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Amazon defeated a union organizing drive in Alabama recently, but two major new articles on the company’s warehouses powerfully show why workers wanted to unionize—and why it’s going to be nearly impossible for such efforts to succeed. The New York Times led off with a damning look at JFK8, an Amazon fulfillment center in New York City. The […]The post Amazon is intentionally burning through warehouse workers, but it may not be sustainable forever first appeared on Today's Workplace.
Today, President Biden became the third sitting U.S. president to address the International Labor Conference in Geneva, the yearly global meeting that brings together unions, employers and governments to develop and adopt international labor standards. The mission of the International Labor Organization (ILO) is to promote social justice and internationally recognized labor and human rights, based on […]The post ILO and Its Role in Building an Inclusive and Just Future for All Workers first appeared on Today's Workplace.
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. Today's Pride Month profile is Ginger Hemingway.
Ginger Hemingway has been a worker and LGBTQ+ advocate for decades. She has countered hatred and bigotry throughout her life and continues to give her time as a retiree to AFGE to advance AFGE Pride and local chapters. She has been a member of AFGE Local 2433 for more than 35 years. She has been married to her wife, Linda Savard, since 2014.
My Union Membership has provided me a platform to speak out for all my LGBTQIA siblings. It taught me I was not alone. In the early years Pride At Work was a voice for those who were afraid to speak out. When I came out at work, I was able to be a safe place for others. My Union membership gave me courage. Courage to step out because I knew I was not alone. I was part of a family that cared and had my back.
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. Today's Pride Month profile is Brittany Anderson.
Andrews, an organizer with the Machinists (IAM), spoke to the union difference for LGBTQ+ workers:
Even with the June 2020 Supreme Court victory finally making workplace discrimination against LGBTQ workers illegal across the entire country, the strongest workplace protection for queer workers is still a union. Being union gives us a voice in the collective bargaining process, meaning we can spell out exactly what we need to be safe and respected at our shop. Nothing beats the power and solidarity of union siblings standing together.
At UAW Local 2110, Maida Rosenstein has quietly organized the most prestigious group of cultural institutions on the East Coast. Before the recent wave of organizing among media workers, adjunct professors and nonprofit workers set the world talking about the promise of white collar unions, there had already been decades of quiet organizing among the white collar creative underclass. […]The post The Roots of Today’s White Collar Union Wave Are Deeper Than You Think first appeared on Today's Workplace.
The latest bargaining information.
The pandemic has inspired city dwellers and investors to buy land in rural areas. That’s driving up farmland prices and pushing some beginning farmers out of the market. Abel Dowden, age 20, grew up on his family’s beef farm in the Missouri Ozarks. He just got married and is ready to start his own farm. Dowden […]The post How the Covid Land Rush Is Hurting New Farmers first appeared on Today's Workplace.
On June 11, essential healthcare workers represented by CWA Local 1126 in upstate New York rallied to demand fair and safe staffing at Mohawk Valley Health System.
A street in Queens, N.Y., has been co-named Priscilla Carrow Way in honor of a CWA Local 1180 member who worked at Elmhurst Hospital and died of COVID-19 last year.
Join us on Saturday, June 19, at 1:30 pm ET, for a virtual event to celebrate Juneteenth.
Join us on June 29 at 7:30 pm ET for a virtual fireside chat.
Last Thursday, U.S. Trade Rep. Katherine Tai addressed the importance of worker-centered trade in a historic speech.
The latest information about who is voting to join with CWA.
Passing the For the People Act to ensure that Americans can freely cast our ballots so that every voice is heard continues to be a top priority for CWA activists.
The Act suspends security assistance to the Philippines until President Rodrigo Duterte's regime ends its brutal campaign targeting labor leaders and activists.
Today, President Biden became the third sitting U.S. president to address the International Labor Conference in Geneva, the yearly global meeting that brings together unions, employers and governments to develop and adopt international labor standards. The mission of the International Labor Organization (ILO) is to promote social justice and internationally recognized labor and human rights, based on the founding principle that social justice is essential to universal and lasting peace. Biden’s speech underscores this administration’s commitment to a multilateral approach to building a global economic agenda shaped by workers and rooted in the protection of workers’ rights.
Biden’s speech comes at a time of deep global economic, social and environmental crises. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed how the system exploits workers, whether we are front-line workers in grocery stores or health care centers or supply chain workers sewing clothing in factories. Before the pandemic, millions of workers worked for low pay, worked informally or were hired through nonstandard forms of employment.
Economic, racial and gender inequality continue to grow and global unemployment is expected to grow to 205 million people in 2022, greatly surpassing the level of 187 million in 2019. Child labor increased for the first time in two decades to 161 million. Cases of reported gender-based violence and harassment increased during the pandemic. More than half of the world’s workers do not have a single social protection and millions of working families face growing insecurity as their communities face the impacts of climate change.
The president’s participation at the conference reflects the administration’s commitment to addressing the many challenges facing the global community by building collective responses through multilateralism and policies that deliver decent work and protect rights for all workers. In the current global economic model, government and corporations continue to profit off of forced labor, egregious worker rights violations, weak health and safety protections, and environmental degradation. The ILO plays a critical role in the international community through challenging corporate-driven globalization and shaping the frameworks needed to rebuild a resilient global economy with high standards for all workers.
The speeches and policy commitments made at international fora like the International Labor Conference must be translated into real commitments by government and employers to build a new social contract for all workers that will guarantee decent work, worker rights and social protection. This new contract is critical to rebuilding workers' trust in democracy. The pandemic underscores the need to recognize occupational health and safety as a fundamental right, along with freedom of association, collective bargaining, nondiscrimination, and protections against forced and child labor. The right to strike must be protected as a cornerstone of workers’ freedom of association. From delivery drivers to warehouse workers to garment workers, the right to strike is a powerful tool used before and during the pandemic that allows workers to protect ourselves from the virus and improve our working conditions.
Throughout its history, unions have worked with employers and governments to shape the agenda of the International Labor Conference to reflect the changing needs of the global workforce. In 2011, unions, domestic worker and allied organizations worked with employers and governments to pass the first global standards protecting domestic workers, and in 2019 the International Labor Conference approved the first international treaty to eliminate gender-based violence and harassment in the workplace. Since the adoption of these conventions, dozens of countries have taken action to strengthen protections for domestic workers and eliminate gender-based violence and harassment in the workplace. These global ILO standards, when translated into national and local legislation, concretely improve the lives of workers around the world.
The yearly conference reminds the world that we must be ambitious and create and implement global standards that transform the lives of workers and empower us. Biden’s speech at this year’s International Labor Conference reminds the global community that to build a more just, democratic, global economy, the rights and needs of workers and our families must be central to policymaking. The ILO’s original vision to ensure shared prosperity for the global community is once again central to the challenge of guaranteeing dignity, rights and protections for all workers and our families.
On June 21, 2021, CWA will join the Poor People's Campaign for the hybrid National Poor People's and Low-Wage Workers' Assembly in Raleigh, N.C.
In late May, America hit a milestone: More than half of the country’s population had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. But we still have a ways to go. Getting vaccinated is an important tool to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and put an end to the pandemic. We have lost too many co-workers, friends and family members from COVID-19. We must do everything we can to get as many vaccines into the arms of Americans as possible. Before we rush back into enjoying all of the things we used to before the pandemic—the sporting events, the nights out, the dinners at our favorite restaurants—let’s keep building vaccine confidence to make sure we never have to endure a year like 2020 again.
Here are the reasons why it's important we all get the vaccine:
- Getting vaccinated helps keep you from getting sick or seriously ill even if you get COVID-19.
- Getting vaccinated protects your family, friends and co-workers, particularly the most vulnerable people who are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- Getting vaccinated is the safest way to build protection for you, your loved ones and your entire community.
- Getting vaccinated produces immunity in your body against the virus.
- COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. The results from clinical trials have shown this to be true. Vaccine use would not be authorized if they weren’t deemed safe.
- Getting vaccinated does not cause you to get sick with COVID-19. After getting vaccinated, you might have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection.
- Getting vaccinated is an important tool to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and put an end to the pandemic. Continue to wear a mask when you’re inside public places, stay 6 feet apart from people who don’t live with you and who may not be vaccinated, avoid crowds and wash your hands frequently.
- Vaccines are effective and important, and are another layer of protection that also includes strong health and safety protections in the workplace that prevent you from being exposed to COVID-19. Workplaces are high-risk settings for COVID-19 exposures because many people breathe in the same air, for long periods of time, and do not know if others are infected with COVID-19.
- Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is how we make sure we put an end to the pandemic.
OK, now you know why it's important. Do your part so we can finally leave the pandemic behind.
Recent polling confirms that voters who live in battleground districts overwhelmingly want their Congressional representatives to hold corporations accountable to the workers who build their business and their wealth. Voters want legislators to make it harder for companies to call workers “independent contractors”; they want lawmakers to discourage companies from contracting with temp and staffing […]The post VOTERS SUPPORT HOLDING CORPORATIONS ACCOUNTABLE FOR LABOR CONTRACTING ABUSES first appeared on Today's Workplace.
Accusations of cheating, chicanery and violent retaliation dog the SEIU Local 1000 election. The consequences for labor are very real. Even by the chaotic standards of the past year, the story of SEIU Local 1000 stands out for its bizarreness. One of the most politically powerful unions in California, representing nearly 100,000 state employees, announced last month that its […]The post The Leadership Struggle In One of California’s Most Powerful Unions Just Keeps Getting Weirder first appeared on Today's Workplace.
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. Today's Pride Month profile is Taylor Aguilera.
Taylor Aguilera is a field representative for the West Central Florida Labor Council and a member of The NewsGuild-CWA (TNG-CWA). She formed Equality Polk, an organization dedicated to ending LGBTQ+ discrimination in the workplace, housing and public accommodations, in her home county, Polk County, Florida. Aguilera dedicates her work to the advancement of LGBTQ+ workers all across west central Florida.
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.
Joe Biden Has Laid Down the Gauntlet to Other G-7 Nations: His ‘Worker First’ Policies Are the Blueprint for Global Recovery: "As leaders from the world’s richest nations meet in Cornwall for the G7, significant global challenges are mounting. While many of the nations are continuing the rapid rollout of vaccines in their own countries, the pandemic is gathering pace elsewhere, and the global economic outlook remains bleak, with mass unemployment still a very real threat. On top of that, the economic challenges of the last decade which were thrown into focus by the 2008 financial crisis—rising inequality, stagnant wages and falling living standards—have not gone away. That’s why the G7 must step up and show serious ambition. On the agenda will be our global recovery from the pandemic, tackling the climate crisis and advancing democracy."
U.S. Trade Chief Resets Union Relations in Worker-Centric Push: "Calling Tai a 'friend of the working people' and a 'champion' for them, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said that over the past 40 years, Republican and Democratic administrations have 'pushed the harmful neoliberal free-trade agenda' based on 'the myth that lowering tariffs and expanding trade would somehow make all of us better off. Well, it didn’t work—workers became poorer.'"
Inequity, Pay Disparities and Job Insecurity: Inside the Rise of Tech Unions: "'Tech workers have produced innovations that are changing the course of history—and making their bosses rich in the process,' Liz Shuler, secretary-treasurer at AFL-CIO, said in an email to CIO Dive. 'The folks creating that wealth deserve to be treated with respect, take home their fair share, and make themselves heard.'"
Why the PRO Act Is Critical: "In March, the House of Representatives passed legislation designed to level the field. It’s called the Protect the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act). The Senate version has 47 Democratic co-sponsors. It needs three more to give the PRO Act a fighting chance of getting to Joe Biden’s desk. The PRO Act would end many of the practices Amazon used to defeat the union effort in Bessemer. Real penalties would be imposed on companies and corporate officers who retaliate against union advocates or otherwise violate the National Labor Relations Act. The PRO Act would make it easier for workers to form a union, with the aim of protecting them from unfair working conditions. The PRO Act alone won’t end economic inequality or return prosperity and opportunity to America’s working families. But passage of the PRO Act would help."
U.S. Files Labor Complaint Against Mexican Factory Under USMCA Enforcement Rules: "The U.S. Trade Representative's office said it made the request involving the Tridonex auto parts factory in the northern border city of Matamoros after the AFL-CIO union federation petitioned the agency to review the case over allegations that the factory denied workers collective bargaining and free association rights."
IATSE Praises Biden Budget Proposing Record Increase for Federal Arts Funding: "As the union behind entertainment, we know that funding for the arts directly impacts job growth and work for our skilled craftspeople. Federal arts agencies—like the National Endowment for the Arts—support working families, bolster local economies, and ensure all Americans have access to the arts and entertainment. The Biden administration’s proposed budget includes $201 million in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for FY2022. We also join our fellow arts, entertainment, and media industry (AEMI) unions affiliated with the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) in applauding the Biden administration’s commitment to racial equity and justice, which can be seen throughout the FY2022 budget."
Supreme Court Rejects Bid to Weaken Public-Sector Labor Unions: "The U.S. Supreme Court turned away a bid to weaken the power of public-sector unions, refusing to reconsider a 1984 ruling that lets them serve as the exclusive bargaining agent for workers. The justices without comment rejected an appeal by Jade Thompson, an Ohio high school teacher who said she has a First Amendment right not to be represented by a union. The appeal was one of the first to test the court’s appetite for labor issues since Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation in October created a 6-3 conservative majority."
AFL-CIO Building Trades Unions Back Biden’s Full Infrastructure Plan: "Aware that the pressure must be raised for passage of President Biden’s proposed infrastructure plan, the AFL-CIO’s building trades unions, at a 1-day virtual legislative conference, backed the president’s original $2.2 trillion plan. 'This year has been unlike any other,' National Association Building Trades Unions President Sean McGarvey declared on June 5, referring to the coronavirus pandemic, which sent unemployment soaring, hampered construction work, and forced the conference itself, like so much else, onto Zoom."
Trumka Hits Biden on Delayed OSHA Pandemic Workplace Regulations: "The Biden administration has taken too long to implement Occupational Safety and Health Administration emergency regulations to ensure on-the-job protections for workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. 'I keep pushing the administration to get it done. They keep saying they’re working on it, but I have yet to see that temporary pandemic standard be issued,' the labor leader said in an interview Friday on Bloomberg Television’s 'Balance of Power' program. Trumka, a Biden ally, said he is frustrated at the delayed rule-making process. 'It is a shame because every day it is not there, workers get exposed, workers get hurt, workers get sick.'"
Strong Unions Make for Better Workplaces: "Biden’s executive order, for the first time, requires agencies to engage in bargaining over all issues that are not expressly prohibited by law. With this expansion, Biden is doing more to strengthen worker rights inside the federal government than any president in a generation. This pro-union stance extends beyond federal workers, too; in April, Biden signed an executive order creating a task force of more than 20 Cabinet members and heads of other federal agencies, whose job is to leverage federal programs and policies to empower more workers to organize and bargain with their employers. And he has strongly endorsed the PRO Act, which would make it easier for workers in the private sector to unionize. That is a relief to the government employees who serve the public every day and should be welcome news for all Americans."
Despite the challenges of organizing during a deadly pandemic, working people across the country (and beyond) continue organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life. This edition begins with:
Labor Movement Defeats Right to Work in New Hampshire: The New Hampshire state House of Representatives voted June 3 to indefinitely postpone the proposed “right to work” bill, delivering a crucial win for the labor movement. Dozens of New Hampshire union members and leaders gathered along the road leading up to the NH Sportsplex in Bedford, where the New Hampshire House of Representatives session was being held temporarily for two days. Union members gathered to urge lawmakers to vote NO on S.B. 61, a right to work bill. “The New Hampshire AFL-CIO applauds the New Hampshire House of Representatives for voting to indefinitely postpone S.B. 61, harmful legislation that would have made the Granite State the first ‘right to work’ state in the Northeast,” New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett (IBEW) said in a statement. “Our labor unions have fought for more than a century to ensure that collective bargaining agreements in the Granite State consist of some of the best union wages, benefits, and jobsite protections in the country. We are extraordinarily grateful for the lawmakers who made the decision today to side with us and our workers.”
Pavement Owner Agrees to Recognize Union, Moves Toward Cafe Becoming State’s First Union Coffee Shop: Ownership at Pavement Coffeehouse has agreed to formally recognize an ongoing unionization effort at the cafe chain with the New England Joint Board UNITE HERE, based on a majority of cards indicating employees’ intent to form a union. If successful, Pavement would become the first coffee shop in Massachusetts to unionize. The company plans to agree to a card-check by a neutral arbitrator and abide by the result. Mitch Fallon, the communications and political director for the New England Joint Board UNITE HERE, said a committee of employees has now secured a majority of union cards. The workers are fighting for a pay raise, an audit of all salaries, increased mental health resources and break time, and more transparency and involvement around management decisions like COVID-19 health protocols. “Assuming that they’re true to their word and we continue to follow down a good path with management,” Fallon said in an article with WGBH, one of Boston’s local NPR stations. “That’s the picture of how unionization is in a lot of places across the country,” said Fallon. “And so we’re really happy that here in Boston we do support unions, and companies like Pavement are recognizing that and making sure that democracy can be found inside of its workplace.”
Southern Maine Public Transit Workers Form Union with ATU: Drivers, mechanics and other staff at Biddeford, Saco and Old Orchard Beach Transit (BSOOB Transit) in Maine have unionized with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 714. Some 32 transit drivers, mechanics and other staff joined Local 714 and will soon be negotiating their first contract. “We’re very excited that BSOOB Transit workers voted overwhelmingly to go with ATU, and we look forward to helping them get whatever they want to achieve in their first contract,” said Mike Frager, vice president of Local 714. “As our members in Portland and Bangor can tell you, being part of a union is the best way to achieve better wages, improve working conditions and gain more power in the workplace.”
Staff at the Atlantic Overwhelmingly Vote to Unionize: Writers, producers, fact-checkers, editors, engineers and art directors overwhelmingly voted to form a union with The NewsGuild of New York (TNG-CWA). Management has already agreed to voluntarily recognize the new union. The union's mission statement says: “Over the course of a year marked by uncertainty and isolation, the employees of The Atlantic have come together in solidarity to imagine our shared future. We have faith in our leadership, but in a time of upheaval in our industry and nation, we also wish to ensure that all of the staffers who contribute to The Atlantic’s successes are justly rewarded for their labor and free to speak their mind on matters of concern.”
Nevada AFL-CIO Wins Landmark Legislation Strengthening Workers’ Rights: The Nevada Legislature came to a close the weekend of May 29–30. Nevada’s labor movement fought tooth and nail for legislation that will better the lives of all Nevada workers. Nevada's unions worked tirelessly to pass transformative legislation, including ending contractor misclassification (A.B. 227), allowing home care workers to fight for better working conditions (S.B. 340), and ensuring that those who lost jobs due to COVID-19 were able to return to work (S.B. 386). “I’m proud to join our affiliated unions in the work to pass legislation that will benefit their members and all working Nevadans. Nevada is union strong, and this session shows that!” said Rusty McAllister (IAFF), Nevada State AFL-CIO executive secretary-treasurer.
Landmark Victory for IAM Local 701 and Illinois Auto Technicians: Machinists (IAM) Local 701 achieved a landmark victory at the end of the 2021 Illinois legislative session with the passage of Illinois H.B. 3940. IAM member and Illinois state Rep. Lawrence Walsh sponsored this legislation calling for fair payment for warranty repairs done by Illinois auto technicians. The issues raised in H.B. 3940 were identified by Local 701 more than three years ago after reviewing franchise agreement laws in California and Wisconsin. Currently, auto technicians are paid in warranty and non-warranty retail rates. Once this legislation is signed into law, it will help the entire Illinois auto industry by forcing manufacturers to compensate dealerships at the retail rate for all warranty repairs. Auto technicians represented by Local 701 are guaranteed to get this retail rate. They will fight to organize other nonunion technicians throughout the state of Illinois so they can obtain the same retail rate as IAM Local 701 members.
Urban Institute Staff Win Voluntary Recognition: The Urban Institute Employees' Union (UIEU), an affiliate of the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU), won voluntary recognition from management. The UIEU Organizing Committee said: “The formation of our union is rooted in our commitment to improving the Urban Institute’s principles as a workplace and research institution. We are thrilled that Urban has voluntarily recognized the Urban Institute Employees' Union and look forward to getting to the bargaining table to strengthen the voices of all workers at Urban and ensure that it is an inclusive and nurturing workplace for all its employees.”
Oregon Working People Win Big at the Ballot Box: Oregon's labor movement saw overwhelming success in recent legislative elections. More than 65% of candidates endorsed by Oregon's central labor councils won their races. Nearly half of the endorsed candidates were current or former members of unions. A number were also graduates of the Oregon Labor Candidate School. Oregon AFL-CIO President Graham Trainor (IBEW) said: “It is truly inspiring to see so many union members and working people in every corner of our state take time from their busy lives to run for office and be willing to commit to public service. We have always known that when working people vote, working people win. [This] election in Oregon takes that idea a step further and will inspire more working Oregonians to step up and run for office as well.”
UFCW Local 7 Cannabis Workers Ratify First Union Contract: Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 7 who work at Ohmgro Pure Fire Cannabis Dispensary in Gunnison, Colorado, recently ratified their first union contract. These workers joined UFCW in February because they wanted better wages, an annual raise structure and health care benefits. The three-year contract addresses those issues and includes annual wage increases, improved health care benefits, several paid holidays and a pension. “When workers recognize their true value and their own solidarity, they win! We are honored to have the privilege to represent workers at Pure Fire Cannabis,” said UFCW Local 7 President Kim Cordova.
Staff at Independent L.A. Bookstore Skylight Books Join CWA: Booksellers at Skylight Books in Los Angeles voted to join the Communications Workers of America (CWA). The newly unionized workers seek to have management address a dozen issues, including regular staff meetings, guaranteed raises and more equitable hiring practices. Management immediately granted the union voluntary recognition. In a statement, the union said: "We appreciate that our management elected to recognize our union voluntarily, and we hope they can serve as an example for managers of other workers who wish to exercise their right to organize."
San Diego Cannabis Workers at Three Dispensaries Become First in Area to Unionize: Workers at three local dispensaries have become the first in the San Diego region to unionize, and they have ratified new contracts. More than 140 workers voted overwhelmingly to join UFCW Local 135. Todd Walters, president of the local, said: “This contract will create career jobs and promote an industry-setting standard that is needed to ensure that cannabis workers are accepted and valued. This industry-leading contract will create a new model for March and Ash employees, and other members of the industry, by providing training, educational opportunities, child care and more.”
Newsroom Workers at Longview Daily Vote for Representation by The NewsGuild-CWA: The newsroom staff at the Daily News in Longview, Washington, voted unanimously to be represented by TNG-CWA. The union will begin negotiations on a first union contract, and they are seeking higher wages and increased stability. Reporter Katie Fairbanks said: “This is something that we believe will make the newspaper stronger.”
National Nurses United Successfully Organize at Maine Medical Center: Registered nurses at Maine's biggest hospital complex, Maine Medical Center, voted to join National Nurses United (NNU), despite management's use of anti-union consultants. The nurses hope to address inadequate staffing, scheduling concerns, burnout, and lack of meal and break times, among other issues. Jane Crowley, RN, said: “We’ve made history at Maine Med. Now we are ready and excited to begin talks with hospital representatives to strengthen our voice for patients, workplace conditions and standards for the caregivers, and for our neighbors and community.”
AFSCME Celebrates as Nevada State Employees Ratify First Contract: Members of the four bargaining units at AFSCME Local 4041, representing 20,000 state employees, overwhelmingly voted "yes" to ratify their first contract with the state of Nevada on May 16. Members of Local 4041 continue to provide essential services to Nevadans during the pandemic, serving in front-line positions. “Throughout the pandemic, Nevada public service workers risked everything to deliver vital public services needed to crush the virus, while also using their collective voice to advocate for the American Rescue Plan, which includes a multibillion-dollar investment in Nevada communities,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders. “This contract gives Nevada state employees the respect they deserve. The next step must be for Congress to extend that same respect to all public service workers nationwide, empowering them with collective bargaining rights by passing the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act.”
Colorado AFL-CIO Welcomes Ski Patrollers to CWA: The Colorado AFL-CIO welcomes the newest addition to our union family as Breckenridge ski patrollers voted to unionize with the CWA. The Colorado Sun recently reported: “The increasing cost of living in and around ski towns—coupled with stagnant wages, year-round workloads and the increasingly corporate ski area ownership model in the rapidly consolidating resort industry—has buoyed recent efforts for unionization of ski patrollers.” Patrollers at Vail Resorts-owned Breckenridge are joining union patrollers in Crested Butte, Steamboat, Telluride, Utah’s Park City and Washington’s Stevens Pass, who are all part of the United Professional Ski Patrols of America, a chapter of the CWA. “The company says they view us as professionals, and I believe that. But then decisions come around and (when) it’s time to treat us like professionals, our concerns are superseded by other concerns,” said Ryan Anderson, an eight-year patroller at Breckenridge. “It feels like first responders always end up on the back burner.”
ACLU Staff United Forms with NPEU: Workers at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have organized as ACLU Staff United, associated with the NPEU, IFPTE Local 70. ACLU voluntarily recognized the new union. In a statement, ACLU Staff United said: “We appreciate that we can now get to the bargaining table to create a better, stronger ACLU for the members of our bargaining unit. We formed this union to ensure workers have a voice on important decisions about our work environment, to promote transparency and accountability, and to ensure equity in our workplace. This is just the beginning of our work and we look forward to speaking more with our bargaining unit members about their priorities and negotiating a contract with ACLU management.”
Idaho State AFL-CIO and the Idaho NewsGuild Join Forces to Win a First Contract: The Idaho State AFL-CIO joined the effort of the Idaho NewsGuild to win a first union contract at the Idaho Statesman, Idaho’s largest newspaper. In the first few hours of a public pressure campaign, the Idaho NewsGuild generated more than 50 letters to newspaper executives to push back against unilateral changes the company has imposed. “We’re going to do what we can to help these folks at the Idaho Statesman,” said Idaho State AFL-CIO President Joe Maloney (IBEW) after a Zoom meeting with activists from the newspaper and area union leaders. “They need justice, and we’re ready to help them get what they need.”
Alaska AFL-CIO Elects Slate of Union Member Candidates: Two union member candidates, Dora Wilson with Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1547 and Carl Jacobs with AFSCME Local 52, and one union-endorsed candidate, Pat Higgins, swept the field in Anchorage city and school board elections this week. Another union-endorsed candidate, Kelly Lessens, is headed to a recount. In addition, in the Anchorage mayoral race, Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) Local 1959 member Forrest Dunbar secured one of two slots for the runoff election on May 11. “This emphasizes what we already know. Anchorage is a union town, and it supports working people. Our candidates ran on pro-educator and pro-union platforms. We’re excited to see what these elected officials will do for our educators, our students and our community,” said Alaska AFL-CIO Political Director Kim Hays (UFCW).
Northern Colorado Central Labor Council Elects Several Worker Champions in Fort Collins: The Northern Colorado Central Labor Council endorsed five candidates running for positions in the Fort Collins city elections held April 6. The council is happy to report that four of the five worker-endorsed candidates won. These candidates not only interviewed with council leadership but also submitted responses to the council’s labor questionnaire, which included questions on local labor issues affecting our members in northern Colorado. We also asked for their positions on the needs and challenges of affordable housing, livable wage and transportation issues all Coloradans face in Fort Collins. “We now have a mayor and three seats of the City Council occupied by pro-labor candidates. The power of labor and the voice of working women and men are winning elections and improving working conditions for our members,” said Kevin Caffrey (SMART), president of the Northern Colorado Central Labor Council.
Thurston-Lewis-Mason Counties Labor Council Wins Hazard Pay in Olympia, Washington: Thanks to the work of Washington’s labor movement, Olympia grocery stores are coming under a new ordinance requiring them to pay their employees $4 more per hour in hazard pay beginning next month. The ordinance, which the City Council passed unanimously on April 13, is intended to recognize the risks grocery workers face during the COVID-19 pandemic. The hazard pay requirement lasts as long as Washington is under a state of emergency as declared by the governor, with the opportunity to revisit the policy in four months. Speaking of the win, Steve Segall, vice president of Thurston-Lewis-Mason Counties Labor Council and member of AFSCME Council 28, said: “Local government is in a unique position to recognize the sacrifices made by workers during the pandemic and have the power to act to protect essential workers, their families and our communities. We appreciate the city of Olympia taking this action.”
Portland Museum of Art Workers Join UAW: Some 35 workers at the Portland Museum of Art voted to join the UAW. Local 2110 President Maida Rosenstein said: "We're very hopeful that it will be a new chapter, and with the museum, we will begin preparing very soon to go into collective bargaining negotiations, which is the whole point of unionizing."
California Labor Federation Wins Rehire Rights for Hospitality and Business Services Industry Workers: After much advocacy from the California Labor Federation, Gov. Gavin Newsom on April 16 signed legislation to create a statewide policy for the rehiring of workers laid off amid the COVID-19 pandemic, bolstering the state’s efforts to ensure an equitable recovery. S.B. 93 requires employers in the hospitality and business services industries to offer new positions for similar work to employees laid off during the pandemic within five days of creating a position. The employee must have been employed for more than six months in the 12 months preceding Jan. 1, 2020, and have been laid off for non-disciplinary reasons related to the pandemic. The California Labor Federation celebrated the win in a tweet: “BREAKING: Gov. Gavin Newsom just signed rehire rights legislation to ensure hospitality workers laid off during COVID are able to return to the job. Huge victory! Thank you to all the UNITE HERE workers who fought so hard to make this happen. And thank you Governor!”
New York Times Tech Workers Join NewsGuild: Tech workers for the New York times have formed a new union, the Tech Times Guild, that will represent more than 650 workers. The new union requested voluntary recognition. The Tech Times Guild posted on Twitter: “As of now, we face a number of challenges, including sudden or unexplained termination, opaque promotion processes, unpaid overtime, and underinvestment in diverse representation. Without a union, we lack the data or bargaining rights to address these issues.”
WGAE Reaches Strike-Ending Agreement: In April, we reported in our Daily Brief newsletter that writers for the television show "The Chase" had gone on strike. Today, we are glad to report that a settlement has been reached to end the strike. The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) and ITV Entertainment issued a joint statement. “ITV Entertainment and the WGAE are pleased to have come to terms for writers on ‘The Chase’ to be represented by the WGAE and for the show to be covered by the Minimum Basic Agreement,” the statement said. “We are in agreement that fair and positive work practices are essential to our industry and that, especially during the ongoing battle of the pandemic, the priority is to keep production going and to ensure that people can do their work and build sustainable careers. We are glad to have come to terms and that the process is completed.”
Bath Iron Works Employees in Maine Secure New Contract: Workers at Bath Iron Works in Maine signed a new three-year contract that includes numerous improvements for 200 administrative and clerical workers, who are represented by the IAM. The new contract includes annual 3% pay increases and improved accident and sickness benefits. Local S7 President Jessica Chubbuck-Goodwin said: “The success of these negotiations was due in large part to the hard work and dedication of the Local S7 negotiating committee, the solidarity of the hardworking members of Local S7, and the support and leadership from Machinists District 4.”
Staff at Animal Legal Defense Fund Join NPEU: A supermajority of eligible staff at the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) voted to join the NPEU, IFPTE Local 70. “Despite ALDF management’s attempts to bust the staff’s union,” said interim President Katie Barrows, “the employees prevailed in exercising their workplace right to join together in union. This victory highlights the power of strong worker organizing. We are so proud of ALDF United and are excited to support them as they begin negotiating to make ALDF an even better organization.”
Chicago Amazon warehouse workers were put in a tough spot, and made the best of it.
In January, the company hit workers in Chicago’s DCH1 delivery station with a devastating one-two punch. First, Amazon was shutting down their workplace, so they would have to transfer to other facilities across the city. Second, workers at delivery stations nationwide were going to be forced onto a new shift called the “Megacycle,” where they would work four times a week from 1:20 to 11:50 a.m.
Across the country, steelworkers at nine plants of Allegheny Technologies, Inc. have been on strike for the last 11 weeks. They want raises; to stop contracting out; to secure full funding of their retirement benefits; and to beat back management’s efforts to introduce health insurance premiums and a second tier of coverage for younger workers. […]The post Striking ATI Steelworkers Hold the Line for Premium-Free Health Insurance first appeared on Today's Workplace.
The Wisconsin state legislature wants to slash unemployment benefits. Seasonal workers rely on that money as job opportunities fluctuate throughout the year. This article is part of The Wisconsin Idea, an investigative reporting initiative focused on rural Wisconsin. Troy Brewer was pleased when the Milwaukee Bucks made the playoffs this year, and not just because he’s a big […]The post Unemployment Benefits Protect Seasonal Workers first appeared on Today's Workplace.
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. Today's Pride Month profile is Sebastian Rey.
Sebastian Rey is a proud transgender member of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) who works as a costumer. He has been a member of Local 478 since 2011. “I love my crew and the film industry,” he said. As a mixed-race man, Rey said that before joining IATSE he avoided speaking his mind or being in spaces where he would likely be discriminated against, or his safety would be jeopardized.
“I’ve found my voice and a home within the union,” he said. “Now all I want to do is speak the truth and see the response I get. It’s been an effective change in me, since joining [IATSE]. I admit the confidence makes you want to create good trouble everywhere.”
Rey says he’s proud to see the union embrace LGBTQ workers as well. “Do we have a lot of work to do? Yes. However, it’s a great feeling to know we’re not starting from ground zero.”
Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.
Last week, the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) added a range of new resources to help its members who are veterans of the armed services. The resources include APWU’s guide to veterans rights and benefits, as well as the Veterans Administration’s guidebook on mental health and suicide prevention. “The APWU encourages our members who are veterans of the armed services to avail themselves of their earned rights as well as to be fully involved in the union and the continuing struggle to improve the rights and well-being of postal workers and defend and expand the public Postal Service,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein.
Across the country, steelworkers at nine plants of Allegheny Technologies, Inc. have been on strike for the last 11 weeks.
They want raises; to stop contracting out; to secure full funding of their retirement benefits; and to beat back management’s efforts to introduce health insurance premiums and a second tier of coverage for younger workers.
The Steelworkers union (USW) accuses ATI of unfair labor practices including bad faith bargaining, and of holding retiree benefits hostage for contract concessions.
On January 21, 2021, one day after his inauguration, President Biden signed an executive order directing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to consider issuing a broad emergency temporary standard (ETS) on COVID-19 in the workplace. But because COVID-19 cases have decreased significantly since January, on June 10, 2021, OSHA issued an ETS applicable to healthcare […]The post OSHA Issues Emergency Rule for Healthcare Employers and Updates Guidance for Other Employers first appeared on Today's Workplace.
Conservatives and corporate employers are weaving an insidious web of myths, lies and exaggerations to justify maintaining low-wage jobs. For the past few months, Republicans have been waging a ferocious political battle to end federal unemployment benefits, based upon stated desires of saving the U.S. economy from a serious labor shortage. The logic, in the words of […]The post There Is No Labor Shortage, Only Labor Exploitation first appeared on Today's Workplace.
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. Today's Pride Month profile is Minas Roros.
Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS) member Minas Roros has been a dedicated public servant for 32 years and is a proud member of his union and the LGBTQ+ community. Roros works as a management and program analyst at the Federal Aviation Administration. He believes unions are invaluable for workers in many industries, including the federal government.
Even before the pandemic, unemployment among disabled workers in New York City was at a crisis level—just 30 to 35 percent were employed. Over the past year, the situation has grown even worse.
Independent living centers, which help disabled residents find socio-economic stability, reported that more than 50 percent of their clients were let go from their jobs, the Center for an Urban Future found in a March 2021 report.
Welfare workers in Ocean County, New Jersey, won their best contract in years by taking a stand for Covid safety.
“After months of working in fear, and with Covid back on the rise, we decided that enough was enough,” human services specialist and Local 1088 steward Jessica Coffin told fellow members of the Communications Workers, District 1 (CWA) New Jersey in a recent training.
By late summer 2020, efforts to defeat Trump at the polls were running full-throttle—but many organizers and activists saw that even if these succeeded, the election could still be in peril. A broad array of networks and organizations began planning to defend the results and stop a possible coup. Labor Action to Defend Democracy (LADD) formed to bring union members and leaders into that work. As the election and its aftermath receded, the group took stock of what it had learned and accomplished, and reflected on where to go from here.—Editors
Auto workers at Volvo’s truck plant in southwest Virginia have just voted down a concessionary contract by 90 percent—for the second time. Now they’re back on strike.
“The International union has been down here twice for town halls,” said Auto Workers (UAW) Local 2069 member Rhonda Sisk. “Each time we say ‘take it back, it’s garbage,’ and they just say they think it’s a good contract, but they don’t say why.”
More than 2,000 food couriers snarled traffic in Times Square through pouring rain in protest April 21 demanding better working conditions and protection from violent assaults. The mass demonstration was organized by Los Deliveristas Unidos, a loose network of immigrant gig workers that was born in the strife of the pandemic last year through online chat groups on Facebook, WhatsApp, and Telegram.
New York City’s 250,000 retired municipal workers are facing the conversion of our traditional Medicare coverage to a privately managed Medicare Advantage plan.
It turns out that negotiations to achieve this change have been going on—in secret—for three years. The bargaining agent is the Municipal Labor Committee (MLC), which includes nearly 100 city unions.
Word of the negotiations leaked out in March, and union activists immediately started to organize a fight to protect our benefits.
Foster Farms was fined $181,500 on May 24, 2021 by the California Division of Occupational Health and Safety (Cal/OSHA) for failing to protect workers from Covid-19 at its Livingston poultry plant and distribution center near Fresno, and for failing to report all infections. At least eight Foster Farms workers died from Covid-19.