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Priorities for the New Year: In the States Roundup

Thu, 2018-01-04 16:09
Priorities for the New Year: In the States Roundup

It's time once again to take a look at the battles for the freedoms 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 central labor councils on Twitter.

Arizona AFL-CIO:

Congratulations Arizona! Because of voter's decision to increase the Minimum Wage our lowest paid employees just...

— Arizona AFL-CIO (@ArizonaAFLCIO) January 2, 2018

Arkansas AFL-CIO:

We are ready for 2018! We hope that 2018 brings everyone opportunity, occupational safety and health! #1u #safejobs #arkansaslabor #freedomtoorganize

— Arkansas AFL-CIO (@ArkansasAFLCIO) January 4, 2018

California Labor Federation:

Powerful message from @latguild sisters and brothers ✊ Sending solidarity for their historic vote today #UnionYES #1u

— California Labor (@CaliforniaLabor) January 4, 2018

Colorado AFL-CIO:

RT and help spread the word about our 2018 Legislative Priorities Roll Out on Monday, January 8th #Solidarity

— Colorado AFL-CIO (@AFLCIOCO) January 3, 2018

Connecticut AFL-CIO (retweet):

Join #union members in demanding electeds make #NewYearsResolution to embrace truly #FairShareBudgetCT approach, not more failed policies that shift burden onto to #WorkingFamilies' backs: @AFT_PE

— AFT Connecticut (@AFTCT) January 2, 2018

Florida AFL-CIO:

Story via @PNS_News - We're ready to fight back. Take action with us every week of session by signing up for legislative alerts on our website:

— Florida AFL-CIO (@FLAFLCIO) January 2, 2018

Idaho State AFL-CIO (retweet):

Thank you once again to all the hardworking men and women in our union family who made the holidays happen for so many people, as they will continue to do throughout the year! Wishing you all a happy new year and wonderful 2018.

— UFCW (@UFCW) January 2, 2018

Illinois AFL-CIO (retweet):

Got #NewYearsResolutions for better work life balance? Might we suggest a union:

— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) December 28, 2017

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

A Woman's Place Is in Her Union #1u #unionstrong

— Indiana AFL-CIO (@INAFLCIO) January 4, 2018

Iowa Federation of Labor:

Iowa lawmakers, do your jobs and fix Medicaid problems

— Iowa AFL-CIO (@IowaAFLCIO) January 4, 2018

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

Have you heard ‘(1/3/2018) Farmers unite; Horace Greeley’ by Union City Radio on #SoundCloud? #np

— MetroDCLaborCouncil (@DCLabor) January 3, 2018

Michigan AFL-CIO:

"From a business perspective, the prevailing wage is a proven tool to retain qualified workers on Michigan’s public projects and entice new recruits into the trades." -Barton Malow VP

— Michigan AFL-CIO (@MIAFLCIO) January 4, 2018

Minnesota AFL-CIO:

Minneapolis school custodians file for union election (via @workdaymn) @SEIULocal284 @seiumn #1u

— Minnesota AFL-CIO (@MNAFLCIO) January 4, 2018

Missouri AFL-CIO:

"The Bureau of Labor Statistics' Census of 2016 Fatal Occupational Injuries reports there were 5,190 workplace fatalities in 2016, a seven percent increase from 2015, and notes that opioid-related deaths are on the rise in the workplace."

— Missouri AFL-CIO (@MOAFLCIO) January 3, 2018

New Hampshire AFL-CIO:

.@DonnaSoucy speaking in opposition to #SB84 & standing up for #NHWorkingFamilies. @daninnis Amendment changes NH labor law & takes power away from employees & gives it to the corporations and employers! #nhpolitics

— NewHampshire AFL-CIO (@NHAFLCIO) January 3, 2018

New Jersey State AFL-CIO:

As we turn the page on 2017, we wanted to thank you for your solidarity and support and recognize our many collective achievements that have laid the foundation for a successful 2018.

— New Jersey AFL-CIO (@NJAFLCIO) December 29, 2017

New York State AFL-CIO:

Thank you to everyone working to keep us safe and warm! #UnionProud

— NYSAFLCIO (@NYSAFLCIO) January 4, 2018

North Carolina State AFL-CIO:

Thanks to the support of our affiliates and allies, North Carolina's labor movement had much to celebrate about...

— NC State AFL-CIO (@NCStateAFLCIO) January 3, 2018

North Dakota AFL-CIO:

Protect our Pensions - Support The Butch-Lewis Act!
Write to @SenJohnHoeven , @SenJohnHoeven & @RepKevinCramer right here: #1u #NDPol

— North Dakota AFL-CIO (@NDAFLCIO) January 2, 2018


.@brigidekelly: State lawmakers should avoid any right-to-work proposal like the plague @AFLCIO

— Ohio AFL-CIO (@ohioaflcio) January 3, 2018

Oregon AFL-CIO:

300 prominent female actresses, agents, writers, directors, producers and entertainment executives have formed an ambitious, sprawling initiative to fight systemic sexual harassment in Hollywood:

— Oregon AFL-CIO (@OregonAFLCIO) January 4, 2018

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

Working people saw victories in 2017, but we still have work to do.
Check out President Rick Bloomingdale's...

— PA AFL-CIO (@PaAFL_CIO) January 4, 2018

South Carolina AFL-CIO:

Start saving your gas receipts tomorrow, share with members and family

— SC AFL-CIO (@SCAFLCIO) December 31, 2017

Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council:

What a way to kick off 2018! Great work, STAND UP Nashville, Central Labor Council of Nashville & Middle TN and...

— Tennessee AFL-CIO (@tnaflcio) January 3, 2018

Texas AFL-CIO:

Union sues AT&T on behalf of 50 laid off Austin, Bastrop employees

— Texas AFL-CIO (@TexasAFLCIO) January 4, 2018

Washington State Labor Council:

Today we announced our Shared Prosperity Agenda for the 2018 legislative session that begins Monday. Check it out: #1u #waleg

— WA State AFL-CIO (@WAAFLCIO) January 3, 2018

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO:

For 13 million workers, fighting the boss just got harder,

— WI AFL-CIO (@wisaflcio) January 2, 2018 Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 01/04/2018 - 15:09

Pro-Working People Laws Catching on Around the Country

Thu, 2018-01-04 14:32
Pro-Working People Laws Catching on Around the Country

While Congress and the White House refuse to act, momentum for paid family leave legislation at the state level is growing. 

As the new year begins, New York, Nevada and Washington state are implementing paid family leave laws, and Rhode Island will join them in July. Rhode Island will bring the total number of states with a paid family leave law to eight. 

NPR breaks down the legislation going into effect relating to paid family leave:

Washington on Monday became the seventh state—in addition to Washington, D.C.—to require employers to offer paid sick leave to their workers. Rhode Island is set to become the eighth to do so later this year, when its own law takes effect in July.

Meanwhile, New York has joined the small handful of states that require employers to provide paid family leave benefits. There, as NBC reports, employees will eventually be entitled to up to 12 weeks a year once the law takes full effect.

And in Nevada, employers are now required to offer up to 160 hours of leave per 12-month period to workers who have been—or whose family members have been—victims of domestic violence.

Similarly, states are taking proactive steps to help raise wages for working families. Across the country, 18 states and 20 local governments raised their minimum wage on Jan. 1. The following were included in the wave of states that increased their minimum wage: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont and Washington.

AFL-CIO Policy Director Damon Silvers explained the importance of raising the minimum wage:

It puts money in motion. We've seen the distribution of income and wealth skew very much to the top of the income scale. The fact is that rich people don't spend money the way that middle-class and poor people do, and that makes our economy weak. Raising the minimum wage puts more money in the hands of people who need to spend it.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 01/04/2018 - 13:32

A Year for Working People

Wed, 2018-01-03 12:34
A Year for Working People

Working people want equality, good jobs, smart public investments in infrastructure and education, and fair taxes to pay for it; and that’s what every aspiring political leader this year should put forward to gain our support.

At the AFL-CIO Convention this past fall, we made a blueprint for major changes in America’s economy.

We are committed to growing our unions, because the best way to win a better life is by negotiating with our employers for fair pay and benefits.

We are politically independent, which means we work for working people, not any political party. We will campaign on issues and fight to hold our elected leaders accountable.

Our focus is about creating a fair, equitable and good economy with respect for all people, regardless of whom we love, what we look like, what language we speak or where we were born.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 01/03/2018 - 11:34

John Yarmuth Makes Kentucky State AFL-CIO's First Website 'Wall of Fame'

Tue, 2018-01-02 11:56
John Yarmuth Makes Kentucky State AFL-CIO's First Website 'Wall of Fame' Kentucky State AFL-CIO

This guest post from Berry Craig originally appeared at the  Kentucky State AFL-CIO. The Kentucky legislative session begins today.

"Which Side Are You On?" is a grand old union song.

Billy Thompson, United Steelworkers (USW) District 8 director, came up with a Wall of Fame-Wall of Shame banner to show which side state senators and representatives were on when they voted on those union-busting bills last January.

We think the banner is a great idea. So we're starting a complementary Wall of Fame-Wall of Shame on our website.

We want to show our union brothers and sisters how Kentucky lawmakers in Frankfort and Washington are voting on bills important to organized labor. (We invite other state federations, central labor councils and union locals to start Walls of Fame and Shame for state and federal legislators in their neck of the woods. (Click here to check us out on The Union Edge: Labor's Talk Radio.)

First up is the Republican Robin-Hood-in-Reverse tax legislation.

Like most Americans, most union members oppose the legislation, which the AFL-CIO has called "a job-killing tax plan that makes working people pay the price for massive tax giveaways to millionaires and wealthy corporations."

Not surprisingly, Kentucky Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul and Reps. James Comer, Brett Guthrie, Thomas Massie, Hal Rogers and Andy Barr voted for the bill.

Again, Rep. John Yarmuth, the only Bluegras State Democrat in Congress, came through for us and voted against the bill.

So Yarmuth's name is the first to go up on our Wall of Fame. The GOP sextet is debuting on our Wall of Shame.

We're including a percentage that shows how often legislators back the president on bills. We think that's important information because when GOP lawmakers are back in Kentucky they often promise the home folks that they're not just Donald Trump rubber stamps. Evidence shows they are, more often than not.  

The evidence comes from "Tracking Congress In the Age of Trump: An updating tally of how often every member of the House and Senate votes with or against the president." Click here to see the House score and here for the Senate score.

WALL OF FAME (voting no on the tax bill)

Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville (17.5)

WALL OF SHAME (voting yes on the tax bill)

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Louisville (96.3)

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Bowling Green (84.6)

Rep. James Comer, R-Tompkinsville (94.7)

Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Bowling Green (98.2) 

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Vanceburg (71.9) 

Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Somerset (98.2)

Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington (94.7) 

"Reward your friends and punish your enemies," said union pioneer Samuel Gompers, the first and longest-serving president of the American Federation of Labor.

John Yarmuth is one of labor's best friends in Washington. McConnell, Paul, Comer, Guthrie, Massie, Rogers and Barr are about as anti-union as legislators get.

Paul introduced a national "right to work" law. The other six Kentucky Republicans are pro-right to work. All seven were gleeful when the Bluegrass State went right to work.

We hope our Wall of Fame-Wall of Shame will help Kentuckians who pack union cards remember, too, when the Matt Bevin-led, GOP-majority state legislature convenes in January to continue its holy war against unions and working people, and the GOP-majority Congress, egged on by Trump, stays its anti-union and anti-worker course. 

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 01/02/2018 - 10:56

Support Unions This Holiday Season

Thu, 2017-12-21 16:44
Support Unions This Holiday Season AFL-CIO

The following is a list of union things to do this holiday season.

Washington, D.C. 

By Jackie Jeter, president of the Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO, and Cherri Senders, president of Labor 411

Despite the challenges the labor movement has faced with recent policy changes imposed by the Trump administration, the spirit of organized labor burned brightly in 2017 in Washington, D.C. The Nation’s Capital scored a significant victory in July when the minimum wage was increased to $12.50 per hour.

As natives and visitors well know, D.C. and its surrounding communities exhibit some of the most scenic and exciting holiday attractions in the nation, from spectacular shows at local unionized entertainment venues to outdoor and natural displays. The 2017 holiday season offers a number of different options for all ages and price ranges through the end of December and into January. We thank our union brothers and sisters for all they do to make the holiday season so memorable and joyous.

"An American in Paris" at the Kennedy Center 
When: Now – Jan. 7, 2018
Where: 2700 F St., NW, Washington, DC 
What: Award-winning stage adaptation of the classic movie, featuring the music of George and Ira Gershwin, "An American in Paris" is a remarkable combination of classic music, a timeless story and riveting dance. 
Unions: AEA, IATSE, AFM 
More Info: Click here

National Christmas Tree in President's Park 
When: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (the Jefferson Building is closed Sundays and on Christmas). 
Where: 101 Independence Ave, SE, Washington DC, 20540. First Street, SE, entrance 
What: The National Christmas Tree is part of a three-week celebration of music and festivities in the nation’s capital. The beautiful spectacle is located in President’s Park near the White House. The walkway surrounding the National Christmas Tree features trees decorated with handmade ornaments from 56 U.S. States and territories. The tree is lit by 4:30 p.m. every day. 
More Info: Click here

Conservatory and Holiday Concert Series at United States Botanic Garden 
When: 10 a.m.–8 p.m.
Where: 100 Maryland Ave, SW, Washington, DC 20001
What: The conservatory is a beautiful display of a tropical paradise hosting one of the largest indoor decorated trees; it is home to an array of poinsettias and their plant cousins. 
Union: AFGE 
More Info: Click here

ZooLights at the National Zoo
When: Now – Jan. 1, 2018
Where: 3001 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20008
What: Join the thousands of visitors who make ZooLights a part of their annual holiday tradition. ZooLights includes live music performances, tasty winter treats and plenty of opportunities for holiday shopping. More than 500,000 environmentally friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland complete with a dazzling light show set to music.
Union: AFGE
More Info: Click here

ICE! at the Marriott's Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center 
When: Now – Jan. 4, 2018
Where: 201 Waterfront St., National Harbor, Maryland 20745
What: A signature holiday attraction is back with a new theme in 2017! Experience favorite scenes from "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" brought to life in this walk-through winter wonderland carved from more than 2 million pounds of ice.
More Info: Click here

Los Angeles 

By Rusty Hicks, executive secretary-treasurer, L.A. County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, and Cherri Senders, president, Labor 411

As we enter the holiday season and look back over the nearly concluded 2017, labor can take a lot of pride in what we have accomplished. Our ongoing fight for better wages, hours and benefits continues, and our committed LA union workers have joined their brothers and sisters in solidarity across a number of issues. We stood in opposition to President Trump’s executive orders involving immigration and the anticipated repeal of DACA. We participated in the Women’s and May Day Marches and helped defeat the disastrous anti-affordable housing bill, Measure S.

In addition, we graduated three cohorts from the Second Chance Pre-Apprenticeship Bootcamp, have seen workers at the Los Angeles Times take the next step toward forming a union, and welcomed the expansion of Build Your Dreams’ Lancaster factory, a move that will mean hundreds of more good union jobs for the city’s first union electric bus manufacturer. Whatever the season, we can count on L.A.’s unions to stay hawkish for positive change both throughout the city and nationally.

The holidays are always a joyous and festive time in Southern California. Our warm weather cools (at least a little), and both native Angelenos and visitors can look forward to a vast array of seasonal festivities. Whether your preference is live performance, theme parks, galleries or the outdoors, there are plenty of wonderful ways to usher in the holiday spirit, all while supporting good local jobs.

The following events are proudly staffed by union employees who are paid fair wages and treated ethically.

“A Christmas Carol” at A Noise Within
When: Now – Dec. 23
Where: 3352 Foothill Blvd., Pasadena
What: ANW’s delightfully festive, musically merry holiday tradition returns! Who doesn’t love the inspirational story of Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim and Scrooge?
Union: AEA
More Info: Click here 

Holiday Sing-Along at Walt Disney Concert Hall
When: Dec. 16–23
Where: 111 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles
What: The holidays will be awash with music at the glorious Disney Concert Hall, with concerts including a Holiday Sing-Along, the Grammy-winning 12-man chorus Chanticleer, a cappella sensations Naturally 7 and a sing-along screening of the beloved 1954 film classic “White Christmas.”
Union: IATSE
More Info: Click here 

“How the Princh Stole Christmas” at the El Portal Theatre
When: Dec. 21–31
Where: 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. 
What: The zany Troubadour Theater Co. pays tribute to the Purple One himself as they send up the music of Prince while mashing it with the story of Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Seuss’ detestably fiendish hero, the Grinch, gets a makeover he won’t soon forget, as he transforms from Green to Purple in this musical yuletide spoof. 
Unions: AFM, IATSE
More Info: Click here 

Holiday in the Park at Six Flags Magic Mountain
When: Now through Dec. 31
Where: 26101 Magic Mountain Parkway, Valencia
What: Six Flags Magic Mountain lights up the season. See the park transform into a magical winter wonderland with millions of twinkling lights, carolers, holiday entertainment and your favorite thrilling rides.
More Info: Click here


By Patrick Eiding, president, Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO, and Cherri Senders, president, Labor 411

As we approach the end of the year and take full advantage of the joyous holiday season, we can look back over the achievements of organized labor in our great city.

Philadelphia’s working people have won some landmark victories in 2017: after four years of bargaining, campaigning and fighting off management’s attempts to impose a contract, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers won a new collective bargaining agreement with the School District of Philadelphia, and as a bonus the School Reform Commission voted to dissolve itself, to be replaced by our own, local board of education. Adjunct instructors at Temple University won their first union contract, as did RNs at Hahneman, Einstein and St Christopher’s Hospital for Children. Unions in the building trades and the hospitality industry launched major pre-apprenticeship and training programs that will help young people in Philadelphia enter stable, skilled careers as union members.

December is the time to embrace all the wonder of winter. With the holidays upon us, the city becomes a wonderland where visitors and locals alike can enjoy all the season has to offer. Whether you are lacing up your ice skates for a glide in the Winter Waterfront, shopping at the Christmas Village in LOVE Park, enjoying a seasonal themed play or concert or taking in one of our world-famous museums, it’s so easy to choose an activity that (like the events listed below) also supports good jobs and a strong middle class. While keeping up the holiday spirit, please also support the ethical consumer movement by continuing to patronize employers who treat their workers fairly.

Happy Holidays!

The Pennsylvania Ballet presents "The Nutcracker" at the Academy of Music
When: Now–Dec. 31
Where: 240 South Broad St., Philadelphia 
What: The Philadelphia Ballet presents George Balanchine’s classic, complete with giant mice, dancing snowflakes, a growing Christmas tree and an enchanted nutcracker, all of which are sure to delight the inner child in everyone.
Union: IATSE
More Info: Click here

A Very Philly Christmas December Drop In at Fairmount Park
When: Now–Dec. 31
Where: Participating historic houses include Cedar Grove, Laurel Hill Mansion, Lemon Hill Mansion, Historic Strawberry Mansion and Woodford Mansion. All houses are located within East and West Fairmount Park in Philadelphia.
What: Drop in at the historic houses of Fairmount Park, which will be decked out for the holidays. Learn interesting facts about each house and enjoy at a comfortable, relaxed pace. 
More Info: Click here

Skate With Santa at Delaware River Waterfront
When: Now–Jan. 21, 2018
Where: 101 S. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia 
What: Lace up those skates and snap a portrait on ice with Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest’s Skating Santa. For a special photo on stable ground, you can plop down atop the giant Visit Philly chair for a photo that can feature the entire family.
Union: IATSE
More Info: Click here 

"It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play" at Walnut Street Theater
When: Now–Dec. 17
Where: 825 Walnut St., Philadelphia
What: The holiday classic comes to life as a radio play with five actors, including an imaginative sound-effects artist. Down on his luck George Bailey gets some help from an angel who helps him embrace the spirit of the season. 
Unions: IATSE, AEA
More Info: Click here

Holiday Garden Railway at the Morris Arboretum
When: Now–Dec. 31
Where: 100 E. Northwestern Ave., Philadelphia
What: Amid the evergreens at the beautiful Morris Arboretum, the popular Holiday Garden Railway showcases a miniature winter wonderland complete with a quarter-mile of model-train track, seven loops and tunnels, 15 rail lines, and model trains that cruise past scaled replicas of historic monuments and Philadelphia landmarks all adorned with thousands of twinkling lights. Friday Night Lights provide evening viewings on select nights.
More Info: Click here

San Francisco

By Tim Paulson, executive director, San Francisco Labor Council, and Cherri Senders, president, Labor 411

As 2017 draws to a close, it’s important to take some time to celebrate the season and enjoy the true magic of the Bay Area. We have handpicked some union-staffed holiday events that will keep your family and friends smiling and in the joyous spirit of the season. Best of all, your patronage of these events is helping to support good jobs. We hope you will enjoy these events, which  bring people together from all over the Bay Area to celebrate the holidays and the splendor of our region.

Happy Holidays!

American Conservatory Theater — "A Christmas Carol" at the Geary Theatre
When: Now–Dec. 24 
Where: 415 Geary St., San Francisco 
What: Featuring a lively cast of dozens, gorgeous costumes and spooky ghosts, the Bay Area's favorite holiday tradition returns with a sparkling, music-infused production of the Charles Dickens classic.
Union: AEA
More Info: Click here

ZooLights and Reindeer Romp at San Francisco Zoo & Gardens 
When: ZooLights: Dec. 15–30, Reindeer Romp: Now–Jan. 1, 2018
Where: Sloat Boulevard at Great Highway
What: See the Zoo in a whole new light! ZooLights 2017 takes you on a magical trip with Santa Claus, reindeer and seasonal delights. Santa is sending his favorite reindeer Belle, Holly and Peppermint to spread holiday cheer. Learn what they eat and see what they look like up close and on the ground.
More info about ZooLights: Click here. More info about Reindeer Romp: Click here.

Holiday in the Park at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom 
When: Now–Jan. 7, 2018
Where: 1001 Fairgrounds Drive SW, Vallejo 
What: Enjoy a breathtaking winter wonderland featuring a variety of delightful and interactive activities to help capture the holiday spirit.
Union: IAM
More Info: Click here

San Francisco Symphony Holiday Performances at Davies Symphony Hall
When: Now–Dec. 31
Where: 201 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco
What: Multiple holiday performances including Cirque de la Symphonie, A Merry-Achi Christmas, Handel’s Messiah, Home Alone with Live Orchestra
More Info: Click here

San Francisco Ballet presents "The Nutcracker" at War Memorial Opera House
When: Dec. 13–30
Where: 301 Van Ness Ave. (in the Civic Center), San Francisco 
What: The music soars, snowflakes swirl, flowers dance and a little girl dreams about a whole new world in a "Nutcracker" that is as unique as it is magical. 
More Info: Click here

New York

By the staff at Labor 411

There’s no place like the Big Apple for the union holiday season! Whether you’re enjoying a classic seasonal ballet, taking in a Broadway show, kicking it up with the Rockettes or being dazzled by the lights, you will find no shortage of fabulous entertainment for all ages and price ranges. As you enjoy these seasonal favorites, be sure to send a round of holiday thanks to the union brothers and sisters who helped make it all possible. Celebrate Union Style!

Happy Holidays!

Rockefeller Christmas Tree
When: Now–Jan. 7, 2018 
Where: 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York City  
What: Every Christmas, thousands of New Yorkers and tourists alike travel to the brilliant nexus of town: the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. This year’s version will be the best one yet, so whether you’re stopping by for the ice skating or to enjoy the famously lit tree, you will certainly feel the magic when you witness the wonder of the 78-foot, 10-ton Norway Spruce illuminated by more than 45,000 LED lights.
More Info: Click here

Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall
When: Now–Dec. 31 
Where: 1260 Avenue of the Americas, New York City    
What: The iconic show has undergone a complete technological overhaul for 2017 and the entire production has been enhanced with updated technology, including a brand-new 8K LED wall and digital projections that will extend to all eight of Radio City Music Hall’s iconic proscenium arches. Audiences will feel like they are part of the show. 
More Info: Click here

Holiday Train Show at New York Botanical Garden 
When: Now–Jan. 15, 2018 
Where: 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx    
What: This year’s exhibition showcases Midtown Manhattan’s iconic skyscrapers and other architectural wonders, including new replicas of the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, General Electric Building and St. Bartholomew’s Church. 
More Info: Click here 

The New York City Ballet presents "The Nutcracker" at Lincoln Center 
When: Now–Dec. 31 
Where: 20 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York City     
What: As the clock chimes midnight, a brave young girl turns the tide in a battle between toy soldiers and mischievous mice, and a blizzard of ballerinas reveals a wonderful world of confection. 
More Info: Click here 

"SpongeBob SquarePants" at the Palace Theatre 
When: Now 
Where: 1564 Broadway, New York City      
What: The Undersea community comes to life in this musical adaptation of the beloved Nickelodeon cartoon series. 
More Info: Click here 

Tim Schlittner Thu, 12/21/2017 - 15:44

Seven Reasons Why The Republican Tax Bill is Bad For Working People

Mon, 2017-12-18 14:24
Seven Reasons Why The Republican Tax Bill is Bad For Working People AFL-CIO

Republicans in Congress have reached agreement on a job-killing tax plan that makes working people pay the price for massive tax giveaways to millionaires and wealthy corporations

Here are the main reasons the legislation is bad for working people:

  1. Rigging the rules. Big banks, hedge funds and other Wall Street firms are the biggest winners from this tax bill. The richest 1% of households would receive 83% of tax cuts, and the richest 0.1% would get an average tax cut of more than $148,000. The tax bill is full of complex tax gimmicks that would encourage tax dodging while enriching lawyers and accountants.
  2. Job-killing tax breaks for outsourcing. The Republican tax plan would lower the U.S. tax rate on offshore profits to zero, giving corporations an incentive to move American jobs offshore.
  3. Medicaid and Medicare benefit cuts. Republican leaders in Congress already have signaled that once they’re done increasing the deficit with their wasteful tax boondoggle, they plan to use the deficit as an excuse to cut Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. The Republican budget already would cut Medicaid and Medicare by $1.5 trillion—the same price tag as the tax bill.
  4. Tax increases for millions of working people. The average household making less than $75,000 would pay more in taxes by the year 2027. In all, 70 million households making less than $100,000 eventually would pay more.
  5. Partial repeal of the Affordable Care Act. By partially repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the tax bill would mean health care premiums in the individual market would rise by 10%, 13 million people would lose health insurance, and as many as 15,000 or more people would die every year.
  6. Cuts to public education. By limiting the state and local tax (SALT) deduction, the Republican tax bill would reduce state and local funding for education, infrastructure and other essential public services we all depend on. A new backdoor school voucher program would give tax breaks for tuition at private K–12 schools. Republican leaders in Congress also plan to use the deficit they created as an excuse to cut federal funding for education and other essential services.
  7. Taking sides. While corporations still could deduct their payments to lawyers to fight unions, working people no longer could deduct union dues or such work-related expenses as travel, work clothes, work-related education, work tools or work supplies.
Tim Schlittner Mon, 12/18/2017 - 13:24

AFL-CIO Joins CWA Call for $4,000 Wage Increase for Working People

Tue, 2017-12-12 15:10
AFL-CIO Joins CWA Call for $4,000 Wage Increase for Working People CWA

The Donald Trump administration repeatedly has claimed that its tax bill would result in a $4,000 wage increase for working people. Today, the AFL-CIO has joined a campaign by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) to demand corporations guarantee this raise in writing. The labor federation is rallying the power of its 12.5 million members and the entire union movement to support this campaign in every industry.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said:

CWA has inspired an innovative movement to demand working people get our fair share and expose the scam that is the Republican tax bill. Working people have heard the same old lies about the benefits of economic policies written by and for greedy corporations for too long. This campaign is about holding corporations and politicians accountable to their claims and getting a much-needed raise for America’s workers.

On Nov. 20, CWA sent a letter to its major employers, including AT&T, Verizon, General Electric Co., American Airlines and NBC Universal, calling on them to commit to that raise in writing. In joining the CWA’s efforts, the AFL-CIO is encouraging all unions from all sectors to join in by reaching out to their employers and encouraging all working people to sign a petition that puts employers on notice that they will be held accountable if the Republican tax bill becomes law. 

In a powerful op-ed, CWA President Christopher Shelton laid out how the Republican tax scam would hurt working people and increase the deficit by more than $1 trillion:

Republicans are on the brink of passing a massive tax overhaul, and it’s looking like the biggest con of the Trump era so far. And that’s saying a lot.

The legislation being jammed through by the House and Senate Republicans is a tax giveaway to corporations and the richest 1 percent, paid for by working and middle-income families.

Across the board, working people will be hurt by this plan, whether by the new incentives to corporations to send U.S. jobs overseas, the loss of the medical expense deduction, new taxes imposed on education benefits, the inability to deduct interest on student loans, the loss of state and local tax deductions, or the forced budget cuts to Medicare, transportation, health care and other critical programs.

Despite the double-talk from Republicans anxious to sell this plan, it’s not hard to figure out who Republicans really want to help. Why else would tax cuts for corporations and tax changes that benefit the wealthiest Americans—like the estate tax—be permanent, while individual tax cuts for middle-income families are only temporary?...

Working people know better than to believe the boss’ promises unless they are in writing. That’s why my union has asked some of our biggest employers to sign an agreement that says if the tax plan passes, working people will get their $4,000.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 12/12/2017 - 14:10

Union-Made Holiday Gift Ideas

Tue, 2017-12-12 14:10
Union-Made Holiday Gift Ideas AFL-CIO

It's not too late yet to find that perfect holiday gift that carries a union label. Below is a wide range of gift possibilities, from clothes to games to sports equipment and more, made by union-members across the country.

This list is compiled from Union Plus, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor's resource site, Labor 411, the AFL-CIO Union Label and Service Trades Department (UL&STD) and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) website. Check them out for even more gift ideas.

Apparel and Accessories
  • Carhartt
  • Filson clothes and bags
  • Garnier Fructis hair care products
  • Joseph Abboud
  • Nunn Bush shoes
  • Phillips-Van Heusen
  • Red Wing Shoes
  • Winston Leather
  • Wolverine boots
  • More clothing and apparel
Games and Toys
  • Boggle
  • Candy Land
  • Clue
  • Connect Four
  • Cranium
  • Easy-Bake
  • The Game of Life
  • G.I. Joe
  • Heroscape
  • Marvel & Disney toys and games made by Hasbro
  • Memory
  • Mousetrap
  • Mr. Potato Head
  • My Little Pony
  • Operation
  • Play-Doh
  • Rubik's
  • Sorry
  • Strawberry Shortcake
  • Tinkertoy
  • Tonka
  • Transformers
  • Trivial Pursuit
  • Twister
  • Weebles
  • Yahtzee
  • Check out other games and more toys
Sports Equipment
  • American Athletic gym equipment
  • Bell Sports
  • Ebonite Bowling Balls
  • Louisville Slugger
  • Remington Arms
  • Standard Golf Company
  • Wilson Sporting Goods
  • Other sports equipment
  • Armstrong
  • Black & Decker Tools
  • Channellock
  • Craftsman
  • Cutco knives
  • Klein Tools
  • Ridgid
  • SnapOn Tools
  • Stanley Hand Tools
  • Union Tools
  • Warwood
  • More tools
Stocking Stuffers
  • Rayovac batteries
  • Bic lighters
  • Allan Traditional Candy Canes and other candies
  • Boyer Mallo cups and other candies
  • Brown & Haley holiday gift boxes, baskets, tins and packages
  • Dare Foods Limited variety of gums, jellies, hard candy and gift tubs
  • Frankford Candy & Chocolate holiday candy toys, gift baskets, tins boxes and packs
  • Ghirardelli chocolates
  • Hershey chocolates
  • Jelly Belly
  • Jordan Almonds
  • Laffy Taffy
  • Linette Quality Chocolates
  • Nestle chocolates
  • Pearson’s Candy Company
  • Sconza Candy Company
  • See’s Candies
  • Other union-made snacks
Wine and Spirits
  • Andre champagne
  • Arbor Mist
  • C.K. Mondavi
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle
  • Cook's champagne
  • Gallo Estate wines
  • Gallo of Sonoma
  • St. Supery
  • Tott's champagne
  • Turning Leaf
  • More wine and spirits
  • Bass Pale Ale
  • Beck's
  • Blue Moon
  • Budweiser
  • Busch
  • Killian's
  • Kirin
  • Labatt Blue
  • Land Shark Lager
  • Michelob
  • Mickey's
  • Miller
  • Molson Canadian
  • O'Doul's
  • Olde English 800
  • Pabst
  • Red Stripe
  • Rolling Rock
  • Sam Adams
  • Schlitz
  • ShockTop
  • More union-made beer
If You’re in the ‘Big Spender’ Category

Check out many other gift ideas from by the Fire Fighters (IAFF).

Finally, if you are traveling and stay in a hotel, make sure it is a fair hotel!

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 12/12/2017 - 13:10

Call Congress on Wednesday to Push NAFTA Talks in a Better Direction

Tue, 2017-12-12 12:19
Call Congress on Wednesday to Push NAFTA Talks in a Better Direction AFL-CIO

Talks that could reform U.S. trade policy that has been driving down wages and rigging our economy for nearly 25 years continue in Washington, D.C., during the week of Dec. 11-16. 

These talks are critical because they could reshape the rules of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is called a “trade deal” but is really little more than a set of rules that promote outsourcing and give global corporations more rights under the law than ordinary families.

Join our national call-in day on Dec. 13 to tell Congress that the new NAFTA must ensure working people in the United States, Canada and Mexico the right to join together and negotiate for better wages and working conditions or the rest of the talks won’t make a difference. Dial 855-856-7545 to call.

The insidious thing about NAFTA is that unlike run-of-the-mill bad laws, it can’t be fixed by a simple vote of Congress. It takes the agreement of three countries to change it: the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Global companies that profit from NAFTA by polluting the environment and denying working people the freedom to join together to negotiate for better wages and working conditions love “trade deals” like NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership because they are hard to fix. This means that profits for these companies keep mounting, even as they deny working people raises, reduce health benefits and close entire workplaces to take jobs to countries where they can exploit workers even worse than they can here.

While some good ideas have been suggested in the NAFTA talks (including Canada’s labor proposal and the U.S. proposal to limit investor-state dispute settlement), there are other proposals that would rig our economy even further by empowering Wall Street banks and big pharmaceutical companies at our expense.

Most importantly, these talks have not prioritized fixing the deplorable labor system in Mexico, in which abusive employers conspire with “protection unions” to keep wages and benefits down while the government looks the other way. If this abusive system can’t be dismantled, ordinary working families will continue to be denied rights in Mexico, which will continue to result in job losses and lower wages in the U.S. and Canada.

You can help push these talks in the right direction!

Call 855-856-7545 on Dec. 13, when a nationwide coalition of labor, environmental, consumer, faith and farm groups are holding a #ReplaceNAFTA call-in day to demand that NAFTA renegotiations include labor, environmental and climate provisions with swift and certain enforcement.

​If you miss the call-in day, you can still join the fight by texting TRADE to 235246.  ​

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 12/12/2017 - 11:19


Union Members Winning Elections Coast to Coast

Fri, 2017-12-08 14:10
Union Members Winning Elections Coast to Coast Union Members winning elections

This week, working family advocates won electoral victories from coast to coast, with Dahlia Vertreese winning election as mayor of Hillside, New Jersey, and Myrtle Cole being re-elected as president of the San Diego City Council.

These victories are part of a larger trend, where a strong independent union movement provides the support and expertise to help ensure that when working people run for office, working people win.

Strong independent union movements at the state and local level have been growing for years, and now the impact is being felt at a national level as we define a pro-worker agenda committed to the issues that matter most to working people everywhere.

Working people win when working people run. The New Jersey State AFL-CIO’s record says it all. A total of 965 union members have won office in that state’s program, with an annual win ratio of more than 70%.

Successful local candidate programs have gone national. America’s largest federation of labor unions passed a powerful national resolution on political independence, by promising to train and campaign for union members to win public office.

The goal is simple: to win better lives for working people in every corner of this great nation by putting working people in leadership roles.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 12/08/2017 - 13:10

Labor Department Proposes Legalizing Wage Theft

Fri, 2017-12-08 13:49
Labor Department Proposes Legalizing Wage Theft

Too many restaurant owners already break the law by stealing tips from their servers. Now the Department of Labor wants to give its blessing to this kind of wage theft.

The Labor Department is moving quickly to establish a new rule that would make tips the property of restaurant owners instead of workers.

This week, President Donald Trump's administration proposed getting rid of an existing rule that makes tips the property of servers that restaurant owners cannot take away.

Under the new proposal, restaurant owners who pay their employees as little as $7.25 per hour could do whatever they want with tips left by customers for waitstaff. Restaurant owners could even keep the tips for themselves.

The federal minimum cash wage for tipped workers—at just $2.13 per hour—is already lower than for other workers. This low subminimum wage means that tipped workers depend on tips for virtually all their take-home pay after taxes, so they receive their take-home pay directly from customers. Not surprisingly, tipped workers have higher rates of poverty, discrimination and sexual harassment. Undocumented and immigrant workers in the restaurant industry are particularly vulnerable to wage theft.

The administration’s proposal would take money out of the pockets of some of the lowest-paid workers in our country and hand it over to restaurant owners, many of them big corporations.

Does that sound familiar? This is the same kind of reverse Robin Hood scheme as the disgraceful tax bill now making its way through Congress.

We cannot let them get away with this. The administration is trying to sneak this change through without hearing from workers, customers or even employers who disagree at a time of year when tipped workers are the busiest. The deadline for comments on this proposal is Jan. 4, 2018.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 12/08/2017 - 12:49

President of IBEW Local 1253 Joins Sit-In to Fight ‘Dead-Wrong’ Tax Bill

Fri, 2017-12-08 12:50
President of IBEW Local 1253 Joins Sit-In to Fight ‘Dead-Wrong’ Tax Bill IBEW

Outraged by the GOP’s tax bill, a local Electrical Workers (IBEW) president was among five protesters who staged a sit-in and ultimately were arrested Monday at Sen. Susan Collins’ (R) office in Bangor, Maine.

"This bill gives massive tax cuts to the rich on the backs of working people. It was written by the rich and powerful for the rich and powerful," said Nick Paquet, an electrician in his second term as president of IBEW Local 1253 in Augusta, Maine. "Sen. Collins knows right from wrong, and this bill is dead wrong for Maine."

Collins has bucked the GOP party line on occasion, and Paquet thought she might do it again. As a father of four children ages nine to 19, he certainly hoped so. "To be honest, I really thought she wouldn’t vote for it, especially because of who she represents. We’re not well-to-do," he said. "We’re a very scrappy part of Maine up here, and good-paying jobs are hard to come by."

Instead, Collins joined all but one Republican in voting for the bill, which passed 51-49 in the early hours of Dec. 2. The legislation has to survive a second vote once it emerges from a House–Senate conference committee.

If Collins and at least one other GOP senator can be persuaded to change their minds, the bill would die. Paquet urged union families to "call, aggressively call" their senators to demand they oppose it. "You don’t have to do a sit-in like we did, but we really hope we inspire other union households to get involved."

A nonpartisan economic analysis predicts the national debt will soar by $1.5 trillion under the bill, which hands hundreds of billions of dollars to corporations and the rich. Meanwhile, it ends or nullifies major deductions for low-income and middle-class Americans, including medical expenses, home mortgage interest, student loan debt and union dues. An estimated 13 million people would lose health care and—contrary to GOP talking points—the bill would destroy, not create, jobs due to tax breaks that give companies incentive to move Americans’ jobs to other countries. At home, the bill would have crippling effects on federal money for infrastructure, costing many workers their livelihoods.

The Economic Policy Institute called the bill "a scam through and through," warning that in addition to its immediate consequences, "the deficits it will leave in its wake will be used to attack Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid."

Motivated by all of that, Paquet arrived at Collins’ office around 3 p.m. Monday with a nurse, a veteran [with disabilities], a retiree and an AFL-CIO mobilizer. They asked to talk to Collins by phone—she was in Washington, D.C.—but had to settle for an hour’s discussion with a staffer. Police arrested them peacefully several hours later when they refused orders to leave. They were quickly processed in and out of the county jail on criminal trespass charges. They have a Jan. 17 court date.

What upsets Paquet as much as the bill’s content is that Republican leaders wrote it in secret without public hearings or Democratic input, then pushed it through the Senate at warp speed. He doubts Collins and most other senators have read the bill’s 479 pages, let alone fully understood it before voting.

"Why this big rush?" Paquet said. "Our voices aren’t being heard—state level, federal, they really forget who they’re working for. They were elected to serve their constituents, just like I was elected to serve my members."

This post originally appeared at IBEW.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 12/08/2017 - 11:50

A Roving Ambassador for Peace: The Working People Weekly List

Fri, 2017-12-08 12:31
A Roving Ambassador for Peace: The Working People Weekly List AFL-CIO

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

Labor Leader Tefere Gebre Awarded Peace Prize: "Tefere Gebre, a stalwart of the cause of organized labor, was given a 'Roving Ambassador for Peace' award in a ceremony, near Capitol Hill on Tuesday. Gebre, a native of Ethiopia, is an Executive Vice-President of the AFL-CIO. According to the program notes, he became in 2013, the 'first immigrant, political refugee, black man and local labor council leader elected as a national officer of the AFL-CIO.'"

JPMorgan and AFL-CIO CEOs: Finding a Job Is Still Too Hard. Here’s How We Can Fix That: "By the end of the year, it is estimated that almost 2 million new jobs will have been created in 2017. While that is certainly good news for the economy, we need strategies in place to ensure that this economic growth benefits all working families. Our country should be a land of opportunity for anyone willing to work hard to realize their dreams, regardless of their background."

Ending Temporary Protection for Foreign Workers Could Hurt U.S. Rebuilding Efforts: "The Trump administration has been eliminating some protections that allow more than 300,000 people to live and work in the U.S. under what is known as temporary protected status. Many could face deportation when their status expires."

Bank Deregulation Bill Will Leave Taxpayers Holding the Bag: "These days, it’s hard to keep straight all of Congress’ efforts to build plutocracy—the further consolidation of the power of the richest Americans at the expense of the rest of us.  With the Senate passing a multi-trillion dollar job-killing giveaway of our tax dollars to the people and companies who need it least, you might have missed the bill moving through the Senate to deregulate Wall Street and consumer finance."

Guest Worker Bill Will Put Hundreds of Thousands of Americans Out of Work: "When the Carrier Corporation announced it would be closing its furnace factory in Indianapolis, a decision that would have destroyed close to 1,000 middle class jobs in the U.S., there was widespread outrage from political leaders from both parties. But when the House Judiciary Committee narrowly passed H.R. 4092 — the Agricultural Guestworker Act this fall, a bill that would flood the meat processing and agricultural sectors with hundreds of thousands of untrained visa holders — there was mostly silence on both sides of the aisle."

CBO: Senate Tax Bill Increases Deficit by $1.4 Trillion: "The Senate GOP tax plan will increase the deficit by more than $1.4 trillion over a decade, according to a new analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)."

Credential Engine to Bridge Gap Between Skilled Workers and Companies That Need Them: "In a new op-ed for Fortune, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon announce a project designed to bring together highly skilled, credentialed working people with companies that need their specific skills."

U.S. Government Turns Its Back on Migrant Rights—Again: "Last weekend, the U.S. government announced that it would pull out of negotiations on the U.N. Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration ("Global Compact"). This decision abdicates U.S. leadership on a critical human rights issue and further weakens our position on the global stage. It also enables the Donald Trump administration to continue to advance an agenda that criminalizes migrant workers in our country and turns away people fleeing violence and persecution."

Here Come the Republican Benefit Cuts: "First, they run up the deficit with massive tax giveaways for millionaires and Wall Street; then they use the deficit as an excuse to cut benefits for working people."

Why You Should Care About the Federal Reserve: "The Federal Reserve Board makes key decisions about our economy and our financial system. It sets short-term interest rates and regulates the big banks."

Working People Arrested for Attempting to Hold Sen. Susan Collins Accountable for Anti-Worker Tax Vote: "On Monday, five working people were arrested in Bangor, Maine, after they refused to leave Sen. Susan Collins' office until she committed to opposing the horrible tax legislation passed by the Senate last week."

Congress Can Restore Service Members’ and Veterans’ Rights: "In October, in a 50-50 tie vote broken by Vice President Mike Pence, Congress passed a resolution that stripped service members and veterans of their right to band together in court when companies violate the law and harm thousands or millions of people. Congress has a chance to right that wrong this week. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s arbitration rule repealed by Congress would have stopped Wall Street banks, giant credit bureaus like Equifax and predatory lenders from putting fine print clauses in their contracts that strip people of their right to join together in court."

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 12/08/2017 - 11:31

The Economy Gains 228,000 Jobs in November, and Unemployment Unchanged at 4.1%

Fri, 2017-12-08 11:43
The Economy Gains 228,000 Jobs in November, and Unemployment Unchanged at 4.1%

The U.S. economy gained 228,000 jobs in November, and unemployment was unchanged at 4.1%, 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 Federal Open Market Committee should continue to let the economy grow and not raise interest rates.

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

So far this year, employment growth has averaged 174,000 a month compared to 187,000 last year. @AFLCIO #jobsreport

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) December 8, 2017


Continued attacks on health care access, like in the tax bill, have created uncertainty slowing growth in employment in health care. Growth has slowed to 24,000 a month this year from 32,000 a month last year. @AFLCIO #JobsReport

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) December 8, 2017


Wage growth continues to be moderate. Over the year, wages were up 2.5%. Combined with slowing average monthly job growth and uncertainty in health care from the tax bill; the @federalreserve needs to be slow on interest rate changes now. @AFLCIO #JobsReport

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) December 8, 2017


Convergence of Black employment-to-population ratio to overall employment rate that began back in 2011 is slowing. Overall employment-to-population ratio is still slow to recover. @AFLCIO @rolandsmartin @AprilDRyan @LVBurke #JobsReport

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) December 8, 2017


The broadest measure of unemployment (including part time but seeking full time and discouraged workers) is at 8.0% from 7.9% last month. So, labor market improvement stalls by broadest measures. @AFLCIO #JobsReport

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) December 8, 2017


2017 is on course to be the weakest average monthly job gain since 2012 and look at who agrees this is true. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) December 8, 2017

Last month's biggest job gains were in professional and business services (46,000), manufacturing (31,000), health care (30,000) and specialty trade construction contractors (23,000). Employment in other major industries, including mining, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government, changed little over the month.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for teenagers (15.9%) increased in November. The jobless rates for blacks (7.3%), Hispanics (4.7%), adult men (3.7%), adult women (3.7%), whites (3.6%) and Asians (3.0%) showed little change.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed in November, and accounted for 23.8% of the unemployed.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 12/08/2017 - 10:43

Department for Professional Employees Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Thu, 2017-12-07 15:46
Department for Professional Employees Celebrates 40th Anniversary

On Dec. 7, 2017, the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO, (DPE) celebrates its 40th anniversary.

In honor of DPE’s 40th year, we reflect on the growth of professional union members and recognize DPE’s affiliate unions. Since DPE’s founding, professional union members have grown from 18% to 42% of the labor movement. Today, more than 6 million professionals—including doctors, nurses, teachers, professors, scientists, engineers, entertainers, performers, sales representatives and administrative personnel—have joined together in union to negotiate for better pay, benefits and working conditions.

Here’s a message from DPE President Paul E. Almeida marking the occasion:

Earlier this year, the AFL-CIO 2017 Convention recognized the dramatic growth of professionals in unions and professionals’ role in the future of the labor movement when the delegates adopted Resolution 36—Celebrating DPE: 40 Years of Growing Professional Union Membership.

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler congratulated DPE:

.@AFLCIO Secretary-Treasurer @lizshuler says happy birthday to DPE! Thanks Secretary-Treasurer Shuler! #40YearsofDPE #1u

— DPE (@DPEaflcio) December 7, 2017

Portions of this post originally appeared at DPE.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 12/07/2017 - 14:46

Credential Engine to Bridge Gap Between Skilled Workers and Companies That Need Them

Thu, 2017-12-07 14:44
Credential Engine to Bridge Gap Between Skilled Workers and Companies That Need Them

In a new op-ed for Fortune, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon announce a project designed to bring together highly skilled, credentialed working people with companies that need their specific skills.

An excerpt from the op-ed:

Getting people into available, good-paying jobs remains a challenge. It is more confusing than ever to understand what training, education, and experience in the form of apprenticeships, certificates, college degrees, or licenses are valued in today’s dynamic and changing economy. It is critical for job seekers and employers to understand what credentials are necessary to get a good job and which will be the most helpful in advancing their career.

In fact, there has been no single registry to house the estimated 250,000 credentials available in the U.S. today. There has been no search engine for human resource departments, job seekers, or curriculum planners to easily sort, assess, update, and better understand the skills and competencies needed to fill the 5.5 million open jobs that are reported to be available today....

The good news is that a promising solution is on the horizon. It’s a database called Credential Engine, which like websites that use algorithms to compare flights and the cost of hotel rooms, allows job seekers, employers, and educators to easily search, aggregate, and compare employment credentials.

This open-source tool will make it easier for industries such as health care, which is expected to grow 18% by 2026, adding about 2.3 million jobs in the process, to easily lay out the education and training credentials required to train, recruit, and hire staff. People searching for jobs or educational programs can visit the site and compare options....

Helping every American share in our economic growth requires close collaboration and partnership between business and labor. This goal is within reach if we can utilize technology to build the tools and provide resources that offer a clear pathway for job seekers to secure the skills that today’s growing industries need.

By cutting through the confusion and working together, we can pioneer better ways to make our economy work for everyone.

Read the full op-ed.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 12/07/2017 - 13:44

U.S. Government Turns Its Back on Migrant Rights—Again

Thu, 2017-12-07 14:41
U.S. Government Turns Its Back on Migrant Rights—Again AFL-CIO

Last weekend, the U.S. government announced that it would pull out of negotiations on the U.N. Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration ("Global Compact"). This decision abdicates U.S. leadership on a critical human rights issue and further weakens our position on the global stage. It also enables the Donald Trump administration to continue to advance an agenda that criminalizes migrant workers in our country and turns away people fleeing violence and persecution.

There is an urgent need for a rights-based coordination of migration governance, and unions have been actively advocating for such an approach. Mass human displacement is on the rise due to conflicts, climate change and lack of economic opportunity. In the past two decades, more than 60,000 adults and children have died on migration routes as more and more people undertake dangerous journeys in search of a better life. In 2016 alone, at least 5,000 people drowned in the Mediterranean Sea trying to reach Europe and we have seen a 17% increase in recorded deaths along the U.S.-Mexico border in 2017. Those that make it to their destination are too often subject to exploitation, criminalization and discrimination. The stakes could not be higher.

The U.N. Compact is an opportunity for governments to build coherent migration policies that promote shared prosperity and protect workers' rights. Many migrant workers, particularly those who lack regular status, are subjected to wage theft, unsafe working conditions, harassment and abuse on the job. This is often enabled by domestic laws that exclude migrant workers from critical protections and criminalize those who come forward, making workers unlikely to report abuse. Some two-thirds of the world’s 244 million migrants are working, and like all working people, they should be allowed to work with dignity. Ensuring that migrants can exercise labor rights also benefits all workers by preventing employers from treating them as an exploitable underclass.

The Trump administration has pursued a domestic policy on migration that is discriminatory and cruel. From the ban on migration from predominantly Muslim countries and stripping Temporary Protected Status from workers who have been in the country for decades to raiding worksites and communities, the administration has rolled out policies and practices that violate fundamental human rights. In that context, it is unsurprising that the U.S. government has ceased working with the international community to ensure the safety of migrants and their families.

As the Global Compact process continues, we hope other countries will fill the void in leadership left by the United States. We urge them to use the labor demands document of the global unions as a guide. For our part, the AFL-CIO will continue to advocate for a rights-based approach to migration policy at the global level and promote immigration reforms at home that will help ensure safer workplaces, build a stronger economic future for our nation, and support the basic rights and dignity of all working people.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 12/07/2017 - 13:41

Here Come the Republican Benefit Cuts

Thu, 2017-12-07 13:24
Here Come the Republican Benefit Cuts

First, they run up the deficit with massive tax giveaways for millionaires and Wall Street; then they use the deficit as an excuse to cut benefits for working people.

This is what the Republican tax scam is all about. Anybody who’s been paying attention should have seen this coming a mile away. The only surprising thing is that they’re not even waiting for their tax bill to run up the deficit before they start demanding benefit cuts.

Last month, House Republican Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) announced, "Congress will turn next year to spending cuts to try to lower the deficit…that’s the second step after cutting taxes."

Yesterday Ryan said, "We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit." Just to be clear, by "entitlement reform," Ryan means cutting Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

Why would Ryan want to cut health benefits? Yesterday he claimed that, "Frankly, it’s the health care entitlements that are the big drivers of our debt” and “that’s where the problem lies, fiscally speaking."

Well, gee, if you’re so concerned about the debt, maybe you shouldn’t be trying to ram through Congress a wasteful tax boondoggle that has an official price tag of nearly $1.5 trillion, but that will surely cost a lot more than that because it’s so chock full of budgeting gimmicks.

Other Republican leaders have joined the call for benefit cuts. Earlier this week, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said, "You’ve got to look at entitlements."

Last week, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said, "You also have to bring spending under control….The driver of our debt is the structure of Social Security and Medicare for future beneficiaries."

One group of Republicans in the House–the Republican Study Committee–is pushing a set of proposals to cut $1 trillion from entitlement programs.

Last week, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) was pointing to the deficit as an excuse for letting children’s health benefits expire. The Children's Health Insurance Program provides health care for 9 million children, and its funding lapsed two months ago. Hatch explained that "the reason CHIP’s having trouble is because we don’t have money anymore."

"We don’t have money anymore?" Again, if Republicans really thought this were true, why would they be wasting $1.5 trillion on tax giveaways for millionaires and Wall Street? Why would they be wasting $151 billion on estate tax cuts for the wealthiest 0.2% of heirs in the country?

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) explained why Republicans are so intent on giving tax breaks to the wealthiest heirs: "I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it's on booze, or women, or movies."

In other words, working-class people are good-for-nothings who waste all their money, while Paris Hilton is powering the economy forward with her investments in miniature dog palaces.

Last week, Hatch showed this same kind of contempt for working people. He said, "I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won't help themselves, won't lift a finger, and expect the federal government to do everything."

The Republican leadership seems to have a double standard when it comes to deficits. Deficits are no big deal when it comes to giving a $1.5 trillion Christmas present to their millionaire friends on Wall Street. Yet deficits are an urgent national emergency when it comes to things that matter to working people—like Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, education and infrastructure.

This double standard is at the core of the Republican tax scam that dings working people while rewarding people at the very top who don’t need any more tax breaks. The Republican plan is to give millionaires and Wall Street massive tax breaks and make the rest of us pay the price in the form of outsourced jobs, Medicare cuts, Medicaid cuts, education cuts, infrastructure cuts, higher taxes on middle-class families, higher health insurance premiums, more people without health insurance and more people dying because they lack health insurance.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 12/07/2017 - 12:24

Why You Should Care About the Federal Reserve

Wed, 2017-12-06 14:16
Why You Should Care About the Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve Board makes key decisions about our economy and our financial system. It sets short-term interest rates and regulates the big banks.

For the past four years, it has been led by its first woman chair, Janet Yellen. Under Yellen’s leadership, the Fed has been focused on putting people to work—on full employment—in a way we haven’t seen in decades. This is why we have seen steady job growth over this period.

But President Donald Trump chose not to reappoint Yellen. The man he did nominate, Jerome Powell, comes from Wall Street, but he has worked with Yellen on the Fed. More appointments are on the way because of several vacancies on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors.

If not done right, this changing of the guard at the Fed poses a real threat to working people. If these vacancies are filled with the wrong people, monetary policy could turn hostile to jobs and the deregulation of the big banks could lead to investment capital moving away from Main Street and back to Wall Street speculation, starving operating businesses and threatening to bring about another financial crisis.

Some background. The Federal Reserve is an enormously powerful economic policy institution whose decisions have deep ramifications in the daily lives of working families. The Fed sets interest rates and its decisions impact a gamut of rates—including credit card rates, mortgage rates, auto loan rates and the rate of interest paid by federal, state and local governments. All of this, in turn, affects the level of economic activity, the availability of jobs and wages.

These are critical "bread and butter" concerns for all working people, which is why unions must monitor and influence appointments to the Federal Reserve.

The current situation. Trump’s nominee, Powell, is moving toward a confirmation vote in the Senate. In the coming months, Trump will be nominating more individuals to fill four other vacant slots.

Consequently, in the space of a few months, the president will have appointed five out of seven members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

Given its powers and given its policy discretion, it is essential that the Fed be governed by individuals of the highest caliber who have a true commitment to public service in the public interest. To make sure this is the case, we believe nominees should be selected in accordance with six fundamental criteria listed below and described in more detail here:

  1. Character and independence.
  2. Experience and record.
  3. Commitment to full employment.
  4. Managing inflation as part of the larger economic picture.
  5. Commitment to financial regulation.
  6. Policy driven by what is happening to real people, not mathematical rules.

These criteria are nonpartisan, and they should guide the president’s choice of nominees as well as consideration of nominees by the Senate. They also should guide future administrations, regardless of political stripe.

Applying these criteria can help ensure that the Fed helps the economy create jobs, that real wages rise in line with productivity growth and that working people share in the wealth we help create.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 12/06/2017 - 13:16

Working People Arrested for Attempting to Hold Sen. Susan Collins Accountable for Anti-Worker Tax Vote

Wed, 2017-12-06 13:07
Working People Arrested for Attempting to Hold Sen. Susan Collins Accountable for Anti-Worker Tax Vote Sarah Bigney

On Monday, five working people were arrested in Bangor, Maine, after they refused to leave Sen. Susan Collins' office until she committed to opposing the horrible tax legislation passed by the Senate last week.

The working people staged a sit-in at Collins' office after she voted in favor of the Republican tax bill. The protesters were later arrested for not leaving the office. Here is their story, as told through Sarah Bigney's Twitter:

Breaking: A group of workers have notified @SenatorCollins staff that they are not leaving her Bangor Office until she commits To oppose the tax scam. #mepolitics #peoplesfilibuster

— Sarah Bigney (@sarahBMaine) December 4, 2017

Jim , a retiree who depends on Medicare, is afraid that the tax cuts for the rich will jeopardize his health care #mepolitics @SenatorCollins

— Sarah Bigney (@sarahBMaine) December 4, 2017

We are occupying @SenatorCollins Bangor Office asking her to oppose the #GOPtaxscam @erinrn01 @MeNursesUnion @NationalNurses #mepolitics

— Sarah Bigney (@sarahBMaine) December 4, 2017

We are not leaving until @SenatorCollins commits to oppose. This tax plan hurts Maine working families #mepolitics Stop the #GOPtaxscam

— Sarah Bigney (@sarahBMaine) December 4, 2017

An electrician, a nurse, a senior all know the #GOPtaxscam will devestate our country. We can’t let this stand. #mepolitics

— Sarah Bigney (@sarahBMaine) December 4, 2017

Police have notified us that if we don’t leave at 5pm , we will be charged with trespass and arrested. #mepolitics #GOPtaxscam.
Not leaving until Collins meets with us and agrees to stand up for the working class

— Sarah Bigney (@sarahBMaine) December 4, 2017

Under the #GOPTaxScam, teachers will no longer be able to deduct the school supplies they buy for their classrooms with their own money, but millionaires get tax breaks. #thatsmessedup #mepolitics @SenatorCollins

— Sarah Bigney (@sarahBMaine) December 4, 2017

Police notified us we have until 530. Still no word from @SenatorCollins about which side she is on: the ultra wealthy and CEOs, or Maine working people. #goptaxscam #mepolitics

— Sarah Bigney (@sarahBMaine) December 4, 2017

Erin is a nurse and she is here because the #GOPTaxScam will hurt her patients. #mepolitics @MeNursesUnion @NationalNurses @AFLCIO

— Sarah Bigney (@sarahBMaine) December 4, 2017

Nick Paquet, electrician from Benton and father of 4. “How much more do the Waltons need? This is ludicrous.” #mepolitics @SenatorCollins #GOPtaxScam

— Sarah Bigney (@sarahBMaine) December 4, 2017

The staff for @SenatorCollins are backtracking on their pledge to have us arrested, appear to not want the bad press, maybe they know they don’t have the support of the public on giving tax cuts to the rich? #mepolitics #GOPTaxScam

— Sarah Bigney (@sarahBMaine) December 4, 2017

We can hear the DC staff of @SenatorCollins screaming at local police over the speaker phone in the back office, arguing about what to do with us. Don’t want a bad news cycle? #mepolitics

— Sarah Bigney (@sarahBMaine) December 4, 2017

We were arrested by @BANGORPOLICE, booked at Penobscot Co Jail, and released on bail. Our economy is rigged against working people and the #GOPTaxScam will make it much worse. We call on @SenatorCollins to oppose it. Thanks for the support! #mepolitics @erinrn01

— Sarah Bigney (@sarahBMaine) December 5, 2017 Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 12/06/2017 - 12:07