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USW Members Ratify Contract with BF Goodrich

Steelworker News - 6 hours 54 min ago

CONTACT: R.J. Hufnagel, (412) 562-2450, rhufnagel@usw.org

PITTSBURGH (Aug. 17) – Members of the United Steelworkers (USW) union voted to ratify a new three-year contract with BF Goodrich covering about 2,500 workers at facilities in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Fort Wayne, Ind. 

The agreement, which passed by about a 2-to-1 margin, includes annual wage increases and bonuses, maintains quality, affordable health care coverage, and strengthens retirement benefits.

“These hard-working union members, along with tire workers across the industry, are facing a number of challenges, first and foremost the threats of foreign competition and unfair trade,” said USW International President Thomas M. Conway. “They should be proud that they were able to reach an agreement that maintains family-supporting jobs while ensuring the long-term competitiveness of their facilities.”

The USW’s previous three-year agreement with BF Goodrich expired on July 27. The two sides began talks for a new contract this spring. The new agreement runs through July 30, 2022.

Kevin Johnsen, chair of the USW’s Rubber/Plastic Industry Council, said the agreement was a testament to the strength and solidarity of the union’s membership.

“It was only by standing up with one voice and confronting these challenges together that we could reach a fair and equitable agreement,” Johnsen said.

Overall, the USW represents more than 18,000 workers in the tire industry at companies including BF Goodrich, Goodyear, Bridgestone-Firestone, Titan, Cooper, Sumitomo and Uniroyal.

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service, public and health care sectors. 

AFL-CIO International Affairs Committee's Response to Israel's Denial of Entry to Reps. Omar and Tlaib

AFL-CIO - Fri, 08/16/2019 - 12:38
AFL-CIO International Affairs Committee's Response to Israel's Denial of Entry to Reps. Omar and Tlaib

The AFL-CIO International Affairs Committee issued the following response to the government of Israel’s decision to deny entry to Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib:

As longtime supporters of Israel, and its General Federation of Labor, the Histadrut, we urge the government of Israel to reverse its decision to bar Reps. Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) from entering Israel. We say this as close friends of our brothers and sisters in the Histadrut and the Israeli people.

While we strongly disagree with Reps. Omar’s and Tlaib’s positions on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, and maintain our longstanding commitment to meaningful, direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians toward a viable two-state solution, we also feel that all members of the U.S. Congress should be able to visit Israel. Regardless of Omar’s and Tlaib’s political positions, they should not be forbidden from visiting Israel.

The AFL-CIO International Affairs Committee:

Christopher Shelton, CWA, Co-Chair
Stuart Appelbaum, RWDSU/UFCW, Co-Chair
Robert Martinez, IAM, Vice Chair
James Boland, BAC
Harold Daggett, ILA
Jennifer Dorning, DPE
Leo Gerard, USW
Lorretta Johnson, AFT
Gary Jones, UAW
Sara Nelson, AFA/CWA
Fred Redmond, USW
Paul Rinaldi, NATCA
Michael Sacco, SIU
Baldemar Velasquez, FLOC

Dennis Loney Fri, 08/16/2019 - 14:38

Carnegie Library Workers Vote to Join United Steelworkers

Steelworker News - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 18:31

Contact: Chelsey Engel, cengel@usw.org, (412) 562-2446

(Pittsburgh) – Workers at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh voted overwhelmingly to join the United Steelworkers (USW) union today after launching their organizing campaign in June. They are seeking a collective bargaining agreement that would cover employees across 19 branches and the library support center. 

“We are honored to welcome these vital community builders into our growing union,” said USW International President Thomas M. Conway. “This is a big step toward making the library more fair and equitable for the workers that keep it thriving.”

The United Library Workers began discussing unionization last summer in hopes of gaining a voice when it comes to making decisions that affect the library, the people they serve, and their own working environment.

“I am so excited for us to start this next chapter and look forward to working toward a contract that we deserve,” said Isabelle Toomey, a children’s librarian at the Downtown and Business branch. “And I am proud of my fellow co-workers for coming together and utilizing our right to organize.”

The Teamsters and SEIU currently represent the Carnegie Library’s drivers and environmental service workers. This new effort includes all 321 remaining eligible staff who will join a growing number of white-collar Steelworkers in Allegheny County.

The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations. 

Save Veteran Construction Training Programs

AFL-CIO - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 09:56
Save Veteran Construction Training Programs Union Veterans Council

After coming home from the Army, Union Veteran Council Executive Director Will Attig struggled to find his place. “I came home without a job, a degree or a future,” Attig said. That changed when he found a Registered Apprenticeship Program with the North America's Building Trades Unions (NABTU) and became a journeyman pipe fitter with the Plumbers and Pipe Fitters (UA).

This is not only Attig’s story but countless other veterans who have found the registered apprenticeship programs as a way to achieve the American dream after returning home from service. At the same time, we have seen private organizations and for-profit schools create phony programs that prey on veterans leaving them with sub-par training and no true education. Right now, the future of America's veteran construction workers, the integrity of their industry and programs that support tens of thousands of veterans' transitions are at risk. 

“The Registered Apprenticeship model gives us the same level and quality of training we received in the military,” Attig added. “This is one of the reasons why veterans choose to attend NABTU Registered Apprenticeship Programs and are joining construction unions at a rate almost double then non-veterans.”

A new proposal by the U.S. Department of Labor could drive down training and labor standards in construction registered apprenticeship programs and set off a race to the bottom throughout this industry. We have less than a month to stop it from becoming a reality. Here is how you can add your voice to the fight. While we applaud the government’s interest in expanding apprenticeship opportunities in new industries, [Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs] have no place in construction.

How Can You Help?

First, if you are a union veteran and a member of a building trades union, we need you to click the link below to submit a comment. It takes less than five minutes and could mean the difference in defending the way of life for your fellow construction workers, your family and yourself. 

Building Trade Veterans: Click here to take a stand!

Second, if you are not a member of the building trades but support your fellow union veteran brothers and sisters, please follow the link below to send in a comment voicing your support and solidarity for your fellow union veterans in the trades and the programs that are helping thousands of veterans find a way to truly return home.

Veterans and Supporters: Click here to take a stand!

The proposed IRAPs differ significantly from registered apprenticeship programs. Construction registered programs help recruit, train and retain workers through progressive wage increases; apprentice-to-journey worker ratios that promote safety; quality assurance assessments by the government; uniform standards; mandatory safety training; instructor eligibility requirements; and transparency requirements. The proposed IRAP regulations abandon the important protections of the registered model and give employers the license to implement whatever low-road standards they see fit.

IRAPs in construction would jeopardize both the quality of construction and the safety and security of veterans in the construction workforce, thereby weakening every community across the country where our fellow veterans and workers reside and are needed.

As veterans and supporters of veterans, the time is now to stand together and oppose second-rate IRAP certifications that would undermine the gold-standard that the registered apprenticeship programs have attained. 

This post originally appeared at the Union Veterans Council.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 08/14/2019 - 11:56

Tags: Union Veterans Council

Shatter the Silence: In the States Roundup

AFL-CIO - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 08:25
Shatter the Silence: In the States Roundup AFL-CIO

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:

This is just wrong. It's unnecessary, immoral, disrespectful and frankly, inhumane. These attacks on our elders and seniors must stop. #akleg #akgov https://t.co/X9zEElpKPD

— Alaska AFL-CIO (@AKAFLCIO) August 2, 2019

Arkansas AFL-CIO:

NYC's $15 minimum wage hasn't brought the restaurant apocalypse — it's helped them thrive https://t.co/lcbJIx9SjV via @businessinsider

— Arkansas AFL-CIO (@ArkansasAFLCIO) August 12, 2019

California Labor Federation:

In CA, we can #ShattertheSilence & protect workers from sexual harassment & discrimination w/ #AB51. Nothing in this bill runs afoul of federal law but it does give workers in CA an important tool to fight #ForcedArbitration @LorenaSGonzalez #YesonAB51 https://t.co/gE45XMCDFi

— California Labor Federation (@CaliforniaLabor) August 8, 2019

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

"Now we’ll not only be heard on our concerns about running short-staffed, we’ll have a seat at the table with management to do something about it." #UnionYES @AFTCT @AFLCIO https://t.co/NthduDDzur

— Connecticut AFL-CIO (@ConnAFLCIO) August 5, 2019

Idaho State AFL-CIO:

I just wrote a @theactionnet letter: Federal Workers Under Attack. Write one here: https://t.co/08d8ON7NmW

— Idaho State AFL-CIO (@IdahoAFLCIO) August 6, 2019

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

Trump campaigned in 2016 as a voice for forgotten workers, but he consistently sides with large corporations against workers, and his nomination of Scalia would amplify the sad and damaging war on unions. #1u https://t.co/Q8oVUP2yDb

— Indiana AFL-CIO (@INAFLCIO) August 12, 2019

Iowa Federation of Labor:

Hundreds of Portillo's workers organize https://t.co/UNejihZECl #1u

— Iowa AFL-CIO (@IowaAFLCIO) August 7, 2019

Maine AFL-CIO:

Graduation time at the 2019 Labor Summer Institute! #1U #UnionStrong pic.twitter.com/TXLcyPcaEQ

— Maine AFL-CIO (@MEAFLCIO) August 8, 2019

Massachusetts AFL-CIO:

We stand in #solidarity with the @UNITEHERE26 Battery Wharf Hotel workers after their unanimous strike vote! #1job #1u https://t.co/rbUjusgjLF

— Massachusetts AFL-CIO (@massaflcio) August 6, 2019

Metro Washington (D.C.) Council AFL-CIO:

Striking VA OmniRide drivers reach agreement - Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO with photos! https://t.co/JaQjNFifEg

— MetroDCLaborCouncil (@DCLabor) August 6, 2019

Michigan AFL-CIO:

#RejectScalia https://t.co/J7aBQ5SxE8

— Michigan AFL-CIO (@MIAFLCIO) August 8, 2019

Minnesota AFL-CIO:

U.S. Bank Stadium becomes first to achieve LEED Platinum status. https://t.co/DQfFa7jRfd And it’s #UnionBuilt by members of @MNBldgTrades unions. pic.twitter.com/DJAiUYmVyE

— Minnesota AFL-CIO (@MNAFLCIO) August 10, 2019

Missouri AFL-CIO:

Unions provide workers with an opportunity to get their voices heard in policy debates that shape their lives. #UnionStrong pic.twitter.com/zYrFv9UbVM

— Missouri AFL-CIO (@MOAFLCIO) August 9, 2019

Montana AFL-CIO:

Montana's best interests lie with representatives who put workers first! #1u #UnionStronghttps://t.co/3peu0npXkz

— Montana AFL-CIO (@MTaflcio) August 9, 2019

Nebraska State AFL-CIO:

The Nebraska State AFL-CIO stands in unity with the people of El Paso and Dayton - Hate has no place in America - hateful rhetoric has no place in America. https://t.co/GIjr103pPc

— NE State AFL-CIO (@NEAFLCIO) August 5, 2019

New Mexico Federation of Labor:

Really! #Solidarity for these #CommonSense proposals from our brothers and sisters. https://t.co/lTX9446LKs

— NMFL (@NMFLaflcio) August 7, 2019

New York State AFL-CIO:

Podcast Episode 16: Hard Hats. Strong Women. Building the Future. #UnionStrong #CountMeIn @NEWStrongWomen @NYCBldgTrades #1u https://t.co/6yY1JrD5VY

— NYSAFLCIO (@NYSAFLCIO) August 7, 2019

North Carolina State AFL-CIO:

.@MaryBeMcMillan to speak @UnionSportsmen's Inaugural NC State Conservation Dinner Nov. 6th in #Charlotte https://t.co/fNTgdmn82D #1u

— NC State AFL-CIO (@NCStateAFLCIO) August 6, 2019

Ohio AFL-CIO:

Say it loud and proud!

Raising wages actually helps the economy for all working people, passing a @GOP #TaxScam helps the economy only for billionaires and investor class. It’s time to #UnrigTheSystem and have it work for worker! https://t.co/ZAFvXKf6db

— Ohio AFL-CIO (@ohioaflcio) August 12, 2019

Oklahoma State AFL-CIO:

Check out our August Newsletter with information on Young Workers in the Labor Movement, Union Made Labor Day, our Convention, Saving Construction Apprenticeships, and more!

Check it out at https://t.co/N1dYjUN2cS h

— Oklahoma AFL-CIO (@OK_AFL_CIO) August 5, 2019

Oregon AFL-CIO:

Cara, a recent graduate of Portland State University, explains why she's not shopping at @FredMeyerStores until they #FixTheGap between pay for male and female employees.

Learn more and take action by visiting https://t.co/2ZeqyNv5Lf! pic.twitter.com/hCFROftCHM

— Oregon AFL-CIO (@OregonAFLCIO) August 7, 2019

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

We’re talking the #PROAct, it’s time to protect the workers’ right to organize, and enforce that right! @SenBobCasey @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/YSrrouVfLi

— PA AFL-CIO (@PaAFL_CIO) August 7, 2019

Rhode Island AFL-CIO:

An updated Union Directory listing union goods and services in RI can be found on our website. Here is the direct link -->https://t.co/bmFICV4I4W Please use and share. #1U #AFLCIO #Union #UnionMade #UnionServices #Unions #UnionStrong

— Rhode Island AFL-CIO (@riaflcio) August 7, 2019

Texas AFL-CIO:

We are ready for Tuesday, Aug. 13th! Are you? The largest labor action in North Texas is prepared to show @americanair that workers deserve respect. #1u #1Job @unitehere @unitehere23 pic.twitter.com/LjQtAOOWcW

— Texas AFL-CIO (@TexasAFLCIO) August 10, 2019

Virginia AFL-CIO:

Thanks so much to @AFLCIO ‘s Secretary Treasurer @lizshuler for joining us this morning! Thanks for your hard work representing workers everywhere. Check out some of her speech highlights below: pic.twitter.com/MNaoWhkz8n

— Virginia AFL-CIO (@Virginia_AFLCIO) August 10, 2019

Washington State Labor Council:

The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is proud to be part of this coalition and to support Opportunities For All!#ApproveR88 https://t.co/yZtub4TAUH

— WA State AFL-CIO (@WAAFLCIO) August 9, 2019

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO:

Laborfest information for Madison via @LaborSCFL #WIunion pic.twitter.com/0YmQMqas3Z

— WI AFL-CIO (@wisaflcio) August 12, 2019 Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 08/14/2019 - 10:25

USW Announces New Leadership for its Legislative, Policy and Rapid Response Programs

Steelworker News - Tue, 08/13/2019 - 11:18

CONTACT: Jess Kamm Broomell, (412) 562-2444, jkamm@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) union today announced a series of promotions impacting its legislative and policy work in Washington, D.C., and statehouses across the country.

“Our union’s legislative arm gives workers a much needed voice. Whether it’s about reforming our nation’s broken trade system or keeping workers safe on the job, ordinary people deserve to have their elected officials listen to their priorities,” said USW International President Thomas M. Conway.

“Each of our new leaders is highly qualified and committed to making sure the laws and policies that are enacted at all levels of government benefit working people.”

Roy Houseman will serve as USW legislative director, overseeing the union’s national agenda, while Anna Fendley is assuming the newly created position of director of regulatory and state policy.

Houseman has been a part of the union’s legislative and policy department since 2011, previously serving as associate legislative director and working on a broad array of issues including trade and pensions. Before coming to Washington, D.C., Houseman worked at the former Smurfit-Stone paper mill in Missoula, Mont., serving as president of USW Local 885. As legislative director, Roy will oversee Congressional affairs for the union, working to improve wages, hours and conditions for USW members and their families.

Fendley has worked in various positions at the USW for a decade, most recently as associate legislative director in the union’s Washington, D.C., office. In her new role, she will further the union’s goal to proactively influence state-level policies to keep USW members working and to create high-quality jobs in their communities. She will also continue her work on federal policy impacting safety and health, as well as building and maintaining coalitions with other policy-oriented organizations such as the BlueGreen Alliance.

There is also new leadership of USW Rapid Response program, the union’s nonpartisan, grassroots effort that empowers USW members to participate in the legislative process.

Kim Miller, who was appointed director of Rapid Response in 2010, has been promoted to Assistant to the USW President. For more than two decades, Miller has fought to advance workers’ rights, first as a legislative aide on Capitol Hill and later for the USW.  Now, she will advise USW leaders on political, legislative and policy issues, working with the USW’s Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. offices.

Amber Miller is the new USW Rapid Response director. Miller began her career at Chase Brass and Copper Co. in Montpelier, Ohio, where she served in a variety of leadership roles, including local union president. When she came to Pittsburgh in 2012, Miller joined the Rapid Response staff. As director, she will help USW members to use their collective voice to engage with legislative issues that impact their workplaces and labor contracts.

“The laws and policies enacted at both the national and state level have a huge impact on nearly all of the diverse sectors where our members work,” said USW International Vice President Roxanne Brown, who oversees the union’s public policy, legislative and political agendas. “Our union is lucky to have this new team leading these fights.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors.

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Bricklayers

AFL-CIO - Mon, 08/12/2019 - 06:07
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Bricklayers AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Bricklayers.

Name of Union: International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC)

Mission: To help workers in the industry deal with unfair treatment, discrimination and other workplace issues in pursuit of balancing the power that an employer has over individual employees. To provide information, training and support for bricklayers and allied craftworkers.

Current Leadership of Union: James Boland serves as president of BAC. Boland became a BAC member in 1977 and worked on projects in the San Francisco Bay Area for a decade. In 1988, he became a business agent for BAC Local 3 before being elected president in 1992. A year later, he joined BAC's Executive Council. Boland joined the international union's headquarters staff as assistant to the vice president. Later that year, he became regional director for California and Nevada. He served as secretary-treasurer from 1999 to 2010. He became president in 2010 and was re-elected in 2015.

Timothy J. Driscoll serves as secretary-treasurer. Gerard Scarano and Carlos Aquin serve as executive vice presidents. The executive council also includes regional vice presidents, regional directors, craft vice presidents and at-large members.

Members Work As: Bricklayers, stone and marble masons, cement masons, plasterers, tile setters, terrazzo and mosaic workers, pointers, cleaners and caulkers.

Industries Represented: The organized masonry industry.

History: Watch this video about the history of the Bricklayers.

Current Campaigns/Community Efforts: The BAC Craft Awards recognize distinguished service that BAC members provide to our unions and communities. BAC runs an International Pension Fund, a Member Assistance Program and an International Health Fund to improve the quality of life for members. The Disaster Relief Fund helps members who are survivors of natural or other disasters. Through it's online store, BAC sells tools and branded clothing and other merchandise. BAC has several training and education resources. The BAC Journal provides information for working people in the masonry industry.

Learn MoreWebsiteFacebookTwitter, YouTube, Instagram.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 08/12/2019 - 08:07

How the DOE Funds Your Paycheck: Part One

USW Blog - Fri, 08/09/2019 - 08:04

If you are an atomic worker, your paycheck is dependent on federal government funding for the Department of Energy (DOE) and the agency’s allocations for clean-up activities.

Of course, your paycheck directly comes from the DOE contractor, but the contractor gets its funding for cleanup and other projects from the agency.

The funding process is like a maze and subject to administrative and congressional policies, priorities and politics. Now that Congress and President Trump have signed a two-year budget deal, they have until October 1—the beginning of the federal government’s fiscal year—to pass 12 funding bills. Whether that happens depends on the political and policy roadblocks along the way.

House Passes Energy Funding Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives took the first step by passing 10 of the 12 funding bills. This included on June 19 a package of four appropriations bills that will fund federal departments, including the DOE, from October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2020.

Under the House bill the DOE’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) would receive $7.175 billion in funding for nuclear waste cleanup at 16 sites—an amount equal to money received for fiscal year 2019, but an increase of $706 million above President Trump’s budget request.

Uranium enrichment Decontamination and Decommissioning (D&D) work would receive $873 million, an increase of $32 million above the fiscal year 2019 level and $158 million above the President’s budget request.

Funding Process

Ten of the 12 funding bills contain provisions Republicans oppose, so it may be unlikely these bills will pass the Republican-controlled Senate.  The Senate Appropriations Committee has not taken action on any of the 12 funding bills, and with the House and Senate recessed for August, there will only be three weeks after Congress returns to resolve funding issues.

This is a short timeframe considering the appropriations process. The House and Senate appropriations committees divide the budget resolution allocations among 12 appropriations subcommittees in each chamber. These subcommittees hold public hearings and prepare appropriations bills. Next, the Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate vote on each subcommittee’s funding bill. Then, the full House and Senate vote on each appropriations bill.

A House-Senate conference committee would resolve any differences between the House and Senate appropriations bills. Then, they would go to the President to sign or veto.

If Congress and the President cannot reach a formal funding agreement, Congress will have to pass and the President will sign a Continuing Resolution (CR) or an omnibus bill containing any unfinished funding bills to prevent a government shutdown. The CR funds the government at 2019 levels to give negotiators more time to get a funding deal. It usually goes into early or mid-December, setting up another funding deadline before the holidays.

Next Steps

The media reported that Senate Republicans are thinking of merging three appropriations bills—defense; labor, health and human services; and energy and water development—during Senate debate in September. If this happens and the Senate passes the bills, a large chunk of the federal government would be immune to a shutdown.

At the 2019 National Cleanup Workshop on Sept. 10-12 in Alexandria, Va., Congressional leadership and staff will discuss current and future funding for DOE’s Environmental Management program.

The DOE then determines how much money to allocate to each cleanup site, and its budget gives an idea of its priorities. Read about the DOE’s budget and factors influencing the money allocated to each site in Part Two of “It is Time to Fund Your Paycheck” next month.

Local 9-288 President Wins Safety Award

USW Blog - Thu, 08/08/2019 - 13:23

Health and safety is Billy Edington’s passion.

For 28 years the USW Local 9-288 president has trained and mentored thousands of people and made significant contributions to local, regional, national and international health and safety. He also writes safety curriculum, investigates incidents, and conducts safety audits and inspections.

“I don’t want to see anyone get hurt or killed,” he said, when asked what motivated him to become a health and safety activist.

An instrumentation technician, Edington said he has always worked for nuclear contractors who participated in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). He also has worked with the USW Tony Mazzocchi Center for more than 15 years.

USW District 9 Director Daniel Flippo acknowledged Edington’s commitment to health and safety: “His work ethic, attention to detail and desire to spread the knowledge of safety and health is a benefit to all who receive his instruction and guidance.”

Edington’s extensive work with VPP and the TMC also caught the attention of his employer, UCOR, in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The cleanup contractor’s VPP health and safety coordinator, Michelle Keever, nominated him for a national safety award.

In July, the 2019 Voluntary Protection Programs Participants Association (VPPPA) announced Edington had won, and at the end of August, he will travel to New Orleans to accept the VPPPA Safety and Health Outreach Award at the National VPPPA Safety & Health Conference.

“While much of Billy’s dedication to safety can be seen through the legacy of his safety and health training efforts, he ultimately demonstrates the traits of an exemplary safety leader through his everyday actions and words. He is a deliberate and effective communicator who actively cares for the health and safety of others,” Keever wrote in the award application.

UCOR is the prime cleanup contractor at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) East Tennessee Technology Park (former K-25 site).

“Billy has been a strong leader in our union when it comes to health and safety issues,” said retired International Vice President Carol Landry. “We are very proud of his work over the years. It is nice to see him get this recognition.”       

Safety Audit

Last March, Edington participated as a Special Government Employee (SGE) in the evaluation of the Sherwin-Williams Company’s Atlanta Distribution Center in Buford, Ga., to determine if it should be re-certified for VPP Star status. It was his first time conducting a VPP audit.

“I asked a lot of questions and tried to participate as much as I could,” he said. “I went in there with a student’s attitude.”

His dedication and hard work impressed the OSHA administrator overseeing the project, who noted his performance in a letter to UCOR’s president and project manager.

Enacting USW Systems of Safety

Though Edington is involved in VPP through his employer, he understands and applies the USW’s Systems of Safety to his work as a trainer for the USW’s Tony Mazzocchi Center (TMC).

“I like the USW’s philosophy on the Systems of Safety because you identify the failed systems instead of blaming somebody. That way, you fix the problem in the first place instead of disciplining somebody who has been exposed to the hazard,” he said.

Edington has served as a TMC trainer for more than 15 years, spending much time selecting, mentoring, coaching and training USW worker-trainers. He is also a key member of the TMC curriculum development team.

Through National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) grants and the support of the USW and UCOR, he conducts health and safety training at DOE sites around the country and at other industrial sites throughout USW District 9.

He also applies his teaching skills as a TMC Specialized Emergency Response Trainer (SERT), traveling to natural and manmade disaster areas to show people how to use health and safety techniques during recovery activity.

Preparing Next Generation

Since 2016, Edington has been conducting OSHA 10-hour General Industry and 40-hour HAZWOPER outreach classes at east Tennessee high schools and vocational schools through a NIEHS grant in cooperation with the USW and UCOR.

Last year, he said he trained about 400 students to prepare a new generation of environmental cleanup workers. “With high school students, I tell them war stories, my experience, and it really opens their eyes,” he said.

In early March 2019, Edington taught the OSHA General Industry class to a group of students from the Tennessee School for the Deaf. He said the class required two oral interpreters—one to translate his southern accent to the New York interpreter, who signed to the students.

“These students were very enthusiastic about the training, which made it easier for me to do my job,” he said. “All of them got a big kick out of the chemical protection clothing and personal respirator.

“Having that OSHA certification will add to their resume, and help them go into any general industry work environment.”

Edington said the best part of teaching is the “interaction with people. I learn as much from them as they learn from me. If I can save one person from getting hurt, it’s all worth it.”

USW Mourns Loss of Life in Dayton and El Paso, Calls for Unity, Action

Steelworker News - Wed, 08/07/2019 - 15:00

CONTACT: Fred Redmond, fredmond@usw.org

United Steelworkers (USW) International President Thomas M. Conway released the following statement regarding the mass shootings that took place this past weekend:

“We are all brokenhearted at the acts of senseless violence that have taken the lives of at least 31 people in Dayton and El Paso. This includes a daughter and a niece of two separate USW members in Ohio. We send our condolences to all the loved ones left mourning, and we grieve with them.

“Unions and moral people everywhere must work to combat the surge of hate and divisiveness plaguing our nation. Politicians and public figures must also better acknowledge that their words have power and that we can only heal when we come together to stand as one.

“Beyond that work, though, America needs to come to terms with the destructive killing power and nature of the weapons available to nearly anyone with the resources to purchase them. These weapons are turned against both law enforcement and innocent civilians far too often, and that should be intolerable to us as citizens.  

“The Trump administration has the means to make real change by implementing stronger, common-sense regulations, which the vast majority of Americans support. It also has a duty to denounce hatred and bigotry instead of giving them a platform.

“Americans are calling on their elected leaders to finally stand up and do something. They need to listen.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining, and the service and public sectors.

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast—Special Episode: The Labor Movement Responds to the El Paso Massacre

AFL-CIO - Wed, 08/07/2019 - 07:51
‘State of the Unions’ Podcast—Special Episode: The Labor Movement Responds to the El Paso Massacre AFL-CIO

On the latest episode of “State of the Unions,” podcast co-hosts Julie Greene and Tim Schlittner talk with Texas AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Montserrat Garibay (Education Austin/AFT-NEA) in the wake of the deadly mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. They discuss immigration, organizing and the need for solidarity in times of darkness. 

Listen to our previous episodes:

State of the Unions” is available on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and anywhere else you can find podcasts.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 08/07/2019 - 09:51

Tags: Podcast

A Labor Icon: The Working People Weekly List

AFL-CIO - Tue, 08/06/2019 - 13:06
A Labor Icon: The Working People Weekly List AFL-CIO

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.

CWA's Morton Bahr Was a Labor Icon: "On Tuesday night, Communications Workers of America (CWA) President Emeritus Morton Bahr passed away. Bahr was an iconic leader in the American labor movement whose innovation and dedication will be felt for many years to come."

Drivers Win Dignity by Forming Union, Striking for Fairness: "Right in the heart of tourist season on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, visitors and residents alike now will be driven around the island by union bus drivers who just won their first contract."

Hotel Trades and Airbnb Square Off in Jersey City Over Ordinance Regulating Short-Term Rentals: "On June 26, the Hotel Trades Council celebrated the passage of a Jersey City ordinance that places regulations on Airbnb rentals. The ordinance safeguards the wages, benefits and jobs of hundreds of hotel workers in the Jersey City region. Moreover, it protects affordable housing and quality of life for tens of thousands of city residents."

Oregon AFL-CIO Cements Deal to Make Portland Baseball Stadium Union-Friendly: "The Oregon AFL-CIO and allies negotiated a historical deal with the Portland Diamond Project that will mean a stadium being built in order to attract Major League Baseball to the city will be union-friendly. In signing the labor harmony agreement, the Portland Diamond Project has voluntarily agreed to allow workers at the stadium to organize and form unions."

Solidarity Makes Us Strong: 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 AFL-CIO's Affiliates: International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers: "Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers."

Labor Puts Candidates on Notice: ‘Let’s Be Honest About the Democratic Party’s Record’: "The president of the AFL-CIO labor federation spoke at a closed meeting with representatives from the entire field of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates ahead of Wednesday’s debate in Detroit. His message was straightforward: 'It’s time to do better.' Richard Trumka told attendees that while President Donald Trump is enacting bad policies for workers, Democratic leaders need to reckon with their own role in creating an unfair economy. He said 'both parties' are to blame for a system that caters to the rich."

AFL-CIO’s Trumka Looks for Workers’ Candidate: Campaign Update: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said he’ll be watching the Democratic debates to see which presidential candidate can best help working people. 'We ARE this country, yet more and more, the economic and political rules have been rigged against us,' Trumka, who heads the largest federation of U.S. unions, said in a statement. 'We’ll be listening for a candidate who will use the presidency to make our country work for working people. We’re not settling for anything less.'"

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Before Debate: "We’re everywhere. We make this country run. We ARE this country, yet more and more, the economic and political rules have been rigged against us. Today, here in Michigan, an autoworker woke up with a pain in her stomach, terrified that she’ll be the next to lose her job to NAFTA. A single mother heard pundits talk about our great economy and wondered when that greatness would reach her paycheck. An immigrant worker was exploited and threatened with deportation for daring to speak up for safety on the job. A nurse watched another patient walk away from medical care they couldn’t afford. A coal miner worried about the urgent threat of climate change AND the urgent threat to his hard-earned pension. Today, in small towns and big cities, in factories and in offices, co-workers joined together, trying to make things better, fighting to organize a union, only to find their voices silenced by unrestrained corporate greed and century-old labor laws."

MLB to Portland Group Expects to Meet with MLB Commissioner in Next Two Months: "Portland Diamond Project announced Monday it will allow employees who work at Portland's future ballpark to organize and join a union, and provided an update on the group's effort to bring a Major League Baseball team to Portland.During Monday's press conference, PDP also signed a labor peace agreement with the Oregon AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions. 'Oregon's unions are proud to be a part of the efforts to bring baseball to the Rose City,' Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain said. Chamberlain added that the future ballpark will be the only unionized sports arena in the state. 'This agreement is just the beginning of PDP's efforts to generate economic opportunities for Portlanders and people across the region,' PDP founder and president Craig Cheek said. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler called the labor agreement 'a significant milestone' in bringing a Major League Baseball team to Portland. Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury called it 'a strong first step.'"

Trumka Inspires at the WSLC Convention: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka brought hundreds of delegates to their feet Thursday at the 2019 Convention of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, with an inspirational call to action amid dark times in our nation. 'I started in the labor movement 50 years ago,' Trumka said. 'And I’ve never been more confident in the power of working people. Something is happening in America right now. You can see it, you can hear it, and God, you can feel it.' 'But even on our brightest day, it’s impossible to ignore the daily atrocities committed in the land that we love,' he added. 'Americans are being scapegoated, minimized, dehumanized, and told to go back to the country where they came from….Some say America has lost her way, but I think it’s even worse than that. The forces of greed in our nation, both elected and not, are pulling America apart deliberately and strategically in order to line their own pockets. Today they are laughing all the way to the bank. Donald Trump is a symptom of the problem. He capitalized on anxiety, fear, and divisions that have been sowed by the ruling class since the dawn of time….The cure for that cancer has always been the same one—solidarity, working-class solidarity.'"

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 08/06/2019 - 15:06

Stat Facts: Aug., 6, 2019

USW Blog - Tue, 08/06/2019 - 08:42
Locked-out members at CarePartners holding strong

On May 31, CarePartners locked out approximately 30 USW Local 2020 Unit 79 members, who have been on the picket line ever since.

The members, holding strong throughout this struggle, now need your help. Please sign this petition to demand the Government of Ontario’s Ministry of Health, which largely funds CarePartners, step up and force management back to the table!

How Black Pharmacists Improve Care

There are all kinds of gaps in our health care system when it comes to black and white patients. Black men and women, for example, are at greater risk for illnesses like heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

There’s also a cultural gap, and it makes a big difference when black patients seek medical help.

Only 6 percent of doctors and 7 percent of pharmacists are black. That means black patients are more likely to be treated by someone who doesn’t look like them or share their experience. And multiple studies show that when patients feel like their social, cultural, and racial backgrounds are acknowledged as part of their medical care, they can see better health outcomes.

In Illinois, though, some of that care is being provided by independent, black-owned pharmacies.

Take a listen to a podcast on The 21st by Cara Anthony, who reported on this for Kaiser Health News. This episode features Dr. Lakesha Butler, a professor of pharmacy practice at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and president of the National Pharmaceutical Association, as well as Bernard Macon, who works as a computer programmer and lives in O’Fallon, Ill. wh his wife and two ki

Global Champion for Working People, Barbara Shailor, Passes Away

AFL-CIO - Tue, 08/06/2019 - 07:49
Global Champion for Working People, Barbara Shailor, Passes Away Solidarity Center

Working people across the world lost an important champion last week when Barbara Shailor passed away. Shailor spent her life dedicated to helping improve the lives of working people, particularly women, both in the United States and around the world.

Shailor had a long and distinguished career fighting on behalf of working people across the world. She was committed to social justice, had a rigorous intellect and great style. 

Her career began when she first got a job as a flight attendant. After years of pioneering labor/community coalitions to address political issues such as energy and workers' rights, she rose up the ranks to become international director of the Machinists (IAM). She was chosen in 1995 by then-AFL-CIO President John Sweeney to reorganize and refocus the federation's international work. She served in the role of international affairs director for the AFL-CIO and oversaw the work of the Solidarity Center, refocusing its mission for modern times. After leaving the federation, she served as the U.S. State Department's special representative for international labor affairs until 2014.

In all of her roles, Shailor focused on the concerns and rights of women workers. She worked hard to promote women leaders and to develop younger women activists. The impact she had on the lives of millions of women around the globe cannot be measured.

Shailor is survived by her husband, Robert Borosage; their children, Alexander and his wife Stephanie,  Gregory and his wife Kimberly, and Frances; and two grandchildren, Jackson and Ben. She will be missed by friends around the world and the millions of working people whose lives are better because of her hard work and dedication.

About Shailor, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) said:

From her work in the movement to end the Vietnam War to Democratic Party politics and presidential campaigns to high-level legislative and organizing work at the International Association of Machinists (IAM) that brought together unions and citizen organizations like Jobs with Justice to her sophisticated leadership in international affairs at the IAM and later the AFL-CIO itself, Barbara exemplified the heart and skills that we need now more than ever in pursuing social justice. Along with John Sweeney, she led the AFL-CIO to create the Solidarity Center to build worker power around the world. As the U.S. State Department’s Special Representative for International Labor Affairs, she brought her considerable abilities to labor diplomacy, making clear the role workers and unions play in both economic justice and democracy.

And AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler (IBEW) said:

Barbara was a master at bringing global interests together, within the labor movement, but also across allied organizations, corporations and governments. I marveled at seeing her in action at the ILO annual conference in Geneva, where she brought a fierce and persuasive voice for working people to countless negotiations. She could travel seamlessly between different worlds—whether it was meeting with a high level diplomat or world leader, or an agricultural worker from a developing nation, Barbara brought her intellect, empathy and savvy diplomacy to every interaction—and working people are better off because of her heroic work.

Shailor's loss will be felt not only by those who knew her personally, but by anyone fighting on behalf of working people in the United States.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 08/06/2019 - 09:49

Tags: Solidarity Center

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Longshoremen

AFL-CIO - Mon, 08/05/2019 - 07:45
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Longshoremen AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Longshoremen.

Name of Union: International Longshoremen's Association (ILA)

Mission: To promote the best interests of our members and their families; to organize unorganized workers; to bargain collectively and to negotiate; to improve the wages, hours of work, job security, work and living conditions; to secure and promote laws for the benefit of all workers; to expand educational opportunities of our members and their families; and to promote health, welfare, pension, recreational and civic programs in the interests of our members and their families.

Current Leadership of Union: Harold J. Daggett serves as international president of ILA. Daggett began his career with ILA as a mechanic with Local 1804-1 in 1967. He is a third generation ILA member who worked with Sea-Land Services for more than a decade until he was appointed as secretary-treasurer and business agent for his local. He was re-elected to that position six times, while also serving as secretary-treasurer of the New York–New Jersey District Council. In 1991, he was elected secretary-treasurer of the ILA Atlantic Coast District, a position to which he was re-elected twice. In 1998, he was elected president of ILA Local 1804-1. He began serving as an ILA executive officer in 1999, the first eight years as assistant general organizer and then four years as executive vice president. He was first elected international president of the ILA in 2011 and has been re-elected in 2015 and 2019.

The other officers of ILA include: Stephen K. Knott (secretary-treasurer), Dennis A. Daggett (executive vice president), Wilbert Rowell (general vice president), John D. Baker (general organizer), James H. Paylor Jr. (assistant general organizer), Alan A. Robb (assistant general organizer), Benny Holland Jr. (executive vice president emeritus), Michael J. Vigneron (president, Atlantic Coast District), James Stolpinski (secretary-treasurer, Atlantic Coast District) and William Bernard Dudley (general vice president, Atlantic Coast District).

Current Number of Members: 65,000

Members Work As: Longshoremen

Industries Represented: Maritime workers on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, Great Lakes, major U.S. rivers, Puerto Rico and eastern Canada.

History: The roots of the ILA can be traced back to colonial America, as ships from the Old World needed workers to unload supplies. The earliest longshoremen in the United States lived a meager existence with horrible working conditions and low wages. Exploitation was widespread and workers were unhappy. In 1864, the first modern longshoremen's union was formed in New York, the Longshoremen's Union Protective Association (LUPA).

In 1877, an Irish tugboat worker from Chicago, Dan Keefe, formed the first local of the Association of Lumber Handlers, which would later become the ILA. Divisions among workers were exploited by big business in order to crush early unions such as LUPA. In 1892, delegates convened in Detroit where they officially became the National Longshoremen's Association of the United States. A few years later, it was changed to the "International" Longshoremen's Association to reflect the growing Canadian membership. Shortly after, ILA affiliated with the American Federation of Labor.

By 1900, ILA had grown to 50,000 members, most working the Great Lakes. Five years later, membership had doubled, with most of the new members coming from outside the Great Lakes region. The United States was the last country with large foreign commerce that hadn't passed any laws to protect the safety of longshoremen. During the Great Depression, unemployed Americans flooded the longshoremen job market with cheap labor. Company unions grew in power and in size. After the passage of labor-friendly laws like the Norris–LaGuardia Act and the National Labor Relations Act, the ILA began to reorganize and reclaim many lost members and ports. After that, membership soared to above prewar levels.

In the 1950s, New York Gov. Thomas E. Dewey conducted an investigation of the ILA over concerns about corruption and ties to organized crime. The ILA immediately worked to clean house and get rid of corrupt or criminal elements, but in 1953, the ILA was suspended by the AFL and the International Brotherhood of Longshoremen (IBL) was created to replace it. Even though the accusations against the ILA were later proved to be groundless, the turmoil nearly destroyed the ILA.

In order to address these problems, organizer Thomas "Teddy" Gleason was sent from port to port nationwide to overcome the rising negative opinions about the ILA. After the ILA won an important election to determine representation at the Port of New York, opposing forces ramped up their campaign against the union. Gleason ramped up his organizing efforts in response and the ILA won a slim victory in yet another election for representation in New York. After a third representation election in 1956, which the ILA again won, the IBL dissolved in 1959 and the ILA joined the AFL-CIO.

Gleason was unanimously elected president of the ILA in 1963. He moved the headquarters to its current location, began settling the union's troubled financial affairs and negotiated the longest-lasting ILA contract in history at that point. Gleason served as president for 24 years and his foresight saved countless jobs and increased job security and workplace safety. 

Today the ILA continues to grow and flourish, despite opposition from big business interests and competing labor organizations. Now, the ILA lives up to the vision of a modern union that leaders of the past saw for the organization and stands ready to face new challenges and technology that will affect working people's lives.

Current Campaigns/Community Efforts: The ILA Quarterly Safety Bulletin provides those working in the industry with safety guidelines and helpful information. The OSH Circular provides additional safety information. The Tracking Damages video describes the effects of improper handling of damaged shipping containers. The Civil, Human and Women's Rights Awards recognize the efforts of ILA members and allies who fight for a more inclusive workplace.

Learn MoreWebsiteFacebookTwitter, Instagram

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 08/05/2019 - 09:45

USW Joins Filing Seeking Anti-Circumvention Inquiry in Uncoated Paper Orders on Australia, Brazil, China, Indonesia and Portugal

Steelworker News - Fri, 08/02/2019 - 14:18

CONTACT:  Holly Hart (202) 778-4384, hhart@usw.org                                                                         

(Pittsburgh) – The United Steelworkers (USW) union today joined with several domestic paper producers in filing a request with the U.S. Department of Commerce to address the circumvention of existing antidumping and countervailing duty orders on uncoated paper imports.

The original case covered uncoated paper in sheets, largely copy paper.  Foreign producers have shifted to flooding the United States with essentially the same product but doing so in rolls which are then converted into sheets. This is now having the same devastating impact on domestic producers and workers.   

“The domestic paper sector has been under attack for more than twenty years as foreign producers seek to take advantage of our market, putting our members’ jobs in jeopardy.  Thousands have been lost to foreign unfair trade practices,” said USW International Vice President Leeann Foster, who oversees bargaining in the union’s paper sector. “Our trade laws are supposed to defend American workers and industries by addressing foreign unfair and predatory trade practices. We need our government to stand up for domestic jobs and stop the assaults on our workers.”

The domestic producers joining today’s effort are Domtar Corporation, Packaging Corporation of America, North Pacific Paper Company and Finch Paper. The products undermining U.S. producers and workers come from Australia, Brazil, China, Indonesia and Portugal. 

“We were forced to fight to get trade relief against dumping and subsidies of uncoated paper in sheet form only to now see our competitors circumventing the law by sending it into our market in rolls, then having it cut here,” said Foster. “The USW will continue that fight against unfair trade until every last domestic job is safe.”

“Too many foreign companies and governments seek to avoid playing by the rules and will do whatever they can to undermine our producers and steal our jobs,” said USW International President Thomas M. Conway. “The USW has fought for decades to see that our laws provide a level playing field for our members, but despite promises of a new approach to trade, workers continue to have to fight for their own jobs and for the enforcement of our trade laws.  

“Handling circumvention promptly is an important part of effective enforcement. Hopefully, the Administration will act quickly.” 

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, mining, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining, the service, public and health care sectors and higher education. 

Economy Gains 164,000 Jobs in July; Unemployment Steady at 3.7%

AFL-CIO - Fri, 08/02/2019 - 08:35
Economy Gains 164,000 Jobs in July; Unemployment Steady at 3.7%

The U.S. economy gained 164,000 jobs in July, and the unemployment rate remained at 3.7%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Compensation in both union and nonunion sectors showed modest growth for the year ending June 2019. Meanwhile, productivity is rising faster than wages in too many industries.

In response to the July job numbers, AFL-CIO Chief Economist William Spriggs tweeted:

The tepid 3.2% in wage growth in perspective: For a higher wage sector like manufacturing, wages were up 2.5%, but in lower wage sectors where the minimum wage increases have mattered, retail trade was up 5.3% and leisure and hospitality up 3.7% @AFLCIO #JobsReport pic.twitter.com/3m4Xz8qC4g

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 2, 2019

 

With continued revisions in previously release preliminary employment numbers, so far this year has averaged 164,000 jobs a month; compared to 223,000 jobs a month in 2018.  The @federalreserve rate cut should not be a mid-course correction; but, a time to change course. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 2, 2019

 

Changing job demographics.  Latinx unemployment has been rising consistently since April from 4.2 to 4.5% in July.  But, with higher labor force participation and rising employment-to-population ratio from 63.2 to 63.4% @UnidosUS_Econ @Marietmora @AFLCIO @LULAC

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 2, 2019

 

Black and white labor force participation continues to show convergence, with slight up tic in Black labor force participation in July for Blacks from 61.9 to 62.7, now virtually equal to white's 62.9% rate. @AFLCIO #JobsReport @rolandsmartin @CBTU72 @APRI_National pic.twitter.com/zIFg0ysf0H

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 2, 2019

 

July continued to show that trying to explain the labor market using a skills argument is difficult.  Unemployment rates fell for less than high school and high school only workers, but rose for better educated workers with some college or a degree. @AFLCIO #JobsReport pic.twitter.com/JJoFXSAF24

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 2, 2019

 

Not good.  Since last July, unemployment among younger veterans has risen, while unemployment rates for older veterans and for non-veterans has gone down. @AFLCIO #JobsReport pic.twitter.com/RQCbE4rQLj

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 2, 2019

 

To be clear. This July report is not good news for the President of Hate.  Unemployment is up from last July for blue collar jobs of construction, production workers and transportation jobs.  It was also up for current younger veterans. @AFLCIO #JobsReport pic.twitter.com/ebZT1lM7aG

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 2, 2019

 

Legislation to ensure workers have regular schedules is important because 5.2% of the workforce hold multiple jobs.  For women, a large share are either putting together two part-time or one full-time and a part-time job to make it. #JobsReport @IWPResearch @AFLCIO @CLUWNational pic.twitter.com/cuTtom2N6s

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 2, 2019

 

On the good news front, slow but steady small increases continue in motor vehicle and parts manufacturing jobs, up 7,200 in July from June and 11,900 from last July. @AFLCIO @UAW

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 2, 2019

 

Given the heavy debt-overhang in many retail sector companies, continued job weakness is a concern.  July, retail shed 3,600 jobs since June and 59,900 since last July. (Though food and beverage stores show modest gains @UFCW ) @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 2, 2019

 

After finally recovering to near its 2008 peak in September 2018 a decade later, state government employment continues to show weakness; unchanged in June and down 23,000 since last July. @AFSCME @AFLCIO Low public investment is not good for our economy. pic.twitter.com/7dReHYOGFw

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 2, 2019

 

Local government employment continues its recovery, and after gaining 14,000 jobs in July, is about equal to its June 2008 peak (11 years later).  But this is late for our class rooms that have had too few teachers-per-student. @AFTunion @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/JmycgkXXG5

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 2, 2019

 

It's time to rebuild labor economics.  Our two largest broad industry categories are: 1) Education and Health Services and 2) Business and Professional Services. (1) is 77.3% female, the other (2) 45.6% female.  The two industries are over 1/3 of private employment. @CLUWNational pic.twitter.com/J6ojOOP7Nr

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 2, 2019

 

Continued weakness for women in the labor market.  Once again in July, women who were unemployed in June were more likely to drop out than find employment (763,000 to 711,000).  Except June, this has been the case most this year. @CLUWNational @IWPResearch https://t.co/hliQQA9Zg7

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) August 2, 2019

Last month's biggest job gains were in professional and technical services (31,000), health care (30,000), social assistance (20,000), financial activities (18,000) and manufacturing (16,000). Mining saw a loss of jobs (5,000). Employment in other major industries, including construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, leisure and hospitality, and government changed little over the month.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates rose for Asians (2.8%) and Hispanics (4.5%). The unemployment rates for teenagers (12.8%), blacks (6.0%), adult men (3.4%), whites (3.3%) and adult women (3.4%) showed little or no change in July.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed in July and accounted for 19.2% of the unemployed.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 08/02/2019 - 10:35

Tags: Jobs Report

USW Participates in Global Union Nuclear Meeting to Address Energy Policy

USW Blog - Fri, 08/02/2019 - 07:23

Climate change is forcing many countries to rethink their energy policies, with ramifications for employment and labor relations in the nuclear sector on a global scale.

To discuss the changing energy mix and other developments within the industry, IndustriALL’s International Nuclear Workers’ Union Network (INWUN) met the end of June in Ankara, Turkey.

Jim Key, president of the USW’s Atomic Energy Workers Council, attended the two-day meeting. “There is much value to our council in reaching out to help other unionized workers in our communities, states and countries,” he said. “The cooperation between unions in the network is critical for exchanging information and sharing experiences.”

IndustriALL, a global federation formed in 2012, represents 50 million workers in 140 countries through its affiliates, including the USW. It creates international networks so unions in a particular sector or company can exchange information, mobilize and support one another.

The Turkish union— Energy, Water and Gas Workers Union (Tes-İş)—hosted the recent INWUN meeting. The union is working to increase its presence in the sector, as Turkey added nuclear power to its energy portfolio and will start operating its first nuclear power plant in 2023.

Besides the USW and Tes-İş, the meeting drew union participants from Belgium, France, Japan, Malawi, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

Country Reports

Various government and academic representatives joined a Russian labor leader and a company representative from the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM) in a panel discussion about Turkey’s nuclear energy future. ROSATOM is building the Turkish nuclear power plant.

The Ukrainian delegation discussed the fallout and entombment of Chernobyl since this year marked the 33rd anniversary of the nuclear reactor core meltdown. What the Ukrainians said impacted Key.

“One of the mind-provoking items discussed was that 1,600 workers who were sent into the Chernobyl reactor core are no longer with us. These workers did not have any medical or life insurance coverage.

“Valeriy Matov, co-chair of IndustriALL’s energy section for nuclear power and president of Ukrainian union Atomprofspilka, said that workers who bought medical and life insurance were taxed so highly by their government that it was cost prohibitive for them to own these policies,” Key said.

Delegates addressed occupational health and safety through a discussion on the differences between radioactive substances and particles, and how they penetrate the body. They also reaffirmed the importance of the right to know workplace hazards, the right to refuse or shut down unsafe work, and the right to participate fully in decision-making through joint health and safety committees.

Long-Term Policy Needed

The network concluded on the need for long-term energy policies that provide a balanced energy mix and do not change with every new government.

“Energy policies should serve the general interest through legislative and regulatory framework supporting social cohesion, equal treatment, environmental protection and better access to energy for the world,” said IndustriALL Assistant General Secretary Kemal Özkan. “IndustriALL fully supports our affiliates worldwide in their fight against further liberalization and deregulation of energy markets.”

The INWUN unanimously approved a statement about the future of the nuclear sector.  It focused on developing a balanced energy mix through democratic participation, consideration of nuclear energy in a low carbon mix, and more research for new technologies and reactors.

The statement also emphasized that sustainable industrial employment is needed so that changes in the energy sector are done with fairness and justice to workers, their families and their communities.

After the meeting ended, the delegates visited the Sarayköy nuclear research and training center in Ankara.

Link to INWUN statement: usw.to/INWUStatement

Link to IndustriALL article: usw.to/INWUArticle

CWA's Morton Bahr Was a Labor Icon

AFL-CIO - Thu, 08/01/2019 - 08:53
CWA's Morton Bahr Was a Labor Icon CWA

On Tuesday night, Communications Workers of America (CWA) President Emeritus Morton Bahr passed away. Bahr was an iconic leader in the American labor movement whose innovation and dedication will be felt for many years to come.

In 1951, Bahr took a job as a telegraph operator at Mackay Radio and Telegraph in New York. Not long after, he had organized his fellow workers into an independent union that later affiliated with CWA. He worked his way up to a leadership position, becoming district director and then vice president of the union's largest district, where he led CWA's first organizing campaign in the public sector.

Bahr's tireless efforts on behalf of working people led to his election as president of CWA in 1985, becoming only the third president in the union's history. He would win re-election to the position and remained president for 20 years. During this time, he also became an AFL-CIO vice president and Executive Council member.

The year before he was elected, the AT&T Bell System was broken up and the shakeup meant the telecommunications industry was in turmoil. Bahr created new bargaining and campaign strategies to help workers survive the turbulent times. One major strategy was to expand beyond telecommunications to include high technology, media, the airline industry, electronics, manufacturing, public service and more.

Bahr became an expert on the nexus of technology and the workforce, and he championed groundbreaking education and training programs that would help transform the labor movement. His dedication to worker education will endure, as a scholarship in his name continues to help working people enhance career opportunities through distance learning.

While serving on the AFL-CIO Executive Council, Bahr was active on the International Affairs Committee, the Industrial Union Council and the committees on Capital Stewardship, Community Partnerships, Political Education, Public Affairs, Women Workers, Political Funding and more. He also served on the boards of the National Labor College and Union Privilege, as well as secretary-treasurer for the Economic Policy Institute.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) mourned the loss:

Morty was a brother, a friend and a first-class leader. All workers are better off for his service and solidarity. The best way to honor his legacy is to confront the challenges of our time, from inequality to technology, with poise, purpose and passion.

Even after he retired in 2005, Bahr couldn't give up the labor movement. He became a volunteer organizer dedicated to bringing collective bargaining rights to every Verizon Wireless worker in the country.

Bahr laid out why he was so devoted to education and lifelong learning for workers:

A commitment to lifelong learning requires a change in lifestyle and values. Instead of going out for a beer with your co-workers at the end of the shift, you might have to go to the library. Education has to become a major part of your life, almost on a par with work and family. While the sacrifice can be great, the rewards are much greater. Taking advantage of educational opportunities will likely lead to a higher income, greater employment security and higher levels of job satisfaction. But the lifelong learner is also more active, better rounded and, there is growing evidence, a healthier individual.

Bahr will be sorely missed.

 

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 08/01/2019 - 10:53

SOAR Story: Andres "Andy" Rosas, District 13 SOAR Executive Board Member

USW Blog - Wed, 07/31/2019 - 13:48

In February, 1968, at age 28, I was hired at Reynolds Metals Sherwin Plant and started my 33 years as a union member of Aluminum Brick and Glass Local 235A (later USW Local 235). Ten years later, I went through the three-year Union Millwright apprenticeship program where I learned what I needed to work as a mechanic until I retired in 2001. My union involvement includes work as a shop steward, maintenance negotiating committeeman, financial secretary, grievance chairman and local union president.

I am husband to Enedina, who I married in 1962, and father to four children, Cynthia, Debra, Andres and Brian.

When I retired, I wanted to stay politically involved, found out about SOAR, and I applied for a charter. Our SOAR Chapter 13-1 was chartered on February 3, 2009, and we celebrated our 10th anniversary on February 3, 2019.

Editor’s Note: Int’l President Leo W. Gerard, in consultation with District 13 Director Ruben Garza, appointed Andres “Andy” Rosas as the District 13 SOAR Executive Board Member. On February 1, 2019, Andy began fulfilling the remaining term of John Patrick. 

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