Posts from Mike Hall

Echoes of 2011: Kasich Eliminates Workers’ Collective Bargaining Rights

Mike Hall

Mike Hall Senior Writer, AFL-CIO

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), whose attempt to strip tens of thousands of public employees of their bargaining rights in 2011 failed, lashed out last week at the state’s 10,000 child care and home care workers when he issued an executive order stripping them of their collective bargaining rights.

AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall said:

Gov. Kasich has repeatedly targeted Ohio workers since taking office, and he’s continuing that pattern today. A loss of collective bargaining rights will mean lower-quality child care available to parents, and the loss of thousands of jobs that are largely held by women and minority workers now. This is another mean-spirited attack on working people that will hurt our families and our communities.

The child care workers provide home-based care for some 20,000 children. The home care workers who provide care for adults—including many seniors and people with disabilities—are members of SEIU 1199, and the union’s president Becky Williams said:

By stripping collective bargaining rights from home care and child care workers, Kasich is effectively attempting to silence thousands of low-wage workers, women and people of color from their ability to advocate for their clients and preserve quality care and services to the children, seniors and people with disabilities in our communities.

More ...

Union-Made Valentine Sweet Treats and Save on Flowers from Union Plus

Mike Hall

Mike Hall Senior Writer, AFL-CIO

Valentine’s Day is Saturday and you can give sweets and other treats for your sweet that has a union label, and while there’s no price tag on love, there is a discount on flowers with Union Plus.

The iconic Necco candy Sweethearts conversation hearts are made by members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM). Several familiar sparkling libations such as J. Roget and Tott’s are produced by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). See the list at the bottom of the page compiled by our friends at Labor 411, the union business directory from the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, for more products made by union members.

Union members receive a 20% discount on all Teleflora flowers and GiftTree gift baskets when they browse arrangements and order online at UnionPlus.org/Flowers or call 1-888-667-7779.

More ...

Workplace, Public Safety Threatened by Republican Regulatory Bill

Mike Hall

Mike Hall Senior Writer, AFL-CIO

Workplace, Public Safety Threatened by Republican Regulatory Bill

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would have been prevented from issuing timely guidelines on protecting health care workers and first responders from the Ebola virus and how to control the spread of the deadly virus to the public under a Republican bill the House is set to vote on this week.

The bill (H.R.185) would add dozens of new procedural and analytical roadblocks to any new enforceable rule such as workplace safety or consumer protection regulations and even to non-binding federal guidelines to protect workers and the public, such as the CDC’s Ebola guidelines issued last fall.

In a letter to the House, AFL-CIO Government Affairs Director Bill Samuel wrote that the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) “will not improve the regulatory process: it will cripple it,” and will add years to the process.

More ...

Republican House Bill Cuts Workers' Health Care Coverage

Mike Hall

Mike Hall Senior Writer, AFL-CIO

Republican House Bill Cuts Workers' Health Care Coverage

Some 1 million workers could lose their employer-provided health insurance under a Republican bill (H.R. 30) passed by the House (252-172, with 12 Democrats crossing the aisle) today. On top of stripping health care coverage from those workers, the bill also would add some $53.2 billion to the federal deficit over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The attack on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) comes just two days after Republicans approved legislation that could lead to cuts in Social Security disability and retirement benefits.

Under the ACA, large employers must provide health care coverage to employees who work 30 or more hours a week or they face a penalty. H.R. 30 kicks up the 30-hour threshold to 40 hours a week.

More ...

First Target for House Republicans? Cutting Social Security

Mike Hall

Mike Hall Senior Writer, AFL-CIO

First Target for House Republicans? Cutting Social Security

On the very first day that the new larger House Republican majority got to work, it made a move that could mean some 11 million people who receive Social Security disability benefits will see their lifeline benefits cut by 20% in 2016—or even cuts to Social Security retirement benefits for everyone.  

No, Republicans didn’t pass a bill or hold a lengthy debate on something so important. Instead, buried in a package of rule changes, they included a provision that the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) says:

would allow a 20% benefit cut for millions of disabled Americans unless there are broader Social Security benefit cuts or tax increases improving the solvency of the combined trust funds.

More ...

Holiday Gift Shopping? Check Out These Union-Made in America Ideas

Mike Hall

Mike Hall Senior Writer, AFL-CIO

Holiday Gift Shopping? Check Out These Union-Made in America Ideas

It’s getting there, but it’s not too late yet to find that perfect holiday gift that carries a union label and is made in America. Below is a wide range of gift possibilities, from clothes to games to sports equipment and more, made by members of UNITE HERE, Boilermakers (IBB), Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM), Machinists (IAM), United Steelworkers (USW), Teamsters (IBT), UAW, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union/UFCW (RWDSU/UFCW) and United Farm Workers (UFW).

This list is compiled from the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor's resource site, Labor 411, Union Plus, the AFL-CIO Union Label and Service Trades Department and the BCTGM website. Check them out for even more gift ideas.

More ...

Stand with Walmart Strikers on Black Friday

Mike Hall

Mike Hall Senior Writer, AFL-CIO

Walmart workers, many who earn poverty-level wages and have irregular and part-time hours, have mobilized for justice and fairness at Walmart over the past few years and now are calling on Walmart to end retaliation against workers who are asking for $15 an hour and full-time hours. Now, workers’ allies in communities around the nation are joining them in massive demonstrations on Black Friday (Nov. 28), the biggest shopping day of the year.

You can make your voice heard and show your support for Walmart workers by clicking here to sign a petition to the Walton family, who owns Walmart and who has the distinction of being the richest family in America. Tell the Waltons you stand with Walmart workers and you will join a Black Friday action near you.

To put the workers’ demands in context, income inequality is the highest it’s been since 1928. Corporate profits are at an all-time high. Meanwhile, wages are at the lowest point since 1948—even as productivity increases.

More ...

Here’s Your Union-Made in America Thanksgiving Shopping List

Mike Hall

Mike Hall Senior Writer, AFL-CIO

Here’s Your Union-Made in America Thanksgiving Shopping List

Before you put together your Thanksgiving dinner shopping list, check our list of union-made in America food and other items that are essential to a traditional family Thanksgiving feast. Speaking of thanks, a big “thank you” to the Union Label and Service Trades Department (ULSTD), Union Plus and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor's resource site, Labor 411, for compiling their extensive catalogs of union-made products.

Here are some of the best union-made Thanksgiving eats and cookware from the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM); Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers (GMP); Machinists (IAM); United Steelworkers (USW); and United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).

Appetizers

 

Kraft/Nabisco crackers—BCTGM

Nabisco (Mondelez) crackers—BCTGM

Keebler (Kellogg) crackers—BCTGM

More ...

‘No to Fast Track’ Campaign Aims at Returning ‘Lame Ducks’

Mike Hall

Mike Hall Senior Writer, AFL-CIO

 ‘No to Fast Track’ Campaign Aims at Returning ‘Lame Ducks’

The AFL-CIO and its member unions launched a unique “station domination” ad campaign aimed at stopping possible congressional action on “Fast Track” trade authority legislation in the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress.

The ads run throughout Capitol South Metro station, the main Capitol Hill stop and one of the busiest stations on Washington, D.C.’s Metro system. The ads convey the too often hidden but always dramatic stakes in trade negotiations for working people.

One ad features Marcos V., a Texas refinery worker and member of the United Steelworkers (USW). He says that the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement that could be considered under Fast Track could be:

Devastating to the oil industry and the manufacturing industry it supports by off-shoring jobs, chipping away at our wages and risking the safety and environmental protections our unions have brought us for decades. The TPP could threaten our rights to organize and collectively bargain.

More ...

Paid Sick Leave, Minimum Wage, Equal Pay and Other Ballot Measures Fare Well

Mike Hall

Mike Hall Senior Writer, AFL-CIO

In an election night that was rather bleak for working families and their candidates, one bright spot was the success of several state ballot initiatives dealing with some core worker issues, including wages, equal pay, education and paid sick leave. Here’s a quick look:  

  • Voters approved increases to the minimum wage in Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota, as well as Oakland and San Francisco, Calif.
  • In victories for working women and families, voters in Oregon approved the Equal Pay Measure and in Massachusetts a measure calling for up to 40 hours a year of paid sick leave for employees was approved. Paid sick leave measures in Oakland, Calif., Montclair and Trenton, N.J., also won. 
  • Measures to strengthen voting rights were approved in Missouri, Montana and Illinois.
  • New York voters passed Proposal 3, an education funding initiative, and in Missouri, Amendment 3, which would have weakened due process for teachers and would take local control of schools away from parents, teachers and school districts, was defeated.
More ...

Union Matters

Steel for Wind Power

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. 

Siemens Gamesa last month laid off 130 workers at its turbine blade manufacturing plant in Iowa, just months after GE Renewable Energy decided to close an Arkansas factory and eliminate 470 jobs.

The companies reported shrinking demand for their products, even though U.S. consumption of wind energy increases every year.

America’s prosperity depends not only on harnessing this crucial energy source but also ensuring that highly skilled U.S. workers build the components with the cleanest technology available.

Right now, the nation relies on imported steel and turbine components from foreign manufacturers like China while America’s own steel industry—well equipped for this production—struggles because of dumping and other unfair trade practices.

Steel makes up the bulk of turbine hubs and the wind towers themselves. It’s also used to make the cranes and platforms necessary for installing the towers.

Yet the potential boon to America’s steel industry is just one reason to ramp up domestic production of wind energy infrastructure.

American steel production ranks among the cleanest in the world, while China has the highest carbon emissions of any steelmaking nation and flouts environmental regulations.

The nation’s highly-skilled steelmaking workforce must play an essential role in the deeply-needed revitalization and modernization of the nation’s failing infrastructure. Producing the components for harnessing wind energy domestically and cleanly is an important step that will put Americans to work and position the United States to be world leaders in this growing industry.

 

More ...

There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work