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Young Workers on the Future of Work: Charleeka Thompson

Wed, 2018-05-16 16:37
Young Workers on the Future of Work: Charleeka Thompson Charleeka L. 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.

AFL-CIO: What barriers do you think stand in the way of young people becoming fully participating members of the workforce?

Charleeka: Some barriers include self-doubt, regarding others having more experience. The lack of interest in becoming fully involved. The work-life balance is off. Many feel they are sacrificing life because the majority of their time is at work. 

AFL-CIO: What issues and challenges do young workers face that the rest of us might not recognize?

Charleeka: Many have questions about seniority and how the current benefits package will benefit them. Also making enough to pay off student loans. 

AFL-CIO: What inspired you to organize/form/join a union?

Charleeka: I was looking for a place to utilize my education. When I first was hired at my facility, I had all aspirations to grow within the company. I went to company management informing them about what area my degree was focused on. An impression was made that I would be contacted from time to time to help with some public affairs that the company participated in. I was then approached by a local union member. I did not know much about USW at the time. I signed a card, went to a meeting and was hooked. I have been active ever since. I can utilize my formal degree with the committees I'm involved with within the union. It's great!

AFL-CIO: What can the labor movement do to rally more workers to join unions?

Charleeka: Workers like to feel they are apart of something...a movement. Something that they can share with their families. The labor movement has to make it feel personal to a worker. The labor movement has to identify the issues workers are passionate about and rally for those issues.

AFL-CIO: What can young workers do to better prepare themselves for success in a changing economy?

Charleeka: Learn to save money before you play. Learn a trade. There has always been a push for young people to go to college. Well a lot do, but [they] still end up with an industrial factory job. Which is great. But if they had a trade, they may be able to start with higher wages and still work for a union facility. Learning a trade is many times cheaper than going to college and one will not have the dreaded student loans hanging over their head.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 05/16/2018 - 16:37

The Freedom to Join

Tue, 2018-05-15 13:23
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,, 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.

Big-moneyed corporate interests have brought Janus v. AFSCME forward because they understand how working people in unions can negotiate a fair return on our work.

While its focused on public employees, Janus is part of a multipronged attack on our institutions and values we hold dear.

Right-wing corporations have tried to crush public unions for decades, and they’ve poured tens of millions of dollars into this case alone in an effort to slash pay and cut benefits for nurses, EMS workers, 911 dispatchers, security personnel and others who keep our communities clean and safe and provide other essential public services.

Yet even in the face of these attacks, all over the country workers are organizing and striking as we haven’t seen in years.

America is waking up to the benefits of unionism, and we’ll continue to organize and mobilize, no matter what the Supreme Court decides.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 05/15/2018 - 13:23

Time to Build: In the States Roundup

Tue, 2018-05-15 12:08
Time to Build: In the States Roundup Infrastructure Week

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.

Alaska AFL-CIO: 

Thanks to @RepAndyJ for his comments on the floor on this important bill. #akleg

— Alaska AFL-CIO (@AKAFLCIO) May 13, 2018

Arizona AFL-CIO:

The Arizona AFL-CIO has endorsed the Outlaw Dirty Money Initiative. Here's how you can help:
• Get Outlaw Dirty Money petition packets from the Arizona AFL-CIO office, the Outlaw Dirty Money office, or your Local Union hall/office.
• Get...

— Arizona AFL-CIO (@ArizonaAFLCIO) May 14, 2018

California Labor Federation: 

NUHHCE nurses are taking action to help domestic violence survivors. Ask your Governor to do the same.

— California Labor Federation (@CaliforniaLabor) May 12, 2018

Colorado AFL-CIO: 

The Colorado Civil Rights Division was established to protect Coloradans - not be used for political games. The current #CCRD reauthorization bill undermines the CCRD’s core mission #saveCCRD #coleg

— Colorado AFL-CIO (@AFLCIOCO) May 9, 2018

Connecticut AFL-CIO: 

MUST READ: "But the truth is, even Mark Janus himself benefits from union representation. Here are a few of the ways"

From 'I Work with Mark Janus. Here’s How He Benefits from a Strong Union.' #1u #JanusvAFSCME

— Connecticut AFL-CIO (@ConnAFLCIO) May 14, 2018

Georgia State AFL-CIO: 

We joined together with over a dozen labor leaders and elected officials today to show our support for #teamabrams. @iupatdc77 @ufcw1996 @AFGENational @IBEW613ATLANTA @Teamsters728 . Election day is May 22nd!

— AFL-CIO Georgia (@AFLCIOGeorgia) May 7, 2018

Illinois AFL-CIO: 

#NoPrivatization #SaveTheVA

— Illinois AFL-CIO (@ILAFLCIO) May 9, 2018

Indiana State AFL-CIO: 

Infrastructure Week starts today! A foundation of infrastructure = good jobs & a strong economy. It’s Time To Build.

— Indiana AFL-CIO (@INAFLCIO) May 15, 2018

Iowa Federation of Labor: 

Working Families Celebration and Solidarity March

— Iowa AFL-CIO (@IowaAFLCIO) May 14, 2018

Kansas State AFL-CIO: 

"Still a lot of working age people sitting on the sidelines".

— Kansas AFL-CIO (@KansasAFLCIO) May 11, 2018

Kentucky State AFL-CIO:

A decade of cuts has stretched public education and services to the limit, but the newly approved budget cuts continues the divestment in what we know will create thriving communities.

Find out more:

— Kentucky AFL-CIO (@aflcioky) May 15, 2018

Maine AFL-CIO: 

We are proud to endorse Jared Golden for US Congress @CynthiaPhinney @golden4congress #mepolitics

— Maine AFL-CIO (@MEAFLCIO) May 9, 2018

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

#Laborfest longtime sponsor AIL sponsor’s George Farenthold represents at tonight’s screening @AFISilver

— MetroDCLaborCouncil (@DCLabor) May 14, 2018

Michigan State AFL-CIO: 

The non-unionized plant's safety record is coming under scrutiny after two people were injured and more than 100 employees were evacuated when a fire and multiple explosions rocked the small mid-Michigan community on May 2.

— Michigan AFL-CIO (@MIAFLCIO) May 11, 2018

Minnesota AFL-CIO: 

VIDEO: @AFSCMEMN5 Contract Campaign Kickoff Rally (via @workdaymn #1u @AFSCME

— Minnesota AFL-CIO (@MNAFLCIO) May 12, 2018

Missouri AFL-CIO: 

To meet our current and future infrastructure needs, we need to increase investment by $2 trillion by 2025. #TimeToBuild #InfrastructureWeek

— Missouri AFL-CIO (@MOAFLCIO) May 14, 2018

Nevada State AFL-CIO: 

Join the NV State AFL-CIO + Teamsters for a SuperWalk for one of our own! Come out Sat, May 19 to support Assembly Dist 12 candidate & fellow union member Susie Martinez. Susie's been on the picket lines with us, now it's time for us to stand with her.

— Nevada State AFL-CIO (@NVAFLCIO) May 14, 2018

New Hampshire AFL-CIO: 

Tell Your Representatives to Vote Against SB 193, and to Protect Public School Students and NH Tax Payers!

— NewHampshire AFL-CIO (@NHAFLCIO) May 8, 2018

New Jersey State AFL-CIO: 

Proud to stand with @GovMurphy who signed an EO combating worker misclassification in order to promote a level playing field for workers across the state.

— New Jersey AFL-CIO (@NJAFLCIO) May 3, 2018

New Mexico Federation of Labor: 

#CheckTheLabel @BCTGMLocal351 @AFLCIO

— NMFL (@LaborFed4NM) May 14, 2018

New York State AFL-CIO: 

Fix Our Broken Public Works Law


North Carolina State AFL-CIO: 

Together, we're building a labor movement in North Carolina with the power to change our state. Join us! Text NC to 235246. Learn more at #1u #ncpol #organizethesouth

— NC State AFL-CIO (@NCStateAFLCIO) March 9, 2018

Ohio AFL-CIO: 

Last night in Lordstown we kicked off the #TakeBackOhio campaign with many of our members and @BettySutton @KathleenClyde @ZackSpaceOhio @JoeSchiavoni #labor2018

— Ohio AFL-CIO (@ohioaflcio) May 15, 2018

Oregon AFL-CIO: 

Oregon’s labor movement is marching in the 2018 Portland #Pride Parade!

— Oregon AFL-CIO (@OregonAFLCIO) May 11, 2018

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO: 

Automation CANNOT replace the everyday heros and heroines around us. @transportworker @ATUComm @TTDAFLCIO

— PA AFL-CIO (@PaAFL_CIO) May 8, 2018

Rhode Island AFL-CIO: 

#FixOurSchoolsRI #Schools #FixOurSchools #1U #SchoolSafety

— Rhode Island AFL-CIO (@riaflcio) May 14, 2018

South Carolina AFL-CIO: 

Are your members all registered, have they moved, do they kids turning 18 by November. Make sure they are registered, can do it online at

— SC AFL-CIO (@SCAFLCIO) May 7, 2018

Texas AFL-CIO: 

It is exactly these types of baseless assaults on teachers’ character that remind us just how critical a union voice is in protecting our educators. @TexasAFT @aft

— Texas AFL-CIO (@TexasAFLCIO) May 15, 2018

Virginia AFL-CIO: 

Virginia budget inches along as passions over Medicaid inspired ‘die-in’

— Virginia AFL-CIO (@Virginia_AFLCIO) May 15, 2018

Washington State Labor Council: 


— WA State AFL-CIO (@WAAFLCIO) May 15, 2018

West Virginia AFL-CIO: 

“Long backed by union support, Hamilton was one of a handful of Republicans in the Legislature to oppose right-to-work legislation, as well as the repeal of prevailing wage laws” #wvpol #UnionStrong

— West Virginia AFLCIO (@WestVirginiaAFL) May 10, 2018

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO: 

Dust Off your Fishing Poles, Time for "Take Kids Fishing" Day! #WIunion

— WI AFL-CIO (@wisaflcio) May 14, 2018 Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 05/15/2018 - 12:08

Infrastructure Week Highlights the Need to Invest in the US

Tue, 2018-05-15 11:27
Infrastructure Week Highlights the Need to Invest in the US Infrastructure Week

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.

In an op-ed, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said:

As unions, businesses, engineers and policy makers celebrate Infrastructure Week from May 14–21, we’re reflecting on the investments that add value to America. For every dollar a country spends on public infrastructure, it gets back nearly $3, according to a 2014 study from the International Monetary Fund.

Keep this in mind when you hear that the American Society of Civil Engineers, or ASCE, has called for $2 trillion to repair, renovate or replace water lines, public schools, bridges and mass transit systems. On top of that, another $2 trillion could make America the global leader in the infrastructure technologies of the future, such as high-speed rail and smart utilities.

That kind of serious infrastructure spending would create countless jobs in manufacturing. Enacting ironclad Buy America provisions would kick-start production in steel and other battered industries, putting millions of people to work and lifting wages. These broad economic benefits explain why year after year, the AFL-CIO joins with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to ask Congress to invest in America’s national infrastructure.

Laborers (LIUNA) General President Terry O'Sullivan also wrote about the importance of investing in our shared resources and shared future:

For too long there’s been too much talk, too little action and far too little investment in our country’s crumbling critical infrastructure. As a result our transportation systems are failing, our water resources are antiquated, our energy systems are out of date, and our nation’s ability to compete is hindered....

During Infrastructure Week, solutions will be highlighted, such as adjusting the federal gas tax and implementing a vehicle miles traveled fee to generate investment, as well as, state efforts to pump more investment into our transportation systems....

No one solution will be enough. What is a certain, though, is that it will take significant national investment to keep our bridges from continuing to deteriorate, better maintain our roads, and improve the reliability of our water.

Here are some of the most important areas where we need to invest in our infrastructure:

  • Bridges: As of the most recent data, 9.1% of bridges were structurally deficient and 14% were functionally obsolete. Motorists make 188 million trips a day on structurally deficient bridges. The repair backlog for bridges would cost $123 billion to get caught up.
  • Roads: Poor roads cost Americans $160 billion in lost time and wasted gas. Two in five urban interstate miles are congested, while one in five miles of pavement across the country is in poor condition.
  • Water: About 240,000 water mains break each year, leading to the waste of 2 trillion gallons of drinking water annually. It would take 200 years to replace needed pipes across the country at the current rate, a timeline well beyond the useful life of those pipes. Additionally, 2,170 dams in the United States are deficient, with dam failure a significant threat to lives and property.
  • Energy: Our power grid is at full capacity, and as demand grows, power outages become more likely. More than $177 billion is needed between now and 2025 to upgrade the grid. Data from the latest year available counted 3,571 electricity outages from aging infrastructure.

Learn more at Infrastructure Week or read about the AFL-CIO's commitment to investment in infrastructure.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 05/15/2018 - 11:27

The New Tax Law Will Make Outsourcing Worse

Mon, 2018-05-14 09:34
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.

Professor Kimberly Clausing of Reed College and Law Professor Rebecca Kysar of Brooklyn Law School outlined the following problems:

  • The GOP tax bill unnecessarily creates new incentives to move tangible assets offshore.

  • The new law largely preserves and even encourages the shifting of U.S. profits offshore and makes the United States the least desirable place to book income.

  • The new law’s “territorial tax system” (meaning ordinary offshore profits are not taxed) loses revenue, and the international provisions as a whole lose revenue.

  • Other provisions of the GOP tax law are confusing and befuddle top experts and practitioners, and may not be sustainable.

  • The overall legislation is regressive despite 35 years of increasing inequality.

  • The overall legislation contains vast new sources of complexity and uncertainty.

At the event, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said:

The majority's tax law actually encourages companies to export jobs.  It creates a lower rate for multinational corporations to invest abroad....People need to know about the tax law's outsourcing provision and the perverse incentives in the law that rig the benefits and the economy against middle-class families.

Legislation has been proposed to fix the outsourcing provisions of the tax bill. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) have introduced the “No Tax Breaks for Outsourcing Act.” Separately, DeLauro has introduced the “Close Tax Loopholes That Outsource American Jobs Act.”

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 05/14/2018 - 09:34

New Survey Shows Sexual Harassment a Pervasive Problem for Flight Attendants

Fri, 2018-05-11 14:53
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.

AFA-CWA President Sara Nelson discussed the scope of the problem:

While much of the coverage of the #MeToo movement has focused on high-profile cases in the entertainment industry and politics, this survey underscores why AFA has long been pushing to eradicate sexism and harassment within our own industry. The time when flight attendants were objectified in airline marketing and people joked about ‘coffee, tea, or me’ needs to be permanently grounded. #TimesUp for the industry to put an end to its sexist past.

Nelson noted that the problems associated with the harassment go beyond the harm caused to the flight attendants:

Flight attendants are first responders. Their authority when responding to emergencies is undermined when they are belittled and harassed. Likewise, harassment makes it more difficult for flight attendants to intervene when passengers are harassed by other passengers. Flight attendants must be confident that airline executives will back them up when they respond to and report harassment of crew and passengers.

Here are some of the key facts uncovered by the survey:

  • 68% of flight attendants have experienced sexual harassment during their flying careers.
  • 35% experienced verbal sexual harassment from passengers in the past year. 
  • Of those who have experienced verbal sexual harassment in the past year, 68% faced it three or more times, and one-third five or more times.
  • Flight attendants describe the verbal sexual harassment as comments that are “nasty, unwanted, lewd, crude, inappropriate, uncomfortable, sexual, suggestive and dirty.” They also report being subjected to passengers’ explicit sexual fantasies, propositions, request for sexual “favors” and pornographic videos and pictures.
  • 18% experienced physical sexual harassment from passengers in the past year. 
  • Of those who experienced physical sexual harassment in the past year, more than 40% of those suffered physical abuse three or more times.
  • Flight attendants said the physical sexual harassment included having their breasts, buttocks and crotch area “touched, felt, pulled, grabbed, groped, slapped, rubbed and fondled” both on top of and under their uniforms. Other abuse included passengers cornering or lunging at them followed by unwanted hugs, kisses and humping.
  • Only 7% of the flight attendants who experienced sexual harassment reported it to their employer. 
  • 68% of flight attendants say they haven't noticed any employer efforts over the past year to address sexual harassment at work. According to AFA-CWA, airlines Alaska, United and Spirit have led the industry in addressing this issue.
Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 05/11/2018 - 14:53

Union-Made in America Mother's Day: The Working People Weekly List

Fri, 2018-05-11 10:38
Union-Made in America Mother's Day: 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.

Make Sure Mother's Day Is Union Made in America: "You have no excuse for waiting until the last minute to find a nice gift for Mother's Day that also carries the union label. Our friends at Labor 411, the union business directory from the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, can help you out."

America's Labor Movement Loses Champion Diann Woodard: "Diann Woodard, president of the School Administrators (AFSA) and a member of the AFL-CIO Executive Council, died on Sunday after a long illness. She had a long and distinguished career as a teacher and as a tireless advocate for quality public education for all children and for the rights of working people."

Teaching Solidarity on Teacher Appreciation Day: "A quality public education is the bedrock of democracy, which is a truism on this Teacher Appreciation Day more than ever, as educators across America instruct us all by example in the power of learning, activism, solidarity and public service. Throughout 2018, America’s working families have been inspired by the teachers rallying together against long odds for better schools. America’s labor unions offer our heartfelt thanks."

Labor’s Maria Elena Durazo on the Ballot for California State Senate: "Longtime labor activist and leader Maria Elena Durazo is a familiar and beloved name to hundreds of thousands of union members and working people. She is vice president for UNITE HERE International Union, which represents more than 270,000 hospitality workers in the U.S. and Canada. And for almost a decade, 2006-2015, she was the first woman elected secretary-treasurer of the powerful Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, representing the interests of more than 300 local unions. Her late husband, Miguel Contreras, had earlier served in that position. Currently she serves as co-chair of the National AFL-CIO’s Immigration Committee and she is a vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee."

This Candidate Became the First Woman to Use Campaign Funds to Pay for a Babysitter: "The Federal Election Commission on Thursday gave a woman candidate running for Congress the green light to use portions of her campaign funds to pay for child care. Liuba Grechen Shirley, a New York mother of two young children running for Congress on Long Island, pays $22 an hour for a babysitter to take care of her toddlers for about 20 hours per week."

The Overlooked Faces of America's Working Class: "The American perception of the working class has traditionally been associated with the image of a white, male industrial worker. But that understanding ignores the reality that today, more often than not, a working class American is female, non-white and typically representative of service work. As The Takeaway continues its series of conversations about labels and American identity, we explore what it means to be working class in this country today and whether there is still the opportunity to move up and out of the working class that there once was."

No Deeds, No Aid to Rebuild Homes: Puerto Rico's Reconstruction Challenge: "Every time Miriam Medina looks at her roofless, weak, wobbly house, she’s reminded of all her failed attempts to receive aid to fix it. 'Due to Hurricane María,' Medina told NBC News, 'my house was completely lost.'"

‘We Are All Immigrants’: "Tefere Gebre came to the United States in 1984 as a teenager. He and four friends had left their home in war-torn Ethiopia and walked nearly 500 miles across the desert to a refugee camp in Sudan. He was eventually granted asylum as a political refugee and came to the United States by himself, without parents. He settled in Los Angeles, where he learned English and became an advocate for workers’ rights."

AFL-CIO: TPP Failed Workers and Deserved to Die: "The Trans-Pacific Partnership died because it ultimately failed America’s working families. Instead of addressing the economic devastation wreaked by wrong-headed trade deals, the TPP doubled down on a failed, corporate-driven ideology."

AFL-CIO Launches Study of State of Work and of Unions: "'A generation of bad policy choices have created an economy where many industries have grown up with no unions at all—and corporations and politicians have attempted to erode what it means to be an employee' and thus protected by labor law and the right to organize, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in opening the meeting."

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 05/11/2018 - 10:38

Fighting for National Security: Worker Wins

Thu, 2018-05-10 11:13
Fighting for National Security: Worker Wins New Jersey State AFL-CIO

Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with airport workers fighting for national security and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life.

Orlando TSA Workers Defeat Privatization Push: AFGE members who work in airport security at Orlando International Airport defeated attempts to privatize security at one of the busiest airports in the country. Despite Orlando being named the top airport in customer service satisfaction, the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority previously voted to replace federally trained TSA officers with private screeners. Under pressure from AFGE members and an outraged public, GOAA reversed its earlier vote.

With Tuesday Victories, New Jersey Labor Candidates Program Notches 971st Victory: The New Jersey State AFL-CIO's labor candidates program continues to rack up victories. On Tuesday, Jerell Blakeley, a United Steelworkers (USW) Local 397 member, was elected to the Trenton City Council; Ed Osborne with Laborers (LIUNA) Local 1153 was elected to the Newark City Council; and Anthony Vauss with Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 68 was elected mayor of Irvington. Another candidate, Marge Caldwell Wilson, a member of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1087, qualified for a runoff election for Trenton City Council.

Chicago Tribune Guild Reaches Historic Agreement with Tronc: Tronc, the company that operates the Chicago Tribune and numerous area publications, voluntarily recognized the Chicago Tribune Guild, which is an affiliate of The NewsGuild-CWA (TNG-CWA), after more than 85% of eligible employees signed cards supporting unionization. Leaders from the TNG-CWA said that voluntary recognition from a company as large as Tronc was unprecedented in their experience.

Just Born Loses Appeal in BCTGM Pension Case: After a judge ruled last year that Just Born, the company that produces Marshmallow Peeps and various candies, couldn't unilaterally stop enrolling employees in their pension plan without penalty, the company appealed. In April, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Just Born. To date, the workers and their union, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM), have won all legal battles related to Just Born's pension actions.

Dodo Editors and Video Staff Become Latest Digital Media Workers to Join WGAE: Editorial and video staff at digital publication the Dodo, which writes about animals and related causes, have joined the Writers Guild of America, East. The Dodo follows Vox Media, Onion Inc., HuffPost, Vice, The Intercept, Think Progress, MTV News, Salon, Slate and Gizmodo Media Group in joining WGAE.

Health Care Workers at Shasta Regional Medical Center Join Caregivers and Healthcare Employees Union (CHEU): Some 400 nursing assistants, laboratory technicians, respiratory therapists, orderlies, housekeepers, admitting staff and other workers will be joining CHEU, an affiliate of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United. The employees voted 90% in favor of the union and will now elect a team to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement. Among the top issues the Shasta employees are pursing are safe staffing, a stronger voice in patient care delivery, improved health care and retirement benefits, and job protections.

Workers at Agency Trump Tried to Close Vote to Join AFGE: Employees at the U.S. Chemical Safety Board voted to join AFGE. President Donald Trump has targeted the agency for closure in two budget proposals. The union is pursing a grievance and arbitration process for employees and also will negotiate for a more comprehensive contract.

Charter School Teachers at Alliance College-Ready Public Schools Sign Cards to Join United Teachers Los Angeles: A clear majority of teachers at three Alliance College-Ready Public Schools charters signed cards to join the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA). More than 100 educators are joining UTLA and other charters in the alliance network are expected to follow.

Quality Assurance Employees at Nestle Purina Join BCTGM: Workers who do quality assurance at Nestlé Purina PetCare's plant in Edmond, Oklahoma, voted to be represented by BCTGM. David Woods, an international representative for the union, lauded the strength of the workers in the face of strong opposition from Nestlé Purina: "I am very proud of the quality assurance workers who had the courage to resist the companies’ anti-union propaganda and anti-union strategy throughout the 23-day period between filing for an union election and being able to and vote to become members of BCTGM Local 366G."

Working People at the Palms Continue Organizing Victories at Station Casinos: Workers at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas voted 84% in favor of unionizing. About 900 workers will be represented by the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Local 165, affiliates of UNITE HERE. The Palms is the fifth Station Casinos location to join together in union since 2015.

School Bus Drivers Win Contract in Yonkers: School bus drivers that work for First Mile Square in Yonkers, New York, have overwhelmingly ratified a new three-year contract, with a vote of 282 in favor and 7 against, with Transport Workers (TWU) Local 100. The contract provides annual wage increases and was first agreed to after the union was poised to strike late last year.

Jobs to Move America to Be Repaid Legal Fees for Holding New Flyer Accountable: In a 2013 deal to sell buses to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority, New Flyer made hiring and wage commitments. Jobs to Move America, a nonprofit that urges state and local governments to hire locally and pay livable wages, requested information from New Flyer about compliance with those commitments. The company attempted to block the release of those records, but a judge rejected those attempts and ruled that New Flyer has to pay Jobs to Move America for legal fees.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 05/10/2018 - 11:13

America's Labor Movement Loses Champion Diann Woodard

Wed, 2018-05-09 11:47
America's Labor Movement Loses Champion Diann Woodard AFSA

Diann Woodard, president of the School Administrators (AFSA) and a member of the AFL-CIO Executive Council, died on Sunday after a long illness. She had a long and distinguished career as a teacher and as a tireless advocate for quality public education for all children and for the rights of working people.

In addition to 36 years in the schools of Detroit as a teacher, counselor and administrator, Woodard quickly became active in her union, serving on the union's general executive board for 16 years before being elected president. In her time as president, she was instrumental in forging an alliance with the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the National Association of Elementary School Principals, that was key to securing congressional funding for training principals.

AFSA Executive Vice President Ernest Logan lauded Woodard's advocacy for children and working people:

Diann’s passing is a great loss to America’s labor movement. She personified the word leader in the fight for union rights and working families, though elected officials and antagonists of public education who mistook her quiet grace for weakness soon found themselves in a much longer, tougher struggle than they anticipated.

She spent decades fighting on behalf of workers in every profession while standing up for the children whom she has dedicated her life to educating, in the hope of empowering them to think independently and pursue greater opportunities.

Woodard grew up as part of a union (UAW) family before later becoming active in the Organization of School Administrators and Supervisors, AFSA Local 28. She served three consecutive terms as president of the local before becoming president of AFSA in 2009. For the AFL-CIO, Woodard served as vice chair of the Committee on Women Workers and fought for a greater role for women and minorities in the labor movement.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said:

For over nearly four decades Diann Woodard fought to give Michigan’s children a better future, while fighting for justice and rights for teachers and school administrators. Today, America’s labor movement has lost a champion, and an exemplary leader and educator. And I've lost a friend. From her days growing up in a UAW household in Detroit to her lifelong service to our country as a teacher, guidance counselor, assistant principal and labor leader, Diann Woodard always put workers, students and families first. On behalf of the AFL-CIO, I send my deepest condolences to Diann's family, including her sisters and brothers at AFSA. She will be sorely missed.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 05/09/2018 - 11:47

Teaching Solidarity on Teacher Appreciation Day

Tue, 2018-05-08 14:27
Teaching Solidarity on Teacher Appreciation Day AFL-CIO

A quality public education is the bedrock of democracy, which is a truism on this Teacher Appreciation Day more than ever, as educators across America instruct us all by example in the power of learning, activism, solidarity and public service.

Throughout 2018, America’s working families have been inspired by the teachers rallying together against long odds for better schools. America’s labor unions offer our heartfelt thanks.

Every single one of us can recall an inspirational teacher, someone who saw and valued a spark in us. Today is when we, as a nation, pause to appreciate our teachers.

Yet this year is different because teachers have collectively ignited a spark across America, by gathering and rallying together against the politics of austerity and for meaningful investments in quality public education for every student.

America needs solidarity today, as a cure for our rampant economic inequality and to inspire us to invest in a shared future of broad prosperity.

Educators in Arizona, West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma and elsewhere have demanded and won new tax dollars for the common good and demonstrated the positive power of solidarity.

For inspiring us all to see what’s possible, today, we say, “Thank you!”

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 05/08/2018 - 14:27

Make Sure Mother's Day Is Union Made in America

Tue, 2018-05-08 10:28
Make Sure Mother's Day Is Union Made in America AFL-CIO

You have no excuse for waiting until the last minute to find a nice gift for Mother's Day that also carries the union label. Our friends at Labor 411, the union business directory from the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, can help you out.

If you want to go the traditional route with some top-of-the-line chocolates, you have many options:

  • Ghirardelli
  • Hershey's
  • Russell Stover
  • See’s Candies

If mom deserves a little pampering, try these health and beauty products:

  • Dove Beauty Bar and skin care 
  • Caress skin care
  • L’Oréal Paris
  • Revlon

If you plan to celebrate the evening with one of mom's favorite beverages:

  • André 
  • Arbor Mist
  • C.K. Mondavi
  • Charles Krug
  • Cook’s California Champagne
  • J. Roget
  • Gallo Estate 
  • Peter Vella
  • Sheffield Cellars
  • Turning Leaf
  • Wycliff

If you'd rather go the floral route, try getting your flowers from:

  • Albertsons
  • Costco
  • Gelson’s
  • Pavilions
  • Ralphs
  • Safeway
  • Vons

Also, Union Plus members receive a 25% discount on flowers from Teleflora.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 05/08/2018 - 10:28

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Labor Heroes: The Working People Weekly List

Fri, 2018-05-04 13:21
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Labor Heroes: 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.


7 Labor Activists You Should Know About for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: “Each May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, when we celebrate the accomplishments, culture and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Today, we are going to take a deeper look at members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community who have advanced the cause of worker justice. Here are seven labor activists who you should know about for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.”

The Future of Work in a Digital Age: “In Washington, D.C., yesterday, leaders and advocates for working people came together to discuss the future of work. The occasion was the first meeting of the AFL-CIO Commission on the Future of Work and Unions. The commission was created by a resolution at the federation’s 2017 convention and is designed to rethink ways of building bargaining power and providing economic security for millions of Americans.”

10 Things Working People Should Know About the Caravan Arriving in California: “As Central American families who have made the perilous journey through Mexico arrive at the U.S. border, here are 10 key things working people should know.”

Led by Labor: Earned Sick Days Become Law: “Organized labor marked a major victory today as New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed a statewide earned sick days policy into law. The result is that more than 1 million workers in New Jersey will no longer have to choose between their health and their paycheck.”

Letter Carriers’ ‘Stamp Out Hunger’ Drive Is May 12: “For the 26th year in a row, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) will be conducting its ‘Stamp Out Hunger’ Food Drive. Every year on the second Saturday in May, postal carriers, in addition to their regular workload, collect food from people in more than 10,000 cities across the country. Each year, it is the largest one-day food drive in the world.”

Celebrating Workers on May Day: 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.”

Overdue for Overtime: “When President Donald Trump abandoned the Department of Labor’s new overtime protections, he cost working people over $1 billion in annual wages. Now we’re standing up for a fair return on our work and fighting for the Restoring Overtime Pay Act, which would extend overtime pay protection to millions of working people.”

Another Organizing Victory in the South: IBEW at Atlanta Gas Light: “Last week, working people scored another notable victory in the South, when 700 working people at Atlanta Gas Light voted to join the Electrical Workers (IBEW). Here is what organizers on the ground said about the victory.”

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 05/04/2018 - 13:21

The Future of Work in a Digital Age

Fri, 2018-05-04 12:53
The Future of Work in a Digital Age

In Washington, D.C., yesterday, leaders and advocates for working people came together to discuss the future of work. The occasion was the first meeting of the AFL-CIO Commission on the Future of Work and Unions. The commission was created by a resolution at the federation's 2017 convention and is designed to rethink ways of building bargaining power and providing economic security for millions of Americans.

In launching the discussion, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said:

We can’t afford to sit back. No matter how far we’ve come, we can’t act like there isn’t more change ahead. It’s tempting to hang on to yesterday’s victories. We’ve certainly been guilty of resting on our laurels from time to time. But that only weakens our ability to shape what’s coming next. More than ever, it’s time to look squarely forward.

Strong unions must be at the center of the debate. Shaping the future of work...making the economy fairer for our domain.

Here are some of the key tweets from yesterday's discussion:

Full house with hundreds of leaders coming together to consider the role of unions in the future of work #IdeasAtWork

— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) May 3, 2018

BREAKING: Future of Work LIVE @AFTunion @ufcw @ironworkers @MachinistsUnion @wearealpa @afgenational #ideasatwork

— Richard L. Trumka (@RichardTrumka) May 3, 2018

The @AFLCIO Commission on the Future of Work will hold its first meeting today and it's open to the public! You can watch the live stream here: #1u #FutureofWork #IdeasAtWork

— Amaya Smith (@amayajsmith) May 3, 2018

“Strong unions have to be at the center of the debate” - @AFLCIO President @RichardTrumka at the opening of the AFL-CIO’s The Future of Work event. #IdeasAtWork #1u

— DPE (@DPEaflcio) May 3, 2018

“Aspiration has trumped fear and we must create a sense that strong unions equal strong communities.” @rweingarten #IdeasAtWork

— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) May 3, 2018

“If there’s no humans, is there a Human Resources department?” @Marc_Perrone #IdeasatWork

— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) May 3, 2018

Technology has saved lives in construction. @TheIronworkers President Eric Dean

— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) May 3, 2018

“Change is inevitable. We are not going to stop that machine.” President Tim Canoll @WeAreALPA #IdeasatWork

— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) May 3, 2018

Labor movement wants to ensure advances in technology are human-centered. #ideasatwork @lizshuler

— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) May 3, 2018

Key message from @AFLCIO Comm'n on #FutureOfWork: The goal of Labor is not to stop innovation. It is to treat workers with dignity & justice. @RichardTrumka @RWeingarten @AFTUnion @jschmittwdc @EconomicPolicy @marc_perrone @UFCW @CMURobotics #FredRolando @NALC_National

— Prof Spencer Overton (@SpencerOverton) May 3, 2018

Even as certain jobs may go away, whole new sectors will grow around changing technology. @mchui #ideasatwork @McKinsey_MGI

— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) May 3, 2018

.@aft @WeAreGAGE activist Karen Rice, @IUBAC Glen Kelly and @AFLCIONextUp talking about young workers and the #FutureofWork on @AFLCIO #IdeasAtWork panel. Worker voice and empowerment are key to changing nature of work!

— Liz Shuler (@lizshuler) May 3, 2018

"The human touch cannot be replaced."
Younger folks at @APWUnational are getting active to support each other. #IdeasAtWork

— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) May 3, 2018

This is just the beginning. We can harness tech to make jobs safer and lives better. @RichardTrumka wrapping up #IdeasAtWork

— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) May 3, 2018 Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 05/04/2018 - 12:53

Tags: Future of Work

Cardinal Sends Letter to Mondelēz CEO Demanding Economic Justice for Nabisco Workers

Fri, 2018-05-04 12:33
Cardinal Sends Letter to Mondelēz CEO Demanding Economic Justice for Nabisco Workers BCTGM

Following a request for support of Nabisco-Mondelēz workers that was sent to the Vatican’s Peace and Justice Office by the general secretary of the International Union of Food Workers (IUF), faith leaders from across North America are escalating the call for fairness.

On April 27, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, archbishop of Newark, N.J., sent a letter to Mondelēz CEO Dirk Van de Put expressing his dismay that the core of the dispute is the company’s uncompromising position to abandon its commitment to the workers’ pension plan, and he urged the CEO to reconsider that destructive position.

Tobin wrote:

I am asking you to consider all alternatives before your company takes any action that would have a destructive social or economic impact on your former or current employees’ standard of living and retirement security.

As Archbishop of Newark, I am committed to working with the parties to secure a mutually acceptable outcome to this dispute. This issue has also been recently addressed on a global level with communication to the Vatican’s Peace and Justice Office. I know that a meaningful discussion by the principals can lead to a successful outcome.

The cardinal added that the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S. has been engaged for more than a year in supporting Nabisco-Mondelēz workers and their families as the dispute and the threat of moving jobs across the U.S.-Mexico border continues.

The cardinal asked Van de Put to meet with Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) International President David Durkee to begin productive discussions. Furthermore, he offered to serve as intermediary to facilitate this meeting:

In the interest of resolving this issue in a manner that enhances the job and retirement security of your employees, I am calling on you to engage directly and personally with the President of the BCTGM International Union through a dialogue that creates a constructive path which positions both parties for success and future cooperative efforts resulting in a new collective bargaining agreement that is fair to both parties.

The BCTGM awaits a response from Van de Put as more than 130 leaders from across the U.S. prepare to deliver an open letter urging economic justice for Nabisco workers during the May 16 Mondelēz shareholders meeting in Lincolnshire, Ill.

Read the full letter.

This post originally appeared at Protect American Jobs.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 05/04/2018 - 12:33

Economy Gains 164,000 Jobs in April; Unemployment Little Changed at 3.9%

Fri, 2018-05-04 12:14
Economy Gains 164,000 Jobs in April; Unemployment Little Changed at 3.9%

The U.S. economy gained 164,000 jobs in April, and unemployment was little changed at 3.9%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The pace of hiring is slowing. And as the labor force participation rate drops, economists worry that Americans are feeling less optimistic about their job prospects and are giving up their searches entirely.

Since the labor market continues to recover at only a tempered pace, the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee should not raise interest rates. 

To boost hiring, President Donald Trump and Congress should commit to a multitrillion federal jobs and infrastructure package. 

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

Over the year, average hourly pay is up 2.6%. This is in line with the report this week that compensation costs were up 2.7%. So, with theses modest numbers, and the slowdown in GDP for the 1st Quarter, @federalreserve interest rate hikes need to stay off the table. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) May 4, 2018

After showing strong convergence with white labor force participation, the Black labor force participation rate takes a dip. That fall in Black LFPR helped lower the Black unemployment rate from 6.9 to 6.6%. @AFLCIO @rolandsmartin @CBTU72 @APRI_National @dchometownboy

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) May 4, 2018

After climbing up from its depths in July 2011, the share of Blacks employed hits a snag in April and falls back from 58.4% to 57.8% giving context to the fall in the Black unemployment rate from 6.9 to 6.6% The fall in unemployment rate is from a drop in participation. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) May 4, 2018

The share of Hispanics employed continues its recovery from its depths in May 2011. Last month it rose from 62.5 to 63.2% helping push the Hispanic unemployment rate down from 5.1 to 4.8% @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) May 4, 2018

In the long fight over whether workers would return to the labor market, Re-entrants to the labor market are now as important to the unemployment rate as are those who are on permanent layoff. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) May 4, 2018

Long term unemployment continues to fall, good sign, and now 63.9% of unemployed workers have been out for less than 14 weeks. But, we are still not down to pre-Great Recession levels of long term unemployment. @AFLCIO @NelpNews

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) May 4, 2018

In a sign of continued fiscal austerity at the state level, public sector jobs in states continues its recent fall, down 7,000 in April (4,700 in state education) @afscme @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) May 4, 2018

Another reason the @federalreserve needs to show caution, growth in payrolls for motor vehicle manufacturing is stalling as sales falter. Last month employment edged down 900. @UAW @AFLCIO @DetroitGearhead

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) May 4, 2018

Another reason the @federalreserve needs to watch the real economy, the slowdown in auto sales showing in retail trade employment numbers, a drop in motor vehicle dealers and parts of 1,000 in April. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) May 4, 2018

Key in the debate, are workers coming back: workers unemployed in March are staying in the labor force (discouragement down) they were 9% more likely to find a job in April than drop out of the labor force. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) May 4, 2018

Second key in the debate, are workers coming back: workers not in the labor force in March were 2.62 times more likely to be employed when they re-entered/entered in April. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) May 4, 2018

Last month’s biggest job gains were in professional and business services (54,000), manufacturing (24,000), health care (24,000) and mining (8,000). Employment changed little over the month in other major industries, including construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for teenagers (12.9%), blacks (6.6%), Hispanics (4.8%), adult men (3.7%), whites (3.6%), adult women (3.5%) and Asians (2.8%) showed little or no change in April.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed in April and accounted for 20% of the unemployed.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 05/04/2018 - 12:14

10 Things Working People Should Know About the Caravan Arriving in California

Thu, 2018-05-03 15:58
10 Things Working People Should Know About the Caravan Arriving in California

As Central American families who have made the perilous journey through Mexico arrive at the U.S. border, here are 10 key things working people should know:

  1. Staying home simply is not an option. Families undertake this life-threatening journey because the crime, violence and crushing poverty at home are so extreme that they see little choice but to flee in order to survive and try to build a better future.

  2. We must address the root causes of this displacement. Unfortunately, flawed U.S. foreign and trade policies have exacerbated dangerous conditions in these countries, breeding violence and desperation. We need to fundamentally reimagine our relations in the region instead of scapegoating refugee families and denying their rights.

  3. The answer is not more militarized border enforcement. Nativists in the U.S. have incorrectly labeled this as an “immigration” problem that only can be solved with enhanced border control. The majority of families are turning themselves in to authorities and have suffered violence or faced threats of violence that indicate a need for international protection.

  4. Our laws require a fair hearing for asylum seekers. The U.S. has obligations under national and international law to ensure that people are not returned to dangerous situations—obligations our government cannot meet with enhanced border enforcement, detention, family separation or expedited removals.

  5. Violence, crime and corruption are widespread in Central America. Honduras and El Salvador currently have the highest murder rates in the world. Organized crime has infiltrated the police force in many areas, and the military has a long history of human rights abuses. Government corruption frequently means authorities do not properly investigate violence against workers and union activists or, worse, are complicit in such acts.

  6. Poverty and inequality in the region are on the rise. Inequality has increased in both Guatemala and Honduras over the past decade, and real wages in El Salvador actually decreased between 2004 and 2011. The majority of jobs in Central America remain in the informal sector, with no benefits and no safety net. Nearly two-thirds of people in Honduras live in poverty—the top 10% earn more than 55 times what the poorest 10% earn.

  7. Workers’ rights violations have increased. Trade unions in the region report that labor repression has increased, especially in the expanding maquiladora sector. In both Guatemala and Honduras, employers routinely refuse to engage in collective bargaining and avoid paying workers the wages and benefits they are due. Too often, workers involved in union organizing are fired, threatened and even killed. Many Central American governments fail to respond to these abuses, intensifying the problems working families face.

  8. The Central American Free Trade Agreement failed to deliver its promised economic benefits. During negotiations in 2005, CAFTA supporters argued the deal would create broad economic growth and raise labor standards. These claims have proved false. The “high-skilled” jobs promised for the maquila sector never materialized. CAFTA benefited corporations at the expense of working families by including provisions that drove up the price of vital medicines, restricted financial service regulations and gave businesses the right to sue governments in unaccountable “corporate courts” over public interest laws that threaten profits.

  9. The CAFTA labor provisions are weak and have been implemented inadequately. Despite years of effort to ensure Central American workers can exercise their basic rights, governments still do not enforce their own labor laws and employers violate workers’ rights with impunity. Lack of decent work is one of the primary root causes of migration in the region, but the U.S. government has taken no independent action to enforce CAFTA’s labor provisions, and has been slow and ineffective when responding to complaints raised by labor unions.

  10. The U.S. must reorient its foreign and trade policy. Central American children and their families will continue to flee their homes until they can live without constant fear of violence, exercise their rights without retaliation and access decent work. U.S. government policies should prioritize job creation, decent work, and meaningful protection of labor and human rights to reduce the “push factors” that breed desperation and displace working families.


Read more about the AFL-CIO’s vision for trade policies that promote global shared prosperity.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 05/03/2018 - 15:58

7 Labor Activists You Should Know About for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Thu, 2018-05-03 09:42
7 Labor Activists You Should Know About for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Each May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, when we celebrate the accomplishments, culture and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Today, we are going to take a deeper look at members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community who have advanced the cause of worker justice. Here are seven labor activists who you should know about for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month:

Wikimedia Commons

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

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


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

Voices of Labor

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

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

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

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

This is obviously just the tip of the iceberg. May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, if you have other Asian American or Pacific Islander labor leaders that you think we should feature in other installments in this series, please e-mail me at

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 05/03/2018 - 09:42

Led by Labor: Earned Sick Days Becomes Law

Wed, 2018-05-02 13:11
Led by Labor: Earned Sick Days Becomes Law New Jersey State AFL-CIO

Organized labor marked a major victory today as New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed a statewide earned sick days policy into law. The result is that more than 1 million workers in New Jersey will no longer have to choose between their health and their paycheck.

“The passage of Earned Sick Days perfectly demonstrates the values of the labor movement—to stand up for workplace safety, fair and equal treatment, respect on the job, and the right to a collective voice,” stated New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech. “As with today’s victory, labor’s mission on behalf of working people will continue to lift up our communities, businesses and state economy."

After years of sustained advocacy, education and engagement, the New Jersey State AFL‑CIO is proud of its leadership role to enact this law. We also are immensely grateful to the bill’s prime sponsors, state Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D) and Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (D); to the Murphy administration, which is holding true to its commitment to put working families first; and to numerous affiliates, community allies and working people who provided the critical voice on this issue.

As we all know: elections have consequences. By electing Gov. Murphy, pro-worker legislators and dozens of rank-and-file union members to public office, we are now realizing the benefits of our political engagement. With earned sick days and equal pay bills both signed into law this year, workers are on a roll; and with your continued support, we will continue to champion progress and make sure New Jersey leads the way for the rest of the nation.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 05/02/2018 - 13:11

Letter Carriers' 'Stamp Out Hunger' Drive Is May 12

Wed, 2018-05-02 08:11
Letter Carriers' 'Stamp Out Hunger' Drive Is May 12

For the 26th year in a row, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) will be conducting its "Stamp Out Hunger" Food Drive. Every year on the second Saturday in May, postal carriers, in addition to their regular workload, collect food from people in more than 10,000 cities across the country. Each year, it is the largest one-day food drive in the world.

Doing your part in the food drive is super easy. Before our regular mail pickup on May 12, leave bags of non-perishable food items by your mailbox. Letter carriers pick up the bags and deliver the food to local food agencies with the help of retired letter carriers, other postal employees and countless volunteers.

Each year, the drive collects tens of millions of pounds of food. During the 25 years the drive has been ongoing, more than 1.5 million pounds of food have been collected and distributed during the time of year that most food pantries and agencies are at their slowest time for donations.

This year's partners for the food drive include: the AFL-CIO, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, the U.S. Postal ServiceUnited Way WorldwideValpak and Valassis.

To learn more about the drive, visit NALC's website and follow the drive on social media with the hashtag #StampOutHunger.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 05/02/2018 - 08:11

Celebrating Workers on May Day: What Working People Are Doing This Week

Tue, 2018-05-01 17:54
Celebrating Workers on May Day: What Working People Are Doing This Week AFL-CIO

Welcome to our regular feature, a look at what the various AFL-CIO unions and other working family organizations are doing across the country and beyond. The labor movement is big and active—here's a look at the broad range of activities we're engaged in this week.

A. Philip Randolph Institute:

This is why Staying Woke.....AND fighting back is so important and relevant...

— APRI National (DC) (@APRI_National) April 30, 2018

Actors' Equity:

Today is a huge day for #Broadway performers, creatives and theatre enthusiasts alike. Congratulations to all of the talented Equity Members and our colleagues nominated for #TonyAwards2018

— Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) May 1, 2018


It's #MayDay!

Today we're celebrating workers and union members across the world who are fighting for better working conditions and workplace protections. #1u

— AFGE (@AFGENational) May 1, 2018


Members of AFSCME Council 28 (Washington Federation of State Employees) and two other unions are fighting efforts by the University of Washington to outsource laundry services at the public institution’s medical school.

— AFSCME (@AFSCME) April 30, 2018


This is an atrocity, and while Chicago touts higher education rates and standardized test scores, Rahm is showing that he could care less about addressing infestation problems - @CTULocal1 VP @SharkeyCTU1

— AFT (@AFTunion) April 30, 2018

Air Line Pilots Association:

Thank you @RepMimiWalters for meeting with ALPA pilots on the ways pilots and the aviation community can work together to #endhumantrafficking.

— ALPA (@WeAreALPA) April 30, 2018

Alliance for Retired Americans:

What does Big Pharma do when under public pressure because of skyrocketing prices? Give astronomical amounts of money to politicians and campaigns: #RxForAll

— Alliance Retirees (@ActiveRetirees) April 30, 2018

Amalgamated Transit Union:

Work safety needs to improve, says #Kelowna bus driver #publictransit #transit #labour

— ATU, Transit Union (@ATUComm) May 1, 2018

American Federation of Musicians:

Solidarity In Action! A coalition of 11 unions including musicians are standing together to demand Disney pay a living wage. #EndDisneyPoverty

— Amer. Fed. Musicians (@The_AFM) May 1, 2018

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance:

These stories tell the truth about Trump’s Muslim ban: It is deferring dreams, separating families, depriving people of life-saving health care, and blocking access to education. Read and share now >> #NoMuslimBanEver

— APALA (@APALAnational) April 25, 2018

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:

On #WorkersMemorialDay we honored Aloha 243 on the 30th remembrance. In the wake of Southwest 1380, we remember why we do our work and remind the public that we are Aviation's First Responders.

— AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) April 30, 2018

Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers:

#Organizing is the heart and soul of the BCTGM! Just ask Nestle @Purina PetCare QA workers in Edmond, Okla. who are proud new L.366G members! Check out their story: #Union #1u

— BCTGM International (@BCTGM) April 25, 2018


Love that this @NPR article is shedding light on skilled trades! (And timely since we open a state-of-the-art training center in Salt Lake City Monday…) #Boilermakers @joinIBB

— Boilermaker News (@boilermakernews) April 30, 2018


A healthy worker is a productive worker. Our Local 4 IN/KY just opened a health clinic in #Indianapolis to promote health and wellness of our members and their families. #1u #UnionStrong

— Bricklayers Union (@IUBAC) April 30, 2018

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists:

Whiteness weaponized against a black person — again. #FlyingWhileBlack

— CBTU (@CBTU72) April 28, 2018

Communications Workers of America:

Happy birthday to Mary Harris "Mother" Jones! #1u

— CWA (@CWAUnion) May 1, 2018

Department for Professional Employees:

Happy #MayDay2018! We are proud to represent professional workers in union, like teachers, engineers, doctors, actors & entertainers. #InternationalWorkersDay #1u

— DPE (@DPEaflcio) May 1, 2018

Farm Labor Organizing Committee:

Bread and Roses performance during #WorkersMemorialDay in #Raleigh. @NCDOL why weren’t you there? #1u

— Farm Labor Organizing Committee (@SupportFLOC) April 27, 2018

Fire Fighters:

#Firefighters registry bill to track health risks

— IAFF (@IAFFNewsDesk) April 30, 2018

Heat and Frost Insulators:

Are you looking for a career where you get paid to go to class? How about training where you don't take out student loans, but receive excellent benefits & make livable wages? The Insulators Union wants to offer all of that to YOU!

— Insulators Union (@InsulatorsUnion) April 27, 2018

International Labor Communications Association:

Today on #InternationalWorkersDay we celebrate the important role of labor communicators in furthering the fight for workers rights. For every strike and campaign there is a poster, slogan or image. This iconic work is called “Eight Hours” by Ricardo Levins Morales #MayDay #1u

— ILCA Communications (@ILCAonline) May 1, 2018


Ironworkers placed final steel beam atop the future site of the Women’s and Maternity Care Center and Adolescent and Adult Mental Health Inpatient Units

— Ironworkers. (@TheIronworkers) April 24, 2018

Jobs With Justice:

What happens to people work in a country with low wages, no federal #paidleave law, and high health care costs? They can die. And that country is the United States of America.

— Jobs With Justice (@jwjnational) May 1, 2018

Labor Council for Latin American Advancement:

Join LCLAA in San Juan, Puerto Rico for the 22nd National Membership Convention as we strategize & work on the priorities of Latino & immigrant workers in the nation. Lets show solidarity & support for our siblings in PR. Register today through this link:

— LCLAA (@LCLAA) April 30, 2018


Having a strong #union is one of the most effective ways to reduce #safety incidents #1USafety

— LIUNA (@LIUNA) April 26, 2018


Thank you @IBEWLocal1! This is personal for us. James Price is the father of IAM Government Employees Director @Jprice322.

— Machinists Union (@MachinistsUnion) April 30, 2018

Metal Trades Department:

Saturday is Workers Memorial Day, a time for all of us to remember those who went to work but unfortunately never returned home because they lost their lives while on the job.

— Metal Trades Dept. (@metaltradesafl) April 26, 2018

Musical Artists:

In a World That Polices Black Movement, #BlackBoysDanceToo Is Revolutionary - via @HuffPost

— AGMA (@AGMusicalArtist) April 26, 2018

National Air Traffic Controllers Association:

Mike McColgan and The Street Dogs have been outspoken advocates of Unions & workers’ rights. Last week at #NATCAphilly2018, #NATCA made Mike McColgan an honorary NATCA member & donated $2000 in the name of the Street Dogs to Massachusetts Fallen Heroes.

— NATCA (@NATCA) April 28, 2018

National Association of Letter Carriers:

The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive PSA is now available. A Spanish-language version is also available.

— Letter Carriers (@NALC_National) April 27, 2018

National Day Laborer Organizing Network:

Warming up for #InternationalWorkersDay #MayDay! #No287G

— NDLON (@NDLON) May 1, 2018

National Domestic Workers Alliance:

Happy #InternationalWorkersDay! We celebrate the women who are the backbone of our economy. Women like domestic workers who take care of our homes & families all while caring for their own. Today we honor them & all women whose power & dedication inspires us every day! #MayDay

— Domestic Workers (@domesticworkers) May 1, 2018

National Federation of Federal Employees:

NFFE Fights to Save the Civilian Conservation Centers!

— NFFE (@NFFE_Union) April 30, 2018

National Nurses United:

It's unacceptable that in the wealthiest country on the planet 40% of Americans skip necessary healthcare due to costs. Our patients and communities deserve expanded and improved #MedicareForAll!

Data and graphic via @NORCNews at @UChicago.

— NationalNursesUnited (@NationalNurses) April 30, 2018

National Taxi Workers Alliance:

For five years, Uber, Lyft and other Wall Street-financed App-based companies have been allowed to turn New York City into their unfettered playground, crushing drivers with a poverty so profound that four have taken their lives

— NY Taxi Workers (@NYTWA) April 30, 2018

The NewsGuild-CWA:

“This is a dangerous time to be a journalist. At least 44 reporters were physically attacked in the U.S. last year and angry rhetoric that demonizes reporters persists. The threatening atmosphere is palpable.” via @HuffPost

— NewsGuild (@news_guild) March 1, 2018

NFL Players Association:

The importance of #mentalhealth in sports cannot be understated. We've partnered with the NFL & Cigna to create 'Beyond the Physical: A Symposium on Mental Health in Sports' in #ATL.

If you're interested in attending, register here:

— NFLPA (@NFLPA) April 30, 2018

North America's Building Trades Unions:

"The law expands energy efficiency and low-income programs, protects 4,200 jobs, provides job training and keeps Illinois' nuclear facilities open, preserving 1.2 billion in economic activity."

— The Building Trades (@BldgTrdsUnions) April 27, 2018

Office and Professional Employees:

.@Mlive @Mlivedetroit #Townhall meeting tonight to talk about public health threat posed by #unsafestaffing at area hospitals. Join #OPEIULocal40 for tonight's discussion.

— OPEIU (@opeiu) April 19, 2018

Painters and Allied Trades:

Go @MassAGO @GoIUPAT Appreciates the work you have done in protecting workers in Massachusetts! #WageTheft #Misclassification #EnoughIsEnough #MayDay2018