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NewsFeed - Labor
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Why does the once-powerful United Auto Workers keep losing?
That question is on many lips after the union’s sad organizing defeat at Volkswagen in Tennessee; its unfolding corruption scandal; and its toothless response to the news that General Motors will close five plants.
The symbolism was clear last January when, instead of joining a spirited coalition demonstration at the International Auto Show, the UAW held a candlelight vigil nearby.
My name is Tenae Stover. I am a native Washingtonian, and I have been working at Reagan National Airport for LSG Sky Chefs for the past three years. I’m a leader with my union UNITE HERE in our national fight for respect and dignity and for one job to be enough to live for airline catering workers across the United States.
Our jobs are hard, and we deserve more than Sky Chefs and American Airlines want to give us. We have been in negotiations since October of 2018, but Sky Chefs continues to reject our asks—a national $15 wage floor and affordable health care. Workers at more than 30 airports around the country, including National, took votes over the past month to authorize a strike when we are released by the government. At National, the vote passed by 100%.
Sky Chefs is our employer, but it is a subcontractor of the airlines, merely the middleman. American Airlines ultimately has the power and influence over our wages and benefits. It’s the one who determines what food we prepare, how we prepare it and how much its willing to pay for our hours of difficult labor.
Sky Chefs is a 365-day business—it is open every single day of the year and never closes. My co-workers and I spend most of our time there, including holidays, which we are rarely able to spend with family members. Every day, we prepare meals and beverages for thousands of passengers traveling through National, many traveling on American Airlines.
We all work on our feet for eight or more hours a day. Our health insurance is not good at all. My individual insurance costs me about $60 per week—some $250 per month—and others pay hundreds more for family plans. Even though some of my co-workers are older, right now they don’t have a pension they can benefit from and must continue to work these long hours just to survive. On top of all this, we only make around $13 per hour. One co-worker of mine who has been working there for 30 years makes the same low hourly rate as I do.
Two years ago, I was evicted from my home because Sky Chefs wasn’t paying me enough. At the time, I was making just over $9. I couldn’t afford to pay my rent, transportation, food and clothing with Sky Chefs as my only source of income. I was forced to move in with a family member, even though I want to be independent. Still to this day, Sky Chefs does not pay me enough and I cannot live on my own.
But I know that the way to stand up and fight back is through my union. I’m a proud member of UNITE HERE and proud to be a leader in this campaign, which is not only a fight for workers at National, but a nationwide fight for tens of thousands of workers. I decided I wanted to fight for myself as well as all the other workers in this industry. After getting more involved with my union, I can see that whether we’re workers for Sky Chefs in Washington, D.C., or at other American Airlines hub airports, in Marriott hotels in other cities, or even at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in my own hometown, we’re all fighting against corporations and their greedy, unfair labor practices that put our livelihoods and families at risk. I want to pave the way for the generations to come by setting the standard for a better living for all.
Today, the economy is doing well and the airline industry continues to earn record profits, and yet airline catering workers like me continue to be forgotten. That’s why we fight back against these companies to win what we rightfully deserve. We’re simply tired of being overworked and underpaid. We are fighting for $15 and for affordable health care. I am proud that my union UNITE HERE is fighting for fair treatment and respect for all airline catering workers. This fight we’re in, and the strike authorization votes we’ve taken, show we have power. Without us, the workers, neither Sky Chefs nor the airlines would profit, and they know that. We’ll do whatever it takes within the law, even if that means a strike when we’re released, to get what we are fighting for.
The latest information on AT&T Southeast and PSA Airlines.
He is sharing his story publicly of how he faced constant racial discrimination at work from customers and managers.
The NewsGuild-CWA has been fighting on the front lines as private equity has gutted local news organizations.
The bill increases the minimum wage over the next six years until it reaches $15 an hour in 2025. Next, the bill will head to the U.S. Senate.
Last week, a piece in Roll Call highlighted CWA members' progress in urging legislators to pass call center bills.
Pizzella has a disturbing history of actively working against the best interests of working people.
Eighteen customer service workers from Verizon, AT&T Mobility, and American Airlines attended a CWA Political Bootcamp in Richmond.
Every week, we bring you a roundup of the top news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here’s the latest edition of the Working People Weekly List.
Never Underestimate the Collective Power of Working People: "It has been a year since the Supreme Court awoke a sleeping giant: The labor movement."
Repression Continues in Kazakhstan as Union Leader Faces Seven Years in Prison: "The AFL-CIO strongly condemns the ongoing persecution of independent trade union leaders in Kazakhstan and the sentencing this week of Erlan Baltabai, leader of the Fuel and Energy Workers’ Union, affiliated with the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan (KNPRK). Baltabai was sentenced to seven years in prison and banned from exercising his right to engage in public life in what appears to be spurious criminal proceedings in retaliation for his trade union activism and support of other KNPRK leaders targeted by the government."
Sorry to Bother You: Worker Wins: "Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with big victories for working people in the Minnesota legislature and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life."
Missouri Needs Relief: In the States Roundup: "It's time once again to take a look at the ways working people are making progress in the states."
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Boilermakers: "Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Boilermakers."
Working Families Must Be Together, and Free: "As working families around the country prepare for likely immigration raids, we reaffirm this statement from the AFL-CIO Executive Council. America’s unions will continue to fight for all working people. The labor movement is taking steps to ensure that members of our communities and our unions know their rights and know that we will all stand together in the face of these attacks. Be safe out there."
Merkley Co-Sponsors Clean-Energy Jobs Bill: "At a press conference Thursday at the U.S. Capitol, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka unveiled the Good Jobs for 21st Century Energy Act, major new legislation to create good-paying jobs in the transition to clean energy. 'This is the right bill at the right time to fight climate change and create the kind of family-sustaining jobs our country is desperate for,' said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. 'For too long, the corporate right-wing—the polluters and the union-busters—conspired together to create a false choice: a raising wages economy or a clean environment. We can and must have both.'"
Norcross-Led Repeal of the ‘Cadillac Tax’ Passes House of Representatives, Poised to Lower Healthcare Costs for Americans: "'Working families have waited too long for repeal of the 40% health benefits tax,' said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. 'It’s a shame that health care remains out of reach for millions across the country because they can’t afford to see their doctor. It’s time to end this tax that drives up deductibles and copays that empty workers’ wallets.'"
'Prime Day' Is a Prime Time for Collective Action: "This week, millions of consumers flocked to Amazon looking for a deal on Prime Day, which brought in more than $3.9 billion for the retail giant last year. Maybe you were one of those shoppers. But, as you await the delivery of the trendiest tech or basic household items you bought for a bargain, remember that it takes hundreds of thousands of workers to turn your simple click of the button into a package at your door at breathtaking speed. And far too often, these workers say they are being treated terribly and denied basic rights on the job. That's why workers in Shakopee, Minnesota, took a stand and walked out on Monday. These workers aren't asking for the moon. They're demanding a safe and reliable working environment, the chance to advance in their career and the opportunity to organize and advocate for a better life."
USMCA Is Totally Unenforceable, AFL-CIO President Trumka Says: "Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, discusses the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), his views on the 2020 presidential election candidates and the Trump administration's approach to U.S. immigration policy with Bloomberg's Craig Gordon and Marty Schenker on 'Balance of Power.'"
The AFL-CIO strongly condemns the ongoing persecution of independent trade union leaders in Kazakhstan and the sentencing this week of Erlan Baltabai, leader of the Fuel and Energy Workers’ Union, affiliated with the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan (KNPRK). Baltabai was sentenced to seven years in prison and banned from exercising his right to engage in public life in what appears to be spurious criminal proceedings in retaliation for his trade union activism and support of other KNPRK leaders targeted by the government.
The decision comes one month after the International Labor Organization’s Committee on Application of Standards concluded the government of Kazakhstan was systematically violating the rights to freedom of association and organizing, including the right to form independent unions. In 2017, the government of Kazakhstan dissolved the independent KNPRK and mandated that all unions must join a government-controlled national federation. On Sept. 25, 2018, government authorities raided the Fuel and Energy Workers’ Union offices and opened a case against Baltabai, saying he had no right to continue financial operations of a dissolved union. He was formally charged in March 2019 and his trial began the following month. Even though Baltabai could account for all expenditures, and the state used forensic economic examinations and audits based on regulations no longer in force, he has been sentenced to a lengthy prison term and banned from engaging in trade union activities in the future.
The case against Baltabai is similar to one brought against former KNPRK President Larisa Kharkova. In July 2017, Kharkova was convicted on demonstrably false charges of embezzlement and sentenced to four years of modified house arrest and a ban on holding any position in a trade union or nongovernmental organization. Two other trade union leaders were convicted and imprisoned around the same time. Both have since been released, but they are banned from engaging in any trade union activities. Another leader suffered a brutal physical attack in November 2018, and yet another was set up on false assault charges with help from police in January 2019 after speaking out on Kazakhstan at a gathering of the International Trade Union Confederation. These cases, taken together with other actions against independent unions, leaders and their families, demonstrate a clear pattern of government harassment and criminalization.
The AFL-CIO demands the unconditional acquittal and release of Baltabai and stands with others in the global labor movement to demand the government of Kazakhstan ends its anti-union practices and ensures independent trade union activists can exercise their fundamental rights.
Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with big victories for working people in the Minnesota legislature and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life.
Minnesota Legislative Session Yields Victories for Working People: As the legislature finished up its work for the current session, several bills that will benefit working people were passed. Among the bills pursued as part of Minnesota AFL-CIO's Legislative Agenda of Dignity, Justice & Freedom for Working Minnesotans that passed are making wage theft a criminal felony offense, eliminating the sunset provision on the health care provider tax that funds care for hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans and expanding the Working Families Tax Credit for unreimbursed work expenses. About the legislation, Minnesota AFL-CIO President Bill McCarthy (UNITE HERE) said: "Despite being one of only two states with divided government, the 2019 legislative session yielded big wins for working Minnesotans, including the strongest law in the nation to combat wage theft. We applaud Governor Walz and the House majority for putting working people at the center of their legislative priorities this year."
Inspired by Rapper and Filmmaker Boots Riley, Salt Lake Film Society Staff Unionize: Front-of-house staff at the Salt Lake Film Society were inspired by Boots Riley's film "Sorry to Bother You" to reach out to the Utah AFL-CIO who connected them with an organizer from IATSE. After doing the hard work to organize the new unit, the staffers got more than 80% to sign cards in favor of unionizing. The drive got a boost from Riley himself when he sent the organizers a video message. Riley said: "So much of what you do is getting stories to people. And the thing about what happens when people come together and fight, especially when they do that on the job, is it starts to tell a story to other people…it’s about the story that is being told to millions of other people that will be finding out about what you are doing….What you’re doing is very important, and I’m inspired by you."
Vox Media Staffers Secure First Collective Bargaining Agreement: After 14 months of negotiations and a one-day walkout, staffers at Vox Media have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract. The bargaining committee tweeted: "We are thrilled to announce we have reached a tentative agreement with Vox Media for our first-ever collective bargaining agreement. Our unit still needs to ratify our contract, but we are proud of what we have won in this agreement and can’t wait to share the details."
Nevada Governor Signs Bill Extending Collective Bargaining Rights to 20,000 Working People: Gov. Steve Sisolak recently signed S.B. 135 into law. The legislation expands collective bargaining rights to more than 20,000 Nevada state employees. About the legislation, AFSCME President Lee Saunders said: "This bill is about respect for state employees who make their communities stronger every day. By signing this bill, Governor Sisolak demonstrates his understanding of the importance of giving working people a seat at the table and the voice on the job they deserve. Americans are looking for an answer to a rigged economy that favors the wealthy, and it’s clear that they are turning to unions in growing numbers. It is time to make it easier all across the country for working people to join in strong unions."
Fiesto Rancho Casino Workers Vote to Join Culinary Union: After 85% of the nearly 150 workers who voted said they were in favor of unionizing, the Fiesta Rancho Hotel & Casino becomes the sixth Station Casinos property in Las Vegas to unionize since 2016. Geoconda Argüello-Kline, secretary-treasurer of the Culinary Workers Union, said: "Workers are standing up and fighting! Two Station Casinos’ properties have voted to unionize by a majority this week. We call on Station Casinos to immediately negotiate and settle a fair contract for the workers at Fiesta Rancho, Sunset Station, Palms, Green Valley Ranch, Palace Station and Boulder Station."
Radio Station Employees at Santa Monica's KCRW Join SAG-AFTRA: More than 90 public media professionals at radio station KCRW voted to be represented by SAG-AFTRA. The workers delivered a petition signed by more than 75% of staffers with a request to form a union. SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said: "On behalf of SAG-AFTRA members, I am thrilled to welcome KCRW to our union family. KCRW is a one-of-a-kind radio station that produces some of Los Angeles’ most dynamic and diverse programming, and we’re excited to make sure everyone’s voice is heard through the collective bargaining process."
Stagehands Ratify Collective Bargaining Event with DNC Venue: Stagehands working at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee have ratified a contract with the venue, which will host the Democratic National Convention in 2020. IATSE Vice President Craig Carlson said: "This agreement illustrates that both parties believe in the dignity of hard work, the honor it instills and the respect it commands. Our agreement rewards all workers with safe working conditions, fair wages and meaningful benefits. I commend Fiserv Forum’s Management and [IATSE] Local 18 for putting together an agreement which will lead to the future success of both workers and management. We look forward to a wonderful relationship."
Working People at Ikea Distribution Centers in Illinois Vote to Join IAM: Nearly 200 distribution center workers employed at Ikea have voted to be represented by the Machinists (IAM). The organizing campaign is part of a larger IAM campaign to unionize workers at Ikea distribution and fulfillment centers throughout the world. Dennis Mendenhall, who led IAM's campaign in Illinois, said: "These hardworking men and women are proud to work at Ikea and do tremendous work for this company. Yes, joining the IAM gives them the opportunity to negotiate on wages, benefits and work rules. But this campaign was mostly about fairness and a voice on the job, as well as ensuring that the profits they create also benefit their families and communities."
AT&T Workers in the Midwest Reach Tentative Agreement on Contract: Technicians and Installers who work for AT&T and are represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), reached two tentative agreements with the telecom giant. Some 8,000 employees are covered by the agreements, which have to be approved by the union's membership. CWA District 4 Vice President Linda L. Hinton said: "I am incredibly proud of our AT&T Midwest bargaining teams and our members. We did not back down and our agreement reflects the priorities we brought to the bargaining table on jobs, health care and employment security."
Guggenheim Museum Staffers Join Local 30 of the Operating Engineers: Art handlers and facilities staff at the Guggenheim Museum in New York have voted to join the Operating Engineers (IUOE). The union will represent about 90 workers at the museum. An anonymous art handler, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "It’s incredibly exciting. Workers were able to unite behind a movement despite extensive attempts to exploit divisions by Guggenheim management. It signals a future ability to create a strong contract that benefits all of us equally."
Amazon’s biggest shopping days of 2019 so far—”Prime Days,” July 15-16—saw walkouts and protests by workers in the U.S. and Germany. The protests were semi-coordinated, targeting Amazon when its warehouses are running at full clip and the company is in the media spotlight.
In Germany, Amazon workers organizing with the Ver.di union struck over the course of two days in an ongoing struggle over pay. The union claimed that 2,000 workers participated across seven facilities.
Amazon warehouse and tech workers around the country took action, including a strike in Minnesota, during the company’s much-hyped annual “Prime Day” discount frenzy July 15-16. Read more about those actions here. Here one warehouse worker from Chicago describes conditions on the job. Thirty night shift workers in his warehouse marched on their boss early this morning to demand air conditioning, health insurance, and Prime Week pay increases. –Editors
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.
It's time to abandon the sinking ship that is the #akgov - Don't let him take the state down with him! The #akleg needs to vote to override these vetoes and #SaveOurState from drastic and dangerous budget cuts - they are reckless and nonsensical. pic.twitter.com/vQg74VlXMH— Alaska AFL-CIO (@AKAFLCIO) July 9, 2019
California Labor Federation:
Misclassified workers miss out on protections such as health benefits, minimum wage, & safety protections. With #AB5, we have the opportunity to protect workers from exploitation! It's time to #DisruptInequality and say #YesonAB5! pic.twitter.com/qy0hdIGLyA— California Labor Federation (@CaliforniaLabor) July 9, 2019
.@UNITEHERE President @DTaylorUH: "We are in a moment of time where we have the opportunity to organize on a scale we have never seen in our lifetime. This moment will not last. And by the way, it won’t wait on us." https://t.co/x4HGf9EGwX— Connecticut AFL-CIO (@ConnAFLCIO) July 3, 2019
Indiana State AFL-CIO:
Iowa Federation of Labor:
Here's our weekly labor update including a nurses contract rally in Machias, how public sector workers are responding to the Janus decision, the history of IBEW 1837 and more! https://t.co/KWvXbvD88H #mepolitics— Maine AFL-CIO (@MEAFLCIO) July 5, 2019
Did you catch it in the @BostonGlobe this morning? Chris Carlozzi of the @nfib_ma is actually arguing that we should weaken public sector unions because they advocate for raising the minimum wage and want "high earners" to pay their fair share in taxes!! #RaiseTheWage #janus #1u pic.twitter.com/GSAFVf9PV0— Massachusetts AFL-CIO (@massaflcio) July 11, 2019
Metropolitan Washington (D.C.) Council AFL-CIO:
How a transit union triumphed in an anti-union stronghold https://t.co/ejPVJjJw3p— MetroDCLaborCouncil (@DCLabor) July 12, 2019
It’s no coincidence that these disparities begin to widen when corporate and political attacks set out to weaken unions. The labor movement was born from the need to protect the freedoms of working people. #1u #Solidarityhttps://t.co/0DiAXq8oEy— Michigan AFL-CIO (@MIAFLCIO) July 10, 2019
Natural disasters across #Missouri has affected many of our brothers and sisters. We have set up the Missouri Working Families Relief Fund to help union members in their time of need. We are seeking donations to help our brothers and sisters. #1u https://t.co/LEQ6nuhLS4 pic.twitter.com/yekFXeiGNV— Missouri AFL-CIO (@MOAFLCIO) July 9, 2019
New Mexico Federation of Labor:
New York State AFL-CIO:
North Carolina State AFL-CIO:
North Dakota AFL-CIO:
On #PrimeDay, @Amazon pays less in taxes than its employees do. It’s one of the largest companies on the planet. But many Amazon workers work full-time and still can’t afford the necessities. pic.twitter.com/Qhn1KI3cpl— North Dakota AFL-CIO (@NDAFLCIO) July 15, 2019
We don’t always agree with @gop @RepMikeTurner but we appreciate you standing up against hate. Now let’s agree on the #PROAct that will protect everyone at the workplace from same discrimination. https://t.co/NZs8UfIIY2— Ohio AFL-CIO (@ohioaflcio) July 15, 2019
Oklahoma State AFL-CIO:
The YELL Conference is coming!— Oklahoma AFL-CIO (@OK_AFL_CIO) July 16, 2019
Sep 19-20! Send your young/new workers to not only become educated on Union history and issues, but return energized and engaged to recruit other young workers to follow suit.
For more info and to register go to https://t.co/8VSySApHDb pic.twitter.com/q5q12isL28
KEEP! IT! OPEN! We were so proud to join the nurses and medical staff at #hahnemannhospital last week. Sending you #solidarity from across the Commonwealth.#keepitopen @pennanurses @PhillyAFLCIO @afscme DC33 pic.twitter.com/L7Z0A5DrlS— PA AFL-CIO (@PaAFL_CIO) July 15, 2019
Rhode Island AFL-CIO:
South Carolina AFL-CIO:
Do you fly? https://t.co/HKcvYyQtes— SC AFL-CIO (@SCAFLCIO) July 2, 2019
”My name is Francisco, and I’m a member of Ironworkers Local 263. We proudly construct buildings. I'm here today with my family to better my immigration status and apply for U.S. Citizenship.” #1u #txlaborcitizenship @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/Lh9E6CNnBd— Texas AFL-CIO (@TexasAFLCIO) June 29, 2019
VIRGINIA AFL-CIO PRESIDENT, DORIS CROUSE-MAYS RESPONDS TO VIRGINIA’S #1 BUSINESS RANKING BY CNBC— Virginia AFL-CIO (@Virginia_AFLCIO) July 11, 2019
Virginia: #1 for Business and Beyond Last for Workers
Virginia Ranks #51st for Workers ! Check out why: https://t.co/FyHsR8gtfq #WhatAboutWorkers #WorkersDeserveBetter pic.twitter.com/8TBq6OD7L3
Washington State Labor Council:
Make sure you read this important opinion column by Stan Sorscher of SPEEA/IFPTE 2001. https://t.co/oAkh4meJMI— WA State AFL-CIO (@WAAFLCIO) July 8, 2019
West Virginia AFL-CIO:
Out early today with our team Union Labor in Solidarity Against Cancer at the CAMC Foundation Run for Your LIfe 5-Mile Run/2.5-Mile Walk in downtown Charleston! 💪👊❤️ pic.twitter.com/Esk3Ue5K0I— West Virginia AFLCIO (@WestVirginiaAFL) June 22, 2019
Wisconsin State AFL-CIO:
Incoming acting Labor Secretary Patrick Pizzella under scrutiny for work with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, https://t.co/iqkBAgYhAD— WI AFL-CIO (@wisaflcio) July 16, 2019
Twenty-five Martha’s Vineyard bus drivers are striking for a first contract, exposing the inequality that exists for working people on an island known as the summer home of the rich and famous.
The Florida-based company Transit Connection Inc. (TCI) receives public funds to operate the bus system relied on by vacationers and year-round residents alike. So during the strike, taxpayers are literally paying scab wages—contrary to the progressive values often associated with Martha’s Vineyard.
It has been a year since the Supreme Court awoke a sleeping giant: The labor movement.
Working people accepted the challenge of Janus v. AFSCME and used this test to reignite our solidarity and prove that we are stronger than any corporation, politician or high court. It takes more than a court case to tear down a century and a half of grit and gumption.
Together, union members from communities across the country reclaimed our power and redefined this past year with a historic movement of collective action.
Teachers captured the country's attention, walking off the job for the fair treatment they deserve in states where collective bargaining is illegal. Workers at Marriott hotels in eight major cities across the country won groundbreaking protections against harassment and assault and a voice in how technology impacts their work. Grocery store employees throughout New England won better wages and respect after a massive strike that garnered support from workers and communities across America. Now, airline catering workers voted to authorize a strike and demand that “One Job Should Be Enough.”
But, it’s not just union members calling for a fair return on work.
This week, Wayfair employees embraced the power of collective action when they walked out of their workplace to protest the immoral abuse of migrants in detention centers at the border.
Google workers worldwide staged massive protests last fall, demanding an end to workplace harassment.
And, video game developers are joining together to fight for a voice at work.
Working people from every corner of the country are ready to experience the transformational power that comes with a union card. With the labor movement’s popularity at its highest point in more than 15 years, research from MIT shows that half of Americans would join a union today if they could.
For too long, rugged individualism was the false narrative sold to generations of Americans. At the same time, corporate interests chipped away at our most fundamental rights and freedoms. The result we’re seeing today is a concentration of wealth and power for the 1% that shocks the conscience and threatens the democratic system we have come to rely on.
But, the labor movement is refusing to settle for the false promises and comfortable confines of the status quo. We’re being bold. We’re taking risks. We’re helping to rewrite the American story.
We’re standing together and fighting for the change we need. We’re debating and defining the future of work with life-changing contracts and through cutting-edge training and education that helps working people advance to better jobs and fulfilling careers.
After all, we built the middle-class, won retirement security, created safe workplaces and determined what a fair economy could and should look like. That’s why the labor movement continues to be the most powerful force for working families.
Our mission now, and in the years to come, is to convert today’s historic levels of collective action into resurgent collective bargaining, so we can build a fairer, stronger and more upwardly mobile America.
There are signs of progress far and wide, and we are ready to give this moment everything we have.
The Supreme Court didn’t deliver the labor movement’s eulogy. It sparked our triumphant rise, and we’re only getting started.
Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Boilermakers.
Name of Union: International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers (IBB)
Mission: Uniting members across multiple industries and occupations in the union's common endeavor of improving each other's lives and lifestyles through union representation.
Current Leadership of Union: Newton B. Jones serves as international president of the Boilermakers. Jones began his career as a Boilermaker 47 years ago and has worked as a field construction boilermaker, high rigger, tube roller, certified pressure welder and in other jobs in the industry. In 1981, he joined the staff of the international union. Five years later, he was appointed director of organizing and communications. After that, he served as international vice president for the Southeast Section and in 2003 was chosen to complete the unexpired term of International President Charles W. Jones, who retired. Newton Jones was then re-elected as international president in 2006, 2011 and 2016.
William T. Creeden serves as international secretary-treasurer, and the Boilermakers have five international vice presidents that serve geographical regions, including Lawrence McManamon (Great Lakes Section), J. Tom Baca (Western Section), Warren Fairley (Southeast Section), John T. Fultz (Northeast Section) and Arnie M. Stadnick (Canada).
Current Number of Members: 60,000
Members Work In: Construction and repairing of electric power plants, refineries, pulp and paper and steel mills; building naval ships and commercial tankers; repairing locomotives; making cement; mining coal, gypsum and talc; forging tools for industry; and making consumer goods.
Industries Represented: Heavy industry, shipbuilding, manufacturing, railroads, cement, mining and others.
History: The Boilermakers are one of the oldest unions in the country, rising out of the Industrial Revolution's demand for steam power in 1880. The Boilermakers have been a part of many major events in American history, helping to build structural sections of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the machinery to make the Panama Canal, the world’s first nuclear submarine, the U.S.S. Nautilus, the U.S.S. New York amphibious transport dock (which includes steel from the Twin Towers), military ships and various submarines, nuclear, gas-fired and advanced coal-fired power plants and the aluminum-based fuel for the space shuttle’s solid rocket boosters. The Boilermakers have been headquartered in Kansas City, Kansas, since 1893, and there are now more than 200 Boilermaker local lodges across North America.
Current Campaigns/Community Efforts: The Boilermaker Reporter provides news and information useful to workers in the industry. The Boilermakers have established national funds for pensions, health and welfare, and an annuity trust. They also provide education and training, one of the best apprentice programs in the country and are partners in an award-winning alliance with construction industry contractors and owners resulting in innovations for improved safety, manpower availability, training and cost savings.
Every week, we bring you a roundup of the top news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here’s the latest edition of the Working People Weekly List.
‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Demanding Better: "Over three days in June, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka held town halls in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Detroit to talk with workers about the future of NAFTA. Listen to some of the highlights from that conversation on the latest episode of 'State of the Unions.'"
Make History: 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."
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: SMART: "Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers."
Union Member Brings Unemployment Benefit Increase Bill to Governor’s Desk: "Delaware Gov. John Carney signed a bill Sunday that raises the region’s lowest unemployment benefit. Under the bill, the maximum weekly payment will rise from $330 to $400—a long-overdue increase since the last update in 2002."
Pride Month Profiles: Joni Christian: "For Pride Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various LGBTQ Americans who have worked and continue to work at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Our next profile is Joni Christian."
Labor Activist Wins Primary Election for White Plains Common Council: "Jenn Puja (IUOE), a labor activist and organizer, won her primary race for White Plains Common Council in New York this week. Puja, along with two other labor-endorsed candidates, advanced to the general election in November."
We Must Not Forget Oregon Democrats’ Betrayal on PERS: "The best thing about being president of the Oregon AFL-CIO—with less than 100 days until the end of my term—is that I can now say whatever I want, whenever I want. For example, in the past, I felt limited in the ways I held legislative Democrats accountable. There is a tendency to soften one’s criticism, understanding that there is always a next session and another legislative agenda. Holding legislative leadership accountable with statements that are too harsh could impact future legislative agendas. I am sorry to say: There are too few Republicans that we can count on to help move our agenda, making the Democrats the only game in town for labor issues."
Working People Deserve Better: In the States Roundup: "It's time once again to take a look at the ways working people are making progress in the states."
House to Pass $15 Minimum Wage; Studies Debunk GOP Job Loss Claims: "'Every time momentum builds for lifting wages, conservative ideologues say it will cost jobs. Every time they’ve been dead wrong,' said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. He estimated the hike would help 40 million workers. Scott put the figure at 27 million minimum-wage workers alone. 'Being consistently wrong and not caring about workers are the only two things conservative economists can be counted on for,' Trumka continued. 'This is more of the same noise. They want subservient, scared workers whose suffering will expand their stock portfolios. Our country is finally poised to lift millions out of poverty and make our country work for the people who work. Let’s raise the wage, and we’ll prove the CBO wrong again.'"
As working families around the country prepare for likely immigration raids, we reaffirm this statement from the AFL-CIO Executive Council. America’s unions will continue to fight for all working people. The labor movement is taking steps to ensure that members of our communities and our unions know their rights and know that we will all stand together in the face of these attacks. Be safe out there.
From the Executive Council statement:
The escalating attack on immigrant and refugee families in our country is an affront to labor's values and a clear threat to the freedoms we all hold dear.
Family is the reason we go to work every day. America’s unions categorically reject policies that tear families apart. Yet what we see in our country today is a dramatic and deliberate increase in the casualties caused by our broken immigration system.
Instead of ensuring the safety of workers doing dangerous and difficult jobs, we see our workplaces raided and hard-working union members arrested while employers continue with business as usual.
Instead of welcoming refugees and asylum seekers, we see those fleeing violence cast back into harm’s way, shamefully imprisoned for profit and torn from their children, no matter what age.
Instead of expanding rights and protections for more of our workforce, we see a million working people with Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals needlessly stripped of their status and rights, making them once again subject to exploitation and separation from their loved ones.
These policies harm and offend all working families.
The AFL-CIO opposes immigration enforcement tactics that breed fear and chill the exercise of basic workplace rights. We demand government agencies that serve the greater good and are accountable both to their workforces and the public. We reject family and child detention, the “zero tolerance” policy at the border and any limits on due process for vulnerable populations. We insist that the way to raise wages and standards is by empowering workers and creating pathways to citizenship for all those whose labor helps our country to prosper.
We can and we must do better. The labor movement remains committed to the ongoing struggle to build an immigration system that lifts people up and ensures that we are all able to live and work with dignity, regardless of where we were born. We know that real security can only be achieved through humane approaches, and we will continue to demand justice for long-term members of our communities, our workforce and our unions, as well as for those who newly seek refuge in our country.
We will prevail by rejecting the politics of division and building a strong, inclusive and democratic movement for justice for all working families.
CWA addresses the resignation of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta.
Since last fall, protestors wearing yellow vests have commanded center stage in France. Their grassroots challenge to the neoliberal regime of President Emmanuel Macron draws on a long tradition of labor militancy, including factory closing fights. When these protestors still had blue collar jobs and belonged to unions, they probably looked a lot more like the red-vest-wearing strikers in At War.
The latest information about the AT&T Mobility "Green" Contract, Kaleida Health, and StoryCorps.
More than 1,200 CWAers from across the country joined a CWA town hall call this week to hear about how to take action in CWA's Summer of #NoMoreOffshoring campaign.
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.
A. Philip Randolph Institute:
Help #APRINEC19 MAKE HISTORY!— APRI National (DC) (@APRI_National) July 2, 2019
Join @APRI_National as we make history at our 50th Annual National Education Conference, August 7 - 11, 2019 at the Radisson Blu Mall of America Hotel in Bloomington, MN near Minneapolis). Registration and hotel info https://t.co/mEcM7PLN7b pic.twitter.com/mccz3PbPUE
Actors' Equity Association:
This hasty move could leave USDA with only 45% of its researchers. https://t.co/Os4hcvNyNf— AFGE (@AFGENational) July 11, 2019
“It has been proven that outsourcing does not save money in the long run and that the participants rarely have the same concerns for the students as those of us that live in the county." https://t.co/C9K2KTddsJ— AFSCME (@AFSCME) July 11, 2019
Air Line Pilots:
The crew of Envoy 4215 experienced an autopilot system failure during final approach into Dallas-Ft. Worth. The two well-trained and highly-qualified pilots declared an emergency and safely landed 14 minutes after the emergency. https://t.co/LprYehj77J #twopilots pic.twitter.com/Qu0d4epmyi— ALPA (@WeAreALPA) July 11, 2019
Alliance for Retired Americans:
The system is broken. No one should ever have to go to another country for lifesaving medicine or have to choose between paying for Rx drugs and paying for other necessities like food. Lawmakers must take action to #LowerDrugPricesNow and #ProtectOurCare! https://t.co/LR6ABC3Rem pic.twitter.com/iKqNzZGHxG— Alliance Retirees (@ActiveRetirees) July 9, 2019
Amalgamated Transit Union:
American Federation of Musicians:
American Postal Workers Union:
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance:
.@HelenGymAtLarge: "We are standing up for @HUHospitalPHL nurses. There is something seriously wrong when a corporate profiteer can buy a community hospital and force it to close!"@PennaNurses @32BJSEIU @AFSCME #PatientsOverProfits pic.twitter.com/XgvCYf1QZO— APALA (@APALAnational) July 11, 2019
Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:
The hard-working men and women who gave their all to their Employer deserve to retire with dignity and respect. Please urge Congress to solve this crisis by supporting #HR397 – Take Action today! https://t.co/LMCjZjyla1 #Saveourpensions #1u— BCTGM International (@BCTGM) July 10, 2019
Our 2019 Industrial Sector Operations conference is off and running. Lots of great speakers, workshops and idea-sharing happening now. Thanks to guests @The_UWUA @UllicoInc @UAPLUMBER1 @IndustriALL_GU @UnionSportsmen & more for joining us! pic.twitter.com/r2YwWSPLW9— Boilermakers Union (@boilermakernews) July 10, 2019
Broadcast Employees and Technicians:
California School Employees Association:
Lisa McClelland, Inger McCormack, Linda Astesana from Ch. 894 are out showing their support for AB 1505 and AB 5! pic.twitter.com/WHY4aNTiVd— CSEA (@CSEA_Now) July 10, 2019
Coalition of Black Trade Unionists:
Frederick Douglass is still the man. He keeps it real on America’s “Independence Day.” Read his searing indictment of the hypocrisy behind a nation celebrating freedom and liberty while oppressing its black citizens https://t.co/sCjYoSbQQ3.— CBTU (@CBTU72) July 4, 2019
Coalition of Labor Union Women:
It's been 10 years since Congress has raised the minimum wage. Millions of working people are struggling to make ends meet while corporations are raking in record profits. It's time we #RaiseTheWage. Call your Member of Congress and make your voice heard: 1-877-782-8274 pic.twitter.com/XRWIy6HH3t— CLUW National (@CLUWNational) July 10, 2019
Communications Workers of America:
Millions of workers in the U.S. haven't had a raise in 10 years - and that's unacceptable. Tell Congress to do their job and #RaiseTheWage to $15/hr. Dignity on the job starts with getting paid fairly. Call your Member of Congress and make your voice heard: 1-877-782-8274 pic.twitter.com/pFvVREYjxd— CWA Political Action (@cwa_political) July 10, 2019
Department for Professional Employees:
Farm Labor Organizing Committee:
@SupportFLOC through the Black/Brown Unity Coalition, is involved in addressing lead paint poisoning-lead affects children. It's another reason they have trouble in school! Glad to see folks from the @UToledo nursing department featured. Pulling for #Flint https://t.co/TQLTrU8leO— Farm Labor Organizing Committee (@SupportFLOC) July 11, 2019
RT @WalterIAFF: Congrats to South Fulton Local 3920 on the passage of Local Collective Bargaining in the Atlanta area. Georgia "Firefighter's Mediation Act." #organizethesouth @IAFF12thDVP @IAFFNewsDesk pic.twitter.com/tlIYrA04Gs— IAFF (@IAFFNewsDesk) July 11, 2019
Heat and Frost Insulators:
For the first time in the 116-year history of the union, the Insulators held the Local Union Officers Meeting, the Joint Apprenticeship Conference and the Master Apprentice Competition (MAC) at the same time and same location.— Insulators Union (@InsulatorsUnion) July 11, 2019
Read more in our blog here:https://t.co/HTl4olV6VB
Join us today for the National No More Off-Shoring Day of Action! Call your Representative to tell them to stop helping companies send our jobs overseas! Since the passage of NAFTA, the U.S. has lost over 1 million jobs! Enough is enough! Call today! 1-877-775-9294. pic.twitter.com/xGAUzBSaD8— IUE-CWA (@IUE_CWAUnion) June 28, 2019
Jobs with Justice:
Forcing Medicaid recipients to work serves no purpose, other than trying to remove people from Medicaid rolls. https://t.co/fO4zdbS1Fg— Jobs With Justice (@jwjnational) July 11, 2019
LCLAA would like to extend its most sincere gratitude to @AARP for supporting our 2019 National Conference! We will continue shedding light on those unions, organizations, and entities that encourage and enable spaces like this where our members can gather. #LCLAA19 pic.twitter.com/oAiGPayfLW— LCLAA (@LCLAA) July 10, 2019
A fired Delta Air Lines worker is fighting back after the carrier fired her for publicly supporting the IAM's union organizing drive. pic.twitter.com/yeXZQjskWA— Machinists Union (@MachinistsUnion) July 2, 2019
Maritime Trades Department:
MTD Exec Sec-Treas Daniel Duncan signs a petition for UFCW Locals 400 and 27 members to save Mid-Atlantic Shoppers grocery stores. pic.twitter.com/OOXQuYNi87— MaritimeTrades (@Maritime_Trades) June 28, 2019
Steward's Corner: Don't Complain, Organize! Complaining isn’t the first step to organizing—it’s the graveyard of organizing. Just ask any union steward or rep who has listened to a member complain bitterly but refuse to take action.https://t.co/HGGdvZpQ5p— Metal Trades Dept. (@metaltradesafl) July 1, 2019
"They may get an earful, but that is the only way to start the dialogue that needs to happen. This action is not about who we are supporting for President, it’s about finding out who is supporting us.”https://t.co/YW9mx3WRMV— United Mine Workers (@MineWorkers) July 9, 2019
Recruiting women into Multi-Craft Core Curriculum (MC3) Pre-Apprenticeship programs is critical to creating a more diverse future for the #BuildingTrades.— The Building Trades (@NABTU) July 11, 2019
With that in mind, check out today’s #FactOfTheDay ✊👷♀️ pic.twitter.com/1qyle6Rn4F
National Air Traffic Controllers Association:
Alternate NNE NLC Member Juan Ledesma (PVD), PVD Legislative Rep Jamie Green & Dan Turcotte (PVD) met with Rhode Island Congressman @JimLangevin at Finn's Harborside. "We had the opportunity to chat with the majority of his district staff," said Ledesma. "It was a great event." pic.twitter.com/sPN0o6JOEt— NATCA (@NATCA) July 10, 2019
National Association of Letter Carriers:
Eye on the elderly! When our member Philip Davis noticed that his #elderly customer had not picked the previous day's mail, he reached out to the neighbors, who contacted the man's relative. They found the man had fallen out of bed. Paramedics soon arrived https://t.co/G9pPRsnW1g pic.twitter.com/Y3KfHSPlKA— Letter Carriers (@NALC_National) July 11, 2019
National Day Laborer Organizing Network:
The struggle for equality, justice and liberation is more patriotic than a military parade. We will not rest until everyone is free. #CloseTheCamps #CourageOverFear #AltoTrump pic.twitter.com/7PopuLxjnp— NDLON (@NDLON) July 4, 2019
National Domestic Workers Alliance:
#TBT to @ROMACuaron racking up:— Domestic Workers (@domesticworkers) July 11, 2019
1. Award nominations and wins
2. Supporters of the domestic worker rights movement
The momentum continues! Domestic workers across the country are demanding labor protections with a #DomesticWorkersBillofRights. https://t.co/dJhODEOiSw
National Nurses United:
This is so dangerous!— NationalNursesUnited (@NationalNurses) July 11, 2019
"Three-fourths of the nation’s nursing homes never meet federal staffing expectations for registered nurse staffing, and RNs are often missing from such facilities on the weekends." #SafeStaffing #nurses https://t.co/2Wmp4EN60Z
National Taxi Workers Alliance:
NYTWA ED Bhairavi Desai explains the math of debt forgiveness. Readjusting loans for drivers to forgive anything over current market value would cost $1.8-$2.4 billion — a fraction of the $13 billion estimated by the mayor’s office. pic.twitter.com/nooJDRSqFZ— NY Taxi Workers (@NYTWA) July 11, 2019
The coolest! That's what it's all about. https://t.co/dfKZeC142r— NewsGuild (@news_guild) July 11, 2019
NFL Players Association:
.@JOEL9ONE: our 2018 Alan Page #CommunityMVP and now the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian award winner. His heart for others continues to shine and change lives. #AthleteAnd pic.twitter.com/cUSE483zxF— NFLPA (@NFLPA) July 11, 2019
Office and Professional Employees:
Just as predicted, #HQ2 is causing rent increases and skyrocketing costs for low- and middle-income residents in Northern Virginia. Their tax dollars paid for @Amazon to come – and now Amazon’s presence is forcing them to consider leaving. #1u https://t.co/w7gOnc6wv4— OPEIU (@opeiu) July 11, 2019
Painters and Allied Trades:
Operatives in Washington are trying to destroy IUPAT apprenticeships. Only a few days left to submit comments against the Department of Labor's anti-union IRAPs! Click the link and share with your friends and family. #SaveUSApprenticeshipshttps://t.co/Qp2hrmdhfc pic.twitter.com/eaXwAcWB9j— GoIUPAT✊🏽 (@GoIUPAT) July 11, 2019
Plasterers and Cement Masons:
The #OPCMIA Job Corps program gives underprivileged youth the power to bust the doors of opportunity wide open! Learn more about this outstanding pre-apprenticeship program connecting participants with rewarding careers as plasterers or cement masons. https://t.co/Qag16wq2Xa— OPCMIA International (@opcmiaintl) July 11, 2019
Professional Aviation Safety Specialists:
"Bargaining in good faith" is the backbone of labor-management relations. Unilaterally imposing contracts without labor input is not. Thanks @AppropsDems for protecting the rights of dedicated federal employees who serve their country. #publicservice #1u #unionsolidarity https://t.co/ADZz3Vf9eW— PASS (@PASSNational) July 3, 2019
Professional and Technical Engineers:
New day, new union members! Another example of nonprofit professionals joining together to make their organizations even stronger, by giving employees a voice! Welcome to your #union @equitablegrowth! https://t.co/3GKzYkZkkG— IFPTE (@IFPTE) July 3, 2019
Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Workers:
#Carwasheros, our union and community groups have fought for years to end the tip credit loophole. Thank you @jessicaramos @MarcosCrespo85 @AndreaSCousins & @CarlHeastie for your critical support passing this bill it will help so many workers! pic.twitter.com/RnnhUhp2Gr— RWDSU (@RWDSU) July 10, 2019
Roofers and Waterproofers:
The United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers & Allied Workers strongly supports Helmets to Hardhats and encourages all local unions to register with the program. If you know a vet who is looking for a great, lifelong career, please have them check out H2H. https://t.co/9y0ipKHD4d— Roofers Union (@roofersunion) July 11, 2019
WARNING: @cadillac is casting for a NON-UNION commercial. Their crew will reportedly set performers on fire at the #LA shoot. Non-union = no guarantee of safe sets or stunt coordinator. Don’t get burned! #unsafesets #AdsGoUnion pic.twitter.com/OqMrVJhDEs— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) June 28, 2019
Nice read…The White Elephant is no more. https://t.co/8NYrlFPShp— Seafarers Union (@SeafarersUnion) June 29, 2019
The beauty and dignity of work: Crafting jewellery "brings us honor”— Srikant, a jeweler in #India who talks about how his trade has allowed him to connect to his artistry, his gift.https://t.co/oY3Kh89nAH— Solidarity Center (@SolidarityCntr) July 11, 2019
Theatrical Stage Employees:
Is technology and automation in the entertainment industry a raging beast or a gentle giant? The 2019 second quarter edition of the Official IATSE Bulletin is out now! https://t.co/smErWUO0O4— IATSE (@IATSE) July 11, 2019
Transportation Trades Department:
We are demanding that Congress make it easier for every working person to enjoy the rights and dignities that come with a union card. Make your voice heard loud and clear, and tell Congress to pass the PRO Act. https://t.co/VcAmpQpM59— UAW (@UAW) July 11, 2019
Did you know July is National Grilling Month? Many of UFCW's members are butchers at your local grocery store -- ask them which cuts of meat are best for grilling! pic.twitter.com/lSIaDnSuJA— UFCW (@UFCW) July 3, 2019
Union Label and Service Trades:
Union Veterans Council:
Happy Independence day!— Union Veterans Council (@unionveterans) July 3, 2019
As we celebrate the 4th can you take a moment to help us spread the word that THOUSANDS of Viet Vets who worked tireless years as @MineWorkers coal miners are about to lose their promised retirement?
So let's do something really patriotic for these Vets! pic.twitter.com/vEsWXq4iFO
Housekeepers put in hard work every single day, but @Marriott’s “Green” Choice program makes it harder for us to do our jobs.— UNITE HERE (@unitehere) July 11, 2019
Stand with working women, turn down “Green choice!” #greedychoice #greenwashing #NN19 @Netroots_Nation pic.twitter.com/Vgt8ZIQqgn
Investigation finds thousands of tons of foreign steel used at cracker plant https://t.co/C2QEm6rXpT— United Steelworkers (@steelworkers) July 11, 2019
Did you know lineworkers are first responders who are on the ground working to restore power immediately after a storm or major incident? Here's some of our members performing this important work. #ThankALineworker pic.twitter.com/ky5kOZYYNa— UWUA National (@The_UWUA) July 10, 2019
Writers Guild of America, East:
UPDATE, July 8: EVA Air flight attendants reached an agreement over the weekend to end the strike. Flight attendants will head back to work on July 10. Read more details of the agreement in this article from New Bloom.—Eds.
Thousands of flight attendants—all of them women—are on strike in what has now become the longest walkout by airline workers in Taiwan’s history.
Transit in the Washington, D.C., area is heavily unionized. But until recently there was one stubborn holdout—the DASH bus system in Alexandria, Virginia.
The city debuted DASH 35 years ago to create a cheaper, nonunion alternative to the regional MetroBus service. It was set up as a nonprofit corporation owned by the city so that it would technically be privately run, disqualifying workers from receiving the city pension.
Note: The U.S. Department of Labor authorizes certain employers to pay people with disabilities a fraction of the minimum wage in what are called “sheltered workshops.” At last report there were 1,769 of these employers and 124,066 people getting the subminimum wage. Some workers are paid just a few cents an hour.