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Remembering George H.W. Bush's Commitment to Public Service

Wed, 2018-12-05 10:00
Remembering George H.W. Bush's Commitment to Public Service Wikimedia Commons

President George H.W. Bush will be laid to rest at a state funeral today. Remembrances have been flowing in from across the political spectrum, but one thing we all can agree on is that Bush lived a life that was devoted to public service, not only for himself, but for those who answered his call for all of us to help our fellow Americans.

George Herbert Walker Bush was born in 1924 in Milton, Massachusetts. As a high-school senior when the attack on Pearl Harbor happened, Bush was inspired to join the U.S. Navy after graduation and he became the youngest U.S. Navy pilot in the country. During the war, he flew 58 combat missions in the Pacific theater, earned the rank of lieutenant and received three Air Medals and the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service.

After returning home, he finished his Bachelor of Arts at Yale before moving into the oil industry. By the time the 1960s had arrived, Bush entered politics; and in 1962, he was named chair of the Texas Republican Party. After several failed attempts to win a U.S. Senate seat, Bush was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1966. After a successful re-election campaign, President Richard Nixon asked him to run for the U.S. Senate, but the bid was unsuccessful. Nixon appointed Bush as ambassador to the United Nations. Once Gerald Ford became president, Bush was named envoy to China before returning to the United States to be the director of central intelligence. In 1980, he ran for president and lost, but was chosen as vice president by Ronald Reagan and served two terms in that role before successfully winning the presidency in 1988.

While in the White House, he worked with the Mine Workers (UMWA) and then-UMWA President Richard Trumka to sign the Coal Act, which guaranteed health care to more than 120,000 retired miners. He also signed the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act. 

From the end of his one term as president through his death at 94, he turned his focus toward inspiring others to pursue public service through his Points of Light Foundation. He also worked with former President Bill Clinton to raise funds in the wake of natural disasters such as the 2004 southeast Asian tsunami.

While we didn't agree with all of his policy positions, we would like to thank President Bush for his lifelong commitment to public service and for inspiring that devotion in many other Americans.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 12/05/2018 - 09:00

Stop the Lame-Duck Power Grabs

Tue, 2018-12-04 13:26
Stop the Lame-Duck Power Grabs Wisconsin AFL-CIO

After losing the top offices in Wisconsin and Michigan, anti-worker legislators are trying to strip powers from Govs.-elect Tony Evers and Gretchen Whitmer, respectively—before they are even sworn in. Doing so would have enormous negative consequences for working people in both states.

We must stop these outrageous lame-duck power grabs.

Wisconsin lawmakers are rushing through proposals that would:

  • Strip key power and authority from Gov.-elect Evers and incoming Attorney General Josh Kaul before they take office.

  • Lock the state into a misguided lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act.

  • Make it harder to vote.

  • Lower hardworking construction workers’ pay by limiting the number of transportation projects subject to federal prevailing wage standards.

Call your state senator and representative NOW to stop these efforts to undermine and take away power from Gov.-elect Tony Evers before he takes office.

In Michigan, the lame-duck legislature is considering bills that would:

  • Transfer powers from the governor’s and attorney general’s offices to the legislature.

  • Remove the secretary of state from overseeing the state’s campaign finance laws and establish a six-person commission with nominees chosen by the state’s political parties.

  • Weaken new minimum wage and sick time initiatives.

Take action NOW. Call Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s office and urge him to oppose these proposals: 517-335-7858.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 12/04/2018 - 12:26

Infrastructure Matters. It’s Time to Get Serious About Funding It

Mon, 2018-12-03 11:29
Infrastructure Matters. It’s Time to Get Serious About Funding It TTD

This post comes from Larry I. Willis, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD).

One hundred billion dollars is a lot of money. With that much cash you could buy four Starbucks lattes for every living human on the planet. (That’s 33 billion lattes in total, if you’re counting.) If coffee is not really your thing, consider buying every single NFL team three times over. Don’t like sports? You and the record-holding Powerball winner can compare piles of cash and together marvel at how yours is 63 times taller.

Or, if you are the federal government, you can pitch in your annual share of the cost to build and maintain our highway, water, mass transit, aviation and rail infrastructure. (It’s worth noting the actual amount we spend as a country is much higher, though states and local government chip in for most of it.)

But here’s the kicker: Even if you weigh your options and pick infrastructure over a monopoly on football, your $100 billion comes nowhere close to how much we should be spending each year if we want to achieve world-class infrastructure that boosts the country’s economy and grows the middle class. For our roads and bridges alone, we’re facing a backlog of $836 billion (that amounts to two complete bailouts of Greece, with some change to spare). Transit likely needs another $100 billion (can each of my fellow humans and I get another four lattes, please?), passenger rail around $28 billion, and let’s not forget our aging air and sea ports.

You would expect that someone in Congress has been tasked with figuring out how to pay for all of this, right? Well, not so fast.

In the House, raising funds for infrastructure falls under the jurisdiction of the Ways and Means Committee. As one might expect, they’ve put together subcommittees over the years to focus on many of our major national needs: health care, Social Security, tax policy, trade and so on. But when it comes to infrastructure, that hasn’t been the case.

So when we heard some members of Congress have been pushing for a new subcommittee singularly focused on infrastructure, we took note. It’s easy to understand why: Over the past eight years, after more than 400 hearings and thousands of witnesses brought before Ways and Means, just one hearing has been held on transportation funding and finance. A single, two-hour hearing in which each lawmaker is allotted five minutes to figure out how to pay for hundreds of billions of dollars in must-have infrastructure needs is not going to cut it.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee—the authorization committee for us policy geeks—has correctly focused its energies on how to spend existing resources. But expanding the pool of revenues that we know are needed will require congressional tax writers to be focused on solving this problem as well.

For the millions of working Americans who build, maintain, operate, and travel on our nation’s infrastructure network, this is an idea whose time has come. As one of America’s largest expenditures, it makes perfect sense that Congress would task its members with solving our ever-growing infrastructure problem.

There are a lot of reasons why Congress hasn’t been able to raise enough revenue to meet our transportation needs over the past 25 years. The politics are extremely difficult. Many members have an unshakable belief that raising revenue is political suicide—though we respectfully disagree—and there are any number of competing answers on how to get this right. A gas tax increase or mileage-based user fee may be a great place to start, and there are plenty of other financing tools that should be considered.

But if we aren’t pulling experts in the field—whether they are economists, front-line transportation workers, road users or administration officials—before Congress on a consistent basis until this problem is solved, we are missing a significant opportunity to ask the serious questions this problem warrants. Perhaps more importantly, we are missing an important opportunity to receive the serious answers that Congress deserves to hear.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 12/03/2018 - 10:29

Tuesday's Gone, but Don't Stop Giving: What Working People Are Doing This Week

Thu, 2018-11-29 11:58
Tuesday's Gone, but Don't Stop Giving: What Working People Are Doing This Week

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

A. Philip Randolph Institute:

Group Made Its Way Through Mississippi Before Senate Runoff to Get Black People to Register to Vote—and to Understand Their Political Power

— APRI National (DC) (@APRI_National) November 27, 2018

Actors' Equity:

Performers deserve fair compensation & residuals, pension &health contributions and a safe work environment. Join fellow union members to let BBH know that you deserve the ability to build a sustainable career.

— Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) November 28, 2018


The Federal Salary Council wants to change the way feds get paid. Here's what you should know:

— AFGE (@AFGENational) November 27, 2018


"Together, we are stronger than as individuals. Together, we can ensure that working in the field of mental health is sustainable.”

— AFSCME (@AFSCME) November 27, 2018


So-called “right to work” legislation is a nasty trick lawmakers use to bust unions & take away our voice in the workplace. Hopefully with the new crop of governors & state lawmakers, we can fight for working families and stop these laws in their tracks.

— AFT (@AFTunion) November 28, 2018

Air Line Pilots Association:

“I’ve always said that it’s our pilots in Canada who put the ‘international’ in Air Line Pilots Association, International.” ALPA President-Elect Capt. Joe DePete is speaking to guests at ALPA Canada’s Annual Holiday Reception.

— ALPA (@WeAreALPA) November 27, 2018

Alliance for Retired Americans:

A @washingtonpost report shows that health code violations for the Carlyle Group, a private equity fund and top nursing home owner, rose 26% in the years before it filed for bankruptcy this March. We must fund and improve quality #longtermcare for seniors!

— Alliance Retirees (@ActiveRetirees) November 28, 2018

Amalgamated Transit Union:

Bus drivers, union allege @winnipegtransit suppresses assault reports #publictransit #transit #labour

— ATU, Transit Union (@ATUComm) November 28, 2018

American Federation of Musicians:

San Francisco Symphony musicians, members of @AFM6, have approved a 4-year contract. Bravo! #UnionMusicians

— Amer. Fed. Musicians (@The_AFM) November 28, 2018

American Postal Workers Union:

"We stand in unbreakable union solidarity with Canada’s postal workers.” #apwunited #postalpride #cupw #canlab #negos2018 #1u #cdnpoli #CanadaPostStrike @cupw

— APWU National (@APWUnational) November 28, 2018

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance:

People across the nation are giving back to fights that they believe in - will you prioritize building power for AAPI workers and their families, today? Your gift to APALA will reaffirm your commitment to fight against hate! #GivingTuesday

— APALA (@APALAnational) November 27, 2018

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:

When tragedy strikes, the AFA Disaster Relief Fund strives to have an immediate, positive impact on as many active and retired Flight Attendants as possible. On this #GivingTuesday, make your donation matter:

— AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) November 26, 2018

Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers:

OUTSTANDING Union Pride on display by @BCTGMLocal351 with #MemberMonday! #UnionStrong

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast with Richard Trumka: ‘I’ve Never Been More Optimistic’

Wed, 2018-11-28 11:28
‘State of the Unions’ Podcast with Richard Trumka: ‘I’ve Never Been More Optimistic’ AFL-CIO

Recently, the AFL-CIO launched another tool to bring you the issues and stories that matter to working people. Welcome to the latest episode of our podcast, “State of the Unions,” where we talk to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka about the midterm elections and the future of the labor movement.

One in four Americans listen to podcasts on a monthly basis. “State of the Unions” is capturing the stories of workers across the country. It’s hosted by two young and diverse members of the AFL-CIO team: Mobilization Director Julie Greene and Executive Speechwriter Tim Schlittner. A new episode will drop 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: inaugural episode where you can learn about hosts Julie and Tim; an interview with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the Flint, Michigan, water crisis whistleblower; talking about union members in office with Mayor Dahlia Vertreese of Hillside, New Jersey; and our midterm recap with Rep. Conor Lamb from Pennsylvania.

Upcoming episodes will feature Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) International President Sara Nelson and Joseph McCartin, a labor historian at Georgetown University.

State of the Unions” is available on iTunesGoogle Play MusicSpotifyStitcher and anywhere else you can find podcasts.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 11/28/2018 - 10:28

The U.S. Mail Is Not for Sale

Tue, 2018-11-20 15:12
The U.S. Mail Is Not for Sale

The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) just released a new ad in support of its U.S. Mail Not for Sale campaign. The campaign is a worker-led effort that brings together working people, elected officials and member organizations of A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service to fight plans to privatize the U.S. Postal Service.

Watch the video above, then check out the U.S. Mail Not for Sale website, where you can learn the story behind the ad. A short summary:

On June 21, 2018, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a restructuring proposal for the federal government. The proposal, “Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century,” delivered misinformation without ever consulting the U.S. Postal Service and, if implemented, would end regular mail and package services at one affordable price, delivered to all 157 million addresses six days a week–regardless of geographic location. The OMB proposal takes direct aim at the U.S. Postal Service under the guise of reforming and structuring for the 21st century.

Learn more at U.S. Mail Not for Sale, where you also can take action to protect the U.S. Postal Service.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 11/20/2018 - 14:12

Black Women Rising: The Working People Weekly List

Tue, 2018-11-20 13:13
Black Women Rising: 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.

The Election Now: Black Women Rising: "A cadre of black women is working behind the scenes as organizers, fund-raisers, strategists and more. Black women in labor unions, including Julie Greene, who heads the AFL-CIO’s mobilization hub, are making key decisions around this election, while the I Am 2018 voting campaign of the AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees)—which has 1.6 million members—aims to engage communities of color."

Unionized Athletes Need to Stop Crossing Picket Lines and Start Supporting Fellow Workers: "It should have been an easy opportunity to show solidarity. It should have been a friendly, comradely way to unite against oppressive bosses. Instead, professional athletes from the various North American sports unions have, again and again, put themselves ahead of the striking Marriott hotel workers, and crossed the picket lines that were put up in early October 2018. As if these hotel workers didn’t already have enough of an uphill battle ahead of them against the world’s largest hotel company, they now have to contend with athletes and sports unions ignoring their fight. That has to stop."

Pelosi Has Union Support in Bid for House Speaker: "The AFL-CIO and a growing list of labor unions are supporting Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) bid for House speaker. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Nov. 10 tweeted that Pelosi is an 'effective advocate for working families.' A group of six labor unions also pledged support for Pelosi’s bid to lead the 116th Congress, according to a letter addressed to Pelosi and obtained by Bloomberg Law Nov. 14. The correspondence, signed by, among others, the presidents of the United Food and Commercial Workers and the United Auto Workers, said Pelosi has 'made labor rights, including the rights of federal workers, a top priority on your agenda and we support you for doing so.'"

AFL-CIO President: How Working People Defined the Midterm Election: "There was plenty of punditry plastered across cable news last week. But, as the dust settles, there is one story that has come to define this election: working people standing together to make a difference. The labor movement unleashed an unprecedented political program this year. Across the country, union members made the difference, fighting for our issues, for union candidates and for our proven allies. Over the last few months, we knocked on more than 2.3 million doors and distributed 5 million fliers at more than 4,600 worksites. That represents millions of conversations between fellow union members, talking earnestly about the opportunity we embraced in this election—a chance to stand up and demand the fairer economy and more just society that we deserve."

With Its Primary Opponents Voted Out, What's Next for Labor Unions?: "Trumka: The labor movement really did prove to be the driving force throughout much of this cycle. We knocked on over 2 million doors. We passed out 5 million fliers. We had 12 million pieces of direct mail, and I just have to say this, Michel. This is part of something that's bigger than just politics or the last election. You're seeing a tremendous upsurge in collective action throughout the United States right now."

Bridge the Gap: "Did you know that flight attendants and workers for regional airlines are often paid 45% less than their colleagues at major carriers for doing the same work?"

Trumka Talks the Future of the Labor Movement on Yahoo Finance: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) appeared on Yahoo Finance this week to discuss the future of labor unions. Here are some key excerpts from the interview."

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

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 11/20/2018 - 12:13

Graduate Workers Joining Together: Worker Wins

Tue, 2018-11-20 12:30
Graduate Workers Joining Together: Worker Wins

Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with graduate student workers uniting for a better future and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life.

Graduate Student Workers at Brown Join AFT: With more than 60% voting yes, graduate employees at Brown University have voted to join AFT. Kaitlyn Quaranta, a graduate assistant in French, said: "Hundreds of graduate workers stood up this week and sent a clear message that our labor for the university should not be taken for granted. Winning this election is about more than just improving working conditions for grads at Brown. In voting to unionize, we stood up for labor rights during an incredibly anti-labor administration."

Georgetown Alliance of Graduate Employees (GAGE) Votes Overwhelmingly to Affiliate with AFT: Nearly 84% of graduate student workers at Georgetown voted to be represented by the GAGE and AFT. In a joint statement, GAGE and AFT said: "We have a shared belief in the important role that graduate student assistants play at Georgetown and a shared commitment to giving them a stronger voice as members of our community. We are encouraged that many graduate student assistants made their voices heard. We look forward to working together to continue efforts to improve the graduate student experience at Georgetown."

Steelworkers and U.S. Steel Reach New Four-Year Agreement: Steelworkers represented by USW at U.S. Steel have approved a new four-year contract that includes a signing bonus and significant wage increases while maintaining high-quality, affordable health care and strong retirement benefits. The USW bargaining committee said: "Three years ago, we recognized that the industry was experiencing a downturn and agreed to make sacrifices to ensure that the industry could make it through the tough times. This time around, we knew that things were different. U.S. Steel, and the industry as a whole, were thriving again, and we would not settle for a concessionary agreement."

Steelworkers and ArcelorMittal Agree on Tentative Deal: The United Steelworkers and ArcelorMittal have agreed on a tentative four-year contract covering 12,000 USW members in West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois and Minnesota. USW said: "The proposed four-year agreement mirrors the industry standard on wages, lump-sum payments and pensions and maintains or improves our existing health insurance benefits for active and retired Steelworkers and their dependents." USW members now must ratify the contract, which is expected to happen before the end of the year.

Texas' Largest Independent Bookstore Employees to Be Represented by OPEIU: The 80 booksellers, event staff and inventory managers at BookPeople, the largest independent bookstore in Texas, have voted to be represented by OPEIU Local 277. The union now will begin negotiating the first contract for the new members. Patrick Watson, a BookPeople inventory manager, said: "We are so excited to get this win. BookPeople workers were organizing months before we contacted OPEIU, and to see our efforts finally lead to representation is exhilarating. Now we're ready to go into negotiations with the same energy and passion we've had from the beginning!”

United Catering Employees Join UNITE HERE: More than 1,700 catering employees that work for United Airlines have voted by 72% to be represented by UNITE HERE. With the new additions, about 80% of United's 88,000 employees are now represented by unions. Lakisha McIntosh, who works for United in its Newark, N.J., kitchen, said: “My co-workers and I have fought so hard for this day because we know that we deserve to be equal with all the other United employees.”

Registered Nurses in Arcadia, Calif., Join the CNA/NNU: Registered nurses at Methodist Hospital of Southern California in Arcadia voted overwhelmingly to be represented by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United. Shelly Perks, a registered nurse in the intensive care unit, said: "This is a great day for the nurses as we will now have a real voice in making decisions on how we care for our patients. Often management has implemented policies without our input, even though these decisions too often impact patient care adversely. Finally, our voices will be heard."

Additional 350 Registered Nurses at Chicago Medical Center Join NNOC/NNU: An additional 350 registered nurses at the University of Chicago Medical Center voted to join National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU). They join the same bargaining unit as the 1,800 other nurses at Chicago Medical Center who are already represented by NNOC/NNU. Julie DiNovo, a registered nurse in the prep and recovery unit, said: "Having my voice heard about the safety of my patients, the security of my job and providing for my family is important to me. Joining the union makes sure that my voice matters.” 

They Privatize, We Organize: After a long, difficult fight, machinists at the Mancon parts and supply warehouse in Massachusetts have ratified a new four-year collective bargaining agreement. The work done by these workers was previously done by public-sector workers, but was transferred to the private sector after an outsourcing campaign. IAM District 15 Assistant Directing Business Representative Mike Vartabedian said: "These workers saw firsthand the real agenda behind Gov. Baker’s scheme to privatize these jobs to for profit companies. They watched the members of Local 264 stand together to prevail in the fight for their jobs, and to keep public transportation public.”

Rockville General Hospital Support Staff Join AFT: Support staff at Rockville General Hospital in Vernon, Conn., voted to be represented by AFT. The 150 nursing assistants, housekeepers, diet aides, phlebotomists, unit coordinators and other employees now will begin assembling a team to negotiate with management from the Eastern Connecticut Health Network, which owns the hospital and is in turn owned by Prospect Medical Holdings.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 11/20/2018 - 11:30

Tags: Organizing

Make Your Thanksgiving Union-Made in America

Tue, 2018-11-20 11:20
Make Your Thanksgiving Union-Made in America

When you buy union, you're supporting good jobs in American communities, jobs that provide living wages and benefits, safe working conditions, and dignity and respect for work. Look for these quality products, produced by union members, when preparing for your Thanksgiving feast.

The following list comes to us from Union Label and the products are made by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM); the Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers (GMP); the Machinists (IAM); UNITE HERE; the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW); the United Steel Workers (USW); the United Farm Workers (UFW); and the Teamsters (IBT).

Set the Table

  • Anchor Hocking (GMP)
  • Bennington Potters (UNITE HERE)
  • Clauss knives (USW)
  • Corning-Ware (USW)
  • Fiestaware (GMP)
  • Homer Laughlin china (GMP)
  • Libbey glassware (USW and GMP)
  • Pyrex (USW)

Fresh Whole Turkey

  • Butterball (UFCW)
  • Foster Farms (UFCW)


  • Appleton Farms ham (UFCW)
  • Butterball ham (UFCW)
  • Cook's ham (UFCW)
  • Farmland old-fashioned pit ham (UFCW)
  • Farmland original pit ham (UFCW)
  • Hormel honey roasted ham (UFCW)
  • Tyson ham (UFCW)


  • Manischewitz (UFCW)
  • Stroehmann bakery products (BCTGM)


  • Andy Boy (UFW)
  • Birds Eye (UFCW)
  • Eurofresh (UFCW)
  • Mann's (UFCW)
  • Muranaka Farm (UFW)
  • Sunripe (UFCW)

Cranberries/Cranberry Sauce

  • Dole (IBT)
  • Ocean Spray (IAM)


  • Betty Crocker specialty potatoes (BCTGM)
  • Dole fresh potatoes (IBT)
  • Mann's fresh culinary cuts sweet potatoes (UFCW)


  • Aunt Millie's bread products (UFVW)
  • Pillsbury rolls (BCTGM)
  • Stroehmann bakery products (BCTGM)


  • Banquet fruit pies (UFCW)
  • Entenmann's (BCTGM)
  • Marie Callender's (UFCW)
  • Pillsbury pie crust (BCTGM)
  • Sara Lee (BCTGM)

Pie Filling

  • Del Monte fresh apples (IBT)
  • Food Club canned pumpkin (UFCW)
  • Kroger pumpkin pie (UFCW)

To find more union-made in America products, visit Union Label and Service Trades Department.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 11/20/2018 - 10:20

Tags: Union Label

New Bill Seeks to Protect Health Care and Social Service Workers from Workplace Violence

Mon, 2018-11-19 14:27
New Bill Seeks to Protect Health Care and Social Service Workers from Workplace Violence

Workplace violence is a serious and growing problem for health care and social service workers. Nurses, emergency room doctors, social workers, psychiatric facility aides, and other health care and social service workers frequently face violence that leads to serious, life-altering injuries, loss of productivity and death. In 2016, working people petitioned the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for a workplace violence standard and, in 2017, OSHA granted that petition; yet there has been no action by the Trump administration to develop a national standard to protect workers from violence.

    Some key facts about workplace violence:

    • It is responsible for more than 850 worker deaths and 28,000 serious injuries each year and is on the rise.
    • One of every six workplace deaths each year are from workplace violence.
    • It is now the second leading cause of death on the job.
    • Health care and social service workers are at greatest risk: They are nearly five times more likely than other workers to suffer a workplace violence injury.
    • Last year, workplace homicides doubled for health care and social service workers.
    • Two of every three workplace violence events are suffered by women.
    • Workplace violence is foreseeable and preventable.

    Today, Reps. Joe Courtney (Conn.) and Bobby Scott (Va.) introduced legislation aimed at protecting health care and social service workers from workplace violence. In a letter supporting the legislation, Courtney said:

    To address these rising rates of violence, I am introducing the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act. This legislation will require the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to issue a workplace violence prevention standard requiring employers in the health care and social service sectors to develop and implement a plan to protect their employees from workplace violence. These plans will be tailored to the specific workplace and employee population, but may include training on de-escalation techniques, personal alarm devices, surveillance and monitoring systems, or other strategies identified by the employers and employees to keep workers safe. While OSHA has already issued voluntary guidance to employers on how to prevent violence in these workplaces, data from [the Bureau of Labor Statistics] as well as personal testimony from workers about continuing violence shows that voluntary guidance is not sufficient. An enforceable standard is required to prevent the types of violence that are prevalent in too many of our hospitals, nursing homes and social service settings.

    Watch the video above to hear from working people affected by workplace violence.

    Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 11/19/2018 - 13:27

    Union Veterans Council Leader Attig to Help Gov.-Elect Pritzker Serve Illinois Veterans

    Fri, 2018-11-16 17:54
    Union Veterans Council Leader Attig to Help Gov.-Elect Pritzker Serve Illinois Veterans Union Veterans Council

    Union Veterans Council Executive Director Will Attig will serve on Illinois Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker's transition team, the Serving Illinois' Heroes Committee. Attig will help make sure that Pritzker and his administration are ready to serve veterans right out of the gate.

    Attig said:

    What this committee is is really a working group, a very diverse group of veterans, veteran lawmakers and individuals from the community that are going to be setting out a set of agenda items that the new administration will be looking at to support veterans in Illinois.

    I think that this committee is a great way to improve the lives of the veterans that live in Illinois, not just the younger generation of veterans, but our veterans that are retiring, the Vietnam veterans that are entering retirement age right now that we still need to make sure that we take care of.

    Read more about Attig's role and learn about the Union Veterans Council.

    Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 11/16/2018 - 16:54

    Tags: Union Veterans Council

    Bridge the Gap

    Fri, 2018-11-16 13:05
    Bridge the Gap AFL-CIO

    Did you know that flight attendants and workers for regional airlines are often paid 45% less than their colleagues at major carriers for doing the same work?

    That’s why AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre (UFCW) joined his fellow labor leaders at a rally to call out this injustice and demand it be fixed.

    Executive Vice President Gebre joined Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) International President Sara Nelson, AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department President Larry Willis, Mine Workers (UMWA) President Cecil Roberts and UNITE HERE Deputy Director Alisa Gallo to build support for flight attendants. The flight attendants are in contract negotiations with Air Wisconsin Airlines, Endeavor Air and PSA Airlines and serve passengers flying with American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines.

    Check out a few highlights from the speakers below, and watch the rally here.

    • Gebre: “When we fight, we win! Your fight is my fight!”

    • Nelson: “It’s just not right, and it’s certainly not fair. Airlines aren’t hurting, but many airline employees are. We’re fighting to fix that.”

    • Willis: “The most important tool working people have to get ahead—union membership—is being vilified. We won't stand for it!”

    • Roberts: “They’re telling us they’re going to pay us different even though we’re doing the same job? We’ve had it up to here with this division!”

    • Gallo: “Everyone who shows up at these workplaces...makes sure that passengers are treated with respect, get where they’re going safely and [workers] deserve the same respect back from those enormously profitable companies.”

    Air Wisconsin’s flight attendants, who service United and have been negotiating since July 2016, recently voted to authorize a strike for better wages and working conditions. This news comes just a few weeks after 2,700 catering workers at United voted overwhelmingly to join UNITE HERE.

    Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 11/16/2018 - 12:05

    Trumka Talks the Future of the Labor Movement on Yahoo Finance

    Thu, 2018-11-15 12:57
    Trumka Talks the Future of the Labor Movement on Yahoo Finance AFL-CIO

    AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) appeared on Yahoo Finance this week to discuss the future of labor unions. Here are some key excerpts from the interview.

    In this first clip, Trumka talks about the biggest potential threat to America's workers:

    In this next clip, Trumka talks about the top priorities for the labor movement:

    In this last clip, Trumka talks about the future of labor unions in a changing economic environment:

    Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 11/15/2018 - 11:57

    Union Strong: In the States Roundup

    Wed, 2018-11-14 12:56
    Union Strong: In the States Roundup

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

    Arizona AFL-CIO:

    Union Strong!

    — Arizona AFL-CIO (@ArizonaAFLCIO) November 13, 2018

    Arkansas AFL-CIO:


    We Did It! The Working People Weekly List

    Fri, 2018-11-09 13:44
    We Did It! 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.

    A Driving Force in This Election: "We did it! 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."

    Fighting for Those Who Serve: "As we celebrate millions of service members’ selfless sacrifice this Veterans Day, the Union Veterans Council is fighting to defend their economic rights and dignities when they return home. Join that fight today and be a voice for working-class veterans."

    In the States: Working People Across the Country Respond to Midterm Elections: "Across the country, working people showed up in significant numbers on Election Day to make our voices heard. And while we didn't win every race, we fought hard to make sure that as many winning candidates as possible are champions of working people."

    New Jersey Labor Movement Leads Charge to Take Back House in the Midterm Elections: "On Nov. 6, after what may have been the most consequential election in recent U.S. history, union members across New Jersey celebrated Bob Menendez’s re-election to the U.S. Senate, as well as the election of all 12 labor-endorsed congressional candidates, eight state Senate and assembly members and 50 rank-and-file union members."

    Working People Respond to Midterm Election Results: "Across the country, yesterday's elections showed that where candidates appealed to working people and championed policies that support us, working people will support those candidates. Working people provided winning margins in races across the country, sending a clear message that the pathway to winning elections in the United States goes through the labor movement."

    Who Says Union Organizer Debriefs Can't Be Fun?: "We are coming off of an exciting two days of Debriefs: Successful Strategies and Tactics for Winning Campaigns! This Organizing Institute (OI) Exchange Clinic took place Oct. 22-23 and was held at the historic AFSCME Local 1733 union hall in Memphis, Tennessee.  Sixteen advanced and lead level organizers from Ironworkers International Union and Communications Workers of America (CWA) leading campaigns across the country participated. The clinic focused on how lead organizers understand and apply the components of effective debriefs into their campaigns."

    AFL-CIO and Anti-Slavery Activists Get Results on Mauritania: "On Friday, in response to a petition originally filed by the AFL-CIO in 2017, the U.S. government gave Mauritania an ultimatum: It must make sufficient progress toward protecting internationally recognized workers' rights, including combating the scourge of hereditary slavery, or face the loss of trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Mauritania has until Jan. 1, 2019, to take action."

    AFL-CIO on Wisconsin Governor Race: 'Scott Walker Was a National Disgrace': "Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, issued a brief but harsh statement on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) losing his reelection bid. 'Scott Walker was a national disgrace,' Trumka’s entire statement read. 'Scott Walker was a national disgrace.' The comment was almost identical to Trumka’s statement after Walker formally entered the 2016 presidential race."

    Unions to Push New Democratic House to Alter Trump's Trade Deal: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said Wednesday his group would push the new Democratic majority in the House to demand tougher enforcement language in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement before it's approved. Trumka indicated unions would support the deal to replace the old North American Free Trade Agreement when it comes up for a vote likely next year provided these changes can be made, and if they could be assured that the agreement's provisions on factory wages and auto part rules of origin will work as advertised."

    Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 11/09/2018 - 12:44

    Fighting for Those Who Serve

    Fri, 2018-11-09 13:02
    Fighting for Those Who Serve Union Veterans Council

    As we celebrate millions of service members’ selfless sacrifice this Veterans Day, the Union Veterans Council is fighting to defend their economic rights and dignities when they return home. Join that fight today and be a voice for working-class veterans.

    Whether fighting to preserve the integrity of the Department of Veterans Affairs or handing an economic lifeline to returning service members, the labor movement is fighting every day for those who committed themselves to service.

    “We’re seeking to bridge the gap between military and civilian life, helping those who served our country apply the unparalleled leadership and technical skills they learned in the military to a good union job once they’re back home,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka at a Toys for Tots kickoff earlier today. “Serving our veterans is just one way the labor movement is making an impact in our communities.”

    You can be a part of that effort. This Veterans Day, stand with us and speak out on the issues that impact us most. Demand more from politicians and corporations than a lapel pin or catchphrase. Together, we can win the fair economy and just society that millions of veterans have fought and bled for.

    Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 11/09/2018 - 12:02

    In the States: Working People Across the Country Respond to Midterm Elections

    Thu, 2018-11-08 13:02
    In the States: Working People Across the Country Respond to Midterm Elections

    Across the country, working people showed up in significant numbers on Election Day to make our voices heard. And while we didn't win every race, we fought hard to make sure that as many winning candidates as possible are champions of working people.

    Here is what working people advocates around the country said about the 2018 midterm elections.

    California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski:

    California voters cast their ballots for progress today, electing Gavin Newsom to lead our state into the future and rejecting the cynical Prop. 6, which would have eliminated thousands of projects vital to our transportation infrastructure.

    In California, we vote our values. The results of tonight’s election are clear evidence that Californians reject gutter politics and instead fight for a hopeful future in which all working people share in the pursuit of the American Dream.

    While we’re still waiting for returns on several key races for working people, the energy and enthusiasm from union volunteers who worked for months through this evening to turn out every last vote this year was off the charts. The massive voter mobilization from California unions once again shows that there’s no substitute for in-person conversations that engage voters on issues that matter to their families. That’s the bread and butter of the labor campaign that could make all the difference in tight races yet to be decided.

    We congratulate Newsom on his election as California’s next governor and look forward to working closely with him to advance workers’ core rights and lead on expanding access to affordable health care and protecting immigrant workers from Trump’s attacks. We’re also thrilled California continues to elect bold leaders to other statewide offices who will ensure our state aggressively moves to grow our economy from the bottom up, tackle income inequality and gender and racial discrimination, and expand voting access.

    Led by the State Building and Construction Trades Council, unions went all-in to defeat the harmful Prop. 6 measure pushed by right-wing extremists. By rejecting Prop. 6, voters solidified support for investing in road and bridge safety and infrastructure. This is a huge win for workers and our state’s future.

    Colorado AFL-CIO President Josette Jaramillo:

    Across Colorado, truck drivers, electricians, social workers, flight attendants, teachers, pipefitters and more came together to set aside party labels and personalities and elect candidates who will lift up workers, not special interests. Workers won big tonight because they made a record-breaking commitment to educate voters on pro-working family candidates. Our people-power made all the difference in moving Colorado to restore an economy and democracy to work for all of us, not just the wealthy few.

    Union members know that when working people join together, we have the power to enact incredible change, even in the face of incredible odds. Working people are on the rise in Colorado and we are taking the energy and momentum that powered the Colorado Labor 2018 program to build a long-term, grassroots movement to improve the lives of working families in our great state, including an agenda that includes protecting our voice in the workplace and rewarding hard work with a path to the middle class.

    Connecticut AFL-CIO President Lori Pelletier:

    Last night was a resounding victory for working people all across our great state.

    I am so proud of all the work our members did this election cycle. They knocked tens of thousands of doors, made tens of thousands of phone calls, mailed nearly every member in the state, and made countless visits to worksites to talk with members about the importance of supporting pro-worker candidates. We engaged in this process earlier than we ever have, starting in April of this year, to make sure working people had a voice in the electoral process ahead of both party’s nominating conventions.

    But now that the election is over, our new governor and legislature should embrace this momentum to act on the concerns workers articulated during the campaign. They have a tremendous opportunity to invest in workers and build the middle class by embracing and moving a real workers’ agenda. Within the first 100 days, Connecticut should raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, enact earned family and medical leave, prohibit the abusive management practice of "on call scheduling," and continue to protect working people’s pay, retirement, and health care.

    Michigan AFL-CIO President Ron Bieber

    This is a resounding victory for Michigan’s working families who made a clear statement for where they want to see our state head. Gretchen Whitmer has always been a champion of working people and her administration will be one that protects our freedoms in the workplace. Working folks have seen eight years of corporate special interests manipulating the rules, and today people said they’d had enough. We’re setting a new course in Michigan, one where we create an economy that works for everyone. We now have a governor who will fix the damn roads, make education a priority, and put the needs of the people first.

    Minnesota AFL-CIO President Bill McCarthy:

    A record number of Minnesotans sent a clear message yesterday by electing the full slate of labor-endorsed candidates to statewide offices, putting a working families majority in charge of the Minnesota House, and sending five labor-endorsed candidates to Congress.

    Our volunteer-driven member-to-member political campaign, the largest and most strategic in Minnesota AFL-CIO history, reached tens of thousands of union members at their worksites, at their homes, on their phones, in their mailboxes and on social media.

    Union members knew that our very freedom to join together was on the ballot this year and made sure our voices were heard loud and clear.

    The 2018 election also sent a record number of labor-endorsed union members and retirees into public office, including Governor-elect Tim Walz, Auditor-elect and former Minnesota AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Julie Blaha, and 22 members to the Minnesota House.

    The 2018 election showed that when working people organize, volunteer, and vote; we win. Minnesota’s Labor Movement will continue the enthusiasm of this political campaign into our organizing and legislative work in the months and years ahead.

    Nevada State AFL-CIO Executive Secretary-Treasurer Rusty McAllister:

    Nevada working families were determined to fill the halls of power with leaders who share our values, who want to make our state and our country a better place for all working people. Across Nevada, union members gave their all in service of that shared goal. Their passion and dedication drove an extraordinary campaign, one that built upon and surpassed our accomplishments in 2016. Working together, we knocked on more than 580,000 doors and spoke to more than 136,000 voters in-person and over the phone about the best candidates for working families and the ballot initiatives that will impact their lives.

    Union members know that when working people join together, we have the power to enact incredible change—even in the face of incredible odds. Our 2018 labor political program was an enormous group effort, and we thank everyone who helped to move our state toward a brighter future. We are proud to have done our part to help elect working family champions Jacky Rosen to the U.S. Senate and Steve Sisolak to the Governor’s office, to send a solid, pro-worker majority in our state legislature, and to defeat a risky, corporate-funded energy deregulation effort.

    Working people are on the rise in Nevada. We are taking the energy and momentum that powered the Nevada Labor 2018 program and we are building a long term movement to improve the lives of working families. Tonight was filled with many historic victories, but it is not the end. Nevada working people are just getting started.

    New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech:

    Make no mistake: what made the difference tonight was our unified labor voice as well as the support we received from thousands of union volunteers; national, state, and local affiliates; Central Labor Councils, and Building Trades Councils. By gathering in solidarity every Saturday for labor walks, knocking on more than 366,000 doors, and delivering thousands of mail pieces around the state, we showed the nation what it means to be union strong.

    This election is only the beginning. Organized labor will use this momentum to usher in a new era of progress for all working people that is long-overdue. Together, we made the difference, and together we will continue to be the driving force that moves our state forward and fulfills the promise of fairness, dignity, respect, and opportunity for all working people.

    New Mexico Federation of Labor

    New Mexico working families were determined to fill the halls of power with leaders who share our values and ensure voters were informed and engaged regarding candidates on the ballot that would shape the future of our state. Across New Mexico, union members gave their all in service of those shared goals. Their passion and dedication drove an extraordinary labor political campaign. Working together we knocked over 20,000 doors, made over 112,000 phone calls, and contacted union members and their families more than 133,000 times throughout this election cycle.

    Union members know that when working people join together, we have the power to enact incredible change—even in the face of incredible odds. Our 2018 labor political program was an enormous group effort, and we thank everyone who helped to move our state toward a brighter future. We are proud to have done our part....

    Working people are on the rise in New Mexico. We are taking the energy and momentum that powered the New Mexico Labor 2018 program and we are building a long-term, grassroots movement. Tonight is the end of a long election season, but it is not the end of our efforts to improve the lives of working families. New Mexico’s working people are just getting started.

    New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento

    The collective voice of working people was heard tonight with victories for labor’s candidates for governor, attorney general, comptroller and U.S. Senate. I congratulate Governor Cuomo, our new State Attorney General Letitia “Tish” James, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

    Their victories are a victory for all working people. Union members worked hard campaigning for each of these candidates because they understand the issues most important to workers.

    I am particularly proud of our 2.5 million members, retirees and their families for executing a powerful grassroots campaign. We made 4 million voter contacts through knocking on doors, targeted digital messaging, phone calls, mail pieces, palm cards and emails to union members on the importance of having statewide elected leaders who will fight to protect workers’ rights and grow the middle class.

    Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain:

    Oregon’s workers were determined to fill the halls of power with leaders who share our values and ensure voters were informed and engaged regarding initiatives on the ballot that would shape the future of our state. Across Oregon, union members stepped up to make sure we met those shared goals. Their passion and dedication drove an extraordinary campaign. Working together, we knocked on over 110,000 doors and contacted over 210,000 voters by telephone and text message. We reached voters through the mail, on social media and at dozens of worksites. We stood together to do our part to make change happen. 

    Union members know that when working people stand together, we have the power to enact incredible change—even in the face of incredible odds. Our 2018 political program was an enormous collective effort, and we thank everyone who helped to move our state toward a brighter future. We are proud to have helped re-elect Governor Kate Brown, a champion for working people in Oregon, as well as defeat ballot measures 103, 104, 105 and 106 while passing ballot measure 102. Our efforts helped maintain the Oregon Legislature as a place where the needs of working people are heard and where action is taken to fight for our shared prosperity.

    Working people are on the rise in Oregon. We are taking the energy and momentum that powered the Oregon AFL-CIO Labor 2018 program and we are building a long-term, grassroots movement. Tonight is the end of a long election season, but it is not the end of our efforts to improve the lives of working families. Oregon’s working people are just getting started.

    Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

    After a stunning, against-all-odds election win in March with the first election of Conor Lamb, the Pennsylvania union movement has stayed the course for a meaningful victory for workers and workers’ rights across all of Pennsylvania. Today was an historic win for workers’ rights in our commonwealth. The re-election of Governor Tom Wolf and U.S. Senator Bob Casey is monumental to the securing of workers’ rights in Pennsylvania and across the country. The officers of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO have made the following statements on tonight’s victories for workers. 

    “These elections were never about a political party or a candidate; this was and is about the issues that affect the lives of workers and their right to join a union. The right for workers to join together and collectively bargain, the right to health care access and the right to a fair wage and economic opportunity was on the line with today’s election. Pennsylvania voters stood up and cast their votes against anti-union extremists. Let it be known, Pennsylvania is a union state,” remarked President Rick Bloomingdale.

    “The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO and our union brothers and sisters across the commonwealth have worked hard for the last several months. We’ve reached hundreds of thousands of union households on the doors, on the phones and at their work sites to convey the importance of this election to Pennsylvania union members. Our union member-to-member program in Pennsylvania has reached out to our politically diverse membership in partnership with our 51 affiliate unions in all 67 counties to win victories for union members in Pennsylvania,” stated Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder.

    Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy:

    Beto O'Rourke neared the mountaintop by standing up for all Texans who seek a fair shot at better lives. His magnificent campaign lit a spark that together with the deep organizing of labor and allied groups has launched a new political era in Texas. What Beto accomplished is only the beginning. We thank him and look forward to working alongside him for a better future for working families.

    Washington State Labor Council President Jeff Johnson:

    Union members and their families have been pumped up this entire election cycle. For months, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and our affiliated unions have organized member volunteers to talk to fellow union members about the importance of this election. Working together, our Labor Neighbor grassroots political mobilization program activated more than 1,000 union members who knocked on doors, made phone calls, and wrote handwritten postcards to more than 45,000 union members and their families. By all accounts, the feedback has been that folks were absolutely determined this year to elect people who share our values and care about good jobs. I think tonight’s results reflect that.

    At a time when some politicians and judges are attacking our freedom to join together in unions, it’s more important than ever to get engaged, to vote, and then to hold elected officials accountable. That’s exactly what we intend to do. We will take the energy and momentum from this year’s successful election mobilization and use it to continue building our long-term grassroots movement. Union members know that when they join together, they have the power to change things for the better.

    Tonight we celebrate the end of a long election season and the gains made by pro-worker candidates. But we are just getting started.

    Wisconsin State AFL-CIO President Stephanie Bloomingdale:

    Wisconsin voters have gone to the polls to reject Scott Walker’s union-busting style of politics and voted him out of office. Tony Ever’s victory is a clear signal that Wisconsinites will not stand for attacks on workers’ rights and our freedom to collectively bargain. We look forward to working with the Evers Administration to restore union rights to every Wisconsin worker, raise wages, fully fund our schools and invest in infrastructure so that we can finally fix our roads and bridges.

    Union members have been doing the grassroots work of lacing up our boots and having conversations on front porch steps, in the workplace, over the phone, and at the mail box to ramp up the union vote for pro-worker candidates. The ground work of labor activism made the difference Tuesday.

    Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 11/08/2018 - 12:02

    Tags: Elections 2018

    New Jersey Labor Movement Leads Charge to Take Back House in the Midterm Elections

    Thu, 2018-11-08 12:18
    New Jersey Labor Movement Leads Charge to Take Back House in the Midterm Elections

    On Nov. 6, after what may have been the most consequential election in recent U.S. history, union members across New Jersey celebrated Bob Menendez’s re-election to the U.S. Senate, as well as the election of all 12 labor-endorsed congressional candidates, eight state Senate and assembly members and 50 rank-and-file union members.

    In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, as well as the recent attacks on workers’ rights and union rights, these victories could not have come at a better time for working families in New Jersey. Ultimately, the results attest to the exceptional mobilization efforts of organized labor and the New Jersey State AFL-CIO’s political program, a program unparalleled by any other in the state or nation.

    This election was especially significant in that the nationally renowned New Jersey State AFL-CIO Labor Candidates Program notched its 1,000th candidate victory, a mark many thought impossible to reach when the program first began more than two decades ago. Thus far, Tuesday’s election has seen 50 victories achieved by rank-and-file union members running for public office (with two races still too close to call), bringing the program’s total number of election victories to 1,024 and its all-time win percentage to 76%.

    Moreover, in a stunning upset, labor-endorsed candidate Andy Kim won the 3rd Congressional District—one of the most closely watched U.S. House races in the nation—beating Tom MacArthur and flipping a key district in New Jersey. Kim joins Mikie Sherrill (11th District), Tom Malinowski (7th District) and Jeff Van Drew (2nd District), adding to the list of state federation-endorsed candidates who won open U.S. House seats.

    In addition, working families succeeded in passing Ballot Question No. 1, the Securing Our Children’s Future Bond Act, thereby authorizing $500 million in state borrowing for improvements to public schools, vocational schools and community colleges.

    “Make no mistake: what made the difference tonight was our unified labor voice, as well as the support we received from thousands of union volunteers; national, state and local affiliates; central labor councils; and building trades councils,” said New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech. “By gathering in solidarity every Saturday for labor walks, knocking on more than 366,000 doors and delivering thousands of mail pieces around the state, we showed the nation what it means to be union strong.”

    At the end of the day, not even the multimillion-dollar smear campaigns and hateful rhetoric of Bob Hugin, Jay Webber, U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance and other anti-union politicians could silence the unified voice of New Jersey’s 1 million-member-strong state labor movement. And now, with the midterm elections behind them, New Jersey will lead the way forward for the rest of the nation, securing needed reforms that promote job creation, quality education, skills training, modernized infrastructure, affordable health care, equitable taxation, and a sustainable and secure retirement future for all working families.

    “This election is only the beginning,” said President Wowkanech. “Organized labor will use this momentum to usher in a new era of progress for all working people that is long overdue. Together, we made the difference, and together we will continue to be the driving force that moves our state forward and fulfills the promise of fairness, dignity, respect and opportunity for all working people.”

    For more than two decades, the New Jersey State AFL-CIO has recruited, trained, mentored and campaigned on behalf of rank-and-file union members running for political office. Having achieved 1,024 election victories in this time frame—a win percentage of more than 76%—the state federation's Labor Candidates Program has revolutionized the role labor plays in New Jersey state and local government.

    More than 141 graduates of the Labor Candidates School currently hold public office. Among them are state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, state Sen. Troy Singleton, U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, Assemblyman Joseph Egan, Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, Assemblyman Thomas Giblin, Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli and Assemblyman Paul Moriarty.

    Because of these graduates and their unwavering dedication to the labor movement and working families, several pro-worker pieces of legislation have been passed in New Jersey this year. This includes paid sick days, equal pay for women and minorities, the Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act and unemployment benefits for striking workers.  

    For more information about the New Jersey State AFL-CIO Labor Candidates Program, click here.

    Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 11/08/2018 - 11:18

    Tags: Elections 2018

    A Driving Force in This Election

    Wed, 2018-11-07 17:15
    A Driving Force in This Election

    We did it!

    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.

    While many races have yet to be called, make no mistake: This is a historic election for working people. Union members in every community, city and state were a driving force in this election. We fought for our issues, union candidates and proven allies, and we filled the halls of power with our own.

    AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) and AFL-CIO Mobilization Director Julie Greene spoke to the press early this morning. Check out what they had to say about this victory for working people here.

    We’re still gathering and compiling the data, but here are four key takeaways from our work last night:

    • Seven hundred and forty-three (and counting) union members were elected to office from the U.S. Senate to state capitols, including U.S. Sen.-elect Jacky Rosen (UNITE HERE) of Nevada; Michigan Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer (AFT); Minnesota Gov.-elect Tim Walz (Education Minnesota); and U.S. Reps.-elect Jahana Hayes (CEA and AFSA) of Connecticut and Ilhan Omar (AFSCME) of Minnesota.

    • We sent union-busting Govs. Scott Walker (Wis.) and Bruce Rauner (Ill.) packing, and we elected an army of pro-worker governors in Wisconsin, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Colorado, Maine and Kansas.

    • Union members knocked on more than 2.3 million doors this election cycle.

    • We distributed 5 million fliers at more than 4,600 worksites, sent more than 260,000 texts and delivered over 12 million pieces of direct mail.

    Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 11/07/2018 - 16:15

    Working People Respond to Midterm Election Results

    Wed, 2018-11-07 16:45
    Working People Respond to Midterm Election Results

    Across the country, yesterday's elections showed that where candidates appealed to working people and championed policies that support us, working people will support those candidates. Working people provided winning margins in races across the country, sending a clear message that the pathway to winning elections in the United States goes through the labor movement.

    Here is what the leaders of the AFL-CIO's affiliates and other national organizations said about yesterday's results.

    AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA):

    Union members made our voices heard loud and clear last night. Working people trust our unions, and that trust was at the core of an unmatched political program. For months, street by street and person by person, we talked about the issues that matter most and the candidates who will put working families first. We have been mobilizing on a scale that I’ve never seen in my 50 years in the labor movement. In every corner of the country, working people showed up to fill the halls of power with union members and our allies. We made clear that we won’t stand for those who prioritize the demands of an elite few—whether they’re anti-labor Republicans or pro-corporate Democrats.

    AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr.:

    For the last two years, the administration and its allies in Congress have run roughshod over the federal workers who keep this country running, and have launched a series of unprecedented attacks on our union in the process. Now, thanks to tremendous voter turnout and enthusiasm, we can once again count on Congress to provide checks and balances on the White House.

    No longer will the president and his congressional allies have free reign to politicize the civil service and reduce civil service protections or union rights. We expect the new Congress to respect the apolitical civil service and our union rights in order to promote a better tomorrow for federal workers.

    We expect the 116th Congress to respect workers’ voices in the workplace, respect the collective bargaining process, and respect the important work federal employees do on behalf of the American people. And with narrow-majority Senate returning, there will be opportunities for bipartisan efforts.

    We look forward to working with leaders on both sides of the aisle to protect union rights and protect federal pay and retirement. We will also work with the bipartisan majority that opposes costly and unaccountable outsourcing of federal government work.

    We are extremely proud of the efforts put forth by our members this year.

    AFGE activists turned out in unprecedented numbers, and spent a tremendous number of hours knocking on doors, mailing literature, holding candidate town halls, making phone calls and texts and working tirelessly to get out the vote. We endorsed candidates from both major political parties in federal, state, and local races and we know that our efforts had an important impact on tonight’s outcome.

    Today is a win for America’s workforce, and we look forward to working with members of Congress the next two years on progressive change. This wouldn’t have happened without the hard work of our 318,000 members nationwide, and we know tonight they are celebrating the election of Congressional leaders who will stand by their side and fight for them in Washington.

    AFSCME President Lee Saunders:

    With great courage and conviction, working people fought back in this election against the rigged economy, standing together and sending a message to the wealthy special interests.

    For the first time in nearly a decade, the U.S. House of Representatives will have a pro-worker majority. And in many states, where extremist governors have spent years viciously attacking the rights of public service workers, we fought back and prevailed. Bruce Rauner, the multimillionaire governor of Illinois who was the original plaintiff in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, was trounced in his re-election bid. Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin who stripped away our collective bargaining rights in 2011, also went down. Pro-worker governors in Pennsylvania and Oregon retained their seats. And in Nevada, Minnesota and Michigan, voters elected new governors who are champions of working people. Governors will receive help in advancing a pro-worker agenda from newly elected allies in state legislatures across the country.

    Some important races have yet to be called, but we know this: AFSCME members organized and mobilized in overwhelming numbers during this election. Working with our allies, we harnessed the power of grassroots organizing to make a powerful case for real change.

    The corporate CEOs and the politicians that do their bidding do not relinquish power without a struggle. And they rig the rules not just of our economy but our democracy—giving themselves a built-in and unfair electoral advantage.

    But AFSCME members and their allies are resilient. We woke up today even more confident in our values, more determined than ever to stand up for our union, our families and our communities. Because we never quit.

    AFT President Randi Weingarten:

    In a sharply divided electorate, the American people sent two very important messages. First, on a federal level, they voted for a check and balance on President Trump and were inspired by the women on the ballot. Our values and aspirations as a nation were on the ballot, and, in district after district, the American people chose decency over cruelty, fairness over prejudice, and democracy over demagoguery, by electing a new majority in Congress.

    Second, on a state level, people voted for problem solvers as governors and in their statehouses—governors committed to finding solutions that make life better for children and families, and who believe in public education, good healthcare and rebuilding roads and bridges and water systems. Voters flipped statehouse after statehouse by electing new Democratic governors in Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico and Wisconsin, and they maintained Democratic governors in every state Democrats already held. And the wins were even more impressive in state legislatures, from New York to Colorado to Oregon to pro-worker, pro-civil rights, pro-public education ballot initiatives.

    Working people in many of these states have faced years of attacks on their rights, disinvestment of public schools to fund tax breaks for the rich, and attacks on healthcare and voting rights. When public education was on the ballot, voters overwhelmingly chose to invest in public schools and stand with teachers, even electing AFT members as governors in Michigan and Minnesota. And while the safe staffing initiative narrowly lost in Massachusetts, we will continue to fight for affordable healthcare and safe staffing across the country.

    Trump spent this campaign doubling down on hate, division and lies. And in a divided country, it’s disappointing that this demagoguery helped some of Trump’s acolytes narrowly win in places like Florida and Ohio. But even with this divisiveness, voters in Florida also restored voting rights for felons, which is not just a win for democracy but shows what is possible when lies, racist attacks and misrepresentations aren’t front and center.

    On balance, it was a night in which a majority of Americans voted for a check on Trump’s cruel and inhumane agenda, and for leaders who will find solutions to make life better for people.

    Alliance for Retired Americans Executive Director Richard Fiesta:

    Voters over the age of 50 rejected Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s mid-October pledge to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to pay for the deficit created by last year’s tax cuts for the wealthy.

    Older voters shifted their votes significantly toward House Democrats last night, with 49% voting for the Democrat for the House and 50% for Republicans, an increase of 13% over 2014, according to the national exit polls. Health care and protection for people with pre-existing conditions were clearly on the ballot, and older voters crossed traditional party lines to vote for candidates who would support them.

    The most engaged voting bloc in the months leading up to the election, comprising 56% of the mid-term electorate, was over the age of 50. For the last two years we’ve seen unprecedented political engagement by retirees, with more attending candidate events and rallies, contacting their representatives and donating to candidates.

    Now we must go to work to bring drug prices down, expand Social Security and make health care more accessible and affordable.

    All elected officials should be on notice that retirees are watching their actions closely and will vote for those who fight for them.

    Amalgamated Transit Union International President Larry Hanley:

    Workers across this great country mobilized for the midterm elections. It is time for our nation to move forward and continue the fight for economic and social justice for all Americans.

    Throughout this politically divisive and bruising midterm election season, we are proud of the role ATU members across the country played to mobilize transit riders to vote and elect more diverse, pro-transit, and pro-worker candidates like Jennifer Wexton in Virginia, Susan Wild in Pennsylvania, Mikie Sherrill in New Jersey, Abby Finkenauer in Iowa, and others. Public transit was also a winner on election night with transit ballot initiatives passed including in Connecticut and Tampa.

    From Pensacola to Las Vegas, to Lansing and many other cities, our brothers and sisters reached out to passengers at bus stops and transit centers, and provided transportation to voters who could not get the polls to vote.

    On behalf of the more than 200,000 members of the Amalgamated Transit Union, we pledge to continue to fight for better public transit, health care for all Americans, and the right for workers to have a voice in the workplace as the assault on the middle class across the United States continues.

    Communications Workers of America President Chris Shelton:

    This election represents a beginning, not an end. CWA members are ready to make sure that a progressive pro-worker agenda that puts the needs of working families ahead of corporate CEOs and Wall Street bankers is at the center of the discussion in Congress, in state capitals and in communities across the country.

    Working families needed a victory in the midterms and CWA helped deliver it. We now have a check on the whims of a president who prefers attacking people on Twitter to addressing the real problems that our communities face and a Congress that focused on tax cuts to corporations and the one percent at the expense of programs that help everyone else. And in the states we have powerful new voices that will advocate for the advancement of the priorities of working families.

    Electrical Workers International President Lonnie R. Stephenson:

    Last night, I was in Madison, Wis., watching the election results come in, and I was overwhelmed with gratitude for all of the hard work so many of you put in over the last many months.

    I was the Sixth District vice president in 2011 when Gov. Scott Walker decided to make destroying unions the centerpiece of his right-wing agenda, and to be back in that state on the night we sent him packing was quite a moment. Governor-elect Tony Evers will be a friend to working families, and I’m proud of the work IBEW members did to put him in office.

    More importantly, I’m proud that we stuck to the issues. Whether it was protecting Social Security and Medicare or making sure that folks with pre-existing medical conditions can get the care they need; or making sure that working people have the right to join together in union and negotiate for a fair deal at work; or putting an end to the partisan gerrymandering that stacks the political deck against the least powerful; we stood up and made ourselves heard and backed candidates—regardless of party—who pledged to put working people first.

    We didn’t win every race that we wanted to, but there are signs for hope. Gov. Bruce Rauner in Illinois—another politician who decided unions were the enemy—is looking for a new job this morning. In Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer reclaimed the governor’s mansion in a union stronghold that inexplicably went right-to-work in 2012. Now, we start to turn the tide.

    There were victories from IBEW members running for office and family members of IBEW members, and I hope even more of you will choose to run in the future.

    Moving forward, there are area where we can work together, Republicans and Democrats alike. America’s infrastructure badly needs an upgrade, and IBEW members are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work. On trade and jobs and workplace safety, we can find common ground and make real progress over the next two years. I look forward to getting started.

    But, for now, for every one of you that made phone calls, sent letters, knocked doors or talked about the candidates and the issues on the jobsite, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Whether your candidate won or lost last night, you made a difference, and you did the IBEW proud.

    Jobs With Justice:

    Jobs With Justice, a national nonprofit organization leading the fight for working peoples’ rights, today applauded the work of activists, supporters and coalitions in Florida, Maine and Missouri for their work to advance ballot initiatives that return power and agency to working people. Amendment 4 in Florida, and Amendment 1 and Proposition 4 in Missouri, which were supported by Jobs With Justice and their local coalition partners, passed with overwhelming support from voters. Question 1 in Maine, which faced well-funded opposition from out-of-touch politicians and special interests, fell short of passing.

    The victories show a new path to organizing working people in the Trump Era.

    “The ability of working people to get a fair deal is under attack from the Trump Administration, the courts and greedy corporations,” said Sarita Gupta, co-executive director of Jobs With Justice. “Yesterday, the people spoke up and demanded their power back. Ballot initiatives like these can build power for workers in a world where their rights are under constant attack. We applaud the work of activists and supporters in these states and across the country for their work electing officials and passing ballot initiatives that put workers’ rights and dignity front and center.”

    “As the economy shifts to leave working people behind, we must develop innovative ways to restore their power to fight corporate profiteers,” said Erica Smiley, co-executive director of Jobs With Justice. “The ballot initiatives Jobs With Justice supported exemplify new ways for working people to organize that build their power to bargain and propel our economy in the right direction. We will continue to create opportunities in states across the country for all Americans to shape their workplaces, communities and democracy.”

    Longshoremen International President Harold J. Daggett:

    Americans voted in record numbers in yesterday’s 2018 mid-term elections where ILA members and working families everywhere help return the U.S. House of Representatives to a Democratic Majority. The ILA celebrates the reelection of our endorsed candidates Senator Robert Menendez in New Jersey and Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York and applauds the efforts of Andrew Gillum in Florida; Beto O’Rourke in Texas and Stacey Abrams in Georgia.

    The face of American politics is changing for the better and for the ILA. A record number of women were elected to the House of Representatives which will now serve as a much-needed check on an anti-union president and Senate. Labor’s voice has returned to Washington and to many state houses across the nation.

    Machinists International President Robert Martinez Jr.:

    The American people have chosen action over distraction. This is a clear sign that the political pendulum had swung too far in favor of Wall Street and corporate CEOs.

    It is past due for politicians in Washington and across the country to set aside their differences and unite to find real solutions. Instead of pursuing policies that hurt working people, like so-called ‘right-to-work’ laws, our elected officials need to put power back in the hands of working families.

    The answer is not another tax break to pad the pockets of millionaires. Nor is it to slash Social Security and Medicare, which we have paid for and count on. Attacks on working people and our unions will not be tolerated.

    We stand ready to work with this Congress and the administration to stop the outsourcing of jobs, raise wages, defend pensions and healthcare, strengthen laws against discrimination of all kinds and protect the right of every worker to join unions.

    I want to especially thank Machinists Union members who took time out of their busy schedules to vote and volunteer this election cycle. The voice of working people was heard loud and clear thanks to you.

    National Nurses United:

    With much of the national focus on changing control of the House, National Nurses United today highlighted what may be the most significant, and lasting election development—ongoing momentum for grassroots activism, especially on the critical issue of health care.

    NNU welcomed the unmistakable rebuke to the corporate agenda, especially on health care—as reflected in multiple House races, and in the election of many candidates who better reflect the diversity of the nation, and said the new majority in the House should serve as a brake to some of the worst abuses on worker’s rights and public protections.

    In particular, NNU hailed “the movement led by RNs around the country, including Florida and Texas, that put Medicare for All at the center of the national debate,” said NNU Co-President Jean Ross, RN.

    Numerous NNU endorsed candidates were elected Tuesday, including Governors Gavin Newsom in California and Tim Walz in Minnesota, and dozens of House candidates from coast to coast who will strengthen support for the growing movement for Medicare for All.

    They include the first two Muslim women in Congress, Ihlan Omar in Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib in Michigan, Deb Haaland in New Mexico, in a breakthrough for Native American women, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who becomes the youngest woman elected to Congress and a national progressive champion.

    Widespread dismay over health care costs, and access, especially for people with pre-existing conditions made health care the leading issue for voters.

    Public demand for real solutions on health care were seminal in flipping the House; expanding Medicaid coverage in red states Nebraska, Idaho, and Utah; and electing additional advocates for guaranteed health care through Medicare for All.

    NNU, said NNU Executive Director Bonnie Castillo, RN, will work with the growing House Medicare for All caucus to press for action on Medicare for All, while also continuing to escalate movement building in states from coast to coast.

    NNU also hailed the passage of several additional ballot measures such as votes in Arkansas and Missouri to raise the minimum wage.

    Most notably, said Castillo, was the passage of Amendment 4 in Florida which will restore voting rights to about 1.5 million formerly incarcerated people, including about 20 percent of Florida’s African American adult population—“a huge victory for voting rights, that will also have a major impact on national and state politics.”

    At the same time, Castillo said, the demagogic incitement of racism and anti-Semitism, and widespread cases of voter suppression, especially evident in Georgia, cast a dark shadow over the future of democracy and must be directly challenged.

    “We must do everything we can to encourage and assist this process, including continuing to build a broad movement for the transformative social change we need on issues that unite people, from health care to environmental protections to voting rights and confront the enormous powerful interests who dominate our economic and political system,” Castillo said.

    The best antidote to those politics, like the campaign for real health care reform, is activism, said Castillo. “Mass action by a diverse array of activists, especially young people—the defining development in this election year.” 

    Office and Professional Employees President Richard Lanigan:

    To put the blue wave in context, 46,466,425 people voted for Democratic Senate candidates and 33,239,469 people voted for Republican Senate candidates, resulting in Democrats losing a net 2 seats in the senate. 

    While that might not be considered a blue wave, millions of working people mobilized to vote for representatives who support their issues. Yesterday’s midterm results mean there will not be a rollback of Social Security or the elimination of safeguards for the millions of Americans with pre-existing health conditions.

    With more women and people of color in history now taking their place in the House and anti-worker governors such as Scott Walker roundly voted out of office, the working people of this nation have made it clear they want leaders who reflect them and their values and who will work to protect their hard-fought rights and freedoms.

    School Administrators:

    This election was a victory for civics because so many people did their duty and voted.

    For educators, this election was a turning point as many of our colleagues went above and beyond their voting obligations and ran for office. According to NEA, over 1,800 educators ran for public office this election cycle.

    One of the best headlines post-election was: 'Connecticut educator Jahana Hayes wins congressional seat.' Jahana was not only the 2016 National Teacher of the Year, she is also a school administrator. In addition, Education Week reports that 'Four Principals Win Seats in Oklahoma's Statehouse.'

    This is just the beginning of a new day.

    Next year, there will be more educators holding high public office, meaning that there will be even greater understanding in the political sphere of the importance of education and the challenges faced by schools. The new governor of Wisconsin, Tony Evers, was the state superintendent. The incoming governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, was a college professor. And the incoming governor of Minnesota, Tim Walz, was a public school teacher.

    Overall, the election results indicate the American people are still very split on the way the country should be governed and a direction for our future.

    With the Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives, while at the same time the Republicans expanded their majority in the U.S. Senate, voters are pushing for more cooperation moving forward.

    It's time our elected leaders step up and govern. We need to find ways to come together in Washington, D.C., and across the country to set aside differences and unite. We must develop real solutions to the pressing issues facing our nation, especially in the area of educating our children.

    AFSA is ready and willing to work with this administration and Congress to address the issues facing our nation's schools.

    Theatrical Stage Employees International President Matthew D. Loeb:

    Last night’s results were a victory for working people all across the country.

    Worker champions defeated anti-worker governors in Wisconsin and Illinois. We elected labor-endorsed congressmembers in New York and California. New and returning labor-friendly Senators will head to the Senate from Nevada, Pennsylvania and several other states.

    IATSE-supported candidates won in almost every state where we competed, and even where the final result didn’t go our way, the hard-fought organizing of IATSE members and allies from across the labor movement made races competitive in places we never thought we had a chance before.

    This election marks an important beginning to our efforts to return power to the working families of this country, and we will not rest until every IATSE member is represented by people who understand the value of our work and of workers’ rights.

    UAW President Gary Jones

    This vote was a loud statement by Americans that they want action on jobs, healthcare, education, fair trade, income growth and a future for their children. If 2016 was a statement about being fed up with politics as usual and wages being too low to make ends meet—2018 was about working people telling politicians they want less rhetoric and more action and progress. It is time to come together and deliver for working families in this country and future generations. We must not go backwards.

    UAW members demand progress and unity from all our elected leaders. They want an end to fear mongering and bickering. They insist on real progress on trade, creating more good paying jobs, raising wages, and lowering health care costs. Progress is needed for not just their sake but for them on their children’s and grandchildren’s future—and they want politicians to stop their constant attacks on their health care, social security, job protections and civil/human rights. Enough is enough.

    The American people told our elected leaders yesterday that it is time to stop dividing us and to start uniting us and work for all of us. For UAW families this should mean an end to the constant assault on common sense health and safety protections in the workplace; on the right of workers to join together to organize; and on economic policies that favor billionaires over working families. This means an end to constant attacks on our right to affordable and comprehensive health care and the ability to retire with dignity. This means putting an end to schemes from special interests and wealthy campaign contributors to gut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Skyrocketing prescription drug and education costs must be curtailed. Powerful special interests must be directly confronted. No more kicking the can. Americans sent a message that they demand an end to divisive politics on civil rights and human rights. Congress must work to protect the dignity of all Americans. The message is clear—it is time to unite and it is time for our politicians to represent all Americans and discard the poll-driven politics of hate that have become so dominant in recent years.

    In Statehouses across the country, voters also made their message clear on Tuesday. Voters expect government to focus on quality of life issues like the water we drink, the roads we drive on, the education of our children and the jobs of the future. The working men and women of this country are tired of partisan attacks on working families, on workplace health and safety, on privatization schemes that benefit wealthy donors who focus less on public services and more on profit. Tuesday, voters told governors and legislatures across the nation to stay out of stoking partisan fires over our private lives and focus instead on our public services. It was a back to basics message.

    Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 11/07/2018 - 15:45

    Tags: Elections 2018