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Red State, White Evangelicals, and a Blue Wave?

Eyes are locked on Texas. And deep in its heart are white evangelicals who could be part of a blue wave many hope will wash over that red state to carry Ted Cruz far out to sea.  In tight race … Continue reading
Posted: October 22, 2018, 11:33 am

Marriott Workers Strike, Spanning Seven Time Zones

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Seven thousand hotel workers across the U.S. are on strike against Marriott, the world’s largest hotel chain. A strike that started with seven hotels in Boston quickly spread to San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose, Oakland, Detroit, and Hawaii.

Marriott’s profits have doubled in five years. In 2016, the hotel chain expanded its empire when it acquired Starwood’s 1,200 properties, including the Westin and Sheraton hotel chains.

Posted: October 19, 2018, 1:42 pm

Updated: Teamster Brass Overrule Member 'No' Vote at UPS

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This article, originally published October 5, was updated October 8 and October 18 to reflect the results of the vote count and subsequent developments. –Editors.

Exploiting a constitutional loophole, Teamsters brass have declared that the controversial tentative agreement covering 243,000 workers at the package giant UPS is ratified, despite members voting it down by 54 percent.

Package Division Director Denis Taylor weirdly claimed that he planned to keep negotiating to improve the deal—but also that members wouldn't get a chance to vote on any further changes.

Posted: October 18, 2018, 8:16 pm

Bargaining Update

The latest bargaining information from the University of California, Digital First Media, Miami Air, and the Duquesne Club.

Posted: October 18, 2018, 5:52 pm

Election Update

The latest election news from New York, Nevada, and Texas. Plus, how customer service reps are taking action.

Posted: October 18, 2018, 5:46 pm

CWA Files Lawsuit to Fight for Collective Bargaining Rights for Missouri Workers

A coalition of labor unions representing Missouri state workers filed a lawsuit challenging Missouri Senate Bill 1007, which strips public service workers of collectively bargained protections on the job.

Posted: October 18, 2018, 5:40 pm

Oklahoma CWAers Learn New Skills to Build Worker Power

CWA members from Locals 6009, 6016, and 6327 gathered in Oklahoma City for a two-day CWA Political Action Boot Camp.

Posted: October 18, 2018, 5:37 pm

CWA Seeks to Protect Workers and Consumers in California

CWA District 9 has filed a motion with the California Public Utilities Commission seeking to represent the interests of workers and consumers during the state's review of the T-Mobile/Sprint merger.

Posted: October 18, 2018, 5:33 pm

CWA Launches FirstResponderVoice.org Website to Support Public Safety Network

Today, CWA launched FirstResponderVoice.org, a source for information, news, and analysis about public safety communications and FirstNet, America's new nationwide broadband network dedicated to first responders.

Posted: October 18, 2018, 5:28 pm

Citing 3,185 Jobs at Risk, CWA District 9 Files Motion to Become Party in CPUC Review of Proposed T-Mobile/Sprint Merger

In its motion, CWA District 9 cites the merger’s potential negative effects on its 57,000 members in California, both as workers and consumers.

Posted: October 18, 2018, 3:36 pm

Getting a Fair Contract Vote

October 18, 2018 / Mike Parker and Martha Gruelle
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With UPS Teamsters steaming after their union brass declared a contract ratified despite a 54 percent vote to reject it, we thought this was a good time to reprint this excerpt from the Labor Notes book Democracy Is Power about common obstacles to a democratic vote, and how to do it right. –Editors

Posted: October 18, 2018, 3:27 pm

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Martin Heinrich

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Martin Heinrich
Martin Heinrich
AFL-CIO

This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we've been taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Sen. Martin Heinrich from New Mexico.

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

  • His father Pete was an immigrant who served in the U.S. military before becoming a lineman with the Electrical Workers (IBEW), so Heinrich grew up in a union household.

  • As Albuquerque City Council president, he fought to raise the minimum wage, institute community policing and create green building codes.

  • In the Senate, he serves on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, where he is leading efforts to create good jobs and a cleaner energy future.

  • Heinrich also serves on the Armed Services Committee where he has worked tirelessly to help service members and veterans get prepared for the careers of today and tomorrow.

  • He has worked to close the gender pay gap.

  • Heinrich has fought to raise the federal minimum wage to $15.

  • He has worked with local businesses and national labs to develop new products and businesses that create local jobs.

  • Heinrich wants to expand investment in education and infrastructure.

  • He has championed renewable energy investments in New Mexico to export clean energy to other states, creating more jobs in the process.

  • Heinrich created public land protections that have helped fuel the state's outdoor recreation industry, creating thousands of jobs.

  • He secured job retraining benefits for laid-off miners.

  • Heinrich is working to allow Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug costs for seniors.

  • He wants to expand Medicare, Medicaid and other programs to provide access to quality health care.

  • Heinrich helped win a delay in the so-called Cadillac Tax on many union health plans and is working to eliminate the tax altogether.

  • He helped close the Medicare Part D "donut hole."

  • Heinrich supports comprehensive immigration reform that protects Dreamers and includes an earned and fair path to citizenship.

  • He voted to strengthen education benefits for veterans and their children.

To learn more about Heinrich, visit his website.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 10/18/2018 - 09:29
Posted: October 18, 2018, 1:29 pm

The U.S. Needs to Do More to Protect Basic Labor Rights in Honduras

The U.S. Needs to Do More to Protect Basic Labor Rights in Honduras
Berta Cáceres memorial
AFL-CIO

The U.S. Department of Labor recently issued a “progress” report on the Honduran government’s implementation of an action plan (MAP) negotiated between the parties in 2015. The MAP was developed in response to a complaint filed in 2012 by the AFL-CIO, Honduran unions and Honduran nongovernmental organizations under the Central America Free Trade Agreement’s (CAFTA) labor chapter, which included cases concerning child labor, illegally low pay, and denial of the right to organize and to bargain. The U.S. government found that nearly every claim in the petition was supported by the evidence and that the Honduran government had in fact routinely failed to enforce its laws.

While a handful of the 17 cases in the 2012 complaint have been resolved due to the intervention of the U.S. government, the situation in Honduras is fundamentally unchanged. The majority of cases in the complaint are unresolved, particularly in the agricultural sector. Meanwhile, employers commit new systematic violations. Despite an important new labor inspection law and the hiring of new inspectors, labor law continues to be violated routinely without meaningful consequences. While fines have been increased and levied, none are actually being collected, nor are the violations being resolved. Since 2012, we have seen numerous unions busted—some with government involvement and all without government action to provide a remedy. Violence against trade unionists remains a serious problem. For example, in 2017, a worker and union member at a melon exporter was attacked and wounded with a machete as a consequence of his union activity. Trade unionists also have suffered in post-election violence. No one has been held accountable for these crimes. In the coming weeks, we will provide a detailed report card on the MAP.

After focusing on progress, the current U.S. government report concludes that much work remains to be done, with persistent shortcomings in enforcement. The report names a few of the most notably intransigent employers violating the law such as Kyungshin Lear in auto parts and SurAgro-Fyffes in produce. Just as employers such as Hanesbrands and Pinehurst in the maquila sector have been freed from targeted enforcement after remediating previous violations, those employers who remain in violation should be effectively targeted for increased enforcement. The report also raises, for the first time, the issue of ongoing violence against unions, yet fails to hold Honduras and its employers accountable for the failures documented in the workers' 2012 petition and 2015 U.S. government report.

Over 6.5 years, the governments of the United States and Honduras have consulted regularly on the MAP and have implemented a number of capacity-building programs. However, conditions on the ground for most Honduran workers remain just as dire as they were in 2012. Workers trying to use trade agreements to defend their rights have seen this before. A CAFTA petition to defend workers in Guatemala lingered in the enforcement system for over nine years before being dismissed without any improvement in conditions. The same cannot happen here. We urge the U.S. government, therefore, to move to the next step in the dispute settlement process to show that the steps taken so far are woefully insufficient to establish respect for basic labor rights in Honduras.

The above photo was taken at a memorial for Berta Cáceres, a Honduran indigenous rights and environmental activist who was murdered in 2016.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 10/17/2018 - 16:00
Posted: October 17, 2018, 8:00 pm

Hawaiian hotel workers want better pay for state’s high cost of living

Thousands of Marriott hotel workers in Hawaii say they want better wages, sexual harassment protections, and a promise not to be replaced by automation. They have been on strike for more than a week, but it doesn’t appear the strike will end anytime soon. Hotel workers who are members of Unite Here Local 5 have […]
Posted: October 17, 2018, 4:39 pm

Introducing the 'State of the Unions' Podcast

Introducing the 'State of the Unions' Podcast
State of the Unions
AFL-CIO

The AFL-CIO has launched another tool to bring you the issues and stories that matter to working people. Our new podcast, “State of the Unions,” officially debuted today with an interview with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician who helped expose the Flint, Michigan, water crisis.

One in four Americans listen to podcasts on a monthly basis. “State of the Unions” will capture the stories of workers across the country. It’s hosted by two young and diverse members of the AFL-CIO team: Political Mobilization Director Julie Greene and Executive Speechwriter Tim Schlittner. A new episode will drop every other Wednesday featuring interesting interviews with workers and our allies across the country, as well as compelling insights from the podcast’s hosts.

Learn more about Julie and Tim in their inaugural episode and check out their interview with Dr. Hanna-Attisha.

The upcoming schedule is as follows:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 31: Mayor Dahlia Vertreese (IUOE) of Hillside, New Jersey.

  • Wednesday, Nov. 14: Post-election recap and analysis.

State of the Unions” is available on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and anywhere else you can find podcasts.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 10/17/2018 - 12:12
Posted: October 17, 2018, 4:12 pm

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Paulette Jordan

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Paulette Jordan
Paulette Jordan
AFL-CIO

This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we've been taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Idaho gubernatorial candidate Paulette Jordan.

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

  • She will look at every opportunity to raise the minimum wage gradually.

  • Jordan wants to expand and further develop the state's renewable energy resources, including wind, solar, water, geothermal and biomass.

  • She will invest in STEM education at the high school level.

  • Jordan plans to create public-private partnerships among universities, technology companies and the Idaho National Laboratory that will expand job opportunities in the information technology sector.

  • She will pursue a strategic national marketing campaign to boost the state's tourism industry and create jobs.

  • Jordan is proposing a plan for a statewide transportation system that will link rural areas to urban areas and increase tourism opportunities.

  • She will expand broadband access, particularly in rural areas and on tribal lands.

  • Jordan wants to implement an opt-in statewide universal preschool program to help prepare more students for participation in higher education and the workforce and create more education jobs.

  • She wants to improve teacher pay to make Idaho competitive with neighboring states.

  • As a legislator, she introduced a bill to forgive teachers' student loan debts if they worked in rural schools and she wants more programs like this to be instituted.

  • Jordan wants to expand advanced placement and dual-credit classes in high schools to help students be more prepared for higher education.

  • She favors expanding Medicaid.

  • She will pursue a public medical school to increase the number of doctors, nurses, physician assistants and pharmacists working in the state.

  • Jordan wants to expand Idaho's participation in the clean energy and sustainability sector.

To learn more about Jordan, visit her website.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 10/17/2018 - 08:03
Posted: October 17, 2018, 12:03 pm

'One job should be enough,' striking Marriott workers say

Thousands of Marriott hotel workers are on strike in eight U.S. cities in a campaign with the slogan “one job should be enough.” The workers’ union points out that Marriott’s profits have risen by 279 percent since the great recession, while worker pay has gone up only seven percent. “As the largest hotel employer in the world, Marriott can […]
Posted: October 16, 2018, 4:36 pm

Thousands of Amazon Delivery Drivers Won’t Be Eligible for the $15 Wage

Amazon’s announcement raising its entry-level wage to $15 an hour for all employees has been lauded as an inspiring example of corporate responsibility. In response to sharp criticism and threatened legislation from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) over low pay and horrid conditions at Amazon warehouses, CEO Jeff Bezos said: “We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to […]
Posted: October 15, 2018, 4:32 pm

National Hispanic Heritage Month Profiles: Baldemar Velásquez

National Hispanic Heritage Month Profiles: Baldemar Velásquez
Baldemar Velásquez
NC State AFL-CIO

Throughout National Hispanic Heritage Month, the AFL-CIO will be profiling labor leaders and activists to spotlight the diverse contributions Hispanics and Latinos have made to our movement. Today's profile features Baldemar Velásquez.

Baldemar Velásquez was born in 1947 in Pharr, Texas, the son of migrant farm workers who were the second generation to work in that field in the United States. By the time he was five years old, Velásquez joined his family picking sugar beets and tomatoes. He used that experience, along with the inspiration of Mahatma Gandhi, César Chávez and Martin Luther King Jr., to pursue a career improving the lives of migrant farm workers.

At the age of 12, he led his first strike, helping migrant workers at his summer job win better wages. After high school, he attended several colleges, graduating from Bluffton College in 1969 with a degree in sociology. He continued working while in college, and in 1967, Velásquez founded the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) with his father. The initial idea behind the committee was to organize farm workers to seek improvements in pay, housing and education for pickers. Soon, Velásquez and FLOC were organizing strikes and other actions to convince growers to raise wages and improve working conditions. FLOC had significant success until the American Farm Bureau Federation convinced some growers to withdraw from the market and others to refuse to honor contracts.

In the 1970s, FLOC shifted its attention toward national and international companies, with Velásquez saying that the previous focus on local growers was a mistake and that real change would come from confronting farm-related corporations instead. The new strategy led to victories, including the 1978 strike against the Campbell Soup Co., which was the largest agricultural labor action in the history of the Midwest and which led to the first three-way contract with industry, grower associations and workers. That success led to expanded actions in the South, most notably with successful campaigns for workers at the Mt. Olive Pickle Co. in the 1990s and at R.J. Reynolds tobacco in the 2000s. FLOC became a fully chartered international union and full affiliate of the AFL-CIO in 2006.

His many years of activism on behalf of farm workers led to widespread recognition for Velásquez. In 1989, he was awarded a MacArthur "Genius Grant" Fellowship. In 1994, he received the Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award from the National Council of La Raza and the Aguila Azteca Award, the highest honor Mexico gives to non-citizens. He also has been awarded honorary doctoral degrees from several universities, including Bowling Green State University, Bluffton University and the University of Toledo. Velásquez continues as president of FLOC today and advocated on behalf of all workers as a member of the AFL-CIO Executive Council.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 10/15/2018 - 10:56
Posted: October 15, 2018, 2:56 pm

An Upsurge in Collective Action: The Working People Weekly List

An Upsurge in Collective Action: The Working People Weekly List
Working People Weekly List
AFL-CIO

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

AFL-CIO's Trumka Is Optimistic About the Midterms: "Big labor is optimistic about the 2018 midterm elections because, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said, progressives have been working together to oust anti-labor Republicans. 'There’s been this real upsurge in collective action where people say the political system isn’t working for me, the economic system isn’t working for me, so how am I going to make change?' Mr. Trumka said in an interview last week. 'They’ve worked with each other.'"

A Record Number of Women Are Running for Office. This Election Cycle, They Didn't Wait for an Invite: "A record number of women are running for the U.S. House, Senate and state legislatures this year—more than any other election in U.S. history. Traditionally, the major political parties scout out their potential candidates. And typically, says Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, men are sought after more than women."

AFL-CIO Says Ad Investment Marks 'Historic' Initiative in Communities of Color: "GOTV Radio Ad Airing on African American and Spanish-Language Radio. The AFL-CIO this week launched a massive get-out-the-vote campaign, airing ads on African American and Spanish-language radio in 26 targeted media markets across the country. The high six-figure buy marks the largest such investment in communities of color in the AFL-CIO’s history. The ad buy includes multiple media markets throughout Georgia, including Atlanta, Albany, Columbus and Augusta."

Why Nearly 8,000 Marriott Workers Are Striking in 8 Cities: "Thousands of hotel employees are refusing to go to work at Marriott-owned hotels in eight major U.S. cities, citing mounting frustration over stalled negotiations for higher wages and safety measures. As of Wednesday, nearly 8,000 housekeepers, bartenders, and other service workers had walked off the job at 23 hotels in Detroit, Boston, San Diego, San Jose, Oakland, San Francisco, Maui and Oahu, according to their labor union, Unite Here, which represents more than 20,000 Marriott workers in the United States and Canada."

Trade Talks Episode 57: It's Fun to Discuss the USMCA—the New NAFTA: "Soumaya Keynes and Chad Bown describe key elements of the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement, or USMCA, announced on October 1, 2018. Beneath the spin, they analyze what the deal really does, including where new market access has been granted, and where new rules have been written. Will the new deal generate American jobs in car manufacturing? Will it strengthen Mexico's labor standards? Will it stop Canada from signing a future trade deal with China?"

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

National Hispanic Heritage Month Profiles: Henry L. 'Hank' Lacayo: "Throughout National Hispanic Heritage Month, the AFL-CIO will be profiling labor leaders and activists to spotlight the diverse contributions Hispanics and Latinos have made to our movement. Today's profile features Henry L. 'Hank' Lacayo."

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

Economy Gains 134,000 Jobs in September; Unemployment Down Slightly to 3.7%: "The U.S. economy gained 134,000 jobs in September, and unemployment was down slightly to 3.7%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Continued slow wage growth means the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee is premature in raising interest rates."

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 10/15/2018 - 10:38
Posted: October 15, 2018, 2:38 pm

Lessons from Teachers on How to Strike and Win

Teachers across the country this year are breathing new life into the strike—galvanizing members and winning gains.

These strikes are fueled by rank-and-file anger. Many were coordinated not from above by the official union leadership but by networks of activists. The size of the mobilizations and level of organization have caught many by surprise.

Posted: October 15, 2018, 2:26 pm

What Does the New Doctor Who Offer Working-Class Whovians?

The new season of British Sci-Fi show, Doctor Who has created a buzz due to the casting of a woman to play the Doctor for the first time in the show’s fifty-five-year history. I’ve been a life-long fan – the … Continue reading
Posted: October 15, 2018, 11:34 am

Chicago Teamsters Mull Strike at UPS

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If UPS keeps stonewalling in upcoming bargaining, members of Chicago-area Teamsters Local 705 will take a strike vote in early November, for a possible walkout the week after Thanksgiving. That’s peak season at UPS.

Stewards greeted this morning’s announcement from Secretary-Treasurer Juan Campos, the union’s principal officer, with “lots of rounds of applause,” said bargaining team member and UPS feeder driver Dave Bernt.

There’s one bargaining session left, October 25-26, and Bernt said the union is approaching it in good faith.

Posted: October 12, 2018, 7:49 pm

OSHA Weakens Workers’ Protections Against Retaliation for Reporting Injuries

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a memo Thursday weakening workers’ protection against employer retaliation for reporting injuries and illnesses. Section 1904.35(b)(1)(iv) of the Obama administrations 2016 “Electronic Recordkeeping Rule” told employers that “You must not discharge or in any manner discriminate against any employee for reporting a work-related injury or illness.” According to Deborah Berkowitz, […]
Posted: October 12, 2018, 4:29 pm

National Hispanic Heritage Month Profiles: Linda Chavez-Thompson

National Hispanic Heritage Month Profiles: Linda Chavez-Thompson
Linda Chavez-Thompson
Wikimedia Commons

Throughout National Hispanic Heritage Month, the AFL-CIO will be profiling labor leaders and activists to spotlight the diverse contributions Hispanics and Latinos have made to our movement. Today's profile features Linda Chavez-Thompson.

A second-generation American of Mexican descent, Chavez-Thompson grew up in Lubbock, Texas. An oft-told anecdote from her childhood told the story of a young Chavez-Thompson convincing her father that her mother should stay home and care for the household rather than working in the fields. She and her siblings threatened to walk off the job in support of her mother. Her father agreed and Chavez-Thompson got her first organizing victory.

In 1967, she started working as a secretary at the Laborers (LIUNA) local in Lubbock. As the only bilingual staff member, she soon became the union representative for Spanish-speaking LIUNA members. Before long, she was drafting grievances for workers and representing them in administrative proceedings.

Later, she moved to San Antonio and began working with AFSCME. In 1986, she began serving as a national vice president for the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement. Her accomplishments and hard work helped her become an international vice president of AFSCME in 1988, and in 1993, she was elected to serve as a vice president on the AFL-CIO Executive Council. In 1995, she won her election to become the federation's first elected executive vice president. She was the first person of color to hold one of the AFL-CIO's top three positions.

During her time as an AFL-CIO officer, Chavez-Thompson focused heavily on recruitment, particularly trying to convince more women and people of color to join unions. She also focused on teaching the importance of unions to young people. Even more successful were her efforts to partner with community groups in recruiting members and fighting back against anti-union efforts. She represented the federation and working people in a variety of organizations, including the National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the United Way of America and the Democratic National Committee. She also was elected president of the Inter-American Regional Organization of Workers, a part of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.

Chavez-Thompson retired from the AFL-CIO in 2007.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 10/12/2018 - 09:14
Posted: October 12, 2018, 1:14 pm

Workers Rally to Save Jobs at Risk in Proposed T-Mobile/Sprint Merger

Local workers and community members held a "save our jobs" rally outside of Sprint's headquarters in Kansas.

Posted: October 11, 2018, 5:12 pm

Bargaining Update

The latest bargaining information for AT&T Midwest and AT&T Legacy T.

Posted: October 11, 2018, 5:06 pm

Organizing Update

Workers at the Omaha World-Herald voted overwhelmingly to form a union with NewsGuild-CWA.

Posted: October 11, 2018, 5:03 pm

The Trucking Industry Is a “Sweatshop on Wheels.” Here’s How Kavanaugh Could Make It Worse.

While the nation was focused on Brett Kavanaugh’s contentious confirmation process, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments in New Prime Inc. v. Oliveira, a major labor case that could impact thousands of workers throughout the country. The Court will determine whether workers in the hyper-exploitive trucking industry can sue their bosses for breaking the law. Kavanaugh […]
Posted: October 11, 2018, 4:26 pm

Beyond $15 at Amazon

“Power concedes nothing without a demand,” abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass declared 161 years ago.

Last week saw that truth on broad display as Amazon, facing growing political and organizing pressure, announced it was setting a minimum wage of $15 an hour for its U.S. workforce and also raising wages in England.

Posted: October 11, 2018, 3:18 pm

What Are Your Workplace Rights When Entering Rehab?

Drug and alcohol rehab have helped millions of Americans successfully recover from addiction and greatly improve their quality of life. But if you’re employed and struggling with substance abuse, a decision to enter rehab can often be complicated by anxious concerns about job security and if/how you should tell your boss. The good news is […]
Posted: October 10, 2018, 8:43 pm

Gas Workers Defend the Next Generation, As Lockout Enters Fourth Month

October 10, 2018 / Joe Ramsey and Barbara Madeloni
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There’s a reason his employer wants to eliminate pensions for new hires, said corrosion technician Andy Colleran: “National Grid is trying to break the union from within.”

Colleran is one of 1,200 members of Steelworkers Locals 12003 and 12012 in Massachusetts who have been locked out since June, after the unions refused a two-tier contract.

National Grid is a British-based utility company that provides gas and electric service in Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island. The locked-out union members work on gas lines.

Posted: October 10, 2018, 3:25 pm

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Tammy Baldwin

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Tammy Baldwin
Tammy Baldwin
AFL-CIO

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

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

  • After graduating from Smith College, she worked on pay equity issues in the Wisconsin governor's office.

  • She led efforts against unfair trade deals that ship American jobs overseas.

  • Baldwin voted against repealing the Glass-Steagall Act, a law that could have prevented the 2008 financial crisis.

  • She introduced "buy American" legislation to help rebuild drinking-water infrastructure with American-made iron and steel.

  • Baldwin wants to make the tax system simpler and fairer, and provide working families with a tax cut.

  • She proposed legislation that would strengthen the research and development tax credit, spurring job creation.

  • Baldwin has been an active participant in the NAFTA renegotiation process and favors a renewed deal that ends outsourcing, raises wages and creates jobs.

  • She wants to penalize foreign countries that unfairly dump cheap products into the U.S. economy.

  • Baldwin helped introduce the Medicare for All Act to expand coverage and make health care more affordable for working families.

  • She introduced legislation to lower prescription drug prices by allowing Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies.

  • Baldwin has worked across party lines to make sure that veterans can find good-paying jobs and the community support they need.

  • She wants to overturn the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United and will fight against dark money and unlimited corporate donations to political campaigns.

  • Baldwin proposed investments in infrastructure that not only repair roads and bridges, but modernize drinking water systems, rural broadband, schools, ports and waterways. The proposal would create as many as 15 million jobs.

  • She has fought to guarantee "buy American" provisions and worker protections in any infrastructure plan.

  • Baldwin has worked to secure increased training and necessary equipment for first responders.

  • She co-chairs a bipartisan caucus to promote workforce readiness, job training and apprenticeships.

  • Baldwin has been a leader in the fight to keep student loan costs low and proposed to make two years of community and technical college debt-free.

To learn more about Baldwin, visit her website.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 10/10/2018 - 10:29
Posted: October 10, 2018, 2:29 pm

National Hispanic Heritage Month Profiles: Henry L. 'Hank' Lacayo

National Hispanic Heritage Month Profiles: Henry L. 'Hank' Lacayo
Hank Lacayo
CSUCI

Throughout National Hispanic Heritage Month, the AFL-CIO will be profiling labor leaders and activists to spotlight the diverse contributions Hispanics and Latinos have made to our movement. Today's profile features Henry L. "Hank" Lacayo.

A longtime staple of labor, political and academic circles in California, Henry L. "Hank" Lacayo was a force from his beginnings in the labor movement in the 1950s all the way up to his passing in 2017. He was born in Los Angeles in 1931 but moved to Mexico when he was young. He returned to California for high school. Upon graduating, he joined the Air Force. After his military service ended, Lacayo went to work at North American Aviation (later Rockwell International) in 1953. Within a few years, he not only became involved in UAW Local 887, he quickly rose to a full-time employee of the local and served as editor of its newspaper.

UAW President Walter P. Reuther encouraged Lacayo to continue his labor activism, and in 1962, he was elected president of Local 887, a position he held for 10 years. He represented more than 30,000 working people at Rockwell, both as union president and chief national negotiator for UAW-Rockwell contracts. His hard work led to an assistant director position for the UAW Western Region, covering nine states, along with serving as the region's political director.

In 1974, he moved to Detroit to work at UAW's national headquarters. He served as an administrative assistant to three UAW presidents and was appointed national director of the political and legislative department and later national director of the public relations and publications departments. He retired from the UAW in 1986 but continued in public life.

He created H.L. & Associates, a consulting firm representing clients in labor and management, government, community relations, senior citizen advocacy and international affairs. He actively participated in the California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI) institute that bears his name, the Henry L. "Hank" Lacayo Institute for Workforce & Community Studies. He also advised presidential administrations, from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama. He devoted time to civic duties, including strengthening the Ventura County Community Foundation and establishing the Destino Hispanic Legacy Fund that provides scholarships and other funding to the Latino community. Lacayo received an honorary doctorate from CSUCI and was inducted into the Pacific Coast Business Times Hall of Fame in 2012.

Check out this video tribute to Lacayo:

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 10/10/2018 - 08:24
Posted: October 10, 2018, 12:24 pm

Public workers organize after Supreme Court attacked their unions

The Supreme Court took a big swing at public worker unions in its Janus decision, which allows workers to demand the benefits of unions without contributing to the costs, essentially forcing their coworkers who are union members to subsidize them. But many unions are rising to the challenge. In Connecticut at least, defections amount to a tiny trickle […]
Posted: October 9, 2018, 8:36 pm

Kavanaugh Is Terrible on Workers’ Rights—And That’s Anti-Woman, Too

On October 6, the Senate voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, the Republican federal appellate judge accused by multiple women of sexual assault, to the Supreme Court. In light of the allegations—which include attempted rape—the opposition to Kavanaugh has been dominated by concerns about the impact he will have on the lives of women. In addition […]
Posted: October 8, 2018, 8:31 pm

First-Gen or Working-Class?

Working-class studies scholars often complain about how some researchers use a single aspect of people’s lives – most often education — to determine their social class. Anytime we define class in one way, we oversimplify it and miss important insights … Continue reading
Posted: October 8, 2018, 11:25 am

One year after the Weinstein story broke, sexual harassment claims are up 12% nationwide

Exactly one year ago today, the New York Times published its first investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Given the number of think pieces written about the public’s ever-shrinking attention spans and the ever-rising churn of the news cycle’s speed, it is astonishing that anyone is still talking about Harvey Weinstein at all, let […]
Posted: October 5, 2018, 8:28 pm

Improving Patient Safety: Worker Wins

Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with nurses across the country winning new contracts and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life. New Contract for More Than 14,000 California Nurses Includes Improved Protections from Violence and Harassment: Registered nurses at the University of California, members of the California […]
Posted: October 4, 2018, 8:24 pm

Teacher Strike Wave: By the Numbers

Five percent of all U.S. workers in K-12 public education walked out on strike this spring. It’s by far the biggest spike in teacher strikes in a quarter-century.



The strike wave this spring was by far the biggest spike in teacher strikes in a quarter-century.

Posted: October 4, 2018, 8:18 pm

Election Landslide Raises Hopes for Mexican Labor

October 04, 2018 / Jeffery Hermanson
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The landslide victory of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (“AMLO”) in the Mexican presidential election in July has raised workers’ hopes for a revitalized and democratized labor movement.

Independent unions have formed a new federation. They hope to win progressive labor law reform and finally end the reign of corrupt, pro-employer unions.

Posted: October 4, 2018, 2:25 pm

Let Members Lead

It was a decisive moment in the West Virginia teachers strike. State union leaders, presenting a deal that would leave out some public sector workers, were greeted with a chorus of “back to the table!”

Those educators refused to be talked into a compromise. And, after days out on strike, they knew they had the power to back up that demand.

Posted: October 2, 2018, 5:35 pm

Is the Fever Breaking? Ground Zero Youngstown

Two years ago, I described the Youngstown area as “crossover ground zero” for Donald Trump and the politics of resentment in working-class and rust belt communities. In local rallies during the 2016 campaign and since he took office, Trump has … Continue reading
Posted: October 1, 2018, 11:10 am

Working-Class Politics and The Foremen Problem

In a recent unpublished paper, Larry Bartels (author of Unequal Democracy) and Kathrine Cramer (author of The Politics of Resentment), reported a finding sure to surprise many who have been blaming “the white working class” for the election of Trump: … Continue reading
Posted: September 24, 2018, 11:37 am

Working-Class Heroes On — and Behind — the Screen

Last week the British Film Institute (BFI) launched a season of screenings on Working Class Heroes at the South Bank in central London. The films selected offer a wide range of film representations of the British working class over the … Continue reading
Posted: September 17, 2018, 11:58 am

Middle-Class Influence vs. Working-Class Character

“Jesse” is one of a cohort of 80 students sociologist Jessica Calarco observed from the 3rd through the 5th grades and then revisited in middle school for her new book, Negotiating Opportunities: How the Middle Class Secures Advantages in School.  … Continue reading
Posted: September 10, 2018, 11:34 am

Labor’s Day, More or Less?

With this post, Working-Class Perspectives celebrates its 10th anniversary. Since 2008, we have published 447 commentaries, and we’ve had more than 950,000 page views from readers around the world. Our pieces have been reposted on dozens of other sites, from … Continue reading
Posted: September 2, 2018, 12:16 pm

Sorry to Bother You: A Spectacle That Teaches

If you haven’t seen Sorry to Bother You yet, please stop reading this and find somewhere in your town that is still playing the film. SEE IT NOW. If you have seen Sorry to Bother You, I hope you will … Continue reading
Posted: August 20, 2018, 11:11 am

Real Government Help for Working-Class People

When I graduated college in 1975, the U.S. was in the midst of a recession, and New York City was on the verge of bankruptcy.  As a student, I’d commuted to Herbert Lehman College in the Bronx from my parents’ … Continue reading
Posted: August 6, 2018, 11:29 am