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Customer Service Reps at Spirit Airlines Join TWU

Thu, 2018-09-06 13:29
Customer Service Reps at Spirit Airlines Join TWU AFL-CIO

Despite predictions of the demise of labor unions in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, working people have secured another powerful victory. With an overwhelming vote of 82%, 300 customer service representatives at Spirit Airlines have joined the Transport Workers (TWU).

On June 28, the TWU filed for a representational election with the National Mediation Board and the vote took place from Aug. 14 to Sept. 4.

Marcos Perez, one of the TWU's newest members, said: "I feel like I have some sort of protection and voice now. Before this, it was like going in one ear and out the other."

Perez's co-worker Mariluz Ramos said: "We are going to have a voice at the table and that’s big. Before it was one-way decision making and now we are not going to be silenced anymore."

TWU International President John Samuelsen summed up: "This is the ultimate act of democracy in the workplace. They are on the path to take control of their future, and the future of their co-workers. The TWU will wholeheartedly provide any assistance needed."

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 09/06/2018 - 13:29

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Jon Tester

Thu, 2018-09-06 12:25
Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Jon Tester AFL-CIO

This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Sen. Jon Tester of Montana.

Here are some of the key reasons why Tester is one of the best candidates for working people in 2018:

  • Tester stood with the union workers who are locked out at the Imerys plant in Three Forks, Montana, demanding that the company end the lockout and return to the bargaining table.

  • He has a comprehensive plan to create high-paying jobs, rebuild Montana's infrastructure, invest in the workforce and spur innovation in the state.

  • Tester has voted to end tax incentives that make it easier for companies to outsource jobs.

  • He believes that new oil pipelines should be built to the highest standards by trained craft workers and with American steel.

  • Tester introduced a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

  • As a former teacher and school board member, he knows that access to higher education creates jobs. He favors the expansion of educational and job training opportunities for everyone, including rural communities. He also wants to help make college more affordable.

  • He has fought tirelessly to oppose Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' efforts to privatize public schools.

  • Tester hosts blue-collar jobs roundtables to encourage high school graduates to learn skilled labor trades.

  • He supports union apprenticeship programs and also has worked with the state's community colleges to deliver vocational training to Montanans.

  • Tester favors expanding access to affordable health care.

  • He has fought to lower the cost of prescription drugs.

  • Tester has defended Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid from cuts.  

  • He has secured critical funds for Montana's infrastructure, including roads, bridges, schools and expanded rural broadband access.

  • Tester has been a tireless defender of veterans.

To learn more about Tester, visit his website.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 09/06/2018 - 12:25

Tags: Elections 2018

Reject Brett Kavanaugh Today

Thu, 2018-09-06 10:58
Reject Brett Kavanaugh Today

As Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination hearings get underway, working people are demanding a Supreme Court justice committed to upholding the rights of working families. Unfortunately, Kavanaugh has a long track record of ruling against working people and in favor of greedy corporations.

The Senate should oppose Kavanaugh and call on President Donald Trump to nominate someone who will protect workplace safety, access to health care, and the freedom to form a union and bargain collectively. 

It’s up to each of us to make sure our senators hear from workers—loud and clear—right now. Call your senator now to stop Kavanaugh’s confirmation as Supreme Court justice.

Click here to take action today. 

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 09/06/2018 - 10:58

Tags: Supreme Court

Make ‘Labor Union’ Sense Common Again

Wed, 2018-09-05 09:02
Make ‘Labor Union’ Sense Common Again North Carolina AFL-CIO

My daughter and my mother save things that might someday be useful or salvageable. So do I. I have used tea to stain white or pink things that I’ve accidentally spilled something on. My mother taught me to do this. Her mother taught her to do this. This way of saving something with tea is called, at least in my circles, tea-staining.

I spent most of last week with an interfaith gathering at Wildacres Retreat near Little Switzerland, North Carolina. We shared stories about practices officially related to our faith traditions and others that are more idiosyncratic to families and regions. Interspersed with officially scheduled lessons, we also taught one another informally, about rituals that may seem to one person to be common sense but that, as it turns out, is a very specific sense. It rained buckets during our four days there, and, at one point, a person on staff told us to "be aware of the lightning." Huh? What does it mean to "be aware of the lightning?" We discussed over kosher meatloaf how thunderstorms function in the North Carolina mountains, and whether we needed to be worried about tornadoes, hail, or other dangers while being mindful of lightning. What is considered common sense about weather dangers is a very particular, passed-on wisdom in a region, and not at all common.

The same mother who taught me to reclaim stained clothing with a new stain of tea also passed on the wisdom of collective bargaining. She was a public school teacher in Texas for decades, and we moved frequently due to my father’s job. She is tiny, and brilliant, and she had to maneuver creatively around inept (even sometimes malevolent) administrator after administrator across the school systems. I listened closely as she and her teacher friends sorted out how they were going to deal with some new fresh version of insanity handed down from above. They didn’t have a labor union, but they gathered to scheme together, for their common good. It was the best they could manage to approximate collective bargaining in a virulently anti-labor state like Texas.

When people ask why I spend some of my very rare free hours advocating for labor unions in my new home state, the answer is simple. I want labor union sense to be again this region’s common sense. Collective bargaining is a practice that I consider to be common sense. I learned this as soon as I could listen to my mother’s words with her friends.

Public Enemy, in its song "Welcome to the Terrordome," recommends that it is best to "move as a team, never move alone." I agree.

I do not advocate for labor unions as an act of charity, I advocate for labor unions because I am a person who works in the world, and I need a labor union. I need collective bargaining. I need a team. I learned this from my mother and from her sister’s household, also known as my cousins. My maternal cousins grew up in the theater industry.

“I’m Jane Fonda, and I’m a worker. I may be famous, but I’m a worker. And I’m lucky to have a union.” I read Jane Fonda’s words this morning, thanks to someone connected to UNITE HERE Local 11. (Thank you, Samir Sonti, for the Facebook post!) The idea that labor unions are particular to some forms of work considered "labor" is a misperception that anyone with labor common sense can correct.

Labor Sabbath is an effort to encourage people who have received a family tradition of labor organizing and participation to share what that means or has meant, or will mean, to themselves, to their neighborhood, their family, their region, their workplace.

I am not Jane Fonda. I may not be famous. But I am a worker. And I need a union. Please consider speaking up in your own faith communities this month, to name how labor unions are part of your common sense.

Amy Laura Hall has taught ethics at Duke University since 1999. Her most recent book is Laughing at the Devil: Seeing the World with Julian of Norwich.

This post originally appeared at the North Carolina State AFL-CIO.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 09/05/2018 - 09:02

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Randy 'Iron Stache' Bryce

Tue, 2018-09-04 12:13
Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Randy 'Iron Stache' Bryce AFL-CIO

This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Wisconsin congressional candidate Randy "Iron Stache" Bryce.

Here are some of the key reasons why Bryce is one of the best candidates for working people in 2018:

  • As an active member of Ironworkers Local 8, he helped organize against Act 10, the legislation supported by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker that was designed to gut the unions of teachers and other public-sector workers.
  • He favors a responsible approach to protecting pensions so that hardworking men and women are not forced into poverty.

  • He wants to pass a domestic workers' bill of rights that gives those who care for our families the right to organize and join a union.

  • He will work to fully fund the Occupational Safety and Health Administration so that workers are safe and free on the job.

  • He wants to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

  • He supports the Wage Theft Prevention and Wage Recovery Act to protect working people from unscrupulous employers.

  • He supports the Schedules That Work Act to provide working people with fair and reliable work schedules.

  • He supports a "Medicare for all" health plan.

  • He favors legislation that will guarantee most workers 12 weeks of paid medical or family leave.

  • He will fight to protect benefits for veterans that help them get education, training and low-interest loans to start businesses.

  • As a former Ironworker apprentice, Bryce knows programs that help working people develop skills are invaluable and he wants to expand them.

  • He supports investing $1 trillion in infrastructure to expand high-speed internet, improve roads, bridges and water systems and increase access to clean energy.

  • He favors a Wall Street financial transactions tax.

  • He wants to protect and expand Social Security.

  • He wants to fix trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement so they create jobs and raise wages and standards.

  • He favors laws to close gender- and race-based pay gaps, including allowing applicants to refuse inquiries about their salary history.

  • He opposes the privatization of prisons and policing.

  • He wants to ban the box to end discrimination against people with criminal records.

  • He wants to expand and protect the right to vote by restoring the Voting Rights Act, abolishing voter identification laws, expanding early voting, making Election Day a federal holiday and immediately restoring voting rights of formerly incarcerated individuals.

  • He wants to improve funding for public schools so that teachers have the tools they need to teach and students have the resources they need to learn.

  • He opposes "right to work" laws.

  • He supports free public universities to expand access to education.

  • He supports immigration reform that provides a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers.

  • His campaign became the first to be unionized when the staff joined the Campaign Workers Guild.

To learn more about Bryce, visit his website.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 09/04/2018 - 12:13

Tags: Elections 2018

We're Gonna Fight for It

Tue, 2018-09-04 10:28
We're Gonna Fight for It

The AFL-CIO launched a new 60-second TV ad today, airing on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, highlighting the wave of collective action surging across the country and inviting all working people to join our movement. From the resounding defeat of “right to work” in Missouri to organizing victories nationwide, we are marching forward together.

The federation’s new ad offers up a simple rallying cry, calling on working people to join the fight ahead. As AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) puts it, “We want regular people to be able to work hard and get ahead. We want fairness. We want dignity. We want everybody to have access to the American Dream. We’re gonna fight for it. We’re gonna stand for it. We’re gonna march for it.”

Working people in communities across the country displayed that energy this weekend. From a surge in organizing and collective action on the job to fights against an anti-worker administration and major victories at the ballot box, we are making our voices heard. And it is working. A new poll from Gallup shows that approval for unions is the highest it has been in 15 years.

The ad follows the "We Are Winning" spot, which was released in August, and our million-member tele-town hall and comes as the AFL-CIO launched an online ad campaign calling on senators to reject the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

We won’t let up until we secure our fair share of the immense wealth that we create every day.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 09/04/2018 - 10:28

A Win for Federal Employees: The Working People Weekly List

Fri, 2018-08-31 11:14
A Win for Federal Employees: The Working People Weekly List AFL-CIO

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

Federal Judge Rules Trump’s Anti-Worker Executive Orders Unconstitutional: "When Donald Trump issued a series of executive orders attacking the rights of federal government workers, he wasn’t prepared for the response from working people. Our response, led by AFGE, included filing lawsuits to stop the orders and rallying across the country in support of federal workers. Now a federal judge has agreed with working people that these executive orders are illegal."

A Million Voices: "The AFL-CIO hosted a million-member tele-town hall this week, bringing together working people from across the country to talk about the power and growing energy of the labor movement."

Join the Conversation: "The AFL-CIO is launching a new event series under its Ideas at Work banner to capture the activism that is happening in our workplaces and communities all over the country."

Transforming Heartbreak to Hope: Worker Wins: "Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with New York taxi drivers fighting to save lives and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life."

On Track, But Not Done: "In the wake of the latest NAFTA news, labor leaders noted that the pursuit of an agreement that works for workers was on track while cautioning that the work is far from over. In a joint statement yesterday, AFL-CIOPresident Richard Trumka, United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard, UAW President Gary Jones, Machinists (IAM) International President Robert Martinez Jr. and Communications Workers of America (CWA) President Christopher Shelton called for an agreement that addresses the North American Free Trade Agreement’s 'deeply ingrained flaws.'"

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Jared Golden: "This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Maine congressional candidate Jared Golden."

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Jahana Hayes: "This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Connecticut congressional candidate Jahana Hayes."

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 08/31/2018 - 11:14

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Jacky Rosen

Fri, 2018-08-31 10:41
Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Jacky Rosen AFL-CIO

This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Senate candidate Jacky Rosen from Nevada.

Here are some of the key reasons why Rosen is one of the best candidates for working people in 2018:

  • She is leading efforts to incentivize research and development hiring at technology companies, which has already created thousands of good-paying jobs across the state.

  • Rosen wants to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

  • She supports paid family and medical leave.

  • Rosen wants to invest in vocational training and apprenticeship programs.

  • She favors better pay for teachers and better funding for public schools.

  • A top priority for her is to encourage girls to go into STEM and computer science programs.

  • Rosen wants a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United so we can get special interest money out of electoral politics.

  • She opposes efforts to cut Medicare. 

  • Rosen supports comprehensive immigration reform that provides an earned pathway to citizenship.

  • She will fight against any efforts to privatize or weaken Social Security.

  • Rosen has fought to improve health care for veterans, raise service member pay, end veteran homelessness, improve veterans' access to child care, expand education programs for service members and provide tax credits to businesses that hire veterans.

  • She will fight for equal pay for equal work.

To learn more about Rosen, visit her website.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 08/31/2018 - 10:41

Tags: Elections 2018

Tefere Gebre’s American Journey: From Refugee Camp to Labor Leader

Fri, 2018-08-31 10:41
Tefere Gebre’s American Journey: From Refugee Camp to Labor Leader Tefere Gebre

A new article from the International Rescue Committee profiles AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre. An excerpt:

Gebre was still a boy when he was forced to flee Ethiopia, a country that suffered political turmoil and famine during the 1980s. “People were getting murdered on the streets by the government,” Gebre says. “They were just grabbing kids and torturing them if they were suspected of being an anarchist or aiding the opposition. That's when I knew I had to find a way to get out.”

In 1982, Gebre and four friends managed to escape to a refugee camp in neighboring Sudan, walking through the desert for 93 days. There they applied to enter the U.S. through the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNCHR), taking several written and oral exams in the vetting process.

“When the UNCHR announces who has been accepted to resettle to the U.S., they post the names outside their office,” says Gebre, recalling the jostling crowd pressing against him as he searched the list. “That was like another birth for me, when I saw my name there.” His four friends did not make the cut.

Gebre as a child in Ethiopia: “Refugees leave with nothing,” he says. “But I somehow I found one photo from when I was three years old.” Photo: Courtesy Tefere Gebre

But Gebre didn’t have any family members in America, and he needed a sponsor to support his relocation. His mother remained in Ethiopia. His brother, who had lived in the U.S., had died in a car accident.

Read the full article.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 08/31/2018 - 10:41

A Million Voices

Fri, 2018-08-31 10:14
A Million Voices AFL-CIO

The AFL-CIO hosted a million-member tele-town hall this week, bringing together working people from across the country to talk about the power and growing energy of the labor movement.

A new poll from Gallup shows the approval for labor unions is at 62%, the highest in 15 years. More and more Americans are reaching for the rights and dignities that come with a union card. Working people are coming to realize that we’re strongest when we stand and fight together.

With collective action driving victories for workers from coast to coast, yesterday’s million-member tele-town hall reflected on this incredible moment and looked ahead to the new opportunities on the horizon. Here are a few highlights from the conversation:

  • AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA): “Workers are writing a comeback story unlike any I’ve seen in my 50 years in the labor movement....And here’s the truth: We’re not even close to done. 2018 is the year of the worker. We’re building a fairer economy and a more just society. We’re building a political system that listens to the voices of working people, instead of the whispers of a few CEOs.”

  • Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich: “The nation is at a turning point. We just can’t go on with almost all of the economic gains going to a handful at the top and most workers getting very little. Our economy can’t survive this. Our politics can’t survive it. Our society and our ideals of freedom and equal opportunity can’t survive this, which is why you are so important—why unions are critical for the future.”

  • Seattle City Council member Teresa Mosqueda (OPEIU): “Who better than us, as workers in the labor movement, to stand up and fight for workers’ rights? There is no one better than us. There is no one more qualified. We are ready, and we can win.”

  • Charlotte City Council member Braxton Winston (IATSE): “We have a commandment in our first collectively bargained agreement, our U.S. Constitution. In our preamble, it says that we must form a more perfect union for the collective United States of America. That means, to ensure that this great experiment in self-governance is successful, we all have to have a seat at the table.”

As working people have proven over the past year, there is no better way to get that seat at the table than by organizing our collective voices as working people and speaking truth to power.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 08/31/2018 - 10:14

Join the Conversation

Thu, 2018-08-30 14:41
Join the Conversation AFL-CIO

The AFL-CIO is launching a new event series under its Ideas at Work banner to capture the activism that is happening in our workplaces and communities all over the country.

We are facilitating an ongoing conversation about how collective action is the key to winning an economy and society that works for all of us.

As working people continue to rise, Ideas at Work will feature panels, film screenings, book discussions and other creative events, spanning topics from the future of work to child labor laws.

The AFL-CIO will host a conversation with photojournalist Earl Dotter about his new book, Life’s Work: A 50 Year Photographic Chronicle of Working in the U.S.A. This event will be complemented by a curated exhibition of his works.

In the lead-up to the November elections, join us for an event highlighting union members in public office. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO Political/Electoral & Issue Mobilization Director Julie Greene and Operating Engineers (IUOE) Political Director Jeffrey Soth will lead a discussion on the importance of having labor’s voice in the halls of power.

We also will co-host a conversation with the German Embassy to provide an international perspective on the future of work. Featured guests include Trumka and Reiner Hoffmann, president of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB).

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 08/30/2018 - 14:41

Transforming Heartbreak to Hope: Worker Wins

Wed, 2018-08-29 12:53
Transforming Heartbreak to Hope: Worker Wins NYTWA

Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with New York taxi drivers fighting to save lives and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life.

New York Taxi Drivers Win Major Victory Regulating App-Dispatch Sector: After months of non-stop campaigning, the National Taxi Workers Alliance (NTWA) secured first-of-its-kind legislation to regulate the app-dispatch sector, which includes companies like Uber and Lyft. The over-saturation of the roads by the vehicle-for-hire industry has led to crushing poverty that is responsible for six suicides in recent months. NTWA Executive Director Bhairavi Desai said: "This victory belongs to Douglas, to Abdul, to Nicanor, to Alfredo, to Kenny, to Danilo. This victory belongs to the thousands of [NTWA] members scraping by to feed their families, who took time away from their cars, losing precious and hard fought income to be on the streets standing together and standing up for each other....And this victory belongs to New Yorkers and our allies who have stood with us to say, not one more death, not one more fallen driver crushed by poverty and despair."

San Antonio Becomes Second Texas City to Require Paid Sick Leave: Working people in Texas collected tens of thousands of signatures in support of paid sick time. The City Council honored the will of the people and supported the ordinance 9-2. Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy (CWA) and San Antonio AFL-CIO Council President Tom Cummins (AFT) lauded the huge win and said, "No worker should be forced to choose between going to work to pay their bills and staying home to take a sick child to the doctor or go to the doctor themselves."

SAG-AFTRA Members Ratify New Network Television Code: By an overwhelming margin SAG-AFTRA members ratified a new three-year contract with the four major broadcast television networks. SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said: "I am gratified by our members' vote of approval for this agreement. SAG-AFTRA members working in this area will benefit from stronger protections and meaningful increases in wages and residuals rates. Moreover, the agreement now reflects important new language limiting auditions or meetings in private hotel rooms and residences, which helps us make tangible changes in the way our industry is addressing sexual harassment."

MoMA Workers Secure Five-Year Contract: After a tough negotiating campaign, staff at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City have agreed with MoMA on a new five-year contract. The new contract provides salary increases, protects health benefits and offers new advancement opportunities for staff. Athena Christa, a member of the bargaining committee of UAW Local 2110, said: "Building the collective power of art workers through unionization strengthens our ability to set higher standards for wages, benefits and job rights, conditions which I think will lead to a more inclusive and diverse art world."

Orlando's Disney Workers Finally Get Minimum Wage Boost: During a campaign where Disney threatened workers that they would lose promised $1,000 bonuses, working people at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida stuck together and not only won a minimum wage hike to $15 by 2021, they will get the bonuses, too. Members of UNITE HERE Local 362 have been in negotiations with Disney for a year and the company's opposition was only overcome by working people putting up a united front. Local 362 President Eric Clinton said: "Disney is a powerful company, they're a formidable foe. To stand up to your boss that's that big and that powerful is really remarkable, and it's really inspiring."

Washington Marijuana Retailer Becomes the State's First to Unionize: Have a Heart, one of the largest licensed marijuana retailers in Washington state, singed a contract with more than 130 employees at five locations, who will now be represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). Because of the illegal status of marijuana under federal law, efforts to provide employees with basic things like health care have been challenging. After a three-year effort, the company will now provide health care and other benefits.

NLRB Tells Terex to Reinstate Minnesota Workers: The National Labor Relations Board ruled that Terex coerced and threatened employees to prevent them from having union membership, and that the company had to reinstate 13 workers fired in 2014, pay them back wages, and recognize and bargain with Boilermakers (IBB) Local 647. Tyler Brown, executive director of IBB's Industrial Sector Operations, said: "The NLRB decision upholding Judge [David] Goldman’s ruling renders justice not only for the 13 workers who were unlawfully terminated by Terex, but for all Terex employees at the Grand Rapids plant who were coerced and threatened by the company. Our hope is that Terex will abide fully by the board’s decision and engage with the union in reaching a fair first contract for the assembly employees."

Wallingford Custodians Win New Contract: Three dozen custodians, represented by AFSCME Local 1303-60, in Wallingford, Connecticut, agreed on a new three-year contract that will provide them with a 5.6% wage increase over the life of the contract, which runs through June 2021. 

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 08/29/2018 - 12:53

On Track, But Not Done

Wed, 2018-08-29 11:59
On Track, But Not Done AFL-CIO

In the wake of the latest NAFTA news, labor leaders noted that the pursuit of an agreement that works for workers was on track while cautioning that the work is far from over. In a joint statement yesterday, AFL-CIOPresident Richard Trumka, United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard, UAW President Gary Jones, Machinists (IAM) International President Robert Martinez Jr. and Communications Workers of America (CWA) President Christopher Shelton called for an agreement that addresses the North American Free Trade Agreement’s "deeply ingrained flaws."

The group of labor leaders insisted that the interests of working people be prioritized in any finalized agreement:

NAFTA has had a devastating impact on workers for more than 25 years. We are aggressively engaged in pursuing an agreement that works for working people in all three countries, and we are not done yet. There is more work that needs to be done to deliver the needed, real solutions to NAFTA’s deeply ingrained flaws.

Any new deal must raise wages, ensure workers’ rights and freedoms, reduce outsourcing and put the interests of working families first in all three countries. And working people must be able to review the full and final text and have the confidence not only in the terms of the deal, but its implementation, monitoring and enforcement. We remain committed to working with the administration to get NAFTA right. Our members’ jobs depend on it. But, as always, the devil is in the details.

Read more about a NAFTA agreement that would serve working people.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 08/29/2018 - 11:59

Tags: NAFTA

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Jared Golden

Tue, 2018-08-28 10:06
Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Jared Golden AFL-CIO

This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Maine congressional candidate Jared Golden.

Here are some of the key reasons why Golden is one of the best candidates for working people in 2018:

  • Golden built a record of success advocating for working people, including fighting for stronger unions, fairer wages and expanded access to health care, achieving a 96% pro-labor voting record in the state legislature.
  • Among the legislation he championed included bills to fight wage theft, support veterans and help first responders struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder get access to health care.
  • He wants to invest in infrastructure, not only roads and bridges, but things like broadband so more working people can compete in the modern economy.
  • Golden wants to invest in traditional jobs, such as agriculture, fishing and forest products, to help these industries adapt to a changing economy.
  • He wants to protect programs that lift up working people and retirees like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Golden wants to treat health as a public good and a basic right for every American. He supports Medicare expansion and wants to reduce prescription drug costs.
  • He has proposed a universal service program where student who commit to two years of service will receive two years of education free of cost.
  • Golden wants to give teachers better pay and benefits and cut down the burdens of excessive testing and external factors on how teachers work in the classroom.
  • He supports trade deals that focus on expanding economic opportunities for working people, not the world's wealthiest corporations.
  • Golden wants Congress to do more to end gender-based wage discrimination.
  • He supports mandatory paid family leave, believing that it benefits not only children and families, but the larger economy.

Learn more about Golden at his website.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 08/28/2018 - 10:06

Tags: Elections 2018

Federal Judge Rules Trump’s Anti-Worker Executive Orders Unconstitutional

Mon, 2018-08-27 14:26
Federal Judge Rules Trump’s Anti-Worker Executive Orders Unconstitutional AFGE

When Donald Trump issued a series of executive orders attacking the rights of federal government workers, he wasn’t prepared for the response from working people. Our response, led by AFGE, included filing lawsuits to stop the orders and rallying across the country in support of federal workers. Now a federal judge has agreed with working people that these executive orders are illegal.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson ruled that key provisions of the three executive orders are either unconstitutional under the First Amendment, violate congressional intent or exceed the president’s authority.

AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. lauded the ruling:

President Trump’s illegal action was a direct assault on the legal rights and protections that Congress specifically guaranteed to the public-sector employees across this country who keep our federal government running every single day.

We are heartened by the judge’s ruling and by the huge outpouring of support shown to federal workers by lawmakers from both parties, fellow union workers and compassionate citizens across the country. Our members go to work every single day to serve the American people, and they deserve all the rights and protections afforded to them by our Founding Fathers.

Now that the judge has issued her decision, I urge all agencies that have attempted to enforce this illegal executive order to restore all previously negotiated contracts and to bargain in good faith with employee representatives on any future changes as required under the law.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka also commented on the win on Twitter:

Tremendous victory for the people who serve our nation every single day. @AFGENational and the entire labor movement will not be pushed around. Together, we’re fighting back and winning. #1u https://t.co/FltlDBWJc4

— Richard L. Trumka (@RichardTrumka) August 25, 2018

Regardless of what attacks on working people corporate interests and their allies dream up next, the labor movement will continue to stand up against any attempts to weaken our rights.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 08/27/2018 - 14:26

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Jahana Hayes

Fri, 2018-08-24 12:51
Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Jahana Hayes AFL-CIO

This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Connecticut congressional candidate Jahana Hayes.

Here are some of the key reasons why Hayes is one of the best candidates for working people in 2018:

  • As a teacher, school administrator and union member (CEA and School Administrators [AFSA]), Hayes knows the power of public education and she will work to make sure that teachers are trained and have the resources they need to foster student success.

  • She wants to make college more affordable and more open to more students.

  • She favors comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship.

  • She supports the DREAM Act to help young people find a path to citizenship and access to higher education.

  • She wants to invest in community colleges and trade schools to support training programs and job creation.

  • She favors raising the minimum wage.

  • She is committed to closing the gender pay gap for men and women, with a particular focus on closing the even larger gender-based pay gap for women of color.

  • In addition to improving programs for mental and physical help for veterans, she wants to invest in programs that educate and train veterans for finding high-quality jobs.

  • She favors moving toward a single-payer health care system and other policies that lower costs and improve care.

To learn more about Hayes, visit her website or check out this video from the Connecticut AFL-CIO convention:

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 08/24/2018 - 12:51

Tags: Elections 2018

We Are Winning: The Working People Weekly List

Fri, 2018-08-24 10:52
We Are Winning: The Working People Weekly List AFL-CIO

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

AFL-CIO Releases New Ad, 'We Are Winning': "The AFL-CIO today launched a television ad campaign highlighting the wave of collective action sweeping the country. From union organizing victories to the defeat of 'right to work' in Missouri, working people are on the rise. As AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka puts it, 'Something is happening in America....When we stand together, we have the power.'"

AFL-CIO Leads Solidarity Delegation to Brazil in Defense of Democracy: "From Aug. 13–18, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre (UFCW) and AFL-CIO International Committee Co-chair Stuart Appelbaum (RWDSU/UFCW) led a delegation to Brazil to support Brazilian brothers and sisters dealing with the implementation of national 'right to work' legislation, and to show their solidarity with former Brazilian President and union leader Luiz Inácio 'Lula' da Silva, who was unjustly accused and convicted on corruption charges earlier this year and has been inhibited from campaigning freely as a candidate in the upcoming Brazilian presidential elections. Representatives from UAW, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), United Steelworkers (USW) and UNI Global Union also participated in the delegation."

This Labor Day, Raise the 'Steaks' the Ethical Way: "Many of you will be spending a portion of Labor Day weekend with the grill of your dreams. So when you 'meat' up with friends, be sure to raise the 'steaks' for your holiday barbecue with these delicious favorites made by ethical companies that treat their workers fairly, thereby helping to strengthen the middle class. Enjoy the holiday, and together we’ll grill our way to a stronger America."

First Day Fairness: In the States Roundup: "It's time once again to take a look at the ways working people are making progress in the states."

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Tim Walz: "This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we'll be taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Tim Walz."

UFCW Local 227 Trailer Hits the Road to Help Members in Need: "The UFCW is into food, not fighting. 'But several people have approached our trailer, very excited because they thought we are the Ultimate Fighting Champions,' Caitlin Blair said with a chuckle. 'That’s always funny.' Blair is communications and political director of Louisville-based United Food and Commercial Workers Local 227 in Kentucky. The local is proud of its custom-made trailer that volunteers pull around the state, mainly to raise money for members in financial straits."

AFT Identifies Companies that Profit from Family Separation Policies: "One of the most heartbreaking news stories of 2018 is the Trump administration's decision to separate undocumented immigrant families that enter the United States.The AFL-CIO, the AFT and other advocates for working people have condemned this policy and called for families to be reunited. As part of this effort, the AFT has issued a new report to inform pension trustees and the working people they represent about companies that are profiting off of family separation and mass incarceration."

Do They Care? 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."

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Rich Cordray: "This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Ohio gubernatorial candidate Rich Cordray."

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Andy Levin: "This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are going to take a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Michigan congressional candidate Andy Levin."

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 08/24/2018 - 10:52

AFL-CIO Leads Solidarity Delegation to Brazil in Defense of Democracy

Fri, 2018-08-24 08:41
AFL-CIO Leads Solidarity Delegation to Brazil in Defense of Democracy Solidarity Center

From Aug. 13–18, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre (UFCW) and AFL-CIO International Committee Co-chair Stuart Appelbaum (RWDSU/UFCW) led a delegation to Brazil to support Brazilian brothers and sisters dealing with the implementation of national "right to work" legislation, and to show their solidarity with former Brazilian President and union leader Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva, who was unjustly accused and convicted on corruption charges earlier this year and has been inhibited from campaigning freely as a candidate in the upcoming Brazilian presidential elections. Representatives from UAW, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), United Steelworkers (USW) and UNI Global Union also participated in the delegation.

As Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) and executive vice president of the UFCW said at the outset of the delegation: "At a time when we are witnessing attacks on democracy, social justice and working people at every turn and in so many places, it is more important than ever before that we stand up and fight back together. President Lula’s imprisonment is a direct assault on the working people of Brazil. We will not simply watch as those who want to undo the rights of workers break the rules to move backward."

The delegation met with leaders of Brazil's two largest national union federations, the Central Única dos Trabalhadores (CUT) and Uniāo Geral dos Trabalhadores, who explained how the current government has implemented policies to roll back formerly protective labor law legislation and to drastically cut back on social spending, leaving Brazilian working families in a precarious state. According to Ariovaldo de Camargo, the CUT vice secretary for international affairs, “This gesture of solidarity by American workers is extremely important for Brazilian workers, who are living through a tragic social regression, exemplified by the labor law reform and the increase in unemployment, hunger and misery in the country.”

The delegation also had a chance to discuss Brazilian politics with 20 members of Congress from the Workers' Party. The delegates learned about how Lula has been falsely accused and convicted on corruption-related charges, despite the fact that there was no credible evidence produced against him besides unsworn, uncorroborated testimony given in exchange for a plea bargain. Lula's real crime, however, for greedy businessmen and establishment politicians, was to have carried out innovative, wide-ranging policies to reduce social and economic equality in South America's largest nation. As Appelbaum told the members of Congress, “We have been greatly inspired by Lula. When in history have we heard of a time when 40 million people have been lifted out of poverty so quickly?”

One of the most memorable moments of the delegation was participating in a 25,0000-person strong march led by union activists and family farmers in the country's capital, Brasília, to register Lula's candidacy for president and protest in favor of free and fair elections. Gebre addressed the crowd  during this important rally, telling Brazilian workers that they are not alone in their fight to strengthen their democracy and improve their working and living conditions. Addressing our Brazilian brothers and sisters, Gebre said, "If you want to win something genuine, it always comes at a cost, it always comes through struggle. And we will struggle with you until shared prosperity becomes a reality once again in your country."

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 08/24/2018 - 08:41

Tags: Brazil

This Labor Day, Raise the 'Steaks' the Ethical Way

Thu, 2018-08-23 10:49
This Labor Day, Raise the 'Steaks' the Ethical Way AFL-CIO

Many of you will be spending a portion of Labor Day weekend with the grill of your dreams. So when you "meat" up with friends, be sure to raise the "steaks" for your holiday barbecue with these delicious favorites made by ethical companies that treat their workers fairly, thereby helping to strengthen the middle class. Enjoy the holiday, and together we’ll grill our way to a stronger America.

Grilling Favorites

  • Ball Park franks
  • Butterball turkey tenderloins, drumsticks, burgers and franks
  • Dearborn Brand
  • Empire Kosher chicken and turkey
  • Farmer John
  • Foster Farms poultry
  • Hormel beef, pork and chicken franks
  • Omaha Steaks

Don’t Forget to Wash It Down

  • Bass Pale Ale
  • Bud and Bud Light
  • Coors Light
  • Killian’s Irish Red
  • Landshark Lager 
  • Mad River Brewing Jamaican Red Ale
  • Miller Genuine Draft
  • Sam Adams
  • Barq’s Root Beer
  • Coca-Cola
  • Dr Pepper
  • Pepsi

This post originally appeared at Labor 411.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 08/23/2018 - 10:49

Tags: Labor Day

First Day Fairness: In the States Roundup

Thu, 2018-08-23 09:21
First Day Fairness: In the States Roundup AFL-CIO

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:

Alabama Organized Labor Awards Foundation held its 29th Awards Banquet Saturday evening. New inductees & 20 scholarships awarded. https://t.co/LwnDagHAFv

— Alabama AFL-CIO (@AlabamaAFLCIO) August 20, 2018

Arizona AFL-CIO:

Rising! Winning! Join A Union! | Organizing | AFL-CIO Video https://t.co/gP4CB5zHEn

— Arizona AFL-CIO (@ArizonaAFLCIO) August 20, 2018

Arkansas AFL-CIO:

Our Union Family supporting our Union Brother, Alan Hughes, for Arkansas State House district 26!! Run, Alan, Run!! #arklabor #arkansas26 #diverserepresentation #1u #uswpaperworkers#usw https://t.co/YGmoy1cbRo

— Arkansas AFL-CIO (@ArkansasAFLCIO) August 19, 2018

California Labor Federation:

All workers should have the right to a fair system that isn't rigged against them from the very first day on the job. @EconomicPolicy lays out the agenda for making that ideal a reality https://t.co/kU9VZInru4 #FirstDayFairness

— California Labor Federation (@CaliforniaLabor) August 22, 2018

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

Congratulations to the workers at the Eversource call center in Windsor, CT for voting #UnionYES yesterday and joining @IBEWLocal457! #1u @IBEW @AFLCIO

— Connecticut AFL-CIO (@ConnAFLCIO) August 15, 2018

Georgia AFL-CIO:

#teamabrams #1u https://t.co/YTjxopcZHM

— AFL-CIO Georgia (@AFLCIOGeorgia) August 21, 2018

Idaho AFL-CIO:

This was always the plan, but the data now makes it stunningly clear. The tax cuts were never to help regular working folks. https://t.co/Rzqgh8Vkei

— Idaho State AFL-CIO (@IdahoAFLCIO) August 13, 2018

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

Corporations Owe Americans Morehttps://t.co/wDGAZg5CUi

— Indiana AFL-CIO (@INAFLCIO) August 22, 2018

Iowa Federation of Labor:

Postal Union Rally to Save the USPS https://t.co/ktTMpWVDzM

— Iowa AFL-CIO (@IowaAFLCIO) August 22, 2018

Kentucky State AFL-CIO:

... https://t.co/3xz1fmBu2F

— Kentucky AFL-CIO (@aflcioky) August 22, 2018

Maine AFL-CIO:

Great feature on @MSBCTC and their work creating opportunities for more Mainers to join apprenticeship programs #1u https://t.co/yRkmxuFZ1x

— Maine AFL-CIO (@MEAFLCIO) August 17, 2018

Massachusetts AFL-CIO:

Union members out in force this morning to knock doors for John Drinkwater #mapoli #Drinkwater4Senate pic.twitter.com/f18B1faS1E

— Massachusetts AFLCIO (@massaflcio) August 11, 2018

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

Working women rally today to oppose Kavanaugh https://t.co/oUeLDS1p3p

— MetroDCLaborCouncil (@DCLabor) August 22, 2018

Michigan AFL-CIO:

The Michigan AFL-CIO has endorsed the following candidates in races for the State Board of Education, Michigan State University Board of Trustees, University of Michigan Board of Regents and Wayne State University Board of Governors.https://t.co/CIO5DH8WeZ

— Michigan AFL-CIO (@MIAFLCIO) August 21, 2018

Minnesota AFL-CIO:

We're proud to endorse @Tim_Walz for Governor and @peggyflanagan for Lt. Governor. Watch this video to find out why and sign up to volunteer at https://t.co/WxoulE6QMS. #1u #mngov #Labor18 pic.twitter.com/1zjouizjtK

— Minnesota AFL-CIO (@MNAFLCIO) August 20, 2018

Missouri AFL-CIO:

Please help Union Sister Jessica Armistead spread the word to help get her husband Ryan a new kidney. Details can be found on the family's Facebook page: https://t.co/1D1QyN8CLx

— Missouri AFL-CIO (@MOAFLCIO) August 22, 2018

Montana AFL-CIO:

#StandWithThreeForks #mtpol #mtnews pic.twitter.com/hfg9Da0Ibm

— Montana AFL-CIO (@MTaflcio) August 10, 2018

Nevada State AFL-CIO:

With the swearing in of our executive board members for the next four years, we close out our 62nd Annual Nevada State AFL-CIO Constitutional Convention. Thank you board members, delegates, and allies! #NVLabor18 pic.twitter.com/KPTbq2sCbA

— Nevada State AFL-CIO (@NVAFLCIO) August 21, 2018

New Mexico Federation of Labor:

Just like his good friend @realDonaldTrump, @Pearce4NM lied about his tax returns. It’s been 69 days since he promised to release them -- what is Pearce hiding? #nmpol @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/cEOsRkRUuJ

— NMFL (@LaborFed4NM) August 9, 2018

New York State AFL-CIO:

Yesterday our delegates passed a resolution in support of #CountMeIn. Today we put that support into action! Join us! #UnionStrong https://t.co/1MzLkZR6qj

— NYSAFLCIO (@NYSAFLCIO) August 22, 2018

North Carolina State AFL-CIO:

"I do not advocate for labor unions as an act of charity, I advocate for labor unions because I am a person who works in the world, and I need a labor union." Why Amy Laura Hall @ProfligateGrace @DukeDivinity is our pick for #WCW: https://t.co/DC3w6kIytp #1u