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NewsFeed - Labor
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Communications Workers of America members at AT&T Southeast plan to go on strike at midnight over unfair labor practices committed by management during negotiations for a new contract.
This summer marked the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, where police raids on a New York bar led to six days of protests and clashes, sparking the modern lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender movement. We decided to take a look around the country at some of the organizing by LGBTQ workers and allies in the labor movement today. Here’s a flavor of what’s happening in the post-marriage equality era. —Editors
LGBTQ workers continue to face discrimination and unemployment at higher rates than the population as a whole.
Welcome to our regular feature, a look at what the various AFL-CIO unions and other working family organizations are doing across the country and beyond. The labor movement is big and active—here's a look at the broad range of activities we're engaged in this week.
Actors' Equity Association:
Mark your calendar - the Pittsburgh Liaison Committee wants to see you on Labor Day! March with Actors' Equity Association at the second largest Labor Day Parade in the country.— Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) August 22, 2019
RSVP in the Member Portal - https://t.co/OnyJV3PfPm pic.twitter.com/2tFpDx3Phg
One of the most important, most difficult jobs in America shouldn’t be one of the least-valued and lowest-paying. That’s why AFSCME home care workers continue to organize and mobilize, fighting for their rights and freedoms at the state and national level. https://t.co/DEfQNHepWG— AFSCME (@AFSCME) August 21, 2019
150,000+ AFT members in Title I schools use @FirstBook for school supplies, multi-cultural books, books that build social & emotional learning, & take-home books. Some affiliates in low-income communities provide toiletries & care closets for their communities too! https://t.co/0GodNCsHmc— AFT (@AFTunion) August 22, 2019
Air Line Pilots:
Alliance for Retired Americans:
Drug costs are out of control. That’s why we’re rallying for lower drug prices across the country today. Send a message to your member of Congress here: https://t.co/lGIazEu93V #PeopleOverPharma @TheWIAlliance @RepGwenMoore pic.twitter.com/HRLPYVOblj— Alliance Retirees (@ActiveRetirees) August 20, 2019
Amalgamated Transit Union:
American Federation of Musicians:
American Postal Workers Union:
#APWU’s gearing up for a tough national contract arbitration & we need that #APWUnited support. Show your labor solidarity & tell us what you love about the union. Post your own #PostalSlam video & tag us! Let’s show management - WE ARE THE UNION! #1U https://t.co/U9m0QHHPww— APWU National (@APWUnational) August 20, 2019
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance:
Sign the petition: Demand that our lawmakers pass the PRO Act!— APALA (@APALAnational) August 21, 2019
Working class and middle class families in the United States deserve income security and should be able to organize their co-workers to demand living wages and healthy working conditions. https://t.co/o1vzbSNFhk pic.twitter.com/0pfD8knoXd
Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:
Happy 74th Bday, AFA! Flight Attendants around the world - this is where it all began. We’re one of the most organized professions in labor & together we’ve achieved victories for equality, workplace health & safety, & contracts that define our work as aviation's first responders pic.twitter.com/DolL8UX3lY— AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) August 22, 2019
Deadline is Aug. 26 (Monday!) ⏳to add a comment to save our apprenticeships. We need everyone’s voice 📢 to tell the DOL to keep us permanently exempt from their proposal. Boilermakers: https://t.co/PgDkKIqy31. pic.twitter.com/Z1vrYFplT2— Boilermakers Union (@boilermakernews) August 22, 2019
"If we’re going to organize #immigrants, and if we’re going to make immigrants feel like they have ownership in our unions, we can’t be afraid to have the tough conversations with all our members about why it’s so important." -@jboland on organizing immigrants @GoIUPAT Convention— Bricklayers Union (@IUBAC) August 14, 2019
California School Employees Association:
Coalition of Black Trade Unionists:
Black Trade Unionists in America stand with our courageous sisters and brothers in #Zimbabwe in their just struggle against the repressive government in #Zimbabwe. A luta continua! https://t.co/7WGaUhOaFh— CBTU (@CBTU72) August 22, 2019
Coalition of Labor Union Women:
SEPTEMBER 1: Last day to make sure you're a current Regular CLUW member to be able to vote as a delegate at our upcoming 20th Biennial CLUW Convention. It's also the application deadline for the Gloria T. Johnson scholarship. https://t.co/nZA2LpSLW1 pic.twitter.com/8YzktfQboe— CLUW National (@CLUWNational) August 16, 2019
Communications Workers of America:
NAFTA 2.0 is a corporate giveaway.— CWA (@CWAUnion) August 20, 2019
The deal falls short of truly protecting working people and will allow big pharmaceutical companies to lock in high drug prices.
Call Congress and tell them we need a new NAFTA that puts people over profits: 1-855-973-4213#ReplaceNAFTA pic.twitter.com/JcdlhU9xQP
Department for Professional Employees:
Even with more college-educated women in the labor force, men still earn higher wages at every education level. This must change, and joining together in union can help. #1u #wagegap https://t.co/wk4HWr3juc— Department for Professional Employees (@DPEaflcio) August 21, 2019
With every summer seeming to set new high temperature records, it's becoming more critical to take your health — and that of your coworkers — seriously. https://t.co/fZ75jSNan9— IBEW (@IBEW) August 21, 2019
Farm Labor Organizing Committee:
We are headed down to the International Civil Rights Museum and Center and to the fields of North Carolina to farm labor camps. pic.twitter.com/1L3o9673vq— Farm Labor Organizing Committee (@SupportFLOC) August 20, 2019
IAFF Behavioral Health Specialist @sarahabernes and IAFF Peer Support Master Instructor @b_dreiman will lead a session on suicide and suicide prevention in the fire service on Thurs., 8/22 at #IAFFRedmond19. See what they say about the importance of forming a peer support network pic.twitter.com/IlaSuqqsvQ— IAFF (@IAFFNewsDesk) August 21, 2019
Heat and Frost Insulators:
Check it out! We have updated the Flickr album with the graduation images from Trainer Enhancement last week. Congratulations, Instructors! https://t.co/f6sC5i02SC— Insulators Union (@InsulatorsUnion) August 21, 2019
Proud to share this video about Iron Workers Local 44 that won an Emmy Award 🏆🏆🏆 for Best Branded Content! Kudos to Dave Baker from Local 44, who did an amazing job narrating the video! #emmys https://t.co/u7TmZTXjXI— Ironworkers. (@TheIronworkers) August 21, 2019
Jobs With Justice:
Labor Council For Latin American Advancement:
Gender, race, and ethnicity play significant and decisive roles in the distribution of opportunity, wages and wealth in our society. The different equal pay days that are observed throughout the year are examples of these discriminatory practices. #EqualPay #Trabajadoras pic.twitter.com/wQ8LTLKSYX— LCLAA (@LCLAA) August 22, 2019
Calvin began his journey in partnership with @BuildingUpTO leading to earning hands on skills training with LiUNA. Today, a Proud #LiUNA Member, Calvin is building a better future for him and for his family with a career in the trades! Watch his story!https://t.co/7xN5cpSzR7— LiUNA! Canada (@LiunaCanada) August 19, 2019
Longtime labor reporter and author Steven Greenhouse joined The Takeaway to discuss how unions are navigating the difficulties of dealing with a president who says he's supportive of labor, but whose policies often run counter to the interests of unions. https://t.co/pq7pGOy6p5— Metal Trades Dept. (@metaltradesafl) August 20, 2019
National Air Traffic Controllers Association:
“You don’t have to be lonely,” writes NATCA Recurrent Training Rep Richard Kennington in EAA’s AirVenture Today magazine. “All pilots should have a basic understanding of how the ATC system works.” https://t.co/n7ASm65rvQ— NATCA (@NATCA) August 22, 2019
National Association of Letter Carriers:
NALC information is now available at your fingertips! Install the "NALC Member App" on your iPhone or Andriod smartphone & get up-to-date information & resources. Simply go to the app store for iPhones or Google Play for Androids -- then search for “NALC Member App.” #1u #NALCapp pic.twitter.com/XBbZiowX5X— Letter Carriers (@NALC_National) August 22, 2019
National Domestic Workers Alliance:
For #BlackWomensEqualPay Day @aliciagarza sat down with @meenaharris to talk about how addressing the wage gap is about more than just numbers. When we do right by Black women, the entire country benefits.https://t.co/fHkUi9soMk— Domestic Workers (@domesticworkers) August 22, 2019
National Nurses United:
Ruth Somera was just one of dozens of RNs deployed to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.— NationalNursesUnited (@NationalNurses) August 22, 2019
Honor the selfless acts of these #nurses and help the Registered Nurse Response Network celebrate its 14th anniversary by making a contribution today ➡️ https://t.co/xdExuMWT4W #1u pic.twitter.com/t4GMAHAltu
NFL Players Association:
While opening their minds to new experiences, @throughoureyest is challenging the status quo to show that black men do travel and they know how to give back along the way.— NFLPA (@NFLPA) August 22, 2019
STORY: https://t.co/So2NkjEv0e pic.twitter.com/n18DWSCdOl
North America's Building Trades Unions:
For 80 years, Registered Apprenticeship Programs have supplied the construction industry with the safest, most highly-skilled workers.— The Building Trades (@NABTU) August 19, 2019
We now have ONE WEEK to save these programs. Comment here to make your voice heard: https://t.co/yhRxc81TYZ pic.twitter.com/OERSITyZxd
Office and Professional Employees:
Kaiser Permanente workers from California to Maryland are fighting the healthcare giant’s proposal to implement a two-tiered wage system, which pits longtime employees and recent hires against each other, and lowers standards for everyone. #1u pic.twitter.com/FRbbJuZQ8V— OPEIU (@OPEIU) August 21, 2019
Painters and Allied Trades:
Help us get us as many members as possible to stand up against IRAPs. During our #DayofAction this Friday, talk to your fellow sisters and brothers about submitting their comments. Submit yours NOW! https://t.co/Qp2hrmdhfc #SaveUSApprenticeships pic.twitter.com/UDhb45TslQ— GoIUPAT✊🏽 (@GoIUPAT) August 21, 2019
Plasterers and Cement Masons:
Union apprenticeship programs give “us the same level and quality of training we received in the Military. This is one of the reasons why veterans choose to attend NABTU Registered Apprenticeship Programs.” Submit your comments now! https://t.co/wspFQbfvhO https://t.co/nJ6CEQUgb9— OPCMIA International (@opcmiaintl) August 22, 2019
Professional Aviation Safety Specialists:
Today at #PASSConv19, National Vice President Carlos Aguirre shared his plans and vision for PASS. He emphasized the importance of the federal workforce and ensuring federal employees are treated fairly. #PASSinPDX pic.twitter.com/6ch2Q72Jzc— PASS (@PASSNational) August 20, 2019
Professional and Technical Engineers:
ATTENTION! @RepMcNerney, @RepAnnaEshoo , and @RepJimCosta: Representing more than 20,000 hardworking professionals in the #BayArea, @IFPTE urges you to stand with working people! Support HR 1309 today!! pic.twitter.com/BpNzYIlU2z— IFPTE (@IFPTE) August 20, 2019
Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Workers:
The @Local_1102 members who prepare and provide food service on the NYU campus recently ratified a new contract that brings strong wage increase and improved medical coverage! pic.twitter.com/vKbzxgTDla— RWDSU (@RWDSU) August 21, 2019
Roofers and Waterproofers:
https://t.co/eWJbsdUnnO— Roofers Union (@roofersunion) August 8, 2019
The DOL is counting comments, and Roofers’ numbers are not good. We need at least 2,000 more member comments in the next week. EVERY MEMBER SHOULD SIGN THIS PETITION USING THE MEMBER LINK. pic.twitter.com/N1V6HsWPWs
One 2018 report found gender inequality in business costs countries $160 trillion because of the difference in lifetime earnings btwn men/women. Another in 2015 found advancing female equality in the workplace could add $12 trillion to global GDP by 2025. https://t.co/0ZKZBQGAMR— Solidarity Center (@SolidarityCntr) August 22, 2019
Theatrical Stage Employees:
Thank you @RepEspaillat for leading the downstate New York and upstate New Jersey delegations calling on @AmericanAir & President Doug Parker to keep good, blue-collar jobs in the U.S. https://t.co/9Hx11rAxLW pic.twitter.com/7WYRg1G4iz— TWU (@transportworker) August 20, 2019
Transportation Trades Department:
This should go without saying, but when you exploit your drivers to maximize profits at the expense of their well being, their health suffers. https://t.co/FTaeLfR5NP— Transp. Trades Dept. (@TTDAFLCIO) August 22, 2019
Millions of Californians do not have access to a workplace retirement plan — so the state has stepped in to offer a public option: https://t.co/2urceisUvt— UAW (@UAW) August 20, 2019
Union Label and Service Trades:
Not only do hardworking men and women make the leather for every NFL football, but also the leather for world famous Red Wing boots and shoes! Check out the handiwork of these UFCW 1189 members 👞🥾 #NationalLeathercraftDay pic.twitter.com/U5LeV57ApF— Union Label Dept. (@ULSTD_AFLCIO) August 15, 2019
Union Veterans Council:
We stand with miners at #Blackjewel! Coal miners have a long history of taking on hard fights against rich, greedy bosses - we know whose side we're on.— UNITE HERE (@unitehere) August 21, 2019
One day longer, one day stronger! ⛏✊#NoPayWeStay https://t.co/cEEKPJz9RO
United Food and Commercial Workers:
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (@LLSusa) is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to finding cures for blood cancers, and UFCW has been a longstanding partner since 1982. See how one member has helped his Local raise $ for the cause 👏: https://t.co/ev1yfY6rsY pic.twitter.com/WBIkehpiTs— UFCW (@UFCW) August 22, 2019
Even though August is nearly over, parts of the nation are still experiencing intense heat. Stay safe out there, and keep an eye out for your coworkers! pic.twitter.com/hDt98w2IwE— UWUA National (@The_UWUA) August 21, 2019
The devastating economic effects of NAFTA can still be felt today. We need a new policy that uplifts all workers, not another deal that benefits multinational corporations at the expense of workers. https://t.co/u96vpvRg97— Working America (@WorkingAmerica) August 21, 2019
Writers Guild of America, East:
Unions: the universally flattering, must-have statement piece for this (and every) season!— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) August 22, 2019
Solidarity with the very fashionable @CBSNunion as they head to the bargaining table today! #1u https://t.co/w67gF0zYh4
On Tuesday morning, as union veteran Sam Tijerina drove from Pasadena, Texas, to Dallas, he had a lot on his mind. His thoughts wandered as he passed mile markers and towns—he thought about his young family at home and the life that having a union job has provided them. “A union card has allowed me to live with dignity,” he said.
Tijerina was traveling to one of the largest acts of civil disobedience that the Texas labor movement has waged in years. LSG Sky Chef workers, who are contracted by American Airlines, planned a rally with UNITE HERE to advocate for raising wages. “It was important to be part of the civil disobedience because my fellow veterans are affected by poor wages,” Tijerina said. “There are an estimated 1.3 million veteran workers who earn less than $15 an hour. It is disheartening to know my brothers and sisters have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. One job should be enough.”
More than 600 supporters showed up at the protest, including catering workers, union members from other airports and local supporters like Tijerina. He was one of 58 people who were arrested while blocking traffic during the protest.
Tijerina is an Elevator Constructor (IUEC) from Local 31 and a Marine veteran who served in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom II. The Marines taught him about selfless service and how to lead by example. “I know that it’s not just about me,” Tijerina said. “It's about fighting for everyone, no matter what their situation is.” This is the same sentiment echoed by Union Veterans Council Executive Director Will Attig at a recent speech to the Texas AFL-CIO convention, shortly before announcing the creation of a Texas chapter of the Union Veterans Council. “Leaders lead from the front and motivate others to take action,” Attig added. “Texas union vets are ready to take action to support the working people of this state.”
Earlier this year, Attig was among a group of union leaders and activists who were arrested at the U.S. Capitol during the government shutdown, when a quarter of 1 million veteran workers faced no pay and job instability. Attig hopes this action will motivate fellow union veterans to get more involved. Attig wants Union Veterans Council members and the labor movement to know that union veterans are a force to be reckoned with.
The Union Veterans Council is working to unify our veterans by giving them the tools and platform to make their voices heard on a local and national level, along with inspiring union veterans to take an action-based role in the labor movement. Tijerina is just one of a growing movement of union veterans across the country who are using their voices to fight and advocate for fellow workers and the issues that matter to their community.
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The following are excerpts from Facebook comments in response to Barbara Madeloni's Slingshot, “Less Messaging, More Action” from the June issue of Labor Notes.
As a communications staffer for unions, I often feel acutely what this article is NAILING. Got an uphill battle? Focus on the organizing and the PR will follow. I am going to have a copy of this article in my back pocket for all time.
In addition to the AFL-CIO's own "State of the Unions," there are a lot of other podcasts out there that have their own approach to discussing labor issues and the rights of working people. Here are the latest podcasts from across the labor movement in the United States.
Follow the links below to find podcasts. They also can be found wherever you listen to podcasts:
America's Work Force: "This week's guests include Cheri Honkala, founder of the Poor People’s Economic Rights Campaign, Frank Mathews, administrative director for Communications Workers of America District 4 in Chicago, and Jim Cullen, editor of the Progressive Populist."
Building Bridges: Your Community and Labor Report: "We welcome home Janet and Janine Africa, after 41 years, and won’t rest until all our political prisoners are free at last! With:
- Sheroes Janet and Janine finally returned to the beloved community after 41 years of incarceration for a death that actually resulted from a police campaign of terror used against black community organizations;
- Carlos Africa, Move organizer;
- Pam Africa, Move organizer; and
- Commentary by Mumia Abu-Jamal, a political prisoner who remains imprisoned for life without parole and continues his work as a journalist from his jail cell in Pennsylvania. Prior to his wrongful conviction in 1981, Abu-Jamal was a political activist and president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists."
CTU Speaks! Podcast: "The Chicago Teachers Union launched CTU Speaks! earlier this week. The monthly podcast by rank-and-file educators in Chicago Public Schools seeks to empower and unify members through discussions about the union, Chicago’s public schools and communities, and local and national public education issues. CTU Speaks! is the brainchild of the union’s member-led Public Relations and Communications Committee, hosted by committee members Andrea Parker and Jim Staros."
Heartland Labor Forum: "Missouri’s motto is 'Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law,' but the legislature still hasn’t passed Medicaid expansion. This week on the Heartland Labor Forum we’ll talk to Jobs with Justice’s Richard Von Glahn on a new coalition to use the initiative process to win health care coverage for thousands of Missourians. Then we’ll find out from Art Johnson, former president of the Social Security local in Kansas City, just how bad Donald Trump’s union-busting of federal unions is."
UComm Live with Kris LaGrange: "The governor of Massachusetts vetoes a popular bill that would protect employees' right to have a voice at work; ICE conducts their biggest workplace raid ever; Democratic candidate Jay Inslee talks green, union jobs; Rich Trumka warns the Democratic Party not to take its base for granted; what to do when a boss bargains in the press; and the Mets are only one game out of the wild card. PLUS: On Thursday, August 15th on UCOMM Live, we call out Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports for threatening his staff if they attempt to organize; Dave is scared of us, and he should be. Sarker goes into an interesting piece on where are all the union Muslims? Antonio Brown of the Oakland Raiders is not wearing his PPEs; his shop stewards are pissed. Chris Cuomo, Andy's little brother, caught on tape standing up for himself, and Beto O'Rourke comes out with a sensible gun control solution."
Union City Radio: Texas AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Montserrat Garibay; the toxic impact of private equity; AFSCME Local 3001 OmniRide drivers settle a new contract.
Union Strong - Call for Transparency on Campus Foundations: "SUNY’s 30 campus-related foundations have a lot of money—millions. Where does it come from, where is it going and how is it being used? These are all questions raised by UUP, the nation’s largest higher education union. On this podcast, a conversation with UUP President Dr. Fred Kowal about campus foundations and much more."
Workers Beat: "Will have a lineup of local union and other progressive leaders to endorse labor outreach."
Your Rights at Work: "Hosted by Chris Garlock, with Mark Gruenberg; DC’s call-in show about worker rights: those you have, those you don’t, how to get them and how to use them. On this week’s show: Ghost Workers author Mary Gray and a sneak preview of Gene Bruskin’s new labor musical, 'The Moment Was Now.'"
State of the Unions: "Tim talks to NABTU Chief of Staff Mike Monroe about a Department of Labor proposal that would undermine world-class apprenticeships in the construction industry."
A recent decision by the Trump National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) addresses intermittent or “hit-and-run” strikes. Employers are jubilant and unions are distressed. Both reactions are largely off the mark.
The case grew out of a multi-year campaign by the Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) to organize Walmart, the largest U.S. employer (1.5 million workers in 4,000 locations). The effort began in 2010 under the name “OUR Walmart.”
On the latest episode of “State of the Unions,” podcast co-host Tim Schlittner talks to North America's Building Trades Unions (NABTU) Chief of Staff Mike Monroe about a Department of Labor proposal that would undermine world-class apprenticeships in the construction industry.
Listen to our previous episodes:
- A discussion with Texas AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Montserrat Garibay (Education Austin/AFT-NEA) in the wake of the deadly mass shooting in El Paso, Texas.
- UNITE HERE President D. Taylor talking about the activism of airline catering workers and the current moment for union organizing.
- Highlights of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka's (UMWA) town halls in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Detroit, where he discussed NAFTA and trade.
- AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler (IBEW) talks about pushing the labor movement to be bold, take risks and not be afraid of failure.
- Pride At Work Executive Director Jerame Davis discusses the progress made by LGBTQ working people over the past quarter-century and the work still left to be done.
- Union organizer Andy Levin goes to Washington to make a difference for working people.
- Talking to National Nurses United (NNU) Executive Director Bonnie Castillo, RN, about the growing movement of registered nurses organizing for better jobs, a more just society and health care as a fundamental human right.
A new worker-centered, precedent-setting program will comprehensively address the rampant gender-based violence and harassment (GBVH) denying thousands of women garment workers a safe and dignified workplace in Lesotho.
The program, established by two negotiated and enforceable agreements, will cover 10,000 Lesotho garment workers in five factories that produce jeans and knitwear for the global market. Lesotho-based unions and women’s rights groups, major fashion brands and international worker rights organizations, including the Solidarity Center, negotiated with the factory owner, Nien Hsing Textiles, to mandate education and awareness training for all employees and managers, an independent reporting and monitoring system, and remedies for abusive behavior.
The parties came to the table after the U.S.-based Worker Rights Consortium documented how the mostly female workforce at three Nien Hsing textile factories regularly was coerced into sexual activity with supervisors as a condition of gaining or retaining employment or promotions, and were persistently sexually harassed, verbally and physically.
The Lesothoan unions and women’s rights groups, all with proven histories of fighting to advance the rights of workers and women throughout the country, are: the Federation of Women Lawyers in Lesotho (FIDA), the Independent Democratic Union of Lesotho (IDUL), the National Clothing Textile and Allied Workers Union, Lesotho (NACTWU), the United Textile Employees (UNITE) and Women and Law in Southern Africa Research and Education Trust (WLSA)-Lesotho. They will administer the agreement and will serve on the oversight committee.
The Solidarity Center, WRC and Workers United joined these groups to negotiate the two agreements with Levi Strauss, The Children’s Place, Kontoor Brands and Nien Hsing Textiles.
“This is the first initiative in Lesotho that brings together workers, unions, women’s organizations and employers to work towards one common goal of improving the socioeconomic rights of women in the workplace,” said Thusoana Ntlama, FIDA programs coordinator, and Libakiso Matlho, WLSA national director.
Agreements Follow Report Documenting Abuse at Lesotho Factories
Nearly two-thirds of the garment workers WRC interviewed reported “having experienced sexual harassment or abuse” or having knowledge of harassment or abuse suffered by co-workers, according to the report. Women workers from all three factories identified GBVH as a central concern for themselves and other female employees.
“Many supervisors demand sexual favors and bribes from prospective employees,” one worker told WRC investigators. “They promise jobs to the workers who are still on probationary contracts.[…]All of the women in my department have slept with the supervisor. For the women, this is about survival and nothing else.[…]If you say no, you won’t get the job, or your contract will not be renewed.”
All the Elements to Prevent, Eliminate GBVH at Work
While sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence may happen at any workplace, GBVH is rampant in the global garment and textile industry. Globally, some 85% of garment workers are women. They are especially vulnerable to abuse and violence at work because of imbalanced power structures, high poverty and unemployment.
The Lesotho plan “has all the elements needed to prevent and eliminate gender-based violence at work,” says Solidarity Center Executive Director Shawna Bader-Blau. “First, there’s real accountability. It is binding and enforceable on all parties. And the global brands and the employer have guaranteed their commitment to enforcing and upholding the code of conduct by signing fully executed, binding and enforceable contracts.”
- Establish an independent organization to investigate issues, fully empowered to determine remedies;
- Create a clear code of conduct on unacceptable behaviors and a system for reporting abuse—with garment workers as full participants in creating, implementing and monitoring it; and
- Establish an education and awareness program that goes beyond the typical harassment and gender violence training. It will be comprehensive and get at the root causes of gender discrimination and violence against women.
Importantly, says Bader-Blau, “the program is sustainable because it’s worker designed, with unions working together with women’s rights groups to deliver it.”
And because the freedom to form unions and collectively bargain has proven essential to addressing gender-based violence and harassment at work and in creating the space for workers to shape a future of work that is fair and democratic, it’s especially key that these agreements also protect workers’ rights to freely form unions, says Bader-Blau.
Nien Hsing, which manufactures apparel for global brands in several countries, signed one agreement with trade unions and women’s rights organizations in Lesotho to establish the GBVH program, and has committed to take recommended action when violations of the program’s code of conduct have been established.
The global brands entered into a parallel agreement in which, should Nien Hsing commit a material breach of its agreement with the unions and NGOs, it will take action, including a potential reduction in orders.
In the past, as one worker told WRC, “The [supervisors accused of harassment] are usually rotated to other departments,” arrangements the plan seeks to eradicate.
Putting the Plan into Action
Lesotho-based women’s rights organizations, unions, the Solidarity Center and WRC will jointly design the education and awareness program and curriculum, with input from the newly created independent investigative organization.
They also will carry out the two-day training in which all workers and managers will take part. Workers will be paid regular wages during the training.
And importantly, says Bader-Blau, “Empowered workers with a negotiated stake in the agreements can identify and report violence and harassment. And because they have established the terms with the employer as equals, they can be sure that retaliation for reporting abuse and the impunity of abusers will end. Unlike corporate social responsibility programs, the Lesotho program is a contractual agreement with the employer, the brands and the unions, which means everyone is accountable to the code of conduct–with workers able to enforce it as an equal party.”
The program is partially modeled after the Fair Food Program, a set of binding agreements between leading food brands, like McDonald’s and Whole Foods, and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Using the type of independent complaint mechanism that will be established by the Lesotho agreements, the Fair Food Program largely has eliminated what had been rampant sexual harassment and coercion in the tomato fields of Florida.
The agreements also build on the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, in which unions were key participants, and recognizes the fundamental role of collective bargaining in negotiating an agreement that is binding on employers and international brands and in bringing accountability to the global supply chain by ensuring the agreement is implemented and enforced.
Funding for the two-year program will come primarily from the three brands, in collaboration with the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the program will kick off in fall 2019.
This post originally appeared at the Solidarity Center.
Ahead of Election Season, New Jersey State AFL-CIO’s Labor Candidates School Grooms New Crop of Office-Seeking Union Members
It was a monumental weekend for 28 union members who graduated from the New Jersey State AFL-CIO’s 23rd Annual Labor Candidates School on Sunday.
The two-day immersion course, held at the union-staffed Rutgers University Inn and Conference Center on Aug. 17 and 18, featured lectures from a number of seasoned election experts. Topics included fundraising, election law, campaign research, message development, public speaking, media relations, voter contact, volunteer recruitment, targeting and digital strategy.
"To say I’m proud of the graduates of this year’s Labor Candidates School would be an understatement," said Charles Wowkanech, president of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO. “It’s exciting to see so many union members interested in running for elected office. These ambitious brothers and sisters understand the issues facing the working class, and once they’re elected, they’ll pursue a proactive and progressive labor agenda at the state and local level.
“This new crop of labor candidates has the full support of the state fed, and we look forward to mentoring them during this upcoming election season,” Wowkanech added.
Wowkanech launched the Labor Candidates School in 1997 as part of the state federation's ongoing effort to recruit, train and support union members running for elected office. Since then, the school has helped 1,031 union members get elected to local, state and federal offices.
More than 150 Labor Candidates School graduates currently hold public office. Among them are U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, State Senate President Steve Sweeney, State Sen. Troy Singleton and Assemblymen Joe Egan, Wayne DeAngelo, Eric Houghtaling, Tom Giblin, Anthony Verrelli and Paul Moriarty. As officeholders, these graduates have championed policies that reflect the priorities of New Jersey’s working families, such as paid family leave and raising the minimum wage.
With its ever-increasing tally of election victories and 78% win ratio, the New Jersey State AFL-CIO’s Labor Candidates School has become a nationwide paragon of success. In fact, many state federations now are expanding their political programs based on New Jersey’s labor candidate training model. This includes the Minnesota AFL-CIO, which sent Field Director Pommella Wegmann to New Jersey to observe the school this past weekend.
“Minnesota’s labor movement is excited to bring this tried-and-tested labor candidate training to the Midwest,” Wegmann said. “The New Jersey State AFL-CIO has built the premier program in the country, and I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to attend this school and learn from their staff.”
As of now, 66 union members are running for political offices throughout New Jersey in November’s general election. For a complete list of New Jersey State AFL-CIO endorsements, click here.
AFL-CIO International Affairs Committee's Response to Israel's Denial of Entry to Reps. Omar and Tlaib
The AFL-CIO International Affairs Committee issued the following response to the government of Israel’s decision to deny entry to Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib:
As longtime supporters of Israel, and its General Federation of Labor, the Histadrut, we urge the government of Israel to reverse its decision to bar Reps. Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) from entering Israel. We say this as close friends of our brothers and sisters in the Histadrut and the Israeli people.
While we strongly disagree with Reps. Omar’s and Tlaib’s positions on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, and maintain our longstanding commitment to meaningful, direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians toward a viable two-state solution, we also feel that all members of the U.S. Congress should be able to visit Israel. Regardless of Omar’s and Tlaib’s political positions, they should not be forbidden from visiting Israel.
The AFL-CIO International Affairs Committee:
Christopher Shelton, CWA, Co-Chair
Stuart Appelbaum, RWDSU/UFCW, Co-Chair
Robert Martinez, IAM, Vice Chair
James Boland, BAC
Harold Daggett, ILA
Jennifer Dorning, DPE
Leo Gerard, USW
Lorretta Johnson, AFT
Gary Jones, UAW
Sara Nelson, AFA/CWA
Fred Redmond, USW
Paul Rinaldi, NATCA
Michael Sacco, SIU
Baldemar Velasquez, FLOC
The latest bargaining and mobilization news from General Electric, Envoy Air, AT&T Southeast, Denver Public Schools, and AT&T Mobility.
Today marks the 30th anniversary of the passing of Gerry Horgan.
The federal lawsuit was filed in April after GDIT workers reported to CWA that they believed the company had not properly tracked and compensated them for all hours worked.
Over the past two years, the Trump administration has been gradually rolling out changes to federal regulations to give even more power to corporate executives.
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.
NYC's $15 Minimum Wage Hasn't Brought the Restaurant Apocalypse—It's Helped Them Thrive: "New York City restaurant workers saw their pay increase by 20% after a $15 minimum-wage hike, and a new report says business is booming despite warnings that the boost would devastate the city's restaurant industry. As New York raised the minimum wage to $15 this year from $7.25 in 2013, its restaurant industry outperformed the rest of the U.S. in job growth and expansion, a new study found. The study, by researchers from the New School and the New York think tank National Employment Law Project, found no negative employment effects of the city increasing its minimum wage to $15."
ICE Raids Affect the Country's Economy, According to Experts: "Last April, an annual report published by the AFL-CIO indicated that in 2017, 5,147 workers died at their job sites due to 'traumatic injuries', and almost 3.5 million suffered workplace related injuries and diseases. Although there was a decline in accidental deaths in the agricultural sector, it is still one of the most dangerous in the US: for every 100,000 inhabitants, the sector had a rate of 23 deaths, compared to the construction sector, which had 9.5, or that of transport, with 14.3."
Trump Defends Immigration Raids in Mississippi to Deter Illegal Immigration: "Immigrant rights advocacy groups, including the AFL-CIO, the Hispanic Federation, and other civic groups, have also condemned the raids. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said that the raids are only intended to sow fear and ingratiate themselves with divisive elements of the country, and that the only 'crime' of those arrested 'is to work hard for a better life.'"
The U.S. Labor Shortage, Explained: "The U.S. economy doesn’t have enough workers. For a record 16 straight months, the number of open jobs has been higher than the number of people looking for work. The US economy had 7.4 million job openings in June, but only 6 million people were looking for work, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Labor. This is not normal. Ever since Labor began tracking job turnover two decades ago, there have always been more people looking for work than jobs available. That changed for the first time in January 2018."
Perkins Center to Honor AFL-CIO Senior Executive and Child Advocate: "The Frances Perkins Center will honor two women who exemplify Perkins’ inspiring leadership and commitment to social justice and economic security at its annual Garden Party: Liz Shuler, current secretary-treasurer and chief financial officer of the AFL-CIO, advocate for the welfare of working Americans, and Maria Mossaides, the director of Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate, defender of America’s most vulnerable citizens. 'We’re delighted to recognize Liz Shuler and Maria Mossaides for their decades of work in advancing the causes championed by Frances Perkins,' said Perkins Center Executive Director Michael Chaney. Liz Shuler, the second top-level officer for the AFL-CIO, the first woman elected to the position, and the youngest woman to sit on the federation’s Executive Council, will receive the Intelligence and Courage Award."
Save Veteran Construction Training Programs: "After coming home from the Army, Union Veteran Council Executive Director Will Attig struggled to find his place. 'I came home without a job, a degree or a future,' Attig said. That changed when he found a Registered Apprenticeship Program with the North America's Building Trades Unions (NABTU) and became a journeyman pipe fitter with the Plumbers and Pipe Fitters (UA)."
Shatter the Silence: In the States Roundup: "It's time once again to take a look at the ways working people are making progress in the states."
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Bricklayers: "Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Bricklayers."
‘State of the Unions’ Podcast—Special Episode: The Labor Movement Responds to the El Paso Massacre: "On the latest episode of 'State of the Unions,' podcast co-hosts Julie Greene and Tim Schlittner talk with Texas AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Montserrat Garibay (Education Austin/AFT-NEA) in the wake of the deadly mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. They discuss immigration, organizing and the need for solidarity in times of darkness."
Every major union in the United States has immigrant members, documented and undocumented.
Union activists and staff who represent these members need to be familiar with the ways these workers may be terminated—or worse still, detained—as a result of challenges to their authorization to work in the U.S.
In 2017 the AFL-CIO came out with an invaluable toolkit of materials to assist unions in responding to these challenges. More on the toolkit later, but first a quick review of how challenges to work authorization typically happen.
In the two months leading up to the uprising which ousted Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Roselló, educators celebrated hard-fought victories against the privatization of their education system. Struggles by teachers and families against school closures and charter schools helped pave the way for July’s unprecedented outpouring of protest (see box).
By the end of the school year in June, it became clear that the struggle to stop charterization had largely won. There is only one actively functional charter school on the island.
This fall the NewsGuild will rerun its hotly contested presidential election.
In May incumbent Bernie Lunzer narrowly beat challenger Jon Schleuss of the L.A. Times local, 1,282 to 1,081. The NewsGuild, an affiliate of the Communications Workers (CWA), has about 20,000 members in the U.S. and Canada.
The new agreement was reached with the involvement of the National Mediation Board after agents voted against ratification of an earlier tentative contract.
After coming home from the Army, Union Veteran Council Executive Director Will Attig struggled to find his place. “I came home without a job, a degree or a future,” Attig said. That changed when he found a Registered Apprenticeship Program with the North America's Building Trades Unions (NABTU) and became a journeyman pipe fitter with the Plumbers and Pipe Fitters (UA).
This is not only Attig’s story but countless other veterans who have found the registered apprenticeship programs as a way to achieve the American dream after returning home from service. At the same time, we have seen private organizations and for-profit schools create phony programs that prey on veterans leaving them with sub-par training and no true education. Right now, the future of America's veteran construction workers, the integrity of their industry and programs that support tens of thousands of veterans' transitions are at risk.
“The Registered Apprenticeship model gives us the same level and quality of training we received in the military,” Attig added. “This is one of the reasons why veterans choose to attend NABTU Registered Apprenticeship Programs and are joining construction unions at a rate almost double then non-veterans.”
A new proposal by the U.S. Department of Labor could drive down training and labor standards in construction registered apprenticeship programs and set off a race to the bottom throughout this industry. We have less than a month to stop it from becoming a reality. Here is how you can add your voice to the fight. While we applaud the government’s interest in expanding apprenticeship opportunities in new industries, [Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs] have no place in construction.
How Can You Help?
First, if you are a union veteran and a member of a building trades union, we need you to click the link below to submit a comment. It takes less than five minutes and could mean the difference in defending the way of life for your fellow construction workers, your family and yourself.
Second, if you are not a member of the building trades but support your fellow union veteran brothers and sisters, please follow the link below to send in a comment voicing your support and solidarity for your fellow union veterans in the trades and the programs that are helping thousands of veterans find a way to truly return home.
The proposed IRAPs differ significantly from registered apprenticeship programs. Construction registered programs help recruit, train and retain workers through progressive wage increases; apprentice-to-journey worker ratios that promote safety; quality assurance assessments by the government; uniform standards; mandatory safety training; instructor eligibility requirements; and transparency requirements. The proposed IRAP regulations abandon the important protections of the registered model and give employers the license to implement whatever low-road standards they see fit.
IRAPs in construction would jeopardize both the quality of construction and the safety and security of veterans in the construction workforce, thereby weakening every community across the country where our fellow veterans and workers reside and are needed.
As veterans and supporters of veterans, the time is now to stand together and oppose second-rate IRAP certifications that would undermine the gold-standard that the registered apprenticeship programs have attained.
Miners in Harlan County, Kentucky, have drawn national attention with their direct action—occupying a railroad track to halt a coal train until the miners get paid the wages they are owed for digging it up. Although these miners today have no union, the mines of Harlan County have a storied history of grassroots labor militancy. Cal Winslow takes a look back. –Editor
It's time once again to take a look at the ways working people are making progress in the states. Click on any of the links to follow the state federations on Twitter.
California Labor Federation:
In CA, we can #ShattertheSilence & protect workers from sexual harassment & discrimination w/ #AB51. Nothing in this bill runs afoul of federal law but it does give workers in CA an important tool to fight #ForcedArbitration @LorenaSGonzalez #YesonAB51 https://t.co/gE45XMCDFi— California Labor Federation (@CaliforniaLabor) August 8, 2019
Idaho State AFL-CIO:
Indiana State AFL-CIO:
Trump campaigned in 2016 as a voice for forgotten workers, but he consistently sides with large corporations against workers, and his nomination of Scalia would amplify the sad and damaging war on unions. #1u https://t.co/Q8oVUP2yDb— Indiana AFL-CIO (@INAFLCIO) August 12, 2019
Iowa Federation of Labor:
Metro Washington (D.C.) Council AFL-CIO:
Striking VA OmniRide drivers reach agreement - Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO with photos! https://t.co/JaQjNFifEg— MetroDCLaborCouncil (@DCLabor) August 6, 2019
Nebraska State AFL-CIO:
The Nebraska State AFL-CIO stands in unity with the people of El Paso and Dayton - Hate has no place in America - hateful rhetoric has no place in America. https://t.co/GIjr103pPc— NE State AFL-CIO (@NEAFLCIO) August 5, 2019
New Mexico Federation of Labor:
New York State AFL-CIO:
North Carolina State AFL-CIO:
Say it loud and proud!— Ohio AFL-CIO (@ohioaflcio) August 12, 2019
Raising wages actually helps the economy for all working people, passing a @GOP #TaxScam helps the economy only for billionaires and investor class. It’s time to #UnrigTheSystem and have it work for worker! https://t.co/ZAFvXKf6db
Oklahoma State AFL-CIO:
Check out our August Newsletter with information on Young Workers in the Labor Movement, Union Made Labor Day, our Convention, Saving Construction Apprenticeships, and more!— Oklahoma AFL-CIO (@OK_AFL_CIO) August 5, 2019
Check it out at https://t.co/N1dYjUN2cS h
Cara, a recent graduate of Portland State University, explains why she's not shopping at @FredMeyerStores until they #FixTheGap between pay for male and female employees.— Oregon AFL-CIO (@OregonAFLCIO) August 7, 2019
Learn more and take action by visiting https://t.co/2ZeqyNv5Lf! pic.twitter.com/hCFROftCHM
Rhode Island AFL-CIO:
An updated Union Directory listing union goods and services in RI can be found on our website. Here is the direct link -->https://t.co/bmFICV4I4W Please use and share. #1U #AFLCIO #Union #UnionMade #UnionServices #Unions #UnionStrong— Rhode Island AFL-CIO (@riaflcio) August 7, 2019
We are ready for Tuesday, Aug. 13th! Are you? The largest labor action in North Texas is prepared to show @americanair that workers deserve respect. #1u #1Job @unitehere @unitehere23 pic.twitter.com/LjQtAOOWcW— Texas AFL-CIO (@TexasAFLCIO) August 10, 2019
Thanks so much to @AFLCIO ‘s Secretary Treasurer @lizshuler for joining us this morning! Thanks for your hard work representing workers everywhere. Check out some of her speech highlights below: pic.twitter.com/MNaoWhkz8n— Virginia AFL-CIO (@Virginia_AFLCIO) August 10, 2019
Washington State Labor Council:
Wisconsin State AFL-CIO:
AT&T’s contract covering 22,000 workers in the Southeast region represented by CWA expired at midnight on Saturday, increasing the possibility of a strike, which union members have authorized by a 95% vote.
The latest information for AT&T Midwest and AT&T Legacy T, AT&T Southeast, and the Boston Globe Media Partners.
CWA District 6 Vice President and head of CWA's human rights program Claude Cummings called for meaningful action to end mass shootings and gun violence.
They also made calls to their members of Congress and collected postcards in support of legislation to end offshoring of call center jobs.
On April 23, 2013, a local television crew shot footage of cracks in the Rana Plaza factory complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The building was evacuated, but the owner of the building declared it safe and told workers to come back the next day. One Walmart supplier housed in the building, Ether Tex, threatened to withhold a month’s wages from any workers who didn’t return.
The building collapsed on April 24, and when the rubble was finally cleared, 1,134 people were found dead, with another 2,500 injured. It was the worst industrial disaster in the history of the garment industry.
Everyone loves a good story about an Amazon walkout. But when Labor Notes wades into more controversial waters—the pros and cons of a contract, for instance, or a race for union office—we can expect some angry letters.
“Let’s not criticize each other,” is a common refrain. “We get enough attacks from the boss! Airing disagreements gives ammo to union-busters.”
This is the latest installment in an occasional series where we evaluate the “union episode” of a television show.
The Simpsons debuted in 1989 and is the longest-running scripted primetime television series in the U.S. This animated show features the daily life of a working-class family—parents Homer and Marge, and their children Bart, Lisa, and Maggie—along with dozens of oddball residents of the town of Springfield.