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NewsFeed - Labor

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Equality and Electability

In 2015, Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg advised Hillary Clinton to run on a promise to “level the playing field” and “rewrite the rules of the economy.”  She didn’t take his advice. Instead, she told voters she would “build on the … Continue reading
Posted: October 14, 2019, 11:52 am

GM Strike Anthems: Rap Tracks from the Picket Lines

Let's be honest: Picket lines can be tedious, especially if strikers simply repeat the same hackneyed chants over and over again.

But not always. To break up the monotony, workers often make up their own chants, dances and songs.

In the case of the Auto Workers members below, they went so far as to record their own rap tracks and music videos, which are provided here with our immense admiration.

Posted: October 11, 2019, 7:43 pm

No One Should Have to Bargain For Health Care

Nearly 50,000 members of the United Auto Workers are on strike, demanding that General Motors pay them their fair share of the billions in profits the company raked in last year. The response from General Motors was shocking. The automaker, which accepted billions in government bailouts during the last recession, cut off its payment of insurance premiums […]
Posted: October 11, 2019, 5:22 pm

Brazilian and U.S. Workers Confronting Common Threat Build Solidarity in the Global Labor Movement

This week, the AFL-CIO joins much of the global labor movement in Brazil to participate in the 13th Congress of Brazil’s largest labor organization, the Central Única dos Trabalhadores (CUT). Fred Redmond, AFL-CIO vice president and United Steelworkers vice president for human affairs, is leading the AFL-CIO delegation. Addressing the entire congress, Redmond pointed out […]
Posted: October 11, 2019, 5:18 pm

How To Pull Off a Quickie Strike

March on the boss at Walmart
October 11, 2019 / Russell Weiss-Irwin
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A few years ago I was working for Princeton University Campus Dining as a member of Service Employees (SEIU) Local 175, a small, tough local that represents most of the blue-collar staff at Princeton and no one else.

I had worked lots of food service jobs, ever since I was a teenager, from fancy restaurants to fast food. But at Princeton, because we had a strong contract and good stewards, the pace was more humane; we worked with better protections and more dignity. And we got paid a lot better!

Posted: October 11, 2019, 4:08 pm

Imagine a President Uniting People

Imagine a President Uniting People
Lula
AFL-CIO

Imagine a president lifting 40 million citizens out of the poverty he had struggled under. Imagine a president making it easier for people who had been excluded from their nation’s wealth to get decent jobs, basic public services, a college education or technical training. Imagine a president uplifting his country on the world stage as a model for shared prosperity and an economy that works for working people regardless of their race. Imagine that president leaving office after two terms with an approval rating over 80%. Where do you imagine that president should be nine years after leaving office?

Imagine it or not, the president described above is in jail, unjustly convicted to prevent him from running again in 2018—even though he led in all the polls. His name is Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) traveled to Curitiba, Brazil, this week, joining the global labor movement to demand Lula’s release and present the country’s former president the 2019 George MeanyLane Kirkland Human Rights Award. The AFL-CIO announced the award in March to recognize Lula’s lifelong work. In Brazil this week, the AFL-CIO extended its solidarity and support to Lula, the whole Brazilian labor movement, and the country’s vibrant social and political activists and groups who continue fighting for a better life and social justice.

Trumka said:

The AFL-CIO and its unions will work to engage American workers and their families who remember what it’s like to have a president who works for the people. The struggle to free Lula and defend democracy in Brazil is not just for Brazilians, but for all of us.

Lula Livre! Free Lula!

Lula said: 

They are talking about lightening my sentence or letting me finish it under house arrest, but I insist that I will stay right in this jail until I prove my innocence. I will not trade my dignity to get released. And I will keep fighting for all Brazilians and our democracy. We will prove that the judges and prosecutors and media lied to put me here and steal our democracy. We will take it back.

Lula is a political prisoner because of all the good he did to make development more equitable in Brazil, improving workers' rights, and the inclusion and access to social and human rights, in general. The AFL-CIO, its unions and the International Trade Union Confederation and the global labor movement are calling for Lula’s immediate release because of his life’s work for democracy and social justice and because of the many illegalities committed in the process that has put him in prison.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 10/11/2019 - 11:43
Posted: October 11, 2019, 3:43 pm

Bargaining and Mobilization Update

The latest information about Frontier Communications.

Posted: October 10, 2019, 7:21 pm

AT&T is Abandoning Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

Just weeks after billionaire CEO Paul Singer’s Elliott Management Corporation announced that it had acquired about 1% of AT&T and laid out plans to extract profits from the company by cutting jobs and selling off critical assets, AT&T announced its intention to sell off wireless and wireline operations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to Liberty Latin America, a company with a history of union-busting and job cuts.

Posted: October 10, 2019, 7:18 pm

Workers and Elected Leaders Protest Racial Discrimination at Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless workers and elected leaders rallied outside the Verizon Wireless store on Wall Street.

Posted: October 10, 2019, 7:15 pm

Arizona CWAers Building Worker Power!

Last week, CWA members and retirees participated in several events and actions.

Posted: October 10, 2019, 7:07 pm

CWA Local 1108 Shows Solidarity with UAW Members

Striking UAW members at General Motors are still holding the line, and we're out there standing with them!

Posted: October 10, 2019, 6:55 pm

No One Should Be Fired for Being Themselves at Work

CWAers rallied on the Supreme Court steps to show solidarity for LGBTQ workers.

Posted: October 10, 2019, 6:52 pm

CWA Leader Honored as Allegheny County CLC Woman of the Year

Marge Krueger, CWA Director of Airline Passenger Service, was honored this week as the Allegheny County Pennsylvania Central Labor Council Woman of the Year.

Posted: October 10, 2019, 6:48 pm

Save the Date: PRO Act Day of Action

On Wednesday, October 16, CWA members will be making a huge push to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act.

Posted: October 10, 2019, 6:41 pm

Brazilian and U.S. Workers Confronting Common Threat Build Solidarity in the Global Labor Movement

Brazilian and U.S. Workers Confronting Common Threat Build Solidarity in the Global Labor Movement
Lula
AFL-CIO

This week, the AFL-CIO joins much of the global labor movement in Brazil to participate in the 13th Congress of Brazil's largest labor organization, the Central Única dos Trabalhadores (CUT). Fred Redmond, AFL-CIO vice president and United Steelworkers vice president for human affairs, is leading the AFL-CIO delegation.

Addressing the entire congress, Redmond pointed out the many challenges workers face in both Brazil and the United States, calling for unity and solidarity to move forward. In particular, he denounced the anti-worker laws and policies being driven by right-wing presidents in Brazil and the United States to weaken unions and collective bargaining.

Redmond also lamented that the current presidents in both countries have risen to power and exercise it by increasing fear and hatred, especially racial prejudice, rather than by leading.

Finally, he rallied the hundreds of delegates to the global labor movement's call for the immediate release of Brazil's former president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, unjustly imprisoned for the last year and a half. Redmond closed by announcing to the crowd the upcoming visit of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) to present the 2019 George MeanyLane Kirkland Human Rights Award to Lula in prison. The decision to give the award to Lula was announced in March.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 10/10/2019 - 13:26
Posted: October 10, 2019, 5:26 pm

Don’t Leave Equality To The Supreme Court

Are you a woman? Imagine if you were fired for wearing a skirt to work. Are you a man? Imagine getting fired for not wearing a skirt to work. This sounds ridiculous, right? It sounds unfair. But for many Americans, it’s a reality we must face every day. Take the case of Aimee Stephens, a Detroit […]
Posted: October 10, 2019, 5:10 pm

A Seat at the Table: Worker Wins

A Seat at the Table: Worker Wins
OPEIU Local 40
OPEIU Local 40

Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with nurses banding together to make patients' lives better and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life.

UChicago Medicine Ingalls Registered Nurses Organize: Registered nurses at UChicago Medicine Ingalls voted 72% in favor of joining National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU). The hospital is in Harvey, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Cathy Vaughn, an RN in the special care nursery, said: "Nurses at Ingalls are so excited to have won a seat at the table! We are ready to begin advocating to improve standards for our patients. This victory means that decisions about patient care are made at the bedside, not in the boardroom."

El Paso Nurses Organize with NNOC/NNU: Registered nurses at the Providence East Campus in El Paso, Texas, vote to join NNOC/NNU, in an election certified by the National Labor Relations Board. Nearly 500 nurses will now be represented by NNOC/NNU. RN Lena Gonzalez said: “This victory is positive on so many levels. We won because nurses from throughout the hospital are ready to stand united as strong patient advocates. We know we can accomplish much more together as union members than any one individual ever could.” 

Google Contract Workers in Pittsburgh Vote to Join USW: Contract workers for Google in Pittsburgh voted to join the United Steelworkers. This is one of the first victories for the union, which is seeking to organize at Google and other tech companies. The Google workers say that the company does not provide sick days, pays substandard wages that aren't connected to inflation and that workers are forced to take vacation days during national holidays.

Kaiser Permanente Workers Avoid Strike After Reaching Tentative Agreement: Working people at Kaiser Permanente have won a new collective bargaining agreement after 85,000 employees from 11 unions threatened a nationwide strike. The new four-year deal comes after five months of bargaining. The tentative agreement, which must be approved by the members of the various unions, provides annual pay increases and new job training and educational opportunities for workers.

Fred Meyer Workers in Portland Win New Contract After Boycott: Portland employees at Fred Meyer stores have reached a tentative agreement with management. The workers, represented by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555, still have to ratify the contract. In a statement, the union said: “Our boycott against Fred Meyer was highly effective, due to your hard work in building relationships with your communities, who stood strong and proud with us.”

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Members Agree to One-Year Contract: In advance of the concert season, members of the Musicians Association of Metropolitan Baltimore (Local 40-543 of the American Federation of Musicians) and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra reached an agreement on a one-year contract. Orchestra members had engaged in a 14-week work stoppage, during which time the musicians were locked out and did not receive paychecks. Local 40-543 Secretary-Treasurer Mary C. Plaine said: “Baltimore Symphony Musicians and Local 40-543 are grateful to all of our AFM sisters and brothers who through their verbal and financial support helped us reach this agreement. It is good to know we can count on our colleagues as we continue our fight to preserve and grow the artistic legacy of the BSO.”

After a Year of Negotiations, Auburn Community Hospital Workers Win Contract: Ending almost a year of negotiations, health care workers at Auburn Community Hospital, represented by AFSCME Local 3124, voted overwhelmingly to approve a new contract that solidifies health insurance and increases wages, among other benefits. Maureen Coleman, president of AFSCME Local 3124, said: “Since negotiations began last fall, it’s been our priority to protect our health coverage by including it in our collective bargaining agreement. This will require ACH to negotiate the impact of any future changes to its employees’ health plan with us.”

Fiesta Henderson Hotel and Casino Workers Join Culinary Union: Workers at Fiesta Henderson Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas voted to be represented by the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165, affiliates of UNITE HERE. This is the seventh casino owned by Station Casinos Las Vegas to unionize since 2016. Culinary Workers Union Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda Argüello-Kline said: “We call on Station Casinos to immediately to negotiate and settle a fair contract for the workers at Fiesta Henderson, Fiesta Rancho, Sunset Station, Palms, Green Valley Ranch, Palace Station and Boulder Station.”

Writers and Assistant Producers at WBBM Newsradio Agree to New Contract: News writers and assistant producers at WBBM in Chicago, WCBS in New York and KNX in Los Angeles have reached an agreement with Entercom Communications, which owns the CBS-affiliated stations. Lowell Peterson, executive director of the Writers Guild of America, East, which represents the workers, said: “This contract was won with incredible solidarity across three geographically separate stations. Together, we were able to secure a contract that makes significant financial gains and guarantees important workplace protections.”

Southern California Grocery Store Workers Avert Strike After Reaching Agreement: Some 47,000 grocery store workers at Vons, Pavilions and Ralphs averted a strike after the parent companies (Albertons and Kroger Co.) of the three chains reached an agreement. The workers, represented by UFCW, had previously authorized the strike. UFCW Local 135, in San Diego, responded to the announcement: “We are proud to announce that a tentative agreement has been reached with both companies. We know the road to get here has been a long one for you and your co-workers. Your dedication to standing up for good jobs⁠—engaging tens of thousands of customers with over 200 community rallies and store actions⁠—has been the driving force behind getting a deal that you can be proud to have stood up for. Because you are part of a union family, you have a voice, and a vote. Let’s make it count.” The membership has since ratified the contracts.

Employees at McLaren Macomb Hospital Join OPEIU: More than 300 employyes at McLaren Macomb hospital in Mount Clemens, Michigan, have voted to join OPEIU. The vote to associate with Local 40 was successful by 172-113. The workers covered include clerical associates, couriers, critical care techs, dispatchers, lab assistants, patient access reps, patient sitters, pharmacy techs and several other classifications. Local 40 President Jeff Morawski said: “This is the proudest day in the history of Local 40. The workers’ voices were heard loud and clear, and I am excited and proud to welcome them to Local 40. When workers win an election to form a union, everyone wins.”

CWA Members Reach Deal with AT&T Southeast: More than 20,000 employees at AT&T in nine states have reached a "handshake deal" on a new collective bargaining agreement. CWA District 3 Vice President Richard Honeycutt said: “CWA members’ spirit and solidarity over the last four days showed the company that we would not back down until they bargained with us in good faith. This was a historic strike that showed the power that working people have when they join together.”

Harvard Graduate Students Reach Tentative Agreement with University: After meetings throughout the summer, the Harvard Graduate Students Union (an affiliate of UAW), reached tentative agreements on three contracts. But the graduate students say there is still work to be done. Bargaining committee member Cole M. Meisenhelder said: “On many remaining issues, the administration has told us ‘we have nothing else to say.’ As long as the administration refuses to negotiate over the health plan or denies student workers a neutral process for cases of discrimination or harassment, we will not be able to come to tentative agreements on these issues. This includes the creation of funds totaling more than half a million dollars to assist bargaining unit members in covering the costs of dental and dependent health care, as well as child care. As the negotiations are ongoing, we look forward to continuing to work on these important issues at the bargaining table.”

Cathay Pacific Flight Attendants Vote Overwhelmingly to Join AFA-CWA: Flight attendants that work for Cathay Pacific Airlines voted by 97% to be represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. AFA-CWA President Sara Nelson said: “We are so proud to welcome our sisters and brothers at Cathay Pacific who chose to join with AFA Flight Attendants around the world. Their Cathay Cabin Crew counterparts in Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and Canada all have contracts with higher pay, benefits and job security. It's past time for these hardworking U.S.-based Flight Attendants to have a contract that lifts up good American jobs. Cathay Pacific Cabin Crew will surely enrich AFA’s history that includes decades of Flight Attendants working together to raise the bar for our entire profession.”

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 10/10/2019 - 11:55
Posted: October 10, 2019, 3:55 pm

Why Workers Like Victoria Need The PRO Act Now

Those bundles of joy cost bundles of money, so Victoria Whipple, a quality control worker at Kumho Tire in Macon, Ga., had been working overtime to get ready for her new arrival. She also got involved in union organizing at the plant, and management decided to teach her a lesson. It didn’t matter that Victoria […]
Posted: October 9, 2019, 5:34 pm

Far-right effort to smear Elizabeth Warren flops. Turns out pregnancy discrimination is a thing

Elizabeth Warren and the entire history of women’s employment in the 1970s are swatting away a claim by a far-right website disputing Warren’s story of losing her first teaching job because she was visibly pregnant at the end of her first year. The Free Beacon found documents claiming that Warren was offered a second-year teaching contract but […]
Posted: October 9, 2019, 5:31 pm

The Corporate Media Failed to Warn Us About the Trump Admin’s Attack on LGBTQ Workers

“Sex,” Katherine Franke, a law professor at Columbia University, told the New York Times, “is a confounding term in our culture, in our language and certainly in the law.” As the Supreme Court opens a new session, its justices are set to tackle the conundrum of defining “sex.” At issue is whether Title VII of the landmark Civil Rights Act […]
Posted: October 9, 2019, 5:26 pm

What's Behind GM's Hardball Stance vs. UAW?

This is Day 23 for the United Auto Workers' strike vs. GM and three large issues remain unresolved.

This is Day 23 for the United Auto Workers' strike vs. GM. Today’s Detroit Free Press says at least three items have not been resolved:

1. How long it takes “in-progression” workers (the second tier) to move up to their top level. It's currently eight years to move from $17 an hour to $28—and their ceiling still has a lower wage and benefit package than those who were hired before 2007.

Posted: October 8, 2019, 8:51 pm

Kamala Harris goes big and bold with proposal for six months of paid family leave

Sen. Kamala Harris is offering up an expansive new paid family leave proposal. Harris had previously co-sponsored the FAMILY Act, which would provide three months of paid family leave—but now she’s calling for six months. Harris’ plan also calls for families with incomes under $75,000 to get full income replacement, with higher earners getting a […]
Posted: October 8, 2019, 5:09 pm

Only Bernie’s Green New Deal Answers Greta’s Call for Action

In a bit of reverse parenting, the young climate strikers are teaching the rest of us an embarrassingly obvious lesson in moral clarity and courage. Mobilizing more than 7 million people across 185 countries September 20–27—with about 1,000 actions in the United States alone—youth struck a thunderous blow against adults’ insane intransigence regarding our climate meltdown. Students […]
Posted: October 8, 2019, 5:05 pm

California Flexes its Muscles to Remind Fitness Studio Owners that Fitness Trainers are Employees, not Independent Contractors

Fitness Studios in California, including those that provide training in yoga, strength conditioning and stationary bike classes, have for years flourished in California by using workers classified as independent contractors.  In fact, fitness instructors working for studio owners should almost always be classified as employees.  By misclassifying workers as independent contractors, many studio owners have […]
Posted: October 8, 2019, 4:59 pm

Treated Like Meat

Smithfield Foods’ 2,000-employee bacon and sausage packaging plant in Smithfield, Va., sits a mile down the road from the company’s stately corporate headquarters and flagship restaurant, Taste of Smithfield, a tourist-friendly establishment known for its smoked pork brioche sandwich, Virginia craft beer and “piglets” menu for kids under 12. Near the meatpacking plant on Church […]
Posted: October 7, 2019, 5:43 pm

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Laborers

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Laborers

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Laborers.

Name of Union: Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA)

Mission: To help working men and women unite for a stronger voice in the economies and governments of the United States and Canada. As an affiliate of the AFL-CIO and North America’s Building Trades Unions, LIUNA works predominantly to help construction craft laborers improve their lives through collective bargaining, organizing, training programs, safer job sites and the enforcement of workers’ rights.

Current Leadership of Union: Terry O’Sullivan became the general president of LIUNA in 2000 and has since been elected to three terms. He first joined the union in 1974. He served in several previous positions, including vice president and Mid-Atlantic regional manager; assistant to the general president; chief of staff; Tri-Funds administrator; assistant director of the Construction, Maintenance and Service Trades Department; and administrator of the West Virginia Laborers’ Training Center. O’Sullivan is a San Francisco native. Armand E. Sabitoni serves as general secretary-treasurer and as New England regional manager. In addition to O’Sullivan and Sabitoni, LIUNA is governed by a 14-member general executive board.

Number of Members: 500,000

Work Members Do: Construction of highways, bridges, tunnels, transit systems, buildings, industrial plants and manufacturing facilities; construction and maintenance of energy infrastructure, including renewable energy projects, pipelines, and natural gas and nuclear plants; environmental remediation of lead, asbestos and other hazardous materials; weatherization and landscaping. In addition, the union represents 70,000 public service employees who provide health care services, maintain parks and, through the affiliated National Postal Mail Handlers Union, process mail.

Industries Represented: Construction and public service. These working men and women are employed by various agencies, including the Postal Service, the Indian Health Service, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Park Service. 

History: The first recognized union for laborers was formed in Philadelphia in 1836. In 1903, American Federation of Labor President Samuel Gompers called for a convention to establish an international union of construction laborers and the International Hod Carriers and Building Laborers' Union was founded. (A hod is a tray connected to a pole handle that is used to shoulder loads of construction materials, such mortar or brick.)

At its first convention, the union represented more than 8,000 laborers in 17 different cities, most of whom were immigrants seeking a better life. In 1912, the union changed its name to the International Hod Carrier's Building and Common Laborers of America. By the end of the decade, the union had nearly 550 locals and more than 96,000 members. As the union grew, it became a stronger voice for immigrant and African-American workers. In the 1920s, the union chartered its first public sector local.

Pensions were a key issue for laborers before World War II. Most members worked for multiple contractors during their careers, making it impossible to earn pensions. The union established portable multi-employer plans, which have helped secure retirement for millions of working people.

During World War II, the union suspended all dues and pledged full support for the National Defense Program. By 1941, membership neared 300,000. After the war, a massive construction boom helped membership exceed 430,000.

In 1965, the union changed its name to the Laborers' International Union of North America, or LIUNA for short. The union’s successful fights for healthcare and expanding pension coverage became vital organizing tools.

In the ensuing decades, the union expanded it's focus on member benefits, political organizing and training. Many locals began to offer additional services, from health clinics to drug and alcohol rehabilitation resources. Its political organizing strength became sought after by candidates for state, local and federal office. Its training programs grew to invest tens of millions of dollars each year to help new members develop careers and enable existing members to find additional opportunities. In this era, the union adopted its stylized LIUNA Feel the Power mark and recognizable orange brand.

Current Campaigns/Community Efforts: The union strives to harness the power of its half-million members by encouraging the aggressive use of mobilization, organizing and communications tools at each of its 400 local unions. The LIUNA Action Network mobilizes members to take a stand on important issues. See how every new member is equipped to be an integral and active part of the union with a Member Orientation Guide. Through the LIUNA Training and Education Fund, members have access to free world-class skills training, enabling them to expand their work opportunities. Through various organizing efforts, the union fights to help non-union workers improve their lives by uniting with the union and by defending the rights of all workers, whether immigrant or native born. LIUNA also supports constituency groups for women, African Americans and Latinos. To see the amazing work LIUNA members do, visit Great Projects. Check out LECET's labor-contractor initiative, which helps connect skilled workers with the contractors who need them. To learn how the union strives to make job sites safer and workers healthier, visit the Laborers' Health and Safety Fund and its publication Lifelines

Learn More: WebsiteFacebookYouTubeInstagram, Twitter

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 10/07/2019 - 10:08
Posted: October 7, 2019, 2:08 pm

Religious Freedom: Freedom to Discriminate?

On September 28, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson issued Executive Order 11246 directing the government “to provide equal opportunity in Federal employment for all qualified persons.” Not only would federal contractors not  “discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because … Continue reading
Posted: October 7, 2019, 11:49 am

Movie Review: American Factory

Two workers at work from the documentary American Factory

You’ve probably noticed that Hollywood doesn’t turn out many movies about unions. But, says film buff and labor historian Toni Gilpin, there are some overlooked movies out there that depict working people and their lives on the job even though they might lack scenes with picket lines. This is her latest installment in an occasional series of viewing suggestions.

Posted: October 4, 2019, 8:49 pm

Economy Gains 136,000 Jobs in September; Unemployment Declines to 3.5%

Economy Gains 136,000 Jobs in September; Unemployment Declines to 3.5%

The U.S. economy gained 136,000 jobs in September, and the unemployment rate declined to 3.5%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

In response to the September job numbers, AFL-CIO Chief Economist William Spriggs said: "It is surprising the rate of job creation has slowed, and the rate of labor force participation has stayed almost constant but this lower job growth is sufficient to keep the share of people with jobs rising slightly, and unemployment falling. It clearly reflects the slowing growth rate of the American workforce as the Baby Boom ages." He also tweeted:

The unemployment rate for white men and Latinos are virtually equal at 2.9 and 3.0% though because Latinos have a much higher labor force participation rate, a higher share of Latinos are working 77.6 compared to 69.7% for whites @Marietmora @UnidosUS_Econ @AFLCIO #JobsReport

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) October 4, 2019

The broadest measure of labor market slack fell to 6.9% in September.  With weak wage growth and moderate job growth, the labor market is still tightening.  But the Census report on record levels of inequality are showing employment a weak antidote to address that trend. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) October 4, 2019

The "reference week" for the @BLS_gov September jobs report was just before the @UAW strike of GM, but employment in motor vehicle manufacturing slipped 4,000.  So, little evidence of a speed up to increase inventory ahead of the strike. #JobsReport @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) October 4, 2019

The lack of broad income growth leaves retail floundering despite low unemployment.  @BLS_gov reports over 11,000 jobs lost in September in retail.  This is another sign of how this recovery is weakened by growing inequality. #JobsReport @UFCW @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) October 4, 2019

Last month's biggest job gains were in health care (39,000), professional and business services (34,000), government (22,000), and transportation and warehousing (16,000). Employment declined in retail trade (-11,000). Employment in other major industries, including mining, construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, information, financial activities, and leisure and hospitality, showed little change over the month. 

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for teenagers (12.5%), blacks (5.5%), Hispanics (3.9%), adult men (3.2%), whites (3.4%), adult women (3.1%) and Asians (2.5%) showed little or no change in September.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) rose in September and accounted for 22.7% of the unemployed.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 10/04/2019 - 13:58
Posted: October 4, 2019, 5:58 pm

Working People Show Solidarity with GM/UAW Strikers

Working People Show Solidarity with GM/UAW Strikers
Shuler GM Strike
AFL-CIO

As the strike by UAW members at General Motors approaches three weeks, labor activists and their allies have shown their solidarity with the UAW members by joining them on the picket lines. Here are some highlights from those visits.

I had the opportunity to join striking @UAW members at the @GM Bedford Casting Operations plant in Bedford, Indiana this afternoon, I relayed to them that the 12.5M members of the @AFLCIO are supporting them and standing in solidarity with them. #1u #GMStrike pic.twitter.com/NERf2vSJF2

— Richard Trumka (@RichardTrumka) October 1, 2019

I was honored to be in Detroit this weekend walking the picket line with @UAW brothers and sisters—I'll be walking the line in spirit until GM workers get the fair deal and respect they deserve! #1u pic.twitter.com/GAcZ6tb98p

— Liz Shuler (@lizshuler) September 23, 2019

Always proud to stand with UAW members fighting for good jobs and fair wages. I’m hopeful the UAW and GM can negotiate and ratify a contract quickly so Michigan’s autoworkers can get back on the job as soon as possible, as this is so important to our economy. pic.twitter.com/BnVAFIlm9D

— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) September 16, 2019

As workers were on the picket lines Monday night, GM decided to terminate insurance coverage for thousands of UAW members and their families.

The UAW activated the strike fund to help fill the gap and ensure that no one loses their care. pic.twitter.com/1aJPw7wAta

— UAW (@UAW) September 18, 2019

We are standing together and standing up for our families, our communities, and our fellow workers. #StandWithUS #SolidarityForever pic.twitter.com/0reIsQ1YYs

— UAW (@UAW) September 19, 2019

Thank you to @TheDemocrats Chair @TomPerez for joining striking workers yesterday at the Tonawanda Engine Plant #StandWithUS pic.twitter.com/z0vkSTV7U6

— UAW (@UAW) September 19, 2019

At the @UAW strike in Detroit. An auto worker here has been at this picket line every day — and she has lost her voice. I let her know that I am here to be a voice for her. #UnionStrong #StandwithUS pic.twitter.com/0aumy9CW0h

— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) September 19, 2019

Today General President Jim Hoffa today joined UAW members on strike at the General Motors Lake Orion Assembly Plant... read more: https://t.co/vUNhIKdl8t pic.twitter.com/izR4dZ91Ee

— Teamsters (@Teamsters) September 20, 2019

I’m always proud to support working Kansans, good jobs and fair wages. It’s important for GM and UAW to pursue swift resolution of differences and get employees back to work as soon as possible. pic.twitter.com/IYT20BedmZ

— Laura Kelly (@LauraKellyKS) September 19, 2019

I’m always proud to support working Kansans, good jobs and fair wages. It’s important for GM and UAW to pursue swift resolution of differences and get employees back to work as soon as possible. pic.twitter.com/IYT20BedmZ

— Laura Kelly (@LauraKellyKS) September 19, 2019

I stand with @UAW. Support unions! pic.twitter.com/6tNB9C1oSu

— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) September 20, 2019

@UAW in Dallas demanding a CONTRACT! #uawstrike @TexasAFLCIO affiliates showing support for our sisters and brothers ✊🏾💥✊🏽👩🏾👨🏻🧔🏽👩🏼‍🦰🧒🏻 pic.twitter.com/frw2wmL7pS

— Montserrat Garibay (@MontseTXAFLCIO) September 21, 2019

I was proud to stand with @UAW members at the Orion Assembly in #MI08. Cars were honking to show their support, and workers told me the public support they’ve felt from the community has been overwhelming. pic.twitter.com/14hVe9DEiY

— Rep. Elissa Slotkin (@RepSlotkin) September 21, 2019

Today, I proudly stood alongside @UAW members on strike in Kansas City as they fight for a fair contract. Everything that defines a middle class life is because of unions fighting for worker protections. I stand with you, and America stands with you. pic.twitter.com/5tejdcZXnJ

— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 22, 2019

Today, I proudly stood alongside @UAW members on strike in Kansas City as they fight for a fair contract. Everything that defines a middle class life is because of unions fighting for worker protections. I stand with you, and America stands with you. pic.twitter.com/5tejdcZXnJ

— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 22, 2019

The workers of @UAW are fighting for fair wages and good benefits—and I have their backs. When unions win, all workers win. pic.twitter.com/xC2di0jzLH

— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) September 22, 2019

Even kids understand you need to support your workers! NYSUT stand in solidarity with striking workers! @UAW @NYSAFLCIO @nysut @WilliamsvilleTA pic.twitter.com/UFdhvcINMO

— Michelle Licht (@MichelleLicht) September 22, 2019

We’re out on the picket line with @UAW in Arlington, Texas alongside @TheIronworkers, @transportworker and @TCCLC_AFLCIO. This is one of 12 gates where strikers are running picket lines 24/7 #StandwithUS #1u pic.twitter.com/ftBQQeGwXd

— AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) September 24, 2019

All workers have the right to stand up for fair wages, better working conditions, and investment in their local communities.

Honored to walk the picket line with @UAW in Parma today. pic.twitter.com/quZrnyM2Vh

— Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) September 23, 2019

#Solidarityhttps://t.co/CvwAWQfsND

— UAW (@UAW) September 24, 2019

Visiting with striking GM workers in Lordstown, Ohio. https://t.co/WTWNnoLr7M

— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) September 25, 2019

Thank you to @RepDebDingell for standing with UAW members on strike for fair wages, quality health care and job security! https://t.co/W3cqaH1mx3

— UAW (@UAW) September 24, 2019

I stand with workers, not the corporations making record profits. pic.twitter.com/zH7O1Treoc

— Steve Bullock (@GovernorBullock) September 29, 2019

Ford workers in Kentucky are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with their UAW brothers and sisters on the picket line. #SolidarityForever https://t.co/4N5qp3csub

— UAW (@UAW) September 26, 2019

CWA 1122 and 1115 members stood with UAW local 646 members today in solidarity #onedaylonger #1U #unionstrong pic.twitter.com/qScLbMJIVg

— CWA 1122 (@cwa1122buffalo) September 18, 2019

It’s past time corporations realize the heart of their business isn’t profit, it’s people. Proud to stand with our @UAW Local 239 family this morning in White Marsh, MD in their fight for quality health care. pic.twitter.com/1lv6NfVQGs

— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) September 28, 2019

SATURDAY: Join South Bend Mayor @PeteButtigieg on the picket line in Reno: https://t.co/3GRzvuJjrf pic.twitter.com/d8W98piu69

— UAW (@UAW) September 26, 2019

Standing with workers on picket lines is something I've done my entire life — that's what I do and what I believe. I was proud to stand with striking @UAW General Motors workers in Michigan. We're going to win the fight against corporate greed. pic.twitter.com/qG7v5bWlr6

— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) September 26, 2019

Senator @KamalaHarris will stand with UAW members on the picket line at the Reno Distribution Center tomorrow! Join them to show your support: https://t.co/OxDXsuQk28 pic.twitter.com/xPXhxJavWA

— UAW (@UAW) October 2, 2019

✊🏼 @MOAFLCIO was out in force today at the Hold the Line Rally at the @UAW2250 hall this morning. #1u #GMStrike pic.twitter.com/bt5wEWPfBC

— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) September 27, 2019

.@UAW strikers at the Langhorne GM plant addressing the crowd!! #UAWStrike #UAW #Solidarity #UnionStrong #1u pic.twitter.com/1hClIqjh3J

— Philadelphia AFL-CIO (@PhillyAFLCIO) September 28, 2019

The Arlington TX NAACP continues to stand with UAW Local 276 and GM employees on Day 14 of the national strike.

If you would like to join us in marching, praying, and donating, we will continue on October 6th at 2PM.#SolidaritySunday@UAW @TCCLC_AFLCIO @AFLCIO @NAACP pic.twitter.com/hh9hll0syr

— Arlington, TX NAACP (@ArlingtonNAACP) September 30, 2019

Proud to stand in solidarity with my @UAW brothers and sisters today. I hear you, I stand with you, and I believe in your fight for fairness and equity. 👊🏼 pic.twitter.com/hxtjrQn7sM

— Jocelyn Benson (@JocelynBenson) September 29, 2019

One day longer. One day stronger. #1u #GMStrike pic.twitter.com/50BLN01emn

— AFL-CIO (@AFLCIO) September 27, 2019
Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 10/04/2019 - 12:05
Posted: October 4, 2019, 4:05 pm

Live from the Picket Line: Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup

Live from the Picket Line: Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup

In addition to the AFL-CIO's own "State of the Unions," there are a lot of other podcasts out there that have their own approach to discussing labor issues and the rights of working people. Here are the latest podcasts from across the labor movement in the United States.

Follow the links below to find podcasts. They also can be found wherever you listen to podcasts:

Heartland Labor ForumWhat would happen to a school teacher who thinks she has the answer to the world’s problems and starts teaching in parks and on street corners, and people stop to listen and like what they hear? This week on the Heartland Labor Forum we present a radio play about such a teacher. Tune in to find out how the powers that be react and what the teacher’s message might be. Thursday at 6 PM, rebroadcast Friday at 5 AM on KKFI 90.1 FM or streaming at www.kkfi.org.

Labor History TodayAFL-CIO president Richard Trumka talks with Labor History Today’s Joe McCartin about the current state–and the future–of the American labor movement. Plus, Mark Potashnick on Jim Pohle, the founder of the American Union of Pizza Delivery Drivers, class action law suits, and the app-based revolution in food delivery services.

Tales from the Reuther LibraryIn a two-episode series titled “Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman: A Memoir of Wobbly Organizer Matilda Rabinowitz Robbins," artist Robbin Légère Henderson discusses her exhibition of original scratchboard drawings featured in the illustrated and annotated autobiography of Henderson’s grandmother, Matilda Rabinowitz Robbins, a Socialist, IWW organizer, feminist, writer, mother, and social worker.

UCOMM LiveUnderstanding Impeachment Process: Trump is trying to cut funding for school lunches, leaving half a million kids hungry at school. Nerds who work for a Google contractors have organized with the Steelworkers union, we take a look at what their issues are. Chicago teachers are preparing to strike after the city refused to give them a fair contract that helps their lowest-paid employees. Trump is trying to take away collective bargaining rights for graduate students, we look at why these students need the right to join a union. Police have been some of Trump's strongest supporters, even as other public employees have been attacked by him. LaGrange tries to explain why this is going on. Plus the House has opened an impeachment inquiry into Trump, we explain what impeachment means and what the process is for getting rid of him. The Met's may be out of the playoffs, but 12 teams are continuing on, UCOMM makes our picks on who will make it the World Series.

Union City RadioAirs weekdays at 7:15 AM on WPFW 89.3 FM. Topics: Workers take to the streets; Strike averted at Kaiser; Fresh momentum; BSO musicians reach tentative contract agreement; and DC Labor supports DC statehood.

Union StrongScabby the rat is a powerful tool for organized labor and that’s exactly why the rat is now at the center of a legal battle. The National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel is after Scabby and his inflatable friends attempting to either restrict or outright ban the use of them at protests. On this podcast we discuss the impact Scabby has and speak to an attorney at the forefront of the NLRB case.

Willamette Wake UpThe September Salem labor radio segment will run this Friday, at around 8:10 AM (PST), on Salem's KMUZ community radio station. The station broadcasts at 88.5, 100.7 and at https://kmuz.org/. This week we're talking to local community leader and activist Elisa Andrade on paid family medical leave in Oregon and what comes next in the efforts of Family Forward Oregon for equity. Our last show featured Sam Hughes from UFCW Local 555 talking about grocery chain union contract negotiations and Fred Meyers. We ran that at just the right moment. If you don't have the basics down about what's going on at the grocery stores and the possibility of a strike, listen to our last show here.

Your Rights At WorkCarl Goldman (AFSCME, ret) and UAW 229 shop steward Guy White, reporting live from the UAW picket line in White Marsh, Maryland. “Case Closed” with David Schloss, injury attorney and partner in the law firm of Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP. Mark Gruenberg, PAI News, on the passage of the Pro Act by a key House panel.
Airs Thursdays 1-2 PM (EDT) 
on WPFW 89.3 FM.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 10/04/2019 - 10:47
Posted: October 4, 2019, 2:47 pm

CWA to AT&T Board and Investors: Reject Damaging Proposals from Elliott Management

Elliott Management purchased about 1% of AT&T's stock and announced plans last month to extract profits from the company by cutting jobs and selling off critical assets.

Posted: October 3, 2019, 6:34 pm

Bargaining and Mobilization Update

The latest bargaining information from AT&T Southeast and Nokia.

Posted: October 3, 2019, 6:21 pm

Hey, New York Times, Women Wear Hard Hats, Too!

Hey, New York Times, Women Wear Hard Hats, Too!
Women wear hardhats, too!
Ironworkers

In a tribute to the hard hat, which was invented 100 years ago, The New York Times curiously equates the safety gear with masculinity. But women wear hard hats, too, and always have.

The Times article leads off with: "The hard hat was designed 100 years ago as protective gear for miners and other laborers, but it has grown to become a symbol of status and masculinity."

We know better, though, and present to you many photos through the years of strong union women wearing this iconic headgear. 

Women wearing hardhats
AFL-CIO
Women wearing hardhats
AFL-CIO
Women wearing hardhats
AFL-CIO
Women wearing hardhats
AFL-CIO
Women wearing hardhats
AFL-CIO
Women wearing hardhats
NABTU
Women wearing hardhats
NABTU
Women wearing hardhats
Ironworkers
Women wearing hardhats
NABTU
Women wearing hardhats
NABTU
Women wearing hardhats
NABTU
Women wearing hardhats
Ironworkers
Women wearing hardhats
Ironworkers
Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 10/03/2019 - 09:28
Posted: October 3, 2019, 1:28 pm

In Week Three, GM Strikers Hold Firm for Making Temps Permanent

General Motors workers have been on the picket lines for 17 days now, and just picked up their first weekly strike pay of $250. Strikers wonder who will hold out the longest—a workforce seeking justice or an immensely profitable corporation demanding more concessions?

Posted: October 2, 2019, 3:16 pm

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Dignity of Work

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Dignity of Work
Sherrod Brown Podcast
AFL-CIO

On the latest episode of “State of the Unions,” podcast co-hosts Julie Greene and Tim Schlittner talk to Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) about worker power, automation, trade and his decision to stay in the U.S. Senate. 

Listen to our previous episodes:

State of the Unions” is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and anywhere else you can find podcasts.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 10/02/2019 - 10:53
Posted: October 2, 2019, 2:53 pm

Labor Notes Goes to Asia

Workshop participants at the Labor Notes Asia Regional Conference discussing and writing about strikes.

At times it can seem like international solidarity is just a rallying cry, devoid of the oomph that would make it a force to build power among workers across borders. But this past August, we had the chance to witness international solidarity in action.

Chanting in English, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, and Tagalog, a multinational crowd of union activists rallied in the swampy heat of Taiwan’s capital in front of the headquarters of Foxconn, the notorious manufacturer of iPhones.

Posted: September 30, 2019, 8:57 pm

A New Era in Deindustrialization Studies?

Brexit, the election of Donald Trump as US President, and the rise of right-wing populism in Europe, have refocused attention on the connections between political events and deindustrialized working-class communities. Deindustrialization first emerged as an explanatory framework for the wrenching … Continue reading
Posted: September 30, 2019, 11:22 am

Poultry Workers and Allies Organize in the Wake of Anti-Immigrant Raids

Woman leads organizing meeting from front of room.
September 26, 2019 / Rose Bookbinder
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On August 7 the poultry towns of central Mississippi suffered the largest workplace raid in the U.S. since 2006. Some 680 chicken-processing workers from seven factories were detained and incarcerated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Ten percent of the population in Morton, Mississippi, was either incarcerated or fired. Parents were detained the same day they had dropped their children off to their first day of school.

Posted: September 26, 2019, 6:23 pm

Will the Teacher Strike Wave Hit Chicago Again?

CTU picketers marching
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Update, September 27: The union announced the strike vote results last night: 94 percent of members voted to authorize a strike.

Twenty-five thousand Chicago teachers started the school year with a possible strike in their sights.

Chicago Teachers Union members leafleted and picketed with school employees and parents outside schools their first week back. A three-day strike vote wraps up tomorrow.

Posted: September 25, 2019, 7:54 pm

Second Time’s the Charm: Denver Teacher Reformer Cements a Win

Two teachers holding signs. Tiffany's sign says "You can't put students first if you put teachers last."

Joining a wave of reformers, high school teacher Tiffany Choi of the Caucus of Today’s Teachers just got elected president of the Denver teachers union—again. In a re-vote, Choi cemented her May defeat of a 10-year incumbent.

She ran on a platform that the union should partner with parents, involve members more in decision-making, and fight back against corporate education reform.

When the original vote was counted in May, Choi was leading by 16 votes. But the union’s board ordered a do-over, citing process issues.

Posted: September 25, 2019, 3:23 pm

Arrests, Presidential Candidates, and Electric Vehicles: Updates on the GM Strike

The UAW strike against General Motors is heating up on the picket lines as the stand-off enters its second week.
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The UAW strike against General Motors is heating up on the picket lines as the stand-off enters its second week. The first week saw union members arrested, presidential candidates march on the lines, and rumors floated that the strike could extend beyond a tentative agreement through the ratification vote.

(Ready to lend a hand? Click here for a list of picket line locations.)

Posted: September 24, 2019, 9:15 pm

The News Media’s Blind Spots Covering the Working Class

At midnight on Sept. 15, 49,000 UAW-GM workers walked out on strike at locations across the country, a day after their 2015 collective bargaining contract with General Motors expired and the union declined to extend the provisions of the agreement. … Continue reading
Posted: September 23, 2019, 11:59 am

Memoir as Medium: Bridging the Class Divide

More than three years after its publication in 2016, Hillbilly Elegy and its author J.D. Vance continue to be lightning rods. A recent Washington Post opinion piece caused an uproar by insinuating that Vance lamented the declining white birth rate … Continue reading
Posted: September 16, 2019, 12:02 pm

Censoring the Working Class

Does the first amendment work the same for all Americans? What kind of freedoms do working people have to read, look at, and say what they want? The subject is on my mind this month as I gear up to … Continue reading
Posted: September 9, 2019, 11:23 am

Transnational Reach: 2019 Working-Class Studies Association Awards

As Donald Trump and his ilk on the world stage strip labor protections and human rights under the guise of faux populism,  writers, workers, artists, and activists have refused to submit to the chicanery. An international crisis requires an international … Continue reading
Posted: September 2, 2019, 7:19 am

Workers of the World Unite (At Last)

Neoliberal globalization presents many challenges to labor organizing. Increased mobility of capital has led to a sharp increase in relocation, outsourcing, and offshoring. Multinational corporations can threaten to close plants when workers request better wages, and executives can even pit … Continue reading
Posted: August 19, 2019, 12:08 am

Can the Working Class Trust the Democrats?

Two years ago, we compared the opioid epidemic to the mortgage crisis that nearly cratered the global economy, noting how both were caused by corporate greed. Recent reporting in the Washington Post and other media outlets reveals an important difference … Continue reading
Posted: August 12, 2019, 2:24 pm

Why the Democrats Need to Talk about Race AND Class

In their response to President Trump’s racist tweets telling them to “go back to where they came from,” the four female congressional representatives dubbed “The Squad” tried to shift the debate. Instead of battling over whether the tweets and the subsequent “Send … Continue reading
Posted: August 5, 2019, 1:22 pm