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‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Serving Those Who Served

Wed, 13 Nov 2019 18:35:41 +0000

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Serving Those Who Served

On the latest episode of “State of the Unions,” podcast co-hosts Julie Greene Collier and Tim Schlittner talk with Union Veterans Council Executive Director Will Attig about his work connecting the labor movement and the veterans community.

Listen to our previous episodes:

  • A conversation with union member and Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Mark Pocan (Wis.) about strikes, trade, health care, LGBTQ equality and the freedom to form a union. 
  • A chat with Maine Senate President Troy Jackson (IUPAT, IAM) about his path to power and the experiences that have shaped his life and career.
  • Talking to Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) about worker power, automation, trade and his decision to stay in the U.S. Senate. 
  • Checking in with AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council Executive Director Brad Markell about the UAW strike at General Motors and interviewing Veena Dubal, an associate law professor at UC Hastings College of the Law, whose work helped pave the way for passage of A.B. 5, the landmark pro-worker legislation in California.
  • SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris discussing the future of work, sexual harassment and her journey from young actor to labor leader. 
  • North America's Building Trades Unions (NABTU) Chief of Staff Mike Monroe exploring the Department of Labor proposal that would undermine world-class apprenticeships in the construction industry.

State of the Unions” is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and anywhere else you can find podcasts.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 11/13/2019 - 13:35

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Nurses United

Tue, 12 Nov 2019 17:20:12 +0000

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Nurses United

NNU
AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is National Nurses United.

Name of Union: National Nurses United (NNU)

Mission: To win workplace and health care justice here in the United States and globally by building the nation’s most powerful union of direct-care registered nurses and by fostering a social movement of nurses allied with the patient public. To achieve these goals, NNU aims to unionize all direct-care registered nurses (RNs) in the United States; promote effective collective bargaining representation to all NNU affiliates to advance the economic and professional interests of all direct-care RNs; organize that collective power to compel the health care industry, governments and employers to be accountable to patients and not solely profits; expand the voice of direct-care RNs and patients in public policy, including the enactment of safe nurse-to-patient ratios and patient advocacy rights in Congress and every state; protect and advance the practice of nursing so that RNs can fully exercise their professional judgment to provide safe, effective, therapeutic care; and campaign to win health care as a human right through a Medicare for All system.

Current Leadership of Union: Bonnie CastilloRN, serves as executive director of NNU, as well as executive director of NNU’s largest founding affiliate, California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (CNA/NNOC). Before being named executive director, Castillo held multiple leadership roles over two decades within the two organizations, including director of the Health and Safety program, director of the Registered Nurse Response Network, an NNU-sponsored program that sends RN volunteers to provide medical assistance after disasters and catastrophes, and director of government relations for CNA/NNOC—among other positions. An intensive care unit nurse for many years, Castillo played a key role in helping unionize her own hospital and naturally transitioned into organizing and representing registered nurses on a larger scale.

NNU is also ultimately governed by an elected, 19-member RN executive council headed by a Council of Presidents consisting of nurses Deborah Burger, Zenei Cortez and Jean Ross.

Number of Members: 150,000

Members Work As: Primarily direct-care registered nurses, but some affiliates also represent ancillary hospital workers.

Industries Represented: Public and private medical institutions, including some Veterans Health Administration facilities.

History: With more than 150,000 members across the country, NNU stands as the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in U.S. history.

National Nurses United was founded in December 2009 to create an organization to build a powerful, national movement of direct-care registered nurses. NNU unified three of the most active progressive nursing organizations. The vision resulting from the founding convention focused on advancing the interests of direct-care nurses and patients, and winning health care justice for all.

Over the past decade, NNU and its affiliates have achieved significant success. In addition to those states represented by its founding affiliates, NNU members now include thousands of registered nurses in Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, Texas, Missouri, North Dakota and Arizona—many from states traditionally considered hostile to union organizing. NNU has organized tens of thousands of non-union nurses, making it one of the most successful organizing unions in America. NNU RN members also focus on negotiating strong collective bargaining agreements that set the highest workplace, practice and economic standards for their states as well as the entire country. In the legislative arena, NNU has sponsored major federal legislation, including national safe RN-to-patient staffing ratios, a bill to improve and expand Medicare for All in the United States, and stronger protections against workplace violence.

Current Campaigns: NNU currently has numerous active campaigns, including: unionizing nurses all across the country,  RN-to-patent ratios, preventing workplace violence, Medicare for All, health and safety and environmental justice.

Community Efforts: NNU nurses believe that allying with our patients and the public is key to winning our goal of health care justice. To that end, many of our campaigns include working in coalition with local communities. On a national and global scale, an NNU project, the Registered Nurse Response Network, sends registered nurse volunteers to disaster-stricken areas to provide assistance and emergency care. Nurses have helped victims of floods, earthquakes and fires within the continental United States, as well as Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Haiti, the Philippines and Guatemala.

Learn More: WebsiteFacebookYouTubeInstagramTwitter

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 11/12/2019 - 12:20

Building the Battleground Bench: Union Members Elected to Office Across the Great Lakes Region

Fri, 08 Nov 2019 16:16:43 +0000

Building the Battleground Bench: Union Members Elected to Office Across the Great Lakes Region

Frank Snyder
AFL-CIO

While the labor movement was busy helping to elect pro-worker candidates in important elections in Kentucky and Virginia this week, union members themselves were on the ballot, and they were elected to local offices across the country at an impressive rate. This result was especially pronounced in the battleground states in the Great Lakes region, where an energized union candidates program helped carry union members to victory.

In Pennsylvania, organized labor helped elect its endorsed candidate to the Superior Court in the Commonwealth and elected hundreds of union members to local offices. Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder, himself a victorious union member candidate for auditor in Carroll Township in York County, recognized the significance of the program. “There is no better way to ensure that working people are represented than through the election of card-carrying union members,” Snyder said. “It's not enough to elect supporters of workers' rights, we must elect champions of workers' rights. Today, we did just that."

More than a dozen union members were elected or re-elected to local office in the Cleveland area on Tuesday night, bringing the number of members within the North Shore AFL-CIO Federation of Labor holding public office to over 40. Harriet Applegate, executive secretary of the North Shore AFL-CIO pointed out how supporting union member candidates can immediately have an impact on public policy. “No one understands the needs and interests of working people better than our members themselves,” she said. “When our members are empowered and have the resources to win local elections, it brings a whole new perspective to the halls of government.”

The Greater Northwest Ohio AFL-CIO helped to elect members to City Council seats in Toledo and Maumee, among other local offices. Across the state, the Ohio AFL-CIO supported 51 union member candidates in the election and 32 won their races. “The whole purpose is to support candidates who believe in collective bargaining, who believe the economy is not some mystical thing but rules put in place by those we elect,” said Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga. “Those rules can create living wage jobs, project labor agreements, collective bargaining laws and a fight for fair trade.”

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 11/08/2019 - 11:16

Trump’s SEC Chairman Proposes to Disenfranchise Investors and Reduce Shareholder Democracy

Tue, 05 Nov 2019 16:36:10 +0000

Trump’s SEC Chairman Proposes to Disenfranchise Investors and Reduce Shareholder Democracy

In a partisan 3-2 vote, the Trump administration’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed to curtail the rights of investors to file proposals for a vote at company annual meetings. If adopted, these changes will hinder shareholder proposals by union members and their pension plans to hold corporate management accountable.

"We strongly oppose the SEC's shareholder proposal rule changes that will limit the ability of working people and their pension plans to have a voice in the companies that we invest in," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA). The proposed changes include dramatic increases in stock ownership requirements and vote resubmission requirements.

Corporate CEOs of the Business Roundtable and the Chamber of Commerce have long wished for these changes to the shareholder proposal rule. In a 2017 letter to the SEC, the AFL-CIO showed how these proposed rule changes will undermine efforts to increase corporate responsibility for environmental, social and governance issues.

"The right to petition corporate management by filing shareholder proposals is an integral part of shareholder democracy in the United States,” Trumka explained. “The SEC should protect the rights of working people as the real main street investors, not the interests of overpaid and unaccountable corporate CEOs."

For more information about the efforts of SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, nominated by President Trump, to disenfranchise investors and reduce shareholder democracy by curtailing the shareholder proposal rule, please visit the Investor Rights Forum.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 11/05/2019 - 11:36

Standing Up Against Corporate Greed: The Working People Weekly List

Mon, 04 Nov 2019 17:30:40 +0000

Standing Up Against Corporate Greed: 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 the latest edition of the Working People Weekly List.

UAW Members at GM Ratify New Agreement: "The longest and largest automotive strike in decades came to an end this week as UAW members employed by General Motors Co. ratified the tentative agreement between the union and the automaker. Nearly 50,000 UAW members went on strike Sept. 16 seeking fair wages, affordable quality health care, profit sharing, job security and a defined path to permanent seniority for temps. With the victory of the UAW members, working people across the country lauded the strikers and thanked them for standing up against corporate greed."

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Flexing Labor’s Muscle: "On the latest episode of 'State of the Unions,' podcast co-host Tim Schlittner talks to union member and Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Mark Pocan (Wis.) about strikes, trade, health care, LGBTQ equality and the freedom to form a union."

LGBT History Month Pathway to Progress: The Founding of Pride At Work: "History has long been portrayed as a series of 'great men' taking great action to shape the world we live in. In recent decades, however, social historians have focused more on looking at history "from the bottom up," studying the vital role that working people played in our heritage. Working people built, and continue to build, the United States. In our series, Pathway to Progress, we'll take a look at various people, places and events where working people played a key role in the progress our country has made, including those who are making history right now. In honor of LGBT History Month, we will take a look at the founding of Pride At Work."

Egregious Worker Rights Violations Cause Thailand to Lose Trade Benefits: "On Friday, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced it will withdraw preferential tariffs for many imports from Thailand due to egregious, ongoing worker rights violations in the country. As highlighted in submissions by the AFL-CIO going back to 2013, the government of Thailand actively retaliates against workers and allows the worst forms of exploitation and abuse, including forced labor, to proliferate throughout its economy."

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Air Traffic Controllers Association: "Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Air Traffic Controllers Association."

Union Apprenticeship Works: 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."

Building Pathways: In the States Roundup: "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."

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association: "Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association."

 

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 11/04/2019 - 12:30

A Boss Is a Boss: Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup

Mon, 04 Nov 2019 17:20:51 +0000

A Boss Is a Boss: Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup

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.

Belabored Podcast #186: 'A Boss Is a Boss'Two organizers discuss recent efforts to unionize nonprofit workers. Plus: an interview with Chicago teacher Kenzo Shibata about the first day on the picket line. With Sarah Jaffe and Michelle Chen.

Building Bridges: 'Analyzing Bernie Sanders’ Workplace Democracy Plan'"Shaun Richman is an In These Times contributing writer and the program director of the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies at SUNY Empire State College. Senator Bernie Sanders has announced his Workplace Democracy Plan to build worker power on the job by protecting unionizing and strikes by workers. In many ways it goes back to the intent of New Deal Legislation, which has been seriously weakened over the years by right wing legislation and court decisions. But it also builds on them calling for new private and public sector workers rights and forms of union representation that transcend the National Labor Relations Board framework of enterprise based contract bargaining."

CTU Speaks! 'Five Days Later!': Five days into the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) strike, Jim sits down with Cook County Commissioner, CTU member and former middle school teacher Brandon Johnson. Brandon puts the strike in historical context and helps us understand it as a potential pivot point for the city, while also underscoring the ways that CTU has been impactful for labor and education across the country.

Heartland Labor Forum: 'Disappearing the Poor and the New Servant Economy of Wealth Jobs': "The Trump administration wants to redefine who is poor. Experts say they want to disappear the poor. Then, Mark Muro of Brookings Institute will talk to us about wealth work. That’s the growing number of jobs in what’s called the 'new servant economy.' Thursday at 6 p.m., rebroadcast Friday at 5 a.m. on KKFI 90.1 FM or streaming."

Labor History Today: 'Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman'"On this week’s show: Robbin Légère Henderson talks about her grandmother, Matilda Rabinowitz Robbins, on the Tales from the Reuther Library podcast. Henderson shares stories from Robbins’ autobiography, Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman: A Memoir from the Early Twentieth Century, explaining how the optimism of a 13-year-old immigrant from the Ukraine was soon undone by the realities of working in garment sweatshops on the East Coast, leading to Matilda Robbins’ brief but influential role as a labor organizer for the International Workers of the World from 1912 to 1917. She was one of only two women organizers for the IWW during its early years, along with Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. Plus a clip from 'Mother Jones in Heaven,' a one-woman musical by Si Kahn, starring Vivian Nesbitt as 'Mother' Jones, with musical accompaniment by John Dillon, recently performed at The Robin Theatre in Lansing, Michigan."

Union City Radio: Airs weekdays at 7:15 a.m. on WPFW 89.3 FM. Bus drivers strike in Lorton, Virginia; hotel workers settle in Baltimore; STRIKE! The game of worker rebellion; Washington, D.C., residents urged to testify at City Council health committee hearing; D.C. janitors approve contract.

Union Strong: "TWU Local 100 is in a contract fight with the MTA. We cover everything from the Trash Train competition to the trash email that went public, all on the day of a massive rally taking place tonight in NYC."

Willamette Wake Up: Features an interview with Graham Trainor, the new president of the Oregon AFL-CIO. We cover racism and sexism, some features of labor's program in Oregon, the recent Oregon AFL-CIO convention, and some of labor's challenges and opportunities. KMUZ is at 100.7 or 88.5 in the Keizer-Salem-Turner area, or at https://kmuz.org regardless of where you are. Our labor segment will run at around 8:10 a.m. on Friday morning.

Working History: Making the Woman Worker: "On SLSA's latest Working History podcast, 'Making the Woman Worker,' Eileen Boris discusses her new book, Making the Woman Worker: Precarious Labor and the Fight for Global Standards, 1919-2019, the history of the International Labor Organization's labor protections for women, domestic and home workers in the global north and global south, and ongoing fights to recognize precarious labor from the care economy to the gig economy."

Your Rights At WorkHealth care in southeast D.C. with Ward 8 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Chris Hawthorne, District of Columbia Nurses Association nurse Roberta Lenoir and organizer Djawa Hall with SEIU 1199. Plus latest labor news updates. Thursdays 1-2 p.m. on WPFW 89.3 FM.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 11/04/2019 - 12:20

Economy Gains 128,000 Jobs in October; Unemployment Up Slightly to 3.6%

Mon, 04 Nov 2019 15:21:02 +0000

Economy Gains 128,000 Jobs in October; Unemployment Up Slightly to 3.6%

The U.S. economy gained 128,000 jobs in October, and the unemployment rate increased slightly to 3.6%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

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

Last month's biggest job gains were in food services and drinking places (48,000), professional and business services (22,000), social assistance (20,000), financial activities (16,000), and health care (15,000). Manufacturing employment decreased by 36,000 and federal government employment was down 17,000 as a large group of temporary census workers completed their work. Employment in other major industries, including mining, construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, and information, showed little change over the month.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for teenagers (12.3%), blacks (5.4%), Hispanics (4.1%), adult men (3.2%), whites (3.2%), adult women (3.2%) and Asians (2.9%) showed little or no change in October.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) declined in October and accounted for 21.5% of the unemployed.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 11/04/2019 - 10:21

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Flexing Labor’s Muscle

Wed, 30 Oct 2019 15:49:34 +0000

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Flexing Labor’s Muscle

Pocan podcast
AFL-CIO

On the latest episode of “State of the Unions,” podcast co-host Tim Schlittner talks to union member and Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Mark Pocan (Wis.) about strikes, trade, health care, LGBTQ equality and the freedom to form a union. 

Listen to our previous episodes:

State of the Unions” is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and anywhere else you can find podcasts.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 10/30/2019 - 11:49

UAW Members at GM Ratify New Agreement

Wed, 30 Oct 2019 12:41:47 +0000

UAW Members at GM Ratify New Agreement

UAW Strike
UAW

The longest and largest automotive strike in decades came to an end this week as UAW members employed by General Motors Co. ratified the tentative agreement between the union and the automaker. Nearly 50,000 UAW members went on strike Sept. 16 seeking fair wages, affordable quality health care, profit sharing, job security and a defined path to permanent seniority for temps. With the victory of the UAW members, working people across the country lauded the strikers and thanked them for standing up against corporate greed. Here's what people said:

Terry Dittes, UAW vice president and director of the UAW-GM Department:

General Motors members have spoken. We are all so incredibly proud of UAW-GM members who captured the hearts and minds of a nation. Their sacrifice and courageous stand addressed the two-tier wages structure and permanent temporary worker classification that has plagued working class Americans.

UAW President Gary Jones:

We want to once again thank our members’ families and their local communities for their outpouring of support. Our members not only joined together in solidarity but felt the support of their whole community throughout this important stand.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA)

I’ve never felt prouder to be a union member. Backed by millions of brothers, sisters and friends across the country, UAW members stood together to win the fair treatment that they’ve earned over years of selfless sacrifice. I commend the UAW’s national negotiators for standing firm to deliver on what their members demanded and hope this will bring an end to one of the most courageous fights I have ever seen.

This is the latest victory in a wave of collective action happening across America. Working people won’t allow greed to dictate our lives, and we won’t tolerate a system that’s been rigged against us. Bosses everywhere should take note—we’re not going to take it anymore.

UAW:

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

Florida AFL-CIO:

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 10/30/2019 - 08:41

LGBT History Month Pathway to Progress: The Founding of Pride At Work

Tue, 29 Oct 2019 15:55:05 +0000

LGBT History Month Pathway to Progress: The Founding of Pride At Work

Coors protests
AFL-CIO

History has long been portrayed as a series of "great men" taking great action to shape the world we live in. In recent decades, however, social historians have focused more on looking at history "from the bottom up," studying the vital role that working people played in our heritage. Working people built, and continue to build, the United States. In our series, Pathway to Progress, we'll take a look at various people, places and events where working people played a key role in the progress our country has made, including those who are making history right now. In honor of LGBT History Month, we will take a look at the founding of Pride At Work (P@W).

Prior to 1969, the labor movement mostly ignored issues that affected LGBTQ working people. The events at Stonewall Inn and the rebellion that followed woke up many in the ranks of labor to the need to step up efforts to include all workers, including our LGBTQ siblings. After Stonewall, unions began to recognize that discrimination based on sexual orientation was another assault on working people, one that victimized union members and weakened efforts at solidarity among working families. 

As the 1970s began, the AFT was the first union to pass a resolution against discrimination based on sexual orientation. In 1974, the Teamsters worked with the LGBTQ community members in San Francisco on a boycott against the anti-union Coors Brewing Co. Over the next few decades, support for LGBTQ rights in the labor movement continued to grow. The AFL-CIO passed a resolution that called for legislation to ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. More and more unions started creating LGBTQ caucuses and opened up space for LGBTQ workers to be activists and open about their sexual orientation.

While some unions took the lead, the labor movement was largely silent on issues related to LGBTQ rights and issues. This lead LGBTQ union activists to come together to form Pride At Work. The activists met in New York in 1994, the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion. Earlier efforts at organizing had led to groups such as the Lesbian and Gay Labor Alliance (in the San Francisco Bay Area), the Lesbian and Gay Labor Network (New York) and the Gay and Lesbian Labor Activists Network (New England). Efforts such of these would eventually be consolidated into a larger LGBTQ workers organization, Pride At Work. In 1997, the organization was officially recognized by AFL-CIO as a constituency group.

Among Pride At Work's first campaigns were efforts to pressure Chrysler to ban anti-LGBTQ discrimination. Chrysler made the requested changes in 1999 and Ford and General Motors soon followed. Domestic partner benefits were gained a year later. Later, in 2005, P@W successfully convinced the AFL-CIO to support marriage equality. In 2012, the AFL-CIO supported the legal case that led to the national legal recognition of same-sex marriage.

Today, Pride At Work continues to educate the labor movement and wider culture about the importance of unions for LGBTQ workers and the value those workers provide employers. Pride@Work also supports electoral candidates that support LGBTQ workers and helps LGBTQ working people run for political office.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 10/29/2019 - 11:55

   
  

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