Labor News

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: APWU Launches Day of Action

3 months 1 week ago
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: APWU Launches Day of Action

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

Members and allies of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), led by President Mark Dimondstein, are holding a day of action today to save the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). In particular, the APWU is making three demands: invest at least $25 billion in immediate COVID-19 relief for the USPS; stop and reverse the mail slowdown policies introduced by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy; and expand the role of the post office to provide vital services in every community. Click here to call your senators and ask them to save the Postal Service.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 11/18/2020 - 09:45

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Kenneth Quinnell

Ten 2020 Election Wins for Working People That You Should Know About, Part 2

3 months 1 week ago
Ten 2020 Election Wins for Working People That You Should Know About, Part 2

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ victory in this free and fair election is a win for America’s labor movement. Everywhere in every way, working people are heroically and resiliently fighting back against this pandemic, its economic fall out, chronic income inequality and systemic racism. Union voters delivered this election for President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris. Their message and commitment to create “the most significant pro-labor, pro-worker administration” resonated with our 12.5 million members and 55 affiliated unions who are hungry for a bigger voice in our economy and our politics.

Working people also spoke loudly in electing union-friendly candidates at all levels of government. Here are 10 more victories you should know about:

1. Michigan State Supreme Court: The Michigan labor movement flipped the state Supreme Court as Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack won re-election and Elizabeth Welch gained a seat to give pro-worker justices a 4–3 majority. 

2. Greg Thompson, Florida: The former Machinists (IAM) Local 57 president won his first election for city commission in Clewiston. 

3. Elizabeth Weight, Utah: The teacher and member of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) won re-election to the Utah state legislature.

4. San Diego: With strong support from the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, three union members were elected to the nine-member San Diego City Council: Stephen Whitburn (AFTRA), Marni Von Wilpert (DCAA) and Raul Campillo (DCAA). Also of note, Terra Lawson-Remer, a former organizer with United Farm Workers, won a seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

5. Wisconsin: Thousands of volunteers across the state not only worked to help Biden and Harris win, but also were crucial in the victories of other union members: U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (IUPAT), state Rep. Tod Ohnstad (UAW) and state Sen. LaTonya Johnson (AFSCME).

6. Communications Workers of America (CWA) Members: Members contributed tens of thousands of volunteer hours to support pro-working family candidates.

7. Florida: With 60.8% of the vote, Floridians voted to raise the state's minimum wage to $10 next September and by an additional $1 per year until it reaches $15 in 2026.

8. Colorado: Voters approved a measure that will create a paid family and medical leave program with 57% of the vote. Starting in 2024, employers will be required to provide employees up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave each year.

9. UNITE HERE Members: Members knocked on the doors of 3 million voters, including 575,000 in Philadelphia, which contributed heavily to Biden-Harris winning Pennsylvania.

10. Demond Meeks, New York: Meeks, an organizer with SEIU1199 won and will now represent the 137th State Assembly District.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 11/17/2020 - 12:55

Tags: Elections 2020

Kenneth Quinnell

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Oregon OSHA Establishes Emergency Temporary Standard for Workplace Safety

3 months 1 week ago
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Oregon OSHA Establishes Emergency Temporary Standard for Workplace Safety

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

The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) new emergency temporary standard (ETS) for workplace safety during the pandemic went into effect on Monday. For the first time since the pandemic started, Oregon workers will have clear, enforceable and consistent workplace protections from COVID-19. The new protocols provide rules around transparency and reporting, training, employee input and employer requirements to mitigate hazards, and ventilation. The Oregon AFL-CIO fought hard for the implementation of the ETS.

“The emergency temporary standard is a step forward for Oregon’s workers. Oregon is now only the third state in the nation to adopt workplace safety and health protections for workers against COVID-19,” said state federation President Graham Trainor (IBEW). “Oregon’s unions and worker advocates have fought for this standard since the beginning of the pandemic and have been closely engaged in the process to ensure it is suitable and reflects the risk workers face on the job….We owe it to the workers who risk their health and safety to provide for their families to get this right, and soon, to ensure workplace protection now and into the future.”

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 11/17/2020 - 08:51

Tags: Community Service, COVID-19

Kenneth Quinnell

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: NFLPA Names Corey Clement ‘Community MVP’ for Week 8

3 months 1 week ago
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: NFLPA Names Corey Clement ‘Community MVP’ for Week 8

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

Corey Clement has been named the NFL Players Association’s (NFLPA’s) “Community MVP” for week 8 of the NFL season after he helped lead a writing contest in which students created books on how to resolve bullying. The winners earned a $500 prize, received a surprise Zoom visit from Clement and will have their book published. “It is a true honor to be named the NFLPA Community MVP,” the Philadelphia Eagles running back said. “As an NFL player, I have the opportunity to bring attention to the causes most important to me—literacy, anti-bullying and music education. I feel that it is important to support grassroots nonprofits that are led by Black leaders.”

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 11/16/2020 - 09:57

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Kenneth Quinnell

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Rest in Peace, Scott Reynolds

3 months 1 week ago
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Rest in Peace, Scott Reynolds

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

The AFL-CIO is mourning the passing of our dear former colleague, Scott Reynolds (TNG-CWA). Scott will be remembered for his strong trade unionism, dedicating his career to the labor movement and spending 24 of those years with the AFL-CIO. And, for those who had the pleasure of working with Scott, we will also miss him for his humor, his friendship and his stories of adventurous travel that brightened the workplace every day.

Damon Silvers, special counsel to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA), called Scott a dear friend and mentor. “All his life Scott fought for working people. He was at every major protest for decades,” Silvers said. “He organized our movement for fight after fight—for financial reform and the Affordable Care Act, against one corporate trade deal after another. He was a kind generous colleague to all he encountered. And he never was OK with moral compromise. He might tell you that through a joke, but it was serious.”

Scott made our movement, our country and all of us better. We send our deepest condolences to all who cherish his memory.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 11/13/2020 - 09:41
Kenneth Quinnell

Biden Taps Working People Champions to Transition Teams

3 months 1 week ago
Biden Taps Working People Champions to Transition Teams

President-elect Joe Biden made sure that the voices of working people will be heard in the transition to his administration. He appointed more than two dozen leaders from the labor movement to the various agency review teams that will help make sure the Biden administration is ready to go on day one.

Here is a list of the labor leaders appointed to Biden's transition teams:

  • Transition Advisory Board: International President Lonnie Stephenson, Electrical Workers (IBEW); President Teresa Romero, United Farm Workers (UFW)
  • Department of Education: Beth Antunez, American Federation of Teachers (AFT); Shital Shah, AFT; Marla Ucelli-Kashyap, AFT; Donna Harris-Aikens, National Education Association (NEA)
  • Department of Energy: Brad Markell, Industrial Union Council, AFL-CIO
  • Department of Health and Human Services: Sarah Nolan, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
  • Department of Justice: Rocio Inclan-Rodriguez, NEA
  • Department of Labor: Jennifer Abruzzo, Communications Workers of America (CWA); Jessica Chu, Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU); Micheal Hazard, United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters (UA); Nadia Marin-Molina, National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON); Shaun O’Brien, AFSCME; Patricia Smith, National Employment Law Project (NELP); Lynn Rhinehart, Economic Policy Institute (EPI)
  • Department of State: Owen Herrnstadt, Machinists (IAM)
  • Department of Treasury: Damon Silvers, AFL-CIO
  • Department of Transportation: David Barnett, UA; Brendan Danaher, Transport Workers Union (TWU); David Cameron, Teamsters (IBT)
  • Federal Reserve: Damon Silvers, AFL-CIO; Renaye Manley, SEIU
  • NASA: David Weaver, Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA)
  • Office of Personnel Management: Melody Gonzales, NEA
  • Office of the United States Trade Representative: Julie Greene Collier, AFL-CIO; Celeste Drake, Directors Guild of America
  • Social Security Administration: Scott Frey, AFSCME
  • Department of Agriculture: LaQuita Honeysucker, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW)
  • United State Postal Service: Jim Sauber, National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)
Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 11/12/2020 - 12:50
Kenneth Quinnell

Economy Gains 638,000 Jobs in October; Unemployment Declines to 6.9%

3 months 1 week ago
Economy Gains 638,000 Jobs in October; Unemployment Declines to 6.9%

The U.S. economy gained 638,000 jobs in October, and the unemployment rate declined to 6.9%, according to figures released Friday morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The improvements reflect the continued resumption of economic activity that previously was curtailed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

#JobsReport While the unemployment rate has been falling, further drops will be harder to achieve because of the scarring effect taking place. The rise in the share of long-term unemployment as a share of the unemployed is mirroring the rise during the Great Recession. @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/igAzsnE6mh

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

#JobsReport The rise in those facing permanent layoffs is worrying, while the drop in temporary job losses is good. Permanent layoffs and rising long term unemployment will greet the New Year with a challenging labor market to keep this from being a drag on recovery. @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/rU2x6uobrs

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

#JobsReport all private industries showed job gains over last month, with the lowest wage industries (going south on the graph) among the big gainers (going east on the graph): Retail Trade bouncing back from its big losses in March and April (down 471k from last year). @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/M2uJGVnAvZ

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

#JobsReport Only three major groups remain with double digit unemployment, teen agers, people age 20-24 and Blacks. Before you pull out your old "skills-gap" the unemployment rate for high school drop-outs is 9.8%, lower than for THE Black population (10.8%) @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/v6DjotCvG0

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

#JobsReport After falling to a new record low, the share of the Black population employed is showing improvement, now surpassing the previous record low set at the depths of the Great Recession. But, it has a long way to go to get back to the 57% range. @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/5P6kAEQGOM

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

#JobsReport the more narrowly defined U-3 unemployment rate (today's topline number) and the broadest measure U-6 of labor market slack (including marginally attached workers and part-time workers who want full-time hours) are now below the peak of the Great Recession. @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/eEqEGmhBiH

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

#JobsReport The other big challenge for a full recovery, over 2nd and 3rd Quarter GDP reports, state and local government has shrunk. In the labor market the drop is dramatic: levels below the depths of the Great Recession. This disproportionately hurts Blacks and women. @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/EOwer2MCSO

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

Last month's biggest job gains were in leisure and hospitality (271,000), professional and business services (208,000), retail trade (104,000), construction (84,000), health care and social assistance (79,000), transportation and warehousing (63,000), other services (47,000), manufacturing (38,000) and financial activities (31,000). Government employment fell by 268,000. Employment in other major industries, including mining, wholesale trade, and information, changed little in October. 

In October, the unemployment rates declined for all major worker groups: teenagers (-13.9%), Black Americans (-10.8%), Hispanics (-8.8%), Asians (-7.6%), adult men (-6.7%), adult women (-6.5%) and White Americans (-6.0%).

The number of long-term unemployed workers (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) rose in October and accounted for 32.5% of the total unemployed.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 11/12/2020 - 10:55
Kenneth Quinnell

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: NALC: Election and Pandemic Show the Importance of USPS

3 months 1 week ago
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: NALC: Election and Pandemic Show the Importance of USPS

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

Throughout the pandemic, members of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) have kept us connected as a country, delivering lifesaving medications and keeping our communities running. The workers at the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) also have served our democracy by delivering millions of mail-in ballots as a safe and convenient alternative to voting in person. NALC, under the leadership of President Fredric Rolando, said: “This election and pandemic have shown the importance of the Postal Service network. For the last four years, we’ve had to play defense against attacks from the current administration. Now, it is time to go on the offense for letter carriers by providing COVID-19 relief to this agency, repealing the mandate to prefund retiree health care and utilizing the network to continue serving the nation.”

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 11/12/2020 - 10:14

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Kenneth Quinnell

Ten 2020 Election Wins for Working People That You Should Know About, Part 1

3 months 2 weeks ago
Ten 2020 Election Wins for Working People That You Should Know About, Part 1

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ victory in this free and fair election is a win for America’s labor movement. Everywhere in every way, working people are heroically and resiliently fighting back against this pandemic, its economic fall out, chronic income inequality and systemic racism. Union voters delivered this election for President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris. Their message and commitment to create “the most significant pro-labor, pro-worker administration” resonated with our 12.5 million members and 56 affiliated unions who are hungry for a bigger voice in our economy and our politics.

Working people also spoke loudly in electing union-friendly candidates at all levels of government. Here are 10 victories you should know about:

1. Union Voters Surge for Biden-Harris: Union members went 58% for Biden-Harris. While the general public supported Biden by 3 points, our members favored him by 21 points.

2. Members of American Postal Workers Union (APWU), National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) and National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU): For making sure that a record surge of mail ballots were delivered so the voices of all working people could be heard and counted.

3. Kai Kahele, Hawaii: The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) member won the election for U.S. representative and will represent Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District.

4. Debra Hixon, Florida: The longtime educator and member of the Broward Teachers Union (an affiliate of AFT) won election to the Broward County School Board.

5. Nikki Merritt, Georgia: The member of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 3204 won the election for Georgia state Senate District 9.

6. Brandon Chafee, Connecticut: The Electrical Workers (IBEW) member was elected state representative for District 33.

7. Fire Fighters: The IAFF affiliates notched victories in 23 local ballot measures, including "increased funding for our members’ fire departments, established binding arbitration, halted attacks on our members’ schedules and ended efforts to create a public safety officer (PSO) program."

8. Connie Chan, California: The former International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) Local 21 member was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. 

9. Troy Jackson, Maine: Jackson, who is a member of both the Machinists (IAM) and Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), won re-election to the Maine state Senate.

10. Delaware IATSE Members: These members built the stage where Joe Biden and Kamala Harris accepted the victory delivered to them by the American people.

If you know of any additional wins for working people from the 2020 election we should include in this series, please email them to kquinnell@aflcio.org.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 11/10/2020 - 12:16

Tags: Elections 2020

Kenneth Quinnell

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: UA Member, Military Veteran Finds Solidarity with Membership in the Building Trades

3 months 2 weeks ago
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: UA Member, Military Veteran Finds Solidarity with Membership in the Building Trades

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

Former U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Justin Baird is eager to learn and start working in the building trades. He said the solidarity that comes with being a member of United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters (UA) Local 189 is a welcome part of the job. “I've always been interested in learning a new trade,” Baird said. “And the aspect of a brotherhood appealed to me the most due to the fraternity with my colleagues in the Army.” He took part in the UA’s Veterans in Piping program, an 18-month apprenticeship training course for veterans re-entering the civilian workforce.

As a second year apprentice with Local 189, Baird is thankful for the career he has and the tradesmen and tradeswomen he works alongside: “It’s still hard work, but at least you know you get to go home to your family at the end of the day….The brotherhood is amazing. There’s some really good people that will look out for you in the union.”

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 11/09/2020 - 10:58

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Kenneth Quinnell

AFL-CIO Looks Forward to Working with President-Elect Joe Biden

3 months 2 weeks ago
AFL-CIO Looks Forward to Working with President-Elect Joe Biden

Democracy is prevailing. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ victory in this free and fair election is a win for America’s labor movement. Everywhere in every way, working people are heroically and resiliently fighting back against this pandemic, its economic fall out, chronic income inequality and systemic racism.

President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris saw us, heard us and campaigned on a promise that we, as one nation, will build back even better than before. That is why working people decisively rejected the politics of darkness and division and voted in record numbers for public servants who want to join us in writing America’s comeback story. 

Let’s be clear: Union voters delivered this election for Biden and Harris. Their message and commitment to create “the most significant pro-labor, pro-worker administration” resonated with our 12.5 million members and 56 affiliated unions who are hungry for a bigger voice in our economy and our politics. 

Now the AFL-CIO stands ready to help the president-elect and vice president-elect deliver a long overdue workers’ first agenda. That starts with passing the HEROES Act to provide our families and communities emergency support and services in the face of this deadly virus. But COVID-19 relief is just that—relief. Once working people are made whole, the real rebuilding can begin. We call on Congress to pass and Biden to sign the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act early in 2021 to make sure every worker who wants to form or join a union is able to do so freely and fairly. Working people want our leaders to act swiftly and think more boldly than ever before. The time to begin is now.

Kenneth Quinnell Sat, 11/07/2020 - 13:33

Tags: Elections 2020, Labor 2020

Kenneth Quinnell
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