ENews: April 25, 2019

AFL-CIO: Powerful Victory

A tentative agreement between the 31,000 members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) in New England and management at Stop & Shop supermarkets has been reached, effectively ending the historic strike that captured the country’s attention.

The proposed deal will preserve health care and retirement benefits, provide wage increases and maintain time-and-a-half pay on Sundays for members of UFCW locals 328, 919, 1459, 1445 and 371.

Workers walked off the job on April 11 after management proposed cuts to their health care benefits and wages, despite the company receiving a $225 million tax break in 2017.

The entire labor movement stood behind the workers, with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) and AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler (IBEW) visiting picket lines last week.


Providence Journal: Bills on expired contracts, firefighter OT sail through R.I. Senate Labor CommitteePublic-employee unions scored one victory after another Wednesday night when the Senate Labor Committee — including a senator who doubles as vice president of the National Education Association of Rhode Island — approved a swath of bills vehemently opposed by cities and towns to indefinitely lock in expired labor contracts and mandate a 42-hour overtime threshold for firefighters.                                                                                                                                                      

PROVIDENCE — Public-employee unions scored one victory after another Wednesday night when the Senate Labor Committee — including a senator who doubles as vice president of the National Education Association of Rhode Island — approved a swath of bills vehemently opposed by cities and towns to indefinitely lock in expired labor contracts and mandate a 42-hour overtime threshold for firefighters.

In little more than an hour, the committee chaired by Sen. Frank Ciccone — a paid consultant to an arm of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, which represents state and municipal employees — held hearings and then voted the same night on five top-priority bills for organized labor.

In short: the bills now headed to the full Senate for likely votes next week would indefinitely extend expired police, firefighter, municipal employee and teacher contracts and eliminate an exemption in the state’s overtime law and instead mandate time-and-a-half pay for firefighters after an average 42-hour week.





Saturday April 27th Rally at 1005 Main St Pawtucket to mark Workers’ Memorial Day

10am-11am Visibility action in front.

11am-12pm Rally on Esten St at the construction site

The RI Painters Union joins with the RI AFL-CIO , RI Building Trades Council, the RI Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, Providence Central Labor Council, the RI Labor History Society, Fuerza Laboral, RI Jobs with Justice, and the RI Coalition of Labor Union Women to condemn the construction accident that occurred on October 22nd at the mill behind the Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket.

We will be joining together to demand safe working conditions for all workers.

Contact: Justin Kelley, Business Representative IUPAT DC 11, LU 195

401-316-0382, jkelley@iupatdc11.com on behalf of the RI Building Trades Council

Gallup: Labor Union Approval Steady at 15-Year High

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sixty-two percent of Americans approve of labor unions today, which is consistent with the 61% who approved last year and up from 56% in 2016. Before 2017, public support for unions hadn’t exceeded 60% since 2003, when 65% approved.

The American public has long supported organized labor, starting with Gallup’s earliest measure, taken in 1936 at the dawn of the U.S. labor movement. In fact, support for unions was relatively high across the first three decades of measurement, averaging 68% from 1936 to 1967. During this period, approval never dropped below 61%, and twice — both times in the 1950s — it stretched to 75%.

Things changed in the 1970s when approval fell to 60%. Since then, the percentage of U.S. adults approving of labor unions has averaged 58%, dropping below a majority one time to 48%. That measure came in August 2009 during the recession, coinciding with congressional Democrats’ push for expanded union rights during President Barack Obama’s first year in office.


The Hill: We should welcome workers’ ‘powerful victory’ in the Stop & Shop strike

On Sunday evening, in what it called a “powerful victory,” the United Food & Commercial workers union (UFCW) reached a tentative agreement with Stop & Shop management to end a strike by 31,000 workers in over 240 grocery stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, which began April 11. In hindsight, the 11-day strike, the largest retail strike in the U.S. since 2003, could turn out to be one of the most important work stoppages of the past few decades.

The workers struck to resist demands from the company – which is owned by Dutch giant, Royal Ahold Delhaize – for sweeping reductions in health care and pension benefits and reduced pay for Sunday work. But, according to the union, under Sunday’s three-year settlement, existing health care and pension plans and time-and-a-half for Sunday work are maintained.


AFL-CIO: Get to Know AFL-CIO’s Affiliates: Railroad Signalmen

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Railroad Signalmen (BRS).

Name of Union: Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen

Mission: To represent the men and women who maintain railroad signal systems and highway-rail grade crossing warning devices across the nation. In addition, the BRS negotiates contracts and promotes safety in the industry for its members and the traveling public. Local lodges elect delegates to national conventions, which is the organization’s supreme authority. Delegates set policy, review the general state of the union, establish collective bargaining goals and elect Grand Lodge officers, who direct the organization between conventions.

Current Leadership of Union: Jerry Boles was elected to serve as president of the BRS in 2019. Mike Baldwin serves as secretary-treasurer. The BRS also has six vice presidents who serve in various capacities: Joe Mattingly (Midwest), Kelly A. Haley (Headquarters), James Finnegan (Commuter/Passenger), Tim Tarrant (East), Cory Claypool (West) and Brandon Elvey (NRAB).

Current Number of Members: 10,000-plus.-READ MORE

AFL-CIO: The U.S. Postal Service is Owned by the People—Let’s Keep it That Way
As the tax deadline looms and millions scurry to get their forms sent on time, Tax Day is a good time to dispel the myth that the U.S. Postal Service is funded by tax dollars

In fact, the Postal Service receives zero tax dollars for its operations. Without taking a dime in taxes, the Postal Service maintains the lowest prices for mail services in the industrialized world and delivers to 159 million addresses, six—and now often seven—days a week—all funded by revenue from the sale of stamps and other postal products.

While private courier companies only deliver where a profit can be made, the public post office provides universal service to everyone, no matter age, wealth, race, who we are or where we live.

It is little wonder that the Postal Service, a public institution enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and the crucial anchor of the growing e-commerce revolution, remains the most trusted federal agency. A recent Pew Research Center survey revealed that 88% of the population has a favorable view of the Postal Service, with the highest favorability ratings coming from young adults. Whether sending or receiving medicine, packages, greeting cards, letters, periodicals, catalogs or ballots, every person, household and business in this country is a postal customer.



Your Post Office receives ZERO tax dollars to deliver mail to every address in America at consistently low prices. But a plan to sell the USPS to corporations would mean fewer delivery days, higher prices, and millions cut off entirely. Learn more and help us stop it.



“Our members will be able to focus on continuing to help customers in our communities enjoy the best shopping experience possible and to keep Stop & Shop the number one grocery store in New England.” —UFCW statement on the Stop & Shop victory

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The 2019 George “Bing” Fogarty Memorial Classic Golf Tournament

The George “Bing” Fogarty Foundation was established by the family and friends of Bing to carry on his legacy of charitable works and helping others. Bing lived his life in service of others and quietly helped thousands of people in multitude of ways. This foundation will attempt to carry on those good works by making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate and in need of a shoulder to lean on.

When: Friday, June 7 Where: Exeter Country Club, 320 Ten Rod Road (Route 102), Exeter, RI Time: Registration 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. Shotgun Format: Scramble Cost: $150 to play golf with steak fry; $125 Tee Sign; $250 Corporate/Union Sponsor

For more information: E-Mail BingFogartyMemorial@gmail.com or call (401) 932-3642



Congress creates OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The AFL-CIO sets April 28 as “Workers Memorial Day” to honor all workers killed or injured on the job every year – 1971

A cooling tower for a power plant under construction in Willow Island, West Virginia collapses, killing 51 construction workers in what is thought to be the largest construction accident in U.S. history. OSHA cited contractors for 20 violations, including failures to field test concrete. The cases were settled for $85,000—about $1,700 per worker killed – 1978

First strike for 10-hour day, by Boston carpenters – 1825

The U.S. House of Representatives passes House Joint Resolution No. 184, a constitutional amendment to prohibit the labor of persons under 18 years of age. The Senate approved the measure a few weeks later, but it was never ratified by the states and is still technically pending – 1924



With Spring recess over at the State House, things are heating up in the Senate Labor committee and Erica Hammond gets to talk to Sen. Frank Lombardi (D) Cranston and Paul Valletta of the RISAFF about the “Overtime pay,” and “Continuance of Contractual Provisions,” bills in the first part of the program.

And in the second part of the show, Sen. Sandra Cano (D) Pawtucket, sits down with Thom Cahir to talk about the need to count every person in Rhode Island during the upcoming census in 2020; especially those in under-counted populations, or fear losing a congressional seat and the funding for vital programs that goes with it.