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Service + Solidarity Spotlight: RSVP: FLOC Benefit Concert ‘Songs for Justice’

Fri, 20 Nov 2020 17:04:17 +0000

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: RSVP: FLOC Benefit Concert ‘Songs for Justice’

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 Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) and the Campaign for Migrant Worker Justice, FLOC’s education and training partner, are hosting their annual Songs for Justice benefit concert virtually on Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. ET. This event is the only annual fundraising campaign, and it serves as a night of community and celebration. FLOC President and founder Baldemar Velasquez and the Aguila Negra Band will perform a mix of traditional Mexican folk music. Suggested donations are $10 per person and the event will be streamed live. Click here to RSVP.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 11/20/2020 - 12:04

Voluntary Recognition: Worker Wins

Fri, 20 Nov 2020 16:58:52 +0000

Voluntary Recognition: Worker Wins

Despite the challenges of organizing during a deadly pandemic, working people across the country (and beyond) continue organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life. This edition begins with several groups of organizers who won voluntary recognition of their new unions.

 

Kentucky Democratic Party Staff Join IBEW: Staff at the Kentucky Democratic Party have joined Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 369, gained voluntary recognition from management and secured their first collective bargaining agreement. In a statement, the Kentucky Democratic Party staffers said, “We asked for support and recognition of our right to organize. Our leadership stepped up to bargain in good faith and ensure that, as Kentucky Democrats, we live up to our values. We believe deeply in the importance of building and maintaining long-term organizing infrastructure as a means for achieving an equitable and inclusive Kentucky Democratic Party. We came together and organized with a single, common purpose: to make the Kentucky Democratic Party the best possible workplace for everyone, now and in the future.”

WGAE Wins Voluntary Recognition for 200 New Members at Bustle Digital Group: Bustle Digital Group (BDG) today voluntarily recognized the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) for the purpose of collective bargaining after an overwhelming majority of employees in that unit signed authorization cards. BDG’s bargaining unit will include some 200 editorial, video, design and social staffers from its various sites. Lowell Peterson, executive director of WGAE, said, “We welcome Bustle Digital Group employees to the Writers Guild of America, East. Like thousands of their colleagues in the industry, they recognize the value and power of collective bargaining. Together, we can ensure that their voices are heard about the vital issues affecting their work and their workplace.”

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Journalists Win Voluntary Recognition of Union: Management at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram voluntarily recognized a new union at the request of journalists who will be represented by the NewsGuild-CWA. The organizing committee said, “We look forward to the start of negotiations, and we hope to form a strong working relationship that will allow us to protect local journalism here in Fort Worth for years to come.”

Milwaukee Art Museum Workers Overwhelmingly Vote to Join Machinists: A group of more than 140 employees of the Milwaukee Art Museum voted by 72% to join the Machinists (IAM). The new IAM members work in every capacity at the Milwaukee Art Museum, including visitor services, food and beverage, education and programs, information systems, facilities, and more. “I want to welcome these members to the Machinists union family,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Steve Galloway. “I’m so proud of them for educating themselves about the benefits of the IAM and working so hard for union representation and a voice in their workplace. Unions aren’t just for manufacturing workers; they have a place in every working environment.”

L.A. Union Members Win the Right to Form Public Health Councils: Workers in the Los Angeles area have reason to be proud after the L.A. County Board of Supervisors passed its ordinance to establish labor-led public health councils at worksites. The new policy was pushed by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and allows workers to set up their own health and safety enforcement committees on the job. Labor Council President Ron Herrera (IBT) explained that the policy’s passage is an important step forward to stemming the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. “Public health councils address the problem at the source by utilizing our most powerful and extensive resource—our workers—as our eyes and ears in the workplace, ensuring that public health orders are followed to prevent new outbreaks,” he said. The county’s Department of Public Health also will be charged under the ordinance with educating front-line workers on their rights to report unsafe working conditions.

UFCW Members at Kroger Agree to Tentative Contract: After months of negotiations, workers represented by United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) at Kroger's have reached a tentative deal on a new contract that will address pay raises, fully fund health care for associates and reduce drug costs for associates with diabetes. Carolyn Devitt, who has worked at Kroger's for 42 years, said, “We stood up to corporate and won. After months on the front lines of a pandemic, after already taking away our hero pay, they wanted to gut our health care, too. We weren’t having any of it. We stuck together, and they knew they had to back down. I’m proud of my union.”

Massachusetts Cannabis Cultivation Employees in Massachusetts Join UFCW: Workers at Cresco Labs in Massachusetts have voted to be represented by UFCW Local 328. Timothy Melia, president of UFCW Local 328, said, “We applaud cannabis workers for forming unions to make sure that, as this industry grows, workers are able to share in the success. The cannabis industry should be a place where workers earn a living wage [and] have access to affordable health care and protection from unfair discipline and discrimination.” 

UFCW Local 152 Members Ratify New Contract at ShopRite: More than 2,100 members of UFCW Local 152 who are employed as retail clerks at ShopRite stores in New Jersey ratified a new contract on Oct. 20 that protects health care benefits and raises wages. The four-year contract maintains no cost sharing of medical benefits for the lifetime of the contract. The contract also establishes paid sick days for members, a new benefit made possible with the introduction of the New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law.

SAG-AFTRA Agrees to Two-Year Extension to Video Game Contract: SAG-AFTRA reached an agreement with nine of the video game industry's largest companies to extend their Interactive Media Agreement for two years. The deal covers voice-over and performance-capture performers and will provide increased wages and employer contributions to health care and retirement. About the new agreement, SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said, “We are pleased to have reached this agreement with the employers. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the entertainment industry, but work on video games, much of which can be done remotely, has continued. This extension allows members to keep working and have some certainty during an uncertain time.”

Michigan Nurses Association Affiliates With NNU: Earlier this week, National Nurses United (NNU) announced that the Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) board of directors voted to join as an affiliate of NNU. “Solidarity is more important now than ever before,” explained Jamie Brown, RN, MNA president. “Health care executives and D.C. politicians continue to ignore the voice of those of us on the front lines while the pandemic only gets worse. It is time for nurses to unite and fight back.” The 13,000-member union of Michigan nurses will combine forces with more than 150,000 members of NNU nationwide. NNU leaders also highlighted the need for a strong federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been lacking up to now.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 11/20/2020 - 11:58

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: MM&P Members Rescue Downed Pilots in the Pacific

Fri, 20 Nov 2020 15:00:29 +0000

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: MM&P Members Rescue Downed Pilots in the Pacific

MM&P

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 officers and crew of the Horizon Reliance rescued two pilots who had been forced to land their plane on the ocean and debark to a life raft about 1,000 nautical miles from Honolulu. The ship received an alert by satellite call from the Coast Guard on Nov. 6 and quickly began steaming toward position 80 nautical miles to the southwest. Aboard the Horizon Reliance were Masters, Mates & Pilots (MM&P) members Capt. Mark Tuck, Chief Mate Steve Itson, Second Mate Joseph Comerford II and Third Mate William Laprade. Within two hours of spotting the downed pilots in their life raft, the rescue mission was successfully completed.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 11/20/2020 - 10:00

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Boilermakers Boost EPRI Certification Across the Country

Thu, 19 Nov 2020 14:34:14 +0000

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Boilermakers Boost EPRI Certification Across the Country

Boilermakers

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.

Boilermakers (IBB) are ramping up Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) training and testing for advanced rigging at various sites across the United States, making the union even more attractive to contractors and owners in the construction sector. EPRI conducts research, development and demonstration projects across the United States and is an independent nonprofit focused on research in electricity generation, delivery and use. “Offering testing for this certification saves contractors and owners money so our members can get right in there and start working,” said Matt Wertz, the Boilermakers’ National Apprenticeship Program coordinator. “It makes our contractors more aggressive to get work and gain work.”

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 11/19/2020 - 09:34

#FundTheFrontLines: What Working People Are Doing This Week

Wed, 18 Nov 2020 21:08:28 +0000

#FundTheFrontLines: 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:

Air Line Pilots Association:

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:

Boilermakers:

Bricklayers:

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists:

Coalition of Labor Union Women:

Communications Workers of America:

Department for Professional Employees:

Electrical Workers:

Farm Labor Organizing Committee:

Fire Fighters:

Heat and Frost Insulators:

Ironworkers:

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 Nurses United:

National Taxi Workers Alliance:

NFL Players Association:

North America's Building Trades Unions:

Office and Professional Employees:

Painters and Allied Trades:

Professional Aviation Safety Specialists:

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union:

Roofers and Waterproofers:

SAG-AFTRA:

Solidarity Center:

The NewsGuild-CWA:

Theatrical Stage Employees:

Transport Workers Union:

Transportation Trades Department:

UAW:

Union Label and Service Trades Department:

UNITE HERE:

United Food and Commercial Workers:

United Steelworkers:

United Students Against Sweatshops:

Utility Workers:

Working America:

Writers Guild of America, East:

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 11/18/2020 - 16:08

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: APWU Launches Day of Action

Wed, 18 Nov 2020 14:45:49 +0000

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: APWU Launches Day of Action

APWU

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 and allies of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), led by President Mark Dimondstein, are holding a day of action today to save the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). In particular, the APWU is making three demands: invest at least $25 billion in immediate COVID-19 relief for the USPS; stop and reverse the mail slowdown policies introduced by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy; and expand the role of the post office to provide vital services in every community. Click here to call your senators and ask them to save the Postal Service.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 11/18/2020 - 09:45

Ten 2020 Election Wins for Working People That You Should Know About, Part 2

Tue, 17 Nov 2020 17:55:03 +0000

Ten 2020 Election Wins for Working People That You Should Know About, Part 2

2020 Election Wins Part 2

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ victory in this free and fair election is a win for America’s labor movement. Everywhere in every way, working people are heroically and resiliently fighting back against this pandemic, its economic fall out, chronic income inequality and systemic racism. Union voters delivered this election for President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris. Their message and commitment to create “the most significant pro-labor, pro-worker administration” resonated with our 12.5 million members and 55 affiliated unions who are hungry for a bigger voice in our economy and our politics.

Working people also spoke loudly in electing union-friendly candidates at all levels of government. Here are 10 more victories you should know about:

1. Michigan State Supreme Court: The Michigan labor movement flipped the state Supreme Court as Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack won re-election and Elizabeth Welch gained a seat to give pro-worker justices a 4–3 majority. 

2. Greg Thompson, Florida: The former Machinists (IAM) Local 57 president won his first election for city commission in Clewiston. 

3. Elizabeth Weight, Utah: The teacher and member of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) won re-election to the Utah state legislature.

4. San Diego: With strong support from the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, three union members were elected to the nine-member San Diego City Council: Stephen Whitburn (AFTRA), Marni Von Wilpert (DCAA) and Raul Campillo (DCAA). Also of note, Terra Lawson-Remer, a former organizer with United Farm Workers, won a seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

5. Wisconsin: Thousands of volunteers across the state not only worked to help Biden and Harris win, but also were crucial in the victories of other union members: U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (IUPAT), state Rep. Tod Ohnstad (UAW) and state Sen. LaTonya Johnson (AFSCME).

6. Communications Workers of America (CWA) Members: Members contributed tens of thousands of volunteer hours to support pro-working family candidates.

7. Florida: With 60.8% of the vote, Floridians voted to raise the state's minimum wage to $10 next September and by an additional $1 per year until it reaches $15 in 2026.

8. Colorado: Voters approved a measure that will create a paid family and medical leave program with 57% of the vote. Starting in 2024, employers will be required to provide employees up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave each year.

9. UNITE HERE Members: Members knocked on the doors of 3 million voters, including 575,000 in Philadelphia, which contributed heavily to Biden-Harris winning Pennsylvania.

10. Demond Meeks, New York: Meeks, an organizer with SEIU1199 won and will now represent the 137th State Assembly District.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 11/17/2020 - 12:55

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Oregon OSHA Establishes Emergency Temporary Standard for Workplace Safety

Tue, 17 Nov 2020 13:51:41 +0000

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Oregon OSHA Establishes Emergency Temporary Standard for Workplace Safety

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 Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) new emergency temporary standard (ETS) for workplace safety during the pandemic went into effect on Monday. For the first time since the pandemic started, Oregon workers will have clear, enforceable and consistent workplace protections from COVID-19. The new protocols provide rules around transparency and reporting, training, employee input and employer requirements to mitigate hazards, and ventilation. The Oregon AFL-CIO fought hard for the implementation of the ETS.

“The emergency temporary standard is a step forward for Oregon’s workers. Oregon is now only the third state in the nation to adopt workplace safety and health protections for workers against COVID-19,” said state federation President Graham Trainor (IBEW). “Oregon’s unions and worker advocates have fought for this standard since the beginning of the pandemic and have been closely engaged in the process to ensure it is suitable and reflects the risk workers face on the job….We owe it to the workers who risk their health and safety to provide for their families to get this right, and soon, to ensure workplace protection now and into the future.”

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 11/17/2020 - 08:51

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: NFLPA Names Corey Clement ‘Community MVP’ for Week 8

Mon, 16 Nov 2020 14:57:23 +0000

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: NFLPA Names Corey Clement ‘Community MVP’ for Week 8

Corey Clement

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.

Corey Clement has been named the NFL Players Association’s (NFLPA’s) “Community MVP” for week 8 of the NFL season after he helped lead a writing contest in which students created books on how to resolve bullying. The winners earned a $500 prize, received a surprise Zoom visit from Clement and will have their book published. “It is a true honor to be named the NFLPA Community MVP,” the Philadelphia Eagles running back said. “As an NFL player, I have the opportunity to bring attention to the causes most important to me—literacy, anti-bullying and music education. I feel that it is important to support grassroots nonprofits that are led by Black leaders.”

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 11/16/2020 - 09:57

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Rest in Peace, Scott Reynolds

Fri, 13 Nov 2020 14:41:01 +0000

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Rest in Peace, Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds

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 AFL-CIO is mourning the passing of our dear former colleague, Scott Reynolds (TNG-CWA). Scott will be remembered for his strong trade unionism, dedicating his career to the labor movement and spending 24 of those years with the AFL-CIO. And, for those who had the pleasure of working with Scott, we will also miss him for his humor, his friendship and his stories of adventurous travel that brightened the workplace every day.

Damon Silvers, special counsel to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA), called Scott a dear friend and mentor. “All his life Scott fought for working people. He was at every major protest for decades,” Silvers said. “He organized our movement for fight after fight—for financial reform and the Affordable Care Act, against one corporate trade deal after another. He was a kind generous colleague to all he encountered. And he never was OK with moral compromise. He might tell you that through a joke, but it was serious.”

Scott made our movement, our country and all of us better. We send our deepest condolences to all who cherish his memory.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 11/13/2020 - 09:41

   
  

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