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When CEOs Say 'Do No Harm' in NAFTA, They Mean 'Don’t Harm Me'

Thu, 2018-01-18 12:10
When CEOs Say 'Do No Harm' in NAFTA, They Mean 'Don’t Harm Me' AFL-CIO

We keep hearing CEOs of global companies and giant agribusiness conglomerates say “do no harm” in the North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiations, but from the perspective of working families who haven’t had a raise in the past 20 years, this advice doesn’t make any sense.

NAFTA continues to hurt families across the United States, Canada and Mexico, pushing down our wages, making it harder to join together in union, and making us constantly vulnerable to losing our jobs due to outsourcing. NAFTA threatens our health and undermines democracy. It forces our governments to pay off private companies like Exxon Mobil that object to laws and rules created in a democratic fashion. So how could any rational person say that fixing NAFTA would be "harmful"?

It’s true that the negotiations could make NAFTA more like the Trans-Pacific Partnership—and that would be extremely harmful. But big businesses liked TPP, so that’s not what they mean.

To understand what they mean, let’s use an analogy, comparing North America's economy to the human body. Like the human body, the North American economy is susceptible to various illnesses, and NAFTA is one such illness. In fact, we can compare NAFTA to a tumor. Like a tumor, it has led to rapid growth in profits and incomes for some, but at the expense of the economic health of the rest of us. In fact, bad U.S. trade policies cost most of America’s workers $2,000 a year in lost income.

To heal the North American economy, we need new rules for trade. New rules that level the playing field and prioritize ordinary families over corporate profits. But changing the rules means getting rid of the privileges that global corporations now enjoy. And just like tumors cling to life, these companies are fighting to keep their entitlements.

Those who have profited off NAFTA say "do no harm" because they can only see what benefits them. They don’t see that the unfair rules are actually bad for America as a whole. NAFTA’s unfair rules make it harder for most families to reach the American Dream because they divert the benefits of trade to those who already are economically powerful. That’s why we always feel like we are running in place and not getting ahead.

Changing the rules of trade means those who have benefited at the expense of others must get used to a level playing field. It means the president will have to say no to global corporations, despite their whining. The president promised to protect working families from bad trade, but it remains to be seen whether he will renegotiate NAFTA to protect working families or, as he did with the tax bill, protect the interests of his rich and powerful friends.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 01/18/2018 - 11:10

Let’s Rebuild the Middle Class by Rebuilding Our Infrastructure

Thu, 2018-01-18 11:34
Let’s Rebuild the Middle Class by Rebuilding Our Infrastructure The Biden Forum

The middle class has been on a steady slide for decades. Signs of this slide are all around us: anemic wage growth, historic income inequality, chronic unemployment and underemployment and, not coincidentally, the steady erosion of workers’ freedom to join unions and bargain for fair wages and benefits. At the same time, American households are facing rising costs that far outpace their stagnant wages. The result is that tens of millions of Americans are stuck in middling jobs that cannot support a family, while a select few enjoy the benefits of rampant inequality.

As we live through this era of severely concentrated wealth at the top, coupled with a flood of low-wage jobs, our elected representatives have failed to come together to enact solutions to this imbalanced economy. In particular, they have not been able to advance one strategy that provides quality middle-class jobs while easing the burden on families: rebuilding American infrastructure.

Our infrastructure failings are epic. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave our infrastructure a D+ grade. A $1 trillion shortfall in drinking water system upgrades would be completed by around 2220 at the current spending rate. Amtrak, our nation’s landmark passenger railway system, is forced to beg for adequate resources while using Civil War–era tunnels. One-in-five miles of highway is in poor condition with a repair backlog well over $400 billion. People are starving for more and better public transit but instead we are watching our transit systems decay. We even trail 20 countries in internet download speed. These are all symbols of unfulfilled promises.

Inadequate and under-maintained infrastructure costs American households dearly. Americans spend 5.5 billion hours in traffic each year, costing families more than $120 billion in extra fuel and lost time. Seemingly insignificant problems such as potholes or deteriorating road surfaces chip away at families’ earnings by requiring more frequent vehicle maintenance. ASCE’s report found that without additional investment in infrastructure, the household budgets of working families would take a hit of $1,060 a year. Well-performing infrastructure lowers prices on household goods, prevents energy and shipment costs from soaring, and shortens commuting times for working families.

Infrastructure is also about jobs. Rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, especially if we commit to strict Buy America requirements, will produce millions of high-quality jobs along the entire supply chain — while also connecting more workers in disadvantaged communities to opportunity.

The link between infrastructure and quality jobs is simple: union members are mostly the ones who do the work needed to operate, build, and maintain our nation’s roads, rail, transit, aviation and maritime networks, drinking water systems, and schools. And union jobs are a direct pathway to the middle class.

The Economic Policy Institute’s data on the union difference tell a persuasive story. Unionized employees earn 13% more across all industries and a whopping 87% more in the expanding service sector. Non-union workers benefit as well when more people are unionized. For example, if today’s unionization rate were at 1979 levels, non-union worker pay would rise 5%, or over $2,700 a year. More than 9 in 10 workers in unions have health care, compared to only 67% among non-union workers. Across the board, on sick pay, vacation and other work-life balance issues, unionized workers drastically outperform non-union workers.

Funding a serious infrastructure package will drive growth and innovation, reboot American competitiveness and create the types of jobs that elude too many Americans. Of course, there is a catch. The cost of eliminating the backlog and actually modernizing our infrastructure is north of $4 trillion over the next 10 years.

Some say that rebuilding our infrastructure is too expensive, or that we simply need to pass the job to the private sector. But this is not about America being broke; we have the resources. The president and Congress just found trillions in offsets and new debt to fund a massive tax cut that fails to allocate a dime for infrastructure investment. And we must not only consider the costs of action, but the costs of inaction as well: remember, we still send our kids to far too many schools built before the Korean War, and have over 9 million people who still connect to the internet via dial-up service.

Part of the solution lies in repairing the federal gas tax, which funds Highway Trust Fund investments in transit, highways and bridges. This funding source has not been indexed to inflation, let alone increased, for more than two decades. In the 25 years under a frozen fuel tax, many things have conspired against us: the purchasing power of the tax has cratered, improved fuel efficiency of cars and trucks has reduced gas usage and tax receipts, and the cost of building and repairing our surface transportation infrastructure has gone up.

We must move beyond speeches about the need to rebuild the middle class and start advancing on-the-shelf solutions that have worked for decades: rebuilding the country and empowering all workers to bargain for fair wages. Only then we will be witness to an era of American renewal and economic expansion defined by an inclusive economy where wages rise for everyone, families and communities thrive, and opportunity knocks at everyone’s doorstep.

This post originally appeared at the Biden Forum.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 01/18/2018 - 10:34

Working People Are Watching, Mr. President

Wed, 2018-01-17 16:18
Working People Are Watching, Mr. President

To Washington, D.C. insiders, this month’s budget negotiations are just the latest partisan exercise in a series of manufactured crises that too often result in short-term solutions. But for those who live and work outside of the Beltway bubble, much more is at stake.

What happens in the coming days has the potential to fundamentally shift the balance of power in the workplace. Nothing less than the right to dream, live, work and retire in security is on the table as Congress faces key decisions and deadlines.

It is hard to be optimistic given the House and Senate’s last major action: a budget-busting, worker-bashing tax cut designed to further enrich big corporations, concentrate wealth in the hands of the few and ship jobs overseas.

The bill President Trump signed into law is a moral and economic abomination, which is why poll after poll show the vast majority of Americans oppose it. If there was ever a time to change course and start governing on behalf of working people, this is it.

Read the full post in The Hill.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 01/17/2018 - 15:18

NJ AFL-CIO Praises Gov. Murphy on Equal Pay Order

Wed, 2018-01-17 11:51
NJ AFL-CIO Praises Gov. Murphy on Equal Pay Order

Marking one of his first actions in office, Governor Phil Murphy (D) signed an executive order, promoting equal pay for equal work for women. The New Jersey State AFL-CIO released the following statement following the announcement:

"Governor Murphy’s executive order to promote equal pay for equal work makes it clear that his administration will fight for all working families and do everything in its power to ensure justice and equality in the workplace," stated New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech. "On behalf of the state labor movement, we praise this long overdue action and look forward to a new era of progress for our state’s working families."

New Jersey State AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Laurel Brennan stated, "Our state is positioned to advance the fight for women’s equality and economic justice, and the steps taken today show that organized labor, along with our state leadership, are ready to lead the way."

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 01/17/2018 - 10:51

In Houston, Working Families Seek to Reclaim King's Dream

Wed, 2018-01-17 11:47
In Houston, Working Families Seek to Reclaim King's Dream IAM

This past weekend in Houston, the AFL-CIO hosted its Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference, with a theme of "Reclaiming Our Dream: Strategize, Organize, Mobilize." Hundreds of working family advocates came together to shift the rules and build power so that working communities can thrive and families can enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Here are some key tweets from the weekend:

Evelyn Smith of CWA 6222 rocks National Anthem at #1uMLK. #AFLCIO #TxAFLCIO.

— Texas AFL-CIO (@TexasAFLCIO) January 12, 2018

To widespread encouragement, Fred Redmond of #USW calls out @realDonaldTrump for racist remarks about Haiti & African nations to open #1uMLK. Then moment of silence. #TxAFLCIO #AFLCIO

— Texas AFL-CIO (@TexasAFLCIO) January 12, 2018

#Labor “can’t be the middle of the spear. We need to be the tip of the spear” in fighting sexual harassment., @RichardTrumka tells #1uMLK. #AFLCIO #TxAFLCIO

— Texas AFL-CIO (@TexasAFLCIO) January 12, 2018

‘Colin Kaepernick had a lot to risk and yet he took action. There’s a whole lot to learn from the courage he showed. If the flag means anything, it means the right to protest and speak out’ @richardtrumka #1uMLK

— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) January 12, 2018

Awesome to see so many people participating in the @AFLCIO #1UMLK inclusion workshop

— DeLane (@delane392) January 12, 2018

When asked what did you do for the least, the last & the lost, the men & women of labor can say they were there for the least, the last & the lost! @RepAlGreen reminds #1uMLK why we join together this weekend

— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) January 13, 2018

Unionists answers the call when Community is in need.. regardless of economic status, legal status, gender or sexual identity. Unionists fight to rebuild & strengthen our communities. Dora Cervantes, Secretary General for the mighty @MachinistsUnion & @LCLAA E-board memb #1uMLK

— Cesar Moreno Perez (@profe_c) January 13, 2018

Union members are powering the food sorting operation at @HoustonFoodBank for our #1uMLK Day of Community Service

— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) January 13, 2018

TWU Members working in a disaster relief food bank to provide basic needs for families. Standing together as a Union family helping those who need help in Houston. #1uMLK @transportworker

— Gary L Shults (@ShultsGL) January 13, 2018

To honor Dr. King is to work every day to dismantle racism. #1uMLK

— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) January 13, 2018

Dr. King taught us how to confront an unjust power structure. Labor has the infrastructure to fight the horrible extremism we’re facing in this political moment. We know how to get it done. - @LCLAA Exec Director @Hesanche to #1uMLK

— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) January 14, 2018

Jaida Curtis representing @CLUWNational talks about the importance of connecting the activism of young people and seasoned organizers to build power for working people #1uMLK @AFLCIONextUp

— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) January 14, 2018

.@Rafael_Navar National Political Director for @cwaunion - We have to double down on the most important resource of our movement, our people. We have to develop political programs that turns them into future Dr. Kings and Fannie Lou Hamers #1uMLK

— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) January 14, 2018

.@AFSCME President, Lee Saunders, talking about the #IAM2018 campaign to lift up racial justice, labor rights, & economic justice. Inspired by sanitation workers in Memphis & MLK who marched with them. #1uMLK

— APALA (@APALAnational) January 15, 2018

Even in the darkest hours I feel hope in our movement, because our movement has the most courageous and selfless leaders I have ever met - Sec-Treasurer @lizshuler introducing @APWUnational Sec-Treasurer Liz Powell, At the River Where I Stand awardee #1uMLK

— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) January 15, 2018

“Civil Rights in 2018 is much broader than black and white.” -@rustyhicks at our @KingDayParade reception #1uMLK

— The LA Fed (@LALabor) January 15, 2018


Working people honor the life & legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We will always march ahead, together. #1u #1uMLK #MLKDay

— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) January 15, 2018 Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 01/17/2018 - 10:47

From Christmas Trees to Casinos: Worker Wins

Wed, 2018-01-17 10:10
From Christmas Trees to Casinos: Worker Wins Culinary Workers Union Local 226

Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with a victory for Christmas tree workers in North Carolina and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life.

FLOC Helps Christmas Tree Workers in Wage Theft Victory: Working people at a Christmas tree farm in North Carolina got some cheerful news when the wage theft case they pursued with the help of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) led to a $350,000 settlement with the company.

Green Valley Ranch Continues Organizing Trend at Station Casinos: Green Valley Ranch became the fourth Station Casinos-operated property where workers voted to join together in union since 2015. More than 900 workers will be represented by the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165, Nevada affiliates of UNITE HERE.

D.C. Streetcar Workers Win First Contract: After nearly two years, D.C. Streetcar workers have voted for representation by Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 689. The streetcar's private operators, The Midtown and RATP Dev North America, signed a deal that includes competitive wages and affordable health insurance.

Retired Mine Workers Stave Off Another Attack on Health Care from CONSOL: Some 3,400 retired miners represented by Mine Workers (UMWA) and their dependents and widows will continue to receive health care after a federal appeals court rejected an attempt by Consol Energy to stop paying retiree benefits, despite a promise to pay them in a collective bargaining agreement.

Nurses Continue to Organize Across the Country: National Nurses United (NNU) and their affiliates have continued a long string of victorious organizing campaigns by successfully organizing at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital and by ratifying a new contract at Rideout Regional Medical Center in California.

Omni Air International Flight Attendants Ratify Their First Contract: Flight Attendants at Omni Air International (represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA [AFA-CWA]), voted by 78% to ratify their first contract. The new deal includes immediate pay raises, defined schedules and work rules, and increased job security. 

New York Papa John's Workers Win Back Wages: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a settlement with the franchise owner of three Papa John's Pizza franchise stores in Brooklyn. The owner will pay nearly $172,000 to more than 100 workers after the stores were found to have violated minimum wage and overtime laws, as well as taking unlawful deductions from workers' wages.

Firefighters Finally Secure Congressional Reauthorization of Safety Programs: Two programs designed to maintain the safety of firefighters, Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER), were reauthorized as the last act of legislative business for 2017. The two programs will be each funded with $750 million, providing critical resources for firefighters in every state.

Hard Rock Las Vegas Workers Reach Settlement: After the Culinary Workers Union filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that the company had committed federal labor law violations, Hard Rock reached a settlement with the workers.

More Than 350 Emissions Workers in Michigan to Join UAW: After a vicious anti-union campaign by management, 366 working people at the Eberspächer emissions plant in Brighton, Michigan, will be joining UAW. The factory supplies emissions systems to CNH Industrial, Freightliner, Mack, Detroit Diesel and Volvo Trucks.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 01/17/2018 - 09:10

King and Meany Brought Civil Rights and Labor Together for a Legacy That Continues Today

Fri, 2018-01-12 16:05
King and Meany Brought Civil Rights and Labor Together for a Legacy That Continues Today AFL-CIO

Beginning in 1960, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and then-President George Meany of the AFL-CIO began a relationship that would help bring the labor and civil rights movements together with a combined focus on social and economic justice. 

Meany was an outspoken defender of individual freedom, and in March 1960, he emphasized the crucial link between the union and the civil rights movements. He told an AFL-CIO gathering, "What we want for ourselves, we want for all humanity." Meany met with King to privately discuss how they could work together. King proposed that the AFL-CIO invest pension assets in housing, to help lessen economic inequality. The AFL-CIO then established the Investment Department in August 1960 to guide union pension funds to be socially responsible investors.

The next year, King spoke to the AFL-CIO Executive Council, comparing what labor had achieved to what the civil rights movement wanted to accomplish: "We are confronted by powerful forces telling us to rely on the good will and understanding of those who profit by exploiting us. They resent our will to organize. They are shocked that active organizations, sit-ins, civil disobedience, and protests are becoming every day tools just as strikes, demonstrations, and union organizations became yours to insure that bargaining power genuinely existed on both sides of the table." At the AFL-CIO Constitutional Convention later that year, Meany made civil rights a prominent item on the agenda, and King spoke to the delegates about uniting the two movements through a common agenda, noting that African Americans are "almost entirely a working people."

Not only did the AFL-CIO provide much-needed capital to the civil rights movement, but numerous affiliates did as well. Several combined to give more than $100,000 to King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The UAW directly funded voter registration drives in predominantly African American areas throughout the South and paid bail money for jailed protesters. Meany and the AFL-CIO also used their considerable political influence in helping to shape the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Union activists were a key part of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom as well. The Industrial Union Department of the AFL-CIO endorsed the march, as did 11 international unions and several state and local labor councils. A. Philip Randolph, then-president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, was a key organizer of the event. UAW President Walter Reuther was a speaker at the march, condemning the fact that African Americans were treated as second-class economic citizens.

King's final act in pursuit of social and economic justice was in support of the sanitation strike in Memphis, Tennessee. After his death, then-President Lyndon B. Johnson sent the undersecretary of labor to settle the strike, and the city acceded to the demands of the working people, leading to the creation of AFSCME Local 1733, which still represents sanitation workers in Memphis.

In 1964, Meany sent a letter to all AFL-CIO affiliates outlining an new pathway that would directly support housing construction and homeownership. In 1965, the Investment Department helped establish the Mortgage Investment Trust, which was the formal embodiment of the socially responsible investment plan and gave a boost to badly needed affordable housing construction. In 1984, the Mortgage Investment Trust was replaced by the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, one of the first socially responsible investment funds in the United States. Since it was created, the HIT has grown to more than $4.5 billion in net assets and has helped finance more than 100,000 affordable housing units and helped create tens of thousands of union jobs. 

The partnership between civil rights and labor launched by King and Meany has helped the country make great strides in the intervening years, and the partnership continues.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 01/12/2018 - 15:05

Tags: MLK conference

Celebrating the Life and Work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Fri, 2018-01-12 14:00
Celebrating the Life and Work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. California Labor Federation

Many chapters in the story of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. are well-known to Americans. The I Have a Dream speech. The Nobel Peace Prize. The Mountaintop speech. His Letter from a Birmingham Jail. His commitment to nonviolence. All the incredible accomplishments of a visionary.

Our series on Martin Luther King Jr., to mark the 50th anniversary of his assassination in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968, covers some of the lesser known parts of his history. Follow the links below to discover more about this civil rights icon.

1. Jay Smith, United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals' (UNAC/UHCP's) counsel, who shared a story his mentor, Jerome A. "Buddy" Cooper, told about King's Birmingham campaign.

2. King is perhaps best known for his iconic 1963 I Have a Dream speech. Less is known about predecessors to that speech, like the one King gave to the AFL-CIO in 1961.

3. King began with prepared remarks, the most famous part of the speech containing the theme 'I Have a Dream' was created on Aug. 23, 1963, as King addressed the crowd of more than 250,000 on the Mall in Washington, D.C.

4. King accepts the Nobel Peace Prize and then joins workers on strike in Atlanta to publicize their campaign during 10 days in December 1964.

5. International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10 made King an honorary longshoreman in 1967. When King was assassinated, the ILWU showed they truly regarded him as one of their own.

6. Jerry Wurf, AFSCME’s president in 1968, was a strong and consistent supporter of King, as well as the civil rights movement in general.

This post originally appeared at UNAC-UHCP.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 01/12/2018 - 13:00

Tags: MLK conference

Voting Rights for Millions at Risk in Supreme Court Case

Tue, 2018-01-09 11:46
Voting Rights for Millions at Risk in Supreme Court Case AFL-CIO

The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing a monumental case that will impact voting rights.

The case, Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI), challenges a procedure the state of Ohio uses to remove voters from the registration rolls based on their failure to vote. The precedent set by this Supreme Court case will have ramifications for voting rights for generations and, if the court decides against APRI, it could potentially harm entire swaths of the voting public.

APRI argues that Ohio’s voter purge procedure violates the National Voter Registration Act—sometimes called the Motor Voter law—which prohibits a state from removing a person from the voter registration rolls because of that person’s failure to vote. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with APRI that Ohio’s removal procedure violates federal law, which prompted Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to ask the Supreme Court to weigh in. Under Ohio’s process, if a registered voter does not vote or update their registration during a two-year period, the county board of elections will send a postal notice to the voter asking them to confirm their registration at that address. Recipients of the notice are removed from the rolls if they neither respond to the notice nor subsequently vote during the following four-year period.

For many people—including working people and especially low-wage workers—voting is not easy and this "use it or lose it" policy is unfair. Limited voting hours, erratic job schedules, child care needs, the closing of neighborhood polling places, inadequate or inaccessible transportation and the costs associated with obtaining a photo ID, to name just a few obstacles, mean that many eligible voters are unable to cast ballots on Election Day—despite registering where necessary, being motivated to vote in the particular election and, in some cases, even arriving at the correct polling place and waiting in line. As a result, Ohio’s voter purge procedure falls disproportionately on those citizens for whom various features of the voting process already present significant obstacles to participation.

At a time when we should all be working to bring our government closer to the people, voter purges like Ohio’s disenfranchise many voters who wish to have their vote counted. A bad ruling in this case could allow states hostile toward voting rights to undermine the Motor Voter Act by purging voters from the rolls just because they did not vote in certain elections. It’s happened before, and it will keep happening unless the Supreme Court sides with APRI and with the voters of Ohio.

We need to resist these cynical and unfair attacks on our democracy. And we need to stand up for our right to vote. Our future and the future of our democratic institutions depend on it.

Pierrette "Petee" Talley is secretary-treasurer of the Ohio AFL-CIO.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 01/09/2018 - 10:46

Brews and Bites for the Playoffs

Mon, 2018-01-08 17:18
Brews and Bites for the Playoffs

The NFL’s regular season is over, and the playoffs are here. No matter who you’re backing for Super Bowl LII, you’ll need the fridge to be stocked for all the games leading up to the big day. This list of brews and munchies will both satisfy your cravings and help boost our country’s middle class. With more than 250 ethically made beers and a ton of game-day snacks to choose from, you’ll be set to host a killer ultimate playoff-watching party that also supports good employers who treat their workers fairly.

Enjoy the games, and together we’ll eat, drink and party our way to a stronger America.


  • Bass
  • Beck’s
  • Blue Moon
  • Budweiser
  • Coors
  • Dundee
  • Goose Island
  • Hamm’s
  • Henry Weinhard’s
  • Keystone
  • Kirin Ichiban
  • Land Shark Lager
  • Leinenkugel’s
  • Mad River
  • Mendocino Brewing
  • Michelob
  • Miller
  • Natural Ice
  • O’Doul’s
  • Pabst
  • Rolling Rock
  • Sam Adams
  • Schlitz
  • Shock Top


  • Act II Popcorn
  • Andy Boy Fruits and Vegetables
  • Bagel Bites
  • Chex Mix
  • Doritos
  • Fig Newtons
  • Keebler Cookies
  • Lay’s Potato Chips
  • Orville Redenbacher Popcorn
  • Ritz Crackers
  • Rold Gold Pretzels
  • Ruffles
  • Tostitos
  • Triscuit
  • Wheat Thins

This post originally appeared at Labor 411.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 01/08/2018 - 16:18

Economy Gains 148,000 Jobs in December, Unemployment Unchanged at 4.1%

Fri, 2018-01-05 10:36
Economy Gains 148,000 Jobs in December, Unemployment Unchanged at 4.1%

The U.S. economy gained 148,000 jobs in December, and unemployment was unchanged at 4.1%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This continues the recovery of the labor market at a tempered rate, which means the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee should continue to let the economy grow and not raise interest rates.

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

Over the year, retail trade reported job loss (-67,000) as concentration of market power continued, reversing job gains of 203,000 in 2016. A sign of hyper-inequality is a collapse in retail competition @AFLCIO @UFCW

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) January 5, 2018

This month many minimum wage workers will get a wage increase. The food service industry--which whines those increases risk jobs- -continues job growth at a high rate, up 25,000 in December and 249,000 over the year. @AFLCIO @UFCW

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) January 5, 2018

For those keeping score: 2.2 million slots were added to payrolls in 2016 (thanks @POTUS44) but 2.1 million were added in 2017. @AFLCIO @CBTU72 @AFLCIONextUp @APRI_National @LVBurke @rolandsmartin

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) January 5, 2018

Last month's biggest job gains were in health care (31,000), construction (30,000) and manufacturing (25,000).

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for teenagers (13.6%) declined in December. The jobless rates for adult men (3.8%), adult women (3.7%), whites (3.7%), blacks (6.8%), Asians (2.5%) and Hispanics (4.9%) showed little or no change. 

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed in December and accounted for 22.9% of the unemployed.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 01/05/2018 - 09:36

Federal Judge Dismisses Just Born Lawsuit Against BCTGM Local 6

Thu, 2018-01-04 17:22
Federal Judge Dismisses Just Born Lawsuit Against BCTGM Local 6 BCTGM

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Just Born against Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) Local 6 (Philadelphia) members who went on strike in 2016.

In a 15-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl ruled on Dec. 29 that the company failed to prove that Local 6 members violated a no-strike clause in the collective bargaining agreement.

Some 400 Local 6 members went on strike Sept. 7, 2016. Members returned to work in late October 2016, although a new contract has still not been reached and negotiations have yet to be scheduled.

While Just Born’s lawsuit said the members’ decision to go on strike violated a no-strike provision of the union contract, which had expired the previous June, Schmehl wrote that there was no evidence to conclude that the members gave up their right to strike.

Despite the ruling, Just Born has filed an appeal to the decision.

"It was a frivolous lawsuit from the beginning," said Hank McKay, BCTGM Local 6 president. McKay noted that instead of spending money on lawsuits and other legal actions against the members, Just Born "could put the money toward settling the expired union contract."

This post originally appeared at BCTGM.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 01/04/2018 - 16:22

Priorities for the New Year: In the States Roundup

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

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

Arizona AFL-CIO:

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

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

Arkansas AFL-CIO:

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

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

California Labor Federation:

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

— California Labor (@CaliforniaLabor) January 4, 2018

Colorado AFL-CIO:

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

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

Connecticut AFL-CIO (retweet):

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

— AFT Connecticut (@AFTCT) January 2, 2018

Florida AFL-CIO:

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

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

Idaho State AFL-CIO (retweet):

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

— UFCW (@UFCW) January 2, 2018

Illinois AFL-CIO (retweet):

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

— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) December 28, 2017

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

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

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

Iowa Federation of Labor:

Iowa lawmakers, do your jobs and fix Medicaid problems

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

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

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

— MetroDCLaborCouncil (@DCLabor) January 3, 2018

Michigan AFL-CIO:

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

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

Minnesota AFL-CIO:

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

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

Missouri AFL-CIO:

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

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

New Hampshire AFL-CIO:

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

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

New Jersey State AFL-CIO:

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

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

New York State AFL-CIO:

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

— NYSAFLCIO (@NYSAFLCIO) January 4, 2018

North Carolina State AFL-CIO:

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

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

North Dakota AFL-CIO:

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

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


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

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

Oregon AFL-CIO:

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

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

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

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

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

South Carolina AFL-CIO:

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

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

Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council:

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

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

Texas AFL-CIO:

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

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

Washington State Labor Council:

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

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

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO:

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

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

Pro-Working People Laws Catching on Around the Country

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Year for Working People

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WALL OF FAME (voting no on the tax bill)

Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville (17.5)

WALL OF SHAME (voting yes on the tax bill)

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Louisville (96.3)

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

Rep. James Comer, R-Tompkinsville (94.7)

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

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Vanceburg (71.9) 

Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Somerset (98.2)

Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington (94.7) 

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

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

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

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

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

Support Unions This Holiday Season

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

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

Washington, D.C. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Los Angeles 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Happy Holidays!

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

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

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

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

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

San Francisco

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

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

Happy Holidays!

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

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

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

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

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

New York

By the staff at Labor 411

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

Happy Holidays!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Union-Made Holiday Gift Ideas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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