarersUnion) March 31, 2020

Solidarity Center:

A coalition incl @SolidarityCntr urges business & govts take steps to safeguard #migrantworker rights during #COVID19 incl providing pay to furloughed workers & protection for those still working. @afcmfa @PacificWIN @MigrantRights @GAATW_IS @GCMigration

— Solidarity Center (@SolidarityCntr) March 31, 2020


What’s in the stimulus bill for TCU members?

Here’s our breakdown of the bill:

cc: @MachinistsUnion @TTDAFLCIO @OneRailUSA

— Transportation Communications Union/IAM (@TCUnionHQ) March 30, 2020

Theatrical Stage Employees:

For International Transgender Day of Visibility, today we celebrate the beloved transgender members of our community. We will keep up the fight to eradicate the discrimination trans people still face, both inside and outside of the workplace. #IATSEpride #TDOV

— IATSE (@IATSE) March 31, 2020

Transport Workers:

NYC is the center of the #coronavirus #pandemic and the transit system is ground zero for worker exposure. @TwuSamuelsen speaks about #COVID19's impact. #PPE #PPENow #PPEshortage #WeMoveNY

— TWU (@transportworker) March 31, 2020

Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO:

Transit workers are heroes, too.

— Transp. Trades Dept. (@TTDAFLCIO) March 30, 2020


Thank you to our UAW brothers and sisters who are reentering their plants to produce vital medical supplies as hospitals across the country face shortages.

— UAW (@UAW) March 31, 2020

Union Label and Service Trades Department, AFL-CIO:

Labor Leaders Rally Behind Federalizing Medical Supply Chain

— Union Label Dept. (@ULSTD_AFLCIO) March 27, 2020

Union Veterans Council:

On behalf of the UVC, we would like to welcome all Vietnam Veterans home.
Thank you for your service!#VietnamVeteransDay #1u

— Union Veterans Council (@unionveterans) March 29, 2020


Get this: right in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis, the Supreme Court is scheduled to issue a ruling that could put 800,000 immigrant youth in danger of being deported and put their jobs at risk.


— UNITE HERE (@unitehere) March 31, 2020

United Food and Commercial Workers:

UFCW supports all @Instacart worker demands for safer workplace & right to organize. They're delivering food to families quarantined by #coronavirus outbreak & they need extra protections now. #1u

Learn more: @Sarah___Clarke @matthewtelles @hashtagmolotov

— UFCW (@UFCW) March 30, 2020

United Steelworkers:

. @tedwheeler - Need some inspiration, watch this video of how one of our locals @ARportlandmaine, w/help from @IATSE members, turned their shop into a medical-mask making operation to help during the #COVID19 pandemic: #1u #USWUnity #ServiceSolidarity

— United Steelworkers (@steelworkers) March 31, 2020

United Union of Roofers and Waterproofers:

When properly installed, guardrails can prevent falls. Learn more at: #roofersafety365

— Roofers Union (@roofersunion) March 30, 2020

Utility Workers:

Peek behind the scenes into the challenges those in the utility sector face during #COVID19. Thanks to all of you doing this important work!👏🏿👏🏽👏🏻

— UWUA National (@The_UWUA) March 31, 2020

Working America:

Working America's Exec. Director @MattMorrisonWA sat down with @TheAtlantic to talk about how Working America is adapting to #COVID19 and our vision for building a movement that shifts economic power from CEOs to working families.

— Working America (@WorkingAmerica) March 30, 2020

Writers Guild of America, East:

$600 in unemployment benefits is a lifeline during this crisis, not a vacation. @WGAEast members who aren't able to go to work during this public emergency need the economic support that @LindseyGrahamSC @SenSasse @SenatorTimScott @SenRickScott are holding up. #COVID19 #1u

— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) March 26, 2020 Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 04/01/2020 - 11:23
Kenneth Quinnell

The New Front-Line Workers: The Working People Weekly List

2 days 17 hours ago
The New Front-Line Workers: The Working People Weekly List AFL-CIO

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

The New Front-Line Coronavirus Workers: Grocery Clerks, Delivery Drivers: "Much of the American workplace has shut down, sending millions of employees home to wait out the coronavirus pandemic. Among those still on the job are grocery-store clerks, prison guards and delivery drivers. 'Who would have ever thought that we would be on the front lines?' said Joyce Babineau, a 67-year-old supermarket supervisor in Dartmouth, Mass., a coastal village 60 miles south of Boston."

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Discusses the Labor Movement’s Respose to the Coronavirus Pandemic: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka joined Bloomberg TV this morning to talk about the labor movement's response to the coronavirus pandemic and why we need to invoke the Defense Production Act."

What Grocery Store Workers Need: "As of this writing, supermarket workers in Denver, Oregon and Washington state have tested positive for COVID-19. Here in New York City, two Trader Joe’s supermarkets have suddenly faced temporary closures after workers at the Soho and Union Square stores became confirmed cases of the disease. The closures at these stores, which have seen huge increases in customer traffic since the onset of the crisis, highlight the dangers grocery store workers—performing their jobs in close quarters with other workers and customers—are facing, typically for low pay and benefits. The situation is set to become even more precarious as more New Yorkers become ill, with the peak of the pandemic apparently still awaiting us weeks or even months in the future."

AFL-CIO's Trumka: Coronavirus Relief Package 'Not Perfect' but 'Going to Do a Lot of Good': "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka expressed support for the coronavirus stimulus package moving through Congress, although he said it's 'not perfect'."

‘Just Keep the Faith’: Workers Are Stepping Up to Beat Coronavirus: "The Machinists union and the AFL-CIO have circulated a brief video of [Trevar] Smedal as part of an effort to highlight the role union workers have played in addressing the coronavirus outbreak. Looking into the camera, he tells an anxious America, 'Just keep up the faith. I know that my co-workers, we’re going to show up every day and we’re going to get out as many as we can.'"

Nurses Call for More Protective Gear, Training in the U.S.: "In some parts of the country, nurses are already struggling to secure the equipment and training they need to safely care for their patients, while protecting themselves from the infectious disease. Without the proper protection or training, the risk is high for nurses, especially since they have the most direct contact with patients. To understand the impact this pandemic is having on nurses, The Takeaway spoke to Jean Ross, the president of National Nurses United, the largest organization of registered nurses in the United States, and Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, a registered nurse at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx and the president of the New York State Nurses Association."

Who Is Most at Risk in the Coronavirus Crisis: 24 Million of the Lowest-Income Workers: "This week, unemployment claims soared as state and federal officials restricted public gatherings and shuttered stores to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. Using wage data from the U.S. Department of Labor and working conditions surveys from O*NET, we analyzed those who are most vulnerable."

Unions: “Essential” Workers Need More Coronavirus Protection: "Union leaders, representing workers that have been deemed 'essential' as Illinois battles the coronavirus, called Monday for more protective gear to guard members against infection."

Women's History Month Profiles: Roxanne Brown: "For Women's History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various women who were, and some who still are, leaders and activists working at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Today, we are looking at Roxanne Brown."

Fighting the Coronavirus: Making Ventilators: "Trevar Smedal is a member of Machinists (IAM) Local 1406 employed at General Electric's Datex-Ohmeda in Madison, Wisconsin. He and his co-workers are in a race against the clock to produce ventilators needed in the worldwide fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch the video to hear Trevar's story."

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

Women's History Month Profiles: Jessie Lopez de la Cruz: "For Women's History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various women who were, and some who still are, leaders and activists working at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Today, we are looking at Jessie Lopez de la Cruz."

Talking About COVID-19: Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup: "In addition to the AFL-CIO's own 'State of the Unions,' there are a lot of other podcasts out there that have their own approach to discussing labor issues and the rights of working people. Here are the latest podcasts from across the labor movement in the United States."

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 03/31/2020 - 11:27
Kenneth Quinnell

Coping with Coronavirus: Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup

2 days 17 hours ago
Coping with Coronavirus: Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup

In addition to the AFL-CIO's own "State of the Unions," there are a lot of other podcasts out there that have their own approach to discussing labor issues and the rights of working people. Here are the latest podcasts from across the labor movement in the United States.

The Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO, and Chris Garlock have launched a new show, the Labor Radio/Podcast Weekly, which includes clips from various radio shows and podcasts that talk about labor, unions and working people's issues. If you are interested in getting your clips onto the show, contact for more details.

Building Bridges: "Nurses Blast Government and Hospital Readiness for Coronavirus," with Deborah Burger, practicing nurse, co-president of National Nurses United (NNU) and president of the California Nurses Association. 

CTU Speaks!: Co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros speak with Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) officers, President Jesse Sharkey and Vice President Stacy Davis Gates, about the COVID-19 pandemic and its far-reaching impact on schools, the union, the city and the world. Then they interview Emily Hecht, the CTU delegate at Vaughn Occupational High School about how the school community is responding to the urgent needs of students and parents.

Heartland Labor Forum: Talking with members of the League of Women Voters about their 10 recommendations for assuring that tax giveaways actually serve the public good, not private greed.

Labor History Today: Talking to Kurt Stand about his last days of work before the COVID-19 shutdown, Carl Goldman about the 1913 textile strike in Haldeon, New Jersey, and Jessica Pauszek about Tough Annie, a wealthy woman who supported working women in London during the struggle for women's suffrage.

Union City Radio: Union City Radio is aired seven days a week during the COVID-19 crisis. Recent episodes have interviewed teachers, transit workers, firefighters and hotel workers.

Union Strong: A day in history that changed workplace safety.

Willamette Wake-Up: Talking about labor and the Green New Deal with Mike Ellison and Marty Hart-Landsberg. 

Workers Beat: The show airs 9 a.m. every Saturday morning on KNON 89.3 FM in Dallas. Hosted by Gene Lantz.

Your Rights At Work: Helping D.C. workers cope with COVID-19 and discussing whether or not the stimulus bill is good news for America's workers.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 03/31/2020 - 10:48

Tags: Podcast

Kenneth Quinnell

Women's History Month Profiles: Roxanne Brown

3 days 17 hours ago
Women's History Month Profiles: Roxanne Brown AFL-CIO

For Women's History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various women who were, and some who still are, leaders and activists working at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Today, we are looking at Roxanne Brown.

Roxanne Brown currently serves as international vice president at large for the United Steelworkers (USW). She has served USW's membership for more than two decades.

During her career, she has helped advance legislation to strengthen U.S. defense procurement laws and shape environmental policies to benefit USW members with jobs. She helped build bridges between USW members and the Environmental Protection Agency to achieve mutually beneficial goals. She worked to rally 20,000 people to protect the steel industry from foreign dumping.

She was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and raised in New York. Through the And Still I Rise program, Brown wrote about her work. Here are some key excerpts.

On the challenges of moving to clean energy:

Much of the work that we’re trying to do is to help design good, sensible and reasonable clean energy policies that take my members into account on the industrial side, and in the building and construction trades. We want to ensure that all of us play a role in this new, emerging economy.

On the gender wage gap:

We have to create that equality across the board. Every wage gap that exists is money that’s leaving the pockets of women all over the country. I grew up in a single-family household. My mom was a single mom. Every penny counts when you’re a single mom. The labor movement understands that. This is why wage equality has been one of its biggest fights.

On how she got into union work:

I grew up around unions, but didn’t know what they were. I’m from Jamaica. My family settled in New York. The women in my family worked in healthcare and food services. An aunt who worked for the county hospital was a member of the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA). She would take me to union picnics and union parties, but I had no idea what CSEA was. I just thought it was the hospital party. That was my very first experience with unions. I started with the Steelworkers when I was 19 years old. 

On why she loves her fellow union members:

My very first day with the Steelworkers, I met a group of legislative interns who were members. That is when I fell in love with my union, because I fell in love with our members. They were nontraditional and diverse. They were from all walks of life. We’re the largest union in the paper sector; the oil sector; chemicals and rubber; and the auto industry. We actually have more people working in the auto industry than the United Auto Workers because our members make the components for automobiles—steel, aluminum, seats, glass and tires—literally everything.

On diversity in the labor movement:

It is very helpful for the future and growth of our union for our members to be more comfortable with diversity, particularly as more and more public sector workers are organized and we get more nurses, bus drivers, and cab drivers in the fold. For our union to fully move into the 21st century, it needs to be inclusive. I’m part of us moving in that direction.

On the purpose of unions:

I want young people, people of color, immigrants, and women to know that unions are about power. They are about economic power. They are about educational power—because those wages allow people to send their kids to school. They are about financial power for the future, because a lot of these union jobs have very strong retirement benefits associated with them.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 03/30/2020 - 11:03
Kenneth Quinnell

Fighting the Coronavirus: Making Ventilators

6 days 14 hours ago
Fighting the Coronavirus: Making Ventilators

Trevar Smedal is a member of Machinists (IAM) Local 1406 employed at General Electric's Datex-Ohmeda in Madison, Wisconsin. He and his co-workers are in a race against the clock to produce ventilators needed in the worldwide fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch the video to hear Trevar's story.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 03/27/2020 - 14:37

Tags: COVID-19

Kenneth Quinnell

Put Workers First: In the States Roundup

1 week ago
Put Workers First: 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.

Find state-by-state COVID19-related resources here.

Alaska AFL-CIO:

Here’s what we are watching today as part of our #AtHomeAction.#akleg #akgov

— Alaska AFL-CIO (@AKAFLCIO) March 24, 2020

Arizona AFL-CIO:

Our @afscme2384 Brothers and Sisters need Personal Protective Equiptment (PPE’s) to SAFELY do their jobs! @MayorGallego @CityofPhoenixAZ @PHXDistrict5 @PhxDistrict8 @Pastor4Council @PhxDistrict7

— Arizona AFL-CIO (@ArizonaAFLCIO) March 23, 2020

Arkansas AFL-CIO:

Please call your Senators and ask that they put workers FIRST. Workers are keeping this nation together right now. Workers MUST stick together. #1u #ARLabor #ARUnions

— Arkansas AFL-CIO (@ArkansasAFLCIO) March 23, 2020

California Labor Federation:

.@Uber's proposal drew sharp criticism from labor unions. “A ‘third way’ is just a euphemism for creating a new underclass of workers with fewer rights and protections,” said @ArtPulaski executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation

— California Labor Federation (@CaliforniaLabor) March 25, 2020

Colorado AFL-CIO:

With the freedom to join a union, public service workers have the voice on the job they need to advocate for better resources & training to respond to #Covid_19. Call your Representative @ 1-877-682-6145 & tell them to support the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act #PSFN

— Colorado AFL-CIO (@AFLCIOCO) March 12, 2020

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

The #COVID19 pandemic has exposed the shortcomings of our worker protection and health care systems. Contact the Governor and your legislators to urge them to ensure the health and economic security of all working people in Connecticut:

— Connecticut AFL-CIO (@ConnAFLCIO) March 23, 2020

Florida AFL-CIO:

The current administration has quietly pushed for rules making it harder for public sector unions during the pandemic.

There’s nothing more disgusting than union busting, especially during a crisis!

— Florida AFL-CIO (@FLAFLCIO) March 24, 2020

Georgia AFL-CIO:

.@BrianKempGA grocery store, pharmacy, and food production workers ARE emergency service providers. Include us in your emergency declaration so we can keep on feeding America during this crisis. Send a message to Gov Kemp & share this link: #1u #gapol

— AFL-CIO Georgia (@AFLCIOGeorgia) March 25, 2020

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

Using power and privilege to exploit the weak and vulnerable in the face of a common threat is morally repugnant. #1u #coronavirus

— Indiana AFL-CIO (@INAFLCIO) March 25, 2020

Maine AFL-CIO:

How many will die before @GDBIW & the @USNavy begin taking the #COVID19 crisis seriously?

Tell Assistant Navy Secretary James Geurts, GD CEO Phebe Novakovic, BIW President Dirk Lesko & BIW VP @jonfitz207 to protect workers & the public! #mepolitics

— Maine AFL-CIO (@MEAFLCIO) March 24, 2020

Massachusetts AFL-CIO:

A message from President Steve Tolman regarding the working people's priorities during COVID-19 response efforts:

(1/x) #mapoli #1u

— Massachusetts AFL-CIO (@massaflcio) March 24, 2020

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

“It’s very bad”: DC hotel workers cope with COVID-19 - Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO

— MetroDCLaborCouncil (@DCLabor) March 25, 2020

Michigan AFL-CIO:

Please help our brothers and sisters fighting on the frontlines to #stopthespread. If you have any of these critical materials, please ship or drop them to the regional emergency management coalition site that’s closest to you: #coronavirus #COVIDー19

— Michigan AFL-CIO (@MIAFLCIO) March 23, 2020

Minnesota AFL-CIO:

With N-95 collection drive, @mnnurses gear up for challenge ahead (via @unionadvocate) #1u #COVID19

— Minnesota AFL-CIO (@MNAFLCIO) March 25, 2020

Missouri AFL-CIO:

🚨 Gov. Parson continues to drag his feet on decisive action that will help workers and protect our communities. Working families across Missouri are hurting during this crisis. We need Governor Parson to lead. We need you to take action now! ✊

— Missouri AFL-CIO (@MOAFLCIO) March 25, 2020

Montana AFL-CIO:

It took a pandemic for the world to realize how grossly irresponsible billion-dollar corporations like @McDonalds are by not giving their workers paid sick leave.

— Montana AFL-CIO (@MTaflcio) March 23, 2020

Nebraska State AFL-CIO:

While public health officials work to limit the spread of the #coronavirus (#COVID19), we're asking for your help with another potential public health issue: a severe shortage of blood for patients. Healthy donors are urged to make an appt w/ the @RedCross

— NE State AFL-CIO (@NEAFLCIO) March 23, 2020

New Jersey State AFL-CIO:

Today the State Senate passed over two dozen bills to assist residents, workers and businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. Of particular interest to the New Jersey State AFL-CIO and its members are bills assisting workers.

— New Jersey AFL-CIO (@NJAFLCIO) March 19, 2020

New York State AFL-CIO:

Learn more about the #COVID19 relief available to workers at

Stay safe, Stay #UnionStrong!

— NYSAFLCIO (@NYSAFLCIO) March 20, 2020

North Carolina State AFL-CIO:

ICYMI: the House Select Committee on #COVID19 wants your input on how they should act during this unprecedented time. Public comment portal here: #ncpol #ncga

— NC State AFL-CIO (@NCStateAFLCIO) March 25, 2020

North Dakota AFL-CIO:

Call 1-866-832-1560 and Tell @SenJohnHoeven and @SenKevinCramer to put working people like us first, not big business and the 1%. Now is not the time for crony capitalism.#1u #ndpol #aflcio

— North Dakota AFL-CIO (@NDAFLCIO) March 22, 2020


That’s our Senator! Always and forever standing up for working people.

— Ohio AFL-CIO (@ohioaflcio) March 25, 2020

Oregon AFL-CIO:

.@OregonGovBrown issued an executive order today urging Oregonians to stay home. Here's 4 ways you can help fight #COVID19 and protect workers while social distancing: #1u #UnionStrong

— Oregon AFL-CIO (@OregonAFLCIO) March 23, 2020

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

We want protective equipment and hazard pay, because our co-pays are so high.- @Teamsters Local 249 #COVID19 @AlleghenyLabor

— PA AFL-CIO (@PaAFL_CIO) March 25, 2020

Rhode Island AFL-CIO:

Visit our website for Coronavirus COVID-19 resources. #coronavirus #COVID19

— Rhode Island AFL-CIO (@riaflcio) March 19, 2020

Texas AFL-CIO:

"There’s so much we could have done, and should have done, that would have made our ability to respond so much more effective. There’s nothing inevitable about what’s happening right now; we’ve been warning the state about this for years.” - @RickTxAFLCIO

— Texas AFL-CIO (@TexasAFLCIO) March 25, 2020

Virginia AFL-CIO:

#SocialDistancing is not social isolation.
Safe activities:
🌻Yard work
🎲Family game night
🚶‍♀️Going on a walk
📲Calling or texting a friend or older neighbor
🍝Cooking a meal
💻Virtual trivia nights
📕Reading a good book
🎮Playing video games
📺Streaming a show#COVID19VA

— Virginia AFL-CIO (@Virginia_AFLCIO) March 25, 2020

Washington State Labor Council:

Get the latest information on how to apply for unemployment benefits in Washington state, including eligibility for workers temporarily laid off due to the governor's "stay home" order. @ESDwaWorks

— WA State AFL-CIO (@WAAFLCIO) March 25, 2020

West Virginia AFL-CIO:

1/2 Members of IUPAT District 53 (construction trades) are gathering N95 Respirators & protective suits, distributing to local healthcare/nursing home facilities. This load of 75 masks/150 suits headed to facilities in Parkersburg area. Keep up good work, stay safe👊! #wvpol

— West Virginia AFLCIO (@WestVirginiaAFL) March 23, 2020

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO:

Evers Administration Issues 'Stay-At-Home' Order For Wisconsin,

— WI AFL-CIO (@wisaflcio) March 25, 2020 Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 03/26/2020 - 09:03
Kenneth Quinnell

Women's History Month Profiles: Jessie Lopez de la Cruz

1 week 1 day ago
Women's History Month Profiles: Jessie Lopez de la Cruz AFL-CIO

For Women's History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various women who were, and some who still are, leaders and activists working at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Today, we are looking at Jessie Lopez de la Cruz.

In 1919, Jessie Lopez was born in Anaheim, California. Her family was poor enough that she began working in fruit and vegetable fields at five. Her family soon began working as migrant farmworkers, and they were hit hard by the Great Depression. 

While working in San Juan Capistrano in 1932, Jessie was asked to help translate during a strike of Mexican workers, as she had the best English of the workers, who were mostly Mexican. In 1938, she married another farmworker, Arnold de la Cruz, and they went on to have six children.

She continued as a farmworker for decades before becoming inspired to start organizing workers. She wouldn't become an organizer until she was in her 40s. Her husband, Arnold, began working with César Chávez and the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) in 1965. Meetings were held in the couple's home, and soon Jessie began to volunteer as well.

After the NFWA became the United Farm Workers (UFW), Jessie became the top recruiter in the union. She led or participated in a variety of actions, such as picketing stores, to advocate for the safety of Mexican American workers and against employer corruption and abuse. 

UFW established its first hiring hall in 1968 and Jessie became the manager. Her tireless efforts led her to even more exposure and activity in organizations like the Fresno County Economic Opportunity Commission, Central California Action Associates, California's Commission on the Status of Women.

Jessie worked to improve UFW as well. Her advocacy led the union to expand opportunities for women in leadership positions, despite strong opposition.

She retired from UFW in 1993 and spent her retirement working with California Rural Legal Assistance and her local Catholic charity. After she died in 2013, her biography was adapted into a television miniseries.

Watch a video with more about the story of Jessie Lopez de la Cruz:

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 03/25/2020 - 11:03
Kenneth Quinnell

Talking About COVID-19: Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup

1 week 2 days ago
Talking About COVID-19: Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup

In addition to the AFL-CIO's own "State of the Unions," there are a lot of other podcasts out there that have their own approach to discussing labor issues and the rights of working people. Here are the latest podcasts from across the labor movement in the United States.

America’s Work Force: The Benefits of Mechanical Insulation: Insulators Union Labor Management Cooperative Trust Executive Director Pete Ielmini talking about the benefits mechanical insulation offers to mechanical systems and the companies where it is properly installed and maintained.

Belabored Podcast #193: Work in the Time of Coronavirus: As the coronavirus spreads across the world, we discuss what it means for workers in health care, the gig economy and other front-line industries.

Building Bridges: What Is to Be Done: Forging a systemic response to address the health and economic crisis of the pandemic, with Dean Baker, senior economist and co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Heartland Labor Forum: It's been 55 years since Selma: How far have we come? Also updates on how the pandemic is affecting Kansas City workers.

IAFF Podcast: Managing Your Retirement Accounts in the Era of COVID-19: "IAFF [Fire Fighters] Financial Corp Chief Financial Officer Carrie Tucker sits down with Mark and Doug to discuss the recent stock market volatility, how it is affecting retirement accounts and what firefighters should be doing during this unprecedented time."

Labor History Today: The Great Postal Strike, Watergate and “Casey Jones, the Union Scab.”

Labor Live@5 (D.C.): A D.C.-based women's social justice a cappella group, SongRise, encourages perseverance, raises awareness, breaks down barriers, touches hearts and inspires action through song. 

State of the Unions: A discussion with Matt Morrison, executive director of Working America, about how the affiliate union is mobilizing millions of workers from all demographics who otherwise lack representation at work.

UCOMM: Understanding the NFLPA Contract Battle: Plus, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) on the PRO Act, teachers fight for more funding and more.

Union City Radio: Resources to help survive the economic impact of coronavirus.

Union Strong: COVID-19 relief for working people.

Willamette Wake-Up: The crisis in private sector pensions with Don McIntosh.

WorkWeek: The San Francisco housing and homeless crisis with San Francisco Supervisor Dean Preston, port safety with ILWU Local 10 President Trent Willis and more. 

You Are the Current Resident (NALC): A discussion with Executive Vice President Brian Renfroe and Mark Sims, COVID-19 updates and more.

Your Rights At Work (D.C.): The latest on workers and the coronavirus.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 03/24/2020 - 09:10

Tags: Podcast

Kenneth Quinnell

Our Response to the Coronavirus: The Working People Weekly List

1 week 3 days ago
Our Response to the Coronavirus: 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.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Talks About the Coronavirus’ Impact on America's Workers: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka talks about the coronavirus’s impact on American workers and what he expects ahead. He talks about the U.S. economy more widely as well, labor’s relationship with Congress and the administration and presidential politics."

AFL-CIO President Trumka on Our Response to the Coronavirus: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka was on Bloomberg Radio discussing our response to the coronavirus and our demands moving forward."

AFL-CIO Calls on Federal Government to Protect Entertainment Industry Workers: "With hundreds of thousands of entertainment industry workers suddenly unemployed by the coronavirus shutdown, unions and guilds affiliated with the AFL-CIO’s Department for Professional Employees are calling on President Trump, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Congress to quickly pass emergency relief legislation to enhance and expand state unemployment benefits and send direct cash to the impacted workers they represent.” 

‘At War with No Ammo’: Doctors Say Shortage of Protective Gear Is Dire: "With coronavirus cases soaring, doctors, nurses and other front-line medical workers across the United States are confronting a dire shortage of masks, surgical gowns and eye gear to protect them from the virus."

The Delivery Workers Who Risk Their Health to Bring You Food: "As New Yorkers barricade themselves in their homes to practice “social distancing,” delivery workers, typically an overlooked group, have now taken on outsized significance and are on the front lines of the outbreak. With demand for deliveries surging, a largely immigrant work force has become a critical link, providing food, groceries, medication and many other items that many people can no longer easily access or are unwilling to go out and purchase. Beside risking their own health, workers typically earn meager salaries and have no health insurance or any other labor protections."

Airline Union Leader: ‘The Casualties Are Starting to Pile Up’: "The airline layoffs that began this week will snowball and cripple the industry’s ability to recover once the novel coronavirus pandemic is contained unless federal lawmakers act swiftly to prop up payrolls, the leader of the nation’s top flight attendants union said Friday."

Trumka Praises Workers, Slams Trump and Profiteers on Coronavirus Pandemic: "Workers, union and non-union, are responding magnificently to the coronavirus pandemic, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says. Business and GOP President Donald Trump are another matter."

'I Can’t Overstate How Devastating This Crisis Has Been': "Karen Kent, head of UNITE HERE Local 1, estimates that three-fourths of the 16,000 hospitality workers her union represents are out of work or laid off as a result of coronavirus-related cancellations and cutbacks."

How to Keep U.S. Workers Safe During Coronavirus: "Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka join 'Morning Joe' to discuss safety for U.S. workers and what the labor movement is doing in this time of crisis."

As Coronavirus Deepens Inequality, Inequality Worsens Its Spread: "As the coronavirus spreads across the globe, it appears to be setting off a devastating feedback loop with another of the gravest forces of our time: economic inequality. In societies where the virus hits, it is deepening the consequences of inequality, pushing many of the burdens onto the losers of today’s polarized economies and labor markets. Research suggests that those in lower economic strata are likelier to catch the disease. They are also likelier to die from it."

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on the Coronavirus Pandemic: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka was on Bloomberg Business discussing the coronavirus pandemic and its effect on the American worker."

Gig Economy Workers Are Our Newest First Responders: "These low-paid, unsung workers—Instacart shoppers but also the Amazon delivery folks and everyone else who is doing gig work today that helps other people engage in self-protective social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic—are now the equivalent of first responders."

Women's History Month Profiles: Elizabeth Gurley Flynn: "For Women's History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various women who were, and some who still are, leaders and activists working at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Today, we are looking at Elizabeth Gurley Flynn."

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Answers COVID-19 Questions on Facebook Live: "In a Facebook Live event Wednesday, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) spoke about working people's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and answered questions from union members."

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Working America, AFL-CIO's Community Affiliate: "On the latest episode of 'State of the Unions,' podcast co-host Julie Greene Collier and guest co-host Carolyn Bobb sit down with Matt Morrison, executive director of Working America, the 3.5 million-member community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, to discuss how the affiliate is mobilizing millions of workers from all demographics who otherwise lack representation at work."

Transit Workers Win Organizing Victories: Worker Wins: "Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with a series of wins for transit workers and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life."

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 03/23/2020 - 14:28
Kenneth Quinnell

The Response to COVID-19: What Working People Are Doing This Week

1 week 3 days ago
The Response to COVID-19: 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.

Actors' Equity:

Thank you @SenGaryPeters for introducing this legislation. This would protect arts workers by allowing them to apply for unemployment insurance for jobs they had accepted but had not yet started due to postponement by the coronavirus.

— Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) March 20, 2020


Thank you @FederalNewsNet for recognizing federal employees who continue to make our government work during these uncertain times. #1u #COVID19

— AFGE (@AFGENational) March 20, 2020


“When things like these episodes break out, we’re on the front lines.” – Leo Laffitte, a custodian for 18 years at the Hartford Public Library, a member of AFSCME Local 1716 and a district vice president for @AFSCMECT4.

— AFSCME (@AFSCME) March 20, 2020

Air Line Pilots Association:

READ: ALPA signs on to #aviation labor #union letter to Cong. "It is imperative that any relief package focus on the workers ...Any federal aid must keep employees on payroll, protect labor rights & come w/ statutory guarantees that the money will go to the frontline workforce"

— ALPA (@WeAreALPA) March 19, 2020

Alliance for Retired Americans:

Election workers are wary. Fearing infection, voters aren't showing up at the polls. #COVID19 has made it even more important for all 50 states to have the option to vote by mail. Sign our petition to demand action:

— Alliance Retirees (@ActiveRetirees) March 19, 2020

Amalgamated Transit Union:

ATU Coronavirus (COVID-19) Alert. To download and share with your fellow ATU members, please click here: #TogetherWeFightTogetherWeWin #1u #OneATU

— ATU, Transit Union (@ATUComm) March 16, 2020

American Federation of Musicians:

The Coronavirus Response Act helps many working people, but it does not help all of us. Many musicians can't qualify for unemployment or other benefits. Tell your legislators to provide relief NOW. #1u #CoronavirusResponse

— AFM (@The_AFM) March 20, 2020

American Federation of Teachers:

We want to take a moment to thank all the nurses, healthcare professionals, educators, faculty, support staff, public employees, and all others who are on the front lines to keep our communities safe during this pandemic. #ThankAFirstResponder

— AFT (@AFTunion) March 19, 2020

American Postal Workers Union:

Today the union signed two memoranda of understanding with USPS temporarily expanding paid leave for PSEs and expanding the use of dependent care leave for postal employees with unexpected childcare needs as a result of the pandemic. #APWUnited

— APWU National (@APWUnational) March 18, 2020

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance:

APALA releases guidance on how to protect AAPI workers in light of the outbreak of COVID-19!

1. Share the guidance on how to protect AAPI workers!
2. Print out and hang the poster in your workplace or place of business to show support!

— Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (@APALAnational) March 5, 2020

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:

We've seen catastrophe before. We know what didn't work & we won't let that happen again. We need relief that focuses on REAL people.

Tell Congress: Any public relief plan should be #PeopleFirst plan w/ legally-binding rules, incl paycheck continuation.

— AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) March 20, 2020


We can all use a little good news right now. If you or a #Boilermaker you know has stepped up in a special way during this pandemic crisis, share your story with the Boilermaker Reporter at We are #unionstrong in this together.

— Boilermakers Union (@boilermakernews) March 19, 2020


In response to questions from those in the #construction industry, @CPWR has developed guidance on #COVID-19. Check it out: #coronovarius #1u

— Bricklayers Union (@IUBAC) March 19, 2020

California School Employees Association:

Nearly all of California schools are closed or have announced that they will close because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Governor Newsom has indicated that they may not reopen before the summer break. Please view this thread for more information.

— CSEA (@CSEA_Now) March 18, 2020

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists:

NEW: Statement by CBTU President Terry Melvin on the coronavirus and CBTU’s convention in May.

— CBTU (@CBTU72) March 17, 2020

Coalition of Labor Union Women:

In EVERY state, public service workers are on the frontlines of fighting #COVID19. But in 24 states, they lack the freedom to collectively bargain for improvements that protect all of us. Tell your Rep. to pass the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act 1-877-682-6145 #PSFN

— CLUW National (@CLUWNational) March 12, 2020

Communications Workers of America:

Nearly all of California schools are closed or have announced that they will close because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Governor Newsom has indicated that they may not reopen before the summer break. Please view this thread for more information.

— CSEA (@CSEA_Now) March 18, 2020

Department for Professional Employees:

"Elected officials have a moral responsibility to ensure emergency relief packages address these workers’ unique circumstances." - DPE President @J_Dorning #1u

— Department for Professional Employees (@DPEaflcio) March 20, 2020

Electrical Workers:

Message from @IBEW_CCO James Barry regarding recent updates and Government response to COVID-19 Pandemic

— IBEW (@IBEW) March 20, 2020

Fire Fighters:

Listen to Episode 1 of our #COVID-19 Podcast
Please subscribe, like and share!

— IAFF (@IAFFNewsDesk) March 19, 2020

Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers-USW:

The General Executive Board is placing a suspension on all Local Union Meetings until such time as the COVID-19 virus national emergency quarantine and isolation recommendations are lifted.
Read more from the General Executive Board here:

— Insulators Union (@InsulatorsUnion) March 20, 2020

International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers:

Great resource for Californians from the amazing staff at @LegalAidAtWork !!

— IFPTE (@IFPTE) March 19, 2020

International Labor Communications Association:

Bookmark this @AFLCIO #COVID19 resource page #1u

— Labor Communications (@ILCAonline) March 18, 2020


The growing COVID-19 crisis has roiled the U.S. construction industry from coast to coast, with contractors large and small mired in uncertainty and wondering what their next steps should be. #SocialDistanacing #ThursdayThoughts

— Ironworkers. (@TheIronworkers) March 19, 2020

Jobs with Justice:

Like so many other working people, minor league baseball players are struggling to make ends meet. A brand new organization just launched with aims on changing that. Excited to see what @MiLBAdvocates has in store!

— Jobs With Justice (@jwjnational) March 20, 2020

Labor Council for Latin American Advancement:

¿Qué debo hacer protegerme del coronavirus? ¿Cómo puedo evitar el contagio? ¿Quiénes son las personas que corren mayor riesgo? Mantengámonos informados!

— LCLAA (@LCLAA) March 16, 2020


We have updated our #COVID19 resource center.

📍 Virus prevention tips
📍 Specific guidance for transportation and healthcare workers
📍 Messages and status updates from IAM leadership

— Machinists Union ✈️🚊🚀 (@MachinistsUnion) March 12, 2020

Maritime Trades Department:

We may be waiting on a vaccine for COVID-19, but we already have an antidote for when the boss tries to lay you off for getting sick. It’s called a union. Tell your Congressmember to support the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act at 1-877-682-6145 #PSFN

— MaritimeTrades (@Maritime_Trades) March 12, 2020

Metal Trades Department:

With all of the uncertainty surrounding the stock market and the economy the MTD has posted "A guide to market fluctuations" from Capital Group | American Funds.

— Metal Trades Dept. (@metaltradesafl) March 12, 2020

Mine Workers:

While the coronavirus, at this time, is primarily occurring in America’s coastal states, it will soon move inland. We want to make sure that UMWA members and their families have the proper resources to remain as safe and healthy as possible.

— United Mine Workers (@MineWorkers) March 19, 2020

Musical Artists:

In response to the public health crisis brought on by COVID-19, members of the Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds (COBUG) issued the following statement: #AGMAendures #WeAreAGMA

— AGMA (@AGMusicalArtist) March 18, 2020

National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA:

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
March 16, 2020

— NABET-CWA (@NABETCWA) March 16, 2020

National Association of Letter Carriers:

Mandatory Stand-Up Talk on new customer signature capture process. (Mar 19):

Executive VP Renfroe delivers updates on #COVID19, including the new signature capture process. Listen to the podcast (Ep. 2):

— Letter Carriers (@NALC_National) March 20, 2020

National Day Laborer Organizing Network:

Too many low wage and migrant workers are excluded from paid sick leave n other protections, so we are launching the Immigrant Worker Safety Net Fund to provide immediate support so workers can take care of themselves and their families. Will you chip-in?

— NDLON (@NDLON) March 19, 2020

National Domestic Workers Alliance:

Slowing the spread of the #coronavirus requires most of us to stay home. But many care workers cannot . We can help domestic workers — and all of us — stay safe by donating to the #CoronavirusCareFund. We're all in this together!

— Domestic Workers (@domesticworkers) March 16, 2020

National Nurses United:

Solidarity with workers taking action to protect themselves and their communities during the #COVID19 pandemic!#1u

— NationalNursesUnited (@NationalNurses) March 18, 2020

National Taxi Workers Alliance:

Drivers: We want you to stay safe. We want you to have financial support. Please read our message about available resources. We are here for you during this crisis.

— NY Taxi Workers (@NYTWA) March 16, 2020

The NewsGuild-CWA:

Connectivity is essential in times of crisis.That's why our parent union @CWAunion & allies are asking broadband CEOs to lift data caps, waive fees, & do everything in their power to help people connect to the world from home & stop the spread of COVID-19.

— NewsGuild (@newsguild) March 17, 2020

NFL Players Association:

Players: NOW is the time to reset and refocus. Work on your resume, connect with people you always said you'd get around to connecting with, take an online course.

We have resources with @AthlLife that can help you prepare:

— NFLPA (@NFLPA) March 19, 2020

North America's Building Trades Unions:

In response to the construction industry's questions regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, the following are steps EVERYONE should be taking now:

— The Building Trades (@NABTU) March 12, 2020

Office and Professional Employees:

OPEIU members can access hardship benefits — including healthcare assistance, financial assistance, and homeowner assistance — via @UnionPlus. Learn more at the link below. #1u #COVID19 #OPEIU

— OPEIU (@OPEIU) March 19, 2020

Painters and Allied Trades:

Construction workers demand health coverage for the insured and uninsured. Congress needs to recognize that layoffs, jobsite shutdowns, long-term unemployment and prolonged economic uncertainty put us ALL at risk. #SaveWorkers #WeAreUnion

— GoIUPAT✊🏽 (@GoIUPAT) March 20, 2020

Pride At Work:

Big heartfelt thanks to the millions of grocery and restaurant workers who are on the front lines making sure we have food. They all deserve affordable healthcare.

— Pride at Work (@PrideatWork) March 16, 2020

Professional Aviation Safety Specialists:

LAS tower: PASS alarmed that FAA tech ops workers not immediately informed about test results so they could take proper precautions. Learned about exposure AFTER tower at McCarran was evacuated. FAA must act!@repdinatitus @SenJackyRosen @SenCortezMasto

— PASS (@PASSNational) March 19, 2020

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union:

RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum's latest column: "The goal of any recovery action and legislation needs to be simple: no worker should suffer loss of income because of this pandemic, including those who aren’t sick or caring for the ill."

— RWDSU (@RWDSU) March 19, 2020


If your employer has reduced your hours or shut down operations due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance. We’ve built a database of governmental agency websites:

— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) March 18, 2020

School Administrators:

School principals say, "It's time to shut down all U.S. schools." @khefling, @PerezJr, @NickNiedz, @cnnbrk, @MSNBC, @FoxNews, @CBSNews, @ABC, @NBCNews, @AP

— AFSA Leadership (@AFSAUnion) March 15, 2020


Important update for SIU members:

— Seafarers Union (@SeafarersUnion) March 20, 2020

Solidarity Center:

As #journalists are thrown out of countries or otherwise prevented from doing their job reporting on #coronavirus, govts are jeopardizing the dissemination of essential facts the public needs to keep themselves safe. #pressfreedom @pressfreedom @RSF_inter

— Solidarity Center (@SolidarityCntr) March 20, 2020

Theatrical Stage Employees:

#IATSEWomen are leading the charge in our efforts to get congress to include entertainment workers in a #COVID19 federal relief package.

Nearly 60% of those who sent letters to congress through our Action Network link are women!#WomensHistoryMonth

— IATSE (@IATSE) March 20, 2020

Transport Workers:

TWU Local 2055 Secretary Treasure Gary Criscuolo (left, green hard hat & Executive Board member Nick Pascale Chicago (right) appeared in a @FOX61News news segment about cleaning @MetroNorth trains during the #coronavirus pandemic #TWURailroadDivision

— TWU (@transportworker) March 19, 2020

Transportation Trades Department:

From TTD President Larry Willis: Lawmakers must ensure bailout & stimulus funds flow to working families, collective bargaining rights must be preserved #COVID19

— Transp. Trades Dept. (@TTDAFLCIO) March 17, 2020


“We’ve been working very closely with the FCA leadership and are very pleased that they have taken this step to help us protect the hard-working men and women and our communities across the nation." - UAW President Rory Gamble

— UAW (@UAW) March 18, 2020


🙏Hope is NOT a strategy.

📝We need a PLAN OF ACTION that addresses urgent & immediate needs of the American worker—not just the American industry.

📲Tell Congress they MUST prioritize #WorkersFirst in any #AirlineBailout.


— UNITE HERE (@unitehere) March 20, 2020

United Food and Commercial Workers:

America’s grocery workers on front lines of #Coronavirus are working long hours to make sure families have food & supplies they need.

These workers need #PaidLeave to keep our communities strong.@SenateMajLdr @SpeakerPelosi @SenSchumer @GOPLeader must cover these workers now.

— UFCW (@UFCW) March 17, 2020

United Steelworkers:

Help keep your members safe & healthy. Check out some materials you can download & share with your local at #Coronavirus #Covid19 #1u

— United Steelworkers (@steelworkers) March 20, 2020

Utility Workers:

If your lights are on, your home is warm, & you have fresh flowing tapwater... thank the UWUA members from across the nation working around the clock to keep all of these services intact. RETWEET to show your support for our hardworking utility workers! #1u #COVID19 #coronavirus

— UWUA National (@The_UWUA) March 18, 2020

Working America:

Big Pharma greed is death profiteering.

— Working America (@WorkingAmerica) March 20, 2020

Writers Guild of America, East:

Schiff is 💯! Many entertainment workers don’t get leave and unemployment benefits due to the unique nature of their work. We need that to change!

Pls call your Reps at 202-223-3121 & urge them to include entertainment industry workers in the next #COVID19 economic relief bill.

— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) March 19, 2020 Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 03/23/2020 - 13:10

Tags: COVID-19

Kenneth Quinnell

Women's History Month Profiles: Elizabeth Gurley Flynn

1 week 6 days ago
Women's History Month Profiles: Elizabeth Gurley Flynn AFL-CIO

For Women's History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various women who were, and some who still are, leaders and activists working at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Today, we are looking at Elizabeth Gurley Flynn.

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was born in 1890 in Concord, New Hampshire, to a radical, activist working-class family. When she was 10, the family moved to the South Bronx, where she attended public school. By the time she was 15, Flynn was active in socialist groups. At 15, she gave her first public speech, and the next year she was expelled from high school. She became a full-time organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).

In the years leading up to World War I, Flynn was active on women's rights, free speech for IWW speakers and organizing textile strikes in places like Lawrence, Massachusetts, and Paterson, New Jersey. She also worked to organize garment workers in Pennsylvania, silk weavers in New Jersey, restaurant workers in New York City and miners in Minnesota. 

Flynn opposed the war when it broke out, and like many war opponents, she was charged with espionage. The charges were dropped and Flynn began working to defend immigrants threatened with deportation for their opposition to the war.

In 1920, Flynn helped found the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and was elected to the national board. From 1927-1930, she chaired International Labor Defense. During that time she was active in trying to free jailed labor organizers Thomas J. Mooney and Warren K. Billings. For the first half of the 1930s, she withdrew from public life because of bad health, but she returned to public life in 1939 and was re-elected to the ACLU board. When Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin signed a nonaggression pact, the ACLU expelled all Communist Party members from its ranks, including Flynn.

Flynn ran for the Communist Party of America's Central Committee successfully, and ran for a seat in Congress unsuccessfully. During World War II, Flynn fought for women's economic equality. After the war, as communism grew more unpopular in the United States, Flynn shifted back to defending free speech rights for radicals. In 1951, she was arrested for conspiracy to overthrow the government based on the Smith Act of 1940. She spent more than two years in prison.

She returned to political action once she was out of prison, and in 1961, she became the first woman elected national chair of the Communist Pary. A critic of the Soviet Union, Flynn traveled behind the Iron Curtain and was stricken ill. She died in the USSR and was given a state funeral in Red Square.

In his autobiography, journalist Eugene Lyons described Flynn as "the most brilliant woman I had ever met. A veteran of the front trenches in the labor struggle since fifteen, she was, at thirty, attractive, winsomely Irish in her wit and her savor of life, with a remarkably cool intelligence behind her fiery oratory and personality. In the Mesaba Range strike, the Paterson and Lawrence strikes, her eloquence and courage and sweetness had won her tens of thousands of worshipful friends among the workers."

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 03/20/2020 - 13:17
Kenneth Quinnell

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Answers COVID-19 Questions on Facebook Live

1 week 6 days ago
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Answers COVID-19 Questions on Facebook Live AFL-CIO

In a Facebook Live event Wednesday, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) spoke about working people's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and answered questions from union members. 

Lisa, a member of the Ohio Nurses Association/AFT, asked about getting N95 respirators and other vital supplies into the hands of front-line nurses.

Michael, an AFT member in New York, asked what message we can send to ensure that the rich and corporations don’t use this public health crisis to further erode the middle and working classes.

Garrett, a letter carrier in Seattle, asked whether or not this crisis may be an opportunity for the labor movement to increase the number of union jobs in the United States.

Watch the video below to see Trumka's answers to these questions and more discussion of our response to COVID-19. You also can read a transcript of his remarks.

Did you miss the live address that @AFLCIO President @RichardTrumka just gave on Facebook? No worries, we have it here for you. #StateofOurUnions #1u #CoronavirusResponse

Watch now:

— AFL-CIO ✊🏽 (@AFLCIO) March 19, 2020 Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 03/20/2020 - 12:49

Tags: COVID-19

Kenneth Quinnell

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Working America, AFL-CIO's Community Affiliate

2 weeks 1 day ago
‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Working America, AFL-CIO's Community Affiliate

On the latest episode of "State of the Unions," podcast co-host Julie Greene Collier and guest co-host Carolyn Bobb sit down with Matt Morrison, executive director of Working America, the 3.5 million-member community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, to discuss how the affiliate is mobilizing millions of workers from all demographics who otherwise lack representation at work.

Listen to our previous episodes:

  • A discussion with M.K. Fletcher, AFL-CIO Safety and Health specialist, about all things COVID-19, what the labor movement is doing and how we are responding to ensure that front-line workers' needs are taken care of.

  • Talking with AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre (UFCW) about his journey from being an Ethiopian refugee to success in the labor movement in Orange County, California, and in Washington, D.C., and the people and institutions that helped him along the way.

  • A conversation with the Rev. Leah Daughtry, CEO of "On These Things," about Reconnecting McDowell, an AFT project that takes a holistic approach to revitalizing the education and community of McDowell, West Virginia, and how her faith informs her activism.

  • Talking to Fire Fighters (IAFF) General President Harold Schaitberger about the union’s behavioral health treatment center dedicated to treating IAFF members struggling with addiction and other related behavioral challenges. The discussion also addresses the toll of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on firefighters and their families, the response of the IAFF in its wake, and the life of a firefighter.

  • A chat with the podcast team on their favorite episodes of 2019.

  • A discussion with Cas Mudde, a political scientist at the University of Georgia, on the resurgence of right-wing politicians and activists across the world, much of it cloaked in populist, worker-friendly rhetoric.

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

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 03/18/2020 - 10:38

Tags: Podcast, Working America

Kenneth Quinnell

Transit Workers Win Organizing Victories: Worker Wins

2 weeks 3 days ago
Transit Workers Win Organizing Victories: Worker Wins

Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with a series of wins for transit workers and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life. 

St. Louis Metro Transit Workers Agree to New Contract: After a months of difficult negotiations, working people at St. Louis Metro Transit won a new three-year deal that increases wages and benefits by more than $26 million. More than 1,500 Metro workers are members of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 788 who work as vehicle operators and mechanics.

Southern Poverty Law Center Employees Vote for NewsGuild-CWA Representation: Employees of the Southern Poverty Law Center voted to join the Washington-Baltimore News Guild/TNG-CWA. The members will now move forward on setting a "foundation for a legacy of equal rights, respect and dignity for all workers, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical ability, and national origin."

UNITE HERE Members at The Modern in Hawaii Win New Contract: Members of UNITE HERE Local 5 at The Modern Honolulu reached an agreement with Diamond Resorts, which owns and operates the property. The agreement includes a significant pay raise.

Editorial Employees at NBC News Digital Join NewsGuild-CWA: Some 150 editorial workers who create digital content for NBC News have voted to join The NewsGuild of New York/TNG-CWA. The unit includes reporters, video journalists, editors, social media strategists, designers and editorial staff from various NBC digital properties.

Registered Nurses at University of Chicago Hospitals Join NNOC/NNU: Nurses at two University of Chicago hospitals overwhelmingly voted to join National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU). More than the 90% of the 320 registered nurses voted to join NNOC/NNU. Kathy Haff, a RN for 27 years in the emergency department, said: “Joining the union means that we will now have a real voice in patient care decisions. We can be better advocates for our patients and make sure we have a say when policies are implemented.”

UAW Members Ratify New Fiat Chrysler Deal: After nearly five months of negotiations, UAW members approved a new four-year deal with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The deal decreases health care costs for lower-paid production employees, a key goal of the UAW.

New York MTA and Largest Union Reach Agreement: After six months without a deal, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and members of Transport Workers (TWU) Local 100 reached a tentative deal. Local President Tony Utano said: “I am happy to report that we have reached a negotiated settlement with the MTA that I believe the Local 100 membership will ratify in overwhelming fashion.” Previous proposals from management sought to cut back overtime payments, increase worker health care costs and limit vacation accruals for new employees.

Jews United for Justice Join NPEU: Working people at Jews United for Justice (JUFJ) announced they are unionizing with the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU), an affiliate of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE). The organization focuses on advancing economic, racial and social justice in the Baltimore-Washington area by mobilizing local Jewish communities into action. Rianna Lloyd, a JUFJ staffer, said: “We have campaigned for the rights of all workers in Maryland and [Washington,] D.C., including nonprofit employees. We know the importance of keeping dedicated, talented people on the job, and in negotiations we are going to focus on the well-being of JUFJ staff. We want to create a work environment that workers want to stay in.”

Los Angeles' Museum of Contemporary Art to Voluntarily Recognize Employee Union: Two weeks after workers at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) launched a campaign to join AFSCME, MoCA agreed to voluntarily recognize the new union. The new unit will represent more than 120 staffers. The workers sought to unionize in order to obtain higher pay and better benefits.

Fairfax Connector Strike Ends with ATU and Transdev Reaching Agreement: A strike that shut down service for Fairfax Connector bus rides ended with a victory for Transdev employees. The tentative agreement allows workers to go back on the job while details of a bigger deal are negotiated. ATU International President John Costa said: “Our strike was a victory, sending a loud and clear message to Transdev that we won’t tolerate their unlawful tactics at the bargaining table. We do reserve the right to walk off the job again if the good faith bargaining by Transdev disappears."

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 03/16/2020 - 10:34

Tags: Organizing

Kenneth Quinnell

Government Must Act to Stop Spread of Economic and Financial Consequences of Coronavirus

3 weeks 2 days ago
Government Must Act to Stop Spread of Economic and Financial Consequences of Coronavirus

The stock market fell 7% at the open Monday morning. That may not sound like a lot, but it’s a catastrophic collapse—a financial crisis type number. Typically, the market might gain or lose in a whole year the value that was lost by the time the sound of the opening bell faded.

The collapse appears to be the result of a combination of the spread of coronavirus and falling oil prices—two events that are themselves connected. But it needs to be interpreted as an alarm bell, because we are dealing with the threat of two deadly kinds of contagions—one biological and the other economic and financial—both of which pose serious but manageable threats to the well-being of working people.

We have heard a lot about biological contagion and how to stop the spread of coronavirus in our workplaces and our communities. You can get up-to-date information on workplace safety and coronavirus at and at the websites of our affiliated unions. But what about financial and economic contagion? This is something elected leaders, economic policymakers and financial regulators must take action to stop.

How does it work? Coronavirus is a shock to the global economy. It stops economic activity of all kinds—shutting down factories, canceling meetings, sending cruise ships into quarantine. The only way to prevent that is to stop the spread of the virus (see above). The consequence of economic activity slowing down or stopping is that businesses lose revenue, and generally with loss of revenue comes loss of profits.

People who trade on the stock market usually price stocks by making projections about the future profits of the companies whose stocks trade on the public markets. The stock market reacts instantaneously to changing expectations about what may happen in the economy and to specific businesses. The stock market itself doesn’t create or destroy jobs, but it does contribute to the overall financial health of companies and of people. When stock prices fall rapidly, they can create their own kind of contagion—exposing fragile financing structures for both companies and people. That can in turn lead to retreat—companies pulling back on investments or, in the worst case, going bankrupt.

So the stock market can create contagion all by itself. But the much more serious kind of contagion has to do with corporate debt. We have had low interest rates for years, and businesses around the world have gone on a borrowing spree. This spree has been one of the causes of relatively healthy economic growth in the last few years, but it has also led to businesses carrying a lot of debt relative to their earnings and growth. 

Here is where the danger gets very real, because, as we all know, if you borrow money, you have to make payments on that debt. What if businesses that have borrowed a lot of money suddenly don’t have anywhere near the revenue they expected to have? This is what empty planes and blocked supply chains mean.  

If no one does anything and the coronavirus leads to months of revenue shortfalls in overleveraged companies, there is a real risk of pullbacks in investments by those companies or, worse, bankruptcy. Falling stock markets and debt defaults can lead to weak business balance sheets and to weak financial institutions. That is what financial contagion means. We saw that in 2008 when first mortgage intermediaries failed, then hedge funds and stock brokerages, and then major banks.  

Even more seriously, once investment pullbacks, bankruptcies and layoffs start, that leads, like a spreading virus, to more losses of revenue to other businesses—in other words, economic contagion. Economic contagion, once it starts, is even harder to stop than financial contagion. Economic contagion means recession, unemployment, falling wages. What makes this crisis different is that it starts with a kind of layoff—shutdown of economic activity and quarantines to stop the spread of disease. 

We need government to act to stop financial and economic contagion until the worst of the coronavirus passes and, most importantly, until everyone has a better sense of the exact nature of the threat—that is, until the uncertainty diminishes. Working people must demand that government act, or we and our families will pay the price for others’ lack of action, as we so often have in the past.

What should government do? First, it should directly address the source of economic contraction by dealing effectively with the coronavirus itself and making sure people who are sick or need to be quarantined are able to do what they need to do for themselves and for society without being impoverished. This means emergency paid sick leave for all who need it. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have proposed comprehensive emergency paid sick leave for all workers; this is an urgent medical and economic necessity. We need to recognize that until the coronavirus is contained, it will be very challenging to contain the economic consequences of the virus.

Second, government should deliver financial support credit on favorable terms to sectors of the global economy that are threatened by the coronavirus and vulnerable due to overleverage. The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee took a first step in that direction last week by lowering short-term rates by 0.5 percentage point, but that is unlikely to be enough. Central banks need to work with major financial institutions to target cheap credit to vulnerable businesses—airlines, hotels, manufacturers paralyzed by broken supply chains and the like. It is time to discard the old neoliberal idea that we should let banks lend to whomever they want when we appropriately subsidize them with cheap public assets.

Third, government should provide support to the economy as a whole. Congress cannot leave this job to the Federal Reserve. We need to look at bigger emergency appropriations to support our weakened public health infrastructure, particularly hospitals; if the Chinese experience is any indication, we are going to face serious strains to the system as the coronavirus spreads. We need to look at macroeconomic stimulus—public spending to help the economy. This would best be done in the form of investment, such as finally funding infrastructure. But we also need immediate spending; that is why universal paid sick days would be such a good idea, as would be steps to improve the effectiveness of our social safety net—Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—and make it easier for everyone to get the health care they need right now.

What we don’t need is the standard right-wing response to any and all problems—tax cuts for the rich. Even more than in a normal downturn, that would do harm, diverting desperately needed public resources to those who don’t need them at all.

Most of all, we need leadership and coordination among federal, state and local governments, between the U.S. government and the Fed and governments and central banks around the world, and with multinational bodies such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Health Organization. This is critical, because neither the coronavirus nor the world financial system respects borders, and because people will succumb to fear in the absence of credible leadership.  

If Monday morning tells us anything, it’s that we need that leadership now, because once fear becomes contagious, it may be the hardest thing to stop.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 03/10/2020 - 13:31
Kenneth Quinnell

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: SAG-AFTRA

3 weeks 2 days ago
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: SAG-AFTRA

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is SAG-AFTRA.

Name of Union: Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA)

MissionSAG-AFTRA combines two great American labor unions, founded in the 1930s to fight for and secure the strongest protections for media artists. SAG-AFTRA was formed to preserve those hard-won rights and to continue the fight to extend and expand those protections. 

Current Leadership of UnionGabrielle Carteris serves as president of SAG-AFTRA. She served two terms as executive vice president before being elected president in 2016. She was re-elected in 2017 and again in 2019. Carteris has an extensive resume in television, film and theater, and is best known for the role of Andrea Zuckerman on “Beverly Hills, 90210.” She chairs the SAG-AFTRA National TV/Theatrical Contracts Negotiating Committee and leads the President’s Task Force on Education, Outreach and Engagement. 

Rebecca Damon serves as executive vice president, Camryn Manheim serves as secretary-treasurer, and SAG-AFTRA has seven vice presidents.

Number of Members160,000.

Members Work AsActors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other media professionals.

Industries RepresentedBroadcast, film, television, online media, sound recordings, new media, streaming.

HistoryThe Screen Actors Guild formed in 1933 during the heyday of the Hollywood studio system. Six actors came together to discuss forming a self-governing organization of film actors. One of the new organization’s first actions was protesting provisions in the U.S. government’s proposed code of fair competition for motion pictures that were objectionable to actors, including salary limitations, licensing of agents by the producers, and giving studios a right of first refusal when a contract ended, thus limiting an actor’s bargaining power.

In 1937, the American Federation of Radio Artists (AFRA), which would become AFTRA after the rise of television in the 1950s, was formed. That same year, SAG negotiated its first contract, with 13 producers signing on. AFRA signed its first national contract the next year. By 1941, both unions had moved toward more actively seeking to expand the rights of their members and other performers. AFRA engaged in its first strike in 1941, against radio station WKRC Cincinnati. SAG would hold its first strike, which related to televised commercials, in 1952–53.

During the 1950s and ’60s, a major shift for both unions was a stronger focus on battling discrimination, both in front of the camera and behind it. They spent the remainder of the century dealing with the expansion of broadcast productions and the growth of new technologies that would continually change the industry well into the 2000s.

Talk of merging the various performer unions, including SAG and AFRA (as it was known then) began as early as the late 1930s, but the eventually combined SAG-AFTRA wouldn’t officially be recognized until 2012, AFTRA’s 75th anniversary year. The merger was overwhelmingly approved by the membership of each union, and SAG President Ken Howard and AFTRA President Roberta Reardon became the first SAG-AFTRA co-presidents.

Current Campaigns/Community Efforts: For 26 years, the SAG Awards have recognized the most outstanding acting performances of the year. MOVE helps connect members to the greater labor movement as well as community and charitable activities. SAG-AFTRA’s diversity committees seek to improve diversity and protections for actors of diverse backgrounds. For news and announcements related to the industry, SAG-AFTRA publishes a magazine and a podcast in both English and Spanish. The SAG-AFTRA shop sells branded gear.

Learn More: WebsiteFacebookYouTubeTwitterInstagram.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 03/10/2020 - 11:50
Kenneth Quinnell

Women's History Month Profiles: Alice Paul

3 weeks 3 days ago
Women's History Month Profiles: Alice Paul AFL-CIO

For Women's History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various women who were, and some who still are, leaders and activists working at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Today, we are looking at Alice Paul.

Alice Paul was born in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, in 1885, the daughter of Quaker parents. Her religious upbringing taught her a belief in gender equality and instilled in her a desire to work for the betterment of the whole society. Her mother, Tacie, was a member of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) and often took Alice to meetings.

Paul attended Swarthmore College and was taught by some of the leading female academics of the day. Her experiences in college emboldened her not only in student activism, but beyond the college campus when she graduated in 1905. After graduation, she went to Birmingham, England, to study social work at the Woodbrooke Settlement. There she spent time with Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters, the leaders of a militant suffragette faction that was focused on action, not just words. Paul participated in Pankhurst's political actions, including hunger strikes and other tactics. Paul spent time in prison, but noticed the impact the actions taken by the Pankhursts and their followers led to success, and she believed it was necessary to bring these tactics back to the United States.

Upon returning to the U.S., Paul enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania and followed in her mother's footsteps in joining NAWSA. She quickly became the leader of NAWSA's Congressional Committee, which was focused on a federal suffrage amendment. In 1912, Paul and friends organized a women's march to coincide with Woodrow Wilson's inauguration. When that event commenced the following March, Paul and her suffragists were so prominent that male onlookers insulted and assaulted the women marchers as the police looked on. But afterward, Paul and her fellow suffragists made headlines across the country.

Soon, Paul and several allies found themselves at odds with NAWSA's leadership and they broke off and formed the National Woman's Party (NWP). The NWP engaged in more active efforts to advocate for suffrage, including protesting the president during World War I, a serious break from prior protocol. The suffragists were painted as unpatriotic and were arrested or attacked by angry mobs. The threats of violence and imprisonment did not dissuade Paul or the other suffragists, even when the threats of imprisonment were carried out. Suffragists in prison were not passive, they engaged in hunger strikes and many came to support the cause of women's suffrage because of the treatment of Paul and others.

Not long after Paul was released from prison, Congress passed the 19th Amendment and sent it to the states for ratification. It soon passed, after a 72-year-long battle. Afterward, many suffragists left public life as much of the movement had been focused solely on winning the vote. But many activists, like Paul, saw suffrage as the beginning, not the end goal. In 1923, on the 75th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention that launched the women's rights movement, Paul began work on what she called the "Lucretia Mott Amendment," in honor of one of the key Seneca Falls activists. The Mott amendment was the beginning of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) that is still being fought for nearly a century later. The ERA was introduced in every session of Congress beginning in 1923 up until 1972, when it finally passed Congress. Beginning in 1943, the ERA was rewritten and popularly called the "Alice Paul Amendment." 

Paul continued to work on ratification of the ERA for the rest of her life. She also became a strong proponent for women's rights internationally. She was a founder of the World Woman's Party, which worked to make sure gender equality was included in the United Nations Charter. She also led numerous legislative victories in the United States, such as adding a sexual discrimination clause to the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Paul died in 1977 in Moorestown, New Jersey, only a few miles from her birthplace. The years in between were marked by the efforts of an incredible woman whose efforts and agenda still dominate the civil rights sphere in 2020. We are working on continuing the legacy left by Paul and so many other women who fought to change the country, and the world, into a better place for everyone.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 03/09/2020 - 10:13
Kenneth Quinnell

Economy Gains 273,000 Jobs in February; Unemployment Unchanged at 3.5%

3 weeks 6 days ago
Economy Gains 273,000 Jobs in February; Unemployment Unchanged at 3.5%

The U.S. economy gained 273,000 jobs in February, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 3.5%, according to figures released Friday morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wages showed some improvement, rising 3.0% over last year.

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


Higher wage industries (moving up the chart) were part of job gains (moving right on the chart) but lower wage leisure & hospitality and education & health showed the biggest gains. Retail continued its weakness as the biggest job loser @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) March 6, 2020


While the unemployment rate hovers near low rates, the share of Americans holding jobs shows a long road to return to 2008 level or record 2000 levels @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) March 6, 2020


Though showing a little improvement, the share of the unemployed still looking 26 weeks or more remains stubbornly above what was "normal" in 2000 @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) March 6, 2020


Employment in motor vehicle & parts manufacturing rebounded in February, up 6,800 but not back to December's level and still 15,700 below last February @UAW @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) March 6, 2020


The labor force participation rates for Blacks and whites continue to show convergence. @APRI_National @CBTU72 @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) March 6, 2020



Last month's biggest job gains were in health care (57,000), leisure and hospitality (53,000), government (45,000), construction (42,000), professional and business services (32,000) and financial activities (26,000). Employment in other major industries—including mining, manufacturing, information, transportation and warehousing, wholesale trade, and retail trade—showed little change over the month.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for Asians declined a half of a percentage point in February to 2.5%. Unemployment rates for teenagers (11.0%), blacks (5.8%), Hispanics (4.4%), adult men (3.3%), whites (3.1%) and adult women (3.1%) showed little or no change.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) showed little change in February and accounted for 19.2% of the unemployed.

Dennis Loney Fri, 03/06/2020 - 16:27
Dennis Loney

This International Women’s Day: End Gender-Based Violence and Harassment in the World of Work!

3 weeks 6 days ago
This International Women’s Day: End Gender-Based Violence and Harassment in the World of Work!

Gender-based violence and harassment (GBVH) in the workplace is a global epidemic, one that both reflects and reinforces patriarchal power hierarchies in the world of work. It is a pernicious barrier and threatens women, LGBTQ and gender non-conforming individuals from fully and freely participating in the economy and in society. 

Ten years ago, women trade unionists and allies from around the world came together to organize and demand an international response to eradicate GBVH in the world of work. They called on the International Labor Organization—the U.N. agency where workers, employers and governments come together to determine labor standards and policies—to develop a binding standard to prevent gender-based violence and harassment. That standard, Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work (C190), was overwhelmingly adopted last June by a global delegation of workers, employers and government representatives.

C190 articulates the right of all workers to be free from violence and harassment. This is the first time this right has been recognized in an international instrument, a critical acknowledgement that every worker should be treated with dignity and respect. C190 also explicitly recognizes that the task of ending GBVH requires confronting its root causes—gender-based discrimination, power relationships and precarious working arrangements—to transform workplace culture. 

Unions around the world are organizing to demand governments ratify C190 and protect all workers from GBVH, regardless of contractual status. Unfortunately, the United States has a long history of refusing to ratify international standards. 

But activists in the United States are using the C190 framework to push for protections through collective bargaining, to build accountability and transformation within our own movement structures, and to press for comprehensive legislation at the federal, state and local levels. 

One such piece of legislation introduced last year, the BE HEARD in the Workplace Act, would ensure all workers are legally protected against discrimination and harassment at work. The BE HEARD Act extends legal protections to independent contractors and workers in other non-standard employment arrangements such as unpaid interns, fellows, volunteers and trainees. These insecure forms of work are increasing as employers continue to seek ways to get out of direct employment relationships and decrease their own accountability. Ending GBVH in the United States requires addressing precarious work holistically, and ensuring non-standard forms of work are covered by discrimination laws is a critical first step.

C190 requires governments to protect workers made especially vulnerable to GBVH because of their identity in marginalized groups, including their sexual orientation or gender identity. LGBTQ individuals face particularly high rates of GBVH on the job and the BE HEARD Act addresses this as well, and at a critical time. The U.S. Supreme Court is currently set to decide whether our current discrimination laws cover harassment based on a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity. The BE HEARD in the Workplace Act would ensure LGBTQ individuals have these protections by clarifying that unlawful sex discrimination at work includes discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. 

This International Women’s Day, take action against gender-based violence and harassment. Support the BE Heard Act. Ask your representative to co-sponsor the bill and ensure all workers have the legal protections against discrimination and harassment at work. 

Learn More

The BE HEARD Act fact sheet from National Women's Law Center

Addressing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: There Is Power in My Union

Dennis Loney Fri, 03/06/2020 - 16:12

Tags: Gender-Based Violence

Dennis Loney
2 hours 34 minutes ago
AFL-CIO Now Blog
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