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What (Guest-Worker) Women Want

Thu, 2019-05-02 12:56
What (Guest-Worker) Women Want

We’re farm workers, crab pickers and cruise ship workers. We’re chocolate packers, engineers, veterinarians, nurses and teachers from all around the world. We are united by our motivation, yearn for knowledge and commitment to creating change in our communities. We stand with guest-worker women from around the world to ensure that the policies that affect us reflect our experiences.

In several different ways, we have all endured inequity and hardships in our journeys to the United States and in our workplace. Our hopes to provide a better life for our children and families have been met with deceit, discrimination and lack of access to opportunity. Many of us have suffered sexual harassment, one that doesn't let us live or work. Basic medical aid is nonexistent, with something as little as an aspirin being inaccessible to us. At our employment-provided housing, we are provided one bathroom for all and must take cold showers. We live and work in physical and mental isolation. We often don’t speak the language, nor know anyone beyond the employer. Many of our employers take our passports and visas upon arrival. It is difficult to access any justice or remedies.

As guest-worker women, we are together in this movement. We are telling our story because we do not want others to face what we did. It is our responsibility to follow this path, to unite, organize and not let it get lost. We represent our families, our community and future generations. We're women, and there is nothing braver than thinking aloud. We aren’t the “weaker sex.” We are strong and capable. We are courageous and triumphant.

We want equal rights and opportunities, as we have equal responsibilities. We want to speak up and be heard. We want transparency. We seek reforms in law. We want to change conditions. We want our employers and the people and the government of this country to value us.

We envision an alternative future for ourselves and our communities—one where migrant women feel empowered to raise our voices and not stand alone. This future holds concrete policy changes and a shift in the ways companies and employers work. Generations to come have strong protections, are free from abuse and hold employers accountable. Women are not isolated; we have access to resources for our mental and physical health to exercise our rights. In this joint vision, we are as powerful as ever.

This vision requires disassembling guest-worker programs in order to build gender equity in labor migration. Join us—the hundreds of thousands of guest-worker women—in building that future now.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 05/02/2019 - 12:56

Profiling Labor Leaders and Activists for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Thu, 2019-05-02 11:48
Profiling Labor Leaders and Activists for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

For Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various Asian and Pacific Americans who have worked and continue to work at the intersection of civil and labor rights. First, let's take a look back at Asian and Pacific Americans we've profiled in the past:

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

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 05/02/2019 - 11:48

Tags: Labor History

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Not Good Enough

Wed, 2019-05-01 14:54
‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Not Good Enough AFL-CIO

In the latest episode of "State of the Unions," podcast co-hosts Julie and Tim talk to Celeste Drake, the AFL-CIO's recently departed trade policy specialist, about flaws in the proposed new NAFTA and outline the labor movement's high standards for current and future trade agreements. 

"State of the Unions" is a tool to help us bring you the issues and stories that matter to working people. It captures the stories of workers across the country and is co-hosted by two young and diverse members of the AFL-CIO team: Mobilization Director Julie Greene and Executive Speechwriter Tim Schlittner. A new episode drops every other Wednesday featuring interesting interviews with workers and our allies across the country, as well as compelling insights from the podcast’s hosts.

Listen to our previous episodes:

State of the Unions” is available on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotifyStitcher and anywhere else you can find podcasts.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 05/01/2019 - 14:54

Tags: Podcast, NAFTA

Labor's Resurgence: In the States Roundup

Wed, 2019-05-01 10:46
Labor's Resurgence: In the States Roundup AFL-CIO

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

Alabama AFL-CIO:

11th annual "Road Kill BBQ" is getting off to a great start. #1U

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

Alaska AFL-CIO:

Keep our pioneers in Alaska! Time to testify on Alaska Pioneer Homes (HB 96) is NOW (3 pm)! #akleg

— Alaska AFL-CIO (@AKAFLCIO) April 23, 2019

Arizona AFL-CIO:

Huge thank you to all our Union Brothers and Sisters and Arizona State Legislators that participated in our 2019 #AZAFLCIO Day of Action at the Capitol today! Remember, the work does not stop here! #WeWorkForUnions @ Arizona State Capitol — at...

— Arizona AFL-CIO (@ArizonaAFLCIO) April 17, 2019

Arkansas AFL-CIO:

Expensive degree and no guaranteed job: More students are considering options outside of 4-year college

— Arkansas AFL-CIO (@ArkansasAFLCIO) April 24, 2019

California Labor Federation:

Companies who dodge their obligation of providing basic protections like a minimum wage need to be held accountable. To put an end to cheating workers #CALeg must #DisruptInequality and vote #YesOnAB5. @LorenaAD80

— California Labor Federation (@CaliforniaLabor) April 23, 2019

Colorado AFL-CIO:

Colorado can do it – reduce carbon emissions, make a difference on climate change and ensure a fair and just transition for displaced fossil fuel dependent workers at the same time. Read the report below!

— Colorado AFL-CIO (@AFLCIOCO) April 16, 2019

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

Today we remembered and honored the lives of the 28 workers who were killed in the L'Ambiance Plaza collapse 32 years ago. We must recommit ourselves to fight for good, safe jobs for all working people. @AFLCIO

— Connecticut AFL-CIO (@ConnAFLCIO) April 23, 2019

Florida AFL-CIO:

Week 7 was full of political tricks as the attack on Working Families continued. Watch our update videos covering all of the critical issues affecting you and your family during Legislative Session. Sign up for email alerts at

— Florida AFL-CIO (@FLAFLCIO) April 22, 2019

Georgia AFL-CIO:

Union workers hit another milestone in building our energy future. This investment in Georgia's energy infrastructure & workers is key for the future of Georgia, its infrastructure & its economy as the state grows. Congratulations and thank you for the work you do every day! #1u

— AFL-CIO Georgia (@AFLCIOGeorgia) March 26, 2019

Idaho AFL-CIO:

#SpringCleaning? Be sure to buy #Union! #Solidarity #UnionYes #UnionProud #1u #MadeInUSA #unionstrong
Check out @Labor411 for a complete list!

— Idaho State AFL-CIO (@IdahoAFLCIO) April 22, 2019

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

The message that #StopAndShopWorkers sent to their company by collectively standing up for themselves, their families, and good jobs has resonated not only with the company, but all of America. Thank you to the hardworking @UFCW members at Stop & Shop for everything you’ve done!

— Indiana AFL-CIO (@INAFLCIO) April 22, 2019

Iowa Federation of Labor:

Workers Memorial Day Events Around Iowa

— Iowa AFL-CIO (@IowaAFLCIO) April 23, 2019

Kansas State AFL-CIO:

Working people everywhere thanks you Governor Kelly for the veto of
SB 22.

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

Kentucky State AFL-CIO:

Thank you to our union brothers and sisters working with Operation Victory to build a home for a Veteran in need.
Greater Louisville Central Labor Council, GLCLC

— Kentucky AFL-CIO (@aflcioky) April 22, 2019

Maine AFL-CIO:

Chris Tucker of LIUNA Local 327 testifying in support of LD 1386 to improve the way prevailing hourly wages & benefits are set on state construction projects #mepolitics

— Maine AFL-CIO (@MEAFLCIO) April 24, 2019

Massachusetts AFL-CIO:

Statement from President Tolman on the end of the 2019 UFCW Stop & Shop Worker Strike. Click for full statement: #1u #solidarity #StopAndShopWorkers #Stopandshopstrike @StopDontShop

— Massachusetts AFLCIO (@massaflcio) April 22, 2019

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

Painters lend a hand in the community

— MetroDCLaborCouncil (@DCLabor) April 24, 2019

Michigan AFL-CIO:

America’s largest one-day food drive is Saturday, May 11! Help your letter carriers #StampOutHunger:

— Michigan AFL-CIO (@MIAFLCIO) April 22, 2019

Minnesota AFL-CIO:

The House is back in session and they’re working on the Jobs bill, which includes paid family & medical leave, cracking down on #WageTheft, and earned sick and safe time. #PaidLeaveMN #mnleg #1u

— Minnesota AFL-CIO (@MNAFLCIO) April 24, 2019

Missouri AFL-CIO:

Thanks to Senators Holsman, May, Nasheed, Arthur, Walsh, Rizzo, Sifton, Schupp, Williams, and Curls for standing up for Missouri voters and protecting our constitutional right to have a say in Missouri laws. Join us in thanking them for standing up against SJR1. #moleg

— Missouri AFL-CIO (@MOAFLCIO) April 17, 2019

Montana AFL-CIO:

Under flags at half-mast to honor the fallen, Montana protects its future by making presumptive coverage for firefighters law. Thank you to @mcconnell_nate, our men and women in uniform, and everyone else who fought to make this happen! #mtpol #mtleg

— Montana AFL-CIO (@MTaflcio) April 18, 2019

Nebraska State AFL-CIO:

We oppose any proposal that disproportionately increases taxes on low-income families. LB289 would increase the state sales taxes by 3/4 cent and the effects would fall heaviest on low-income families. Tell your senator to oppose LB289. Find senator here:

— NE State AFL-CIO (@NEAFLCIO) April 18, 2019

Nevada State AFL-CIO:

Nevada’s legislators are learning about how paid apprenticeship programs benefit key communities and our economy at Apprenticeship Day 2019 at the #NVLeg.

— Nevada State AFL-CIO (@NVAFLCIO) April 23, 2019

New Hampshire AFL-CIO:

By acclamation @PresBrackett has been elected to a second term as NH AFL-CIO President! #nhpolitics

— NewHampshire AFL-CIO (@NHAFLCIO) April 13, 2019

New Mexico Federation of Labor:

Congratulations Brothers and Sisters

— NMFL (@NMFLaflcio) April 18, 2019

New York State AFL-CIO:

President Cilento on the picket line with #UnionStrong @UAWRegion9A
CAMBA workers on strike in NYC.

— NYSAFLCIO (@NYSAFLCIO) April 17, 2019

North Carolina State AFL-CIO:

"The ban on collective bargaining for public employees denies us the information we need to recruit, retain, and ensure the safety and well-being of our employees." @CityofWinston @bessefornc #ncga #ncpol #1u

— NC State AFL-CIO (@NCStateAFLCIO) April 24, 2019


Union rallies outside GE as contract talks near. We stand united in #Solidarity with our ⁦@IUE_CWAUnion⁩ members! Across the country workers are finding their strength and power for dignity and respect... and winning!

— Ohio AFL-CIO (@ohioaflcio) April 24, 2019

Oklahoma State AFL-CIO:

Thank you to those who keep the work going!

— Oklahoma AFL-CIO (@OK_AFL_CIO) April 24, 2019

Oregon AFL-CIO:

— Oregon AFL-CIO (@OregonAFLCIO) April 20, 2019

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

2019 Hall of Fame Inductees - William Leskosky, (posthumously) AFSCME, Vicki Wyland SEIU, Ed Yankovich, Jr. UMWA. An outstanding annual event hosted by a Central Labor Council with outstanding members! — at DoubleTree Pittsburgh Meadow Lands

— PA AFL-CIO (@PaAFL_CIO) April 20, 2019

Rhode Island AFL-CIO:

#HelpASisterOutPeriod The RI Coalition of Labor Union Women, w/ the support of @rifthp, @IBT251, @riaflcio, is launching our #HelpASisterOutPeriod campaign, to raise awareness for women who lack the financial means to purchase menstrual products. #1U

— Rhode Island AFL-CIO (@riaflcio) April 22, 2019

South Carolina AFL-CIO:

Facing Escalating Workplace Violence, Hospital Employees Have Had Enough

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

Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council:

ICYMI: Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee pokes a sleeping tiger with his school voucher agenda

— Tennessee AFL-CIO (@tnaflcio) April 22, 2019

Texas AFL-CIO:

Dow locks out more than 200 workers in Deer Park via @houstonchron

— Texas AFL-CIO (@TexasAFLCIO) April 23, 2019

Virginia AFL-CIO:

"We’re talking to people about labor history and we’re not even walking the walk in this institution."

— Virginia AFL-CIO (@Virginia_AFLCIO) April 23, 2019

Washington State Labor Council:

“Jacquie’s unexpected passing is a major loss for the labor movement in Washington state,” said WSLC President Larry Brown.

— WA State AFL-CIO (@WAAFLCIO) April 17, 2019

West Virginia AFL-CIO:

When underground labor is used, the communities lose millions.... payroll taxes go unpaid, the City of Charleston doesn't get its user fee.  The state gets no state income taxes.

— West Virginia AFLCIO (@WestVirginiaAFL) April 16, 2019

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO:

Wisconsin AFL-CIO Applauds Executive Order to Combat Worker Misclassification and Prevent Payroll Fraud,

— WI AFL-CIO (@wisaflcio) April 18, 2019 Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 05/01/2019 - 10:46

Marriott Should Tell the Truth About Sexual Harassment

Fri, 2019-04-26 12:57
Marriott Should Tell the Truth About Sexual Harassment UNITE HERE

Marriott International, the biggest hotel chain in the world, is hiding the truth about the dangers its workers face. UNITE HERE members are demanding that the company comes clean. 

In 2018, working people at Marriott went on strike and won greater sexual harassment protections. For those protections to fully work, the company has to tell the truth about the pervasiveness of harassment at its hotels. But it refuses to do so.

Marriott was asked to report the total number of incidents of sexual harassment at its hotels to shareholders. Instead, it revealed the number of formal legal complaints that have been filed in the past five years, only 44 worldwide. But according to estimates from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace, between 25% and 85% of women have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, while only 6%-13% file a formal complaint. By revealing only the number of formal legal complaints, Marriott is likely under-reporting harassment in its hotels and making it harder to prevent future incidents. 

Join UNITE HERE in signing the petition demanding that Marriott tell the truth about harassment and assault on its properties and engage in a dialogue with workers to find solutions to this growing problem.


Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 04/26/2019 - 12:57

12 Things You Need to Know About Death on the Job

Thu, 2019-04-25 15:31
12 Things You Need to Know About Death on the Job AFL-CIO

The AFL-CIO today released its 28th annual Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect report. Each April, we examine the state of worker safety in America. This year's report shows that 5,147 working people were killed on the job in 2017. Additionally, an estimated 95,000 died from occupational diseases.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) called for action: 

This is a national crisis. And it’s well past time that our elected leaders in Washington, D.C., stop playing politics and take action to prevent these tragedies. Instead, the Trump administration is actually gutting the protections we fought so hard to win in the first place. This is unacceptable. It’s shameful. And the labor movement is doing everything in our power to stop it.

Here are 12 key findings from the report:

  1. Every day, 275 workers die from hazardous working conditions.

  2. There is only one Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspector for every 79,000 workers.

  3. Since 1970, there have been 410,000 traumatic worker deaths, but only 99 cases have been criminally prosecuted under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

  4. The average OSHA penalty for serious worker safety violations is only $3,580. The penalty rises to $7,761, on average, for worker deaths.

  5. About 8 million public sector workers lack OSHA protection. Their rate of injury and illness is 64% higher than private sector employees.

  6. Workplace violence is now the third-leading cause of death on the job.

  7. Women face the brunt of workplace violence, accounting for 2 of every 3 people who are attacked.

  8. Workplace violence caused 807 deaths in 2017 and nearly 29,000 serious injuries. More than 450 of those deaths were homicides.

  9. Health care and social assistance workers are four times more likely to suffer a workplace violence injury than those who work in other occupations. The level of serious workplace violence injuries for these workers has risen 69% in the past decade.

  10. The five most dangerous states to work in are: Alaska, North Dakota, Wyoming, West Virginia and South Dakota.

  11. The fatality rate for Latino and immigrant workers and workers 65 and older is higher than the national average.

  12. Workplace violence is preventable. An enforceable OSHA standard would keep workers safe, but in the meantime, Congress should pass the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act.

Read the full report to learn more.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 04/25/2019 - 15:31

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

Wed, 2019-04-24 10:02
What Happens When Call Center Jobs Are Shipped Abroad and Workers Try to Organize? BIEN

One of the world's largest "contact center" companies, U.S.-based giant Alorica, has been expanding in the Philippines, where more than 1.3 million women and men work in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector. These workers and their allies came together through BIEN, the BPO Industry Employees Network, to defend workers' interests in this booming sector. Alorica, a global player in this industry, offers "customer experience" services to the U.S. market for clients like Comcast, AT&T, Citibank, Barclays and Caesars.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wed, 2019-04-24 09:50
USITC Report Backs Up the Need to Fix New NAFTA to Add Real Enforcement

On April 18, the United States International Trade Commission released its analysis of the likely economic impacts of the new NAFTA (also known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement or USMCA). The report supports the AFL-CIO’s position on the new NAFTA: Congress should not vote on it until it is fixed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Tue, 2019-04-23 14:40
The U.S. Postal Service is Owned by the People—Let's Keep it That Way

As the tax deadline looms and millions scurry to get their forms sent on time, Tax Day is a good time to dispel the myth that the U.S. Postal Service is funded by tax dollars.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This post originally appeared at The Cap Times.

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

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

Mon, 2019-04-22 13:51
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Railroad Signalmen AFL-CIO

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

Name of Union: Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen

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

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

Current Number of Members: 10,000-plus.

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

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

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

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

Learn More: Website.

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

The Center of Victory

Wed, 2019-04-03 15:08
The Center of Victory Natasha Lindstrom/Tribune-Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: #StampOutHunger

Wed, 2019-04-03 10:00
‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: #StampOutHunger AFL-CIO

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

"State of the Unions" is a tool to help us bring you the issues and stories that matter to working people. It captures the stories of workers across the country and is co-hosted by two young and diverse members of the AFL-CIO team: Mobilization Director Julie Greene and Executive Speechwriter Tim Schlittner. A new episode drops every other Wednesday featuring interesting interviews with workers and our allies across the country, as well as compelling insights from the podcast’s hosts.

Listen to our previous episodes:

State of the Unions” is available on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotifyStitcher and anywhere else you can find podcasts.

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

Tags: Podcast

Closing the Gap: The Working People Weekly List

Tue, 2019-04-02 12:19
Closing the Gap: 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 House Just Passed a Bill to Close the Gender Pay Gap: "House Democrats easily passed the Paycheck Fairness Act on Wednesday—their latest in a long series of attempts to make sure women and men are paid equally. The final vote was 242-187. Democrats were joined by seven Republicans. To give you a sense of how long bill author Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) has been fighting for this cause, she first introduced the bill in 1997."

Vice Media Agrees to $1.87 Million Settlement for Paying Female Staffers Less Than Men: "Vice has agreed to a $1.875 million deal to resolve a class action lawsuit brought by some of the media company's female workforce. The proposed settlement was quietly submitted for approval to a Los Angeles Superior Court judge on Monday. By the looks of the court papers, Vice was likely saved from paying millions more because the company tends to employ younger women."

Mexico Must Change Labor Laws for USMCA Passage, Trumka Says: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka discusses the USMCA trade agreement and its impact on U.S. labor with Bloomberg's Jason Kelly on 'Bloomberg Markets: Balance of Power.'"

Labor Organizers Share Insight and Tips on Unionizing the Game Industry: "There’s been a lot of talk about unionization in the game industry, so today at GDC some union [members] took the stage in front of an audience of game makers to share what they’d learned about effectively organizing labor.  During an hour-long session that was chiefly Q&A, panel members Emma Kinema (Game Workers Unite International), Kevin Gregory Agwaze (Game Workers Unite UK), Linda Dao (SAG-AFTRA), Justin Molito (Writers Guild of America, East) and Liz Shuler of AFL-CIO (which published an open letter encouraging game devs to organize) fielded some notable labor questions from game devs. Shuler jumped in to say that, on the bright side, she’s seen a recent surge in labor organization, citing the recent Marriott workers strike as a good example of how workers can successfully fight for better pay and more protection on the job. 'We’re seeing a movement moment,' she added. 'I think people are discovering that they don’t have to sit back and take it. They can fight back.'"

Unions Step Up Push for $15 Minimum Wage in Congress: "Labor unions and their allies on Tuesday stepped up their push to get Congress to approve a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage, up from the current rate of $7.25, urging rank-and-file members to press their congressmen on the issue. 'Three weeks ago, lawmakers in the House brought that bill one step closer to a floor vote. Now, we’ve got to keep the momentum going,' AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in an email to members Tuesday. 'This is our chance to make a $15 per hour minimum wage a reality for ALL workers. Tell your congressperson that raising the wage is a win-win for workers and the economy.'"

Trump Finds Democrats a Tough Sell on NAFTA Replacement: "Critics of the agreement have called for beefing up its labor and environmental protections, as well as ensuring those aspects are actually enforceable in practice. Some Democrats have asked the administration to make changes to the deal, like taking steps to lower prescription drug prices and expand the scope of the new minimum wage requirements. Celeste Drake, the AFL-CIO's top trade and globalization policy guru, will testify before Blumenauer's subcommittee during a hearing on Tuesday morning, alongside representatives from the United Auto Workers, the United Steelworkers, and other key organized labor groups."

Millions of People Can't Afford Medicines. Groups Lead Efforts to Lower Prices: "'Excessively high drug prices and unjustified price increases do not happen by chance, they are the result of deliberate political decisions made in Washington,' said Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO. 'Patients at the pharmacy counter, workers at the bargaining table and their health plans negotiating with pharmaceutical companies are forced to pay the price,' added Trumka."

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

Equal Pay for Equal Work: In the States Roundup: "It's time once again to take a look at the ways working people are making progress in the states."

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Train Dispatchers: "In this weekly series, we take a deeper look at each of the AFL-CIO's affiliates. Next up is the American Train Dispatchers Association."

Women's History Month Profiles: Maida Springer Kemp: "For Women's History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various women who were leaders and activists working at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Today's profile is Maida Springer Kemp."


Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 04/02/2019 - 12:19

It's Time for Equal Pay

Tue, 2019-04-02 12:02
It's Time for Equal Pay

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

The House of Representatives recently passed the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would:

  • Prohibit employers from using salary history.

  • Protect against retaliation for discussing pay with colleagues.

  • Equalize discrimination claims based on gender, race and ethnicity.

Now it’s up to the Senate to bring it up for a vote and pass it. Add your name to the petition in support of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

The AFL-CIO Executive Council recently adopted a statement in support of the Paycheck Fairness Act and other equal pay efforts. Read it here.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 04/02/2019 - 12:02

Tags: Equal Pay

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: AFT

Mon, 2019-04-01 08:03
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: AFT AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that will take a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the AFT. The series will run weekly until we've covered all 55 of our affiliates.

Name of Union: American Federation of Teachers

Mission: The AFT "is a union of professionals that champions fairness; democracy; economic opportunity; and high-quality public education, health care and public services for our students, their families and our communities. We are committed to advancing these principles through community engagement, organizing, collective bargaining and political activism, and especially through the work our members do."

Current Leadership of Union: Randi Weingarten was elected president of AFT in 2008 after serving for 12 years as the president of the United Federation of Teachers, representing 200,000 educators in New York City's public schools. After graduating from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and the Cardozo School of Law, she worked as a lawyer and was active in numerous professional, civic and philanthropic organizations. Weingarten also taught history at Clara Barton High School in Brooklyn before becoming UFT's assistant secretary in 1995 and treasurer two years later.

Lorretta Johnson serves as secretary-treasurer and Mary Cathryn Ricker serves as executive vice president. The AFT also has 42 vice presidents representing various geographic areas.

Current Number of Members: 1.7 million.

Members Work As: Teachers from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; faculty and professional staff in higher education; nurses and other health care professionals; early childhood educators; and federal, state and local government employees. 

Industries Represented: Public schools, higher education, health care and federal, state and local government.

History: The AFT was founded in Chicago and was chartered by the American Federation of Labor in 1916. It grew quickly, chartering more than 170 locals in the first four years. A post-World War I push from local school boards intimidated many members into leaving the union, cutting its size in half by the end of the 1930s. The AFT fought back and pushed for academic freedom and tenure laws to protect teachers during the Red Scare. By the end of the Great Depression, the AFT had secured tenure laws of some sort in 17 states.

During World War II, the AFT was a significant supporter of the war effort while also campaigning against oppression of people of color at home. The AFT also fought to improve conditions in schools. Another Red Scare came along in the 1950s and the AFT took a lead role in opposing loyalty oaths and other limitations on teachers. The AFT was active in the civil rights movement, in particular in support of school desegregation. As the 1960s unfolded, the AFT turned toward strikes to obtain better pay, benefits and job security. More than 300 teacher strikes took place in the 1960s, and membership more than doubled to 200,000 by the end of the decade.

While dealing with new issues in the 1970s like declining school funding in urban areas, the AFT was the fastest-growing union in the country; and by the 1980s, it led the movement toward education reform and teacher professionalization. Throughout the ensuing decades, the AFT continued to focus on innovation and making sure that teachers had the cutting-edge skills to best serve their students.

In the 2000s, the AFT surpassed a million members, with the total hitting 1.7 million in 2017. During the presidency of Randi Weingarten, the AFT has continued to innovate with major initiatives such as the AFT Innovation Fund, Reconnecting McDowell, Share My Lesson and a partnership with First Book.

The past few years have seen an inspiring rise in collective action in the United States, and teachers, led by members of the AFT, have engaged in a wave of strikes that have scored a series of important victories for edcuators and the students and communities they serve. In particular, teachers were  successful using their collective voices in West Virginia, Oklahoma City, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Current Campaigns: A Decade of Neglect shines a light on the underfunding of public schools, and Fund Our Future seeks to remedy that problem. It is also working to help members deal with the burdens of the Student Debt Crisis. The AFT is fighting to keep families together in the face of "zero tolerance" immigration policies, to stop student loan fraud, to arm schools with resources instead of guns and to support Puerto Rico's teachers and parents.

Community Efforts: I Am AFT spotlights the community efforts of members. The AFT also provides disaster relief and emergency preparedness for members, its families and communities. The AFT also works with various community partners, including the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, First Book, the Food Research and Action Center, the Special Olympics, the BlueGreen Alliance and the Healthy Schools Campaign.

Learn MoreWebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 04/01/2019 - 08:03

When We Stand United, We Prevail: What Working People Are Doing This Week

Thu, 2019-03-28 12:10
When We Stand United, We Prevail: What Working People Are Doing This Week AFL-CIO

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

A. Philip Randolph Institute:

U.S. Circuit Court rules it is legal to refuse jobs to people with dreadlocks

— APRI National (DC) (@APRI_National) March 26, 2019

Actors' Equity Association:

Equity's "How to Hire Me" letter is a resource that is intended to pave the way for Equity members who live outside Equity's office cities to get hired by producers who may not have a lot of experience using Equity Contracts.

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


It’s still March which means we’re still celebrating #AFGEWomen. AFGE Local 1793 President Karen Ford-Styer explains what #WomensHistoryMonth means to her. #1u

— AFGE (@AFGENational) March 27, 2019


During #WomensHistoryMonth, we celebrate the proud and fearless sisters who drive change in our union. #1u #AFSCMEStrong

— AFSCME (@AFSCME) March 26, 2019


The AFT has a long history of engaging in the political process, with the goals of bettering the lives of our members and strengthening our communities. Get involved in the #AFTvotes #Election2020 endorsement process now:

— AFT (@AFTunion) March 20, 2019

Air Line Pilots:

Thank you to Senator @PattyMurray for your support of U.S. aviation workers: “I am particularly opposed to the proposal that would require an arbitrary 2-year bar on any union representation election after a decertification vote.” @HELPCMTEDEMS @GOPHELP

— ALPA (@WeAreALPA) March 28, 2019

Alliance for Retired Americans:

Wall Street bonuses have grown by 1,000% since 1985. Had the minimum wage grown at the same rate it would be $33 an hour. Higher pay now means a secure retirement later. We must #RaiseTheWage. #FightFor15 #1u

— Alliance Retirees (@ActiveRetirees) March 28, 2019

Amalgamated Transit Union:

Fix New York’s school bus crisis - Restore the Employee Protection Provisions (#EPP) to ensure experienced #schoolbus drivers and escorts are safely transporting students. #NYC #1u

— ATU, Transit Union (@ATUComm) March 28, 2019

American Federation of Musicians:

.@MusiciansChiSym "privileges' are hard won – every day, week, month & year of their professional lives (and long before and after)." Solidarity w/striking Chicago Symphony Musicians! #UnionMusicians #1u

— AFM (@The_AFM) March 28, 2019

American Postal Workers Union:

Today we remember when, in 1970, postal workers took to the streets and won the right to collectively bargain for wages and benefits.
More about the Great Mail Strike here:

— APWU National (@APWUnational) March 25, 2019

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance:

FACT: There are 68 mil ppl displaced around the world, including 25 million #refugees. @realDonaldTrump administration cut #refugees admissions to just 30,000 for FY19. And now the U.S. isn’t even on track to meet this goal. #WhereRtheRefugees #RefugeesWelcome

— APALA (@APALAnational) March 27, 2019

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:

AFA Air Wisconsin Flight Attendants continue to fight for a fair contract. SAVE THE DATE for the next picket in Chicago on April 11th. Read more about their fight ⬇️

— AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) March 26, 2019


New video tells the stories of White, Black, and Brown working families who have paid the price for Wall Street buying our democracy in the form of rent hikes, toxic mold, and layoffs.

— BCTGM International (@BCTGM) March 18, 2019


Congrats to the 16 Canadian #Boilermakers who completed project management training in Toronto!

— Boilermakers Union (@boilermakernews) March 25, 2019

Coalition of Labor Union Women:

Call Now to Urge Your Representative to Vote YES on the Paycheck Fairness Act: 1-855-973-0824
Here's our message: Women can’t wait any longer for fair pay. As your constituent, I urge you to vote YES on H.R. 7, the Paycheck Fairness Act, to help close the gender pay gap. #WageGap

— CLUW National (@CLUWNational) March 25, 2019

Communications Workers of America:

Listen to the kids. Join a union! #1u #WednesdayWisdom

Equal Pay for Equal Work: In the States Roundup

Wed, 2019-03-27 13:10
Equal Pay for Equal Work: In the States Roundup AFL-CIO

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

Alaska AFL-CIO:

.@vincebeltrami responds to @GovDunleavy private Town Halls. #AKleg #AKgov

— Alaska AFL-CIO (@AKAFLCIO) March 20, 2019

Arizona AFL-CIO:

HB 2523 is being heard by committee TODAY! Make sure to call and let your State Senator know that we support equal pay for equal work and do not support this bill that would pay working students...

— Arizona AFL-CIO (@ArizonaAFLCIO) March 14, 2019

Arkansas AFL-CIO:

Some AR legislators are trying to create 2nd class citizens that don't receive the state's new minimum wage. Call your Rep today and ask them to leave minimum wage alone. 501-682-6211#arpx #arkleg #1u #willofthepeople #arklabor

— Arkansas AFL-CIO (@ArkansasAFLCIO) March 19, 2019

California Labor Federation:

This #WomensHistoryMonth we recognize the incredible contributions that women have made to the labor movement! From fighting gender based discrimination in the workplace to equal pay for equal work, women have always been at the forefront of the labor rights movement! #1u

— California Labor Federation (@CaliforniaLabor) March 1, 2019

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

.@EconomicPolicy Institute's Senior Analyst David Cooper: Contrary to opponents' warnings of economic ruin & massive job losses, states & cities throughout the U.S. have raised their minimum wages hundreds of times and the sky has never fallen. #FightFor15

— Connecticut AFL-CIO (@ConnAFLCIO) March 18, 2019

Florida AFL-CIO:

Week 2 saw Florida inch closer to certain apocalypse. Watch our update videos covering all of the critical issues affecting you and your family during Legislative Session.

Sign up for email alerts at

— Florida AFL-CIO (@FLAFLCIO) March 17, 2019

Georgia AFL-CIO:

Actors' Equity Releases Statement On Trump's Proposal To Eliminate The National Endowment For The Arts

— AFL-CIO Georgia (@AFLCIOGeorgia) March 20, 2019

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

The Indiana Senate is considering legislation that would weaken training requirements for companies that bid on state design-build projects. Tell your senator to protect high-skill training programs that benefit local workers and communities! #inlegis

— Indiana AFL-CIO (@INAFLCIO) March 19, 2019

Iowa Federation of Labor:

Indianola schools and teachers approve contract

— Iowa AFL-CIO (@IowaAFLCIO) March 20, 2019

Kansas State AFL-CIO:

Show your support & join Ks Gov Kelly for her first Public Town Hall Meeting

— Kansas AFL-CIO (@KansasAFLCIO) March 20, 2019

Kentucky State AFL-CIO:

We agree. Call your Metro Council member at 502-513-7057, lines are open M-F 8am-5pm.

Tell your Metro Council member that You Oppose Frontline Worker Cuts!

From the Courier Journal:
“Louisville Metro Council, it's time for bold leadership. Approve...

— Kentucky AFL-CIO (@aflcioky) March 20, 2019

Maine AFL-CIO:

Today we are calling on the Legislature to honor its commitments & fully fund revenue sharing! #mepolitics

— Maine AFL-CIO (@MEAFLCIO) March 20, 2019

Massachusetts AFL-CIO:

Solidarity with @UFCW Stop & Shop workers in Chicopee, MA! #1u #solidarity

— Massachusetts AFLCIO (@massaflcio) March 20, 2019

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

We Were There kicks off @busboysandpoets Takoma with the DC Labor Chorus and friends

— MetroDCLaborCouncil (@DCLabor) March 19, 2019

Michigan AFL-CIO:

After nearly a decade of shell games and rosy outlooks, Michigan citizens were finally given a frank assessment of the true cost of years of neglect and failing to invest in our state’s critical infrastructure.

— Michigan AFL-CIO (@MIAFLCIO) March 13, 2019

Minnesota AFL-CIO:

We agree, @GovTimWalz! #mnleg #mngov #MNPotholes

— Minnesota AFL-CIO (@MNAFLCIO) March 20, 2019

Missouri AFL-CIO:

March Madness: 16 marches that shaped the history of the labor movement.

— Missouri AFL-CIO (@MOAFLCIO) March 19, 2019

Nevada State AFL-CIO:

"Workers do not dislike unions. But wealthy people and conservative donors sure do — and that, more anything, accounts for the anti-labor policies being passed at the state level."

— Nevada State AFL-CIO (@NVAFLCIO) March 18, 2019

New Hampshire AFL-CIO:

Prevailing wage legislation passed in @TheNHSenate! Thank you to @SenCavanaugh for your leadership on this issue and standing up for NH workers! #NHPolitics

— NewHampshire AFL-CIO (@NHAFLCIO) March 14, 2019

New Mexico Federation of Labor:

This is why we fight!

— NMFL (@NMFLaflcio) March 13, 2019

New York State AFL-CIO:

In a special episode of the #UnionStrong Podcast. @NYSDOLCommish Roberta Reardon talks about her labor roots and #WomensHistoryMonth . #UnionStrong #1U @NYSLabor #HERstory #WomenLead

— NYSAFLCIO (@NYSAFLCIO) March 20, 2019

North Carolina State AFL-CIO:

"Our bill is about making sure that everyone who works full time can earn a living wage, that everyone can afford the basics and that everyone has a fair opportunity to...

— NC State AFL-CIO (@NCStateAFLCIO) March 19, 2019

North Dakota AFL-CIO:

Welcome to our labor family! We couldn't be prouder of you in your historic victory! #1u @NationalNurses @mnnurses

— North Dakota AFL-CIO (@NDAFLCIO) March 8, 2019


Every time there is a crisis, it’s not the CEOs who take it on the chin, it’s the American worker that takes it on the chin.

-@AFTunion President @rweingarten in Canton @steelworkers Golden Lodge

— Ohio AFL-CIO (@ohioaflcio) March 20, 2019

Oklahoma State AFL-CIO:

Number of the Day: 85 - the number of hours a minimum wage worker in Oklahoma has to work each week to afford a two-bedroom apartment at fair market rate.

[Source: National Low Income Housing Coalition]

— Oklahoma AFL-CIO (@OK_AFL_CIO) March 19, 2019

Oregon AFL-CIO:

#LaborLobbyDay is here! Union members from across the state are gathering in Salem to advocate for working people & unions. #UnionStrong #ORleg @ Oregon State Capitol

— Oregon AFL-CIO (@OregonAFLCIO) March 19, 2019

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

We must ensure the safety of our patients and healthcare workers and support #SafeStaffing! Safe patient limits save lives. Period. @seiuhcpa @PennaNurses @SenatorCollett @nursesofpa

— PA AFL-CIO (@PaAFL_CIO) March 20, 2019

Rhode Island AFL-CIO:

Relations between Stop & Shop and its New England unions have "gone from bad to worse," according to a spokeswoman for the workers, and both sides say no further bargaining sessions are scheduled. #1U #UFCW @UFCWLocal328

— Rhode Island AFL-CIO (@riaflcio) March 19, 2019

South Carolina AFL-CIO:

Look for the union label (it’s coming to a podcast company near you)

— SC AFL-CIO (@SCAFLCIO) March 20, 2019

Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council:

Unions for campaign staffers are extremely rare.

— Tennessee AFL-CIO (@tnaflcio) March 20, 2019

Texas AFL-CIO:

"It’s time to write the rules in a way that says, focus on what our families need and not on what the insurance companies need to earn.”

--#TxAFLCIO Prez @RickTxAFLCIO, promoting Healthy Texas Act, healthcare expansion embodied in HB 4127 by Rep. Gina Hinojosa, D-Austin. #1u

— Texas AFL-CIO (@TexasAFLCIO) March 13, 2019

Virginia AFL-CIO:

Effort to raise minimum wage in Virginia remains at standstill | Government & Defense Contracting |

— Virginia AFL-CIO (@Virginia_AFLCIO) March 15, 2019

Washington State Labor Council:

Thank you, @CMTMosqueda for speaking out on behalf of Darigold dairy workers outside the Starbucks shareholder meeting in Seattle today. #Starbucks must hold its suppliers accountable for labor abuses! #DarigoldDozen @UFWupdates

— WA State AFL-CIO (@WAAFLCIO) March 20, 2019

West Virginia AFL-CIO:

West Virginia AFL-CIO President Josh Sword talks about why he opposes so-called “Right to Work” laws and about the circuit court ruling that found the 2016 law violates the WV Constitution. #wvpol

— West Virginia AFLCIO (@WestVirginiaAFL) March 12, 2019

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO:

Great to hear from Congresswoman Gwen Moore at today's @MALC_WI Labor Breakfast. #WIunion

— WI AFL-CIO (@wisaflcio) March 20, 2019 Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 03/27/2019 - 13:10

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Train Dispatchers

Mon, 2019-03-25 12:00
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Train Dispatchers AFL-CIO

In this weekly series, we take a deeper look at each of the AFL-CIO's affiliates. Next up is the American Train Dispatchers Association.

Name of Union: American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA)

Mission: To provide representation for train dispatchers and other railroad employees in contract negotiations with railroads both individually and collectively with other rail unions, discipline and grievance handling and contract enforcement, and to engage in legislative activities and regulatory processes on behalf of its craft and rail labor in general.

Current Leadership of Union: Leo McCann currently serves as president of the ATDA, a post he has held since 1999. Ed Dowell has served as secretary/treasurer since 2015. Paul E. Ayers, John Salvey, Rory Broyles and Barry Cross hold the positions of vice president. The organization also has a board of trustees with three members and a support staff of four full-time employees at its headquarters in Cleveland.

Members Work As: Train dispatchers, assistant and chief train dispatchers, power supervisors, power directors and load dispatchers, conductors and engineers, maintenance of way workers and yardmasters working for freight, passenger and commuter railroads across the country.

Industries Represented: The U.S. railroad industry.

History: While earlier efforts had been made to organize train dispatchers, the organization that would be successful, the ATDA, was founded in 1917 and its first meeting was held in Spokane, Washington. The craft union came together to organize and represent people working as train dispatchers in the nation’s railroad industry. Eventually, the organization expanded to include assistant and chief train dispatchers and power supervisors and directors who supervise and manage the power supply for electrically powered trains. In the 1990s, other crafts such as train and engine crews, maintenance of way workers and yardmasters joined the organization.

Community Efforts: In addition to representing and negotiating contracts for its members, the officers and staff of the ATDA promote legislation and regulatory improvements that benefit the safety and well-being of its members, the rail industry and every community where the railroad provides a vital service. The ATDA also serves on committees that manage and improve health care benefits and partners with organizations like Union Privilege to provide additional benefits to its members.

Learn More: WebsiteFacebook

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 03/25/2019 - 12:00

Just, Inclusive and Sustainable: The Working People Weekly List

Mon, 2019-03-25 10:25
Just, Inclusive and Sustainable: 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.

A Just, Inclusive and Sustainable Economy: "This week, labor leaders from across the country descended on New Orleans to map out the path ahead for our movement. From trade and public education to equal pay and paid leave to back pay for federal contract workers and bargaining power for all, the AFL-CIO Executive Council tackled the issues that will define working people’s fight for economic justice in 2019 and beyond."

Women's History Month Profiles: Dolores Huerta: "For Women's History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various women who were leaders and activists working at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Today's profile is Dolores Huerta."

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: A Conversation with House Blue Collar Caucus Co-Chairs: "In the latest episode of 'State of the Unions,' Julie and Tim talk to the co-chairs of the House Blue Collar Caucus. Reps. Brendan Boyle (Pa.) and Marc Veasey (Texas) both come from union families and formed the caucus in the aftermath of the 2016 election to better connect with blue-collar workers. They say the path to a stronger America runs through the labor movement and any plan to rebuild our economy must include the working people who make it go."

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Actors and Artistes: "The AFL-CIO is taking a deeper look at each of our affiliates in our regular weekly series. Next up is the Actors and Artistes (4As)."

Women's History Month Profiles: Frances Perkins: "For Women's History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various women who were leaders and activists working at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Today's profile is Frances Perkins."

Transit Unions Are Drawing Up a Plan to Confront Autonomous Vehicles: "As institutional embrace of automation continues to create a mounting threat to existing jobs, unions are formally taking note. Last year, the largest Las Vegas service workers union organized a strike partly over casinos’ plans to embrace automated systems, and the union won language in the resulting contract that included protections against automation. 2018 also saw bus drivers protest against the prospect of Ohio adopting driverless buses. Now, the Transportation Trades Department (TTD), the umbrella of unions that represent transit workers inside the AFL-CIO (itself the largest federation of unions in the United States), has released a policy statement outlining its own plans to confront the threat automation poses to its workforce."

Kickstarter Staff Begin Unionizing As Game Industry Debates Its Merits: "Kickstarter United also reflects an ongoing conversation about fair treatment, workers’ rights, and unionization in the games industry. AFL-CIO, the largest union federation in the U.S., recently called on games industry employees to unionize. In an open letter published by Kotaku, AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer Liz Shuler criticized game studios’ 'outrageous hours,' 'inadequate paychecks,' and 'stressful, toxic work conditions.' 'This is a moment for change. It won’t come from CEOs. It won’t come from corporate boards. And, it won’t come from any one person,' Shuler wrote in February. 'Change will happen when you gain leverage by joining together in a strong union. And, it will happen when you use your collective voice to bargain for a fair share of the wealth you create every day.'"

Labor to Oppose Rush to Enact ‘New NAFTA’: "The AFL-CIO Executive Council announced March 14 that it will oppose any GOP Trump administration and corporate rush to enact a 'new NAFTA' quickly in the 116th Congress. In a detailed statement/position paper released at the end of the council’s meeting in New Orleans, the federation said 'if the administration insists on a premature vote on the new NAFTA in its current form, we will have no choice but to oppose it.' Bill Samuel, the federation’s Director of Legislative Affairs, had forecast the decision in an interview with John Wojcik of the People’s World before the council met, but while labor leaders’ committees were preparing for the council sessions. 'We can’t support NAFTA in its current form,' said Samuel. 'Protections for workers are better than they were before (under the old NAFTA) but the problem is that the new NAFTA does not set up mechanisms to enforce the protections. Another big problem is that the big pharmaceutical giants are free to do whatever they want. In its current form, it is a giveaway to them.'"

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 03/25/2019 - 10:25

Women's History Month Profiles: Maida Springer Kemp

Mon, 2019-03-25 04:00
Women's History Month Profiles: Maida Springer Kemp Kheel Center

For Women's History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various women who were leaders and activists working at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Today's profile is Maida Springer Kemp.

Maida Springer Kemp was born in Panama, but moved to Harlem at the age of 7. Her mother, Adina Steward Carrington, listened to the messages of Marcus Garvey and passed the lessons she learned to her daughter, teaching her to be hopeful and to value education.

She joined the labor movement during the Great Depression, when she became a member of the Dressmakers' Union, Local 22 of the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union. Her interest in unions spiked after hearing a 1929 radio address by A. Philip Randolph. According to Springer Kemp biographer Yevette Richards, Randoph's speech helped her realize that there were larger forces that hindered working people.

In 1933, Local 22 launched a successful general strike of dressmakers. Afterwards, Springer Kemp quickly moved up the union's ranks. In 1938, she began serving on the executive board and in 1940, she became the chair of the local's education committee. She became known as "the pride of ILGWU" and Randolph began to mentor her and helped raise her profile by choosing her as one of the first African Americans to march in New York's grand union parade.

In 1945, Springer Kemp became the first black woman to represent U.S. labor overseas, when the AFL and CIO sent her as part of a group observing wartime conditions in Great Britain. Her time in England would be just the beginning of her international efforts to promote union organizing. She helped found the first women's labor movement in Turkey before becoming a key figure in establishing relationships between leaders in the emerging African and U.S. labor movements. She advised newly-formed unions in Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana and other African nations and helped run a scholarship program for union members. She officially joined the AFL-CIO's International Affairs Department in 1959, a position which she held until 1965. 

From 1970 to 1973, she served as the Midwest Director of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, where she worked on voter registration and education. She also worked for the African American Labor Center and coordinated relief programs after drought struck in Africa. She later became a consultant with the Asian American Free Labor Institute and worked as a consultant and lecturer promoting women's labor rights and unionism in Africa.

She continued to promote equality for working women and supported the labor movement long after her retirement in 1981. She died in 2005 at the age of 94, leaving behind a legacy that helped improve the lives of working people around the world.

Read all of our Women's History Month profiles.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 03/25/2019 - 04:00