Category: Union Matters

Stay out of the TPP

From the AFL-CIO

Working people want to move forward on trade, not backward. President Donald Trump’s reported interest in reviving the Trans-Pacific Partnership is the wrong idea. He should focus on upgrading the protections for worker freedoms in the ongoing negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Three years ago, a united movement of working people rose in opposition to Fast Track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, upsetting the conventional wisdom and changing the course of American trade policy.

Our opposition had nothing to do with political parties. It was a grassroots groundswell, and it came after years in which trade experts from the AFL-CIO and our member unions offered feedback, detailed testimony and policy language to the trade negotiators, who simply allowed corporations to have too much control over the proposed deal.

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We Can Win Better Trade

From the AFL-CIO

Key labor issues are getting worse, not better, because Mexico is moving backward on its labor laws, while the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement continues. And so American negotiators should not jump to sign an agreement on principles anytime soon, as some in the administration of President Donald Trump have indicated.

It’s time to hold Mexico’s feet to the fire to win meaningful labor reforms, so the new trade agreement can lift up working families and our communities throughout North America.

For 25 years, the North American Free Trade Agreement has tilted the economic playing field sharply in favor of powerful corporations by lowering pay, degrading our environment and killing jobs.

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Honor King with Worker Freedom

From the AFL-CIO

The deaths of two Memphis sanitation workers, crushed by a trash compactor in 1968, sparked a six-week strike that ended with a union and better working conditions after the April 4 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, who was in Memphis to support the workers’ effort to win  union representation.

Half a century later, sanitation workers with unions work under vastly improved conditions, even as work for nonunion, private sanitation companies remains deadly.

In 2016, 439 workers in sanitation, waste and remediation died on the job.

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Standing Up for Federal Workers

From the AFL-CIO

Working people are the lifeblood of the federal government. They manage our parks, monitor our skies, fight deadly diseases and care for the most vulnerable among us. Yet, President Donald Trump has decided to target these committed public servants and their rights on the job.

The Trump administration’s actions against federal employees over the past few months have ranged from the shortsighted to the insidious:

  • Tasked with overseeing labor relations between the federal government and millions of working people, the Federal Labor Relations Authority has been unable to prosecute complaints because President Trump still hasn’t appointed a general counsel. Instead of allowing the FLRA to do its job, the White House has only worsened the backlog by shutting down two of the agency’s seven regional offices.
  • This month, the Department of Education threw out a collective bargaining agreement that already had been in effect, denying 3,900 workers their negotiated rights and protections. Attempting to bypass the negotiating table altogether, the administration implemented an illegal contract that had been soundly rejected by the membership.
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Fighting for Safety on the Job

From the AFL-CIO

Monday marked the 107th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire in New York. After claiming the lives of 146 young immigrant garment workers, this tragedy drove working people to join together and demand safe conditions on the job. More than a century later, we’ve made enormous strides forward. But we’re still fighting for our right to work without risk of injury, illness or even death.

Disasters like the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire can seem like a sordid history that has been put long behind us. Nearly 50 years after the Occupational Safety and Health Act was signed into law, surely working people can go to work confident that they will return safely to their families at the end of their shifts.

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Tariffs Can Lift Up America

From the AFL-CIO

For years, America’s labor movement has called for targeted measures to counteract trade violations by China, which has used cybertheft, discriminatory policies and illegal government subsidies to systematically undermine U.S. technologies and intellectual property and gain unfair advantages in trade.

“Tariffs aren’t an end goal, but an important tool to end trade practices that kill American jobs and drive down American pay,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

America and our allies can and should employ tariffs to strategically target bad actions by trade partners when diplomacy fails.

China routinely has used cybertheft, discriminatory policies and illegal government subsidies to gain anti-competitive advantages that  harm America’s industries, including aerospace products, computer technologies, movies, steel and aluminum, as well as other critical technologies and intellectual property.

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No More Wall Street Giveaways

By the AFL-CIO

Every single challenge faced by working people can be traced back to the greed of powerful corporations and CEOs, which is why America’s leaders should be holding Wall Street accountable, not weakening consumer protections and opening the door to risky banking practices and predatory lending.

Working people call on our elected leaders to oppose legislation from Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) to roll back and eliminate sections of the 2010 Dodd–Frank Act. Congress should be building on that landmark law so working families and our communities can thrive.


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Victory in West Virginia

From the AFL-CIO

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed legislation Tuesday giving all state employees a 5% pay raise, the direct result of a heroic teacher strike that lasted nearly two weeks and highlighted the plight of low pay and rising health care costs in the Mountain State.

The victory for teachers and public employees in West Virginia is a true testament to their activism and an important reminder of the power of working people to improve the lives of everyone.

Whether it is raising pay, providing quality health care or making our jobs safer, all workers know that when we join together and fight together, we will win together.

Nothing is more important to our future than the quality of our children’s education.

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On Resignation of Gary Cohn

By Lori Wallach
Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch

It is very telling that for Cohn, a Democrat, the final straw in leaving was not Trump’s horrifying response to the Charlottesville white supremacist uber-hate fest or endless attacks on Mexicans and Muslim, but a steel trade enforcement action involving tariffs that would be 5 percent lower than the steel trade action enacted by Pres. George W. Bush in 2002.

That Cohn is a Democrat did not stop him from joining the Trump administration, but that his departure would be spurred over a trade policy dispute reveals that his years on Wall Street at Goldman Sachs apparently made his one unbending principle the defense of the corporate-managed trade policies that have outsourced millions of middle class jobs and pushed down Americans wages.  

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Union Matters

Stay out of the TPP

From the AFL-CIO

Working people want to move forward on trade, not backward. President Donald Trump’s reported interest in reviving the Trans-Pacific Partnership is the wrong idea. He should focus on upgrading the protections for worker freedoms in the ongoing negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Three years ago, a united movement of working people rose in opposition to Fast Track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, upsetting the conventional wisdom and changing the course of American trade policy.

Our opposition had nothing to do with political parties. It was a grassroots groundswell, and it came after years in which trade experts from the AFL-CIO and our member unions offered feedback, detailed testimony and policy language to the trade negotiators, who simply allowed corporations to have too much control over the proposed deal.

More ...

Tax Day Fact

Tax Day Fact