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Coming Soon An Epic Mini-Series “Strength In Union”

“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” Edmund Burke

I don’t think truer words have ever been spoken.  The labor movement’s history is long and glorious.  There were many points along the way that, looking back, we can say “that was the moment when….”  There were good days and bad days.  Stories of life and death.  All of these stories are important.

The NH Labor News along with other pro-labor websites are working to ensure that our proud history is not forgotten.  We regularly post ‘Today in Labor History‘, where we talk about some important moment on today’s date.

What if we could capture all of these moments in an epic mini-series? That is exactly what Arete Living Arts Foundation is doing.  They are creating a five-part mini-series of the best and worst moments in our history.

“Strength In Union” will most likely air on PBS.  The films will also be shown at film festivals throughout the country.   Here’s how the Foundation describes the project:

The Strength In Union film will….

  • Present union workers in a heroic light as men and women who have sacrificed for the public good
  • Combat anti-union propaganda that is presented in right wing media such as Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck
  • Use engaging entertainment to educate the public on the many rights and benefits unions have given to all workers, such as weekends, 8-hour work days, sick days, health and retirement benefits, safety regulations, etc.
  • Create an emotional connection and personal identification with the labor movement for people all across America

According to Film Director Caeser Pink, “This is a great story that must be told, and it is another way of understanding the history of the American people. Among the film’s goals are to educate the public so that they understand the struggles and sacrifices that were made by heroic union men and women so that working people are able to enjoy the lifestyle that we now take for granted.”

Principal filming is progressing rapidly. Over 50 top labor leaders, historians, and activists have been interviewed for the project, including

  • Leo Gerard, International President of the United Steel Workers,
  • Cliff Guffey, President of the American Postal Workers Union,
  • Captain Lee Moak, President of the Airline Pilots Association,
  • Lawrence J. Hanley, President of the American Transportation Workers, and
  • William Dougan, President of the National Federation of Federal Employees.

Narrators include famed actor Reg. E Cathey (The Wire, Person Of Interest, House Of Cards), Emmy and Golden Globe winner Barbara Hershey, and legendary activist and folk singer Pete Seeger

Here is a much more in-depth look at the movie from Arete Living Arts.

Are you as excited as I am to see this movie? Here’s a sneak peak for you:


Be sure to visit Strenth In Union website for more information and release information.

 

The NH Congressional Delegation Responds To Trump’s State of the Union Address

Last night, President Donald Trump delivered his State of the Union address to Congress.  The speech was full of self gratification and praise for the Republican tax bill that was forced through Congress, despite huge opposition from the American people.

The New Hampshire Congressional delegation responded to Trump’s State of the Union address. Below are the statements from all four of the NH Congressional Delegation.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen

“I appreciate the attention the President devoted to the opioid crisis in his remarks this evening, but words are not enough. I was proud to have Jeanne Moser, who tragically lost her son to a fentanyl overdose and has done so much to raise awareness about substance use disorders, as my guest to help highlight the urgent need for help in New Hampshire and across the country to respond to this crisis. The President must finally begin fulfilling his promise to deliver treatment resources. Over the past year, President Trump has only devoted lip service to respond to the opioid epidemic. Instead of any meaningful action, the Trump administration has made numerous attempts to undermine existing programs that have proven to be critical in battling this crisis in New Hampshire. I continue to stand ready and willing to work with the President to deliver these resources that are so needed. The urgency of this lifesaving effort cannot be overstated.

“The President was right to address the desperate state of our aging infrastructure. I believe this is an area where Republicans and Democrats can work across the aisle, and I encourage President Trump to deliver an ambitious plan to Congress that provides the resources to begin these critical upgrades and repairs. Granite Staters are becoming all too familiar with crumbling roads and bridges, and water and wastewater systems, that have far outlasted their intended use.”

In the days leading up to the President’s address, Shaheen distributed purple ribbons to her senate colleagues to wear during the State of the Union Address to raise awareness about the opioid epidemic and substance use disorders. To further bring attention to the opioid crisis, Senator Shaheen brought Jeanne Moser of East Kingston as her guest, who lost her son in 2015 to a fentanyl overdose and has advocated in the years since to bring awareness to substance use disorders.

As the lead Democrat on the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Shaheen has led efforts in Congress to combat the opioid epidemic. She recently introduced bipartisan funding legislation to prioritize states hardest hit by the opioid epidemic, including New Hampshire, and has consistently urged the Trump administration to consider bipartisan action as the public health emergency continues to devastate Granite State communities.

Senator Maggie Hassan

The Senator brought McKenzie Harrington-Bacote, who works as the Program Administrator for the Office of School Wellness in the Laconia School District, as her guest of honor for the President’s address.

“While President Trump touched on many important issues tonight, we’ve unfortunately seen this script before from the President – lots of big promises, but little action to back them up. Since taking office, the President has delivered huge giveaways to corporate special interests and the ultra-wealthy, but he has not come through for middle class families or for communities reeling from the devastating opioid crisis. That’s why what really counts is not his words, but what he does tomorrow and in the days that follow.

“I brought McKenzie Harrington-Bacote, who works to prevent substance misuse and support Laconia students impacted by the opioid crisis, as my guest of honor to the President’s speech in order to highlight the importance of getting more resources to those on the front lines of this devastating crisis. While I appreciate that the President spoke about the importance of stepping up efforts to combat this crisis, he once again failed to lead in calling for more federal resources to strengthen treatment, prevention, recovery, and law enforcement efforts. Struggling families and communities don’t need words, they need real help.

“The President also discussed the need to rebuild our highways, roads, and bridges, another issue where there could be real bipartisan common ground. As a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, I look forward to working in a bipartisan way to evaluate the Administration’s proposal and ensure that it would actually meet the needs of New Hampshire, not simply pass the buck to local communities.”

“No matter what the President says or does, I will continue to work with members of both parties to expand economic opportunity and support innovative businesses, step up efforts to combat the opioid crisis, and keep our country safe, secure, and free.”

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter

“After his Joint Address last year, I said that President Trump had created deep divisions in our country and disregarded our shared values: tolerance for religious and ethnic diversity, freedom of the press, good health and opportunity for working families, the well-being of our beautiful planet, and the rule of law. That was only 40 days into his presidency. A year later, it’s clear that nothing has changed.

“The President needs to stop throwing red meat to his base and stink bombs to the rest of us if he wants to get anything constructive done. I was saddened and alarmed that the President used this opportunity to spout hateful and xenophobic rhetoric that is far from the uplifting image of America, the shining city on a hill.

“America is the greatest country on earth, but the constant lying, the scandals, and the dangerous policies coming from the White House do harm to our people and environment, imperil our democracy, and erode confidence in our institutions. He continues to endanger our national security.

“I am also deeply concerned about what President Trump did not say tonight. There was no roadmap to a better future. He did not ask Congress for emergency funding to combat the deadly opioid epidemic that is devastating our communities. And he did not ask Congress for new legislation to improve veterans’ access to quality healthcare or invest in VA medical centers. We need to find a way forward and pass a long-term budget agreement that fully funds critical national priorities such as infrastructure, health care for veterans, national security, our military, the opioid crisis, funding for community health centers, and disaster funding.”

Congresswoman Annie Kuster

“Tonight President Trump discussed several issues important to the Granite State, including efforts to take on the opioid epidemic and the need to improve our aging infrastructure. Unfortunately, it’s long past time the President put actions to his words on both of these critical issues. Declaring the opioid epidemic a national health emergency was the right thing to do, but without funding it’s a meaningless gesture. As the founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, I’m working to make real progress on this crisis and just last week 50 members of the Task Force wrote to President Trump urging him to work with Congress to appropriate the funding necessary to bolster prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts as well as support law enforcement.

“We need to fix red listed bridges, aging roads, airports, railroads, and deteriorating infrastructure to create jobs, increase public safety, and boost our economic competitiveness in New Hampshire and across the country. Far too many people in New Hampshire lack access to adequate internet services, and any 21st Century infrastructure plan must expand broadband in rural communities. As I’ve learned, the devil is in the details and I will closely examine President Trump’s infrastructure proposal and look for opportunities to work across the aisle on behalf of all Granite Staters.”

Read the full SOTU transcript here

Video of the SOTU available here

Members of Congress Bring #MeToo Survivors, Advocates as Guests to State of the Union

 

(Washington, DC) – In solidarity with the #MeToo movement, several Members of Congress, including Reps. Annie Kuster (NH-02), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Susan Davis (CA-53), Katherine Clark (MA-05), and Mike Quigley (IL-05), will bring sexual harassment survivors and advocates as guests to President Trump’s State of the Union address tonight at 9:00 PM ET.

Congresswoman Kuster, the founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence, has long been a champion for survivors of sexual and domestic violence, sharing her own personal experiences involving sexual assault on the House floor and joining with 17 other Members of Congress to read Emily Doe’s open letter describing her attack and ensuing trial – which marked the first time a victim’s statement has been read in full in the House chambers. Congresswoman Kuster will bring Chessy Prout, a survivor of sexual assault, as her guest.

“The #MeToo moment has truly turned into a national movement,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “I’ve been inspired by the courage of Chessy Prout and other survivors of sexual violence, who are bravely using their experiences to let others know they are not alone. By wearing black tonight we are sending a message to the nation that we will not rest until we’ve changed the all too persistent culture of sexual harassment and violence.” 

Rep. Frankel, Chair of the Democratic Women’s Working Group, will bring Laura Germino, Co-Founder of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and their Fair Food Program, which successfully protects the right of tomato workers to work free from sexual harassment and assault by partnering with large retailers to ensure they only purchase tomatoes from growers that maintain a safe and dignified workplace.

“Laura’s tireless efforts to provide workers with a safe, dignified workplace is an example that all industries – from farms, to hotels, to Hollywood – can follow,” said Rep. Frankel. “Our nation is in the middle of a cultural revolution, where workers are demanding respectful workplaces that are free of sexual harassment. I’m bringing Laura and her success story to Washington to echo that call.” 

Rep. Lawrence, Vice Chair of the Democratic Women’s Working Group, will be joined by Danielle McGuire, a historian and author who wrote a book shining a light on Recy Taylor. 

“Wearing black during the State of the Union address is a strong sign of solidarity with victims of sexual misconduct, sexual harassment and sexual abuse. Also, women members of the Congressional Black Caucus will be wearing red pins as a tribute to Recy Taylor, an African American woman who was kidnapped and raped by six white men in Alabama in 1944, threatened with death if she reported the incident but spoke out anyway, only to have the men go free.

This is why I am so glad to host as my guest for the State of the Union address award-winning author and historian Danielle McGuire, who had the conviction and courage to investigate and shine light on the story of Recy Taylor through her book “At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance — A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power”.

Sexual abuse and failure of the judicial system in administering justice has been a reality for too many for too long and we certainly cannot and will not stand for it. But more than show unity with our colors, we must show strong unity with our actions. Awareness and action for these issues are long past due. Time’s up for the abuse, neglect and injustice; and the time for action and change—real change, is right now,” said Rep. Lawrence.  

Congresswoman Speier, Policy and Communications Chair of the Democratic Women’s Working Group, will bring Travis Moore, one of the leading advocates for survivors of sexual harassment and violence in Congress. In addition to being a leading voice in the #MeToo Congress movement, Travis is the Founder and Director of TechCongress. TechCongress places technologists to work directly for Members of Congress and Congressional Committees on key policymaking challenges through its one-year Congressional Innovation Fellowship. Fellows are designing policy on critical issues including Russian hacking, encryption, facial recognition privacy, and autonomous vehicle regulation. Travis worked on Capitol Hill for six years and was the Legislative Director for Rep. Henry A. Waxman, helping guide Rep. Waxman’s work on technology, health care, and the environment. He founded Congress’ first digital communications training program and the institution’s first Congressional staff conference.

“I’m so proud to bring Travis Moore, who – along with Kristin Nicholson – organized over 1,500 former congressional staff in sending a letter to House and Senate Leadership demanding reform of the broken Congressional complaint process for survivors of sexual harassment and violence in Congress. Travis has been a critically important part of the effort to stop this epidemic that has spread across all party lines and into all professions and jobs. This epidemic is also at the root of so many other forms of discrimination and disrespect – such as lack of equal pay, childcare, and flexible work schedules. Travis and I will attend in honor of all the survivors, to show that we believe them and that we stand with them. And those of us in Congress will continue to honor these survivors by cleaning our own House, so that Congress can lead the way on this issue and ensure that this reckoning doesn’t stop at Capitol Hill. We all deserve and demand that bit of basic respect,” said Congresswoman Speier.

Rep. Davis’s guest is Jenna Ben-Yehuda, a former State Department official who has helped launch the #metoonatsec movement. In November, over 200 women who work on national security signed an open letter – co-authored by Ms. Ben-Yehuda – about surviving or knowing someone who experienced sexual harassment and assault. They call on national security agencies to make meaningful changes so that the women who keep our nation safe can be safe at work.

“I want to thank Jenna for her efforts to highlight the stories of women who work in national security,” said Rep. Davis “I’m honored to have her as my guest for the State of the Union. Because of women like Jenna and all other women who refuse to be silent we are seeing positive change. This is just the beginning.”

Rep. Quigley will be bringing Erin Walton, a Chicago resident who serves as Executive Director of Rape Victim Advocates (RVA). RVA is an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the healing and empowerment of sexual assault survivors through non-judgmental crisis intervention counseling, individual and group trauma therapy, and medical and legal advocacy in the greater Chicago metropolitan area. RVA provides public education and institutional advocacy in order to improve the treatment of sexual assault survivors and to effect positive change in policies and public attitudes toward sexual assault.

“This is so much more than a movement—we’re in the midst of a transformative and overdue cultural reckoning, and time is up,” said Rep. Quigley. “Today is about all of the brave women who have come forward and shared their stories, as well as the advocates, like my guest Erin Walton, who work tirelessly to raise awareness and support survivors. Erin’s service to our home city of Chicago has undoubtedly empowered individuals and strengthened communities in more ways than we can count. It is up to all of us—women and men in every industry, zip code, and walk of life—to follow Erin’s example and work together to secure justice and safety for all.”

Congresswoman Clark will bring Anny Gonzalez, an airplane cleaner who endured persistent sexual harassment at her job. Clark hopes Gonzalez’s story will spotlight sexual harassment as an economic issue, the #MeToo movement’s role in the service and hospitality industries, and the challenges workers face in coming forward. Gonzalez will be seated in the U.S. House chamber gallery as President Trump delivers his State of the Union address.

“When the president looks up at our guests, I want him to see the face of a mom who was forced to decide between reporting abuse and making sure her daughter was fed,” said Rep. Clark. “Millions of women in the service industry contend with assault, harassment, and abuse from more powerful people because they feel like they have no other choice. The #MeToo movement has to be about creating a safe environment for victims to come forward, establishing accountability, and demanding action from our leaders, including our president.”

Congresswoman Watson Coleman will bring Rose Gunter, the niece of Recy Taylor and her caregiver until her death last year. Taylor was abducted and raped while walking home from work in Alabama in 1944. Taylor reported her attack, but her assailants were never brought to justice. In 2011, the Alabama Legislature apologized to Taylor, calling the failure to prosecute her attackers “morally abhorrent and repugnant.” Taylor’s story rose to national news following Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globes speech while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award. This effort is in conjunction with members wearing black to the State of the Union address in solidarity with those seeking economic security and a cultural shift that enables men and women to work side by side in safety and dignity, free of sexual harassment, and paid fairly for the value of their work.

“I am honored that Rose will be joining me for the State of the Union as many members of the Democratic Caucus will be paying tribute to her aunt,” Rep. Watson Coleman said. “Ms. Taylor’s story represents that of many marginalized women who have spoken up, spoken out and have long been ignored. The transformative movement that’s happening in this country around sexual misconduct must include amplifying the voices of victims that we, in some cases, chose not to hear. Beyond her terrifying experience, Ms. Taylor, herself, is a representation of the many communities this Administration has chosen to leave behind.”

Ambassador (ret.) Norm Eisen to Attend State of the Union as Shea-Porter’s Guest

 Eisen is the Board Chair of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), an organization he co-founded in 2003; and was the White House ‘Ethics Czar’ from 2009-2011

WASHINGTON, DC— Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) today announced that Ambassador Norm Eisen will be her guest at the State of the Union address tomorrow night.

“I have always admired Ambassador Eisen’s outstanding public service, and I am delighted that he will be my guest tomorrow night at the State of the Union Address,” said Shea-Porter.

Ambassador Eisen is an expert in government ethics.

“Congresswoman Shea-Porter is a leader in fighting for government ethics, transparency, and the rule of law,” said Ambassador Eisen. “I am very pleased to attend the State of the Union as her guest, representing those who work in my field.”

Shea-Porter has taken a number of steps to strengthen government ethics laws:

  • Shea-Porter has cosponsored the Presidential Disclosure of Foreign Business Transactions Act, which would require the president to disclose business transactions with foreign governments exceeding $10,000 on a monthly basis.
  • Shea-Porter has cosponsored the Executive Appointee Ethics Improvement Act, which would codify the five-year lobbying ban on former appointees, increase the cooling-off period to two years for communications between former appointees and any officer or employee of the department or agency in which they served, and prohibit employees entering the government from participating in any matter that is directly or substantially related to their former employer or clients. It would also prohibit lobbyists who join the administration from participating in any matters on which they lobbied for the two prior years.
  • Shea-Porter has cosponsored the Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act, which would require a detailed financial disclosure from the President, Vice President, their spouses, and minor or dependent children of all their financial interests, including releasing their tax returns. It would require them to divest all assets that create financial conflicts of interest by placing them in a true blind trust to be managed by an independent trustee. It would also prohibit presidential appointees from participating in matters that directly involve the financial interests of the President or businesses controlled by the President.
  • Last May, Shea-Porter called on Office of Management and Budget Director Mulveney to send all administration ethics waivers to Office of Government Ethics (OGE) after he initially refused to do so. She also cosponsored the White House Ethics Transparency Act, which would require federal agencies to send all ethics waivers to the OGE and require the OGE to post them online.
  • Last September and October, Shea-Porter sent multiple letters seeking explanations for inappropriate Cabinet Member travel on chartered and military planes.

Ambassador Norman L. Eisen is the chair of the government watchdog group CREW, which he co-founded in 2003, and a CNN political commentator. He has co-authored such reports as “The Emoluments Clause: Its Text, Meaning, and Application to Donald J. Trump,” “The Impact of Open Government,” and “Why Critics of Transparency are Wrong.” Eisen served from January 2009 to January 2011 in the White House as special counsel and special assistant to the president for ethics and government reform. The press dubbed him “Mr. No” and the “Ethics Czar” for his tough anti-corruption approach. He also advised President Obama on lobbying regulation, campaign finance law, and open government issues, helping to assure the most scandal-free White House in modern history. Following his service in the White House, Eisen was the U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic from 2011 to 2014.

300 Union Members Head To Puerto Rico To Assist In Recovery Efforts

United ALPA Pilots Prior tl Flight to Puerto Rico
Image from ALPA

Unions and United Airlines Come Together to Fly More than 300 First Responders and Skilled Volunteers to Puerto Rico

35,000 pounds of relief supplies also delivered on flight
Evacuees to fill seats on return flight to Newark, New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J., Oct. 4, 2017 – Today, the AFL-CIO, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA), the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) and United Airlines teamed up to fly more than 300 first responders and skilled volunteers—including nurses, doctors, electricians, engineers, carpenters and truck drivers—to Puerto Rico to help with relief and rebuilding efforts.

The flight was one way to respond to the urgent need to get highly skilled workers to Puerto Rico to help people seeking medical and humanitarian assistance as well as to help with the rebuilding effort. While in Puerto Rico, workers will coordinate with the Puerto Rico Federation of Labor and the city of San Juan on various efforts, including helping clear road blockages, care for hospital patients, deliver emergency supplies, and restore power and communications.

United Airlines volunteered a 777-300, one of the largest and newest aircraft in its fleet, to airlift this humanitarian relief team to San Juan. In addition to the hundreds of highly skilled workers assembled by the AFL-CIO, the flight was operated by ALPA- and AFA-CWA-represented United Airlines pilots and flight attendants volunteering their time. IAM-represented United ramp employees also will support the flight on the ground in Newark and San Juan.

The flight departed Newark Liberty International Airport at 11 a.m. ET and will arrive at San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport at approximately 2:45 p.m. ET. The flight also is transporting more than 35,000 pounds of such emergency relief supplies as food, water and essential equipment. The airline has operated more than a dozen flights to and from Puerto Rico, carrying nearly 740,000 pounds of relief-related cargo and more than 1,300 evacuees.

The United aircraft is returning to Newark this evening with evacuees from Puerto Rico. These passengers are being provided complimentary seats as part of United’s ongoing humanitarian relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

“The working families of Puerto Rico are our brothers and sisters. And this incredible partnership will bring skilled workers to the front lines to deliver supplies, care for victims and rebuild Puerto Rico,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Our movement is at its best when we work together during times of great need. But we are even better when we find common ground and partner with business and industry on solutions to lift up our communities. This endeavor is entirely about working people helping working people in every way possible. In times of great tragedy, our country comes together, and we are committed to doing our part to assist the people of Puerto Rico.”

“When our union sisters and brothers see a need in our national or international community, we don’t ask if we should act, we ask how,” said AFA-CWA International President Sara Nelson. “Today is the result of our collective strength, compassion and commitment to action. I am proud United responded to the call to carry a union of relief workers among America’s working families to care for our sisters and brothers in Puerto Rico. We are united in lifting up our fellow Americans. It is an honor to serve on the volunteer crew of Flight Attendants and Pilots transporting skilled relief workers and returning to New York with hundreds needing safe passage out of Puerto Rico.”


“Our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico need help and this is a race against time,” said Captain Todd Insler, Chairman, ALPA United Airlines. “The ALPA pilots of United Airlines are honored to fly these skilled workers and medical professionals to San Juan today, and will continue to support the humanitarian efforts going forward. We applaud these brave volunteers who are dedicating their time, selflessly leaving their homes and families, and answering the call to help. The strength of the unions represented on this flight comes from workers joining together to help one another. Likewise, the strength of this joint relief effort comes from all of us—labor, management and government—standing together to help our fellow citizens in their time of need.”

“This flight carries not only much-needed supplies and skilled union labor, but also the love and support of more than 33,000 IAM members at United who will continue helping the people of Puerto Rico recover,” said IAM General Vice President Sito Pantoja.

While in Puerto Rico, OPEIU nurse members Kris Teed, RN , Elizabeth Moreno, RN, and Kyra Keusch, RN, will coordinate with the Puerto Rico AFL-CIO and the City of San Juan on various efforts.

“When our communities call out for help, we can come together and solve the biggest challenges by summoning the best of ourselves. We’ve answered this call many times over the past couple months, and Puerto Rico is no exception,” said Oscar Munoz, CEO of United Airlines. “This flight embodies how working Americans, union leaders and business can unite with a shared sense of purpose to make a life-changing difference at this critical moment. We are deeply grateful to all of the first responders, highly skilled professionals and United employees who are going above and beyond to come to the aid of Puerto Rico.”

 

Unions throughout America have continued to offer supplies and other volunteer efforts in addition to today’s flight. Members on today’s flight are represented by 20 unions from 17 states.

New Report Shows Non-Union Workers Are Less Likely To Have Paid Time Off

New AFL-CIO Labor Day Report Finds Americans’ Freedom to Spend Time with Family Eroding

Majority Think Unions Key to More Benefits on the Job

The majority of people agree that unions are the key to more benefits at work according to a new poll released today by the AFL-CIO, the Economic Policy Institute and GQRR.  The poll shows some startling results that fewer workers are getting paid time off for holidays and vacations, resulting in less time with their families. The poll also shows strong support for labor unions and that people want the ability to join a union.

Over the last twenty years research has shown that Americans are working more and more every year.  Productivity has gone up exponentially while wages have remained relatively flat.  For some, workers are working longer because they are forced to work two or three jobs, others because their employers expect them to work from home on their weekends.  63% of a people reported that they are taking fewer vacations and have less time off than they ever did in the past.
As workers face longer and longer workdays spending time with their families is becoming harder as many do not have access to paid time off for holidays or vacations.  The report shows that overall 23% of the workforce do not have paid holidays and 24% do not have paid vacations.  Access to paid time off even harder in low wage jobs.  “Among the bottom 10% of earners, 59% do not have access to paid holidays, while among the top 10% of earners, 7% do not have access to paid holidays.”

Share of private-sector workers without paid holidays, by wage group, 2017.

The report shows that if you want to have paid vacations, paid holidays, and overtime when you do work a holiday, it pays to be a union member.

The report showed: “While 78% of all working people polled have Labor Day off, 85% of union members do. Furthermore, 66% of union members receive overtime for working on Labor Day, compared with 38% of nonunion members. Seventy-nine percent (79%) of union members enjoy access to paid vacation, compared with 68% of nonunion members. Finally, 75% of union members have access to paid sick leave, compared with only 64% of nonunion members.”

The majority of American workers credit labor unions for many of the benefits they receive.
“Union workers empowered by the freedom to negotiate with employers do better on every single economic benchmark,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Union workers earn substantially more money, union contracts help achieve equal pay and protection from discrimination, union workplaces are safer, and union workers have better access to health care and a pension.”

The report goes on to talk about how very few working people have access to paid family leave. This is paid time off to take your child to the doctor or stay home when they are ill. “Only a paltry 14% of private-sector workers have access to paid family leave through their employers.” the report stated.

This means that “37 million private-sector workers have no access to paid sick leave at all.”

Union Have Been Good for People by Raising Wages and Helping People Enter the Middle Class

Labor unions continue to push for more working people to have access to paid sick leave and family medical leave.  “Recently, in New Jersey, New York and Washington, D.C., respectively, the AFL-CIO has played lead roles in the fights to expand access to paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave for all working people. Elsewhere, individual unions have been at the forefront of new and ongoing fights in Arizona, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington.”

These ongoing efforts have helped revitalize the labor movement.  The report found that “72% of Americans think unions help people enter the middle class.” They also understand the direct connection between unions and paid holidays and paid time off.

That is probably why 54% said that they would join a union today, IF they had the opportunity.

“This Labor Day, the AFL-CIO will continue to push for an economy that supports work-life balance and ensures every worker has the freedom to spend time with loved ones. Whether it’s strengthening the right to form a union and negotiate for paid time off, expanding paid leave nationwide or rewarding employers that do the right thing, we are committed to advancing commonsense solutions that allow more Americans to enjoy full and happy lives.”


Click here for the transcript of Richard Trumka talking to the Christian Science Monitor about the new report, “Laboring on Labor Day.”

The full “Laboring on Labor Day” report is included below.

17126_Report5-fin_1

Transportation Unions Roll Out Strategies to Move $1 Trillion Transportation Infrastructure Package

Labor Leader Release List Of Priorities For 2017 And Beyond 

San Antonio, TX – Transportation labor leaders laid out an aggressive strategy yesterday focused on shaping the President’s $1 trillion transportation infrastructure package and tackling unprecedented challenges faced by frontline transportation workers. Some of those challenges include the looming transportation automation wave, risks to jobs and safety, and reckless political forces taking aim at workers’ rights to bargain collectively for good wages and benefits.

“We committed to rally behind a $1 trillion infrastructure package that doesn’t rely mostly on tax incentives but instead includes an infusion of billions in new federal funding and embraces high labor standards,” said Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD). “We cannot toll our way to modernizing and expanding our transportation system and creating millions of new jobs.”

TTD hosted Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) for a discussion on the pressing issues affecting America’s transportation workers, including the need to advance a robust infrastructure package. Denham is a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and chairman of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials.

“Our nation’s transportation system, and the men and women who build, operate and maintain it, play a crucial role in keeping our economy strong,” Denham said. “I look forward to working with transportation labor leaders to advance strategic infrastructure investments that will rebuild our vast transportation network and, in the process, drive middle-class job creation in California and throughout the nation.” 

Transportation labor leaders laid out key issues for 2017 and beyond, including:

 Responding to the Wave of Transportation Automation

  • Automated technologies will drastically change the nature of work in transportation industries, will put millions of jobs at risk and pose new safety and security threats requiring rigorous federal regulations.

Views on President Trump’s Call for a $1 Trillion Infrastructure Investment Initiative

  • Any transportation infrastructure plan advanced by the President and Congress must include a significant infusion of new federal funds and embrace strong worker protections, labor standards and Buy America requirements.

Mobilization Against Job-Killing Right-to-Work Laws

  • Transportation labor will engage in an aggressive effort to stop national right-to-work legislation, which is part of an orchestrated, deliberate attempt by extremists to crush the wages and benefits of working Americans.

Protecting Airline Customer Service Agents from Assault

  • Too many airline customer service agents are verbally or physically assaulted on the job. Federal legislation must mitigate the problem by providing clear protocols for violent situations, preventing violent travelers from boarding planes and subjecting those who assault customer service agents to arrest and prosecution.

Strengthening Transportation Buy America Rules

  • Billions in new transportation investments must be used to not only grow the economy, but to maximize middle-class job creation through vigorous and strongly enforced Buy America policies.

Protecting and Expanding Middle Class Freight Rail Jobs

  • Transportation unions are committed to policies that strengthen and expand freight rail and will oppose reforms that would weaken the freight rail sector’s ability to expand business, invest in its network and workforce, and support middle-class job creation.

Supporting Cargo Preference Laws that Strengthen Our National Defense

  • The Trump Administration and Congress must uphold cargo preference laws that ensure a viable U.S. merchant marine, strengthen our national defense and support mariner jobs.

Protecting Official Time for Federal Employees

  • Transportation unions will mobilize against the Official Time Reform Act, which is a thinly veiled attack on public sector unions and federal employees.

The Executive Committee heard a presentation from Wytkind, who was appointed to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s federal advisory committee on transportation automation, on the safety and security challenges as well as massive job impacts from emerging automation technologies.

“Every sector of the transportation industry faces massive change and significant job loss from the development and deployment of automated technologies,” said Wytkind. “Our priority going forward is to ensure that these technologies are tools for frontline workers to enhance safety, security and service, rather than enablers of massive job and wage destruction.”

The Union Leader Blasts Andru Volinsky While We Applaud Him For Standing Strong Against Edelblut

This morning, the Union Leader took aim at Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky for his actions during the confirmation hearing of Frank Edelblut for NH Commissioner of Education.

Embarrassing: Andru Volinsky off to a bad start:

Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky must have thought he was back in the courtroom, or a high school production of “A Few Good Men.”

The Concord Democrat, best known as the lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the Claremont Education Lawsuit, treated the council chambers like his personal stage on Tuesday during the public hearing on Frank Edelblut’s nomination to head the New Hampshire Department of Education.

Volinsky tried to make the case that Edelblut was unqualified for the post because he has never worked inside the education bureaucracy. His grandstanding drew the ire of his fellow councilors, as Volinsky threatened to take more than an hour.

I am sorry, but at what point did being elected to the Executive Council, by the people of New Hampshire, mean that you must rubber stamp all of the Governor’s appointments?

Councilor Volinsky showed everyone that he is not going to roll over while the Governor tries to repay his fellow Republican Gubernatorial contender with a position he is completely unqualified to hold.

Utilizing the skills he acquired as a courtroom lawyer, Volinsky shredded Edelblut for having no experience as an educator and no experience as a school administrator.  Edelblut tried to say that his experience home schooling his seven children has provided him the experience needed to be Commissioner of Education.  The two have no connection at all.  It’s like saying, “I taught myself how to fly and have no license but I am now qualified to run the pilot training program for American Airlines.”

Volinsky showed his true commitment to strengthening New Hampshire’s public schools, something he cares deeply about and has fought for as a litigator for many years.  As the lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the landmark Claremont Decision, Volinsky fought to ensure that all schools received adequate funding from the State.

Last year, Volinsky won another case against the state over school funding. The state ruled that the ‘Cap On Adequacy Grants To Public Schools was unconstitutional and awarded Seacoast area schools nearly $12 million dollars as a result of the state’s failure to provide mandated funding. 

We applaud, Councilor Andru Volinsky for doing exactly what the people elected him to do and ensuring that the unfit and unqualified Frank Edelblut does not become Commissioner of Education.

Trump Nominates Fast Food CEO As Sec of Labor And House Labor Committe Chair Implies Unions Are Obsolete

Image by Chris Potter ccpixs.com

Image by Chris Potter ccpixs.com

As if this incoming train-wreck we call President-Elect Trump is not bad enough two more horrible things happened last night.

First, Trump is considering the head of a fast food chain as his new Secretary of Labor.

Second, Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC), the newly elected chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce said we don’t need unions anymore.

The Hill is reporting that President-Elect Trump is considering Andrew Puzder as Secretary of Labor.

Puzder is a CEO of CKE Restaurants (Carls Jr / Hardees) and is an outspoken opponent of President Obama’s changes to the overtime rule, “claiming it will force employers to offset costs by making cuts elsewhere.”

“In an op-ed that ran in Forbes in May, Puzder said the rule adds to the ‘extensive regulatory maze the Obama Administration has imposed on employers.’”

As the head of a multi-national fast food chain with over 20,000 employees Puzder has also used his position to advocate against raising the minimum wage. He has threatened to fire workers and replace them with automated kiosks if the government increases the minimum wage. A threat that many fast food corporations have been using to counter the Fight for $15 movement.

Puzder will say anything to protect CKE’s profits that rose by 30% last year and his $4.4 million dollar compensation package.

According to PayScale.com the average fast food worker makes between $7.24 and $9.92 per hour. This means that Andrew Puzder makes more in one day ($17.250) that the average Carls Jr. worker make in a year.

Coincidentally, 52% of full-time workers who make between $7.42 and $9.91 must rely on some type of government assistance to survive. People like Savino, who works 72 hours a week, at a Brooklyn grocery store and still doesn’t make enough to get by.

“Sometimes things are so bad that I have to decide—should I pay rent this month, or should I eat?” said Savino.

“When employers pay wages so low that working people have to turn to public assistance to make ends meet, they’re effectively receiving a subsidy from taxpayers,” said EPI economic analyst David Cooper. “Policies that raise wages would free up resources that could then be used to strengthen anti-poverty programs or make investments in any number of other policy priorities. The simplest way we can do this is by raising the federal minimum wage.”

Within the next few months we could have a new Secretary of Labor who opposes raising the minimum wage and we could have a Labor Committee chair that says unions are obsolete.

Representative Virginia Foxx told Reuters “Organized labor has ‘sort of lost its reason for being’ and one of her committee’s top priorities will be to roll back a slew of Obama administration labor initiatives.”

“At the top of her agenda is the U.S. Labor Department rule that would extend mandatory overtime pay to more than 4 million workers” wrote Robert Iafolla for Reuters.

What a strange coincidence, that is exactly what the potential Sec. of Labor wants to do as well.

Foxx is also targeting the NLRB decision on “joint employment.” This is the rule that “could make it easier for unions and regulators to hold companies accountable for the employment practices of staffing agencies, contractors and franchisees with which they partner. That issue has been most prominently in play in a case involving McDonald’s Corp over whether it, as well as its franchisees, can be held liable in complaints about the violation of employee rights,” Iafolla explained.

The change to the “joint employment” rule is to stem the growing trend of hiring workers as “independent contractors” to avoid having to pay any benefits or be held responsible for any labor or safety violations. This would also hold corporations accountable for the actions of their franchisees.

Together, Puzder and Foxx will put a massive target on the backs of working people. They want to undo all of the progress we have made in the fights to raise the minimum wage and expand workers rights.

Now, more than ever, we need to come together to push back against this anti-worker agenda. We must fight back against the oligarchs that President-Elect Trump is filling his Cabinet with. We cannot sit idly by while the super-wealthy reap all the rewards from our hard work. We need to keep organizing and redouble our efforts in the Fight for $15.

We are all in this together.

We still are the 99% and we must make our voices heard.

Union Leaders Cautiously Optimistic About Sale of FairPoint to Illinois-Based Consolidated Communications

 Fairness at Fairpoint Banner

Portland, ME—Leaders of unions representing telecom workers in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont responded to the announcement by Consolidated Communications Holdings Inc. that it plans to purchase FairPoint Communications in 2017. The sale is subject to approval by both companies’ shareholders and state regulators. 

“It’s clear that the ill-advised sale of Verizon to FairPoint in 2008 has had a profound negative impact on workers and consumers in Northern New England. Just last month, FairPoint announced another major layoff of nearly 10% of its workforce even as regulators continue to investigate their service quality failures,” said Peter McLaughlin, Business Manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 2327 in Maine. “Therefore, we view this potential sale with cautious optimism. We are hopeful that Consolidated will work with us to create and maintain good jobs in our communities and really improve the quality of service that our customers deserve.”

The unions confirmed that the recent layoff announced by FairPoint would go forward as planned.

According to Don Trementozzi, President of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1400, “Our members and our customers have been through the ringer with FairPoint over the last eight years, and our primary concern is that this transaction result in a more stable company that puts a priority on strengthening communities, not enriching Wall Street hedge fund owners.”

Union leaders said that they are looking closely at Consolidated’s finances, technical capacity, and history of labor relations as well as at the regulatory requirements for the sale. In 2007, the unions partnered with community groups to “Stop the Sale” of Verizon to FairPoint. They predicted the sale would be devastating for workers and consumers, but the sale went ahead and FairPoint declared bankruptcy in 2009. The company’s effort to slash labor costs by cutting pay and benefits and hiring unlimited contractors led to an historic four-month strike in the winter of 2014-15.

“As we were back in 2007 during the Verizon transaction, we will be deeply involved in the process to ensure a fair deal for FairPoint workers no matter the outcome of this transaction,” said Steve Soule, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2320 in New Hampshire. “While we certainly welcome FairPoint’s departure from Northern New England, we’ll be vigilant in examining any potential new owner and fighting for fairness for our members and our communities.”

Leaders emphasized their willingness to cooperate with Consolidated should the transaction succeed with shareholders and regulators. “As long as Consolidated is ready to engage with our members and our customers with respect and fairness, we welcome this opportunity to help re-build the company and make it the success it has been in the past,” said Mike Spillane, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2326 in Vermont.


The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers System Council T9 includes local unions in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont and represents more than 1,400 employees at FairPoint Communications. The Communications Workers of America Local 1400 represents 150 FairPoint employees in the three states.


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