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Time to Be Loud: The Working People Weekly List

Tue, 2019-10-01 12:35
Time to Be Loud: 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.

Now’s the Time to Be Loud. Register to Vote: "We're not staying quiet anymore."

New Trump Overtime Rules Will Cost Workers $1.4 Billion in First Year Alone: "The Trump administration’s Labor Department issued new overtime rules this week that take away $1.4 billion of workers’ pay every year compared to the Obama administration rules they replace. The amount of this pay cut for working people will increase enormously over time."

A Pregnant Target: "Those bundles of joy cost bundles of money, so Victoria Whipple, a quality control worker at Kumho Tire in Macon, Georgia, had been working overtime to get ready for her new arrival."

Walking the Picket Lines: 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: International Union of Police Associations: "Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the International Union of Police Associations."

Solidarity with Autoworkers: 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."

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: A Huge Deal: "On the latest episode of 'State of the Unions,' podcast co-hosts Julie Greene and Tim Schlittner check in with AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council Executive Director Brad Markell about the UAW strike at General Motors and interview Veena Dubal, an associate law professor at UC Hastings College of the Law, whose work helped pave the way for passage of A.B. 5, the landmark pro-worker legislation in California."

U.S. Labor Movement Supports Mexico's Working People: "At a meeting Saturday in Chicago, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) assured Mexican-American political, labor, community and religious leaders that the U.S. labor movement will work to ensure that any new trade agreement raises the standards of living for all working people across North America."

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

Nearly 50,000 UAW Members at GM Go on Strike: "As of midnight Sunday, UAW members at General Motors have gone on strike. The 2015 collective bargaining agreement between UAW and GM expired Saturday after GM offered an inadequate new contract. Nearly 50,000 workers are now on strike. They are demanding fair wages, affordable health care, a share of profits, job security and a defined path to permanent seniority for temporary workers."

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 10/01/2019 - 12:35

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Painters and Allied Trades

Mon, 2019-09-30 11:24
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Painters and Allied Trades AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Painters and Allied Trades.

Name of Union: International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT)

Mission: To shape members' communities through an abiding commitment to service, by fighting passionately for workers’ rights that benefit all working families and through effective and aggressive political mobilization.

Current Leadership of Union: Kenneth E. Rigmaiden serves as general president. Rigmaiden graduated from California State University in San Jose in 1977 and immediately enrolled in the floor covering apprenticeship training program of IUPAT Local 1288. He completed the training and fulfilled the state of California's apprenticeship standards in 1980.

He quickly became involved in the local and, over the next six years, served as an executive board member, trustee, vice president and then president of the union. He also taught floor covering installation to apprentices. 

In 1986, Rigmaiden was elected as the local's business representative and later served in the same role for IUPAT Local 12, which he helped form through the combination of several other locals in his area. He rose to become a general representative and then an assistant to the general president of the international union. In 2002, he was elevated to the position of executive general vice president; and in 2013, he was unanimously elected general president.

George Galis serves as general secretary-treasurer and IUPAT has five general vice presidents—William D. Candelori Jr., Robert Kucheran, Harry Zell, Mark Van Zevern and James A. Williams Jr.—and two general presidents with emeritus status, James A. Williams and A.L. "Mike" Monroe.

Number of Members: 160,000

Members Work As: Industrial and commercial painters, drywall finishers, glaziers and glass workers, sign and display installers, floor covering installers and many more.

Industries Represented: The construction industry, public sector, trade shows and others.

History: The union that would become IUPAT was organized originally as the Brotherhood of Painters and Decorators of America in 1887. Within a year, the union had grown to more than 100 locals and 7,000 members. By the turn of the century, the Brotherhood was publishing "The Painter and Decorator" to provide news on the industry.

In 1921, the union opened its first real home, a four-story office building, in Lafayette, Indiana. Most of the offices of the union remained in that location until 1967, when its headquarters was moved to Washington, D.C. Over the years, IUPAT members have worked on many notable projects, with a highlight being a facelift of the White House before the inauguration of President Richard Nixon. In 1970, expanding membership led to a new name, the International Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades.

The growing female membership of the union led General President Michael Monroe to rebrand as the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades. In 2010, IUPAT moved its international headquarters to a new home in Hanover, Maryland. The new HQ building is part of a campus that includes a residence hall and an international training center.

Current Campaigns/Community Efforts: IUPAT encourages its members and all workers to engage through its educational "We Are Union: From the Front Lines" series on all digital platforms to understand the challenges facing the labor movement today and what we are all doing to address them. The Labor-Management Cooperation Initiative helps bring together workers and contractors to provide a unified voice to industry leaders. IUPAT Job Corps helps working people find quality jobs in the finishing trades. The IUPAT Pension Fund helps working people in the finishing trades prepare for retirement. The CORE Program helps community members learn from the industry what issues and concerns are most important. Channel 1 videos help people keep up with the latest news from the industry.

Learn More: Website, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 09/30/2019 - 11:24

Pathway to Progress: Sept. 11

Fri, 2019-09-27 15:15
Pathway to Progress: Sept. 11 IAFF

History has long been portrayed as a series of "great men" taking great action to shape the world we live in. In recent decades, however, social historians have focused more on looking at history "from the bottom up," studying the vital role that working people played in our heritage. Working people built, and continue to build, the United States. In our new series, Pathway to Progress, we'll take a look at various people, places and events where working people played a key role in the progress our country has made, including those who are making history right now. Today's topic is the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

Sometimes, progress comes from focused activism that pressures policymakers and other actors to create change. Other times, progress comes from the ways people live their lives and do their jobs. The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, are a perfect example of this idea, as union members responded to chaos and horror with courage and grace, many giving their lives in service of the country they loved.

Without even getting into the history of the building and staffing of the World Trade Center and Pentagon, union members were part of every aspect of that day. Of the nearly 3,000 who directly died because of the attacks, some 600 were union members, as were most of the people who have died of 9/11-related illnesses and injuries since then. Nearly 2,100 people have died since the attacks, and the number of those who have died since Sept. 11, 2001, is expected to pass the number who died in the attacks by 2021.

People's first thought is of the 90,000 first responders, union members who did as we always do and rushed into the chaos to help people. Since then, 55,000 of them have registered with the World Trade Center Health Program and that number is expected to continue growing. Many others worked on the recovery, cleanup and rebuilding efforts and hundreds of thousands of working people lived in the areas affected by the environmental hazards caused by the attacks.

In addition to the firefighters, law enforcement personnel and emergency medical teams that responded on 9/11, you also had the union members working in the building, from restaurant workers to communications workers stationed at television transmitters atop the building. Transport workers moved people to and from the affected areas. 

In addition to the unions that responded on 9/11, many others joined the rescue and cleanup crews. Members from multiple unions worked to reconnect New York and Wall Street to the world and rebuild the Pentagon's communication system from the ground up. Members of the Motion Picture Studio Mechanics Union/IATSE put up lighting at Ground Zero to assist in rescue operations. Members of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local One, set up Yankee Stadium as the venue for the memorial service for first responders who died at the World Trade Center. Laborers cleaned up the debris and wreckage on-site. Comedian Jon Stewart, a member of several entertainment unions, used his platform to fight for federal assistance for workers, particularly first responders, who became ill as a result of 9/11. One World Trade Center, built on the site of the old World Trade Center, that provides a memorial for those lost, was built with union labor.

And that's just the beginning of the very diverse group of unions that participated in the recovery and rebuilding after 9/11. All in all, 49 unions participated in those efforts. Not only did these workers help their fellow Americans, they also demonstrated strength, resiliency and patriotism in the fact of unspeakable tragedy. And they showed us that the pathway to progress is built through solidarity.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 09/27/2019 - 15:15

Critical Mass: Elected Union Members Tip Scales Toward Justice in Collective Bargaining Win in Bay State

Fri, 2019-09-27 12:45
Critical Mass: Elected Union Members Tip Scales Toward Justice in Collective Bargaining Win in Bay State Massachusetts AFL-CIO

The Massachusetts Legislature last week overrode Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto of a key collective bargaining bill and passed the strongest response to the Janus vs. AFSCME U.S. Supreme Court decision to date. The new law will allow unions to charge non-member employees for representation in arbitration cases and other disputes and is one of the most comprehensive state legislative responses to the court’s Janus decision, which unfairly prohibited those fees.

“Today the state legislature made a strong statement that unions are in the public interest and will remain a strong force for economic fairness in Massachusetts,” said Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Steven Tolman (IAM) after the bill became law. “The overwhelming bipartisan votes to override Governor Baker’s veto by the House and Senate this week demonstrate that unions are not a partisan issue in Massachusetts.”

Rep. Peter Capano (IUE-CWA), who was elected last fall with full union support, was instrumental in getting the bill passed in the Legislature. “We are helping workers raise themselves back up, and that’s why I’m proud to be part of this legislature here,” Capano said in his rousing inaugural floor speech as a union member legislator. “The labor movement is on the rise, and we are here today to help them do that.”

Tolman also thanked the leadership in the Legislature and all the legislators who overwhelmingly passed this important legislation. “On behalf of the members of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, I thank Speaker [Robert] DeLeo and Senate President [Karen] Spilka for their leadership, and all members of the legislature who stood with us,” he said.

Check out Capano's speech online.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 09/27/2019 - 12:45

A Pregnant Target

Thu, 2019-09-26 11:50
A Pregnant Target USW

Those bundles of joy cost bundles of money, so Victoria Whipple, a quality control worker at Kumho Tire in Macon, Georgia, had been working overtime to get ready for her new arrival.

She also got involved in union organizing at the plant, and management decided to teach her a lesson. It didn’t matter that Victoria had seven kids ranging in age from 10 to 1. Or that she was eight months pregnant. Those things just made her a more appealing target.

On Sept. 6, the day Kumho Tire workers wrapped up an election in which they voted to join the United Steelworkers (USW), managers pulled Victoria off the plant floor and suspended her indefinitely without pay, solely because she was supporting the union. In a heartbeat, her income was gone.

“It kind of stressed me out because of the bills,” she explained.

What happened to Victoria happens all the time. Employers face no real financial penalties for breaking federal labor law by retaliating against workers during a union organizing campaign. So they feel free to suspend, fire or threaten anyone they want. Workers are fired in one of every three organizing efforts nationwide, and the recent election at Kumho Tire was held only because the company harassed workers before the initial vote two years ago.

Legislation now before Congress—the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act—would curtail this rampant abuse.

The PRO Act would fine employers up to $50,000 for retaliating against workers during organizing campaigns. It would require the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to go to court to seek reinstatement of workers who are fired or face serious financial harm because of retaliation, and it would give workers the right to file lawsuits and seek damages on their own.

It’s important that members of Congress understand exactly what’s at stake: Families like Victoria’s that might be only a couple of missed paychecks away from financial ruin.

They can’t afford to be pawns in a company’s sordid union-busting campaign.

Victoria began working at Kumho Tire a year and a half ago, after being laid off from her dispatching job at a distribution center. Her husband, Tavaris Taylor, recently started an over-the-road trucking job. They didn’t have much of a financial cushion for emergencies, and the suspension put their backs against the wall.

Instead of focusing on her family in the final weeks of her pregnancy, Victoria had to worry about money. It wasn’t healthy for her or her unborn child. And it wasn’t right.

When Victoria’s eldest child asked why she wasn’t going to work anymore, she just said she needed some time off. It would be wrong to burden a 10-year-old with the truth.

Victoria began borrowing gas money from her mom. She cut back her spending. She prioritized the bills and paid only those—rent, electricity and so on—that she considered absolutely essential.

She kept going to her doctor appointments, hoping the company’s insurance still covered her or that Medicaid would kick in if it didn’t. Victoria qualifies for Medicaid even though she works full time. The need for better pay is just one reason Kumho Tire workers voted to join the USW.

But Victoria’s main concern was giving workers a bigger voice in the workplace. She went to a union meeting and thought: “Maybe representation would help.”

That’s how she became a union supporter—and got crossways with a company that couldn’t care less about its workers, their families or federal labor law.

Victoria didn’t know how long her suspension would last or if management’s next step would be to fire her. That would be Kumho Tire’s kind of baby gift.

Then, out of the blue last week, a manager called Victoria and told her to return to work.  On Friday, her first day back after two weeks without pay, managers had the brass to ask her if she understood why she had been suspended.

Yeah, she understood all right.

Companies will do almost anything these days—even suspend a pregnant woman and escort her from the premises—to keep out unions and hold down workers. That’s especially true of Kumho Tire. Its egregious union-busting activities derailed workers’ attempt to join the USW two years ago.

Back then, Kumho Tire threatened union supporters’ jobs, interrogated employees about their union allegiance, threatened to shut down the plant if the union was voted in and made workers think they were being spied on. The conduct was so extraordinarily bad that an NLRB administrative law judge ordered Kumho Tire to assemble the workers and read a statement outlining the many ways in which it had violated their rights and federal labor law.

The NLRB also ordered this month’s election, in which workers voted 141 to 137 to join the USW. Thirteen challenged ballots will be addressed at an upcoming hearing.

The mistreatment of Victoria shows that Kumho Tire hasn’t changed its ways over the past two years. Unfortunately, employers have no incentive right now to follow the law.

The PRO Act would help to level the playing field. Besides fining companies for retaliation and giving workers the right to sue, the legislation would prohibit employers from holding mandatory anti-union presentations like the “town hall” meetings Kumho Tire forced Victoria and her co-workers to attend. Employers conduct the meetings to bully employees into voting against a union.

The legislation also would provide new protections once workers voted for representation. For example, if a company dragged its feet during bargaining for a first contract, a regular ploy to lower worker morale, mediation and arbitration could be used to speed the process along. And the PRO Act would prohibit employers from hiring permanent replacements for striking workers.

Members of Congress need to understand something. Workers aren’t looking to pick fights with their employers. They just want to do their jobs well, work in safe environments and earn enough money to care for their families. And some companies work productively with unions, including the USW, to improve working conditions and product quality.

But employers like Kumho Tire too often exploit their employees and resist any effort that workers make to improve their lot. When that happens, workers like Victoria will stand their ground. Now more than ever, they need the protections of the PRO Act backing them up.

Thomas Conway is the international president of the United Steelworkers. This post originally appeared at the USW.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 09/26/2019 - 11:50

New Trump Overtime Rules Will Cost Workers $1.4 Billion in First Year Alone

Thu, 2019-09-26 09:56
New Trump Overtime Rules Will Cost Workers $1.4 Billion in First Year Alone AFL-CIO

The Trump administration’s Labor Department issued new overtime rules this week that take away $1.4 billion of workers’ pay every year compared to the Obama administration rules they replace. The amount of this pay cut for working people will increase enormously over time.

Although the economic recovery that started in 2009 under then-President Obama is now officially more than 10 years old, workers’ wages are still barely budging. Something is clearly wrong with the economy. Workers are not getting our fair share of the profits we help produce.

The Obama administration tried to do something about this problem by making millions more workers eligible for overtime pay, restoring protections that have eroded in recent decades.

Instead of defending the Obama administration’s overtime rules against a poorly reasoned and seriously flawed district court decision, the Trump administration decided to replace them with a new set of rules that protect millions fewer workers.

The Obama rules would extend overtime eligibility to 3.2 million more workers than the Trump rules that replace them. In addition, the Obama rules would make it harder for businesses to misclassify millions of overtime-eligible workers⁠—5 million more than the Trump rules.

The Obama rules would extend overtime eligibility to millions more workers by raising the salary threshold, which is used to determine which workers are eligible for overtime. Workers who earn less than the salary threshold are automatically eligible; so the higher the threshold, the more workers covered. Under the Obama rules, the threshold would be $51,000 in 2020. This would actually be a lower threshold than if you simply adjusted the 1975 level for inflation⁠—which comes out to $56,500. By contrast, the Trump rules now set the threshold at only $35,568.

The Trump overtime rules also protect fewer and fewer workers every year as inflation eats away at the value of the salary threshold. The Obama overtime rules would put a stop to this constant erosion of overtime coverage by providing for regular automatic updates of the salary threshold. The Trump rules leave out this essential safeguard for working people. This is why the annual pay loss to workers of $1.4 billion in the first year alone will keep getting bigger every year.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 09/26/2019 - 09:56

Walking the Picket Lines: In the States Roundup

Wed, 2019-09-25 13:39
Walking the Picket Lines: 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:

Our Alabama and Tennessee AFL-CIO presidents walk the UAW picket line in Spring Hill, Tennessee. #UAWStrike #1U #SolidarityForever pic.twitter.com/aMxJgqNkXv

— Alabama AFL-CIO (@AlabamaAFLCIO) September 20, 2019

Alaska AFL-CIO:

Elections are coming to a city, town, or borough near you (excluding Anchorage and Mat-Su Borough)! #akvotes #voteak #akleg pic.twitter.com/XSjqBD26H8

— Alaska AFL-CIO (@AKAFLCIO) September 21, 2019

Arkansas AFL-CIO:

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!! 6th Annual Arkansas Union Sportsmen's Alliance Dinner. #1u #ARunions #ARLabor #UnionStrong #unionsportsmen pic.twitter.com/VpegjVpjr3

— Arkansas AFL-CIO (@ArkansasAFLCIO) September 22, 2019

California Labor Federation:

BREAKING #AB5 has been signed by @CAgovernor! Big thank you to all the gig workers, union members & activists who spent countless hours rallying to deliver this historic win. And thank you @LorenaSGonzalez for your leadership. We proved when working people stand together, we win! pic.twitter.com/a2EGog8CLh

— California Labor Federation (@CaliforniaLabor) September 18, 2019

Colorado AFL-CIO:

The Colorado AFL-CIO proudly stands in solidarity with the striking UAW workers from GM and commends the Teamsters workers for standing in solidarity with UAW workers. Never scab, never cross a picket line! #1u #solidarity #UAWStrike

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

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

#solidarity #1u https://t.co/f7JzB1zS1S

— Connecticut AFL-CIO (@ConnAFLCIO) September 16, 2019

Florida AFL-CIO:

Today our sisters and brothers at National Nurses United are on strike in Hialeah and Lauderdale Lakes in order to improve working conditions for nurses and to improve conditions for the patients they serve. We stand in solidarity with them. pic.twitter.com/RWyXDgBbrM

— Florida AFL-CIO (@FLAFLCIO) September 20, 2019

Georgia AFL-CIO:

Join us tomorrow for the film premier highlighting the voter suppression & disenfranchisement of Georgia’s 2018 election. #FightToVote https://t.co/6nV89FfIp7

— AFL-CIO Georgia (@AFLCIOGeorgia) September 23, 2019

Idaho State AFL-CIO:

#1u #UnionStrong #IdahoUnions #AFLCIO #IDAFLCIO #LaborUnions pic.twitter.com/Z0Ao7YxIg7

— Idaho State AFL-CIO (@IdahoAFLCIO) September 10, 2019

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

“The Trump administration seeks to guarantee agribusiness unlimited access to a captive workforce of indentured servants.” #1u https://t.co/rh8Q8CVP1q

— Indiana AFL-CIO (@INAFLCIO) September 24, 2019

Iowa Federation of Labor:

Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act https://t.co/GcGYAJoTUt

— Iowa AFL-CIO (@IowaAFLCIO) September 24, 2019

Maine AFL-CIO:

Congratulations brothers & sisters! https://t.co/K5sW0GSfFT

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

Massachusetts AFL-CIO:

Massachusetts just passed the strongest legislative response to the Janus vs. AFSCME U.S. Supreme Court decision in the nation. Read President Tolman's statement here. https://t.co/bsHMVoCQij pic.twitter.com/zsORZ8dacw

— Massachusetts AFL-CIO (@massaflcio) September 19, 2019

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

@NationalNurses⁩ registered nurses and activists stand (and walk) in solidarity with striking ⁦@UAW⁩ members at the GM plant in White Marsh, Maryland today. pic.twitter.com/YZIVjkV1ih

— MetroDCLaborCouncil (@DCLabor) September 20, 2019

Michigan AFL-CIO:

Pro-working family members of the Michigan legislature in #Solidarity with UAW members on strike. https://t.co/ADb7PZLI3b

— Michigan AFL-CIO (@MIAFLCIO) September 18, 2019

Minnesota AFL-CIO:

Amazing turnout. Lots of support for one fair $15 minimum wage at MSP Airport! #15forMSP #1u pic.twitter.com/IIFmRSj2as

— Minnesota AFL-CIO (@MNAFLCIO) September 23, 2019

Missouri AFL-CIO:

pic.twitter.com/caK6ouUjmP

— Missouri AFL-CIO (@MOAFLCIO) September 21, 2019

Montana AFL-CIO:

For instance, your Senators are the ones who confirm Cabinet Appointees like Eugene Scalia, who thinks it's acceptable for disabled workers to soil themselves on the job

Now’s the Time to Be Loud. Register to Vote.

Tue, 2019-09-24 10:27
Now’s the Time to Be Loud. Register to Vote.

We're not staying quiet anymore.

Working people hit the streets last week, marching for climate justice and picketing alongside nearly 50,000 striking General Motors workers.

It was far from a one-off demonstration of our power. Those actions followed in the footsteps of activists, strikers, organizers and countless others who, all this year, have refused to accept a rigged, broken system.

Worker solidarity is at a boiling point. Hundreds of thousands of working people are joining the labor movement, and millions more say they're ready to follow suit if given the chance. 

Americans are driving a moment of collective action unlike anything we've seen in decades. From the workplace to the picket line to our communities, we're making our voices heard and fighting for the justice that we're owed.

It's a fight to peel back corporations' stranglehold on our economy and eradicate the inequities that still define our society. This is a struggle for massive changes in the way we work and live, putting our lives and future back into our own hands.

That sort of structural change requires new economic and political rules. And to win those new rules, we have to win some elections.

We've made plenty of noise in the streets. Now, it's time to make sure that noise is heard loud and clear at the ballot box.

The work of electing genuine advocates to office—from the White House to city councils—starts now. Our success in 2020 won’t be secured through ad buys or corporate fundraisers. Ultimately, it will be decided by the size and makeup of the electorate.

Who will be registered to vote, and who will turn out to cast a ballot? That’s the game. The other side is already playing, and we need to get moving.

In states across the country—including battlegrounds like Ohio, Wisconsin and Georgia—right-wing forces have changed registration rules, restricted access to polling places and even purged hundreds of thousands of people from the voter rolls.

They want us to be quiet. They want us to stay home. Because if we aren’t silenced, they know we will decide this election.

We can’t afford to sit this out. So, I have three asks for you this National Voter Registration Day.

First, check your voter registration status. You can do it right now. Go to your secretary of state’s website to see whether you’re registered to vote. And if you’re not, change that today.

Second, register your people. Talk to your family and your neighbors. Your friends. Your co-workers. Talk to young people and newly eligible voters. Talk to people who haven’t voted in years. Ask them if they’re registered to vote. If they don’t know, help them check. And if they aren’t, help them register.

Third, remember those conversations and make sure all of those people in your life turn out to vote. 

That’s the game plan. If we follow through with it, we can make sure that the votes cast next November represent who we are. We can make sure that our elected officials represent our communities. And we can make sure the policies they enact represent our best interests.

It’s on us to mobilize our communities. Nobody’s going to do it for us, and plenty of deep pockets are doing just the opposite.

We have the power to overcome that opposition and be heard. We do it every day. Let’s do it some more.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 09/24/2019 - 10:27

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: International Union of Police Associations

Mon, 2019-09-23 14:10
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: International Union of Police Associations AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the International Union of Police Associations.

Name of Union: International Union of Police Associations (IUPA)

Mission: To improve the lives of law enforcement, to promote legislation that protects and affects public safety officers and to represent the needs of law enforcement officers and support personnel.

Current Leadership of Union: Sam A. Cabral serves as international president of IUPA. He began his law enforcement career in Defiance, Ohio, in 1965 and retired in 1991. In 1988, he was elected as international vice president of IUPA. He was elected international secretary-treasurer two years later and was first elected president of IUPA in 1995.

Michael V. Crivello serves as international vice president, and Hugh J. Cameron serves as international secretary-treasurer.

Members Work As: Rank and file law enforcement officers, EMS workers, corrections officers and law enforcement support personnel in the United States.

Industries Represented: Law enforcement and related support fields.

History: The history of IUPA began in 1954 with the founding of the National Conference of Police Associations (NCPA), which came together in response to the evolving demands of the law enforcement profession and the need to strengthen collective bargaining efforts. In 1966, the NCPA changed its bylaws to allow the first Canadian associations to join and the organization changed its name to the International Conference of Police Associations. Soon after, the organization officially became a union and changed the name once more to the International Union of Police Associations.

In 1979, IUPA was granted a charter as a national union under the AFL-CIO. In recent decades, IUPA has continued to expand rapidly, including the affiliation of law enforcement and corrections officers in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Current Campaigns/Community Efforts: IUPA helps members and their families with higher education costs through the IUPA Free College Benefit and the Edward J. Kiernan scholarship. The Run for the Badge 5K raises money for the National Law Enforcement Museum. The Law Enforcement Officers Relief Fund (LEORF) holds a golf tournament to raise money for the fund. LEORF also sponsors an annual conference that provides training and education for attorneys and local leaders who represent union members through collective bargaining and other civil/criminal matters. IUPA publishes the Police Union News to keep members and the public informed about law enforcement-related news.

Learn More: Website, Facebook, YouTube.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 09/23/2019 - 14:10

Solidarity with Autoworkers: What Working People Are Doing This Week

Thu, 2019-09-19 09:50
Solidarity with Autoworkers: What Working People Are Doing This Week AFL-CIO

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

Actors' Equity:

The latest issue of Equity News is available now!

In this issue: Looking back at Equity's first strike, updates to the Short Engagement Touring Agreement and more! https://t.co/FJ25BeCmWj pic.twitter.com/vSmIvsnN11

— Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) September 18, 2019

AFGE:

We’re sending a clear message that no one messes with America’s workforce. Join us on September 24. https://t.co/FyYxjY90h4 #FedUpRiseUp #1u #RedForFeds pic.twitter.com/zN0bYjHVzg

— AFGE (@AFGENational) September 18, 2019

AFSCME:

“He means the world to me,” says Never Quit Service Award winner Mandy Roberts-Amo. “I treat him like one of my own kids, because I know that he can do things. He’s a very strong-willed child and he’s extremely intelligent.” https://t.co/Z2bUXw3DSH

— AFSCME (@AFSCME) September 18, 2019

AFT:

The secretary of labor needs to be a true advocate for working people, not a lawyer who spent his career defending corporations and stripping workers of their rights. Sign the petition here & reject Eugene Scalia for Secretary of Labor! https://t.co/MHDzk7kl5l pic.twitter.com/bGjZZ9ig4r

— AFT (@AFTunion) September 18, 2019

Air Line Pilots Association:

Did you miss @ALPAPresident's keynote at #NATCACFS2019? Check out the full remarks here: https://t.co/GuxGo24Aiq

— ALPA (@WeAreALPA) September 17, 2019

Alliance for Retired Americans:

ALERT: The Trump administration is pushing short-term health plans. But these plans don't provide the comprehensive coverage the ACA does and leave consumers with hefty bills. We can't afford insurance companies' greed any longer. #ProtectOurCare #JunkInsurance https://t.co/kq1Bh0X2QT

— Alliance Retirees (@ActiveRetirees) September 18, 2019

Amalgamated Transit Union:

Silicon Valley light rail, bus drivers reach contract deal after contentious negotiations https://t.co/T6Vl6bN0P4 #1u #p2 #UnionStrong

— ATU, Transit Union (@ATUComm) September 9, 2019

American Federation of Musicians:

Never surprising, but always outrageous when the corporate overlords try to stop working people from joining together in union. Solidarity with the @kickstarter staff organizing! ✊

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: A Huge Deal

Wed, 2019-09-18 10:40
‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: A Huge Deal

On the latest episode of “State of the Unions,” podcast co-hosts Julie Greene and Tim Schlittner check in with AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council Executive Director Brad Markell about the UAW strike at General Motors and interview Veena Dubal, an associate law professor at UC Hastings College of the Law, whose work helped pave the way for passage of A.B. 5, the landmark pro-worker legislation in California. 

Listen to our previous episodes:

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

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 09/18/2019 - 10:40

Tags: Podcast

U.S. Labor Movement Supports Mexico's Working People

Tue, 2019-09-17 10:03
U.S. Labor Movement Supports Mexico's Working People AFL-CIO

At a meeting Saturday in Chicago, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) assured Mexican-American political, labor, community and religious leaders that the U.S. labor movement will work to ensure that any new trade agreement raises the standards of living for all working people across North America.

“Any NAFTA agreement that leaves Mexican workers poor and vulnerable and American workers jobless is dead on arrival," Trumka said. And the U.S. and Mexican labor movement are in agreement that any new trade agreement must work for people not corporations.”

Mexican Sen. Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, who leads Los Mineros, one of Mexico's few independent unions, attended the meeting along with Mexican Congresswoman María Libier González-Anaya. Both agreed with Trumka that any new trade agreement must protect workers on both sides of the border.

AFL-CIO

Gómez Urrutia explained that while the recently passed Mexican labor law reform was an important step forward, there is still much work to do to protect independent unions, and workers' freedom to bargain for a fair contract.

“When NAFTA was passed 25 years ago, Mexico had the highest wages in Latin America," Gómez Urrutia said. "Today we have the lowest salary. This trade agreement created a model to exploit working people, through sham contracts written by corporations. Today in Mexico corporations set their own unions and enforce their own contracts."

AFL-CIO

The meeting took place a week after Trumka met with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in the presidential palace in Mexico City, where they had a frank conversation about the fundamental changes that must be at the heart of any North American trade deal. 

“I am absolutely convinced that President López Obrador wants the new labor law to work," Trumka said. "If in fact the new labor law doesn’t work and we can’t get rid of those 700,000 contracts, then I am afraid that our brothers and sisters in Mexico will be forced to live in poverty for decades to come. This is a great opportunity to enforce that law."

AFL-CIO

While in Mexico, Trumka also met with the nation’s labor minister and leaders from independent unions, including Gómez Urrutia. He witnessed firsthand the obstacles Mexican working people face in freely negotiating a collective bargaining agreement:

My trip only served to confirm the disastrous impact of NAFTA. Forty percent of our brothers and sisters in Mexico are living in poverty. There are still hundreds of thousands of protectionist contracts. For years the Mexican government has kept wages artificially low for Mexican workers, and the tool that they used to do that are these sham contracts. 

AFL-CIO

The AFL-CIO’s senior strategic adviser for state and local bodies and federations, Ramon Becerra, and AFL-CIO International Director Cathy Feingold played active roles in organizing the meeting and engaging with political and community leaders from Mexican-American clubs, federations and worker centers, and labor and immigration activists.

AFL-CIO

In addition to trade, immigration was a top issue discussed during the meeting. González-Anaya highlighted the important role of labor unions in protecting immigrant rights. 

In his address, Chicago Federation of Labor President Bob Reiter (IUOE) said, “At this time of history when Chicago is building on its legacy of being an immigrant city and fighting back against those who seek to divide us on economics and issues of race and ethnicity, when we should be coming together to lift up our core values and fight for economic and social justice.”

AFL-CIO

Trumka reminded attendees that we are a labor movement of immigrants and that our unions must provide sanctuary and our contracts must offer protections where our laws do not. 

“Immigrants can find hope and a home in the labor movement,” he said. “Our nation is being poisoned by hateful rhetoric and divisive tactics that come from the highest level of our government. We are not going to rest until every aspiring American can live here and work here safely as a citizen of the United States.”

 

AFL-CIO Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 09/17/2019 - 10:03

Tags: Mexico

Pittston, Solidarity and Labor's Future: Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup

Mon, 2019-09-16 14:50
Pittston, Solidarity and Labor's Future: Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup

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

Follow the links below to find podcasts. They also can be found wherever you listen to podcasts:

Arise! Labor Edition: Richard Trumka on Pittston, Solidarity and Labor's Future.

Building Bridges: "Putting the movement back into the union movement with Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, who denounced President Trump’s government shutdown for endangering airline security and forcing workers to labor without pay and told her fellow labor leaders, 'to end this shutdown with a general strike!' She became America’s most powerful flight attendant and a rising star of the labor movement. And Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, president of the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), New York's largest nurses union, which has become known for its support of Medicare for All. It has taken its service-oriented union work and further extended it for community needs. And Bianca Cunningham, a staff writer and organizer at Labor Notes Magazine, who got her start in the labor movement as a Verizon retail worker. She was a leader in the 2014 drive that won a union at seven stores, breaking into wireless retail for the first time in the company's history. These workers went on to win their first union contract when they joined landline workers in the 2016 Verizon strike."

Heartland Labor Forum: "It’s 38 days and counting that the Blackjewel coal miners of Harlan County, Kentucky, are occupying the tracks saying, 'No Pay, We Stay!' We’ll get their story. Then, it’s almost 40 years since President Ronald Reagan fired over 11,000 striking professional air traffic controllers. What are the lessons of the [Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization] strike for today?"

UCOMM Live: This week: "SharpieGate, the Weatherman and our new app, Drug Hub. Plus we have an interview with the AFL-CIO's Liz Shuler. She talks to us at the New York City Labor Day Parade. We remember 9/11 with IBEW Local 3's Business Manager Chris Erikson. Lenny is back to talk about the opioid crisis and some of the great work he did this past week volunteering in Philly. We look at how the [National Labor Relations Board] has lost its way under Trump, his obsession with a weather map, and the 10,000 jobs that were lost because of his trade war."

Union City Radio: For the week of Sept. 9-13.

Your Rights At Work: "Brian Prechtl, co-chair of the Baltimore Symphony Musicians Players’ Committee, with a BSO lockout update; 1199 SEIU's Yahnae Barner on the NLRB ruling that Universal Health Services Inc. at George Washington University Hospital engaged in unfair labor practices; POGO's Becca Jones on the effect of SharpieGate on federal workers, 'Case Closed' with David Schloss and Press Associates Inc.'s Mark Gruenberg with the latest labor news."

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 09/16/2019 - 14:50

Tags: Podcast

Nearly 50,000 UAW Members at GM Go on Strike

Mon, 2019-09-16 12:17
Nearly 50,000 UAW Members at GM Go on Strike AFL-CIO

As of midnight Sunday, UAW members at General Motors have gone on strike. The 2015 collective bargaining agreement between UAW and GM expired Saturday after GM offered an inadequate new contract. Nearly 50,000 workers are now on strike. They are demanding fair wages, affordable health care, a share of profits, job security and a defined path to permanent seniority for temporary workers.

UAW President Gary Jones said: “We told UAW GM members that we would stand up for them and their future.”

UAW Vice President Terry Dittes explained: “We stood up for General Motors when they needed us most. Now we are standing together in unity and solidarity for our members, their families and the communities where we work and live."

Ted Krumm of UAW Local 652, who is the national bargaining committee chair, further expanded upon the need for the strike: 

We have been clear at the table about what GM members have indicated we will accept. We are standing up for what is right. We as local unions will sacrifice to stand up for what we deserve. Our members have spoken; we have taken action; and this is a decision we did not make lightly. We are committed to a strong contract at GM that recognizes our UAW members, who make some of the greatest products in the world and make GM so profitable.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) showed the federation's support for members of the UAW:

As our UAW brothers and sisters prepare to walk the picket line, the 12.5 million working people of the AFL-CIO are ready to march alongside them. Calling a strike is a deeply difficult decision and always a measure of last resort. This is a fight to win dignity for the 46,000 auto workers who have delivered their bosses record-breaking profits for years. We will have their backs every day until they win the respect and security that they deserve.

Other labor leaders, organizations and allies quickly showed their support for UAW members:

Statement from President Bieber supporting UAW-GM members on strike. #Solidarity #1u https://t.co/cTCHl0zVkW

— Michigan AFL-CIO (@MIAFLCIO) September 16, 2019

 

Always proud to stand with UAW members fighting for good jobs and fair wages. I’m hopeful the UAW and GM can negotiate and ratify a contract quickly so Michigan’s autoworkers can get back on the job as soon as possible, as this is so important to our economy. pic.twitter.com/BnVAFIlm9D

— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) September 16, 2019

 

Statement of NYS AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento on UAW’s Strike against General Motors https://t.co/6ahSY6RjUd

— NYSAFLCIO (@NYSAFLCIO) September 16, 2019

 

AFGE members stand in total solidarity with @UAW members striking for a fair contract with @GM! https://t.co/GVPa9hqTNO

— AFGE (@AFGENational) September 16, 2019

 

The IAM stands with the thousands of @GM workers as they fight for good wages and benefits! #solidarityhttps://t.co/whLHt9iK7q

— Machinists Union (@MachinistsUnion) September 16, 2019

 

.@Teamsters will honor @UAW @gm picket lines pic.twitter.com/NJpBv2DAfy

— David Shepardson (@davidshepardson) September 15, 2019

 

I support the @UAW's decision to employ American workers' most serious tool to achieve a better deal. #1u

— Rep. Andy Levin (@RepAndyLevin) September 16, 2019

 

I stand in solidarity with workers as they fight for better wages and benefits.

— Senator Gary Peters (@SenGaryPeters) September 15, 2019

Numerous presidential candidates also weighed in with their support for the UAW members:

Unions like @UAW built the middle class in America by negotiating for better wages, benefits and treatment in the workplace. That work continues today.

I stand with UAW as they fight to ensure their members’ hard work is rewarded with a fair share of the success they’ve created.

— Michael Bennet (@MichaelBennet) September 16, 2019

A job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It's about dignity and respect.

Proud to stand with @UAW to demand fair wages and benefits for their members. America's workers deserve better. https://t.co/vdYS3sp4eo

— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 15, 2019

I'm proud to stand with the hardworking members of @UAW in their fight for fair wages, health care, and job security. @GM should do right by the workers who fuel its profits. https://t.co/3XF8OswRRn

— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) September 16, 2019

My grandfather was an assembly line worker & @UAW union rep outside of Detroit who showed me the power of collective action as a force to improve lives & right injustice. I stand with UAW workers in their fight for fair wages, better benefits & reversal of plant closures. https://t.co/zgXmm0m8jw

— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) September 16, 2019

As a former union-side labor lawyer, I know how difficult of a decision this is for hardworking folks and their families. They deserve better wages, benefits, and job security. A company generating record profits should pay workers their fair share. https://t.co/rc3ll07SBO

— Steve Bullock (@GovernorBullock) September 16, 2019

The CEO of @GM made nearly $22 million dollars last year—281 times the median GM worker.

I stand with the 46,000 @UAW members who have moved to strike, fighting for affordable health care and fair wages.

GM can afford to do right by them.#StandWithUS #1U

— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) September 15, 2019

I stand in solidarity with the more than 48,000 United Auto Workers members who are striking for affordable health care, fair wages, and job security. When we raise our voices together, we can win. https://t.co/VJOhoBqjs6

— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) September 16, 2019

I stand with workers. I stand with @UAW. #UnionStrong https://t.co/rCVz7D4VvK

— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) September 16, 2019

I am with the United Auto Workers on strike today—and with workers everywhere, fighting for the dignity they deserve.

— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) September 16, 2019

Proud to be on the picket line w/ Lordstown @UAW members who are striking w/ 40,000+ of their sisters & brothers for fair wages & affordable healthcare, job security, a path for temp workers to become full-time workers and their share of GM's record-setting profits. #StandWithUS pic.twitter.com/dMvIZV2lfR

— Tim Ryan (@TimRyan) September 16, 2019

I am proud to support the @UAW workers who are standing up to the greed of GM. Our message to GM is a simple one: End the greed, sit down with the UAW and work out an agreement that treats your workers with the respect and the dignity they deserve. https://t.co/nAQoeX82oz

— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) September 15, 2019

I stand with the 50,000 @UAW members striking at General Motors. GM must put the welfare of its workers above perks for its executives and provide fair wages, affordable healthcare, and secure jobs.

— Tom Steyer (@TomSteyer) September 16, 2019

Auto workers deserve good wages, comprehensive benefits, and economic security. I stand with @UAW as they strike to get what they deserve, and urge GM to come to the table and negotiate in good faith. https://t.co/VRmL7VzSzt

— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) September 16, 2019

Unions and the @UAW have been a force for worker equity and fair treatment for decades even as our economy has grown more inhuman and punishing. GM should value its workers fairly and compensate them what they deserve. https://t.co/hPwo38VOOp

— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYang) September 16, 2019 Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 09/16/2019 - 12:17

Never Forget: The Working People Weekly List

Fri, 2019-09-13 13:15
Never Forget: 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.

Working People Remember Those Lost Because of 9/11: "The terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, 18 years ago today, affected all Americans, but they had a particular impact upon first responders. Thousands of lives were lost that day and more died in the aftermath because of illnesses related to the attacks. The members and leaders of the various unions affected by the 9/11 attacks are memorializing the anniversary in various ways."

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

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Operating Engineers: "Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Operating Engineers."

Pathway to Progress: The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom: "History has long been portrayed as a series of 'great men' taking great action to shape the world we live in. In recent decades, however, social historians have focused more on looking at history 'from the bottom up,' studying the vital role that working people played in our heritage. Working people built, and continue to build, the United States. In our new series, Pathway to Progress, we'll take a look at various people, places and events where working people played a key role in the progress our country has made, including those who are making history right now. Today's topic is the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom."

Economy Gains 130,000 Jobs in August; Unemployment Steady at 3.7%: "The U.S. economy gained 130,000 jobs in August, and the unemployment rate remained at 3.7%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics."

Responding to Dorian: 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."

State of the Unions’ Podcast: Humble Courage and 90210: "On the latest episode of 'State of the Unions,' podcast co-hosts Julie Greene and Tim Schlittner talk to SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris about the future of work, sexual harassment and her journey from young actor to labor leader."

Say No to IRAPs: In the States Roundup: "It's time once again to take a look at the ways working people are making progress in the states."

Stand Up and Be Recognized: Worker Wins: "Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with actors and actresses winning new contracts and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life."

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 09/13/2019 - 13:15

Union Power on the Rise: In the States Roundup

Fri, 2019-09-13 11:40
Union Power on the Rise: 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:

We wish brother Tom Chamberlain the best with his retirement. #1u #UnionStrong https://t.co/f2HBSFoKFQ

— Alabama AFL-CIO (@AlabamaAFLCIO) August 30, 2019

Alaska AFL-CIO:

We are also excited to support our sister @galradio for FNSB Assembly! #themindycampaign #akleg https://t.co/HPS0I57QHr

— Alaska AFL-CIO (@AKAFLCIO) September 10, 2019

Arkansas AFL-CIO:

Please remember our Sister in Odessa who lost her life this week.

Labor Unions Are for Safety and Creativity

Fri, 2019-09-13 09:41
Labor Unions Are for Safety and Creativity Terence Faircloth

I do not go around asking people if they believe in God. But I frequently ask people if they believe in labor unions. I am genuinely curious about how people around me think about collective bargaining in workplaces. How do people who work for a living, or who have at some point worked for a living (meaning most of us) think about people being courageous, together, for the sake of the integrity of their work or the safety of their work or the dignity of their lives at work? Several men working for the fire department recently said, loud enough for people coming out of the grocery store to hear, “Oh, yes ma’am, we sure do need our union.” In a hotel elevator this summer, a man, carrying a poster noting his retirement as an airline pilot, said he is clear that people working in the industry, at all levels, need labor unions. He said it was a basic matter of safety.

This is one very obvious reason why everyone who walks around in the world needs labor unions. If you drive in a car, you want the people who put your car together to have the ability to stop production if they notice something is awry. If you ride around on one of those rent-by-the-day scooters, you want the people who put the scooter together to have been able to take the time to test whether or not the scooter is safe to scoot. (Same for the people who put together the helmet you should be wearing if you are scooting. Just saying.) People who work for the fire department need equipment that allows them to put out the fire safely and quickly if, by chance, you have overestimated your oven’s ability to be “self-cleaning.” (A real, and embarrassing, example.) Look up the cover of “The Berenstain Bears: Jobs Around Town” and tell me a job that Jan and Stan Berenstain feature that does not need a labor union? The man on the girder being lifted by a crane needs the person pulling the lever to be able to call in sick if necessary. The woman selling hot dogs does not want to sell Sister Bear a dog with, well...actual dog under the relish. The bear walking across the bridge with what appears to be a giant pumpkin relies on the fact that the bears who built the bridge had time off to eat lunches and sleep. And the bear with the pink shirt, up in the corner, painting on a canvas? They need a labor union, too.

This is one of the trickiest concepts for some people to grasp. Labor unions are about our safety as people living together in a town or city, and they are also about creativity. As a writer and a teacher, I need the committed, active support of other writers and teachers in order to write and to teach in my own unique, best, way. While I was a graduate student, collective bargaining allowed me to write what turned out to be a damn good dissertation (and eventually a book) without worrying that my adviser would punish me for writing something very different than what he had published. I needed the courage in common that was collective bargaining to formulate my own particular and singular way of thinking. Actors, photographers, journalists, sculptors—all have expressed a similar sense that labor unions allow for individual freedom in their craft. If you want to hear what music sounds like without labor unions, turn on your canned radio station and hear the same pop song every two hours, interspersed with a few others deemed by someone in marketing to meet the least common denominator of music. Alternatively, find the alternative station in the genre that helps you through your own workday, and consider periodically the teamwork behind the scenes that allowed those musicians to defy what some person in the number-crunching department determined would be passable as music.

There are no doubt some people in this world who manage to be remarkably creative without labor unions and the collective bargaining that comes with courage. I am frankly worn out from trying. I need a union as much as people putting out fires and people putting airplanes together. My labor is also important, and so I will keep asking people about their unions and their ideas about unions. And I will keep trying to find the best, most creative and unique ways to explain why I need a team.

Amy Laura Hall has taught ethics at Duke University since 1999. Her most recent book is Laughing at the Devil: Seeing the World with Julian of Norwich. This post originally appeared at the North Carolina State AFL-CIO.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 09/13/2019 - 09:41

Working People Remember Those Lost Because of 9/11

Wed, 2019-09-11 12:47
Working People Remember Those Lost Because of 9/11 IAFF

The terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, 18 years ago today, affected all Americans, but they had a particular impact upon first responders. Thousands of lives were lost that day and more died in the aftermath because of illnesses related to the attacks. The members and leaders of the various unions affected by the 9/11 attacks are memorializing the anniversary in various ways. Here is what they are saying:

 

Eighteen years ago, 343 FDNY members died in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Since then, more than 200 IAFF members have died from 9/11-related illnesses. pic.twitter.com/UjqdkNy89B

— IAFF (@IAFFNewsDesk) September 11, 2019

 

Families, #firefighters gather at World Trade Center site for 18th annual memorial service for 9/11 victims https://t.co/aGziPWzNk5 #NeverForget

— IAFF (@IAFFNewsDesk) September 11, 2019

 

“As we mark the anniversary of one of the most tragic days in our country’s history, the members of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York join with all Americans in mourning the thousands lost in New York City, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C....”

— NYC Building Trades (@NYCBldgTrades) September 11, 2019

 

...as the result of the despicable attacks that occurred on 9/11. We honor and remember the 61 members of the New York City Building Trades who died in the towers that day, as well as the vast numbers of police officers, firefighters and other first responders who perished.

— NYC Building Trades (@NYCBldgTrades) September 11, 2019

 

While most New Yorkers were running away from Lower Manhattan, thousands of members of the Building Trades literally ran towards the devastation to help in whatever way they could. Nearly 10,000 construction workers volunteered to help clean up the Ground Zero site...

— NYC Building Trades (@NYCBldgTrades) September 11, 2019

 

...and they eventually made up eighty percent of the workers there. Through their courageous actions, our brother and sister construction workers showed their patriotism, their love for their fellow human beings, and their commitment to the future of New York City.

— NYC Building Trades (@NYCBldgTrades) September 11, 2019

 

As a result of these valiant efforts, many suffered illnesses and, sadly, many died. The depth of their commitment is a direct reflection of the union spirit, a spirit driven by a sense of common humanity, solidarity, and kinship. Over the course of more than 150 years...

— NYC Building Trades (@NYCBldgTrades) September 11, 2019

 

...America’s organized labor movement has enjoyed a proud history. As we reflect on this history, let us remember the bravery, the dedication and the sacrifice of those construction workers who bravely put their health and safety at risk to rebuild Lower Manhattan.

— NYC Building Trades (@NYCBldgTrades) September 11, 2019

 

We remember what they did, and we thank them. God bless America. #NeverForget #GodBlessAmerica

— NYC Building Trades (@NYCBldgTrades) September 11, 2019

 

Today we honor the 3,000 transit workers who participated in the rescue and recovery effort at Ground Zero. NYCT restored service hours after the towers fell. TWU Local 100 members successfully evacuated thousands. #neverforget @NYSAFLCIO @CentralLaborNYC @transportworker pic.twitter.com/vvFjZAWlsN

— TWU Local 100 (@TWULocal100) September 11, 2019

 

Today we mourn our members and all victims of the senseless #September11 attacks https://t.co/Cbrv6WWIkr

— Machinists Union (@MachinistsUnion) September 11, 2019

 

#WeNeverForget #FDNY #OurIAFF #IAFF @IAFFNewsDesk pic.twitter.com/UjYxAIuBWE

— Ed Kelly IAFF GST (@IAFFGST) September 11, 2019

 

#WeNeverForget #FDNY #Tradition #Respect #Honor @IAFFNewsDesk pic.twitter.com/w00o3tbtky

— IAFF District 3 VP (@IAFFdist3VP) September 11, 2019

The New York City Police Department has a memorial website in honor of the law enforcement officers who lost their lives in connection with 9/11.

Also watch these videos, which provide more context and pay further tribute.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 09/11/2019 - 12:47

Celebrating Labor Day: Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup

Tue, 2019-09-10 15:13
Celebrating Labor Day: Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup

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

Follow the links below to find podcasts. They also can be found wherever you listen to podcasts:

Building Bridges: Your Community and Labor Report: "Reminiscent of Apartheid South Africa, Trump and Netanyahu form unholy alliance to silence Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib’s support of the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Movement in support of Palestinian people, with Ali Albunimah, co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of the Battle for Justice in Palestine."

Heartland Labor Forum: "We’re going to cover some labor news⁠—most of it local that you hear little about anywhere else. Then we preview Kansas’ first Troublemakers School training worker activists in how to be effective hell raisers. You may even find out which Kansas City icon corporation just fired all its union janitors. Thursday at 6 p.m., rebroadcast Friday at 5 a.m. on KKFI 90.1 FM or streaming at kkfi.org."

State of the Unions (AFL-CIO): "What does Beverly Hills have to do with unions? Julie Greene and Tim Schlittner talk to SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris about the future of work, sexual harassment and her journey from young actor to labor leader."

UCOMM Live (NYC Area): "On this week's show we are going to be discussing union leaders getting younger and UCOMM's Office gets defaced. We have opened on investigation, was it the Alt-Right, Barstool Sports or just some drunken hipsters? Plus Trump attacks labor, a letter carrier is killed in the latest mass shooting, and we look at how unions celebrated Labor Day. This week's show is our first at the new time of 4 p.m."

Union Strong (NYS AFL-CIO) Podcast Episode 18: NYC Labor Day Parade 2019: "The president of the NYC Central Labor Council is our guest to talk about the oldest and largest worker parade in the country. And we hear from the secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, Liz Shuler who is this year’s grand marshal."

'Workers Rising' 2019 Labor Day Special (Union City Radio, Washington, D.C.): "Includes Labor Radio/Podcast Network Roundtable with Gene Lantz (Workers Beat, Dallas, Texas); Chris LaGrange (UCOMM podcast, New York City); Rick Smith (Rick Smith Show, Pennsylvania); and Judy Ancel (Heartland Labor Forum, Kansas City)."

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 09/10/2019 - 15:13

Tags: Podcast

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Operating Engineers

Mon, 2019-09-09 12:23
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Operating Engineers

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

Name of Union: International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE)

Mission: To serve the needs and develop the skills of a constantly expanding and varied group of construction and maintenance professionals through collective bargaining, legislative action and extensive skills training programs.

Current Leadership of Union: James T. Callahan serves as the general president of IUOE. He was first elected in 2011. Previously, he served as international vice president and business manager of IUOE Local 15 in New York. Callahan was one of many operating engineers who responded immediately on 9/11, and he worked the entire recovery effort at Ground Zero.

Brian E. Hickey serves as general secretary-treasurer. IUOE also has 14 vice presidents: Russell E. Burns, James M. Sweeney, Robert T. Heenan, Daniel J. McGraw, Daren Konopaski, Michael Gallagher, Greg Lalevee, Terrance E. McGowan, Randall G. Griffin, Douglas W. Stockwell, Ronald J. Sikorski, James T. Kunz Jr., Edward J. Curly and Charlie Singletary.

Current Number of Members: 400,000.

Members Work As: Members who are operating engineers work as heavy equipment operators, mechanics and surveyors in the construction industry. Stationary engineers work in operations and maintenance in building and industrial complexes.

Industries Represented: Private industry and in various public projects such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools and government complexes.

History: In the late 1800s, working conditions were harsh for construction and stationary workers. Low wages, no benefits and 60–90 hour workweeks were the norm. In 1896, 11 individuals met in Chicago and formed the National Union of Steam Engineers of America, the first step in the creation of IUOE.

A year later, the union admitted Canadian workers and became the International Union of Steam Engineers. After the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, operating engineers flocked to the city for rebuilding jobs. They also were a key part of digging the Panama Canal.

In 1912, the union changed its name to the International Union of Steam and Operating Engineers. As technology advanced, steam became less a part of the industry and "steam" was dropped.

During the era of the two world wars and beyond, IUOE members were a significant part of the defense effort, from the Navy Seabees, who created the bases, airfields and roads, to the federal Highway Trust program, which created thousands of jobs for operating engineers. They also were part of many other important construction projects, including San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, Chicago’s Sears Tower (renamed Willis Tower in 2009), Toronto’s CN Tower and Sky Dome (renamed Rogers Centre), New York’s Empire State Building and Holland Tunnel, the Statue of Liberty, Vancouver’s Lions Gate Bridge, the Alaskan pipeline, the Hoover Dam and countless others.

Current Campaigns/Community Efforts: IUOE runs extensive training programs and maintains the International Training and Education Center. They also focus on recruiting women workers in apprenticeships. The International Operating Engineer publication provides information and news for working people in the industry.

Learn More: Website.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 09/09/2019 - 12:23