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Updated: 27 weeks 3 days ago

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Northern Valley Labor Council Distributes Food to Families in North Dakota and Minnesota

Wed, 2021-04-14 09:30
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Northern Valley Labor Council Distributes Food to Families in North Dakota and Minnesota

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

The Northern Valley Labor Council in North Dakota, led by President Mark Froemke (BCTGM), plans to distribute more than 1,300 boxes of food and gallons of milk later this month for community members in need. The North Dakota AFL-CIO, the St. Paul (Minnesota) Regional Labor Federation and the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box program are also sponsoring the events. Distribution will take place in Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Belcourt, North Dakota, as well as in Mahnomen, Minnesota. The union is working with Native American tribes to make sure the distribution announcement reaches those communities as well.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 04/14/2021 - 09:30

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: RWDSU Continues Fight to Hold Amazon Accountable

Tue, 2021-04-13 09:00
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: RWDSU Continues Fight to Hold Amazon Accountable

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

Today, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) announced it is filing objections to the conduct of the election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), charging that Amazon interfered with the right of its Bessemer, Alabama, employees to vote in a free and fair election. RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum said: We demand a comprehensive investigation over Amazon’s behavior in corrupting this election….We won’t rest until workers’ voices are heard fairly under the law. When they are, we believe they will be victorious in this historic and critical fight to unionize the first Amazon warehouse in the United States.”

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 04/13/2021 - 09:00

Tags: Community Service, COVID-19

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Colorado AFL-CIO Fights to End the Exploitation of Farmworkers

Mon, 2021-04-12 09:00
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Colorado AFL-CIO Fights to End the Exploitation of Farmworkers

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

On César Chávez Day, the Colorado General Assembly passed a joint resolution recognizing César Chávez. However, Colorado does not give farmworkers basic rights under the law. The Colorado AFL-CIO has been fighting to pass S.B. 21087 to make Colorado’s laws reflect our values such as dignity and respect on the job.

“In 1929, Colorado State Federation officials helped 500 beet workers at Fort Lupton apply for an AFL charter. However, the Great Western Sugar Company ran a number of members off the job. We are fighting for the same basic rights and protections for agricultural workers that those beet workers deserved 90 years ago,” said Dennis Dougherty (IBEW), executive director of the Colorado AFL-CIO.

The bill would allow farmworkers to organize, bargain and strike, granting them protections other workers get from the Colorado Labor Peace Act. It requires agricultural employers to pay overtime when workers exceed 12 hours per day or 40 hours per week. It also requires agricultural employers pay the state minimum wage of $12.32 an hour. Currently farms and ranches are exempted and are only required to pay the federal minimum wage. The bill also would limit the use of the short-handled hoe, a tool that has become a symbol of oppression because of the pain that often occurs when workers bend over to use it. It also creates new protections for whistleblowers and sets new standards for housing and health.

This bill is long overdue, and the state federation and allies are fighting to get it passed through the Legislature. On César Chávez Day, the Colorado AFL-CIO also released a video of labor activist Dolores Huerta calling on legislators to pass S.B. 21087.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 04/12/2021 - 09:00

Tags: Community Service, COVID-19

Not A Spectator Sport: The Working People Weekly List

Fri, 2021-04-09 10:16
Not A Spectator Sport: The Working People Weekly List

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

'Passing the PRO Act Is Not a Spectator Sport': AFL-CIO Leads National Day of Action: "The AFL-CIO is encouraging people to call U.S. senators on Thursday to urge them to support the passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, a historic piece of legislation that would significantly strengthen workers' right to form unions and help reverse a decades-long assault on labor waged by corporations and their political allies. 'Passing the PRO Act is not a spectator sport. All of us must act—and act today by driving calls into the Senate,' AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka said Thursday. 'From Alabama to Alaska, we are going to make our case for an economic and political system that works for working people.'"

Biden Is Rebuilding the National Labor Relations Board: "On his first day in office, President Joe Biden fired Peter Robb, the Trump-appointed general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the agency responsible for interpreting and enforcing federal labor law. A new report by the nonpartisan US Government Accountability Office (GAO) shows why Biden was right to fire Robb—and to do so quickly. The GAO found that Robb was dismantling the agency from the inside. He reduced staff size, destroyed employee morale, and failed to spend the money appropriated by Congress. This all occurred while Robb was pursuing an anti-worker, pro-corporate agenda."

Stress on the Front Lines of COVID-19: "Worry, exhaustion, constantly changing safety rules and long hours of wearing PPE are just a few things America’s health-care workers cite as the hardest parts of going to work on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. Their work has saved countless lives but also taken a personal toll: 62% say worry or stress related to covid-19 has had a negative effect on their mental health. A 55% majority feel 'burned out' going to work. Nearly half of all health-care workers say worry or stress has caused them to have trouble sleeping or to sleep too much."

Black Workers Being Left Behind as Economy Recovers from Pandemic: "In March, the unemployment rate for Black workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher was 4.7%, compared to 3.6% for white Americans, according to Labor Department data that’s not seasonally adjusted. To be sure, that gap did shrink from the prior month. The disparity is nearly double between Black and white workers who graduated high school, the data show.  'If even the best-educated Black person doesn’t do as well in the economy, then that must be discrimination,' said William Spriggs, chief economist at the AFL-CIO."

The Filibuster Threatens Both Civil Rights and Workers’ Rights: "The GOP’s embrace of the filibuster to thwart President Biden’s legislative agenda reveals how the struggles to extend civil rights and labor rights are inextricably intertwined. The use of the anti-democratic device to block civil rights legislation is well known. In 1957, Senator Strom Thurman of South Carolina talked for 24 hours and 18 minutes to stall the first piece of federal civil rights legislation enacted since the Reconstruction era, a bill that empowered federal prosecutors to prevent interference with voting."

Biden’s Infrastructure Package Is Designed to Boost Unions: "Many of the new jobs are likely to be union positions, because the plan targets sectors that already have high levels of union participation, said Greg Regan, president of the Transportation Trades Department, a coalition of unions in industries such as aviation and rail transit."

Florida Labor Unions Say Proposal Will Lead to 'Disaster' for State Worker Pensions"'The people making these decisions fundamentally do not understand how pensions work,' AFL-CIO spokesman Rich Templin said. 'And the actions they are taking will prove disastrous.' Templin said over the next few days public sector labor union members will call, text, email, and talk in-person to lawmakers about the dangers lurking in the bill."

‘She-Wees’ and Plastic Bags: Amazon’s Pee Scandal Is Much Worse for Women: "Motherboard spoke to six women who have driven Amazon delivery vans during the past year. Some fast during work hours, even in the heat of the summer, to avoid wasting time finding a bathroom. Others either hold their pee for up to 10 hours, squat over trash bags, or purchase 'she-wees,' female urinals that cost roughly $13.99, on Amazon.com. An Amazon delivery driver trainer who works out of an Amazon warehouse in South Bend, Indiana, told Motherboard that drivers frequently dump bags or bottles with pee and poop on the side of the road. 'I am a trainer for my [delivery company] and I tell all the new girls to invest in a she-wee or you will not make it at this job,' she said. Motherboard granted the driver anonymity because she feared retaliation from her employer."

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 04/09/2021 - 10:16

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: On the Yellow Brick Road to Success: BAC Volunteers for Community Improvement Project in Hawaii

Fri, 2021-04-09 09:30
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: On the Yellow Brick Road to Success: BAC Volunteers for Community Improvement Project in Hawaii

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

For many students who live near Kalihi Waena Elementary in Hawaii, the rainy winter months often mean walking through the mud to get to school. Now, thanks to the hard work and volunteerism of members of Bricklayers (BAC) Local 1, these students are getting a much-needed upgrade to their path to the school. The volunteer union members have started work on a new “yellow brick road” connecting nearby housing units to the school. The project also calls for fresh fruit trees to be planted along the route to school. “It feels wonderful to give back to the community and the volunteers came out not only just for the community, but for the strength of the union,” Ikaika Castillo, BAC training coordinator, told KITV.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 04/09/2021 - 09:30

Tags: Community Service, COVID-19

Pass the PRO Act: In the States Roundup

Thu, 2021-04-08 13:52
Pass the PRO Act: 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.

Alaska AFL-CIO:

Union or not, the PRO Act will benefit all working people in this country. It’s time to solidify the protections and rights workers were granted many decades ago. #PassThePROAct #1u

Leave a message for @lisamurkowski and @SenDanSullivan by calling 866-832-1560 pic.twitter.com/wFKL12mZaT

— Alaska AFL-CIO (@AKAFLCIO) April 7, 2021

Arizona AFL-CIO:

✊ Shout out to the @PALF_AFLCIO on an amazing event yesterday! #PassThePROAct #Solidarity https://t.co/rYpeUUrHee

— Arizona AFL-CIO // #PassThePROAct (@ArizonaAFLCIO) April 6, 2021

California Labor Federation:

The decline in collective bargaining has ripped wages from the pockets of all workers, led to exploding income inequality & widened the gender & racial pay gap. #BuildBackBetter starts with stronger unions. We need to pass the #PROAct https://t.co/k7AOnjJ3ah

— California Labor Federation (@CaliforniaLabor) April 8, 2021

Colorado AFL-CIO:

A union contract is the single best tool we have to close racial and gender wage gaps in the workforce, and to ensure dignity and due process for workers, regardless of where we were born, who we are, or what industry we work in. #PassthePROAct pic.twitter.com/GMfkUkDAUV

— Colorado AFL-CIO (@AFLCIOCO) April 8, 2021

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

.@AFLCIO President Richard Trumka: "In every corner of the country, working people are crying out for change" #1u @UnionYES https://t.co/jB5W0ZbtLX

— Connecticut AFL-CIO (@ConnAFLCIO) April 5, 2021

Florida AFL-CIO:

Happening Now: Leaders and members of @SouthFlaAFLCIO, @BRAFLCIO, @PBTCAFLCIO, and the Southwest Florida Labor Chapter call for reform for Florida's failing unemployment system. https://t.co/djohjGEBXW

— Florida AFL-CIO (@FLAFLCIO) April 8, 2021

Georgia AFL-CIO:

Union members in GA went above and beyond to elect two pro-worker, pro-union Senators.

Now as the #PROAct advances to a Senate vote, we are proud & grateful that @ReverendWarnock and @ossoff are co-sponsors of this historic, generational labor law reform bill. #1u #PassThePROAct pic.twitter.com/7EfbQ2nL8d

— Georgia AFL-CIO // Pass The #ProAct (@AFLCIOGeorgia) April 8, 2021

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

Worry, exhaustion, constantly changing safety rules and long hours of wearing PPE are just a few things America’s health-care workers cite as the hardest parts of going to work on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.https://t.co/ZrTIXGTpL5

— Indiana AFL-CIO (@INAFLCIO) April 7, 2021

Iowa Federation of Labor:

PRO Act and Women in the Union https://t.co/mzx7igbRGK

— Iowa AFL-CIO (@IowaAFLCIO) April 8, 2021

Kansas State AFL-CIO:

I just wrote an email to tell lawmakers to protect schools by opposing CCR SB 175. Write one here: https://t.co/LuQV5eQo60

— Kansas AFL-CIO (@KansasAFLCIO) April 8, 2021

Maine AFL-CIO:

“There is no question that the company didn’t want to mess around this time. We are glad to see that Bath Iron Works came in and negotiated an honest and fair contract for Local 7 this time,” labor rep George Edwards of IAM District Lodge 4 said. https://t.co/lB31qWEvVg

— Maine AFL-CIO (@MEAFLCIO) April 6, 2021

Massachusetts AFL-CIO:

Call your Senators today and urge them to pass the #PROAct. Thank you @SenWarren and @SenMarkey for cosponsoring! #mapoli pic.twitter.com/f1xInY2t7L

— Massachusetts AFL-CIO // Pass the #PROAct (@massaflcio) April 8, 2021

Minnesota AFL-CIO:

Local 405 Laborer Laura Yoder Helps Reenergize Minnesota’s Wind Farms https://t.co/DAWFF2RFrf (via @MNBldgTrades) #1u @LIUNAMinnesota

— Minnesota AFL-CIO (@MNAFLCIO) April 6, 2021

Missouri AFL-CIO:

A great tribute to Brother McVey. Rest in Peace, Duke. https://t.co/h1vqZPsEdB

— Missouri AFL-CIO (@MOAFLCIO) April 7, 2021

Montana AFL-CIO:

The PRO Act will ensure that this year's defeat of "right-to-work" legislation in Montana is secured for a generation. Please join us tomorrow for a live event with PRO Act co-sponsor, Senator Jon Tester. #mtpol #1u #PROAct pic.twitter.com/0ZI0es0qf7

— Montana AFL-CIO (@MTaflcio) April 7, 2021

Nebraska AFL-CIO:

Please go to this link to send an email to your Senator and tell them that protecting our Nebraska meatpacking workers is important! https://t.co/Yk7v7zXIgK

— NE State AFL-CIO (@NEAFLCIO) March 31, 2021

Nevada State AFL-CIO:

"Do the right thing. Put people back to work and let's save this state."

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Massachusetts AFL-CIO Calls on Governor to Ensure Budget Supports Working Families

Thu, 2021-04-08 09:32
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Massachusetts AFL-CIO Calls on Governor to Ensure Budget Supports Working Families

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

The Massachusetts AFL-CIO, led by President Steven Tolman (TCU/IAM), testified before the state’s Joint Ways and Means Committee to express concerns about the budget submitted by the governor.

“This budget must support workers who have been and will continue to report to jobs outside of their homes to ensure that the public has access to the goods and services that our society has finally deemed ‘essential,’” Tolman said. “We must also ensure that unemployed and underemployed workers who are struggling to make ends meet have access to strong social safety nets that allow them to stay in their homes, maintain their healthcare coverage, and keep food on the table.”

Among the specific concerns are provisions in the budget that would limit sick time for state employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, reduce funds for workforce development and weaken public bidding laws.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 04/08/2021 - 09:32

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: New York State AFL-CIO Backs ‘Fair Share’ Revenue Raisers

Wed, 2021-04-07 09:26
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: New York State AFL-CIO Backs ‘Fair Share’ Revenue Raisers

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

New York labor and faith leaders joined together last week for a press conference in support of the strategic “fair share” revenue raisers in the New York State Assembly and Senate one-house budgets and are urging their adoption in the final budget. The groups are pushing the state to look past the short-term relief from the federal government and move toward sustainable revenue streams that ask the wealthy to pay their fair share and that will preserve public services once federal aid is exhausted.

According to Mario Cilento (TNG-CWA), president of the New York State AFL-CIO, “The federal aid coming into New York state will only do so much—it will help us for about the next two years, but after that, the state will be addressing budget deficits on its own. These ‘fair share’ revenue raisers would affect a tiny portion of individuals in our state while ensuring we don't harm our health care system and still help fund education, state services and our local governments into the future.”

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 04/07/2021 - 09:26

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Washington Teachers’ Union President Elizabeth Davis Passes

Tue, 2021-04-06 16:09
Washington Teachers’ Union President Elizabeth Davis Passes Chris Garlock/Union City

The Washington, D.C., metro area labor movement lost one of its most outspoken leaders Sunday night when Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) President Elizabeth Davis died in a car crash.

Davis had been “at the forefront of public education advocacy and reform, leading the WTU’s transformation into a social justice, solution-driven organization dedicated to advancing and promoting quality education for all children,” WTU said in a release Monday morning. Davis worked hard at “improving teaching and learning conditions and aggressively amplifying the voice of teachers in the dialogue around issues of teaching and learning,” the union added. “We are confident that her legacy will continue to shape the WTU as well as education across the district.”

“Elizabeth Davis fought every single day, not just for her members, but for all the city’s students and parents,” said Metro Washington Council (MWC) President Dyana Forester. “As a D.C. parent myself, and also as a lifelong city resident and labor activist, Sister Davis was a constant inspiration to me and to so many others. The thoughts and prayers of the Metro Washington Council go out to her family, her union and to all whose lives were touched by Liz. Her loss is shared by the entire local labor community, and we shall carry on her legacy of battling for justice even as we mourn her passing.” 

Davis was a longtime member of the MWC’s Executive Board.

The first time Davis stood up to D.C. school administrators was in the 1960s, The Washington Post reported. “Davis, then a teenager, staged a walkout at Eastern High to protest the lack of African American history and culture in her school’s curriculum. Hundreds of students joined her. And it worked, she said. The curriculum changed.”

“That was the beginning,” Davis told the Post in an interview in February. “It was exciting. It was exhilarating. We were organizing.”

This post originally appeared at Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 04/06/2021 - 16:09

Solidarity Works: What Working People Are Doing This Week

Tue, 2021-04-06 15:28
Solidarity Works: 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:

Ok Florida family, lets try to support minority owned business when we can. These young ladies are in Tallahassee, FL

Meet the Leo Sisters, Owners of Plant-Based Eatery Bourne Brilliant #AfroTech https://t.co/TLreFMHopY

— APRI National (DC) (@APRI_National) March 25, 2021

Actors' Equity:

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

Read more in the member portal - https://t.co/apKzJubpzg pic.twitter.com/lXhuGO3h5Q

— Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) April 6, 2021

AFGE:

Thank you for joining! https://t.co/3XFOoZFWCK

— AFGE (@AFGENational) April 1, 2021

AFSCME:

AFSCME library workers support the Build America’s Libraries Act. The measure would provide $5 billion to upgrade our nation’s library infrastructure. Investing in libraries not only benefits the institution but its community as well. https://t.co/5Appmd0WXD

— AFSCME (@AFSCME) April 6, 2021

Alliance for Retired Americans:

Workers deserve a say about their wages, benefits, etc.

You can tell your Senators to make that a reality by passing the #PROAct. https://t.co/XBGThS3mrY

— Alliance for Retired Americans (@ActiveRetirees) April 5, 2021

Amalgamated Transit Union:

#1u #Labour #HazardPay #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/r6r0a7K08e

— ATU, Transit Union (@ATUComm) April 6, 2021

American Federation of Musicians:

Rockers, orchestral musicians, freelance and recording musicians can rest a bit easier now knowing the AFM-EPF plan to reduce benefits has been negated. https://t.co/ulukTyF30h #UnionMusician

— AFM (@The_AFM) March 30, 2021

American Federation of Teachers:

AFT President Randi Weingarten Mourns Passing of @WTUTeacher Leader Elizabeth Davis https://t.co/7LmWG2mFjT

— AFT (@AFTunion) April 5, 2021

American Postal Workers Union:

We stand arm in arm with our @MineWorkers family, who are on strike at Warrior Met Coal.
Company executives are getting bonuses but they won't make a fair deal with the people whose hard work built the company.
Support the Warrior Met Strike! #UnitedWeStand pic.twitter.com/B7Qa5Jx6X7

— APWU National (@APWUnational) April 3, 2021

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance:

Join us on April 21 for The #JusticeForJeyasre Vigil to honor the life of Indian garment worker & union member Jeyasre Kathiravel, who organized in her workplace against gender based violence & harassment before her untimely death. @GLJhub@ilrf@asia_floorwage pic.twitter.com/D6qgd9dEFl

— Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (@APALAnational) April 5, 2021

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:

Thanks to your action, Piedmont Flight Attendants (and all Piedmont employees) won COVID pandemic leave! Flight Attendants from across the industry sent thousands of letters to American Airlines Group management. We won't stop fighting until sick bank is restored! #1u pic.twitter.com/LsdZoSII5H

— AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) April 5, 2021

Boilermakers:

2020's ⏪ 1920's. Take a look back at #Boilermaker history and you'll see some similarities in hardships unions faced: https://t.co/oRYr7lWDws pic.twitter.com/tYGbTtVPsz

— Boilermakers Union (@boilermakernews) April 5, 2021

Bricklayers:

BAC Local 1 Hawaii Apprentices are helping turn a muddy path for students into a fruit tree-lined yellow brick sidewalk. #BuildingLives #BuildingCommunities https://t.co/lDT5O7pdmr

— Bricklayers Union (@IUBAC) March 30, 2021

Coalition of Labor Union Women:

Join @CLUWNational on April 21 for the Justice for Jeyasre Vigil in solidarity with garment workers to end gender-based violence and harassment in the global garment supply chain. @GLJhub @ilrf @asia_floorwage
#JusticeForJeyasre

RSVP Here: https://t.co/qi2nwRnDHz pic.twitter.com/AI4enlBveo

— CLUW National (@CLUWNational) April 1, 2021

Communications Workers of America:

https://t.co/kDEfgKwuRZ

— CWA (@CWAUnion) April 2, 2021

Department for Professional Employees:

Many professionals want to exercise their right to form a union, but can't. The PRO Act must become law so more employees can exercise this fundamental workplace right! #1u pic.twitter.com/WOEin3qBrC

— Department for Professional Employees (@DPEaflcio) April 6, 2021

Electrical Workers:

"A boss’ promises are temporary, but a union contract is in writing." https://t.co/1Jzd7pB3eo

— IBEW (@IBEW) April 6, 2021

Fire Fighters:

In the first 90 days, our transition team of local, state and provincial leaders will be reviewing the effectiveness of all IAFF programs, services, projects and practices. #ReadyToLead pic.twitter.com/TLPs19k1Rk

— IAFF (@IAFFNewsDesk) April 6, 2021

Heat and Frost Insulators:

A skilled union insulation workforce can provide unique, custom insulation-fabricating solutions for the cutting, die-cutting, slitting or sawing required for any project's specifications regardless of complexity. https://t.co/UxJnXYtAcb

— Insulators Union

'We Have to Move Now': The Working People Weekly List

Tue, 2021-04-06 10:40
'We Have to Move Now': The Working People Weekly List

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

‘We Have to Move Now’: Biden Details His $2 Trillion Infrastructure Plan: “Mr. Biden was introduced by a union worker who deals with the electrical grid. Mike Fiore, a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 29 and an employee of Duquesne Light, said the plan would mean a lot to workers who are ready to retool plants and revitalize the middle class. ‘The [plan] is directed at communities like mine. It is about opening up opportunities, revitalizing local businesses and saving jobs,’ Mr. Fiore said. ‘For decades, Pennsylvania was a global leader in manufacturing and good union jobs. It can be that way again.’”

ATI Workers Go on Strike After Negotiations Break Down: “Roughly 1,300 workers at Pittsburgh-based Allegheny Technologies Inc. (ATI) represented by the United Steelworkers (USW) union went on strike at 7 a.m. Tuesday after negotiators failed to reach a contract settlement. USW International Vice President David McCall, who chairs the talks, accused the metals giant of unfair labor practices and trying to force workers into accepting unnecessary concessions. ‘After years of loyalty, hard work and sacrifice, workers deserve more respect and consideration than ATI has shown at the table,’ Mr. McCall said in a statement Friday. ‘We will continue to bargain in good faith, and we strongly urge ATI to start doing the same.’”

Why Big Tech Shouldn’t Be Scared of Unions: “At a time when so many divisions rip Americans apart, from income inequality and wealth disparities to opportunity gaps and ethnic, religious and cultural differences, increased union membership would help to heal America by raising incomes, uniting workers and building trust just as it did in the decades following World War II, when the U.S. boasted the biggest per-capita middle class in the world. What better place to start than in the heart of America’s tech industry? It would help workers, industry and American society itself.”

I Was Fired for Trying to Unionize My Workplace. I Want Congress to Pass the PRO Act So That Never Happens Again: “For around two years, my colleagues and I had been advocating together for better benefits—like health care and child care—and reasonable sales goals. We weren’t asking for the moon—we were asking for basic respect and fair treatment as we supported the military members and veterans who bank with PenFed. We felt that unless we did this organizing, there would be no reason for PenFed CEO James Schenck to improve working conditions and make real changes to how he ran his business.”

EXPLAINER: What to Know About the Amazon Union Vote: “Nearly 6,000 Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama, are deciding whether they want to form a union, the biggest labor push in the online shopping giant’s history. The stakes are high for Amazon. The organizing in Bessemer could set off a chain reaction across its operations nationwide, with more workers rising up and demanding better working conditions. Meanwhile, labor advocates hope what’s happening in Bessemer could inspire workers beyond Amazon to form a union. But organizers face an uphill battle. Amazon, the second-largest private employer in the country, has a history of crushing unionizing efforts at its warehouses and its Whole Foods grocery stores.”

Walsh Heads Already Active Labor Department: “‘Millions of workers still do not have the strong COVID-19 protections they need to be safe at work,’ declared Rebecca Reindel, AFL-CIO safety and health director. ‘Marty Walsh’s strong leadership will be needed to urgently issue a strong, comprehensive OSHA COVID-19 emergency temporary standard to set workplace safety rules, accompanied by strong enforcement to ensure workers are protected.’”

‘It Rescued Our Entire Plan Overnight.’ How Joe Biden Will Help Rockers Retire: “President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan will benefit, among other things, state and local governments, small businesses, people living in poverty and, it turns out, professional musicians hoping to retire at some point in their lives. Since musicians often work for many bosses, they fall under the purview of multi-employer pension plans—a pet cause of Ohio senator Sherrod Brown, who has been pushing to fix those types of pension plans for years. After years of introducing what was first called the Butch Lewis Act (named after an Ohio teamster), Brown worked to get his pension-salvaging plan into the American Rescue Plan.”

What the ‘Invisible’ People Cleaning the Subway Want Riders to Know: “Cleaning the New York City subway has always been a dirty job. But when the pandemic hit last spring, it became even more challenging. When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ordered that trains be shut down overnight for cleaning, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) turned to contractors to help undertake the monumental task of scouring the trains in the nation’s largest transit system. The thousands of workers the contractors hired—largely low-income immigrants from Latin America—were envisioned as a stopgap measure, as MTA workers were falling ill and dying of the virus. At the same time, ridership and revenue had plummeted, and the agency found itself in an intense budget crunch.”

Facing Backlash from Orlando Workers, HMSHost Is Rehiring Employees Laid Off During Pandemic: “After nine months waging an emotional campaign to get their jobs back, displaced restaurant workers from the Orlando International Airport celebrated a triumph: They’re being rehired. HMSHost, one of the country’s largest airport concessionaires, emailed former employees on Friday inviting them back, according to copies reviewed by the Orlando Sentinel. In the email, the company’s human resources department also announced a $2-per-hour wage increase and free monthly Lynx bus passes for returning employees.”

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 04/06/2021 - 10:40

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Orange County Labor Federation Holds Expungement Clinic

Tue, 2021-04-06 09:58
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Orange County Labor Federation Holds Expungement Clinic

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

The Orange County Labor Federation (OCLF), AFL-CIO partnered with United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 324 and hosted an expungement clinic March 18 and March 20 in Buena Park, California. This partnership allowed our labor movement to help members remove nonviolent crimes from their records. About 65 members were assisted over the two days. The OCLF is planning to make this an ongoing program to continue assisting our members in removing barriers to employment and housing, giving them a better chance at stability and dignity. AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre (UFCW) visited and assisted at the clinic.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 04/06/2021 - 09:58

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Economy Gains 916,000 Jobs in March; Unemployment Down to 6.0%

Mon, 2021-04-05 15:32
Economy Gains 916,000 Jobs in March; Unemployment Down to 6.0%

The U.S. economy gained 916,000 jobs in March, and the unemployment rate fell to 6.0%, according to figures released Friday morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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

Despite the good news on the unemployment rate falling, the share of the unemployed who are long term unemployed continued to climb. Unemployment benefit provisions in the ARP that expire on Labor Day will end while this problem still looms. @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/mfcQIiPSq1

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) April 2, 2021

This pattern is the great challenge @POTUS and his team face with their Jobs bill. The slow recovery of Black employment IS NOT because of skills or industry composition. Putting in place an extremely beefed up @USDOL #OFCCP to have presence at each construction site for starters https://t.co/sqVKVb3lf1

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) April 2, 2021

Economists who watch the stock market are quick to point out how news stories translate to market reactions. Labor economists seem blind to the news and how it can translate to the market they watch. Its a good thing their noses are attached to their faces. https://t.co/L0oZG8ceYW

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) April 2, 2021

If governors and mayors would use their American Rescue Plan money to return state and local government workers to their jobs, that would address the sector with the second biggest job loss. Too many governors are spending time working on legislation to suppress voters. https://t.co/a1Kss859ln

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) April 2, 2021

A great thread to get some important points on today's #JobsReport #jobsday https://t.co/ogQ2KtSvzD

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) April 2, 2021

Last month’s biggest job gains were in leisure and hospitality (+280,000), education (+190,000), construction (+110,000), professional and business services (+66,000), manufacturing (+53,000), transportation and warehousing (+48,000), other services industry (+42,000), social assistance (+25,000), wholesale trade (+24,000), retail trade (+23,000), mining rose (+21,000) and financial activities (+16,000). Employment in health care and information changed little in March. 

In March, the unemployment rate increased for Asians (6.0%). The rates for Hispanics (8.5%) and teenagers (13.0%) declined. The rates for Black Americans (9.6%), adult men (5.8%), adult women (5.7%) and White Americans (5.4%) showed little or no change over the month.

The number of long-term unemployed workers (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) barely changed in March and accounted for 43.4% of the total unemployed.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 04/05/2021 - 15:32

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Chicago Opens Vaccination Site for Front-Line Union Members

Mon, 2021-04-05 09:32
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Chicago Opens Vaccination Site for Front-Line Union Members

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

President Bob Reiter (IUOE) of the Chicago Federation of Labor and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced on Tuesday the creation of the country’s first vaccine site specifically for union essential workers. They are hosting the clinic at the Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 399 union hall; the clinic is a partnership between the labor council and the city. Some 1,200 union members may be vaccinated per week, with the plan to expand to 6,000 per week as vaccine supplies increase. To be eligible, you must live or work in Chicago, hold a current union card or be a union retiree, and qualify under the city’s current eligibility criteria.

“Two-thirds of our members are Black and Brown workers, and we must do everything we can to get this vaccine into arms as quickly as possible,” Reiter said. “Let’s move past this pandemic once and for all.”

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 04/05/2021 - 09:32

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: UMWA Goes on Strike at Alabama’s Warrior Met Coal

Thu, 2021-04-01 08:41
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: UMWA Goes on Strike at Alabama’s Warrior Met Coal

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

Unless the parties can reach a last-minute agreement, the Mine Workers (UMWA) union is launching its largest strike since the 1990s. UMWA President Cecil Roberts lambasted the company in a press release announcing the strike at Warrior Met Coal in Alabama. “[I]nstead of rewarding the sacrifices and work of the miners, Warrior Met is seeking even further sacrifices from them, while demonstrating perhaps some of the worst labor-management relations we’ve seen in this industry since the days of the company town and company store,” he said. The union explained that workers at Warrior have made significant concessions since 2016 to help bring the company out of bankruptcy.

Roberts said: “We have always been ready to reach a fair agreement that recognizes the sacrifices our members and their families made to keep this company alive. At this point, Warrior Met is not….Despite Warrior Met’s apparent appetite for this conflict, we will prevail.”

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 04/01/2021 - 08:41

Tags: Community Service, COVID-19

Profiles in Courage: Celebrating AAPI Labor Activists

Wed, 2021-03-31 13:22
Profiles in Courage: Celebrating AAPI Labor Activists

In the wake of the rise of hate crimes and violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, we take an important pause to voice our support of our brothers, sisters and friends in the AAPI community. The AAPI community has played an important and active role in the growth, expansion and unique diversity of this country and has given the labor movement many of its true heroes. This community is our community, and we are proud to celebrate these seven labor activists—all of whom have advanced the cause of worker justice. 

Ai-jen Poo: Ai-jen Poo started organizing domestic workers in 1996 and helped found Domestic Workers United (DWU). In 2010, DWU was key in the passage of New York's Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights, the first law in the country to guarantee domestic workers labor protections. The next year, DWU helped organize the first national meeting of domestic worker organizations, leading to the formation of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA). Poo has been NDWA's director since 2010. Her other efforts on behalf of working people include Caring Across Generations, which campaigns for affordable health care for our aging population and for access to quality jobs for the caregiver workforce.

Larry Itliong: Born in the Philippines, Larry Itliong was a farmworker in California. In 1956, he founded the Filipino Farm Labor Union and later organized a group of Filipinos to strike against grape growers in Delano. For eight days, they were harassed and faced violence and saw no progress. Itliong approached César Chávez and the two groups joined together to launch the Delano Grape Strike of 1965 that eventually led to the creation of the United Farm Workers (UFW). Chávez became director and Itliong assistant director. He continued to organize with the UFW and the Filipino American Political Alliance until his passing in 1977.

Maf Misbah Uddin: In 1988, Maf Misbah Uddin began work as an actuary in New York City. He became active in the Accountants, Statisticians and Actuaries Local 1407, becoming president in 2000. He also became treasurer of AFSCME District Council 37. As treasurer, he improved the transparency of the union's finances. His work was vital in keeping District Council 37 on budget in the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, which did extensive damage to the union's headquarters. He is also founder and president of the Alliance of South Asian American Labor.

May Chen: Before moving to New York in 1979, May Chen taught high school and college courses in California and founded a day care center. In New York, she did some work for UNITE HERE Local 6. Inspired by the 1982 garment workers' strike in Chinatown, she joined the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU). There she worked on the Immigration Project, the first union-created legal advocacy department for immigrant workers. She later worked in ILGWU's Education Department and served the New York City Central Labor Council, the Coalition of Labor Union Women and the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, ILGWU Local 23-25, the New York Metropolitan Area Joint Board. Before retiring in 2009, she served as international vice president of UNITE HERE.

Philip Vera Cruz: Born in the Philippines, Philip Vera Cruz worked on farms before moving to the United States. In 1943, he moved to California and became a farmworker. As a co-founder of the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, he was a key part of the grape pickers strike in Delano, California, in 1965. He was a co-founder of UFW and served as vice president until 1977. After that, he helped create the Farm Workers Credit Union and he was the UFW officer in charge of the Agbayani Village, a retirement community for farmworkers.

Sue Ko Lee and the Dollar Store Strikers: Sue Ko Lee worked in the National Dollar Store's San Francisco factory in sweatshop conditions in the 1930s. ILGWU began organizing the Chinese Ladies Garment Workers Union Local 361, and it won a union election in 1938. The owner immediately sold the company to a new company headed by the factory manager and a former National Dollar Store employee in attempt to set aside the contract and break the union. Lee and her fellow workers went on strike and actively organized the strike, obtaining solidarity from their White co-workers. The unified front led to a contract that improved salaries, benefits and working conditions for the workers and helped break down racial barriers in San Francisco. Lee went on to become secretary of the union local and the San Francisco Joint Board.

Velma Veloria: After graduating from San Francisco State University and working on anti-war and Filipino rights causes, Velma Veloria became an organizer for the Office and Professional Employees (OPEIU), ILWU Local 37 for cannery workers and SEIU. She fought for justice for Gene Viernes and Silme Domingo, ILWU local leaders who were assassinated in 1981. Later, she began working in support of political campaigns. Veloria used her experience to win a seat as a state legislator and pursued a variety of causes important to women and people of color. She organized numerous trade missions to Southeast Asia and helped strengthen relations between the United States and countries like Vietnam, the Philippines, Laos, Cambodia and Indonesia.

Learn more and support the AAPI community:

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 03/31/2021 - 13:22

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Alaska State AFL-CIO Demands Answers on Copper River Seafoods Investigation

Wed, 2021-03-31 08:30
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Alaska State AFL-CIO Demands Answers on Copper River Seafoods Investigation

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

The Alaska AFL-CIO has called out Copper River Seafoods for workplace safety violations. Throughout the pandemic, the company has failed to effectively screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms, implement social distancing, provide barriers for employees when they could not social distance, and prevent sick and symptomatic workers from entering the facility. Officials also have revealed that even employees who had tested positive were working, despite being required to quarantine for at least 10 days.

The state federation is fighting to hold this employer accountable. Alaska AFL-CIO President Joelle Hall (UFCW) wrote in a recently published op-ed, “Recent media reports have uncovered that [state] Commissioner of Labor Tamika Ledbetter blocked nearly $450,000 in proposed fines against a seafood plant that willfully violated COVID-19 workplace safety standards and was hostile with public health officials from the State of Alaska and the Municipality of Anchorage.…Our organization stands firm in holding employers accountable for their actions—or, in this case, inactions.”

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 03/31/2021 - 08:30

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Women's History Month Profiles: School Administrators

Tue, 2021-03-30 12:23
Women's History Month Profiles: School Administrators

This year, for Women's History Month, we're taking a look at a group of leaders who are currently active making women's history across the labor movement. Check back daily for a new profile and meet some of the people working to improve not only their community, but also to improve conditions for working people across the country.

The School Administrators (AFSA) profiled several of its members this month. Check them out:

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 03/30/2021 - 12:23

Women's History Month Profiles: Sara Steffens

Tue, 2021-03-30 09:30
Women's History Month Profiles: Sara Steffens

This year, for Women's History Month, we're taking a look at a group of leaders who are currently active making women's history across the labor movement. Check back daily for a new profile and meet some of the people working to improve not only their community, but also to improve conditions for working people across the country. Today's profile is Sara Steffens.

Sara Steffens knows firsthand why passing the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act is so important. As a reporter at the Contra Costa (California) Times, Steffens successfully led her co-workers to organize and join The NewsGuild-CWA, only to be fired with a group of other activists two weeks after the vote. Since then, Steffens has dedicated her career to helping workers build power to improve our workplaces and our communities. She currently serves as secretary-treasurer for the Communications Workers of America (CWA).

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 03/30/2021 - 09:30

Tags: Women's History Month

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Northwest Oregon Labor Council’s Food Distribution

Tue, 2021-03-30 08:34
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Northwest Oregon Labor Council’s Food Distribution

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

On March 14, the Northwest Oregon Labor Council ran a food distribution at the Laborers (LIUNA) Local 737 Training Center in Portland, Oregon. The labor council and affiliates came together over a four-day period to unload and break down the load from the Albertsons–Safeway warehouse, box up and hand out the food. The labor council and affiliates also paid for food with donations of cash to the labor council.

The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) Local 364 gave 3,000 boxes of Ritz Crackers and Chicken in a Biskit crackers donated by Nabisco, and BCTGM Local 114 gave 1,000 loaves of fresh bread donated from Franz Bakery. A total of 867 boxes were provided to different groups throughout the state to distribute in their communities. The remaining 133 boxes were handed out to people who signed up on the website for a box and picked them up at LIUNA Local 737.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 03/30/2021 - 08:34

Tags: Community Service, COVID-19