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Updated: 27 weeks 3 days ago

Women's History Month Profiles: Jackie Anklam

Mon, 2021-03-29 09:30
Women's History Month Profiles: Jackie Anklam

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 Jackie Anklam.

Jackie Anklam of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 9899 in Saginaw, Michigan, is a true woman of steel. An environmental technician at St. Mary’s Hospital, she is among the essential workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic going to work every single day to make sure others get the care they need. While doing her job, she also represents hundreds of steelworkers at Ascension St. Mary’s. Anklam, a member of the USW's Health Care Workers Council, fought for respirators and personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning supplies and gowns for those on the front lines. The fight became personal when Anklam’s father died of complications of COVID-19 in a Michigan hospital that ran short of PPE. Activism is nothing new for Anklam. In 2017, she won a USW Cares Jefferson Award for her heroic work bringing safe drinking water to the people in Flint, Michigan, when a state of emergency was declared due to water contamination.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 03/29/2021 - 09:30

Tags: Women's History Month

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: IAM Supports Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act

Mon, 2021-03-29 08:41
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: IAM Supports Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act

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.

In a letter to House leadership, Machinists (IAM) International President Robert Martinez Jr. urged representatives to support the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (H.R. 1195). This bipartisan legislation would create and maintain needed protections against workplace violence for health care and social service workers. A 2016 U.S. Government Accountability Office study concluded that rates of violence against health care workers are up to 12 times higher than rates of violence for the overall workforce.

“Health care and social service workers who are called on to help us and our families in times of need deserve a safe and secure work environment,” Martinez wrote. “This legislation would instruct the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue a workplace violence prevention standard requiring employers in the health care and social service sectors to develop and implement a plan to protect their employees from workplace violence.”

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 03/29/2021 - 08:41

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Women's History Month Profiles: Laurel Brennan

Sun, 2021-03-28 13:56
Women's History Month Profiles: Laurel Brennan

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 Laurel Brennan.

Laurel Brennan is currently serving her seventh term as the secretary-treasurer of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO, a position she has held since 1997. She is the first woman to be elected to this position in New Jersey. 

Brennan began her career in the labor movement with an internship with the New Jersey State Federation of Teachers. She also worked for the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, the Philadelphia-South Jersey District Council and the Southern New Jersey Central Labor Council, where she was the first woman elected to the position of secretary-treasurer. She formed the Southern New Jersey chapter of the Coalition of Labor Union Women, for whom she also served on the national executive board. She also developed and organized the Women in Leadership Development (WILD) Conference, sponsored by the New Jersey State AFL-CIO.

Kenneth Quinnell Sun, 03/28/2021 - 13:56

Tags: Women's History Month

Women's History Month Profiles: Kandy Bernskoetter

Fri, 2021-03-26 09:30
Women's History Month Profiles: Kandy Bernskoetter

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 Kandy Bernskoetter.

First Officer Kandy Bernskoetter has been a member of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) since 2003. She is a passionate unionist who works tirelessly leading ALPA’s efforts to connect with members, build unity and promote the benefits of ALPA membership internally and externally. In addition to her numerous roles leading programs that provide assistance and support for FedEx pilots, Bernskoetter also serves as ALPA’s national membership committee chair, sits on the Federal Aviation Administration’s Women in Aviation Advisory Board, and is a member of ALPA’s Female Pilots Working Group.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 03/26/2021 - 09:30

Tags: Women's History Month

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: South Florida AFL-CIO: Labor Activists Gather to Unveil Miami Mural

Fri, 2021-03-26 08:36
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: South Florida AFL-CIO: Labor Activists Gather to Unveil Miami Mural

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.

South Florida advocacy, civil rights and labor groups, including the South Florida AFL-CIO, gathered on March 18 to unveil “Rise,” a mural created to call attention to a long list of bills in the Florida Legislature that are anti-worker and racially oppressive. Next to the child in the mural, a rainbow of colors drips down and a stack of books represents the critical learning tools that help to ensure a functioning democracy and a free and fair society—justice, voting, equality, free assembly and labor representation. A hummingbird with its wings spread out floats above, and in the middle is a quote from Maya Angelou: “[B]ut still, like the air, I’ll rise!”

One such bill the Florida AFL-CIO is speaking out against is Senate Bill 50, which seeks to begin collecting sales taxes on internet transactions. The bill includes an amendment coming that will give that new revenue, upward of a billion dollars, to big corporations to keep their meager unemployment insurance premiums the same as they have been for two decades, with no increases in eligibility or benefits for unemployed workers.

“Without the principles here on this wall, America is nothing, Florida is nothing, Miami-Dade County is nothing,” said South Florida AFL-CIO President Jeffrey Mitchell.

“We are reverting to an era of Jim Crow laws where the people, particularly people of color, will be denied the right to vote, a living wage, an education or seek other opportunities. It is the sole duty of our elected representatives to protect the rights of any and all citizens and to forbid this type of legislation from coming to fruition.”

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 03/26/2021 - 08:36

Tags: Community Service, COVID-19

Protect Our Pensions: In the States Roundup

Thu, 2021-03-25 16:28
Protect Our Pensions: 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.

Alabama AFL-CIO:

First they have the timing changed on the traffic lights to restrict distribution of leaflets and now installed their very own ballot mailbox to steal ballots or is it an opportunity to stuff ballots. #BAmazonUnion #1U https://t.co/gIA38hrd2b

— Alabama AFL-CIO (@AlabamaAFLCIO) March 23, 2021

Alaska AFL-CIO:

Alright Alaska, this is where the rubber meets the road!

On April 8th, we need EVERYONE to show up and tell @lisamurkowski and @SenDanSullivan to #PassThePROAct through the U.S. Senate! #UnionStrong #1u

Check our FB page for more information or use the graphics below

Success in the Tech Industry: Worker Wins

Thu, 2021-03-25 15:25
Success in the Tech Industry: Worker Wins

Despite the challenges of organizing during a deadly pandemic, working people across the country (and beyond) continue organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life. This edition begins with:

CODE-CWA's Tech Industry Organizing Efforts Lead to Union Recognition at Mobilize: Workers at Mobilize, a community-organizing app, announced the formation of a new union as part of the Campaign to Organize Digital Employees' (CODE-CWA's) efforts to organize in the tech industry. EveryAction, which owns Mobilize, agreed to voluntarily recognize the union. This is the third big win for Communications Workers of America (CWA) in tech sector organizing, after recent wins at Glitch and Google. Jared McDonald, a member of the organizing committee, said: "They said, 'Yeah, we want to do this the right way, we're highly invested in the labor movement as well, and workers' rights, and their ability to organize in the collective bargaining unit. Obviously we have a privileged position where we work for a progressive employer, but if we don't do it, how are the people who are going to work for less progressive employers going to do it?"

Glitch Workers Secure Historic Collective Bargaining Contract: Workers at app developer Glitch have secured a collective bargaining agreement, the first contract signed by white-collar tech workers in the United States. Members overwhelmingly ratified the contract, which lasts for 11 months. The workers, represented by the CWA, organized a year ago and won voluntary recognition of the new union. The contract includes significant protections, including “just cause” protection and recall rights for 18 employees laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sheridan Kates, a senior software engineer and bargaining committee member, explained the union’s willingness to work with management to come to a mutually beneficial agreement: “There’s a lot of fear that you can’t be nimble with a union in the tech industry, but this shows there are ways to do it. We have an 11-month contract. We didn’t focus on wages and benefits. We didn’t want to hamstring Glitch. We wanted to see ourselves as partners with management and codify the things that are important to us as a union. Having voluntary recognition helped us not have to go into this in an adversarial way. We recognized that we were coming to the table from a place of wanting to do right by each other.”

Journalists at McClatchy Organizations in Washington State Win Voluntary Recognition: Journalists at four McClatchy news organizations in Washington state, The News Tribune, The Olympian, The Bellingham Herald and the Tri-City Herald have organized as the Washington State NewsGuild. Management agreed to recognize the new affiliate of The NewsGuild-CWA. Stephanie Pedersen, Northwest regional editor for McClatchy, said: “The leadership team and our colleagues fundamentally share the same mission: to produce strong local journalism that serves our communities. Recognition allows us to begin negotiations so we may continue to deliver on that mission.”

Comcast Workers in Massachusetts Win Seven-and-a-Half-Year Battle to Secure First Contract: Comcast technicians, members of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 2322, in Fairhaven Massachusetts, won their first contract after forming a union seven and a half years ago. The new contract includes significant wage and benefit gains, fair overtime rules, increased job security and workplace safety measures. Local 2322 Business Manager Eric Hetrick said: "The techs showed amazing determination. Once they won their union certification election, they used their Section 7 rights under the National Labor Relations Act to engage in ‘concerted activity’ and management's obligation to bargain changes in wages and working conditions to stay united and keep the pressure on.”

Washington State Labor Council Helps IBEW 900 Secure a Fair Contract: Pushed to the brink of a strike last week, more than 900 members of the Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 46 employed in the union’s second largest unit—Limited Energy Sound and Communication—won a major victory with a new contract that members ratified by an overwhelming majority on Saturday night. “I couldn’t be more proud of the brave 900 for fighting and winning the contract they deserve,” said Sean Bagsby, business manager and financial secretary for Local 46. “I want to thank the Washington State Labor Council, the Seattle Building Trades, the Joint Council of Teamsters #28, MLK Labor and all the many other unions that showed their support during this long contract fight. [National Electrical Contractors Association] saw that the union movement has our backs, and they finally budged and gave The 900 a contract worthy of their support. I believe it wouldn’t have happened without that solidarity from the community of labor unions.”

Austin American-Statesman Journalists Join The NewsGuild: Journalists at the Austin American-Statesman voted to form the Austin NewsGuild, an affiliate of The NewsGuild-CWA. Next steps include electing a unit council and assembling a bargaining committee. This in the third new Guild unit in Texas in recent months as part of an industry-wide surge in union organizing.

Guggenheim Museum Workers Ratify Contract After Yearlong Fight: After a tense year of negotiations, workers at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York signed a new collective bargaining agreement. The contract covers engineering and facilities professionals; art services, preparation and fabrication specialists and staff who prepare, install and maintain exhibitions. The contract includes wage increases, increased transparency and parity in scheduling and other matters and improved health care benefits. Bryan Cook, a member of the Guggenheim Union, said: “Throughout negotiations, it was clear that management understood the level of work we produce in support of world-class exhibitions, but that they had no intention of compensating us fairly."

Staff at Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis (TCI) form TCI United with NPEU: Staff at TCI, a Virginia-based nonprofit that works to advance racial and economic justice, have voted to form TCI United with the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU). In a statement, TCI United said: “One of TCI’s core values is that its organizational culture, staff, partners, strategies, and investments should work to advance racial and economic justice within and beyond the organization. We, TCI staff members, are deeply committed to our mission, and believe one of the best ways to realize it is to organize and form a union.”  

RWDSU Members at McNally Jackson Books and Stationery Stores Secure First Contract: Workers at McNally Jackson Books and stationery stores in New York, represented by Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union-UFCW (RWDSU-UFCW), ratified their first contract. The contract provides pay raises of 7%-17%, retirement benefits, additional paid holidays and an increase in vacation days. Rhys Davis, a worker at the Goods for the Study stationery store, said: “We stuck the course throughout the pandemic to get a great contract. I think that’s a testament to the relationship between all of the employees at McNally Jackson and the strength of our union—and our bond.”

Workers at New York Daily News to Form a Union: On Friday, it was announced that workers at the New York Daily News are seeking to form a union. With support from more than 80% of workers, the newly formed bargaining unit is seeking voluntary recognition from its employer. The new union will be a part of The NewsGuild-CWA. “We’re thrilled to welcome our hometown paper back into the Guild,” said Susan DeCarava, president of The NewsGuild of New York, CWA Local 31003. “The fight to save local news and to guarantee that the communities our members serve have access to reliable information and compelling stories is an effort we share with our Guild colleagues nationally. We ask that Tribune Publishing voluntarily recognize the Daily News Union without delay so that, together, we can safeguard and ensure that the news thrives for another 100 years.”

CVS Workers Vote Union YES for a Safer Workplace Amidst COVID-19: Workers at a CVS Pharmacy store in Spring Valley, California, voted to join United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 135 for essential workplace health and safety protections during this pandemic. As COVID-19 cases continue to spike in California, it was workplace safety that drove these workers to form a union. With their newfound collective bargaining rights, workers are prioritizing quarantine pay, free coronavirus testing and hazard pay among their demands. Our new union sisters, brothers and friends will join with UFCW members at 57 other CVS stores and the more than 200,000 working families of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council. “In the midst of this pandemic, workers see the value in belonging to a union,” said UFCW Local 135 President Todd Walters. “The workers at CVS Pharmacy in Spring Valley have chosen to be represented by UFCW Local 135. This is a victory for these essential workers that are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic!”
 
Workers Celebrate Near-Unanimous Vote at Twin City Foods Plant: Twin City Foods employees now have the right to bargain collectively for better benefits at the Pasco plant in Washington. In celebration, they waved signs near an entrance to the plant as they rejoiced in their nearly unanimous 126–2 vote to join UFCW. The efforts to form a union began this past fall as COVID-19 infections spread at the plant, reportedly leading to the death of two workers. Many plant workers were quarantined and forced to use up their limited paid sick leave. Workers also responded to management’s slow implementation of basic COVID-19 prevention safety measures. Twin City Foods employs some 230 year-round packaging employees and brings on another 300 to 400 workers seasonally. The company, based in Stanwood, Washington, processes frozen vegetables and has operations in both Washington and Michigan. The Washington State Labor Council has made support for food and agricultural workers a priority throughout the pandemic.

100 Iowa Valve Plant Workers Vote to Join Machinists Union: About 100 workers at Clow Valve Co. in Oskaloosa, Iowa, have voted to join the Machinists (IAM). These proud new IAM members make iron and brass castings for fire hydrants and water valves. Workers at the plant’s foundries inquired about joining the IAM late last year after the company significantly increased health care costs. Moreover, the company indicated it was potentially making additional future changes to its benefits. “I want to congratulate these brave men and women at Clow Foundry who stood up for a better life for themselves, their families and their communities,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Steve Galloway. “Credit for this organizing win goes to Special Representative Chris Tucker [IAM], Grand Lodge Representative Geny Ulloa [IAM], and their entire team who worked tirelessly to secure a victory for our new members. Welcome to the IAM family, Brothers and Sisters.” Due to a sizable Spanish-speaking population at the plant, IAM organizers were sure to translate all materials about the union.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 03/25/2021 - 15:25

Tags: Organizing

Time for Equal Pay: What Working People Are Doing This Week

Thu, 2021-03-25 10:30
Time for Equal Pay: 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:

Please join APRI now in supporting the 10th Annual BWR "Women of Power" Virtual Summit: Rebuilding Hope, Justice, Equity & Equality https://t.co/FFEYzQ0Nvs via @FacebookWatch

— APRI National (DC) (@APRI_National) March 24, 2021

Actors' Equity:

As theatrical work begins where it is safe to do so, Equity has been working to create guidelines that support safe and healthy theatre productions.

Producers who would like to work with Equity stage managers and actors can find guidance on our website -https://t.co/GfhhKsNXLi pic.twitter.com/qAMLNVg9Gy

— Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) March 24, 2021

AFGE:

Check out the March/April edition the Government Standard! Top stories include: The latest on our fight for hazard pay for workers, new legislation that improves federal worker pay/benefits and much more! #1u https://t.co/jAyYY6ONLS

— AFGE (@AFGENational) March 18, 2021

AFSCME:

During a vaccine drive this past weekend in San Diego, members of @UDWA, @unacuhcp and other labor allies used their expertise to deliver the COVID vaccine to union workers. https://t.co/nRLPmvvucj

— AFSCME (@AFSCME) March 24, 2021

Alliance for Retired Americans:

Given the toll that the pandemic has had on long-term care facilities, the coronavirus relief bill offers states a generous funding boost for home- and community-based care as an alternative to institutionalizing disabled people. https://t.co/f2ynisADa8

— Alliance for Retired Americans (@ActiveRetirees) March 24, 2021

Amalgamated Transit Union:

Today, Int. Pres. John Costa kicked off a new innovative Race and Labor Relations zoom training for more than 25 Local Business Agents from across the ATU. The ATU is leading the way to call out and stop all forms of racism. #blacklivesmatter #stopasianhate pic.twitter.com/odeOlbQO5F

— ATU, Transit Union (@ATUComm) March 24, 2021

American Federation of Musicians:

The AFM abhors intolerance, hate, racism, and violence of any kind. We urge our Brothers and Sisters to look out for one another, to be thoughtful about the language they use, and to embrace inclusivity. #stopasianhate #stopgunviolence pic.twitter.com/cbLfgwRR6l

— AFM (@The_AFM) March 23, 2021

American Federation of Teachers:

"As the people who educate children, care for patients and keep our communities safe, we must continue to teach tolerance and acceptance, and to take a stand against the injustices that continue affecting the lives of so many people we love." @rweingarten #StopAsianHate pic.twitter.com/Hc4Yd1FIba

— AFT (@AFTunion) March 18, 2021

American Postal Workers Union:

The American Postal Workers Union will continue to advocate for postal workers and the people of the country who rely on the essential service we proudly provide each and every day.
Read the full statement here: https://t.co/SxiJY6KcWF

— APWU National (@APWUnational) March 23, 2021

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance:

It’s time to stop criminalizing immigrants!

Will you support the #NewWayForward Act and help repeal the harmful ‘96 immigration laws to keep our communities safe?#SEAAaNewWayForward https://t.co/26kPyM0QeJ #WhoWeAre pic.twitter.com/l4DtczS8bD

— Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (@APALAnational) March 24, 2021

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:

Today, #EqualPayDay2021, symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. There is equality in a union contract. Women: Join Unions, Run Unions. #1u pic.twitter.com/RnDuBrK4s5

— AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) March 24, 2021

Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers:

The #PROAct's ABC test provides a clear and fair method for ensuring that employees receive the NLRA’s protections. Learn more about it here... https://t.co/Gpgc9XFI8c

— BCTGM International (@BCTGM) March 18, 2021

Boilermakers:

#Boilermakers at L-359 (Vancouver, British Columbia) received a generous donation from Horton CBI, the leading tank contractor in BC. See how it helps keep skills training moving ➡️ https://t.co/nUz8Y5ZWli#BoilermakersUnion pic.twitter.com/7jS8e2vNow

— Boilermakers Union (@boilermakernews) March 24, 2021

Bricklayers:

Here are the top 5 provisions of The #AmericanRescuePlan that will help our members: pic.twitter.com/lvlOzVDQ7y

— Bricklayers Union (@IUBAC) March 24, 2021

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists:

CBTU standing strong with #Amazonworkers in Alabama! https://t.co/JoSn4DImxB

— CBTU (@CBTU72) March 21, 2021

Coalition of Labor Union Women:

Today marks #EqualPay Day - or the date in the new year when women overall finally earn what men overall made last year alone. https://t.co/wF1bKGqBjP

— CLUW National (@CLUWNational) March 24, 2021

Communications Workers of America:

Women are paid 82 cents for every dollar paid to men.

Today is Equal Pay Day. It denotes how far into 2021 women must work to be paid what men were paid in 2020.

Concerned? Here are some steps you can take:
1) Talk to your coworkers about what they make.
2) Organize.

— CWA (@CWAUnion) March 24, 2021

Department for Professional Employees:

A NEW factsheet from DPE highlights the ways that the J-1 exchange visitor teacher program lacks the appropriate safeguards to prevent workplace abuse, harming J-1 teachers and U.S. educators alike: https://t.co/GN7S7sDkNs @AFTUnion

— Department for Professional Employees (@DPEaflcio) March 24, 2021

Electrical Workers:

A multiyear, multimillion-dollar project to modernize traffic signals in Maine is set to give the green light to a wealth of work for scores of #IBEW members. https://t.co/769LGJ4Dov

— IBEW (@IBEW) March 23, 2021

Fire Fighters:

Wilmington #firefighters help vaccinate homebound residents and seniors https://t.co/5QnoZzPaiV

— IAFF (@IAFFNewsDesk) March 24, 2021

Heat and Frost Insulators:

Texas suffered the unfortunate consequences of a winter storm that knocked out electricity, burst pipes and more. Mechanical Insulators LMCT Executive Director Pete Ielmini discussed what could have protected this infrastructure on a labor-focused podcast. https://t.co/JwkSnmzf5O

— Insulators Union

Women's History Month Profiles: Monika Warner

Thu, 2021-03-25 09:30
Women's History Month Profiles: Monika Warner

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 Monika Warner.

Warner is a union leader to her core. At the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS), she works closely with the Washington State Labor Council, the local Pride At Work chapter and other groups. She is a mentor and role model to young women at the Federal Aviation Administration who are starting careers as technicians in an industry that is heavily male-dominated, in order to have them reach their full career potential.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 03/25/2021 - 09:30

Tags: Women's History Month

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: USW Members Proud to Produce Johnson & Johnson Coronavirus Vaccine

Thu, 2021-03-25 08:30
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: USW Members Proud to Produce Johnson & Johnson Coronavirus Vaccine

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.

Members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 10-00086 in West Point, Pennsylvania, are ready to step up to their next fight in helping to defeat the coronavirus. On March 10, their employer, pharmaceutical giant Merck, announced it would be assisting in the production of rival Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. By late May, the workers at Merck’s West Point facility will be mixing the key drug component with other ingredients and filling vials with the vaccine. “Our membership is very proud to be a part of the fight to put an end to this pandemic and save the country, and the world,” said local President Mike Gauger. “We have a very experienced and devoted workforce, and I truly believe when Merck is challenged, they know they can come here to West Point and we can get it done.”

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 03/25/2021 - 08:30

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Women's History Month Profiles: Heather Skopik

Wed, 2021-03-24 09:30
Women's History Month Profiles: Heather Skopik

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 Heather Skopik.

The backbone of her county’s health system, Skopik has been working in the building trades for more than 30 years. She is a proud member of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 501 and part of a great team serving the Department of Health Services in Los Angeles County. She has worked as both an engineer and a teacher throughout her career.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 03/24/2021 - 09:30

Tags: Women's History Month

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Labor Movement Mourns Shooting Victims in Colorado

Wed, 2021-03-24 08:30
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Labor Movement Mourns Shooting Victims in Colorado

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 labor movement mourns the shocking mass shooting that took place yesterday in Boulder, Colorado. United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 7 represents 32 members who work at the King Soopers grocery store where 10 people were killed. Kim Cordova, president of Local 7, issued this statement: “No one should have to fear for their lives while they grocery shop or go to work every day. Unfortunately, our grocery members, front-line essential workers, have lived in fear each and every day during the pandemic….For the last year our members and other associates have fought an invisible enemy, COVID-19, but today several innocent souls were killed by an evil human. We call on government officials and employers to do more to protect our members and communities from the constant threat of violence.”

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 03/24/2021 - 08:30

Tags: Community Service, COVID-19

Women's History Month Profiles: Erica Stewart

Tue, 2021-03-23 09:30
Women's History Month Profiles: Erica Stewart

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 Erica Stewart.

In 1998, Stewart joined Boilermakers (IBB) Local 693 at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Mississippi after serving in the U.S. Army. Throughout her career as a union boilermaker, she has consistently stepped up to advocate for other tradeswomen in many official and unofficial capacities. As she has ascended into higher and higher leadership roles, she has made it a priority to offer her hand to lift up future tradeswomen leaders. Stewart leads the Boilermakers Women's Committee and is a member of the Tradeswomen's Committee of the North America’s Building Trades Unions, among other roles.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 03/23/2021 - 09:30

Tags: Community Service, COVID-19

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Sacramento Central Labor Council Helps Vaccinate Union Members

Tue, 2021-03-23 08:30
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Sacramento Central Labor Council Helps Vaccinate 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.

On Friday, the Sacramento Central Labor Council held a vaccination event where some 650 union members received the COVID-19 shot. Speaking at last week’s event, Fabrizio Sasso (SEIU), executive director of the labor council, said: “It’s important that every union member knows when they are eligible for their vaccine. Our role at the labor council is to insure that they have access to one.” Commenting on the importance of these clinics for the wider community, Sasso added, “It’s good for the community to see workers in their uniforms, their postal worker in uniform, their county or state worker in uniform, getting their vaccinations, because it makes it real, it makes it clear how many essential workers there are and how important it is to protect them.”

The labor council credited statewide and local unions from across the labor movement in California: UNITE HERE Local 49, Sacramento Area Fire Fighters-IAFF Local 522, the California Nurses Association/NNU (CNA/NNU), United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) 8-Golden State, American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 0066, National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Branch 133, Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1245, UDW/AFSCME Local 3930, AFGE District 12, Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 39, SEIU-United Service Workers West, and SEIU locals 1000 and 1021.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 03/23/2021 - 08:30

Unions Change Lives: The Working People Weekly List

Mon, 2021-03-22 12:36
Unions Change Lives: 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.

Eight People Describe How Unions Changed Their Lives: "As companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google fight aggressively (and insidiously) against workers’ attempts to unionize, it’s a good time to get familiar with what unions can actually do for people. Because unions can help workers win more rights, companies sometimes take months before recognizing a union (like at BuzzFeed) or concluding negotiations—a process Gimlet leadership is accused of exploiting in the months before a Spotify acquisition. Even and especially when it’s met with resistance from companies, power of organized labor can and does better conditions and protect people against workplaces that would rather exploit them."

The Pandemic Accelerated Job Automation and Black and Latino Workers Are Most Likely to Be Replaced: "'When technology comes into a union worksite, we're able to negotiate to get a fair share of the increased productivity and make sure it's healthy and safe—it's called bargaining acquiescence. We bargain to get a fair share for workers. But society as a whole doesn't have that,' says Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO."

Katherine Tai Confirmed as Biden’s Trade Representative: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka tweeted that Ms. Tai’s confirmation was a 'win for working people.' Myron Brilliant, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, tweeted that his business group 'looks forward to engaging with Tai and the Biden administration on a pro-growth #trade agenda.'"

Essential Workers Mark One-Year Anniversary of COVID-19: "On March 13, 2020, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency because of the spread of COVID-19. Today, several of Minnesota's essential workers marked the grim anniversary with a call for change. From outside the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations building, down the street from the Capitol, they called on Minnesota lawmakers to pass a Quarantine Pay Bill. It would allow essential workers to be paid when they need to take time off work for COVID-related reasons. It would also provide retroactive pay for those who've already gone without it. Mary Turner is president of the Minnesota Nurses Association. 'They're not covered when they have to go to quarantine,' Turner said. 'They go without pay when they have to care for a sick family member or a child without a classroom. They have isolated themselves in hotel rooms, basements, even backyards because most of all they can't afford to get sick.'"

Julie Su Is the Right No. 2 Choice to Help Lead Biden's Labor Department: "When President Biden nominated Julie Su, California’s current Labor Secretary, to serve in the number two spot in the U.S. Department of Labor, many in this state and across the country applauded the choice. But in recent weeks, Su has come under fire from some for her handling of unemployment benefits during the pandemic. These attacks, however, are unfounded. Su’s experience, expertise and tireless dedication to helping working Americans make her the perfect candidate to serve as deputy labor secretary in Biden’s administration."

No, the PRO Act Wouldn’t 'Kill' Freelancing: "Private opposition to the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act has so far been surprisingly muted. The proposed bill is remarkably comprehensive in nature, encompassing the most far-reaching rewrite of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) since the Taft-Hartley Act passed in 1947. Perhaps this is because few insiders believe the PRO Act can pass a deadlocked Senate without a clearer commitment by Democratic politicians to gut the legislative filibuster, but whatever the case, you have to do some digging to see any real organized campaign against the bill as a whole. Even then, it’s the usual suspects ringing the alarm bells: the Chamber of Commerce, the Associated Builders and Contractors, the HR Policy Association, and other organizations which historically have strongly opposed unionism and any pro-worker legal amendments."

The PRO Act Would Undo Decades of Southern Anti-Union Laws Rooted in Racism: "'We have a generational opportunity to make America's economy and democracy work for working people again,' North Carolina State AFL-CIO President MaryBe McMillan said in a statement. 'The PRO Act does that by ending misleading and racist 'right to work' laws and creating meaningful consequences for employers that retaliate against workers for simply exercising their right to organize.'"

The PRO Act Could Do More Than Revive Unions: "A gap this wide indicates a serious problem. If Americans like unions and want to join them but aren’t, it’s likely because they can’t. Fortunately, a possible fix awaits: The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act would mark the biggest expansion of collective-bargaining rights in decades. President Biden has said he supports the bill, and he may soon be in a position to make good on that support. The bill passed the House with bipartisan support late on Tuesday evening, and is headed now to the Senate."

For Blue-Collar Workers, It’s Fear. For White-Collar Workers, It’s Isolation. COVID-19 Changed Work for Everybody: "Work has changed for people in one of two ways—they either work in person and face a swath of protocols and potential exposure to COVID-19, or they can work from home, siloed to their kitchen tables and deprived of the social aspect of work. 'People really had to make the very real choice…between being safe on the job and having a job,' said Rebecca Reindel, safety and health director with the AFL-CIO, an organization of workers’ unions. 'Many workers were hesitant to go back.'"

Uber Eats and Deliveroo Riders in Spain to Get Collective Bargaining Rights: "Delivery riders for apps like Uber Eats and Deliveroo will be granted the same rights as employees in Spain, including the right to collectively bargain, according to an announcement from the Spanish government on Thursday. Spain will become the first country in the world to formally give gig economy delivery drivers rights similar to employees. Gig economy riders will also get access to information about the algorithms used to dispatch deliveries, giving workers a peek under the hood—a dramatic change that will likely send shockwaves throughout the industry."

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 03/22/2021 - 12:36

Women's History Month Profiles: Lisa Gregory

Mon, 2021-03-22 09:33
Women's History Month Profiles: Lisa Gregory

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 Lisa Gregory.

Gregory comes from a proud, multigenerational union family. She was a member of the UAW for 10 years prior to joining the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) in 2013. Before becoming a BCTGM member, Gregory was a hardworking member of Local 58G at the JM Smucker Company in Toledo, Ohio. She won the respect of her peers and was elected to several positions within the local union, last serving as vice president. She was hired as an international representative and is known for her tireless efforts to help organize the unorganized, fight for equality in the workplace through good contracts and provide outstanding service to BCTGM members in union shops throughout the eastern United States.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 03/22/2021 - 09:33

Tags: Women's History Month

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: AFGE Member Ceretta Smith Wins Grovetown City Council Election

Mon, 2021-03-22 08:33
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: AFGE Member Ceretta Smith Wins Grovetown City Council Election

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.

AFGE member Ceretta Smith has won her City Council campaign in Grovetown, Georgia, a city in Columbia County.

In her work as a union activist for AFGE, Smith’s leadership has shone in several roles: women’s and fair practices coordinator, chief steward, legislative political coordinator, local president and Georgia state council president.

“My background drives my aspirations to make sure that everyone has a voice in shaping local government,” Smith says on her campaign website. “I believe we need more people in local government that will put people first: leaders that will listen and lead from a place of understanding and compassion and consider every voice in our community.”

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 03/22/2021 - 08:33

Women's History Month Profiles: Samantha Dulaney

Mon, 2021-03-22 07:30
Women's History Month Profiles: Samantha Dulaney

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 Samantha Dulaney.

In 2008, Dulaney was appointed IATSE in-house counsel, and in 2014, became general counsel. She is the first woman to hold this post.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 03/22/2021 - 07:30

Tags: Women's History Month

Women's History Month Profiles: Kristin Donner

Sun, 2021-03-21 13:18
Women's History Month Profiles: Kristin Donner

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 Kristin Donner.

At the Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) District 2 convention in 2019, Donner helped write and pass two resolutions supporting gender equality and worker wellness. By taking action as an active member of the Animation Guild/IATSE Local 839, and her district, she set District 2 on the path forward.

Kenneth Quinnell Sun, 03/21/2021 - 13:18

Tags: Women's History Month

Women's History Month Profiles: Joannie McDuffey

Sat, 2021-03-20 10:36
Women's History Month Profiles: Joannie McDuffey

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 Joannie McDuffey.

McDuffey has been a Theatrical Stage Employee (IATSE) Local 100 member since 2017. "Joannie is a dedicated hardworking A2 who is a pleasure to work with. I am proud to have her represent Local 100 in celebration of Women’s History Month," said Local 100 President Greg Calvin.

Kenneth Quinnell Sat, 03/20/2021 - 10:36

Tags: Women's History Month