ENews: February 7, 2019

WPRI: Reed wants feds to spend $100B rebuilding schools

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Democratic U.S. Sen. Jack Reed on Wednesday unveiled a bill that would direct $100 billion in additional federal funding to repair and rebuild schools nationwide, including in Rhode Island.

The proposed Rebuild America’s Schools Act would create competitive grants which local school districts could request for projects. Its other provisions include authorizing $30 billion in federal bonds through 2021-22 and reinstating another type of bond for school construction.

Last November, Rhode Island voters approved borrowing $250 million to tackle a growing backlog of repairs in schools across the state. But Reed noted that amount is still far less than the official estimate that $627 million is needed to make all schools “safe, warm and dry.”

“The scope of this crisis is more than states or communities can address on their own,” he said in a statement. -READ MORE

R.I. Committee on Occupational Safety and Health

The Hazards of Working in Cold Weather and the Safety Procedures for Cold Weather Work.


AFL-CIO: AFL-CIO Is Profiling Labor Leaders and Activists for Black History Month

For Black History Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various African American leaders and activists who have worked at the intersection of civil and labor rights. First, let’s take a look back at our past profiles:


The Guardian: ‘Don’t be fooled’: JetBlue president warned workers against joining a union

The JetBlue president, Joanna Geraghty, warned employees against joining a union or participating in union activity in an email last month and claimed the company’s successes wouldn’t be possible if workers unionized, the Guardian can reveal.

“As a result of our success, there will always be union reps, and even fellow crew members, who try to convince you that paying dues and having a union would be a better way to go. However, a union would never be able to give you a list of accomplishments like this,” Geraghty wrote in the email seen by the Guardian.

The accomplishments cited in the email include a holiday party, adding more nail polish colors to the uniform policy, an app launch, and new bag scanners. “So if anyone asks you to sign a card, I’m asking you to decline. Don’t be fooled – the grass is not greener on the other side of the fence and you don’t have to look over that fence to see what unions have done (or failed to do) at other airlines,” the email said. -READ MORE

Bloomberg Law: Brady Wears Super Bowl’s Union Label While Hourly Workers Don’t

The winning players in Sunday’s Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta are guaranteed bonuses of $118,000 under their union contract for around three hours of work.

That’s about 3 1/2 times the annual wage rate for the security guards working the event.

It makes for a showcase in income inequality and job insecurity. The professionals on and around the front lines of the game, from New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to the officials to halftime music act Maroon 5, will be working under union contracts, while those working behind the scenes are being brought on part-time and lack representation. -READ MORE

Teen Vogue: Education Workers on Campuses Around the Country Are Demanding Better Labor Conditions

Preparing America’s youth for an increasingly uncertain future has never been an easy job for the millions of teachers in this country. As the Trump administration and the Betsy DeVos–led Department of Education continue to request cuts in public-school funding, funnel more students into charter schools, and force more students into debt, the job has only gotten harder. However, the dedicated, passionate workers whose labor keeps the school system running are currently fighting back in defense of their students and their own livelihoods.

It started in 2018, when a wave of teachers’ strikes took the nation by storm. Thousands of educators walked off the job and joined picket lines in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Colorado, citing low wages and a crippling lack of school funding. Their efforts gained much sympathy from the public — many of whom shared their stories of teachers in their own lives who went above and beyond in the name of education, despite poor pay and low funding. Students joined them, too, and the walkouts sparked debates over the government’s approach to educational funding and breathed hope into a besieged labor movement. -READ MORE

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40 million: The number of workers who would get a raise under a $15 federal minimum wage.

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ILSR Leadership for a Future

**Note: Deadline has been extended to February 15. Call (401) 463-9900 or EMail Erica at EHammond@riilsr.org.


OEHCRI Lunch & Learn Seminar II


R.I. Building Trades Hockey Night



The American Federation of Labor (AFL) founds the Building and Construction Trades Department as a way to overcome the jurisdictional conflicts occurring in the building and construction unions – 1908

Eleven members of the Carpenters’ union in Reesor Siding, Northern Ontario are shot, three fatally, by independent local farmer-settlers who were supplying wood to a Spruce Falls Power and Paper Co. plant. Some 400 union members were attempting to block an outbound shipment from the plant. The action came as the company was insisting on a pay freeze and two months of seven-day-a-week work – 1963

Ironworkers from six cities meet in Pittsburgh to form the Int’l Association of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers of America. Their pay in Pittsburgh at the time: $2.75 for a 9-hour day – 1896


NEXT WEEK ON LABOR VISION: In the first half of the program, Chris Callaci of UNAP sits down with Jim Riley to give a disturbing picture of how Prospect CharterCare treats requests for information during bargaining, especially since those requests have to do with employee and patient safety, and affect the Medicare reimbursement rate received at the “for-profit,” facilities.
And in the second half of the show, Ed Plunkett and Al DeAndrade of the Providence Federation of Musicians make the case to Jim Riley that just as our allies in business and politics use union printers, hotels and restaurants, they should also be using union performers at their events. They’ll even give us a short history of some of the fetes they’ve played in the past as a reminder.