Category: From AFL-CIO

#BuildForTomorrow

From the AFL-CIO

It’s Infrastructure Week, a time to call on our elected leaders to rebuild and modernize America’s crumbling infrastructure.

This year’s Infrastructure Week comes at a time when 79% of voters say investing in America’s infrastructure is a top priority.

Here is what inaction is costing us:

Inaction is costing Americans an average of $3,000 every year.

It’s time to tell Washington to stop delaying. Take action and fix our infrastructure. Learn more at Infrastructure Week.

 “We cannot and will not tolerate more inaction. The future prosperity of working families and our communities across America is at stake, as is our national commitment to the simple but powerful idea that when we invest in the nation’s infrastructure, our economy expands and working people thrive.” —2017 AFL-CIO Convention Resolution 7: Reviving Our Communities and Putting Millions to Work Rebuilding the Country

 

Fighting to Fix the New NAFTA

From the AFL-CIO

For the better part of a generation, our global trading system has been rigged to enrich corporations at the expense of working people—and no deal has done more damage than NAFTA. We are hungry for a North American trade deal that lifts wages and improves livelihoods. The new NAFTA, also known as the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA), as proposed falls short, and that’s why America’s working families will keep fighting to fix it.

Here are three reasons why the labor movement opposes the new NAFTA:

  1. There is nothing in the current deal to fix the outsourcing of good-paying American jobs to Mexico and other low-wage countries. 851,000 U.S. jobs were lost already due to NAFTA.
  2. Unless Mexico finishes and implements full labor reform and stronger rules and enforcements are added to the NAFTA text, Mexico’s workers will continue to face wages as low as $2 per hour or less and receive no protection from threats and violence when trying to unionize.
  3. Monopoly rights for Big Pharma would keep drug prices sky high, and new rules would undermine protections such as workplace safety.
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A Just, Inclusive and Sustainable Economy

From the AFL-CIO

This week, labor leaders from across the country descended on New Orleans to map out the path ahead for our movement. From trade and public education to equal pay and paid leave to back pay for federal contract workers and bargaining power for all, the AFL-CIO Executive Council tackled the issues that will define working people’s fight for economic justice in 2019 and beyond.

Sending waves through Washington yesterday, the Executive Council’s most notable decision was its announcement that, “if the administration insists on a premature vote on the new NAFTA in its current form, we will have no choice but to oppose it.” Here are a few highlights from the statement:

  • Trade policy must be judged by whether it leads to a just, inclusive and sustainable economy....By that measure, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which has driven the outsourcing of so many good jobs, has been a catastrophic failure. More than 850,000 U.S. jobs were shipped overseas under NAFTA between 1993 and 2013.
  • By design, NAFTA distorted power relationships in favor of global employers over workers, weakened worker bargaining power and encouraged the de-industrialization of the U.S. economy.
  • After a quarter-century of this race to the bottom, workers in all three NAFTA countries find it more difficult to form unions and negotiate collective bargaining agreements.
  • The NAFTA renegotiation requires strong labor rights provisions and strong enforcement provisions that as of today are not yet in the agreement.
  • The current effort by the business community to pass the new NAFTA is premature, and if it continues, we will be forced to mobilize to defeat it, just as we mobilized to kill the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

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Union Fights Back

From the AFL-CIO

As a wave of collective action continues to sweep the country, working people are taking on one of the country’s most powerful corporations. In the face of shameless union-busting, labor leaders and Boeing workers are fighting back for the rights and dignities they deserve.

First, Boeing announced that virulently anti-union former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley was joining its board of directors.

This, for example, is one thing Haley said about labor organizations: “I'm not going to stop beating up on the unions....We're going to keep fighting the unions. I'm going to keep being a union buster.”

Machinists (IAM) International President Robert Martinez Jr. was quick to call out Boeing’s decision.

“The IAM has serious concerns about the nomination of Nikki Haley to Boeing’s board,” he said. “As governor of South Carolina, Haley had a record of using anti-union rhetoric and inserting politics into working people’s decisions.”

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Time to Change the Rules

From the AFL-CIO

In the wake of landslide victories in the midterm elections, working people are ready to fight for meaningful change. “Our mission was not simply to rack up victories on election night last November,” said Trumka. “We changed the rule-makers. Now it is time for them to change the rules.”

President Trumka put forward a comprehensive agenda that will remake the economy to uphold the dignity of all working families. Some key steps include:

  • Modernizing the badly outdated National Labor Relations Act to truly protect our freedom to organize and mobilize together.
  • Achieving full employment and passing a $15 federal minimum wage.
  • Expanding Social Security and strengthening our pensions.
  • Making a serious federal investment in our infrastructure.
  • Shoring up the Affordable Care Act, expanding Medicare, lowering drug costs, and ensuring paid sick and family leave.
  • Defending our right to safety and dignity on the job by passing the Equality Act, restoring the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and temporary protected status, and strengthening the Occupational Safety and Health Administration protections.

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U.S. Unions Bring Solidarity to Striking Mexican Workers

By Ben Davis, USW

A delegation of union leaders from the national AFL-CIO, the Texas AFL-CIO, the UAW and the United Steelworkers (USW) traveled to Matamoros, Mexico, last week to support tens of thousands of factory workers who have launched a wave of strikes to demand wage increases and democratic control of their unions.

Since Jan. 25, at least 48 factories that produce auto parts and other goods for export to the United States have signed agreements to increase wages by 20% and pay a bonus of 32,000 pesos (about $1,750). This is a huge victory for the workers, most of whom make around $2 per hour. In the past week, the strike wave has spread beyond the factories to supermarkets and other employers, with all the workers demanding "20/32." The leaders of the Matamoros unions, which historically have been close to the employers, were forced to endorse the workers’ demands.

The delegation visited the picket line at Advanced Scientifics, a subsidiary of Massachusetts-based Thermo Fisher Scientifics, which produces medical supplies. Some 70 workers have been camped outside the plant 24 hours a day in near-freezing temperatures.

"It’s heartbreaking to see workers who make life-saving equipment treated with so little respect," said USW District 13 Director Ruben Garza. "This is what happens when we sign trade agreements like [the North American Free Trade Ageement] that have no real protections for workers’ rights."

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Becoming an American with the help of the AFL-CIO

From the AFL-CIO

At the 2017 AFL-CIO Convention, delegates unanimously passed a resolution encouraging an active drive to help naturalize some 9.3 million people currently eligible to apply for citizenship, saying it would “provide concrete worker protections, expand and diversify the electorate, and help us build power to win the sweeping changes that working people expect and deserve.”

Less than two years later, the Texas AFL-CIO and the Texas Labor Citizenship Campaign are using the broad reach of the labor movement to help aspiring Americans realize their dreams.

At a naturalization ceremony in San Antonio yesterday, Raquel officially became an American. She is one of the first beneficiaries of the Texas Labor Citizenship Campaign, a partnership of the Texas AFL-CIO and nearly 20 unions.

The campaign began in August 2018, and so far nearly 350 workers have been helped with the process of becoming U.S. citizens.

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Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Actors' Equity

This is the first post in our new series that will take a deeper look at each of our affiliates. The series will run weekly until we've covered all 55 of our affiliates. First up is Actors' Equity (AEA).

Name of Union: Actors' Equity Association

Mission: To foster the art of live theater as an essential component of society. To advance the careers of members through negotiating wages, improving working conditions and providing a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans.

Current Leadership of Union: The current president of Equity is Kate Shindle. Shindle was elected in 2015 and is the youngest person to ever hold the Equity presidency (and only the third woman). She originally joined in 1999 and was first elected to Equity's national council in 2008 before starting a three-year term as eastern regional vice president the next year. As an actor, she made her Broadway debut in "Jekyll & Hyde" before appearing in "Cabaret," "Legally Blonde" and numerous other shows. She was an associate producer on the Broadway premiere of the Tony-nominated "A Christmas Story: The Musical." Before joining Equity, she earned the title of Miss America in 1998 and used her platform to advocate for HIV prevention and education, work she continued as a member of Equity. She is a board member of the Actors’ Equity Foundation, the Actors Fund, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and has been a vocal supporter of marriage equality and anti-discrimination laws for the LGBTQ community. Mary McColl currently serves as the executive director for Equity.

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Labor Leads the Way to Equal Pay

From the AFL-CIO

Over the course of her two-decade-long career at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. in Alabama, Lilly Ledbetter learned that she was making thousands less than her male counterparts.

She had lost out on more than $200,000 in wages—plus even more in retirement benefits. She challenged Goodyear’s discriminatory actions, eventually taking her case to the U.S. Supreme Court and the halls of Congress.

The bill named in her honor was the first piece of legislation signed by then-President Barack Obama in 2009.

Despite the law, women continue to face discriminatory pay practices—and the problem is even worse for women of color:

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UAW Releases 2019 Union-Made Vehicle Buying Guide

No matter when you are buying a new vehicle or for what purpose, you have the opportunity to use this substantial buying power to support working people. The UAW releases a guide every year that lets consumers know which cars are union-made in America. Here is this year's list.

UAW Cars

  • Buick LaCrosse
  • Cadillac ATS
  • Cadillac CTS
  • Cadillac CT6 (excluding plug-in hybrid)
  • Chevrolet Bolt (electric)
  • Chevrolet Camaro
  • Chevrolet Corvette
  • Chevrolet Cruze*
  • Chevrolet Cruze (diesel)
  • Chevrolet Impala
  • Chevrolet Malibu
  • Chevrolet Sonic
  • Chevrolet Volt (electric)
  • Ford Mustang
  • Ford Taurus
  • Lincoln Continental

UAW Trucks

  • Chevrolet Colorado
  • Chevrolet Medium-Duty Navistar Silverado (crew cab)
  • Chevrolet Medium-Duty Navistar Silverado (regular cab)
  • Chevrolet Silverado**
  • Ford F Series
  • Ford F-650/750
  • Ford Ranger
  • Ford Super Duty Chassis Cab
  • GMC Canyon
  • GMC Sierra**
  • Ram 1500*
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Union Matters

#BuildForTomorrow

From the AFL-CIO

It’s Infrastructure Week, a time to call on our elected leaders to rebuild and modernize America’s crumbling infrastructure.

This year’s Infrastructure Week comes at a time when 79% of voters say investing in America’s infrastructure is a top priority.

Here is what inaction is costing us:

Inaction is costing Americans an average of $3,000 every year.

It’s time to tell Washington to stop delaying. Take action and fix our infrastructure. Learn more at Infrastructure Week.

 “We cannot and will not tolerate more inaction. The future prosperity of working families and our communities across America is at stake, as is our national commitment to the simple but powerful idea that when we invest in the nation’s infrastructure, our economy expands and working people thrive.” —2017 AFL-CIO Convention Resolution 7: Reviving Our Communities and Putting Millions to Work Rebuilding the Country

 

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Every Worker's Right

Every Worker's Right