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AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka met Wednesday with members of the House Blue Collar Caucus to talk about ways to work together to advance policies that lead to greater prosperity for working people.
Reps. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) and Marc Veasey (D-Texas) formed the caucus in December to provide direct attention to the economic hardships and anxiety felt by working-class Americans.
Trumka said Democrats must continue to fight back against policies designed specifically to help the rich at the expense of working Americans. He added that Democrats should push for a more progressive tax structure and use the money raised to invest in jobs, health care and infrastructure.
Caucus members also discussed ways to strike the right balance between jobs and the environment. Trumka made clear that this choice is not an “either/or” and that we can both create a thriving economy and protect the environment.
Finally, the caucus sought advice on how to effectively build an economic message and platform that champions working people, not Wall Street and corporate interests. Trumka advised the members to always think about what working Americans are discussing around their kitchen tables—issues such as health care, education and wages—and focus their attention on that.
Wall Street greed, unregulated, leads to things like the Great Recession. Letting the richest 1% of Americans, big corporations, and their political allies write the rules that govern our economy cost working people trillions of dollars. As a response, the labor movement and our allies mobilized to pass some powerful reforms, notably the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
The act did a lot to rein in Wall Street excess and prevent banks from preying on working people. The centerpiece of the law was the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to protect working people from tricks and traps in consumer financial products like mortgages and credit cards. Since its creation, the CFPB has returned $12 billion to consumers who were harmed by lenders.
But President Trump and congressional Republicans are more than willing to do the dirty work for Wall Street and the 1%. Through the misleadingly named Financial CHOICE Act, they are attempting to gut Dodd-Frank and the CFPB. Working people aren't going to stand for attempts to erase the progress we've made and strip away the protections we've instituted to protect our freedom to provide for our families.
Here are what people are saying about Dodd-Frank and the CFPB:
Congress should strengthen financial regs so greedy Wall St bankers are not allowed to gamble with the lives of working people #doddfrank— Richard L. Trumka (@RichardTrumka) July 21, 2017
Politicians attacking #doddfrank didn’t have their lives ripped apart the way too many working people did from Great Recession WallSt caused— Richard L. Trumka (@RichardTrumka) July 21, 2017
The latest bargaining updates for Frontier Communications, CenturyLink, and AT&T Mobility.
The Trump Administration has released its objectives for renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The Nation wrote about how StoryCorps is running an aggressive anti-union campaign.
Seven years ago, the Dodd-Frank act was signed into law, setting in motion measures to protect consumers and make the financial system more stable.
CWA and the NAACP called on the FCC to adopt strong, legally enforceable rules to safeguard an open Internet.
CWA participated in a Save Medicaid press event in Toledo.
On the night of July 13 Katy Balaguer thought she was ready for what was coming next. She was no stranger to protests, to tear gas, to the cops’ batons and the sound they make when they hit the body of your co-workers. That day, from the roof of the PepsiCo factory in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she watched as her co-workers and their supporters were brutally beaten.
The White House has declared this "Made in America" week. At the AFL-CIO, we applaud the focus on buying products made by America’s working people. We’re a bit skeptical about President Donald Trump’s record matching his rhetoric, though. Here’s why:
1. Focusing on "Made in America" would ring truer if Trump brand products were made here in the United States. The Trump family has had many opportunities to make its products here at home and instead has chosen to do business in countries where labor is cheap and worker rights are few.
2. The administration had another opportunity to promote American-made products and jobs through its principles for the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, released earlier this week. Unfortunately, the White House’s plans fell woefully short. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka had this to say:
The NAFTA objectives don’t inspire confidence that the Trump administration’s actions will meet its rhetoric on trade. If the administration is serious about renegotiating NAFTA in a way that raises wages and creates good jobs, it cannot continue to promise significant trade policy changes on the one hand, and produce vague, unambitious objectives in its official communications on the other. These objectives largely replicate those of the failed Trans-Pacific Partnership and won’t satisfy the expectations the president created for a revival of America’s manufacturing heartland. It’s also ironic that these objectives, released during the administration’s “Buy American” week, leave in place federal purchasing commitments that bypass “Buy American” laws. While we applaud the trade remedies objectives in particular, working families are disappointed with the document as a whole. We will continue to fight to create trade deals working people deserve.
3. It is important that Trump’s talk about being tough on companies that outsource production to other countries be connected to real action. Early on, Trump bragged about saving jobs at Carrier. Yet the company this week laid off more than 300 workers, sending their jobs to Mexico. Trump previously threatened to place a tax as high as 35% on products made by companies that ship jobs overseas and try to sell those products back to the U.S. We’re waiting to see how much Trump is going to tax Carrier and other companies that outsource, and how much of that additional cost is passed along to American consumers.
We like the idea of the president using his platform to promote American-made products. Now it’s time to see some real commitment to America’s working people through action, not just words.
Learn more about which products actually are Made in America.
Lea Chilelli, a steward in the Division of Developmental Disabilities in New Jersey, felt blindsided when Governor Chris Christie ordered the state shut down July 2. “There was chaos,” she said. “All my members were texting me finding out what was going on and what they should do. Management was clueless and they were telling people all different things.”
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka today joined AFT, community members and allies at a rally against policies that would decimate communities and destroy the basic supports our families need. Numerous Congress members joined AFT President Randi Weingarten and AFSCME President Lee Saunders in opposing the health care and education cuts proposed by President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans.
Trumka outlined four lessons that Republicans in Congress should have learned by now but clearly haven’t::
Lesson 1: Kicking people off insurance and cutting taxes for rich people is not a health care plan. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from workers to Wall Street and we oppose it in any form!
Lesson 2: Great countries don’t cut billions of dollars from public education. Remember, a budget is more than a set of numbers. It’s a statement of our values. So what does it say when we treat our teachers and students as a line item? America deserves better!
Lesson 3: When you bring policies forward that give workers more freedom to provide for our families, we’ll help you pass them with the same strength and intensity we are using to stop this health care sham! We don’t want to be playing defense. Give us something to fight for!
And that brings me to our final lesson: If you continue down the path of trickle down—of health care for the few—of union busting and school vouchers—of corporate handouts and a race to the bottom—we will remember in November.
Either work with us or we will elect someone who will.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has announced that he will schedule a vote the week of July 24 on so-called repeal and delay legislation that would repeal major parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and push off coming up with a replacement plan until sometime in a future Congress. While he and others are trying to sell this as a way to buy more time for developing a replacement plan—something Senate Republicans have failed to do for seven years—this plan would actually have a devastating impact on health care for millions of people right away.
McConnell says he wants to pass the same legislation Congress did in 2015, which President Barack Obama vetoed. Therefore, we have a clear idea of what will be in his bill and the impact it will have.
Despite being called "repeal and delay," his bill immediately repeals some parts of the ACA, including requirements that individuals have insurance coverage or pay a penalty and that mid-size and large employers offer affordable coverage to full-time employees. It also repeals immediately all of the tax provisions that pay for the ACA, including an investment income tax and an additional Medicare tax that only affect people with high incomes, generally more than $200,000 for singles and $250,000 for couples. The bill delays by two years repeal of the ACA’s financial assistance to help individuals pay insurance premiums and cover high deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs, as well as elimination of federal funding for the expansion of Medicaid to more low-income adults.
Congress’ budget and tax experts have already looked at McConnell’s proposal. They found that it would take insurance away from huge numbers of people within a year of enactment, premiums would spike and insurance companies would start dropping out of the market. Here are some of their key findings:
Massive Cuts in Health Insurance Coverage: In 2018, it would take insurance away from 17 million people. If no replacement plan were in place by 2020, 27 million more people would be uninsured, with that number jumping to 32 million in 2026, including 19 million people cut off from Medicaid.
Huge Increases in Premiums for Individual Coverage: In 2018, premiums for health insurance would jump by 25% compared to what they would be without repeal. In 2020, premiums would be 50% higher than they would have been; in 2026, premiums would be about 100% higher.
Insurance Is No Longer Available to Buy: The individual insurance market would contract dramatically, with many insurers dropping out of the market. By 2020, 50% of the population would live in areas with no insurers selling non-group coverage. About 75% of the population would have no insurer willing to sell them coverage by 2026.
Mary Potter calls Trumpcare "the canary in the coal mine," warning that President Donald Trump and Republican leaders "may be stalled on this, but they are busy, busy, busy on other issues."
She said the GOP also aims to deep-six "senior citizens programs, youth programs."
An attorney and online newspaper publisher in Clinton, Kentucky, Potter belongs to Four Rivers Indivisible, a far western Kentucky–deep southern Illinois branch of the national organization.
Both rural regions are Republican red. That hasn’t stayed the group from protesting GOP efforts to gut or ax the Affordable Care Act.
"I think that while McConnell has to keep up the show to the base by doing everything in his power to repeal Obamacare, the nationwide opposition to Trumpcare-no-care has made it clear that what needs to happen to this bill is for it to disappear," said Leslie McColgin, who heads the group.
When McConnell disappeared indoors at recent Republican-friendly gatherings in Paducah and Mayfield, Four Rivers members and others protested outside.
McConnell dodged the protesters.
McConnell’s office didn’t publicize his visits, though western Kentucky is conservative country that went big for Trump this past November and for McConnell when he won a sixth term in 2014.
Local Democrats think the protests in Trump territory indicate that the ground may be shifting from under the Republicans. McConnell, too, might be in for a tough re-election battle in 2020, they add.
"It has to have had an effect on McConnell that even in Paducah and Mayfield people were motivated enough to find out he was in town and show up to protest," said McColgin, a breast cancer survivor who lives in Lowes, near Paducah.
McColgin was at both protests. Beau Mohon of Graves County showed up at the Mayfield protest.
"I think it made a difference," said Mohon, a member of the Young Democrats who is on the Graves County Democratic Executive Committee with McColgin. "People driving by honked in support. People saw protesters here and not just in Washington, D.C."
Committee member Emily Cornwell, also a Young Democrat, said the apparent demise of Trumpcare is bound to hurt McConnell's chances for re-election in three years. "I don't see how he thinks he has a future in politics the way it finally played out for him."
Meanwhile, Four Rivers folks also have been firing tough questions at Kentucky First District Rep. James Comer at his town halls.
Few lawmakers in Washington are more loyal to McConnell and Trump than Comer, a Tompkinsville Republican.
Comer backed both House versions of Trumpcare. He has voted for every bill the president has supported, according to FiveThirtyEight's Tracking Congress in the Age of Trump: An updating tally of how often every member of the House and the Senate votes with or against the president.
McColgin, also a member of her local county Democratic Committee, is keeping her powder dry.
"As [McConnell]…moves to the next phase of playing to his base and attempts a straight-up repeal, we must continue the fight, lest this next repeal bill sees the light of day," she said.
The House GOP version of Trumpcare—officially the American Health Care Act—seemed dead, too, but was revised and passed on a second try. The Senate bill is the Better Care Reconciliation Act.
"It will have to be the moderate Republicans that kill the straight-up repeal bill, because the Rand Pauls and Mike Lees will not be ‘no’ votes on that, and the protests cumulatively nationwide are a powerful reminder to those moderates of the stakes if they go down that path," McColgin said.
Aaron Bugg of Paducah cautioned against whooping it up over Trumpcare’s apparent demise.
"They're now pushing for a repeal with no replacement, which will boot 18 million people off of insurance next year, rather than kicking 22 million off gradually," said Bugg, a member of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, a Bernie Sanders delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention and an honorary delegate to the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council.
He added, "If they can't develop a bill now, can they develop one in under a year? Why the gamble? And if they do repeal, and keep kicking the can down the road, 32 million people will lose insurance over time.
"We have to keep pressure on them and keep demanding improvement, not disassembly."
Council President Jeff Wiggins said the polls clearly show that most Americans like the Affordable Care Act, not Trumpcare.
"The Republicans are trying to take care of the insurance companies, but even the insurance companies came out against this last proposal," added Wiggins, who is also president of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 9447 in Calvert City, Kentucky, which also is near Paducah.
"Anybody with a pre-existing condition is doomed with replace or repeal. The Republicans want to go back to the way it was before."
Kay Tillow of Louisville agrees: "One more horror of a plan went down to defeat," said the head of Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care. "We celebrate tonight, but tomorrow we pick up the battle again."
A veteran labor and civil rights activist who was born in Paducah, Tillow declared that "the only real solution is to remove the insurance companies from our health care and move the nation forward to national single payer, improved Medicare for all. It will take a gargantuan movement to make that happen.
"H.R. 676 is now up to 114 co-sponsors, including some southern Blue Dogs. Medicare for y'all."
More than 600 union organizations nationwide—including the Kentucky State AFL-CIO and the Western Kentucky Area Council—have endorsed single payer, according to Tillow.
This guest post from Berry Craig originally appeared at the Kentucky State AFL-CIO.
The Chicago Metro Chapter of the Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans, including corresponding secretary of the chapter Bea Lumpkin, recently launched INTERGEN, a coalition focusing on common issues and priorities. The spark for the partnership came in October 2016, when both Illinois Alliance members and young activists attended an early voting rally. Since then, the older and younger activists have teamed up for rallies and protests involving health care, the Fight for 15 ($15 per hour minimum wage) and Tuition Free Illinois.
Lumpkin will celebrate her 99th birthday in less than three weeks. Young activists include members of the labor movement, USW Next Generation (young members of the United Steelworkers), Chicago Young Workers and Chicago Student Action. The coalition members hope that their combined voice will be a stronger barrier to anti-worker and anti-retiree policies seen both locally under Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) and nationally.
"Bea has gotten me involved and made sure that I stay engaged," said Earchiel Johnson, 30, of Chicago Young Workers. "It can be hard to balance work and activism, but Bea makes sure I know when I am needed."
INTERGEN was launched with an all-day conference on June 17. Activists shared their stories about why they started working for justice and met in caucuses to work on the future of the alliance. The day focused on topics like raising the minimum wage, combating student debt, and saving health care, Social Security and pensions.
The launch was videotaped to make a short documentary available to all.
With Lumpkin’s help, INTERGEN now faces many emergencies in home health care collapse, school closings and lapsed union contracts.
"Bea is a historian and a labor treasure," added Elijah Edwards, 36, vice president of Chicago Young Workers and an AFSCME official. "She is the physical embodiment of what labor represents, always standing up for those who have had their civil rights trampled.
"We met during the campaign to revitalize the Pullman area of Chicago."
This post originally appeared at the Alliance for Retired Americans.
While the past several years have been full of major victories for the LGBTQ movement, there are still many battles to be won. In the past several years, the work of the LGBTQ movement’s opposition has turned to so-called religious freedom exemption laws. Notable examples of these laws and their backlash had been seen in states like Indiana (Senate Bill 101), under then-Gov. Mike Pence.
This issue is especially poignant again. The Supreme Court will hear a case from a baker in Colorado who refused service to LGBTQ customers. These religious exemption laws allow businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ people by refusing to provide goods and services based on the owners’ religious beliefs. More alarmingly, public officials, such as law enforcement and those who issue marriage licenses, also would be allowed to deny service to LGBTQ people.
These laws, which are clear violations of constitutional equal protection, claim to protect religious freedom for those of faith.
For the past six weeks, I have been interning with Pride At Work (P@W) through a program with the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC). The RAC is the governmental advocacy arm of the Reform Jewish community, the largest denomination of Judaism in the United States. It fills a unique space in Washington as one of few largely progressive religious voices in Washington. My experiences with the Religious Action Center and Reform Judaism have proven to me that there is not one singular, anti-LGBTQ religious voice; religion also can be a force to include, celebrate and protect LGBTQ people.
I came to work in the labor movement on a very different path then most. My work at P@W stems from my passion for LGBTQ equality. Before working here, I knew very little about the labor movement, its history or its present. Upon arriving in the halls of the AFL-CIO, I learned that the labor movement and the civil rights movement are one and the same, exemplified in leaders for social justice like A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin. Pride At Work was founded with this same belief, that the fight for the rights of working people and fight for the rights of all other marginalized groups are inherently linked.
The work I am doing here in Washington, D.C., this summer is at the intersection of three forces working for a more just society: my religion, the LGBTQ movement and the labor movement.
Reform Judaism, as the other Abrahamic religions (Christianity and Islam), teaches of the intrinsic equality of all people. All were created, "in the image of God," according to Genesis 1:26-28. There is a religious imperative to ensure the equality of all people regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation because all people are created as a reflection of the Divine. The Religious Action Center writes that, "Each of us, created in God’s image, has a unique talent, with which we can contribute to the high moral purpose of the repair[ing] of our world."
Because of my faith’s teachings on the equality and sacredness of all people, and the creeds of equality pushed for by both the LGBTQ and labor movements, this point is where the fight to oppose religious exemption legislation has a moral imperative. Religious exemption laws are not only bad for the LGBTQ community; they are bad for working people, as well as the actual religious freedom guaranteed by the Constitution.
These so-called religious freedom laws are a direct affront to religious freedom in the United States. This country was founded with the principle of protecting the government and religions from each other’s dominance and infringement. These laws overstep the constitutional limitations placed on the government by the First Amendment and directly contradict the protections ensured for all people by the 14th Amendment. The Religious Action Center stated that, "Unlike needed federal religious liberty protections, the Indiana bill, like other state bills pretending to protect religious freedom, is in reality opening the door to discrimination against minorities and vulnerable populations. We can and must safeguard religious freedom without trampling on the rights of LGBT Americans and other communities in need of protection."
We must all put our differences aside and fight to oppose the proposition and passage of religious exemption laws in all states and on a federal level. The labor movement needs to unite with people of faith and the LGBTQ community because these laws are bad for all three of these groups—and indeed everyone.
So how will we do this? Ensuring that we are allies to all who fight for equality and truth is vital to furthering our own causes. Intersectionality and diversity are the keys to coalition building. We must promote these principles in all aspects of our work and lives. Labor unions and religious institutions need to stick up for the rights of LGBTQ people, and the LGBTQ movement needs to stick up for the right of working people because, "an injury to one is an injury to all."
When I return to my studies in Massachusetts this fall, I will ensure that my work and the work of the groups I partner with are being good allies. I will take the positive example of allyship working at its best, as exemplified by the work of Pride At Work and the Religious Action Center, and apply these principles to the work I do with organizations like my school’s interfaith dialogue and social justice club.
What will you and your organization do to be a good ally and oppose religious exemption laws in your own constituency?
Andrew Schloss is an intern with Pride At Work, where this post originally appeared, through a partnership with the Religious Action Center of Reformed Judaism.
At the Washington State Labor Council's annual convention, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler gave a speech about the future of the labor movement. Among the key things Shuler discussed is the labor movement's efforts to modernize using the best technology and techniques and a renewed focus on unity as a driving principle necessary for a successful path forward.
Shuler spoke of the importance of working people's voice on the job and the labor movement's role in protecting those voices:
Our number one seller is a great contract and a voice on the job. And we are the only watchdog out there that is sounding the alarms about how companies like Amazon and Uber are using 21st century technology as an excuse for 19th century labor practices. We won’t let them get away with it. The labor movement is all about innovation and disruption…but it must be used as a tool for broadly shared prosperity, not more corporate greed.
Building on the convention theme of "Resist. Persist," Shuler touched on some of the important battles nationally:
We are resisting the Republican health care bill that would result in 22 million more people being uninsured, including nearly 300,000 in Washington. We are resisting President Trump’s budget, which cuts Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to give more tax cuts to the rich. With the help of leaders like Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Judge James Robart, we are resisting the Trump administration’s unconstitutional and immoral travel ban. And we are resisting attacks on collective bargaining, workplace safety and public education. So while President Trump may have won the election, he hasn’t yet won a single major policy fight.
She expanded upon the unity theme as well:
And while we’re talking about building for the future, we should also make unions the home of the people we used to call “minorities,” but who are now the emerging majority. We know the stats, that by 2055, whites will account for less than half of the U.S. population. We also know that a union contract is the best tool for achieving justice for ALL working people—but with 90% of America not in unions, and more young people unaware of what it means to be in a union, we have a big job to do to show the emerging majority that unions fight for them.
For example, women are half the workforce and will be half the union movement in 10 years. We need equal pay—let’s show that a union is the best way to achieve that. And while we’re at it, let’s move more women into the leadership of our unions to show that we are a movement for women. Young people need better jobs and less debt—we can be on the front lines of the college affordability debate and pushing for more resources for apprenticeship and training to show we’re relevant and a path forward for them. People of color want access to good jobs and a justice system that doesn't discriminate—let’s be their best advocate. Immigrants need a path to citizenship and protection from deportation. LGBTQ people need to stop being fired and bullied because of who they are. Let’s help the emerging majority connect the dots and show them that unions are the answer!
Read the full speech for more on the AFL-CIO's efforts to guarantee the freedom of working people to come together and negotiate for a fair return on our work.
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, a swirling gas storm more than double the size of Earth, is getting a close-up. The mesmerizing photos being taken from just above the planet’s surface are due in large part to the skill of Machinists (IAM) union members.
IAM members built and launched Juno, a spacecraft now orbiting our solar system’s largest gas giant. Juno passed over the giant storm this week as it continued a series of close passes around the gaseous world more than 365 million miles away.
The photos are breathtaking—and we have fellow Machinists members to thank.
Juno was built by IAM Local 44 members at Lockheed Martin in Decatur, Alabama, and launched, in 2011, by IAM Local 610 members at United Launch Alliance in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
NASA scientists hope the Juno mission will answer long unanswered questions about the mysterious gas giant, including why its Great Red Spot appears to be shrinking.
This post originally appeared at IAM.
CWA and the NAACP filed comments supporting action by the Federal Communications Commission to safeguard an open Internet.
Tengo cuatro años trabajando para B&H Photo and Video, la compañía electrónica—no cadena—más grande de la ciudad de Nueva York, con una amplia historia en violaciones laborales, violaciones de seguridad y salud y abuso hacia los trabajadores. La fuerza laboral de los almacenes está compuesta por trabajadores latinos, en su mayoría mexicanos, guatemaltecos y dominicanos. Mi función es hacer envío de las órdenes y empacar la mercancía que llega al almacén.
Read this article in Spanish here.
For the last four years I’ve been working at B&H Photo and Video, the largest non-chain electronics company in New York City, with a long history of health and safety violations and abuse of workers. The workforce in the company’s warehouses is made up predominantly of Latino workers, the majority of them Mexicans, Guatemalans, and Dominicans. My job is to ship orders and box up merchandise that arrives at the warehouse.
Statement from CWA on AT&T West Negotiations.
The latest bargaining updates for AT&T Mobility, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, and Buffalo News.
The Senate Republicans released their new health care bill today.
Marches by immigrant workers are not an everyday sight in Nashville, Tennessee. But 50 hotel workers and supporters took to the streets June 20 to make visible the conditions facing low-wage workers in this city.
With the support of the worker center Workers’ Dignity, they marched through downtown and led delegations to management at six prominent hotels, handing in petitions calling on the hotels to adopt a Cleaning Workers’ Bill of Rights.
The final two decades of the 19th century, beginning with the great strike wave of 1877, and the first two decades of the 20th century were a period of intense class combat in the United States. The industrial working class struggled with the financial and industrial employing class in a bitterly fought battle that established an initial relationship of forces between the two emerging classes.
One big issue in May’s three-day strike by 38,000 AT&T workers was the company’s offshoring of jobs. To shine a spotlight on the issue and strengthen international solidarity, a group of union members visited the Dominican Republic a couple of weeks before the strike to meet the call center workers on the other end of that offshoring.
According to the Communications Workers (CWA), AT&T has closed 30 U.S. call centers and downsized dozens of others since 2011, eliminating 12,000 jobs—nearly one-third of all its call center employees.
Postal unions, like all federal employee unions, are open shop. That means workers can get the benefits of union representation while opting out of paying dues.
Yet the postal unions generally maintain high rates of voluntary union membership—and Letter Carriers Branch 82 in Portland, Oregon, does even better than most. From 90 percent membership five years ago, it has “slowly up-ticked,” says Organizing Chair Willie Groshell, to around 95 percent of the 1,200 represented carriers.
At Labor Notes trainings I hear lots of reasons why union members think their co-workers aren’t involved: They don’t understand labor history. They don’t appreciate all the union has done for them. They watch Fox News. They’re scared or apathetic.
I always say, “Remember what inspires people to organize a union in the first place. They join and stay involved when they experience what it means to wield collective power.”