Category: From AFL-CIO

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.

***

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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A Unionized Model for Clean Technology Manufacturing

From the AFL-CIO

About 400 Tesla workers in Buffalo, New York, could soon become card-carrying members of the United Steelworkers (USW) and the Electrical Workers (IBEW). An organizing drive kicked off in freezing temperatures this morning to educate workers coming and going into the plant. “We want to have a voice at Tesla so that we can have a better future for ourselves and our families,” said Aaron Nicpon, a member of the organizing committee.

The USW and IBEW are working with both the production and maintenance employees at the Tesla solar panel factory in a joint organizing drive. The plant is on the site of a former steel mill.

What’s unique about this campaign is that the USW and IBEW have partnered with the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York and the Coalition for Economic Justice to promote the importance of unionized green jobs.

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Infrastructure Matters. It’s Time to Get Serious About Funding It

Larry Willis AFL-CIO

One hundred billion dollars is a lot of money. With that much cash you could buy four Starbucks lattes for every living human on the planet. (That’s 33 billion lattes in total, if you’re counting.) If coffee is not really your thing, consider buying every single NFL team three times over. Don’t like sports? You and the record-holding Powerball winner can compare piles of cash and together marvel at how yours is 63 times taller.

Or, if you are the federal government, you can pitch in your annual share of the cost to build and maintain our highway, water, mass transit, aviation and rail infrastructure. (It’s worth noting the actual amount we spend as a country is much higher, though states and local government chip in for most of it.)

But here’s the kicker: Even if you weigh your options and pick infrastructure over a monopoly on football, your $100 billion comes nowhere close to how much we should be spending each year if we want to achieve world-class infrastructure that boosts the country’s economy and grows the middle class. For our roads and bridges alone, we’re facing a backlog of $836 billion (that amounts to two complete bailouts of Greece, with some change to spare). Transit likely needs another $100 billion (can each of my fellow humans and I get another four lattes, please?), passenger rail around $28 billion, and let’s not forget our aging air and sea ports.

You would expect that someone in Congress has been tasked with figuring out how to pay for all of this, right? Well, not so fast.

In the House, raising funds for infrastructure falls under the jurisdiction of the Ways and Means Committee. As one might expect, they’ve put together subcommittees over the years to focus on many of our major national needs: health care, Social Security, tax policy, trade and so on. But when it comes to infrastructure, that hasn’t been the case.

So when we heard some members of Congress have been pushing for a new subcommittee singularly focused on infrastructure, we took note. It’s easy to understand why: Over the past eight years, after more than 400 hearings and thousands of witnesses brought before Ways and Means, just one hearing has been held on transportation funding and finance. A single, two-hour hearing in which each lawmaker is allotted five minutes to figure out how to pay for hundreds of billions of dollars in must-have infrastructure needs is not going to cut it.

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Union Matters

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.

***

More ...

New NAFTA Must Create an Economy for All

New NAFTA Must Create an Economy for All