ENews: May 2, 2019

UFCW, Local 328: The final vote of the day! So proud of our union family!


Providence Journal: R.I., Mass. union members vote overwhelmingly Monday to ratify Stop & Shop contract

PROVIDENCE — A week after Stop & Shop employees ended an 11-day strike and returned to work, Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts union members ratified their contract nearly unanimously Monday, and stores seemed to have returned to pre-strike business as usual.

Tim Melia, president of Local 328 of the United Food and Commercial Workers International, said Monday evening that in each of four meetings, two in Foxboro and one each on the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, members of his local stood almost as one to ratify. In the whole day, he said, about four people stood in opposition.

Before each group voted, Melia said, members were briefed on how the new three-year contract differs from the one that expired Feb. 23.

“It came down to, we had to get people back to work,” he said. “There were a few things we weren’t that happy with,” but the union negotiators knew they had some of what they wanted and were close on the rest. “At the end of the day,” he said, “we had to accept this contract, and it was worth bringing back to the members.”


Providence Journal: Labor-backed bills win R.I. Senate approval

Rhode Island’s public employee unions scored a grand slam at the State House Wednesday when the Senate approved a package of bills vehemently opposed by city and town leaders who say they will leave them defenseless if and when the economy sinks and they have no leverage to bring the unions to the negotiating table.

PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island’s public employee unions scored a grand slam at the State House Wednesday when the Senate approved a package of union-backed bills vehemently opposed by city and town leaders who say they will leave them defenseless if and when the economy sinks — health-care costs soar — and they have no leverage to bring the unions to the negotiating table.

In a series of largely party-line votes, the Democrat-dominated Senate approved bills to: indefinitely extend the key terms — namely, pay and benefits — of expired police, fire, municipal employee and teachers contracts until the two sides agree to a replacement contract; and to mandate the payment of time-and-a-half to firefighters after an “average” 42-hour week. By way of comparison, the federal overtime threshold is 53 hours.


R.I. Labor History

Marching for worker safety on Workers Memorial Day

The Westerly Sun: Wood River Health solicits donations of women’s sanitary products

HOPE VALLEY — Wood River Health Services is participating in a statewide campaign to collect sanitary products for women and girls who cannot afford to buy them.

The campaign, dubbed #HelpASisterOutPeriod, is organized by the Rhode Island Coalition of Labor Union Women, with the support of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals, Teamsters Local 251, and the Rhode Island AFL-CIO.

Campaign organizer Maureen Martin, secretary-treasurer of the state AFL/CIO, said the goal is to raise public awareness of the difficulties women face when they don’t have the financial means to purchase menstrual products.  

“Girls and women missing out on school and work because of a lack of access or affordability of menstrual period products is unacceptable in this day and age,” she said. “If a family is struggling to put food on the table, buying menstrual period products is a huge burden. This campaign is just a baby step towards addressing this issue. No one should have to live in period poverty.”


Mass LIVE: Unions press lawmakers to pass Janus ruling response

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, APRIL 30, 2019….The labor community presented a unified front to lawmakers on Tuesday, hoping to convince House and Senate leaders to quickly pass a law to strengthen unions in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling last year that knocked down a union’s right to charge fees to non-members.

AFL-CIO President Steve Tolman told legislators that action was “long overdue” as he sat at a table surrounded by more than three dozen labor leaders to testify in front of the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development.-READ MORE

AFL-CIO: 12 Things You Need to Know About Death on the Job

The AFL-CIO today released its 28th annual Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect report. Each April, we examine the state of worker safety in America. This year’s report shows that 5,147 working people were killed on the job in 2017. Additionally, an estimated 95,000 died from occupational diseases.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) called for action:

This is a national crisis. And it’s well past time that our elected leaders in Washington, D.C., stop playing politics and take action to prevent these tragedies. Instead, the Trump administration is actually gutting the protections we fought so hard to win in the first place. This is unacceptable. It’s shameful. And the labor movement is doing everything in our power to stop it.

Here are 12 key findings from the report:

  1. Every day, 275 workers die from hazardous working conditions.
  2. There is only one Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspector for every 79,000 workers.
  3. Since 1970, there have been 410,000 traumatic worker deaths, but only 99 cases have been criminally prosecuted under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.                                                                             -READ MORE

The American Prospect: The Millennialization of American Labor

On May 4, 1886, thousands of workers rallied together in Chicago’s Haymarket Square to campaign for an eight-hour workday—initiating a tradition of protest for some of the most basic human rights. That was formalized on May 1, 1890, when the first International Workers’ Day was celebrated around the world.

In the 133 years since, workers and their unions have continued to fight for their rights—winning fights 80 years ago to establish the federal minimum wage, secure collective bargaining rights, and even raising wages for non-union workers by setting industry-wide standards. During the mid-20th century when union density was its strongest, unions reduced overall inequality.

But that was then. In the decades since, collective bargaining rights have been under unending attack and it is no accident that union density in the United States has declined to near single digits. Up to 87 percent of private-sector employers fight their employees’ efforts to unionize, sometimes spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay “union-avoidance consultants” to bust the organizing drives.


Boston Globe: Construction industry to workers battling addiction: ‘We want to help’


Bryan Snow, an electrician from Peabody, knows about the pain opioid addiction can inflict on a family. The 41-year-old spent years battling the disease, not seeking the help he needed, in part because of attitudes in the construction industry.

Snow, drug-free now for seven years, said the industry must work to encourage those struggling with addiction to come forward to get treatment.

“It needs to be out there: ‘If you need help, you can come. It’s OK,’ ” Snow said.

As soaring numbers of construction workers battle addiction, building trades leaders in Boston are launching a conference this week intended to do just that: show contractors and union members how they can help those who are hooked on drugs and alcohol.



Our rights weren’t gifted. They were won by workers who refused to accept second best.

Happy International Workers Day!



“Despite widespread calls to act—from the people who build our infrastructure to the folks who rely on it every single day; after all of the studies and reports outlining this urgent crisis, and notwithstanding overwhelming public support and outcry for increased investments—no meaningful action has been taken to put us on a course to correct decades of chronic underinvestment.” —AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka’s (UMWA) testimony before the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, March 6, 2019

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Northeast District Meeting It’s that time again! Building on last year’s success, we are excited to announce the second annual AFL‑CIO district meetings. Over the next several months, labor activists across the country will come together under the banner: Growing Our Movement—Empowering Our Communities. Northeast District, May 8–9ProvidenceStates covered: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia Registration is open. Secure your spot now. Space is limited. In 2018, we had to turn people away once capacity was reached. So please register at your earliest convenience. We are focused on continuing to grow our power through organizing, member engagement, politics and community outreach. Over the two-day meeting, we will be offering a full plenary and workshops. This year, we have added an additional round of workshops to give attendees even more choices. For more information and to register for the AFL‑CIO Northeast District meeting, click here. We look forward to seeing you soon. REGISTER NOW >>>


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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



Coxey’s Army of 500 unemployed civil war veterans reaches Washington, D.C. – 1894

An estimated one thousand silver miners, angry over low wages, the firing of union members and the planting of spies in their ranks by mineowners, seize a train, load it with 3,000 pounds of dynamite, and blow up the mill at the Bunker Hill mine in Wardner, Idaho – 1899

The special representative of the National War Labor Board issues a report, “Retroactive Date for Women’s Pay Adjustments,” setting forth provisions for wage rates for women working in war industries who were asking for equal pay. Women a year earlier had demanded equal pay for comparable work as that done by men – 1943



In the first half of our show, a recap of the Workers’ Memorial Day observance at the site where three construction workers were badly injured in a work-related accident that could have been prevented if the contractors had followed even the most basic safety measures. Great thanks to the Painters and Allied Trades, Fuerza Laboral, CLUW RI Chapter, RICOSH and the RI Labor History Society for hosting and speaking at the event.

And in the second half of the show, Dr. Okurowski of the OEHC of Rhode Island reminds us of the dangers that ticks present. And while the show is a year old, the wet weather this spring has already led to alerts by environmental experts that this will be a bad year for ticks, so please heed what the doctor says about being outdoors this season.