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‘A Handle on Our Future’

Tue, 11 Dec 2018 19:58:32 +0000

‘A Handle on Our Future’

UNITE HERE
UNITE HERE

As details of the agreements between UNITE HERE workers and Marriott become public, one thing is clear: These victories provide a blueprint for collective bargaining going forward. As Brian Lang, president of UNITE HERE Local 26 in Boston said, “It changes people’s expectations about what’s possible.”

For more than two months, 7,700 hotel workers from Boston to Hawaii went on strike, demanding better wages and respect from Marriott, the most profitable hotel chain in the world.

These workers not only won better wages, they won a better future. Their wins could show the way forward for all workers, whether they’re in a union or not.

While the contracts vary by each location, here are six top noteworthy wins from across the country:

  • A 20% raise over 4.5 years;

  • A 37% increase in pension contributions;

  • Six weeks of paid maternity leave, plus two weeks for spouses;

  • A paid holiday for every worker who becomes an American citizen;

  • Advance notice and training for workers whose jobs will be affected by new technology; and

  • Cutting-edge sexual harassment protections for workers.

The technology provisions of these contracts are especially noteworthy, as workers won the right to be at the bargaining table to discuss things like automated check-ins or robotic bellhops, instead of management deploying them without workers’ input.

We want to have a handle on our future. This is an act of self-determination,” said Jean Te’o-Gibney, UNITE HERE Local 5 member and Royal Hawaiian front desk worker.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 12/11/2018 - 14:58

Equal and Inalienable Rights

Mon, 10 Dec 2018 18:42:22 +0000

Equal and Inalienable Rights

Human Rights Day
AFL-CIO

Seventy years ago today, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Translated into more than 500 languages, it recognized that “the inherent dignity and...equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”

Article 23 of the declaration lays out the economic rights of working people, including:

  • The right to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

  • The right to equal pay for equal work without discrimination.

  • The right to just and favorable wages that ensure human dignity—supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

  • The right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of one’s interests.

The working people of the labor movement have organized, marched and fought toward securing those rights as a universal reality. In the face of a corporate right-wing campaign to destroy these fundamental freedoms, the AFL-CIO is carrying on the work of defending our rights and dignities on the job. Do your part today by taking action to protect working people.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 12/10/2018 - 13:42

Economy Gains 155,000 Jobs in November; Unemployment Unchanged at 3.7%

Fri, 07 Dec 2018 16:32:13 +0000

Economy Gains 155,000 Jobs in November; Unemployment Unchanged at 3.7%

The U.S. economy gained 155,000 jobs in November, and unemployment was unchanged at 3.7%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The labor market can be a leading indicator for the economy. Soft wage growth has been accompanied by weaker auto sales than typical for this low level of unemployment, leading General Motors to plan plant closings, and slowing home sales point to stresses for workers and the household sector of the economy. The Federal Reserve needs to move with great caution and hold off on more rate increases.

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

Last month's biggest job gains were in health care (32,000), professional and business services (32,000), manufacturing (27,000), transportation and warehousing (25,000) and retail trade (18,000). Employment in other major industries—including mining, construction, wholesale trade, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government—showed little change over the month.  

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for teenagers (12%), blacks (5.9%), Hispanics (4.5%), adult women (3.4%), whites (3.4%), adult men (3.3%) and Asians (2.7%) showed little or no change in November.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) declined slightly in November and accounted for 20.8% of the unemployed.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 12/07/2018 - 11:32

State of the Unions: The Working People Weekly List

Fri, 07 Dec 2018 15:01:34 +0000

State of the Unions: 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.

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast with Brad Markell: ‘What’s Wrong with GM’: “Recently, the AFL-CIO launched another tool to bring you the issues and stories that matter to working people. In the latest episode of our podcast, State of the Unions,’ we talk to longtime UAW member and AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council Executive Director Brad Markell about General Motors’ recent decision to close five North American plants, costing up to 14,000 workers their jobs.”

Remembering George H.W. Bush’s Commitment to Public Service: “President George H.W. Bush will be laid to rest at a state funeral today. Remembrances have been flowing in from across the political spectrum, but one thing we all can agree on is that Bush lived a life that was devoted to public service, not only for himself, but for those who answered his call for all of us to help our fellow Americans.”

Stop the Lame-Duck Power Grabs: “After losing the top offices in Wisconsin and Michigan, anti-worker legislators are trying to strip powers from Govs.-elect Tony Evers and Gretchen Whitmer, respectively—before they are even sworn in. Doing so would have enormous negative consequences for working people in both states. We must stop these outrageous lame-duck power grabs.”

Infrastructure Matters. It’s Time to Get Serious About Funding It: “One hundred billion dollars is a lot of money. With that much cash you could buy four Starbucks lattes for every living human on the planet. (That’s 33 billion lattes in total, if you’re counting.) If coffee is not really your thing, consider buying every single NFL team three times over. Don’t like sports? You and the record-holding Powerball winner can compare piles of cash and together marvel at how yours is 63 times taller.”

Tuesday’s Gone, But Don’t Stop Giving: What Working People Are Doing This Week: “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.”

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast with Richard Trumka: ‘I’ve Never Been More Optimistic’: “Recently, the AFL-CIO launched another tool to bring you the issues and stories that matter to working people. Welcome to the latest episode of our podcast, State of the Unions,’ where we talk to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka about the midterm elections and the future of the labor movement.”

The U.S. Mail Is Not for Sale: “The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) just released a new ad in support of its U.S. Mail Not for Sale campaign. The campaign is a worker-led effort that brings together working people, elected officials and member organizations of A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service to fight plans to privatize the U.S. Postal Service.”

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 12/07/2018 - 10:01

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast with Brad Markell: ‘What’s Wrong with GM’

Wed, 05 Dec 2018 14:49:11 +0000

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast with Brad Markell: ‘What’s Wrong with GM’

SOTU: Brad Markell
AFL-CIO

Recently, the AFL-CIO launched another tool to bring you the issues and stories that matter to working people. In the latest episode of our podcast, “State of the Unions,” we talk to longtime UAW member and AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council Executive Director Brad Markell about General Motors recent decision to close five North American plants, costing up to 14,000 workers their jobs.

State of the Unions” captures the stories of workers across the country. It’s hosted by two young and diverse members of the AFL-CIO team: 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.

Listen to our previous episodes:

State of the Unions” is available on iTunesGoogle Play MusicSpotifyStitcher and anywhere else you can find podcasts.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 12/05/2018 - 09:49

Remembering George H.W. Bush's Commitment to Public Service

Wed, 05 Dec 2018 14:00:20 +0000

Remembering George H.W. Bush's Commitment to Public Service

George H.W. Bush
Wikimedia Commons

President George H.W. Bush will be laid to rest at a state funeral today. Remembrances have been flowing in from across the political spectrum, but one thing we all can agree on is that Bush lived a life that was devoted to public service, not only for himself, but for those who answered his call for all of us to help our fellow Americans.

George Herbert Walker Bush was born in 1924 in Milton, Massachusetts. As a high-school senior when the attack on Pearl Harbor happened, Bush was inspired to join the U.S. Navy after graduation and he became the youngest U.S. Navy pilot in the country. During the war, he flew 58 combat missions in the Pacific theater, earned the rank of lieutenant and received three Air Medals and the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service.

After returning home, he finished his Bachelor of Arts at Yale before moving into the oil industry. By the time the 1960s had arrived, Bush entered politics; and in 1962, he was named chair of the Texas Republican Party. After several failed attempts to win a U.S. Senate seat, Bush was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1966. After a successful re-election campaign, President Richard Nixon asked him to run for the U.S. Senate, but the bid was unsuccessful. Nixon appointed Bush as ambassador to the United Nations. Once Gerald Ford became president, Bush was named envoy to China before returning to the United States to be the director of central intelligence. In 1980, he ran for president and lost, but was chosen as vice president by Ronald Reagan and served two terms in that role before successfully winning the presidency in 1988.

While in the White House, he worked with the Mine Workers (UMWA) and then-UMWA President Richard Trumka to sign the Coal Act, which guaranteed health care to more than 120,000 retired miners. He also signed the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act. 

From the end of his one term as president through his death at 94, he turned his focus toward inspiring others to pursue public service through his Points of Light Foundation. He also worked with former President Bill Clinton to raise funds in the wake of natural disasters such as the 2004 southeast Asian tsunami.

While we didn't agree with all of his policy positions, we would like to thank President Bush for his lifelong commitment to public service and for inspiring that devotion in many other Americans.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 12/05/2018 - 09:00

Stop the Lame-Duck Power Grabs

Tue, 04 Dec 2018 17:26:38 +0000

Stop the Lame-Duck Power Grabs

Take action now
Wisconsin AFL-CIO

After losing the top offices in Wisconsin and Michigan, anti-worker legislators are trying to strip powers from Govs.-elect Tony Evers and Gretchen Whitmer, respectively—before they are even sworn in. Doing so would have enormous negative consequences for working people in both states.

We must stop these outrageous lame-duck power grabs.

Wisconsin lawmakers are rushing through proposals that would:

  • Strip key power and authority from Gov.-elect Evers and incoming Attorney General Josh Kaul before they take office.

  • Lock the state into a misguided lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act.

  • Make it harder to vote.

  • Lower hardworking construction workers’ pay by limiting the number of transportation projects subject to federal prevailing wage standards.

Call your state senator and representative NOW to stop these efforts to undermine and take away power from Gov.-elect Tony Evers before he takes office.

In Michigan, the lame-duck legislature is considering bills that would:

  • Transfer powers from the governor’s and attorney general’s offices to the legislature.

  • Remove the secretary of state from overseeing the state’s campaign finance laws and establish a six-person commission with nominees chosen by the state’s political parties.

  • Weaken new minimum wage and sick time initiatives.

Take action NOW. Call Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s office and urge him to oppose these proposals: 517-335-7858.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 12/04/2018 - 12:26

Infrastructure Matters. It’s Time to Get Serious About Funding It

Mon, 03 Dec 2018 15:29:44 +0000

Infrastructure Matters. It’s Time to Get Serious About Funding It

Infrastructure
TTD

This post comes from Larry I. Willis, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD).

One hundred billion dollars is a lot of money. With that much cash you could buy four Starbucks lattes for every living human on the planet. (That’s 33 billion lattes in total, if you’re counting.) If coffee is not really your thing, consider buying every single NFL team three times over. Don’t like sports? You and the record-holding Powerball winner can compare piles of cash and together marvel at how yours is 63 times taller.

Or, if you are the federal government, you can pitch in your annual share of the cost to build and maintain our highway, water, mass transit, aviation and rail infrastructure. (It’s worth noting the actual amount we spend as a country is much higher, though states and local government chip in for most of it.)

But here’s the kicker: Even if you weigh your options and pick infrastructure over a monopoly on football, your $100 billion comes nowhere close to how much we should be spending each year if we want to achieve world-class infrastructure that boosts the country’s economy and grows the middle class. For our roads and bridges alone, we’re facing a backlog of $836 billion (that amounts to two complete bailouts of Greece, with some change to spare). Transit likely needs another $100 billion (can each of my fellow humans and I get another four lattes, please?), passenger rail around $28 billion, and let’s not forget our aging air and sea ports.

You would expect that someone in Congress has been tasked with figuring out how to pay for all of this, right? Well, not so fast.

In the House, raising funds for infrastructure falls under the jurisdiction of the Ways and Means Committee. As one might expect, they’ve put together subcommittees over the years to focus on many of our major national needs: health care, Social Security, tax policy, trade and so on. But when it comes to infrastructure, that hasn’t been the case.

So when we heard some members of Congress have been pushing for a new subcommittee singularly focused on infrastructure, we took note. It’s easy to understand why: Over the past eight years, after more than 400 hearings and thousands of witnesses brought before Ways and Means, just one hearing has been held on transportation funding and finance. A single, two-hour hearing in which each lawmaker is allotted five minutes to figure out how to pay for hundreds of billions of dollars in must-have infrastructure needs is not going to cut it.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee—the authorization committee for us policy geeks—has correctly focused its energies on how to spend existing resources. But expanding the pool of revenues that we know are needed will require congressional tax writers to be focused on solving this problem as well.

For the millions of working Americans who build, maintain, operate, and travel on our nation’s infrastructure network, this is an idea whose time has come. As one of America’s largest expenditures, it makes perfect sense that Congress would task its members with solving our ever-growing infrastructure problem.

There are a lot of reasons why Congress hasn’t been able to raise enough revenue to meet our transportation needs over the past 25 years. The politics are extremely difficult. Many members have an unshakable belief that raising revenue is political suicide—though we respectfully disagree—and there are any number of competing answers on how to get this right. A gas tax increase or mileage-based user fee may be a great place to start, and there are plenty of other financing tools that should be considered.

But if we aren’t pulling experts in the field—whether they are economists, front-line transportation workers, road users or administration officials—before Congress on a consistent basis until this problem is solved, we are missing a significant opportunity to ask the serious questions this problem warrants. Perhaps more importantly, we are missing an important opportunity to receive the serious answers that Congress deserves to hear.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 12/03/2018 - 10:29

Tuesday's Gone, but Don't Stop Giving: What Working People Are Doing This Week

Thu, 29 Nov 2018 15:58:32 +0000

Tuesday's Gone, but Don't Stop Giving: What Working People Are Doing This Week

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.

A. Philip Randolph Institute:

Actors' Equity:

AFGE:

AFSCME:

AFT:

Air Line Pilots Association:

Alliance for Retired Americans:

Amalgamated Transit Union:

American Federation of Musicians:

American Postal Workers Union:

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance:

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:

Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers:

Boilermakers:

Bricklayers:

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists:

Communications Workers of America:

Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO:

Electrical Workers:

Farm Labor Organizing Committee:

Fire Fighters:

Heat and Frost Insulators:

International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers:

International Labor Communications Association:

Ironworkers:

Jobs With Justice:

Labor Council for Latin American Advancement:

Laborers:

Machinists:

Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association:

Mine Workers:

National Air Traffic Controllers Association:

National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA:

National Association of Letter Carriers:

National Domestic Workers Alliance:

National Nurses United:

National Taxi Workers Alliance:

The NewsGuild-CWA:

NFL Players Association:

North America's Building Trades Unions, ALF-CIO:

Painters and Allied Trades:

Plasterers and Cement Masons:

Professional Aviation Safety Specialists:

SAG-AFTRA:

School Administrators:

Solidarity Center:

Theatrical Stage Employees:

Transport Workers:

UAW:

Union Label and Service Trades Department, AFL-CIO:

Union Veterans Council:

UNITE HERE:

United Food and Commercial Workers:

United Steelworkers:

United Students Against Sweatshops:

Working America:

Writers Guild of America, East:

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 11/29/2018 - 10:58

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast with Richard Trumka: ‘I’ve Never Been More Optimistic’

Wed, 28 Nov 2018 15:28:24 +0000

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast with Richard Trumka: ‘I’ve Never Been More Optimistic’

State of the Unions
AFL-CIO

Recently, the AFL-CIO launched another tool to bring you the issues and stories that matter to working people. Welcome to the latest episode of our podcast, “State of the Unions,” where we talk to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka about the midterm elections and the future of the labor movement.

One in four Americans listen to podcasts on a monthly basis. “State of the Unions” is capturing the stories of workers across the country. It’s hosted by two young and diverse members of the AFL-CIO team: 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.

Listen to our previous episodes: inaugural episode where you can learn about hosts Julie and Tim; an interview with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the Flint, Michigan, water crisis whistleblower; talking about union members in office with Mayor Dahlia Vertreese of Hillside, New Jersey; and our midterm recap with Rep. Conor Lamb from Pennsylvania.

Upcoming episodes will feature Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) International President Sara Nelson and Joseph McCartin, a labor historian at Georgetown University.

State of the Unions” is available on iTunesGoogle Play MusicSpotifyStitcher and anywhere else you can find podcasts.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 11/28/2018 - 10:28

   
  

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