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Safety and Security: Worker Wins

Safety and Security: Worker Wins

Our latest roundup of worker wins features important victories for safety and security during the COVID-19 pandemic and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life. 

Airline Worker Unions Win Protections During Pandemic: More than a half dozen unions representing workers in the airline industry fought to secure protections during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act, which passed in March, $31 billion in direct grants were approved to airline industry workers and another $25 billion in loans or grants for the industry. Sara Nelson, president of the Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA), said: “This is an unprecedented win for front-line aviation workers and a template all workers can build from. The grants we won in this bill will save hundreds of thousands of jobs and will keep working people connected to healthcare.”

Front-Line Stop & Shop Workers Win Protections, Additional Pay: More than 70,000 employees at Stop & Shop and Peapod in New Jersey, New York and New England represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) secured a 10% pay increase and up to two additional weeks of paid sick leave as a response to coronavirus. UFCW International President Marc Perrone said: “As we know, grocery workers like Stop & Shop employees have been on the front lines of this crisis, serving the needs of millions of families in the northeast. Protecting them is absolutely essential to our communities and food supply now more than ever.”

Nuclear Power Plant Workers in Texas Vote to Join IBEW: Phyllis Goines, business manager of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 220, reported that workers at Day & Zimmermann (D&Z) radiological services voted to join the union to improve their working conditions at a nuclear power plant in Glen Rose, Texas. Goines said the bargaining unit consists of some 60 workers in a variety of jobs, including electrical, custodial and outdoor maintenance. Union organizers faced heavy opposition as D&Z used a combination of management scare tactics and threats about the impact of the pandemic. The scare tactics didn't work. In the end, a majority of workers stood their ground. “I'm glad it's over,” Goines said, adding that she looks forward to seeing workers reap the benefits of negotiating their first union contract together in solidarity.

Professors and Graduate Students Score Victories: In the past few months, organizing drives led by graduate students, contract negotiations and other pro-worker actions have resulted in victories, including: University of Illinois at Chicago, Georgetown, Brown, Harvard and Oregon State.

SAG-AFTRA and AFM Score Entertainment Industry Victories: SAG-AFTRA's board has voted to recommend members accept the 2020 TV/Theatrical Agreement, which contains the largest financial compensation the union has negotiated, at $318 million over three years. Separately, SAG-AFTRA and the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) announced a deal that would provide record-breaking royalty payments for session musicians and singers.

Bradenton Herald Newsroom Joins The NewsGuild: As part of a wider wave of union organizing in Florida and at McClatchy-owned newspapers, the newsroom at the Bradenton Herald voted to join The NewsGuild-CWA. Veteran reporter Jessica De Leon said: “Today, the newsroom of the Bradenton Herald stood up, not just to demand better working conditions for ourselves but to preserve quality local journalism in Bradenton, and our voices were heard. I’m beyond grateful for the amazing team we have and all the support we’ve received from our community, colleagues and fellow journalists around the country.”

Workers Unionize at Bank Formerly Owned by Tom Steyer: Workers in Oregon, California and Washington at Beneficial Bank, which was founded by former presidential candidate Steyer, who resigned from the bank's board to run for president. The majority of eligible employees signed union authorization cards to be represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA).

Hearthside Food Solutions Workers Join UFCW: In the first National Labor Relations Board-led unionization vote since the beginning of the pandemic, the majority of workers at the cereal-packing plant in Byhalia, Mississippi, voted to be represented by the UFCW. Rose Turner, a UFCW organizer, said: "Today, I feel better than I feel in the last 45 days."

NPEU Leads Wave of Unionization in Nonprofit Sector: The Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU), IFPTE Local 70, recently announced a series of organizing victories, including: Friends of the Earth, National Women's Law Center, Pittsburgh United, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, National Immigration Law Center, the Groundwork Collaborative, Scholars Strategy Network and J Street.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 07/08/2020 - 13:54
Posted: July 8, 2020, 5:54 pm

Women will lose big if state and local governments can’t close coronavirus budget gaps

The United States is on track to lose millions of jobs if the federal government doesn’t help state and local governments fill in budget shortfalls. Some of the jobs will be in the private sector as governments drop contracts and as public workers curtail their spending, but it’s a guarantee that government workers will be hard hit. […]
Posted: July 8, 2020, 2:41 pm

A $6.5 Trillion Stimulus Plan Now! Hong Kong Labor Activists Under the Gun

Let’s go really big! I outline a $6.5 trillion stimulus—more than double what the Democrats in the House passed—because that’s what the people need over the next year: $1.3 trillion in wage guarantees; $715 billion for state and local governments; $600 billion for a “Pandemic Medicare For All”; $1.5 trillion to cancel all student debt; […]
Posted: July 8, 2020, 2:35 pm

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Rally to Save the News Held in Chicago

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Rally to Save the News Held in Chicago
Service + Solidarity

During the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread protests in response to the killing of George Floyd, working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities. In our new Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we'll showcase one of those stories every day. Here's today's story.

The Chicago Federation of Labor helped host a “Save the News” rally in downtown Chicago. Union members were joined by the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza, as well as other community leaders. They spoke about the need for free and fair access to information, and how it is especially critical for working people right now because of the pandemic, the economic crisis and the protests against racial injustice. “The public’s right to information is at stake more than ever because of the risks journalists face,” Don Villar (NABET-CWA), secretary-treasurer of the federation, said in a statement. “Journalists put their health and safety at risk to show how a global pandemic is affecting our city, and how protests have roiled the streets of Chicago. They all want to do their jobs in a historic moment, but we have journalists put on the sidelines by furloughs.”

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 07/08/2020 - 09:29
Posted: July 8, 2020, 1:29 pm

Protect Working Families: In the States Roundup

Protect Working Families: In the States Roundup
In the States Roundup

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

California Labor Federation:

$2.65 BILLION. While drivers go without PPE they need to keep themselves & passengers safe. While they sleep in their cars b/c they don't make a minimum wage & have no paid sick leave. @Uber is corrupt to the core #SickofGigGreed

— California Labor Federation #BlackLivesMatter (@CaliforniaLabor) July 6, 2020

Colorado AFL-CIO:

Workers and communities across the country are being hit hard by the changing coal economy. The National Economic Transition platform lays out a bold, national plan that provides both immediate and long-term support. #JustTransition

— Colorado AFL-CIO (@AFLCIOCO) June 29, 2020

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

The Connecticut @AFLCIO proudly endorses Jorge Cabrera for State Senate! @Local919 @UFCW @Cabrera4CT

— Connecticut AFL-CIO (@ConnAFLCIO) June 30, 2020

Florida AFL-CIO:

“Phones at the Department of Economic Opportunity remain clogged, the online system is still overloaded and benefits are still not making it to all who are eligible.”

— Florida AFL-CIO (@FLAFLCIO) July 6, 2020

Georgia State AFL-CIO:

.@ATL_Labor represents approximately 60,000 workers who are essential to the economy of Georgia. These union members are voters that deserve legislative efforts that protect working families. Corporate immunity bills use the current pandemic to the detriment of workers. #gapol

— Georgia AFL-CIO (@AFLCIOGeorgia) June 26, 2020

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

Brett Voorhies, president of the Indiana State AFL-CIO, called a liability shield nonsense.

He said workers should be able to hold their employer accountable to cover medical expenses or time off work if they contract #COVID19 on the job.

— Indiana AFL-CIO (@INAFLCIO) July 6, 2020

Iowa Federation of Labor:

ISEA calls Iowa Department of Education reopening school guidance ‘irresponsible’

— Iowa AFL-CIO (@IowaAFLCIO) July 3, 2020

Maine AFL-CIO:

This is a HUGE problem that needs to be addressed @GovJanetMills & @maine_labor #mepolitics

— Maine AFL-CIO (@MEAFLCIO) July 4, 2020

Massachusetts AFL-CIO:

Stand with @StopandShop workers and demand hazard pay be extended. 🗣

Sign now:

— Massachusetts AFL-CIO (@massaflcio) July 3, 2020

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

As protests grow, Luci Murphy & the People's Music Network ensure there are songs to go with them — (@DCLabor) July 6, 2020

Michigan State AFL-CIO:

URGENT: Stand with our brothers and sisters on the frontlines - tell Rick Snyder's appointees to the Civil Service Commission to end their anti-union attacks. #1u

— Michigan AFL-CIO 🏠 (@MIAFLCIO) July 2, 2020

Minnesota AFL-CIO:

Why labor unions make people less racist #1u

— Minnesota AFL-CIO (@MNAFLCIO) July 2, 2020

Missouri AFL-CIO:

The Iron Maidens: Meet the women of St. Louis’ @Ironworkers396.

— Missouri AFL-CIO (@MOAFLCIO) July 6, 2020

Montana State AFL-CIO:

An example for the importance of local journalism. A Duke University study found that one article on workplace health and safety violations in a local newspaper can have the effect of 210 OSHA inspections. #1u #ProtectLocalJournalism

— Montana AFL-CIO (@MTaflcio) July 2, 2020

Nevada State AFL-CIO:

We need to do our part and wear a mask. Our frontline workers & casino employees ensuring our economy here in Nevada rebounds need your help, wear a mask. They have a family to go home to after a long shift, we need to keep everyone safe & mitigate the spread #StaySafeToStayOpen

— Nevada State AFL-CIO (@NVAFLCIO) June 26, 2020

New Hampshire AFL-CIO:

Happy Birthday, Brother Ley! We are proud to have you as an ally and as a fellow labor activist! Looking forward to many more years working with you to advance the cause of a more equitable, safer, and more just economy and New Hampshire.

— NewHampshire AFL-CIO (@NHAFLCIO) July 3, 2020

New Jersey State AFL-CIO:

The New Jersey State AFL-CIO has tools online to help you vote for the candidates who best represent our union values of solidarity and fairness.

— New Jersey AFL-CIO (@NJAFLCIO) July 6, 2020

New York State AFL-CIO:

We are excited to announce the launch of the Union Strong App, a new communication platform for local unions & members. Download the App at no cost to receive news, updates, & communication in real time. Simply text ‘nysaflcio’ to 555-888 or visit


North Carolina State AFL-CIO:

Stephanie understands the significance of her unemployment benefits to help support her family. Learn more about the effort to #ExtendUI and let Congress know we want to #Savethe600! #WeAreTheEconomy

— NC State AFL-CIO (@NCStateAFLCIO) July 6, 2020

North Dakota AFL-CIO:

Don't feel safe at work?
Know your rights:
Then check out and tell us how your workplace rates!#1u #ndpol #solidarity

— North Dakota AFL-CIO (@NDAFLCIO) June 11, 2020


This is why @realDonaldTrump and his billionaire donors attack the @AFLCIO every chance they can. Don’t be fooled, the @POTUS hates your #Union and wants it destroyed.

— Ohio AFL-CIO (@ohioaflcio) July 4, 2020

Oregon AFL-CIO:

Send a message to your Oregon state legislators calling for increased protections for working people and no immunity for employers as our communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic #1u

— Oregon AFL-CIO (@OregonAFLCIO) July 3, 2020

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

Here’s what @PFTLocal3 members have to say about reopening Philadelphia schools. @AFTPA @AFTunion

— PA AFL-CIO (@PaAFL_CIO) June 30, 2020

Rhode Island AFL-CIO:

Support the Bus Drivers, Monitors and Aides at Durham School Services in Cumberland, RI #1U #Unions #UnionStrong #Solidarity

— Rhode Island AFL-CIO (@riaflcio) June 30, 2020

Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council:

For a long time, TN House District 90 has lacked strong, consistent representation for working families. We believe that @TorreyHarris901 is the change that's needed in this district and endorse him in the August 6th Primary Election!

— Tennessee AFL-CIO (@tnaflcio) July 6, 2020

Texas AFL-CIO:

PRESS RELEASE: We are relieved to see the @TXWorkforce Commission respond to public and legislative outcry and walk back an ill-considered resumption of a hurdle to UI benefits for working people whose jobs have been shut down by the coronavirus.

— Texas AFL-CIO (@TexasAFLCIO) June 30, 2020

Virginia AFL-CIO:

🚨.@Virginia_AFLCIO ‘s Response to the Safety & Health Codes Board’s passage of emergency standards/emergency regulation

— Virginia AFL-CIO (@Virginia_AFLCIO) June 24, 2020

Washington State Labor Council:

"This week, the Boeing unions clinched a big victory in their scramble to add protections for the thousands of their members being laid off." Nice work, @IAM751 and @speea.

— Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO (@WAAFLCIO) July 3, 2020

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO:

Solidarity is the spirit that drives the Union Mask Brigade. Volunteer mask sewers and face shield creators are helping provide virus protection to front line workers who are without. We are workers protecting workers.

— WI AFL-CIO (@wisaflcio) July 5, 2020
Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 07/07/2020 - 15:44
Posted: July 7, 2020, 7:44 pm

Chicago Unions Demand to Defund Police and Fund Health Care for All

Crowd viewed from back. Sign in foreground, hand-lettered: "Black Lives Matter." Signs in background, printed: "Racism is a public health crisis" with the logo of National Nurses United

A coalition of Chicago unions and community organizations has come together around the call “Black Lives Matter, Health Care Justice Now.” The group is demanding that resources that currently go toward racist policing be redirected toward human services that improve health.

Posted: July 7, 2020, 5:35 pm

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: School Leaders Issue Guide to Reopen Schools Safely

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: School Leaders Issue Guide to Reopen Schools Safely
AFSA Report

During the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread protests in response to the killing of George Floyd, working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities. In our new Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we'll showcase one of those stories every day. Here's today's story.

School supervisory personnel who were among the first to call for closing schools at the start of the pandemic have released a new, comprehensive guide for reopening schools safely. “School leaders want to reopen their schools, on time and in person,” said Ernest Logan, president of the School Administrators (AFSA), which represents principals, assistant principals, supervisors, and school directors and managers. “In a time of social and emotional upheaval, our students have never needed us more. This is not going to be easy and it's going to cost upward to $300 billion.” The AFSA guide, Reopening Schools Safely in the Age of COVID, covers the major challenges schools must address as the pandemic continues. These issues range from sanitizing schools, hand-washing, physical distancing and health screening to managing lunchrooms and transportation, redesigning academic programs and facilities, and training staff.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 07/07/2020 - 13:29
Posted: July 7, 2020, 5:29 pm

Working parents cannot return to their jobs if they can’t afford diapers

It’s not yet clear if the forms of economic activity resuming in most states will quickly reduce the nation’s high unemployment rates, but one thing is certain: it won’t happen without diapers. Most child care operators will not accept a baby or toddler unless parents supply disposable diapers. This has always been a barrier to employment for […]
Posted: July 7, 2020, 2:51 pm

Among those who got PPP loans: Washington lobbying firms

More than two dozen lobbying, public affairs and consulting firms got loans designed to help small businesses weather the pandemic. More than two dozen Washington lobbying, public affairs and consulting firms received loans from the federal government to help them weather the pandemic, according to data released on Monday by the Small Business Administration. Firms […]
Posted: July 7, 2020, 2:39 pm

Democratic Senators Raise Concerns with AT&T on Job Cuts

In a letter sent late last week to AT&T CEO John Stankey, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), along with seven other senate Democrats, demanded answers about AT&T’s recently announced job cuts.

Posted: July 6, 2020, 6:49 pm

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: 'Airline Workers Are Doing Everything That We Can to Make the Flights Safe'

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: 'Airline Workers Are Doing Everything That We Can to Make the Flights Safe'

During the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread protests in response to the killing of George Floyd, working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities. In our new Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we'll showcase one of those stories every day. Here's today's story.

What does the future hold for air travel? Safety must be the first and highest priority for both workers and passengers, according to Transport Workers Union (TWU) President John Samuelsen. “It is safe to fly, but also, passengers on planes have a level of responsibility,” he said in a recent video from HuffPost. “Facial coverings are a necessity. Personal sanitation on the planes is a necessity. Everybody has a responsibility to ensure that COVID-19 doesn’t spread on these flights.” As air travel continues to gradually increase from its lowest levels in April, TWU members in the airline industry are working to ensure that passengers are as safe as possible.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 07/06/2020 - 10:53
Posted: July 6, 2020, 2:53 pm

Employment won’t recover for a decade, CBO says

The economic outlook for the next 10 years has “deteriorated significantly” since the CBO issued its last complete set of projections in January. The nation’s unemployment rate will remain stubbornly higher for the next decade than it was before the pandemic, while economic output will be depressed for years under current tax and spending policy, […]
Posted: July 6, 2020, 2:23 pm

Minimum wage rises some places, but it’s still the COVID-19 economy

Unemployment remains sky-high (no matter what Donald Trump tries to tell you), and four million workers have had their pay or hours cut due to the pandemic. For people who are still on the job, there’s some good news in some cities and states in the form of minimum wage increases that went into effect on July 1. In Illinois, […]
Posted: July 6, 2020, 2:14 pm

‘It’s all backwards-looking’: June’s positive jobs data obscures a grimmer reality

Thursday’s jobless data failed to capture the latest devastation, economists say. Thursday’s monthly jobs numbers look great on paper: 4.8 million jobs were added in June as states reopened. But those numbers are a deceiving bump — with the resurgence of the virus and a fresh wave of shutdowns, the reality of the job market is […]
Posted: July 3, 2020, 3:22 pm

Economy Gains 4.8 Million Jobs in June; Unemployment Declines to 11.1%

The U.S. economy gained 4.8 million jobs in June, and the unemployment rate declined to 11.1%, according to figures released Thursday morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The improvements reflect the continued resumption of economic activity that previously was curtailed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month’s biggest job gains were in leisure and hospitality (+2.1 million), retail trade (740,000), […]
Posted: July 3, 2020, 3:12 pm

Without Extension of CARES Act Payroll Support, Mass Layoffs are Inevitable

Last week, labor leaders sent an urgent letter to Congressional leadership calling for the Payroll Support Program (PSP) in the CARES Act to be extended through March 31, 2021.

Posted: July 2, 2020, 5:39 pm

Bargaining Update

CWA District 6 announced this week that it has reached a contract extension agreement with AT&T Southwest.

Posted: July 2, 2020, 5:31 pm

House Democrats Pass Infrastructure Bill Containing Strong Broadband Provisions

"The only thing that can keep us connected to our families, friends, and communities while staying safe during a pandemic is an internet connection," said CWA President Chris Shelton.

Posted: July 2, 2020, 5:23 pm

CWA Secures Healthcare Refunds for Nokia Retirees

Due to the diligence of CWA Local 1060 President Brian Reilly, some Nokia retirees will be receiving a refund check in the mail!

Posted: July 2, 2020, 5:08 pm

NewsGuild-CWA Members at Tribune Publishing Launch Campaigns Seeking New Ownership

The campaigns are aimed at finding investors to buy the papers and building relationships with those interested in saving local news through new ownership models.

Posted: July 2, 2020, 5:04 pm

Beirne Scholarships Awarded for 2020-2021

The CWA Joe Beirne Foundation was established in October 1974 by the CWA Executive Board to honor the name and memory of the founding President of CWA, who served for more than 30 years.

Posted: July 2, 2020, 4:53 pm

CWA District 3 Retirees are Ready for Action in November

Leading up to Georgia's June 9th primary, CWA retirees went into high gear to phonebank, knowing the high stakes in this year's elections for retirees and working people.

Posted: July 2, 2020, 4:39 pm

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: UAW Shares Stories of Members Facing Down COVID-19

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: UAW Shares Stories of Members Facing Down COVID-19

During the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread protests in response to the killing of George Floyd, working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities. In our new Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we'll showcase one of those stories every day. Here's today's story.

Whether they are an academic researcher looking for a drug to fight the deadly virus, an autoworker making a quick pivot to manufacture ventilators, masks or shields, a maintenance worker disinfecting the plant, or a health care worker making sure the sick can receive treatment, UAW members are courageously doing what they can to battle COVID-19. The union profiled some of its members on the front lines who are fighting every day to deal with the public health crisis.

David Gordon, an associate researcher at the University of California, San Francisco and member of UAW Local 5810, is racing to find a treatment for COVID-19. Robert Nadler is working 12-hour days to produce face shields as a die repairer and member of UAW Local 245 in Michigan. Sandy Welch, a member of UAW Local 95 and a medical transcriptionist in Wisconsin, continues to go to work at a medical clinic despite being at high risk for complications from the coronavirus because of preexisting conditions. These are just a few of the thousands of union members who are playing their part to keep our country safe and protect our communities. Read more of their inspiring stories here.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 07/02/2020 - 12:39
Posted: July 2, 2020, 4:39 pm

Calling All Artists and Activists – Help #ProtectOurVote

While COVID-19 cases continue to rise in states across the country, too many states lack the resources to ensure safe and accessible voting this fall.

Posted: July 2, 2020, 4:22 pm

As COVID-19 Cases Soar, Follow Safety Precautions

As COVID-19 cases continue to soar in many states, it is important to follow basic precautions – on and off the job – to keep yourself, your family members and your co-workers safe.

Posted: July 2, 2020, 4:08 pm

They're Back: Concessions Are Coming

July 02, 2020 / Tom Juravich

Although COVID-19 is far from under control and reopening of the economy is stumbling, the airwaves are filled with people telling us how we should be thinking about economic recovery.

Far from a recovery, though, we are facing the worst economic crisis of a generation. The voice of workers and their unions has never been more important, because without us, we have a pretty good idea what’s going happen.

Posted: July 2, 2020, 4:05 pm

Immigration agency warns of furloughs amid cash crunch

USCIS says it’s facing a $1.2 billion shortfall, but lawmakers say they’re still waiting on a detailed budget breakdown from the White House. The agency charged with administering the nation’s immigration system is facing a $1.2 billion budget shortfall that it says will force thousands of furloughs in the coming weeks absent an emergency cash […]
Posted: July 2, 2020, 2:35 pm

Labor Secretary Scalia Wrongly Rejects Federal Role in Enforcing Unemployment Rights of Workers Who Refuse Unsafe Work

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the structural challenges that have plagued the nation’s unemployment insurance (UI) system for decades. Reduced federal funding starved the program of the resources needed to upgrade its antiquated IT infrastructure, causing state systems to slow to a crawl and crash amid the unprecedented volume of claims over the last […]
Posted: July 2, 2020, 2:23 pm

Economy Gains 4.8 Million Jobs in June; Unemployment Declines to 11.1%

Economy Gains 4.8 Million Jobs in June; Unemployment Declines to 11.1%

The U.S. economy gained 4.8 million jobs in June, and the unemployment rate declined to 11.1%, according to figures released Thursday morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The improvements reflect the continued resumption of economic activity that previously was curtailed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to the June job numbers, AFL-CIO Chief Economist William Spriggs said:

The growing number of workers who are facing more than five weeks looking for work signals a "typical" recession driven by weak demand. The spike in the short-time unemployed, those unemployed less than five weeks, was related to our health crisis. So, even after we get the health crisis in check, we face a recession the size of the Great Recession in terms of unemployed workers.

He also tweeted:

The Black unemployment rate fell in June reports @BLS_gov on the strength of adult Black women's rate going from 16.5 to 14.0%, but it rose for adult Black men from 15.5 to 16.3%. That increase foreshadows the difficulty of the cyclical component of the crisis. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) July 2, 2020

There are two unemployment crises. The #JobsReport shows big spikes in unemployment since last June for Leisure & Hospitality (mostly restaurant & bar workers), but the jump for durable goods manufacturing and mining are from the collapse in demand and will clear slowly. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) July 2, 2020

But, now the #JobsReport shows the labor market returning it racial "equilibrium," as since April the white male unemployment rate continues to fall, while the Black male unemployment rate continues to climb. At 16.3 to 9.0, the ratio is at 1.8:1 @AFLCIO @rolandsmartin

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) July 2, 2020

The #JobsReport shows the difficulty of the "hustle." Women, more than men, compensate low earnings by holding two jobs. In this crisis, that's much harder than last year. The big problem is you can't unemployment insurance to make up for that second job. @AFLCIO @IWPResearch

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) July 2, 2020

In April, the big jobs shock was to leisure & hospitality and retail, but they are slowly leading a bounce back. So, let's put to rest the stupid comments that unemployment benefits are hurting low wage workers return to work. The numbers show that is simply not true. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) July 2, 2020

The tale of the two jobs crises: The loss of jobs because of our health crisis spiked the unemployment rate in April, and the number who experienced short spells of unemployment; but, the collapse of demand is fueling the typical recession problem of longer term spells. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) July 2, 2020

Trying to make sense of the continued big numbers claiming unemployment? The net flows are toward employment, but there are still a large number of workers who are losing jobs. Women, who lost the most in April, are having bigger net flows into work. @AFLCIO @IWPResearch

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) July 2, 2020

Greater detail for understanding the "misclassification" of temporary layoff in the @BLS_gov report:
Who are the Potentially Misclassified in the Employment Report? | The Hamilton Project

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) July 2, 2020

#JobsReport , reporters, please stop being business shills asking if the $600 Pandemic Unemployment Compensation is discouraging workers. More unemployed workers in May went into employment in June than dropped out of the market; discouraged. People want work. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) July 2, 2020

The broadest measure of unemployment, including those who are discouraged and those who are part-time looking for full-time jobs, also fell in June. But, at 18% gives the sense of stress in American households over this job market. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) July 2, 2020

Last month's biggest job gains were in leisure and hospitality (+2.1 million), retail trade (740,000), education and health services (568,000), other services (357,000), manufacturing (356,000), professional and business services (306,000), construction (158,000), transportation and warehousing (99,000), wholesale trade (68,000), financial activities (32,000) and government employment (33,000). Mining lost 10,000 jobs in June.

In June, the unemployment rates declined for teenagers (23.2%), Blacks (15.4%), Hispanics (14.5%), Asians (13.8%), adult women (11.2%), adult men (10.2%) and Whites (10.1%).

The number of long-term unemployed workers (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased in June.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 07/01/2020 - 14:47
Posted: July 1, 2020, 6:47 pm

Pass the HEROES Act: What Working People Are Doing This Week

Pass the HEROES Act: What Working People Are Doing This Week
What Working People Are Doing This Week

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

Actors' Equity:

There have been 37,327 new coronavirus cases in Florida since Actors' Equity called on @Disney to delay opening until regular testing is available to our members.

— Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) June 30, 2020


The administration should boost its communication with federal employees and create clearer benchmarks for when agencies should call their workers back to the workplace.

— AFGE (@AFGENational) June 29, 2020


The corporately-backed Freedom Foundation was behind the Janus v. AFSCME case. The same group has filed a lawsuit to overturn a mandatory masking order in a Washington state county. They clearly care more about playing politics than safety.

— AFSCME (@AFSCME) June 30, 2020

Air Line Pilots Association:

In a letter to Congress last week, the leaders of the @afa_cwa, ALPA @CWAUnion the @MachinistsUnion the @transportworker and the @TTDAFLCIO called to extend to the Payroll Support Program in the #CARESAct through 3/31/2021. Read the letter here:

— ALPA (@WeAreALPA) June 30, 2020

Alliance for Retired Americans:

Older Mainers shouldn't have to choose between their health and exercising their right to vote during the #COVID19 pandemic. Today we sued to make voting safer for all. Learn more here: @votedotorg

— Alliance Retirees (@ActiveRetirees) June 24, 2020

Amalgamated Transit Union:

#CanadaDay2020 #Labour

— ATU, Transit Union (@ATUComm) July 1, 2020

American Federation of Musicians:

.@Indy_Symphony furloughed musicians and eliminated health insurance—despite having an endowment w/more than $97 million. Outrageous! 🤬🤬🤬

— AFM (@The_AFM) June 26, 2020

American Federation of Teachers:

RT & Share: #COVID19 is decimating state and local budgets. Teacher, EMT, and public employee layoffs are inevitable without federal help. That’s why the Senate needs to pass the #HEROESAct.

— AFT (@AFTunion) July 1, 2020

American Postal Workers Union:

Over 2 million petition signatures demanding urgent postal funding were delivered to Congress. APWU members & supporters joined in a National Day of Action to Save the Post Office!

— APWU National (@APWUnational) June 26, 2020

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance:

Amplifying our AAPI communities' voice starts through on-the-ground organizing. Listen to Sophie, with @ApalaPhilly, & Amy, with APALA Seattle, on how they've registered and turned out AAPI voters during #COVID19 to prepare for Nat'l Voter Reg Day!

— Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (@APALAnational) June 29, 2020

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:

We remember the 128 lives lost, 11 crew members & 117 passengers, who perished when United Airlines Flight 718 & Trans World Airlines Flight 2 collided over the Grand Canyon National Park on 6/30/1956. It was the first commercial airline crash to result in more than 100 deaths.

— AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) June 30, 2020

Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers:

We stand with the thousands of @MachinistsUnion members protesting for a fair labor contract at Bath Iron Works (@GDBIW) ship-building facility in Maine.

✅ Fair Wages
✅ Stop out-of-state sub-contracting
✅ Affordable healthcare
❌ Outsourcing jobs
❌ Union-busting

— BCTGM International (@BCTGM) June 30, 2020


Nice article featuring #Boilermaker apprentice Harrison Parker out of Local 45. Way to represent, Harrison! 🙌

— Boilermakers Union (@boilermakernews) June 30, 2020


IUBAC supports H.R. 2, The Moving Forward Act which includes The Rebuild America’s Schools Act. Read our full statement:

— Bricklayers Union (@IUBAC) June 30, 2020

California School Employees Association:

The #CABudget for 20/21 maintains funding for schools & colleges & protects classified staff because we can't reopen safely for our students w/o full staffing. Thanks to @Rendon63rd, @toniatkins & @GavinNewsom for their support of all school employees!

— CSEA (@CSEA_Now) June 24, 2020

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists:

We stand with our sisters and brothers in Colombia.

— CBTU (@CBTU72) June 22, 2020

Coalition of Labor Union Women:

Interested in joining the Coalition of Labor Union Women? Hear officers and a member explain how to get involved and what CLUW means to them. #CLUWSNAP

— CLUW National (@CLUWNational) June 22, 2020

Communications Workers of America:

Check out this week's CWA organizing update! #1u

— CWA (@CWAUnion) June 28, 2020

Department for Professional Employees:

We're so excited for the professionals at @CarnegieMembers who are organizing with the @steelworkers! @UMWpgh #1u

— Department for Professional Employees (@DPEaflcio) June 30, 2020

Electrical Workers:

— IBEW (@IBEW) July 1, 2020

Fire Fighters:

Listen to our new #IAFF podcast featuring Rick Swan, the IAFF Director of Health and Safety Services as he discusses the 2020 #wildfire season.

— IAFF (@IAFFNewsDesk) June 30, 2020

Heat and Frost Insulators:

The International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers has been trending "green" for more than 115 years! Learn all about what the HFIAW has been doing to remain environmentally friendly for all these years here:

— Insulators Union (@InsulatorsUnion) July 1, 2020

International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers:

The "leadership" at the Tennessee Valley Authority is destroying lives, and hurting our communities by outsourcing essential public infrastructure jobs to foreign multinational corporations!! #DISGUSTING! Keep these jobs at home!!

— IFPTE (@IFPTE) June 29, 2020


Ironworker Daniel Miranda didn’t think twice before taking off his boots to dive into murky water when he saw a car quickly sinking into an irrigation ditch in Tracy last week.

— Ironworkers. (@TheIronworkers) June 15, 2020

Jobs With Justice:

With #COVID19 cases rising, we know that deregulation has done nothing but put more Americans at risk.

But the plan was never to keep the American people healthy — the plan was to keep the stock market healthy.

— Jobs With Justice (@jwjnational) June 30, 2020

Labor Council for Latin American Advancement:

No child should ever be locked up! Releasing undcumented immigrants amid an unprecedented pandemic is ensuring their basic human right to life. Guaranteeing the freedom of these innocent children is our duty as a community! #KeepFamiliesTogether

— LCLAA (@LCLAA) June 30, 2020


#LIUNA in the news: Union Leaders Voice Optimism about Projects via @TheBizJournal

— LIUNA (@LIUNA) June 22, 2020


@ILAUnion @TheILAmobileApp @NYSANEWS MUST SEE VIDEO FROM ILA - Black Lives Matter: A look at ILA-USMX June 9th Peaceful Protest Hour.

— Int'l LongshoreAssoc (@ILAUnion) June 18, 2020


“We will not allow outside contractors to take over," said IAM Eastern Territory GVP @IAMConigliaroSr.

— Machinists Union ✈️🚊🚀 (@MachinistsUnion) July 1, 2020

Metal Trades Department:

MTD and Its Allies Call on Congress to Pass the Heroes Act | Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO

— Metal Trades Dept. (@metaltradesafl) June 29, 2020

Mine Workers:

“The new owners have agreed in writing – as part of a collective bargaining agreement our members ratified in April – that they will rehire UMWA members when they take ownership of the company.” - International President Cecil E. Roberts

— United Mine Workers (@MineWorkers) June 26, 2020

Musical Artists:

AGMA is using today as a launching pad for learning more about the history of #Juneteenth and how AGMA can better support the Black artists in our industries.

— AGMA (@AGMusicalArtist) June 19, 2020

National Air Traffic Controllers Association:

Salt Lake Center (ZLC) NATCA members Tyler Ellis & Caryn Morrison had a virtual meeting with Rep. Ben McAdams (top right) and his Chief of Staff Nichole Dunn. Dunn mentioned to Ellis how much she loves the stand-out bright yellow NATCA shirt he wore on the call.

— NATCA (@NATCA) June 30, 2020

National Association of Letter Carriers:

Traveling letter carrier Gerome went to Philadelphia! He attended an employee appreciation event held at Spring Garden Station in Philadelphia, and met with employees there.

Gerome is a 5-inch-tall traveling letter carrier. Learn more about him here: #1u

— Letter Carriers (@NALC_National) June 30, 2020

National Day Laborer Organizing Network:

Happening Now: On the Road to Justice!! @TPS_Alliance leads Caravan of immigrant TPS families to the US Senate, demand Permanent Residency! WATCH LIVE 👇🏼 #AlwaysEssentialTPS #ResidencyNow

— NDLON (@NDLON) June 24, 2020

National Domestic Workers Alliance:

Black domestic workers are at the center of three overlapping crises — but they continue to work to keep us all safe. It's time for @senatemajldr to pass the #HEROESAct to #ProtectEssentialWorkers:

— Domestic Workers (@domesticworkers) June 24, 2020

National Federation of Federal Employees:

NFFE-IAM Local 1431, has been saying there's a serious problem at the East Orange (#NJ) VA since the beginning of this pandemic. The time is now to help the hardest hit VA HCS in the country. #COVID19 #veterans

— NFFE (@NFFE_Union) June 25, 2020

National Nurses United:

Taxpayers funded the development of this #COVID19 drug.

Now, @GileadSciences wants those same taxpayers to pay billions more for the very medication that they already paid the corporation to develop.

Nurses say, the people deserve better! #Gilead

— NationalNursesUnited (@NationalNurses) June 30, 2020

NFL Players Association:

NFLPA President @JCTretter covers some of the common phrases football players have been hearing around getting back to work & highlights our mission of keeping player safety at the forefront.

His latest column:

— NFLPA (@NFLPA) June 30, 2020

North America's Building Trades Unions:

NABTU’s Registered Apprenticeship programs thrive through providing the BEST education for ALL students.

That’s made possible by the use of state-of-the-art technology to ensure each apprentice firmly grasps the fundamentals of their respective trade.#ASCAatHome #ASCA2020

— The Building Trades (@NABTU) June 30, 2020

Office and Professional Employees:

From the White House to Capitol Hill, there are too many elected officials who would privatize USPS in a heartbeat. This November, we must vote them out. #SaveTheUSPS #1u @APWUnational

— OPEIU (@OPEIU) June 29, 2020

Painters and Allied Trades:

What is happening in #Nashville? A sixteen year old Construction Worker? Where is @OSHA_DOL U.S. Department of Labor? This is what happens when you systematically deregulate the construction industry. @NABTU @AFLCIO

— GoIUPAT✊ (@GoIUPAT) June 24, 2020

Plasterers and Cement Masons:

COVID-19 has slowed work progress everywhere. With the mass loss of jobs and money no longer coming in, health insurance is surely going to take a hit. Act now to tell Congress to support worker health care coverage amid the worst pandemic in 102 years!

— OPCMIA International (@opcmiaintl) June 28, 2020

Pride At Work:

We couldn't hold our annual Celebrating Solidarity Awards Reception in June due to COVID-19, but we're not going to let that stop us from telling you about our great honorees this year!

— Pride at Work (@PrideatWork) June 30, 2020

Professional Aviation Safety Specialists:

PASS-represented workers at FAA rightfully concerned re: health & safety as agency pushes return to normal operations & training in Oklahoma City where cases going up. FAA Admin Dickson says "we’re focused on data, not dates" but they've targeted week of 7/6 for training in OKC?

— PASS (@PASSNational) June 29, 2020

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union:

We stand in #Solidarity with @_verdi members on #strike @amazon this week in #Germany with our @uniglobalunion
sisters and brothers. The company needs to start putting #Healthbeforeprofit #1U #Union #Amazon

— RWDSU (@RWDSU) June 29, 2020


Remembering Carl Reiner #sagaftramember

— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) June 30, 2020


Admiral Buzby is a true friend of the U.S. Merchant Marine. Congrats! #maritime @DOTMARAD @AMPmaritime

SCA Honors Adm. Buzby - Seafarers International Union

— Seafarers Union (@SeafarersUnion) June 30, 2020

Solidarity Center:

"Given the vague wording and the lack of judicial oversight, the information law's threat to freedom of speech and the media cannot be overstated," said Mihra Rittmann, senior Central Asia researcher at @HRW. #humanrights

— Solidarity Center (@SolidarityCntr) June 30, 2020


TCU VP Jack Dinsdale said, "Congress is stating the obvious: no one wants to eat multiple boxed meals on long train trips, when part of the onboard experience is enjoying the freshly prepared food service.”

— Transportation Communications Union/IAM (@TCUnionHQ) June 30, 2020

The NewsGuild-CWA:

The union that represents journalists at all 10 @TribPub brands is taking it nationwide. "In a sweeping vote of no confidence in Tribune's current leadership, NewsGuild members … are seeking local investors who recognize that local newspapers are vital community institutions."

— NewsGuild-CWA (@newsguild) July 1, 2020

Theatrical Stage Employees:

International Vice President C. Faye Harper Talks Elections and Being On The General Executive Board

— IATSE (@IATSE) June 30, 2020

Transport Workers:

WATCH: Philadelphia bus operator and TWU Local 234 member Tom Shaw shares his experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic as we fight for hazard pay and other protections for frontline workers.

— TWU (@transportworker) June 30, 2020

Transportation Trades Department:

The House's debate on #HR2 AV & TNC provisions ignores the objectionable behavior of @Uber @Lyft & @RideWithVia detailed in our recent report. These companies push costs onto drivers, deny them basic employee rights, then come begging for federal subsidies?

— Transp. Trades Dept. (@TTDAFLCIO) June 30, 2020


Student workers at Harvard University made history today, voting in favor of ratifying their first union contract.

— UAW (@UAW) June 30, 2020

Union Label and Service Trades Department:

Tell Labor Secretary Scalia: Ensure Employer Standard for Workplace Safety! - National Employment Law Project

— Union Label Dept. (@ULSTD_AFLCIO) June 26, 2020

Union Veterans Council:

We have fought for this right💪🏻, now it is time to protect it.

All Americans should have the safest and most efficient access to the ballot box🗳. #1u

— Union Veterans Council (@unionveterans) June 29, 2020


LGBTQ+ Activist Cleve Jones welcomes viewers to UNITE HERE's first-ever "Union Pride" livestream event.

— UNITE HERE (@unitehere) July 1, 2020

United Food and Commercial Workers:

America's frontline workers are keeping us safe from #COVID19, but #retirement benefits are in danger as CEOs raid worker pensions in bankruptcies.

Enough. It's time to end this corporate greed and put hardworking Americans first.

— UFCW (@UFCW) June 30, 2020

United Steelworkers:

Labor Unions Fight for Emergency Temporary Standards to Protect Workers from COVID-19 Exposure #1u

— United Steelworkers (@steelworkers) June 30, 2020

United Union of Roofers and Waterproofers:

Ladder levelers reduce the risk of falls from extension ladders by improving stability. Learn more at: #roofersafety365

— Roofers Union (@roofersunion) July 1, 2020

Utility Workers:

Check out “Lifting Worker Voices in the Pandemic” for a @cornellilr @workerinstitute interview where Derrick Williams, general pipefitter & member of UWUA Local 223 in MI, discusses how life has changed for him & his partner amidst the #COVID19 #pandemic.

— UWUA National (@The_UWUA) July 1, 2020

Working America:

The NC General Assembly is ending yet another session without expanding health coverage to the most vulnerable.

Join @ncjustice and others for a discussion on expanding Medicaid at or tune in live on the NC Justice Center FB page at 6:30pm, July 1. #ncpol

— Working America (@WorkingAmerica) June 30, 2020

Writers Guild of America, East:

"'LITTLE FIRE has set a really high bar to be able to write a story about race, and class, and motherhood, and queerness." - @liztigelaar, showrunner for the Hulu series LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE, in the latest episode of WGA East's OnWriting Podcast

— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) June 29, 2020
Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 07/01/2020 - 14:40
Posted: July 1, 2020, 6:40 pm

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Milwaukee Area Labor Council Hosts Rallies to Thank Front-Line Workers

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Milwaukee Area Labor Council Hosts Rallies to Thank Front-Line Workers
Milwaukee Area Labor Council
Milwaukee Area Labor Council

During the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread protests in response to the killing of George Floyd, working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities. In our new Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we'll showcase one of those stories every day. Here's today's story.

The Milwaukee Area Labor Council, under the leadership of President Pam Fendt (LIUNA), has been hosting weekly events on Wednesdays for union members to thank front-line workers. The labor council's “We Thank You Wednesday” event last week recognized city of Milwaukee workers. Members of the labor council gathered to show support for AFSCME Council 32 members who are city sanitation workers and to call for increased funding for state and local governments. Union members and allies met outside the city’s sanitation garage with signs and banners to thank the sanitation workers as they returned from their shifts.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 07/01/2020 - 08:52
Posted: July 1, 2020, 12:52 pm

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: UFCW Fights to Save Members' Lives, Help Those on the Front Lines

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: UFCW Fights to Save Members' Lives, Help Those on the Front Lines
Marc Perrone

During the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread protests in response to the killing of George Floyd, working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities. In our new Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we'll showcase one of those stories every day. Here's today's story.

In a press conference on Thursday, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) announced that 238 UFCW members have died from COVID-19 and nearly 29,000 workers have been infected or exposed to the coronavirus over the past 100 days. 

The union announced it would take action on three key priorities to protect and help workers during the pandemic:

  1. Reinstating hazard pay and establishing a $15-per-hour minimum wage for all front-line workers.
  2. Establishing a public mask mandate in all 50 states.
  3. Creating a new national public registry to track COVID-19 infections in front-line workers and require companies with more than 1,000 employees to submit monthly reports on their worker deaths, infections and exposures.

International President Marc Perrone said, “With our country now 100 days into the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s front-line workers still face many of the same dangers they faced on day one. In grocery stores, meatpacking plants and health care facilities, our country’s front-line workers are still getting sick and dying. It’s high time for America’s CEOs and elected leaders to pull their heads out of the sand and take the strong action needed to protect these brave workers and the communities they serve.”

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 06/30/2020 - 15:52
Posted: June 30, 2020, 7:52 pm

Black Workers at Ohio Ford Plant Denounce Racist Taunts

After this article was published on June 30, some of those quoted in it became concerned about retaliation. Some names have been removed.

Workers organized two protests at Ford Motor Co.'s engine plant in Lima, Ohio, on June 19. One was a picket at shift change made up primarily of Black workers, objecting both to blatant racial insults and to a hierarchy that they allege keeps Black employees from moving up.

Posted: June 30, 2020, 6:09 pm

Can Auto Workers Win the Right to Vote? Here's How Teamsters Did It

June 29, 2020 / Justin Mayhugh

After former Auto Workers President Gary Jones pleaded guilty in June to charges of embezzling more than $1 million in union funds, the years-long federal investigation into corruption by senior UAW officials is set to move to a new phase.

The government has named the UAW itself as a co-conspirator. That creates a probability that the Department of Justice will bring a case against the union under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act—a maneuver that could result in a government takeover of the union.

Posted: June 29, 2020, 3:43 pm

The Downwardly Mobile: How Some People Lose Class Privilege

We have two narratives about class in this country. Perhaps the most prominent is the American Dream – the idea that hard work and moral fortitude can lead people from rages to riches. The second is that of the rigged … Continue reading
Posted: June 29, 2020, 11:55 am

Postal Day of Action: "We Need the Postal Service!"

Despite the pandemic, postal workers in at least 18 cities and towns rallied on foot, by car, and even by bicycle June 23 to demand federal funding to save the U.S. Postal Service.

While the House has passed a $25 billion rescue package, the Senate is not expected to take it up until after July 4.

Posted: June 26, 2020, 9:25 pm

How Phoenix Educators Used the ‘Red for Ed’ Momentum to Rebuild Our Local Union

Two years ago, the Red for Ed movement swept across Arizona. Seventy thousand educators flooded the capitol demanding higher wages and lower class sizes and a stake at the bargaining table.

For many locals in Arizona, the six-day walkout reinvigorated work that had been underway for years. But in the Phoenix Elementary Classroom Teachers Association (PECTA), we used the walkout to totally restart our local.

Posted: June 25, 2020, 7:31 pm

After Labor Board Ruling, Unions Must Shut Door on Management Rights

June 24, 2020 / Robert M. Schwartz

Since 2017, Republican appointees have firmly controlled the National Labor Relations Board. Not surprisingly, the agency has released a slew of decisions markedly reducing or eliminating union rights.

Posted: June 24, 2020, 5:33 pm

Universal Basic Income and Working-Class Futures

There have been few good things to come out of COVID-19. We’ve seen a genuine sense of community spirit emerge along with greater respect for blue-collar workers in the front line. In the UK, we’ve seen another less obvious shift: … Continue reading
Posted: June 22, 2020, 11:23 am

Unions Take Up the Black Lives Banner

Four Black workers in red Verizon shirts kneel in a parking lot, fists raised.

The Black Lives Matter uprising has prompted strong statements about racism and police accountability from top union officials, but the participation of the labor movement has been limited. Several internationals have, to their credit, encouraged their members.

More of the initiative to take action has come from below, with local unions and rank and filers organizing or participating in local demonstrations, pushing local governments and schools to shift resources from policing to community needs, and confronting racism in their own workplaces and industries.

Posted: June 19, 2020, 2:27 pm

Philly Sanitation Workers Rally, Join Demand for PPE, Right to Refuse Dangerous Work

Masked people stand outside holding red printed signs. Visible sign in foreground says: "Solidarity with Sanitation Workers! Hazard Pay and PPE Now!"

It hasn’t taken long for workers to figure out that employers see an economic and public health crisis as an opportunity. But Philadelphia sanitation workers are not prepared to give up their safety without a fight.

City budgets everywhere have been devastated by COVID-19. Municipal governments are gearing up for another round of brutal austerity, and public workers will be on the chopping block—making it even more difficult to ensure safe workplaces during a pandemic.

Posted: June 16, 2020, 7:52 pm

It's Time to Make Black Lives Matter in Our Unions

The Movement for Black Lives is encouraging union members to plan "Labor for Black Lives" actions in their communities on Friday, June 19—Juneteenth. Actions will be part of M4BL's call to Defend Black Lives all across the world. Find an action in your town and join it, or organize your own and add it to the map.

Posted: June 15, 2020, 8:42 pm

Racism and the Working Class

When I tell other middle-class professionals who don’t know me well that I’m writing a book about working-class culture, it’s amazing how often they respond approvingly that “white racism” is an important subject.  My reaction, depending on the circumstance, ranges … Continue reading
Posted: June 15, 2020, 12:44 pm

George Floyd and the Costs of Racial Capitalism

George Floyd’s public viewing will be held this afternoon at The Fountain of Praise Church in southwest Houston. A private funeral service will occur tomorrow followed by burial in Houston Memorial Gardens Cemetery about sixteen miles south of Houston’s Third … Continue reading
Posted: June 8, 2020, 11:08 am

Will Lawyers Stand Up to Defend Working-Class Consumers?

Three months into the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 40 million Americans have lost their jobs. 4.2 million homeowners have placed their mortgages in forbearance. Hundreds of thousands more are in default and have not yet worked out agreements with lenders … Continue reading
Posted: June 1, 2020, 11:27 am

Deindustrialization as a Template for COVID-19

As we wrote in Steeltown USA: Work and Memory in Youngstown, Youngstown’s story is America’s story. That’s true now as we try to imagine American life after the pandemic. No doubt, coronavirus is a natural disaster that is more contagious, widespread, … Continue reading
Posted: May 18, 2020, 11:36 am

“People Ain’t Gonna Come to Work if They Don’t Feel Safe”

If you live in Iowa, you get to see a little bit of how the sausage is made, so to speak, especially if it’s pork. It’s a common occurrence to see long semi-truck trailers on the highways, with round pink … Continue reading
Posted: May 11, 2020, 11:49 am

Fishing Industry Workers Struggle to Beat Long Odds

A few months into the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re seeing signs of worry about the food supply. Meatpacking plants have closed due to high rates of infection among workers. Farmers plow crops under and pour thousands of gallons of milk down … Continue reading
Posted: May 4, 2020, 11:27 am

May Day 2020: Workers in the Pandemic Time

Around the world, the first of May, is generally celebrated as a public holiday.  May Day’s origins go back to 1886, when 300,000 U.S. workers in 13,000 businesses laid down their tools in a general strike, joining 40,000 in Chicago … Continue reading
Posted: April 27, 2020, 11:42 am

COVID-19 Is a Perfect Storm for Women Workers

America’s women workers have been living in a straw house perched high on a cliff, and COVID-19 is the perfect storm.  Though research reveals that men are more likely to succumb to the virus, women will be disproportionately devastated by … Continue reading
Posted: April 20, 2020, 11:21 am