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Big Tech Organizing: The Working People Weekly List

Fri, 22 Jan 2021 15:16:05 +0000

Big Tech Organizing: 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.

Big Tech Unionizing: "Workers at Google and other Alphabet companies have started the Alphabet Workers Union, in partnership with the Communications Workers of America. This is a breakthrough. It includes all workers. It follows union victories at Kickstarter and Glitch. This is Labor 2.0. Unions are for everyone, in every field. That’s why the labor movement is working to organize Big Tech and fighting for a fair and equitable future of work, in every sector. The AFL-CIO is even starting a technology institute, to leverage innovation for the labor movement, because the benefits of technology should create prosperity and security for everyone, not just the wealthy and powerful."

President Biden Picks Former United Steelworkers Safety Official to Lead OSHA: "President Joe Biden has tapped James S. Frederick, a Pittsburgh-area workplace safety advocate who spent 25 years with the United Steelworkers, to lead the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, signaling tougher federal enforcement on employers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The nomination of Mr. Frederick, 53, to the federal workplace safety agency was announced Wednesday in a union press release a few hours before Mr. Biden took the oath of office at the U.S. Capitol."

Biden Moves to Oust Top Labor Board Attorney Peter Robb: "The Biden administration has asked for the resignation of the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel, Trump-appointee Peter Robb, according to four people familiar with the decision. The White House notified Robb of its decision by letter, which specified he had until 5 p.m. Wednesday to voluntarily resign or be fired, two people with knowledge of the correspondence said. The NLRB enforces private-sector workers’ rights to organize, and its general counsel has sweeping authority to determine which types of cases the agency does or doesn’t pursue. Robb, a former management-side attorney who helped Ronald Reagan defeat the air traffic controller’s union, has pushed an aggressive, pro-business agenda at the labor board."

Biden Names Gensler as SEC Head in Push Toward More Scrutiny: "His appointment was cheered by Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO labor federation, in a sign that he was considered palatable on the left of the Democratic party. 'We applaud Joe Biden for choosing a man who stands up for public interest against Wall Street excess, is knowledgeable and has shown through his work during the Obama administration that he supports working families,' Mr Trumka wrote in a tweet on Monday morning."

Biden, AFL-CIO Labor Law Agendas Track Each Other: "Go to incoming Democratic President Joe Biden’s 'Building Back Better' agenda on his website and read through it. The word 'union,' the phrase 'right to organize' and especially the word 'worker' run through it like a constant thread. No wonder AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, in a Jan. 12 telephone press conference, considered Biden the most pro-worker president in decades. 'And in one week and one day, Joe Biden will be inaugurated and we’re ready to work with him.' That’s because two key items of pro-worker legislation top both Biden’s agenda and the Workers First Agenda Trumka unveiled at the press conference. And so does a lot of other legislation—from job safety and health rules to new infrastructure–the incoming U.S. chief executive advocates."

AFL- CIO Secretary Treasurer Liz Shuler Touts Workers First Agenda: "Liz Shuler, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO was featured on today’s edition of the America’s Work Force Union Podcast. She spoke with host Ed 'Flash' Ferenc about how heartbreaking it was to hear President Trump incite violence at the Capitol, the 'worker first' agenda of 2021, and the Orsted Wind Farm project being a union job. New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento also joined the podcast today. He discussed improved technology to communicate with workers and union members through an app called Union Strong, the NYS legislative agenda for 2021 and preventing layoffs in the future."

Biden must pass the Protecting the Right to Organize Act: "So America today needs more than anything solidarity and human dignity—the church's core teachings. The teaching that we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers, that we are not commodities whose value is determined by a flawed and arbitrary market, but human beings, souls, created in the image of God, and each of our worth is beyond price. And it is high time our nation's laws promoted solidarity and human dignity. That is why as Biden prepares to take office during a devastating pandemic and defining moment for our country, this is the moment to rewrite America's labor laws and pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. This piece of legislation would protect and empower workers to exercise our right to organize and bargain. It would make sure that workers can reach a first contract quickly after our union is recognized, end employers' practice of hiring permanent replacements to punish striking workers and hold corporations responsible. And it would ban so-called 'right to work,' a regime of state laws rooted in racism, that has left working people poorer and weaker."

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 01/22/2021 - 10:16

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Inauguration 2021: Brought To You By Unions

Fri, 22 Jan 2021 14:47:48 +0000

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Inauguration 2021: Brought To You By Unions

UAW Inauguration Mask

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.

On Wednesday, we witnessed a nearly flawless inauguration ceremony that served to uplift Americans and help unify us on a path toward tackling the significant challenges we face as a country. Much of the inauguration was powered by union members. Leading up to the November election and continuing until the January runoff in Georgia, the labor movement contributed countless hours, including hundreds of thousands of phone calls made, postcards sent and doors knocked. Working people were key in determining which party controlled the White House and Congress.

As for Inauguration Day, the UAW produced the official inauguration masks (pictured, modeled by UAW member Phillip King). IATSE’s production of the event included the beautiful “Field of Flags” art display that lined the National Mall. The Pledge of Allegiance was spoken (and delivered in American Sign Language) by Andrea Hall, a longtime firefighter and IAFF member. Machinists (IAM) built and maintain Air Force One, which safely delivered the outgoing president to his new home and will carry President Biden as he executes the duties of the presidency. Members of SAG-AFTRA, like Tom Hanks, and other entertainment-related unions hosted or performed as part of the daylong event. Our thanks go out to these and all the other union members who helped elect Biden and Harris to the White House and who made the inauguration an inspiring event that opens a new and hopeful chapter in America’s history.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 01/22/2021 - 09:47

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Ohio AFL-CIO Mobilizing in Support of Workers First Agenda

Thu, 21 Jan 2021 14:56:22 +0000

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Ohio AFL-CIO Mobilizing in Support of Workers First Agenda

Workers First Agenda

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 Ohio AFL-CIO has begun immediately mobilizing to make sure the Workers First Agenda is at the forefront of the first 100 days of the Biden administration as the state federation rolls out its legislative platform for 2021. It has coordinated with Sen. Sherrod Brown to do a series of virtual town halls with his staff in the state. These town halls give front-line workers a chance to provide direct input to Brown about what Ohio's working people, their families and their communities need to be successful. Workers in these forums have demanded immediate additional COVID relief that supports workers, investment in our communities through massive investment in infrastructure, and the right to organize through the immediate passage of the PRO Act. By the time these forums are finished, Brown’s office will have direct input from workers in all of our major industries, and from Ohio communities large and small, rural and urban, and everywhere in between.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 01/21/2021 - 09:56

Pathway to Progress: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Scripto Strike

Tue, 19 Jan 2021 15:05:34 +0000

Pathway to Progress: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Scripto Strike

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 new 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. Today's topic is the 1964-65 Scripto Strike in Atlanta and Martin Luther King Jr.

When talking about Martin Luther King Jr., it's important to note that he was an activist for economic and labor rights, not just civil rights. King's death came while he was in Memphis, Tennessee, supporting sanitation workers and AFSCME members. His support for unions and collective bargaining rights was a key part of his agenda and that support went public in Atlanta during the Scripto Strike that began in 1964.

In the 1960s, Scripto was a leading pen and pencil manufacturer. The company had a plant in Atlanta since 1931 and were not only one of the largest employers in the city, but the company took pride in being the preferred employer for Black women, particularly in the area of town closest to the plant. Scripto President James V. Carmichael was surprised in 1962, when the International Chemical Workers Union started organizing at the plant. Carmichael believed that he and Scripto should be exempt from race-based complaints, as he took pride as a progressive on the topic, providing better policies for Black workers than the rest of the White Atlanta business community. Carmichael was too far removed from Black workers, though, to understand their needs and hopes and he underestimated their desire for a voice and some power in their economic lives.

The Chemical Workers Union sent the Rev. James Hampton, a Black organizer who was also a Baptist minister, to work with the Scripto employees. He tied the union organizing he was doing to the work that Martin Luther King Jr. was doing with civil rights. Hampton reached out to Black Baptist ministers in the area, recognizing that many of the Scripto workers were parishioners at their churches. King and most of the other Black ministers supported the organizing drive, speaking on behalf of the workers from the pulpit.

Support from the churches significantly boosted the union drive such that by August 1963, the Chemical Workers had collected enough union cards to petition the National Labor Relations Board for a union election. Scripto was confident it would win the election, so it agreed to a quick turnaround and an election date was set for late September. Management quickly made some minor changes, such as organizing an employee committee and removing segregation signs from bathrooms and drinking fountains. Events that spring and summer across the country had the Scripto workers primed for action, however, as they saw civil rights demonstrations having an effect in the South and beyond. 

Nearly 95% of the 1,005 eligible voters participated in the election on Sept. 27, 1963. The union side won, 519-428. Within a week, Scripto began to stall. It filed objections with the NLRB that the appeals to civil rights and race by organizers tainted the election and it should be invalidated. The NLRB repeatedly rejected Scripto's objections until June 9, 1964, when the NLRB in Washington, D.C., certified the Chemical Workers as the union representative for the plant's workers. Scripto stalled on contract negotiations as long as it could and organizers realized that a contract wouldn't come without a strike.

The day before Thanksgiving 1964, a mass of workers walked into the union office and demanded a strike. They worked tirelessly over the holiday and the picket lines were in place when the plant opened the day after Thanksgiving. The workers were unified. Even those who voted against the union largely supported the strike. The "no" vote for many was out of fear of management retaliation more than opposition to union goals and they rejected initial offers from Scripto as discriminatory. Approximately 85% of the plant's workforce were Black and most were classified as "unskilled workers." They were offered half the pay raise that the "skilled workers," who were mostly White, were to be given. The Chemical Workers membership wouldn't accept that deal.

The ministers of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference became involved in the strike because so many of their parishioners were Scripto employees. Led by SCLC director of affiliates C.T. Vivian, they brought their members' concerns about wages and working conditions at Scripto to King's attention. King and the other SCLC ministers, while philosophically sympathetic to the labor movement, they were Southerners and thus unions were outside their life experience. Once the cause of the Scripto workers was put on their radar, though, the potential for alliance was obvious to most, including King.

Vivian, King and others launched a nationwide boycott of Scripto products in support of the strike. As the strike moved on, management refused further pay increases and refused to withhold union dues from employee paychecks, despite giving some on salary increases. By Christmas, the union's resources were virtually exhausted and the company's leadership began to worry about two federal contracts they had and whether the company would be in compliance with an executive order on equal opportunity issued by President John F. Kennedy.

By that point, Carmichael had been replaced by Carl Singer as president and CEO of Scripto. Singer had just come off of a successful tenure as president of the Sealy Mattress Company in Chicago. Singer and King began a series of secret meetings and they worked out a broad framework to end the strike. The company negotiated in good faith and the strike came to an end on January 9, 1965, after six weeks. They soon agreed to a new contract and the Chemical Workers won most of what they asked for. Over time, the company moved towards a more favorable bargaining atmosphere and began to work more directly with the union by the 1970s until the plant shut down in 1977.

The unity established between the labor movement and the civil rights movement during the Scripto strike endured. The SCLC was heavily involved in the labor movement from that point forward and when asked if the Scripto strike would be King's only involvement in labor conflicts, he simply said, "There will be many more to follow." The Scripto strike taught King and others that solidarity and unity are key on the pathway to progress.

Source: Atlanta History Center

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 01/19/2021 - 10:05

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: ATU Local Leads Fight for Investment in Baltimore Transit System

Tue, 19 Jan 2021 14:53:49 +0000

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: ATU Local Leads Fight for Investment in Baltimore Transit System

MTA Bus

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.

A coalition consisting of labor, elected officials and Johns Hopkins University was formed in central Maryland to fight for increased funding for the Baltimore region’s transit system. The group is pushing for $750 million in additional funding for the transit system, which it says is underfunded. President Mike McMillan of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1300 spoke out in an interview with Maryland Matters. He said that his members who work on the front lines have to field customer complaints about the transit system, even though they do not control the budget. “Once they get the tools and the buses that are needed to help them perform their job successfully, they will ensure that the public will stay safe and get to where they need to be,” McMillan said of the members of Local 1300.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 01/19/2021 - 09:53

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Masters, Mates & Pilots

Fri, 15 Jan 2021 20:08:57 +0000

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Masters, Mates & Pilots

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is our newest member union, Masters, Mates & Pilots.

Name of Union: International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots (MM&P)

MissionTo protect the rights and working conditions of members of the seagoing maritime community.

Current Leadership of UnionDonald Marcus serves as international president of MM&P and Donald Josberger as international secretary-treasurer. MM&P also has eight vice presidents: Thomas Larkin (Offshore, Atlantic Ports), Jeremy Hope (Offshore, Gulf Ports and Government Affairs), J. Lars Turner (Offshore, Pacific Ports), Tim Saffle (United Inland GroupPacific Maritime Region), Randall Rockwood (Federal Employees Membership Group), George Quick (Pilots Membership Group), Tom Bell (United Inland GroupGreat Lakes & Gulf) and Michael Riordan (Atlantic Maritime Group).

Number of Members5,500.

Members Work AsLicensed deck officers on U.S.-flag commercial vessels sailing offshore, on the inland waterways, on civilian-crewed ships in the government fleet and for the state ferry systems in Alaska and Washington; mariners who work on tug, ferry and harbor tour vessels in New York Harbor, throughout the Northeast and on the Pacific Coast; licensed and unlicensed mariners who work on dredges; state pilots; marine engineers; unlicensed seafarers; and maritime industry shore-side clerical and service workers.

Industries RepresentedThe U.S. maritime industry.

HistoryOn June 28, 1880, a boiler exploded on the side paddle-wheeler Seawanhaka in New York Harbor. Captain Charles P. Smith maneuvered the ship to shallow waters so passengers could escape safely. While his heroism would later be recognized, local politicians initially sought to make him the scapegoat for the fire. Other pilots and captains were so outraged, they formed the committee that would become the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots.

Current Campaigns/Community Efforts: MM&P Political Contribution FundMM&P Federal Credit UnionMaritime Institute of Technology & Graduate Studies (MITAGS), The Wheelhouse Weekly newsletter and The Master, Mate & Pilot magazine.

Learn More: WebsiteFacebookTwitterYouTubeInstagram.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 01/15/2021 - 15:08

Get to Know the AFL-CIO's Affiliates

Fri, 15 Jan 2021 20:00:21 +0000

Get to Know the AFL-CIO's Affiliates

AFL-CIO
AFL-CIO

Starting last year, AFL-CIO has been profiling each of our affiliates. Let's take a look back at the profiles we've already published.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 01/15/2021 - 15:00

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: NATCA Members Guide First Flights Carrying COVID-19 Vaccine

Fri, 15 Jan 2021 15:03:05 +0000

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: NATCA Members Guide First Flights Carrying COVID-19 Vaccine

NATCA

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.

National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) members in the Michigan cities of Lansing and Grand Rapids were proud last month to control the two aircraft containing the first shipments of COVID-19 vaccines to be distributed throughout the United States. The UPS-transported vaccines were moved by semitrucks, escorted by U.S. marshals, from the Pfizer manufacturing and storage facility in Portage, Michigan, on Dec. 13. They departed Lansing and headed to the UPS WorldPort at Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport. “All NATCA members at [Lansing airport] were honored to be a part of this country’s history and are looking forward to being able to provide quality service to all future shipments out of [Lansing],” said Zac Ploch, NATCA facility representative.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 01/15/2021 - 10:03

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: IBEW Members Integral to Production and Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccines

Wed, 13 Jan 2021 16:01:49 +0000

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: IBEW Members Integral to Production and Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccines

COVID

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.

Almost one year after the first cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in North America, vaccines from Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna are on the verge of becoming widely available. And while members of the Electrical Workers (IBEW) are not the scientists creating those vaccines, they have been nearly as integral to the discovery, production and distribution process as any biochemist or virologist on the planet. “Without a doubt, the vaccine that will end this scourge has and will be brought to you by the skilled craft unions. They are every bit as important as the person working at the lab bench they built,” said Tim Dickson, executive director of the Pharmaceutical Industry Labor-Management Association. For instance, IBEW members have built most, if not all, of the major pharmaceutical and biotech research facilities in the United States. Click here to read more.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 01/13/2021 - 11:01

We Are Angry: In the States Roundup

Wed, 13 Jan 2021 14:07:45 +0000

We Are Angry: In the States Roundup

In the States

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.

Alaska AFL-CIO:

California Labor Federation:

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

Florida AFL-CIO:

Georgia State AFL-CIO:

Iowa Federation of Labor:

Maine AFL-CIO:

Massachusetts AFL-CIO:

Michigan AFL-CIO:

Minnesota AFL-CIO:

Missouri AFL-CIO:

Nebraska State AFL-CIO:

New Jersey State AFL-CIO:

New York State AFL-CIO:

North Dakota AFL-CIO:

Ohio AFL-CIO:

Oklahoma State AFL-CIO:

Oregon AFL-CIO:

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

Rhode Island AFL-CIO:

Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council:

Texas AFL-CIO:

Washington State Labor Council:

West Virginia AFL-CIO:

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO:

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 01/13/2021 - 09:07

   
  

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