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Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Theatrical Stage Employees

Tue, 2019-05-28 09:51
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Theatrical Stage Employees

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).

Name of Union: International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees

Mission: To support members' efforts to establish fair wages and working conditions throughout the United States and Canada, embrace the development of new entertainment mediums, expand the craft, innovate technology and grow the union to new geographic areas.

Current Leadership of Union: Matthew D. Loeb serves as international president. He was first elected in 2008 and has since been re-elected twice. He has been a member of the United Scenic Artists Local 829 since 1989, Local 52 since 1996 and of Local 491 since it was first established in 1994. Loeb was IATSE’s first director of Motion Picture and Television Production. He also serves on UNI Global Union's world executive board and is president of UNI's Media and Entertainment Industry sector. 

James B. Wood is the general secretary, and IATSE also has 13 international vice presidents: Michael J. Barnes, Thomas Davis, Damian Petti, Michael F. Miller Jr., Daniel Di Tolla, John Ford, John Lewis, Craig Carlson, Phil LoCicero, C. Faye Harper, Colleen A. Glynn, James J. Claffey Jr. and Joanne M. Sanders.

Current Number of Members: 140,000.

Members Work As: Virtually all the behind-the-scenes jobs in crafts ranging from motion picture animator to theater usher.

Industries Represented: All forms of live theater, motion picture and television production, trade shows and exhibitions, television broadcasting, concerts, and the equipment and construction shops that support all these areas of the entertainment industry. 

History: IATSE formed in 1893 when representatives of stagehands from 11 cities met in New York. They pledged to support each others' efforts to obtain better wages and working conditions. As technology advanced, the union moved to embrace new developments and an expansion of the craft. This dedication to adaptability in structure and goals helped grow IATSE to a membership of more than 140,000.

Current Campaigns/Community Efforts: Member safety is one of the pillars of IATSE and they have a hotline and smartphone app specifically dedicated to it. IATSE provides training in digital organizing and social media along with activism and offline organizing. The union provides scholarships, supports the efforts of women and young workers in the industry and highlights the community service of IATSE locals.

Learn More: WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagram.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 05/28/2019 - 09:51

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Profiles: Monica Thammarath

Fri, 2019-05-24 12:36
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Profiles: Monica Thammarath AAJC

For Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various Asian Americans and Pacific Americans who have worked and continue to work at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Our next profile is Monica Thammarath.

Monica Thammarath was born and raised in San Diego, the daughter of refugees from Laos. She is a proud product of California's public education system and she earned two bachelor's degrees, one in political science and the other in social welfare. She is currently pursuing a master's in public administration at American University.

While in college, Thammarath began organizing to provide services that help students gain access to affordable and high-quality education. After graduation, she began working as the education policy advocate for the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center. She has since taken the position of senior liaison in the Office of Minority Community Organizing and Partnerships at the National Education Association, where she works on social justice issues like immigration, voting and collective bargaining rights. 

She serves on the national executive board of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), the national governing board of the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum and the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, where she serves as co-chair of the education committee. In 2017, she was elected as the youngest person to ever hold the office of national president of APALA. Upon taking the office, she said: 

APALA has always held a special place in my heart. I am honored to have been elected as the new National President, and I am excited to strengthen our chapters, our community and labor partnerships, and elevate the voices of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) workers and workers of color everywhere.

In an interview with, she explained the importance of her work:

I realized that no matter how many girls I worked with, some of them would never have the opportunities to succeed unless the policies at the federal level reflected their needs. And those policies would never change unless people like me—people who personally understood the needs of those most impacted—were at the table to make their needs known.

And she spoke about the surprising road from college to her professional career:

If you asked me what I thought I’d be doing after college, moving from California to Washington, D.C., to work on federal education policy wouldn’t have been my answer. If you told me that four years later, I’d still be in D.C. working to connect the labor movement to civil rights and community organizations, I would have said you were crazy.

Thammarath's time as president of APALA has been eventful and the organization has been active. Since she took office, APALA has focused on building power for Asian and Pacific Americans, as well as defending workers' rights, fighting for justice for immigrants, temporary protected status and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals holders, countering rising hate and white supremacy, fighting for women and reproductive rights, defending diversity, joining the efforts to stop Brett Kavanaugh from being confirmed to the Supreme Court, defending public education and advocating for sustainable jobs in a changing climate, among other efforts.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 05/24/2019 - 12:36

Teamwork On and Off the Ice: Worker Wins

Fri, 2019-05-24 11:50
Teamwork On and Off the Ice: Worker Wins

Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with women's hockey players forming a union and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life.

Top Women's Hockey Players Form Union in Pursuit of Pro League: More than 200 of the top women's hockey players in the world have come together to form the Professional Women's Hockey Players Association. Among the goals the union is pursuing are a "single, viable women's professional league in North America," coordination of training needs and the development of sponsor support. Olympic gold medalist Coyne Schofield said: "We are fortunate to be ambassadors of this beautiful game, and it is our responsibility to make sure the next generation of players have more opportunities than we had. It's time to stand together and work to create a viable league that will allow us to enjoy the benefits of our hard work."

New England Macy's Workers Reach Tentative Agreement to Avoid Strike: Workers at several Macy's stores throughout New England have agreed to a tentative deal that will avoid a strike. Nearly 1,000 workers, represented by UFCW Local 1445, agreed to a three-year deal that includes better wages and health care options, among other gains. The union said: "Thanks to the strength of the Macy's members who with the support of the UFCW Local 1445 membership, allies, customers and other unions around the country won a tentative agreement security time and one half on Sundays, reduced cost of health insurance premiums and good wage increases and no give backs!"

Educators at D.C. Public Charter School Join AFT: Educators at Washington, D.C.'s Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School have voted to join the AFT. The teachers are currently bargaining on their first contract and chose the union because they want to make sure that the school is a place where kids will thrive, teachers want to work and parents want to send their kids. Kindergarten teacher Andrea Molina said: "While we teach our kids about social justice and equity, we do not always experience it ourselves. Our teachers and staff are a strong, dedicated team; they work around the clock to make our school an amazing place to teach and learn and to set an example for other schools in the district. Our victory tonight will ensure we are treated with the dignity and respect that reflects the commitment we each have made to our school.”

New York Tenement Museum Workers Join UAW: Workers at the Tenement Museum in New York voted to join UAW Local 2110. The workers are joining together to make sure they maintain the things about the job that are working and to improve things that aren't. Nicole Daniels, a museum educator, explained: "A big part of it is we want to protect the things that are working and secure the things that are already keeping so many of us here....So a lot of it is about preserving the things that work already, but also standardizing systems....There’s a huge range of people across the departments, some of whom are part-time and others full-time, some of whom have benefits through the museum and others who don’t. Some of the ones who don’t have benefits through the museum get them from their parents or their partners. We want to serve the whole group, so we’re just going to have to see what’s needed."

New Lear Manufacturing Facility Workers in Flint Join UAW: Nearly 600 employees at the new Lear manufacturing plant in Flint, Michigan, voted to join the UAW. The new plant makes automotive seats. UAW President Gary Jones said: "We are thrilled to bring Lear’s exceptional workers into the UAW family and are excited about the prospect of new jobs available in Flint. The UAW represents more than 400,000 members and has welcomed over 10,000 new members since August. We welcome these workers and the opportunity to be a part of Flint’s rebirth. We look forward to getting down to business, bargaining great contracts and helping our new members make a positive impact on the community."

Stop & Shop Strike Leads to Victory for Working People: After an 11-day strike that followed more than three months of negotiations, more than 30,000 Stop & Shop Workers, represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers, reached a tentative agreement with the supermarket chain. The employees work at more than 240 stores across Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In a statement, the union said: "The agreement preserves health care and retirement benefits, provides wage increases, and maintains time-and-a-half pay on Sunday for current members. Under this proposed contract, our members will be able to focus on continuing to help customers in our communities." Stop & Shop workers have since ratified the contract.

Rutgers Faculty Avoids Strike with Tentative Deal: Faculty members at Rutgers were able to secure a new tentative contract in the proverbial last minute before they went on strike. The 4,800 full-time faculty and graduate workers represented by Rutgers AAUP-AFT will need to vote on the contract. Rutgers AAUP-AFT President Deep Kumar described the terms of the deal: "We made history today. For the first time in the union’s nearly 50-year history, we won equal pay for equal work for female faculty, faculty of color, and for faculty in the Newark and Camden campuses. We won significant pay raises for our lowest paid members, our graduate employees who will see their pay increase from $25,969 to $30,162 over the course of the contract. In other historic firsts, the union won $20 million for diversity hiring and a guarantee of a workplace free of harassment and stalking, enforced with binding arbitration. Academic freedom now applies to social media.”

Quartz Editorial Staff Vote to Join NewsGuild: Editorial staff at news outlet Quartz, which covers the economy, tech, geopolitics, work and culture, have voted to be represented by The NewsGuild of New York/CWA Local 31003. The union has asked Japanese media company Uzabase, which owns Quartz, to voluntarily recognize the union. The editorial staffers are looking to swiftly begin the bargaining process and are looking to strengthen existing benefits and improve pay equity, diversity and job security. "We love Quartz, and we love working here. For us, organizing is a way to double down on our commitment to the publication and the continued pursuit of its excellence. We are excited about the future of Quartz, and we want to make sure we are a part of it," said Annalisa Merelli, Geopolitics reporter.

Researchers in University of California System Launch New Union: Researchers in the University of California system are in the final stages of forming the first union exclusively for researchers who are not faculty or graduate students. The new union, Academic Researchers United (ARU), is a unit within UAW Local 5810. ARU members are seeking better pay and benefits, job security, transparency in hiring and promotion, and other protections. "At this moment, academic researchers have no job security and are facing super uncertain career paths," said Anke Schennink, president of Local 5810.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 05/24/2019 - 11:50

Tags: Organizing

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Profiles: Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes

Thu, 2019-05-23 10:18
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Profiles: Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes Wikimedia Commons

For Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various Asian Americans and Pacific Americans who have worked and continue to work at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Our next profiles are Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes.

Silme Domingo was born in Killeen, Texas, in 1952. His father was a Filipino immigrant who had served in the U.S. Army during World War II. The family moved to Seattle in 1960, where Silme attended high school and college.

Meanwhile, Gene Viernes was born in Yakima, Washington, in 1951, also the son of immigrants from the Philippines. His father worked as a fruit picker and in local canneries. Gene grew up working in the fields with his father before going to school. At 14, he lied about his age and joined International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 37 and worked in the cannery. He spent many of his summers working as an "Alaskero," the nickname for Alaskan salmon cannery workers. At the time, Local 37 largely consisted of Alaskeros who lived in the Seattle area and traveled to Alaska for the summer work every year.

Domingo also began working in the Alaska canneries, and before long, Domingo and Viernes were close friends. They formed the Alaska Cannery Workers' Association. In Seattle, Domingo, in particular, was active in protesting the activities of the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines, and he helped organize the first protests of the Marcos regime in Seattle, along with the Union of Democratic Filipinos (KDP). Domingo would help establish the KDP chapter in Seattle.

By 1981, Domingo was secretary-treasurer of Local 37, and Viernes was a dispatcher. Along with a slate of reformers, they had taken over all of the offices except for president. The reform slate were opponents of Local 37 President Tony Baruso, who was a Marcos supporter with ties to local Seattle gangs. At the time, the Alaskan cannery industry was rife with racial discrimination, with white workers getting the best jobs as well as company-provided food and housing, while Filipino workers worked long, dangerous hours with meager food and squalid living conditions. The reformers not only ran for election as officers in the local, they engaged in class action lawsuits against the canneries.

On June 1, 1981, Domingo and Viernes were working out of the ILWU offices in Seattle when two gunmen walked into the offices and shot and killed Domingo and Viernes. Terri Mast, Domingo's partner, was left with two young daughters to raise alone. Mast fought back publicly, eventually leading to the murder convictions of Baruso and local gang members. Marcos also was found complicit in the conspiracy and a successful civil suit was brought against the dictator in the case. While we will never know what heights Domingo and Viernes could've achieved in their pursuit of expanded rights for working people and Filipinos, Mast would go on to be elected president of Local 37, cleaning up the corruption in the local. In 1987, Local 37 merged with the Inlandboatmen's Union (IBU). Mast was later elected national secretary-treasurer of IBU.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 05/23/2019 - 10:18

We Need Action on Infrastructure, Not More Talk

Wed, 2019-05-22 16:02
We Need Action on Infrastructure, Not More Talk

More than half a century ago, Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower and a Democratic-majority Congress empowered millions of Americans to build an interstate highway system that became the envy of the world. Back then, our nation understood that investment in infrastructure was crucial to creating a better future.

The interstate highway system was such a success that, 60 years later, both parties still fight over who gets credit for it.

Today, our leaders often talk about big ideas but rarely summon the political courage to accomplish them. As a result, our roads, bridges, airports, railways and utilities are outdated and in need of urgent repairs. In 2014, our clogged roads cost $160 billion in lost productivity and wasted fuel. Our packed airports cost nearly $36 billion a year from air travel complications, and our crumbling infrastructure has cost American lives. It should not take another tragedy to change that.

As the heads of the nation’s leading business and labor organizations, we don’t always see eye to eye on things, but on this, we are in lockstep: Rebuilding and modernizing our nation’s crumbling infrastructure will benefit every business, every worker and every family in the United States. It will make every community safer, more resilient, healthy and secure. It will create good jobs, boost productivity, sharpen our nation’s competitive edge and ensure our current and future economic success.

It is frustrating that, despite widespread calls to act, the only response from Washington has been lip service. Talking alone does not create a single job or repair a single road. We need action.

Infrastructure is not a partisan issue. It is an American priority. Our nation’s leaders must find common cause—as we have—and once again make America a global leader on infrastructure.

For every dollar invested in public infrastructure, our country gets $3 in economic return. A $2 trillion investment, as President Donald Trump and congressional leaders have agreed upon in principle, would produce reliable transit systems, sound roads and bridges and safe drinking water.

We are aware that paying for this will be a challenge. It is important to consider all funding sources, including the gas tax, which hasn’t been raised at the federal level since 1993. An increase of 25 cents per gallon over five years would generate $394 billion and save Americans an average of $1,600 a year due to decreased car-repair costs and lower fuel costs, thanks to less time spent in traffic. In addition, raising the gas tax would put millions of men and women to work rebuilding our nation’s deteriorating roads and bridges.

But a gas tax alone cannot cover the $2 trillion bill. It is going to take a creative mix of federal, state, local and private resources to make the investment we need. Every long-term funding option, from payment structures to federally backed loans, should be explored. However, we agree that a 21st-century infrastructure is impossible without a major public investment.

We are also aware that neither party is perhaps as keen to take this step as it sounds on the stump. But according to a poll released in April, the public is tired of waiting. Seventy-nine percent of the voters polled believe Washington must act and invest in federal infrastructure, and in 2018, 79% of 346 state and local ballot measures aimed at infrastructure investment were approved.

The infrastructure investments we make today will determine the kind of country we will be decades from now. Our leaders in Washington have a historic opportunity to rebuild and modernize a nation desperately in need of repair. Labor and business are ready to unleash an unmatched network of leaders and members to support the passage of long-overdue legislation. But we can’t do it alone. The time for delay is over. Let’s build our future, and let’s start today.

Thomas J. Donohue is president and chief executive of the Chamber of Commerce. Richard L. Trumka is president of the AFL-CIO. This post originally appeared in The Washington Post.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 05/22/2019 - 16:02

Phoenix Rising: Betty Guardado Ousts Incumbent in City Council Race

Wed, 2019-05-22 12:48
Phoenix Rising: Betty Guardado Ousts Incumbent in City Council Race AFL-CIO

Labor union member and activist Betty Guardado was elected to the Phoenix City Council this week, and with strong union support, she ousted the incumbent. Guardado easily beat her opponent as she won more than 62% of the vote.

Guardado, who started off as a housekeeper at a hotel in 1996, became an organizer with UNITE HERE Local 11, for which she now serves as vice president. And now she has risen to become a City Council member for the fifth largest city in the United States.

"I've worked hard for every single thing I’ve had in my life. I feel great, humbled, honored to have the voters decide I was the person to represent them at City Hall," Guardado said after her victory.  

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler (IBEW) was in Phoenix for Guardado’s win and Tweeted: "Honored to be at her victory party to congratulate her and the many dedicated @UNITEHERE11 volunteers who made it happen. Working people are lucky to have her powerful voice in office!"

"Betty Guardado is one of us and we are proud of the work she has done for working families, her union and her community," Local 11 posted on social media on election night. "We cannot wait to see what she will do for the people of District 5. Sí, se puede!"

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 05/22/2019 - 12:48

What (Guest-Worker) Women Want

Thu, 2019-05-02 12:56
What (Guest-Worker) Women Want

We’re farm workers, crab pickers and cruise ship workers. We’re chocolate packers, engineers, veterinarians, nurses and teachers from all around the world. We are united by our motivation, yearn for knowledge and commitment to creating change in our communities. We stand with guest-worker women from around the world to ensure that the policies that affect us reflect our experiences.

In several different ways, we have all endured inequity and hardships in our journeys to the United States and in our workplace. Our hopes to provide a better life for our children and families have been met with deceit, discrimination and lack of access to opportunity. Many of us have suffered sexual harassment, one that doesn't let us live or work. Basic medical aid is nonexistent, with something as little as an aspirin being inaccessible to us. At our employment-provided housing, we are provided one bathroom for all and must take cold showers. We live and work in physical and mental isolation. We often don’t speak the language, nor know anyone beyond the employer. Many of our employers take our passports and visas upon arrival. It is difficult to access any justice or remedies.

As guest-worker women, we are together in this movement. We are telling our story because we do not want others to face what we did. It is our responsibility to follow this path, to unite, organize and not let it get lost. We represent our families, our community and future generations. We're women, and there is nothing braver than thinking aloud. We aren’t the “weaker sex.” We are strong and capable. We are courageous and triumphant.

We want equal rights and opportunities, as we have equal responsibilities. We want to speak up and be heard. We want transparency. We seek reforms in law. We want to change conditions. We want our employers and the people and the government of this country to value us.

We envision an alternative future for ourselves and our communities—one where migrant women feel empowered to raise our voices and not stand alone. This future holds concrete policy changes and a shift in the ways companies and employers work. Generations to come have strong protections, are free from abuse and hold employers accountable. Women are not isolated; we have access to resources for our mental and physical health to exercise our rights. In this joint vision, we are as powerful as ever.

This vision requires disassembling guest-worker programs in order to build gender equity in labor migration. Join us—the hundreds of thousands of guest-worker women—in building that future now.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 05/02/2019 - 12:56

Profiling Labor Leaders and Activists for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Thu, 2019-05-02 11:48
Profiling Labor Leaders and Activists for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

For Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various Asian and Pacific Americans who have worked and continue to work at the intersection of civil and labor rights. First, let's take a look back at Asian and Pacific Americans we've profiled in the past:

Check back throughout May as we add more names to this prestigious list. 

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 05/02/2019 - 11:48

Tags: Labor History

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Not Good Enough

Wed, 2019-05-01 14:54
‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Not Good Enough AFL-CIO

In the latest episode of "State of the Unions," podcast co-hosts Julie and Tim talk to Celeste Drake, the AFL-CIO's recently departed trade policy specialist, about flaws in the proposed new NAFTA and outline the labor movement's high standards for current and future trade agreements. 

"State of the Unions" is a tool to help us bring you the issues and stories that matter to working people. It captures the stories of workers across the country and is co-hosted by two young and diverse members of the AFL-CIO team: Mobilization Director Julie Greene and Executive Speechwriter Tim Schlittner. A new episode drops every other Wednesday featuring interesting interviews with workers and our allies across the country, as well as compelling insights from the podcast’s hosts.

Listen to our previous episodes:

State of the Unions” is available on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotifyStitcher and anywhere else you can find podcasts.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 05/01/2019 - 14:54

Tags: Podcast, NAFTA

Labor's Resurgence: In the States Roundup

Wed, 2019-05-01 10:46
Labor's Resurgence: In the States Roundup AFL-CIO

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

Alabama AFL-CIO:

11th annual "Road Kill BBQ" is getting off to a great start. #1U

— Alabama AFL-CIO (@AlabamaAFLCIO) April 3, 2019

Alaska AFL-CIO:

Keep our pioneers in Alaska! Time to testify on Alaska Pioneer Homes (HB 96) is NOW (3 pm)! #akleg

— Alaska AFL-CIO (@AKAFLCIO) April 23, 2019

Arizona AFL-CIO:

Huge thank you to all our Union Brothers and Sisters and Arizona State Legislators that participated in our 2019 #AZAFLCIO Day of Action at the Capitol today! Remember, the work does not stop here! #WeWorkForUnions @ Arizona State Capitol — at...

— Arizona AFL-CIO (@ArizonaAFLCIO) April 17, 2019

Arkansas AFL-CIO:

Expensive degree and no guaranteed job: More students are considering options outside of 4-year college

— Arkansas AFL-CIO (@ArkansasAFLCIO) April 24, 2019

California Labor Federation:

Companies who dodge their obligation of providing basic protections like a minimum wage need to be held accountable. To put an end to cheating workers #CALeg must #DisruptInequality and vote #YesOnAB5. @LorenaAD80

— California Labor Federation (@CaliforniaLabor) April 23, 2019

Colorado AFL-CIO:

Colorado can do it – reduce carbon emissions, make a difference on climate change and ensure a fair and just transition for displaced fossil fuel dependent workers at the same time. Read the report below!

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

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

Today we remembered and honored the lives of the 28 workers who were killed in the L'Ambiance Plaza collapse 32 years ago. We must recommit ourselves to fight for good, safe jobs for all working people. @AFLCIO

— Connecticut AFL-CIO (@ConnAFLCIO) April 23, 2019

Florida AFL-CIO:

Week 7 was full of political tricks as the attack on Working Families continued. Watch our update videos covering all of the critical issues affecting you and your family during Legislative Session. Sign up for email alerts at

— Florida AFL-CIO (@FLAFLCIO) April 22, 2019

Georgia AFL-CIO:

Union workers hit another milestone in building our energy future. This investment in Georgia's energy infrastructure & workers is key for the future of Georgia, its infrastructure & its economy as the state grows. Congratulations and thank you for the work you do every day! #1u

— AFL-CIO Georgia (@AFLCIOGeorgia) March 26, 2019

Idaho AFL-CIO:

#SpringCleaning? Be sure to buy #Union! #Solidarity #UnionYes #UnionProud #1u #MadeInUSA #unionstrong
Check out @Labor411 for a complete list!

— Idaho State AFL-CIO (@IdahoAFLCIO) April 22, 2019

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

The message that #StopAndShopWorkers sent to their company by collectively standing up for themselves, their families, and good jobs has resonated not only with the company, but all of America. Thank you to the hardworking @UFCW members at Stop & Shop for everything you’ve done!

— Indiana AFL-CIO (@INAFLCIO) April 22, 2019

Iowa Federation of Labor:

Workers Memorial Day Events Around Iowa

— Iowa AFL-CIO (@IowaAFLCIO) April 23, 2019

Kansas State AFL-CIO:

Working people everywhere thanks you Governor Kelly for the veto of
SB 22.

— Kansas AFL-CIO (@KansasAFLCIO) March 25, 2019

Kentucky State AFL-CIO:

Thank you to our union brothers and sisters working with Operation Victory to build a home for a Veteran in need.
Greater Louisville Central Labor Council, GLCLC

— Kentucky AFL-CIO (@aflcioky) April 22, 2019

Maine AFL-CIO:

Chris Tucker of LIUNA Local 327 testifying in support of LD 1386 to improve the way prevailing hourly wages & benefits are set on state construction projects #mepolitics

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

Massachusetts AFL-CIO:

Statement from President Tolman on the end of the 2019 UFCW Stop & Shop Worker Strike. Click for full statement: #1u #solidarity #StopAndShopWorkers #Stopandshopstrike @StopDontShop

— Massachusetts AFLCIO (@massaflcio) April 22, 2019

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

Painters lend a hand in the community

— MetroDCLaborCouncil (@DCLabor) April 24, 2019

Michigan AFL-CIO:

America’s largest one-day food drive is Saturday, May 11! Help your letter carriers #StampOutHunger:

— Michigan AFL-CIO (@MIAFLCIO) April 22, 2019

Minnesota AFL-CIO:

The House is back in session and they’re working on the Jobs bill, which includes paid family & medical leave, cracking down on #WageTheft, and earned sick and safe time. #PaidLeaveMN #mnleg #1u

— Minnesota AFL-CIO (@MNAFLCIO) April 24, 2019

Missouri AFL-CIO:

Thanks to Senators Holsman, May, Nasheed, Arthur, Walsh, Rizzo, Sifton, Schupp, Williams, and Curls for standing up for Missouri voters and protecting our constitutional right to have a say in Missouri laws. Join us in thanking them for standing up against SJR1. #moleg

— Missouri AFL-CIO (@MOAFLCIO) April 17, 2019

Montana AFL-CIO:

Under flags at half-mast to honor the fallen, Montana protects its future by making presumptive coverage for firefighters law. Thank you to @mcconnell_nate, our men and women in uniform, and everyone else who fought to make this happen! #mtpol #mtleg

— Montana AFL-CIO (@MTaflcio) April 18, 2019

Nebraska State AFL-CIO:

We oppose any proposal that disproportionately increases taxes on low-income families. LB289 would increase the state sales taxes by 3/4 cent and the effects would fall heaviest on low-income families. Tell your senator to oppose LB289. Find senator here:

— NE State AFL-CIO (@NEAFLCIO) April 18, 2019

Nevada State AFL-CIO:

Nevada’s legislators are learning about how paid apprenticeship programs benefit key communities and our economy at Apprenticeship Day 2019 at the #NVLeg.

— Nevada State AFL-CIO (@NVAFLCIO) April 23, 2019

New Hampshire AFL-CIO:

By acclamation @PresBrackett has been elected to a second term as NH AFL-CIO President! #nhpolitics

— NewHampshire AFL-CIO (@NHAFLCIO) April 13, 2019

New Mexico Federation of Labor:

Congratulations Brothers and Sisters

— NMFL (@NMFLaflcio) April 18, 2019

New York State AFL-CIO:

President Cilento on the picket line with #UnionStrong @UAWRegion9A
CAMBA workers on strike in NYC.

— NYSAFLCIO (@NYSAFLCIO) April 17, 2019

North Carolina State AFL-CIO:

"The ban on collective bargaining for public employees denies us the information we need to recruit, retain, and ensure the safety and well-being of our employees." @CityofWinston @bessefornc #ncga #ncpol #1u

— NC State AFL-CIO (@NCStateAFLCIO) April 24, 2019


Union rallies outside GE as contract talks near. We stand united in #Solidarity with our ⁦@IUE_CWAUnion⁩ members! Across the country workers are finding their strength and power for dignity and respect... and winning!

— Ohio AFL-CIO (@ohioaflcio) April 24, 2019

Oklahoma State AFL-CIO:

Thank you to those who keep the work going!

— Oklahoma AFL-CIO (@OK_AFL_CIO) April 24, 2019

Oregon AFL-CIO:

— Oregon AFL-CIO (@OregonAFLCIO) April 20, 2019

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

2019 Hall of Fame Inductees - William Leskosky, (posthumously) AFSCME, Vicki Wyland SEIU, Ed Yankovich, Jr. UMWA. An outstanding annual event hosted by a Central Labor Council with outstanding members! — at DoubleTree Pittsburgh Meadow Lands

— PA AFL-CIO (@PaAFL_CIO) April 20, 2019

Rhode Island AFL-CIO:

#HelpASisterOutPeriod The RI Coalition of Labor Union Women, w/ the support of @rifthp, @IBT251, @riaflcio, is launching our #HelpASisterOutPeriod campaign, to raise awareness for women who lack the financial means to purchase menstrual products. #1U

— Rhode Island AFL-CIO (@riaflcio) April 22, 2019

South Carolina AFL-CIO:

Facing Escalating Workplace Violence, Hospital Employees Have Had Enough

— SC AFL-CIO (@SCAFLCIO) April 9, 2019

Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council:

ICYMI: Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee pokes a sleeping tiger with his school voucher agenda

— Tennessee AFL-CIO (@tnaflcio) April 22, 2019

Texas AFL-CIO:

Dow locks out more than 200 workers in Deer Park via @houstonchron

— Texas AFL-CIO (@TexasAFLCIO) April 23, 2019

Virginia AFL-CIO:

"We’re talking to people about labor history and we’re not even walking the walk in this institution."

— Virginia AFL-CIO (@Virginia_AFLCIO) April 23, 2019

Washington State Labor Council:

“Jacquie’s unexpected passing is a major loss for the labor movement in Washington state,” said WSLC President Larry Brown.

— WA State AFL-CIO (@WAAFLCIO) April 17, 2019

West Virginia AFL-CIO:

When underground labor is used, the communities lose millions.... payroll taxes go unpaid, the City of Charleston doesn't get its user fee.  The state gets no state income taxes.

— West Virginia AFLCIO (@WestVirginiaAFL) April 16, 2019

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO:

Wisconsin AFL-CIO Applauds Executive Order to Combat Worker Misclassification and Prevent Payroll Fraud,

— WI AFL-CIO (@wisaflcio) April 18, 2019 Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 05/01/2019 - 10:46

Marriott Should Tell the Truth About Sexual Harassment

Fri, 2019-04-26 12:57
Marriott Should Tell the Truth About Sexual Harassment UNITE HERE

Marriott International, the biggest hotel chain in the world, is hiding the truth about the dangers its workers face. UNITE HERE members are demanding that the company comes clean. 

In 2018, working people at Marriott went on strike and won greater sexual harassment protections. For those protections to fully work, the company has to tell the truth about the pervasiveness of harassment at its hotels. But it refuses to do so.

Marriott was asked to report the total number of incidents of sexual harassment at its hotels to shareholders. Instead, it revealed the number of formal legal complaints that have been filed in the past five years, only 44 worldwide. But according to estimates from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace, between 25% and 85% of women have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, while only 6%-13% file a formal complaint. By revealing only the number of formal legal complaints, Marriott is likely under-reporting harassment in its hotels and making it harder to prevent future incidents. 

Join UNITE HERE in signing the petition demanding that Marriott tell the truth about harassment and assault on its properties and engage in a dialogue with workers to find solutions to this growing problem.


Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 04/26/2019 - 12:57

12 Things You Need to Know About Death on the Job

Thu, 2019-04-25 15:31
12 Things You Need to Know About Death on the Job AFL-CIO

The AFL-CIO today released its 28th annual Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect report. Each April, we examine the state of worker safety in America. This year's report shows that 5,147 working people were killed on the job in 2017. Additionally, an estimated 95,000 died from occupational diseases.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) called for action: 

This is a national crisis. And it’s well past time that our elected leaders in Washington, D.C., stop playing politics and take action to prevent these tragedies. Instead, the Trump administration is actually gutting the protections we fought so hard to win in the first place. This is unacceptable. It’s shameful. And the labor movement is doing everything in our power to stop it.

Here are 12 key findings from the report:

  1. Every day, 275 workers die from hazardous working conditions.

  2. There is only one Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspector for every 79,000 workers.

  3. Since 1970, there have been 410,000 traumatic worker deaths, but only 99 cases have been criminally prosecuted under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

  4. The average OSHA penalty for serious worker safety violations is only $3,580. The penalty rises to $7,761, on average, for worker deaths.

  5. About 8 million public sector workers lack OSHA protection. Their rate of injury and illness is 64% higher than private sector employees.

  6. Workplace violence is now the third-leading cause of death on the job.

  7. Women face the brunt of workplace violence, accounting for 2 of every 3 people who are attacked.

  8. Workplace violence caused 807 deaths in 2017 and nearly 29,000 serious injuries. More than 450 of those deaths were homicides.

  9. Health care and social assistance workers are four times more likely to suffer a workplace violence injury than those who work in other occupations. The level of serious workplace violence injuries for these workers has risen 69% in the past decade.

  10. The five most dangerous states to work in are: Alaska, North Dakota, Wyoming, West Virginia and South Dakota.

  11. The fatality rate for Latino and immigrant workers and workers 65 and older is higher than the national average.

  12. Workplace violence is preventable. An enforceable OSHA standard would keep workers safe, but in the meantime, Congress should pass the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act.

Read the full report to learn more.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 04/25/2019 - 15:31

What Happens When Call Center Jobs Are Shipped Abroad and Workers Try to Organize?

Wed, 2019-04-24 10:02
What Happens When Call Center Jobs Are Shipped Abroad and Workers Try to Organize? BIEN

One of the world's largest "contact center" companies, U.S.-based giant Alorica, has been expanding in the Philippines, where more than 1.3 million women and men work in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector. These workers and their allies came together through BIEN, the BPO Industry Employees Network, to defend workers' interests in this booming sector. Alorica, a global player in this industry, offers "customer experience" services to the U.S. market for clients like Comcast, AT&T, Citibank, Barclays and Caesars.  

Since 2015, Unified Employees of Alorica (UEA) has been organizing to defend these workers' rights. At every step, Alorica has denied workers their right to form a union, broken laws and refused to recognize the union, retaliating against workers who unionize by firing them.

In September 2018, the union filed a notice of strike and began planning a legally protected strike to protest union-busting by Alorica. The United Employees of Alorica have the following demands:

  1. Drop the criminal charges filed against the union leaders.
  2. Reinstate the terminated officers of UEA.

Just this week, Michael Concepcion, a regional organizer for BIEN who has worked directly with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), received a death threat by text message. 

This and previous threats show a pattern of harassment, extra-judicial detentions and killings that have affected more and more union activists in the Philippines under the Duterte administration. Large corporations like Alorica and AT&T use this repressive climate to their own benefit.

Starting today, CWA and Filipino activist groups Migrante and Bayan are holding solidarity protests in San Francisco and Los Angeles, along with other local supporters in California.  

Support the UEA and allies like BIEN in their efforts to defend workers’ rights in this key industry in an economy globalized according to rules written by corporations and governments desperate to attract investment. Please tweet or post the following to Facebook and other social media:

Respect workers’ rights in the Philippines @OfficialAlorica @ATT Drop charges against UEA union leaders. #HumanRights #AloricaPH

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 04/24/2019 - 10:02

USITC Report Backs Up the Need to Fix New NAFTA to Add Real Enforcement

Wed, 2019-04-24 09:50
USITC Report Backs Up the Need to Fix New NAFTA to Add Real Enforcement

On April 18, the United States International Trade Commission released its analysis of the likely economic impacts of the new NAFTA (also known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement or USMCA). The report supports the AFL-CIO’s position on the new NAFTA: Congress should not vote on it until it is fixed.

The usual Washington, D.C., pundits will talk a lot about how the report "proves" that the new NAFTA is good for the economy. But they probably won’t talk very much about the most important thing: Does the report provide useful insight on what matters most to workers?

An important caveat: The USITC has a history of wrong predictions. Not just randomly wrong. The USITC has only erred in one direction: to overestimate how great trade deals will be.  

For instance, the USITC predicted the original NAFTA would have small positive effects on wages in the United States and Canada and large positive effects on wages in Mexico. Instead, NAFTA suppressed wages in all three countries. Many U.S. union members saw their workplaces transfer production to Mexico, while others were forced to accept concessionary contracts to keep their jobs. In Mexico today, the minimum wage has less purchasing power than before NAFTA and there is a bigger gap between U.S. and Mexican manufacturing wages. This is because the original NAFTA puts the interests of global corporations ahead of the interests of working people.

Importantly, the new USITC report notes: "The agreement, if enforced, would strengthen labor standards and rights." In fact, it predicts that with enforcement, wages for union workers in Mexico would rise by 17.2%. This prediction may be another wild exaggeration (and even if it is not, a 17% raise on $2.00 per hour is still only $2.34 per hour). But it confirms what the AFL-CIO has been saying all along: A new NAFTA is useless to working people without swift and certain labor enforcement.

With or without NAFTA, America’s working families live in a global economy. We are exposed to international competition no matter what. One great way to increase our leverage to negotiate better pay and benefits is to help workers in other countries—including Mexico—raise their wages and benefits, too. The USITC is right that Mexican wages will only rise if Mexico completes its labor law reform process and all three NAFTA parties work hard to monitor and enforce the labor provisions of the deal.

But enforcement can’t happen unless the text is repaired to make sure that one party can’t block enforcement, unless labor loopholes are eliminated, unless new swift and certain monitoring and enforcement tools are added, and unless adequate, long-term resources are devoted to enforcement. And those changes to the deal can’t happen unless Congress tells the administration that it refuses to vote on the new NAFTA until it is fixed.

Please help us get this right. Call Congress today at 855-856-7545 and tell your representative: No vote until NAFTA is fixed!

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 04/24/2019 - 09:50


The U.S. Postal Service is Owned by the People—Let's Keep it That Way

Tue, 2019-04-23 14:40
The U.S. Postal Service is Owned by the People—Let's Keep it That Way

As the tax deadline looms and millions scurry to get their forms sent on time, Tax Day is a good time to dispel the myth that the U.S. Postal Service is funded by tax dollars.

In fact, the Postal Service receives zero tax dollars for its operations. Without taking a dime in taxes, the Postal Service maintains the lowest prices for mail services in the industrialized world and delivers to 159 million addresses, six—and now often seven—days a week—all funded by revenue from the sale of stamps and other postal products.

While private courier companies only deliver where a profit can be made, the public post office provides universal service to everyone, no matter age, wealth, race, who we are or where we live.

It is little wonder that the Postal Service, a public institution enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and the crucial anchor of the growing e-commerce revolution, remains the most trusted federal agency. A recent Pew Research Center survey revealed that 88% of the population has a favorable view of the Postal Service, with the highest favorability ratings coming from young adults. Whether sending or receiving medicine, packages, greeting cards, letters, periodicals, catalogs or ballots, every person, household and business in this country is a postal customer.

Still, that persistent myth—that the Postal Service is a burden to taxpayers—is precisely the false narrative that led Congress to pass the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. That act manufactured a financial crisis by compelling the Postal Service to pre-fund all retiree health care costs, 75 years into the future—for workers not even born yet. This mandate transferred postal revenues to the U.S. Treasury and robbed the Postal Service of $5.6 billion a year over a 10-year period. No other company or agency faces, or could be expected to survive, such an onerous financial burden.

Adding to the absurdity is the fact that, prior to the 2006 law, the Postal Service had been reliably paying its annual retirement health benefit premiums on time.

Fast forward from 2006 to last year. Exactly one year ago, in April 2018—again using the guise of taxpayer protection—President Donald Trump established a postal task force to study Postal Service finances. However, before the task force even published its findings, the White House Office of Management and Budget in a June 2018 report on reforming government laid bare their goal of selling the Postal Service to the highest corporate bidder.

Postal privatization, if allowed to move forward, would surely enrich some Wall Street investors and a few powerful corporations. For the rest of us, it would result in diminished postal services and higher prices. This is exactly what happened when other nations, such as the United Kingdom, went down this path. Evidence of this can be seen in both the OMB report and the task force report that followed in December, which called for higher rates, cuts to service and lower wages and benefits for postal workers, all as a first step toward total privatization.

Other task force “solutions” include eliminating delivery days, slowing service speed, allowing anyone who pays a fee access to your secure and private mailbox, reducing door delivery, undermining the universal service obligation and piecemeal privatization that will all undermine the future of a vibrant public postal service.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Congress should simply fix the pre-funding fiasco they created in 2006. In addition, the Postal Service should provide an array of expanded services such as increased financial services and paycheck cashing, notary and various licensing services, internet access and electric automobile charging stations.

Everyone who sends and receives mail and packages has a stake in making sure that the U.S. Postal Service remains owned by, and in the service of, the people. Ask your member of Congress to co-sponsor House Resolution 33 and Senate Resolution 99. Both resolutions oppose privatizing the Postal Service.

Let’s ensure that the postal eagle, symbolizing its public ownership, is never sacrificed on the altar of private profit and replaced by the vulture of corporate greed. The U.S. Postal Service operates without tax dollars and provides a necessary and popular public service. Keep it—it’s yours.

This post originally appeared at The Cap Times.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 04/23/2019 - 14:40

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Railroad Signalmen

Mon, 2019-04-22 13:51
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Railroad Signalmen AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Railroad Signalmen (BRS).

Name of Union: Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen

Mission: To represent the men and women who maintain railroad signal systems and highway-rail grade crossing warning devices across the nation. In addition, the BRS negotiates contracts and promotes safety in the industry for its members and the traveling public. Local lodges elect delegates to national conventions, which is the organization's supreme authority. Delegates set policy, review the general state of the union, establish collective bargaining goals and elect Grand Lodge officers, who direct the organization between conventions.

Current Leadership of Union: Jerry Boles was elected to serve as president of the BRS in 2019. Mike Baldwin serves as secretary-treasurer. The BRS also has six vice presidents who serve in various capacities: Joe Mattingly (Midwest), Kelly A. Haley (Headquarters), James Finnegan (Commuter/Passenger), Tim Tarrant (East), Cory Claypool (West) and Brandon Elvey (NRAB).

Current Number of Members: 10,000-plus.

Members Work At: various railroad and supplier locations installing, repairing and maintaining railroad signal systems and highway-rail grade crossing warning devices. The signal system is used to direct train movements and the crossing warning devices warn motorists when a train is approaching a crossing. These members have been installing positive train control (PTC) equipment since Congress mandated the railroads install PTC back in 2008. PTC is an advanced train control system designed to automatically stop a train before certain accidents occur. In particular, PTC is designed to prevent train-to-train collisions, over speed derailments, train movements over track switches not properly lined and train movements into roadway worker work zones.

Industries Represented: The railroad industry and suppliers in the United States.

History: At the turn of the century, railroad signaling became an emerging craft as railroads increasingly incorporated new technology. In 1901, the BRS was founded to improve the safety and efficiency of railroad operations, and to represent the men and women who install and maintain signal systems. Over the ensuing decades, the organization grew into a national union consisting of working people across the Unites States.

Community Efforts: The BRS maintains a regular schedule of training for members as well as ongoing membership on various committees including the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee, which assist the Federal Railroad Administration in developing new regulatory standards to promote railroad safety. The BRS is actively engaged in Operation Lifesaver, a nonprofit public safety education and awareness organization dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings, and trespassing on or near railroad tracks.

Learn More: Website.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 04/22/2019 - 13:51

The Center of Victory

Wed, 2019-04-03 15:08
The Center of Victory Natasha Lindstrom/Tribune-Review

The labor movement helped elect a wave of union members and pro-worker allies across the country last night. We proved that if you support working people, we’ll have your back. And we sent a resounding message to every candidate and elected official that if you seek to divide and destroy us, we’ll fight back with everything we have.

The labor movement fought for our issues, union candidates and proven allies, and we filled the halls of power with our own.

We’re still tracking races and results, but here are the main takeaways:

  • Pam Iovino (USW) flipped Pennsylvania’s 37th state Senate District.

  • Union members Eric Genrich (AFSCME) and Satya Rhodes-Conway (AFT) were elected as the mayors of Green Bay and Madison, Wisconsin, respectively.

  • A slate of union members (from the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association and AFSCME) and allies swept the Milwaukee School Board elections, and Danielle Shelton (AFT) won the election for a seat on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court.

  • In Missouri, Tommie Pierson Sr. (UAW) and Mike Corcoran (UA) won mayoral elections in Bellefontaine Neighbors and St. Ann, respectively. Meanwhile, Nick Trupiano (UFCW) was elected alderman in St. Peters and Orlando Smith (UA) won election as the Fire Protection District director for the city of Black Jack.

Working people win when working people run. In 2017, the AFL-CIO passed a powerful national resolution promising to train and campaign for union members to win public office through the Path to Power program.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 04/03/2019 - 15:08

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: #StampOutHunger

Wed, 2019-04-03 10:00
‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: #StampOutHunger AFL-CIO

In the latest episode of "State of the Unions," podcast co-host Tim Schlittner talks to Brian Renfroe, National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) executive vice president, and Christina Vela Davidson, assistant to the president for community services, about #StampOutHunger, the annual one-day drive that has collected more than 1 billion pounds of food for the hungry. 

"State of the Unions" is a tool to help us bring you the issues and stories that matter to working people. It captures the stories of workers across the country and is co-hosted by two young and diverse members of the AFL-CIO team: Mobilization Director Julie Greene and Executive Speechwriter Tim Schlittner. A new episode drops every other Wednesday featuring interesting interviews with workers and our allies across the country, as well as compelling insights from the podcast’s hosts.

Listen to our previous episodes:

State of the Unions” is available on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotifyStitcher and anywhere else you can find podcasts.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 04/03/2019 - 10:00

Tags: Podcast

Closing the Gap: The Working People Weekly List

Tue, 2019-04-02 12:19
Closing the Gap: The Working People Weekly List AFL-CIO

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

The House Just Passed a Bill to Close the Gender Pay Gap: "House Democrats easily passed the Paycheck Fairness Act on Wednesday—their latest in a long series of attempts to make sure women and men are paid equally. The final vote was 242-187. Democrats were joined by seven Republicans. To give you a sense of how long bill author Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) has been fighting for this cause, she first introduced the bill in 1997."

Vice Media Agrees to $1.87 Million Settlement for Paying Female Staffers Less Than Men: "Vice has agreed to a $1.875 million deal to resolve a class action lawsuit brought by some of the media company's female workforce. The proposed settlement was quietly submitted for approval to a Los Angeles Superior Court judge on Monday. By the looks of the court papers, Vice was likely saved from paying millions more because the company tends to employ younger women."

Mexico Must Change Labor Laws for USMCA Passage, Trumka Says: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka discusses the USMCA trade agreement and its impact on U.S. labor with Bloomberg's Jason Kelly on 'Bloomberg Markets: Balance of Power.'"

Labor Organizers Share Insight and Tips on Unionizing the Game Industry: "There’s been a lot of talk about unionization in the game industry, so today at GDC some union [members] took the stage in front of an audience of game makers to share what they’d learned about effectively organizing labor.  During an hour-long session that was chiefly Q&A, panel members Emma Kinema (Game Workers Unite International), Kevin Gregory Agwaze (Game Workers Unite UK), Linda Dao (SAG-AFTRA), Justin Molito (Writers Guild of America, East) and Liz Shuler of AFL-CIO (which published an open letter encouraging game devs to organize) fielded some notable labor questions from game devs. Shuler jumped in to say that, on the bright side, she’s seen a recent surge in labor organization, citing the recent Marriott workers strike as a good example of how workers can successfully fight for better pay and more protection on the job. 'We’re seeing a movement moment,' she added. 'I think people are discovering that they don’t have to sit back and take it. They can fight back.'"

Unions Step Up Push for $15 Minimum Wage in Congress: "Labor unions and their allies on Tuesday stepped up their push to get Congress to approve a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage, up from the current rate of $7.25, urging rank-and-file members to press their congressmen on the issue. 'Three weeks ago, lawmakers in the House brought that bill one step closer to a floor vote. Now, we’ve got to keep the momentum going,' AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in an email to members Tuesday. 'This is our chance to make a $15 per hour minimum wage a reality for ALL workers. Tell your congressperson that raising the wage is a win-win for workers and the economy.'"

Trump Finds Democrats a Tough Sell on NAFTA Replacement: "Critics of the agreement have called for beefing up its labor and environmental protections, as well as ensuring those aspects are actually enforceable in practice. Some Democrats have asked the administration to make changes to the deal, like taking steps to lower prescription drug prices and expand the scope of the new minimum wage requirements. Celeste Drake, the AFL-CIO's top trade and globalization policy guru, will testify before Blumenauer's subcommittee during a hearing on Tuesday morning, alongside representatives from the United Auto Workers, the United Steelworkers, and other key organized labor groups."

Millions of People Can't Afford Medicines. Groups Lead Efforts to Lower Prices: "'Excessively high drug prices and unjustified price increases do not happen by chance, they are the result of deliberate political decisions made in Washington,' said Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO. 'Patients at the pharmacy counter, workers at the bargaining table and their health plans negotiating with pharmaceutical companies are forced to pay the price,' added Trumka."

When We Stand United, We Prevail: 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."

Equal Pay for Equal Work: In the States Roundup: "It's time once again to take a look at the ways working people are making progress in the states."

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Train Dispatchers: "In this weekly series, we take a deeper look at each of the AFL-CIO's affiliates. Next up is the American Train Dispatchers Association."

Women's History Month Profiles: Maida Springer Kemp: "For Women's History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various women who were leaders and activists working at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Today's profile is Maida Springer Kemp."


Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 04/02/2019 - 12:19

It's Time for Equal Pay

Tue, 2019-04-02 12:02
It's Time for Equal Pay

Equal Pay Day serves as a reminder of how far we still have to go to close the gender pay gap. AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler (IBEW) has more on why unions are the best tool to achieve pay parity.

The House of Representatives recently passed the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would:

  • Prohibit employers from using salary history.

  • Protect against retaliation for discussing pay with colleagues.

  • Equalize discrimination claims based on gender, race and ethnicity.

Now it’s up to the Senate to bring it up for a vote and pass it. Add your name to the petition in support of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

The AFL-CIO Executive Council recently adopted a statement in support of the Paycheck Fairness Act and other equal pay efforts. Read it here.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 04/02/2019 - 12:02

Tags: Equal Pay