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Women's History Month Profiles: Denicia Montford Williams

Tue, 02 Mar 2021 14:32:57 +0000

Women's History Month Profiles: Denicia Montford Williams

Denicia Montford Williams

This year, for Women's History Month, we're taking a look at a group of leaders who are currently active making women's history across the labor movement. Check back daily for a new profile and meet some of the people working to improve not only their community, but also to improve conditions for working people across the country. Today's profile is Denicia Montford Williams

As a vice president of the North Carolina State AFL-CIO, associate director of the state’s chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI) and member of Pride At Work, Denicia Montford Williams (AFT) is a tireless advocate for LGBTQ rights and for racial justice in the state. She works as the program manager for the North Carolina APRI chapter. She also started a spinoff chapter of the Bayard Rustin LGBT Coalition. Montford Williams leads a voter-registration drive in nine North Carolina counties, advocates for worker-friendly laws, and hosts workshops related to financial and physical health. She seeks to include LGBTQ people more into advocacy work. She recently was elected to the state AFL-CIO's board of directors, becoming the first openly LGBTQ director in the board's history.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 03/02/2021 - 09:32

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Western Region Solidarity: IUE-CWA Walmart Actions

Tue, 02 Mar 2021 13:30:54 +0000

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Western Region Solidarity: IUE-CWA Walmart Actions

Alaska Rally

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

Members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), state federations and central labor councils across the AFL-CIO Western Region held protests at Walmart in solidarity with more than 80 Ohio workers whose jobs producing Walmart’s “Made in America” light bulbs are being shipped to China.

While Walmart boasts a public commitment to supporting American manufacturing, the producer of its store-brand LED light bulbs, GE-Savant LLC, recently announced it intends to move the product line to China for production, permanently laying off more than 80 workers. The Walmart brand light bulbs are currently made by IUE-CWA workers in Bucyrus, Ohio, one of the only residential lighting plants left in the United States; nearly all other residential light bulbs are now produced in China.

In a show of increased public pressure for Walmart to stand up to its supplier and demand they keep manufacturing jobs for the retailer’s in-house “Made in America” LED light bulb line, we thank the Alaska AFL-CIO, Arizona AFL-CIO, Alameda Labor Council, Contra Costa Labor Council, Oregon AFL-CIO, South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council and the Washington State Labor Council for their organized actions.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 03/02/2021 - 08:30

Women's History Month Profiles: Joelle Hall

Mon, 01 Mar 2021 14:44:11 +0000

Women's History Month Profiles: Joelle Hall

Joelle Hall

This year, for Women's History Month, we're taking a look at a group of leaders who are currently active making women's history across the labor movement. Check back daily for a new profile and meet some of the people working to improve not only their community, but also to improve conditions for working people across the country. Today's profile is Joelle Hall.

Recently elected as the president of the Alaska AFL-CIO, Joelle Hall (UFCW) is the first woman to hold the office since the state federation was chartered in 1943. She previously served as director of operations and has spent more than 20 years shaping Alaskan politics. She has a well-deserved reputation for bipartisan coalition building and the utmost dedication to the principles of the labor movement

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 03/01/2021 - 09:44

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Labor Movement Mobilizes as Texas Recovers

Mon, 01 Mar 2021 14:30:14 +0000

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Labor Movement Mobilizes as Texas Recovers

Texas AFL-CIO

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

The unprecedented winter storms of recent days have left millions in Texas reeling with no electricity or running water. The energy capital of the world was suddenly shut down and the loss of basic services left dozens dead. But in difficult times, the labor movement always shows up. Throughout the state and the country, union members are mobilizing to respond.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) is closely monitoring the situation and has offered the help of the national federation. In California, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, under the leadership of President Ron Herrera (IBT), is working to deliver bottled water and food to the affected areas. Union Plus is working with the Texas AFL-CIO to provide members with hardship assistance. Roy Gillespie, the national disaster relief coordinator for the Teamsters (IBT), is coordinating the delivery of much-needed supplies into Texas from all around the country. 

The state federation is actively seeking donations to the Texas Workers Relief Fund to continue to support its central labor councils in their recovery efforts. Please donate as you are able. We’ll continue to keep you updated on ways to help Texas as they begin rebuilding.

In the Lone Star State itself, workers are mobilizing to help those most affected by getting their communities up and running again. Members of the United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters (UA) Local 68 in the Gulf Coast area have been sharing videos on Facebook with helpful information for residents. Union members in Austin led the delivery of thousands of pallets of water, with Austin Area AFL-CIO Council members and allies walking door to door and assessing water needs. They were joined by labor council President Jason Lopez (AFSCME). On Wednesday, the Texas AFL-CIO coordinated with the national AFL-CIO, IBT and various local unions and labor councils for a massive water delivery to Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth.

Workers in Texas are also demanding accountability. On Tuesday, Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy (TSEU/CWA, pictured above) issued a statement slamming the state’s leadership for its failure to prepare and respond. He said it was the latest in a long list of debacles:

“As with the pandemic, as with the distribution of vaccines, as with the reliance of the often-unreachable unemployment insurance system because of 1980's computer technology, as with a foster care system under federal court orders, years of knowing neglect by political leadership who rely on reactionary partisanship that shortchanges working people made us worse off. Once again, because too many politicians believed ‘free markets’ would prevail, failure ensued: The lights went out, the heat vanished, the taps had no water and the help we expect was stuck in triage mode.”

And through it all, the state federation is making sure its members’ voices are heard. The Texas AFL-CIO has also been collecting testimonials from union members. Krissy O’Brien (AFSCME) of Austin said, “This was a completely preventable disaster and our state leadership failed us. Gov. Abbott, what did you do to prevent this from happening?”

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 03/01/2021 - 09:30

Black History Month Profiles: Lafarrah Hines

Sun, 28 Feb 2021 12:09:37 +0000

Black History Month Profiles: Lafarrah Hines

Lafarrah Hines

This year, for Black History Month, we're taking a look at a group of leaders who are currently active making Black history across the labor movement. Check back daily for a new profile and meet some of the people working to improve not only their community, but also to improve conditions for working people across the country. Today's profile is Lafarrah Hines.

Lafarrah Hines is a member of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 3680 in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and a U.S. Army veteran. Hines was one of the first members of CWA’s Veterans for Social Change cohort to attend a training on organizing and activism hosted by the Veterans Organizing Institute and Common Defense, a progressive grassroots veterans organization. Ever since then Hines has become a powerhouse advocate for working-class military veterans and working people as a whole. Whether it’s meeting with representatives in Congress, speaking at press conferences, participating in town halls, or marching in rallies, Hines continues to organize and empower herself, other union members and her fellow veterans to promote the values they fought for.

Kenneth Quinnell Sun, 02/28/2021 - 07:09

Black History Month Profiles: Fred Smith

Sat, 27 Feb 2021 12:54:37 +0000

Black History Month Profiles: Fred Smith

Fred Smith

This year, for Black History Month, we're taking a look at a group of leaders who are currently active making Black history across the labor movement. Check back daily for a new profile and meet some of the people working to improve not only their community, but also to improve conditions for working people across the country. Today's profile is Fred Smith.

Fred Smith is the vice president (AT&T Mobility) of CWA Local 3902 in Birmingham, Alabama. Smith is a longtime activist and leader both in the union and his community. He currently serves as the chair of the National Civil Rights and Equity Committee, leading the work to ensure workers are free from discrimination in the workplace and the union. Recently, in an effort to build a more inclusive union and labor movement, Smith has been leading trainings developed by the national CWA on “How to Build an Anti-Racist Union.” His advocacy doesn’t stop there. He also serves as the North Alabama Union Liaison for the Poor People’s Campaign fighting for socioeconomic justice for all. 

Kenneth Quinnell Sat, 02/27/2021 - 07:54

The Need for Labor Law Reform: The Working People Weekly List

Fri, 26 Feb 2021 22:39:29 +0000

The Need for Labor Law Reform: The Working People Weekly List

Working People Weekly List

 

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.

The Amazon Workers’ Campaign Shows the Need for Labor Law Reform: "The organizing drive still underway by workers at Amazon’s fulfillment center in Bessemer, Ala., reveals some of the many ways our current labor law gives employers too much power to stand in the way of workers trying to gain a collective voice. Workers at Amazon want a union to bargain better pay, safety protections, and dignity on the job. Instead of respecting its workers’ choice, what has Amazon done? Amazon has forced workers to attend small group meetings where supervisors rail against the union."

House Passes Equality Act to Boost LGBTQ Protections: "The House voted 224-206 on Thursday to pass the Equality Act, which would expand federal protections for LGBTQ people by prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Why it matters: The legislation passed in the House in May 2019 but never reached the Republican-controlled Senate under former President Trump. Democratic leaders believe there is a chance to pass the act into law this year with a 50-50 split in the Senate, but it is uncertain whether enough Republicans will support the bill for it to move forward."

Amazon Workers’ Fight to Unionize Draws Help from Around the World: "Roughly a hundred organizers have been calling workers from Amazon’s Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse in recent weeks, making the case for why they should unionize. The robust phone-banking operation reflects the high stakes for organized labor as workers at the facility consider forming the first Amazon union in the U.S. The organizing effort extends well beyond the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), which would represent the facility’s employees. The phone campaign includes around 20 organizers on loan from the AFL-CIO, the influential labor federation that includes 55 unions. A dozen nurses who recently unionized their hospital in North Carolina also have been pitching on the effort, calling workers to tell them large-scale labor victories are possible in the South."

Multimillion-Dollar ‘Union Avoidance’ Industry Faces New Scrutiny: "Workers unionizing with the Retail, [Wholesale and Department Store Union] at an Amazon distribution center in Bessemer, Alabama, have been met with a range of tactics to dissuade them from voting for a union, including frequent text messages, paid social media advertisements, and 'classes' intended to warn them against unionization."

Four Million Hotel, Restaurant Workers Have Lost Jobs. Here’s How They’re Reinventing Themselves: "Workers at America’s hotels, restaurants, bars and convention centers have been among the hardest hit during the Covid-19 pandemic. Lockdowns and the lack of travel have caused many gathering places to close or reduce their staff. Since February 2020, the leisure-and-hospitality sector has shed nearly four million people, or roughly a quarter of its workforce. As of January 2021, 15.9% of the industry’s workers remained unemployed; more than any other industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a result, millions of hospitality workers—a group that includes everyone from front-desk clerks to travel managers—are trying to launch new careers. Some have transitioned to roles that tap skills honed over years of public-facing work in high-pressure environments. Others have seized the moment to remake themselves for different occupations. Many remain conflicted about leaving an industry they say continually provides new experiences and engenders lasting relationships."

Trumka Talks Importance of Infrastructure Investment: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka joined Bloomberg Radio to discuss how important it is to rebuild our infrastructure with good union paying jobs and how that will benefit our communities."

2.5 Million Women Left the Work Force During the Pandemic. Harris Sees a ‘National Emergency.’: "Vice President Kamala Harris said on Thursday that the 2.5 million women who have left the work force since the beginning of the pandemic constituted a 'national emergency' that could be addressed by the Biden administration’s coronavirus relief plan."

Infrastructure Is Prime Topic in Biden Meeting with Union Leaders: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a post-meeting statement, 'For working people, this was the most productive Oval Office meeting in years.' Trumka added, 'As we made clear today, America can only build back better if unions are doing the building.'"

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 02/26/2021 - 17:39

Pass the American Rescue Plan: What Working People Are Doing This Week

Fri, 26 Feb 2021 20:53:21 +0000

Pass the American Rescue Plan: What Working People Are Doing This Week

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.

Actors' Equity:

AFGE:

AFSCME:

Alliance for Retired Americans:

Amalgamated Transit Union:

American Federation of Musicians:

American Federation of Teachers:

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:

Coalition of Labor Union Women:

Communications Workers of America:

Department for Professional Employees:

Electrical Workers:

Fire Fighters:

Heat and Frost Insulators:

International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers:

Ironworkers:

IUE-CWA:

Jobs With Justice:

Labor Council for Latin American Advancement:

Laborers:

Machinists:

Metal Trades Department:

Mine Workers:

Musical Artists:

National Air Traffic Controllers Association:

National Association of Letter Carriers:

National Day Laborer Organizing Network:

National Domestic Workers Alliance:

National Federation of Federal Employees:

National Nurses United:

National Taxi Workers Alliance:

NFL Players Association:

North America's Building Trades Unions:

Office and Professional Employees:

Painters and Allied Trades:

Plasterers and Cement Masons:

Professional Aviation Safety Specialists:

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union:

SAG-AFTRA:

School Administrators:

Seafarers:

Solidarity Center:

The NewsGuild-CWA:

Theatrical Stage Employees:

Transport Workers Union:

Transportation Trades Department:

UAW:

Union Veterans Council:

UNITE HERE:

United Food and Commercial Workers:

United Steelworkers:

United Students Against Sweatshops:

Utility Workers:

Working America:

Writers Guild of America, East:

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 02/26/2021 - 15:53

Black History Month Profiles: A.J. Starling

Fri, 26 Feb 2021 14:30:35 +0000

Black History Month Profiles: A.J. Starling

A.J. Starling

This year, for Black History Month, we're taking a look at a group of leaders who are currently active making Black history across the labor movement. Check back daily for a new profile and meet some of the people working to improve not only their community, but also to improve conditions for working people across the country. Today's profile is  A.J. Starling.

A respected pillar of Tennessee's labor community for nearly five decades, A.J. Starling has become synonymous with the fight for economic and racial equality. As both an advocate for and friend to working families throughout the state, his commitment to ensuring that everyone is treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve is second to none. His contributions to both the labor and faith communities and desire to leave things better than he found them will be felt for decades to come.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 02/26/2021 - 09:30

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: New Hampshire AFL-CIO Provides PPE to State Lawmakers

Fri, 26 Feb 2021 13:30:21 +0000

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: New Hampshire AFL-CIO Provides PPE to State Lawmakers

New Hampshire PPE giveaway

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

After the U.S. District Court in Concord, New Hampshire, failed to provide remote access for at-risk legislators at the state House of Representatives, New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett (IBEW) said union members handed out personal protective equipment (PPE) to lawmakers ahead of Wednesday’s House session at the NH Sportsplex.

“Last week, the New Hampshire AFL-CIO strongly urged our state representatives to provide remote accommodations for lawmakers who have special vulnerability to COVID-19, as defined by the [Americans with Disabilities Act] and Rehabilitation Act,” said Brackett. “Unfortunately, a federal judge ruled Monday that the House can proceed with in-person sessions this week without providing remote access to medically vulnerable lawmakers. We didn’t want it to come to this. No one should fear going to work. However, distributing personal protective equipment is the least we can do to keep our lawmakers safe.”

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 02/26/2021 - 08:30

   
  

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