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Service + Solidarity Spotlight: ATU Calls on Governors to Prioritize Front-Line Transit Workers in Vaccine Distribution

Thu, 2020-12-10 10:21
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: ATU Calls on Governors to Prioritize Front-Line Transit Workers in Vaccine Distribution

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

With hundreds of transit workers killed, including 96 ATU members, from COVID-19, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) has called on governors across the United States to prioritize front-line transit workers in the first rounds of COVID-19 vaccin­­e distributions. ATU International President John Costa wrote a letter to every governor to inform them of the request and offer logistical support in vaccine distribution. “The recent promising news of multiple quality vaccines for the coronavirus has lifted the spirits of all Americans, including the hundreds of thousands of transportation workers who have been on the front lines working through this very dark period in our nation’s history,” Costa wrote in the letter to governors. “On behalf of the ATU, the labor organization representing the majority of these brave workers, we urge you to provide early vaccine access and availability for our members in the transit and school bus industries.”

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 12/10/2020 - 09:21

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: USW Members Help Energy Department Reach Cleanup Milestones

Wed, 2020-12-09 10:51
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: USW Members Help Energy Department Reach Cleanup Milestones

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

United Steelworkers (USW) members at the cleanup sites of the former Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Paducah, Kentucky, and Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon, Ohio, helped the Department of Energy (DOE) reach two cleanup milestones this fall. The atomic workers’ conversion project reached a turning point last month when the Paducah site shipped the first load of depleted uranium oxide cylinders onto a specialized rail car bound for a federal waste facility in Andrews, Texas. The Piketon plant is in the planning stages of shipping its depleted uranium oxide to the Texas waste facility. Tom Lamerson, a USW Local 1-689 division 2 committee person at the Piketon plant, said, “You feel you’re doing a huge service to the community, the environment and the country. We are getting rid of it safely and efficiently.” In Paducah, the DOE also marked 25 years of successful operations in removing groundwater contaminants.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 12/09/2020 - 09:51

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

On the Anniversary of the AFL-CIO Merger, Listen to How It All Began

Sat, 2020-12-05 11:49
On the Anniversary of the AFL-CIO Merger, Listen to How It All Began

On this day 65 years ago, the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations, the country’s two leading labor federations, joined together to consolidate working people’s goals and activism in pursuit of a better tomorrow. The AFL-CIO’s first president, George Meany, spoke to the new federation’s first convention in New York on Dec. 5, 1955.

As we look forward to another year of fighting on behalf of the hopes and aspirations of working people, let’s take some time to look back at how it began and keep in mind the many who came before us, those who built the foundation upon which we now stand.

Courtesy of the University of Maryland, we can listen to Meany’s speech at that first convention, presented in two parts:

Kenneth Quinnell Sat, 12/05/2020 - 10:49

Economy Gains 245,000 Jobs in November; Unemployment Declines to 6.7%

Fri, 2020-12-04 13:40
Economy Gains 245,000 Jobs in November; Unemployment Declines to 6.7%

The U.S. economy gained 245,000 jobs in November, and the unemployment rate declined to 6.7%, according to figures released Friday morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The improvements reflect the continued resumption of economic activity that previously was curtailed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

@BLS_gov reports payroll increased 245,000 in November while the unemployment rate edged down to 6.7% but that was because the labor force participation rate fell, so the share of people employed also edged down by 0.1% Big problem, rising share of long term unemployed. @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/BW0kzRCSbJ

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) December 4, 2020

The Black unemployment rate in November was 10.3% (still above the national unemployment rate for high school dropouts of 9.0%). A key reason the Black/white unemployment rate ratio stabilizes at around 2:1 is because of labor force participation rates changes. @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/8lQ0U7iaQf

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) December 4, 2020

This string is important to get the full picture of the depth of the current labor market crisis. Tragically, our economy and the plight of American workers has become partisan. Rallying our economic forces to serve American workers in need is not viewed as a common objective.

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: IAFF Members Lead Campaign for Referendum to Hire Six New Firefighters

Fri, 2020-12-04 11:34
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: IAFF Members Lead Campaign for Referendum to Hire Six New Firefighters

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

Members of the Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 3432 in the small city of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, led a campaign last month for a local referendum to increase the property tax levy to fund the hiring of six new firefighters. “Having six new firefighters/paramedics will enable us to better serve the community without exhausting our members with excessive amounts of overtime,” said Local 3432 President Tony Thomas. “The IAFF was with us every step of the way. From help with campaign strategy and messaging to the development of yard signs, mailers and ads, the international provided invaluable service and support.” Voters passed the referendum 66% to 34%.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 12/04/2020 - 10:34

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Strengthening Collective Bargaining Rights: In the States Roundup

Thu, 2020-12-03 14:52
Strengthening Collective Bargaining Rights: In the States Roundup

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

Alaska AFL-CIO:

Vic Fischer on what needs to happen now that the 2020 Election is over:
"The next step? Finish the process of recalling Gov. Dunleavy and his divisive agenda."@recalldunleavy#recalldunleavy#akleg#akgovhttps://t.co/4e0WuV76xW

— Alaska AFL-CIO (@AKAFLCIO) November 20, 2020

Arizona AFL-CIO:

The Arizona AFL-CIO is preparing to organize constituency groups and would like to have your responses to the following survey: https://t.co/0vIZb3qWN6

— Arizona AFL-CIO // #VotersDecided (@ArizonaAFLCIO) November 20, 2020

California Labor Federation:

Almost one year ago, Google fired its workers for organizing. Today the NLRB declared Google violated US labor laws by spying and retaliating against workers who were organizing protests.

This is huge. The labor movement stands with you @GoogleWalkout! #Solidarity https://t.co/x9vYy4eq42

— California Labor Federation (@CaliforniaLabor) December 2, 2020

Colorado AFL-CIO:

"In truth, we all have a responsibility to do our part to protect others during this pandemic. Corporations are not excluded from this truth." #coleg #nofreepasses https://t.co/diCzUwcN59

— Colorado AFL-CIO (@AFLCIOCO) November 30, 2020

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

#PaidLeave is coming to Connecticut! Paid family & medical leave provides workers paid time off when they need to care for themselves or a loved one, or welcome a new child without risking their paycheck. @PaidLeaveforCT https://t.co/FWSGHA6m0q

— Connecticut AFL-CIO // #VotersDecided (@ConnAFLCIO) December 1, 2020

Florida AFL-CIO:

“This is already a crisis situation that will only get worse, especially after December when the CDC protections expire,” said Tom DiFiore of Bay Area Legal Services,"https://t.co/WrjQcnwyYL

— Florida AFL-CIO (@FLAFLCIO) November 30, 2020

Georgia AFL-CIO:

"We have the power to strengthen collective bargaining rights and ensure working people can set the terms of their employment."

Thank you @ossoff and @GaryPeters for speaking on these important issues and hosting labor leaders and members on today's Labor Town Hall. pic.twitter.com/NhS4K0VZCx

— Georgia AFL-CIO (@AFLCIOGeorgia) December 1, 2020

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

Biden’s team has promised to prioritize policies aimed at women and minority workers especially devastated by the pandemic.https://t.co/RJEvPtY7eS

— Indiana AFL-CIO (@INAFLCIO) December 2, 2020

Iowa Federation of Labor:

BluSky workers in Cedar Rapids win victory against wage theft https://t.co/1mZQ2ecLqI

— Iowa AFL-CIO (@IowaAFLCIO) November 30, 2020

Maine AFL-CIO:

Great piece in @MainerNewsCoop about brewery unions! https://t.co/YpNBo78Chh

— Maine AFL-CIO (@MEAFLCIO) November 30, 2020

Massachusetts AFL-CIO:

We are also proud to stand with our brothers and sisters at UFCW 1445 going into negotiations with @SaintVincentMA. pic.twitter.com/h7QRDnm0HT

— Massachusetts AFL-CIO // #VotersDecided (@massaflcio) December 1, 2020

Michigan AFL-CIO:

On the International Day for the Elimination of #ViolenceagainstWomen, the @ituc is calling on governments to commit to a world of work free from violence and harassment. #1u pic.twitter.com/gV9vpFEmmw

— Michigan AFL-CIO

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Rebuilding the Energy Industry: Wyoming AFL-CIO Comes Out in Support of Energy Rebound Program

Thu, 2020-12-03 11:07
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Rebuilding the Energy Industry: Wyoming AFL-CIO Comes Out in Support of Energy Rebound Program

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

The Wyoming State AFL-CIO and its 18,000 union members are applauding Gov. Mark Gordon for investing money from the CARES Act into the state’s new “Energy Rebound Program” to keep energy workers on the job throughout the pandemic. The $15 million state initiative will save jobs in the struggling oil and gas sector. In a recent column for SweetwaterNOW, state federation Executive Secretary Tammy Johnson (USW) emphasized the importance of using the funding to keep in-state workers employed. “Done right, this cash will put hundreds of oil and gas workers back to work in the state. Yet this effort will miss its mark, if these dollars are not specifically earmarked to provide jobs to Wyoming workers,” she wrote.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 12/03/2020 - 10:07

Tags: Community Service, COVID-19

Local Union President Elected to the New York State Senate

Wed, 2020-12-02 11:59
Local Union President Elected to the New York State Senate

Labor stalwart John Mannion has been officially elected to the New York state senate to represent a district in the Syracuse suburbs. Mannion is the president of a local New York State United Teachers (NYSUT/AFT-NEA) union and he received steadfast support in his campaign from the Central New York Area Labor Federation and its affiliates.

A popular high school teacher in his district, he leveraged his ties with his community and his regional labor movement to secure the win. “This year we have faced unimaginable challenges—an uncontrolled pandemic, the economic uncertainty that followed and a federal government that has failed to respond….As I head to Albany next session, I hope that my work there will help restore our faith in our elected leaders and government,” Mannion wrote in an email to supporters. His election to the state senate in a close race means that pro-labor senators will hold a 43–20 supermajority in the upper house for the first time ever.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 12/02/2020 - 10:59

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: College Students Campaign in Runoff Election with Support from Georgia AFL-CIO

Wed, 2020-12-02 10:53
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: College Students Campaign in Runoff Election with Support from Georgia AFL-CIO

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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s reign of power over the U.S. Senate may be coming to an end soon if voters in Georgia manage to flip two seats in runoff elections early in the new year. Working people are campaigning in support of pro-labor candidates Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock. Students at Clark Atlanta University, with support from the HBCU Green Fund and the Georgia State AFL-CIO, led voter registration drives this weekend targeted at registering new voters. Students and volunteers also participated in door-to-door literature drops in Clayton County to remind voters about the runoff election on Jan. 5 and that early voting starts on Dec. 14.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 12/02/2020 - 09:53

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Amtrak to Give Horn Salute to Honor Legacy of TTD President Larry Willis

Tue, 2020-12-01 15:05
Amtrak to Give Horn Salute to Honor Legacy of TTD President Larry Willis

On Wednesday, Dec. 2, Amtrak will honor the legacy of Transportation Trades Department (TTD) President Larry Willis with a horn salute. Larry died Sunday from injuries he sustained in a cycling accident near Great Falls Park in Maryland. He was 53.

“Larry was a true champion of the nation’s transportation network and the workers who make it possible,” said Amtrak CEO William Flynn. “Larry was a strong advocate for Amtrak and believed in the need for a robust, modern, well-funded national passenger rail network for the nation. Our thoughts are with Larry’s family, his TTD and labor colleagues, and all of those in the transportation industry that were touched by Larry’s deep passion and fierce advocacy for transportation workers during this difficult time.”

Amtrak engineers across the country will simultaneously blow one long whistle at noon ET on Wednesday, Dec. 2, to honor Larry’s life work in support of passenger rail and his deep passion and fierce advocacy for transportation workers.

“The collective hearts of America’s labor movement, particularly transportation unions, are broken by the tragic death of our brother. Larry brought a love of workers and a deep understanding of transportation issues to his leadership of TTD,” AFL-CIO President RIchard Trumka said. “He paid incredible attention to detail, always looking for opportunities to win more power and prosperity for the working people who move America.”

“For more than 20 years, Larry dedicated his life to the labor movement, working tirelessly to enhance the rights and livelihoods of those who work on the front lines of our transportation system,” TTD Secretary-Treasurer Greg Regan said. “His mastery of complex legal and regulatory issues set the foundation for TTD’s policy leadership, and raised the bar for demanding and enforcing worker protections throughout our nation’s transportation system.”

Willis leaves behind his wife, Amy, and daughter, Samantha.

“Larry’s passing is a reminder that we cannot take a single day for granted, and the AFL-CIO will honor his memory by fighting for the issues he championed and the people he loved,” said Trumka. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Larry’s wife and daughter, along with the entire TTD family, during this difficult time.”

Dennis Loney Tue, 12/01/2020 - 14:05

Working People Plan Diverse Activities for Thanksgiving

Wed, 2020-11-25 12:01
Working People Plan Diverse Activities for Thanksgiving

For Thanksgiving weekend, many working families will take time off to share a meal, either virtually or in person. Many others have to work over the weekend. And still others will be helping out their friends and neighbors during these tough times. Here is a sampling of the activities various unions will be participating in for Thanksgiving:

  • Maine: The 18th annual Solidarity Harvest, co-sponsored by the Eastern, Southern and Western Maine labor councils, is made possible by the efforts of more than 50 unions, faith groups and other organizations. This year, the project is expected to provide 1,400 Thanksgiving meals to union and community members who are experiencing hard times.
  • Indianapolis: The annual Circle of Lights event, presented by Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 481, this year will be a special made-for-TV-only affair, featuring Santa, musical acts from the Tom Wood Talent Search and the lighting up of Monument Circle to kick off the holiday season.
  • Kansas: Machinists District Lodge 70, in association with the Wichita/Hutchinson Labor Federation, has launched its Salvation Army Angel Tree program to collect gifts for children in the community.
  • San Diego, California: The San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, in association with the San Diego Food Bank, distributed 500 turkeys and 600 meal kits to local families. The labor council also began collecting for its annual toy drive, which continues through Dec. 17.
  • Washington: The Washington State Labor Council is calling on members and supporters to stay home, stay safe and give to union-organized charitable efforts, including the Foundation for Working Families, the Southwest Washington Central Labor Council’s Presents from Partners and the Teamsters (IBT) Local 117 Toy Drive.
  • Chicago: The Chicago Federation of Labor teamed up with the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters, IBEW Local 134 and McCormick Place to distribute holiday meals to more than 2,000 union members and their families. Most of the meals were given to workers at McCormick Place, which has been shut down since March.
  • Atlantic City, New Jersey: Thousands of laid-off workers were assisted through Operation Feed Atlantic City’s Special Holiday Food Distribution. The New Jersey State AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and the Community FoodBank of New Jersey delivered turkey dinners, homemade treats and other groceries to ease the food insecurity that has gripped this resort region throughout the pandemic.
  • Oklahoma: The Central Oklahoma Labor Federation is once again partnering with the emergency assistance group Upward Transitions to distribute holiday baskets for union members and their families. Supplies such as canned food, hot chocolate mix and paper goods are needed this year more than ever.
  • Texas: Local unions, including AFGE Local 1920 and AFGE District 10 worked with Star Group—Veterans Helping Veterans to give away more than 500 turkeys and bags of fixings to local families.
  • Air Line Pilots: Members of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) across the country are participating in various holiday activities, including Pilots for Kids, which helps hospitalized children.
Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 11/25/2020 - 11:01

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: UFCW Demands Action in Face of Shocking COVID-19 Failures

Wed, 2020-11-25 11:14
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: UFCW Demands Action in Face of Shocking COVID-19 Failures

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

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Tyson Foods after at least five meatpackers died and more than 1,000 others were infected with coronavirus at the company’s plant in Waterloo, Iowa. The lawsuit alleges that employees were ordered to report to work even if they were sick. Supervisors allegedly bet money on how many workers would be infected.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone demanded that action be taken: “These stunning safety failures make clear that the Trump administration and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds care more about industry profits than protecting America’s front-line workers. Protecting our country’s meatpacking workers is essential to keeping our food supply secure. We are continuing to call on elected leaders to implement an enforceable national safety standard, increased access to PPE and COVID-19 testing, and rigorous proactive inspections. Without immediate action, deadly outbreaks like this will quickly spread across the Midwest and cause COVID-19 cases to spike even higher. Our country’s meatpacking workers, and the millions of American they serve, deserve and expect better from those sworn to protect us.”

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 11/25/2020 - 10:14

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Breakthrough for Organized Labor and Clean Energy

Tue, 2020-11-24 11:46
Breakthrough for Organized Labor and Clean Energy

Her goal was to go beyond good intentions and rhetoric. So Liz Shuler, as secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, the second-highest position in the labor movement and, as it happens, highest-ranking woman in the federation’s history, went to Scandinavia in 2019. She leveraged AFL-CIO’s relationships with their sister union federations to talk directly with top management at some of the largest renewable energy companies in the world.

The big idea was to make an example of offshore wind—a template for how union labor will build the clean energy future. 

Over the next year, she worked to bring leading renewable energy project developers from Norway and Denmark to the table with building trades unions. She connected state labor federations along the East Coast of the U.S. in a working group on offshore wind. She quietly talked with elected leaders. This is her forte. She comes from a building trades union; she’s adept at building bridges. And through months of crises, amid a pandemic, she kept the conversation alive. 

But Shuler isn’t one for self-promotion. She lets results speak for themselves.  

Here they are: a game-changing partnership that sets the standard for the entire offshore wind industry. And with it, an example for solar and other emerging technologies. 

It’s based on a model the Rhode Island Building & Construction Trades Council pioneered for the Block Island Wind Farm project—the first offshore wind project in the U.S. Now, Danish renewable energy group Ørsted and North America’s Building Trade Unions (NABTU) have a deal to use union labor to build multiple offshore wind projects up and down the East Coast.

Pick your adjective. Breakthrough. Landmark. The Danish fantastiske. However you want to say it, this is a big deal. It’s a framework for an emerging, high-growth industry. It involves a company ranked most sustainable in the world, and as NABTU President Sean McGarvey put it, “Our highly trained men and women professionals have the best craft skills in the world.” Now they’ll have a path to offshore wind work up and down the Atlantic coast. 

Development of 15 active commercial leases in the U.S. will support $25 billion in annual economic output and about 83,000 jobs in the next decade. This, and 30 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 1 gigawatt can power about 110 million LED bulbs. Multiply that by 30, and you’ve got a lot of power.

Plus proof of concept. Thinking of adapting to climate change as a matter of either-or when it comes to jobs is a false choice. President-elect Joe Biden made that argument when announcing his climate policy: “When I think about climate change, the word I think of is ‘jobs.’” And if you’re wondering what kind of jobs, in Biden’s 15-page plan, the word union appears 32 times. 

The announcement is progress on two fronts: clean energy for a sustainable future and jobs for economic recovery. With the future uncertain for sectors like hospitality, where workers are disproportionately women of color, an equitable economic recovery depends on pathways to good-paying jobs in high-demand growth industries. 

A little-known fact everyone should know: After the U.S. military, NABTU and its employer partners run the largest workforce training network in the country. And NABTU-registered apprenticeships are the gold standard for construction craft training. Offshore wind offers another accessible path to family-supporting construction careers. 

There is more work ahead to bring low-road employers in the renewable sector up to union standards. But the agreement between Ørsted and NABTU shows results—the promise of good union jobs. NABTU crafted the agreement language, and throughout the process, their leadership brought credibility and consistency. Ultimately, the agreement is a hopeful paradigm in workforce-development and labor-management cooperation. 

It was possible thanks, in part, to leaders building bridges with eyes on the horizon and a vision to move labor forward. As Shuler said, “This is the first big step toward the vision we share with President-elect Biden of a growing clean-energy economy powered by union jobs, and the AFL-CIO is pleased to be part of this growing energy market and looks forward to the future.”

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 11/24/2020 - 10:46

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Iowa Federation of Labor Joins Legal Fight Over State OSHA Protections

Mon, 2020-11-23 14:44
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Iowa Federation of Labor Joins Legal Fight Over State OSHA Protections

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

The Iowa Federation of Labor joined the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Iowa and a number of other unions and advocacy groups in filing a federal complaint against the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on Nov. 13, asserting that regulators failed to protect people from COVID-19 outbreaks during the pandemic.

President Charlie Wishman (AFT) of the Iowa Federation of Labor said his labor federation joined the suit because there seems to be a lack of concern for the health and safety of working Iowans. 

“Iowa OSHA is supposed to protect workers, not corporations. Now with COVID-19, we’re seeing more of the same, but with a new and terrible twist,” Wishman said. “When Iowa workers are exposed to COVID-19, it doesn’t threaten just their health and the health of their co-workers. It also threatens the health of their families, their friends and everyone they come into contact with. Worker health is community health.”

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 11/23/2020 - 13:44

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: RSVP: FLOC Benefit Concert ‘Songs for Justice’

Fri, 2020-11-20 13:04
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: RSVP: FLOC Benefit Concert ‘Songs for Justice’

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

The Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) and the Campaign for Migrant Worker Justice, FLOC’s education and training partner, are hosting their annual Songs for Justice benefit concert virtually on Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. ET. This event is the only annual fundraising campaign, and it serves as a night of community and celebration. FLOC President and founder Baldemar Velasquez and the Aguila Negra Band will perform a mix of traditional Mexican folk music. Suggested donations are $10 per person and the event will be streamed live. Click here to RSVP.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 11/20/2020 - 12:04

Tags: Community Service, COVID-19

Voluntary Recognition: Worker Wins

Fri, 2020-11-20 12:58
Voluntary Recognition: Worker Wins

Despite the challenges of organizing during a deadly pandemic, working people across the country (and beyond) continue organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life. This edition begins with several groups of organizers who won voluntary recognition of their new unions.

 

Kentucky Democratic Party Staff Join IBEW: Staff at the Kentucky Democratic Party have joined Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 369, gained voluntary recognition from management and secured their first collective bargaining agreement. In a statement, the Kentucky Democratic Party staffers said, “We asked for support and recognition of our right to organize. Our leadership stepped up to bargain in good faith and ensure that, as Kentucky Democrats, we live up to our values. We believe deeply in the importance of building and maintaining long-term organizing infrastructure as a means for achieving an equitable and inclusive Kentucky Democratic Party. We came together and organized with a single, common purpose: to make the Kentucky Democratic Party the best possible workplace for everyone, now and in the future.”

WGAE Wins Voluntary Recognition for 200 New Members at Bustle Digital Group: Bustle Digital Group (BDG) today voluntarily recognized the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) for the purpose of collective bargaining after an overwhelming majority of employees in that unit signed authorization cards. BDG’s bargaining unit will include some 200 editorial, video, design and social staffers from its various sites. Lowell Peterson, executive director of WGAE, said, “We welcome Bustle Digital Group employees to the Writers Guild of America, East. Like thousands of their colleagues in the industry, they recognize the value and power of collective bargaining. Together, we can ensure that their voices are heard about the vital issues affecting their work and their workplace.”

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Journalists Win Voluntary Recognition of Union: Management at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram voluntarily recognized a new union at the request of journalists who will be represented by the NewsGuild-CWA. The organizing committee said, “We look forward to the start of negotiations, and we hope to form a strong working relationship that will allow us to protect local journalism here in Fort Worth for years to come.”

Milwaukee Art Museum Workers Overwhelmingly Vote to Join Machinists: A group of more than 140 employees of the Milwaukee Art Museum voted by 72% to join the Machinists (IAM). The new IAM members work in every capacity at the Milwaukee Art Museum, including visitor services, food and beverage, education and programs, information systems, facilities, and more. “I want to welcome these members to the Machinists union family,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Steve Galloway. “I’m so proud of them for educating themselves about the benefits of the IAM and working so hard for union representation and a voice in their workplace. Unions aren’t just for manufacturing workers; they have a place in every working environment.”

L.A. Union Members Win the Right to Form Public Health Councils: Workers in the Los Angeles area have reason to be proud after the L.A. County Board of Supervisors passed its ordinance to establish labor-led public health councils at worksites. The new policy was pushed by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and allows workers to set up their own health and safety enforcement committees on the job. Labor Council President Ron Herrera (IBT) explained that the policy’s passage is an important step forward to stemming the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. “Public health councils address the problem at the source by utilizing our most powerful and extensive resource—our workers—as our eyes and ears in the workplace, ensuring that public health orders are followed to prevent new outbreaks,” he said. The county’s Department of Public Health also will be charged under the ordinance with educating front-line workers on their rights to report unsafe working conditions.

UFCW Members at Kroger Agree to Tentative Contract: After months of negotiations, workers represented by United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) at Kroger's have reached a tentative deal on a new contract that will address pay raises, fully fund health care for associates and reduce drug costs for associates with diabetes. Carolyn Devitt, who has worked at Kroger's for 42 years, said, “We stood up to corporate and won. After months on the front lines of a pandemic, after already taking away our hero pay, they wanted to gut our health care, too. We weren’t having any of it. We stuck together, and they knew they had to back down. I’m proud of my union.”

Massachusetts Cannabis Cultivation Employees in Massachusetts Join UFCW: Workers at Cresco Labs in Massachusetts have voted to be represented by UFCW Local 328. Timothy Melia, president of UFCW Local 328, said, “We applaud cannabis workers for forming unions to make sure that, as this industry grows, workers are able to share in the success. The cannabis industry should be a place where workers earn a living wage [and] have access to affordable health care and protection from unfair discipline and discrimination.” 

UFCW Local 152 Members Ratify New Contract at ShopRite: More than 2,100 members of UFCW Local 152 who are employed as retail clerks at ShopRite stores in New Jersey ratified a new contract on Oct. 20 that protects health care benefits and raises wages. The four-year contract maintains no cost sharing of medical benefits for the lifetime of the contract. The contract also establishes paid sick days for members, a new benefit made possible with the introduction of the New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law.

SAG-AFTRA Agrees to Two-Year Extension to Video Game Contract: SAG-AFTRA reached an agreement with nine of the video game industry's largest companies to extend their Interactive Media Agreement for two years. The deal covers voice-over and performance-capture performers and will provide increased wages and employer contributions to health care and retirement. About the new agreement, SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said, “We are pleased to have reached this agreement with the employers. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the entertainment industry, but work on video games, much of which can be done remotely, has continued. This extension allows members to keep working and have some certainty during an uncertain time.”

Michigan Nurses Association Affiliates With NNU: Earlier this week, National Nurses United (NNU) announced that the Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) board of directors voted to join as an affiliate of NNU. “Solidarity is more important now than ever before,” explained Jamie Brown, RN, MNA president. “Health care executives and D.C. politicians continue to ignore the voice of those of us on the front lines while the pandemic only gets worse. It is time for nurses to unite and fight back.” The 13,000-member union of Michigan nurses will combine forces with more than 150,000 members of NNU nationwide. NNU leaders also highlighted the need for a strong federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been lacking up to now.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 11/20/2020 - 11:58

Tags: Organizing

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: MM&P Members Rescue Downed Pilots in the Pacific

Fri, 2020-11-20 11:00
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: MM&P Members Rescue Downed Pilots in the Pacific

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

The officers and crew of the Horizon Reliance rescued two pilots who had been forced to land their plane on the ocean and debark to a life raft about 1,000 nautical miles from Honolulu. The ship received an alert by satellite call from the Coast Guard on Nov. 6 and quickly began steaming toward position 80 nautical miles to the southwest. Aboard the Horizon Reliance were Masters, Mates & Pilots (MM&P) members Capt. Mark Tuck, Chief Mate Steve Itson, Second Mate Joseph Comerford II and Third Mate William Laprade. Within two hours of spotting the downed pilots in their life raft, the rescue mission was successfully completed.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 11/20/2020 - 10:00

Tags: Community Service, COVID-19

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Boilermakers Boost EPRI Certification Across the Country

Thu, 2020-11-19 10:34
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Boilermakers Boost EPRI Certification Across the Country

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

Boilermakers (IBB) are ramping up Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) training and testing for advanced rigging at various sites across the United States, making the union even more attractive to contractors and owners in the construction sector. EPRI conducts research, development and demonstration projects across the United States and is an independent nonprofit focused on research in electricity generation, delivery and use. “Offering testing for this certification saves contractors and owners money so our members can get right in there and start working,” said Matt Wertz, the Boilermakers’ National Apprenticeship Program coordinator. “It makes our contractors more aggressive to get work and gain work.”

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 11/19/2020 - 09:34

Tags: Community Service, COVID-19

#FundTheFrontLines: What Working People Are Doing This Week

Wed, 2020-11-18 17:08
#FundTheFrontLines: What Working People Are Doing This Week

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

Actors' Equity:

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

Read more in the member portal - https://t.co/y7dZhCza27 pic.twitter.com/lKrChmRlNH

— Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) November 18, 2020

AFGE:

We

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: APWU Launches Day of Action

Wed, 2020-11-18 10:45
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: APWU Launches Day of Action

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

Members and allies of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), led by President Mark Dimondstein, are holding a day of action today to save the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). In particular, the APWU is making three demands: invest at least $25 billion in immediate COVID-19 relief for the USPS; stop and reverse the mail slowdown policies introduced by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy; and expand the role of the post office to provide vital services in every community. Click here to call your senators and ask them to save the Postal Service.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 11/18/2020 - 09:45

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service