• Advertisement

US House Passes Bill To Arbitrarily Fire Workers At The VA, Bypassing The Union’s Due Process

Yesterday, in a largely party line vote of 237-178, the U.S. House passed, “H.R.1259 – VA Accountability First Act of 2017.” A bill that would allow the Secretary of the VA to arbitrarily fire workers without any due process. HR 1259 was written and sponsored by Tennessee Republican, Rep David Roe (R-TN-1) who also cosponsored legislation to revoke the Department of Labor’s new rule mandating employers keep records on all workplace injuries.

The Hill explains:

The bill would give the VA secretary expedited removal authority, meaning any employee fired by the secretary would be out of a job and off the department’s rolls that day.

…One point of conflict in the legislation was the elimination of the union grievance process available to represented employees as a means to appeal negative personnel actions. About 76 percent of VA’s workforce is represented by a union, and Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee and author of the accountability bill, has complained the grievance process takes an average of 350 days to complete. The American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 230,000 VA employees, called the legislation ‘a union-busting bill, plain and simple.

…A spokeswoman for Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said the senator is still “exploring options” for a bill that can pass the Senate. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has introduced companion legislation for Roe’s House-backed measure. Isakson himself said he is committed to working with his House colleagues and Democrats on his committee to move accountability legislation forward.

“I’m committed to moving legislation that gives Secretary Shulkin the tools to discipline bad employees,” Isakson said. “Accountability reform is a top priority.” The senator authored bipartisan legislation in the last Congress to expedite the firing process at VA, but it stalled in the Senate after clearing his committee.

This bill is designed to bypass the American Federation of Government Employees grievance procedures and weaken the union’s ability to represent workers.  David Cox Sr., National President of AFGE released the following after the bill passed the House.

“The House has passed a venomous piece of legislation from Rep. Phil Roe of Tennessee that would undermine the government’s sacred obligation to serve our veterans by gutting frontline employees’ basic worker rights at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Make no mistake – this legislation is not about improving accountability at the VA, and it certainly won’t improve veterans’ access to quality care and earned benefits. This is part of an orchestrated attack on the rights of federal workers and employee unions that’s ripped from the playbook of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

“While we are deterred by the House’s action, we are not defeated. We will fight this bill when it goes before the Senate, and we will continue to make the case to lawmakers and the public that attacking the rights of working-class men and women at the VA and across government is counterproductive to our shared goal of providing the best service to the American taxpayers.”

The AFl-CIO was also displeased with the passage of this legislation calling it a “slap in the face” to the workers at the VA.

“Yesterday, instead of standing up for working families, 10 Democrats in Congress joined with Republicans in attacking workers at the VA. Their support of this anti-worker legislation is not only a slap in the face to the 120,000 VA employees who are themselves veterans, but a betrayal of the promise to treat all VA workers fairly,” said Bill Samuel, AFL-CIO Director of Government Affairs. 

Everyone agrees that the VA needs help.  They are understaffed, overloaded, and underfunded, but the ability to arbitrarily fire hard working people at the VA will do nothing to solve any of these problems.

The reforms Congress should be looking for would include ones like the amendment submitted by Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH01) to improve VA hiring of mental health professionals.

Congress must also accept that additional resources are necessary to hire more doctors and nurses at VA health centers and to reduce the delays many veterans face in getting the care they need.  This would include spending money to merge the DOD’s and the VA health records system.

Another major issue facing the VA is that 20 veterans commit suicide every day.  Many of these vets are suffering from PTSD and are unable to get the care they need. NH Congresswoman Annie Kuster (D-NH-1), a member of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, is working with the newly appointed Secretary of Veterans Affairs, David Shulkin, to address this ongoing epidemic.

“The men and women who have served our nation in uniform cannot be cast aside once they have returned home,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “The suicide rate among veterans is a tragedy and it’s long past time we came together to address this challenge.”

“The president and I have made it clear that suicide prevention is one of our top priorities,” Secretary Shulkin said in a statement. “We know the rate of death by suicide among Veterans who do not use VA care is increasing at a greater rate than Veterans who use VA care. This is a national emergency that requires bold action. We must and we will do all that we can to help former service members who may be at risk. When we say even one Veteran suicide is one too many, we mean it.”

So while 20 veterans a day commit suicide and the thousands that die every year awaiting care should be the top priority of the President and Congress, but instead they are choosing to attack the very workers who are trying to help fix this broken system and get care to those who desperately need it.

TEA Party Rep, Steve King Pushes A National Right To Work Bill And Repeal Of Davis Bacon

Labor unions respond to Rep King’s introduction of a National Right to Work (for less) law and a full repeal of the Davis Bacon Act that ensures a prevailing wage on all federal projects.

Once again TEA Party Representative, Steve King (R-IOWA) introduced a national Right to Work bill in Congress.

“So-called right-to-work has done enough harm to working people in the states where it is law. Forcing it upon every state in the country would be a national disaster,” said Robert Martinez, Jr., International President of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).

“Right to work is a lie dressed up in a feel-good slogan. It doesn’t give workers freedom—instead, it weakens our right to join together and bargain for better wages and working conditions. Its end goal is to destroy unions,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. “Numbers don’t lie. Workers in states with right to work laws have wages that are 12% lower. That’s because unions raise wages for all workers, not just our members. Its end goal is to destroy unions.”

“Right to work isn’t the will of the people, it’s legislation pushed on working people by out-of-touch corporations that want to ship jobs overseas, cut health and safety protections, and pay lower wages,” added Trumka.

“In introducing so-called “right to work” legislation, Republicans in Congress didn’t waste any time doing the bidding of corporate interests who have plotted for years to weaken the collective bargaining rights of working people,” wrote the Communication Workers of America. “Right to work doesn’t create jobs. It doesn’t improve economic development. It does result in lower wages – 3.1 percent lower, according to the Economic Policy Institute –and fewer benefits for working people. It weakens workers’ ability to join together and bargain collectively with their employer.”

To add further insult to working people, Rep King, and fellow TEA Partier, Senator Mike Lee, re-introduced a repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act.

The Davis-Bacon Act set a prevailing wage that must be met on all federal projects. Prevailing wages are set by regions to ensure that workers in the local area of the project are paid a wage comparable to other workers in their area.

“The introduction of national so-called “right to work” and anti-Davis Bacon legislation is a bid to further shrink opportunities for working class Americans and their families,” said Terry O’Sullivan, General President of the Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA). “These pieces of legislation are a deceptive politically-motivated trick to deny millions of American workers the freedom to join together in a union for mutual benefit and to earn a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.”

“The bill to repeal the Davis-Bacon Act is a severe attack on the wages and living standards of millions of blue-collar workers and on taxpayers who expect quality construction work on public projects. For generations the Davis-Bacon Act has helped to prevent government projects from driving down wages and help to attract skilled, trained workers, and has given taxpayers the best deal for their money,” added O’Sullivan.

As the Koch Brothers and their political organization, the Americans For Prosperity, push Right to Work at the state level, this new federal bill is just another ideological partisan attack on working people.

“The political motives for right-to-work laws are clear: transfer even more money and power to corporate elites who don’t give a damn about the middle class,” said IAM President Martinez. “November’s election should have made this clear to the political class—American workers are sick and tired of having their wages slashed, and all too often, their jobs shipped overseas. Taking away their right to a strong voice at the bargaining table will hurt the same people Congress is supposed to represent.

“Working people were loud and clear in this past election. We want an economy that works for all, not just corporations. We know we need to rewrite the rules of the economy so that policies like bad trade deals and right to work aren’t the new norm. President Trump has said he supports unions and the people who are our members. He has stood up to corporate Republicans on trade. We call on him to do the same on right to work, and to stand up for every worker’s right to join a union,” Trumka added.

AFL-CIO, LiUNA, CWA and IAM all agree that Congress should once again reject the passage of so-called Right to Work legislation and oppose the repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act.

Trump Signs Executive Order To Withdraw From TPP, Wants To Renegotiate NAFTA

Today, President Trump signed an Executive Order to withdraw from the 12 nation Trans-Pacific Partnership.  As of right now, we are unsure of what the order says as it has yet to be released by the White House.

Senator Bernie Sanders, who made his opposition to the TPP a cornerstone in his campaign for President, was “glad” to see the TPP go down in flames.

“I am glad the Trans-Pacific Partnership is dead and gone. For the last 30 years, we have had a series of trade deals – including the North American Free Trade Agreement, permanent normal trade relations with China and others – which have cost us millions of decent-paying jobs and caused a ‘race to the bottom’ which has lowered wages for American workers. Now is the time to develop a new trade policy that helps working families, not just multi-national corporations. If President Trump is serious about a new policy to help American workers then I would be delighted to work with him.”

Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO called this an “important first step” in building a “fair and just global economy.”

“Last year, a powerful coalition of labor, environmental, consumer, public health and allied groups came together to stop the TPP. Today’s announcement that the US is withdrawing from TPP and seeking a reopening of NAFTA is an important first step toward a trade policy that works for working people. While these are necessary actions, they aren’t enough. They are just the first in a series of necessary policy changes required to build a fair and just global economy. We will continue our relentless campaign to create new trade and economic rules that end special privileges for foreign investors and Big Pharma, protect our planet’s precious natural resources and ensure fair pay, safe conditions and a voice in the workplace for all workers.” 

The Hill is also reporting that President Trump plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and has “dispatched his son-in-law and senior White House adviser, Jared Kushner to Calgary on Tuesday to begin talks with the cabinet of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.”

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich was quick to point out on facebook that Trump’s feudal attempt to renegotiate NAFTA is only a distraction from the Republican attacks on working people.

“Trump stirs up symbolic controversies as diversions from what he and the Republicans are really up to.

Take NAFTA for example. He’s gearing up to “renegotiate” it, whatever that means. Expect lots of angry talk on both sides of our southern border.

But NAFTA’s a hill of beans relative Trump’s and the Republican’s pending repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). That will directly hurt millions of working Americans. But Trump wants to distract attention.

Same with Obama’s overtime rule, now hung up in the courts, which Trump is going to axe. It have delivered $12 billion of wage gains over the next decade to American workers.

Ditto labor unions. Trump’s Republicans are busily killing off unions with so-called “right-to-work” laws. The result is less bargaining power for workers to get better wages. But Trump doesn’t want to talk about labor unions. He’d rather beat up on Mexico.

And keep a careful watch on Medicare and Social Security, which have been in Paul Ryan’s cross-hairs for years. We don’t even know what Trump and the Republicans are planning for them, but whatever it is, average working people will take the brunt.”

So the question now becomes will withdrawing and renegotiating the TPP and possibly renegotiating NAFTA really help working people or will it be another chance for Trump and his billionaire buddies to cash in on unbalanced trade agreements?  Only time will tell.

AFL-CIO Decries Trump’s Cabinet Selections

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Cabinet Nominations

Richard_TrumkaAfter the election, we made clear that we would hold Donald Trump accountable to the promises he made to working people throughout the campaign.

His initial nominations fundamentally threaten these promises.  Taken together, the appointments push President-elect Trump away from the values and issues that working class voters said were most important to them. 

As a candidate, President-elect Trump railed against Wall Street greed and the failure of big banks to invest in America, yet his nominee for Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, is a billionaire who got rich by foreclosing on the homes of hard-working American families. Mnuchin will take us back to the risky, unregulated financial speculation that benefits his Wall Street friends, leaves consumers vulnerable and risks another financial crisis.

President-elect Trump promised to protect Social Security and Medicare, yet his nominee for HHS Secretary, Rep. Tom Price, wants to privatize and undermine these essential programs and take health care coverage away from millions of Americans.  

During the campaign, President-elect Trump complained that our kids aren’t learning, yet his nominee for Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, has spent her career undermining our public education system at the expense of students and teachers alike. She is a billionaire lobbyist, who has used her family’s wealth to steer public funds to private schools.  

Finally, President-elect Trump talked about a ‘New Deal’ for communities of color, yet Senator Jeff Sessions, his nominee for Attorney General, has a history of racially charged comments and a record of crushing civil liberties, including the right to vote. He is the opposite of what the American people want in their chief legal officer.

These decisions by President-elect Trump are deeply inconsistent with the pledges he made in the campaign.  Donald Trump the candidate claimed he would rein in the power of Wall Street traders, protect Social Security and Medicare and ensure all kids have great schools.  But his cabinet choices send a dangerous signal about how President-elect Trump will conduct his presidency. We urge the president-elect to stop stacking his administration with billionaire insiders who do not share the core American values he campaigned on.

Labor Organizations Launch New Phone APP To Combat Wage Theft And Worker Abuses

As Donald Trump Prepares to take over Presidency, Immigrant Workers Prepare to Defend Themselves

jornalerNew York, N.Y. – On Monday November 21st, New York-based day labor worker centers, national labor unions, and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) formally announced the launch of an innovative new tool to combat wage-theft and labor exploitation among immigrant workers.   

Two years ago, day laborer centers in New York began a bottom-up effort to utilize new technologies to solve epidemic of minimum wage violations.   While wage theft, or the denial of earned wages, is rampant across many industries, day laborers are particularly susceptible for many reasons including misperceptions about their immigration status. The new App was designed by and for day laborers, and it can be used by all vulnerable immigrant workers.  

The Jornaler@ App, (pronounced Jornalera, the Spanish language word for “day laborer”) will allow users to safely combat instances of wage theft by reporting abusive employers and other violations. The information compiled by the App will be administered by day laborer worker centers, labor unions and other organizations that wish to participate.

“Immigrant worker centers are honored to work with our brothers and sisters within the AFL-CIO to forge the next chapter in worksite enforcement strategies” Pablo Alvarado, the Executive Director of NDLON.  “Particularly now, as xenophobes seek to divide workers and undermine government institutions, we must organize, innovate, and stand together to defend ourselves. This new App will encourage organizing and will send a powerful message to abusive employers that wage theft will not be tolerated.”

This year marks the ten-year anniversary of the AFL-CIO’s historic partnership with NDLON, which sought to end the denial of wages to immigrant workers, and opened the door for worker centers to formally participate in the labor movement.

“The launch of this app is very important. This is an example of using technology as a tool for shared prosperity,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “We want to make sure that every worker in this country knows that they are not alone. We continue to stand firm on the side of all working people and commit to protecting these day laborer corners the way we will protect our union halls, in the face of any attack”.

Developing the Jornaler@ APP was the result of collaboration initiated and conducted by social practice artist Sol Aramendi with workers, organizers, lawyers and artists at New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE). As the idea began to grow, other worker centers from across New York began participating in the growing conversation. Groups such as El Centro de Inmigrante, La Colmena, the Don Bosco Workers in Port Chester, The Workplace Project in Hempstead, and Obreros Unidos from Yonkers.

Financial support from the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades was instrumental in completing the development of the application and delivering it to the workers that will use Jornaler@ all over the country.

“The IUPAT is proud to have worked with our community partners and organizations to help build the framework of a new worker movement for the 21st century” said IUPAT General President Kenneth Rigmaiden. “Wage theft is a costly national epidemic, and this app will serve as a powerful tool to protect the workers who push this country forward every day.”

Jornaler@ is available for Android and iPhone. Search for “Jornalera” on Google Play or the AppStore.

AFL-CIO Begins Final Phase of 2016 Campaign

Ground game and digital blitz to target millions of union households and allies

(Washington, DC) – In the final days before the election, the AFL-CIO will drive a powerful grassroots program and launch a digital ad blitz to union households and allies. The final stretch of the campaign is underlined by speaking with millions of voters at the doors and on the phones, delivering millions of mailers and a six-figure digital ad buy in battleground states.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka began the countdown to election day with a new video message that makes the closing argument for Hillary Clinton.

“The case for Hillary Clinton stands on its own,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “We are not choosing the Apprentice. We’re electing the leader of the United States of America. Hillary has the ideas, experience and drive to transform our economy into an engine for shared prosperity.”

In addition, the AFL-CIO will roll out digital ads on ten prominent media sites in the battleground states of Florida, Nevada, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Readers of the Las Vegas Review Journal, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Orlando Weekly, Tampa Bay Times, Jacksonville FOX-WFOX, Jacksonville First Coast News, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Columbus Dispatch, Toledo Blade, Philadelphia Inquirer and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette will see the ads which redirect to a new landing page. You can view the ads here: http://bit.ly/2fgcrrG.

Starting Monday, union members and allies can help build a symbolic wall around the White House to keep Donald Trump out at www.StopTrump.org.

In Philadelphia, radio ads on African American stations will build on the AFL-CIO’s Black voter program and encourage turnout in the community.

Nearly half a million mailers and 1.4 million slate cards listing pro-worker candidates will reach union households in key states by Election Day. All three AFL-CIO officers will continue their rigorous travel schedule across the country to engage with union members in battleground states including Florida, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Social Security COLA Falls Short for Seniors

social securty 1Small cost-of-living increase triggers huge Medicare Part B premium hike for many retirees

American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. is calling on Congress to pass emergency legislation to prevent massive increases in Medicare Part B premiums for millions of retirees next year.

The government today announced a 0.3 percent cost-of-living adjustment for federal retirees and Social Security recipients. The COLA is based on the year-over-year change in the prices for goods and services purchased by hourly and clerical workers.

This small COLA has inadvertently triggered a massive increase in Medicare Part B premiums for the 30 percent of beneficiaries who do not currently receive Social Security benefits.

Premiums for Medicare Part B are expected to increase 23 percent next year, from $121 a month to $149 a month. A so-called “hold harmless” provision prevents Medicare Part B premiums from increasing by more than the dollar increase in an individual’s Social Security payment. But for the 16 million retirees who don’t receive Social Security, including 1.6 million federal retirees under the Civil Service Retirement System, the full increase must be paid unless Congress acts.

“Congress must act now to prevent a massive increase in Medicare Part B premiums for this group of retirees,” Cox said. “Although most seniors would be protected, this group will have to pay more solely because of the uniqueness of their pension system.”

Congress last year extended the hold harmless provision to cover all Medicare Part B beneficiaries when there is no cost-of-living adjustment. However, this provision does not apply when there is a small COLA, as there will be in 2017.

Even without the increase in Medicare Part B premiums, retirees will have to tighten their belts to account for next year’s miniscule cost-of-living adjustment. Retirees already are facing a 6.2% increase in their health insurance premiums next year.

“Prices for many items that seniors must purchase are rising faster than the overall inflation rate,” Cox said. “Forcing this group of retirees to shoulder such a huge cost burden will have a devastating impact on their already modest living standards.”

The Alliance for Retired Americans have been pushing to increase Social Security benefits and change the way cost of living is calculated.

“The Alliance for Retired Americans is deeply disappointed by the announcement today that there will be a miniscule 0.3% benefit increase for millions of Social Security beneficiaries in 2017,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “For the average retiree, that means just a $5.00 per month increase, not enough to keep up with the cost of their prescription medications. This follows a 0% COLA in 2016. Most retirees are going to continue to have a hard time paying for basic necessities.”

“That’s why Congress must expand earned Social Security benefits and change the formula used to calculate future COLAs to the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E).  The CPI-E would base the calculation on what seniors actually spend their money on. That list includes items such as health care and housing, which account for most retirees’ spending,” Fiesta added. 

The AFL-CIO was “disappointed” with this COLA announcement.

“A weak increase that amounts to a mere $5.00 more a month for the average retired worker is a disappointment for the millions who rely on Social Security to stay afloat during retirement,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. “Protecting our seniors against inflation is one of the many obligations we have to retired Americans. The 2017 adjustment falls short of that goal because it fails to reflect seniors’ extraordinary expenses.”

 “The 2017 COLA not only fails to keep pace with seniors’ high health care and prescription drug costs, it also means millions of retirees, including many retired public employees, will be hit hard because the law fails to protect them against large Medicare Part B premium increases when inflation is low. State Medicaid budgets that cover Medicare premiums for low-income seniors similarly will be affected. We urge Congress to step in and limit the coming financial blow to thousands of vulnerable retirees and state budgets,” Trumka added.

AFL-CIO Working for America Institute Receives $1.37 Million in Apprenticeship Expansion Contract from DOL

(Washington, DC, ) The U.S. Department of Labor announced that it has awarded AFL-CIO Working for America Institute (WAI) a $1.37 million contract to expand multi-employer apprenticeship programs in two important sectors with potential for job growth – manufacturing and hospitality.

“Training programs and apprenticeships are at the heart of organized labor’s efforts to ensure that working people have a voice in our country’s ever-changing economy,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Through union apprenticeship programs, individuals gain life-changing skills to do high-quality work and get solid, middle-class jobs.”

The Institute’s contract with the U.S. Department of Labor will be implemented in collaboration with the UNITE HERE restaurant and hospitality union, the AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council (IUC) and workforce intermediary organizations in the hotel, hospitality, culinary and advanced manufacturing industries.

“UNITE HERE’s training programs are the foundation of helping our members achieve a middle class life. These training programs are the key to our members moving forward and gaining new job opportunities in our hotels, food service and gaming industries,” said UNITE HERE President D. Taylor. “Boston, LA and Las Vegas are great examples of how our members can advance with employers that participate and support these important training facility locations. This grant will help tremendously with our training efforts.”

“Manufacturing apprenticeships are a key element in labor’s agenda to revitalize manufacturing and increase U.S. employer competitiveness in a global economy. The AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council is pleased to work with the WAI to expand critical apprenticeship opportunities that promote the growth of the manufacturing sector and advance the skills and wages of industrial workers,” said IUC Executive Director Brad Markell.

Additional contracts were awarded to North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) and the H-CAP organization in the health care industry.

New Polling Data Shows Trump Is Not As Favored By Union Members As He Says He Is

Donald Trump (Image by Gage Skidmore CC FLIKR)

Donald Trump (Image by Gage Skidmore CC FLIKR)

Do Union members really support Donald Trump as much as Trump says they do? 

Donald Trump said and continues to reiterate, “I have tremendous support within unions…every poll shows it.

Everyone knows that Trump likes to stretch the truth a little and nobody loves Trump more than Trump, but the truth is that union members really don’t like the idea of a Trump presidency.

Today, the AFL-CIO released new internal polling data that shows “Trump is at 36 percent among union members in the five battleground states of FL, NV, OH, PA and WI.”  

Just as many other Americans are turning away from Trump’s extreme rhetoric and xenophobic statements, among union members Trump has lost over five points in these key states over the last two and a half months.   

“We are educating our members and demonstrating the dangers Trump’s reality show poses to our reality. It’s making a difference. And we’re not letting up,” wrote the AFL-CIO. “’Every poll shows it.’ He can keep saying it, but like most things with Trump, the claim is just hollow words – and it won’t come true on Election Day.”

Trump is really not as pro-union as he claims.

Culinary Union 226Union members across the country are watching the ongoing labor dispute between Trump’s Las Vegas Hotel and the Culinary Workers local 226 (Unite Here) as real guide to how Trump works, or doesn’t work, with unions.

In April, after Trump Hotel Las Vegas disputed the union election, the Regional Director for the office of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) covering Las Vegas overruled the Trump Hotel Las Vegas and certified the Culinary and Bartenders Union as the legal collective bargaining representatives to the more than 500 workers at the hotel.

Since then Trump Hotel Las Vegas has tried to “negate their employees’ right to unionize and instead of recognizing the results of the federal government union election, hotel management has undertaken a hostile anti-union campaign” wrote the Culinary Workers Union in recent press release. “Employees of the Trump Hotel Las Vegas are calling on their boss, the Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump, and co-owner Phillip Ruffin to negotiate a fair union contract.”

The Culinary Workers Union is also working to “educate and inform the travel industry about the serious ongoing and escalating labor dispute” at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas.

In July, the Culinary Workers Union and AFSCME teamed up to hold a rally highlighting Trump’s union busting tactics.  Maria Mendoza was one of the thousands who showed up to protest the Trump’s failure to negotiate.

“I work hard everyday, but with the low wages I’m paid, I really struggle to provide for my daughters,” said Maria Mendoza, a guest room attendant at the Trump Hotel Las Vegas. “Mr. Trump says that he wants to ‘Make America Great Again,’ but I work for him and want him to negotiate a union contract so my coworkers and I can have fair wages, job security, and good health benefits.

Culinary Trump Protest

The ongoing battle between union members and Trump’s Las Vegas hotel is not the only thing that union member have taken offense to. Earlier in the campaign Trump professed his love for “Right to Work.”  Trump told the crowd that Right to Work is “better for the people” and “gives great flexibility to the companies.”

Union members have been fighting for decades against these so-called Right to Work laws. Right to Work (for less) does nothing but lower wages, reduces a workers chance to have any type of retirement benefit, weakens collective bargaining, and is just a tool to bust unions.

So-called Right to Work laws hurt all workers.

“The average worker in states with Right to Work laws makes $5,971 (12.2 percent) less annually than workers in states without right to when all other factors are removed than workers in other states,” stated the AFL-CIO.

Trump’s continued support of anti-worker policies like Right to Work and his company’s refusal to negotiate with workers will only drive down his support among union workers further.

Donald Trump Right to Work

Transportation Trades Department AFL-CIO Praises Amtrak’s Purchase Of New High Speed Trains

Transportation Trade Department LogoVice President Biden’s Announcement on Amtrak Procurement
Boosts U.S. Transportation Manufacturing Job Creation

Washington, D.C. — Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), issues this statement following the announcement in Wilmington, DE by Vice President Joe Biden on the winning bidder in Amtrak’s high speed train purchase:

“The U.S. economy and working people scored a victory today following the announcement by Vice President Joe Biden that Amtrak will be purchasing a new high speed train fleet from Alstom, which will manufacture the trains at its Hornell, New York facility employing members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

“For many years we have advocated for rail and transit procurement policies that reward high-road employers whose manufacturing business models support middle class job creation here at home. For too long federal, state and local policies squandered billions of dollars in rail and transit fleet purchases by only requiring the bare minimum when it came to domestic content and expanding U.S. transportation manufacturing.

“Fortunately, Amtrak has taken an important step in embracing a new vision for how public dollars are spent when rail and transit systems upgrade their fleets. In its request for proposal (RFP) in July of 2014, Amtrak included a groundbreaking requirement that bidders submit a U.S. Employment Plan detailing their plans to create U.S. jobs and opportunities for disadvantaged American workers including veterans.

“Amtrak’s commitment to investing in American manufacturing and good-paying jobs marks a welcome change of direction by recognizing the advantages of best value contracts. This decision also reflects years of persistence by the Obama Administration to prioritize domestic manufacturing in the transportation sector. The President, Vice President and Transportation Secretary Foxx have consistently worked to promote stronger Buy America standards and tighten lax federal waiver rules that for decades mainstreamed excessive foreign outsourcing. 

“I want to congratulate the Jobs to Move American Coalition (JMA), which developed the U.S. Employment Plan and has been a leader in implementing smarter rail and transit procurement policies throughout the country. TTD is proud to be a member of JMA, and I believe that today’s announcement helps prove what we know to be true: public investments in rail and transit can and should be a major economic driver that create good jobs and launch a renaissance in transportation manufacturing.”

  • Subscribe to the NH Labor News via Email

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 199 other subscribers

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement