Union Members Winning Elections Coast to Coast

From the AFL-CIO

Last week, working family advocates won electoral victories from coast to coast, with Dahlia Vertreese winning election as mayor of Hillside, New Jersey, and Myrtle Cole being re-elected as president of the San Diego City Council.

These victories are part of a larger trend, where a strong independent union movement provides the support and expertise to help ensure that when working people run for office, working people win.

Strong independent union movements at the state and local level have been growing for years, and now the impact is being felt at a national level as we define a pro-worker agenda committed to the issues that matter most to working people everywhere.

Working people win when working people run. The New Jersey State AFL-CIO’s record says it all. A total of 965 union members have won office in that state’s program, with an annual win ratio of more than 70%.

Successful local candidate programs have gone national. America’s largest federation of labor unions passed a powerful national resolution on political independence, by promising to train and campaign for union members to win public office.

The goal is simple: to win better lives for working people in every corner of this great nation by putting working people in leadership roles.

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Reposted from AFL-CIO

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From AFL-CIO

Union Matters

Freight can’t wait

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities.

A freight train hauling lumber and nylon manufacturing chemicals derailed, caught fire and caused a 108-year-old bridge to collapse in Tempe, Ariz., this week, in the second accident on the same bridge within a month.

The bridge was damaged after the first incident, according to Union Pacific railroad that owns the rail bridge, and re-opened two days later. 

The official cause of the derailments is still under investigation, but it remains clear that the failure to modernize and maintain America’s railroad infrastructure is dangerous. 

In 2019, 499 trains that derailed were found to have defective or broken track, roadbed or structures, according to the Federal Railroad Administration’s database of safety analysis.

While railroad workers’ unions have called for increased safety improvements, rail companies have also used technology and automation as an excuse to downsize their work forces.

For example, rail companies have implemented a cost-saving measure known as Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR), which has resulted in mass layoffs and shoddy safety protocols. 

Though privately-owned railroads have spent significantly to upgrade large, Class I trains, regional Class II trains and local, short-line Class III trains that carry important goods for farmers and businesses still rely on state and local funds for improvements. 

But cash-strapped states struggle to adequately inspect new technologies and fund safety improvements, and repairing or replacing the aging track and rail bridges will require significant public investment.

A true infrastructure commitment will not only strengthen the country’s railroad networks and increase U.S. global economic competitiveness. It will also create millions of family-sustaining jobs needed to inspect, repair and manufacture new parts for mass transit systems, all while helping to prevent future disasters.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work