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Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

Mon, 12/16/2019 - 11:24
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

The first NALC convention took place in Boston in 1889. At this point, NALC had more than 50 branches, representing 4,600 letter carriers. In 1905, the National Ladies Auxiliary was founded, allowing women to participate in the union for the first time. In the early 1900s, postal workers won the right to organize and affiliated with the American Federation of Labor. Women were first allowed to work as temporary letter carriers as many men went off to fight in World War II.

In the postwar years, NALC has focused on wages and benefits for members. In 1950, NALC began its health benefit plan. In 1964, the Nalcrest retirement community for retired letter carriers opened in Florida. The Great Postal Strike of 1970, which led to the Postal Reorganization Act, brought collective-bargaining rights to letter carriers and other postal employees. In recent decades, NALC has focused in part on legislation and on seeking commonsense legislative and regulatory reform, including the unfair 2006 congressional mandate to pre-fund future retiree health benefits decades in advance, which threatens the viability of USPS by posing an unsustainable—and unique—financial burden. NALC also has continued to regularly negotiate national agreements between letter carriers and the USPS while working to protect the safety, jobs and well-being of letter carriers. Broadly put, NALC is very active in the federal legislative and political arena to protect the interests of its members and to secure the long-term future of the Postal Service.

Read Carriers in a Common Cause, the official history of NALC.

Current Campaigns: NALC stays in regular touch with its members through The Postal Record, the monthly membership magazine; the semi-regular NALC Bulletin and the NALC ActivistThe union also sends out regular notifications to members via the NALC Member App for smartphones. NALC members have access to a number of members-only benefits, such as the NALC Health Benefit Plan (though other federal employees also can join the plan), the Mutual Benefit Association insurance company, the NALC Auxiliary and the letter carrier retirement community known as Nalcrest. Union-made clothes bearing the NALC logo and other items can be purchased through the online NALC store. 

Community Efforts: The NALC Disaster Relief Foundation helps those in need after disasters. The Letter Carriers' Food Drive, held the second Saturday each May, is the largest one-day food drive in the country. Letter Carrier Heroes recognize the acts of bravery and compassion that letter carriers engage in on a daily basis. NALC’s official charity is the Muscular Dystrophy Association, with letter carriers raising funds to Deliver the Cure. Carrier Alert is a community service program to monitor the well-being of elderly and disabled mail patrons. The Postal Employees’ Relief Fund helps active and retired postal employees, both management and craft, whose home, as a result of a major natural disaster was completely destroyed or left uninhabitable. The Combined Federal Campaign allows federal employees to donate to community service groups of their choice through paycheck deduction.

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Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 12/16/2019 - 13:24

A 'Vast Improvement' on Trade: The Working People Weekly List

Fri, 12/13/2019 - 11:13
A 'Vast Improvement' on Trade: The Working People Weekly List

Every week, we bring you a roundup of the top news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here’s the latest edition of the Working People Weekly List.

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: The Far Right Today: "On the latest episode of 'State of the Unions,' podcast co-host Tim Schlittner and guest host AFL-CIO International Director Cathy Feingold talk to Cas Mudde, a political scientist from the University of Georgia. Mudde has a new book, The Far Right Today, which takes a look at the resurgence of right-wing politicians and activists across the globe, much of it cloaked in populist, worker-friendly rhetoric."

Economy Gains 266,000 Jobs in November; Unemployment Down Slightly to 3.5%: "The U.S. economy gained 266,000 jobs in November, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 3.5%, according to figures released Friday morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics."

5 Things You Can Do to Celebrate Our Birthday with Us: "You said it's our birthday! And it is. If you've always wondered what you'd do with the AFL-CIO when we're 64, now's your chance! On this day in 1955, the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations came together after a long and winding road."

A Matter of Life and Death: Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup: "In addition to the AFL-CIO's own 'State of the Unions,' there are a lot of other podcasts out there that have their own approach to discussing labor issues and the rights of working people. Here are the latest podcasts from across the labor movement in the United States."

Solidarity Forever: What Working People Are Doing This Week: "Welcome to our regular feature, a look at what the various AFL-CIO unions and other working family organizations are doing across the country and beyond. The labor movement is big and active—here's a look at the broad range of activities we're engaged in this week."

How Labor Beat Mexico on Trade: "For AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka to declare victory on the North American trade agreement reached this week, Mexico had to lose. The point of contention was whether the AFL-CIO could send American inspectors into Mexican factories where workers weren’t being given their full union rights. Mexico hated that idea, saying it would violate Mexican sovereignty. But in the end, Mexico agreed to a small tweak: multinational three-person inspection teams that would include Mexican and American independent labor experts."

Bipartisan Support for New NAFTA Is Rare Achievement in Trade Policy: "'We have secured an agreement that working people can proudly support,' the AFL-CIO’s Trumka said a statement giving his blessing to USMCA, a contrast with his withering attacks on prior free-trade proposals. 'The trade rules in American will now be fairer.'"

AFL-CIO Endorses USMCA as 'Vast Improvement' Over NAFTA: "The AFL-CIO gave a ringing endorsement of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement on Tuesday when House Democrats announced they were satisfied with the trade deal. 'I am grateful to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her allies on the USMCA working group, along with Senate champions like Sherrod Brown and Ron Wyden, for standing strong with us throughout this process as we demanded a truly enforceable agreement,' AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.'"

Low Unemployment Rate Contradicts the Truth: No ‘Good Jobs’ and Low Wages: "The latest jobs report showed a robust 266,000 workers were hired last month, an impressive figure that kept the country’s unemployment rate at 3.2%, the lowest it's been in decades. Likewise, black unemployment was hovering around its lowest levels ever, with November’s 5.5% unemployment rate inflating by just one-tenth of a percentage point from the month prior."

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 12/13/2019 - 13:13

Tags: Podcast

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: The Far Right Today

Wed, 12/11/2019 - 08:47
‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: The Far Right Today AFL-CIO

On the latest episode of “State of the Unions,” podcast co-host Tim Schlittner and guest host AFL-CIO International Director Cathy Feingold talk to Cas Mudde, a political scientist from the University of Georgia. Mudde has a new book, The Far Right Today, which takes a look at the resurgence of right-wing politicians and activists across the globe, much of it cloaked in populist, worker-friendly rhetoric.

Listen to our previous episodes:

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

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 12/11/2019 - 10:47

Tags: Podcast

Economy Gains 266,000 Jobs in November; Unemployment Down Slightly to 3.5%

Tue, 12/10/2019 - 13:43
Economy Gains 266,000 Jobs in November; Unemployment Down Slightly to 3.5%

The U.S. economy gained 266,000 jobs in November, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 3.5%, according to figures released Friday morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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

A large part of the job growth (15.4%) came from the returning @UAW workers from their strike against GM. So, motor vehicle employment was up 41,000, but remains 2,000 lower than the month before the strike. @AFLCIO #JobsDay #NumbersDay

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) December 6, 2019

 

Once again, big gains (moving to the right) in lower wage industries (moving down). Leisure & Hospitality gained 45,000 last month (219,000 in the last four months). The 25,300 in food services puts that industry at 12.33 million compared to manufacturing's 12.87 @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/YIyFDCnadQ

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) December 6, 2019

 

Why is full employment important? Again the unemployment rate for Latino men (over age 20) at 3.0% in November equaled white men's unemployment rate. Economists insisted the unemployment gaps reflected skill gaps; @federalreserve must realize its impact on inequality @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) December 6, 2019

 

Another reason for concern about Retail: average weekly hours and average weekly payrolls fell in November. Amidst negligible job gains, this isn't a good sign for the month that includes Black Friday. @UFCW @AFLCIO #JobsDay #NumbersDay pic.twitter.com/iAn7v2GdYA

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) December 6, 2019

 

Thanks to all the states marching to a $15 an hour minimum wage, wages in leisure and hospitality were up 4.3% over the year. @BobbyScott led the House in passing a federal minimum wage hike, but from silent Mitch and Republican Senate crickets. @AFLCIO #FightFor15

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) December 6, 2019

 

In addition to tepid Retail numbers, gains in transportation for package delivery related work was good, but not great, up 8,000 for warehousing (logistics centers), 5,100 for couriers and messengers, 1,800 for support activities. @AFLCIO #JobsReport pic.twitter.com/J3yXuvDHso

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) December 6, 2019

With tepid wage growth, this puzzle of lingering long term unemployment with low overall unemployment lingers. And, NO the long term unemployed are not a homogenous group of low skilled workers. @AFLCIO #JobsReport pic.twitter.com/GrF7Rqm1KH

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) December 6, 2019

Last month's biggest job gains were in manufacturing (54,000), health care (45,000), leisure and hospitality (45,000), professional and technical services (31,000), transportation and warehousing (16,000) and financial activities (13,000). Mining lost jobs (-7,000). Employment in other major industries—including retail trade, construction, wholesale trade, information and government—showed little change over the month. 

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for teenagers (12.0%), blacks (5.5%), Hispanics (4.2%), adult men (3.2%), whites (3.2%), adult women (3.2%) and Asians (2.6%) showed little or no change in November.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) declined in November and accounted for 20.8% of the unemployed.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 12/10/2019 - 15:43

5 Things You Can Do to Celebrate Our Birthday With Us

Thu, 12/05/2019 - 11:55
5 Things You Can Do to Celebrate Our Birthday With Us AFL-CIO

You said it's our birthday! And it is. If you've always wondered what you'd do with the AFL-CIO when we're 64, now's your chance! On this day in 1955, the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations came together after a long and winding road.

You said you wanted a labor revolution, and we all still want to change the world. And over those 64 years, together, we have achieved something to be proud of. Under the leadership of the fab five presidents, we've refused to let it be and championed critical fights for workplace safety, trade fairness, fair wages, secure retirement and equal pay!

A wise person once said "all you need is love," but we know that working people also need a way to express their voices on the job. From the beginning, that's been our goal, and here's how you can help us celebrate our 64th birthday!

1. Sign our petition supporting pro-worker legislation: You should let your mother (and everyone else) know about bills like the PRO Act, which would help level the playing field between mean Mr. Mustard and his friends on Wall Street!

2. Subscribe to our podcast: In my life, I haven't found a better way to dig deeper about the stories important to working people than to listen to State of the Unions, the podcast of the AFL-CIO!

3. Subscribe to our YouTube channel: Money can't buy me love, but the good news is you won't need money to get the latest video content from the crew aboard our yellow submarine!

4. Follow us on social media: A great day in the life would include you following us on our social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) to keep up with the latest news and information!

5. Sign up for text messages: While you're twisting and shouting, text WORK to 235246 to receive periodic text alerts from the AFL-CIO (message and data rates may apply) to know when your fellow working people need your solidarity!

We've accomplished a lot from yesterday to today and I've got a feeling the future is bright for working people. Whatever challenges we face, we can work it out as long as we work all together now!

(With apologies to the Beatles!)

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 12/05/2019 - 13:55

A Matter of Life and Death: Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup

Wed, 12/04/2019 - 08:37
A Matter of Life and Death: Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup

In addition to the AFL-CIO's own "State of the Unions," there are a lot of other podcasts out there that have their own approach to discussing labor issues and the rights of working people. Here are the latest podcasts from across the labor movement in the United States.

AFT in Action: "AFT Connecticut President Jan Hochadel is joined by our state federation's vice president for this second of three episodes addressing rising levels of workplace violence. John Brady, RN, brings his years of experience in the healthcare industry to a conversation focused on the risks in hospitals, medical clinics and social work settings. Their guest is U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, who for years has led congressional efforts to require employers report incidents of assault on health professionals to federal workplace regulators. He answers' members questions about the current lack of protections in place and proposed legislation that would establish enforcement standards for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration."

America’s Work Force: High Tech Training: "John Kearney, CEO of Advanced Training Systems, spoke with America’s Work Force on Nov. 18 about his company and the training that they provide. Mike Polensek, city council member for the city of Cleveland, discussed getting more people involved in vocational education and the trades. America's Work Force host Ed 'Flash' Ferenc spoke about nurses and how the dangers that they may face from patients on the job."

Building Bridges: It’s a Matter of Life and Death: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind: "Harriet Washington (#MedicalApartheid) speaking about her new book A Terrible Thing to Waste." Listen to Part 1 and Part 2.

CTU Speaks!: 11-Time to Ratify?: "Co-hosts Andrea Parker and Jim Staros talk with bargaining team members Quentin Washington and Kirstin Roberts about what it was like to spend weeks (and even months!) at the negotiating table with Chicago Public Schools, how the wins in the contract came to be there, and what some of the strategic considerations are when striking to increase leverage at the bargaining table."

Heartland Labor Forum: "Do you think the Supreme Court’s 2018 anti-worker Janus Decision killed public sector unions? Nope. They have survived and the show talks about how unions fought back. This special Thanksgiving show is a replay of the August 30, 2018 show, which won first prize for radio from the International Labor Communications Association. Kudos to it’s producer, Cris Mann. Thursday at 6 p.m., rebroadcast Friday at 5 a.m. on KKFI 90.1 FM or streaming....Also: More on 'disappearing' the poor and the Tenants Bill of Rights hits the City Council."

Labor History Today: Making the Woman Worker: "Eileen Boris on 'Making the Woman Worker: Precarious Labor and the Fight for Global Standards' from the Working History podcast. Plus this week’s labor history highlights!"

State of Working America: "Native Americans Too Often Left Out of Economic Debate."

UCOMM Live: "National Save Apprenticeship week for the IBEW; Steelworkers are on strike in Minnesota, 25k are organizing at Delta, and we look at what a bad place Alabama is to live in. The Huffpost wrote a 5,000 word story about how the word scab is becoming mainstream, Kaepernick is getting a tryout, and Mets win the Cy Young and Rookie of the Year awards. Listen to UCOMM Live Thursdays at 4 on Facebook,Twitter and YouTube."

Union City Radio: "Weekdays 7:15 a.m. on WPFW 89.3 FM. Recent shows: Airline workers sit-in, grocery workers picket today; 'When We Fight, We Win' say fed-up workers; the Thanksgiving Dirty Dozen; Black Friday union shopping guide."

Union Strong: Treatment of Gig Economy Workers: "How will New York State treat workers in the gigeconomy? It is a question that will be the subject of debate in the upcoming legislative session. In this episode, we take a look at what is at stake and hear from the legislative director of the New York State AFL-CIO on the federation’s position on gig economy workers."

Your Rights At Work: "Labor news headlines: House Votes Today on H.R. 1309—Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act; Hearst staffers decide to unionize; 'Newsies' onstage at Arena Stage...; Popeyes’ employees report being forced to stand until their legs go numb for 10-hour shifts; Google hires firm known for anti-union efforts. Guests: Jackie Jeter, Metro Washington Council: live report from the ATU demonstration at WMATA headquarters; Joyce Gibson, SEIU 1199: Nearly 1,000 nurses vote union in West Virginia; Al Neal: U.S. Women’s Soccer Team's discrimination lawsuit granted class status; Daoud Kuttab: produces Jordan radio show Workers of the Country; Case Closed: David Schloss."

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 12/04/2019 - 10:37

Tags: Podcast

Red for Ed: The Working People Weekly List

Mon, 12/02/2019 - 13:07
Red for Ed: 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.

Red for Ed: In the States Roundup: "It's time once again to take a look at the ways working people are making progress in the states."

Trade Unions Demand Governments Address Gender-Based Violence in the World of Work: "This week marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and trade unions around the world are demanding governments ratify and implement International Labor Organization Convention 190 (C190), on ending violence and harassment in the world of work."

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: A Future Where People Will Have Jobs: "On the latest episode of 'State of the Unions,' podcast co-host Tim Schlittner talks to Guy Ryder, the director-general of the International Labor Organization, about the international labor movement, the idea of 'decent labor' and the future of work."

Native American Heritage Month Pathway to Progress: Ojibwe Women Transform Working Life in Minneapolis: "History has long been portrayed as a series of 'great men' taking great action to shape the world we live in. In recent decades, however, social historians have focused more on looking at history 'from the bottom up,' studying the vital role that working people played in our heritage. Working people built, and continue to build, the United States. In our series, Pathway to Progress, we'll take a look at various people, places and events where working people played a key role in the progress our country has made, including those who are making history right now. In honor of Native American Heritage Month, we will take a look at a group of Ojibwe women who helped transform the world of work in Minneapolis-St. Paul throughout much of the 20th century."

Colombian Workers Launch General Strike: "Colombia's workers, students, and rural, indigenous and Afro-descendant communities [joined] together in a national general strike Nov. 21. Unlike the strikes many of America's workers have participated in increasingly in the past five years, Colombians are not striking against any single employer or industry."

Work Doesn't Hurt: Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup: "In addition to the AFL-CIO's own 'State of the Unions,' there are a lot of other podcasts out there that have their own approach to discussing labor issues and the rights of working people. Here are the latest podcasts from across the labor movement in the United States."

Protect Survivors: What Working People Are Doing This Week: "Welcome to our regular feature, a look at what the various AFL-CIO unions and other working family organizations are doing across the country and beyond. The labor movement is big and active—here's a look at the broad range of activities we're engaged in this week."

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Nurses United: "Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is National Nurses United."

Building the Battleground Bench: Union Members Elected to Office Across the Great Lakes Region: "While the labor movement was busy helping to elect pro-worker candidates in important elections in Kentucky and Virginia this week, union members themselves were on the ballot, and they were elected to local offices across the country at an impressive rate. This result was especially pronounced in the battleground states in the Great Lakes region, where an energized union candidates program helped carry union members to victory."

Trump’s SEC Chairman Proposes to Disenfranchise Investors and Reduce Shareholder Democracy: "In a partisan 3-2 vote, the Trump administration’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed to curtail the rights of investors to file proposals for a vote at company annual meetings. If adopted, these changes will hinder shareholder proposals by union members and their pension plans to hold corporate management accountable."

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 12/02/2019 - 15:07

Trade Unions Demand Governments Address Gender-based Violence in the World of Work

Wed, 11/27/2019 - 09:47
Trade Unions Demand Governments Address Gender-based Violence in the World of Work

This week marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and trade unions around the world are demanding governments ratify and implement International Labor Organization Convention 190 (C190), on ending violence and harassment in the world of work.

Read the statement from the International Trade Union Confederation in English, Spanish or French.

C190 was adopted last June at the International Labor Organization. The AFL-CIO and trade unions around the world campaigned for more than a decade to win this important new global standard, and now are leading the fight to see its framework adopted by governments and employers.

Gender-based violence and harassment is a particular threat to women, LGBTQ workers and other marginalized groups. Homicide is one of the leading causes of death on the job among women in the United States, accounting for almost a quarter of workplace deaths among women, while it accounts for only 8% of workplace deaths among men. It is also a particular threat to workers in low-wage, precarious working arrangements, as poverty and marginalization can prevent workers from escaping or challenging dangerous conditions.

The C190 framework emphasizes that everyone has the fundamental right to be free from violence and harassment at work, and requires governments adopt an inclusive, integrated and gender-responsive approach to end it. C190 requires governments and employers address the root causes of gender-based violence at work, including discrimination and unequal power relationships. Violence is a tool that both reflects and reinforces a gendered power hierarchy at work and in society, and ending violence requires allowing women workers to take collective action to confront this hierarchy directly.

C190 also calls for investigating sectors and occupations that are more likely to experience violence and harassment. In the United States, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed legislation to adopt specific violence protections for nurses, medical assistants, emergency responders and social workers. These workers are predominantly women, and they face extremely high rates of violence on the job. The law would require employers to develop an enforceable, comprehensive violence protection program in U.S. workplaces.

Learn more about the global C190 ratification campaign. Learn more about the law on workplace violence.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 11/27/2019 - 11:47

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: A Future Where People Will Have Jobs

Wed, 11/27/2019 - 09:06
‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: A Future Where People Will Have Jobs AFL-CIO

On the latest episode of “State of the Unions,” podcast co-host Tim Schlittner talks to Guy Ryder, the director-general of the International Labor Organization, about the international labor movement, the idea of "decent labor" and the future of work.

Listen to our previous episodes:

  • A discussion with Union Veterans Council Executive Director Will Attig about his work connecting the labor movement and the veterans community. 
  • A conversation with union member and Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Mark Pocan (Wis.) about strikes, trade, health care, LGBTQ equality and the freedom to form a union. 
  • A chat with Maine Senate President Troy Jackson (IUPAT, IAM) about his path to power and the experiences that have shaped his life and career.
  • Talking to Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) about worker power, automation, trade and his decision to stay in the U.S. Senate. 
  • Checking in with AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council Executive Director Brad Markell about the UAW strike at General Motors and interviewing Veena Dubal, an associate law professor at UC Hastings College of the Law, whose work helped pave the way for passage of A.B. 5, the landmark pro-worker legislation in California.
  • SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris discussing the future of work, sexual harassment and her journey from young actor to labor leader. 

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

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 11/27/2019 - 11:06

Tags: Podcast

Native American Heritage Month Pathway to Progress: Ojibwe Women Transform Working Life in Minneapolis

Tue, 11/26/2019 - 12:12
Native American Heritage Month Pathway to Progress: Ojibwe Women Transform Working Life in Minneapolis Hennepin County Library

History has long been portrayed as a series of "great men" taking great action to shape the world we live in. In recent decades, however, social historians have focused more on looking at history "from the bottom up," studying the vital role that working people played in our heritage. Working people built, and continue to build, the United States. In our series, Pathway to Progress, we'll take a look at various people, places and events where working people played a key role in the progress our country has made, including those who are making history right now. In honor of Native American Heritage Month, we will take a look at a group of Ojibwe women who helped transform the world of work in Minneapolis-St. Paul throughout much of the 20th century.

In the early 1960s, activism among Native American populations was on the rise. The goal of federal "termination" policy was to integrate Native American tribe members into mainstream American culture with a heavy emphasis on assimilation. With little to no help coming from Washington, the struggle for Native American rights shifted to state and local fights. Those smaller fights would culminate in a wave of activism that stopped bad legislation, won legal protections and ended the termination policy. One of the key battlegrounds was Minneapolis-St. Paul.

The Ojibwe people lived in various places throughout the upper Midwest, but the combination of the termination policy, economic troubles and job opportunities opened up by American foreign policy led them to move in large numbers to Minneapolis-St. Paul. The twin cities were established in the Dakota homeland and tribal people from the prairies and northern lake country began moving into Minneapolis-St. Paul in large numbers, leading to the region housing one of the largest Indigenous populations in the U.S.

Ojibwe women generally arrived in the twin cities with families and friends although some came to search for employment on their own. Life in the city was drastically different than life on the reservation and there were intense pressures to reject their cultural ideas about work to fit in with the white population. In order to survive and prosper, they had to develop new ideas about labor, but they wanted to maintain their link to the values of the traditional Ojibwe economy.

Prior to moving to the city, many of the Ojibwe women, such as Gertrude Howard Buckanaga, worked in agriculture, such as blueberry picking or wild rice harvesting. In the early days, Howard Buckanaga and others would work in the city and travel home for the wild rice harvest. Ojibwe women, for the most part, only had high school degrees or a boarding school education. Neither prepared them for working in the city, but they found ways to transition skills they had used in agriculture to work in the city.

The longer they lived in urban areas, Ojibwe women began to attend community meetings, participate in activism and attend college to obtain higher degrees. The earliest work they found were office jobs, in the Indian Service or as teachers at government boarding schools. Those schools began training Ojibwe girls to be nurses, which led to other job opportunities. Outside that, employers often viewed Ojibwe women as only suited for domestic or factory work and discrimination against them was widespread. De facto segregation was the norm in Minneapolis-St. Paul at the time.

Low-paying jobs, discrimination and segregation put up significant road blocks and the Ojibwe women came in at the lowest rung of the economic ladder in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Social services were few and far between and often didn't serve Native Americans. This isolation forced Ojibwe women (and men) to create new patterns of participation in the workforce and other organizations and agencies to fill in where U.S. government services didn't.

One of the most important leaders to emerge from the community was Emily Peake. Peake's family included French, English and Ojibwe ancestry, and she moved to Minneapolis from the White Earth reservation. Peake signed up for the Works Projects Administration, leading her to jobs in the Minneapolis Public Library and making parachutes for Honeywell. After serving in the Women's Coast Guard, she moved back to Minneapolis and began working as a community organizer during the years of the federal termination policy. 

As the Indian population in the Twin Cities grew, Peake worked together with a group of Ojibwe and Dakota sisters and brothers to create the Upper Midwest Indian Center, for which she would serve time as the executive director. The center provided social service programs for Indian workers and their families and would operate solely off of money Peake and her colleagues raised until War on Poverty grants were made available. The community center idea would soon spread to other cities and these centers not only provided social services, but they interwove Indian values and spiritual beliefs. Other community institutions would be created by Indian activists in Minneapolis and elsewhere.

These efforts would not only lead to increased community and more employment, it set the ground for larger activism as well. The Ojibwe and other Indian women active in the Twin Cities are credited as creating the opening for which the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act would be passed. Other legislation followed. Ojibwe women took leadership positions throughout Minneapolis' community life, and they pursued meaningful jobs, cared for family and children, mentored other women, and continued to grow the services that were offered. The Minneapolis American Indian Center, for example, has served more than 14,000 American Indians since it opened in 1975.

Women held the majority of the sustained leadership roles in in the Ojibwe community of Minneapolis and their visionary body of work can still be seen today in schools, Indian centers, academic curricula, social services and legislation. Their work not only increased well-being for the Ojibwe and other Indians in Minneapolis, it was instrumental in leading to greater sovereignty for Indian people across the country.

Women like Peake, Howard Buckanaga, Rose Robinson, Frances Fairbanks, Ona Kingbird, Norby Blake, Pat Bellanger, Vikki Howard and others laid a foundation for the institutions and laws that increased the quality of life for many Indians, not only in politics, but in the economy as well. As Bellanger said, "'Ojibwe women have been strong throughout everything' and 'we have kept our ways,' acknowledging the significance of the women’s work like harvesting wild rice, which 'has always gone through the women.'"

Source: Brenda J. Child, Politically Purposeful Work: Ojibwe Women’s Labor and Leadership in Postwar Minneapolis

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 11/26/2019 - 14:12

Tags: Pathway to Progress

Red for Ed: In the States Roundup

Fri, 11/22/2019 - 07:56
Red for Ed: 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:

0-3, @GovDunleavy.#akleg #akgov

Read more here —> https://t.co/4p4mZKBHaM pic.twitter.com/WuUDvVjr84

— Alaska AFL-CIO (@AKAFLCIO) November 8, 2019

Arizona AFL-CIO:

We’re spending Veteran’s Day on the #ASARCOStrikeLine @UNITEHERE11 @UFCW99 @USWLocal937 @ibtlu104 #IUOE428 pic.twitter.com/FNuTIoGC94

— Arizona AFL-CIO (@ArizonaAFLCIO) November 11, 2019

Arkansas AFL-CIO:

We love it when Union members run for public office! Brother Matthew Stallings is running for State House District 38. Check out his new… https://t.co/36BkVRXxRM

— Arkansas AFL-CIO (@ArkansasAFLCIO) November 7, 2019

California Labor Federation:

*NEW* Report from @UCBLaborCenter --> California’s Steps to Expand Health Coverage and Improve Affordability: Who Gains and Who Will Be Uninsured? https://t.co/8zW35WivMu

— California Labor Federation (@CaliforniaLabor) November 19, 2019

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

We were saddened to learn that Mel Olsson, former President of @UAW Local 571, passed away earlier this week. Even after he retired, he continued to fight every day for working people in Connecticut. You will be missed, brother. @UAWRegion9A https://t.co/f23kmZl1wN pic.twitter.com/jSnHdgstkg

— Connecticut AFL-CIO (@ConnAFLCIO) November 15, 2019

Florida AFL-CIO:

Last week, over a hundred new Union members were elected to public office. This website shows you what union members are currently serving and how you can get involved in helping elect more members of Organized Labor to represent working people.https://t.co/0p30RiAmbC

— Florida AFL-CIO (@FLAFLCIO) November 15, 2019

Georgia AFL-CIO:

Today we also met UAW retiree George, who’s 94 years old, who started working in 1947, when the plant first opened, and retired in 1987. #1u pic.twitter.com/NBSzBRRgM2

— AFL-CIO Georgia (@AFLCIOGeorgia) November 19, 2019

Idaho AFL-CIO:

I just added my name to stand with @The_AFM musicians! #1u #BandTogether Add your name and write one here: https://t.co/HhC6lOvenn

— Idaho State AFL-CIO (@IdahoAFLCIO) November 19, 2019

Indiana State AFL-CIO:

Thousands of teachers are at the Indiana Statehouse!

They’re joining together to demand the public schools our students deserve. #RedForEd pic.twitter.com/liCXdwxBb5

— Indiana AFL-CIO (@INAFLCIO) November 19, 2019

Iowa Federation of Labor:

Inside IBEW’s Efforts To Help Hotel Workers Unionize In Dubuque https://t.co/XUDGk4KavF pic.twitter.com/rRwerRICe2

— Iowa AFL-CIO (@IowaAFLCIO) November 19, 2019

Kentucky State AFL-CIO:

“Hoover emphasized a concern that several legislators of both parties have about the bill — that it will likely diminish the retirement... https://t.co/sGobvVaB40

— Kentucky AFL-CIO (@aflcioky) May 7, 2019

Maine AFL-CIO:

Congrats to the operating technicians at @WABI_TV5 on their new contract! https://t.co/QgGvGZfb6H #mepolitics

— Maine AFL-CIO (@MEAFLCIO) November 19, 2019

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

‘MD/DC AFL-CIO president Donna Edwards: "We are at one moment in time"’ on #SoundCloud #np https://t.co/0auguUHwuM

— MetroDCLaborCouncil (@DCLabor) November 18, 2019

Minnesota AFL-CIO:

Hennepin County’s first labor-trafficking case ends in guilty plea https://t.co/O3NvJSPr9J Welcome news for workers. #1u

— Minnesota AFL-CIO (@MNAFLCIO) November 19, 2019

Missouri AFL-CIO:

A more cooperative relationship between workers and management would result in a more sustainable system for supporting the middle class. https://t.co/oR7dzver4x

— Missouri AFL-CIO (@MOAFLCIO) November 17, 2019

Montana AFL-CIO:

Mary Munger was a nurse by trade and an activist by calling. Her advocacy gave nurses in Montana the right to collectively bargain and improved working conditions for the profession statewide. She will be missed. https://t.co/fJ1naQiZBC

— Montana AFL-CIO (@MTaflcio) November 18, 2019

New Hampshire AFL-CIO:

From Pres. Glenn Brackett: Congratulations on a successful Election Day! video at https://t.co/CxERWrlKfN

— NewHampshire AFL-CIO (@NHAFLCIO) November 7, 2019

New Mexico Federation of Labor:

Wow! So surprising that fair wages don’t kill businesses!

Time for the excuses to stop, and #FightFor15 @INAFLCIO @AFLCIO https://t.co/J9PIA2M1qY

— NMFL (@NMFLaflcio) November 14, 2019

New York State AFL-CIO:

The #UnionStrong podcast Episode 23: The @wrkingTheater explores how plays about bus drivers and baristas, postal workers and police officers help amplify the voice of workers in NYC @IBEWLocal3 @DC37 @32BJ Episode 23: The Working Theater https://t.co/JefNpn3ik5

— NYSAFLCIO (@NYSAFLCIO) November 13, 2019

North Carolina State AFL-CIO:

The GOP’s latest gerrymander ought to be the last straw for NC https://t.co/oMIum4Q1S8 #ncpol via @ncpolicywatch #ncpol #fairmaps

— NC State AFL-CIO (@NCStateAFLCIO) November 19, 2019

North Dakota AFL-CIO:

#LegacyFund #UniversalSchoolLunch @NBCNightlyNews @LesterHoltNBC https://t.co/YF2NQ3HRh4

— North Dakota AFL-CIO (@NDAFLCIO) November 17, 2019

Ohio AFL-CIO:

Take time to enjoy the huge win for working people! https://t.co/jlDLOUp5OS pic.twitter.com/6ONxuaahwU

— Ohio AFL-CIO (@ohioaflcio) November 18, 2019

Oklahoma State AFL-CIO:

Great turnout for the OK Building and Construction Trades Apprenticeship open house! pic.twitter.com/4T8Gv9gDWZ

— Oklahoma AFL-CIO (@OK_AFL_CIO) November 15, 2019

Oregon AFL-CIO:

Oregon AFL-CIO President Graham Trainor writes in the NW Labor Press about the importance of recognizing graduate employees’ work and why grads at universities around the state are fighting for a fair contract. #1u #UnionStrong https://t.co/GV0icFeaRB

— Oregon AFL-CIO (@OregonAFLCIO) November 19, 2019

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

Equal Pay is a central foundation of workers’ rights and we are proud to be joined by @RepSims and his legislation to support equal pay! pic.twitter.com/Ju8izeaHRD

— PA AFL-CIO (@PaAFL_CIO) November 19, 2019

Rhode Island AFL-CIO:

#1U #Apprenticeship #apprenticeships #apprentices #Labor https://t.co/m9P8Rw11sS

— Rhode Island AFL-CIO (@riaflcio) November 19, 2019

Texas AFL-CIO:

.@UAW sister Pauline sharing her story and how her union organized during the #UAWStrike in Dallas @AFLCIO @TexasAFLCIO #1u pic.twitter.com/qbkPMlC0Ez

— Texas AFL-CIO (@TexasAFLCIO) November 16, 2019

Virginia AFL-CIO:

Virginia Democrats could repeal right-to-work. It shows how America is changing. - The Washington Post https://t.co/EvdddLhHVN

— Virginia AFL-CIO (@Virginia_AFLCIO) November 19, 2019

Washington State Labor Council:

"(This) is an egregious attack on one state’s employment law and states’ rights generally." https://t.co/OO9CWftV50

— WA State AFL-CIO (@WAAFLCIO) November 11, 2019

West Virginia AFL-CIO:

“W/1 of the biggest organizing victories since WV became a RTW state, nurses are sending a resounding message to working people across WV that forming a Union is the best way to shift the balance of power away from corporations & toward the people.” #wvpol https://t.co/vyertUROO4

— West Virginia AFLCIO (@WestVirginiaAFL) November 14, 2019

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO:

What to know about the legal fight over who should be on Wisconsin's voter rolls, https://t.co/w2KlEGf7g6

— WI AFL-CIO (@wisaflcio) November 19, 2019 Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 11/22/2019 - 09:56

Colombian Workers Launch General Strike

Wed, 11/20/2019 - 09:23
Colombian Workers Launch General Strike AFL-CIO

Colombia's workers, students, and rural, indigenous and Afro-descendant communities will join together in a national general strike tomorrow, Nov. 21. Unlike the strikes many of America's workers have participated in increasingly in the past five years, Colombians are not striking against any single employer or industry.

Since the Colombian labor movement convened the strike some seven weeks ago, this broad alliance of social justice organizations have come together to express their belief that the government of President Iván Duque is taking the country in the wrong direction: suggesting reforms that would reduce even further workers' access to decent work, labor rights and social security, increasing repression and violence against the most vulnerable Colombians and refusing to move forward with the peace process negotiated three years ago. Along with other human rights and social justice organizations based in the United States, the AFL-CIO and some affiliates are sharing with Congress a joint letter of support for this strike and the right to strike and protest as fundamental to building and sustaining democracy. 

Unfortunately, some elected leaders, right-wing parties and Colombia's former president Álvaro Uribe and his supporters have described the strike as illegal and unpatriotic. Even worse, the government has conducted raids into the homes and offices of groups organizing the strike and militarized many likely sites of citizen mobilization. Given Colombia's history of violent repression of legal and peaceful protest, the international community has expressed deep concern about Colombia's capacity and will to protect and respect the rights of its citizens exercising those rights and commitment to the peace process.

We stand with Colombian workers, their unions and their communities in demanding respect for fundamental human rights before, during and after the national strike.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 11/20/2019 - 11:23

Tags: Colombia

Work Doesn't Hurt: Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup

Mon, 11/18/2019 - 07:55
Work Doesn't Hurt: Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup

In addition to the AFL-CIO's own "State of the Unions," there are a lot of other podcasts out there that have their own approach to discussing labor issues and the rights of working people. Here are the latest podcasts from across the labor movement in the United States.

AFT in Action: "In the first of three episodes addressing workplace violence, our state federation president teams up with the head of the Connecticut AFL-CIO to introduce the topic to union members. Together, Jan Hochadel and Sal Luciano help lay the groundwork for the future discussions, which will focus on efforts to prevent assaults on health care professionals and public school educators.Their guest for this episode is Connecticut Council on Occupational Safety and Health (ConnectiCOSH) Co-Chair Steve Schrag, who has for decades advocated for better workplace and community conditions. He provides important history and offers valuable context, as well as insightful answers to members' questions about previous and ongoing efforts to ensure that 'work doesn't hurt.'"

Building Bridges: The Making of a Democratic Economy, Part 2: "Ted Howard, co-founder of the Democracy Collaborative, and Marjorie Kelly, author of 'The Divine Right of Capital' and 'Owning Our Future,' have teamed up to co-author 'The Making of a Democratic Economy,' a clarion call for a movement ready to get serious about transforming our economic system."

Heartland Labor Forum: Medicare for All: "We’ll do a primer on Medicare for All. We’ll ask Dr. Anand Bhat how it would work, whether taxes will go up, if there are hidden costs and, if, as a number of candidates for president say, employer-paid health insurance is better, and if we have it, we shouldn’t give it up. Thursday at 6 p.m., rebroadcast Friday at 5 a.m. on KKFI 90.1 FM or streaming."

LABOR LIVE@5: Joe Uehlein and the U-Liners: "First Tuesdays, 5 p.m. on WPFW 89.3 FM. Part of Union City Radio in D.C. Classic labor songs and U-Liner originals, plus Joe talks with Chris about the role of music in the movement and hope for the future."

Labor History Today: Precarious Work in the Movies: "Tom Zaniello talks with Sherry Linkon about his next book, an exploration of media accounts of precarious work, ranging from Edward R. Murrow's famous 1960 documentary 'Harvest of Shame' to the storytelling of modern video games. Kalmanovitz Associate Director Lane Windham on 'The Uprising of the 20,000' in 1909. October was LGBTQ History Month and for this week’s Cool Things from the Meany Archive, Chloe Danyo digs into the archive’s Pride At Work collection and comes up with a historic pamphlet on organizing for lesbian and gay rights in unions."

UCOMM Live: Trump Gets Booed, a Sign of Things to Come?: "AFGE's president is taking a leave of absence after accusations of sexual harassment. Should we cover stories like this? Some say yes, some no, we discuss. Trump is getting booed everywhere he goes, and unemployment is up in important swing states. Chance the Rapper is now the Chicago Teachers favorite after his appearance on SNL. The UAW's president is forced out after leaders listened to last week's show. Elizabeth Warren's education plan is a game changer and the Mets hire Carlos Beltran. Listen to UCOMM Live Thursday's at 4 on Facebook,Twitter and YouTube or anytime on UCOMMLive.com."

Union City Radio: Bus Driver Strike, Virginia Election Wins and More: "Weekdays at 7:15 a.m. on WPFW 89.3 FM. Flexing labor's muscle: Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Mark Pocan; 'Shut it down!' say striking bus drivers; Transdev cuts health insurance for strikers, walks away from table; labor gets out the vote on Election Day; AFSCME demands safe staffing in Maryland."

Union Strong: Keeping New York Moving: "TWU Local 100 is in a contract fight with the MTA. We cover everything from the Trash Train competition to the trash email that went public, all on the day of a massive rally taking place tonight in NYC."

Willamette Wake-Up: Vincent Blanco: "Our KMUZ labor radio segment this month will feature an especially inspiring interview with Vincent Blanco Jr. of Oregon's American Federation of Teachers. Brother Blanco will be talking about workers in the Portland Community College system and their fight for union contracts, universal health care, some basics of union organizing and social justice, his union's response to the Janus decision and the PERS crisis and much more. This really is a great conversation, so please tune in on Friday, Nov. 22, at around 8:10 a.m. PST on KMUZ. The station is at 88.5, 100.7."

Your Rights at Work: Virginia Elections, Union Veterans Council, Union Plus and More: David Stephen, new political director at the Metropolitan Washington Council; Doris Crouse-Mays (Virginia AFL-CIO president): Labor helps flip Virginia to blue; labor's agenda in 2020; William Attig (executive director, Union Veterans Council): Veterans on the Rise mission on Veterans Day; Jill Cashen (vice president at Union Plus): expert legal help; David Schloss (Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis): Case closed. Thursdays 1-2 p.m. on WPFW 89.3 FM.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 11/18/2019 - 09:55

Tags: Podcast

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Serving Those Who Served

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 11:35
‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Serving Those Who Served

On the latest episode of “State of the Unions,” podcast co-hosts Julie Greene Collier and Tim Schlittner talk with Union Veterans Council Executive Director Will Attig about his work connecting the labor movement and the veterans community.

Listen to our previous episodes:

  • A conversation with union member and Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Mark Pocan (Wis.) about strikes, trade, health care, LGBTQ equality and the freedom to form a union. 
  • A chat with Maine Senate President Troy Jackson (IUPAT, IAM) about his path to power and the experiences that have shaped his life and career.
  • Talking to Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) about worker power, automation, trade and his decision to stay in the U.S. Senate. 
  • Checking in with AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council Executive Director Brad Markell about the UAW strike at General Motors and interviewing Veena Dubal, an associate law professor at UC Hastings College of the Law, whose work helped pave the way for passage of A.B. 5, the landmark pro-worker legislation in California.
  • SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris discussing the future of work, sexual harassment and her journey from young actor to labor leader. 
  • North America's Building Trades Unions (NABTU) Chief of Staff Mike Monroe exploring the Department of Labor proposal that would undermine world-class apprenticeships in the construction industry.

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

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 11/13/2019 - 13:35

Tags: Union Veterans Council, Podcast

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Nurses United

Tue, 11/12/2019 - 10:20
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Nurses United AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is National Nurses United.

Name of Union: National Nurses United (NNU)

Mission: To win workplace and health care justice here in the United States and globally by building the nation’s most powerful union of direct-care registered nurses and by fostering a social movement of nurses allied with the patient public. To achieve these goals, NNU aims to unionize all direct-care registered nurses (RNs) in the United States; promote effective collective bargaining representation to all NNU affiliates to advance the economic and professional interests of all direct-care RNs; organize that collective power to compel the health care industry, governments and employers to be accountable to patients and not solely profits; expand the voice of direct-care RNs and patients in public policy, including the enactment of safe nurse-to-patient ratios and patient advocacy rights in Congress and every state; protect and advance the practice of nursing so that RNs can fully exercise their professional judgment to provide safe, effective, therapeutic care; and campaign to win health care as a human right through a Medicare for All system.

Current Leadership of Union: Bonnie CastilloRN, serves as executive director of NNU, as well as executive director of NNU’s largest founding affiliate, California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (CNA/NNOC). Before being named executive director, Castillo held multiple leadership roles over two decades within the two organizations, including director of the Health and Safety program, director of the Registered Nurse Response Network, an NNU-sponsored program that sends RN volunteers to provide medical assistance after disasters and catastrophes, and director of government relations for CNA/NNOC—among other positions. An intensive care unit nurse for many years, Castillo played a key role in helping unionize her own hospital and naturally transitioned into organizing and representing registered nurses on a larger scale.

NNU is also ultimately governed by an elected, 19-member RN executive council headed by a Council of Presidents consisting of nurses Deborah Burger, Zenei Cortez and Jean Ross.

Number of Members: 150,000

Members Work As: Primarily direct-care registered nurses, but some affiliates also represent ancillary hospital workers.

Industries Represented: Public and private medical institutions, including some Veterans Health Administration facilities.

History: With more than 150,000 members across the country, NNU stands as the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in U.S. history.

National Nurses United was founded in December 2009 to create an organization to build a powerful, national movement of direct-care registered nurses. NNU unified three of the most active progressive nursing organizations. The vision resulting from the founding convention focused on advancing the interests of direct-care nurses and patients, and winning health care justice for all.

Over the past decade, NNU and its affiliates have achieved significant success. In addition to those states represented by its founding affiliates, NNU members now include thousands of registered nurses in Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, Texas, Missouri, North Dakota and Arizona—many from states traditionally considered hostile to union organizing. NNU has organized tens of thousands of non-union nurses, making it one of the most successful organizing unions in America. NNU RN members also focus on negotiating strong collective bargaining agreements that set the highest workplace, practice and economic standards for their states as well as the entire country. In the legislative arena, NNU has sponsored major federal legislation, including national safe RN-to-patient staffing ratios, a bill to improve and expand Medicare for All in the United States, and stronger protections against workplace violence.

Current Campaigns: NNU currently has numerous active campaigns, including: unionizing nurses all across the country,  RN-to-patent ratios, preventing workplace violence, Medicare for All, health and safety and environmental justice.

Community Efforts: NNU nurses believe that allying with our patients and the public is key to winning our goal of health care justice. To that end, many of our campaigns include working in coalition with local communities. On a national and global scale, an NNU project, the Registered Nurse Response Network, sends registered nurse volunteers to disaster-stricken areas to provide assistance and emergency care. Nurses have helped victims of floods, earthquakes and fires within the continental United States, as well as Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Haiti, the Philippines and Guatemala.

Learn More: WebsiteFacebookYouTubeInstagramTwitter

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 11/12/2019 - 12:20

Building the Battleground Bench: Union Members Elected to Office Across the Great Lakes Region

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 09:16
Building the Battleground Bench: Union Members Elected to Office Across the Great Lakes Region AFL-CIO

While the labor movement was busy helping to elect pro-worker candidates in important elections in Kentucky and Virginia this week, union members themselves were on the ballot, and they were elected to local offices across the country at an impressive rate. This result was especially pronounced in the battleground states in the Great Lakes region, where an energized union candidates program helped carry union members to victory.

In Pennsylvania, organized labor helped elect its endorsed candidate to the Superior Court in the Commonwealth and elected hundreds of union members to local offices. Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder, himself a victorious union member candidate for auditor in Carroll Township in York County, recognized the significance of the program. “There is no better way to ensure that working people are represented than through the election of card-carrying union members,” Snyder said. “It's not enough to elect supporters of workers' rights, we must elect champions of workers' rights. Today, we did just that."

More than a dozen union members were elected or re-elected to local office in the Cleveland area on Tuesday night, bringing the number of members within the North Shore AFL-CIO Federation of Labor holding public office to over 40. Harriet Applegate, executive secretary of the North Shore AFL-CIO pointed out how supporting union member candidates can immediately have an impact on public policy. “No one understands the needs and interests of working people better than our members themselves,” she said. “When our members are empowered and have the resources to win local elections, it brings a whole new perspective to the halls of government.”

The Greater Northwest Ohio AFL-CIO helped to elect members to City Council seats in Toledo and Maumee, among other local offices. Across the state, the Ohio AFL-CIO supported 51 union member candidates in the election and 32 won their races. “The whole purpose is to support candidates who believe in collective bargaining, who believe the economy is not some mystical thing but rules put in place by those we elect,” said Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga. “Those rules can create living wage jobs, project labor agreements, collective bargaining laws and a fight for fair trade.”

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 11/08/2019 - 11:16

Trump’s SEC Chairman Proposes to Disenfranchise Investors and Reduce Shareholder Democracy

Tue, 11/05/2019 - 09:36
Trump’s SEC Chairman Proposes to Disenfranchise Investors and Reduce Shareholder Democracy

In a partisan 3-2 vote, the Trump administration’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed to curtail the rights of investors to file proposals for a vote at company annual meetings. If adopted, these changes will hinder shareholder proposals by union members and their pension plans to hold corporate management accountable.

"We strongly oppose the SEC's shareholder proposal rule changes that will limit the ability of working people and their pension plans to have a voice in the companies that we invest in," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA). The proposed changes include dramatic increases in stock ownership requirements and vote resubmission requirements.

Corporate CEOs of the Business Roundtable and the Chamber of Commerce have long wished for these changes to the shareholder proposal rule. In a 2017 letter to the SEC, the AFL-CIO showed how these proposed rule changes will undermine efforts to increase corporate responsibility for environmental, social and governance issues.

"The right to petition corporate management by filing shareholder proposals is an integral part of shareholder democracy in the United States,” Trumka explained. “The SEC should protect the rights of working people as the real main street investors, not the interests of overpaid and unaccountable corporate CEOs."

For more information about the efforts of SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, nominated by President Trump, to disenfranchise investors and reduce shareholder democracy by curtailing the shareholder proposal rule, please visit the Investor Rights Forum.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 11/05/2019 - 11:36

Standing Up Against Corporate Greed: The Working People Weekly List

Mon, 11/04/2019 - 10:30
Standing Up Against Corporate Greed: 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.

UAW Members at GM Ratify New Agreement: "The longest and largest automotive strike in decades came to an end this week as UAW members employed by General Motors Co. ratified the tentative agreement between the union and the automaker. Nearly 50,000 UAW members went on strike Sept. 16 seeking fair wages, affordable quality health care, profit sharing, job security and a defined path to permanent seniority for temps. With the victory of the UAW members, working people across the country lauded the strikers and thanked them for standing up against corporate greed."

‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: Flexing Labor’s Muscle: "On the latest episode of 'State of the Unions,' podcast co-host Tim Schlittner talks to union member and Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Mark Pocan (Wis.) about strikes, trade, health care, LGBTQ equality and the freedom to form a union."

LGBT History Month Pathway to Progress: The Founding of Pride At Work: "History has long been portrayed as a series of 'great men' taking great action to shape the world we live in. In recent decades, however, social historians have focused more on looking at history "from the bottom up," studying the vital role that working people played in our heritage. Working people built, and continue to build, the United States. In our series, Pathway to Progress, we'll take a look at various people, places and events where working people played a key role in the progress our country has made, including those who are making history right now. In honor of LGBT History Month, we will take a look at the founding of Pride At Work."

Egregious Worker Rights Violations Cause Thailand to Lose Trade Benefits: "On Friday, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced it will withdraw preferential tariffs for many imports from Thailand due to egregious, ongoing worker rights violations in the country. As highlighted in submissions by the AFL-CIO going back to 2013, the government of Thailand actively retaliates against workers and allows the worst forms of exploitation and abuse, including forced labor, to proliferate throughout its economy."

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Air Traffic Controllers Association: "Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Air Traffic Controllers Association."

Union Apprenticeship Works: What Working People Are Doing This Week: "Welcome to our regular feature, a look at what the various AFL-CIO unions and other working family organizations are doing across the country and beyond. The labor movement is big and active—here's a look at the broad range of activities we're engaged in this week."

Building Pathways: In the States Roundup: "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."

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association: "Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association."

 

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 11/04/2019 - 12:30

A Boss Is a Boss: Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup

Mon, 11/04/2019 - 10:20
A Boss Is a Boss: Labor Podcast and Radio Roundup

In addition to the AFL-CIO's own "State of the Unions," there are a lot of other podcasts out there that have their own approach to discussing labor issues and the rights of working people. Here are the latest podcasts from across the labor movement in the United States.

Belabored Podcast #186: 'A Boss Is a Boss': Two organizers discuss recent efforts to unionize nonprofit workers. Plus: an interview with Chicago teacher Kenzo Shibata about the first day on the picket line. With Sarah Jaffe and Michelle Chen.

Building Bridges: 'Analyzing Bernie Sanders’ Workplace Democracy Plan': "Shaun Richman is an In These Times contributing writer and the program director of the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies at SUNY Empire State College. Senator Bernie Sanders has announced his Workplace Democracy Plan to build worker power on the job by protecting unionizing and strikes by workers. In many ways it goes back to the intent of New Deal Legislation, which has been seriously weakened over the years by right wing legislation and court decisions. But it also builds on them calling for new private and public sector workers rights and forms of union representation that transcend the National Labor Relations Board framework of enterprise based contract bargaining."

CTU Speaks! 'Five Days Later!': Five days into the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) strike, Jim sits down with Cook County Commissioner, CTU member and former middle school teacher Brandon Johnson. Brandon puts the strike in historical context and helps us understand it as a potential pivot point for the city, while also underscoring the ways that CTU has been impactful for labor and education across the country.

Heartland Labor Forum: 'Disappearing the Poor and the New Servant Economy of Wealth Jobs': "The Trump administration wants to redefine who is poor. Experts say they want to disappear the poor. Then, Mark Muro of Brookings Institute will talk to us about wealth work. That’s the growing number of jobs in what’s called the 'new servant economy.' Thursday at 6 p.m., rebroadcast Friday at 5 a.m. on KKFI 90.1 FM or streaming."

Labor History Today: 'Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman': "On this week’s show: Robbin Légère Henderson talks about her grandmother, Matilda Rabinowitz Robbins, on the Tales from the Reuther Library podcast. Henderson shares stories from Robbins’ autobiography, Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman: A Memoir from the Early Twentieth Century, explaining how the optimism of a 13-year-old immigrant from the Ukraine was soon undone by the realities of working in garment sweatshops on the East Coast, leading to Matilda Robbins’ brief but influential role as a labor organizer for the International Workers of the World from 1912 to 1917. She was one of only two women organizers for the IWW during its early years, along with Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. Plus a clip from 'Mother Jones in Heaven,' a one-woman musical by Si Kahn, starring Vivian Nesbitt as 'Mother' Jones, with musical accompaniment by John Dillon, recently performed at The Robin Theatre in Lansing, Michigan."

Union City Radio: Airs weekdays at 7:15 a.m. on WPFW 89.3 FM. Bus drivers strike in Lorton, Virginia; hotel workers settle in Baltimore; STRIKE! The game of worker rebellion; Washington, D.C., residents urged to testify at City Council health committee hearing; D.C. janitors approve contract.

Union Strong: "TWU Local 100 is in a contract fight with the MTA. We cover everything from the Trash Train competition to the trash email that went public, all on the day of a massive rally taking place tonight in NYC."

Willamette Wake Up: Features an interview with Graham Trainor, the new president of the Oregon AFL-CIO. We cover racism and sexism, some features of labor's program in Oregon, the recent Oregon AFL-CIO convention, and some of labor's challenges and opportunities. KMUZ is at 100.7 or 88.5 in the Keizer-Salem-Turner area, or at https://kmuz.org regardless of where you are. Our labor segment will run at around 8:10 a.m. on Friday morning.

Working History: Making the Woman Worker: "On SLSA's latest Working History podcast, 'Making the Woman Worker,' Eileen Boris discusses her new book, Making the Woman Worker: Precarious Labor and the Fight for Global Standards, 1919-2019, the history of the International Labor Organization's labor protections for women, domestic and home workers in the global north and global south, and ongoing fights to recognize precarious labor from the care economy to the gig economy."

Your Rights At Work: Health care in southeast D.C. with Ward 8 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Chris Hawthorne, District of Columbia Nurses Association nurse Roberta Lenoir and organizer Djawa Hall with SEIU 1199. Plus latest labor news updates. Thursdays 1-2 p.m. on WPFW 89.3 FM.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 11/04/2019 - 12:20

Tags: Podcast

Economy Gains 128,000 Jobs in October; Unemployment Up Slightly to 3.6%

Mon, 11/04/2019 - 08:21
Economy Gains 128,000 Jobs in October; Unemployment Up Slightly to 3.6%

The U.S. economy gained 128,000 jobs in October, and the unemployment rate increased slightly to 3.6%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

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

Unemployment rates for whites and Blacks continue to converge, last year, Black over white unemployment was 6.2:3.3 and now is at 5.4:3.2.  A reminder of what some @federalreserve argued couldn't happen without extreme inflation. Full employment is good for everyone @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) November 1, 2019

After last year's revisions downward, and a continuation of the trend to start the year, the good news is @BLS_gov has revised August and September numbers up a combined 95,000.  This brings average payroll gains to 176,000 over the last 3 months; a good sign. @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) November 1, 2019

Jobs in food services continue to grow--despite the industry whining about increased minimum wages.  Last month @BLS_gov reported gains of 48,000 with a 3 month average gain of 38,000.  The House has passed @BobbyScott bill to #Fightfor15, but Mitch McConnell--crickets.  @AFLCIO

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) November 1, 2019

September and October, Local government employment has finally recovered to its July 2008 level, over 11 years ago.  That means we still have fewer @AFSCME  @IAFFNewsDesk, @AFTunion   per person than back then. Lower public investment is not good. @AFLCIO @RepRoKhanna pic.twitter.com/z9eiDemkDk

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) November 1, 2019

Part of the average wage problem is that lower than average wage industries (the bottom half of the graph) are showing much greater job gains (the farther right on the graph) than higher wage industries: Why state minimum wage increases are pushing up wages. #Fightfor15 @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/igabWzyQyP

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) November 1, 2019

It is troubling that despite many improvements in unemployment rates, long term unemployment remains a bigger problem than before 2008.  It helps explain the frustration many people experience, despite low unemployment rates.  @AFLCIO #JobsReport pic.twitter.com/jOr7WwzpQe

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) November 1, 2019

Despite a slightly accelerated rate of job growth the last 3 months, the broadest measure of labor market slack (including those who are part-time but want full-time work and discouraged workers) has been essentially flat. @AFLCIO  #JobsReport pic.twitter.com/Se0UyzMiiS

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) November 1, 2019

#OneJobShouldbeEnough @IWPResearch @HeidiatIWPR 5.7% of women are working two jobs, and the number working two full-time jobs is up over last October.  #Fightfor15 America needs a raise.  @BobbyScott got the House to pass a raise, Mitch McConnell is doing nothing! @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/NjWZlsnUdN

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) November 1, 2019

The problem for the long-term unemployed is not easily explained by some skill bias, since unemployment rates for all education levels have fallen back to 2008 levels--though the college educated are a slight bit higher. @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/AseiIaI9D4

— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) November 1, 2019

Last month's biggest job gains were in food services and drinking places (48,000), professional and business services (22,000), social assistance (20,000), financial activities (16,000), and health care (15,000). Manufacturing employment decreased by 36,000 and federal government employment was down 17,000 as a large group of temporary census workers completed their work. Employment in other major industries, including mining, construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, and information, showed little change over the month.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for teenagers (12.3%), blacks (5.4%), Hispanics (4.1%), adult men (3.2%), whites (3.2%), adult women (3.2%) and Asians (2.9%) showed little or no change in October.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) declined in October and accounted for 21.5% of the unemployed.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 11/04/2019 - 10:21

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