• Advertisement

    Click the image to find out more information about Jerry Stidman.
  • Elect Carol Shea-Porter For Congress

Today in labor history for the week of September 26, 2016

September 26 The Old 97, a Southern Railway train officially known as the Fast Mail, derails near Danville, Va., killing engineer Joseph “Steve” Broady and ten other railroad and postal workers.  Many believe Broady had been ordered to speed to make up for lost time.  The Wreck of the Old 97 inspired balladeers; a 1924 recording is sometimes cited as the first million-selling country music record - 1903 The first production Ford Model T leaves the Piquette Plant in Detroit, Mich. It was the first car ever manufactured on an assembly line, with interchangeable parts. The auto industry was to become a major U.S. employer, accounting for as many as one of every eight to 10 jobs in the country - 1908 September 27 Striking textile workers in Fall River, Mass., demand bread for their starving children - 1875 The Int’l Typographical Union renews a strike against the Los Angeles Times; a boycott runs intermittently from 1896 to 1908. A local anti-Times committee in 1903 persuades William Randolph Hearst to start a rival paper, the Los Angeles Examiner. Although the ITU kept up the fight into the 1920s, the Times remained totally nonunion until 2009, when the GCIU—now the Graphic Communications Conference of the Teamsters—organized the pressroom – 1893 Today in labor history for the week of September 26, 2016 Int’l Ladies' Garment Workers Union begins strike against Triangle Shirtwaist Co. This would become the "Uprising of the 20,000," resulting in 339 of 352 struck firms—but not Triangle—signing agreements with the union. The Triangle fire that killed 246 would occur less than two years later - 1909 Twenty-nine west coast ports lock out 10,500 workers in response to what management says is a worker slowdown in the midst of negotiations on a new contract. The ports are closed for 10 days, reopen when President George W. Bush invokes the Taft-Hartley Act - 2002 Today in labor history for the week of September 26, 2016September 28 The International Workingmen’s Association is founded in London.  It was an international organization trying to unite a variety of different left-wing, socialist, communist and anarchist political groups and unions. It functioned for about 12 years, growing to a membership declared to be eight million, before being disbanded at its Philadelphia conference in 1876, victim of infighting brought on by the wide variety of members’ philosophies - 1864 September 29Today in labor history for the week of September 26, 2016 A report by the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that the average weekly take-home pay of a factory worker with three dependents is now $94.87 - 1962 September 30 A total of 29 strike leaders are charged with treason—plotting "to incite insurrection, rebellion & war against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania"—for daring to strike the Carnegie Steel Co. in Homestead, Pa. Jurors refuse to convict them - 1892 Today in labor history for the week of September 26, 2016Seventy-year-old Mother Jones organizes the wives of striking miners in Arnot, Pa., to descend on the mine with brooms, mops and clanging pots and pans.  They frighten away the mules and their scab drivers.  The miners eventually won their strike - 1899 Railroad shopmen in 28 cities strike the Illinois Central Railroad and the Harriman lines for an 8-hour day, improved conditions and union recognition, but railroad officials obtain sweeping injunctions against them and rely on police and armed guards to protect strikebreakers - 1915 Black farmers meet in Elaine, Ark., to establish the Progressive Farmers and Householders Union to fight for better pay and higher cotton prices.  They are shot at by a group of Whites, and return the fire.  News of the confrontation spread and a riot ensued, leaving at least 100, perhaps several hundred, Blacks dead and 67 indicted for inciting violence - 1919 Cesar Chavez, with Dolores Huerta, co-founds the National Farm Workers Association, which later was to become the United Farm Workers of America - 1962Today in labor history for the week of September 26, 2016 (Farmworker’s Friend: The story of Cesar Chavez: A thoughtful and moving book about the inspiring life of American hero Cesar Chavez, co-founder, along with Dolores Huerta, and long-time leader of the United Farm Workers of America. This sympathetic portrayal of Chavez and his life’s work begins with his childhood, starting from the time his family’s store in Arizona failed during the Great Depression and his entire family was forced into the fields to harvest vegetables for a few cents an hour.) Today in labor history for the week of September 26, 2016October 01 An ink storage room in the L.A. Timesbuilding is dynamited during a citywide fight over labor rights and organizing.  The explosion was relatively minor, but it set off a fire in the unsafe, difficult-to-evacuate building, ultimately killing 21.  A union member eventually confessed to the bombing, which he said was supposed to have occurred early in the morning when the building would have been largely unoccupied – 1910 The George Washington Bridge officially opens, spanning the Hudson River from New Jersey to New York. Thirteen workers died during the four-year construction project for what at the time was the longest main span in the world - 1931 Thousands of dairy farmers in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa strike in demand of higher prices for their milk - 1935 Today in labor history for the week of September 26, 2016 The Pennsylvania Turnpike opened as the first toll superhighway in the United States.  It was built in most part by workers hired through the state’s Re-Employment offices - 1940 United Transport Service Employees of America merges with Brotherhood of Railway, Airline & Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express & Station Employees – 1972 Some 200 Pressmen begin what is to become a two-year strike at the Washington Post. Nine of the paper’s ten other unions engaged in sympathy strikes for more than four months but ultimately returned to their jobs as the paper continued publishing. The press operators picketed for 19 months but eventually decertified the union - 1975 Insurance Workers Int’l Union merges with United Food & Commercial Workers Int’l Union - 1983 Railroad Yardmasters of America merge with United Transportation Union - 1985 Pattern Makers League of North America merges with Int’l Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers - 1991 Today in labor history for the week of September 26, 2016The National Hockey League team owners began a lockout of the players that lasted 103 days - 1994 Stove, Furnace & Allied Appliance Workers Int’l Union of North America merges with Int’l Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers, & Helpers - 1994 Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union merges with United Food and Commercial Workers Int’l Union - 1998 Int’l Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine & Furniture Workers merges with Communications Workers of America - 2000 October 02 American Federation of Labor officially endorses campaign for a 6-hour day, 5-day workweek - 1934 Joining with 400,000 coal miners already on strike, 500,000 CIO steel workers close down the nation’s foundries, steel and iron mills, demanding pensions and better wages and working conditions - 1949 Starbucks Workers Union baristas at an outlet in East Grand Rapids, Mich., organized by the Wobblies, win their grievances after the National Labor Relations Board cites the company for labor law violations, Today in labor history for the week of September 26, 2016including threats against union activists - 2007 (Grievance Guide, 13th edition: This easy-to-use handbook documents patterns in a wide range of commonly grieved areas including discharge and discipline, leaves of absence, promotions, strikes and lockouts, and more. The editors give a complete picture of the precedents and guidelines that arbitrators are using to address grievance cases today.) Union members, progressives and others rally in Washington D.C., under the Banner of One Nation Working Together, demand “good jobs, equal justice, and quality education for all.” Crowd estimates range from tens of thousands to 200,000 - 2010

—Compiled and edited by David Prosten

NLRB Rules Sports TV Technicians Are Employees And Have Right To Form A Union

NLRB 1NLRB Region 1 Grants Petition by IBEW Local 1228, Orders Union Election for Employees of Green Line Group 

Affected Employees Are Essential to TV Broadcasts of Many Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics Home Games 

In a major victory for union organizing with widespread implications nationwide, Region 1 of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) ruled on Friday, September 16 that a union election can go forward for employees of Green Line Group (“GLG”), a company that supplies crews of technicians for television broadcasts of local sports events and other activities.  Local 1228 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (“Local 1228”), AFL-CIO, which represents employees of numerous broadcasters in New England, petitioned the labor board to organize the numerous technicians employed by GLG, which provides manpower to clients such as New England Sports Network (NESN) and Comcast, which broadcast many local sporting events.

In proceedings before the NLRB in Boston, GLG took the position that the technicians were independent contractors, not employees, and so ineligible to form a union under federal law.  Instead, after a full hearing with numerous witnesses, NLRB Region 1 Director John J. Walsh, Jr. concluded that “GLG has not carried its burden of proving the independent contractor status of its crew members.”

In a detailed 17-page decision, Director Walsh applied the NLRB’s multi-factor test for distinguishing independent contractors from employees to the facts presented at the hearing and found that, while some aspects of the relationship between the technicians and GLG resemble independent contracting, the majority of factors indicate an employer-employee relationship.  These factors included: (1) GLG controls many aspects of pay, including establishing pay rates in most cases; (2) technicians rarely supplied their own equipment; (3) the work done by the technicians furthers the business goals of GLG; (4) many of the workers have worked for GLG for many years; and (5) workers obtain no entrepreneurial opportunity and take on no business risk while for GLG.

The actual number of employees eligible to vote in the upcoming union election is still being determined. Estimates range from 115 to 369 eligible employees. 

IBEW and AFL-CIO leaders expressed their satisfaction in the decision and stressed its importance not just to the employees of GLG, but to workers throughout the country who are classified as ‘independent contractors.’ 

“This important win is a victory for workers everywhere who seek better wages, hours and working conditions,” said Local 1228 Business Manager Fletcher Fischer. “This decision recognizes that new types of employee-employer relationships in this changing economy should not deprive workers of their basic right to organize and form a union.”

IBEW International President Lonnie Stephenson remarked “This NLRB’s decision is a big win for every working person who wants to come together to improve their lives,” said. “The economy may change, but the right to organize should always remain the law of the land.”

“For far too long employers have misclassified employees as independent contractors in order to deny workers the right to form a union. The NLRB ruling is a logical decision and justice has prevailed,” said Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Steven A. Tolman. “It levels the playing field not only for workers, but for honest employers who play by the rules. This is not only a victory for IBEW, it’s a victory for all hard working people.”

In light of the small number of NLRB decisions on this important issue, the decision in this case (Green Line Group, Inc., Employer and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1228, AFL-CIO, Petitioner, Case 01-RC-181492) is likely to have a widespread impact.  The decision provides a roadmap to other NLRB Regions, and ultimately to the courts, for analyzing situations in which a mix of employee and independent contractor factors are present.  The message from Region 1 is clear: the burden of proving independent contractor status is a high one, and no one aspect of the relationship is controlling.  If the bulk of the evidence demonstrates that the workers are employees, the presence of a few facts that may be consistent with an independent contractor relationship become irrelevant to the outcome.  

Worker Wins Update: Groundbreaking Contract Victories in Multiple Industries

(Washington, DC, September, 2016) When working people come together and win the contracts, it proves that our raising wages agenda drives economic stability. Working people across the country are creating better lives for themselves and turning those workplace victories into political power. These latest worker wins show what the power of collective voice can achieve.

Here are some highlights:

Staff and Students Win After Lockout Ends: Teachers and students are back in class after the Long Island University Faculty Federation won an agreement that ended a 12-day faculty lockout. The American Federation of Teachers and its state affiliate, New York State United Teachers, fully supported the faculty efforts helping to secure a contract that runs through May 31, 2017.

Detroit Teachers Win Wage Increases in New Contract: The Detroit Federation of Teachers ratified a new contract with the Detroit Public Schools Community District. The agreement includes wage increases and the formation of a committee to address health safety needs of teachers. The agreement now goes before the Detroit Financial Review Commission for final approval.

Two Florida Newspapers Vote to Join NewsGuild CWA: Newsroom staff of the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Ledger of Lakeland have voted to unionize. More than 70 employees will benefit from the new contracts that are being negotiated with GateHouse Media, which owns both papers.

Masters, Mates & Pilots Members Unanimously Approve First Contract With New York Water Taxi: In a unanimous vote, captains and deckhands won a hard-fought campaign in support of collective bargaining and the principles of discussion and agreement in solving conflict. This new contract is viewed as an important step in making New York Harbor a 100 percent unionized waterfront once again.

Magna Seating Workers in Tennessee Overwhelmingly Vote for Union: By a nearly unanimous vote workers at Magna Seating International, a new facility in Spring Hill, Tenn. voted to join the United Auto Workers (UAW) International Union. The 230 workers build seats for the new Cadillac XT5 and GMC Acadia in a state of the art 122,500 square foot facility near the Spring Hill General Motors Manufacturing plant.

Workers at Nation’s Only Lipton Tea Factory Vote to Join UFCW: Nearly 200 workers at the Lipton plant in southeast Virginia voted to unionize with United Food & Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 400.Workers expressed optimism that this will improve conditions at the plant that has operated for more than 60 years and produces most of the tea sold in North America. 

Workers at Boulder Station Vote to Unionize Through NLRB Secret-Ballot Election: Workers at Boulder Station Casino & Hotel voted by a landslide of 67% to be represented by the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and the Bartenders Union Local 165 through an NLRB secret-ballot election. More than 570 Boulder Station workers will be represented by the unions, which are affiliates of UNITE-HERE. It is the first of Station Casinos’ properties in Nevada to unionize.

More NBC Universal Workers Vote to Unionize with the Writers Guild of America, East: Writer-producers at Peacock Productions, the “reality”/nonfiction television production subsidiary of Comcast/NBCUniversal, voted decisively in favor of unionizing with the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). The vote comes after a nearly four-year battle that began in October of 2012 when writer-producers at Peacock Productions filed for a union election with the NLRB.

Today in labor history for the week of September 12, 2016

September 12
Eugene V. Debs, labor leader and socialist, sentenced to 10 years for opposing World War I. While in jail Debs received one million votes for president – 1918

(The Bending Cross: A Biography of Eugene V. Debs: Eugene V. Debs was a labor activist in the late 19th and early 20th centuries who captured the heart and soul of the nation’s working people. He was brilliant, sincere, compassionate and scrupulously honest. A founder of one of the nation’s first industrial unions, the American Railway Union, he went on to help launch the Industrial Workers of the World—the Wobblies. A man of firm beliefs and dedication, he ran for President of the United States five times under the banner of the Socialist Party, in 1912 earning 6 percent of the popular vote.)

Jobless workers march on grocery stores and seize food in Toledo, Ohio – 1932

National Guardsmen fire on “sullen and rebellious” strikers at the Woonsocket (Rhode Island) Rayon plant, killing one and injuring three others.  A correspondent said the crowd of about 2,000 “went completely wild with rage.”  Word spread, 6,000 more workers arrived at the scene and the city was put under military rule.  The governor declared that “there is a Communist uprising and not a textile strike” in the state – 1934

Today in labor history for the week of September 12, 2016United Rubber Workers formed in Akron, Ohio – 1935

A total of 49 people are killed, 200 injured, in explosion at the Hercules Powder Company plant in Kenvil, N.J. – 1940

New York City’s Union Square, the site of the first Labor Day in 1882, is officially named a national historic landmark. The square has long been a focal point for working class protest and political expression – 1998

September 13Today in labor history for the week of September 12, 2016
The Post Office Department orders 25,000 railway mail clerks to shoot to kill any bandits attempting to rob the mail – 1926

Eleven AFSCME-represented prison employees, 33 inmates die in four days of rioting at New York State’s Attica Prison and the retaking of the prison. The riot caused the nation to take a closer look at prison conditions, for inmates and their guards alike – 1971

September 14
The Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel, and Tin Workers union calls off an unsuccessful 3-month strike against U. S. Steel Corporation subsidiaries – 1901

Today in labor history for the week of September 12, 2016Gastonia, N.C., textile mill striker and songwriter Ella May Wiggins, 29, a mother of five, is killed when local vigilantes and thugs force the pickup truck in which she is riding off the road and begin shooting – 1929

A striker is shot by a bog owner (and town-elected official) during a walkout by some 1,500 cranberry pickers, members of the newly-formed Cape Cod Cranberry Pickers Union Local 1. State police were called, more strikers were shot and 64 were arrested. The strike was lost – 1933

Congress passes the Landrum-Griffin Act. The law expands many of the anti-labor provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act, increasing union reporting requirements and restricting secondary boycotting and picketing – 1959

Today in labor history for the week of September 12, 2016
(The Essential Guide To Federal Employment Laws, 4th edition: This is a well-indexed book, updated in 2013, offering the full text of 20 federal laws affecting workers’ lives, along with plain-English explanations of each. An entire chapter is devoted to each law, explaining what is allowed and prohibited and what businesses must comply with.)

September 15
Some 5,000 female cotton workers in and around Pittsburgh, Pa., strike for a 10-hour day. The next day, male trade unionists become the first male auxiliary when they gather to protect the women from police attacks. The strike ultimately failed – 1845

President Kennedy signs off on a $900 million public-works bill for projects in economically depressed areas – 1962

Today in labor history for the week of September 12, 2016More than 350,000 members of the United Auto Workers begin what is to become a 69-day strike against General Motors – 1970

Int’l Association of Siderographers merges with Int’l Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers – 1992

September 16
More than 43,000 oil workers strike in 20 states, part of the post-war strike wave – 1945

A player lockout by the National Hockey League begins, leading to cancellation of what would have been the league’s 88th season. The lockout, over owner demands that salaries be capped, lasted 310 days – 2004

The Farm Labor Organizing Committee wins a signed contract with the Mount Olive Pickle Co. and growers, ending a 5-year boycott.  The agreement marked the first time an American labor union represented guest workers – 2004
Today in labor history for the week of September 12, 2016
Richard Trumka is elected president of the AFL-CIO at the federation’s convention in Pittsburgh.  He had served as the secretary-treasurer under predecessor John Sweeney from 1995 to 2009, and prior to that was president of the United Mine Workers for 13 years – 2009

September 17
Seventy-five workers die in explosion at Allegheny Arsenal, Pittsburgh, Pa. – 1862

Today in labor history for the week of September 12, 2016At a New York convention of the National Labor Congress, Susan B. Anthony calls for the formation of a Working Women’s Association. As a delegate to the Congress, she persuaded the committee on female labor to call for votes for women and equal pay for equal work. But male delegates deleted the reference to the vote – 1868

One hundred thousand Pennsylvania anthracite coal miners go on strike. Their average annual wage is $250. They are paid by the ton, defined by Pennsylvania as 2,400 pounds, but which mine operators have increased to as much as 4,000 pounds – 1900

National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) formed at a convention in Washington, D.C. In 1999 it became part of the Int’l Association of Machinists (IAM) – 1917

Some Depression-era weekly paychecks around the New York area: physician, $55.32; engineer, $40.68; Today in labor history for the week of September 12, 2016clerk, $22.15; salesman, $25.02; laborer, $20; typist, $15.09 – 1933

Southern employers meeting in Greenville, N.C., ready their big counter-offensive to break the textile labor strikes that have hit the Eastern seaboard. Ultimately they deploy 10,000 national guardsmen and 15,000 deputies, but fail to drive hundreds of thousands of strikers back to work – 1934

A Southern Pacific train loaded with sugar beets strikes a makeshift bus filled with 60 migrant workers near Salinas, Calif., killing 32. The driver said the bus was so crowded he couldn’t see the train coming – 1963

A total of 98 United Mine Workers of America members and a minister occupy the Pittston Coal Company’s Moss 3 preparation plant in Carbon, Va., beginning a year-long strike. Among other issues: management demands for drastic limitations in health and pension benefits for retired and disabled miners and their dependents and beneficiaries – 1989

The Occupy Wall Street movement is launched with an anti-Wall Street march and demonstration that Today in labor history for the week of September 12, 2016ended up as a 2-month encampment in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park. The event led to protests and movements around the world, with their focus on economic inequality, corruption, greed and the influence on government of monied interests. Their slogan: “We are the 99%.” – 2011

September 18
The Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) is formally founded at an Ohio convention, during a period of serious corruption in the union. Two years earlier at an IBT convention in Las Vegas, a union reform leader who (unsuccessfully) called for direct election of officers and a limit on officers’ salaries had been beaten by thugs – 1978

Nine strikebreakers are killed in an explosion at Giant (gold) Mine near Yellowknife, in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Miner Roger Warren confessed that he planted the explosives that caused the deaths. He recanted the confession but later confessed once again – 1992

A 20-month illegal lockout of 2,900 Steelworkers members at Kaiser Aluminum plants in three states ends when an arbitrator orders a new contract. Kaiser was forced to fire scabs and fork over tens of millions of dollars in back pay to union members – 1999
Today in labor history for the week of September 12, 2016
One week after the September 11, 2001, attacks, anthrax spores are mailed by an unknown party to several news media offices and two U.S. senators. Five people exposed to the spores died, including two workers at Washington, D.C.’s USPS Brentwood facility: Thomas Morris, Jr. and Joseph Curseen, who were to die of their exposure within the month – 2001

—Compiled and edited by David Prosten

I Call Them Heroes Everyday, Not Just On September 11th

Today marks the anniversary one of the most horrific moments in our nations history. Many other blogs have been asking “Do you remember where you were on September 11th?.” I am sure we all remember what we were doing.  Those images of the airplanes being flown into the World Trade Center are forever imprinted in our memory. My question to you is “What else do you remember about September 11th?”

I remember the look of fear in my wife’s eyes as we watched in horror at the events of September 11th.  I remember faces of the people at ground zero running for their lives in a cloud of smoke and falling debris as the buildings began to collapse around them.  I remember seeing the police and firefighters rushing into those same collapsing building to search for people lost in the smoke.

Over the next few days we as Americans went through a significant shift. We continued to mourn the loss of those who died, while we rallied behind those brave men and women of the FDNY and NYPD. They continued to search the rubble for missing people. We began to refer to these brave men and women as the Hero’s of 9/11.

We vowed never to forget.

Now 15 years later the image of those three firefighters raising the American Flag of the remains of the World Trade Center, is one of the most memorable images of September 11th.  But now something else has happened. Those same brave firefighters are still called Heroes on the days surrounding 9/11, and called “Union Thugs” the other 360 days a year.

What has happened? What has changed in America that we went from buying FDNY shirts and hats, and donating money to the International Association of Firefighters to making them enemies of the country?

Why is government trying to demonize these brave heroic men and women.

So on this day, remember all of September 11th. Remember over 3000 men and women who died tragically. Remember those 600 first responders who also died as Heroes. The courageous men and women who put lives of others ahead of their own. Remember this when people refer to Firefighters and Police Officers as Union Thugs. They have and always be this countries HEROES.

That is something we should never forget.

9-11-firefighter-sept-11

(This post was originally written by Matt Murray in 2011 and only edited to reflect the current number of years since 9-11)

 

Clinton Urges Passage Of ‘Mineworker Protection Act’ As Mineworkers Rally In Washington DC

UMWA United Mine Workers LogoToday, thousands of members, families and supporters of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) from 13 states will converge on Washington, D.C., to urge Congress to pass life-or-death legislation to preserve benefits for retired coal miners and widows.

“These miners put in decades of back-breaking work in America’s coal mines to energize our nation,” UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said. “They put their lives and their health on the line every day to make sure that you and I can turn on our lights, power up our computers, heat and cool our homes.

“In return, they were promised retirement benefits by the government and their employers,” Roberts said. “Those benefits are now at serious risk, and will begin running out at the end of the year. For many, that will force them to make cruel choices between buying life-saving medicine or buying food. Congress must act now to keep America’s promise to these miners.”

Prior to the planned rally, Secretary Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee for President, called on Congress to pass Mineworkers Protection Act.  Senator Tim Kaine, Clinton’s running mate and candidate for Vice President, is one of the many co-sponsors to this vital piece of legislation.

Secretary Clinton released the following:

“I firmly believe that if you spent your life keeping the lights on for our country, we can’t leave you in the dark. For more than a century, America’s coal miners have put their own health and safety at risk to provide affordable and reliable energy for the nation. They are entitled to the benefits they have earned and the respect they deserve.

“That’s why I am proud to stand with Senator Joe Manchin and the United Mine Workers of America in calling on Congressional Republicans to stop playing politics and give the Miners Protection Act a vote before the benefits of these hardworking men and women start expiring later this year.

“We also have a shared responsibility to reinvest in the coal communities that have been an engine of American economic growth. That’s why last fall, I proposed a comprehensive revitalization and job creation plan including building 21st-century infrastructure and high-speed broadband, repurposing abandoned minelands and power plants to support new economic activity, and creating a Coal Communities Challenge Fund to support locally-driven economic development priorities in small business, agriculture, health care, tourism, housing, and other industries.

“And we need to invest in carbon capture and sequestration, which will reduce emissions from coal and natural gas combustion, and will help us meet the global climate challenge more quickly and at lower cost, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. That’s why I support Senator Heidi Heitkamp and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage Act, which Senator Kaine has also co-sponsored.”

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka released the following statement on Secretary Clinton’s support for the Miners Protection Act:

America’s coal miners have sacrificed much for our nation, and we have an obligation to support them and their families. Unlike Donald Trump who says he’s with us but has nothing to show beyond the bluster, Hillary Clinton has our back. She proved it with a detailed $30 billion plan to revitalize coal communities, while Donald Trump says ‘trust me.’ She is proving it again today with her support of the Miners Protection Act. From the bargaining table to the ballot box, working people know who stands with us, not by words, but action.

The rally will be live-streamed on the UMWA’s YouTube Channel (youtube.com/UMWAunion) beginning at 10:30 a.m. 

VA Union President Condemns Commission on Care’s Report as ‘Anti-Veteran’

AFGE leader calls on Congress to invest in VA caregivers and facilities rather than costly, unprepared private providers  

AFGE National President J. David Cox, Sr.WASHINGTON – Ahead of the Commission on Care’s September 7th hearing before the House Veterans Affairs Committee, American Federation of Government Employees’ National President J. David Cox Sr. released the following statement:

“The American Federation of Government Employees condemns in the strongest possible terms, the horrendous, anti-veteran proposal put forward by the Commission on Care. Their recommendations would essentially destroy the veterans’ health care system, leaving millions of veterans without the integrated care they rely on. Veterans would suffer from a drastically reduced quality of care, higher costs, less access, and the system as a whole would become unaccountable to veterans and taxpayers. Instead it would place veterans’ care in the hands of executives with corporate backgrounds, leaving veterans without a voice.

If the Commission’s mission, as they state in their report, was to ‘provide eligible veterans prompt access to quality health care,’ they have achieved the opposite. The only result of these recommendations would be to fragment the most integrated health care approach in the nation, lower quality across the board by sending veterans to for-profit private providers, line the pockets of private hospital corporations, and hand over control of veterans’ healthcare to an out-of-touch, corporate-style board.

Veterans have overwhelmingly said they want to get their healthcare at the VA. It is the only system equipped to offer the veteran-centric healing they earned through their sacrifice. That’s why large and well-respected veterans service organizations like the American Legion and Disabled American Veterans oppose further privatization of the system, and why two of the Commissioners – Phillip Longman and Michael Blecker – have spoken out repeatedly against the Commission since the release of their final report.

The Commission was rigged from the beginning, and despite going on the record stating that the VA offered healthcare that was superior to what’s offered in the private sector, they’ve recommended a plan that will lead to the downfall of the system millions of veterans rely on. We cannot let that happen, and we hope that the American public will see the Commission’s report for what it truly is and instead listen to what our veterans want.

There are numerous studies and reports that prove time and again how the VA offers veterans the best health care option in the country. The RAND Corporation recently reported that the VA outperforms non-VA health care in preventative care, treatment, and outpatient care; and found that only 13 percent of mental health professionals in the private sector are even prepared to treat veterans. Additionally, the American Psychological Association found that “VA performance was superior to that of the private sector by more than 30 percent.” The VA is succeeding, and to continue that success we must invest in it, not undermine it with costly, fragmented care.

Veterans want the VA. They need the VA. We cannot let private interests dismantle that system in the name of corporate greed.”

A Labor Day Message From Ed Wytkind, President of the Transportation Trades Department AFL-CIO

Washington, DC — The following statement was issued by Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), in advance of Labor Day:

EdwardWytkind“This Labor Day we honor and thank the frontline working people who keep America’s transportation system running safely and efficiently. They are hardworking, dedicated professionals who play a vital role in keeping our economy strong.

“Transportation workers have the right to a voice on the job, a safe work environment and fair pay for the critical work they do — and having strong unions gives them that chance. Yet, today these working men and women face a torrent of attacks that undermine their basic right to bargain for good wages and face economic rules rigged in favor of the very rich. And too often, these policies are endorsed from the people we elect or who are seeking public office.

“The values of honor and respect for working people are on the ballot this fall. One candidate, Donald Trump, pays lip service to the issues facing working people but endorses a disastrous platform that, at its core, will lower wages and destroy bargaining rights on the job. The other candidate, Secretary Hillary Clinton, has spent her entire career fighting for working people and is advancing an economic plan that will restrain reckless greed and offer solutions to the severe challenges and anxieties faced by so many working families. We will do our part to make sure that these completely different visions for our country are well understood by rank and file transportation employees.  

“On this Labor Day, we pause to pay tribute to those frontline employees in the transportation sector who keep America strong, safe and secure. It is on their behalf that we will advocate in the election and beyond in favor of an America that honors their contributions and against those who are out to eviscerate their rights on the job.”

/.content

Nevada Hispanic Working People Ramp up Voter Mobilization Ahead of Labor Day

Image of Latino American (Image by LBJ Foundation FLIKR)

Image of Latino American (Image by LBJ Foundation FLIKR)

Hispanic workers in this key state ready to go out in record numbers to defeat Donald Trump and to support candidates who stand for Nevada’s working families 

[Las Vegas, Nev.] –   Daniel Aranda, a Mexican-American IBEW Local 357 electrician and union organizer, is determined to do whatever is needed to help Hispanics in Nevada live a better life. He is ready to rally against Donald Trump and his vitriolic rhetoric attacking Hispanic working families. 

Today, Aranda joined other Hispanic union members at the Culinary Union Hall in Las Vegas, Nev., for a roundtable to discuss their plan to stop Donald Trump and to support candidates in key Nevada races like Catherine Cortez Masto for Senate and Ruben Kihuen in CD-4 who have a clear record of standing for policies that will empower this state’s Hispanic working families.

“The Hispanic vote is extremely important, especially here in Nevada”, said Aranda, a Las Vegas resident who immigrated from Chihuahua, Mexico when he was a teenager. “We are ready to inform Hispanic working people across the state of the candidates who will support them. We will urge them to become citizens, to register to vote and to go out and vote.” 

The AFL-CIO’s Labor 2016 election effort aims to reach over 100,000 Hispanic voters who are part of union households in Nevada. At the roundtable today, the Labor 2016 program debuted new Spanish-language materials focused on voter registration and the presidential, Senate, and congressional races as part of the labor movement’s strategy to turnout Hispanic voters in Nevada.

Two weeks ago, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka spoke at the Nevada AFL-CIO convention where he called all working people to be part of this electoral effort:

“Nevada is one of our priority states. If we work together, if we stand united, if we all have skin in the game, we will elect candidates from the state house to the White House who are ready to change the rules of our economy,” Trumka said. “Donald Trump is profoundly unfit to be president.  If you want to know where Donald Trump really stands, ask the brave men and women at Trump Hotel in Las Vegas.  First, Trump hired a union-busting firm to discourage workers from organizing.  The workers won anyway.”

Labor unions in Nevada have been running door-to-door programs across the state since May and will ramp up efforts to reach voters in Hispanic communities after the Labor Day weekend. Speakers on the panel represented unions with some of the highest rates of Hispanic workers in Nevada. For example, the Culinary Union is Nevada’s largest union and largest Hispanic and immigrant organization with 56% of its over 57,000 members identifying as Hispanic/Latino. 

During this roundtable Hispanic members of Nevada’s unions firmly expressed their rejection of Donald Trump’s recent immigration speech. They agreed that they will stand together against the candidate’s attacks by reaching out to their friends, families and neighbors. 

 “We will phone bank. We will knock on as many doors as we can,” said Aranda. “Only through our vote can we tell Donald Trump that he is wrong and that Hispanic working people matter.”

An Open Letter To NH Candidates From WMUR Production Union Steward On The State Of Negotiations

Below is an open letter to all of the New Hampshire candidates.  The Union, IBEW Local 1228, has previously asked candidates to continue to boycott WMUR sponsored debates including the scheduled debates next week. 

NewsHourControlRoom2005

PBS News Hour Control Room


Dear Candidates,

My name is Brian Wilson. I am a shop steward for the Production Department bargaining unit at WMUR. I am writing to you to explain the difficult situation our workers have faced as we have fought for our first labor agreement with Hearst Corporation, the station’s owner.

But, I would first like to express my sincerest appreciation for the support that all of you give to workers across New Hampshire. It is critical that our leaders take a stand for working families who are struggling to make ends meet during these still difficult economic times. We are happy to see a group of candidates who have already shown their strong support.

Our union was certified 16 months ago in April of 2015. Over the past year we have never been able to schedule more than two days to meet in most months and on some occasions have had to wait 6 weeks or more between negotiation dates offered by Hearst.

One of our most important issues is retirement security. Many of our bargaining unit members have a company pension which pre-dates the certification of the Union. Since the beginning of negotiations, Hearst has maintained that they will not allow these employees to continue earning service credit toward any pension plan under a collective bargaining agreement. No one should be forced to lose their retirement security just because they exercised their right to union representation. This is an egregious union busting tactic that has no place in a fair negotiation.

Our other major issue has been pay. WMUR pays low wages. Several of our bargaining unit members are paid a flat $10 per hour with no opportunity for an annual merit increase. We have repeatedly offered wage plans that are competitive with other stations in the market but the company has countered with offers that do little to improve the majority of our workers’ wage situation. There has also been no explanation nor solution offered for gross pay inequities among many similarly positioned workers.

Although it has been over a year and half since we voted to organize, our unit still shares a strong sense of optimism and a willingness to continue to negotiate in good faith to achieve a better future for members.

I want to thank you again for your attention to our issues and for your support. We must protect our right to organize. It is clearly under attack.

Sincerely,

Brian Wilson

Production Asst.

WMUR-TV

  • 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 189 other subscribers

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement