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Voluntary Recognition: Worker Wins

Fri, 2020-11-20 12:58
Voluntary Recognition: Worker Wins

Despite the challenges of organizing during a deadly pandemic, working people across the country (and beyond) continue organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life. This edition begins with several groups of organizers who won voluntary recognition of their new unions.

 

Kentucky Democratic Party Staff Join IBEW: Staff at the Kentucky Democratic Party have joined Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 369, gained voluntary recognition from management and secured their first collective bargaining agreement. In a statement, the Kentucky Democratic Party staffers said, “We asked for support and recognition of our right to organize. Our leadership stepped up to bargain in good faith and ensure that, as Kentucky Democrats, we live up to our values. We believe deeply in the importance of building and maintaining long-term organizing infrastructure as a means for achieving an equitable and inclusive Kentucky Democratic Party. We came together and organized with a single, common purpose: to make the Kentucky Democratic Party the best possible workplace for everyone, now and in the future.”

WGAE Wins Voluntary Recognition for 200 New Members at Bustle Digital Group: Bustle Digital Group (BDG) today voluntarily recognized the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) for the purpose of collective bargaining after an overwhelming majority of employees in that unit signed authorization cards. BDG’s bargaining unit will include some 200 editorial, video, design and social staffers from its various sites. Lowell Peterson, executive director of WGAE, said, “We welcome Bustle Digital Group employees to the Writers Guild of America, East. Like thousands of their colleagues in the industry, they recognize the value and power of collective bargaining. Together, we can ensure that their voices are heard about the vital issues affecting their work and their workplace.”

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Journalists Win Voluntary Recognition of Union: Management at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram voluntarily recognized a new union at the request of journalists who will be represented by the NewsGuild-CWA. The organizing committee said, “We look forward to the start of negotiations, and we hope to form a strong working relationship that will allow us to protect local journalism here in Fort Worth for years to come.”

Milwaukee Art Museum Workers Overwhelmingly Vote to Join Machinists: A group of more than 140 employees of the Milwaukee Art Museum voted by 72% to join the Machinists (IAM). The new IAM members work in every capacity at the Milwaukee Art Museum, including visitor services, food and beverage, education and programs, information systems, facilities, and more. “I want to welcome these members to the Machinists union family,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Steve Galloway. “I’m so proud of them for educating themselves about the benefits of the IAM and working so hard for union representation and a voice in their workplace. Unions aren’t just for manufacturing workers; they have a place in every working environment.”

L.A. Union Members Win the Right to Form Public Health Councils: Workers in the Los Angeles area have reason to be proud after the L.A. County Board of Supervisors passed its ordinance to establish labor-led public health councils at worksites. The new policy was pushed by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and allows workers to set up their own health and safety enforcement committees on the job. Labor Council President Ron Herrera (IBT) explained that the policy’s passage is an important step forward to stemming the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. “Public health councils address the problem at the source by utilizing our most powerful and extensive resource—our workers—as our eyes and ears in the workplace, ensuring that public health orders are followed to prevent new outbreaks,” he said. The county’s Department of Public Health also will be charged under the ordinance with educating front-line workers on their rights to report unsafe working conditions.

UFCW Members at Kroger Agree to Tentative Contract: After months of negotiations, workers represented by United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) at Kroger's have reached a tentative deal on a new contract that will address pay raises, fully fund health care for associates and reduce drug costs for associates with diabetes. Carolyn Devitt, who has worked at Kroger's for 42 years, said, “We stood up to corporate and won. After months on the front lines of a pandemic, after already taking away our hero pay, they wanted to gut our health care, too. We weren’t having any of it. We stuck together, and they knew they had to back down. I’m proud of my union.”

Massachusetts Cannabis Cultivation Employees in Massachusetts Join UFCW: Workers at Cresco Labs in Massachusetts have voted to be represented by UFCW Local 328. Timothy Melia, president of UFCW Local 328, said, “We applaud cannabis workers for forming unions to make sure that, as this industry grows, workers are able to share in the success. The cannabis industry should be a place where workers earn a living wage [and] have access to affordable health care and protection from unfair discipline and discrimination.” 

UFCW Local 152 Members Ratify New Contract at ShopRite: More than 2,100 members of UFCW Local 152 who are employed as retail clerks at ShopRite stores in New Jersey ratified a new contract on Oct. 20 that protects health care benefits and raises wages. The four-year contract maintains no cost sharing of medical benefits for the lifetime of the contract. The contract also establishes paid sick days for members, a new benefit made possible with the introduction of the New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law.

SAG-AFTRA Agrees to Two-Year Extension to Video Game Contract: SAG-AFTRA reached an agreement with nine of the video game industry's largest companies to extend their Interactive Media Agreement for two years. The deal covers voice-over and performance-capture performers and will provide increased wages and employer contributions to health care and retirement. About the new agreement, SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said, “We are pleased to have reached this agreement with the employers. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the entertainment industry, but work on video games, much of which can be done remotely, has continued. This extension allows members to keep working and have some certainty during an uncertain time.”

Michigan Nurses Association Affiliates With NNU: Earlier this week, National Nurses United (NNU) announced that the Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) board of directors voted to join as an affiliate of NNU. “Solidarity is more important now than ever before,” explained Jamie Brown, RN, MNA president. “Health care executives and D.C. politicians continue to ignore the voice of those of us on the front lines while the pandemic only gets worse. It is time for nurses to unite and fight back.” The 13,000-member union of Michigan nurses will combine forces with more than 150,000 members of NNU nationwide. NNU leaders also highlighted the need for a strong federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been lacking up to now.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 11/20/2020 - 11:58

Tags: Organizing

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: MM&P Members Rescue Downed Pilots in the Pacific

Fri, 2020-11-20 11:00
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: MM&P Members Rescue Downed Pilots in the Pacific

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

The officers and crew of the Horizon Reliance rescued two pilots who had been forced to land their plane on the ocean and debark to a life raft about 1,000 nautical miles from Honolulu. The ship received an alert by satellite call from the Coast Guard on Nov. 6 and quickly began steaming toward position 80 nautical miles to the southwest. Aboard the Horizon Reliance were Masters, Mates & Pilots (MM&P) members Capt. Mark Tuck, Chief Mate Steve Itson, Second Mate Joseph Comerford II and Third Mate William Laprade. Within two hours of spotting the downed pilots in their life raft, the rescue mission was successfully completed.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 11/20/2020 - 10:00

Tags: Community Service, COVID-19

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Boilermakers Boost EPRI Certification Across the Country

Thu, 2020-11-19 10:34
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Boilermakers Boost EPRI Certification Across the Country

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

Boilermakers (IBB) are ramping up Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) training and testing for advanced rigging at various sites across the United States, making the union even more attractive to contractors and owners in the construction sector. EPRI conducts research, development and demonstration projects across the United States and is an independent nonprofit focused on research in electricity generation, delivery and use. “Offering testing for this certification saves contractors and owners money so our members can get right in there and start working,” said Matt Wertz, the Boilermakers’ National Apprenticeship Program coordinator. “It makes our contractors more aggressive to get work and gain work.”

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 11/19/2020 - 09:34

Tags: Community Service, COVID-19

#FundTheFrontLines: What Working People Are Doing This Week

Wed, 2020-11-18 17:08
#FundTheFrontLines: What Working People Are Doing This Week

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

Actors' Equity:

Equity members now have an additional way to access the online harassment hotline. Lighthouse now offers an anonymous reporting app available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play store.

Read more in the member portal - https://t.co/y7dZhCza27 pic.twitter.com/lKrChmRlNH

— Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) November 18, 2020

AFGE:

We

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: APWU Launches Day of Action

Wed, 2020-11-18 10:45
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: APWU Launches Day of Action

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

Members and allies of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), led by President Mark Dimondstein, are holding a day of action today to save the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). In particular, the APWU is making three demands: invest at least $25 billion in immediate COVID-19 relief for the USPS; stop and reverse the mail slowdown policies introduced by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy; and expand the role of the post office to provide vital services in every community. Click here to call your senators and ask them to save the Postal Service.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 11/18/2020 - 09:45

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Ten 2020 Election Wins for Working People That You Should Know About, Part 2

Tue, 2020-11-17 13:55
Ten 2020 Election Wins for Working People That You Should Know About, Part 2

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ victory in this free and fair election is a win for America’s labor movement. Everywhere in every way, working people are heroically and resiliently fighting back against this pandemic, its economic fall out, chronic income inequality and systemic racism. Union voters delivered this election for President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris. Their message and commitment to create “the most significant pro-labor, pro-worker administration” resonated with our 12.5 million members and 55 affiliated unions who are hungry for a bigger voice in our economy and our politics.

Working people also spoke loudly in electing union-friendly candidates at all levels of government. Here are 10 more victories you should know about:

1. Michigan State Supreme Court: The Michigan labor movement flipped the state Supreme Court as Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack won re-election and Elizabeth Welch gained a seat to give pro-worker justices a 4–3 majority. 

2. Greg Thompson, Florida: The former Machinists (IAM) Local 57 president won his first election for city commission in Clewiston. 

3. Elizabeth Weight, Utah: The teacher and member of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) won re-election to the Utah state legislature.

4. San Diego: With strong support from the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, three union members were elected to the nine-member San Diego City Council: Stephen Whitburn (AFTRA), Marni Von Wilpert (DCAA) and Raul Campillo (DCAA). Also of note, Terra Lawson-Remer, a former organizer with United Farm Workers, won a seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

5. Wisconsin: Thousands of volunteers across the state not only worked to help Biden and Harris win, but also were crucial in the victories of other union members: U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (IUPAT), state Rep. Tod Ohnstad (UAW) and state Sen. LaTonya Johnson (AFSCME).

6. Communications Workers of America (CWA) Members: Members contributed tens of thousands of volunteer hours to support pro-working family candidates.

7. Florida: With 60.8% of the vote, Floridians voted to raise the state's minimum wage to $10 next September and by an additional $1 per year until it reaches $15 in 2026.

8. Colorado: Voters approved a measure that will create a paid family and medical leave program with 57% of the vote. Starting in 2024, employers will be required to provide employees up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave each year.

9. UNITE HERE Members: Members knocked on the doors of 3 million voters, including 575,000 in Philadelphia, which contributed heavily to Biden-Harris winning Pennsylvania.

10. Demond Meeks, New York: Meeks, an organizer with SEIU1199 won and will now represent the 137th State Assembly District.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 11/17/2020 - 12:55

Tags: Elections 2020

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Oregon OSHA Establishes Emergency Temporary Standard for Workplace Safety

Tue, 2020-11-17 09:51
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Oregon OSHA Establishes Emergency Temporary Standard for Workplace Safety

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) new emergency temporary standard (ETS) for workplace safety during the pandemic went into effect on Monday. For the first time since the pandemic started, Oregon workers will have clear, enforceable and consistent workplace protections from COVID-19. The new protocols provide rules around transparency and reporting, training, employee input and employer requirements to mitigate hazards, and ventilation. The Oregon AFL-CIO fought hard for the implementation of the ETS.

“The emergency temporary standard is a step forward for Oregon’s workers. Oregon is now only the third state in the nation to adopt workplace safety and health protections for workers against COVID-19,” said state federation President Graham Trainor (IBEW). “Oregon’s unions and worker advocates have fought for this standard since the beginning of the pandemic and have been closely engaged in the process to ensure it is suitable and reflects the risk workers face on the job….We owe it to the workers who risk their health and safety to provide for their families to get this right, and soon, to ensure workplace protection now and into the future.”

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 11/17/2020 - 08:51

Tags: Community Service, COVID-19

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: NFLPA Names Corey Clement ‘Community MVP’ for Week 8

Mon, 2020-11-16 10:57
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: NFLPA Names Corey Clement ‘Community MVP’ for Week 8

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

Corey Clement has been named the NFL Players Association’s (NFLPA’s) “Community MVP” for week 8 of the NFL season after he helped lead a writing contest in which students created books on how to resolve bullying. The winners earned a $500 prize, received a surprise Zoom visit from Clement and will have their book published. “It is a true honor to be named the NFLPA Community MVP,” the Philadelphia Eagles running back said. “As an NFL player, I have the opportunity to bring attention to the causes most important to me—literacy, anti-bullying and music education. I feel that it is important to support grassroots nonprofits that are led by Black leaders.”

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 11/16/2020 - 09:57

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Rest in Peace, Scott Reynolds

Fri, 2020-11-13 10:41
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Rest in Peace, Scott Reynolds

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

The AFL-CIO is mourning the passing of our dear former colleague, Scott Reynolds (TNG-CWA). Scott will be remembered for his strong trade unionism, dedicating his career to the labor movement and spending 24 of those years with the AFL-CIO. And, for those who had the pleasure of working with Scott, we will also miss him for his humor, his friendship and his stories of adventurous travel that brightened the workplace every day.

Damon Silvers, special counsel to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA), called Scott a dear friend and mentor. “All his life Scott fought for working people. He was at every major protest for decades,” Silvers said. “He organized our movement for fight after fight—for financial reform and the Affordable Care Act, against one corporate trade deal after another. He was a kind generous colleague to all he encountered. And he never was OK with moral compromise. He might tell you that through a joke, but it was serious.”

Scott made our movement, our country and all of us better. We send our deepest condolences to all who cherish his memory.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 11/13/2020 - 09:41

Biden Taps Working People Champions to Transition Teams

Thu, 2020-11-12 13:50
Biden Taps Working People Champions to Transition Teams

President-elect Joe Biden made sure that the voices of working people will be heard in the transition to his administration. He appointed more than two dozen leaders from the labor movement to the various agency review teams that will help make sure the Biden administration is ready to go on day one.

Here is a list of the labor leaders appointed to Biden's transition teams:

  • Transition Advisory Board: International President Lonnie Stephenson, Electrical Workers (IBEW); President Teresa Romero, United Farm Workers (UFW)
  • Department of Education: Beth Antunez, American Federation of Teachers (AFT); Shital Shah, AFT; Marla Ucelli-Kashyap, AFT; Donna Harris-Aikens, National Education Association (NEA)
  • Department of Energy: Brad Markell, Industrial Union Council, AFL-CIO
  • Department of Health and Human Services: Sarah Nolan, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
  • Department of Justice: Rocio Inclan-Rodriguez, NEA
  • Department of Labor: Jennifer Abruzzo, Communications Workers of America (CWA); Jessica Chu, Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU); Micheal Hazard, United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters (UA); Nadia Marin-Molina, National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON); Shaun O’Brien, AFSCME; Patricia Smith, National Employment Law Project (NELP); Lynn Rhinehart, Economic Policy Institute (EPI)
  • Department of State: Owen Herrnstadt, Machinists (IAM)
  • Department of Treasury: Damon Silvers, AFL-CIO
  • Department of Transportation: David Barnett, UA; Brendan Danaher, Transport Workers Union (TWU); David Cameron, Teamsters (IBT)
  • Federal Reserve: Damon Silvers, AFL-CIO; Renaye Manley, SEIU
  • NASA: David Weaver, Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA)
  • Office of Personnel Management: Melody Gonzales, NEA
  • Office of the United States Trade Representative: Julie Greene Collier, AFL-CIO; Celeste Drake, Directors Guild of America
  • Social Security Administration: Scott Frey, AFSCME
  • Department of Agriculture: LaQuita Honeysucker, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW)
  • United State Postal Service: Jim Sauber, National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)
Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 11/12/2020 - 12:50

Economy Gains 638,000 Jobs in October; Unemployment Declines to 6.9%

Thu, 2020-11-12 11:55
Economy Gains 638,000 Jobs in October; Unemployment Declines to 6.9%

The U.S. economy gained 638,000 jobs in October, and the unemployment rate declined to 6.9%, according to figures released Friday morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The improvements reflect the continued resumption of economic activity that previously was curtailed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to the October job numbers, AFL-CIO Chief Economist William Spriggs tweeted:

#JobsReport While the unemployment rate has been falling, further drops will be harder to achieve because of the scarring effect taking place. The rise in the share of long-term unemployment as a share of the unemployed is mirroring the rise during the Great Recession. @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/igAzsnE6mh

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) November 6, 2020

#JobsReport The rise in those facing permanent layoffs is worrying, while the drop in temporary job losses is good. Permanent layoffs and rising long term unemployment will greet the New Year with a challenging labor market to keep this from being a drag on recovery. @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/rU2x6uobrs

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) November 6, 2020

#JobsReport all private industries showed job gains over last month, with the lowest wage industries (going south on the graph) among the big gainers (going east on the graph): Retail Trade bouncing back from its big losses in March and April (down 471k from last year). @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/M2uJGVnAvZ

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) November 6, 2020

#JobsReport Only three major groups remain with double digit unemployment, teen agers, people age 20-24 and Blacks. Before you pull out your old "skills-gap" the unemployment rate for high school drop-outs is 9.8%, lower than for THE Black population (10.8%) @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/v6DjotCvG0

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) November 6, 2020

#JobsReport After falling to a new record low, the share of the Black population employed is showing improvement, now surpassing the previous record low set at the depths of the Great Recession. But, it has a long way to go to get back to the 57% range. @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/5P6kAEQGOM

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) November 6, 2020

#JobsReport the more narrowly defined U-3 unemployment rate (today's topline number) and the broadest measure U-6 of labor market slack (including marginally attached workers and part-time workers who want full-time hours) are now below the peak of the Great Recession. @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/eEqEGmhBiH

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) November 6, 2020

#JobsReport The other big challenge for a full recovery, over 2nd and 3rd Quarter GDP reports, state and local government has shrunk. In the labor market the drop is dramatic: levels below the depths of the Great Recession. This disproportionately hurts Blacks and women. @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/EOwer2MCSO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) November 6, 2020

Last month's biggest job gains were in leisure and hospitality (271,000), professional and business services (208,000), retail trade (104,000), construction (84,000), health care and social assistance (79,000), transportation and warehousing (63,000), other services (47,000), manufacturing (38,000) and financial activities (31,000). Government employment fell by 268,000. Employment in other major industries, including mining, wholesale trade, and information, changed little in October. 

In October, the unemployment rates declined for all major worker groups: teenagers (-13.9%), Black Americans (-10.8%), Hispanics (-8.8%), Asians (-7.6%), adult men (-6.7%), adult women (-6.5%) and White Americans (-6.0%).

The number of long-term unemployed workers (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) rose in October and accounted for 32.5% of the total unemployed.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 11/12/2020 - 10:55

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: NALC: Election and Pandemic Show the Importance of USPS

Thu, 2020-11-12 11:14
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: NALC: Election and Pandemic Show the Importance of USPS

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

Throughout the pandemic, members of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) have kept us connected as a country, delivering lifesaving medications and keeping our communities running. The workers at the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) also have served our democracy by delivering millions of mail-in ballots as a safe and convenient alternative to voting in person. NALC, under the leadership of President Fredric Rolando, said: “This election and pandemic have shown the importance of the Postal Service network. For the last four years, we’ve had to play defense against attacks from the current administration. Now, it is time to go on the offense for letter carriers by providing COVID-19 relief to this agency, repealing the mandate to prefund retiree health care and utilizing the network to continue serving the nation.”

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 11/12/2020 - 10:14

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Ten 2020 Election Wins for Working People That You Should Know About, Part 1

Tue, 2020-11-10 13:16
Ten 2020 Election Wins for Working People That You Should Know About, Part 1

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ victory in this free and fair election is a win for America’s labor movement. Everywhere in every way, working people are heroically and resiliently fighting back against this pandemic, its economic fall out, chronic income inequality and systemic racism. Union voters delivered this election for President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris. Their message and commitment to create “the most significant pro-labor, pro-worker administration” resonated with our 12.5 million members and 56 affiliated unions who are hungry for a bigger voice in our economy and our politics.

Working people also spoke loudly in electing union-friendly candidates at all levels of government. Here are 10 victories you should know about:

1. Union Voters Surge for Biden-Harris: Union members went 58% for Biden-Harris. While the general public supported Biden by 3 points, our members favored him by 21 points.

2. Members of American Postal Workers Union (APWU), National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) and National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU): For making sure that a record surge of mail ballots were delivered so the voices of all working people could be heard and counted.

3. Kai Kahele, Hawaii: The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) member won the election for U.S. representative and will represent Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District.

4. Debra Hixon, Florida: The longtime educator and member of the Broward Teachers Union (an affiliate of AFT) won election to the Broward County School Board.

5. Nikki Merritt, Georgia: The member of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 3204 won the election for Georgia state Senate District 9.

6. Brandon Chafee, Connecticut: The Electrical Workers (IBEW) member was elected state representative for District 33.

7. Fire Fighters: The IAFF affiliates notched victories in 23 local ballot measures, including "increased funding for our members’ fire departments, established binding arbitration, halted attacks on our members’ schedules and ended efforts to create a public safety officer (PSO) program."

8. Connie Chan, California: The former International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) Local 21 member was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. 

9. Troy Jackson, Maine: Jackson, who is a member of both the Machinists (IAM) and Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), won re-election to the Maine state Senate.

10. Delaware IATSE Members: These members built the stage where Joe Biden and Kamala Harris accepted the victory delivered to them by the American people.

If you know of any additional wins for working people from the 2020 election we should include in this series, please email them to kquinnell@aflcio.org.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 11/10/2020 - 12:16

Tags: Elections 2020

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: UA Member, Military Veteran Finds Solidarity with Membership in the Building Trades

Mon, 2020-11-09 11:58
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: UA Member, Military Veteran Finds Solidarity with Membership in the Building Trades

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

Former U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Justin Baird is eager to learn and start working in the building trades. He said the solidarity that comes with being a member of United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters (UA) Local 189 is a welcome part of the job. “I've always been interested in learning a new trade,” Baird said. “And the aspect of a brotherhood appealed to me the most due to the fraternity with my colleagues in the Army.” He took part in the UA’s Veterans in Piping program, an 18-month apprenticeship training course for veterans re-entering the civilian workforce.

As a second year apprentice with Local 189, Baird is thankful for the career he has and the tradesmen and tradeswomen he works alongside: “It’s still hard work, but at least you know you get to go home to your family at the end of the day….The brotherhood is amazing. There’s some really good people that will look out for you in the union.”

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 11/09/2020 - 10:58

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

AFL-CIO Looks Forward to Working with President-Elect Joe Biden

Sat, 2020-11-07 14:33
AFL-CIO Looks Forward to Working with President-Elect Joe Biden

Democracy is prevailing. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ victory in this free and fair election is a win for America’s labor movement. Everywhere in every way, working people are heroically and resiliently fighting back against this pandemic, its economic fall out, chronic income inequality and systemic racism.

President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris saw us, heard us and campaigned on a promise that we, as one nation, will build back even better than before. That is why working people decisively rejected the politics of darkness and division and voted in record numbers for public servants who want to join us in writing America’s comeback story. 

Let’s be clear: Union voters delivered this election for Biden and Harris. Their message and commitment to create “the most significant pro-labor, pro-worker administration” resonated with our 12.5 million members and 56 affiliated unions who are hungry for a bigger voice in our economy and our politics. 

Now the AFL-CIO stands ready to help the president-elect and vice president-elect deliver a long overdue workers’ first agenda. That starts with passing the HEROES Act to provide our families and communities emergency support and services in the face of this deadly virus. But COVID-19 relief is just that—relief. Once working people are made whole, the real rebuilding can begin. We call on Congress to pass and Biden to sign the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act early in 2021 to make sure every worker who wants to form or join a union is able to do so freely and fairly. Working people want our leaders to act swiftly and think more boldly than ever before. The time to begin is now.

Kenneth Quinnell Sat, 11/07/2020 - 13:33

Tags: Elections 2020, Labor 2020

Every Vote Must Be Counted

Thu, 2020-11-05 12:30
Every Vote Must Be Counted

One of the fundamental principles of free and democratic countries is that every vote counts. Millions of votes were cast on time across the country that haven't been counted yet. Working people will not stop fighting until every one of those votes is counted and the 2020 election is determined by the will of the people, not the preferences of politicians.

Here is what national and state labor leaders are saying about the 2020 election.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA):

Democracy is rising in America. Despite the worst pandemic in a century, voters came out in record numbers to exercise our rights as citizens, and now those ballots must be counted. As we said in our statement with business and faith leaders today, this is a moment “to exercise patience with the process and trust in our system, even if it requires more time than usual.”

Joe Biden’s growing national lead reflects a country ready to turn the page on the dysfunction and division of the Trump era, and we are confident that when all the votes are counted, the Electoral College will render the same verdict. 

In the days to come, America’s labor movement will defend our democratic republic and ensure our next president will be the person who is the choice of the citizens of the United States. Simply put, voters must decide—not courts, not legislators and certainly not one of the candidates.

Arizona AFL-CIO

Last night in a historic victory Arizona’s working families chose Joe Biden as U.S. President and Mark Kelly as U.S. Senator.

In a groundbreaking grassroots effort led by the labor movement, painters, hotel workers, machinists, communications workers, stage hands, postal workers, electrical workers and more came together to elect candidates who fight for Arizona’s working families, advocate for higher wages, and ensure safe working conditions. 

Since SB 1070 passed in 2010, Arizona has been on the road to becoming a true battleground state. In large part this is due to the collaborative efforts of Arizona’s labor movement and our community partners. Last night Labor and the progressive movement helped elect Democrats up and down the ballot. 

Although we do not have final results in all races across the state, we are confident that we will come out ahead when EVERY VOTE IS COUNTED. 

In the midst of a global pandemic and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, the failure of the current administration to keep the American people safe has cost lives and livelihoods. It has been our unions leading the way providing necessary essentials and protections helping working people across the country. Whether it’s securing proper PPE, working with Congress to secure COVID-19 relief for families, or electing worker champions, organized labor answered the call. 

“In what is arguably the most consequential election of our lifetime, union members from across the country put all their support into Arizona by traveling here to participate in our Labor 2020 campaign, or by contacting Arizona voters from their home states. As a result, Arizona has now become part of the Blue Wall across the western United States,” said Fred Yamashita, Executive Director of the Arizona AFL-CIO.

Georgia State AFL-CIO President Charlie Flemming (IAM):

Here in Georgia, working people are making our voices heard, loud and clear. We’ve already voted in record numbers to elect the next president and vice president of the United States. It’s a voting process we’ve been doing for 200 years, and it’s a process that’s not going to change after today.

Unfortunately, we’re seeing deliberate and baseless attempts from hate groups in our state to undermine confidence in our democracy. But make no mistake: Georgia’s labor movement isn’t going to stand for this. We are determined to defend and protect our democracy.

Michigan State AFL-CIO

Record numbers of voters voted in this election, and there are still thousands of ballots that are still waiting to be counted across Michigan and across the country.

That’s not surprising, and we’re confident that it will be worth the wait.

What is not okay is any effort to prevent every vote from being counted.

Today, we are launching www.UnionsDefend.org to centralize our response efforts on behalf of the Michigan labor movement.

Organized labor has always championed democracy in the workplace, and today it’s our job to fight for fair and free elections and ensure that every vote is counted.

Union members are joining together to defend our democracy -- sign up to get involved over the next few days to make sure we COUNT EVERY VOTE.

We won’t rest until democracy is served because unions will never shy away from a fight to guarantee the voices of our members are heard.

We hope you’ll support us in these efforts.

Nevada State AFL-CIO:

Nevada’s working families look forward to every vote being counted. As a labor movement founded on the premise of listening to the voice of individuals we know the meaning of your voice, your vote. For democracy to work for all of us, all eligible voters must have our voices heard.

Nevada has been one of the hardest hit states in the U.S. by the coronavirus and despite the pandemic, voters still found a way to vote. Whether the votes were cast by mail in, early in person, or on election day, every vote matters and every vote counts. By tracking from start to finish and verifying the identity of each ballot, certified election officials ensure that each voter casts one ballot and that every eligible vote is counted accurately.

“Candidates have had their time to talk now it’s time to listen to the voters. This is no longer a time for partisanship, it is time to watch our democracy work. We look forward to every vote being counted by our experienced election officials,” said Nevada AFL-CIO Executive Secretary-Treasurer Rusty McAllister.

North Carolina State AFL-CIO

As working people across North Carolina await the final 2020 election results, one thing must be clear: we need to count every vote to confirm whom the voters have chosen. Any politician can say whatever they want tonight and in the coming days, but the time to campaign is over. Their time is up. In our democracy, voters get to decide who will be sworn in as our leaders, not the other way around.

People have overcome so much to vote this year and done so in record numbers despite a pandemic and deliberate, baseless attempts to undermine confidence in our democracy. In the days leading up to November 3rd, more than half of eligible North Carolinians voted either early in person or by mail. We know our qualified local election officials have been working diligently to preserve democracy, as they do in every election, and now we need to give them time to do their job of verifying that all eligible votes are counted, without interference or intimidation. 

Elections are a process, and that process does not end until we have certified the results and sworn in the leaders that the voters have chosen in a peaceful transfer of power. This is the way American democracy has worked since the first presidential election ended in 1789, through the Civil War, the Great Depression, and two World Wars. It may take longer this year to obtain all the results, but the people of the American labor movement remain committed to seeing democracy endure.

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO

As polls close here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on this historic election day, the officers of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale and Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder made the following statements on behalf of the 700,000 working women and men we represent:

“Pennsylvanians have turned out to vote in unprecedented numbers throughout this campaign.   More than 2.5 million ballots were received as of Tuesday morning, greater than one-third of Pennsylvania’s total voter turnout in 2016.  Millions of Pennsylvanians are more inspired to make their voices heard than at any other time in history. Voters decide elections, not courts and political appointees. Politicians have had their say, and in the end, it is the voters who decide,” stated President Rick Bloomingdale 

“The Union Movement is founded on the concept of democracy; whether you’re voting in a union, or electing governments that serve ‘we the people’, your vote is your voice.  To any political party or special interest, know this, the American Labor Movement and our sisters and brothers across Pennsylvania will defend our democracy, demand our votes are counted, and we will win.  Each vote must be counted,” remarked Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder.  

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO President Stephanie Bloomingdale (AFT)

Any legitimate election is one where everyone who is eligible to vote can do so, every ballot cast is counted and where voters decide the outcome and select our next leaders. The American labor movement will forever defend our democracy.

To those who seek to prevent eligible Americans’ votes from being counted and make bogus claims designed to undermine the democratic process, we will fight you every step of the way. The power of the people’s voice at the ballot box cannot be denied. Democracy will win the day.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 11/05/2020 - 11:30

Tags: Elections 2020

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: UFCW Members Campaign for a Brighter Future for Working People

Tue, 2020-11-03 10:00
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: UFCW Members Campaign for a Brighter Future for Working People

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

Across the country, members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) are building union strength this election season. As Election Day approaches, UFCW members throughout the country have been mobilized to get out the vote and help make sure members’ voices are heard at the polls. “Reaching out to fellow members to engage in meaningful dialogue around voting and the things that matter to them this year has been empowering,” said Debbie Whipple (not pictured), who works for a Kroger grocery store in Fayetteville, Georgia, and has been a member of UFCW for more than 40 years. “With each call, being able to gather and share information about the candidates this year and offer assistance with voter registration, early voting requirements, voting dates to remember, and mail-in voting allows me to have a finger on the pulse of our union’s voices.” Members in Ohio, Kentucky, Kansas and Arizona also were highlighted. Click here to read more.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 11/03/2020 - 09:00

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Broken Promises, a Botched Response and a Better Way Forward

Mon, 2020-11-02 15:18
Broken Promises, a Botched Response and a Better Way Forward

Four years ago, enough union members in places like Wisconsin, Michigan and my home state of Pennsylvania defected from the Democratic Party to tip the election to Donald Trump. While neither the AFL-CIO nor I supported him, I understood why many union members did. Trump branded himself as an outsider. He did not sound like a politician. While crass and offensive, he spoke to the desire of working people for a louder voice.

As someone who represents 12.5 million workers and 56 unions, I had a responsibility to work with the new president. Before the inauguration, he invited me to Trump Tower. We spoke about the areas where we could find common ground and how we could bring his pro-worker campaign promises to fruition. Soon after, I accepted an invitation to sit on his manufacturing council.

Working people have been promised the moon by presidents of both parties. And while few have delivered, I genuinely hoped, for the sake of the hardworking families who keep America running, that Trump would. But with each passing day, it became clear that President Trump was never the friend of working people he claimed to be. In fact, he quickly became the labor movement’s ultimate foe.

My grandchildren will read textbooks about Trump’s failure to contain the coronavirus and keep working people—and all Americans—safe. That’s how historically devastating his leadership has been.

Nine months into this pandemic, Trump is still asking us to believe the same fiction he’s been spreading from the start: “We’re rounding the corner,” he says. 

But working people know better. Across America, the number of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths are on the rise. Trump did not create the coronavirus, of course, but he is responsible for downplaying the seriousness of the threat, refusing to protect workers and accelerating the virus’ spread. His reckless choices are why front-line workers continue to risk their health and life in workplaces like grocery stores, firehouses and hospitals. 

Even before this pandemic, President Trump’s disregard for workplace health and safety was dangerous, delinquent and deadly. He never had a full-time director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and there are fewer OSHA inspectors today than at any point since it was founded. And the president weakened Mine Safety and Health Administration enforcement, forcing miners to work in unnecessarily hazardous conditions.

While Trump’s COVID-19 response will always be remembered as his greatest failure, working people won’t soon forget his broken promises. He talked and talked about a massive infrastructure package, but America’s roads, dams and ports are still crumbling. The president’s tax cuts for the ultra-rich accelerated the outsourcing of good-paying union jobs and worsened inequality. Manufacturing jobs he said were coming back never did.

Trump’s broken promises have been compounded by relentless attacks on workers’ rights. From the Supreme Court to the National Labor Relations Board to the Department of Labor, his appointments have made it their mission to undermine collective bargaining. Not since Ronald Reagan fired the air traffic controllers have we seen this level of union-busting from the White House. Every rule, every decision, every move has made it harder to live and work in America. 

Working families deserve a leader who will focus on “we, the people,” not just on the person they see in the mirror. Only Vice President Joe Biden can be that president. I’ve known Joe for 40 years. He loves his family, loves working people and loves our country. His “Made in America” plan will revitalize America's manufacturing in a way Trump never could. Biden doesn’t only have the best plan to beat the virus and help workers recover financially—he is the only candidate for president with a plan at all. And with a Biden administration, we’ll finally pass the PRO Act, allowing workers to join a union freely and fairly. 

While we must elect Biden, this election is also about our hopes and aspirations. Working people have been knocked down, counted out and told our time is up. But in the face of corporate greed and political sabotage, we’ve not only survived—we’ve risen. 

Today, according to a Gallup Poll, 65% of Americans support unions, a nearly 50-year high. Sixty million workers would vote to join a union right now if given the chance—and in a Biden administration, more would get that choice. 

Here is the plain truth: For the good of the country we love, working people—whether we voted for him or not—gave this president every last chance to prove himself. He failed. For America to defeat the coronavirus, economic inequality and systemic racism, working people must show Donald Trump the door. 

The labor movement is writing a comeback story. We have overcome anti-worker attacks and made it through to the other side. Joe Biden has done the same. Now is the time to join forces on behalf of the country we love and built and start to build it back even better.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 11/02/2020 - 14:18

Tags: Labor 2020, Elections 2020

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Watch: Women Members of BAC Contribute to Their Union and the Building Trades

Mon, 2020-11-02 11:00
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Watch: Women Members of BAC Contribute to Their Union and the Building Trades

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

The Bricklayers (BAC) had a great turnout at the first virtual Women Build Nations Conference earlier this month. In a video shown at the convention, some of BAC’s female members talked about their contributions and experiences being a part of the union. Liliana Calderon said, “Let’s shoot as high as we can to have and retain new members, especially women and minorities.” Calderon, a member of BAC Local 21 in Illinois, received one of the North America’s Building Trades Unions’ (NABTU’s) first-ever Tradeswomen Heroes Award.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 11/02/2020 - 10:00

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Fighting for Working Families: In the States Roundup

Fri, 2020-10-30 14:24
Fighting for Working Families: In the States Roundup

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

Alabama AFL-CIO:

Such a wonderful story! https://t.co/Rc93Kn8EHR

— Alabama AFL-CIO (@AlabamaAFLCIO) October 26, 2020

California Labor Federation:

Don’t let corporate greed rob our students of a quality education and our communities of their public transportation, health, and safety. Say YES to putting our schools & communities first! #VOTE:
✅ YES on Prop 15! #YesOn15 #FundOurFuture pic.twitter.com/FxUe0KKTuA

— NO on Prop 22 (California Labor Federation) (@CaliforniaLabor) October 30, 2020

Colorado AFL-CIO:

In the absence of any Senate Republican leadership leading to another stimulus bill, we applaud Governor Polis for stepping up and helping unemployed Coloradans during these challenging times! @GovofCO #copolitics #Coleghttps://t.co/OcC4bNp2AX

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

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

.@AFSCMECT4 Exec. Director Jody Barr: "The facts are on our side. I hope district leadership will do the right thing by the employees we represent, the school community and local taxpayers. It’s unwise to privatize." https://t.co/cjsm3SzBEx

— Connecticut AFL-CIO (@ConnAFLCIO) October 26, 2020

Florida AFL-CIO:

The Florida AFL-CIO recommends voting “yes” on Amendment 2, which would gradually raise Florida’s minimum wage. We’re also recommending Union members to vote “no” on Amendments 3,4, and 5.

Find out more here: https://t.co/4EfzvpkXIR pic.twitter.com/z8PCd3gbJc

— Florida AFL-CIO (@FLAFLCIO) October 29, 2020

Georgia State AFL-CIO:

74,741,250 have already voted. Have you? Make your plan, find endorsed candidates and more here:https://t.co/yJiKhwOC56 pic.twitter.com/zyh56JFTer

— Georgia AFL-CIO (@AFLCIOGeorgia) October 28, 2020

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

Unions representing hundreds of thousands of nurses and healthcare workers filed a lawsuit against OSHA on Thursday, alleging that the agency is violating its duties to keep workers safe. https://t.co/DptCNp4yWj

— Indiana AFL-CIO (@INAFLCIO) October 30, 2020

Iowa Federation of Labor:

They don’t want you to vote. They don’t want you to have a say. That’s why it’s more important than ever to stand up and be counted—and let them know your vote must be counted, too! https://t.co/wWeLKvk7HE

— Iowa AFL-CIO (@IowaAFLCIO) October 30, 2020

Maine AFL-CIO:

Sorry, @SenatorCollins! Working class Mainers aren't buying it anymore. BIW shipbuilder Matthew Anderson of @MachinistsUnion Local S6 knows @SaraGideon will stand up for those with dirty jeans and work boots. #mepolitics @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/OO6F3v3Ob9

— Maine AFL-CIO (@MEAFLCIO) October 28, 2020

Maryland State and D.C. AFL-CIO:

It's time to #GOTUV! Calling all MD/DC union members to sign up for a shift today to Get Out The Union Vote! https://t.co/rrO2AuRWCf

— Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO (@MDDCStateFed) October 30, 2020

Massachusetts AFL-CIO:

Congratulations to the staff at @massdems and their union @IBEWLocal2321 for standing together and fighting for better pay and working conditions.

Welcome brothers and sisters. ✊