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“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience and comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
We’re coming off of an election that reminded us we still have considerable work ahead in the struggle for freedom and civil rights, and on Martin Luther King Jr. remembrance day, Dr. King’s quote is deeply relevant.
Today, the AFL-CIO will be hosting the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Awards Luncheon and Community Service Weekend. This year’s theme, “The Struggle Is Free, But the Dream Must Be Televised,” represents the constant battle for civil rights and justice that continues to plague our country. While the results of the election unveiled the sobering similarities with the civil rights movement, we still dream of the world Dr. King so eloquently described in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The labor movement will remain steadfast in our fight for civil, human and women’s rights, and to make justice a reality for everyone. We are the drum majors for justice and together we will honor the everyday heroes who are working tirelessly to improve jobs and achieve justice.
Every week, we bring you a roundup of the top news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here’s this week’s Working People Weekly List.
Three years ago, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez of Honduras spoke before us here in Washington about the need for the United States and all nations to set aside the single-minded pursuit of wealth. He repeated Pope Francis’ warning about an economy that kills. He cited global inequality that has left working families so far behind that they often don’t have safe places to sleep, enough food to eat or access to clean water.
In the early hours of last night, Senate Republicans pushed forward with their reckless plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Shortly after 1 a.m., while most Americans were sleeping, Republican legislators passed a resolution containing a measure that initiates the process to repeal the ACA. The vote was 51–48, along party lines. Democrats used the amendment process to try to improve the resolution, with more than 160 amendments being offered but rejected. The House could vote on the bill as early as Friday.
Election night 2016 was bittersweet for me. I spent most of the day with Oregon legislative candidate Teresa Alonso Leon, a Service Employees (SEIU) member.
Alonso Leon works for the state as a GED manager, helping students find their paths to careers, college, and job skills training programs. I had helped to recruit and train her through the Oregon Labor Candidate School, which offers union members the training and support to run for public office.
Nearly five years after the torture and assassination of Bangladeshi labor leader Aminul Islam, the country's garment-sector employers and the government continue to persecute workers who try to exercise basic rights. In the three weeks since a December strike to protest the paltry $68 per month minimum wage, garment employers and the government have again shown their hostility toward workers and their rights. At that wage, workers in Dhaka would need to spend 60% of their income solely to rent substandard housing in a slum, leaving little to live on in a city about as expensive as Montreal (where the minimum wage is more than ten times higher).
A longtime campaign and nationwide effort by the tens of thousands of passenger service agents represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) to protect all airline employees from physical and verbal abuse by passengers has succeeded.
Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor released a report in response to the complaint filed by U.S. and Colombian unions detailing systematic labor rights violations in Colombia. The U.S. government acknowledged many of the serious issues raised in the complaint, including inadequate labor inspections and enforcement actions, abusive forms of subcontracting that prevent union organizing and keep the majority of Colombian workers in precarious jobs, and impunity for threats and violence against trade unionists, which creates a climate of fear.
CWAers have launched a major campaign to fight back against a corporate cabinet that puts the worst of Wall Street insiders in charge of our government.
The latest bargaining updates from GE Appliance Park, Momentive and AT&T Mobility.
The U.S. Department of Justice has just confirmed that passenger service agents are covered by legislation that set significant penalties and jail time for anyone who "interferes with airport and airline personnel who have security duties."
Hundreds of union members who rallied at Kentucky’s Capitol against a trio of Republican union-busting bills surely knew the legislation was unstoppable.
Today, across our country, workers and civil rights activists, people of faith, human rights activists, and many others are standing together and standing strong, ready to defend the achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King and so many others.
CWA President Chris Shelton’s Statement on the Nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held its hearing on the nomination of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to be U.S. Attorney General this week.
So far, more than 500 CWAers are participating in the Women's March on Washington the day after the presidential inauguration, with more expected to join.
Apply for the Beirne Foundation and Union Plus scholarships.
Starting now, CWAers can get a big discount on select items at the new CWA Store.
In a victory for workers, the U.S. Postal Service announced that the deal between the U.S. Postal Service and Staples has ended.
Last week auto workers from Chicago and Detroit made a pilgrimage to the birthplace of auto workers' sit-down strikes to lend solidarity to workers who’ve been locked out for eight months and counting.
Honeywell locked out 320 aerospace workers with Auto Workers (UAW) Local 9 in South Bend, Indiana, on May 9 after they voted 270-30 to reject the company’s offer. Another 40 Honeywell workers with Local 1508 at in Green Island, New York, are also locked out.
Immigrants who have come to our country in search of better opportunities have been the economic backbone of America for well over a century. In the face of a difficult job market for many immigrants, their keys to the American Dream may not be readily available.
Yesterday, working people who have been employed by fast-food CEO Andrew Puzder shared their stories with Senate Democrats. They made it clear why Puzder is being called the #AntiLaborSecretary. Here are some of the key tweets that captured the hearings.
At its monthly meeting this weekend, United Auto Workers Local 42 will be informing Volkswagen workers about their right to strike and access to strike benefits.
The meeting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is the result of a motion brought by a worker frustrated at Volkswagen’s continued refusal to bargain with the skilled-trades unit.
Many unions agonize over how to get young workers involved. At the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE), we did it with a fight over an issue that mattered to younger members—paid parental leave.
“Three months after we adopted our second son,” wrote a member in one of the stories we gathered over the course of our campaign, “I had to empty all the change jars in our house to make sure we had enough money to pay our monthly mortgage.”
Because this member stood up, future members will not have to go through such an experience.
Fast food CEO Andrew Pudzer for Labor Secretary… Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Energy Secretary… Billionaire Betsy DeVos, enemy of public schools and public workers, to head Education…
President-elect Donald Trump promised to drain the swamp, but it’s obvious that the reptiles still have Washington in their claws. And with even more picks yet to come—including the late Antonin Scalia’s replacement on the Supreme Court—it’s hard to feel optimistic about the future.
As the reality of a Donald Trump presidency sets in, unions and workers centers are gearing up for a massive fight to defend immigrant members, building on lessons from the past decade.
Undocumented workers are at risk both from the government and from their employers. Sometimes employers are under government pressure themselves. Other times they’re using the threat of immigration enforcement to discourage organizing or keep workplace standards low.
Besides workplace or home raids, over the past decade workers have faced:
Newly armed with the right to collective bargaining, teaching assistants, graduate assistants, and research assistants at private universities are organizing to join the ranks of the unionized.
While many union members needed time to recover from the presidential election results, a group of Santa Monica, California, hotel workers didn’t have time to spare. News of Donald Trump’s victory only pushed them to fight harder to win their union election at a beachfront hotel.
A week after Trump’s win, hotel workers at Le Merigot Hotel voted 27 to 15 to unionize with UNITE HERE Local 11.
Throughout his campaign the president-elect routinely vilified immigrants. The hotel workers are mostly immigrant women, a majority of them from Mexico and El Salvador.
For the first time in nearly two decades, reformers have won seats on the Teamsters’ international executive board—and come within a hair’s breadth of unseating the incumbent administration led by President James P. Hoffa.
What can you do to help your brothers and sisters when they’re on strike or locked out?
You might follow the example of Head Start teacher Jonathan Dudley. When Aubuchon Hardware locked out 60 workers in the town next door, he sprang into action and raised $1,830—enough to buy each worker a Thanksgiving turkey.
Aubuchon, a regional chain with 120 stores throughout New England, locked the warehouse workers and truck drivers out of its Westminster distribution center on November 8. The boss, fourth-generation owner Will Aubuchon, claims they struck.