NH Building Trades Announces Endorsement of Colin Van Ostern for Governor

Colin Van Ostern for Governor campaign event in Concord, New Hampshire on Wednesday, June 8, 2016.  Copyright 2016 Rob Strong

Colin Van Ostern for Governor campaign event in Concord, New Hampshire on Wednesday, June 8, 2016.
Copyright 2016 Rob Strong

Manchester – The New Hampshire Building and Construction Trades Council announced their endorsement of Colin Van Ostern for Governor today.                                                

“Colin is the leader working men and women need in the Governor’s office,” said Building Trades President Steve Burk. “We know Colin will fight to raise wages for working families and make sure our growing economy benefits all Granite State workers. Colin understands that union apprenticeship training programs are helping strengthen our workforce, and that union health insurance and pensions plans are helping give our citizens a stable foundation for success. The bottom line is, New Hampshire construction workers – both union and non-union – will do well with Colin as our Governor because Colin will make sure we rebuild our roads and bridges, bring passenger rail to New Hampshire, and finally pass a prevailing wage law to make sure our taxpayer dollars stay in the local economy and in the pockets of local workers. That’s why the New Hampshire Building Trades are all-in for Colin.”

“I’m honored to earn the support of the hardworking men and women of the New Hampshire Building Trades,” said Colin Van Ostern, Democratic nominee for Governor. “We need to do more to build an economy where anyone who works hard can get a good paying job and we’ll do that by investing in job and skills training, raising New Hampshire’s lowest in the nation minimum wage, and fighting back against attempts to make New Hampshire a so-called ‘right to work’ state, stripping hardworking people of the right to collectively bargain. New Hampshire needs a Governor who will stand up for people, not for partisan special interests.”

The New Hampshire Building Trades is an organization of 16 New Hampshire labor unions, representing more than 2,000 New Hampshire workers in the construction industry.


Today in labor history for the week of October 17, 2016

October 17
A huge vat ruptures at a London brewery, setting off a domino effect of similar ruptures, and what was to become known as The London Beer Flood.  Nearly 1.5 million liters of beer gushed into the streets drowning or otherwise causing the deaths of eight people, mostly poor people living in nearby basements – 1814

Labor activist Warren Billings is released from California’s Folsom Prison. Along with Thomas J. Mooney, Billings had been pardoned for a 1916 conviction stemming from a bomb explosion during a San Francisco Preparedness Day parade. He had always maintained his innocence – 1939

“Salt of the Earth” strike begins by the mostly Mexican-American members of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers Union Local 890 in Bayard, N.M. Strikers’ wives walked picket lines for seven months when their husbands were enjoined during the 14-month strike against the New Jersey Zinc Co. A great movie, see it! – 1950

Today in labor history for the week of October 17, 2016
(Working Stiffs, Union Maids, Reds, and Riffraff: An Expanded Guide to Films About Labor: This wonderful book is an encyclopedic guide to 350 labor films from around the world, ranging from those you’ve heard of—Salt of the Earth, The Grapes of Wrath, Roger & Me—to those you’ve never heard of but will fall in love with once you see them.)

Twelve New York City firefighters die fighting a blaze in midtown Manhattan – 1966

Int’l Printing Pressmen’s & Assistants’ Union of North America merges with Int’l Stereotypers’, Electrotypers’ & Platemakers’ Union to become Printing & Graphic Communications Union – 1973

Industrial Union of Marine & Shipbuilding Workers of America merges with Int’l Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers – 1988

October 18
The “Shoemakers of Boston”—the first labor organization in what would later become the United States—was authorized by the Massachusetts Bay Colony – 1648

Today in labor history for the week of October 17, 2016New York City agrees to pay women school teachers a rate equal to that of men – 1911

IWW Colorado Mine strike; first time all coal fields are out – 1927

Some 58,000 Chrysler Corp. workers strike for wage increases – 1939

The United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA) was formed as a self-governing union, an outgrowth of the CIO’s Packinghouse Workers Organizing Committee. UPWA merged with the Meatcutters union in 1968, which merged with the Retail Clerks in 1979 to form the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) – 1943

GM agrees to hire more women and minorities for five years as part of a settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – 1983

Today in labor history for the week of October 17, 2016
(Mobilizing Against Inequality: Unions, Immigrant Workers, and the Crisis of Capitalism: Are immigrant workers themselves responsible for low wages and shoddy working conditions? Should unions expend valuable time and energy organizing undocumented workers? Unions in Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States have taken various approaches to confront the challenges of this significant segment of the workforce. As U.S. immigration policy is debated, readers will gain insight into how all workers benefit when wages and working conditions for immigrant workers are improved.)

October 19
The National Association of Letter Carriers achieves equalization of wages for all letter carriers, meaning Today in labor history for the week of October 17, 2016city delivery carriers began receiving the same wages regardless of the size of the community in which they worked – 1949

The J.P. Stevens textile company is forced to sign its first union contract after a 17-year struggle in North Carolina and other southern states – 1980

October 20
Eugene V. Debs, U.S. labor leader and socialist, dies in Elmhurst, Ill. Among his radical ideas: an 8-hour workday, pensions, workman’s compensation, sick leave and social security. He ran for president from a jail cell in 1920 and got a million votes – 1926

Today in labor history for the week of October 17, 2016
(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.)

Hollywood came under scrutiny as the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) opened hearings into alleged Communist influence within the motion picture industry. Dozens of union members were among those blacklisted as a result of HUAC’s activities – 1947

Today in labor history for the week of October 17, 2016Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan writes to PATCO President Robert Poli with this promise: if the union endorses Reagan, “I will take whatever steps are necessary to provide our air traffic controllers with the most modern equipment available and to adjust staff levels and work days so that they are commensurate with achieving a maximum degree of public safety.” He got the endorsement. Nine months after the election, he fires the air traffic controllers for engaging in an illegal walkout over staffing levels and working conditions – 1980
Today in labor history for the week of October 17, 2016
Death of Merle Travis, songwriter and performer who wrote “Sixteen Tons” and “Dark as a Dungeon” – 1983

Two track workers are killed in a (San Francisco) Bay Area Rapid Transit train accident.  Federal investigators said the train was run by a BART employee who was being trained as an operator as members of the Amalgamated Transit Union were participating in what was to be a four-day strike – 2013

October 21
Wisconsin dairy farmers begin their third strike of the year in an attempt to raise the price of milk paid to producers during the Great Depression.  Several creameries were bombed before the strike ended a month later. The economy eventually improved, allowing the farmers to make more money – 1933

Today in labor history for the week of October 17, 2016October 22
Bank robber Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd is killed by FBI agents near East Liverpool, Ohio. He was a hero to the people of Oklahoma who saw him as a “Sagebrush Robin Hood,” stealing from banks and sharing some of the proceeds with the poor – 1934

October 23
President Theodore Roosevelt establishes a fact-finding commission that suspends a nine-months-long strike by Western Pennsylvania coal miners fighting for better pay, shorter workdays and union recognition.  The strikers ended up winning more pay for fewer hours, but failed to get union recognition.   It was the first time that the federal government had intervened as a neutral arbitrator in a labor dispute – 1902
Today in labor history for the week of October 17, 2016
Explosion and fire at Phillips Petroleum refinery in Pasadena, Texas, kills 23 and injures 314 – 1989

Postal workers Joseph Curseen and Thomas Morris die nearly a month after having inhaled anthrax at the Brentwood mail sorting center in Washington, D.C.  Other postal workers had been made ill but survived. Letters containing the deadly spores had been addressed to U.S. Senate offices and media outlets – 2001

Today in labor history for the week of October 10, 2016

This Week in Labor History October 10 Six days into a cotton field strike by 18,000 Mexican and Mexican-American workers in Pixley, Calif., four strikers are killed and six wounded; eight growers were indicted and charged with murder - 1933 October 11 The Miners’ National Association is formed in Youngstown, Ohio, with the goal of uniting all miners, regardless of skill or ethnic background - 1873 Nearly 1,500 plantation workers strike Olaa Sugar, on Hawaii’s Big Island - 1948 October 12 Company guards kill at least eight miners who are attempting to stop scabs, Virden, Ill. Six guards are Today in labor history for the week of October 10, 2016also killed, and 30 persons wounded - 1898 Fourteen miners killed, 22 wounded at Pana, Ill. - 1902 Some 2,000 workers demanding union recognition close down dress manufacturing, Los Angeles - 1933 More than one million Canadian workers demonstrate against wage controls - 1976 October 13 American Federation of Labor votes to boycott all German-made products as a protest against Nazi Today in labor history for the week of October 10, 2016antagonism to organized labor within Germany - 1934 More than 1,100 office workers strike Columbia University in New York City. The mostly female and minority workers win union recognition and pay increases - 1985 National Basketball Association cancels regular season games for the first time in its 51-year history, during a player lockout.  Player salaries and pay caps are the primary issue.  The lockout lasts 204 days - 1998 Hundreds of San Jose Mercury News newspaper carriers end 4-day walkout with victory - 2000 October 14 Int’l Working People's Association founded in Pittsburgh, Pa. - 1883 Today in labor history for the week of October 10, 2016The Seafarers Int’l Union (SIU) is founded as an AFL alternative to what was then the CIO’s National Maritime Union.  SIU is an umbrella organization of 12 autonomous unions of mariners, fishermen and boatmen working on U.S.-flagged vessels - 1938 Formal construction began today on what is expected to be a five-year, $3.9 billion replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River.  It's estimated the project would be employing 8,000 building trades workers over the span of the job - 2013 October 15Today in labor history for the week of October 10, 2016 President Woodrow Wilson signs the Clayton Antitrust Act—often referred to as "Labor’s Magna Carta"—establishing that unions are not "conspiracies" under the law. It for the first time freed unions to strike, picket and boycott employers. In the years that followed, however, numerous state measures and negative court interpretations weakened the law - 1914 Today in labor history for the week of October 10, 2016October 16 Queen Marie Antoinette, wife of Louis XVI, is beheaded during the French Revolution.   When alerted that the peasants were suffering due to widespread bread shortages, lore has it that she replied, “Let them eat cake.”  In fact she never said that, but workers were, justifiably, ready to believe anything bad about their cold-hearted royalty - 1793 Abolitionist John Brown leads 18 men, including five free blacks, in an attack on the Harper's Ferry ammunition depot, the beginning of guerilla warfare against slavery - 1859
—Compiled and edited by David Prosten

Kentucky Vet And UAW Member: Trump ‘Does Not Have A Clue’


AFT Local 1360

todd-dunnGOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump evidently thinks he’s sewn up the vote of guys like Todd Dunn.

Dunn is a white, blue-collar veteran who earned multiple medals while serving in the First Gulf War.

He’s for Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democratic opponent.

“In the military, we said you are only as good as the people you surround yourself with,” remembered Dunn, 46, from Louisville. “I would not want people like him around me for the simple fact that he is not credible.”

Dunn has been president of United Auto Workers Local 862 for almost six years. He was a 19-year-old Army military police specialist in Kuwait in 1991.

Dunn said Clinton, a former secretary of state and senator, has the temperament and experience to be president. Trump doesn’t, he added.

Trump, a wealthy business owner, has never held public office.

“Trump puts women down; he puts minorities down– he really doesn’t respect people,” said Dunn, who is also president of the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council.

Trump claims he values veterans most of all. Dunn doesn’t buy it. “Here is a man who says not paying taxes is smart. Taxes support our country.”

Dunn says the fact that taxes fund the U.S. military and federal programs that aid veterans is evidently lost on Trump.

“I paid my fair share of taxes before I joined the United States Army, went to Desert Storm and nearly died in Desert Storm,” said Dunn. “I came home and continued to pay my fair share of taxes.

“Not paying his taxes might make him smart, but it doesn’t make him a man who stands by our veterans. He may be a patriot in his own mind, but he doesn’t show it in his actions.”

Dunn’s missions in the First Gulf War included guarding a vital supply road and protecting Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf, commander of coalition forces that drove dictator Saddam Hussein’s invading Iraqi army out of Kuwait.

Dunn worries about Trump’s penchant for provocative, “off-the-cuff” and “knee-jerk” comments.

Trump, for example, threatened to shoot “out of the water” Iranian sailors if they made rude gestures toward U.S. Navy warships.

Trump, 70, is not a veteran. He used deferments, legally, to avoid the draft and possible combat in Vietnam.

“He doesn’t have a clue, which is obvious,” Dunn said. He doesn’t know the feeling of wondering if this is the last time he will see his family.”

Dunn came home to his loved ones, got married and got a job at Ford in the Falls City. He has two sons, one of whom also works for Ford. (Members of Local 862 work at Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant and Louisville Assembly Plant.) 

“Trump,” he said, “sits in an office in his tall, shiny building, knowing he has taken advantage of his country and the people who work for him. Does he have any remorse?”

Dunn’s service in Kuwait is featured in We Don’t Quit!: Stories of UAW Global Solidarity, a 2015 book by Don Stillman. The book tells how the UAW and its members are part of the worldwide struggle for workers’ rights.

Dunn said he had had never witnessed death before he arrived in Kuwait.

“First and foremost, American soldiers like me were there to liberate Kuwait,” he told Stillman.

“We were dealing with atrocities and torture by Saddam’s guys of the Kuwaiti people. I’ll never forget the small children that would climb on our vehicles—they were hungry, and there we were.

“We gave the kids food and liberty. There was a lot of American sacrifice. We lost American soldiers on foreign soil fighting for democracy.”


Western Kentucky Steelworker says Trump’s steel deal is more proof that ‘he’s just selling snake oil’


AFT Local 1360

Donald Trump (Jamelle Bouie FLIKR)

Donald Trump (Jamelle Bouie FLIKR)

Steelworker Jeff Wiggins of Reidland, Ky., isn’t surprised at the Newsweek story that says Donald Trump used Chinese steel and aluminum instead of American-made metal in at least two of his last three building projects.

“Not at all,” said Wiggins, 55, president of Steelworkers Local 9447 in Calvert City, Ky. “Trump is a two-faced, lying snake in the grass. How’s he going to make America great again when he’s using Chinese steel and Chinese aluminum to build his buildings?”

Wiggins’ disdain for Trump is also personal. The Gerdau Ameristeel plant where he’s worked for 33 years is slated to close next month, leaving more than 100 union members jobless.

The company is idling the mill because “the Chinese are flooding the market with cheap steel, and people like Donald Trump are buying it,” Wiggins said.

According to Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald, “Trump opted to purchase his steel and aluminum from Chinese manufacturers rather than United States corporations based in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin.”   

Before Eichenwald’s article was published, Trump, at a Pennsylvania rally, promised, “We are going to protect our steel workers. We can’t let China take advantage of us any more.”

Trump predicted, “Pennsylvania steel will build this country like it built the Empire State Building many years ago. And Pennsylvania steel and the incredible steel workers will send new skyscrapers into the clouds.”

Eichenwald also wrote that “Plenty of blue-collar workers believe that, as president, Donald Trump would be ready to fight off U.S. trade adversaries and reinvigorate the country’s manufacturing industries through his commitment to the Rust Belt. What they likely don’t know is that Trump has been stiffing American steel workers on his own construction projects for years, choosing to deprive untold millions of dollars from four key electoral swing states and instead directing it to China—the country whose trade practices have helped decimate the once-powerful industrial center of the United States.”

Wiggins says he knows Trump has been shafting American workers for years. Also president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, he points out that clothing and many other products that Trump sells stateside are made in China and other low-wage countries.

“Why doesn’t he bring those jobs back? He’s just selling snake oil, and people are buying it.

 “He’s a guy who makes money off other people–tells them lies. How’s he going to bring manufacturing back when he’s buying stuff from over there? He’s going to do whatever is cheapest for him where he can make the most money. He doesn’t care about American jobs.”    

The Nashua Labor Coalition Releases List Of Endorsed Candidates In The 2016 Election

Nashua Labor Coalition LogosToday, the Nashua Labor Coalition, a group of union members and community activists who live or work in the Nashua area, announced their list of endorsed candidates for the 2016 elections.  

Deb Howes, a public school teacher and chair of the Nashua Labor Coalition released the following statement:

“The upcoming election is vitally important to the working people of New Hampshire and will have a significant impact on the City of Nashua. We are proud to announce our list of endorsed candidates that will keep Nashua moving in the right direction.”

“In the race for Governor, the choice could not be clearer.  When FairPoint Communications workers were on strike, Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern took a stand for workers by blocking a proposed state contract with FairPoint until the strike was resolved.  His efforts helped get FairPoint to reopen negotiations which resulted in a fair contract, ending the strike and getting striking workers back to work.”   

“As a teacher, I am particularly impressed by Van Ostern’s plan to expand full-day Kindergarten state-wide so that every child can get the same great start to their education, regardless of which city or town they live in.” 

“Throughout Nashua hard working people are struggling to make ends meet in low wage jobs.  Colin Van Ostern is committed to increasing the minimum wage and making the New Hampshire Health Partnership Program that provides healthcare to 50,000 Granite Staters, permanent.” 

“The Nashua Labor Coalition also endorsed Dan Weeks for Executive Council.  Weeks is a tireless advocate for working people and is committed to bringing rail service to Southern New Hampshire. Expanding rail service to Nashua would boost our local economy and lead to hundreds of new jobs.”   

“In order to move Nashua forward we need to elect State Senators who are putting the needs of working people first.  We recommend reelecting  Senator Bette Lasky and  returning Peggy Gilmour to her rightful seat in the Senate.  Both have a long history of fighting for working people by opposing attacks on collective bargaining, protecting our public employee pension system, and voting against so-called right to work legislation.”

“In the legislative assault against working people our State Representatives are our first line of defense.  We have compiled a list of State Rep candidates who will stand up for working people in the New Hampshire House.” 

“Your right to vote is a cherished gift, not to be taken lightly.  It is important that everyone exercises their right to vote and make your voice heard.”

The Nashua Labor Coalition is a chapter of NH AFL-CIO. It includes Nashua Area Affiliated and Non-Affiliated Unions, as well as community organizations.

Full list of endorsements available here. nashua-candidates-election-2016a

Steelworkers Blast Trump Over Use Of Cheap Chinese Steel

Union Launches Awareness and Education Campaign: Trump Betrayed USW Members, Families and Communities for Cheap Chinese Steel and Aluminum 

The United Steelworkers (USW) today launched an awareness campaign to educate union members after Kurt Eichenwald’s investigative report for Newsweek exposed Donald Trump’s use of Chinese steel and aluminum for several recent, high-profile construction projects.

In light of the report, which outlines how Trump purchased the steel and aluminum from China using shell companies in the British Virgin Islands to cover his tracks, USW International President Leo W. Gerard called the Republican candidate’s statements about foreign trade and the need to create and maintain jobs in America’s manufacturing sector “hypocritical” and “fundamentally dishonest.” 

“Trump desperately tries to appeal to Midwestern working class voters with promises to stand up for American workers and bring manufacturing jobs back to Ohio and Pennsylvania,” Gerard said, “but he sold out those very workers, their families and communities to save a few dollars on cheap building materials from Shanghai and Guang-Dong.”

“With 13,000 people laid off in the steel industry and another 6,000 out of work in Aluminum, Trump personally profited from his scheme to cheat American companies and workers out of hundreds of millions of dollars in sales that went to China instead,” Gerard said. “How can he make America great if he refuses to make anything in America?”

Hundreds of USW activists and volunteers are already spreading the message that Trump cannot be trusted to protect American jobs. The union also will continue to educate its members about the GOP candidate’s anti-union, anti-worker record – from supporting so-called “right-to-work” legislation to the way he’s refused to negotiate employees at his hotels and casinos.

The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations.

Leo W Gerard: Solidarity Against Trump

Donald Trump likes to say he has a very, very good relationship with unions.  “I have great relationships with unions,” he told Newsweek last year.

And the press is in love with saying blue-collar workers are in love with Trump. Real reporters and even fake news shows like Full Frontal with Samantha Bee have crisscrossed the rust belt interviewing blue-collar workers seeking the reason for Trump’s supposed allure.

The AFL-CIO has found, however, that only a small faction, fewer than a third, of its members are Trump supporters. That’s true in my union, the United Steelworkers (USW), as well. And the numbers are declining daily as members find out the truth about The Donald, including how he managed to lose a whopping $916 million in one year and his failure to pay federal income taxes.

Particularly important to my members is the issue of trade because we are a manufacturing union, with members making not just steel, but tires, glass, paper, cardboard, aluminum, auto parts and many other products. When Trump promises to arbitrarily slap 25 percent and 35 percent tariffs on unfairly traded commodities from China and Mexico, that sounds great.

That is, until the voter discovers a U.S. president can’t unilaterally impose tariffs. Also, until the voter discovers Trump manufactures virtually all his signature products, from suits to shirts, sweaters, belts, ties, tie pins, tie clips, and dozens of others, overseas. Not by American workers in America. Trump could have created American jobs. But he chose not to.

Here is what some members of my union had to say about the difference between The Don and Hillary Clinton:

Michael D. Snyder, 58 of Decatur, Ind., works for Bunge, which makes food oils. A union man for 39 years, he’s been president of USW Local 15173 for 21 years.


“You need to look at the whole package and history of a candidate for president. Look at the whole package of Trump. I see someone who has done nothing but take from people in this country. There is a huge list of people who are suing him for taking from them, and that is disrespecting the American people.

“It is a power game. He has got all the money. He knows he can do all these terrible things. He knows he may have to pay, but not until he is forced to by court. And people have to wait years to get some portion of the money owed. That is just terrible and disrespecting every American. That kind of person should not be president. It is inconceivable to put that person in charge of this country.

“In our churches, we would pray for this person because they are totally lost. It is hard to understand how a Christian would say OK to this kind of behavior.”

Marlon S. Williamson, 45, of Warren, Ohio, works at ATEP Alcoa. He has been a Steelworker for 20 years.


I got a job at what was once Republic Steel in Warren, Ohio, when I was 23 years old. It was a great union job. But, beginning in 2008, I was laid off for 17 months because of dumped [foreign] steel. Those were hard times. I returned to work, but then, just a few years later, in 2012, management informed us the mill would be scrapped. I was stunned. I was shocked. It was because of a mix of bad management and dumped steel.

“I can’t even drive down that street now. I had worked there 17 years. At the time you are searching for answers. Imports contributed to that, with all that illegal dumping of steel.

“A lot of prayers got me the job at the titanium plant. I was very fortunate. I was off for four months. Some of the guys I used to work with are still out of work.

It is devastating.

“I support Hillary Clinton because she supports the working man and woman. She says exactly how she is going to do that. If we get her in office, maybe someone will pass that Bring Jobs Home Act, that denies tax credits for sending jobs overseas and gives credits for bringing jobs back here.

“Also, I have a daughter. My youngest child is a daughter. I do not want her to see Donald Trump as our country’s leadership. He mocks a guy with a handicap. He degrades women. He picks on immigrants. That is totally the opposite of what her mother and I have taught her.”

Kristia O’Brien, 45, is a veteran who lives in Gadsden, Ala. She has been a member of USW Local 12 for 22 years. She is a tire builder at Goodyear in Gadsden.


My mother lost her garment factory job that she had for 20 years as a result of NAFTA, and I almost lost my job because of trade. So Hillary Clinton’s opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and her statement that she would not support any more free trade deals that don’t work for working people is really important to me.

“My mom worked for H.D. Lee, the jeans company, in Guntersville, Ala. She sewed the inseams. She has rheumatoid arthritis now, but she made a good living because it was a union job. But she lost that job when the plant went to Mexico. And another garment factory about 15 miles away went to Mexico too a few years after NAFTA was passed.

“Later, my plant was threatened by a flood of imported Chinese tires. President Obama imposed three years of tariffs on those unfairly traded tries to prevent American factories from closing and American jobs from being lost. I have a job today because of that. I do trust Hillary to do the same kind of thing. She has stood for working families and unions her entire life. Her father came out of manufacturing and she understands the importance of manufacturing in America.”

James Morgan, 30, of Belleville, Mich., works for Chemetall Group. He has been a member of USW Local 2659 for five years.


I am working to elect Hillary Clinton for my unborn child, to make sure when he or she comes into the world, it is a better place, not a Donald Trump place. I want this to be a country that is accepting, a country that provides plenty of opportunity. Hopefully when he or she comes into this world, we have free college tuition and things like that.

“I want this to be the land of the free where we accept everyone whether you are black, Asian, Mexican or Muslim. We have all contributed. And that is what made America what it is.  We can’t shun people.  It is not just an American value. Acceptance absolutely is a union value. If you have been to a union event, you see people from all walks of life, and they are people who accept people from all walks of life.

Heidi Puhl, 44, of South Range Wis., a member of USW Local 9460 for 10 years, works at Ecumen-Lakeshore, a short term rehab facility in Duluth, Minn.

2016-10-02-1475419675-8289336-Heidi.jpgMy father and grandfather worked on a railroad, the Duluth, Mesabi & Iron Range line. It hauled taconite pellets from the Mesabi Range to Lake Superior where they were shipped to steel mills. There was a railroad roundhouse in my hometown of Proctor, and in the harbor in the winter, typically dozen ships would arrive in winter to be overhauled.

“It’s all gone now. The railroad is shut down. Half the ships arrive to be overhauled these days. The town’s grocery store, pizza shop and ice cream parlor are all closed. And it’s because illegally traded steel flooded the U.S. market, shuttering American mills. And that eliminated the demand for taconite.

“Bad trade deals created pockets of nothing in our small towns. Hillary Clinton says she will put a stop to that. I believe she can. Donald Trump is all talk and no experience. I don’t believe he can do anything.

“I know people who support Trump. But is that how you want your daughter to be talked to? Is that how you want your son raised? Is that how you want your mother treated, your grandmother or grandfather treated? That is not our personal values. That is not the values of anybody in America. I do not think Trump has the right temperament or the right morals to be president.

“I am working to elect Hillary Clinton because I do not want my kids to be raised in a place where it is okay to make fun of someone because of their disability or the color of their skin or their religion.

“I like that Hillary worked for the Children’s Defense Fund. I like that she took a job that did not pay well to do public service. I think that says a lot about a person. I know someone who graduated with Hillary, and she says Hillary is the nicest and most sincere person. Hillary still goes to college reunions with her. That says a lot about her.”

Jerry August, 30, of San Bernardino, Calif., has been a member of USW Local 5632 for three years at GATX, where he rebuilds railcar valves to ensure they don’t leak and cause an explosion.


My family is Hispanic. My grandparents came from Mexico. The way Donald Trump talks about undocumented immigrants is morally incorrect. It is not right. People should be given a chance to do what they can for themselves, to do better for themselves and their children and their future.

“To throw 11 million undocumented immigrants out of this country – why throw them out?  Why not get them documented and let them work? It is not morally right. They are not taking jobs. They are doing jobs no one else wants to do. The majority of people will not do the jobs they are doing. The jobs are there for everybody. These are hard labor jobs for pennies an hour.

“Trump harassed a judge of Mexican heritage whose father was a Steelworker. It is just ignorance. It is insulting. Ignorant people are just going to do ignorant things.”

“Coming from a Hispanic family, I still have family members who do not speak good English and who struggle to make good money, and I know Hillary Clinton will try to help us get to an even playing field. I feel that it is admirable that she has always tried to help the less fortunate.”

Terra Samuel, 43, of East Chicago, Ind., a member of USW Local 1010 for two years, works for ArcelorMittal.


I don’t see a future if Trump is elected. With Hillary, there is a track record. We know she can produce.

“The change would be devastating if Trump were to win. He is so angry and his followers are so angry. He would turn back the hands of time. I am not sure the country is ready for that.”

“I have two children. My 10-year-old daughter asked me, ‘If Trump is going to send Mexican people back to Mexico, where is he going to send black people?’ Donald Trump is scaring children!

“Hillary has credibility for working with labor unions and looking out for young people. I love her ideas for investing in infrastructure. Because she will require American-made products, that will support American manufacturing and create American jobs. That shows she is looking out for the future.”

Sam D’Orazio, 46, of Bentleyville, Pa., has been a member of USW Local 3403, Unit 25, for a decade. He works for All-Clad, a cookware manufacturer.


Donald Trump says people earn too much. Does he include himself in that or just me?

“Donald Trump does not speak for me. He does not treat people fairly and equitably. I accept diversity and Trump rejects that.

“Donald Trump’s promises are false and not fulfillable.  He is an illusionist.

“Hillary Clinton will make sure people have a decent chance to get ahead. She opposes right to work and has a loyalty to labor. She doesn’t turn her back on people.”

Today in labor history for the week of October 3, 2016

October 03
The state militia is called in after 164 high school students in Kincaid, Ill., go on strike when the school board buys coal from the scab Peabody Coal Co. – 1932

The Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers of America is founded in Camden, N.J. It eventually merged with the Int’l Association of Machinists, in 1988 – 1933

Pacific Greyhound Lines bus drivers in seven western states begin what is to become a 3-week strike, eventually settling for a 10.5-percent raise – 1945

The United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA) is formed as a self-governing union, an outgrowth of the CIO’s Packinghouse Workers Organizing Committee. UPWA merged with the Meatcutters union in 1968, which in turn merged with the Retail Clerks in 1979, forming the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) – 1943
Today in labor history for the week of October 3, 2016
The United Auto Workers calls for a company-wide strike against Ford Motor Co., the first since Ford’s initial contract with the union 20 years earlier – 1961

Folk singer/songwriter Woody Guthrie (“This Land is Your Land”, “Union Maid” and hundreds of others) dies of Huntington’s disease in New York at the age of 55 – 1967

Baseball umpires strike for recognition of their newly-formed Major League Umpires Association, win after one day – 1970

October 04
Today in labor history for the week of October 3, 2016Work begins on the carving of Mt. Rushmore, a task 400 craftsmen would eventually complete in 1941.  Despite the dangerous nature of the project, not one worker died – 1927

President Truman orders the U.S. Navy to seize oil refineries, breaking a 20-state post-war strike – 1945

The United Mine Workers of America votes to re-affiliate with the AFL-CIO after years of on-and-off conflict with the federation. In 2009 the union’s leader, Richard Trumka, becomes AFL-CIO President – 1961

Distillery, Wine & Allied Workers Int’l Union merges with United Food & Commercial Workers Int’l Union – 1995 

Today in labor history for the week of October 3, 2016October 05
A strike by set decorators turns into a bloody riot at the gates of Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, Calif., when scabs try to cross the picket line. The incident is still identified as “Hollywood Black Friday” and “The Battle of Burbank” – 1945

The UAW ends a 3-week strike against Ford Motor Co. when the company agrees to a contract that includes more vacation days and better retirement and unemployment benefits – 1976

Polish Solidarity union founder Lech Walesa wins the Nobel Peace Prize – 1983

Some 2,100 supermarket janitors in California, mostly from Mexico, win a $22.4 million settlement over unpaid overtime. Many said they worked 70 or more hours a week, often seven nights a week from 10 p.m. to 9 a.m. Cleaner Jesus Lopez told the New York Times he only had three days off in five years – 2004
Today in labor history for the week of October 3, 2016
(Mobilizing Against Inequality: Unions, Immigrant Workers, and the Crisis of Capitalism: Are immigrant workers themselves responsible for low wages and shoddy working conditions?  Should unions expend valuable time and energy organizing undocumented workers?  Unions in Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States have taken various approaches to confront the challenges of this significant segment of the workforce.  As U.S. immigration policy is debated, readers will gain insight into how all workers benefit when wages and working conditions for immigrant workers are improved.)

October 06
First National Conference of Trade Union Women – 1918

Today in labor history for the week of October 3, 2016The first “talkie” movie, The Jazz Singer, premiers in New York City.  Within three years, according to the American Federation of Musicians, theater jobs for some 22,000 musicians who accompanied silent movies were lost, while only a few hundred jobs for musicians performing on soundtracks were created by the new technology – 1927

Some 1,700 female flight attendants win 18-year, $37 million suit against United Airlines. They had been fired for getting married – 1986

Thirty-two thousand machinists begin what is to be a successful 69-day strike against the Boeing Co. The eventual settlement brought improvements that averaged an estimated $19,200 in wages and benefits over four years and safeguards against job cutbacks – 1995

October 07
Joe Hill, labor leader and songwriter, born in Gavle, Sweden – 1879

The Structural Building Trades Alliance (SBTA) is founded, becomes the AFL’s Building Trades Dept. five years later. SBTA’s mission: to provide a form to work out jurisdictional conflicts – 1903
Today in labor history for the week of October 3, 2016
(Skilled Hands, Strong Spirits follows the history of the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO from the emergence of building trades councils in the age of the skyscraper. It takes the reader through treacherous fights over jurisdiction as new building materials and methods of work evolved; and describes numerous Department campaigns to improve safety standards, work with contractors to promote unionized construction, and forge a sense of industrial unity among its autonomous and highly diverse affiliates.)

Hollywood’s “Battle of the Mirrors.” Picketing members of the Conference of Studio Unions disrupted an outdoor shoot by holding up large reflectors that filled camera lenses with blinding sunlight. Members of the competing IATSE union retaliated by using the reflectors to shoot sunlight back across the street. The battle went on all day, writes Tom Sito in Drawing the Line – 1946

Today in labor history for the week of October 3, 2016October 08
Thirty of the city’s 185 firefighters are injured battling the Great Chicago Fire, which burned for three days – 1871

Structural Building Trades Alliance organizes in Indianapolis with goal of eliminating jurisdictional strikes that were seriously disrupting the industry and shoring up the power of international unions over local building trades councils. Conflicts between large and small unions doomed the group and it disbanded six years later – 1902

In Poland, the union Solidarity and all other labor organizations are banned by the government – 1982

Upholsterers’ Int’l Union of North America merges with United Steelworkers of America – 1985

October 09Today in labor history for the week of October 3, 2016
United Hebrew Trades is organized in New York by shirt maker Morris Hillquit and others. Hillquit would later would become leader of the Socialist Party – 1888

Retail stock brokerage Smith Barney reaches a tentative sexual harassment settlement with a group of female employees. The suit charged, among other things, that branch managers asked female workers to remove their tops in exchange for money and one office featured a “boom boom room” where women workers were encouraged to “entertain clients.” The settlement was never finalized: a U.S. District Court judge refused to approve the deal because it failed to adequately redress the plaintiff’s grievances – 1997

—Compiled and edited by David Prosten

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

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