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Service + Solidarity Spotlight: UNITE HERE Raises $2.5 Million to Support Members Impacted by COVID-19

Thu, 2020-07-09 12:58
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: UNITE HERE Raises $2.5 Million to Support Members Impacted by COVID-19

During the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread protests in response to the killing of George Floyd, working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities. In our new Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we'll showcase one of those stories every day. Here's today's story.

UNITE HERE announced on Monday that it had raised $2.5 million for the union’s Education and Support Fund to provide direct relief to its members and their families who have been impacted by COVID-19. The union reported that more than 60,000 working families in 40 cities have been supported through these contributions. Throughout the pandemic, workers in the hospitality industry have been hit especially hard. Click here to donate to UNITE HERE’s relief effort.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 07/09/2020 - 12:58

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Safety and Security: Worker Wins

Wed, 2020-07-08 13:54
Safety and Security: Worker Wins

Our latest roundup of worker wins features important victories for safety and security during the COVID-19 pandemic and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life. 

Airline Worker Unions Win Protections During Pandemic: More than a half dozen unions representing workers in the airline industry fought to secure protections during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act, which passed in March, $31 billion in direct grants were approved to airline industry workers and another $25 billion in loans or grants for the industry. Sara Nelson, president of the Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA), said: “This is an unprecedented win for front-line aviation workers and a template all workers can build from. The grants we won in this bill will save hundreds of thousands of jobs and will keep working people connected to healthcare.”

Front-Line Stop & Shop Workers Win Protections, Additional Pay: More than 70,000 employees at Stop & Shop and Peapod in New Jersey, New York and New England represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) secured a 10% pay increase and up to two additional weeks of paid sick leave as a response to coronavirus. UFCW International President Marc Perrone said: “As we know, grocery workers like Stop & Shop employees have been on the front lines of this crisis, serving the needs of millions of families in the northeast. Protecting them is absolutely essential to our communities and food supply now more than ever.”

Nuclear Power Plant Workers in Texas Vote to Join IBEW: Phyllis Goines, business manager of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 220, reported that workers at Day & Zimmermann (D&Z) radiological services voted to join the union to improve their working conditions at a nuclear power plant in Glen Rose, Texas. Goines said the bargaining unit consists of some 60 workers in a variety of jobs, including electrical, custodial and outdoor maintenance. Union organizers faced heavy opposition as D&Z used a combination of management scare tactics and threats about the impact of the pandemic. The scare tactics didn't work. In the end, a majority of workers stood their ground. “I'm glad it's over,” Goines said, adding that she looks forward to seeing workers reap the benefits of negotiating their first union contract together in solidarity.

Professors and Graduate Students Score Victories: In the past few months, organizing drives led by graduate students, contract negotiations and other pro-worker actions have resulted in victories, including: University of Illinois at Chicago, Georgetown, Brown, Harvard and Oregon State.

SAG-AFTRA and AFM Score Entertainment Industry Victories: SAG-AFTRA's board has voted to recommend members accept the 2020 TV/Theatrical Agreement, which contains the largest financial compensation the union has negotiated, at $318 million over three years. Separately, SAG-AFTRA and the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) announced a deal that would provide record-breaking royalty payments for session musicians and singers.

Bradenton Herald Newsroom Joins The NewsGuild: As part of a wider wave of union organizing in Florida and at McClatchy-owned newspapers, the newsroom at the Bradenton Herald voted to join The NewsGuild-CWA. Veteran reporter Jessica De Leon said: “Today, the newsroom of the Bradenton Herald stood up, not just to demand better working conditions for ourselves but to preserve quality local journalism in Bradenton, and our voices were heard. I’m beyond grateful for the amazing team we have and all the support we’ve received from our community, colleagues and fellow journalists around the country.”

Workers Unionize at Bank Formerly Owned by Tom Steyer: Workers in Oregon, California and Washington at Beneficial Bank, which was founded by former presidential candidate Steyer, who resigned from the bank's board to run for president. The majority of eligible employees signed union authorization cards to be represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA).

Hearthside Food Solutions Workers Join UFCW: In the first National Labor Relations Board-led unionization vote since the beginning of the pandemic, the majority of workers at the cereal-packing plant in Byhalia, Mississippi, voted to be represented by the UFCW. Rose Turner, a UFCW organizer, said: "Today, I feel better than I feel in the last 45 days."

NPEU Leads Wave of Unionization in Nonprofit Sector: The Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU), IFPTE Local 70, recently announced a series of organizing victories, including: Friends of the Earth, National Women's Law Center, Pittsburgh United, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, National Immigration Law Center, the Groundwork Collaborative, Scholars Strategy Network and J Street.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 07/08/2020 - 13:54

Tags: Organizing

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Rally to Save the News Held in Chicago

Wed, 2020-07-08 09:29
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Rally to Save the News Held in Chicago AFL-CIO

During the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread protests in response to the killing of George Floyd, working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities. In our new Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we'll showcase one of those stories every day. Here's today's story.

The Chicago Federation of Labor helped host a “Save the News” rally in downtown Chicago. Union members were joined by the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza, as well as other community leaders. They spoke about the need for free and fair access to information, and how it is especially critical for working people right now because of the pandemic, the economic crisis and the protests against racial injustice. “The public’s right to information is at stake more than ever because of the risks journalists face,” Don Villar (NABET-CWA), secretary-treasurer of the federation, said in a statement. “Journalists put their health and safety at risk to show how a global pandemic is affecting our city, and how protests have roiled the streets of Chicago. They all want to do their jobs in a historic moment, but we have journalists put on the sidelines by furloughs.”

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 07/08/2020 - 09:29

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Protect Working Families: In the States Roundup

Tue, 2020-07-07 15:44
Protect Working Families: 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.

California Labor Federation:

$2.65 BILLION. While drivers go without PPE they need to keep themselves & passengers safe. While they sleep in their cars b/c they don't make a minimum wage & have no paid sick leave. @Uber is corrupt to the core #SickofGigGreed https://t.co/UG1ycuufhU

— California Labor Federation #BlackLivesMatter (@CaliforniaLabor) July 6, 2020

Colorado AFL-CIO:

Workers and communities across the country are being hit hard by the changing coal economy. The National Economic Transition platform lays out a bold, national plan that provides both immediate and long-term support. #JustTransition https://t.co/kvu4fHeAQ9 pic.twitter.com/53gSKKWpEL

— Colorado AFL-CIO (@AFLCIOCO) June 29, 2020

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

The Connecticut @AFLCIO proudly endorses Jorge Cabrera for State Senate! https://t.co/fy4GA7EB9b @Local919 @UFCW @Cabrera4CT

— Connecticut AFL-CIO (@ConnAFLCIO) June 30, 2020

Florida AFL-CIO:

“Phones at the Department of Economic Opportunity remain clogged, the online system is still overloaded and benefits are still not making it to all who are eligible.”https://t.co/YBfGJk9Wev

— Florida AFL-CIO (@FLAFLCIO) July 6, 2020

Georgia State AFL-CIO:

.@ATL_Labor represents approximately 60,000 workers who are essential to the economy of Georgia. These union members are voters that deserve legislative efforts that protect working families. Corporate immunity bills use the current pandemic to the detriment of workers. #gapol pic.twitter.com/gMNNPe0nB5

— Georgia AFL-CIO (@AFLCIOGeorgia) June 26, 2020

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

Brett Voorhies, president of the Indiana State AFL-CIO, called a liability shield nonsense.

He said workers should be able to hold their employer accountable to cover medical expenses or time off work if they contract #COVID19 on the job.https://t.co/CABjfqL7DY

— Indiana AFL-CIO (@INAFLCIO) July 6, 2020

Iowa Federation of Labor:

ISEA calls Iowa Department of Education reopening school guidance ‘irresponsible’ https://t.co/DzEClZAx8S

— Iowa AFL-CIO (@IowaAFLCIO) July 3, 2020

Maine AFL-CIO:

This is a HUGE problem that needs to be addressed @GovJanetMills & @maine_labor #mepolitics https://t.co/mOZQBLxRCp

— Maine AFL-CIO (@MEAFLCIO) July 4, 2020

Massachusetts AFL-CIO:

Stand with @StopandShop workers and demand hazard pay be extended.

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: School Leaders Issue Guide to Reopen Schools Safely

Tue, 2020-07-07 13:29
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: School Leaders Issue Guide to Reopen Schools Safely AFSA

During the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread protests in response to the killing of George Floyd, working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities. In our new Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we'll showcase one of those stories every day. Here's today's story.

School supervisory personnel who were among the first to call for closing schools at the start of the pandemic have released a new, comprehensive guide for reopening schools safely. “School leaders want to reopen their schools, on time and in person,” said Ernest Logan, president of the School Administrators (AFSA), which represents principals, assistant principals, supervisors, and school directors and managers. “In a time of social and emotional upheaval, our students have never needed us more. This is not going to be easy and it's going to cost upward to $300 billion.” The AFSA guide, Reopening Schools Safely in the Age of COVID, covers the major challenges schools must address as the pandemic continues. These issues range from sanitizing schools, hand-washing, physical distancing and health screening to managing lunchrooms and transportation, redesigning academic programs and facilities, and training staff.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 07/07/2020 - 13:29

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: 'Airline Workers Are Doing Everything That We Can to Make the Flights Safe'

Mon, 2020-07-06 10:53
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: 'Airline Workers Are Doing Everything That We Can to Make the Flights Safe'

During the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread protests in response to the killing of George Floyd, working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities. In our new Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we'll showcase one of those stories every day. Here's today's story.

What does the future hold for air travel? Safety must be the first and highest priority for both workers and passengers, according to Transport Workers Union (TWU) President John Samuelsen. “It is safe to fly, but also, passengers on planes have a level of responsibility,” he said in a recent video from HuffPost. “Facial coverings are a necessity. Personal sanitation on the planes is a necessity. Everybody has a responsibility to ensure that COVID-19 doesn’t spread on these flights.” As air travel continues to gradually increase from its lowest levels in April, TWU members in the airline industry are working to ensure that passengers are as safe as possible.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 07/06/2020 - 10:53

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: UAW Shares Stories of Members Facing Down COVID-19

Thu, 2020-07-02 12:39
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: UAW Shares Stories of Members Facing Down COVID-19 UAW

During the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread protests in response to the killing of George Floyd, working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities. In our new Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we'll showcase one of those stories every day. Here's today's story.

Whether they are an academic researcher looking for a drug to fight the deadly virus, an autoworker making a quick pivot to manufacture ventilators, masks or shields, a maintenance worker disinfecting the plant, or a health care worker making sure the sick can receive treatment, UAW members are courageously doing what they can to battle COVID-19. The union profiled some of its members on the front lines who are fighting every day to deal with the public health crisis.

David Gordon, an associate researcher at the University of California, San Francisco and member of UAW Local 5810, is racing to find a treatment for COVID-19. Robert Nadler is working 12-hour days to produce face shields as a die repairer and member of UAW Local 245 in Michigan. Sandy Welch, a member of UAW Local 95 and a medical transcriptionist in Wisconsin, continues to go to work at a medical clinic despite being at high risk for complications from the coronavirus because of preexisting conditions. These are just a few of the thousands of union members who are playing their part to keep our country safe and protect our communities. Read more of their inspiring stories here.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 07/02/2020 - 12:39

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Economy Gains 4.8 Million Jobs in June; Unemployment Declines to 11.1%

Wed, 2020-07-01 14:47
Economy Gains 4.8 Million Jobs in June; Unemployment Declines to 11.1%

The U.S. economy gained 4.8 million jobs in June, and the unemployment rate declined to 11.1%, according to figures released Thursday morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The improvements reflect the continued resumption of economic activity that previously was curtailed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to the June job numbers, AFL-CIO Chief Economist William Spriggs said:

The growing number of workers who are facing more than five weeks looking for work signals a "typical" recession driven by weak demand. The spike in the short-time unemployed, those unemployed less than five weeks, was related to our health crisis. So, even after we get the health crisis in check, we face a recession the size of the Great Recession in terms of unemployed workers.

He also tweeted:

The Black unemployment rate fell in June reports @BLS_gov on the strength of adult Black women's rate going from 16.5 to 14.0%, but it rose for adult Black men from 15.5 to 16.3%. That increase foreshadows the difficulty of the cyclical component of the crisis. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) July 2, 2020

There are two unemployment crises. The #JobsReport shows big spikes in unemployment since last June for Leisure & Hospitality (mostly restaurant & bar workers), but the jump for durable goods manufacturing and mining are from the collapse in demand and will clear slowly. @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/jvYC8wtIXF

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) July 2, 2020

But, now the #JobsReport shows the labor market returning it racial "equilibrium," as since April the white male unemployment rate continues to fall, while the Black male unemployment rate continues to climb. At 16.3 to 9.0, the ratio is at 1.8:1 @AFLCIO @rolandsmartin

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) July 2, 2020

The #JobsReport shows the difficulty of the "hustle." Women, more than men, compensate low earnings by holding two jobs. In this crisis, that's much harder than last year. The big problem is you can't unemployment insurance to make up for that second job. @AFLCIO @IWPResearch pic.twitter.com/5OYehKsYPH

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) July 2, 2020

In April, the big jobs shock was to leisure & hospitality and retail, but they are slowly leading a bounce back. So, let's put to rest the stupid comments that unemployment benefits are hurting low wage workers return to work. The numbers show that is simply not true. @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/X2aXUm7uXn

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) July 2, 2020

The tale of the two jobs crises: The loss of jobs because of our health crisis spiked the unemployment rate in April, and the number who experienced short spells of unemployment; but, the collapse of demand is fueling the typical recession problem of longer term spells. @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/EHBASvhfq2

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) July 2, 2020

Trying to make sense of the continued big numbers claiming unemployment? The net flows are toward employment, but there are still a large number of workers who are losing jobs. Women, who lost the most in April, are having bigger net flows into work. @AFLCIO @IWPResearch pic.twitter.com/FSFpZjMACI

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) July 2, 2020

Greater detail for understanding the "misclassification" of temporary layoff in the @BLS_gov report:
Who are the Potentially Misclassified in the Employment Report? | The Hamilton Project https://t.co/gRILLcaQ7A

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) July 2, 2020

#JobsReport , reporters, please stop being business shills asking if the $600 Pandemic Unemployment Compensation is discouraging workers. More unemployed workers in May went into employment in June than dropped out of the market; discouraged. People want work. @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/JoqAhEn7IY

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) July 2, 2020

The broadest measure of unemployment, including those who are discouraged and those who are part-time looking for full-time jobs, also fell in June. But, at 18% gives the sense of stress in American households over this job market. @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/O7m4SyeRS0

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) July 2, 2020

Last month's biggest job gains were in leisure and hospitality (+2.1 million), retail trade (740,000), education and health services (568,000), other services (357,000), manufacturing (356,000), professional and business services (306,000), construction (158,000), transportation and warehousing (99,000), wholesale trade (68,000), financial activities (32,000) and government employment (33,000). Mining lost 10,000 jobs in June.

In June, the unemployment rates declined for teenagers (23.2%), Blacks (15.4%), Hispanics (14.5%), Asians (13.8%), adult women (11.2%), adult men (10.2%) and Whites (10.1%).

The number of long-term unemployed workers (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased in June.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 07/01/2020 - 14:47

Pass the HEROES Act: What Working People Are Doing This Week

Wed, 2020-07-01 14:40
Pass the HEROES Act: 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:

There have been 37,327 new coronavirus cases in Florida since Actors' Equity called on @Disney to delay opening until regular testing is available to our members. https://t.co/cVairwpIcM pic.twitter.com/ilUHpQnLO8

— Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) June 30, 2020

AFGE:

The administration should boost its communication with federal employees and create clearer benchmarks for when agencies should call their workers back to the workplace.https://t.co/FsiXb0OIOB

— AFGE (@AFGENational) June 29, 2020

AFSCME:

The corporately-backed Freedom Foundation was behind the Janus v. AFSCME case. The same group has filed a lawsuit to overturn a mandatory masking order in a Washington state county. They clearly care more about playing politics than safety. https://t.co/Peqmkne4CR

— AFSCME (@AFSCME) June 30, 2020

Air Line Pilots Association:

In a letter to Congress last week, the leaders of the @afa_cwa, ALPA @CWAUnion the @MachinistsUnion the @transportworker and the @TTDAFLCIO called to extend to the Payroll Support Program in the #CARESAct through 3/31/2021. Read the letter here: https://t.co/RBRD8VbZGp

— ALPA (@WeAreALPA) June 30, 2020

Alliance for Retired Americans:

Older Mainers shouldn't have to choose between their health and exercising their right to vote during the #COVID19 pandemic. Today we sued to make voting safer for all. Learn more here: https://t.co/UTD7HpSlSL @votedotorg pic.twitter.com/YL4TXEXghp

— Alliance Retirees (@ActiveRetirees) June 24, 2020

Amalgamated Transit Union:

#CanadaDay2020 #Labour pic.twitter.com/0eyeoFzNXk

— ATU, Transit Union (@ATUComm) July 1, 2020

American Federation of Musicians:

.@Indy_Symphony furloughed musicians and eliminated health insurance—despite having an endowment w/more than $97 million. Outrageous!

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Milwaukee Area Labor Council Hosts Rallies to Thank Front-Line Workers

Wed, 2020-07-01 08:52
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Milwaukee Area Labor Council Hosts Rallies to Thank Front-Line Workers Milwaukee Area Labor Council

During the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread protests in response to the killing of George Floyd, working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities. In our new Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we'll showcase one of those stories every day. Here's today's story.

The Milwaukee Area Labor Council, under the leadership of President Pam Fendt (LIUNA), has been hosting weekly events on Wednesdays for union members to thank front-line workers. The labor council's “We Thank You Wednesday” event last week recognized city of Milwaukee workers. Members of the labor council gathered to show support for AFSCME Council 32 members who are city sanitation workers and to call for increased funding for state and local governments. Union members and allies met outside the city’s sanitation garage with signs and banners to thank the sanitation workers as they returned from their shifts.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 07/01/2020 - 08:52

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: UFCW Fights to Save Members' Lives, Help Those on the Front Lines

Tue, 2020-06-30 15:52
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: UFCW Fights to Save Members' Lives, Help Those on the Front Lines UFCW

During the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread protests in response to the killing of George Floyd, working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities. In our new Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we'll showcase one of those stories every day. Here's today's story.

In a press conference on Thursday, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) announced that 238 UFCW members have died from COVID-19 and nearly 29,000 workers have been infected or exposed to the coronavirus over the past 100 days. 

The union announced it would take action on three key priorities to protect and help workers during the pandemic:

  1. Reinstating hazard pay and establishing a $15-per-hour minimum wage for all front-line workers.
  2. Establishing a public mask mandate in all 50 states.
  3. Creating a new national public registry to track COVID-19 infections in front-line workers and require companies with more than 1,000 employees to submit monthly reports on their worker deaths, infections and exposures.

International President Marc Perrone said, “With our country now 100 days into the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s front-line workers still face many of the same dangers they faced on day one. In grocery stores, meatpacking plants and health care facilities, our country’s front-line workers are still getting sick and dying. It’s high time for America’s CEOs and elected leaders to pull their heads out of the sand and take the strong action needed to protect these brave workers and the communities they serve.”

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 06/30/2020 - 15:52

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Paramedic Says, ‘The Anger Is Blinding’

Mon, 2020-06-29 11:19
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Paramedic Says, ‘The Anger Is Blinding’ Anthony Almojera

During the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread protests in response to the killing of George Floyd, working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities. In our new Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we'll showcase one of those stories every day. Here's today's story.

The Washington Post interviewed Anthony Almojera, a paramedic for the New York City Fire Department and vice president of AFSCME Local 3621, DC 37. He illustrated how the words of gratitude for workers like him are not matched by their meager paychecks:

“Do you know how much EMTs make in New York City? We start at $35,000. We top out at $48,000 after five years. That’s nothing. That’s a middle finger. It’s about 40% less than fire, police and corrections—and those guys deserve what they get. But we have three times the call volume of fire. There are EMTs on my team who’ve been pulling double shifts in a pandemic and performing life support for 16 hours, and then they go home and they have to drive Uber to pay their rent. I’m more than 15 years on the job, and I still work two side gigs. One of my guys does part time at a grocery store.

“Heroes, right? The anger is blinding.”

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 06/29/2020 - 11:19

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Respect at Work: The Working People Weekly List

Fri, 2020-06-26 09:40
Respect at Work: The Working People Weekly List AFL-CIO

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

The President Must Stop Scapegoating Immigrants: "This week, under the guise of protecting workers, President Trump issued a proclamation suspending immigration and a number of work visa programs through the end of the year.  We know what this is really about. We’ve seen it many times before. The president is trying to distract from his failure to lead us through this pandemic by returning to one of his favorite themes⁠—scapegoating immigrants."

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Needing Journalists Now More Than Ever: "Michael Hutton is a sports reporter for the Post-Tribune in Gary, Indiana, and a member of The NewsGuild-CWA (TNG-CWA) Local 34071. For Hutton and his co-workers, everything is now a COVID-19 story."

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: During COVID-19 Pandemic, Oregon Workers Are Helping Workers: "Working people in Portland, Oregon, have stepped up to fill community needs by hosting the Workers Helping Workers food drive and distribution program."

Respect at Work Has to Become the New Normal: ILO Convention 190 and Rebuilding for a Fairer Economy: "The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown into stark relief the direct correlation between the exploitative labor model that fuels our global economy and the systemic racism and discrimination that leads to attacks on Black people’s bodies and lives. It is a system rooted in discrimination and oppression, one that strategically devalues and dehumanizes Black and Brown workers, particularly women."

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Working People Across the Nation Join Workers First Caravan for Racial + Economic Justice: "Thousands of workers across the country joined together on June 17 in a national day of action. We called for the Senate to pass the HEROES Act and for Congress to take actions to address structural racism."

Has the Supreme Court Shielded Us from Trump Administration Health Care Rules?: "The Supreme Court last week handed down a landmark decision barring employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity⁠—a significant step forward in the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in the workplace and in broader society. While this case is an important advance in civil rights, it may also undermine the Trump administration’s new health regulations designed to eliminate existing civil rights protections."

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Union Member Uses Seat on City Council to Lead Fight to Ban Tear Gas: "Braxton Winston knows what it’s like to be tear-gassed by the police while exercising his First Amendment rights to nonviolently protest police brutality. A member of the Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and a City Council member in Charlotte, North Carolina, since 2017, he has led the fight to ban the use of tear gas in his city."

Working People Join Caravan for Racial and Economic Justice: "On Wednesday, working people across the United States joined the Workers First Caravan for Racial + Economic Justice. In observation of social distancing guidelines for public safety, working people took to their cars and joined caravans across the country. America faces crises on three critical fronts: a public health pandemic, an economic free fall and long-standing structural racism. To address these crises, we must focus on America’s Five Economic Essentials, which cannot be addressed without also taking on racial injustice directly."

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: New York State's Labor Movement Stands United for Racial Justice: "The horrific and senseless death of George Floyd has left Americans reeling during an already uncertain time. Leaders of the labor movement are speaking out and fighting for equality, justice and civil rights."

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Members of UNITE HERE Local 17 Say ‘No’ to Facism, White Supremacy in Their Union: "Members of UNITE HERE Local 17 in Minnesota adopted a resolution last week that excludes members of facist or white supremacist organizations from their union."

Labor Radio–Podcast Weekly: Fighting for Equality and Justice: "The latest episode of the 'Labor Radio–Podcast Weekly' features the fight for equality and justice, a new version of 'Solidarity Forever' and more."

Pride Month Profiles: Aimee Stephens, Gerald Lynn Bostock and Donald Zarda: "For Pride Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various LGBTQ Americans who have worked and continue to work at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Our first profile this year is the three plaintiffs in the 2020 Supreme Court cases that led to the landmark decision protecting the workplace rights of LGBTQ Americans: Aimee Stephens, Gerald Lynn Bostock and Donald Zarda."

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Ohio University Workers Rally to Save Jobs: "In Athens, Ohio, Southeast Ohio Area Labor Federation President John Johnson (AFSCME) coordinated a protest last week with dozens of members of AFSCME Local 1699 at Ohio University, demanding that pending layoffs of 140 workers be stopped and that all furloughed workers be brought back."

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 06/26/2020 - 09:40

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Flight Attendants Are Essential Workers

Thu, 2020-06-25 16:07
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Flight Attendants Are Essential Workers

During the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread protests in response to the killing of George Floyd, working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities. In our new Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we'll showcase one of those stories every day. Here's today's story.

Not only are flight attendants first responders in the air, they also face the risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. These women and men provide an essential service. The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) is raising awareness through the collecting and sharing of "mask selfies." If you are a flight attendant, send your mask selfie to crewlife@afacwa.org and check out this slideshow highlighting the importance of these front-line workers.

Thanks, aviation’s first responders, for continuing to provide essential service to our nation throughout this pandemic. Fly safe & be sure to send your “mask selfies” to crewlife@afacwa.org, as we love to highlight the important work of frontline workers. ❤️✈️ #whywefly #1u pic.twitter.com/ieygYvXrf3

— AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) June 22, 2020 Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 06/25/2020 - 16:07

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Workers First: In the States Roundup

Thu, 2020-06-25 15:03
Workers First: In the States Roundup AFL-CIO

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

Alaska State AFL-CIO:

Workers’ First Caravan in Anchorage #Alaska. #BlackLivesMatter#SenateActNow #1u@AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/aZEzfJ1Qym

— Alaska AFL-CIO (@AKAFLCIO) June 17, 2020

California Labor Federation:

Eden Alva is right. The #Uber/#Lyft ballot measure is nothing more than a corrupt campaign that will exempt gig corporations from paying their workers. Call it what it is - Wage theft! #SickofGigGreed https://t.co/rVTlrAEysz

— California Labor Federation #BlackLivesMatter (@CaliforniaLabor) June 24, 2020

Colorado AFL-CIO:

Colorado unions stayed strong and fought to ensure every Coloradan can access paid sick time! Thank you union members for calling your legislators! And thank you #CoLeg! We are proud to help pass paid sick in Colorado. #COVIDResponse #5EconomicEssentials pic.twitter.com/E49PFLmE1m

— Colorado AFL-CIO (@AFLCIOCO) June 15, 2020

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

The Connecticut @AFLCIO Executive Board adopted the following resolution on police accountability and systemic racism earlier this morning. Read it here --> https://t.co/ZVH4x8aHZV pic.twitter.com/iBHjHE7GAW

— Connecticut AFL-CIO (@ConnAFLCIO) June 19, 2020

Florida AFL-CIO:

In March, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation launched a portal to file complaints about businesses failing to follow COVID safety policies. At the end of May, the state shut it down right as cases began to climb again.https://t.co/Ait8ZriTk0

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

Georgia State AFL-CIO:

The Chamber of Commerce wants to give corporations that are getting workers sick from COVID-19 a free pass. Tell your state legislator to listen to frontline workers and protect their safety instead!https://t.co/XrjM9x99Cq

— Georgia AFL-CIO (@AFLCIOGeorgia) June 24, 2020

Idaho State AFL-CIO:

#JUNETEENTH2020 pic.twitter.com/C51Bsw0aEZ

— Idaho State AFL-CIO (@IdahoAFLCIO) June 19, 2020

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

In recent decades

(As the U.S. economy expanded
and CEO salaries skyrocketed)

Workers have been left behind. #1uhttps://t.co/KJT9urKSKy

— Indiana AFL-CIO (@INAFLCIO) June 24, 2020

Iowa Federation of Labor:

The people behind the profits: Who’s who in the battle for Hudson County’s hospitals https://t.co/tt20o0BUCn by @njdotcom

— Iowa AFL-CIO (@IowaAFLCIO) June 22, 2020

Kansas AFL-CIO:

It's Official! KS AFL-CIO endorses early in federal races. https://t.co/fmI3J8IQoz

— Kansas AFL-CIO (@KansasAFLCIO) June 17, 2020

Maine AFL-CIO:

Supermajority strike is on! Bring your #solidarity! The strike authorization vote was approved by 87%. 84.5% of the eligible 4350 workers voted. @MachinistsUnion #UnionStrong https://t.co/9ZLExTp9GS #mepolitics #FairContract

— Maine AFL-CIO (@MEAFLCIO) June 21, 2020

Massachusetts AFL-CIO:

The @massaflcio has worked hand-in-hand with @MassCOSH during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The President Must Stop Scapegoating Immigrants

Thu, 2020-06-25 09:32
The President Must Stop Scapegoating Immigrants

This week, under the guise of protecting workers, President Trump issued a proclamation suspending immigration and a number of work visa programs through the end of the year.  We know what this is really about. We’ve seen it many times before. The president is trying to distract from his failure to lead us through this pandemic by returning to one of his favorite themes⁠—scapegoating immigrants.

America’s unions have a clear list of steps the administration could take if it really wants to protect workers amidst this crisis and promote a just recovery. Suspending immigration isn’t one of them.  

Working people have had enough of the divide and distract tactics⁠—we are rising up to demand real measures to enact our Five Economic Essentials and promote an inclusive pro-worker agenda for our country.  

Unions have long called for reforms to our work visa programs to protect workers’ rights and prevent employers from pitting workers against each other to drive down standards. Those changes are needed now more than ever, but they require a thoughtful approach, not a blunt instrument like a ban.  

The proclamation does little more than pause visa programs that harm America's workers and migrant workers alike. That is no substitute for real reform. These programs were broken before the onset of the pandemic and, absent congressional action, will remain broken when the economy fully reopens.

As we have for more than a decade, the labor movement will continue our push to restructure work visa programs so they can only ever be used in cases of real need and so that all workers in affected industries are assured full rights, fair pay and equal treatment.  

Working people know the difference between callous campaign stunts and real solutions. We will not be misled by proclamations that only serve to rob America of what truly makes us great: our diversity.

Union members and our families come from every country in the world, and our labor movement has trade union partners around the globe. These connections are a source of strength and vitality for our country, our workforce and our movement. Each new travel and asylum ban imposed by this administration undermines our values, our competitiveness and our standing in the world—but it will never undermine our solidarity.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 06/25/2020 - 09:32

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Needing Journalists Now More Than Ever

Wed, 2020-06-24 11:01
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Needing Journalists Now More Than Ever

During the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread protests in response to the killing of George Floyd, working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities. In our new Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we'll showcase one of those stories every day. Here's today's story.

Michael Hutton is a sports reporter for the Post-Tribune in Gary, Indiana, and a member of The NewsGuild-CWA (TNG-CWA) Local 34071. For Hutton and his co-workers, everything is now a COVID-19 story. He writes about students not finishing the season, tournaments being canceled and coaches dying. As a result of the pandemic, Hutton, and everyone at the Post-Tribune, has been furloughed for three weeks and is worried about losing his job in the fall. Learn more about how journalists and the whole journalism industry are being affected during these dangerous times.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 06/24/2020 - 11:01

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: During COVID-19 Pandemic, Oregon Workers Are Helping Workers

Tue, 2020-06-23 14:20
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: During COVID-19 Pandemic, Oregon Workers Are Helping Workers Oregon AFL-CIO

During the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread protests in response to the killing of George Floyd, working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities. In our new Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we'll showcase one of those stories every day. Here's today's story.

Working people in Portland, Oregon, have stepped up to fill community needs by hosting the Workers Helping Workers food drive and distribution program. The program is led by President Jeff Anderson (UFCW) of the Northwest Oregon Labor Council, Oregon AFL-CIO President Graham Trainor (IBEW) and Labor’s Community Service Agency. In response to layoffs, furloughs and record unemployment, the unions came together to distribute 1,000 food boxes in the first of at least three planned distributions.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 06/23/2020 - 14:20

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Respect at Work Has to Become the New Normal: ILO Convention 190 and Rebuilding for a Fairer Economy

Tue, 2020-06-23 12:37
Respect at Work Has to Become the New Normal: ILO Convention 190 and Rebuilding for a Fairer Economy

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown into stark relief the direct correlation between the exploitative labor model that fuels our global economy and the systemic racism and discrimination that leads to attacks on Black people’s bodies and lives. It is a system rooted in discrimination and oppression, one that strategically devalues and dehumanizes Black and Brown workers, particularly women. Returning to “normal” is not an option or even desirable—we must instead rebuild an economy designed to meet human needs and protect fundamental rights, including safety and respect on the job.

After years of campaigning by the global labor movement, workers, governments and employers came together June 21, 2019, at the International Labor Organization to negotiate a global standard to end violence and harassment in the world of work. The ILO Convention that resulted from those discussions, C190, was the first international treaty to recognize the right of every worker to be free from violence and harassment, including gender-based violence and harassment, and the responsibility of governments and employers to ensure safe, respectful workplaces. Uruguay recently became the first country to ratify the convention, and others are soon to follow its lead. One year later, as we confront racial, economic and health crises, the convention takes on an even greater role in addressing the many forms of work-related violence and harassment workers are reporting related to the pandemic. 

With increased incidence of domestic violence and health and safety violations during the current crisis, unions are using the C190 framework to negotiate with employers and governments for policies that address the forms of violence they confront. Female workers throughout the global economy often are the first to lose their jobs as the economy contracts or are forced to work in low-paid positions with few health and safety protections. C190 requires that employers recognize gender-based violence and harassment in their safety and health protections. It is clear the convention provides an important framework for addressing the systemic discrimination and exploitation workers face around the world.

Rebuilding our economy will require that we proactively design and implement systems that empower and protect workers and address systemic power imbalances. As countries shape policies for reopening and rebuilding economies, the C190 framework provides guidance on how to ensure workplaces are safe and address the continuum of violence workers often experience. C190 calls on all governments to address the root causes of violence and harassment at work, including discrimination, and develop strategies to address the underlying factors that support these systems.

Women, particularly women of color, have been on the front lines of the pandemic, many working for very low wages. Overall, front-line workers are 64% women and disproportionately people of color. According to the National Domestic Workers Alliance, 73% of Black immigrant domestic workers report not being provided with any form of personal protective equipment (PPE) by their employers. Women particularly are overrepresented in care work, making up more than 85% of child care workers and 75% of health care workers. Caring for others sustains our communities and allows our economy to function, but it has long been dismissed as women’s work and systematically devalued, informalized and underpaid. Not coincidentally, these professions also face high rates of violence and harassment on the job. 

In addition, women, along with marginalized groups such as migrant workers, Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC), LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming individuals, are disproportionately pushed into the precarious workforce. And while precarious work arrangements—aka corporations using subcontractors, franchises and gig models to avoid a formal employment relationship and escape liability for some or all labor rights—predate COVID-19, the pandemic has spotlighted how these jobs operate with little to no regard for worker safety. 

C190 explicitly requires governments to address precarious work arrangements and ensure that everyone in the working world has legal protections from violence and harassment. It also contains protections for others in the workplace who are often left unprotected by labor laws and social protection systems, including people looking for work, unpaid interns and apprentices. As unemployment rises and state reopenings foreclose many from qualifying for emergency assistance, people will become increasingly desperate for income and can be forced into more dangerous and exploitative situations.

Critically, C190 also recognizes the importance of addressing underlying power relationships at work. Ending violence and harassment requires shifting more agency and control into the hands of workers themselves. This pandemic has made clear that far too often, workers are not viewed as human beings deserving of dignity and safety, but as expendable cogs in a machine. Violence and harassment exist in this system not as a glitch, but as a feature—tools of control used to reinforce hierarchy both in the workplace and in society.

To get all of this done, we need to build alliances across our movements. Feminist, worker, climate, racial justice, migrant and human rights organizations must build joint analysis and campaigns that work toward ratification and implementation of C190. All workers must have the ability to organize collectively to proactively shape their own working conditions. A union is how change is made, and one of the few inspiring outcomes of the pandemic has been the rise of new waves of worker and community organizing. Going forward, we must create an enabling environment for organizing to demand respect on the job by protecting everyone’s fundamental right to come together and act in concert to demand better. 

One of the most heartbreaking elements of the COVID-19 crisis is that so much of the suffering is the result of political choices, made to prioritize the stock market and uninterrupted markets, rather than human life. C190 provides us a framework for a worker-centered response and recovery that builds systems for all workers and addresses the power imbalances created by systemic discrimination. We can and must make different, better choices—choices to recognize the inherent dignity and value of all workers, to require respectful, safe working conditions, and to allow people more agency in shaping their working lives.

 

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 06/23/2020 - 12:37

Tags: COVID-19

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Working People Across the Nation Join Workers First Caravan for Racial + Economic Justice

Mon, 2020-06-22 12:50
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Working People Across the Nation Join Workers First Caravan for Racial + Economic Justice

During the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread protests in response to the killing of George Floyd, working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities. In our new Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we'll showcase one of those stories every day. Here's today's story.

Thousands of workers across the country joined together on June 17 in a national day of action. We called for the Senate to pass the HEROES Act and for Congress to take actions to address structural racism. The HEROES Act is grounded in America’s Five Economic Essentials that are desperately needed to keep working people safe and financially secure. This day of action was just the beginning. Today and every day that follows, working people will mobilize like never before to make the HEROES Act the law of the land and rid our institutions of systemic racism. Check out this video recapping the various actions around the country.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 06/22/2020 - 12:50