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Every week, we bring you a roundup of the top news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here’s this week’s Working People Weekly List.
After Janus, Electrical Workers Show the Power Is in Our Hands: "The Supreme Court’s recent Janus decision was despicable, spitting in the face of decades of common-sense precedent. There’s no question about that. But Janus is not the end of our fight."
Trump's Supreme Court Nomination of Brett Kavanaugh Is Deeply Troubling: "Working families deserve a Supreme Court justice who will respect the rights of working people and who will enforce decades of legal precedent that protect us in the workplace. On Monday night, President Donald Trump rejected working men and women by selecting Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the vacancy created by Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement."
Thousands Rally for Private Pension Fix: "'An attack on one worker is an attack on all workers, and seeing working people come together to fight for what’s right, to have the American people rally with us to protect the benefits we’ve earned is a beautiful thing,' Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga told the crowd that filled the lawn in front of the Statehouse and wound around both sides of the building. 'Nothing is more sacred than the promise of a secure retirement after a lifetime of hard work,' he said."
Could Missouri's Right-to-Work Vote Be a 'Turnaround' for Labor? Unions Hope So: "'Everyone is wanting to write the labor movement’s obituary,' AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler said at a Kansas City rally Tuesday. 'Are we going to let that happen?' The crowd of about 250 union members and volunteers returned a resounding, 'No.' They were gathered for rally at a local pipe-fitters union hall before setting out for a canvassing effort. Shuler flew in from Washington, D.C., to visit what she called the 'ground zero' in the fight over labor."
AFL-CIO Chief Warns Red to Blue Candidates That Being a Democrat Isn’t Enough: "House Democratic candidates in town this week for training at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Washington got a visit from AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka for some tips on how they can win back working-class voters. 'I don’t have to tell you that you can’t count on the D next to your name to gain our support,' Trumka told Democratic leadership and a room full of candidates on Red to Blue, the DCCC’s program for its strongest candidates."
Belabored Podcast #155: The Future of Collective Action: "But it’s worth remembering that for every devastating Supreme Court decision, anti-union executive order or rollback to public benefits, glimmers of hope are present on the front lines. In the belly of the political beast in D.C., grassroots organizers gathered at the AFL-CIO headquarters to discuss collective action under Trump, beyond the beltway. Activists representing teachers, housekeepers, graduate students and airline workers talked about union power in the wake of the Janus decision and keeping hope alive for the next generation of young labor leaders."
If You Live in Missouri, Vote 'No' on Proposition A: "On Aug. 7, Missouri voters will have the chance to vote against Prop. A, a divisive attack on working people funded by big corporations and their wealthy allies. The misleading measure is a direct attack on the rights of the working people of Missouri."
U.S. Trade Deals Mean Justice for Some, Not Justice for All: "2017 was another banner year of justice for sale, reveals the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s annual review of investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) cases. What does the report say? It reveals lots of new ways global investors are undermining democracy in private tribunals."
On Aug. 7, Missouri voters will have the chance to vote against Proposition A, a divisive attack on working people funded by big corporations and their wealthy allies. The misleading measure is a direct attack on the rights of the working people of Missouri.
Here are the key reasons why Proposition A is wrong for Missouri:
Proposition A will drive down wages for Missouri families: If it passes, Proposition A will drive down wages for all Missourians. New research from the Economic Policy Institute shows that “right to work” laws like Proposition A are associated with lower wages and a weaker middle class. EPI found that wages were 3.1% lower in states with right to work laws like Proposition A. EPI’s Heidi Shierholz said, “If Missouri goes in the direction of right to work, we will see that the wages of workers, including those that are not in unions, will decline. Most middle-class workers spend their wages on things like food and clothes at local retailers.” The wage decline will harm businesses where middle-class workers shop.
Proposition A is not what it seems. Don’t trust it: While supporters of Proposition A claim it will benefit working people, the reality is that it will take away choices from Missourians. The Supreme Court already has ruled that workers don’t have to join a union if they choose not to. The court also has ruled that working people have the freedom to organize and join together to bargain for a better return on our work. These things are at stake with Proposition A.
Proposition A will not create jobs: Missouri has the same unemployment rate, 3.8%, as neighboring states with similar economic conditions. Right to work hasn’t increased jobs. In addition to lowering wages and failing to create jobs, laws like Proposition A leave working people less likely to have benefits such as employer-sponsored health care.
Proposition A will weaken unions: While proponents of Proposition A claim to be interested in helping working people, the reality is that right to work laws such as Proposition A are designed specifically to weaken unions so that working people have less of a voice in the workplace.
The latest bargaining information for Nokia, AT&T Midwest, AT&T Legacy T, Envoy Air, and Piedmont Airlines.
Workers at The New Yorker join together with the NewsGuild of New York/TNG-CWA Local 31003.
CWA is opposing President Trump's nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and calling on members of the U.S. Senate to reject this nomination.
CWA is calling on the Federal Trade Commission to hold Facebook accountable for privacy breaches and other practices that have harmed consumers.
CWA activists in District 6 representing locals from across the state of Missouri gathered in June to prepare to defeat a so-called "right-to-work" ballot initiative in Missouri.
CWA Next Generation members from four District 3 Locals gathered last month for two days of CWA STRONG training.
CWA members gathered in Atlantic City this week for the annual District 1 Conference.
A new op-ed shines a spotlight on how the Republican corporate tax bill rewards and incentivizes the offshoring of more American jobs.
Bank workers, members of the Committee for Better Banks (CBB), a CWA project, and consumer allies pushed the City Council to hold banks accountable for their unethical behavior.
The Supreme Court’s recent Janus decision was despicable, spitting in the face of decades of common-sense precedent. There’s no question about that.
But Janus is not the end of our fight.
Through every punch thrown at working people in our history—every wage-slashing boss, every union-busting law, every strike-breaking massacre—we have rallied together, stronger for our shared struggle.
Our future is and always has been in our own hands. We have never looked to Washington to strengthen or validate our movement.
So while pundits rush to blather in front of a camera, we’re doing the painstaking business of organizing—building the labor movement, person by person.
A few locals in particular are offering up powerful models for success.
Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1245, faced with a likely union-busting decision from the Supreme Court, knew that inaction wasn’t an option. Management and other anti-worker interests would be eager to launch an aggressive, well-funded anti-union campaign, undermining the local’s collective voice wherever they could.
The local’s members haven’t surrendered to a future decided by those forces. Instead, they’ve been rallying together and strengthening their union one conversation at a time.
At the direction of Business Manager Tom Dalzell, the local established and trained volunteer organizing committees (VOCs) at each of their 34 public sector worksites.
“Our fundamental principle was that our members, if offered the opportunity, would jump at the chance to lead their co-workers and set ambitious goals,” said IBEW Local 1245 veteran organizer Fred Ross.
Aimed at overhauling the local’s internal organizing program, the project in fact started rather simply. Local leaders sat down with new committee members and listened to their stories—the distinct but universally motivating experiences that were driving each of them to give their time and energy to organizing.
They talked about the difference that unionism had made in their lives. Some had come up in union households, witnessing firsthand the economic opportunities gained through a union card. Others were the first in their families to join a union, gaining rights and dignities on the job that their parents could have only dreamed of.
Such powerful stories made powerful organizers. Members have indeed jumped at the chance to play a leadership role. What’s more, they are meeting and outpacing their lofty organizing goals.
A year since IBEW Local 1245’s VOCs formed, 25 of their public sector worksites have secured voluntary dues commitments from at least 80% of members—including 15 that have rallied together 100% of their membership. Meanwhile, the VOCs have grown to 214 members strong.
“Our public sector VOC leaders took ownership of this fight-back campaign to defend and strengthen our union,” Ross said.
“VOCs are the heartbeat of our campaigns,” added Eileen Purcell, the local’s lead organizer for the campaign. “Our goal has been to build leadership and capacity—before, during and after the Supreme Court decision. These leaders have been and continue to be our most powerful organizing tool.”
For starters, if you want to learn more about tariffs and trade, we will hold an informational call on Thursday to discuss newly imposed tariffs, progress on the North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiations and steps the labor movement is taking to find trade policy solutions that benefit working people. (Click here to RSVP.)
In terms of economics, the closest thing we have to a “war” is the relentless attack on workers that has been taking place for several decades as economic elites (including corporate CEOs, bad actor employers and the 1% who don’t want to pay their fair share of taxes) have worked to rig global economic rules to benefit themselves at the expense of ordinary working people.
The attack on workers has been waged on many fronts, from so-called “right to work” laws that deny our freedom, to regressive tax laws such as the recent Republican tax bill giving big tax breaks to companies that outsource jobs, to attacks on overtime pay and workplace safety, to defunding schools and meals for our children. The attack on workers also comes in the area of trade policy, and includes unfair, predatory actions by China. Trade attacks on workers are aided and abetted by greedy corporations that outsource jobs and abuse workers, and by U.S. officials of both political parties who have failed to stand up for us.
So why are so many people saying we’re in a trade war? First, to scare us. Maintaining the status quo is exactly what the powerful want to keep workers and wages down. Second, because the U.S. is finally starting to do something about harmful trade practices that hurt working people. It has been so long since the U.S. has ambitiously used trade remedies to defend our economy that Wall Street fat cats are calling it a trade war.
While tariffs are not dangerous per se (in fact, they can be a very effective tool to address harmful trade practices and create jobs), they must be applied carefully, thoughtfully and strategically. If done right, tariffs can persuade trading partners to change their harmful practices. In that case, the tariffs will disappear quickly. On the other hand, if the tariffs are applied haphazardly, they may backfire, causing more economic disruption than necessary. As with anything it does, the government should be smart in how it applies tariffs. And it should have a plan that minimizes negative side effects for the U.S. economy and prioritizes benefits for working families—no matter in what industry those families work.
Working families deserve a Supreme Court justice who will respect the rights of working people and who will enforce decades of legal precedent that protect us in the workplace. On Monday night, President Donald Trump rejected working men and women by selecting Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the vacancy created by Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement.
After a thorough review of Kavanaugh’s record, we are deeply troubled by his selection. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said:
The current Supreme Court has shown that it will side with greedy corporations over working people whenever given the chance, and this nominee will only skew that further. Recent decisions by the court, often the result of 5-4 votes, have a dramatic impact on the lives of working families and reinforce the importance of the selection of a new justice. We simply cannot have another lifetime-appointed justice unleashed who, as Justice Elena Kagan wrote in her dissent in Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, acts as a “black-robed ruler overriding citizens’ choices.”
Working people expect the Supreme Court to be the fairest and most independent branch of government in America. Any senator who believes Supreme Court justices should protect the rights of all Americans should reject this nomination and demand a nominee who will protect the rights of working people and uphold our constitutional values of liberty, equality and justice for all. Across the country, working people are organizing and taking collective action as we haven’t seen in years, and we won’t stand for any politician who supports justices who put our rights at risk.
The more we look at what Kavanaugh has done, the more it seems his nomination to the Supreme Court should be rejected. Kavanaugh routinely rules against working people and their families:
In American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO v. Gates, a partial dissent argued that Kavanaugh’s majority opinion would allow the secretary of defense to abolish collective bargaining at the Department of Defense.
In Agri Processor Co. Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, he argued that a company didn’t have to bargain with an employee union because the employees were ineligible to vote in the union’s election because they were undocumented immigrants.
In SeaWorld of Florida LLC v. Perez, he argued that a safety citation issued against SeaWorld after a killer whale killed a trainer was too paternalistic.
In Venetian Casino Resort LLC v. NLRB, he sided with a casino after an NLRB decision that the hotel engaged in unfair labor practices by requesting that police officers issue criminal citations against legal protesters.
Kavanaugh regularly sides with employers in denying working people relief against discrimination in the workplace:
In Miller v. Clinton, he argued that the U.S. State Department could fire an employee because he turned 65.
In Howard v. Office of the Chief Administrative Officer, he argued that a black woman couldn’t pursue a race discrimination suit after being fired as the deputy budget director at the U.S. House of Representatives, claiming that the firing was protected under the Speech or Debate Clause of the Constitution.
Kavanaugh rejects the right of employees to receive employer-provided health care:
In Seven-Sky v. Holder, he argued in a dissent that a president could declare the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional and not enforce it, despite it being passed by Congress.
Kavanaugh promotes overturning U.S. Supreme Court precedent:
He appears eager to overturn the well-established U.S. Supreme Court precedent of Chevron USA Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council Inc., which held that unelected judges must defer to executive agencies’ construction of a statute when Congress has given an agency primary responsibility for interpreting its mandates, so long as the agency does not act contrary to Congress’ clear intent.
In United States Telecom Association v. Federal Communications Commission, Kavanaugh argued that the court shouldn’t defer to executive agencies when it comes to what he thinks are “major rules.”
Kavanaugh regularly sides with the privileged, including corporations, over the less powerful:
He wrote two dissents contending that a large corporation, in these cases Exxon Mobil Corp., should not be held responsible for its overseas misconduct. After Indonesian villagers alleged they were tortured and killed by soldiers working for Exxon, Kavanaugh argued that allowing the villagers to sue Exxon would interfere with the U.S. government’s ability to conduct foreign relations.
In United States v. Anthem, he sided with the merger of insurance companies Anthem and Cigna, which would have reduced competition for consumers in 14 states. The majority criticized Kavanaugh’s application of “the law as he wishes it were, not as it currently is.”
The Washington Post once described Kavanaugh as “nothing more than a partisan shock trooper in a black robe waging an ideological battle against government regulation.” It’s deeply troubling that the president thinks such a description is the best fit for the Supreme Court.
CWA opposes the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and calls on members of the U.S. Senate to reject this nomination. Judge Kavanaugh routinely rules against workers and their families and regularly sides with employers against employees seeking justice in the workplace, including CWA members.
2017 was another banner year of justice for sale, reveals the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s annual review of investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) cases. What’s the report say? It reveals lots of new ways global investors are undermining democracy in private tribunals.
What’s ISDS? It’s a private justice system. ISDS means any investor—usually a corporation, but sometimes an individual, who buys property in a foreign country, from a hectare of land to stocks and bonds—can use this private justice system to sue host countries over laws, regulations and court decisions that may affect the investor’s current or future profits.
ISDS means justice for some, rather than justice for all. Those with the means to become international wheeler-dealers can access ISDS. The rest of us have to rely on public courts—the same ones that investors say are “inadequate” to handle their needs. That’s not fair, and that’s not right.
In 2017, 65 new known cases were filed, for a total of 855 known ISDS cases. Some cases are secret, so we’ll never really know how many cases have been filed.
The U.S. is the most frequently claimed “home state” of investors using the system, which tells us that U.S. trade and investment treaties (such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement) are pretty effective at promoting outsourcing to our trading partners (or else there wouldn’t be anything to sue over).
Spain is the third most sued country, and Canada is the sixth most sued, which tells us that ISDS isn’t really about “deficient” justice systems in poor countries—it’s about empowering economic elites to challenge democracies. Of all ISDS cases that have been decided on the merits, the investor wins 61% of the time, winning $504 million on average.
Two of last year’s cases approved the right of Chinese state-owned companies to use ISDS, despite claims by host countries that the Chinese government was actually calling the shots. In two other cases, investors were allowed to pursue their cases even though their original investments were illegal under the laws of Uzbekistan and Peru, the host countries. And in an extremely rare appellate case, one tribunal said it was OK for another tribunal to order a country not to enforce the rulings of its own domestic courts. Since one of the arguments made by those who favor ISDS is that the tribunals can only order monetary damages—rather than tell governments what their laws can be—this result is shameful. And maybe it is just the kick in the pants that governments need to abandon ISDS altogether.
In the NAFTA renegotiations, the U.S. has proposed to nearly (but not quite) eliminate the unfair ISDS system, but Canada and Mexico are saying no. The U.S. proposal would allow countries to opt out of the system entirely, and even if they do opt in, it would place restrictions on the kinds of cases investors could bring. The AFL-CIO supports this U.S. proposal and asks Canada and Mexico, “What are you waiting for?”
Editor's note: This viewpoint is part of an ongoing debate about how unions should deal with free riders. Check out previous installments here.
Every week, we bring you a roundup of the top news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here’s this week’s Working People Weekly List.
Elise Bryant Speaks at Labor Rally #FamiliesBelongTogether: “On Saturday, June 30, over 600 different #FamiliesBelongTogether events occurred throughout the United States in a mass day of action against family separation at the border and Trump’s ‘zero-tolerance’ immigration policy. CLUW members participated in cities around the country and in the nation’s capital where President Elise Bryant spoke at a labor rally before the main #FamiliesBelongTogether event. The labor rally was organized by the Labor Coalition for Community Action (LCCA), composed of the constituency groups of the AFL-CIO, and held in front of the AFL-CIO headquarters.”
Unions Have Been Down Before; History Shows How They Can Come Back: “The Janus decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday was another blow to the labor movement. It creates a financial incentive for public sector union members to leave the union while continuing their job. Ever since the beginning of the 1980s clampdown on the U.S. left, signaled by President Ronald Reagan’s firing of the air traffic controllers to end their strike, the labor movement has been besieged by what billionaire Warren Buffett described in The New York Times as a class war started by his class. It’s not the first time this has happened in U.S. history.”
Eyes of the Labor Movement Are on Missouri as Workers Fight to Defeat Phony RTW: “AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka kicked off the Federation’s Labor 2018 campaign at Laborers Local 42 in St. Louis on June 24, rallying hundreds of union members from 30 different unions for a day of action to defeat Proposition A (‘Right to Work’) by going door-to-door urging voters to protect their pay by voting ‘no’ on Prop A. ‘Prop A will lower wages,’ Trumka said. ‘Prop A will destroy jobs. Prop A will increase poverty. Prop A will make pay even less equal for working women. Prop A is designed and intended to undermine our collective voice on every issue that is important to working people, and we’re not having any of it!’”
Randi Weingarten Has “Hope in the Darkness.” And Also Some Fear: “Our nation’s teachers unions have had a whiplash of a year, from the statewide teachers strikes that have swept the country to last week’s Supreme Court ruling in the Janus v. AFSCME case that could severely hurt their membership. America’s most powerful teachers union leader says there is much, much more to come. For the past decade, Randi Weingarten has led the 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers. She has been a prominent voice in battles over public education, organized labor and national politics. In the dark aftermath of last week’s Janus ruling, which will almost certainly drain members and money from public unions nationwide, she spoke to us about how working-class interests can possibly try to survive and thrive in the age of Trump.”
American Workers Stand Ready to Demand Change After Janus Blow: “Obviously, we’re disappointed with the Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME. A narrow five-justice majority, emboldened by a stolen seat, overturned four decades of common-sense precedent. It’s the latest misguided action by the most corporate-friendly court in our history. On paper, the plaintiff was one man in Illinois. But in reality, a dark web of corporations and wealthy donors dead set on destroying unions and silencing workers were behind this case. Janus is part of a multipronged attack, spearheaded by corporate billionaires, to chip away at the progress working people have made for ourselves and our communities.”
That Which Is Justly Ours: “Signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt 83 years ago yesterday, the National Labor Relations Act marked a critical step forward for working people’s right to join together in unions and bargain collectively. As Roosevelt said at the time, ‘By preventing practices which tend to destroy the independence of labor, it seeks, for every worker with its scope, that freedom of choice and action which is justly his.’”
Don’t Mourn, Organize: In the States Roundup: “It’s time once again to take a look at the ways working people are making progress in the states.”
Don’t Mess with Working People in Texas: Worker Wins: “Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with union growth in Texas and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life.”
Make It a Union-Made Fourth of July: “The Fourth of July is here, and it’s time to celebrate America’s birthday. Our flag has been waving high since 1776, but do you know what the colors mean? The red represents the blood shed by those who fought for our nation’s independence. The white represents purity and innocence, and the blue symbolizes the bravery of those who stared danger in the face to fight for freedom. As you enjoy the holiday with family and friends, Labor 411 has all the holiday food and drink favorites made by companies that treat their workers with dignity and respect. Let’s all celebrate good jobs that help strengthen the middle class as we party our way to a stronger America!”
Pride Month Profiles: Josette Jaramillo: “Throughout Pride Month, the AFL-CIO will be taking a look at some of the pioneers whose work sits at the intersection of the labor movement and the movement for LGBTQ equality. Our next profile is Josette Jaramillo.”
Pride Month Profiles: Marsha P. Johnson: “Throughout Pride Month, the AFL-CIO will be taking a look at some of the pioneers whose work sits at the intersection of the labor movement and the movement for LGBTQ equality. Our next profile is Marsha P. Johnson.”
Signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt 83 years ago yesterday, the National Labor Relations Act marked a critical step forward for working people’s right to join together in unions and bargain collectively. As Roosevelt said at the time, “By preventing practices which tend to destroy the independence of labor, it seeks, for every worker with its scope, that freedom of choice and action which is justly his.”
More than 80 years after our leaders proudly advanced the rights of working people, corporate interests are still ruthlessly fighting to deny us that which is justly ours. Just as the labor movement helped secure passage of the NLRA, today we are demanding an even better deal that fully guarantees our fundamental economic rights and freedoms.
To that end, Democrats in the House and Senate recently introduced the Workers’ Freedom to Negotiate Act, which would enact several key provisions expanding collective bargaining rights, such as:
Strengthening penalties against abusive and predatory corporations that violate workers’ rights.
Combating misclassification of workers as supervisors and independent contractors.
Strengthening our right to strike for the wages, benefits and working conditions we deserve.
Creating a mandatory mediation and arbitration process to ensure that corporations and newly organized unions reach a first contract.
Banning state laws that undermine our freedom to join together and negotiate.
Protecting the integrity and fairness of union elections from employer propaganda.
The U.S. economy gained 213,000 jobs in June, and unemployment was little changed at 4.0%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since the labor market continues to recover at only a tempered pace, the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee should not raise interest rates.
In response to the June jobs numbers, AFL-CIO Chief Economist William Spriggs tweeted:
Unemployment rate goes up from 4.0% in June, from increase in labor force participation that has increase in the number unemployed rise more than the increase in employed workers. Payrolls up by 213,000 according to @BLS_gov #JobsDay @AFLCIO— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) July 6, 2018
While white and Hispanic unemployment rates remained low, the jump in June's unemployment rates came from Blacks (from 5.9 up to 6.5%) and Asian Americans (2.1 to 3.2%) @CBTU72 @rolandsmartin @APRI_National @AFLCIO @APALAnational #JobsDay— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) July 6, 2018
The big jump in the Black unemployment rate in June was largely from Black adult women (from 4.7 to 5.5%), though their share employed continued to climb (59.1 to 59.5%) and labor force participation reached 63%. @SistahScholar @LVBurke @AprilDRyan @APRI_National @AFLCIO #JobsDay— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) July 6, 2018
Not adjusting for inflation, year-over-year, average hourly earnings were up 2.7% in June. This is a timid number. Coupled with the unemployment rate increase from a tiny climb in labor force participation @federalreserve needs to rethink interest rate increases. @AFLCIO— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) July 6, 2018
In a sign that workers are coming back to the labor market, in June, the broadest measure of unemployment that includes discouraged and part-time workers who want full-time work, went up from 7.6 to 7.8%. This shows continued slack in labor market. @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/8bfiL0XX9N— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) July 6, 2018
First #Janus decision hurt organizing, now workers for state government continue to show pressures from state budget austerity. State employment continues downward trend in June. This means less public investment for the rest of us. @AFSCME @AFLCIO #JobsReport pic.twitter.com/oOM5hSrVoj— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) July 6, 2018
Last month’s biggest job gains were in professional and business (50,000), manufacturing (36,000), health care (25,000), construction (13,000) and mining (5,000). Retail trade lost 22,000 jobs. Employment showed little or no change over the month in other major industries, including wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates increased for blacks (6.5%), adult men (3.7%), adult women (3.7%) and Asians (3.2%). The unemployment rate for teenagers (12.6%), Hispanics (4.6%) and whites (3.5%) showed little or no change in June.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased in June and accounted for 23.0% of the unemployed.
After the Supreme Court ruled against working people in the Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, case last week, dozens of members of Congress condemned the ruling and expressed their support for the rights of working people. Here are excerpts from their statements.
Public sector unions are legally required to bargain on behalf of everyone in their shop, regardless of whether they’re a union member or not. Today’s decision by the Supreme Court creates a massive free-rider issue by eliminating the ability of unions to charge fair share fees for the nonunion employees who benefit from the work union representatives do.
The Supreme Court’s radical ruling tramples over the freedom and basic rights of more than 17 million public workers.
The Supreme Court’s disgraceful decision today will further rig the system for billionaires and against teachers, firefighters, nurses and other vital public sector workers.
Today’s Supreme Court decision was targeted at the public sector, but it strikes at the heart of Americans’ right to collectively bargain for better pay, safer working conditions, access to health care and basic retirement benefits.
Through my work with AFSCME and the United Nurses Association of California, I have a unique understanding as to how important strong unions are in creating an economy that gives all Americans a chance to thrive, not just the wealthiest among us.
This morning, the Supreme Court overturned 41 years of legal precedent to undermine the freedom of teachers, firefighters, police officers and all other public service workers to negotiate for decent pay and fair workplaces.
By requiring unions to represent everyone in a collective bargaining unit without ensuring fair contributions for that representation, unions will be forced to do more with much less—to the detriment of those they represent. This misguided decision will have devastating long-term consequences for hardworking Americans.
Unions are quintessentially American and critical in the fight for fair wages and worker protections.
The Supreme Court Janus ruling is a blatant, ideological attack on public servants, who have fought for rights that benefit all workers.
This ruling is a blow to the middle class. It weakens the ability of workers to negotiate for better pay, workplace safety, work/life balance, health care and paid sick days.
Unions empower workers to collectively bargain for higher wages, safer working conditions and better benefits—like health care, paid sick leave, overtime pay, vacation time and retirement plans.
Today’s Supreme Court ruling puts the needs of special interests and the wealthiest among us ahead of hardworking, middle-class families.
The men and women of the labor movement are the backbone of our country. This blatant attack on unions is just another example of conservatives looking to hand out more tax cuts for the rich.
After stealing a seat on the Supreme Court when they refused to hold a hearing or a vote on President Obama’s nominee, the court’s Janus v. AFSCME ruling shows how far Republicans and their wealthy financial backers are willing to go to tilt the economy against working people.
As a labor attorney and a firm believer in the balance of collective bargaining, I know that government’s greatest asset is its employees. The most effective and efficient way to manage that asset is through collective bargaining and union representation. Our hardworking families and government benefit from that.
Today’s ruling will do nothing but perpetuate a rigged economy that reduces the opportunities available to working-class Americans.
By increasing the number of free-riding workers, unions could be forced to drastically reduce their budgets, which in turn will weaken their ability to negotiate stronger contracts and defend the rights of American workers who deserve a fair wage and a fair workplace.
This decision allows employees to free ride on the efforts of unions in representing all workers, and undermines all workers. This is not fair or right.
This is a sad day for public employees and all of us who rely on them to provide us with the services we need, from keeping our air and water clean to teaching our children to protecting public health.
Unions helped build our nation’s middle class, and today’s ruling fits a pattern of attacks to undermine labor and working families, and weaken workers’ right to negotiate for better pay, working conditions, medical benefits, retirement benefits and paid leave.
I am deeply concerned that this decision will weaken our strong labor unions that have historically given our workers a safer work environment, fair wages and collective bargaining rights against unfair working conditions. They hold a special place in our country’s history.
Today the Supreme Court issued a ruling that puts billionaires and corporate special interests above hardworking Americans.
This decision will massively tip the scale in favor of corporations and strip resources away from unions that fight for all workers.
The basic rights of workers, including the right to collectively bargain, are under attack by Republicans like never before.
Today’s ruling is deeply misguided and distressing. It turns its back on what helped public employees become a vital part of the American middle class.
Congress must do everything we can to address the challenges facing our working men and women, and with today’s decision, our to-do list got much larger.
This decision is a victory for the wealthy Republican donors and dark-money shadow groups that spent more than $17 billion to steal a seat on the Supreme Court and tilt the court further in favor of corporate interests. Today, the Republican majority gave them what they paid for.
Collective bargaining is a tide that lifts all boats. The positive effects of bargaining collectively in the workplace not only benefit union members, but also extend to nonunion members who enjoy higher wages, affordable health insurance and help with a secure retirement as a result of union efforts.
As a former union member, I understand the support that labor organizations bring to families. That’s why I will continue fighting to ensure Nevada’s workers have the ability to advocate for themselves and their union rights.
In the last two days, the Supreme Court has dealt a blow to working men and women, made it harder for women to access the health care they need, and upheld a ban on Muslim immigration that directly attacks our shared values as Americans.
The dedicated work of labor unions has improved working conditions and protections for all Americans, and this misguided ruling, which undoes decades of legal precedent, will undermine ongoing efforts to increase wages, enhance benefits and make work environments safer.
To make our economy work for all of us, not just the rich and powerful, working people must be able to stick together to gain power to raise wages and improve benefits, like health care and retirement. I know how important it is for workers to have a voice in the workplace because I lived it.
The court’s decision today sets back workers’ rights by decades and makes it considerably more difficult for unions to keep advocating for fair pay and fair workplaces.
A recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that anti-union, so-called “Right to Work” legislation passed at the state level has long been aimed at buoying Republicans and attacking Democrats. So there can be no mistaking it: This decision is about politics, not workers; about servitude, not freedom.
Unions are essential to a strong middle class; as Republican attacks on them have intensified, we’ve seen wages stagnate and that middle class shrink.
The Janus decision will inevitably undermine unions from exercising their right to collective bargaining by hurting them financially. Coupled with last month’s Supreme Court decision allowing employers to deny workers their due day in court through class-action waivers in arbitration agreements, workers are more vulnerable today than they were prior to Neil Gorsuch’s appointment.
In reaching its result, the court unjustifiably overturned decades-old precedent, injected clear right-wing ideological bias into a long-settled area of law, and upended the settled expectations of state and local governments.
Overturning four decades of precedent, the court ruled that public sector unions’ long-held practice of collecting “fair share fees” for the services they are legally required to provide workers is a violation of the First Amendment. Today’s ruling is an unprecedented attack on unions and the rights of the more than 17.3 million public employees around the nation.
Unions are at the core of lifting up America’s working- and middle-class families, by fighting for better wages and benefits and fair working conditions.
As a former member of the teachers union, I find today’s ruling particularly distasteful. The Supreme Court’s conservative majority overturned four decades of legal precedent to undermine the ability of public service workers to negotiate for decent pay and fair workplaces.
Congress must find a legislative fix that protects and strengthens the voices of our working men and women.
The Supreme Court failed to protect the fundamental right of workers to form a union and collectively bargain.
Labor unions built this country. We have unions to thank for safe, clean work environments, the 40-hour workweek and the strongest middle class the world has ever seen. We need to be supporting and growing unions to fight for a prosperous life for all, not undercutting them.
We should be making it easier, not harder, for workers to form unions and collectively bargain.
As a longtime member of the carpenters and teachers unions, I know firsthand the importance of organized labor. Our nation’s middle class was born from workers coming together to demand better wages and working conditions.
Janus v. AFSCME is a wolf in sheep’s clothing: a case brought by billionaires in the name of “fairness” to employees who benefit from collective bargaining but don’t want to pay their fair share. Its purpose is and has always been to divide workers and undermine the ability of unions to advocate for them at a time when they need it most.
I continue to stand with our union members, and will not stop in my efforts to protect and maintain collective bargaining rights. Furthermore, I plan on responding to this decision with legislation in the United States House of Representatives this week.
The American dream was meant for all of us, not just the wealthy few. I’m going to continue fighting for a country that’s consistent with those values.
I am appalled that the Gorsuch court is now going after civil servants by overturning four decades of precedent and undermining their rights as employees.
Yet again we are witnessing the consequences of the U.S. Senate’s refusal to even consider President Obama’s last Supreme Court nominee. By holding that nomination hostage for nearly a year, Mitch McConnell and the Senate majority gave the court a stolen swing vote that once again harms not just public employees like our teachers, police officers and other public servants, but will adversely affect every working American.
We formed the Blue Collar Caucus to fight for American workers and push back against anti-worker leadership in Washington. Today’s decision adds to the importance of our mission and strengthens our resolve.
Today the Supreme Court’s conservatives once again used dubious legal reasoning to achieve a partisan objective.
Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s majority has spent the month of June concentrating power in the hands of entrenched interests at the expense of American laborers, unions, immigrants, refugees and the disenfranchised. This is exactly the kind of anti-worker outcome we knew to expect when a Trump-appointed judge was confirmed to a stolen Supreme Court seat.
Organized labor put food on my table and clothes on my back. My father was a union guy, and he, along with others, helped build the U.S. and raise the country’s labor standards.
I will keep working in Congress to protect those rights and push back against the special interests who have launched ideologically driven, persistent and well-funded legal attacks against working people and their right to organize.
I intend to do everything possible to continue to fight for the right of workers to organize, stand together and negotiate for better working conditions, and serve as a strong check on the increasing stranglehold of unchecked corporate power.
I stand with unions and their continued efforts to improve the lives of hardworking Americans across the country.
I continue to ask those in power, when does America get a raise? As housing, health care and everyday costs of living skyrocket, we need to do all we can to empower workers and allow them the tools to earn fair pay and benefits.
Earlier this year, I introduced the Workplace Democracy Act, legislation that restores real bargaining rights to workers and repeals the right to work laws like those that Governor Walker has used to undercut American workers. We must stand up for the millions of middle-class families who are under attack by Republican leaders and rulings like the one delivered today by the Supreme Court.
Labor Notes is thrilled to announce two fantastic new hires! Bianca Cunningham and Barbara Madeloni will be joining our staff this summer.
Bianca Cunningham will be our newest Staff Organizer. Bianca got her start in the labor movement as a Verizon retail worker—she was a leader in the 2014 drive that won a union at seven stores, breaking into wireless retail for the first time in company history. Those workers went on to win their first union contract when they joined landline workers in the electrifying 2016 Verizon strike.
Organizing in its best sense—helping people work together to achieve what they want—is at the root of union democracy.
You’re not asking co-workers to join a social club or an insurance plan. You’re asking them to join a fight over issues that matter.
To scale up and tackle big goals takes time and planning. A good campaign starts small and builds.
The best approach is to integrate the membership ‘ask’ into union routines and workplace campaigns
You’ll need a system to track members and potential members, with maps and lists. Get to know the informal leaders in the workplace.
To succeed, your organizing has to combine action on the job with a fight for justice in the wider society.
The moment you may have been dreading arrived June 27, when the Supreme Court imposed the open shop on the public sector nationwide with its decision in Janus v. AFSCME District 31.
Instead of the usual mix of articles, this month we’re sharing a special expanded issue of Labor Notes devoted to one topic: our survival guide for rebuilding power in open-shop America. (Are you in the private sector and think this won’t affect you? Don’t get too cozy.)
Take this self-assessment to get a snapshot of how your union’s current practices stack up and where you're vulnerable.