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Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: United Steelworkers

Mon, 2020-09-21 12:54
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: United Steelworkers

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the United Steelworkers.

Name of Union: The United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (USW)

Mission: The values upon which the USW was founded in 1942 still guide the organization today. These include: 

  • Uniting in one organization, regardless of creed, color or nationality, all workmen and working women eligible for membership.
  • Increasing the wages and improving the conditions of employment of members by legislation, joint agreements or other legitimate means.
  • Securing equitable statutory old-age pension, workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance laws.
  • Enforcing existing just laws and to secure the repeal of those which are unjust.
  • Securing, by legislative enactment, laws protecting the limbs, lives and health of members, protecting their right to organize and other legislation as will be beneficial.

Current Leadership of Union: Thomas M. Conway has served as the international president of the USW since July 15, 2019. Prior to that, he served as the international vice president (administration) since 2005. Born to a New Jersey union household, Conway began his union career in 1978 after serving in the U.S. Air Force.

John E. Shinn serves as international secretary-treasurer, David McCall as international vice president (administration), Fred Redmond as international vice president (human affairs), and Ken Neumann as national director for Canada. Roxanne Brown and Leeann Foster also serve as USW international vice presidents.

Number of Members: 850,000.

Members Work As: USW members work in the steel, aluminum, iron ore, cement, glass, rubber, paper and paper products, oil, chemical and manufacturing industries, as well as in mining and other metals. They work as health care workers, professors, bank workers,  grocery workers, security guards, electricians, pharmaceutical workers, public servants and much more.

Industries Represented: Atomic, chemical, education, energy and utilities, glass, molders, pottery, plastics, health care, pharmacies and pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, metals, mining, oil and petroleum, paper and forestry, public employees, rubber and tires, transportation and more.

HistoryWatch this video or read more at the USW website.

Current Campaigns/Community Efforts: Solidarity Works PodcastUSW @ Work and Other PublicationsFair Trade and various ways to engage in activism with USW.

Learn More: WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 09/21/2020 - 12:54

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: IFPTE Backs Corporate Bankruptcy Reform

Mon, 2020-09-21 10:41
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: IFPTE Backs Corporate Bankruptcy Reform

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 of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) are putting their weight behind the Protecting Employees and Retirees in Business Bankruptcies Act of 2020 (H.R. 7370), a bill to rebalance America’s corporate bankruptcy laws to protect workers. In a letter to representatives, IFPTE International President Paul Shearon (pictured above) and IFPTE Secretary-Treasurer Matthew Biggs wrote: “The bill aims to reduce worker and retiree losses by making it more difficult to reject collective bargaining obligations during a bankruptcy; providing better protections against reducing or eliminating retiree benefits; mandating that court approval of bankruptcy sales is contingent on maintaining existing jobs and retiree pension and health benefits; and, further [defining] that the priority of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy process is to maintain as many jobs as possible….For too long employers have utilized the bankruptcy courts as a means of abrogating their pension, retiree health benefits and earned wages of their employees. This must come to an end.”

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 09/21/2020 - 10:41

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: UFCW Prompts Largest Citation Over Coronavirus-Related Health and Safety Violations in California

Fri, 2020-09-18 09:36
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: UFCW Prompts Largest Citation Over Coronavirus-Related Health and Safety Violations in California

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.

Following a comprehensive complaint filed by United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 770, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has issued its largest coronavirus-related citation in the state, fining food processing company Overhill Farms and its staffing agency more than $200,000 for serious health and safety violations. “It should not be so dangerous to go to work every day. I commend the leadership of the workers at Overhill for speaking up in the face of atrocious safety violations at the plant and for creating an innovative safety committee at Overhill. Without their leadership, even more workers would be sick,” said John Grant, president of Local 770. “Now the state of California has weighed in with meaningful citations that show just how dangerous the working conditions were.” One worker at Overhill died from COVID-19 in April, and more than 1,100 members of Local 770 have tested positive for the virus. Cal/OSHA specifically cited Overhill because its employees have been unable to maintain physical distance at several points at the jobsite.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 09/18/2020 - 09:36

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

New COVID-19 Protections In Las Vegas: Worker Wins

Fri, 2020-09-18 08:40
New COVID-19 Protections In Las Vegas: Worker Wins

Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with an important victory in the fight against COVID-19 for Las Vegas' workers and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life. 

Las Vegas Unions Negotiate New COVID-19 Protections: Workers at MGM Resorts and Caesars hotels and casinos in Las Vegas represented by Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 successfully negotiated new protections in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new agreement will provide more than 36,000 workers with extended health benefits, paid time off for quarantines and other protections. “Behind every worker is a family, and we are proud to have partnered with MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment during this difficult time to ensure workers are protected during this pandemic and are not left behind when the economy recovers. These new historic agreements mean workers will have their family health benefits in place until next year, even if they are currently laid off, and that workers will be able to return to their jobs as business recovers with full seniority rights,” said Geoconda Argüello-Kline, the secretary-treasurer for the Culinary Union.

Feminist Majority Foundation Staff Join NPEU: Staff at Feminist Majority Foundation voted to join Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU) and have asked management for voluntary recognition. Said NPEU President Kayla Blado: “We are excited to welcome Feminist Majority Union to NPEU and the labor movement. Women’s rights are union rights, and with their union, FMF staff will be able to more effectively advocate for feminism and the rights of women. We look forward to FMF management promptly recognizing its staff union.”

New American Leaders Staff Join NPEU: Staff at New American Leaders (NAL) voted to be represented by NPEU and have made a formal request to management for voluntary recognition. NAL Workers United and NPEU said in a statement: "We believe that unionizing is integral in the fight to eradicate the oppressive structures of white supremacy, systemic racism, and capitalism. We see unionizing as a way to live our progressive values internally; a union will help us use democratic principles to root out white supremacy, colonialism, patriarchy, heterosexism, ableism and classism within the workplace, which will only strengthen our ability to serve our communities better and with more authenticity."

Meow Wolf Staff Ask Management to Recognize Union: Meow Wolf employees have asked management to voluntarily recognize their unionization and intent to be represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA). Meow Wolf Writer Bill Rogers said: "Once we're recognized, we will work with the company to negotiate a contract that represents the well-being of all workers in Meow Wolf. We believe this will set Meow Wolf apart from its peers in the immersive entertainment industry. Meow Wolf has been a beacon for working artists all around the world. That ideal drew many of us to Santa Fe [New Mexico] in the first place. We want to help the company achieve that yet again."

SAG-AFTRA Members Ratify Television Animation Contract Overwhelmingly: More than 87% of members voted to approve the 2020 SAG-AFTRA TV Animation Contracts with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The new contract includes wage increases, improved residuals for streaming services and other gains. SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said: "This is a strong, future-focused agreement with significant gains for our members. It applies scale wages to more productions, lowers budget thresholds for half-hour HBSVOD programs and delivers additional money for the use of interstitial programs in new media.”

Philadelphia Museum of Art Workers Overwhelmingly Vote to Join AFSCME: With 89% voting in favor of unionization, workers at the Philadelphia Museum of Art will be represented by AFSCME District Council 47. The victory establishes the first wall-to-wall union at a major museum in the United States. The yearlong campaign was delayed by COVID-19 and management's "attempts to discourage unionization."

Largest Strike in U.S. Ends as IAM Members Overwhelmingly Ratify New Contract: After nearly 10 weeks, the strike by Machinists (IAM) Local S6 members who work at Bath Iron Works is over, with 87% of the membership approving the new contract. The contract includes protections against expanded subcontracting and preserves seniority rights. IAM Local S6 President Chris Wiers said: “This strike was a testament to the culmination of Local S6 leadership, our negotiating committee and the incredible power of solidarity shown by our membership. Now that we successfully protected our contract language with respect to subcontracting and seniority, we need to get back to work and continue to prove to the U.S. Navy that ‘S6 built is best built.’”

Management Voluntarily Recognizes Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Staff Union: Staff at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law voted to join NPEU, and management voluntarily recognized the union after a majority was confirmed through card-check. The LC United organizing committee statement said: “Every day, the Lawyers’ Committee staff works hard to protect the civil rights of our country’s most vulnerable populations. We are excited to be recognized and work with management to ensure better workplace protections and conditions for our deserving and dedicated staff.”

Staff at Educational Site Chalkbeat Join WGAE: Reporters, story editors and other staff at educational website Chalkbeat voted to join the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). Management voluntarily recognized the union. In a statement, the staff said: "We are thrilled to take this step in concert with Chalkbeat management, which swiftly recognized our union. We believe that every child deserves an excellent education and that sustaining vital newsrooms is crucial to that mission. As Chalkbeat continues to grow, it is imperative that those closest to the journalism we produce have a greater role in the decisions that affect us. Our decision to unionize and negotiate a contract reflects our desire to help strengthen this news organization."

USW Members at Former Briggs & Stratton Ratify Contract: Members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 2-232 ratified a new contract with the successful bidder for the company Briggs & Stratton. The engine maker filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and an affiliate of investment firm KPS Capital Partners submitted the successful bid to buy the company, subject to approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. “The USW supports the KPS bid, and we look forward to a long and productive partnership with the company here. The company has a solid track record of success in running manufacturing facilities like this, and this contract will put the company and the workers on that same track,” said Michael Bolton, director of USW District 2.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 09/18/2020 - 08:40

Tags: Organizing

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: New Jersey State AFL-CIO Celebrates Legislative Victory on Workers’ Compensation

Thu, 2020-09-17 11:36
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: New Jersey State AFL-CIO Celebrates Legislative Victory on Workers’ Compensation AFL-CIO

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 New Jersey State AFL-CIO, led by President Charles Wowkanech (IUOE), issued a statement Monday commending Gov. Phil Murphy for signing into law a bill that shifts the burden of proof from the employee to the employer in workers’ compensation claims for essential workers who interact with the general public and contract COVID-19 during the declared state of emergency. “Front-line essential workers who were required to come in and work during the stay-at-home order and continue to perform services that put themselves and their families at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 at their jobs deserve the benefits of workers’ compensation and peace of mind this law provides,” Wowkanech said. The presumption of infection at the workplace is rebuttable by the employer or the insurance company if evidence exists that the worker contracted the virus outside the course of their employment. The state federation said that essential employees’ claims of workers’ compensation are routinely rejected by employers because the employees can’t prove they contracted COVID-19 at their place of work.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 09/17/2020 - 11:36

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: IATSE Members Rally in Texas for Extended Unemployment Insurance

Wed, 2020-09-16 09:43
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: IATSE Members Rally in Texas for Extended Unemployment Insurance

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.

Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) locals in Texas are pushing to extend the $600 enhanced unemployment benefit to not only entertainment workers, but also to the 30 million families across a wide array of industries who continue to rely on these benefits to make ends meet during the pandemic. IATSE members rallied outside the state Capitol in Austin on Sept. 15 to demand passage of the HEROES Act, which remains stalled in the U.S. Senate.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 09/16/2020 - 09:43

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Labor and Faith Forge Partnership for Social, Racial and Economic Justice

Tue, 2020-09-15 11:29
Labor and Faith Forge Partnership for Social, Racial and Economic Justice

Today, The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and the AFL-CIO marked the 57th anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, where four girls were killed after white supremacists bombed the church on Sunday, Sept. 15, 1963, with a virtual candlelight vigil and commitment to a 10-point pledge for social, racial and economic justice.

At this moment in history, labor and faith must come together, stand together and act to stop the injustices that plague the nation—institutional racism and racist violence, the immoral response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the deepening economic crisis driven by division and greed.

Barber and Trumka called on the labor and faith communities to come together in the spirit of the four girls killed in the bombing to rededicate and recommit to rebuilding our powerful and historic coalition for social, racial and economic justice.

Here is the 10-point pledge:

  1. We call on all of us here in the United States of America to reject death, whether by racism or economic injustice, and unite to fight for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for everyone. And as we embrace life, we remember those Americans who gave their lives that we might be free—from the beaches of Normandy to the coal camps of West Virginia to the churches of Birmingham and Charleston.
  2. We call on every person, regardless of race, creed, color, sexual orientation or gender identity, to demand that those whom we the people have granted authority—our elected leaders, our government officials and our law enforcement officers, from the president of the United States to the police officer on the beat—to uphold the Constitution and to honor the oaths you took on the Holy Bible to establish justice, provide for the common defense and the general welfare and, in this time of pandemic, to place the lives, health and safety of our people above the greed of the wealthy and the ambitions of the powerful.
  3. We call on the president of the United States to stop lying, to stop stoking hate and racism, and instead to turn his attention and the full power of the federal government he leads to address the physical and economic fear and pain so many now endure. We further call on him to come to the aid of the essential worker, the unemployed, the poor and the vulnerable, whether in nursing homes, in meatpacking houses or on the unemployment lines.
  4. We call on every person of conscience to reject our country going backward. We call on our nation and our elected leaders to embrace America’s promise, to have the courage to embrace the future that we can build together, not the divisive legacies of our past.
  5. We call on the U.S. Senate to address the intertwined crises of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic pain and structural racism by taking up and passing the HEROES Act and the Justice in Policing Act.
  6. We call on both houses of Congress to go beyond the bills still sitting on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s desk and take bold action to give all of us, but especially the poor among us, all we need to live and thrive and bring a new day for our country, starting with a good job with rights and economic security for all who want to work.
  7. We call on the authorities who have the responsibility of protecting our democracy, and on every person who believes in America, to come together to stop every attempt at voter suppression, and we call on every citizen of our republic to make every sacrifice needed to vote.
  8. We call on every employer—every business, nonprofit and government body in America to give all workers the day off, or at least time off (with pay), to vote on Election Day.
  9. We call on every person who believes in civil rights and economic justice to take action to defend our right to vote and our democratic republic—to work with your church, your union and your civic organization to stand up for solidarity and to reject death. We can begin by joining in a digital gathering and training on Sept. 14 jointly hosted by the Moral Mondays movement and the AFL-CIO on the theme of “Voting Is Power Unleashed.”
  10. On Sept. 15, we call on every person in this nation to join us virtually at noon to declare that:

We the people, with deep conviction and determination, declare our commitment to defend our republic, won by the blood and sacrifice of those who came before us, by exercising our right to vote. We truly have nothing to fear but fear itself. We will move forward together and we will accept nothing but freedom. We will not take one step back, and we will bring a new day to our beloved country.

Sign the pledge today.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 09/15/2020 - 11:29

No Friend of Working People: In the States Roundup

Tue, 2020-09-15 10:45
No Friend of Working People: In the States Roundup

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

Alaska State AFL-CIO:

Day 14 of Labor Month kicks off Education Week. Our union siblings @LIUNA Local 71 are working hard to ensure that the schools in the Anchorage School District are safe for students if and when they reopen.#alaskaunionstrong
Read Jordan Adams’ op-ed: https://t.co/AbW7E2z29x

— Alaska AFL-CIO (@AKAFLCIO) September 14, 2020

California Labor Federation:

"Don’t let corporate greed continue to rob students of a quality education and local residents of their public transportation, health, and safety." Say YES to putting our schools & communities first! Vote YES on Prop 15. Read more here: https://t.co/E7FYQgAHOQ #YESon15 @fglass57 pic.twitter.com/fWoEVKf3zj

— California Labor Federation (@CaliforniaLabor) September 14, 2020

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

.@AFTCT Vice President John Brady: "If we had enacted the Defense Production Act in the beginning, we would have all the PPE we need now. We can put a man on the moon – we can make PPE." @AFTunion @jb5591 @AFLCIO https://t.co/pmCRdVSgK8

— Connecticut AFL-CIO (@ConnAFLCIO) September 8, 2020

Florida AFL-CIO:

“We know from the states own data, every dollar paid out in benefits generates a $1.64 in local economic activity. This is also a boon for the economy,” said Dr. Rich Templin with the Florida AFL-CIO.https://t.co/6jywkBqE4n

— Florida AFL-CIO (@FLAFLCIO) September 10, 2020

Georgia State AFL-CIO:

“We want to make sure that the (bus and train) operators are protected,” said Britt Dunams, president of @atu732. “They’re driving on a daily basis at a heightened risk of contracting the coronavirus or another disease.” #1u #gapol https://t.co/AWGwsAkk5k

— Georgia AFL-CIO (@AFLCIOGeorgia) September 12, 2020

Illinois AFL-CIO:

Union workers now have a voice as Illinois looks to build more clean energy projects. Thanks for your work, @climatejobsil. #twill

— Illinois AFL-CIO (@ILAFLCIO) September 14, 2020

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

Trump is no friend of working people. https://t.co/O0vtp9xdkI

— Indiana AFL-CIO (@INAFLCIO) September 11, 2020

Iowa Federation of Labor:

Request Your Ballot Day: Voters Shouldn't Have To Choose Between Their Health and Their Vote - Ms. Magazine https://t.co/SQ4VyzfKf0

— Iowa AFL-CIO (@IowaAFLCIO) September 13, 2020

Maine AFL-CIO:

One of many reasons we are enthusiastically supporting @SaraGideon for US Senate! https://t.co/W0MpiPS1k4

— Maine AFL-CIO (@MEAFLCIO) September 9, 2020

Maryland State and D.C. AFL-CIO:

"What has also been laid bare is the failed response to this pandemic by the Hogan administration. Their actions have crystallized the importance of our union movement and should force people to ask, “which side are you on?”" - Patrick Moran#LaborDay2020 https://t.co/nEY09mlyvd

— Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO (@MDDCStateFed) September 7, 2020

Massachusetts AFL-CIO:

The @massaflcio is proud to be with @RaiseUpMA at the Labor Day Workers Rally.

Stand with workers on #LaborDay2020. ✊

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Vote. Your Life Depends On It

Tue, 2020-09-15 09:20
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Vote. Your Life Depends On It

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.

Americans should vote on November 3 because our lives are literally depending on it. A teacher, a nurse, a pharmacy technician and a letter carrier have all experienced the trauma of working and living in a country deeply impacted by COVID-19. These essential workers have lived through the mismanagement of the pandemic and the bad decisions that have cost more than 184,000 American lives and destroyed the economy. It’s time to hold our legislators accountable. Vote on November 3 or, even better, mail in your ballot and stay safe. Find out more at: WorkersFirstVoteUnion.org.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 09/15/2020 - 09:20

Tags: Community Service, COVID-19

AFL-CIO Honors the Life and Legacy of Father Jack O’Malley

Mon, 2020-09-14 15:32
AFL-CIO Honors the Life and Legacy of Father Jack O’Malley

Father John “Jack” O’Malley, a lifelong champion of labor and civil rights, passed away on Friday at the age of 83. He served as the chaplain of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO and the Allegheny-Fayette Central Labor Council. Father O’Malley was an individual of deep religious faith who personified the Beatitudes and believed in taking the Gospel into the streets, said Joseph Delale of IUE-CWA Local 630, former AFL-CIO community service liaison with the Allegheny labor council. Father O’Malley provided spiritual guidance during numerous worker actions, including the Delano grape strike that began in California in the 1960s and spread to other cities, including Pittsburgh’s Strip District. At the time, he housed César Chávez and organizers for the United Farm Workers in his parish house.

In 2002, Father O’Malley joined the mining community of Acosta, Pennsylvania, as families were anxiously awaiting news of nine miners who were trapped underground in the Quecreek Mine. In the most trying circumstances, the families of the trapped miners kept their faith in God, he said at the time. “They are praying that time doesn’t run out,” Father O’Malley said. He spent a weekend comforting the families in their time of uncertainty. He slept in his car and on the ground, despite having back troubles. In the end, all nine miners were rescued alive.

Father O’Malley’s work linked the faith community and the labor movement together in solidarity. The Catholic Labor Network called him “one of the great labor priests.” He also played a leading role in establishing the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network, encouraging the cross-denominational organization to embrace the labor movement to help workers. In 2014, the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO honored him with the state federation’s Citizen of the Year Award. Father O’Malley once said, “We know that when people don’t have enough to eat and don’t have safety at the workplace—whether they’re a mine worker, a steelworker, a farmworker or a fast-food worker—it becomes a moral issue, and the church should be involved.” The AFL-CIO joins in honoring his lifetime of fighting for working people, and we send our condolences to all who knew and loved him.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 09/14/2020 - 15:32

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Mine Workers

Mon, 2020-09-14 15:11
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Mine Workers

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Mine Workers.

Name of Union: United Mine Workers (UMWA)

Mission: To provide workers with a voice on the job and financial security at home, to fight for safe workplaces, good wages and benefits, and to provide strong representation for working families.

Current Leadership of Union: Cecil E. Roberts serves as international president of UMWA. Roberts is a sixth-generation coal miner from Kanawha County, West Virginia. He began his career at Carbon Fuels' No. 31 mine in Winifred, West Virginia. In 1982, he was elected international vice president of UMWA and was re-elected subsequently before first being elected president in 1995. He is currently serving his fifth full term as president.

Levi Allen serves as international secretary-treasurer. UMWA also has nine vice presidents: Chuck Knisell, Steve Earle, Gary Trout, Larry Spencer, Michael Dalpiaz, Rick Altman, James Gibbs, Don Barnett and Donnie Samms.

Members Work As: Coal miners, manufacturing workers, clean coal technicians, health care workers, corrections officers and public employees.

Industries Represented: The mining industry, public employees, manufacturing, health care, the Navajo Nation and retirees throughout the United States and Canada.

History: Founded in 1890, UMWA has a rich history. Watch this video to learn more:

Current Campaigns/Community Efforts: The United Mine Workers Journal, COMPAC, Mine Academy Safety Committee Training, UMWA Career Centers, the UMWA Store.

Learn More: WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagram, YouTube.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 09/14/2020 - 15:11

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Relief Efforts Continue for Louisiana’s Labor Movement as the State’s Working Families Recover from Hurricane Laura

Mon, 2020-09-14 09:09
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Relief Efforts Continue for Louisiana’s Labor Movement as the State’s Working Families Recover from Hurricane Laura

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 labor movement is continuing to lead recovery efforts in southwestern Louisiana, one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Laura. The Louisiana AFL-CIO, led by President Louis Reine (SMART), and its affiliates have been collecting bottled water, food and other essential items to distribute to union members and families affected by the storm. Over Labor Day weekend, items continued to be distributed from the United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters (UA) Local 198 union hall in Lake Charles. The hall is being used as a staging area for the labor movement’s relief efforts.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 09/14/2020 - 09:09

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Allegheny-Fayette Labor Council Restores Veterans Memorial as Part of Weekend of Service

Fri, 2020-09-11 08:45
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Allegheny-Fayette Labor Council Restores Veterans Memorial as Part of Weekend of Service

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.

In place of the Pittsburgh area labor movement’s usual Labor Day parade and in-person celebrations, members of the Allegheny-Fayette Central Labor Council led a weekend of action and community service in southwestern Pennsylvania. Some 20 volunteer union members helped restore the 28th Ward Veterans Memorial on Sunday. “This is more than just a monument, this is a place of honor,” labor council President Darrin Kelly (IAFF) told KDKA-TV. “Labor has many traditions, but its biggest tradition will always be its commitment to service to this great country….Projects like this give people hope.” Union members who are veterans took part in the restoration. The Allegheny-Fayette Central Labor Council also held a food distribution event this past Friday and a park beautification event on Saturday.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 09/11/2020 - 08:45

Tags: Community Service, COVID-19

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: FLOC Petitions Reynolds American to Comply with CDC Guidelines on COVID-19

Thu, 2020-09-10 10:31
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: FLOC Petitions Reynolds American to Comply with CDC Guidelines on COVID-19

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 Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) is demanding tobacco company Reynolds American comply with the federal government’s health and safety recommendations to save farmworkers in North Carolina from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Now is the time to stop allowing wealthy corporations like Reynolds American to continue making billions off of the labor of farmworkers while refusing to do anything to support our communities during a crisis,” said FLOC President Baldemar Velasquez. “All of the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)] recommendations require significant investments of money to comply with in agriculture, and these corporations have failed in their responsibility to save lives in the supply chains they created. Reynolds could meet with farmworkers and commit to funding additional housing and transportation to limit crowding and fund paid leave to incentivize compliance with CDC guidelines.” Sign the petition here.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 09/10/2020 - 10:31

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Happy Labor Day: What Working People Are Doing This Week

Wed, 2020-09-09 09:43
Happy Labor Day: 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.

Actors' Equity:

We've released a new set of public resources for producers including info on testing for COVID-19 and a preproduction safety worksheet. We are updating regularly as new info becomes available and encourage producers to explore, share and use these tools. https://t.co/GfhhKsNXLi pic.twitter.com/6RUiVgjhlt

— Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) September 8, 2020

AFSCME:

Thank you @SenWarren for speaking with AFSCME member and leader Miren Algorri. We cannot thank essential workers with pink slips. https://t.co/XhNoMcOVYz

— AFSCME (@AFSCME) September 9, 2020

Air Line Pilots Association:

During this pandemic, the irreplaceable value of #union representation has never been more apparent for workers. -@ALPAPresident Capt. Joe DePete #UnionStrong pic.twitter.com/8vMLKTanUb

— ALPA (@WeAreALPA) September 9, 2020

Alliance for Retired Americans:

We need to #SaveUSPS because millions of seniors rely on the Post Office for delivery of essential goods like Social Security checks and medicine. pic.twitter.com/wscCpsWY8q

— Alliance Retirees (@ActiveRetirees) September 9, 2020

Amalgamated Transit Union:

Int. President John Costa joined with ATU Canada, New Brunswick Locals 1182-Saint John and 1290-Moncton, elected officials and transit allies for a virtual zoom rally on the importance of public transit funding during the pandemic and in the future. #TogetherWeFightTogetherWeWin pic.twitter.com/QDgwlWoibN

— ATU, Transit Union (@ATUComm) September 9, 2020

American Federation of Musicians:

If your management won’t commit to paying you and wrings its hands at the challenges of this season, point them to FWSO, or any number of other institution working to keep music playing in their communities—and paychecks coming to musicians. #Unionmusic https://t.co/59O107OuyY

— AFM (@The_AFM) September 8, 2020

American Federation of Teachers:

As AFT President @rweingarten wrote in her latest post: This is a #LaborDay like no other. Read more: https://t.co/E2t8vc5fg1 #IamAFT #1u pic.twitter.com/6yVt22Mg98

— AFT (@AFTunion) September 7, 2020

American Postal Workers Union:

Patients who rely on the U.S. Postal Service for their prescription drugs may have experienced “significant” delays in their deliveries... (1/2)#SaveUSPS https://t.co/W0vo8eeOdr

— APWU National (@APWUnational) September 9, 2020

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance:

8% of the @USPS workforce is AAPI. 40% are women.

These are GOOD UNION jobs!

For these workers - a USPS job has meant a steady income with adequate benefits to provide support to their families and communities.

Take Action to #SaveUSPS today -->https://t.co/dr2qPLWP5k pic.twitter.com/rjQqXJLggx

— Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (@APALAnational) September 9, 2020

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:

.@AFAUnitedMEC is here loud and proud. Extend the Payroll Support Program and save the jobs of Flight Attendants and aviation workers! #ExtendPSP #ReliefNow pic.twitter.com/eo3m4j25TG

— AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) September 9, 2020

Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers:

An extensive list of American plants that have shuttered, workers left with destroyed communities and livelihoods. WHO still believes President Trump's empty promise of bringing jobs back to America? Check out this info on American manufacturing by @MachinistsUnion #1u https://t.co/puC7M3i52p

— BCTGM International (@BCTGM) September 9, 2020

Boilermakers:

On Labor Day, let's stand with our #Boilermaker brothers & sisters from Local 146, locked out of their jobs at CESSCO since June 28. Watch: https://t.co/1Ekrys11d6

— Boilermakers Union (@boilermakernews) September 7, 2020

Bricklayers:

As A. Philip Randolph said: “Freedom is never given, it is won.” Get active in your Local! pic.twitter.com/nTb9OJHUD2

— Bricklayers Union (@IUBAC) September 6, 2020

California School Employees Association:

Op-Ed by @CSEA_Now President Ben Valdepeña: This #LaborDay, and every day, we must value all classified staff as “essential.” Via @latimesopinion https://t.co/vr9koRHWOZ

— CSEA (@CSEA_Now) September 7, 2020

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists:

#LaborDay 2020 is perilous: We must defeat anti-worker, anti-black, anti-democratic candidates, from the White House to city councils to state attorneys offices. So, enjoy the holiday brought to you by the labor movement and make a plan to vote. https://t.co/UiAn2wEnxO #1u #Vote pic.twitter.com/ABwBUtgnbx

— CBTU (@CBTU72) September 7, 2020

Coalition of Labor Union Women:

Want to share why it is important to vote? Share a short video on social media and start and finish this sentence, “Women are the CLUW (clue) to Vote because…” Please make sure to tag us @CLUWNational (Twitter & Instagram) and @CLUWomen (Facebook).

— CLUW National (@CLUWNational) September 6, 2020

Communications Workers of America:

If Congress doesn't act now, thousands of aviation workers will be out of a job on October 1. Union members are taking action.

Tell Congress to save aviation jobs #1u: https://t.co/amc8XHZwOz https://t.co/6C5SYUIzNX

— CWA (@CWAUnion) September 9, 2020

Department for Professional Employees:

Organizations that claim to be advancing social justice or progressive need to walk the walk by recognizing their employees' unions. #1u https://t.co/yliStugwtx

— Department for Professional Employees (@DPEaflcio) September 8, 2020

Electrical Workers:

America's clean-energy future will be union-built. https://t.co/7lCvEvVAYZ

— IBEW (@IBEW) September 8, 2020

Farm Labor Organizing Committee:

We got their attention! Please sign and share this petition in support of organizing farmworkers on Labor Day! Reynolds can save lives now! #boycottVUSE https://t.co/01AdkPeDYC

— Farm Labor Organizing Committee (@SupportFLOC) September 7, 2020

International Labor Communications Association:

This is our kind of positive #FridayFeeling in advance of #LaborDay2020 #1u https://t.co/q4tOaU86Ul

— Labor Communications (@ILCAonline) September 4, 2020

Ironworkers:

Happy Labor Day from the folks who brought you the weekend. #labordayweekend #laborday2020 pic.twitter.com/MLU59F4RUZ

— Ironworkers. (@TheIronworkers) September 4, 2020

Jobs With Justice:

Trump's Postmaster Louis DeJoy implemented policies to cut shifts and reduce mail trips, which caused backlogs nationwide — and this was during a pandemic, when folks needed their packages more than ever

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Labor Movement Leads Recovery from Hurricane Laura

Wed, 2020-09-09 09:09
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Labor Movement Leads Recovery from Hurricane Laura

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.

Early in the morning of Aug. 27, Category 4 Hurricane Laura roared through the border of Louisiana and Texas as one of the most powerful storms in history to hit the area. In the wake of significant damage to parts of Louisiana, Louis Reine (SMART), president of the Louisiana AFL-CIO, reported union members from across the Gulf Coast have stepped in to help. The state federation, along with the United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters (UA) Local 198 and Teamsters locals 270 and 968, hosted a milk giveaway on Saturday for those in need. A relief staging location has been established in Lake Charles, Louisiana, at Local 198.

“Even though Baton Rouge and New Orleans came out fairly well, Lake Charles still had some significant damage, and millions are still without power. Our Electrical Workers (IBEW) hall down there was completely destroyed. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a hurricane [primarily] occupy one state at once. We’re going to be looking to gather bottled water, cleaning supplies, food, rakes, trash bags and more, as well as setting up a gift card relief fund,” Reine said. “The people of Louisiana have proven they are always up to a challenge and will face this challenge as we have faced others in the past. We will come together to rebuild our state. The labor movement in Louisiana, along with its neighbors and friends, will be there to lend a hand as our brothers and sisters face these challenges.”

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler (IBEW) announced that the federation is donating $20,000 to support the Louisiana AFL-CIO’s relief efforts following the hurricane and the loss of life and property that it caused in the state. “We are at our best when the labor movement comes together to support our sisters and brothers during challenging times,” Shuler said. “Hurricane Laura caused widespread property damage and resulted in the tragic deaths of at least 16 people. The Louisiana AFL-CIO is doing incredible work to support communities around the state that have been hit the hardest by this devastating storm. The AFL-CIO is proud to play our part to get workers back on their feet.”

In Iowa, the Hawkeye Area Labor Council has been continuing to support members of the Cedar Rapids community—hit hard last month by a devastating wind storm—through its nonprofit entity and has been coordinating with the United Way and Teamsters Local 238 around a relief effort housed at the Local 238 hall. As efforts there are winding down, union members loaded up leftover supplies, including water and food, onto pallets to send to hurricane stricken parts of Louisiana and Texas. The Texas AFL-CIO is collecting funds to distribute to our sisters, brothers and friends in Louisiana. Click here to donate to the labor movement’s relief effort.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 09/09/2020 - 09:09

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Roofers and Waterproofers

Tue, 2020-09-08 11:00
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Roofers and Waterproofers

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Roofers and Waterproofers.

Name of Union: United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers

Mission: To provide a collective voice for the brothers, sisters and friends in the union, ensure members have the protection of a contract and dignity on the job and to provide members with training, brotherhood, sisterhood and friendship and an opportunity to make a difference.

Current Leadership of Union: Kinsey M. Robinson serves as international president and James A. Hadel serves as international secretary-treasurer. The organization also has 10 international vice presidents: Douglas Ziegler (First), Thomas Pedrick (Second), Paul F. Bickford (Third), Richard R. Mathis (Fourth), Daniel P. O'Donnell (Fifth), Robert Peterson (Sixth), Michael A. Vasey (Seventh), Michael Stiens (Eighth), Brent R. Beasley (Ninth) and Joseph Pozzi (Tenth). 

Number of Members: 22,000

Members Work As: Applying all types of roofing and waterproofing systems, including but not limited to: all low-sloped roofing systems (vegetative and solar photovoltaic roofs), structural waterproofing, steep-sloped roofing systems and air barrier applications.

Industries Represented: The construction industry across the United States.

History: On June 5, 1903, the American Federation of Labor chartered the International Slate and Tile Roofers Union of America and on Nov. 6, 1906, AFL chartered the International Brotherhood of Composition Roofers, Damp and Waterproof Workers. In 1919, the two unions met in Pittsburgh and merged to become the United Slate, Tile and Composition Roofers, Damp and Waterproof Workers Association. By World War II, the combined union grew to more than 7,000 members. The post-war construction boom led to membership doubling by 1950, with membership peaking in 1978. That year, they adopted the current name, the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers. The union continues to focus on training, safety and cooperation in an effort to provide the safest and best-trained roofers and waterproofers in the industry.

Current Campaigns/Community Efforts: The Journeyman Waterproofer and Roofer Magazine, Personal and Professional Standards of Conduct, Women in Roofing, Political Action, Community Outreach, Apprenticeships, Safety and Health, Education and Training and Help Wanted.

Learn More: WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagram, Youtube.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 09/08/2020 - 11:00

Shuler at March on Washington: We Must Do Better

Tue, 2020-09-08 10:54
Shuler at March on Washington: We Must Do Better

On Aug. 28, the 2020 Virtual March on Washington was held to honor the 57th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream Speech." Among the distinguished speakers in the lineup of the 2020 march was AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler (IBEW), who spoke to labor's commitment to continue the work of the 1963 march and to do better for our Black members, friends and neighbors. Watch Shuler's speech:

An excerpt:

Whether it’s in professional sports...or in our communities...we in the labor movement are feeling excruciating pain, anger and grief. We will do our part to end racism in our economy, our politics, our workplaces and our union halls. 

And on top of the widespread racism throughout our country’s institutions, COVID-19 is exposing the cracks that were already poisoning our system. A system that denies housing and health care and opportunity to far too many people of color. That’s why Black and Brown people are more likely to lose their jobs or get sick and die in this pandemic. 

We have to do better. Now...NOW is the time to do the work and pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act that are sitting in the Senate.

As a White person, I know that I will never experience the same pain and trauma that Black people have been feeling over and over again.

All I can say is I understand what I can’t possibly understand. But I choose to stand. And to kneel. And raise a fist. And shed a tear. And say a prayer. And fight like hell to make real change. 

As one united labor movement, we stand with our Black members, friends and neighbors.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 09/08/2020 - 10:54

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: SIU-Crewed New York Waterway Ferry Rescues Man in the Hudson River

Tue, 2020-09-08 10:45
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: SIU-Crewed New York Waterway Ferry Rescues Man in the Hudson River

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 crew aboard the New York Waterway ferry Empire State, members of the Seafarers (SIU), rescued a man from the Hudson River last Thursday morning, the third rescue in three years for Capt. David Dort and deckhands Gregorio Pages and Andrew Galarza. The crew was just leaving the Brookfield Place/Battery Park City Terminal en route to Hoboken, New Jersey, at 7:30 a.m., when they saw a man in the water near Pier 25. “We were just about to back out when I saw something in the water. The deckhands deployed as we moved up and they got him out,” Dort said. “This is why we do our drills.” In 33 years, New York Waterway crews have rescued nearly 300 people from the waters of New York Harbor, including 143 people rescued from U.S. Airways Flight 1549, the most successful marine rescue in aviation history.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 09/08/2020 - 10:45

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service