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Trumka Leaves Presidential Business Council

Thu, 2017-08-17 16:00
Trumka Leaves Presidential Business Council

This week, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka resigned from President Donald Trump's Manufacturing Jobs Initiative. The move came after Trump responded to the racist terrorist attack in Charlottesville, Virginia. In resigning from the Initiative, Trumka said:

His response to the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville was the last straw. We in the labor community refuse to normalize bigotry and hatred. And we cannot in good conscience extend a hand of cooperation to those who condone it.

Here are some of the top pieces of media coverage about Trumka's response to Trump:

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 08/17/2017 - 16:00

Working People in the States Reject Hate and Terror

Thu, 2017-08-17 11:20
Working People in the States Reject Hate and Terror

In the wake of the terrorist attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, that led to the deaths of Heather Heyer and two Virginia state troopers, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, and the injuring of more than 30 others, organizations representing working families in numerous states have spoken out rejecting the violence and the ideas that precipitated the violence.

Here are the statements of AFL-CIO state federations:

Virginia AFL-CIO President Doris Crouse-Mays:

Allow me to be clear–the working people of Virginia do not and will not stand for discrimination and hate in our communities.

Yesterday's disgraceful display of beliefs from the alt-right was simply that–a disgrace to the citizens of the Commonwealth and all that we stand for. Virginia’s working families have fought long and hard to overcome the discriminatory policies of our past and to create an environment of inclusion and fairness in workplaces across the Commonwealth. We will continue to devote every ounce of our abilities to ensure that the rights and safety of all Virginians are preserved.

Furthermore, our thoughts and prayers extend to each of the peaceful counter-protesters who were injured or killed in the resulting violence from yesterday’s rally. We also extend our deepest condolences to the Virginia State Police and the families of Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper Pilot Berke M.M. Bates. No working person expects this shift to be his last, but these brave men and thousands of other first responders put their lives on the line each and every day to keep our communities safe.

Colorado AFL-CIO:

The Colorado AFL-CIO stands with union members and working people across the country against hate and bigotry. We will continue to stand up with our black brothers and sisters and reject the fascist violence that occurred in Charlottesville.

White supremacy is a tool used by those who want to divide and conquer people who would otherwise work together to secure their freedom and their fair share, which is why the labor movement is committed to addressing racism and bigotry within our own ranks and in our larger society.

Georgia AFL-CIO:

Over the weekend in Charlottesville, Va., the nation and the world witnessed the hateful views and terrorist acts committed by white supremacists and neo-Nazis. This racism and bigotry has no place in America. In this country, we have always fought, in solidarity, for equality and justice and against these and other diabolical prejudices.

This is the time for leadership. Our leaders, both in D.C. and under the Gold Dome, must acknowledge this for what it is: domestic terrorism rooted in bigotry.

The hearts and prayers of Georgia’s labor movement are with all the victims, but especially the families of those who lost their lives: Heather Heyer and state Troopers Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates. We pray for everyone’s safety. The labor movement condemns this domestic terrorism and remains committed to eradicating the despicable causes of hatred and intolerance.

The Iowa Federation of Labor shared the words of Progress Iowa:

This weekend we watched in horror as white supremacists marched in Charlottesville, Va., waving Nazi symbols, chanting hateful Nazi slogans, and committing violent acts of terrorism. Their hatred and their violence should be condemned, and has no place in our country. But those words aren’t enough.

It’s not enough when Governor Reynolds and Senators Grassley and Ernst make statements of condemnation (David Young and Rod Blum have done so as well). They should condemn President Trump for continually fanning the flames of hatred, from his lead role in the birther movement, to statements he made during the campaignrefusing to denounce former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, and even having advisers with ties to hate groups.

Reynolds, Grassley, Ernst, Young, Blum, and King should condemn the president they helped put in office for his role in emboldening white supremacists. It’s politically easy to condemn Nazis—it would show true political courage if they called out the president of their own party. And they should use their elected office to bring about real, meaningful change. Here are just a few of the many ways they could move forward, and policies we should all call on them to enact....

Read the rest of the statement.

The Kentucky State AFL-CIO shared the words of the Rev. John Ballenger:

As we gather to worship, a word about the past couple of days in Charlottesville.

I trust you’re all aware of the events there. The kind of hatred and evil incarnate there cannot go unchallenged by those who follow God in the way of Jesus. Neither can any false equivalence between white supremacists and counter-protesters.

They are not the same.

We can no more afford to be surprised at what festers despicably in our culture, nor can our world afford for us to be silent about it—at what was made manifest in Charlottesville, yes, but also at the loud rhetoric of fear-mongering and violence, religious and ethnic blaming and shaming, attitudes of exclusiveness and superiority, an ongoing barrage of unchecked lies, the perversions of theology, scripture and God, and also the systemic racism embedded in our own ways of life—the countless ways we’ve begun trying to name how many of us benefit from privilege and how many of us suffer the consequences all of which can so easily be manipulatively effective and beneficial for the few, unquestionably making room for the worst of who we can be to be more comfortably made public.

In the name of God, we reject it all. in the name of Jesus, we commit to his alternative way of love, grace, welcome, justice, and peace, and in the name of the Spirit, we pray hope for the journey before us.

Minnesota AFL-CIO President Bill McCarthy:

Minnesota’s working people echo AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka’s condemnation of Saturday’s act of domestic terrorism in Charlottesville. Our hearts go out to the families of Heather Heyer and state Troopers Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates in their time of loss. White supremacists like Nazis, the KKK, and other so-called “alt-right” groups have long used bigotry, violence, and fear to divide working people. Minnesota’s labor movement resolutely rejects these poisonous ideologies that have no place in our country. We call on President Trump to apologize for the comments he made on Tuesday and strongly reject the white supremacists who support him. Working people in Minnesota and across the country renew our commitment to justice and eradicating the despicable causes of hatred and intolerance.

Missouri AFL-CIO:

President Trump's actions have not met up with the promises he made to working people during the campaign. His embrace of white-nationalist, neo-Nazis and the alt-right is un-American and we will not be a part of the president's PR sham.

It is simple. Saturday's attack was an act of domestic terrorism. The labor movement has always led the fight for equality and ending racism. This time is no different. White supremacists and neo-Nazis are racist and we will not stand with a president that does not unequivocally condemn these racists.

The true values of our country and the labor movement are values of equality and solidarity. This racism and bigotry is evil and does not represent the true values of this country.

Nebraska State AFL-CIO President/Secretary-Treasurer Susan L. Martin:

The Nebraska State AFL-CIO is speaking out against the horrific events that happened in Charlottesville, Va., this past weekend. We cannot and will not condone the vicious, hateful actions of white supremacists, neo-Nazis groups and bigots. This type of racism is immoral and has no place in America or anywhere. We, as a labor movement, value equality and solidarity and have fought long and hard to overcome these prejudices. Now is a moment for all Americans who believe in freedom and justice, to stand up and speak out. I urge you to participate in a vigil or community event in support of the true values of our country. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this horrific event and my hope is that we continue to have the important conversations with each other against this intolerance.

New Jersey State AFL-CIO:

As the nation begins to heal from the vicious act of terror committed in Charlottesville, we will keep in our hearts the memory of those who were injured or lost their lives. Those who stood up against the hatred and bigotry of white supremacists and intolerance of any kind, demonstrate the true values of this nation. Those who carry the banner of hate, bear the responsibility of this tragedy, and must be unequivocally condemned. We have come too far as a nation to turn back.

North Carolina State AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer MaryBe McMillan:

The North Carolina State AFL-CIO condemns white supremacy. It is a tool used by those who want to divide and conquer people who would otherwise work together to secure their freedom and their fair share, which is why the labor movement is committed to addressing racism and bigotry within our own ranks and in our larger society. All of us including President Trump have a moral obligation to speak out against not only racist, fascist violence but also the racist, fascist ideology behind such violence—an ideology which thrives on silence and inaction, particularly that of white people like me. We cannot expect our black and brown brothers and sisters to both bear the burden of white supremacy and do the work of dismantling it because this is our fight too, and together we can triumph over hatred. Lest we forget, when Adolf Hitler was consolidating his power, Nazis specifically came after union members because they feared the inclusiveness and collective strength of a united labor movement. By building a broad, inclusive movement, we can overcome the forces trying to divide us, and that is what we intend to do.

North Dakota AFL-CIO President/Secretary-Treasurer Waylon Hedegaard:

Sadly, white supremacy and Nazi ideology are on the rise across the nation and here in North Dakota. Four years ago, we all watched as Nazis and white supremacists tried to take over the small town of Leith for their own enclave, and many of us went down to protest the Nazi rally.

We stood against the hate and aggression they represented. Regular everyday North Dakotans, friends and neighbors, young and old, stood shoulder to should against the Nazis. People of all backgrounds and colors flocked to Leith because they could not stand by while fascists terrorized other North Dakotans.

The North Dakota AFL-CIO and organized labor will always stand against such racist, hateful and vile beliefs. Nazism, fascism and white supremacy are abhorrent to everything labor stands for and they always have been....

We must stand up! We must fight back! We must call them out on their murderous beliefs. We must not let this hate-filled infection spread!...

The source of working people’s issues are not people of a different color, gender, religion or belief. This has never been true and remains a lie today. Working people’s problems come from an unfair economic system that increasingly takes money and power from them to benefit the wealthy and powerful.

The North Dakota AFL-CIO stands against hate. It has always stood against hate, and it always will.  We stand against blaming other poor people for our problems. We stand against white supremacy, and we stand against Nazis.

We will proclaim this message until it rings in every labor hall, every workplace and every neighborhood in our state. We will not accept the racism and hatred that the swastika represents. We will not tolerate the threats of violence and fear, and we will not be quiet....

Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain:

Saturday in Charlottesville, Va., the nation and the world witnessed the hateful views and violent actions of white supremacists and neo-Nazis. This racism and bigotry is the worst kind of evil in our world and does not represent the true values of America. The true values of our country, values like equality and solidarity, are what have always overcome the most abominable prejudices.

Any response must begin with our leaders, starting with President Trump, acknowledging this for what it is: domestic terrorism rooted in bigotry. My heart goes out to the victims especially the family of those who lost their lives including a young woman named Heather Heyer and state Troopers Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates.  I pray for everyone’s safety. Oregon’s labor movement condemns this domestic terrorism and remains committed to eradicating the despicable causes of hatred and intolerance.

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO wholeheartedly supports the statement made by President Trumka.  We condemn violence perpetrated by bigotry, racism, and hatred anywhere.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and the Charlottesville community. 

Texas AFL-CIO President John Patrick:

We condemn the armed white supremacists and neo-Nazis who set the stage for and carried out the acts of terrorism that took place in Charlottesville.

Nothing anyone can say can take away the horror of what we witnessed yesterday, but in times like this we look to our leaders to comfort us, bring us together and shape our moral response as a nation. Sadly, the president failed miserably in those tasks. He glossed over 'Sieg Heil' salutes, KKK symbols, Confederate flags and other evidence of hatred in suggesting that 'all sides' were somehow to blame.

Instead of sending in the Justice Department, President Trump left room for David Duke to praise him and gave comfort to extremists who can claim with plenty of justification that they have a valued place in his presidency. At his most crucial moment in this tragedy, with the eyes of the nation on him, this president failed miserably.

As we grieve for those who lost their lives, with all our hearts the labor movement redoubles our commitment to fighting racism, anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred at every turn. We will never be divided in turning toward the lights of justice for all and solidarity.

Washington State Labor Council President Jeff Johnson:

On behalf of the Washington State labor Council, AFL-CIO, we want to send our condolences to the families of Heather Heyer and the two police officers who died in Saturday’s terrorist attack by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., as well as the nineteen individuals injured in the attack. We also want to honor the bravery of Ms. Heyer and all of those who stood up against the hatred, bigotry and violence of the white nationalists. There is no place in the United States of America for these racist and supremacist beliefs. Once again the president is wrong – there are not “many sides” to this violence and hatred. There is only the moral courage and values of those who stand up against racism and white supremacy and there is the hatred and violence of white supremacy. Only two sides, right and wrong. It is time for us all to choose sides. Labor chooses the side that condemns racism and white supremacy in all of its forms.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 08/17/2017 - 11:20

Why I Quit Trump’s Business Council

Wed, 2017-08-16 16:41
Why I Quit Trump’s Business Council

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump stood in the lobby of his tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and again made excuses for bigotry and terrorism, effectively repudiating the remarks his staff wrote a day earlier in response to the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. I stood in that same lobby in January, fresh off a meeting with the new president-elect. Although I had endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, I was hopeful we could work together to bring some of his pro-worker campaign promises to fruition.

Unfortunately, with each passing day, it has become clear that Trump has no intention of following through on his commitments to working people. More worrisome, his actions and rhetoric threaten to leave America worse off and more divided. It is for these reasons that I resigned yesterday from the president’s manufacturing council, which the president disbanded today after a string of resignations.

To be clear, the council never lived up to its potential for delivering policies that lift up working families. In fact, we were never called to a single official meeting, even though it comprised some of the world’s top business and labor leaders. The AFL-CIO joined to bring the voices of working people to the table and advocate the manufacturing initiatives our country desperately needs. But the only thing the council ever manufactured was letterhead. In the end, it was just another broken promise.

During my January meeting with Trump, we identified a few important areas where compromise seemed possible. On manufacturing, infrastructure and especially trade, we were generally in agreement. Trump spoke of $1 trillion to rebuild our schools, roads and bridges. He challenged companies to keep jobs in the United States. He promoted “Buy America.” He promised to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Here’s the thing: Working men and women have been promised the moon by politicians. Year after year. Campaign after campaign. Republican and Democrat. Too often, those promises have ended up being hollow; election year sound bites are often discarded as quickly as they are made. I told Trump that this time must be different. I made clear that we would judge his administration on its actions.

Nearly seven months in, the facts speak for themselves.

Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill is nowhere to be found. And according to an analysis from the University of Pennsylvania, even if Trump did bring such a plan forward, his own budget proposal would wipe it out, leading to a net loss of $55 billion for highways, water facilities and public transit. Trump also has remained silent on the future of the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, which requires contractors on federally assisted construction projects to pay their employees at rates prevailing in the communities where they perform the work.

What about NAFTA? First, Trump promised that the United States would withdraw. Then his administration sent a letter to Congress indicating the treaty needed only minor tweaks. Now renegotiation is underway with no clear principles for reform or negotiating goals in sight. Meanwhile, NAFTA remains firmly in place.

Although Trump has promised to protect the social safety net, his budget would slash $1.5 trillion from Medicaid, $59 billion from Medicare and up to $64 billion from Social Security over 10 years. It would strip funding for workplace safety research by 40%, even though about 150 workers die each day from hazardous working conditions. And it would force the people who make our government work to endure a 6% pay cut.

Trump championed the Republican plan to gut health care and raise taxes on working people to line the pockets of the rich. And his executive orders that deport aspiring Americans and impose a religious litmus test for refugees are both morally bankrupt and bad economic policy.

Finally, rather than “draining the swamp,” Trump has filled his Cabinet with the authors and beneficiaries of our broken economic rules. He has elevated an anti-worker judge to the Supreme Court and appointed union-busting lawyers to the National Labor Relations Board.

His response to the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville was the last straw. We in the labor community refuse to normalize bigotry and hatred. And we cannot in good conscience extend a hand of cooperation to those who condone it.

In some ways, Trump presented himself as a different kind of politician, someone who could cut through the gridlock in Washington and win a better deal for America's workers. But his record is a combination of broken promises, outright attacks and dangerous, divisive rhetoric. That’s why we opposed him in the campaign. And that’s why he is losing the support of our members each and every day.

This post originally appeared in the New York Times.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 08/16/2017 - 16:41

In Their Own Words: Why Immigrant Worker Protections Must Be Extended

Tue, 2017-08-15 11:03
In Their Own Words: Why Immigrant Worker Protections Must Be Extended AFT

A primary goal of the labor movement is to make every job in our country a good job. To do that, we must and we will stand with every worker in the fight for basic rights and dignity on the job. More than 1 million working people are in danger of having their work permits stripped away if the Trump administration ends the Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programs. This is unacceptable. We will fight for and with them just as they have fought for and with all of us.

The DACA and TPS programs help working people and they help the country. Here are just a few stories of union members whose lives have been changed because of these programs. Please send us your story of how DACA and TPS made your life better and helped you exercise your basic rights and find dignity on the job.

    Reyna Sorto, Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) member:

    Employers exploit immigrant workers because they think our fear will keep us silent from speaking out against abuses, even though TPS is not permanent, it does provide a level of protection that can give a worker strength to speak truth to power and denounce exploitative working conditions.

    Karen Reyes, DACAmented teacher in Austin, Texas, and member of AFT:

    DACA made me visible. It made me realize that those opportunities that I thought were not for me—were now possible. DACA made it possible for me to be able to find a job in teaching. It made it possible to be able to earn money to be help out my mom while she went through numerous health issues. DACA made it possible for me to teach children who are deaf and hard of hearing. DACA made me find my voice and made me be able to live without fear. We must #DefendDACA because after living here for 26 years—I am here to stay.

    Gerdine Vessagne, housekeeper in Miami Beach, Florida:

    TPS has allowed me to provide for my five children, including two back home and three born here. But this isn’t just about me. Over 50,000 Haitian nationals working in the U.S. have this protected status. We are the engine of Florida’s hospitality industry, much of which greatly depends on our labor.

    Cecilia Luis, housekeeper in Orlando, Florida.:

    I know a lot of people here that don't eat or sleep because they're worried they'll be sent back to Haiti. It's not as easy to leave when you're sending money to your family to help them survive. My God knows everything, and I'm asking him to speak to their hearts so they don't do this. A lot of people will suffer.

    Areli Zarate, DACAmented teacher in Austin, Texas:

    DACA allowed me the opportunity to come out of the shadows and lose the fear of deportation. I have a social security number and work permit which gives me the opportunity to follow my dream and teach. I am about to begin my fourth year of teaching with a big heart filled with love and passion for my profession. I am dedicated to my students and it's hard to see myself doing something else. Yet, every time I have to renew my DACA I am reminded that my status is temporary. I am currently pending a decision on my renewal and I am praying to God that I will be allowed to teach for another two years until my next renewal.

    Maria Elena Durazo, UNITE HERE General Vice President for Immigration, Civil Rights and Diversity, spoke for many working people in the hospitality industry:

    The American hospitality industry runs because of the women and men on DACA and TPS working in it. These immigrants prove their value to this country every day, and many have been living in and contributing to America for more than a decade. These men and women have deep roots in this country, and are longtime employees, spouses, parents, neighbors and community members. Losing DACA and TPS would destroy both their families and the hotel industry that is built on their work. We must extend TPS and protect DACA—for our sisters and brothers working under them, for their families and for the health of the American economy.

    These stories make it clear that the ability to exploit any worker undermines standards for all working people. Increasing the pool of vulnerable workers in our country directly threatens the labor movement’s mission of raising wages and improving working conditions. We call on our nation’s leaders to reverse the destructive course we are on and take these immediate steps to reduce the fear in our workplaces:

    • Defend DACA and protect this vital young workforce;
    • Continue TPS for all affected countries; and
    • Protect labor rights by preventing immigration enforcement from interfering with other important roles of government.

    The words of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka sum it up:

    DACA and TPS holders are members of our families, our unions and our communities who have made positive contributions to our society for many years. We will not allow them to lose their rights and status. We will stand with them in the fight to defend these programs as a necessary part of our long-term struggle to ensure that all working people have rights at work and the freedom to negotiate together for fair pay and conditions.

    We call on the Trump administration to demonstrate a genuine commitment to lifting up the wages, rights and standards of all working people by acting to defend and extend vital DACA and TPS protections.

    Sign our petition today to stand up in support of DACA and TPS.

    Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 08/15/2017 - 11:03

    Tags: DACA

    Working People Respond to Domestic Terror in Virginia

    Tue, 2017-08-15 10:53
    Working People Respond to Domestic Terror in Virginia

    Working people across the country were shocked by the act of domestic terrorism perpetrated by white nationalists in Virginia on Saturday. Here are excerpts of how leaders for working family organizations responded:

    AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka:

    Yesterday in Charlottesville, Va., the nation and the world witnessed the hateful views and violent actions of white supremacists and neo-Nazis. This racism and bigotry is the worst kind of evil in our world and does not represent the true values of America. The true values of our country, values like equality and solidarity, are what have always overcome the most abominable prejudices. Any response must begin with our leaders, starting with President Donald Trump, acknowledging this for what it is: domestic terrorism rooted in bigotry. My heart goes out to the victims, especially the family of those who lost their lives, including a young woman named Heather Heyer and state Troopers Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates. I pray for everyone’s safety. The labor movement condemns this domestic terrorism and remains committed to eradicating the despicable causes of hatred and intolerance.

    Virginia AFL-CIO President Doris Crouse-Mays:

    Allow me to be clear—the working people of Virginia do not and will not stand for discrimination and hate in our communities. Yesterday's disgraceful display of beliefs from the alt-right was simply that—a disgrace to the citizens of the Commonwealth and all that we stand for. Virginia’s working families have fought long and hard to overcome the discriminatory policies of our past and to create an environment of inclusion and fairness in work places across the Commonwealth. We will continue to devote every ounce of our abilities to ensure that the rights and safety of all Virginians are preserved.

    Furthermore, our thoughts and prayers extend to each of the peaceful counter-protesters who were injured or killed in the resulting violence from yesterday’s rally. We also extend our deepest condolences to the Virginia State Police and the families of Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper Pilot Berke M.M. Bates. No working person expects this shift to be his last, but these brave men and thousands of other first responders put their lives on the line each and every day to keep our communities safe.

    AFT President Randi Weingarten and numerous educational leaders:

    We are angered and heartbroken by the largest open mobilization of white supremacists in the United States in decades. We grieve the murder of Heather Heyer and the injury of other peaceful protesters against racism and anti-Semitism who, numbering in the thousands, courageously exercised their First Amendment rights in Charlottesville this weekend.

    At the same time, we are sick with the knowledge that the racist uprising they protested is of a piece with a long history of racist ideology and terrorism that has afflicted every region of our beloved country....

    We enjoin President Trump and his administration to take this opportunity to correct their course. They must reflect on their role in normalizing racism through statement and policy, and on their responsibility in creating the sense of moral license that enabled racist terrorism to manifest itself in the streets of Charlottesville and on the grounds of the University of Virginia. They must denounce white supremacy and white supremacist terrorism in the strongest terms....

    Most importantly, we call upon the president, state elected official, and all those in positions with the power to do so, to enforce the law, protect Americans who justifiably fear racist violence, and investigate these events and bring the perpetrators of racist hate crimes to justice.

    Read the full statement and list of educational leaders who endorsed it.

    Communications Workers of America (CWA):

    Members of the Communications Workers of America reject the vile actions and rhetoric of the white supremacists who paraded their hatred and bigotry this weekend in Charlottesville, Va. These evil actions, which President Trump couldn’t be bothered to condemn, instead offering a weak 'violence on many sides' throwaway line, resulted in the tragic death of a young woman and injuries to many more.

    Our government’s failure to condemn these evil people emboldens them, and sets us back in our determination to realize our goal of a nation where all people are respected, all have opportunity and all are full participants in our democracy.

    CWA members are determined to bring about that nation, and we will continue to work with our allies to ensure that hatred, racism and bigotry have no place in our nation. We also commend the law enforcement officers who stood together to end this demonstration of hate.

    Jobs With Justice:

    We grieve for the lives lost and pray for those critically injured because of the domestic terrorism committed in Charlottesville. Jobs With Justice condemns hatred, bigotry and violence against our friends and neighbors. Our hearts pour out to everyone in the Charlottesville community and those watching around the country traumatized by witnessing such barbaric acts of racism.

    We recognize the progress achieved as communities finally remove the white supremacist monuments that stain our country. When tearing down symbols of hate sparks such vitriolic backlash, the work to fully dismantle racism from our society is far from over. Our nation needs more healing, unifying and transformation to live up to our values of respect, equality, diversity and freedom....

    The Jobs With Justice network is called upon to combat the violent and exclusionary systems of white nationalism and white supremacy smoldering in our communities and institutions more than ever. We demand a future full of love, equity, diversity, peace, safety and opportunity. It is up to us to build the America that we and our future generations deserve.

    National Nurses United (NNU) Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro:

    There can be no doubt that the appalling display of white supremacy and hatred on display in Charlottesville today was the precipitator of the violence. As a society, it is incumbent upon all of us to forcefully repudiate all expressions of white supremacy, racial hatred and bigotry. Anyone familiar with the history of how white supremacy has stained our nation and our democracy can not be surprised that continued expressions of that virulent philosophy would lead to violence today. All of our nation’s elected leaders, starting in the White House, have a responsibility to condemn racial hatred and the violence it encourages, and disassociate from those promoting it.

    North Carolina AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer MaryBe McMillan :

    The North Carolina State AFL-CIO condemns white supremacy. It is a tool used by those who want to divide and conquer people who would otherwise work together to secure their freedom and their fair share, which is why the labor movement is committed to addressing racism and bigotry within our own ranks and in our larger society. All of us including President Trump have a moral obligation to speak out against not only racist, fascist violence but also the racist, fascist ideology behind such violence—an ideology which thrives on silence and inaction, particularly that of white people like me. We cannot expect our black and brown brothers and sisters to both bear the burden of white supremacy and do the work of dismantling it because this is our fight too and together we can triumph over hatred. Lest we forget, when Adolf Hitler was consolidating his power, Nazis specifically came after union members because they feared the inclusiveness and collective strength of a united labor movement. By building a broad, inclusive movement, we can overcome the forces trying to divide us, and that is what we intend to do.

    Pride At Work Co-Presidents Shellea Allen and Tim Schlittner and Executive Director Jerame Davis:

    Pride at Work stands firmly against all forms of white supremacy and terrorism in this country and around the world. What we saw on Saturday in Charlottesville was a horrible act of bigotry and hate and a reminder that we have a lot of work to dismantle all forms of white supremacy that are still present today.

    We cannot achieve racial justice without economic justice. Pride at Work and our allies will never stop standing up to hate. We will confront evil wherever it exists. Our hearts are with the community of Charlottesville and the family of Heather D. Heyer who died standing up for what she believed in. The best way to honor her memory is to never stop organizing for economic, racial and social justice.

    UAW President Dennis Williams:

    The events in Charlottesville this weekend will long serve as a reminder that time has a way of washing away the tears of the past where hate bullied many Americans, both in society and in the workplace through intolerance.

    The UAW condemns the hate and intolerance of the alt-right groups that led to such violence in Charlottesville. Every woman and every man is equal in their civil and workplace rights regardless of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation in society and in the workplace. We cannot take our freedom for granted, and we cannot forget the lessons that history forged through the sacrifice of many brave Americans in our military, in labor and in our civil rights struggles to secure those freedoms.

    Union Veterans Council Executive Director Will Attig:

    The actions of domestic terrorists in Charlottesville, Va., wearing U.S. military uniforms and defaced American flags spits in the face of every true American patriot who has fought or died for the better values of our nation.

    The graves on the hallowed fields of Arlington do not check to see if you are white, black, Hispanic, Jewish or Catholic. They only care about one thing, did you serve your country?

    We denounce white supremacy, Neo-Nazis, fascism and white nationalism. It's un-American. It's hateful, dangerous and dishonors hundreds of thousands of Americans who fought and died in World War II. And it has no place in our country.

    Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 08/15/2017 - 10:53

    NAFTA Can’t Be Fixed Behind Closed Doors

    Mon, 2017-08-14 11:23
    NAFTA Can’t Be Fixed Behind Closed Doors AFL-CIO

    This week, the governments of the United States, Canada and Mexico will begin renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, better known as NAFTA.

    NAFTA, which has been governing our economy since 1994, is a bad deal. It has held down wages across North America. It has empowered global corporations to offshore jobs, shutter factories and drive small farmers out of business. It has driven away more than 850,000 U.S. jobs. It has made our economy more unequal and unfair.

    Renegotiation offers a chance to give North America’s working families a new economic deal, so that any benefits of international trade can be shared broadly instead of being captured by the largest global corporations and their CEOs.

    The first step to replacing NAFTA with a new economic deal is to negotiate in an open and transparent manner. If the proposals to fix NAFTA are only developed and discussed behind closed doors, how will ordinary people have a fair chance to review and influence these rules? If the negotiators claim we must trust them to do what’s best, but they won’t show us the new rules we will have to live under, the likelihood of a better deal is slim.

    There is an old saying in the labor movement that if you are not at the table, you’re on the menu. We can’t hold our government accountable if we don’t know what it’s doing in our name.

    Now is the time to eliminate old-style, secretive trade negotiations and usher in open, 21st-century negotiations that allow citizen participation. Isn’t that what democracy is all about anyway? Click here to send a message to your elected official about the kind of new trade deal that working people need now!

    Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 08/14/2017 - 11:23

    Tags: NAFTA

    The Failure of Corporate Responsibility Campaigns: The Working People Weekly List

    Fri, 2017-08-11 16:33
    The Failure of Corporate Responsibility Campaigns: The Working People Weekly List

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

    Why ‘Corporate Responsibility’ Campaigns Fail: "Oddly, in an age of global cosmopolitanism, 'corporate social responsibility' campaigns, and technocratic regulations, we haven’t evolved out of medieval labor practices like enslavement and child labor. But could technology hold the key to cleaning up the global supply chain?"

    Restaurant Jobs Now Dominate the Workforce. That's a Bad Thing: "Unemployment remains low, and job creation is up, according to the latest employment report. But a closer look reveals that it’s restaurant work — not the coal-mining or manufacturing Donald Trump likes to champion in speeches and on Twitter — that is bolstering the economy. A serious shift away 'from making things to serving people' is happening in America, reports the Atlantic."

    Graduate Students on These 7 Campuses Are Fighting for Their Labor Rights: "Over the past academic year, graduate students across the country were busy organizing for better working conditions. Currently, there are 33 officially recognized graduate-student unions; 23 are fighting for university recognition. With increasing tuition and plummeting wages, meager health-care benefits and overwhelming workloads, these graduate students are coming together to demand better treatment and recognition."

    School’s Out: Teachers Union Chief Randi Weingarten Says Trump Leads 'Most Anti-public-education” Administration Ever: "A strong educational system is the bedrock of a healthy democracy. There is a corollary to this fact: A poorly educated public is more likely to be tempted by tyrants, more easily seduced into believing that avarice, greed and consumerism are virtues, and will more readily betray the common good. In many ways, an educational system that does not encourage critical thinking and speaking truth to power is doing the work of authoritarianism."

    Strong as Hell: In the States Roundup: "It's time once again to take a look at the battles for the rights of working families in the states. Here is what the unions in the states are talking about this week. Click on any of the links to follow the state federations and labor councils on Twitter."

    In Missouri, a Race to the Bottom: "The NAACP took the unusual step this week to declare a travel advisory to African Americans for the state of Missouri. This bold action came in response to legislation passed by the Missouri Legislature limiting workers’ ability to sue over discrimination. 'With the Missouri Human Rights Act gutted, employers who want to engage in illegal workplace discrimination will have no fear of being held accountable,' Missouri House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty told Ebony magazine. 'While S.B. 43 might not quite return us to the days when businesses were free to hang 'minorities need not apply' signs in the window, it certainly reinforces the sentiment.' For that reason, the Missouri AFL-CIO opposed S.B. 43."

    Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 08/11/2017 - 16:33

    Make Sure Your Back-to-School Supplies are Union Made

    Fri, 2017-08-11 11:13
    Make Sure Your Back-to-School Supplies are Union Made Labor 411

    As sad as we will be to see summer come to an end, the approach of a new school year is an exciting time and ushers in the busiest buying season outside of the winter holidays. Get your young learners fired up for the start of school with new school supplies! Check out our list of ethically made products from companies that treat their employees fairly.

    Paper Supplies:

    • ACCO brands
    • At-A-Glance Academic Daily Planner
    • Five Star Reinforced Filler Paper
    • Industries for the Blind Inc. Composition Books
    • Mead Spiral Notebook
    • Roaring Spring Pocket Folders
    • Swingline Stapler
    • Trapper Keeper Folders
    • Wilson Jones Binders

    Keepin’ It Sanitary:

    • Kleenex Tissues

    Clothing:

    • All USA Clothing
    • Carhartt
    • Union House Apparel
    • The Union Shop
    • Wigwam

    Quench the Thirst:

    • Crystal Springs Water
    • Gatorade
    • Minute Maid Juice
    • Mott’s Juice
    • Snapple
    • Tropicana
    • V8
    • Welch’s Juice

    This post originally appeared at Labor 411.

    Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 08/11/2017 - 11:13

    Tags: Union Made

    Preparing for the Future: What Working People Are Doing This Week

    Thu, 2017-08-10 14:16
    Preparing for the Future: 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.

    A. Philip Randolph Institute:

    APRI youth addressing topics as such #BlackLivesMatter #blackcommunities #LGBTLeaders #StayWoke #APRINEC17 pic.twitter.com/sPTJBrOcFN

    — APRI National (DC) (@APRI_National) August 4, 2017

    Actors' Equity Association:

    .@AEAPresident Kate Shindle: Why I’m Voting to Make #EquityStrong pic.twitter.com/uVEMLjt0aF

    — Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) July 31, 2017

    AFGE:

    .@AFGELocal3911 wants you to tell them why you don’t want to see the EPA dismantled. #LL2EPA #1u https://t.co/17ClLTDAje pic.twitter.com/ieENOaC0uq

    — AFGE (@AFGENational) August 8, 2017

    AFSCME:

    EPA Alumni Assoc. launches Job Center for current & former employees, esp. in light of anticip. cuts. Check it out: https://t.co/PMaEHUZcc2 pic.twitter.com/M6nrYlZioZ

    — AFSCME (@AFSCME) August 8, 2017

    AFT:

    On Vouchers, the Evidence Is In—And It’s Not Good, via @PeopleFor’s @PeteMont https://t.co/bgjPZevfxk

    — AFT (@AFTunion) August 8, 2017

    Air Line Pilots:

    Pilot Asks Congress, 'Why Change What Is Working?' https://t.co/Oca26W7oi3 #keepflyingsafe pic.twitter.com/4S0twRZnMl

    — ALPA (@WeAreALPA) August 8, 2017

    Alliance for Retired Americans:

    Many people suffering from opioid addiction are covered under #Medicaid. Cutting it would only hurt those people more. #SaveMedicaid https://t.co/Lftyb9CG81

    — Alliance Retirees (@ActiveRetirees) August 8, 2017

    American Federation of Musicians:

    Sarah Jarosz, Proud #UnionMusician, on Performing With Her Heroes https://t.co/9SqpKAaytj #Proud #UnionMusician via @The_AFM

    — Amer. Fed. Musicians (@The_AFM) August 8, 2017

    Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance:

    Can't wait to hear from Cindy Domingo of LELO at #APALAat25! Join us and so many more --> https://t.co/wYPoTwclrv! #1uAAPI pic.twitter.com/NiKnQ0L6ty

    — APALA (@APALAnational) August 8, 2017

    Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:

    W/ 70+ yrs experience in aviation, @afa_cwa members know the realities of the aircraft cabin. We don't just serve drinks. We save lives. #1u pic.twitter.com/T1qVCgbDMw

    — AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) August 4, 2017

    Aviation Safety Specialists:

    Listen as @RepRussell tells @MedvedSHOW why Americans should @opposeATCprivatization https://t.co/38mLynjce3 Thanks, @AviationAcrAmer

    — PASS (@PASSNational) August 4, 2017

    Bricklayers:

    BAC delegates joining brothers & sisters at the @APRI_National conf. to explore opportunities to advocate social & economic justice for all! pic.twitter.com/iv7REQ1ugl

    — Bricklayers Union (@IUBAC) August 7, 2017

    Building and Construction Trades Department:

    "And now we have how many thousands and thousands of East European workers working here, and they're abused, too? https://t.co/caUFfAVp80

    — The Building Trades (@BldgTrdsUnions) August 4, 2017

    Coalition of Black Trade Unionists:

    Yes, and it's time for the players union to take action on @Kaepernick7 behalf. An injury to one is an injury to ALL. #NoKaepernickNoNFL https://t.co/OWZlGSfY4A

    — CBTU (@CBTU72) August 7, 2017

    Communications Workers of America:

    New member alert! Employees at Real News Network, a nonprofit news organization, joined @news_guild! Welcome to the CWA family #1u pic.twitter.com/UhTDBLJonP

    — CWA (@CWAUnion) August 8, 2017

    Department for Professional Employees:

    If you want to see more examples of how unions improve workplaces for professionals, check out our fact sheet #1u https://t.co/amKpitEyp6

    — DPE (@DPEaflcio) August 4, 2017

    Electrical Workers:

    How the #IBEW is growing members and winning work - even before the job starts https://t.co/Q82vMDUNUB

    — IBEW (@IBEW) August 8, 2017

    Fire Fighters:

    Post-Traumatic Stress affects #firefighters and paramedics at double the rate of the general population #IAFFRedmond17

    — IAFF (@IAFFNewsDesk) August 8, 2017

    Ironworkers:

    RT @GlaryRandy https://t.co/q2UqMG4Po7

    — Ironworkers. (@TheIronworkers) August 3, 2017

    Jobs with Justice:

    Food delivery companies need to stop taking a slice out of their drivers' wages. https://t.co/T0XP0hLvVv #wagetheft via @LisaFickenscher

    — Jobs With Justice (@jwjnational) August 8, 2017

    Laborers:

    #Unions offer specialized workforce for large #construction projects @LECETsouthwest https://t.co/2DGxX9NKqi

    — LIUNA (@LIUNA) August 8, 2017

    LCLAA:

    Our Latino Worker Conference & 45th Anniversary Celebration is in one month! Have u registered? If not, go here: https://t.co/lIBYMF1KeO

    — LCLAA (@LCLAA) August 7, 2017

    Machinists:

    Dear Chicago @Mechanics701 Auto Mechanics,

    We stand with you! ✊

    The Answer to Exploding Inequality: Working People Standing Together

    Thu, 2017-08-10 14:09
    The Answer to Exploding Inequality: Working People Standing Together New York Times

    The New York Times published a chart this week that perfectly summarizes how the United States has gone from having the healthiest middle class in the world to a land of increasing economic inequality that shuts out far too many families from the American dream.

    A well-known team of inequality researchers—Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman—has been getting some attention recently for a chart it produced. It shows the change in income between 1980 and 2014 for every point on the distribution, and it neatly summarizes the recent soaring of inequality.

    The line on the chart (which we have recreated as the red line above) resembles a classic hockey-stick graph. It’s mostly flat and close to zero, before spiking upward at the end. That spike shows that the very affluent, and only the very affluent, have received significant raises in recent decades.

    While instructive, this chart leaves one very important question unanswered: Why? When you dig a little deeper into the data, one striking fact simply can’t be ignored: The decline of union membership tracks perfectly with the rise of inequality.

    In 1979, roughly 25% of all U.S. workers were union members. For those workers, that meant regular raises, decent benefits such as health care and retirement security, and workplace safety protections on the job. But even if you didn’t belong to a union, you indirectly benefited from high union density. Strong unions drove wages in nonunion industries upward, CEO-to-worker pay ratios were much lower than they are today, and there was a powerful counterbalance to corporate greed.

    But in the ensuing years, corporate special interests, backed by the politicians they bankroll, engaged in an all-out assault on unions. As union membership declined, the wages that used to go into workers’ pockets instead went straight into the bank accounts of corporate CEOs and well-heeled executives. Today, just 1 in 10 workers belongs to a union. And with current attacks through the courts and the Trump administration on working people’s freedom to stand together in unions, that number could dip even lower in coming years.

    The bottom line is this: There’s only one way out of this abyss. It’s giving working people the opportunity to stand together to negotiate with their bosses for fair wages, good benefits and a better life. All other solutions to inequality are just nibbling around the edges of the problem. Without strong unions, inequality and its disastrous consequences for our future will never go away. Time to give workers back some of the power they’ve lost. Time for America to become #UnionStrong once again.

    This post originally appeared at California Labor Federation.

    Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 08/10/2017 - 14:09

    Strong as Hell: In the States Roundup

    Tue, 2017-08-08 09:36
    Strong as Hell: In the States Roundup Cal Labor Fed

    It's time once again to take a look at the battles for the rights of working families in the states. Here is what the unions in the states are talking about this week. Click on any of the links to follow the state federations and labor councils on Twitter.

    Alaska AFL-CIO:

    The Alaska AFL-CIO supports .@NissanUSA workers in their fight to organize. #DoBetterNissan #1u https://t.co/X3qnfMwyag

    — Alaska AFL-CIO (@AKAFLCIO) August 3, 2017

    Arizona AFL-CIO:

    There's good news coming out of Tucson. Contract aircraft-maintenance workers employed by DynCorp International... https://t.co/BunNGXoyYs

    — Arizona AFL-CIO (@ArizonaAFLCIO) July 28, 2017

    Arkansas AFL-CIO:

    https://t.co/XPtDIdYtUM

    Arkansans should not remain the cheap labor hub of the country. We deserve better. #1u #arkansaslabor #arpx

    — Arkansas AFL-CIO (@ArkansasAFLCIO) August 1, 2017

    California Labor Federation:

    One month till our favorite holiday: #LaborDay2017! Celebrate working people at an event near you! Find one at https://t.co/E9tFFHds2E pic.twitter.com/N1xyBXPlW6

    — California Labor (@CaliforniaLabor) August 4, 2017

    Colorado AFL-CIO:

    Black women in the labor movement are #strongashell and deserve equal pay for equal work #BlackWomensEqualPayDay https://t.co/lEthVCNnjz

    — Colorado AFL-CIO (@AFLCIOCO) July 31, 2017

    Connecticut AFL-CIO:

    State Rep. Mike D’Agostino: Our state employees have done their part, now it’s time for us to do ours. https://t.co/eN8F8NdKwT @AFTCT @c4mc

    — Connecticut AFL-CIO (@ConnAFLCIO) July 31, 2017

    Georgia AFL-CIO:

    Demand @Nissan respect everyone's right unionize ,have democracy @ work. Sign the petition: https://t.co/AMH3KFNMGh #1u #organizethesouth

    — AFL-CIO Georgia (@AFLCIOGeorgia) August 2, 2017

    Idaho AFL-CIO:

    .@USTradeRep If NAFTA is going to be renegotiated, it MUST put working people first https://t.co/Hw1TPStl96 via @AFLCIO #1u

    — Idaho State AFL-CIO (@IdahoAFLCIO) July 28, 2017

    Illinois AFL-CIO:

    The pay gap for black women is extreme, only 63 cents on the dollar, costing each woman’s family more than $800,000 over her lifetime

    — Illinois AFL-CIO (@ILAFLCIO) July 31, 2017

    Indiana State AFL-CIO:

    Teachers should NEVER have to pay out of pocket for supplies, especially when they are underpaid as is. #1uTeachers https://t.co/xG65Wm4L5s

    — Indiana AFL-CIO (@INAFLCIO) August 1, 2017

    Iowa Federation of Labor:

    Leveraging the Power of Black Women - Center for American Progress https://t.co/nphomRITzJ

    — Iowa AFL-CIO (@IowaAFLCIO) August 7, 2017

    Kansas State AFL-CIO:

    KOSE and lawmakers alike speak out to the urgent dangers facing Correction Officers and call for action. https://t.co/c4kkr9yihF

    — Kansas AFL-CIO (@KansasAFLCIO) August 2, 2017

    Kentucky State AFL-CIO:

    Check out our partners at Kentucky Together, as we work to ensure that "tax reform" in KY works for working... https://t.co/rN7WuHrGNm

    — Kentucky AFL-CIO (@aflcioky) August 2, 2017

    Massachusetts AFL-CIO:

    It's #BlackWomensEqualPay Day! Hey Congress: we need tools & solutions to close the gender #paygap NOW! https://t.co/CFuvWb6VX4

    — Massachusetts AFLCIO (@massaflcio) July 31, 2017

    Michigan AFL-CIO:

    This looks like a smart plan to fighting outsourcing and help Michigan manufacturers and workers compete https://t.co/3mcvRDe4tr

    — Michigan AFL-CIO (@MIAFLCIO) August 2, 2017

    Minnesota AFL-CIO:

    Workers Remember the I-35W Bridge Collapse, Fight for Change https://t.co/8eZ9xlX2l7

    — Minnesota AFL-CIO (@MNAFLCIO) August 7, 2017

    Missouri AFL-CIO:

    Union members providing some light for America's favorite past time. https://t.co/pfUtU3dl92 pic.twitter.com/GhIGmP8zS3

    — Missouri AFL-CIO (@MOAFLCIO) August 6, 2017

    Montana AFL-CIO:

    Don't buy into the Family Foundation's bigotry and fear mongering. #mtpol #No183 #dontsign

    — Montana AFL-CIO (@MTaflcio) August 2, 2017

    Nevada State AFL-CIO:

    Exec Sec Treasurer Rusty McAllister calling on NV labor, community, and activists to keep up the fight on campaign to #ProtectOurCare pic.twitter.com/R0o6UIgWGQ

    — Nevada State AFL-CIO (@NVAFLCIO) July 29, 2017

    New Hampshire AFL-CIO:

    Our @PresBrackett & @evergreen707 presenting @NHAFLCIO #LindaHoranScholarship award prize to a young #laborwarrior! #NHLabor pic.twitter.com/ai8F0DV8p8

    — NewHampshire AFL-CIO (@NHAFLCIO) July 31, 2017

    New York State AFL-CIO:

    Wealthy lobbyists want to control the state of New York. You can stop it from happening. #VoteNoNY
    https://t.co/xovIqmKWyh

    — VoteNoNY (@VoteNoNY) July 31, 2017

    North Carolina State AFL-CIO:

    What does labor want? https://t.co/JeNEZYMTp7

    — NC State AFL-CIO (@NCStateAFLCIO) August 4, 2017

    Ohio AFL-CIO:

    Thanks @dscc & @SenSherrodBrown for sponsoring "Medicare at 55 Act" & advancing real solutions to fixing healthcare https://t.co/moksVNfoxm

    — Ohio AFL-CIO (@ohioaflcio) August 4, 2017

    Oregon AFL-CIO:

    Labor can go on the offensive, as proven by the 2017 Oregon Legislaturehttps://t.co/nIt1QR9fOy

    — Oregon AFL-CIO (@OregonAFLCIO) August 4, 2017

    Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

    I have stood w/ @CWAUnion members on the Verizon & ATT picket lines in their fight for fairness! @GovernorTomWolf #CWAStrong #CWA2017 #1u pic.twitter.com/aj6Ec5t1m6

    — PA AFL-CIO (@PaAFL_CIO) August 7, 2017

    Virginia AFL-CIO:

    Real #WomenWhoWork : The home health aide supporting her family on less than $20k/year. https://t.co/1rmtAIUUkT

    — Virginia AFL-CIO (@Virginia_AFLCIO) August 3, 2017

    Washington State Labor Council:

    Thank you for your principled opposition, Sen. Murray. https://t.co/9I5ojOl8FF

    — WA State AFL-CIO (@WAAFLCIO) August 2, 2017

    West Virginia AFL-CIO:

    A statement on behalf of the WV AFL-CIO Executive Board regarding @WVGovernor #wvpol #wvgov https://t.co/NVnwL1nSVK

    — West Virginia AFLCIO (@WestVirginiaAFL) August 4, 2017

    Wisconsin State AFL-CIO:

    WPR: WI AFL-CIO tells Assembly committee Foxconn incentive deal "lacks guarantees related to working conditions" https://t.co/ZkKL0ZJHAY

    — WI AFL-CIO (@wisaflcio) August 4, 2017 Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 08/08/2017 - 09:36

    In Missouri, a Race to the Bottom

    Fri, 2017-08-04 14:41
    In Missouri, a Race to the Bottom NAACP

    The NAACP took the unusual step this week to declare a travel advisory to African Americans for the state of Missouri. This bold action came in response to legislation passed by the Missouri Legislature limiting workers’ ability to sue over discrimination. "With the Missouri Human Rights Act gutted, employers who want to engage in illegal workplace discrimination will have no fear of being held accountable," Missouri House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty told Ebony magazine. "While S.B. 43 might not quite return us to the days when businesses were free to hang 'minorities need not apply' signs in the window, it certainly reinforces the sentiment." For that reason, the Missouri AFL-CIO opposed S.B. 43.

    Since legislators in Missouri passed a "right to work" law undermining the freedom of workers to negotiate for a better life, they have continued to expand these unfair attacks. Earlier this year, they overturned local powers to set minimum wages, effectively lowering the wage floor in St. Louis from $10 an hour to $7.70. This will have a major impact in one of the nation’s poorest cities.

    Right to work is deeply rooted in racism. A 1915 South Carolina law mandated total racial segregation in textile mills, from separate bathrooms, entrances, punch clocks and even windows. This was the real agenda of right to work: preventing the appearance of equality that cross-racial membership in a union implies. Vance Muse, the greatest advocate for right to work, made his sentiment clear about the failings of the Wagner Act: "From now on, white women and white men will be forced into organizations with black African apes whom they will have to call 'brother' or lose their jobs." The result of this animus is that black workers are more likely to live in states with right to work laws, the lowest minimum wages and the least access to unemployment insurance.

    Yet the problem does not stop there. Right to work states are highest in incarceration, lowest in per student investment in education and lowest in supporting the incomes of single mothers. People misconceive these problems to only affect communities of color, which causes elected leaders to manipulate this into a wedge issue that will pass over white workers. Union members know that nothing could be further from the truth.

    The problem doesn’t start or stop with state-sanctioned discrimination, and it is more than black workers who need to be on guard while traveling to Missouri. The state is racing to the bottom—a race that hurts all workers.

    At the bottom of these worst practices now is Mississippi, a state whose laws insure it will continue to have the highest poverty rate in the nation. Today, the brave workers at Nissan in Canton, Mississippi, can strike a blow against the poverty machine. Rather than be meek, they are standing up. They get the vote they have fought so hard for to have their own voice—to bargain as equals with their bosses and start the process of reversing trends.

    "Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent." —Martin Luther King Jr.

    Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 08/04/2017 - 14:41

    Medicare for All: The Working People Weekly List

    Fri, 2017-08-04 14:01
    Medicare for All: The Working People Weekly List NAACP

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

    In Missouri, a Race to the Bottom: "The NAACP took the unusual step this week to declare a travel advisory to African Americans for the state of Missouri. This bold action came in response to legislation passed by the Missouri Legislature limiting workers’ ability to sue over discrimination. 'With the Missouri Human Rights Act gutted, employers who want to engage in illegal workplace discrimination will have no fear of being held accountable,' Missouri House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty told Ebony magazine. 'While S.B. 43 might not quite return us to the days when businesses were free to hang 'minorities need not apply' signs in the window, it certainly reinforces the sentiment.' For that reason, the Missouri AFL-CIO opposed S.B. 43."

    Counterpoint: How We Invest in Our Infrastructure Matters: "Strong infrastructure and a well-functioning transportation system are vital to the health of our economy, but for too long we’ve treated our infrastructure as though it doesn’t matter. And for too long, working people have paid the price."

    AFL-CIO Executive Council Backs Medicare for All: "The council’s health care statement, issued from the three-day meeting in late July at the George Meany Center in the Washington suburb of Silver Spring, Md., first denounced congressional Republicans for trashing the Affordable Care Act."

    While Boeing Touts Profits, Workforce Shrinks: "Boeing executives are gushing over the company’s stock, up a whopping 58% over the last 12 months. Washington state’s homegrown aerospace giant left the Paris Air Show with 571 orders worth $75 billion. Its chief competitor, Airbus, had 336."

    The Economy Adds 209,000 Jobs in July, and Unemployment Little Changed at 4.3%: "The U.S. economy added 209,000 jobs in July, and unemployment was little changed at 4.3%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This continues the recovery of the labor market at a tempered rate, which means the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee should continue to let the economy grow and not raise interest rates."

    Joe Smith Jr.: Laborer by Day, Boxing Champion by Night: "Quick, what's the first thing you think of when you hear about a boxer who holds the World Boxing Council international light heavyweight championship and who sent boxing legend Bernard Hopkins into retirement with a TKO that literally knocked Hopkins out of the ring? You certainly wouldn't think of Joe Smith Jr., the boxer who ended Hopkins' career and who is an active member of Laborers (LIUNA) Local 66."

    Bull Connor, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Labor Movement: "In the first week of May 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. faced a painful dilemma as he sought to conclude the great Birmingham, Ala., campaign. The labor movement helped solve this dilemma and a great civil rights victory was won. Jerome A. 'Buddy' Cooper, my mentor in the Birmingham union law firm where I worked years later, told me and others of his small but fascinating role in these events. It’s a story of how our labor movement has sometimes lived up to its role in the larger civil and human rights movement."

    Organizing in Digital Media Continues to Grow: Worker Wins: "Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with a hard-fought victory at The New School. Other successes include the growing trends of digital media newsrooms organizing and progressive organizations living up to their professed values by voluntarily recognizing employees who choose to join together for collective bargaining purposes."

    Black Women's Equal Pay Day: "Today, we commiserate Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. The gap between the earnings of black women and white men is so large that, essentially, up to today black women have been working for free. Think of it as the modern-day equivalent of the constitutional count of slaves as three-fifths of a person."

    A Big Week for Your Health Care: "Sometimes failure is a good thing. That was especially true last week when the U.S. Senate failed to pass legislation repealing the Affordable Care Act. It meant that Congress was stopped from taking health care away from tens of millions of Americans, at least for now."

    ‘Skinny Repeal’ and the Senate Health Debate: "Yesterday, two major proposals that would have rolled back the Affordable Care Act’s progress in expanding coverage were defeated by bipartisan majorities. Senate leadership is now pulling together a so-called 'skinny' bill, which they hope will attract the 50 votes needed to pass the chamber and move to a conference committee with the House."

    AFL-CIO Honors Korean Labor Leader Han with Human Rights Award, Call for His Release from Prison: "President Han Sang-gyun of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions has spent his life fighting for the rights of workers and has paid a high price. Han has been in jail since December 2015, serving a three-year sentence for defending trade union rights and fighting back against corporate corruption and the repressive government of former President Park Geun-hye. For his perseverance in the face of anti-democratic repression, the AFL-CIO Executive Council this week honored President Han with the AFL-CIO’s annual George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award, and joined the global labor movement in calling for his release."

    Republican Joint Employer Legislation Takes Away Worker Freedoms: "In our fragmented workplaces with perma-temps, contracted workers, agency employees and subcontracting, we must be vigilant so every worker is protected and paid fairly, and that goes double when it comes to protecting the freedom to stand in unity for better pay and working conditions."

    Trump Administration Attacks Overtime Pay: "The Trump administration has begun a process to undo President Obama’s overtime pay rule and deny working people a pay raise."

    Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 08/04/2017 - 14:01

    Bad Faith and Bad Service: Charter Turns Its Back on Customers, Union Members

    Fri, 2017-08-04 13:46
    Bad Faith and Bad Service: Charter Turns Its Back on Customers, Union Members IBEW

    Charter/Spectrum is one of the most profitable cable companies in the United States, taking in more than $29 billion in revenue in 2016. And Tom Rutledge is the highest-paid CEO in the nation, making nearly $100 million last year.

    Yet Charter is demanding cutbacks that would be devastating to some 1,700 members of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 3 in New York, who have been on strike against the company since March 28. These include:

    • Forcing employees to bear most of the burden of health care costs.
    • Elimination of company contributions to the pension and medical.
    • Elimination of weekend overtime pay.
    • Flexibility to subcontract work normally done by union members.

    Charter/Spectrum has refused to come to the table, much less negotiate. It also has ignored New York City’s political leaders, including Mayor Bill de Blasio and many members of the City Council, who have called on the company to negotiate a fair contract.

    And while the company is making record profits, customer service continues to deteriorate. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued the company earlier this year for reneging on a promise to upgrade internet speeds. And former Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster sued the company in 2015, alleging it made telemarketing calls to consumers on the state’s Do Not Call list.

    That’s why IBEW members have handed out leaflets at Charter/Spectrum pay stations across the county, letting consumers know about the company’s unfair practices.

    "We would much rather be partners with companies we do business with, but IBEW members are battling a corporation that has little regard not just for its employees’ welfare, but also for the customers it serves," IBEW President Lonnie R. Stephenson said. "That’s disheartening, but it’s a battle we can win."

    This is a guest post from Alex Hogan of IBEW.

    Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 08/04/2017 - 13:46

    The Economy Adds 209,000 Jobs in July, and Unemployment Little Changed at 4.3%

    Fri, 2017-08-04 11:26
    The Economy Adds 209,000 Jobs in July, and Unemployment Little Changed at 4.3% BLS

    The U.S. economy added 209,000 jobs in July, and unemployment was little changed at 4.3%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This continues the recovery of the labor market at a tempered rate, which means the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee should continue to let the economy grow and not raise interest rates.

    In response to the July jobs numbers, AFL-CIO Chief Economist William Spriggs tweeted:

    Job numbers up 209,000 in July, May revised down, June up for a net adjustment of +2,000 @AFLCIO

    — William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 4, 2017

     

    Wages show a tiny improvement, up 2.5% over last year. Still much room for the Fed to slow rate increases over the year @AFLCIO

    — William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 4, 2017

     

    Job gains in 2016 averaged 187,000 a year, a little ahead of this year's 184,000 so we can still thank @POTUS44 Trump's done nothing @AFLCIO

    — William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 4, 2017

     

    Those out of the labor force in June were 2.4 times more likely to land a job in July than end up unemployed, holding steady @AFLCIO

    — William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 4, 2017

    ACA repeal still showing effects, overall healthcare up 39,400 but nursing homes down 1,000 and medical labs down 1,200 @AFLCIO

    — William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 4, 2017

    Last month's biggest job gains were in food services and drinking places (53,000), professional and business services (49,000), health care employment (39,000), and mining (1,000). Employment in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, showed little change over the month.

    Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for teenagers (13.2%), blacks (7.4%), Hispanics (5.1%), adult men (4.0%), adult women (4.0%), whites (3.8%) and Asians (3.8%) showed little or no change in July.

    The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was up slightly in July and accounted for 25.9% of the unemployed.

    Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 08/04/2017 - 11:26

    Joe Smith Jr.: Laborer by Day, Boxing Champion by Night

    Thu, 2017-08-03 12:25
    Joe Smith Jr.: Laborer by Day, Boxing Champion by Night

    Quick, what's the first thing you think of when you hear about a boxer who holds the World Boxing Council international light heavyweight championship and who sent boxing legend Bernard Hopkins into retirement with a TKO that literally knocked Hopkins out of the ring? You certainly wouldn't think of Joe Smith Jr., the boxer who ended Hopkins' career and who is an active member of Laborers (LIUNA) Local 66.

    The New York Times recently profiled the boxer and union member:

    Between fights, Smith, the World Boxing Council international light heavyweight champion, becomes just plain Joe, a member of Laborers Local 66, a union on Long Island. On the job, Smith might sweep a floor one day and break one up with a sledgehammer the next.

    “We do it all in the six-six,” he said.

    Smith has been laboring to make ends meet since he graduated from William Floyd High School in Mastic Beach, N.Y., a decade ago.

    He went back to work a couple of weeks after beating Andrzej Fonfara to win the W.B.C. international light heavyweight title 13 months ago, and a couple of weeks after knocking Bernard Hopkins out of the ring last December.

    Read the full profile.

    Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 08/03/2017 - 12:25

    Bull Connor, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Labor Movement

    Tue, 2017-08-01 14:03
    Bull Connor, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Labor Movement Wikimedia Commons

    In the first week of May 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. faced a painful dilemma as he sought to conclude the great Birmingham, Ala., campaign. The labor movement helped solve this dilemma and a great civil rights victory was won. Jerome A. "Buddy" Cooper, my mentor in the Birmingham union law firm where I worked years later, told me and others of his small but fascinating role in these events. It’s a story of how our labor movement has sometimes lived up to its role in the larger civil and human rights movement.

    Weeks of massive civil rights protest marches had led Alabama Public Safety Commissioner Eugene "Bull" Connor to order vicious attacks on African American protesters, including school children, using police dogs and powerful fire hoses. The nation watched with revulsion as these violent attacks on plainly peaceful protesters were televised on the nightly news. As the attacks continued, the persistence, nonviolent discipline and courage of the local protesters, both adults and children, brought the movement to the cusp of achieving its first citywide victory in the fight to eliminate segregated bathrooms, drinking fountains and other public accommodations in the Deep South. King and the movement badly needed a victory in Birmingham after failing to achieve anything through mass marches in Albany, Georgia, the year before.

    The attention of the whole world to these riveting events quickly created a political and international crisis for the John F. Kennedy administration, which regarded the civil rights movement as a distraction from its electoral and legislative goals, and as an embarrassment on the world stage. The president and his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, were forced to respond. They sent a senior representative to Birmingham to pressure both sides toward resolution.

    On May 8, a tentative agreement was reached with merchants agreeing to desegregate public facilities and to implement modest employment goals in Birmingham’s downtown stores. But King threatened to blow up the deal because local authorities refused to reduce the exorbitant bail fees—about $240,000 (nearly $2 million today)—set for the release of the child protesters who, after being set upon by dogs and blasted head-over-heals down city streets by fire hoses, had been arrested and jailed on charges of disturbing the peace. Adult marchers already filled all surrounding jails (a key tactic of the movement), and the children were incarcerated in outdoor animal pens at the Alabama State Fairgrounds, exposed to the rainy and often chilly Alabama spring elements.  Kennedy and the attorney general, along with King’s colleagues in the movement’s leadership, urged King to sign the agreement and worry about the jailed children later. They argued that victory would weaken Connor’s resolve and lead to the children’s early release once the furor abated, and that it was not worth risking the precarious agreement with the merchants who were being pressured by powerful forces to abandon the deal.

    King would have none of it. Desperate as he was to declare victory, he dug in. He had addressed distraught parents in mass meetings in churches, assuring them their jailed children were "suffering for what they believe, and…to make this nation a better nation." He told them their children were involved in "a spiritual experience, to be welcomed, even longed for." Almost all the parents accepted this transcendent message as justification for allowing their eager children to take on terrifying roles in the streets and in jail, to advance the movement. King was not about to leave the children incarcerated in outdoor pens while he celebrated a victory. Robert Kennedy, worried that a continuing crisis would harm his brother’s re-election prospects, was furious, telling King repeatedly that his stubbornness "doesn’t really make a lot of sense." King returned fire, condemning publicly the administration’s inaction in the face of violations of federal law by Birmingham authorities, including arrests of African Americans sitting at the lunch counter in the federal building’s café. King also pointed out that the attorney general had raised more than $60 million to gain release of the Bay of Pigs prisoners, so this much smaller bail amount should be easy for him to handle.

    King announced to reporters gathered from all over the world that if the settlement didn’t include release of the children, the deal was off and demonstrations would recommence the next day—May 9. The deadline arrived with no resolution—but no marches either—as frantic private negotiations continued.

    The impasse was broken only when King and the attorney general, both under immense pressure, agreed to work together to raise the bail money. King called the famous black singer and activist Harry Belafonte, securing a pledge of $90,000. Robert Kennedy, in turn, called three union presidents: Walter Reuther of the UAW, George Meany of the AFL-CIO and David McDonald of the United Steelworkers (USW). Each agreed to contribute tens of thousands of dollars, as did Michael Quill of the Transport Workers (TWU) at Belafonte’s request. The National Maritime Union had earlier sent money as well. All the bail money had to be delivered and paid the next day—or else King would recommence the marches.

    To implement this urgent plan, late that night USW General Counsel David Feller phoned Birmingham union lawyer Buddy Cooper. Feller wanted Cooper to accept delivery of the bail money the next morning and deposit it at a local bank that had agreed to post the bail while concealing the source of the funds. UAW lawyer Joseph Rauh would coordinate delivery of the money to Cooper.

    Cooper had been the CIO’s first lawyer in the Deep South starting in the 1930s. He had represented several CIO unions in "Operation Dixie," the largely unsuccessful effort to organize the South. He had been the first law clerk to Justice Hugo Black on the U.S. Supreme Court, and the justice’s son, Hugo Jr., was one of Cooper’s law partners when Brown v. Board of Education was decided in 1954, drawing intense and almost universal local white hostility toward their union-side law firm as a result of Black joining the unanimous decision. Cooper accepted this scorn as a badge of honor, and he actively supported the civil rights movement for the rest of his life as he continued to help build the labor movement in the South.

    But Cooper was taken aback by Feller’s request, pointing out that this use of union funds was probably unlawful and asking, "Why don’t the damn merchants put up the money?" Feller’s answer was that this was "what the president of the United States wants us to do." He advised Cooper that the president had directed the attorney general to phone the union presidents with the request. Cooper told me years later he figured he would have to rely on that lofty, but dubious, defense if the lawyers and union officials were all indicted under the Landrum–Griffin Act for using union dues money for this purpose and in this secret manner.

    Cooper received the money by courier on the morning of May 10, and it was used to bail out the children. He recalled that Rauh later visited Birmingham and together they recovered most of the money after the criminal cases against the children were dismissed.

    Late that same afternoon, after waiting many hours to confirm payment of the bail, King asked the local black leader the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth to speak to the press. Shuttlesworth, fresh from the hospital after having been knocked down a stairwell by water from a fire hose during a march, began by telling the world, "The city of Birmingham has reached an accord with its conscience."

    The agreement with the city of Birmingham became part of history, helping pave the way for passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which codified federal protection for equal access to public accommodations and employment. Soon after the agreement in Birmingham was achieved, the world would be mesmerized when King published his "Letter from the Birmingham Jail," penned while he was in solitary confinement, where Connor had thrown him for nine days in April 1963, in an attempt to stop the Birmingham campaign.

    In June 1963, President Kennedy finally added his eloquent voice in a televised address to the nation, endorsing for the first time the full range of civil rights goals, but before the end of the year he would be dead, along with four young girls killed in a Ku Klux Klan bombing of their Birmingham church. The years ahead saw yet more white violence—and more courage and suffering by activists—but the movement gained lasting momentum in Birmingham. In 1964, King led the movement to Selma to fight for voting rights, and in 1965, the new president, Lyndon B. Johnson, signed the Voting Rights Act.

    The decisive and risky actions of the labor leaders in this matter, and of their lawyers, pale in comparison to the physical and moral courage of King, his colleagues, and especially the marching children and their parents. But Dave Feller, Buddy Cooper, Joe Rauh and many others proved in May of 1963 that the labor movement is best understood as the "workers division" of the larger movement for civil and human rights. Let us resolve anew to honor, protect and advance the efforts of those brave men, women, girls and boys who risked so much in the desperate but shining days of the movement a half-century ago.

    This is a guest post from Jay Smith, a labor lawyer who has represented the United Steelworkers and other unions for more than 25 years.

    Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 08/01/2017 - 14:03

    Organizing in Digital Media Continues to Grow: Worker Wins

    Tue, 2017-08-01 10:47
    Organizing in Digital Media Continues to Grow: Worker Wins UAW

    Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with a hard-fought victory at The New School. Other successes include the growing trends of digital media newsrooms organizing and progressive organizations living up to their professed values by voluntarily recognizing employees who choose to join together for collective bargaining purposes.

    New School Graduate Workers Overwhelmingly Vote 'Yes': Research and teaching assistants at The New School in New York voted 502-2 to be represented by the UAW. Over three years, the graduate workers faced opposition and legal delays from the school administration and the overwhelming margin of victory in the vote is a testament to the hard work put in to fight for recognition of their right to collectively bargain.

    Chicago Sun-Times and the Reader Employees 'Flying High' After Ownership Victory: After it was announced that the Chicago Sun-Times and the Reader were for sale, Tronc Inc., the publisher of the right-wing Chicago Tribune, was seen as a front-runner to become the new owner. The staff at the smaller papers fought back and pushed for an alternative solution. Now both papers are being bought by an investment group led by former Alderman Edwin Eisendrath and the Chicago Federation of Labor, a victory that maintains the independence of the paper from corporate interests.

    Aircraft Maintenance Workers at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Vote to Join IAM: Some 220 workers working for DynCorp International at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona voted to join Machinists (IAM) Local 2949. The contract workers, who maintain A-10 Thunderbolt II jets, will now elect a committee to negotiate their first collective bargaining agreement.

    Cafeteria Workers at Facebook Vote to Join UNITE HERE: More than 500 workers who serve food in the cafeteria at Facebook's California headquarters will be joining UNITE HERE Local 19 as part of a trend of tech company workers fighting for union recognition.

    Raw Story Editorial Staff Join The NewsGuild-CWA: Editorial staff at progressive news organization Raw Story sought and won voluntary union recognition. They join The NewsGuild-CWA (TNG-CWA) as part of a growing trend of progressive organizations and digital media whose workers are exercising their freedom to come together to bargain with their employers.

    Center for Community Change Staff Ratify First Union Contract: Staff at the Center for Community Change voted unanimously to ratify their first union contract. Leaders at International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) Local 70, which the staff members are represented by, described the contract as a strong one that affirms progressive workplace policies.

    Staff at Democratic Socialists of America Join TNG-CWA: The staffers at the largest socialist organization in the United States, Democratic Socialists of America, asked for and received voluntary recognition of their union.

    Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 08/01/2017 - 10:47

    Black Women's Equal Pay Day

    Mon, 2017-07-31 13:41
    Black Women's Equal Pay Day AFL-CIO

    Today, we commiserate Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. The gap between the earnings of black women and white men is so large that, essentially, up to today black women have been working for free. Think of it as the modern-day equivalent of the constitutional count of slaves as three-fifths of a person.

    Undoubtedly, those fighting to preserve the status quo will say black women need only to get off welfare, work harder and gain more skills to achieve equal pay. This, of course, ignores the fact that a higher share of black women are employed than any other racial group.

    Black women also are significantly more likely to pursue postsecondary education than their counterparts in other racial groups. The problem for black women is neither work ethic nor educational achievement. Instead, systemic barriers are preventing too many black women from turning their education into earnings, including a refusal of many companies to promote black women into management.

    Another part of the problem is that black workers are far more likely to live in states that enact laws that undermine our freedom to come together and negotiate on the job. These laws originally were designed to divide black and white workers in the Jim Crow South. Today, they threaten solidarity and starve unions of precious resources.

    This hurts black women directly, holding down their wages and limiting access to important benefits like employer-provided health care and pensions. This is confirmed in a report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, by Asha DuMonthier, Chandra Childers and Jessica Milli, which looks at the employment and earnings, work and family, and poverty and opportunity of black women, among other things.

    So fighting discrimination in promotions and guaranteeing the freedom of every worker to negotiate a fair return on their labor is the best way to finally eliminate Black Women’s Equal Pay Day.

    Raising the minimum wage is another key element. The report by IWPR is in coalition with the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Black women are disproportionately affected by the lower wages that characterize care work. And black workers are more likely to live in states where the minimum wage is still at the federal floor of only $7.25 an hour. This makes the fight for $15 an hour a union essential to achieving equal pay for black women.

    The motion picture "Hidden Figures" helps remind us that black women, in the face of the numbing segregation of opportunity, were optimistic, educated and skilled enough to write the computer code that literally launched America into the space age. And, before they wrote the computer code, they were smart enough to do the arithmetic behind the math to find the answers ahead of the computers.

    Karl Zielinski: Mary, a person with an engineer's mind should be an engineer. You can't be a computer the rest of your life.

    Mary Jackson: Mr. Zielinski, I'm a Negro woman. I'm not gonna entertain the impossible.

    Zielinski: And I'm a Polish Jew whose parents died in a Nazi prison camp. Now I'm standing beneath a spaceship that's going to carry an astronaut to the stars. I think we can say we are living the impossible. Let me ask you, if you were a white male, would you wish to be an engineer?

    Jackson: I wouldn't have to. I'd already be one.

    Tim Schlittner Mon, 07/31/2017 - 13:41

    A Big Week for Your Health Care

    Mon, 2017-07-31 11:39
    A Big Week for Your Health Care

    Sometimes failure is a good thing. That was especially true last week when the U.S. Senate failed to pass legislation repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It meant that Congress was stopped from taking health care away from tens of millions of Americans, at least for now.

    What happened? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) desperately pushed the Senate to pass something he could describe as repealing the ACA. That would have allowed the Senate to negotiate with the House of Representatives on a final bill, since the House already had passed a repeal and replace bill in the spring. McConnell tried three different versions of repeal, and the Senate voted against all three:

    • Repeal and Replace: This bill was the latest version of Senate leadership’s proposal to repeal and replace major parts of the ACA. It would cut taxes for the wealthy few and corporations, while slashing Medicaid, jacking up premiums and deductibles for individual plans, and making permanent a 40% tax on high-cost workplace plans. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that an earlier version of this bill would take health care away from 22 million people by 2026. This bill failed by a vote of 43 to 57.
       
    • Repeal and Run: Like a bill passed by Congress in late 2015 and vetoed by then-President Barack Obama, this bill would repeal major parts of the ACA and leave it to a future Congress to come up with any replacement. This bill would take health care away from 32 million people. The Senate rejected this by a vote of 45 to 55.
       
    • Skinny Repeal: A last-ditch effort to get at least 50 senators to vote for something, this bill would repeal a few parts of the ACA, like the individual mandate. It would take health care away from 16 million people. The Senate rebuffed this by a vote of 49 to 51. All 48 Democrats plus Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) voted against it. Had this bill passed, Senate leaders then would have tried to negotiate a comprehensive repeal and replace plan with Republican leaders in the House.

    Why did repeal fail for now? Although Republican leaders got very close to getting the 50 votes they needed, they could not overcome how bad each of their proposals compared to their campaign promises. President Donald Trump himself had assured Americans that under his plan, “We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” and that insurance would have “much lower numbers, much lower deductibles.” He also promised repeatedly he would not cut Medicaid. In reality, the Republican plans would do the opposite. The CBO showed that the proposals would take health care from between 15 million and 32 million people, spike premiums for many and lead to individual deductibles as high as $13,000 a year. In addition, their main plans gutted Medicaid, jeopardizing health care for millions of people already struggling the most to make ends meet.

    What could this failure of repeal mean? Americans made it clear they want health care to be better and see it increasingly as a basic right. That is why millions of people called and wrote their senators and members of Congress and showed up at public events to protect health care.

    If Congress and the president were listening to Americans, they would start doing things to make that happen. Some Democrats and Republicans in Congress are now talking about ways to stabilize the individual insurance markets. Others are working on plans to lower deductibles and out-of-pocket premiums, tackle unjustified spikes in prescription drug prices, and create alternatives to profit-centered insurance companies, like expanding Medicare eligibility.

    Unfortunately, it appears many of the key health care players have not gotten the message. President Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, says the Senate should vote on repeal yet again, before it does anything else. Trump, himself, is threatening to destabilize the individual insurance markets, something that could cause people to pay much more or to lose their health insurance. He says he might do this by stopping reimbursements to insurance companies for the extra financial help they are required by law to provide certain low- and middle-income people.

    The labor movement will continue to vigorously oppose any attempts to gut or undermine our current health care system and insist the debate be shifted toward how to build on what we already have.

     

    Tim Schlittner Mon, 07/31/2017 - 11:39