ENews: April 11, 2019

PRESS RELEASE on Stop & Shop Strike

Protesting Health Care, Take Home Pay, & Customer Service Cuts, Stop & Shop Workers Walk off Job

31,000 UFCW Members From Across New England Protest Stop & Shop Cuts That Hurt Workers, Customers, and Local Communities

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Today, 31,000 members of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Locals 328, 371, 919, 1445, and 1459 who work at Stop & Shop are walking off their jobs to protest the company’s proposed drastic and unreasonable cuts to health care, take home pay, and customer service as well as unlawful conduct.

The proposed cuts by Stop & Shop, whose parent company earned $2 billion in profits in 2018, would devastate health care benefits, significantly increase health care costs, and decrease take home pay. Stop & Shop’s proposed cuts would also have a negative and severe impact on customer service, including the very cashiers, stockers, bakers, deli clerks, and butchers that Stop & Shop customers rely on.

The members of the five UFCW Locals released the following joint statement:


Providence Journal: Evergreen contract bill for teachers passes R.I. House Labor Committee PROVIDENCE — Public employee unions scored their second major victory this week at the Rhode Island State House on Wednesday when a House committee approved a bill to allow teacher and municipal employee contracts to remain in effect indefinitely after they have expired.

In a small hearing room lined wall to wall with organized-labor lobbyists, the House Labor Committee voted 10-to-1 for legislation vehemently opposed by municipal leaders who say it will tie their hands in contract negotiations and potentially lock them into wage-and-benefit packages their taxpayers can no longer afford. The lone nay vote was cast by Republican Rep. Brian Newberry of North Smithfield.

At its core, the legislation says of expired contracts: “All terms and conditions of the collective bargaining agreement shall remain in effect … until such time as a successor agreement has been reached between the parties.” In its final iteration, it also tweaks the state’s binding arbitration law in a way that worries Timothy Duffy, executive director of the Rhode Island Association of School Committees.

“My greatest fear is the unintended consequences, because we don’t know what it says and what impact it has,” he said.

But Frank Flynn, the president of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers & Health Professionals, said: “We’ve had several situations over the past several years where school committees and superintendents unilaterally made decisions that negatively impacted teachers, and we don’t feel that is fair or right and this just … [requires] them to honor the agreements they’ve made over the past 50 years.”


Providence Journal: R.I. House votes 62-9 to mandate firefighter OT after 42 hours

PROVIDENCE — Over howls of protest from Rhode Island’s municipal leaders, the House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a two-bill package mandating that cities and towns pay overtime to firefighters who average more than 42 hours in a workweek, as opposed to the 53-hour-a-week federal O.T. threshold.

The largely party-line vote was 62-9 in a state that regularly tops the national charts in its cost of firefighting services, and it followed days of protests by mayors and town managers across the state, including Warwick Mayor Joseph J. Solomon whose son, Democratic Rep. Joseph J. Solomon Jr. of Warwick, voted for the bill.

Only one Democrat — Rep. Lauren Carson of Newport — broke ranks and voted against the legislation that House Majority Whip John “Jay” Edwards said he introduced at House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello’s request. Only one Republican voted for the legislation: Rep. Jack Lyle of Lincoln.

Supporters said the legislation provides firefighters with overtime rights available to everyone else in the workforce. Opponents argued strenuously against legislative intervention in city and town contract negotiations, including the three fire districts in negotiations now that have not already adopted the 42-hour O.T. standard: North Kingstown, Tiverton and the Central Coventry Fire District which anticipates the legislation will cost $720,000 more annually.


UFCW, Local 328 FaceBook Page:


Customers have been reaching out to us to let us know they support us and have our back. We’ve put together a “Support Stop & Shop Workers” Facebook page as a place where customers can show their support and keep the pressure on Stop & Shop to do the right thing.

Please share this page with your neighbors, your friends, and your family who shop at Stop & Shop to help us send a strong message to the company. Ask them to “like” the page and sign the petition on it.

Thank you for helping to mobilize your community. We are stronger together.


Message from President Richard Trumka of AFL-CIO:

The 31,000 striking @UFCW members at @StopandShop have the support of our 55 affiliates and 12.5 million members across the country. For those in the striking areas remember — don’t cross the picket line.


NEARI: Read Across America

Thank you NEARI Executive Director @RobertAWalshJr, @riaflcio President George Nee, NEARI President @LawrencePurtill and NEARI Treasurer @AmandaJLBos for reading at Read Across America!

RICOSH: Spring 2019 Newsletter


AFL-CIO: Get to Know AFL-CIO’s Affiliates: American Postal Workers Union

Next up in our series that will take a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the American Postal Workers Union (APWU). The series will run weekly until we’ve covered all 55 of our affiliates.

Name of Union: American Postal Workers Union

Mission: Through collective bargaining, legislative action and mobilization of its members and the public, APWU fights for dignity and respect on the job for postal workers throughout the postal industry—for decent pay and benefits and safe working places, for defense of the right of the people to public postal services and for solidarity with all workers, at home and abroad.

Current Leadership of Union: Mark Dimondstein was elected president of APWU in 2013 and won a second term in 2016. He began his postal career in 1983. In 1986, he was elected to the first of six consecutive terms as president of the Greater Greensboro (N.C.) Area Local. Beginning in 2000, he served as APWU’s national lead field organizer. He won AFL-CIO’s Southern Organizer of the Year Award in 2001.

Debby Szeredy serves as APWU’s executive vice president, Elizabeth Powell serves as secretary-treasurer and Vance Zimmerman is the industrial relations director. The national executive board also includes four craft division directors who oversee the clerk, maintenance, motor vehicle service and support service crafts at the United States Postal Service (USPS), as well as five regional coordinators.

Current Number of Members: 222,000.-READ MORE

AXIOS: More than 30 media companies have unionized in the past 2 years

Dozens of media companies have unionized over the past 2 years in an effort to weather the turbulent economic environment for the content industry. Meanwhile, Hollywood writers are fight waging war with talent agents who, writers claim, are taking an unfair cut of their profits.

Why it matters: Content creators have become collateral damage in a power struggle between the media industry and technology-driven business disruptions. Now, the talent is trying to fight back.

“In recent years content creators have turned to collective bargaining to ensure that they can build sustainable careers even as particular digital media companies contend with tricky business conditions. While some companies have turned to mergers and acquisitions to build scale, all companies face the challenges posed by big tech companies that siphon off advertising revenue. “

— Lowell Peterson, executive director, Writers Guild of America, East

  • Several digital companies unionized earlier. For example, Gawker Media’s employees voted to unionize in 2015, which opened the door for several other digital outlets to do the same like Vice Media and HuffPost.

Between the lines: The unionizing spree has extended to companies that represent creators. For example, podcast company Gimlet Media Group announced that a majority of employees signed union cards in March.



$60,000: The average starting wage of a worker who completes an apprenticeship program.


“We draw our strength from the very despair in which we have been forced to live. We shall endure.” —César Chávez

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The Works Progress Administration (WPA) is approved by Congress. President Franklin Roosevelt proposed the WPA during the Great Depression of the 1930s when almost 25 percent of Americans were unemployed. It created low-paying federal jobs providing immediate relief, putting 8.5 million jobless to work on projects ranging from construction of bridges, highways and public buildings to arts programs like the Federal Writers’ Project – 1935

Ford Motor Company signs first contract with United Auto Workers – 1941

Birth date of Dolores Huerta, a co-founder, with Cesar Chavez, of the United Farm Workers – 1930



In the first half of the show, Justin Kelley of the Painter’s and Allied Trades and Erica Hammond of ILSR, sit down with Thom Cahir and talks about the upcoming planned Worker’s Memorial Day Observance in Pawtucket. The necessity for the day, especially in light of the recent building collapse, the call for the Protecting American Workers Act and a recent upswing in Violence in the healthcare industry.

And on the heels of multiple dates walking the red carpet for the documentary, “Councilwoman,” made about her life from hotel housekeeper to the halls of power in Providence City Hall, Carmen Castillo of Ward Nine sits down with Thom Cahir to tell the humbling story of how the project came about and how she views governance.