• Advertisement

Congress Votes To Block New Rules Mandated By The NLRB

Yesterday, Congressional Republicans continued their all out assault on working families by passing a law that would limit workers rights to organize and block new rules from the National Labor Relations Board that would allow for faster union elections, slated to take effect in April.

The NLRB said in a December statement that the new rules would allow unions to use electronic means to file for an election and would allow unions to hold elections just 14 days after filing.

“I am heartened that the Board has chosen to enact amendments that will modernize the representation case process and fulfill the promise of the National Labor Relations Act. Simplifying and streamlining the process will result in improvements for all parties. With these changes, the Board strives to ensure that its representation process remains a model of fairness and efficiency for all,” said NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Peirce.

Congressman Frank Guinta receiving an award from the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)

Congressman Frank Guinta receiving an award from the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)

The bill passed 232-186, almost straight down party lines. The bill was opposed by all of the House Democrats (thank you Congresswoman Annie Kuster [NH-02]) and three lone Republicans. Congressman Frank Guinta, the Republican representing the first district in New Hampshire, was among the Republican majority who voted to pass the bill.

“Today’s vote by House Republicans against the NLRB’s common-sense modernization of its election rules is a direct attack on workers and their right to be heard in the workplace,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Working men and women want an agenda from their Congressional leaders that raises wages and grows our middle class. Instead, they have gotten Republican policies that roll back progress and silence workers while protecting their biggest donors.”

Listening to the debate on the House floor shows exactly how much the Republicans really care about workers and their rights.   These Republicans are putting corporations above working men and women.

“Today, Congress voted to stop an unelected board of bureaucrats from trampling on the rights of America’s workers and job creators,” said Congressman John Kline (R-MN) in a written statement after the vote. “The board’s ambush election rule will stifle employer free speech, cripple worker free choice, and jeopardize the privacy of workers and their families.

Rep. Kline’s statement is nearly identical to the statement released by the US Chamber of Commerce who has worked tirelessly to oppose unionizing efforts and push anti-worker legislation in dozens of states.

“The Chamber applauds Congress for passing legislation to stop the ‘ambush election’ rule issued by the NLRB,” stated U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits Randel K. Johnson. “This rule infringes upon an employer’s free speech right by virtually eliminating an employer’s opportunity to communicate his or her views regarding unionization with employees.

What they should have said was that this vote stifles a workers right to organize and gives more time for employers to hire union busting firms and lie to their employees about how unions operate.

President Obama has already said he will veto this totally partisan bill. This would be Obama’s fourth veto, and second in the last two months.

“President Obama is right in his commitment to vetoing this harmful legislation, and Congressional Republicans should focus their efforts on lifting workers up instead of shutting them out,” said Trumka.

Whether you support unions or not should not matter, that is why we hold elections. If workers freely choose to support a union, the union will win the election. If workers freely choose to reject the union, the union will lose. That is freedom and the choice that workers are guaranteed under the National Labor Relation Act.

Organizing and holding a union election is hard enough, and Republicans in Washington want to block workers from organizing. Working families need to understand that these Republicans are not looking out for them and are only looking out for the wealthy businesses and groups like the US Chamber of Commerce that fund their campaigns.

 

 

Click here for more information about the NLRB’s rule changes

 

The AFL-CIO Freezes PAC Donations Over The TPP

The AFL-CIO announced that the federation and its affiliated unions are freezing all Political Action Committee (PAC) contributions to federal candidates until further notice in order to conserve resources for the historic legislative battle around fast track (trade promotion authority) and the debate over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The Council established the defeat of Fast Track as a top federation priority and passed a statement outlining its commitment to fight any trade agreement that fails to prioritize the needs of working families and advance shared prosperity in the global economy.

To view the Executive Council statement click here:http://www.aflcio.org/About/Exec-Council/EC-Statements/Time-for-a-New-Track-Trade-Policy-Making-Must-Be-Transparent-Democratic-and-Participatory

Worker Wins Update: Collective Action Results in Collective Gains in a Big Month for Workers

Workers across the country have stood up in the past month to fight for better wages and working conditions.

Walmart Workers Greet Wage Hike With A Smile: After years of collective actions calling for a raise in wages, Walmart workers won a huge victory as the largest private employer in the United States announced it will soon raise wages to $10 an hour for its lowest-level employees.

Brooklyn Cablevision Workers Get Clear Picture of Bright Future with New Contract: After three years of negotiations, Cablevision workers in Brooklyn, NY have signed a contract with the company, becoming the first workers in the company to earn a union contract.

Rocky Mountain Bus Drivers Deliver Workplace Protections Through Organizing: Colorado bus drivers have organized a vote on establishing a union for workers in an attempt to strengthen their regional transportation system. Drivers assert that raising wages would keep veteran drivers in the system and ensure quality service.

The Nutmeg State’s Spicy Good News: More Union Members: According to the US Department of Labor, 24,000 Connecticut workers joined unions last year. These gains include more than 1,500 University of Connecticut graduate students, and major worker wins in the health care and construction industries.

Workers See Green as Organizing Efforts Pay Off: Last week, workers at a major medical cannabis production facility in Minnesota have voted to organize, making it the first medical marijuana facility in the state to do so.

Columbia University Graduate Student Employees Make the Grade With Union Push: In mid-February, The Graduate Workers of Columbia filed a petition with the NLRB to reopen a case that denied graduate student employees the ability to become a recognized union. This filing comes after a majority of Columbia University graduate student employees signed cards to organize a union.

Nurses Show Organizing Is the Right Prescription for Better Pay, Rights: Northern California nurses are getting their voices heard through an organizing campaign that would create a new union for nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. Workers have cited need for additional financial stability and workplace protections.

Today’s Lesson – Fighting for the Rights of Workers: More than 750 Boston University adjunct professors voted to form a union in a fight for better workplace rights and pay. February’s vote comes on the heels of a growing trend of universities to use lower-paid adjunct professors.

Low-Wage Workers in Oakland Raise Hopes After Raising Wages: The minimum wage in Oakland, CA was raised from $9.75 an hour to $12.25 an hour Monday, March 2nd, providing a huge boost for low-wage workers struggling to make ends meet. The increase will impact 48,000 people, a quarter of all workers in Oakland, while also providing paid sick leave to over 56,000 workers.

Philly Families Stay Fit with Paid Sick Leave Law: Workers in Philadelphia achieved a critical victory as the City Council passed legislation to establish mandatory paid sick leave for an estimated 200,000 residents. Philadelphia followed the lead of 16 cities and three states that have enacted similar laws.

Facebook Workers ‘Like’ Better Conditions, Pay Through Union: Facebook shuttle drivers voted to approve a new contract that will raise wages and improve workplace conditions. In addition to Facebook, drivers for major tech companies such Apple, eBay, and Yahoo have also voted to form a union, demonstrating a trend towards better pay and benefits for workers in Silicon Valley.

RALLY 3-14-15: Tell Scott Walker Attacking The Middle Class Is Un-American

(Image by WisPolitics.com FLICKR CC)

(Image by WisPolitics.com FLICKR CC)

Governor Scott Walker is waging a war on working families in Wisconsin – and now he wants to take his anti-middle class agenda all the way to the White House.

10403517_1569337943317333_874964271976823317_nOn Saturday, March 14, Scott Walker is coming to New Hampshire to test the waters for a presidential primary run. But you know and I know that Governor Walker isn’t Presidential material – after all, this is the same politician who recently compared hard-working Americans to militant terrorists who have committed horrific crimes against humanity.

Working people and our community allies have a crystal clear message for Mr. Walker when he arrives in the Granite State: Attacking the middle-class is downright un-American.

Please join New Hampshire AFL-CIO, our labor partners and community allies in Concord on March 14 from 8:30-10:30 a.m. for a visibility action to hold Scott Walker accountable for his plans to lower wages and crush good jobs for American workers.

WHAT: Stop Scott Walker | Stand Up for America’s Middle Class Visibility Action

WHEN: Saturday, March 14, 2015, 8:30-10:30am

WHERE:Outside Concord High School, 170 Warren Street, Concord, NH

DETAILS: Concord High School is located on Warren Street between N. Fruit Street and Westbourne Road. Street parking is available in the area. We’ll have signs to share, or bring your own.

MORE INFO: Call New Hampshire AFL-CIO, (603) 623-7302 or email jstadtman@nhaflcio.org

You can sign up on the Facebook event page and find more information about the event and  meet-up location: https://www.facebook.com/events/889491181109164/

Don’t like Facebook? No problem! You can sign up with this user-friendly web form to get information and updates about the 3/14/2015 Stop Scott Walker action in Concord, New Hampshire:http://goo.gl/forms/gXpoHd893t

We’ll have signs to share – or bring your own. We hope to see you there!

AFL-CIO National Organizing Workshop Brings Together Over 600 Organizers to Talk Future of Labor

Organizers from labor unions, student and community groups, and worker centers will gather this weekend to discuss strategies and tactics for growing worker power. The convening will demonstrate that workers continue to find new and creative ways to exercise their collective voice even in the face of right-wing opposition in states like Wisconsin, unfair treatment of workers in major sectors such as the oil and gas industry, and rampant income inequality.

The National Organizers Workshop will be hosted by the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute, with over 600 participants coming from across the country and the world. Organizers developed the workshops, will lead the workshops and will address the challenges and opportunities facing them.  Workshop sessions range from supporting organizing efforts of communities of color to adapting to an ‘Uber-model’ economy.

“This weekend was inspired by workers and organizers on the front line of our movement,” said Elizabeth Bunn, Director of the AFL-CIO’s Organizing Department. “Together we’re writing our future and planning together how to win justice for workers and communities.”

This year’s conference, comprised of unions from both the AFL-CIO and the Change-to-Win coalition, is held in the wake of a year of significant successes for organizing within the labor movement. Organizing campaigns have raised wages for Walmart workers, cable television workers, hotel and hospitality workers, legal services workers, nurses, port truck drivers and more. Over the last several months, workers in diverse industries and occupations are forming unions at their workplaces including, bike share workers, reality television writers, graduate teaching assistants, adjunct faculty, and Silicon Valley bus drivers.

To learn more about the AFL-CIO’s Organizing Institute, visit their website by clicking here.

Labor Movement United in Opposition to ‘Fast Tracking’ Trade Deals

In a show of solidarity, workers from across economic sectors representing 60 unions within and outside of the AFL-CIO came together today to sign a letter to Congress expressing opposition to Fast Track authority, which is used to advance unfair trade deals.

The letter, which can be viewed by clicking here (or see below), demonstrates the unity between workers who have jobs that are directly impacted by bad trade deals, and those whose jobs are indirectly affected.

Today’s letter is part of a comprehensive campaign by the AFL-CIO, its affiliates, and its allies against Fast Track authority. The campaign includes a lobby day on March 4thwhere union members from more than 20 states will be in Washington, DC to lobby members to stop Fast Track. To find out more about the impact Fast Track will have on the US economy, you can watch President Richard Trumka’s explainer by clicking here.

Transportation Labor Unions Set Comprehensive 2015 Agenda

Transportation Trade Department Logo

ATLANTA, GA—The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) and its 32 affiliated unions waded into every major transportation policy debate in Washington and focused on expanding transportation investments, reforming safety policy, protecting workers’ rights, and rejecting job-killing trade policies.

“2015 must be the year when we break the stalemate on funding our badly deteriorated transportation system and put millions to work,” said TTD President Edward Wytkind. “Transportation unions have rolled out an agenda that is focused on creating and protecting private and public sector jobs as vital transportation laws are written this year.”

The Executive Committee approved 11 policy statements, which are summarized below:

Eight Principles for Surface Transportation Reauthorization: In just a few months, the Highway Trust Fund will become insolvent unless Congress acts to implement a long-term surface transportation reauthorization bill. Transportation labor calls for a reauthorization bill that: expands highway and transit funding utilizing a gas tax increase or similarly reliable funding source; embraces financing tools that do not harm private and public sector jobs; rejects devolution proposals; restores federal neutrality on transit privatization; advances transit safety and health reforms; permits limited authority to flex federal bus capital funds to transit operations; provides resources for a national freight investment policy; and protects and enhances Buy America policies.

Priorities for FAA Reauthorization: With the FAA reauthorization due to expire at the end of this fiscal year, TTD’s Executive Committee calls on Congress to pass a multi-year bill that makes critical investments in aviation technology and infrastructure, provides stable funding, and advances policies that address workforce issues and make air transportation safer for passengers and employees. Moreover, it is vital that lawmakers and the President stop the debilitating budget cuts of sequestration that undermine important aviation advancements and safety improvements.

Multi-Year Plan for Amtrak Reauthorization: The proposed Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015 (PRRIA) provides a critical reauthorization of Amtrak’s funding for the next four years, but funding levels are inadequate. TTD’s Executive Committee calls for legislation that secures long-term funding, rejects contracting out and privatization mandates, and safeguards the rights, jobs, and wages of rail and construction workers. 

Rail Transportation Safety Reform Agenda: Congress must move forward on an expired rail safety reauthorization bill that finally improves railroad operating practices that currently expose workers and communities to avoidable safety risks. Rail safety reforms must target chronic employee fatigue, bar the use of one-person freight train crews, and implement safety-related technology.

Safe Hazardous Materials Transportation: With an increase in the shipment of hazardous materials across the country – particularly on freight trains – it is vital that firefighters receive adequate training to respond to emergencies. Congress must pass a reauthorization bill that commits adequate funding for hazmat training programs. TTD’s Executive Committee also supports provisions of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) proposed crude-by-rail regulations, which would require an increase in the information available to emergency responders about the movement of such shipments, and calls on PHMSA to issue stronger regulations regarding the transport of lithium batteries in our nation’s skies.

Ground NAI’s Flag of Convenience Airline: For the past year, transportation labor has waged an aggressive effort to stop an attempt by Norwegian Air International (NAI) to obtain U.S. government approval to launch new transatlantic air service based on a flag of convenience business plan. TTD’s Executive Committee reaffirms its calls for rejection of NAI’s application on the basis that NAI’s business plan is a clear violation of Article 17 bis of the U.S.-EU Open Skies Agreement.

Safety Rules Needed Before FAA Permits Widespread Use of Drones: To ensure safe integration into the National Airspace System, the widespread commercial application of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS/”drones”) must not be permitted until the U.S. government establishes clear and enforceable operating standards. Transportation labor calls on the FAA to set rules requiring that drone operations meet all of the standards imposed on those who currently use the airspace, including operator training and certification, and safety restrictions on airspace access. If properly regulated with strong safety standards in effect, the safe integration of commercial drones is possible.

Workers’ Rights and National Security: Fairness for Military Sealift Command Employees: TTD’s Executive Committee rejects the Military Sealift Command’s (MSC) baseless attempts to use the pretense of national security concerns to deny workers the right to join a union. It is inaccurate and untrue to claim that the goals of national security are incompatible with collective bargaining and union representation, and Executive Order 12171, which concerns workers engaged in national security, must not be interpreted to cover MSC employees or other civil service mariners.

Reject Fast TrackTransportation labor calls on Congress to reject Trade Promotion Authority, or “Fast Track,” and develop a new plan that works for our nation’s transportation workers and enhances our collective competitiveness. Our nation’s trade goals should be to strengthen American industries, put workers in a position to succeed, and promote strong labor, safety, and human rights laws in this country and with our trading partners. We need to end Fast Track and create a trade policy that works for transportation workers.

Time to Raise Motorcoach Market Entry Standards: Over the past several decades, the diminishment of “entry” standards imposed on intercity bus carriers has severely limited the ability to ensure that only companies willing and able to uphold federal safety requirements are granted operating authority. TTD’s Executive Committee encourages the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to begin raising market entry standards by increasing the existing minimum insurance requirements.

U.S. Postal Service Reforms that Protect Quality Service, Good Jobs: TTD’s Executive Committee continues its support for a strong, financially sound Postal Service. Reforms to ensure the agency’s long-term financial solvency should not come at the expense of employees or customers. TTD and its member unions will continue to work with elected leaders to stabilize the USPS and give it a chance to modernize and grow its service.

Texas Ruling On Immigration Is Setback But Will Not Stop The AFL-CIO’s Work On Immigration

Late last night, a Texas judge issued a preliminary injunction that temporarily blocks the implementation of President Obama’s new deferred action initiatives. These initiatives, announced last November, came in response to more than 10 years of political stalemates and failure by Congress to address America’s broken immigration system and alleviate the pain endured by millions of families around the country. The President’s announced initiatives will provide temporary relief from deportation to approximately 5 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States.

The new deferred action initiatives, which include Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and an expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), are based on the well-established authority of Presidents and other executive branch officers to allocate and prioritize finite enforcement resources. This practice is used by prosecutors and other law enforcement personnel on daily basis. The judge’s order, issued just two days before the government was set to begin the DACA expansion, bars federal immigration officials from implementing “any and all aspects” of the new deferred action initiatives.

The following is a statement by Melissa Crow, Legal Director at the American Immigration Council:

“Today’s decision is only the first round in what will clearly be a much longer legal battle. Already, the White House has promised that the Justice Department will appeal the judge’s decision, and we urge them to do so in an expedited manner. We expect higher courts to overturn the judge’s decision based on well-established precedent.

“Today’s decision is more rooted in political rhetoric than legal rationales. It relies on a distorted view of overwhelming evidence of the economic benefits of immigration and ignores Supreme Court precedent. It also discounts a long history of recourse to prosecutorial discretion, which has been exercised by every President since Eisenhower. The decision relies on a technical violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) to find that the Administration did not follow proper procedures, while ignoring the fact that the President’s deferred action initiatives are not subject to the APA. While the decision will unfortunately delay critical efforts to address our broken immigration system, the need and the demand for reform has never been greater. We remain confident that it is a question of when, not if, these programs will take effect.”

After the court ruling was announced Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO released the following statement:

This temporary setback will not deter the AFL-CIO’s work on the ground to ensure that as many workers as possible are eventually able to gain protections and work authorization under the new deferred action programs. Around the country, we will continue educating workers, training union activists and helping eligible applicants gather the documents they will need to qualify.

This lawsuit represents a misguided effort to use a false economic basis to block the immigration relief that millions of hardworking, longtime members of our community deserve. The executive actions on immigration will in fact increase earnings, grow the tax base, strengthen the economy and further the public interest, as states like Washington, California, Illinois and New York have explained to the court. The AFL-CIO supports the Department of Justice’s decision to file an appeal, and we trust that higher courts will undo this wrong.

The path to justice often includes obstacles. We will not give up the fight until Congress passes comprehensive immigration reform with a clear pathway to citizenship so that all workers in this country will have the ability to assert their rights on the job and in their communities. In the meantime, this ruling will further strengthen the resolve of a resilient community that is a vital part of our labor movement. We know that an organized community is a stronger community, and that together we will rise.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Applauding Currency Manipulation Bill

“The Currency Undervaluation Investigation Act (Senate Bill) and the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act of 2015 (House Bill) are critical to creating and retaining good manufacturing jobs in America.  Enacting these bills will ensure that we have the tools to address and end destructive currency manipulation by other governments. This unfair practice distorts the global economy and disadvantages countries like the United States that comply with international trade rules. These illegal actions have cost far too many jobs over the past several years.

Working people applaud the leadership from Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and from Representatives Sander Levin (D-MI), Tim Murphy (R-PA), Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Mo Brooks (R-AL) to introduce this important the bipartisan legislation.

Currency manipulation has cost America as many as 5 million jobs, devastating many manufacturing communities.  As a result, there continues to be strong bipartisan support for currency legislation in both the House and Senate.  However, legislation by itself is not enough.  We need to ensure that there are also strong, enforceable currency mechanisms in trade agreements that the U.S. negotiates—especially the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which includes countries that have engaged in such manipulation to boost exports.”

AFL-CIO, Allies Award Grants to Innovating Community Organizers

The LIFT Fund is the first-of-its-kind to support collaboration and innovation around new forms of worker organizing.

(Washington, DC, Jan. 29, 2015)— Today, the AFL-CIO announced the third round of LIFT Fund grants, which will be awarded to a diverse group of organizations who are organizing workers outside of traditional models.  Past recipients include the Los Angeles Black Worker Center which helps workers such as LeDaya Epps to find good-paying jobs through apprenticeship programs. LeDaya was recently invited to the 2015 State of the Union address by First Lady Michelle Obama.

“In Oregon, we stand up for all workers and are proud to help support innovative partnerships that help with that fight,” said Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain. “We’re proud to be a labor partner in the LIFT Fund’s grant process and even more excited to help fuel worker empowerment.”

The fund was established in 2011 as a partnership between the AFL-CIO and philanthropic institutions that share the federation’s vision for a world in which workers are treated by employers with the dignity they deserve.  Partners include the General Service Foundation, the New World Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Solidago Foundation, and the Discount Foundation. The LIFT Fund is the first-of-its-kind to support collaboration and innovation around new forms of worker organizing between Worker Centers and traditional labor.

This year’s grantees comprise a diverse set of workers and sectors, including domestic workers in Connecticut fighting to strengthen legal protections and day laborers in California working to learn new skills. The primary purpose of all grants is to support work at the local or state level and are focused on helping develop power among vulnerable populations of workers, including immigrants, African Americans, women, and rural workers. The money goes exclusively to the worker center, but envisions on the ground collaboration with the local labor movement to expand local power.

“We recognize that our struggle is inextricably linked to the fight for economic justice,” said Montague Simmons, Director of Organization for Black Struggle. “The LIFT grant will support our work to engage and organize those who have been at the forefront of our fight and who also tend to be the most vulnerable to the economic violence waged against our communities.”

Grantees are:

  • Organization for Black Struggle, St Louis, MO (Labor Partner: International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 58)
  • CLEAN Carwash, Los Angeles, CA (Labor Partner: United Steelworkers Local 675)
  • Chinese Progressive Association, San Francisco, CA (Labor Partner: UNITE HERE Local 2)
  • Community Voices Heard, New York, NY (Labor Partner: AFSCME District Council 37)
  • Lynn Worker Center for Economic Justice (Labor Partner: North Shore Labor Council)
  • Make the Road/NYCC (Labor Partner: RWSDU)
  • NDLON, Los Angeles, CA (Labor Partner: LA County Federation)
  • NDWA/Brazilian Immigrant Center, CT (Labor Partner: United Auto Workers Region 9A)
  • National Guest Workers Alliance, New Orleans, LA (Labor Partner: Ironworkers Union)
  • ROC-United, National (Labor Partners: UFCW Western States Council)
  • Sunflower/Kansas People’s Action, Wichita, KS (Labor Partner: Wichita/Hutchinson Labor Federation and CWA)
  • VOZ Worker Center (Labor Partner: Oregon AFL-CIO)
  • Vermont Worker Center (Labor Partner: Vermont State Labor Council)
  • Warehouse Workers Resource Council (Labor Partner: UFCW Western States Council)
  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement