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NewsFeed - Labor
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CWA Reaches Tentative Agreement with Envoy Air During Mediation for Initial Passenger Service Agent Contract
Passenger Service Agents represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), reached a tentative agreement with Envoy Air on their first collective bargaining agreement.
The sad outcome of the United Auto Workers campaign at Volkswagen reminded me of when I entered the labor movement 15 years ago.
Back then the national leaders of the Service Employees (SEIU) had diagnosed labor’s big problem: we weren’t organizing fast enough. As the percentage of unionized workers in the U.S. slipped, so did unions’ influence.
If only we could regain sufficient union density, these leaders said, we would have power. Then we could start winning gains for members and change the political climate.
Trump administration backs off from slashing Job Corps centers after bipartisan outcry from Congress
The New York Call Center Jobs Act has passed in the New York Assembly by a count of 93-19, and will head to the Governor to be signed!
Management has refused to recognize the bargaining unit that employees have proposed, and is pushing for a far narrower scope of eligibility for the union.
At the 2019 Public Sector Conference in Memphis this week, CWAers heard about how public workers can fight back against vicious anti-union attacks at the state level and nationally.
This week, CWA members are launching a program to fight back against job instability, corporate tax loopholes, and the trade deals that harm working people.
CWA Activists took part in a three-day gathering of activists, union members, moral leaders, and advocates from more than 40 states to strategize, learn, and build power together.
AFA-CWA President Sara Nelson testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Sub-Committee on Aviation this week.
Union Plus has awarded $170,000 in scholarships to 108 students representing 34 unions, including seven winners from CWA.
The Secretary-Treasurer of CWA Local 6012 and Vice Chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party won the Carl Albert Award, a lifetime achievement award and the Oklahoma Democratic Party's highest honor.
Who will lead the NewsGuild is an open question after its first contested presidential election in 11 years.
Incumbent Bernie Lunzer squeezed out a few more votes than insurgent candidate Jon Schleuss. But Schleuss says Lunzer and his executive team violated a number of federal rules on the conduct of elections.
This prompted Schleuss and at least 60 other members to file challenges calling for a rerun.
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.
Strive for a Better Trade Deal: "The North American Free Trade Agreement has been nothing short of a disaster for working people. For a quarter-century, Michiganians have watched as corporations shuttered plants, raided pensions and steadily eroded communities that had come to embody the promise of the American Dream. NAFTA is a disaster. But it was no accident. Politicians and corporate executives saw trade as a way to further tilt the economy in their favor. They sold out jobs and livelihoods here at home and sacrificed workers' rights abroad. Nothing was off limits so long as they could sniff out fatter profit margins."
Passaic County Central Labor Council Encourages Education with Awards for High Schoolers: "Last night I was a part of something so truly amazing I am still having a hard time putting it into words. And for those of you that know me, words are usually my thing. There is so much that I am grateful for and want to share. It was an incredible night and to me, it was more than 100 years in the making."
Save Our VA!: What Working People Are Doing This Week: "Welcome to our regular feature, a look at what the various AFL-CIO unions and other working family organizations are doing across the country and beyond. The labor movement is big and active—here's a look at the broad range of activities we're engaged in this week."
‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Union Proud: "On the latest episode of 'State of the Unions,' Julie and Tim talked with Pride At Work Executive Director Jerame Davis as the AFL-CIO constituency group celebrates its 25th anniversary. They discussed the progress made by LGBTQ working people over the past quarter-century and the work still left to be done."
Governor Murphy Signs ‘Panic Button’ Bill to Protect Hotel Workers from Assaults, Harassment: "Hundreds of hotel workers, union leaders and elected officials gathered at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City today to witness the signing of a bill requiring hotels to equip certain employees with 'panic buttons' for their protection against inappropriate conduct by guests."
Pride Month Profiles: Irene Soloway: "For Pride Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various LGBTQ Americans who have worked and continue to work at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Our first profile this year is Irene Soloway."
Stop the War on Working People: In the States Roundup: "It's time once again to take a look at the ways working people are making progress in the states."
Get to Know the AFL-CIO's Affiliates: "Throughout the year, we've been profiling each of our affiliates. Let's take a look back at the profiles we've already published."
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Fire Fighters: "Next up in our series, which takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates, is the Fire Fighters."
The TWU Celebrates Its 20th Organizing Victory!: "The TWU organizing machine is in full swing. Under this new leadership, the Transport Workers union has just won our 20th new worker organizing drive. We continue to grow and thrive across the entire transport sector. Since 2017, our membership has increased from 137,000 to 151,000."
Economy Gains 75,000 Jobs in May; Unemployment Steady at 3.6%: "The U.S. economy gained 75,000 jobs in May, and the unemployment rate remained at 3.6%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wage growth of 3.1% was lower than last month's 3.4% and, a downward revision of 75,000 for the job numbers for March and April signals that the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee needs to inch down interest rates."
AFL-CIO President Hosts NAFTA Town Halls in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania: "The president of the nation’s largest labor union announced Tuesday that he will hold a series of town halls about 'union members’ struggles under NAFTA, and what working people want to see from the administration’s proposed USMCA [United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement].' The AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka will travel to Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan over the course of three days in mid-June to speak with union members as the President Trump administration pushes Congress to ratify his replacement for the much-maligned North American Free Trade Agreement."
For Pride Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various LGBTQ Americans who have worked and continue to work at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Our next profile is Jeanne Laberge and Ruth Jacobsen.
In the early 1970s, Steve D'Inzillo was the business agent for New York City's Motion Picture Projectionists Local 306, an affiliate of the Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). He had built a reputation as a maverick and had a particular passion for expanding civil rights. He wanted women to gain equal footing in the local, but the prospect was daunting.
For women to win respect and acceptance in the union, they would need both the skills to do the job well and the toughness to deal with the small-minded men that opposed women's inclusion. D'Inzillo found the right women to challenge the system with Jeanne Laberge and Ruth Jacobsen, a lesbian couple who were willing to fight for their rights. Laberge had a union background and loved the idea of taking on the status quo. Jacobsen had been a "hidden child" during the Nazi occupation of Holland.
In 1972, D'Inzillo sponsored Jacobsen's apprenticeship and she got her license a year later, making her New York City's first female "booth man." Laberge also applied and was admitted to the trade in 1974. D'Inzillo watched the women on the job and in the union hall and was impressed at how well they supported each other. Jacobsen and Laberge soon proposed that Local 306 sponsor a pre-apprenticeship program for women. D'Inzillo eagerly agreed. Many of those who signed up for the program were the sisters, wives and daughters of booth men, and they were paid less to work in lower-skilled jobs.
Laberge spoke about the success of the program:
We got several licenses out of that first class. It was the first crack of having not just fathers and sons in the trade. We were into the feminist thing. We had the union change how they addressed the letters, to get rid of 'Dear Sir and Brother.' The men could be pretty derisive at meetings, so our women's group dealt with their disruptions.
Laberge and Jacobsen were the proximate cause for Local 306 adding sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination policies in the late 1970s. After working with the women for years, the local's membership had no interest in excluding them. The local also began to regularly make contributions to lesbian and gay charities, and supported three gay members who were sick from AIDS.
This early success led D'Inzillo to ask Jacobsen to join the local's executive board, but she wasn't interested in board politics. Laberge, on the other hand, was enthusiastic about it and joined the board herself. Soon after she started a local newsletter, writing most of the articles. She became D'Inzillo's right-hand woman as he rose up the ranks of IATSE. He twice ran for the national presidency and was elected to be an IATSE vice president, with Laberge by his side the whole time. During his time as a leader in IATSE, Laberge said D'Inzillo was the only person at national conventions who pushed proposals that dealt with larger social and political issues, and she was a key part of those efforts.
Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Heat and Frost Insulators (HFIU).
Name of Union: International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers
Mission: Assisting members in securing employment, defending their rights and advancing their interests and through education and cooperation, raising them to that position in society to which they are justly entitled.
Current Leadership of Union: James P. McCourt serves as general president, first having been elected in 2015. McCourt is a second-generation pipe coverer who began his career with Asbestos Workers Local 6 in Boston in 1976. He received his mechanic's card in 1980 and served on the executive board of the local from 1982-1984. McCourt was president of the local from 1985-1987. In 1997, he was elected international vice president of the New York-New England States Conference. In 2001, he was elected by the General Executive Board to serve as general secretary-treasurer and was elected by the general convention to serve in that position three subsequent times.
Gregory T. Revard serves as general secretary-treasurer.
Current Number of Members: 30,000
Members Work As: Experts in mechanical insulation, fire stopping, infectious disease control, asbestos and lead mitigation, sound attenuation, and specialty fabrication.
Industries Represented: The construction and maintenance of commercial, industrial, medical, bio-technical, governmental and educational facilities, among others.
History: In 1903, the Pipe Coverers Union Local No. 1 called for a national convention, which would establish what, the following year, would be named the National Association of Heat, Frost and General Insulators and Asbestos Workers of America. At the convention, the delegates adopted a constitution and A.J. Kennedy was elected the organization's first president. In 1910, American Federation of Labor President Samuel Gompers signed the charter of affiliation for the Insulators across the United States and Canada.
Joseph A. Mullaney was the second, and longest-serving, president of the international union, holding the position from 1912-1954. In 1938, the Insulators became formally affiliated with the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL. Both World Wars boosted the need for workers with the skills of the Insulators and Asbestos Workers, the latter of whom were crucial in the reconstruction of the U.S. naval forces after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
After World War 2, membership in the Insulators boomed as locals opened apprenticeship programs. The industry was driven by the unprecedented expansion of national infrastructure in the 1950s and beyond. In the 1980s, as the link between asbestos and cancer was confirmed, the Insulators fought to gain acceptance of the facts and to enact and enforce regulations to minimize exposure to carcinogens.
Current Campaigns: The Professional Craftsman Code of Conduct promotes job site excellence and customer satisfaction. The Labor Management Cooperative Trust promotes the heat and frost insulation industry, particularly mechanical insulation, fire stopping and hazardous waste remediation.
Community Efforts: The Insulation Industry International Apprentice and Training Fund specializes in providing the highest-skilled and best-trained workers in the industry. The Insulators Tissue Bank seeks to improve diagnosis, treatment and prevention of asbestos-related conditions, including mesothelioma. The annual Master Apprentice Competition has tested the skills and rewarded the best of the best HFIU apprentices for 18 years.
It was a bad sign. On the day voting began at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the shift change suddenly turned blue.
Throngs of workers were passing through the factory turnstiles in both directions, as the day shift ended and the night shift began. On the preceding days, handfuls of union supporters in bright green shirts were there to hand out flyers and banter with their co-workers.
Last night I was a part of something so truly amazing I am still having a hard time putting it into words. And for those of you that know me, words are usually my thing. There is so much that I am grateful for and want to share. It was an incredible night and to me, it was more than 100 years in the making.
Last week, the Passaic County Central Labor Council paved the way financially for four high school seniors to enter into the trades through an apprenticeship program with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). These four students from Paterson and Passaic were honored and recognized for their choice to enter into the union workforce. They were given education awards to pay for the books for their apprenticeship program to become unionized auto mechanics. Where our world usually celebrates going to college and gives all sorts of college scholarships, our Labor Council wanted to help make a difference for the future of unions.
We have (unfortunately) seen college scholarships given at breakfasts where the recipients don’t even show up to receive their money. Thousands of dollars not even appreciated or understood. And we, the Passaic County CLC, were determined to make sure that our awards would go to not only those who need it, who it would greatly impact, but also those who would appreciate the opportunity and want to be a part of a union.
These four 2019 high school graduates and their families were part of something special. It was the first-ever award ceremony in our county (and maybe even New Jersey) of its kind. Seeing the smiles on their faces was truly priceless.
These students received an earful (and a heart full) of advice and wisdom from union leaders who were once in their shoes, embarking on a new career path. They were welcomed into a greater union family and provided with an understanding of what this opportunity is all about.
The event was hosted at the Botto House/American Labor Museum, which is not only a historical landmark but was also the home of an immigrant family, silk mill worker Pietro Botto, who held gatherings of more than 20,000 silk mill workers who were on strike for some of the basic working rights we have today—the eight-hour work day, child labor laws and workers' rights. Labor union organizers from the Industrial Workers of the World held rallies at this landmark and by the power of unions, and people coming together, their voices were eventually heard.
The Botto House is also a special place for me personally, as my great-grandparents, who were immigrant silk mill and factory workers in Paterson in the early 1900s, attended these rallies and strikes. My dad volunteered at the Botto House for more than 25 years and always made sure we understood that the roots of our family coming to America, that all we had, could have possibly started right here in the crowd.
There were things I knew about my dad when he passed away. Creating union opportunities within our community was something he was passionate about. Being able to hold your head high knowing that you gave your best was one of the only and most valuable things we have in life. It’s not about the cars you drive or how big your house is. It’s not about what college you went to. There are more important things in life that money will never buy. Or as he would say, “dirty hands make clean money.” He even had me write letters to the bishop of the Paterson diocese about his poor choices to support nonunion work when there were hundreds of union members/parishioners who were unemployed.
I can go on and on about my how proud my dad was to be a union member. He joined the Plumbers union after he served in the Marine Corps, not only to making a good living and provide for a family, but to be a part of something greater than himself. His path was not always easy. There were times when he was out of work and had a family to provide for, but to him, his chosen path was always worth it.
He often dragged us to events, to Labor Day parades and union rallies. He was a plumber, but one time we even hopped on a bus with IBEW Local 102 to head to a workers' rights rally in Philadelphia, because it mattered to him. He made sure our family knew why Labor Day isn’t just a Monday off, but it’s dedicated to the achievements of the backbone of America—the honorable working class. If a store or a restaurant were built nonunion, he did not approve of us going there.
When my dad passed away, I wrote to the Passaic County Central Labor Council and asked if they needed any volunteers. After all, I wrote so many letters for my dad over the years, that I felt like I was already a part of it in a way. It was also a way for me to share my understanding of unions, how appreciative I was of all that I ever had in my life…and most of all, I felt like it was a way for me to stay close with my dad. To do something in his spirit. Something that he truly cared about.
Over the last few years, I have been blessed to work with some truly remarkable leaders. We have brainstormed and debated, and have been able to put some of our ideas into action. We’ve cared about the community—brought Santa and hundreds of gifts to Martin De Porres village in Paterson. We’ve gathered hundreds of union members for labor walks and barbecues to help support politicians who care about union rights, workers’ rights and our communities. And now, we’ve provided a foundation and understanding for new union workers.
Last week, when I arrived at the ceremony for these students, my friends and colleagues on the Labor Council totally surprised me. They asked me to be a part of the ceremony. If I would hand the plaques to the students. Of course, I agreed. I was so excited. But, there’s more. When they uncovered the plaques, they unveiled to me that this would be “The Robert Ehrentraut Labor Education Award.”
I was shocked! I’m still crying, just thinking about it. What an honor!
I’m sure it’s something my dad wouldn’t believe if he was here today. To him, he simply did his job. It wasn’t about recognition, it was about doing your best, caring for your family and contributing to your community. The bar was set with expectations of integrity, hard work and care for others. Nothing less was even an option.
So, even almost five years after his passing, my dad is still teaching me to lead from the crowd. That it can be extraordinary to be ordinary. That there is honor in doing what you know in your heart is right.
More than 100 years ago my great-grandparents stood in the crowd for union rights. Last night, four students received an award in their grandson’s honor. Values come full circle in life and I couldn’t be more grateful to be my father’s daughter AND a member of the Passaic County Central Labor Council.
In large parts of the states examined by CWA, AT&T has not upgraded its copper network to fiber to better serve customers.
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 Association:
The National Equal Employment Opportunity Committee invites you to make a nomination for the 2019 LeNoire Award.— Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) June 13, 2019
Visit https://t.co/wY7Mw5oQ3X for complete details and access to the nomination form.
All submissions are due by June 30, 2019. pic.twitter.com/4j5qwt8L5P
Where can you find an AFSCME member? The answer is everywhere our communities need us. More than 1 million AFSCME members bring their passion for public service to the work they do every day. We’re the union that never quits. #1u #NeverQuit pic.twitter.com/Za160Y7aPg— AFSCME (@AFSCME) June 3, 2019
Public employees in Alaska are bracing themselves for a wave of pink slips, and the University of Alaska is beginning to plan for at least a $5 million cut in funding: This budget crisis is real #FundOurFuture https://t.co/rQBI4P1Jpz pic.twitter.com/WtVGKomxD5— AFT (@AFTunion) June 13, 2019
Air Line Pilots:
Alliance for Retired Americans:
Amalgamated Transit Union:
American Federation of Musicians:
American Postal Workers Union:
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance:
"This proposed #PublicCharge rule would bar law-abiding immigrants from accessing benefits we are all entitled to.— APALA (@APALAnational) June 12, 2019
In NYC - this rule could impact half a million immigrant families and their US citizen children." - @RepGraceMeng pic.twitter.com/K7jfel86tP
Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:
Many Air Wisconsin Flight Attendants have to choose between paying rent or paying for groceries. First year Flight Attendant salaries at Air Wisconsin can be as low as $15K a year and all Flight Attendants wages are working from 2007 wage rates. The message is clear: #ContractNow pic.twitter.com/YnH1Bsudr8— AFA-CWA (@afa_cwa) June 12, 2019
I stand with thousands of airline food workers organizing strike votes to show the airlines they'll be ready to strike when released by the Gov't. #1Job should be enough in the airline industry! #airportstrikealert #unitehere pic.twitter.com/8CwSPWQMWd https://t.co/qG8zHRYy6N— BCTGM International (@BCTGM) June 10, 2019
A true story about why #ApprenticeshipWorks. “This career and the relationships I’ve built have molded me into a man, taught me patience, and have impacted me so much. It’s a brotherhood.” - BAC Local 1 MN/ND #bricklayer Andre McHenry #SkilledTrade #1u #buildfortomorrow https://t.co/VJvf6ZgiP1— Bricklayers Union (@IUBAC) June 12, 2019
California School Employees Association:
Congratulations Anne Thatcher the CSEA 2019 RISE Award Winner. Thank you for all you have done to enrich the lives of your students and families. pic.twitter.com/TpuMo98vcs— CSEA (@CSEA_Now) June 12, 2019
Coalition of Labor Union Women:
Nationwide, there are more than 5,000 outdoor statues of people of all sorts. But estimates show fewer than 400 of them (or 8%) are of women. https://t.co/NJQRFyK0UM— CLUW National (@CLUWNational) May 26, 2019
Communications Workers of America:
Thank you @SenBobCasey, @RepMcKinley, and @RepMarkPocan for cosponsoring the U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act and standing up to corporations who are shipping jobs overseas.https://t.co/FfejGLHlIv— CWA (@CWAUnion) June 12, 2019
Department for Professional Employees:
Farm Labor Organizing Committee:
What is social justice? We are going to be talking about that tonight with our @FLOCHomies. Staff members Chibuzo and Jacovy talk about their civil rights icons...Jesus and Malcolm X. Click to see the video: https://t.co/2SpnnnDtxp …— Farm Labor Organizing Committee (@SupportFLOC) June 11, 2019
Heat and Frost Insulators:
Interested in a career as a firestopping expert? Begin with a registered apprenticeship program to gain all of the skills and knowledge needed to take on any job. To learn more about the job and opportunities, visit here: https://t.co/w4fQgT2dxT— Insulators Union (@InsulatorsUnion) June 13, 2019
International Labor Communications Association:
Ironworker Paul Pursley spent 10 weeks at “Ground Zero” following attack. His major complaint in the years following concerned his inability to get affordable treatment. #september11 #911https://t.co/ZaOp9CFjVP— Ironworkers. (@TheIronworkers) June 13, 2019
Jobs with Justice:
#GigEconomy companies are so desperate to avoid paying benefits and treating rideshare drivers like employees, they *swear* they'll raise wages if California doesn't reclassify #Uber and #Lyft drivers as employees. https://t.co/cpJMJKI0n0— Jobs With Justice (@jwjnational) June 13, 2019
On this World Against Child Labor Day: There are an estimated 218 million kids, between the ages of 5 and 17 who go to work every day. Children are meant to dream, not work! #ChildLabourDay https://t.co/u37le5Uusi— LCLAA (@LCLAA) June 12, 2019
UNION-BUSTING BOEING: A year after voting to join the IAM, flight-line employees at @Boeing's S.C. campus describe a workplace filled with paranoia and punishment. #BeBetterBoeing https://t.co/epjeehUbQH— Machinists Union (@MachinistsUnion) June 8, 2019
The House Committee on Education and Labor just passed the Butch Lewis Act, which would secure the pensions of hundreds of thousands of workers and retirees. But this is just the first step. Call your member of Congress and tell them to get behind it. https://t.co/S8RoHB2g1Z— Metal Trades Dept. (@metaltradesafl) June 12, 2019
Today marks William Davis Miners' Memorial Day. This day of remembrance is observed every June 11 in coal mining communities in Canada to recognize all miners killed in the coal mines.— United Mine Workers (@MineWorkers) June 11, 2019
Int' Secretary-Treasurer @LeviAllenUMWA is shown here placing a wreath on the memorial site. pic.twitter.com/NV2aWw2l0g
National Air Traffic Controllers Association:
NATCA recently hosted a Advanced Legislative Activism Training (ALAT) class, which is taught in the nation’s capital so that participants can learn from legislative subject matter experts. Register for NATCA Academy training courses: https://t.co/aagVHUE7zh pic.twitter.com/hhGlOPj85b— NATCA (@NATCA) June 13, 2019
National Association of Letter Carriers:
National Day Laborer Organizing Network:
National Domestic Workers Alliance:
National Nurses United:
From coast to coast #nurses are fighting to protect patients and win #SafeStaffing.— NationalNursesUnited (@NationalNurses) June 12, 2019
NNU stands in strong solidarity with @nynurses RNs who rallied today for funding and quality patient care at New York City hospitals. Our struggle is one! 💪 #1u https://t.co/sEx6OJhO6I
National Taxi Workers Alliance:
As Uber sues over NYC vehicle cap, drivers say rule keeps them afloat https://t.co/57xDx9QwPC— NY Taxi Workers (@NYTWA) June 12, 2019
NFL Players Association:
Despite threats from management, Sam McCullum led a pregame handshake demonstration for the union, building solidarity for the 1982 strike & support for a proposal that ultimately gave players a bigger piece of the pie. #CountdownToKickoff #NFL100 pic.twitter.com/hIValjEd0U— NFLPA (@NFLPA) June 13, 2019
North America's Building Trades Unions:
Just a few reasons we CANNOT wait any longer for an infrastructure bill:— The Building Trades (@NABTU) June 10, 2019
➡ Creates jobs
➡ Keeps Americans safe
➡ Saves your money
➡ Reduces time wasted in traffic
Office and Professional Employees:
In a historic vote, delegates to the 28th #OPEIUconvention just voted to adopt a resolution affirming our union’s support for #MedicareForAll.— OPEIU (@opeiu) June 12, 2019
In the wealthiest nation on the face of the planet, healthcare can and should be a right — not a privilege. #1u #M4A pic.twitter.com/ENJtj7uJYZ
Painters and Allied Trades:
In passing The American Dream and Promise Act, the House recognized that law-abiding, tax-paying, hard-working immigrants deserve a shot at achieving the American Dream.— GoIUPAT✊🏽 (@GoIUPAT) June 5, 2019
We call on the Senate to get this bill to the president’s desk for his signature. https://t.co/eBzNvtR4kM pic.twitter.com/Gi87tMMIJX
Plasterers and Cement Masons:
“Research finds under-investment costs the U.S. 900,000 jobs, & every $1 billion invested in transportation infrastructure creates more than 21,000 jobs. Further, every single dollar invested in infrastructure more than triples itself in economic impact.” https://t.co/m7KET2tZwP— OPCMIA International (@opcmiaintl) June 12, 2019
Professional Aviation Safety Specialists:
Thank you @RepChrisPappas for meeting w PASS members Michael Yanis & Ken Barrett, both dedicated employees at Federal Aviation Admin. PASS appreciates your strong support on federal worker issues & adequate funding for FAA. @PASSRegion1 @passng3 #publicservice #aviationsafety pic.twitter.com/HJif4RQWrI— PASS (@PASSNational) June 12, 2019
Professional and Technical Engineers:
We know you that quality healthcare comes from #VA workers that have a voice on the job! We need to FUND the VA instead of attacking the people taking care of our veterans! #SaveOurVA #1u https://t.co/GLYpujWsMb— IFPTE (@IFPTE) June 6, 2019
Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Workers:
Great to see the workers at a storied New York institution working together to form a union. https://t.co/LICarRIkpr— RWDSU (@RWDSU) June 13, 2019
Roofers and Waterproofers:
Does @MPAA @TheESA think it is ok for filmmakers to depict actors in #deepfake porn and digitized sex scenes without permission? They should support #5959A #5605A in the #MeToo era #ProtectMyImage Sex abuse is not free speech! https://t.co/DWjUj3jJRP— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) June 12, 2019
Parents: The biggest challenge is getting kids out the door on time. https://t.co/rtT0rJrSbp— AFSA Leadership (@AFSAUnion) June 11, 2019
Workers & their unions are at #ILC2019 to push for @ILO global standard to #StopGBVatWork! @IFJGlobal @AFLCIOGlobal @AFTIntlAffairs @CAREActionNow @LaborProject @equaltimes @ILOACTRAV @mcwalker64 @GLJhub @16DaysCampaign #ILOendGBV @ILRF @SolidarityCntr https://t.co/YjPAHFTHKF— Solidarity Center (@SolidarityCntr) June 13, 2019
Theatrical Stage Employees:
"If our jet mechanics raise a safety concern, it is because there is a safety concern with the plane and a safe ride for passengers." Maybe Parker and Isom want unsafe planes in the sky? @AmericanAir @TheChiefLeader https://t.co/CLuwpvDNLn— TWU (@transportworker) June 11, 2019
Transportation Trades Department:
We stand in solidarity with the airline food workers in 21 cities taking strike votes to show the airlines they’ll be ready to strike when released by the Government. Because #1job should be enough –– and airline food workers won't quit until it is. #AirportStrikeAlert pic.twitter.com/aR8OQJAnGy— Transp. Trades Dept. (@TTDAFLCIO) June 11, 2019
UAW, Mercy Health Reach Tentative Agreement https://t.co/JZ1gE0gXnM— UAW (@UAW) June 12, 2019
We're proud to support #PRIDEmonth every June -- and year round! ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜 Union contracts can provide stable protection for LGBT workers during uncertain times, and UFCW supports legislation that protects your rights at work: https://t.co/IHCHxwlz2Qhttps://t.co/cPCjcOuKsU pic.twitter.com/3xrkLvEjSX— UFCW (@UFCW) June 13, 2019
Union Label and Service Trades:
The POWER of Unions... https://t.co/X5DOMP6lQc— Union Label Dept. (@ULSTD_AFLCIO) June 4, 2019
Union Veterans Council:
All American workers have earned the freedom to Organize, especially if you are a veteran.— Union Veterans Council (@unionveterans) June 3, 2019
We stand side by side with the workers exercising their freedom to form a union at the Chattanooga VW plant. STAY STRONG, UNION YES! #1u #Freedom #UnionYes pic.twitter.com/gwfbi8asD9
The US airline industry is booming.— UNITE HERE (@unitehere) June 13, 2019
Revenue from fees & increased passenger numbers contribute to annual record profits.
As profits soar, 20k airline food workers refuse to con't to accept lousy wages & substandard healthcare.#1Job #AirportStrikeAlert 🐍
📸 @UniteHereLocal8 pic.twitter.com/nq3XQoAP46
Jon Stewart's powerful testimony before Congress yesterday speaks to the importance of renewing the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. This clip is worth a watch. https://t.co/GFKZLwrsUK #Renew911VCF @Renew911Health— UWUA National (@The_UWUA) June 12, 2019
"Medicaid expansion alone — opposed by the Trump administration and Republican state officials, leaving more than 1 million people in non-expansion states without coverage — might actually do a better job than a work requirement."https://t.co/pW3MYU0lL3— Working America (@WorkingAmerica) June 12, 2019
Writers Guild of America, East:
"The WGA East and various New York City agencies have unveiled the 10 writers selected to take part in the second “Made in NY Writers Room” program designed to open doors to writers from backgrounds that are underrepresented in mainstream entertainment." https://t.co/IWhkBhZiKu— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) June 13, 2019
A top employee representative in Volkswagen’s Global Works Council was denied entry into the company’s Chattanooga, Tennessee, factory today as the union election began.
The plant’s 1,700 eligible hourly employees began voting this morning on whether to form a union with the United Auto Workers. The results will be announced Friday night.
According to a statement from the Global Works Council, Johan Järvklo arrived at the plant to be an election observer. Workers confirmed that he was booted.
On the latest episode of “State of the Unions,” Julie and Tim talked with Pride At Work Executive Director Jerame Davis as the AFL-CIO constituency group celebrates its 25th anniversary. They discussed the progress made by LGBTQ working people over the past quarter-century and the work still left to be done.
“State of the Unions” is a tool to help us bring you the issues and stories that matter to working people. It captures the stories of workers across the country and is co-hosted by two young and diverse members of the AFL-CIO team: Mobilization Director Julie Greene and Executive Speechwriter and Editorial Manager Tim Schlittner. A new episode drops every other Wednesday featuring interesting interviews with workers and our allies across the country, as well as compelling insights from the podcast’s hosts.
Listen to our previous episodes:
- Union organizer Andy Levin goes to Washington to make a difference for working people.
- Talking to National Nurses United (NNU) Executive Director Bonnie Castillo, RN, about the growing movement of registered nurses organizing for better jobs, a more just society and health care as a fundamental human right.
- Discussing why the new NAFTA is not good enough with former AFL-CIO Trade Policy Specialist Celeste Drake.
- A chat with Kristen Johnson, a deli manager and shop steward at the Stop & Shop in Somerville, Massachusetts, about why she went on strike.
- Talking about the #StampOutHunger food drive with Brian Renfroe, National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) executive vice president, and Christina Vela Davidson, NALC assistant to the president for community services.
- House Blue Collar Caucus co-chairs, Reps. Brendan Boyle and Marc Veasey, talk about how any plan to rebuild our economy must include working people.
Hundreds of hotel workers, union leaders and elected officials gathered at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City today to witness the signing of a bill requiring hotels to equip certain employees with “panic buttons” for their protection against inappropriate conduct by guests.
“We must protect the safety of workers in the hospitality industry,” Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said. “I am proud to sign panic button legislation that Bob [McDevitt] and the working men and women of UNITE HERE, Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo and John Armato, Charlie [Wowkanech] and Laurel [Brennan], Senator Loretta Weinberg and so many others have fought for to give hotel workers greater security and the ability to immediately call for help should they need it on the job.”
The portable safety device, known as a panic button, will allow hotel workers to alert security personnel if they feel they are in danger or a compromising position while performing housekeeping duties. Today’s signing makes New Jersey the first in the nation to have a statewide law requiring hotels to provide their employees with such devices.
Hotels that do not comply can be fined up to $5,000 for the first violation and $10,000 for each additional violation, according to the legislation.
“The safety of women in the hospitality industry has been overlooked,” said Bob McDevitt, president of UNITE HERE Local 54. “I'm proud that my state is the first to pass and sign into law real protections for housekeepers in the hotel industry.”
The harassment of hotel workers, especially housekeepers, has been a longstanding issue the hotel industry has struggled to address. Unite Here Local 54, a union representing nearly one-third of casino and hospitality workers in Atlantic City, was a driving force behind this legislation, which will provide an additional measure of security for thousands of hotel workers across the state.
“Whenever I go into a room, I wonder what is going to happen,” said Miriam Ramos, a housekeeper at Bally’s in Atlantic City. “Most guests are nice and respectful, but every housekeeper has either been sexually assaulted or harassed doing her job, or knows someone who has.”
“I’m glad that the legislature and the governor are making it safer for us,” Ramos said.
Assemblyman John Armato (D-2) introduced the “panic button” bill in the General Assembly in September. Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-2) also sponsored the bill. Sens. Loretta Weinberg (D-37) and Linda Greenstein (D-14) proposed it in the Senate.
“The New Jersey State AFL-CIO thanks the sponsors of the panic button bill for recognizing that hotel workers deserve to feel safe while on the job,” said Charles Wowkanech, president of the state federation. “We are proud to have lobbied on behalf of this important legislation, which will no doubt help create a safer working environment for all of New Jersey’s hotel workers.”
“I’m only 33 and I can’t see myself working here for another 10 years,” said Ashley Murray. “I would be disabled by then. We need a union because they are a multibillion-dollar company and they treat us like shit.”
Murray is a production employee at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, one of 18 hourly employees there I interviewed for this story. Comments like hers were almost universal.
On-the-job injuries are rampant in auto factories, where many dangerous tasks are still done by hand and in a hurry. It’s one of the main reasons why workers are organizing a union at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The vote begins June 12. Here plant worker Kim Onofrey describes what happened to her. –Eds.
I was working on the metal finish line that repairs defects on the bodies of the vehicles before they go to the paint shop.
For Pride Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various LGBTQ Americans who have worked and continue to work at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Our first profile this year is Irene Soloway.
As a young adult in 1978, Irene Soloway moved from St. Louis to New York. She was working in a bar that had a significant clientele who were roofers. Soloway referred to the behavior of her boss at the bar as "appalling," so she quit. The roofers in the bar that she knew jokingly offered her a roofing hammer. She took it as a challenge, and it made her want to show them that she could do the job.
Soloway did some roofing work, but hated it. She moved through various jobs in the construction industry, but settled on carpentry, both because she liked the work and the Carpenters union opened its doors to women. She became a member in 1979, when she began the Women in Apprenticeship Program. Soloway and other women were made to feel that they belong, that the program was more than tokenism.
At the time, not only were there few women in the building trades, even fewer of them were feminist Jewish New York lesbians. Soloway said that she rarely faced any direct discrimination. Instead, the concerns of rank-and-file members, women or otherwise, were largely ignored in her local at the time. She said:
The union and the apprenticeship in the Carpenters Union was now what I would consider sexist...we were never discriminated against within the school—but the specific issues that were barriers to women were never addressed specifically. So it was a second hand...diffuse kind of way that sexism was expressed.
Even when concerns were raised, leaders in the local were told to keep their concerns quiet, as they were all "brothers" in the union. Soloway explained:
We tried to inform the Carpenters Union of what we thought they needed to do to make the union receptive to women and to be inclusive. And we...became aware...that the Carpenters Union was not interested in fresh, new ideas coming from rank and file. We came in with ideas about having sexual harassment for the men in construction. We came in with ideas about having a Women's Committee that would address the issues of women in construction. We actually came in with ideas about how the apprenticeship school could be more in touch with the apprentices around issues of ethnicity and race and issues....And what we were always told was: We're all one Union and we're all brothers, and there's no need...to point out these differences because we're all carpenters.
This was the first time she had been in a union and Soloway was very excited about it because she believed that it was a structure that was supposed to support her and provide a steady job. But her local at the time was very undemocratic and her concerns weren't taken seriously. Despite the fact that she was often the only woman in the meetings, she kept attending for the next five years, never backing down from the agenda that she pursued.
In 1979, Soloway had been a founding member of United Tradeswomen, a group of diverse women working in the building trades. The organization was originally formed to recruit women into apprenticeship programs but quickly grew to provide support and advocacy for women who were starting to enter the construction industry in New York. Much of Soloway's early activism took place outside the union hall.
Fear and intimidation weren't limited to the union hall, they were also present in the workplace. Rumors were rampant that members who spoke out against union leadership were met with violence or had their careers and lives destroyed. Soloway wasn't intimidated. By 1994, she noted in an interview that many of the things she and allies had pushed for at the time have come to pass:
Now almost fifteen years later—they actually are being addressed, so that in terms of, yes, there is actually a Women's Committee now that's...sanctioned to meet within the Carpenters school, and it's advertised in the Carpenters paper that there is such a committee, and who the contact people are—so there's, at least, an acknowledgement of this committee. And there is specific training—sexual harassment training—for men and being done by women who are Carpenters—graduates of our school—who are now teaching at the school—which is an important part of the program. And another one of our other ideas was about teaching labor history in the Carpenters school, which was then ignored, and now, you know, like history's being taught in the Carpenters school.
During the mid-1980s, she got a job with the city's Health and Hospitals Corporation. The shift from at-will work that was left to the whims of the local's power structure to a secure job with security was a major turning point in her life. When she started working for the city, she felt that her job was more secure and she could speak out more. In the civil service, they had elected stewards, not ones chosen by the power structure. She won the steward position after becoming outspoken about asbestos problems on her worksite. She started refusing to work in contaminated areas. Management wasn't prepared for the problem and had to deal with it because of her. Several men came and asked her to run for steward. She won.
Soloway also helped produce the newspaper "Hard Hat News" and had to use pseudonyms like Brick Shields, to disguise her identity. She worked on a long, but successful, campaign to expand representation for rank-and-file members within the district council. In 1990, she appeared with other carpenters before the New York City Commission on Human Rights to testify about gender and race relations in the industry. She shared widespread reports that women in the industry faced threats of rape and physical violence and were subjected to pornography and insulting personalized graffiti on the worksite.
While she was working as a carpenter at Lincoln Hospital, she began taking pre-med classes and completed the coursework to become a physician's assistant. She left carpentry and began work at a methadone clinic. She looked back on her activism and those of her fellow carpenters and what impact it had:
We still felt very much on the outside of the construction industry. It felt very kind of scary to us, but we kind of created cultural groups that supported ourselves and each other, that was able to move forward into that industry. Now I think that women are more into the industry, so I think we did do something. I think we did, like, move ourselves inside—from the outside to the inside—by creating an identity for ourselves, as well as educating ourselves and each other, and trying to educate the union about us....I think our presence and our strong continued presence for each other and ourselves was the main accomplishment of this group.
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.
The front page of the Daily News-Miner today: Dunleavy administration warns workers of possible #layoffs. Tell your legislators you oppose a #DunleavyShutdown. visit https://t.co/FYG467ufBT to write your legislator TODAY!#akgov #akleg— Alaska AFL-CIO (@AKAFLCIO) June 7, 2019
Full story: https://t.co/gwIW8GlWMy
America's Workplaces Aren't Often Safe for LGBTQ Employees https://t.co/zfPNPaEwfs via Teen Vogue— Arkansas AFL-CIO (@ArkansasAFLCIO) June 10, 2019
California Labor Federation:
Californians deserve protection from high-interest, predatory loans. Join the @Cali4EJ coalition and support #AB539 to guarantee access to safe and affordable credit. Take Action by visiting https://t.co/Za4wSPqGLV #StopTheDebtTrap #1u pic.twitter.com/Y7zBaKgXeV— California Labor Federation (@CaliforniaLabor) June 10, 2019
After hearing powerful testimony from SEIU Local 105 President @RonRuggiero105 the Colorado AFL-CIO unanimously voted for a resolution to fully support SEIU Local 105 and its members as they fight for a good contract with Kaiser Permanente. #@SEIU105 pic.twitter.com/J0uVIEkPTI— Colorado AFL-CIO (@AFLCIOCO) June 7, 2019
The Trump administration's plot to cripple the union contract between the VA and @AFGENational will make it harder for front-line workers to give veterans the care they deserve. We stand with AFGE and VA workers nationwide. #SaveOurVA #1u— Connecticut AFL-CIO (@ConnAFLCIO) June 5, 2019
Indiana State AFL-CIO:
Iowa Federation of Labor:
Kentucky State AFL-CIO:
Paducah Unions Observe Workers Memorial Day by Helping Feed the Hungry https://t.co/atiAFnfSfB— Kentucky AFL-CIO (@aflcioky) May 6, 2019
THANK YOU @chloemaxmin for engaging with labor early on in the process to create a great piece of legislation that will not only fight climate change, but provide good paying working class jobs with benefits! #mepolitics @AFLCIO #1U #ClimateAction #ClimateChange https://t.co/t3eopk0MK2— Maine AFL-CIO (@MEAFLCIO) June 10, 2019
"...the muscle-flexing by airport workers may reflect the return of a model in which aggrieved employees threaten the wheels of commerce." Workers across the country are changing the tides! #UnionPower #OneJobShouldBeEnough #1uhttps://t.co/gRCtv17fvX https://t.co/0xZALpwqeG— Massachusetts AFL-CIO (@massaflcio) June 10, 2019
Metro Washington (D.C.) Council AFL-CIO:
CBTU and CLUW among the constituency groups represented at the Metro Washington Council Constituency Group Open House pic.twitter.com/Z3kaI5L7pX— MetroDCLaborCouncil (@DCLabor) June 6, 2019
“Our state’s economy is driven by the labor of the working men and women of this state. It makes perfect sense that all agencies related to labor and economic development be placed under one coordinated effort." President Ron Bieber, Michigan AFL-CIOhttps://t.co/CRW9ZNoAlK— Michigan AFL-CIO (@MIAFLCIO) June 6, 2019
This is why I went on a two-day strike this past week https://t.co/qYTe3Gi1aN #Solidarity with the workers at Guardian Angels nursing home in Elk River who stood up for their residents last week. #1u @SEIUHCMN @seiumn— Minnesota AFL-CIO (@MNAFLCIO) June 10, 2019
Support Missoula's future, support apprenticeship utilization.https://t.co/2mo0K5s9no— Montana AFL-CIO (@MTaflcio) June 7, 2019
Nebraska State AFL-CIO:
Nevada State AFL-CIO:
Inspiring to hear how @Local4041 used organizing & communications to pass collective bargaining through #NVLeg for 20k state employees! Big win for NV working families #IAMComms19 pic.twitter.com/7UTZuyndlH— Nevada State AFL-CIO (@NVAFLCIO) June 6, 2019
New Hampshire AFL-CIO:
Great work to everyone who made the Public Workers Memorial possible. An important and long overdue tribute. https://t.co/Il4BInDykF— NewHampshire AFL-CIO (@NHAFLCIO) June 7, 2019
New Mexico Federation of Labor:
New York State AFL-CIO:
Can you describe your housing? “The landlord is, as I said, our boss because he's the owner of the house” How many rooms are there? “Only 2.” For how many people? “9 or 10 people.” - Boris— NYSAFLCIO (@NYSAFLCIO) June 6, 2019
Take action! Text Farmworkers to 877877 today!#Justice4Farmworkers #UnionStrong pic.twitter.com/4s6cGeG8Kx
North Carolina State AFL-CIO:
North Dakota AFL-CIO:
ND AFL-CIO 60th Annual Convention Delegates celebrate ND Mill and Elevator Day with @BCTGM President David Durkee, greetings from MN & SD AFL-CIO and Manitoba Labor Feds, & elect new President and Board: https://t.co/37EMYQaRZb #1u— North Dakota AFL-CIO (@NDAFLCIO) June 8, 2019
Always a beautiful sight when to many friends of @AFLCIO and working people join together. Thanks to @CincyAFLCIO and @UAW for hosting the annual COPE dinner and celebrating #DignityOfWork pic.twitter.com/9q1OnvdWFu— Ohio AFL-CIO (@ohioaflcio) June 7, 2019
Oklahoma State AFL-CIO:
Check out our June Newsletter with information about Companies who Falsely Labeled Products "Made in U.S.A", AFL-CIO State Convention, Union Made Fathers Day, Millennialization of American Labor and more!— Oklahoma AFL-CIO (@OK_AFL_CIO) June 3, 2019
Check it out at https://t.co/N1dYjUN2cS
“Oregon’s union movement will continue to fight to protect the compensation of all workers and against these types of harmful cuts.” https://t.co/vcO3Y4ZaQ1— Oregon AFL-CIO (@OregonAFLCIO) June 7, 2019
Rhode Island AFL-CIO:
What a ‘Living Wage’ Actually Means--If you ask a dozen lawmakers what constitutes a “living wage,” you’ll get a dozen answers. Where does the term come from? And is it even accurate? Read about it here: https://t.co/fFSSwKeVEE— Virginia AFL-CIO (@Virginia_AFLCIO) June 7, 2019
Washington State Labor Council:
Wisconsin State AFL-CIO:
Intertwined: The Labor Movement and LGBT Rights, https://t.co/YwOe5WYEqB— WI AFL-CIO (@wisaflcio) June 9, 2019
For Pride Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various LGBTQ Americans who have worked and continue to work at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Our next profile is Bill Olwell.
In 1953, Bill Olwell started working as a grocery clerk at Lucky's supermarket in Seattle, where he became a member of the Seattle Retail Clerks Local 1001. In 1959, he became a business representative for the local and in 1968, he was elected president. He held that position for a decade, and starting in 1972, he was an international vice president of the Retail Clerks International Association, as well.
Afraid that others would exploit his sexual orientation, he stayed in the closet during this time and often took a friend who was a lesbian to union social events as a cover story. "It wasn't that often, but I used her for years, and it took the heat off," he said. But as Olwell rose up the union's ranks, political opponents began attempting to derail him using gay smears, despite the fact that his activism was focused on labor, not LGBTQ rights.
Olwell also served as president of the King County Labor Council. He was an outspoken advocate for racial integration in construction and strongly opposed the Vietnam War. These more radical stances were at odds with many in the Seattle labor movement at the time, so they began a smear campaign against him focused on his homosexuality.
The efforts were too little and too late. Olwell had worked hard for the membership and helped secure contracts after several strikes. He also helped organize insurance and bank workers. One of his biggest victories was negotiating with Seattle's high-end department stores to end long-standing gender-based discrimination. Women comprised approximately 75% of the local and Olwell had helped many of them get a big bump in pay. They supported him enthusiastically: "Those members could have cared less about me being gay. From that day on, there was a huge change in me. I stopped worrying about what people knew."
When he was running for re-election as president of Local 1001 in 1969, Olwell realized that focusing on the issues that actually matter to workers was not only the right thing to do, but popular as well:
I always knew that if I could get the election on my experience and my delivery, I would win, and as it turned out I did. Once I put my contracts up front, the gay thing just wasn't an issue. I don't think it cost me ten votes out of the four thousand that voted. We had 121 polling places, and I won every polling place but one, and the day after the election, I started working on that one.
He later moved to Washington, D.C., with his partner Eddie Miller. In the nation's capital he worked on the merger between the Retail Clerks and the Amalgamated Meat Cutters to form the new United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). Despite another campaign to smear him because of his sexuality, he was elected national vice president. In 1981, he became the international union's executive vice president and assistant to President Bill Wynn. UFCW would grow to become the largest member of the AFL-CIO during this time, surpassing 1 million members.
Despite the frequent and vicious attacks against his sexuality, Olwell never let them distract him from his efforts on behalf of working people:
People would dismiss me as a lightweight because I'm gay, and then when they saw my influence, they figured that Bill (Wynn) and I had an affair. I was a trench fighter, a real political operator. The question of my gayness only came up when people couldn't think of anything else to say against me.
In 2015, the UFCW's LGBTQ constituency group, OUTreach, named its "Champion of Equality Award" in Olwell's honor.
Additional source: Out in the Union: A Labor History of Queer America by Miriam Frank.
An issue doesn’t need to violate contract language to spark a winning fight, as this story from my union demonstrates.
Just before Christmas last year, management told one of our members at Buffalo General Hospital that as of the first of the year, she would no longer receive a $1.50-an-hour pay bump as the department lead.
Evelyn is a file clerk in the imaging department, where patients go for X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. She had been receiving this pay differential since the late 1990s in exchange for taking on extra duties as the lead.
You’re at a union meeting, brainstorming for a campaign, when a hand shoots up. “What we need is better messaging. Can we get a billboard? Maybe we could make a meme.”
We’ve all been there. Maybe you’ve said it yourself. It seems like common sense that if we can just find the right words and the correct medium, we’ll win over our fellow workers, or the community, or politicians.
I was frustrated daily by this logic when I was president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, leading the campaign against a ballot question that would allow for more charter schools.
What happens when new leaders run for office and beat an eight-term incumbent? In the Baltimore Teachers Union, it seems, the incumbent tries for a second bite at the apple.
A slate called “The Union We Deserve,” backed by two rank-and-file caucuses, ran for office this spring. Its platform was to open the union up to its own members and join with parents to fight for fully funded public schools.
The new head of Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant led two all-plant captive-audience meetings on Tuesday, a day before the National Labor Relations Board announced it has scheduled a union election.
Labor Notes has obtained audio of the speeches by CEO Frank Fischer. Both times he insinuated that the United Auto Workers were to blame for the closure of Volkswagen’s plant in Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, in 1988.
All 1,709 hourly employees at the plant will be eligible to participate in the election June 12, 13, and 14.