ENews: June 6, 2019

The Public’s Radio: Scott MacKay’s Commentary: Progressive General Assembly Wins So Far Yield Little Legislative Success

Predicting the fate of legislation in the waning hours of any Rhode Island Assembly session is always a fools’ errand. There are just a few weeks left in this year’s session. Unless things move quickly—which isn’t usually the case on Smith Hill—progressive Democrats will again be frustrated at the outcome of their legislative priorities.

The top priority this year, particularly for women Democratic lawmakers, is winning approval for a measure that would make abortion legal under state law in the event the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that made the medical procedure legal across the nation.

For nearly a half-century, abortion has been a culture war issue. That it resonates still can be seen every day at the Statehouse, where scores of placard-carrying advocates on both sides lobby lawmakers as the bells chime to signal the start of the daily business.


Providence Journal: My Turn: Patrick J. Quinn: Don’t fall for Lifespan’s tricks

Women & Infants and Butler Hospitals, along with other affiliates that make up Care New England, have been vital parts of the Rhode Island community for generations. As the executive vice president of District 1199 SEIU New England, I have the honor of representing about 2,400 nurses and other health-care professionals who provide care at those facilities, along with other health-care providers across the state.

You will find no stronger advocate for our patients and their families than the hardworking 1199 members who show up every day to provide the best maternal, infant and mental-health care in Rhode Island.

We are alarmed at Lifespan’s corporate campaign to portray itself as an advocate for Rhode Island health-care workers, patients and families. It is the direct care staff from Women & Infants and Butler hospitals, along with community allies, other unions and health-care reformers, who won the strong protections you’ll find in the Rhode Island Hospital Conversion Act, a national model for protecting patients, workers and communities.


NEA Today: Labor Movement Comes Back Big After ‘Janus’

In January, Virginia teacher Nicole Loch attended a #RedForEd rally at the statehouse in Richmond. She arrived on a charter bus sponsored by the Fauquier Education Association (FEA), even though Loch had never joined the union—a decision she had resisted for 11 years. “It was a bus full of other educators from my county,” says Loch, a civics teacher at Auburn Middle School in Warrenton.“When I got to Richmond, I saw the power of mobilization and strength in numbers,” she says. “I knew then I needed to join.”

Loch marched and chanted for a mile—from Monroe Park to the capitol steps—where the crowd numbered 4,000. Standing there—holding a sign with the words “I Teach, I Matter”—she realized that many of the 250 FEA members at the rally had been meeting for months to organize their road trip, produce T-shirts and signs, and arrange meetings in the offices of legislators to discuss education policy and funding in Fauquier County.-READ MORE

AFL-CIO: Get to Know AFL-CIO’s Affiliates: Ironworkers

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Ironworkers.

Name of Union: International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Ironworkers

Current Leadership of Union: Eric Dean serves as general president, a position he has held since 2015. Prior to that he served as general organizer, general secretary, general vice president, president of the Iron Workers District Council of Chicago and Vicinity and numerous positions for Iron Workers Local 63 in Chicago.

Other officers include General Secretary Ron Piksa, General Treasurer Kenneth “Bill” Dean and general vice presidents Marvin Ragsdale, Darrell LaBoucan, Bernie Evers, Stephen Sweeney, Kevin Bryenton, Robert Boskovich, Don Zampa, James Mahoney and Steve Pendergrass.

Current Number of Members: 130,000.

Members Work As: Ironworkers who work on bridges, structural steel, ornamental, architectural and miscellaneous metals, rebar and in shops.


Ford Authority: Ford Executive Chairman Says Labor Unions Saved Ford

While labor unions are blamed for some of the costs that automakers incur, Ford executive chairman Bill Ford said that the labor unions helped to save the automaker when competitors like GM went bankrupt. Ford Jr. says that former UAW President Ron Gettelfinger doesn’t get enough credit for helping Ford to stay viable in it’s “darkest hour.”

The Ford executive chairman says that he sat down with Gettelfinger and told him, “You have to help me save the Ford Motor Company.” Ford Jr. says that he told Gettelfinger that Ford needed help, so it didn’t go through bankruptcy and didn’t need a federal bailout as GM did.

The executive chairman says that the union helped Ford to regain a foothold in the North American market and helped the entire industry get back on its feet. When the economy was bad, and automakers were hardest hit in 2007, the UAW rebalanced its healthcare costs and improved performance in manufacturing plants.


Vintage Everyday FaceBook:

Various shots of Manhattan skyline, tilt down to show painters on the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge, 1920. The painters lower themselves onto small individual platforms suspended from the bridge frame by rope – no safety harnesses visible, makes your knees go wobbly just looking at it!



“If you look back over time, there are periods where organizing surged: In the 1930s and 1940s with industrial unions and then in the 1970s with public sector unions. Another surge is coming. It’s right there for the taking. So, let’s take it! With bold, collective leadership, we’ll begin a new successful chapter in labor movement history.” —Secretary-Treasurer Shuler at the AFL-CIO Great Lakes District meeting

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Some 35,000 members of the Machinists union begin what is to become a 43-day strike—the largest in airline history—against five carriers. The mechanics and other ground service workers wanted to share in the airlines’ substantial profits – 1966

Massachusetts becomes the first state to establish a minimum wage – 1912

The U.S. Employment Service was created – 1933

The AFL-CIO opens its new headquarters building, in view of the White House – 1956

Int’l Ladies Garment Workers Union founded – 1900

A federal child labor law, enacted two years earlier, was declared unconstitutional – 1918



In the first half of the show, President Frank Sanchez of Rhode Island College sits down with Erica Hammond to discuss Gov. Raimondo’s plan to expand the RI Promise scholarship program to RIC students, and the benefits for the state going forward once the General Assembly approves the measure.

And in the second half of the show, Karen Hazard of Local 808 LIUNA, receives her Eagle Award at the R.I. Institute for Labor Studies and Research annual awards dinner last month.