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AFL-CIO Challenges Kelly Ayotte And Other Senate Candidates Tied to Trump

 

trump_kelly_ayotteNew Petitions to Target Senators Who Have Not Renounced Trump

 

(Washington, DC) – Today the AFL-CIO launched a round of petitions targeting Senate candidates who have endorsed Donald Trump, or have not denounced his incendiary remarks on issues from working families to social justice. The petitions will reach voters in states with contested Senate races including Florida, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

 

“These petitions are all about education and accountability,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “It is important that our members know which senators have aligned themselves with Trump’s radical agenda and demand better.”

 

The petitions call on each Senator to put country before party and renounce Donald Trump as dangerous and unfit to be president.

 

Click here to sign the petition against Kelly Ayotte

AFL-CIO Commits to Mobilizing Millions of Women in 2016

 Statement by AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Liz Shuler on the AFL-CIO Executive Council’s Working Women Economic Agenda:

This image © 2009 Jay Mallin.  All rights reserved.

This image © 2009 Jay Mallin. All rights reserved.

Women make up more than half of the U.S. electorate, and we vote at higher rates than men. From now until November, the AFL-CIO will be talking to women voters about the issues that impact them the most. We will have conversations with our friends and family on the doors, on the phone, at work and in our communities to ensure that the women’s agenda remains at the forefront.

Today the AFL-CIO Executive Council reinforced its commitment to advancing the rights of all working women and men – union or non-union – with the adoption of the Economic Agenda for Working Women and Our Families. The labor movement will continue to fight for equal pay, family friendly policies, high-quality education and the right to negotiate better working conditions.

It is time that our nation’s policies reflect our values and lift up working women, and all working people. Women are change-makers and this year we are going to elect pro-worker, pro-woman and pro-family candidates. Hillary Clinton’s historic nomination for president shattered the glass ceiling, and we stand behind her. She shares our values and has put forth a plan that will help working women achieve equal rights along with the respect and dignity we deserve.

Clinton Is The “Slam Dunk” Choice For President And AFL-CIO To Kick Off “Battleground Blitz”

Transportation Trades Department praises Clinton as the clear choice this election.

AFL-CIO kicks off Labor 2016 campaign in battleground states.

After a stirring oration from President Barack Obama on Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) released the following statement in support of Hillary Clinton for President of the United States:

“Last night, President Obama reminded us that Secretary Clinton is as ready as any candidate in history to be our commander in chief. Her experience, temperament and lifelong commitment to fighting for a country that is fair and treats everyone equally, combine to make the choice in this election a no-brainer.

“Secretary Clinton has a plan to put millions of people to work modernizing the economy, including our transportation system and infrastructure. Donald Trump’s GOP platform calls for the elimination of mass transit, reckless cuts to Amtrak and an austerity agenda that dooms any chance of reversing decades of neglect that have left our aging transportation system in a severe state of decay and disrepair.

“Secretary Clinton has put forward strong ideas for expanding our middle class by empowering millions to form and join unions, and bargain for fair wages and retirement security. Donald Trump has endorsed proposals that would gut collective bargaining and leave millions of working people to fend for themselves in an economy that features a widening wage gap and millions living in poverty.

“And Secretary Clinton has rejected the politics of fear and division designed to vilify and undermine the men and women who work in public service – from our cities and states to our federal government institutions. Donald Trump has endorsed a platform that attacks those people and the critical services they provide.

“The working people on the frontlines of our transportation system have grown weary of politicians who talk a good game but fail to offer real solutions. They are looking for a champion who will reach across the aisle and finally end this era of inaction and disinvestment that has left our transportation system reeling. Secretary Clinton is that champion, without question – and that’s a slam dunk.”

This morning, after Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic nomination from President of the United States, Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, released the following statement:

“The AFL-CIO and 12.5 million working people across the nation congratulate Hillary Clinton on her historic nomination for president by the Democratic Party. We applaud the hard fought campaign that led to this moment. This is a momentous occasion for working women everywhere who are still fighting to level the playing field in their workplace and achieve equal pay for equal work. Hillary Clinton’s nomination signals our nation’s commitment to gender equality and we in the labor movement will lift up that commitment on a daily basis.

This is a moment for women, and all Americans, to celebrate. When my grandmother immigrated to America, she didn’t speak English. As a young woman, my mother couldn’t afford a college education. So, when I witnessed Hillary Clinton accept the nomination, I knew things were incredibly changed for the better. And when we elect Secretary Clinton in November, they will be changed forever.”

Concurrently with their message of support for Clinton’s nomination the AFL-CIO announced they would be kicking off a “battleground blitz” in support of Clinton and to defeat Donald Trump.

“Working people are unified behind Hillary Clinton and are ready to defeat Donald Trump in November. The Democratic Convention ended with an enthusiastic commitment to stand together to rewrite the economic rules so that all Americans can get ahead and stay ahead,” wrote the AFL-CIO.

The morning after the Convention ends, working people in every state are ready to take off and work to elect Hillary Clinton and other pro-worker candidates. The labor movement is launching an immediate series of events and actions, with 35 separate activities in 13 different cities planned between today and Sunday in the states of Florida, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

“Working families are an unstoppable force when we stick together,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “We spoke loud and strong and have helped put the country on a path to shared prosperity. We have driven the debate that put the brakes on the TPP and have established the standard for rewriting the economic rules that will shape this election.”

AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre will be in South Florida this weekend for campaign kickoff events. Across the country, union members will be phone banking, canvassing and rallying to elect Hillary Clinton.

Labor Leaders Speak At The Democratic National Convention (VIDEO)

The Democratic National Convention is in full swing and there is so much going on it is easy to miss something.

On Day 1 of the DNC labor leaders from a variety of national unions spoke in support of Hillary Clinton and in opposition to the possibility of a Donald Trump presidency.

Labor unions have stood in strong opposition to Donald Trump since he first announced his campaign when he attacked immigrants and threatened to tear apart families by deporting 11 million aspiring Americans.

Hillary has garnered strong support from labor unions throughout out the primary.  She gained more labor support when she came out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership and announced her bold infrastructure investment plan.

Nearly all of the labor leaders who spoke highlighted that the choice this election could not be clearer. Do we want a champion for working families or a shameless billionaire who has always been there to make a quick buck off the suffering of working people?

Here are just a few quotes from the video below as transcribed by C-Span:

AFSME President Lee Saunders
“HILLARY CLINTON NEVER QUITS EITHER. SHE UNDERSTANDS THAT COLLECTIVE BARGAINING RIGHTS STRENGTHEN ALL OF US. WE NEED A PRESIDENT WHO GETS THAT AND UNDERSTAND THAT BUSTING UNIONS AND CUTTING SERVICES MEANS FAMILIES SUFFER.”

“I WAS IN LAS VEGAS AT THE TRUMP HOTEL LAST WEEK AND THEY VOTED TO FORM A UNION. BUT DONALD TRUMP WILL NOT MEET WITH THEM.”

“I KNOW WHAT SIDE I AM ON. I AM WITH HER. ELECT HILLARY CLINTON THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.”

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
“WORKING PEOPLE ARE STRONG AND DONALD TRUMP IS WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. LISTEN, HE THINKS HE IS A TOUGH GUY. DONALD, I WORKED IN THE MINES WITH TOUGH GUYS. I KNOW TOUGH GUYS. DONALD, YOU ARE NO TOUGH GUY. YOU ARE A PHONY. DONALD TRUMP HAS REPEATEDLY OUTSOURCED JOBS TO LINE HIS OWN POCKETS. HE ROOTED FOR THE HOUSING COLLAPSE. HE SAID WAGES ARE TOO HIGH — NOT JUST ONCE, BUT REPEATEDLY. “

“WE ARE BUILDING A MOVEMENT FOR A BETTER LIFE, NO MATTER THE COLOR OF OUR SKIN, WHERE WE WERE BORN, FOR WE LOVE, OR HOW WE WORSHIP. HILLARY CLINTON ANSWERED OUR CALL. SHE IS FIGHTING TO REWRITE THE ECONOMIC RULES FOR ALL OF US. SHE HAS A BOLD PLAN TO INVEST IN MANUFACTURING, INFRASTRUCTURE, AND JOBS. SHE OPPOSES THE JOB KILLING TRANSPACIFIC PARTNERSHIP.”

NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia
“HILLARY CLINTON BELIEVES IN KEEPING FAMILIES TOGETHER. SHE BELIEVES IN OUR DREAMERS. SHE BELIEVES THAT EDUCATORS SHOULD BE FOCUSED ON EDUCATION, NOT DEPORTATION.”

“DONALD TRUMP SEES IMMIGRANTS AS CRIMINALS, DRUG DEALERS ,RAPISTS? HE SAYS HE WOULD ROUND UP FAMILIES AND UP THEM AND BUILD A WALL — DEPART THEM AND BUILD THE WALL.”

SEIU President Mary Kay Henry
“WE NEED A PRESIDENT WHO WANTS TO RAISE WAGES IN THIS COUNTRY, NOT ONE THAT SAYS WAGES ARE TOO HIGH AND THERE SHOULD NOT BE A FEDERAL MINIMUM WAGE. THAT IS WHY WE ARE WORKING TO ELECT HILLARY CLINTON AND CHAMPIONS UP AND DOWN THE BALLOT WHO WILL RAISE WAGES AND HEALTH WORKERS JOINED TOGETHER IN UNIONS.”

“WE MUST ELECT HILLARY CLINTON AND THE CHAMPIONS LIKE HER WERE GOING TO PUT FAMILIES FIRST AND STOP THE CANDIDATE OF HATRED AND GREED.”

North American Building Trades Unions President Sean McGarvey
“TRADE UNION MEMBERS HAVE HELPED OF THIS GREAT NATION. THE SUPER DOME, THE GOLDING GATE BRIDGE, THE FREEDOM TOWERS, THE ARENA WE ARE IN TONIGHT. YOU NAME IT, WE BUILD IT. WE ARE PROUD OF OUR WORK. BUT WITH COLLAPSED BRIDGES, COMING ROADS AND STRESS ENERGY SYSTEMS, WE NOTICED HAVE TIME TO REBUILD OUR NATION’S INFRASTRUCTURE. BUILDING TRADE NUMBERS ARE READY TO DO THEIR PART.”

“HILLARY CLINTON HAS THE BOLDEST INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN WE HAVE SEEN IN GENERATIONS. SHE WILL HELP US REPAIR ROADS AND BRIDGES AND MAKE BROADBAND UNIVERSAL. BUILD NEW AIRPORTS AND MODERNIZE THE ENERGY GRID. SHE WILL DO IT ALL WHILE CREATING GOOD, FAIR PAINT JOBS WITH STANDARDS THAT SUPPORT REAL PARTNERSHIP PROGRAMS WHICH THE BUILDING TRADES PIONEER.”

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten
“DONALD MADE MILLIONS WHILE HE RIPPED OFF WORKERS AND SMALL BUSINESSES WITH HIS UNFAIR BUSINESS PRACTICES. REMEMBER, HE ENDED UP BANKRUPTING NOT ONE, NOT TWO, NOT THREE, BUT FOR OF HIS COMPANIES — BUT FOUR OF HIS COMPANIES. AND HIS ECONOMIC IDEAS WILL MAKE MILLIONAIRES LIKE HIM RICHER AT THE EXPENSE OF THE MIDDLE CLASS.”

“[Donald Trump] IS COMPLETELY UNQUALIFIED TO BE IN THE OVAL OFFICE.  
THANKFULLY, WE HAVE A DIFFERENT CHOICE AND IT IS A GREAT ONE. HILLARY CLINTON. SHE HAS WORKED HER ENTIRE LIFE TO LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD FOR WORKING FAMILIES. THAT’S US OF PUBLIC EDUCATION FROM PRE-K TO COLLEGE. A PLAN FOR UNIVERSAL EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION.”

Labor Reacts to Selection of Tim Kaine

https://www.flickr.com/photos/bnwklr/16038546189

Richard Trumka photo by Ben Wikler via Flickr Creative Commons

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

“The AFL-CIO supports Hillary Clinton’s selection of Tim Kaine as her running mate. Tim Kaine is the son of an ironworker and a teacher, and is grounded in the values of working people.

“He has a strong record on workers’ issues, ranging from raising the minimum wage to securing equal pay for equal work.  He has always been a strong leader and will be an asset to the ticket. He is moral and honest and true to the values he espouses. Clinton – Kaine is a winner for America.”


Mary Kay Henry by The Leadership Conference via Flickr Creative Commons

Mary Kay Henry photo by The Leadership Conference via Flickr Creative Commons

SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry:

“For working families, the 2016 election is the most consequential of our lifetimes. The stakes couldn’t be higher – nor the contrast starker – on all of the issues our families need to get ahead. In choosing Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton has tapped as her running mate the right partner to move our country forward and build a better future for all families by rebalancing our economy and democracy to work for everyone, not just greedy corporations and wealthy special interests.

“Tim Kaine is an experienced leader with a proven track record on issues from raising wages to immigration reform and racial justice. He has voted and fought for higher wages, and ensured home care workers had the ability to stand together in a union. His Senate record shows that working families have been his priority as he has worked to expand child care, protect voting rights, address mass incarceration, preserve the Affordable Care Act, and promote opportunities for women and immigrants. He was the first person ever to deliver a speech on the Senate floor entirely in Spanish, and it was to demand action on commonsense immigration reform with a path to citizenship.

“Above all, we know what is in Tim Kaine’s heart. He is someone who is the son of an ironworker and a teacher, who served as a Catholic missionary, whose first case out of law school was representing at no cost a Black woman who had been the victim of housing discrimination. Tim Kaine’s convictions are rooted in justice for all.

“Together, Clinton and Kaine will stand with working families who have come together in the broadest modern grassroots movement to raise wages and protect opportunities for people to join together in 21st-century unions; increase access to affordable care for our children and aging parents; and advance racial, immigrant and environmental justice for all communities across our country.  SEIU members will continue to come out in record numbers across the country to elect Clinton and Kaine as the next president and vice president of the United States.”


Randi Weingarten

Randi Weingarten

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten:

“The choice of Tim Kaine, the son of a welder who has lived middle-class values and has a long track record of progressive accomplishments, reiterates Hillary Clinton’s commitment to building a government that will level the playing field for working families. While the GOP ticket masks irrational ideas behind a morally bankrupt message of fear, bigotry and hatred, a Clinton-Kaine ticket will be focused on helping people see higher wages, lower student debt, good jobs, successful public schools, and safety and security here and abroad.

“The contrasts between a Clinton-Kaine ticket and a Trump-Pence ticket couldn’t be more stark. Donald Trump, the narcissist, believes that he alone can fix our nation’s problems and peddles fear in a campaign devoid of facts, plans or humanity. Clinton and Kaine choose to confront fear and solve problems, and they will use their vast experience to help ensure the American dream is within reach for everyone.

“Strong public education runs deep in the Kaine household. In the U.S. Senate, he took the lead on supporting career and technical education programs in the new federal education law, and he has fought for funding to modernize public school buildings. And as Virginia’s governor, he expanded pre-K programs by 40 percent. His wife, Anne Holton, has been dedicated to fighting for great public schools for decades—she helped integrate Richmond, Va., public schools as a child and today is Virginia’s secretary of education.

“Our nation and the world can feel confident that the Clinton-Kaine ticket will be a great leadership team that will work to break down walls, disarm hate, and make educational and economic opportunity a reality.”

Federal Union Leader: 2016 GOP Platform ‘A Hostile Takeover of the Civil Service System’

Leader of largest federal employees’ union blasts proposals to cut pay and benefits, privatize government services, and politicize the workforce

AFGE National President J. David Cox, Sr.WASHINGTON – In response to the release of the 2016 Republican Party Platform, J. David Cox, Sr., National President of the American Federation of Government Employees, representing 670,000 federal and D.C. government employees across the country, issued the following statement:

The 2016 Republican Platform makes clear the GOP has moved so close to the extremes that it opposes the very government it seeks to lead. The platform advocates such profound changes to the terms of government employment that, if enacted, it would bring to end the merit-based, apolitical civil service system. Without Constitutional due process rights and free unions to provide accountability and transparency to government employment, government employment would cease to be a professional civil service. What would ensue is quite predictable and occurs wherever there is an absence of the rule of law: a government staffed with cronies and political protectors that will fail to provide quality services to the American people. A spoils system staffed by those hired because who they know, not what they can do.

AFGE_Logo_high+resThe platform’s ignorance and misrepresentation of the facts about federal pay and benefits should be an embarrassment. The truth is that federal pay lags the private sector and state and local governments by an average of 35% according the Federal Salary Council and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And federal benefits only look generous when compared to the shameful practice of private employers who provide nothing or next to nothing for their employees in the way of pensions or insurance. Federal compensation has always been modest, but three years of frozen pay and substantial pension cutbacks enacted over the last several years in the name of deficit reduction have impoverished thousands of federal employees and their families. The notion of dragging a border patrol agent or a VA nursing assistant’s living standards down even lower is despicable.

The Republican platform also shows a horrible irresponsibility for the public interest in its embrace of privatization. Handing over the government’s work to profit-hungry contractors at the expense of public safety and health is a guarantee of scandal. Dismantling the veterans’ health care system by closing down hospitals and clinics and telling veterans to find their own care through a privatized insurance system is a disgraceful and outrageous abrogation of the promise our nation makes to those who have worn our nation’s uniform. Today veterans can walk into any VA hospital and access seamlessly integrated primary/specialty care in addition to financial, educational, housing, vocational, and other benefits. Closing down the VA would mean more than just dangerous degradation in their health care. It would also mean missed opportunities for direct employment and job assistance, obtaining an education, and help with overcoming addiction or homelessness.

The platform’s plan to privatize TSA would also be a dangerous and expensive disaster, throwing away a decade and a half of reliable airport security and returning us the pre-9/11 model that failed to such devastating effect. Instead of dismantling the TSA, the platform should demand that the agency receive the funding and staff it needs to do its jobs safely and efficiently, which a Republican-led Congress has failed to do for years.”

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The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 670,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.

Preventing Workplace Violence: National COSH and Local Groups Join Call for OSHA Standard for Health Care and Social Service Workers

NCOSH 300X250San Diego – In solidarity with labor unions representing millions of American workers, the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH), the New Hampshire Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (NHCOSH) and other local COSH organizations have endorsed petitions calling for a comprehensive federal standard to prevent workplace violence in the health care and social assistance sectors.

“With an issue like workplace violence, it’s easy to say, ‘Hey, how can you stop a person who wants to hurt somebody?’” said Jessica Martinez, acting executive director of National COSH. “But that’s just wrong and ignores documented best practices. If you address issues like adequate staffing and lines of communication, worksite security, proper training and safety protocols, there’s no question you can reduce the risks faced by health care and social service workers.”

Workplace violence is a problem across all sectors of the economy. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), more than two million workers each year report that they are victims of violent incidents on the job. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported more than 400 workplace homicides in 2014, making homicide the fourth-leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the United States.

Health care and social service workers are among those most at risk. Fifty-two percent of victims of workplace violence, according to the BLS, are health care and social service workers.

On July 12, a coalition of unions filed petitions with the U.S. Department of Labor, calling on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue a “comprehensive workplace violence prevention standard to protect all workers in healthcare and social service settings.” The coalition of labor unions includes the AFL-CIO; American Federation of Teachers; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; American Federation of Government Employees; Communications Workers of America; International Brotherhood of Teamsters; Service Employees International Union; the United Steelworkers and National Nurses United.

“Like other on-the-job hazards, workplace violence can be prevented – in health care, social services and in other sectors” said National COSH Senior Organizer Peter Dooley. “To be effective, a workplace violence prevention standard must be part of a comprehensive, systems approach to workplace safety, with workers involved in every step of the process.  That includes evaluating risks, assessing remedies, reporting incidents without fear of retaliation, and design of rigorous training.”

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels, National COSH and local COSH groups point to the proven effectiveness of prevention programs. “A comprehensive workplace violence prevention program,” the letter states, “reduced rates of assault at Veterans Health Administration hospitals between 2004 and 2009.”  The letter also notes that the states of California and Minnesota have recently passed legislation requiring health care employers to implement workplace violence prevention programs.

In addition to National COSH, local groups signing on to yesterday’s letter include:

  • Connecticut Council on Occupational Safety and Health (ConnectiCOSH)
  • Fe y Justicia Worker Center (Houston COSH)
  • Maine Labor Group on Health
  • Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH)
  • Mid-State Education and Service Foundation
  • New Hampshire Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (NHCOSH)
  • New Jersey Work Environment Council (NJWEC)
  • New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH)
  • NorthEast New York Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (NENYCOSH)
  • Rhode Island Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (RICOSH)
  • South Florida Interfaith Worker Justice
  • Southern California Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (SoCalCOSH)
  • Western Massachusetts Coalition for Workplace Safety and Health (WesternMassCOSH)
  • Western New York Council on Occupational Safety and Health (WNYCOSH)
  • Worksafe

Yesterday’s letter to Secretary Perez and Assistant Secretary Michaels is available here.

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National COSH links the efforts of local worker health and safety coalitions in communities across the United States, advocating for elimination of preventable hazards in the workplace. For more information, please visit coshnetwork.org.  Follow us at National Council for Occupational Safety and Health on Facebook, and @NationalCOSH on Twitter.

UNITE HERE Endorses Hillary Clinton for President of the United States

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UNITE HERE is an organization representing 270,000 working people across North America. Our membership is diverse. We are predominantly women and people of color, and we hail from all corners of the planet.

Over the course of the last three decades, the women and men of UNITE HERE have negotiated hundreds of contracts with their employers in the hospitality industry.

In those negotiated contracts, workers sacrificed billions of dollars in wage increases in order to build, maintain and fund the best and most affordable family health care in America.

The federal government now has decided to impose an excise tax on those health benefits.  The government wants these working families to pay again for what they have already paid for.

Hillary ClintonHillary Clinton is committed to work with us and members of the House and Senate in the United States Congress to end this double-payment scheme written into the Affordable Care Act by the insurance industry.

Most impressively, we did not have to ask Hillary Clinton to take this position.  Indeed, it is just a reflection of her decades-long commitment to affordable health care for working families.

Hillary Clinton has also been a staunch advocate for immigrant families. She has called for comprehensive immigration reform and defended President Obama’s executive actions providing deportation relief to millions. She has pledged to go one step further, committing to end family detention, close immigrant detention centers and help more eligible people become naturalized. For the tens of thousands immigrant workers our Union represents in Nevada and nationwide, this is the kind of compassionate leadership we need.

UNITE HERE is proud to endorse Hillary Clinton for President.   With our endorsement comes our commitment to deliver the swing state of Nevada to her winning campaign.

UNITE HERE represents 270,000 women and men across North America who work in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation, and airport industries. Learn more at www.unitehere.org.

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Following the endorsement, Hillary Clinton issued the following statement:

I am honored to have earned the endorsement of UNITE HERE.

American workers built the greatest middle class in history by fighting for higher wages, safer working conditions, retirement security and the right to organize and bargain collectively.  UNITE HERE has been on the front lines for decades, fighting to raise the minimum wage and reform our broken immigration system. They’ve stood strong to protect the rights and safety of workers across the country—and they’ve stood up to presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, who personally signed a contract with a union-busting firm to try to keep UNITE HERE from organizing workers in Las Vegas. I was proud to visit with UNITE HERE workers on the picket line twice in the primary, and I was even prouder when they overcame Trump’s intimidation campaign and were officially certified as a union earlier this year.

UNITE HERE knows, as I do, that America is stronger together. Workers’ rights to organize, to bargain collectively, to be safe on the job, and to retire with dignity and security after years of hard work are fundamental to our country and to our economy. In too many statehouses across the country—and even in the halls of Congress—these rights are under concerted attack by Republicans and big corporations who have forgotten that a strong economy requires a strong workforce. If I am elected President, workers will always have a seat at the table and a champion in the White House. I’ll protect and build upon President Obama’s executive actions on immigration and will introduce legislation to at last secure comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship within my first 100 days. And I’ll always have workers’ backs—because when workers are strong, America is strong.

After Continued Violence, UFCW Calls for National Summit on Justice

Public Letter in New York Times Calls on Leaders to Convene, Media to Broadcast a National Conversation

UFCW_logo.svgWashington, D.C. – With acts of violence against police officers and African Americans shaking our nation, today the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union placed an open letter in the New York Times calling for a national and public summit on justice in America.

The UFCW letter was submitted before the deaths of three police officers in Baton RougeSunday morning. It pleads with our nation’s elected officials, civil rights leaders, police and justice officials to jointly address the division and violence we are witnessing. It also asks our nation’s broadcast and cable networks to air this discussion in prime time to help unite the country.

“Even before yesterday’s horrific killings, our hope was that this open letter would encourage Americans to come together and face what divides us,” said Marc Perrone, International President for the UFCW and co-chair of the AFL-CIO Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice. “For the sake of all our children, we must believe in a better America. We cannot continue to allow hate to determine who we are and who we can be.”

Excerpts from the ad are below:

“As a diverse union family with over 1.3 million members, such a national summit would give our members and all Americans the chance to hear directly from our national and state elected leaders, civil rights officials, Black Lives Matter movement leaders, local and state police officials, as well as representatives from labor, media, and corporate America.

“It would provide opportunity to listen to difficult truths, to hear the sincerity of fears and concerns so many feel, and to understand the changes that we must make.

“To help focus our nation’s awareness, we believe that all our nation’s major cable and broadcast channels should all agree to televise this national summit in prime time. By simulcasting this summit across all major networks, the call for change would echo across this nation like never before.”

Read the full letter here.

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UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members help put food on our nation’s tables and serve customers in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Learn more about the UFCW www.ufcw.org

The AFL-CIO Pushes Back Against Pro-Business Democrats Trying To Change The New Overtime Threshold

Pay Check Everyone agrees that the current overtime threshold needs to be updated. The issue is, how quickly should this update take effect?

In May, the Department of Labor announced that they would be lifting the salary threshold for overtime from just over $23,660 a year to $47,476. This means that if you are a salaried employee who makes less than $47,476 dollars you will now be entitle to overtime (time and 1/2) for every hour worked in a week above 40.

“New overtime protections mark a major victory for working people that will improve the lives of millions of families across America,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO in a May press release. “We applaud the Obama Administration heeding the call for action to ensure working people get paid for all the hours we work. Taking this step to restore overtime is one of the many ways we are beginning to change the rules of our economy that are rigged in favor of Wall Street.”

“The fight for even stronger overtime protections and to raise wages for all working people continues. But today, millions of workers will receive a long overdue raise, healthier and more productive jobs, and more time to spend with our community and loved ones,” added Trumka. 

Congressman Kurt Schrader

Congressman Kurt Schrader

This week, Congressman Kurt Schrader (OR-5), Congressman Jim Cooper (TN-5), Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) and Congressman Collin Peterson (MN-7) introduced legislation that will “initiate a reasonable three-year phase-in of the Department of Labor’s new overtime rule.”

“The current overtime threshold is horribly outdated and needs to be raised as both employees and employers navigate our changing economy. This bill will do exactly that without disrupting the way businesses operate and employees are paid,” said Congressman Schrader. “Since the DOL’s immediate phase-in date was announced, we’ve heard from business owners and their employees who are worried about implementing this increase overnight. Without sufficient time to plan for the increase, cuts and demotions will become inevitable, and workers will actually end up making less than they made before. It’s long past time we strengthen overtime pay protections for American workers in a meaningful and effective way.”

“While I believe the time has come to increase the overtime threshold, the DOL rule would put businesses in a bind and potentially lead to job loss,” said Congressman Peterson. “Both businesses and constituents in my district have expressed concern about the impact of an immediate threshold increase. A three-year phase in will provide adequate time for business to adapt to the new standard while also ensuring workers are fairly compensated.”

Surprise, businesses do not want to have to pay workers more money.  How are businesses going to win the race to the bottom if President Obama and the DOL keep raising the floor?

The Schrader plan is to phase the overtime threshold  in slowly to decrease the impact on businesses. Schrader’s office explained this proposed legislation would work in their most recent press release.

“On December 1, 2016, the Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act will immediately increase the threshold more than 50% to $35,984. Each year following, the salary threshold will be raised by $74 per week until December 1, 2019, when we reach the DOL’s proposed $47,476 threshold.”

The one thing that Schrader’s office neglected to mention is that the newly proposed legislation would also eliminate the automatic increases to the overtime threshold every three years.

The AFL-CIO quickly spoke out against this newly proposed legislation in a stern letter to all Representatives in the U.S. House.

July 14, 2016

Dear Representative:

            I am writing on behalf of the AFL-CIO to urge you to oppose legislation, introduced by Rep. Kurt Schrader, that would rob millions of workers of the overtime pay protection they have earned. The misnamed “Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act” would delay by three years the full implementation of the Labor Department’s new overtime regulations, originally scheduled to take effect in December, 2016.

            The Schrader bill would also eliminate the final rule’s mechanism that would automatically update the salary threshold every three years after implementation. As you know, workers have waited decades for an update to the salary threshold—it has only been updated once since the 1970s—in 2004 (when it was set too low). Having experienced decades of wage stagnation and uncompensated overtime, workers should not have to wait three more years for the protection the new regulations will provide.

            The current salary threshold for overtime pay would be over $57,000 if it had kept pace with inflation since 1975. Instead, effective December 1, 2016, the salary threshold below which salaried employees are automatically eligible for overtime pay will rise from $23,660 ($455 per week) to $47,476 ($913 per week). The Labor Department based this new threshold level on the 40th-percentile salary for workers in the lowest-wage Census region (currently the South). Because history demonstrates that it can take years for the regulatory process to adapt to changing labor markets, the rule also indexes the threshold to inflation. Once implemented, the threshold level will increase every three years, beginning in 2020.

            For approximately 12.5 million workers, this new regulation is the most effective way to raise wages, create jobs, and restore the 40-hour work week. The AFL-CIO urges you to oppose the Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act and any legislation that would delay or weaken implementation of this important rule.

Sincerely,

William Samuel, Director
Government Affairs

Phasing in the new overtime rule by $74 dollars a week may be good for some businesses but it is definitely not good for workers. This proposed legislation would create confusion as to when workers would qualify for overtime leaving workers wide open for wage theft.

Aside from ensuring that workers are paid fairly for the hard work they are doing, this new overtime rule is intended to stimulate job growth. Rep. Schrader is worried about potential job losses from the new rule taking effect, yet the only businesses who would be effected by this rule have workers making less than $47,000 a year salary, who work more than 40 hours a week.  This means that businesses will have to choose:

  • Do they want to continue to pay their employee a low salary and pay them overtime for every hour above 40?
  • Do they want to raise the employee’s salary to $47,476, allowing the employee to work unlimited hours without having to pay them overtime?
  • Do they want to continue to pay their employee a low salary and then hire an additional employee to complete the extra work that needs to be done?

Either way workers are going to get a benefit. Either workers will get more money in their paycheck or more workers will receive paychecks.

This proposed legislation is bad for workers and will only continue the stagnation of our economy while leaving workers vulnerable to wage theft by their employers.  This legislation will do more harm than good and should be rejected.


For more information on who will benefit from the new overtime rule read our previous post from May 2016 or check out this handy info-graphic on the DOL overtime changes

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