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National Hispanic Heritage Month Profiles: Linda Chavez-Thompson

Fri, 12 Oct 2018 13:14:05 +0000

National Hispanic Heritage Month Profiles: Linda Chavez-Thompson

Linda Chavez-Thompson
Wikimedia Commons

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.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 10/12/2018 - 09:14

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Tammy Baldwin

Wed, 10 Oct 2018 14:29:48 +0000

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Tammy Baldwin

Tammy Baldwin
AFL-CIO

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.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 10/10/2018 - 10:29

National Hispanic Heritage Month Profiles: Henry L. 'Hank' Lacayo

Wed, 10 Oct 2018 12:24:01 +0000

National Hispanic Heritage Month Profiles: Henry L. 'Hank' Lacayo

Hank Lacayo
CSUCI

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:

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 10/10/2018 - 08:24

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Julie Blaha

Tue, 09 Oct 2018 14:17:43 +0000

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: Julie Blaha

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.

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.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 10/09/2018 - 10:17

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: The Working People Weekly List

Fri, 05 Oct 2018 16:52:57 +0000

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: The Working People Weekly List

Working People Weekly List
AFL-CIO

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."

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 10/05/2018 - 12:52

Economy Gains 134,000 Jobs in September; Unemployment Down Slightly to 3.7%

Fri, 05 Oct 2018 14:51:43 +0000

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.

In response to the September job numbers, AFL-CIO Chief Economist William Spriggs tweeted:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last month's biggest job gains were in professional and business services (54,000), health care (26,000), transportation and warehousing (24,000), construction (23,000), manufacturing (18,000) and mining (6,000). Employment in leisure and hospitality declined over the month (-17,000). Employment showed little or no change over the month in other major industries, including wholesale trade, retail trade, information, financial activities and government. 

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult women (3.3%) and blacks (6.0%) declined, while the rate for Asians (3.5%) increased. The jobless rates for teenagers (12.8%), Hispanics (4.5%), adult men (3.4%) and whites (3.3%) showed little or no change in September.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged in September and accounted for 22.9% of the unemployed.

 

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 10/05/2018 - 10:51

National Hispanic Heritage Month Profiles: Esther López

Fri, 05 Oct 2018 12:51:01 +0000

National Hispanic Heritage Month Profiles: Esther López

Esther López
UFCW

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.

López first connected with the labor movement in high school. Because she was bilingual, she volunteered to register Latino voters and get them to the polls. From there, she never turned back.

As her post-school career progressed, she began to play an active role in improving labor conditions in Illinois. She served as deputy chief of staff for the state's Department of Labor before going on to lead the department.

In November 2006, López joined the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) as director of the Civil Rights and Community Action Department. She served on the front lines of battles against voter suppression, ending exploitation of refugees, expanding opportunities for women and pursuing LGBTQ equality, including overseeing the launch of UFCW's LGBTQ constituency group, OUTreach. She created the UFCW's Union Citizenship Action Network (UCAN), which focused on helping union members get on the path to ctizenship. She is recognized as a national leader on immigration reform and civil, human and labor rights.

López has helped transform the UFCW into a more diverse union. She developed and administered two diversity surveys that helped UFCW leadership become more reflective of the union's membership.

In 2016, López was elected to the position of international secretary-treasurer for UFCW, and she was re-elected at the union's 2018 convention in Las Vegas. She also currently serves on the national boards of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Jobs With Justice, the Center for Community Change, the National Consumers League and Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 10/05/2018 - 08:51

In Minnesota and Across the Country, Organizing Power Begets Political Power

Fri, 05 Oct 2018 11:58:47 +0000

In Minnesota and Across the Country, Organizing Power Begets Political Power

Minnesota AFL-CIO
Minnesota AFL-CIO

As the midterms rapidly approach, politics is at the top of minds across the labor movement. And as a seemingly endless stream of news flows from the White House, Capitol Hill and the campaign trail, it can be easy to lose sight of anything else. But organizers have been quick to point out that our electoral strength in November depends on our organizing strength year-round.

Minnesota AFL-CIO Organizing/Growth Director Todd Dahlstrom says it’s never been more important to focus on bolstering membership.

"If we do the internal organizing first, the politics will follow. And for a long time, I think that we've been trying to do the politics and then the organizing," Dahlstrom said. "We need to build a strong union affinity on the front end before we really can start talking about politics."

He says the key lies in having conversations on the shop floor about kitchen table economics—the critical issues facing workers every day, like wages, health care and retirement security. To that end, the Minnesota AFL-CIO has worked with locals across the state to revamp their worksite organizing programs and try experimental new strategies.

"One thing that's unique to unions that most other organizations don't have—we have worksites," Dahlstrom said. "We have access to worksites. We have access to workers. We just need to go talk to those workers."

When Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) Local 22 faced a contract fight with a bakery in St. Cloud, local organizers tapped into a prime opportunity to build solidarity. Bonded by a common struggle, members started showing up to unit meetings in droves and began feeling invested in their union. They ultimately won the fight, coming out of that victory stronger than ever.

Meanwhile, the Twin Cities public workers of Laborers (LIUNA) Local 363 were grappling with the new challenges posed by the Supreme Court’s union-busting decision in Janus v. AFSCME. Tasked with collecting hundreds of recommitment cards, the local's leadership turned to its members to mobilize.

Forming a 10-person organizing committee, shop stewards from across the local took the lead. They set goals, engaged their union brothers and sisters and learned from each other as they debriefed each week.

"I was really intimidated at first," said Caitlin Brunette, a Local 363 member and steward in the Saint Paul Parks & Recreation Department. "But going to these meetings every week really helped me, because I got to ask other people what they were saying—what was effective, what was working."

Over the course of 10 weeks, they steadily built a mountain of signed cards, including 85 from former fee-payers.

Asked how other locals might find similar success, Brunette encouraged stewards to form a member-led organizing committee—and to stay committed.

"That was essential," said Brunette, herself a single mom who has never missed a meeting. "Meet every week. Stay consistent. Make it a top priority of yours."

For his part, Dahlstrom urged union leaders to focus on the fundamentals.

"We just gotta get back to what we're good at," he said. "We are good at talking to workers at the worksites and finding issues that workers will rally around. And we just need to get back to doing that—having those shop floor discussions and finding out what workers really want to fight for and then picking those fights."

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 10/05/2018 - 07:58

Oklahoma Union Organizers and Activists 'Training Up' to Win

Thu, 04 Oct 2018 15:26:04 +0000

Oklahoma Union Organizers and Activists 'Training Up' to Win

Oklahoma Organizing
AFL-CIO

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!

This three-day training focused primarily on having the right organizing conversation with members and potential members, identifying and developing workplace leaders who can win, and why we map out our workplaces. Organizers who attended the training came from the Ironworkers, Communications Workers of America (CWA), United Steelworkers (USW), AFT, Office and Professional Employees (OPEIU), Transport Workers (TWU), Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Machinists (IAM); and although most were from Oklahoma, organizers also traveled from Arkansas, Texas and Maryland to attend the training.  

I would like to thank Oklahoma AFL-CIO President Jimmy Curry for partnering with the Organizing Institute to host this training. I also want to send a very special shout out to Oklahoma AFL-CIO Communications Director Debra Wojtek for putting in the work and getting the word out to affiliates in the state about this training. This was the second training the Oklahoma AFL-CIO and the Organizing Institute put on (the first was in August 2012), and we look forward to working with the Oklahoma AFL-CIO on scheduling more trainings in the not-too-distant future.  

We also would like to thank organizers Trentice Hamm (IBEW), Jesse Hensley (SMART), Troy Johnson (IBEW), Chubbs McCrory (IAM), Jerry Sims (IBT) and Joe Smith (IBEW) for taking time away from their campaigns and their families to serve as teaching fellows with us.  

Lastly, big shoutouts to Organizing Institute Senior Trainer Patricia Recinos, who led this training, and OI Administrator Camille West-Eversley for making it a success!

Be sure to check our website at aflcio.org/oi for information about upcoming three-day trainings, advanced organizer workshops and clinics.

Stay strong, and we hope to see you at an upcoming Organizing Institute training!

This guest post is from Patrick Scott, who works for AFL-CIO's Organizing Institute.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 10/04/2018 - 11:26

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: David Garcia

Thu, 04 Oct 2018 13:06:42 +0000

Best Candidates for Working People, 2018: David Garcia

David Garcia
AFL-CIO

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.

Here are some of the key reasons why Garcia is one of the best candidates for working people in 2018:

  • He favors an economic strategy that encourages the use of local businesses for public contracts and focuses on the entire state, not just urban areas.

  • Garcia wants to focus on creating jobs in growth industries, including aerospace, biosciences, cybersecurity, energy, defense, optics and photonics.

  • He supports universal community college to develop the state's high-skilled workforce and to attract new companies to the state.

  • Garcia wants to invest in sustainable agriculture and value-added practices, such as craft breweries, vineyards and farmers' markets.

  • He will remove barriers to expansion of high-speed digital infrastructure, the lack of which disproportionately harms rural and tribal communities.

  • Garcia wants to invest in a clean energy economy, particularly solar, that will create thousands of jobs.

  • As an educator, administrator and education policy analyst, he supports expanding access to early education, affordable child care and after-school programs.

  • Garcia supports the right of Dreamers to live, work and study here without fear and opposes family separation policies.
  • He will push for equal pay legislation to level the playing field for working women.

  • Garcia will issue an executive order prohibiting state employers and contractors from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender expression.

  • He supports legislation that protects LGBTQ Arizonans from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.

  • Garcia supports Medicare for all.

  • He supports automatic voter registration, which would modernize the state's electoral system, save taxpayers' money, increase electoral accuracy and improve voter participation.

  • While serving in the Army, he received the Army Achievement Medal and the Humanitarian Award for fighting wildfires in Yellowstone National Park.

To learn more about Garcia, visit his website.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 10/04/2018 - 09:06

   
  

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