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Work Is the Reason Latinos Are Getting Slammed So Hard by the Pandemic

Author(s): 

The COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout have hammered the Latino community.

Latinos make up 40 percent of COVID-19 deaths after adjusting for age, according to the Centers for Disease Control, but only 19 percent of the population. This is the biggest disparity of any major ethnic or racial group.

Why the disproportionate impact? The reason is work.

Posted: November 30, 2020, 6:47 pm

How Americans Can Help the Frontline Workers Battling COVID-19

Chad Longpre Shepersky repeatedly took COVID-19 tests—and waited on pins and needles for results each time—during a coronavirus outbreak at Guardian Angels Health and Rehabilitation Center in Hibbing, Minnesota. Longpre Shepersky, a certified nursing assistant (CNA), never contracted the virus. But he watched in agony as dozens of his patients and coworkers fell ill and […]
Posted: November 30, 2020, 6:10 pm

This pandemic-year Thanksgiving, think hard about the system that has workers on the job today

Every Thanksgiving, people across the United States gather with their family and friends to celebrate and eat and be with their loved ones. And at the same time, people across the United States are at work—maybe having rescheduled their holiday meal around their work and maybe having given up the celebration entirely.  Well, this year is […]
Posted: November 30, 2020, 5:58 pm

Toxic Class Encounters

It’s thirty years this autumn since I began my undergraduate degree at Durham University in the North East of England. To tell you the truth I didn’t know much about the city before I applied there.  My visit for the … Continue reading
Posted: November 30, 2020, 2:44 pm

The Itch to Twitch: How We Opened Up Our Union’s Webinar

Blog: 

When our union announced a mass Zoom meeting, we knew members wouldn’t get the chance to participate in any meaningful sense.

There was a moderated question-and-answer session planned, but we did not know if there would be an open chat—and we certainly assumed there would be no discussion of a desperately needed strike authorization campaign.

So our merry band of rank-and-file activists decided to set up an alternative way for members to view and debate the meeting, using the live-streaming service Twitch.

Posted: November 25, 2020, 10:24 pm

‘We went from being essential to being sacrificial, all for the sake of the bottom line’

How much rage have you got left after four years of Donald Trump and nine months of coronavirus pandemic? Please set aside some to direct at the United States’ largest retail companies for their treatment of their workers. A Brookings Institution report shows how 13 of the nation’s 20 largest retail chains, with a combined […]
Posted: November 25, 2020, 6:43 pm

Working People Plan Diverse Activities for Thanksgiving

Working People Plan Diverse Activities for Thanksgiving

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

  • Maine: The 18th annual Solidarity Harvest, co-sponsored by the Eastern, Southern and Western Maine labor councils, is made possible by the efforts of more than 50 unions, faith groups and other organizations. This year, the project is expected to provide 1,400 Thanksgiving meals to union and community members who are experiencing hard times.
  • Indianapolis: The annual Circle of Lights event, presented by Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 481, this year will be a special made-for-TV-only affair, featuring Santa, musical acts from the Tom Wood Talent Search and the lighting up of Monument Circle to kick off the holiday season.
  • Kansas: Machinists District Lodge 70, in association with the Wichita/Hutchinson Labor Federation, has launched its Salvation Army Angel Tree program to collect gifts for children in the community.
  • San Diego, California: The San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, in association with the San Diego Food Bank, distributed 500 turkeys and 600 meal kits to local families. The labor council also began collecting for its annual toy drive, which continues through Dec. 17.
  • Washington: The Washington State Labor Council is calling on members and supporters to stay home, stay safe and give to union-organized charitable efforts, including the Foundation for Working Families, the Southwest Washington Central Labor Council’s Presents from Partners and the Teamsters (IBT) Local 117 Toy Drive.
  • Chicago: The Chicago Federation of Labor teamed up with the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters, IBEW Local 134 and McCormick Place to distribute holiday meals to more than 2,000 union members and their families. Most of the meals were given to workers at McCormick Place, which has been shut down since March.
  • Atlantic City, New Jersey: Thousands of laid-off workers were assisted through Operation Feed Atlantic City’s Special Holiday Food Distribution. The New Jersey State AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and the Community FoodBank of New Jersey delivered turkey dinners, homemade treats and other groceries to ease the food insecurity that has gripped this resort region throughout the pandemic.
  • Oklahoma: The Central Oklahoma Labor Federation is once again partnering with the emergency assistance group Upward Transitions to distribute holiday baskets for union members and their families. Supplies such as canned food, hot chocolate mix and paper goods are needed this year more than ever.
  • Texas: Local unions, including AFGE Local 1920 and AFGE District 10 worked with Star Group—Veterans Helping Veterans to give away more than 500 turkeys and bags of fixings to local families.
  • Air Line Pilots: Members of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) across the country are participating in various holiday activities, including Pilots for Kids, which helps hospitalized children.
Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 11/25/2020 - 11:01
Posted: November 25, 2020, 4:01 pm

General Motors Returns to Oshawa—But Offers Only Second-Tier Jobs in a ‘Pop-Up’ Plant

Unifor President Jerry Dias called it “a home run.” The media headlines were all about “reopening the Oshawa plant.”

Unifor, the union that represents workers at the Detroit Three auto companies in Canada, announced a tentative agreement with General Motors Canada on November 5 that included a $1.3 billion investment to “restart” the Oshawa Assembly Plant.

GM had ended vehicle assembly there last year, eliminating the jobs of 5,000 assembly and supplier workers. The prospect of jobs returning is very welcome.

Posted: November 25, 2020, 3:57 pm

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

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

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

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

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

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 11/25/2020 - 10:14
Posted: November 25, 2020, 3:14 pm

COVID Tipped the Scale: How King County Employees Made Childcare a Union Benefit

Ten thousand union members who work for King County, where Seattle is located, have won a $9 million fund to cover emergency childcare expenses this school year. Now the union coalition is pushing to make the benefit permanent.

Childcare affordability was already a crisis for working parents—even before the pandemic. A typical single parent in Washington state spends more than half her income on childcare. The cost of childcare is often greater than college tuition.

Posted: November 24, 2020, 5:18 pm

Breakthrough for Organized Labor and Clean Energy

Breakthrough for Organized Labor and Clean Energy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 11/24/2020 - 10:46
Posted: November 24, 2020, 3:46 pm

As Covid Surges, Doctors Are Striking Against “Retail Health”

We’re back with Sea­son Four of Work­ing Peo­ple! In this urgent episode, we talk with Dr. Amir Atabey­gi, a physi­cian at Mul­ti­Care Indi­go Urgent Care in Thurston Coun­ty, Wash­ing­ton. On Novem­ber 23, amid a ter­ri­fy­ing surge in COVID-19 cas­es around the coun­try, Dr. Atabey­gi joins his fel­low physi­cians, physi­cian assis­tants, and advanced reg­is­tered nurse prac­ti­tion­ers on the pick­et line as […]
Posted: November 24, 2020, 3:25 pm

Companies are getting creative to pay workers as little as they can get away with in the pandemic

Unemployment remains high, Republicans allowed expanded unemployment benefits to expire, and retail companies are using that desperation to get vulnerable people to risk their health or their lives for low, low wages. Early on in the pandemic, many retail chains paid their workers some amount of hazard pay. It was usually an inadequate amount and […]
Posted: November 24, 2020, 3:21 pm

Interview: If Only Unions Had Managed to Organize the South, Could Trump Have Been Avoided?

Blog: 

At a time when activists and commentators are puzzling over the United States’ enduring conservatism, Michael Goldfield’s new book The Southern Key: Class, Race, and Radicalism in the 1930s and 1940s (Oxford University Press, 2020) provides some perspective.

Posted: November 23, 2020, 8:32 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 11/23/2020 - 13:44
Posted: November 23, 2020, 6:44 pm

Millions of U.S Workers for Walmart, McDonald’s and Other Corporate Giants Rely on Food Stamps and Medicaid

Mil­lions of full-time, adult work­ers in the Unit­ed States?—?many of them employed by Wal­mart, McDonald’s and oth­er high­ly prof­itable cor­po­ra­tions?—?are paid wages so low they’re forced to rely on pub­lic assis­tance to make ends meet.  That is the key find­ing of a new­ly released report by the non­par­ti­san Gov­ern­ment Account­abil­i­ty Office (GAO). Com­mis­sioned by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I?Vt.), the […]
Posted: November 23, 2020, 3:28 pm

Think about who doesn’t get a Thanksgiving, and who’s to blame, this week in the war on workers

We’re heading into Thanksgiving week, and we’re hearing a lot of discussion of how people are—or aren’t—staying safe, from solitary living to plans for large gatherings and everything in between. We also need to be talking about how this holiday season kicks off after 35 straight weeks of a million or more people applying for unemployment insurance, […]
Posted: November 23, 2020, 3:16 pm

How Postal Workers Saved the Election

Author(s): 

The story of mail ballots in 2020 is the story of a union postal workforce willing to go to extraordinary lengths to make sure that every vote got delivered.

Postal workers did this despite the deliberate holdups created by new Postmaster General Louis “Delay the Mail” DeJoy, and a workforce hit hard by COVID.

Posted: November 20, 2020, 8:56 pm

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

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

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

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

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 11/20/2020 - 12:04
Posted: November 20, 2020, 5:04 pm

Voluntary Recognition: Worker Wins

Voluntary Recognition: Worker Wins

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 11/20/2020 - 11:58
Posted: November 20, 2020, 4:58 pm

What is the Broken Rung?

The corporate ladder is a popularized metaphor in the workforce. The ability to progress up the chain of command at a company to secure a prosperous future through hard work. However, what’s lesser-known, but more important, is that this staple corporate ladder has a broken rung. The very first step up from entry-level fragments parity […]
Posted: November 20, 2020, 3:58 pm

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

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

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

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

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 11/20/2020 - 10:00
Posted: November 20, 2020, 3:00 pm

Biden’s big challenge: A growing racial wealth gap

When he takes office on Jan. 20, Joe Biden will face a gap between Black and white wealth that has grown into a yawning chasm during the past 10 months. The pandemic has shuttered tens of thousands of businesses and left millions out of work. And communities of color have borne the brunt of the […]
Posted: November 20, 2020, 2:35 pm

Katie Porter called for an investigation into PPP layoffs. Under Biden, that could actually happen

Back in October, a group of Democratic House members wrote to the Small Business Administration asking for an investigation how an owner of dozens of hotels had spent Paycheck Protection Program funding while laying off many of the workers whose paychecks the program was supposed to protect. Now, the signs are good that President-elect Joe Biden is going to […]
Posted: November 20, 2020, 2:21 pm

It Took a Boatload of Uber Cash to Beat Self-Organized Drivers

Blog: 

Workers suffered a devastating defeat in California’s Proposition 22, the most expensive ballot measure in U.S. history. “Gig economy” giants Uber, Lyft, Instacart, and DoorDash spent $200 million to pass the measure, which exempts them from basic labor laws.

“It’s a disappointment, but it’s not surprising,” said driver Tyler Sandness. “$200 million is going to buy you a big voice.”

Posted: November 19, 2020, 6:38 pm

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

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

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

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

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 11/19/2020 - 09:34
Posted: November 19, 2020, 2:34 pm

#FundTheFrontLines: What Working People Are Doing This Week

#FundTheFrontLines: 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:

AFGE:

AFSCME:

Air Line Pilots Association:

Alliance for Retired Americans:

Amalgamated Transit Union:

American Federation of Musicians:

American Federation of Teachers:

American Postal Workers Union:

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance:

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:

Boilermakers:

Bricklayers:

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists:

Coalition of Labor Union Women:

Communications Workers of America:

Department for Professional Employees:

Electrical Workers:

Farm Labor Organizing Committee:

Fire Fighters:

Heat and Frost Insulators:

Ironworkers:

Jobs With Justice:

Labor Council for Latin American Advancement:

Laborers:

Machinists:

Metal Trades Department:

Mine Workers:

Musical Artists:

National Air Traffic Controllers Association:

National Association of Letter Carriers:

National Day Laborer Organizing Network:

National Domestic Workers Alliance:

National Nurses United:

National Taxi Workers Alliance:

NFL Players Association:

North America's Building Trades Unions:

Office and Professional Employees:

Painters and Allied Trades:

Professional Aviation Safety Specialists:

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union:

Roofers and Waterproofers:

SAG-AFTRA:

Solidarity Center:

The NewsGuild-CWA:

Theatrical Stage Employees:

Transport Workers Union:

Transportation Trades Department:

UAW:

Union Label and Service Trades Department:

UNITE HERE:

United Food and Commercial Workers:

United Steelworkers:

United Students Against Sweatshops:

Utility Workers:

Working America:

Writers Guild of America, East:

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 11/18/2020 - 16:08
Posted: November 18, 2020, 9:08 pm

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: APWU Launches Day of Action

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: APWU Launches Day of Action
APWU

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

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

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 11/18/2020 - 09:45
Posted: November 18, 2020, 2:45 pm

Will Urgent Care Doctors Be Forced to Strike in a Pandemic for the Right to Go Home?

Physicians at one of Washington state’s largest health care providers just announced their intent to strike, potentially shutting down 20 urgent care clinics across the Puget Sound region. They won recognition with the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD) in 2018 after a two-year fight with MultiCare Indigo Urgent Care and have been battling for a first contract ever since.

Posted: November 17, 2020, 9:37 am

While the World Focused on Midwest Election Results, Detroit Bikeshare Workers Won Their Union

Blog: 

On November 4, as the country was awaiting the results of the previous day's presidential election, my co-workers and I held our breath as we watched the proceedings of another election play out over Zoom. Our vote, for union recognition at Detroit's bikeshare company, was less controversial: the ballots were unanimous in favor of unionizing.

I work at Shift Transit, which operates the MoGo bikeshare system here in Detroit. Though Shift does not own the bikes, stations, or other equipment, we are responsible for maintenance, customer support, and day-to-day operations.

Posted: November 16, 2020, 4:20 pm

Why Did California's Tax the Rich Measure Lose?

Blog: 

California’s Proposition 15, a labor-backed progressive tax measure, gave up the ghost on November 10 after a weeklong vote count. The measure had proposed to close a corporate tax loophole worth $10 to $12 billion a year for schools and services.

Posted: November 12, 2020, 4:14 pm

Cultural and Political Diversity in the White Working-Class

Influential political analyst Ron Brownstein thinks American politics is all about answering this question: “How long can Paducah tell Seattle what to do?” The question resonates because metro areas vote so differently from small town and rural areas and because … Continue reading
Posted: November 9, 2020, 12:27 pm

After the Election: Finding Our Dignity and a Way Out of This Mess

It’s almost 50 years old, but the 1972 book The Hidden Injuries of Class by Richard Sennett and Jonathan Cobb accurately identified the problems of class in the U.S. that have fed the divisiveness of Donald Trump. If only we … Continue reading
Posted: November 2, 2020, 12:42 pm

Why Trump Will Lose Ohio

It is always dangerous to publicly predict the outcome of a presidential election, especially in a purple state like Ohio. But I’ve done it twice, in 2011 and 2016, months in advance, when both of my predicted winners, Barack Obama … Continue reading
Posted: October 26, 2020, 12:04 pm

The “Other America”: The Poverty and Peril of Domestic Workers

America is mired in a crisis of unprecedented scope and depth.  The disruption of the pandemic is draining for all of us, but for many, its consequences are dire. For the millions of people who’ve had little or no work … Continue reading
Posted: October 19, 2020, 11:20 am

Reality TV and Real Work in the Fishing Industry

Fishing may be the world’s second oldest profession, but the industry is about as visible as a quiet cousin at a family reunion. Unassuming, keeping to itself, it is largely ignored in talk about work and the economy.  All of … Continue reading
Posted: October 12, 2020, 11:34 am

What Can Workers Expect from Amy Coney Barrett?

Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States poses a difficult question: does her faith commitment as a Roman Catholic preclude an interpretation of the law that is responsive to concerns of the working class? The … Continue reading
Posted: October 5, 2020, 11:11 am

A Law and Order Platform to Unite Working-Class Voters

Donald Trump has positioned himself as the “law and order” president, because the term provides a positive framing for the racially-tinged rhetoric he uses to divide members of the white working and middle classes from people of color. The Guardian’s … Continue reading
Posted: September 28, 2020, 11:18 am

The Unsettling

It’s fire season again.  Two years ago, my parents lost their home in Paradise.  This year, I almost lost mine.  I live in Oregon, where scores of fires were stoked up by unusual Eastern blasts of dry wind over the … Continue reading
Posted: September 21, 2020, 11:10 am

Undelivered: The DeJoy Scandal and Democracy in the Balance

In this turbulent moment, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy aptly symbolizes the precarious state of both our democracy and the workers on whose shoulder its future rests.  Last week,  a Washington Post team uncovered seven former employees of New Breed Logistics … Continue reading
Posted: September 14, 2020, 10:52 am