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UNITE HERE Calls on Marriott to Use Its Clout to Combat Sexual Harassment in Global Hospitality Industry

Wed, 2018-06-06 10:52
UNITE HERE Calls on Marriott to Use Its Clout to Combat Sexual Harassment in Global Hospitality Industry UNITE HERE

In recent years, UNITE HERE members across North America have taken the lead in challenging sexual harassment and sexual violence in the hospitality industry. The union has put the issue at the forefront of its political agenda, in bargaining new contracts—and now, in its global campaigns.

In partnership with the International Union of Food  Workers (IUF) and the AFL-CIO, UNITE HERE convened a group of Marriott workers from around the world to meet in Geneva on May 29, to present Marriott International—the world's largest hotel company—with demands on ending sexual harassment across its global operations. At the International Labour Conference, where negotiations are currently underway on a new legal standard on violence at work, Marriott workers shared their own experiences of sexual violence and harassment on the job.

As they made clear, sexual harassment is an open secret across the hospitality industry, everywhere in the world. The problem is not worse at Marriott properties. But Marriott is, increasingly, reshaping the global hotel industry through its aggressive expansion, and given its sheer size and economic power, it has the responsibility to take leadership on this issue. There are nearly 6,500 Marriott hotels around the world and, on average, a new one opens every day. Marriott's annual profits total almost $1 billion. 

The content of the global demands on Marriott reflected not only the testimony of workers in the room, but also hundreds of interviews conducted by hotel unions affiliated with the IUF in the months leading up to the meeting. Workers shared horrific experiences of guests grabbing them, exposing themselves, propositioning them and attempting rape. They made clear that the hotel industry needed to implement a set of commonsense measures:

  • Training staff at all levels.
  • Reducing precarious work, as a critical step to reducing vulnerability.
  • Limiting the isolation of workers in jobs such as housekeeping.
  • Protecting against retaliation for reporting harassment and abuse.
  • Installing panic buttons in guest rooms to ensure that security can be alerted immediately.
  • Blacklisting guests with a record of harassing or abusing workers.
  • Putting in place an independent oversight body to receive and investigate complaints.

Unions affiliated with the IUF, including UNITE HERE, have demanded that Marriott negotiate a global agreement with the IUF on sexual harassment, based on the demands above.

For UNITE HERE, this campaign builds on protections won by their members in locals across the United States. In cities like New York and Chicago, hotel workers have won panic buttons and other important measures through collective bargaining. In Seattle and Chicago, workers launched citywide campaigns and secured protections through local ordinances.

Additionally, hotel workers in the United States already have made their opinions on sexual harassment known to Marriott. On May 4, eight Marriott hotel workers attended the company's annual shareholder meeting in Washington, D.C., demanding that Marriott—as the world's largest hotel brand—step up and lead the fight to end sexual harassment. Instead, as they told the company's shareholders, Marriott is part of a coalition trying to delay and block implementation of Initiative 124, the ordinance in Seattle.

In joining with hotel workers from around the world with these demands, UNITE HERE members are demanding that this global corporation negotiate a global solution to a global problem.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 06/06/2018 - 10:52

Union Tips for U.S. Trips: Union Monuments

Tue, 2018-06-05 12:13
Union Tips for U.S. Trips: Union Monuments

Across the nation, there are great monuments to the labor union legacy, and some may even be closer than you realize. Add these sites to your travel itinerary to put a union twist on your summer plans and save with Union Plus Travel Benefits.

Check out this list of union sites around the country!

  1. Amtrak Workers Memorial—Washington, D.C.: Memorial that honors those Amtrak employees who lost their lives in performance of their duties. Fun fact: The Amtrak Workers Memorial is located in the district's Union Station.
  2. Memphis Strike of 1968 Monument—Memphis, Tennessee: This gallery expands the story of the 1968 Memphis sanitation strike. Features exhibits and videos highlighting the Rev. James Lawson and T.O. Jones, who courageously waged the battle on behalf of striking sanitation workers. Fun fact: The iconic "I Am a Man" signs held by strikers and the garbage truck from the original exhibition can be found here. 
  3. Haymarket Martyrs Memorial—Chicago: On May 4, 1866, what began as a peaceful rally to protest unfair working conditions erupted into violence after a man threw a bomb at police, resulting in injuries and deaths between both protesting workers and police officers. Eight union activists were wrongfully accused, convicted and hanged. This monument is a reminder of the lives lost during the fight for workers' rights. Fun fact: Visitors often leave union buttons, flowers and other tokens at the base of the monument.
  4. Pullman National Monument Site—Chicago: Chicago may be most well-known for its blustery weather, but it's also home to a rich labor history as well. The Pullman National Monument honors Chicago’s labor history with a series of monuments, museums and other important landmarks—one of which was the scene of a violent strike in the 1890s. Fun fact: The Pullman District was the first model, planned industrial community in the United States.
  5. Mother Jones Monument—Union Miners Cemetery, Mount Olive, Illinois: This 22-foot granite monument pays tribute to the achievements of Mother Jones, the woman who is credited with co-founding the Industrial Workers of the World labor union and coordinating several major strikes. Fun fact: The Mother Jones monument is also her official burial site.
  6. Ludlow Monument—Ludlow, Colorado: Colorado is a major mining state, producing everything from gold to coal during its mining history. The Mine Workers (UMWA) erected the monument to honor the victims of the Ludlow Massacre, an event in which more than 1,000 striking coal miners were attacked by the Colorado National Guard and guards from the Colorado Fuel & Iron Co. Fun fact: Another mining monument, the Victor American Hastings Mine Disaster Monument, is less than two miles away from the Ludlow Monument.
  7. Rosie the Riveter WWII National Historical Park—Richmond, California: It's no secret that Rosie is one of the most recognizable faces of the labor movement. This memorial goes beyond the iconic image to honor all the “Rosies”—working women of World War II and beyond. Fun fact: The Rosie the Riveter Trust (the nonprofit trust behind the Rosie the Riveter WWII Park) operates a free summer camp for at-risk youth called Rosie's Girls. The camp is modeled "after women like Rosie" to help young women gain courage and confidence in their abilities.

This post originally appeared at Union Plus.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 06/05/2018 - 12:13

Tags: Union Plus

Rhetoric vs. Reality: The Working People Weekly List

Fri, 2018-06-01 11:19
Rhetoric vs. Reality: 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 this week’s Working People Weekly List.

When It Comes to Janus, There Is Rhetoric and There Is Reality: "Sometime in the next few weeks, the Supreme Court will decide a case called Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, that threatens to undermine the freedom of working people to join together and negotiate for better wages and working conditions. Corporate CEOs and their allies know that working people have a much stronger voice when we speak together, so they are pulling out all the stops to silence our voices."

From #MeToo to a Global Convention on Sexual Harassment at Work: "Labor unions around the globe are participating in the International Labor Conference to demand a new global standard to end violence and sexual harassment in the workplace. This epidemic of unwanted touching, sexual comments, requests for sexual favors and sexual assault happens in palm fields in Honduras, garment factories in Cambodia and hotels in the United States. Violence in the workplace hurts both women and men, but women and workers with nonconforming gender identities experience the highest rates of violence."

Say No to Subpar VA Service: In the States Roundup: "It's time once again to take a look at the ways working people are making progress in the states."

Better Answers on Trade, America’s Economy: "In 2016, Donald Trump prevailed over 17 establishment opponents. He is a disrupter. In particular, he disrupted establishment trade policies that have failed millions of Americans."

Kentucky: Labor 'Batted' .647 in the Primary: "If candidate endorsements were like baseball batting averages, the Kentucky State AFL-CIO would be leading the big leagues and heading for the Hall of Fame."

Harley-Davidson Move Shows Failure of Trump Tax Cuts: "In February of last year, President Donald Trump met with executives and working people at Harley-Davidson, promising that his proposed changes to tax law, trade, tariffs and other policies would help the company grow and working people would be the beneficiaries. This promise was widely made by Trump and other Republican advocates of the tax bill that Trump signed in December. But, as time goes on, we see, more and more, that the law not only isn't helping working people, it's making things worse."

Boeing's Flight Line Workers in North Charleston Vote for Union, Giving Organized Labor a Boost in South: "Anti-union ads, social media campaigns and a mea culpa from Boeing Co. executive Kevin McAllister weren't enough to sway flight-line employees at the aerospace giant's North Charleston campus Thursday, as they voted for union representation in a big win for organized labor in the South. Of the 169 workers who cast ballots, 104 — or 61.5 percent — voted in favor of having the International Association of Machinists union represent them in collective bargaining."

AFL-CIO Launches ‘Join a Union’ Ad Campaign: "The AFL-CIO has launched a national print and digital 'join a union' ad campaign, complete with quarter-page ads in top national and regional newspapers. The point, federation President Richard Trumka says in an open letter to all workers—the centerpiece of the drive—is to tell workers if they want decent raises, better benefits, and a voice on the job, unionizing is the way to go. 'Join us—be a part of the fight to build a brighter future for you, your family and working people everywhere,' his open letter reads."

Editorial: CEO-Employee Pay Disparity Rises, Threatening the Golden Goose: "The AFL-CIO’s study for 2016 found the ratio was 347 to 1, up from 20 to 1 in 1950, 42 to 1 in 1980 and 120 to 1 in 2000. Results vary widely depending on who a company’s workers are. At Mattel Inc. the ratio was 4,987 to 1, but the company operates a lot of overseas factories with extremely low-paid workers. Also, CEO Margaret Georgiadis left the struggling toy maker last month, forfeiting all but $10.8 million of what was to have been $31.3 million in compensation. In other instances, ratios can be lower when companies outsource a lot of labor to contract employees."

The Democrats’ Labor Pains: "'It's not hard to think that the defeat of 2016 had its roots in 1994,' said Liz Shuler, the secretary and treasurer of the AFL-CIO during a panel discussion on labor's political woes this week."

Labor Leader William Burrus, Longtime Clevelander, Dead at 81: "William Burrus, who rose from sorting mail in Cleveland to leading one of the largest postal unions, died on Saturday, May 19. He was 81. He had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure two years ago, according to his wife, Ethelda, who survives him. Burrus was the first black president of a major union directly elected by members."

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 06/01/2018 - 11:19

Economy Gains 223,000 Jobs in May; Unemployment Little Changed at 3.8%

Fri, 2018-06-01 09:55
Economy Gains 223,000 Jobs in May; Unemployment Little Changed at 3.8%

The U.S. economy gained 223,000 jobs in May, and unemployment was little changed at 3.8%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since the labor market continues to recover at only a tempered pace, the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee should not raise interest rates.

While unemployment hovering around 4% may seem rosy, 1.2 million unemployed workers in America have been looking fruitlessly for work for more than six months, and 5 million workers are stuck in part-time jobs while looking for full-time work. Wages for too many of us have remained stubbornly low.

America’s working people demand better.

  • We want federal and state legislation to lift the minimum wage to $15 an hour and index it to the median wage.

  • We want new appointments to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors to be committed to full employment, which has been a sidelined priority of the Federal Reserve for far too long, and we want full employment to be measured by the growth of real wages in line with productivity.

  • We want budget and tax policies that prioritize full employment and good-paying jobs, including massive and sustained investments in America’s infrastructure.

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

Payroll employment was up 223,000 in May and unemployment was 3.8%.  Average wages were up 2.7% from last year.  Combined changes for March and April boosted previously reported job gains by 15,000 jobs. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) June 1, 2018

Black unemployment continued its recovery trend started in 2010.  Black unemployment fell to 5.9% on a rise in the share employed to 58.4%.  @CBTU72 @APRI_National @dchometownboy @rolandsmartin @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) June 1, 2018

Maybe a good sign?  Employment in temp agencies fell 7,800 while there was net job growth.  That means a higher share of direct hires by firms. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) June 1, 2018

Seasonally adjusted, employment in food and drinking establishments rose 17,600.  Minimum wage increases aren't slowing down this number.  @NelpNews @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) June 1, 2018

Signs workers are optimistic: those out of the labor force in April were 2.7 times more likely to land a job in May when they re-entered the labor market than be simply looking (be unemployed) @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) June 1, 2018

Chart showing the decline in unemployment began in 2010 under @BarackObama @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/cukDPhjEKf

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) June 1, 2018

Last month’s biggest job gains were in retail trade (31,000), health care (29,000), construction (25,000), professional and technical services (23,000), transportation and warehousing (19,000), manufacturing (18,000), and mining (6,000). Employment changed little in other major industries, including wholesale trade, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government. 

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates decreased for adult men (3.5%), blacks (5.9%) and Asians (2.1%). The unemployment rate for teenagers (12.8%), Hispanics (4.9%), whites (3.5%) and adult women (3.3%) showed little or no change in May.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed in May and accounted for 19.4% of the unemployed.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 06/01/2018 - 09:55

From #MeToo to a Global Convention on Sexual Harassment at Work

Thu, 2018-05-31 16:26
From #MeToo to a Global Convention on Sexual Harassment at Work World Fish/A. W. M. Anisuzzaman/Flickr.

Labor unions around the globe are participating in the International Labor Conference to demand a new global standard to end violence and sexual harassment in the workplace. This epidemic of unwanted touching, sexual comments, requests for sexual favors and sexual assault happens in palm fields in Honduras, garment factories in Cambodia and hotels in the United States. Violence in the workplace hurts both women and men, but women and workers with nonconforming gender identities experience the highest rates of violence.

Media accounts around the world have cast a spotlight on the systemic abuse made possible by global production systems built on cheap, flexible labor provided by women. Women workers have less power, and so are often unwilling or afraid to speak out about sexual assault, harassment or violence. Many women fear losing their jobs, or public shaming by co-workers or families. Social class, race, ethnicity, migrant status, age and ability can all tilt the power balance further away from working women and toward abusers.

Labor unions can help level the playing field for working women worldwide, because it is possible to stand strong when we stand united. Statistics tell us that women with a union are more likely to raise and address issues of harassment, sexual assault and violence. At the same time, collective bargaining agreements can protect women who report abuses from being fired or retaliated against, yet only 7% of the global workforce benefit from a formal union or worker association.

The most vulnerable workers are those who lack unions and who work in precarious arrangements with little or no oversight or accountability. We can help more workers address violence in the workplace by strengthening the freedom of workers to join or form unions and to bargain collectively. A binding standard needs to address the issues of all workers, including those in the informal economy like home-based workers to the most formal economy workers.

The International Labor Organization recently released research on violence and harassment at work in 80 countries in preparation for the upcoming conference. Twenty countries surveyed had no measures in place to protect victims who reported sexual harassment from retaliation, and 19 did not even have a legal definition of sexual harassment at work. A strong legal framework that defines sexual harassment and protects victims can help workers and employers identify and stop the violence.

Social media has allowed women to raise the visibility of sexual harassment and violence, even in industries with low union density and despite other challenges. The time is ripe for labor unions, governments and employers to build on the momentum of the #metoo, #yotambien, #quellavoltache and other campaigns to improve the safety of all workers in all workplaces.

The time is right for a new International Labor Organization (ILO) global standard aimed at ending violence and sexual harassment at work. Years of advocacy from unions and our allies have yielded a commitment to a two-year, tripartite negotiation process between unions, employers and governments. The result will be a new ILO standard, possibly a binding convention, directly focused on violence and sexual harassment in the world of work. Other human rights instruments address gender discrimination or violence in the workplace, yet this ILO standard will be unique because it brings both issues together with a sole focus on the world of work.

ILO standards are negotiated by governments, unions and employers and are widely useful. Governments use them to draft and implement labor and social policy laws. Employers use them to create a set of best practices that can be used anywhere around the world. Labor unions use them to advocate for better protections at work.

Unions support a convention, which is a binding legal instrument that can be ratified by members of the ILO, accompanied by a recommendation that provides more detailed guidance and best practices. A binding convention is necessary, because of the prevalence of sexual harassment across all sectors and workplaces. Unions are advocating for a standard that would cover all workers from domestic workers to autoworkers. A binding convention will make sure countries have the necessary tools to develop and implement laws, as well as develop systems of accountability so the improvements actually have an impact on workers in all workplaces.

Women and sexual and gender minority workers have suffered because of a lack of legal frameworks and a severe power imbalance for too long. No worker should endure violence because the risk of speaking out is too great. No one should endure humiliations and abuse to keep a job. This month, governments and employers have an opportunity to join with unions to start the process of creating a strong new convention and global standard. We can protect millions of workers, and build a future free of workplace sexual harassment and violence.

This post originally appeared at Open Democracy.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 05/31/2018 - 16:26

Say No to Subpar VA Service: In the States Roundup

Thu, 2018-05-31 13:27
Say No to Subpar VA Service: In the States Roundup

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

Arizona AFL-CIO:

Who is speaking out abut high CEO pay? The Arizona AFL-CIO's Fred Yamashita. https://t.co/40vzWuCg0y https://t.co/40vzWuCg0y

— Arizona AFL-CIO (@ArizonaAFLCIO) May 26, 2018

Arkansas AFL-CIO:

Hey! Hey! Here we go!!! #1u #arlabor #raisethewages #livingwage @aryoungworkers @ARlaborradio @arlaborwomen @DavidCouchAR https://t.co/1nD4NQOoNT

— Arkansas AFL-CIO (@ArkansasAFLCIO) April 17, 2018

California Labor Federation:

Standing together to end forced arbitration! #CALeg YES on #AB3080!! ✊

When It Comes to Janus, There Is Rhetoric and There Is Reality

Thu, 2018-05-31 11:26
When It Comes to Janus, There Is Rhetoric and There Is Reality AFL-CIO

Sometime in the next few weeks, the Supreme Court will decide a case called Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, that threatens to undermine the freedom of working people to join together and negotiate for better wages and working conditions. Corporate CEOs and their allies know that working people have a much stronger voice when we speak together, so they are pulling out all the stops to silence our voices. 

But the reality about Janus is significantly different than the rhetoric of those behind it. Here are some key ways how:

Rhetoric: This is about stopping unions from funneling union members’ money to politicians the members disagree with.

Reality: Plaintiff Mark Janus has always enjoyed the legal protection that he’s seeking. Not one cent of his money can be used to support any candidate’s political campaign over his objection. Period.

Rhetoric: No one should have to join a union to get a job.

Reality: Working people are guaranteed the freedom to join together in union. However, unions are required to represent all employees in an organized workplace, whether they’re members or not.

Rhetoric: This is about workers’ freedom and workers’ choice.

Reality: This is about taking away freedoms at work in order to silence workers and further enrich corporate CEOs.

Rhetoric: A ruling in favor of Janus would be a death sentence for unions and mark the end of organized labor in the public sector.

Reality: No piece of legislation or judicial decision is going to thwart the aspirations of millions of working people standing together for a better life.

Rhetoric: This case is going to sabotage the unions’ ability to mobilize in 2018 and 2020.

Reality: Working people mobilize because the issue or candidate matters to us, not because of what the Supreme Court says. We mobilized and made a difference in so many races such as the elections of Rep. Conor Lamb (Pa.) and Gov. Phil Murphy (N.J.) because we had a stake in their outcome. We’ll continue making our voices heard this year and beyond.

Rhetoric: Workers fed up with their unions are the driving force behind this case.

Reality: Janus is just the most recent public face of a long-running assault on unions funded by a dark web of corporate money and propped up by the Koch brothers’ echo chamber.

Learn more about Janus at Freedom to Join.

 

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 05/31/2018 - 11:26

Tags: Janus

Better Answers on Trade, America’s Economy

Wed, 2018-05-30 11:56
Better Answers on Trade, America’s Economy Anthony Quintano

In 2016, Donald Trump prevailed over 17 establishment opponents. He is a disrupter. In particular, he disrupted establishment trade policies that have failed millions of Americans.

Too many workers and communities have been left behind. Too much mistrust has grown regarding the way we’ve managed globalization. Wages have fallen far behind the growth trends of previous generations.

The neoliberal free-market free-trade trickle-down orthodoxy, which we have followed for decades, is exhausted—socially, politically, and economically.

We don’t really understand Trump’s tariffs, or bluster, or impulsive negotiating tactics, but we do understand that we need a change in direction.

We need new, effective public policies to deal with real problems that affect most people in America—inequality, climate change, health care, opioid addiction, student debt, and decaying infrastructure. We desperately need a manufacturing strategy that creates good new jobs, and stronger employment relationships that would raise family income.

To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, "Unregulated free market orthodoxy cannot solve these problems—free market orthodoxy IS the problem." Our big policy challenges are all market failures.

David Brooks told us that Trump is the wrong answer to the right questions. Trump’s disruption gives us the opportunity, right now, to find better answers the right questions. We should start by rehabilitating the role of public policy, restoring trust in public institutions and re-legitimizing the role of government in solving our problems.

China understands this. So do Japan, South Korea, Germany, and the Nordic countries. Also, they all recognize their legitimate national interests. They have various forms of mixed economies, including well-designed industrial policies to improve their living standards. We understood this when we industrialized our economy, and we understood it again in the decades after World War II.

China has a national strategy to become the leader in 10 industries of the future. South Korea built a formidable manufacturing economy and raised living standards dramatically. China, Japan, and Europe have modern high-speed rail. China is investing in billions for infrastructure to move goods to their key markets around the world. China targeted solar energy as a key industry of the future, and invested $126 billion there last year.

On the other hand, our economic and trade policies steadily moved our industrial base offshore and we tell ourselves "these jobs won’t come back." We accept "D+" ratings on our neglected infrastructure, and can’t pass an infrastructure bill. Our approach is ill-suited to the 21st century global economy.

China invests billions in research and development, knowing their investment will be commercialized in their domestic economy. Our billions in publicly funded R&D will be commercialized offshore, producing good jobs in Malaysia, Vietnam, India, China, Mexico and Ireland.

Foreign students are subsidized to study at U.S. universities. Our own students pay prohibitive tuition costs, taking on debt and risk. Many graduates don’t find a job in their field of study.

We have done better on each of these measures in the past.

Inequality and climate change—the defining problems of our time—are the biggest market failures in human history. Solutions will require new public policies. NAFTA and subsequent trade policies take exactly the wrong approach. They are designed to merge our economy into the global economy, blur national borders and push aside public interests.

Economic and trade policies should balance investor interests with public interests. That’s what we expect any political system to do. That will be necessary, important and fundamentally different from the trickle-down economic policies and free-trade NAFTA approach.

Trump fumbles with this realization. He recognizes the urgency of "doing something." His tariffs are certainly something, but Trump’s instinct is to tear down social cohesion, hit back at his rivals, fan conflict, and diminish our leadership in the world.

Our first conversation should be about restoring social cohesion, and recognizing that we all do better when we all do better. Our purpose is to raise living standards and improve well-being in our communities. In a mixed economy approach, we would create policy-driven strategies to address inequality, climate change, health care, education, investment in infrastructure, restoring our industrial base and making key social investments we have let wither for 30 years.

When Trump says it, it sounds ominous, but every country does expect public policies to express their legitimate national interests. What we don’t hear from Trump is that the purpose of an economy is to raise living standards. That is true of our domestic economy and equally important for the global economy. We can recognize legitimate national interests, raising living standards everywhere, without being nationalists or xenophobic.

Trump has disrupted economic orthodoxy. We no longer expect the invisible hand of free markets to solve serious social, environmental, and economic problems. But, Trump is transactional; he lacks a coherent vision. His answers look suspiciously beneficial for global corporations, the financial industry and very wealthy donors.

We have campaign seasons in 2018 and 2020 to consider different answers to Trump’s questions. Where should we be investing in people, infrastructure, innovation, industries, communities, and clean energy? In each case, we should ask, "Who gets the gains from productivity, innovation, investments, and globalization?"

Trump has put those questions into play. We haven’t had this good an opportunity for years.

This post originally appeared at The Stand.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 05/30/2018 - 11:56

Kentucky: Labor 'Batted' .647 in the Primary

Wed, 2018-05-30 11:11
Kentucky: Labor 'Batted' .647 in the Primary Berry Craig

If candidate endorsements were like baseball batting averages, the Kentucky State AFL-CIO would be leading the big leagues and heading for the Hall of Fame.

Ten House candidates endorsed by the state COPE (Committee on Political Education) Committee won and five lost in Tuesday's primary. We were one-for-two in the Senate. That’s .647, or .283 better than Boston Red Sox slugger Mookie Betts, tops in the majors this season so far.

"Unfortunately, union candidates Al Cunningham, Eldon Renaud and Richard Becker were not successful, but James DeWeese won his primary," said Bill Londrigan, state AFL-CIO president.

Added Londrigan: "Perhaps the biggest upset was in House District 71—Rockcastle, Garrard and part of Madison counties—where organized labor partnered with the [Fraternal Order of Police] (FOP) and [Kentucky Education Association] (KEA) to defeat Republican Majority Floor Leader Jonathan Shell with Republican teacher Travis Brenda."

Brenda's surprise win made the national news. Click here to see MSNBC's Rachel Maddow report Brenda's victory over Shell, a Mitch McConnell favorite and a rising star in the GOP.

Brenda is a math teacher at Rockcastle County High School who had never run for office. He took Shell to task over his support for the GOP’s pension-gutting bill.

Shell is also one of the most anti-labor lawmakers in Frankfort. In the 2017 session, he voted for the GOP's two big union-busting bills: "right to work" and prevailing wage repeal.

In answering a state AFL-CIO candidate questionnaire, Brenda pledged to support efforts to repeal right to work and reinstate prevailing wage. "I do not agree with the Legislative leadership in how they have promoted the agenda of the [Kentucky Chamber], Koch brothers, ALEC, etc.," he wrote in the comments section.

Cunningham, Renaud and Becker lost to educators, leading Liles Taylor, state AFL-CIO political coordinator, to dub 2018 "the year of the teacher."

Added Taylor: "I hate it that more of our candidates didn’t win, but if it means that teachers are that doggone powerful, then we’ve got some serious momentum going in the fall."

The KEA and state AFL-CIO have long been allies. Both groups almost always endorse the same candidates.

Cunningham, of Benton, retired in 2016 as business representative for Painters and Allied Trades District 91. He lost to Linda Story Edwards, also of Benton, in a three-way race in the House District 6 Democratic primary.

On the stump, Edwards, a retired teacher, pledged that she’d work to repeal right to work and restore the prevailing wage.

Becker, an SEIU/NCFO organizer, lost to Dr. Lisa Willner, Jefferson County Board of Education vice chair and a part-time professor at Bellarmine University, in a three-way Louisville 35th District Democratic contest. Dr. Patti Minter, a history professor at Western Kentucky University, outlasted three other Democrats, including Renaud, in the 20th District primary. Renaud is a retired president of UAW Local 2164.

Willner and Minter are in labor's corner.

Willner's website says the candidate "strongly opposes 'Right to Work for Less,' and the cynical Republican war on working families" and pledges that she "will be a voice and stand up for working families whenever there are efforts to roll back worker protections."

According to the website, "she strongly supports prevailing wage because it helps working families receive fair wages. Lisa will support legislation for prevailing wage. Lisa will work to reverse the right to work (for less) legislation that extremist Republicans jammed through in the 2017 session."

Minter says she opposes "so-called 'right to work,' because it is the right to work for less money."

Added Minter, one of nine Emerge Kentucky grads who won primary races: "I am on record in the Bowling Green Daily News stating that in my professional opinion—I am a legal historian who teaches at Western Kentucky University—the local county 'right to work' ordinances which passed in Warren County and other places violate the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). I would oppose any 'right to work' legislation as the representative of the 20th House District."

Minter also supports the prevailing wage. "It should be reinstated in Kentucky," she said.

In House District 50, DeWeese, a Bardstown resident and UPS ground agent with Louisville-based Teamsters Local 89, beat a fellow Democrat. DeWeese will face Rep. Chad McCoy, R-Bardstown, in a rematch from 2016.

Meanwhile, the teacher winning streak continued in the First Congressional District Democratic primary. Dr. Paul Walker, a Murray State University English professor, bested Alonzo Pennington, a singer-songwriter-hunting guide from Princeton.

Both candidates courted union support. Both are anti-"right to work" and pro-prevailing wage.

Anyway, Taylor also sees teachers and organized labor making common cause. Dozens of union members joined the historic protests by teachers and other public employees in Frankfort.

Londrigan and state AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Jeff Wiggins joined the throngs at the capital who rallied against the pension bill.

"The teachers said ‘thug’ meant ‘teachers helping union guys," Wiggins told the crowd at a public education rally in Paducah last Saturday.

"We loved it," added Wiggins, who is from Reidland, a Paducah suburb. "Every Thursday morning before the legislature went into session, I went down and held up signs with the teachers because they support us, too."

This post originally appeared at the Kentucky State AFL-CIO.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 05/30/2018 - 11:11

Harley-Davidson Move Shows Failure of Trump Tax Cuts

Wed, 2018-05-30 08:44
Harley-Davidson Move Shows Failure of Trump Tax Cuts Wikimedia Commons

In February of last year, President Donald Trump met with executives and working people at Harley-Davidson, promising that his proposed changes to tax law, trade, tariffs and other policies would help the company grow and working people would be the beneficiaries. This promise was widely made by Trump and other Republican advocates of the tax bill that Trump signed in December. But, as time goes on, we see, more and more, that the law not only isn't helping working people, it's making things worse.

Here are some of the key things you need to know about the tax law and the effects it has on working people (using Harley-Davidson as an example):

  • Harley-Davidson is laying off 800 workers at a Kansas City, Missouri, factory by the fall of 2019.

  • The company says it expects to add 450 full-time, casual and contractor positions to its plant in York, Pennsylvania. This is a net loss of 350 jobs, but considering that some of the new jobs aren't full-time, the loss is bigger.

  • The company just announced a dividend increase for shareholders and a stock buyback plan where it will purchase 15 million of its shares with a current value of just under $700 million.

  • In the first three months after Trump signed the tax bill, corporations have spent a record $178 billion in stock buybacks.

  • Harley-Davidson is a profitable company, making between $800 million and $1 billion in pre-tax profits.

  • The company will be opening a plant in Thailand. It says that the new plant isn't related and that it isn't outsourcing jobs, but advocates for working people reject that argument: "Part of my job is being moved to York, but the other part is going to Bangkok," said Richard Pence, a machinist at the Kansas City plant. 

  • Greg Tate, a representative of United Steelworkers District 11, which represents about 30% of the plants workers, suggested that the tax bill may have freed up money to make the move: "They have the capital now to move Kansas City, to shut it down. All of that money really came from the tax cut plan, so it kind of had the opposite effect of what it was supposed to do."

  • Machinists (IAM) President Robert Martinez Jr. sent a letter to Trump asking him to save the Kansas City plant: "For decades, hardworking Machinists union members have devoted their lives to making high-quality, American-made products for Harley. America’s working men and women deserve better than being thrown out onto the street. Our nation deserves better." Trump did not budge.

Pence appeared on Chris Hayes' show  to discuss the layoffs:

Rick Pence, worker at closing Harley-Davidson plant: "When the tax cut finally rolled down to us, I got about $16, $17 more a week. But now Harley's giving me one heck of a tax cut because I won't have no income at all next year and my tax will be zero." #inners pic.twitter.com/MaYaahVxyN

— All In w/Chris Hayes (@allinwithchris) May 23, 2018 Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 05/30/2018 - 08:44

He Finally Won His Freedom: The Working People Weekly List

Fri, 2018-05-25 17:29
He Finally Won His Freedom: The Working People Weekly List KCTU

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

Wrongfully Detained Korean Union Leader Han Sang-gyun Wins Release: "In December 2015, President Han Sang-gyun of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions was imprisoned for defending trade union rights and fighting back against corporate corruption and the repressive government of former President Park Geun-hye of South Korea. This week, Han finally won his freedom."

We Must Stop the Worldwide Problem of Gender-Based Violence in the Workplace: "Sexual harassment and gender-based violence are not just problems we see in the United States. In fact, gender-based violence is one of the most common human rights violations in the world. While it can affect any worker, women are most likely the targets because of systemic, unequal power relations."

We All Do Better with an Immigration System that Works for All Working People: "Yesterday, the AFL-CIO hosted the 'We All Do Better' conference, which focused on an important discussion on advancing an immigration agenda for all working people. Attacks against working people come in many forms, but we must stand against the idea that some of us are more worthy of freedom and worker protections than others."

Executive Paywatch 2018: The Gap Between CEO and Worker Compensation Continues to Grow: "CEO pay for major companies in the United States rose nearly 6% in the past year, as income inequality and the outsourcing of good-paying American jobs have increased. According to the new AFL-CIO Executive Paywatch, the average CEO of an S&P 500 Index company made $13.94 million in 2017—361 times more money than the average U.S. rank-and-file worker. The Executive Paywatch website, the most comprehensive searchable online database tracking CEO pay, showed that in 2017, the average production and nonsupervisory worker earned about $38,613 per year. When adjusted for inflation, the average wage has remained stagnant for more than 50 years."

Apprenticeship Accelerator Forum Highlights Programs to Attract and Train Needed Manufacturing Workforce: "The 2018 Manufacturing Apprenticeship Accelerator Forum took place in Cleveland on Thursday. The forum included presentations from a number of participating organizations, including the U.S. Department of Labor, the Ohio AFL-CIO, the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, Chicago Women in Trades and the National Urban League, along with a number of private employers and workforce training providers."

Harley-Davidson Workers Stunned by Plant Closure After Tax Cut: "Tim Primeaux has worked at the Harley-Davidson plant in Kansas City, Missouri, for 17 years. He was sure he was going to retire from the company. That all changed when Harley-Davidson told its 800 employees in January that the plant will be closing next year. Operations will be shifted to the motorcycle manufacturer's facility in York, Pennsylvania."

Supreme Court Ruling for Janus Would Be Judicial Activism at Its Worst: "Should courts have the power to impose wage cuts, shrink the economy and require private organizations to deliver costly services for nothing? Most people would probably say no. Yet this is what could happen when the U.S. Supreme Court issues its ruling in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, expected sometime in June. At issue in Janus—a case that originated in Illinois—are state laws that require public sector workers represented by unions to share in the cost of collective bargaining over their wages, benefits and working conditions through the payment of what are called 'fair share' fees."

At This Company, the CEO Makes 6,000 Times a Typical Worker's Pay: "'If you compare that in 1980, it was 42 times the average worker and 107 times in 1990,' said AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler in a conference call, adding that CEO pay 'is out of whack.'"

Why Do Americans Stay When Their Town Has No Future?: "America was built on the idea of picking yourself up and striking out for more promising territory. Ohio itself was settled partly by early New Englanders who quit their rocky farms for more tillable land to the west. Some of these population shifts helped reshape the country: the 1930s migration from the Dust Bowl to California; the Great Migration of blacks to the North and West, which occurred in phases between 1910 and 1960; the Hillbilly Highway migration of Appalachian whites to the industrial Midwest in the 1940s and ’50s."

New Report Highlights Massive Pay Gap Between CEOs and Typical Workers: "The AFL-CIO's annual Executive Paywatch database, released Tuesday, compiled that data and shows that in many cases, the pay for top executives is hundreds—or even thousands—of times that of the median worker at their companies. 'This year's report provides further proof of America's income inequality crisis,' AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler said in a statement. 'Too many working people are struggling to get by, to afford the basics, to save for college, to retire with dignity while CEOs are paying themselves more and more.'"

Randi Weingarten on Janus: 'It Will Be a Bumpy Ride' for Unions: "Education Week sat down with American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten recently for a conversation about the recent wave of teacher activism and how the unions are preparing for the Janus decision. This interview has been edited for length and clarity."

Supreme Court Rules That Companies Can Require Workers to Accept Individual Arbitration: "The cases involve non-unionized workers, but labor leaders said it was representative of how the court sides with business over workers. 'Five justices on the Supreme Court decided that it is acceptable for working people to have our legal rights taken away by corporations in order to keep our jobs,' AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said."

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 05/25/2018 - 17:29

Memorial Day Is About Respect and Remembrance

Fri, 2018-05-25 12:15
Memorial Day Is About Respect and Remembrance AFL-CIO

The working men and women of the AFL-CIO join the Union Veterans Council to wish all a safe Memorial Day weekend. This is a time to respect and remember those who gave their lives for the bedrock freedoms of our nation.

Let’s resolve to honor their sacrifice by redoubling our efforts to secure and make real those freedoms for every worker in America, so working people can win new economic rules built on broadly shared prosperity.

As we start our Memorial Day weekend, it always seems I get a few questions about the holiday, what it means and how Americans can be respectful on this day. The answer is not that easy. Decoration day has morphed into just one more corporate holiday where you can get great deals on furniture, cars and those American flag swimming trunks. But for veterans, especially combat veterans, the weekend has another meaning.

When I signed up to serve in the U.S. Army Infantry, I did so knowing I was going to face the possibility of not coming home. That is what millions of Americans who signed up have done throughout our history. Nothing prepares us for the harsh reality of war. I was deployed multiple times to some of the worst locations in the global war on terror. I have seen great personal loss of friends and people who are closer to me that most of my own family. This is the reality for so many veterans and their families. Memorial Day is a sacred day whose full meaning I will never be able to put into words.

Union members have a historic bond with veterans. Many of our modern trade unions were founded by war veterans who returned home and then banded together for the collective power to win good lives. Over the generations, each wave of veterans has renewed that bond, and the same is true today.

The chances are good that each one of us knows, works with or otherwise has a connection to at least one person who has lost a friend or family member to war.

Case in point, if you are a member of a local, state or national union, chances are you know a post-9/11 veteran. Some one in four post-9/11 veterans work as public servants. One-third of all federal employees are veterans. It is likely that you work with someone who has either lost a friend or family member to war.

I recommend you do a few thing this weekend. First, be respectful. You may not know it, but someone you know may be going through a tough time. Second, reach out. If you know a veteran who served in combat or family member who lost someone, talk to them and let them know they have your support. And finally, celebrate the lives of our lost service members. If you are having a cookout or family reunion, take a minute to recognize why we memorialize this weekend. 

We also can honor our veterans by fighting for full funding for the U.S. Veterans Affairs and supporting efforts to train and employ our veterans for good union jobs. Each day 20 veterans commit suicide. One of the leading causes is financial instability. Unions can help. On average, a veteran who is member of a union makes $12,000 more annually, giving them the financial freedom to transition back to their civilian life, providing hope of a bright future for those who have sacrificed for us.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 05/25/2018 - 12:15

Ending Gender-Based Violence and Harassment in the World of Work

Fri, 2018-05-25 11:30
Ending Gender-Based Violence and Harassment in the World of Work UNITE HERE

No one should have to risk their safety or dignity to put food on the table. Yet every day, workers around the world are subjected to sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence. On Monday, May 28, workers, employers and governments will come together at the International Labor Organization to discuss a new global standard on violence and harassment in the world of work. This is the culmination of more than a decade of advocacy by the global labor movement. It’s an exciting opportunity to create a binding international agreement to end gender-based violence and harassment in the workplace.

The AFL-CIO, together with partners from around the world, will be on the ground pushing for a binding convention that empowers workers to take collective action to build safe, respectful workplaces. You can follow the action on our Facebook and Twitter accounts, and check out our partners at the Solidarity Center (@SolidarityCntr) and the International Trade Union Confederation (@ITUC).

Watch a short video here made by our sister organization, the Solidarity Center, here:

Why use the term gender-based violence and harassment?

In the United States, the law protects against sex-based discrimination, including sexual harassment, and public conversations generally use these terms as well. Often, sex and gender are used interchangeably. However, there is an important distinction between the two: a person’s sex is tied to their inherent biological characteristics. Gender, on the other hand, is a social construct built around norms, expectations and stereotypes about what it means to be a man or a woman.

In the U.S., and indeed throughout much of the world, there is an entrenched, gendered power hierarchy that values men and a rigid definition of masculinity. The term gender-based violence and harassment reflects this inherent power imbalance. It recognizes the link between the gendered violence that occurs in society at large and the devaluation of women in the workplace. Both are tied to the way people are socialized, and particularly how men are socialized to feel entitled to women’s bodies and to expect deference and compliance. Every social actor has a role to play in breaking down these harmful stereotypes and creating equitable, respectful communities—and when it comes to addressing how this issue plays out in the workplace, unions have an unique and powerful role to play.

How do unions help stop gender-based violence and harassment?

Unions have a critical role to play in ending gender-based violence and harassment. At base, gender-based violence in the world of work—including unwanted touching, sexual comments, requests for sexual favors and even sexual assault—is not about sex, but about power. Unions are dedicated to shifting power relationships and creating more equitable and fair workplaces. Workers, particularly those who have been subjected to mistreatment, must be empowered to take collective action to enact solutions and demand justice.

Economic insecurity, particularly precarious and low-wage employment, makes workers more vulnerable to harassment. Women comprise the majority of part-time and temporary workers in the United States and most of the world, as well as the majority of low-paid workers and those making minimum wage. Many of these workers live paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford even a brief break in employment, making them less likely to report abuse. Precarious work arrangements, like subcontracting or other contingent arrangements, decrease oversight and accountability. Confronting violence and harassment at work requires addressing the underlying conditions that drive abuse—including worker organizing to win living wages, job security and protection from retaliation. 

Learn more about some of the work of the AFL-CIO, our affiliates and other working people on this issue:

Learn more about what the issue looks like around the world and what unions are doing to fight back! Our sister organization the Solidarity Center works with unions and labor right activists around the world. Dr. Jane Pillinger prepared a report for the ILO that includes examples of union actions on gender-based violence around the world.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 05/25/2018 - 11:30

Fighting for Better Pay and Workplace Safety: What Working People Are Doing This Week

Fri, 2018-05-25 11:00
Fighting for Better Pay and Workplace Safety: 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.

Actors' Equity:

“There is a misconception that we are in the ensemble because we are the least talented. Often times it’s the exact opposite.” - @FrozenBroadway ensemble member Tracee Beazer Barrett (@TraBeaz81 ) on why #EveryoneOnStage matters.

— Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) May 24, 2018

AFGE:

AFGE calls legislation an ‘extremely dangerous step’ toward privatization of the VA → https://t.co/O2rTZ259Zi #1u pic.twitter.com/dmBKNNPpcF

— AFGE (@AFGENational) May 24, 2018

AFSCME:

Workers at a big social services agency in Portland, Oregon, have voted to join together with AFSCME Council 75. Better pay and workplace safety are two priorities for these workers. https://t.co/pXz1Km2GlI

— AFSCME (@AFSCME) May 23, 2018

AFT:

Check out @AFTUtah President Brad Asay’s commentary about how Utah unions stand united to protect working families. #JanusvsAFSCME #IamAFT https://t.co/Ssce5m9HYK

— AFT (@AFTunion) May 24, 2018

Alliance for Retired Americans:

Thanks for fighting for retirees @LisaBRochester! We appreciate your votes to protect #Medicare and #SocialSecurity https://t.co/2mb9h1tMoy #RetireeHero #RetireeVR17 pic.twitter.com/H7WU3Jnsdc

— Alliance Retirees (@ActiveRetirees) May 24, 2018

Amalgamated Transit Union:

TriMet's LIFT Contractor Accused of Labor and #HumanRights Violations https://t.co/TMjrxR139h #1u #transit #TriMet

— ATU, Transit Union (@ATUComm) May 18, 2018

American Federation of Musicians:

Nick Ballarini at Klyde Warren Park today courtesy of the Music Performance Trust Fund, @The_AFM and @KlydeWarrenPark pic.twitter.com/P7yUHa1CIM

— AFM Local 72-147 (@dfwmusicians) May 23, 2018

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:

AFA released a quick reference guide to secure safe uniforms, define the problem, and encourage airlines to take adequate steps to avoid the safety hazard. New uniforms are rolling out at major airlines next week and over the next few years. WATCH: https://t.co/jcsbTw3Ro6 pic.twitter.com/MIwMy1VvtC

— AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) May 24, 2018

Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers:

Carrier Wanted to Move to Mexico. Trump Stepped In. A Year Later, This Is What Happened to Indianapolis. https://t.co/T89yRozqMf via @PopMech

— BCTGM International (@BCTGM) May 24, 2018

Boilermakers:

Here's a little history for you: In the early 1900s #Boilermakers developed secret hand signals and a secret code book to protect communication (especially telegrams) from anti-union spies. #ThrowbackThursday pic.twitter.com/KK0UU9NyDk

— Boilermaker News (@boilermakernews) May 24, 2018

Bricklayers:

Great to have .@staceyabrams with us today at our South Regional meeting in #Atlanta. Together, we will build a better #Georgia! #TeamAbrams #GAgov #gapol #1u pic.twitter.com/BDQ9HMIj2K

— Bricklayers Union (@IUBAC) May 24, 2018

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists:

Brother Burrus epitomized the fire that black trade unionists carry to survive racism and serve working people. Our condolences go out to his family. https://t.co/CmUax5mXRd

— CBTU (@CBTU72) May 21, 2018

Communications Workers of America:

14,000 working people at @ATT may strike soon if necessary for good jobs, affordable healthcare, and a secure retirement. #NoJobsNoDeal #1u

Stand with them in their fight. Sign the petition: https://t.co/79FqPfKFgL pic.twitter.com/n3OstXgteq

— CWA (@CWAUnion) May 23, 2018

Department for Professional Employees:

“We believe as a community that a teacher contract would help provide stability to the school, will help make sure teachers stay, and will also hold accountability to the administration to ensure principals stay as well.” #1u https://t.co/5kw6oBSwGO

— DPE (@DPEaflcio) May 24, 2018

Electrical Workers:

Michigan prevailing wage repeal halted … for now https://t.co/2b0ba2FspU

— IBEW (@IBEW) May 24, 2018

Farm Labor Organizing Committee:

Maybe some good news for #DACA recipients, most likely bad news for the rest of immigrants and our country as a whole. More info on the latest in #Congress by @taragolshan "The Return of the DACA Fight in Congress, Explained" https://t.co/loEgKamOOc

— Farm Labor Organizing Committee (@SupportFLOC) May 24, 2018

Fire Fighters:

“Organized, the #firefighter is a champion, But-Unorganized he is in no condition to fight.” #IAFF100years #UnionStrong #labormovement pic.twitter.com/0NsUaLTTvz

— IAFF (@IAFFNewsDesk) May 24, 2018

Heat and Frost Insulators:

Looking for a career where you don’t have to worry about your gender influencing your paycheck? We believe in fair compensation and are looking for women who would like a career in Mechanical Insulating. Watch now: https://t.co/inecKQHji5

— Insulators Union (@InsulatorsUnion) May 24, 2018

International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers:

@IFPTE stands with our brother and sisters in @MachinistsUnion in their organizing of Boeing South Carolina! https://t.co/pE5xlUuYi6

— IFPTE WEST (@IfpteWest) May 22, 2018

International Labor Communications Association:

Enter the 2018 ILCA Labor Media Contest today! https://t.co/99EpVVeXhc #1u pic.twitter.com/59o9Hr7dES

— ILCA Communications (@ILCAonline) May 14, 2018

Ironworkers:

Louie, a beloved elephant born @ToledoZoo received extra special care from Dunbar's rigging team when it was time for him to be transferred to a zoo in Omaha. Read more https://t.co/0ZnLBDyxLg pic.twitter.com/VFPHcwv2Kq

— Ironworkers. (@TheIronworkers) May 22, 2018

Jobs With Justice:

Remember when Trump “saved” jobs at a @Carrier plant in Indiana? Well, hear from the working women and men at Carrier and find out what really happened. (Spoiler Alert: Trump didn’t do much) https://t.co/i77ul7FtBh

— Jobs With Justice (@jwjnational) May 24, 2018

Labor Council for Latin American Advancement:

Applications are now open for The Maria Portalatin National Freedom Scholarship! Every year this scholarship awards 3 students $1,000 book stipend and a laptop computer. Application deadline is June 20, 2018. https://t.co/u9QxAmITCR

— LCLAA (@LCLAA) May 22, 2018

Laborers:

DYK the current repair backlog for #bridges requires $123 billion? #FixOurBridges #TimeToBuild

— LIUNA (@LIUNA) May 24, 2018

Machinists:

SOLIDARITY REQUEST: The company is continuing its anti-union campaign. Sign the petition to stand with working people at Boeing South Carolina.https://t.co/WAaLQFv7hy

— Machinists Union (@MachinistsUnion) May 22, 2018

Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association:

Proud to support the Energizing American Shipbuilding Act! #ShipUSA @bvlworks @RepGaramendi @RogerWicker @Rep_Hunter @DonaldNorcross @RepLowenthal pic.twitter.com/CdPpo7pRhT

— M.E.B.A. (@MEBAUNION) May 23, 2018

Maritime Trades Department:

Maritime Trades Department stands in solidarity with its brothers and sisters with BCTGM Nabisco Workers. https://t.co/CHHVCx4eKz

— MaritimeTrades (@Maritime_Trades) May 16, 2018

Metal Trades Department:

“These brave men and women didn’t risk life and limb to receive inferior care outside of the only health care system tailored to their unique needs.” How the VA MISSION Act is setting the stage for privatization of veterans care → https://t.co/WtsyV0pd5F https://t.co/WtsyV0pd5F

— Metal Trades Dept. (@metaltradesafl) May 24, 2018

Mine Workers:

Thanks to @Bob_Casey for his hard work to preserve health care benefits retired miners earned in blood. #TheyEarnedIt https://t.co/UGE01v9xqB

— United Mine Workers (@MineWorkers) May 22, 2018

Musical Artists:

Long the domain of men, choreography gets a female boost at @BalletWest1 National Choreographic Fest https://t.co/C4Rc1FqM7e pic.twitter.com/8VEsdWrZ6t

— AGMA (@AGMusicalArtist) May 15, 2018

National Air Traffic Controllers Association:

Thank you to everyone who helped #NCF have a successful #NATCAinWashington! Because of your generosity NCF raised a record amount of OVER $14,000 during NiW! Also, members helped us stuff 300 homeless kits to deliver to the local shelter. #NATCA #GivingBack

— NATCACharitable (@NATCACharitable) May 24, 2018

National Day Laborer Organizing Network:

The trump agenda. https://t.co/IsQ4JCXW3u

— NDLON (@NDLON) May 24, 2018

National Domestic Workers Alliance:

Adelaide, an immigrant #domesticworker, was in DC w/ her daughter yesterday to protest Trump's latest proposal to punish immigrant families "I shouldn't have to choose between being able to take my daughter to the doctor or getting papers to stay in the country" #ProtectFamilies pic.twitter.com/C4n3GD2iVp

— Domestic Workers (@domesticworkers) May 24, 2018

National Nurses United:

DC nurses cheer contract, celebrate back pay due to them https://t.co/FYJawMs4eG #nursepower #1U pic.twitter.com/1861n7BdAs

— NationalNursesUnited (@NationalNurses) May 23, 2018

National Taxi Workers Alliance:

The Ruling That Could Change New York’s Uber Landscape https://t.co/DvLJIZ0AxW

— NY Taxi Workers (@NYTWA) May 24, 2018

The NewsGuild-CWA:

"Gannett should cease this act of nonsense and begin treating its Indianapolis journalists with the respect they deserve." https://t.co/r02wE3Hrrj

— Indianapolis Newspaper Guild (@indynewsguild) May 19, 2018

NFL Players Association:

pic.twitter.com/3FvuGyy4tA

— NFLPA (@NFLPA) May 23, 2018

North America's Building Trades Unions:

Thanks to @SenatorAument for focusing on this important issue. Well done @Boilermakers13 BM Williams and @IBEW3RDDISTRICT International Rep. Anderson making the trades' voice heard

We Must Stop the Worldwide Problem of Gender-Based Violence in the Workplace

Thu, 2018-05-24 11:44
We Must Stop the Worldwide Problem of Gender-Based Violence in the Workplace

Sexual harassment and gender-based violence are not just problems we see in the United States. In fact, gender-based violence is one of the most common human rights violations in the world. While it can affect any worker, women are most likely the targets because of systemic, unequal power relations.

A new video from the Solidarity Center takes a look at the worldwide problem and offers solutions. Watch the video and learn more at the Solidarity Center's Gender-Based Violence webpage.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 05/24/2018 - 11:44

Wrongfully Detained Korean Union Leader Han Sang-gyun Wins Release

Wed, 2018-05-23 11:06
Wrongfully Detained Korean Union Leader Han Sang-gyun Wins Release KCTU

In December 2015, President Han Sang-gyun of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions was imprisoned for defending trade union rights and fighting back against corporate corruption and the repressive government of former President Park Geun-hye of South Korea. This week, Han finally won his freedom.

Of Han's release, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) said:

We are all relieved that KCTU President Han Sang-gyun has been released from his wrongful detainment that was a political act of retribution expressly aimed at punishing his role in organizing union protests. President Han represents the best of the labor movement—an advocate armed with unwavering dedication to the fight for economic justice, even in the face of personal persecution.

Across the globe, working people salute his sacrifice and welcome him home with open arms. Still, the struggle for justice will continue until we secure the release of KCTU General Secretary Lee Young-joo, who was arrested for the same organizing efforts. Her continued detainment highlights the enormous fights that lie ahead for working people, and the release of Han reflects our capacity to ultimately win.

In 2017, AFL-CIO awarded Han with the George Meany–Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award for his activism on behalf of working people. Han's career is noted for perseverance in the face of anti-democratic repression and militant action against long odds.

Starting as a student activist, Han later helped organize a union at the auto manufacturing plant where he worked. In 2008, he was elected chair of his union. His efforts to fight layoffs at his company led to a 77-day occupation of the plant for which Han was sent to prison for three years. After his release, he continued to fight for working people with a 171-day sit-in near the plant. After the conclusion of the sit-in, hundreds of jobs were saved.

In 2014, KCTU held it's first direct vote to choose their president and Han won. During his tenure in office:

Union activists have been at the forefront of the fight for social justice in South Korea. Workers have mobilized against anti-worker labor legislation and government corruption in a series of massive peaceful demonstrations. President Park frequently responded to dissent with police brutality, mass arrests and harsh jail sentences targeted at leaders, including President Han, who bravely continued to organize. The Korean labor movement and civil society eventually forced the ouster of President Park, who later was charged with bribery, abuse of power and other crimes....

After the impeachment and trial of President Park Geun-hye, the Korean labor movement helped usher in a new, more worker-friendly administration under President Moon Jae-in. However, its fight for justice is ongoing. Many activists still are imprisoned and Korean workers continue to struggle in the face of regressive labor laws and a lack of accountability from Korea’s major corporations.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 05/23/2018 - 11:06

Tags: Korea

We All Do Better with an Immigration System that Works for All Working People

Tue, 2018-05-22 11:23
We All Do Better with an Immigration System that Works for All Working People AFL-CIO

Yesterday, the AFL-CIO hosted the "We All Do Better" conference, which focused on an important discussion on advancing an immigration agenda for all working people. Attacks against working people come in many forms, but we must stand against the idea that some of us are more worthy of freedom and worker protections than others.

At the opening of the conference, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) said:

We need workers to understand America’s broken immigration system puts downward pressure on pay and benefits for all of us. Our answer is to stand united, as a politically independent movement of working people, for an immigration agenda that lifts us up. That starts with a path to citizenship for the millions and millions of people who live and work here and are American in every way but on paper.

But it doesn’t stop there. It’s time to reform captive work visa programs so they are based on actual industry needs and include full labor rights and fair wages for every single worker. We must end the enforcement overreach and provide explicit protections to workers who want to organize a union or have the courage to speak up about unsafe conditions. We must keep families together, offer safe harbor to refugees and open our doors to working people from all over the world who want nothing more than a better life, just like my family did.

If we do it right, immigration reform will make jobs better for everyone, improve the health of our democracy and empower us to organize millions of workers into unions.

Here are some of the key tweets sent from the event:

.@jboland President of @IUBAC opens the #WeAllDoBetter Conference at @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/n1G8enpgeO

— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) May 21, 2018

We must emphasize an immigration agenda for ALL workers. @TexasAFLCIO @AFLCIO @AFLCIOLatino pic.twitter.com/t0KReAJIZ8

— Montserrat Garibay (@MontseTXAFLCIO) May 21, 2018

“I am the product of chain immigration... We were maimed, crippled, and killed on the job, and we stood strong in solidarity despite our differences.” @RichardTrumka pic.twitter.com/M20czcMpHG

— AFL-CIO Latino (@AFLCIOLatino) May 21, 2018

“If we do it right, immigration reform will make good jobs for everyone, improve the health of our democracy and empower us to organize millions of workers in union.” @RichardTrumka #WeAllDoBetter

— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) May 21, 2018

“The only card we care about is the union card” - Eric Dean, President @TheIronworkers #WeAllDoBetter

— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) May 21, 2018

The enemy of workers is not other workers. It is managers who want to profit not with us, but at our expense. #InThisTogether #Union #WeAllDoBetter pic.twitter.com/wDDd34Iki7

— Celeste Drake (@CDrakeFairTrade) May 21, 2018

Immigrants are core constituencies of our unions and we need to speak up for them says Eric Dean of @TheIronworkers #WeAllDoBetter pic.twitter.com/o0urQBrckV

— AFL-CIO Latino (@AFLCIOLatino) May 21, 2018

Immigration is NOT the cause of stagnant wages @hshierholz @EconomicPolicy #WeAllDoBetter pic.twitter.com/KAEgAHMxIb

— AFL-CIO Latino (@AFLCIOLatino) May 21, 2018

Ramped Up Immigration Enforcement + Weakened Labor Laws and Enforcement = Cheap and Exploitable Labor. #WeAllDoBetter

— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) May 21, 2018

“This administration wants to replace TPS and DACA recipients with guest workers who are more vulnerable and exploitable.” @oachacon61 from @ALIANZAAMERICAS #wealldobetter @AFLCIO

— APALA (@APALAnational) May 21, 2018

“We have to go back to the basics of organizing, the same people that are against Labor, women’s rights, workers rights are attacking us every single day, we need to go back and talk to those people who may have voted for the 45th President” - @MontseTXAFLCIO #WeAllDoBetter

— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) May 21, 2018

Kicking off the 2nd Immigration panel at the @AFLCIO with Esther Lopez Sec-Treas @UFCW, Rachel Micah-Jones @CDMigrante, VP Fred Redmond @steelworkers, Melissa Maria @CWAUnion and John Carr Georgetown University. #WeAllDoBetter pic.twitter.com/WiuNCO8ADb

— PA AFL-CIO (@PaAFL_CIO) May 21, 2018

@AFLCIO We need to have strong narratives, comprehensive strategy and have courageous conversations-Esther Lopez @UFCW @TexasAFLCIO @AFLCIO @RickTxAFLCIO #WeAllDoBetter pic.twitter.com/4MXzoSU2VV

— Montserrat Garibay (@MontseTXAFLCIO) May 21, 2018

#wealldobetter We need to do a better work and not work in silos.Our values are under assault. @lizshuler @AFLCIOLatino @AFLCIO @TexasAFLCIO pic.twitter.com/gG7dxpGpoD

— Montserrat Garibay (@MontseTXAFLCIO) May 21, 2018

If our economy is approaching that of a dystopian novel, it is up to us to stop bemoaning it & work to change it. Divided we beg, united we negotiate for better. @lizshuler at @AFLCIO #WeAllDoBetter conference #AllWorkHasDignity #1u #CIR #GoodJobs

— Celeste Drake (@CDrakeFairTrade) May 21, 2018 Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 05/22/2018 - 11:23

Executive Paywatch 2018: The Gap Between CEO and Worker Compensation Continues to Grow

Tue, 2018-05-22 10:05
Executive Paywatch 2018: The Gap Between CEO and Worker Compensation Continues to Grow AFL-CIO

CEO pay for major companies in the United States rose nearly 6% in the past year, as income inequality and the outsourcing of good-paying American jobs have increased. According to the new AFL-CIO Executive Paywatch, the average CEO of an S&P 500 Index company made $13.94 million in 2017—361 times more money than the average U.S. rank-and-file worker. The Executive Paywatch website, the most comprehensive searchable online database tracking CEO pay, showed that in 2017, the average production and nonsupervisory worker earned about $38,613 per year. When adjusted for inflation, the average wage has remained stagnant for more than 50 years.

"This year’s report provides further proof that the greed of corporate CEOs is driving America’s income inequality crisis," said AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler. "Too many working people are struggling to get by, to afford the basics, to save for college, to retire with dignity while CEOs are paying themselves more and more. Our economy works best when consumers have money to spend. That means raising wages for workers and reining in out of control executive pay."

Here are eight key facts you need to know about from this year's Executive Paywatch report:

  1. America is the richest country in the world at its richest point in history. And once again, CEOs got richer this year. CEO pay for major U.S. companies was up more than 6% in 2017 as income inequality and outsourcing of good-paying American jobs increases.

  2. Total compensation for CEOs of S&P 500 Index companies increased in 2017 to $13.94 million from $13.1 million in 2016.

  3. The CEO-to-worker pay ratio grew from 347 to 1 in 2016 to 361 to 1 in 2017.

  4. For the first time this year, companies must disclose the ratio of their own CEO’s pay to the pay of the company’s median employee. This change was fought for by the AFL-CIO and its allies to ensure investors have the transparency they deserve.

  5. In 2017, the CEO-to-worker pay ratio was 361. In 2016, the ratio was 347. In 1990, it was 107. And in 1980, it was 42. This pay gap reflects widening income inequality in the country.

  6. Mondelēz is one of the most egregious examples of companies that are contributing to inequality. The company, which makes Nabisco products including Oreos, Chips Ahoy and Ritz Crackers, is leading the race to the bottom by offshoring jobs. New CEO Dirk Van de Put made more than $42.4 million in total compensation in 2017—more than 989 times the company’s median employee pay. Mondelēz’s former CEO Irene Rosenfeld also received $17.3 million in 2017, 403 times its median employee's pay.

  7. So far for 2017, the highest-paid CEO in the AFL-CIO’s Executive Paywatch database is E. Hunter Harrison, CEO of CSX Corporation. He received more than $151 million in total compensation. In contrast, the lowest-paid S&P 500 company CEO was Warren Buffett who received $100,000 in total pay in 2017.

  8. The toy-maker Mattel had the highest pay ratio of any S&P 500 company. Mattel’s median employee is a manufacturing worker in Malaysia who made $6,271, resulting in a CEO-to-employee pay ratio of 4,987 to 1. Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway Inc. had the lowest pay ratio of all S&P 500 companies, just 2 to 1.

Our economy works best when consumers have money to spend. That means raising wages for workers and reining in out of control executive pay. Executive Paywatch is a tool that helps the U.S. pursue those goals.

Learn more at Executive Paywatch.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 05/22/2018 - 10:05

Apprenticeship Accelerator Forum Highlights Programs to Attract and Train Needed Manufacturing Workforce

Mon, 2018-05-21 12:28
Apprenticeship Accelerator Forum Highlights Programs to Attract and Train Needed Manufacturing Workforce AFL-CIO

The 2018 Manufacturing Apprenticeship Accelerator Forum took place in Cleveland on Thursday. The forum included presentations from a number of participating organizations, including the U.S. Department of Labor, the Ohio AFL-CIO, the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, Chicago Women in Trades and the National Urban League, along with a number of private employers and workforce training providers.

The purpose of the program was to highlight the development of advanced manufacturing apprenticeships to address needed skills training and workforce development in advanced and specialized manufacturing. Representatives from labor unions, private employers, state and federal government, and manufacturing training providers offered an overview of their respective roles in expanding apprenticeship programs to match private-sector workforce needs.

"We're very pleased that so many affiliates came together with the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Department of Labor to share information about how to promote apprenticeships in manufacturing," said Brad Markell, executive director of the AFL-CIO Working for America Institute, which sponsored the event. "We put a special emphasis on how to increase diversity in manufacturing, and that will be a continuing effort for us."

The forum was organized by the Keystone Development Program (KDP), which was founded by the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO in 2005 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. KDP assists unions and their employers to form and sustain labor-management training programs and registered apprenticeships. The KDP promotes labor management cooperation and supports workforce development programs to better serve the community. KDP aligns resources for career pathways to family-sustaining jobs.

"Through our close relationship with Keystone Development Partnership, our Commonwealth has benefited from an innovative approach to apprenticeship and workforce development," said Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale (AFSCME). "Pennsylvania has been successful in bringing multiple stakeholders together to address the future of work, ensuring that good, family-sustaining jobs are at the heart of the technological and advanced manufacturing workforce."

"It’s true that apprenticeship programs are one of the best kept secrets in the labor movement," said Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga (USW). "These programs are an important linkage in our economy here in Ohio and across the country as they put thousands of Americans on a true pathway to the middle class."

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 05/21/2018 - 12:28

The Future of Work: The Working People Weekly List

Fri, 2018-05-18 11:05
The Future of Work: The Working People Weekly List Infrastructure Week

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

Young Workers on the Future of Work: Charleeka Thompson: "Earlier this month, the AFL-CIO conducted a discussion on the future of work. Among the panelists that day were a group of young workers. Let's have a bit more of an in-depth discussion in the coming weeks with those young workers. First up is United Steelworkers (USW) member Charleeka Thompson."

The Freedom to Join: "The U.S. Supreme Court will make a decision in the coming weeks whether or not to undermine the freedom of millions of teachers, nurses and other public workers to have strong unions. Today, the AFL-CIO has launched a new website, FreedomToJoin.org, that provides critical information about the Janus v. AFSCME case, counters misinformation, explains the value of union membership and draws attention to the wave of collective action in America."

Time to Build: 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 and central labor councils on Twitter."

Infrastructure Week Highlights the Need to Invest in the U.S.: "This week is Infrastructure Week, an annual event where an increasingly powerful coalition led by local, state and federal leaders, as well as both businesses and labor unions, demand massive and necessary investments to build America. This year’s Infrastructure Week comes at a time when 80% of voters say investing in America’s infrastructure is a top priority. America’s labor movement says the time to build is now."

The New Tax Law Will Make Outsourcing Worse: "We have already documented the many ways the Republican tax bill is bad for working people. In short, it's a massive giveaway to big corporations and the wealthy that throws away trillions of dollars we need to invest in America and create good jobs for working people. This week, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) organized an event to take a deeper look at how the new law will preserve and create incentives for corporations to move U.S. jobs overseas and shift corporate profits to tax havens abroad."

New Survey Shows Sexual Harassment a Pervasive Problem for Flight Attendants: "A new survey from the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) reveals that more than two-thirds of flight attendants in the United States have experienced sexual harassment on the job."

Union Asks to Investigate Relationship Between the Government and Bondholders: "The U.S. labor union center AFL-CIO today asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate whether there was any privileged information exchange between the office of Governor Ricardo Rosselló and bondholders, prior to the presentation of the governor's fiscal plan, the past 12 of February."

AFL-CIO Launches ‘Take Back Ohio’ Campaign: "Union members, leaders and activists held a rally at the Local 1112 UAW union hall last night to kick-off organized labor’s efforts to elect 'worker-friendly candidates' in the 2018 elections. 'This rally represents the start of something big here in the Mahoning Valley,' said Mahoning-Trumbull AFL-CIO President Bill Padisak. 'Our membership is energized and ready to engage in the campaign to re-elect Sherrod Brown, make Richard Cordray our next governor, and elect candidates up and down the ticket that support working people.'"

What Makes Retail Workers Uniquely Vulnerable to Sexual Harassment: "Retail has a sexual harassment problem, according to a recent analysis by the Center for American Progress. While media attention has largely focused on the prevalence of harassment in politics and media, the study demonstrates its pervasiveness across all industries, but particularly in ones with a high number of service-sector workers, says the authors of the analysis. From this data, it’s clear that sexual harassment is not just a problem in for politicians and actors."

Study: Despite Modest Income, Teachers Pay for Class Needs: "Every year Anna Graven dips into her modest teacher salary and spends her own money to buy bulletin boards, pencils, paper, highlighters and tissues for her high school students in Oklahoma City. So do almost all of her colleagues across the nation. Nearly all public school teachers report digging into their pockets to pay for school supplies, spending nearly $480 a year, far more than the federal $250 tax deduction available to teachers, according to a study by the National Center of Education Statistics released Tuesday."

CEO Pay and Performance Often Don’t Match Up: "The best-paid CEOs don’t necessarily run the best-performing companies. Corporate boards have tried for years to tie chief executive compensation to the results they deliver. The better the company and its shareholders do, the more the top boss should be paid, or so the pay-for-performance mantra goes. In reality, CEO pay and performance often don’t match up, and 2017 was no exception."

Rebuilding Schools, Bridges—and Lives: "When you see that the ASCE’s infrastructure report card gives the nation overall a D+, don’t hang your head. The U.S. can get that grade up. But it won’t happen with a plan like President Trump’s, which would cut Washington’s contribution to infrastructure projects from 80% to 20%, quadrupling the burden on cash-strapped cities and states. The true way forward is to do the opposite: Put the federal government back in the business of building America’s future."

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:05