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The AFL-CIO has launched another tool to bring you the issues and stories that matter to working people. Our new podcast, “State of the Unions,” officially debuted today with an interview with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician who helped expose the Flint, Michigan, water crisis.
One in four Americans listen to podcasts on a monthly basis. “State of the Unions” will capture the stories of workers across the country. It’s hosted by two young and diverse members of the AFL-CIO team: Political Mobilization Director Julie Greene and Executive Speechwriter Tim Schlittner. A new episode will drop every other Wednesday featuring interesting interviews with workers and our allies across the country, as well as compelling insights from the podcast’s hosts.
The upcoming schedule is as follows:
Wednesday, Oct. 31: Mayor Dahlia Vertreese (IUOE) of Hillside, New Jersey.
Wednesday, Nov. 14: Post-election recap and analysis.
“State of the Unions” is available on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and anywhere else you can find podcasts.
This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Here are the candidates we've covered so far!
- Stacey Abrams (Ga.), governor
- Tammy Baldwin (Wisc.), U.S. Senate
- Julie Blaha (Minn.), state auditor
- Randy Bryce (Wis.), U.S. House
- Rich Cordray (Ohio), governor
- David Garcia (Ariz.), governor
- Andrew Gillum (Fla.), governor
- Jared Golden (Maine), U.S. House
- Michelle Lujan Grisham (Nev.), governor
- Jahana Hayes (Conn.), U.S. House
- Fred Hubbell (Iowa), governor
- Ben Jealous (Md.), governor
- Paulette Jordan (Idaho), governor
- Andy Levin (Mich.), U.S. House
- Mahlon Mitchell (Wis.), governor
- Bill Nelson (Fla.), U.S. Senate
- Justin Nelson (Tex.), attorney general
- Jacky Rosen (Nev.), U.S. Senate
- Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), U.S. Senate
- Steve Sisolak (Nev.), governor
- Tina Smith (Minn.), U.S. Senate
- Jon Tester (Mont.), U.S. Senate
- Tim Walz (Minn.), governor
- Gretchen Whitmer (Mich.), governor
Check back regularly for more between today and Election Day!
This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we've been taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Idaho gubernatorial candidate Paulette Jordan.
Here are some of the key reasons why Jordan is one of the best candidates for working people in 2018:
She will look at every opportunity to raise the minimum wage gradually.
Jordan wants to expand and further develop the state's renewable energy resources, including wind, solar, water, geothermal and biomass.
She will invest in STEM education at the high school level.
Jordan plans to create public-private partnerships among universities, technology companies and the Idaho National Laboratory that will expand job opportunities in the information technology sector.
She will pursue a strategic national marketing campaign to boost the state's tourism industry and create jobs.
Jordan is proposing a plan for a statewide transportation system that will link rural areas to urban areas and increase tourism opportunities.
She will expand broadband access, particularly in rural areas and on tribal lands.
Jordan wants to implement an opt-in statewide universal preschool program to help prepare more students for participation in higher education and the workforce and create more education jobs.
She wants to improve teacher pay to make Idaho competitive with neighboring states.
As a legislator, she introduced a bill to forgive teachers' student loan debts if they worked in rural schools and she wants more programs like this to be instituted.
Jordan wants to expand advanced placement and dual-credit classes in high schools to help students be more prepared for higher education.
She favors expanding Medicaid.
She will pursue a public medical school to increase the number of doctors, nurses, physician assistants and pharmacists working in the state.
Jordan wants to expand Idaho's participation in the clean energy and sustainability sector.
To learn more about Jordan, visit her website.
Throughout National Hispanic Heritage Month, the AFL-CIO will be profiling labor leaders and activists to spotlight the diverse contributions Hispanics and Latinos have made to our movement. Today's profile features Baldemar Velásquez.
Baldemar Velásquez was born in 1947 in Pharr, Texas, the son of migrant farm workers who were the second generation to work in that field in the United States. By the time he was five years old, Velásquez joined his family picking sugar beets and tomatoes. He used that experience, along with the inspiration of Mahatma Gandhi, César Chávez and Martin Luther King Jr., to pursue a career improving the lives of migrant farm workers.
At the age of 12, he led his first strike, helping migrant workers at his summer job win better wages. After high school, he attended several colleges, graduating from Bluffton College in 1969 with a degree in sociology. He continued working while in college, and in 1967, Velásquez founded the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) with his father. The initial idea behind the committee was to organize farm workers to seek improvements in pay, housing and education for pickers. Soon, Velásquez and FLOC were organizing strikes and other actions to convince growers to raise wages and improve working conditions. FLOC had significant success until the American Farm Bureau Federation convinced some growers to withdraw from the market and others to refuse to honor contracts.
In the 1970s, FLOC shifted its attention toward national and international companies, with Velásquez saying that the previous focus on local growers was a mistake and that real change would come from confronting farm-related corporations instead. The new strategy led to victories, including the 1978 strike against the Campbell Soup Co., which was the largest agricultural labor action in the history of the Midwest and which led to the first three-way contract with industry, grower associations and workers. That success led to expanded actions in the South, most notably with successful campaigns for workers at the Mt. Olive Pickle Co. in the 1990s and at R.J. Reynolds tobacco in the 2000s. FLOC became a fully chartered international union and full affiliate of the AFL-CIO in 2006.
His many years of activism on behalf of farm workers led to widespread recognition for Velásquez. In 1989, he was awarded a MacArthur "Genius Grant" Fellowship. In 1994, he received the Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award from the National Council of La Raza and the Aguila Azteca Award, the highest honor Mexico gives to non-citizens. He also has been awarded honorary doctoral degrees from several universities, including Bowling Green State University, Bluffton University and the University of Toledo. Velásquez continues as president of FLOC today and advocated on behalf of all workers as a member of the AFL-CIO Executive Council.
Every week, we bring you a roundup of the top news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here’s this week’s Working People Weekly List.
AFL-CIO's Trumka Is Optimistic About the Midterms: "Big labor is optimistic about the 2018 midterm elections because, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said, progressives have been working together to oust anti-labor Republicans. 'There’s been this real upsurge in collective action where people say the political system isn’t working for me, the economic system isn’t working for me, so how am I going to make change?' Mr. Trumka said in an interview last week. 'They’ve worked with each other.'"
A Record Number of Women Are Running for Office. This Election Cycle, They Didn't Wait for an Invite: "A record number of women are running for the U.S. House, Senate and state legislatures this year—more than any other election in U.S. history. Traditionally, the major political parties scout out their potential candidates. And typically, says Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, men are sought after more than women."
AFL-CIO Says Ad Investment Marks 'Historic' Initiative in Communities of Color: "GOTV Radio Ad Airing on African American and Spanish-Language Radio. The AFL-CIO this week launched a massive get-out-the-vote campaign, airing ads on African American and Spanish-language radio in 26 targeted media markets across the country. The high six-figure buy marks the largest such investment in communities of color in the AFL-CIO’s history. The ad buy includes multiple media markets throughout Georgia, including Atlanta, Albany, Columbus and Augusta."
Why Nearly 8,000 Marriott Workers Are Striking in 8 Cities: "Thousands of hotel employees are refusing to go to work at Marriott-owned hotels in eight major U.S. cities, citing mounting frustration over stalled negotiations for higher wages and safety measures. As of Wednesday, nearly 8,000 housekeepers, bartenders, and other service workers had walked off the job at 23 hotels in Detroit, Boston, San Diego, San Jose, Oakland, San Francisco, Maui and Oahu, according to their labor union, Unite Here, which represents more than 20,000 Marriott workers in the United States and Canada."
Trade Talks Episode 57: It's Fun to Discuss the USMCA—the New NAFTA: "Soumaya Keynes and Chad Bown describe key elements of the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement, or USMCA, announced on October 1, 2018. Beneath the spin, they analyze what the deal really does, including where new market access has been granted, and where new rules have been written. Will the new deal generate American jobs in car manufacturing? Will it strengthen Mexico's labor standards? Will it stop Canada from signing a future trade deal with China?"
Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Tammy Baldwin: "This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Sen. Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin."
National Hispanic Heritage Month Profiles: Henry L. 'Hank' Lacayo: "Throughout National Hispanic Heritage Month, the AFL-CIO will be profiling labor leaders and activists to spotlight the diverse contributions Hispanics and Latinos have made to our movement. Today's profile features Henry L. 'Hank' Lacayo."
Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Julie Blaha: "This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Minnesota state auditor candidate Julie Blaha."
Economy Gains 134,000 Jobs in September; Unemployment Down Slightly to 3.7%: "The U.S. economy gained 134,000 jobs in September, and unemployment was down slightly to 3.7%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Continued slow wage growth means the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee is premature in raising interest rates."
Teachers across the country this year are breathing new life into the strike—galvanizing members and winning gains.
These strikes are fueled by rank-and-file anger. Many were coordinated not from above by the official union leadership but by networks of activists. The size of the mobilizations and level of organization have caught many by surprise.
If UPS keeps stonewalling in upcoming bargaining, members of Chicago-area Teamsters Local 705 will take a strike vote in early November, for a possible walkout the week after Thanksgiving. That’s peak season at UPS.
Stewards greeted this morning’s announcement from Secretary-Treasurer Juan Campos, the union’s principal officer, with “lots of rounds of applause,” said bargaining team member and UPS feeder driver Dave Bernt.
There’s one bargaining session left, October 25-26, and Bernt said the union is approaching it in good faith.
Throughout National Hispanic Heritage Month, the AFL-CIO will be profiling labor leaders and activists to spotlight the diverse contributions Hispanics and Latinos have made to our movement. Today's profile features Linda Chavez-Thompson.
A second-generation American of Mexican descent, Chavez-Thompson grew up in Lubbock, Texas. An oft-told anecdote from her childhood told the story of a young Chavez-Thompson convincing her father that her mother should stay home and care for the household rather than working in the fields. She and her siblings threatened to walk off the job in support of her mother. Her father agreed and Chavez-Thompson got her first organizing victory.
In 1967, she started working as a secretary at the Laborers (LIUNA) local in Lubbock. As the only bilingual staff member, she soon became the union representative for Spanish-speaking LIUNA members. Before long, she was drafting grievances for workers and representing them in administrative proceedings.
Later, she moved to San Antonio and began working with AFSCME. In 1986, she began serving as a national vice president for the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement. Her accomplishments and hard work helped her become an international vice president of AFSCME in 1988, and in 1993, she was elected to serve as a vice president on the AFL-CIO Executive Council. In 1995, she won her election to become the federation's first elected executive vice president. She was the first person of color to hold one of the AFL-CIO's top three positions.
During her time as an AFL-CIO officer, Chavez-Thompson focused heavily on recruitment, particularly trying to convince more women and people of color to join unions. She also focused on teaching the importance of unions to young people. Even more successful were her efforts to partner with community groups in recruiting members and fighting back against anti-union efforts. She represented the federation and working people in a variety of organizations, including the National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the United Way of America and the Democratic National Committee. She also was elected president of the Inter-American Regional Organization of Workers, a part of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.
Chavez-Thompson retired from the AFL-CIO in 2007.
Local workers and community members held a "save our jobs" rally outside of Sprint's headquarters in Kansas.
The latest bargaining information for AT&T Midwest and AT&T Legacy T.
Workers at the Omaha World-Herald voted overwhelmingly to form a union with NewsGuild-CWA.
The most recent election updates from Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Texas.
Members of IUE-CWA from across the country gathered in Washington D.C. to meet with Members of Congress and their staff and to ask for support in their efforts to pass two bills.
The Canadian Media Guild-CWA Canada is welcoming a $35-million class action lawsuit filed on behalf of hundreds of reality and factual TV workers who have worked at Cineflix Canada.
On Monday, CWAers joined thousands of postal workers and supporters across the country on a National Day of Action to tell President Trump: the U.S. Mail is Not for Sale!
“Power concedes nothing without a demand,” abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass declared 161 years ago.
Last week saw that truth on broad display as Amazon, facing growing political and organizing pressure, announced it was setting a minimum wage of $15 an hour for its U.S. workforce and also raising wages in England.
There’s a reason his employer wants to eliminate pensions for new hires, said corrosion technician Andy Colleran: “National Grid is trying to break the union from within.”
Colleran is one of 1,200 members of Steelworkers Locals 12003 and 12012 in Massachusetts who have been locked out since June, after the unions refused a two-tier contract.
National Grid is a British-based utility company that provides gas and electric service in Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island. The locked-out union members work on gas lines.
This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Sen. Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin.
Here are some of the key reasons why Baldwin is one of the best candidates for working people in 2018:
After graduating from Smith College, she worked on pay equity issues in the Wisconsin governor's office.
She led efforts against unfair trade deals that ship American jobs overseas.
Baldwin voted against repealing the Glass-Steagall Act, a law that could have prevented the 2008 financial crisis.
She introduced "buy American" legislation to help rebuild drinking-water infrastructure with American-made iron and steel.
Baldwin wants to make the tax system simpler and fairer, and provide working families with a tax cut.
She proposed legislation that would strengthen the research and development tax credit, spurring job creation.
Baldwin has been an active participant in the NAFTA renegotiation process and favors a renewed deal that ends outsourcing, raises wages and creates jobs.
She wants to penalize foreign countries that unfairly dump cheap products into the U.S. economy.
Baldwin helped introduce the Medicare for All Act to expand coverage and make health care more affordable for working families.
She introduced legislation to lower prescription drug prices by allowing Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies.
Baldwin has worked across party lines to make sure that veterans can find good-paying jobs and the community support they need.
She wants to overturn the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United and will fight against dark money and unlimited corporate donations to political campaigns.
Baldwin proposed investments in infrastructure that not only repair roads and bridges, but modernize drinking water systems, rural broadband, schools, ports and waterways. The proposal would create as many as 15 million jobs.
She has fought to guarantee "buy American" provisions and worker protections in any infrastructure plan.
Baldwin has worked to secure increased training and necessary equipment for first responders.
She co-chairs a bipartisan caucus to promote workforce readiness, job training and apprenticeships.
Baldwin has been a leader in the fight to keep student loan costs low and proposed to make two years of community and technical college debt-free.
To learn more about Baldwin, visit her website.
Throughout National Hispanic Heritage Month, the AFL-CIO will be profiling labor leaders and activists to spotlight the diverse contributions Hispanics and Latinos have made to our movement. Today's profile features Henry L. "Hank" Lacayo.
A longtime staple of labor, political and academic circles in California, Henry L. "Hank" Lacayo was a force from his beginnings in the labor movement in the 1950s all the way up to his passing in 2017. He was born in Los Angeles in 1931 but moved to Mexico when he was young. He returned to California for high school. Upon graduating, he joined the Air Force. After his military service ended, Lacayo went to work at North American Aviation (later Rockwell International) in 1953. Within a few years, he not only became involved in UAW Local 887, he quickly rose to a full-time employee of the local and served as editor of its newspaper.
UAW President Walter P. Reuther encouraged Lacayo to continue his labor activism, and in 1962, he was elected president of Local 887, a position he held for 10 years. He represented more than 30,000 working people at Rockwell, both as union president and chief national negotiator for UAW-Rockwell contracts. His hard work led to an assistant director position for the UAW Western Region, covering nine states, along with serving as the region's political director.
In 1974, he moved to Detroit to work at UAW's national headquarters. He served as an administrative assistant to three UAW presidents and was appointed national director of the political and legislative department and later national director of the public relations and publications departments. He retired from the UAW in 1986 but continued in public life.
He created H.L. & Associates, a consulting firm representing clients in labor and management, government, community relations, senior citizen advocacy and international affairs. He actively participated in the California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI) institute that bears his name, the Henry L. "Hank" Lacayo Institute for Workforce & Community Studies. He also advised presidential administrations, from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama. He devoted time to civic duties, including strengthening the Ventura County Community Foundation and establishing the Destino Hispanic Legacy Fund that provides scholarships and other funding to the Latino community. Lacayo received an honorary doctorate from CSUCI and was inducted into the Pacific Coast Business Times Hall of Fame in 2012.
Check out this video tribute to Lacayo:
Recent analysis by CWA found that 28,000 jobs nationwide and 4,122 jobs in the Kansas City metro area alone are at risk if the merger goes through as presently constructed.
This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Minnesota state auditor candidate Julie Blaha.
Here are some of the key reasons why Blaha is one of the best candidates for working people in 2018:
As secretary-treasurer of the Minnesota AFL-CIO and former president of Anoka-Hennepin Education Minnesota (an affiliate of AFT), she worked across the state to help improve working conditions, increase the minimum wage and expand paid sick and family leave.
She worked with her town's economic development authority to help people have a voice in their local government and attract businesses that create jobs.
Blaha has a long track record as a union treasurer of making sure that members had clear, accurate financial information.
As a former public school educator, Blaha knows that government functions best with accurate data. As the state's auditor, she will be dedicated to the highest-quality and most accurate data.
As a math teacher, she not only educated students, but worked with parents and the governor's school finance task force to help make sure students and teachers got the resources they need and deserve.
As auditor, she will continue the state's tradition of high-quality government and will maintain high standards of transparency and honesty.
She served as treasurer of a multi million dollar organization and union negotiator, giving her the experience to lead quality governmental operations that can help the state achieve higher credit ratings, more grant opportunities and greater efficiency.
Blaha will partner with newly-elected state and local officials to make sure those leaders have the education and information necessary to successfully serve the people of Minnesota.
She has built a reputation as an honest broker, a bridge builder and a policy innovator who will be a trusted source of concrete, unbiased context and information to allow Minnesota's government to function at its best.
To learn more about Blaha, visit her website.
This article, originally published October 5, was updated October 8 to reflect the results of the vote count and subsequent developments. –Editors.
Apparently trying to have their cake and eat it too, Teamsters brass have announced that they consider the UPS contract ratified, despite members voting it down by 54 percent—but don’t worry, they’re going to keep negotiating to improve it.
Every week, we bring you a roundup of the top news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here’s this week’s Working People Weekly List.
National Hispanic Heritage Month Profiles: Esther López: "Throughout National Hispanic Heritage Month, the AFL-CIO will be profiling labor leaders and activists to spotlight the diverse contributions Hispanics and Latinos have contributed to our movement. Today's profile features Esther López."
National Hispanic Heritage Month Profiles: Ernesto Galarza: "Throughout National Hispanic Heritage Month, the AFL-CIO will be profiling labor leaders and activists to spotlight the diverse contributions Hispanics and Latinos have contributed to our movement. Today's profile features Ernesto Galarza."
Oklahoma Union Organizers and Activists 'Training Up' to Win: "Twenty-five energetic and dedicated union member activists and staff, mostly from Oklahoma, came together this past week to 'train up' on fundamental organizing principles critical to winning internal and external union organizing campaigns. The three-day training was held at the Oklahoma AFL-CIO in Oklahoma City. It was great to have so many energetic and committed organizers share their experiences about the work they are doing to organize working people. And this was a fun training!"
Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: David Garcia: "This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Arizona gubernatorial candidate David Garcia."
Improving Patient Safety: Worker Wins: "Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with nurses across the country winning new contracts and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life."
Support Locked-Out Boilermakers in Montana: "The labor movement supports members of the Boilermakers (IBB) working at Imerys Talc in Three Forks, Montana, who have been unfairly locked out while fighting against an anti-worker contract proposal. These hardworking Americans and their families have been without a paycheck or employer-provided health insurance for 62 days."
NAFTA Renegotiation: We’re Not Done Yet: "So, you may have heard that the North American Free Trade Agreement has been renegotiated. It’s definitely good that the three NAFTA countries (the United States, Canada and Mexico) are finally looking to change the NAFTA rules that have cost good jobs, made it harder to negotiate better wages, polluted our environment and generally left working people behind all across North America."
One Job Should Be Enough: "Weeks after more than 8,300 UNITE HERE members at Marriott hotels across the country voted to authorize strikes, management has still failed to resolve key contract issues, including workplace safety, job protections and a living wage. Ready to fight for their fundamental economic rights, workers are prepared to walk out without notice in San Francisco, San Diego, Oakland and San Jose, California; Oahu and Maui, Hawaii; Boston; Seattle and Detroit."
Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Ben Jealous: "This November's elections are shaping up to be among the most consequential in recent U.S. history. Throughout the summer and fall, we are taking a look at the best candidates for working people. Today, we feature Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous."
After Prop A Win, UFCW Local 655 Looks to the Future: "When working Missourians overwhelmingly defeated 'right to work' in August, they landed a gut punch to corporate interests that reverberated across the country."
A NAFTA Deal Should Create Jobs, Protect Our Environment and Safeguard Democracy: "While there are too many details that still need to be worked out before working people make a final judgment on a deal, here is a brief analysis on the trade deal text released late last night (we'll call it 'NAFTA 2018' for clarity). Working families want the United States, Canada and Mexico to go back to the table and finish a deal that creates good, high-wage jobs, protects our environment and safeguards our democracy."
Five percent of all U.S. workers in K-12 public education walked out on strike this spring. It’s by far the biggest spike in teacher strikes in a quarter-century.
The FAA Reauthorization Bill passed the Senate overwhelmingly, with the inclusion of critical provisions that protect passenger service agents from assault and increase to 10 hours the minimum rest for Flight Attendants.
The latest bargaining information for AT&T Midwest and AT&T Legacy T, Windstream, S&P Global, and DIRECTV Sports Broadcast Center.
The landslide victory of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (“AMLO”) in the Mexican presidential election in July has raised workers’ hopes for a revitalized and democratized labor movement.
Independent unions have formed a new federation. They hope to win progressive labor law reform and finally end the reign of corrupt, pro-employer unions.
It was a decisive moment in the West Virginia teachers strike. State union leaders, presenting a deal that would leave out some public sector workers, were greeted with a chorus of “back to the table!”
Those educators refused to be talked into a compromise. And, after days out on strike, they knew they had the power to back up that demand.
Union women are leading labor forward. You can see it in the flurry of teacher strikes—Los Angeles teachers were the latest to authorize one—and in the September walkout by McDonald’s workers in many major cities, an anti-sexual harassment action linked to the Fight for $15.
What does a renegotiated NAFTA mean for workers in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico? At best, it might stem some of the bleeding.
The presidents of the U.S. and Mexico announced on August 27 that they had reached a deal. A month later, Canada is still out of the agreement, though negotiations are likely to continue over the next few months. Text of the draft deal between the U.S. and Mexico may be published as soon as today.