e-news: October 17, 2019

Rhode Island AFL-CIO Union Directory

An updated Union Directory listing union goods and services in R.I. can be found on our website at www.RhodeIslandAFLCIO.org under the “Resources” tab.

Here is the direct link—-> Union Directory

Please use this directory to find where you can buy union and use services in Rhode Island.


For Immediate Release: Oct. 9, 2019


(EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I.) The Providence Journal has requested to not have to pay overtime to employees for work performed on Sundays and Rhode Island state holidays. There will be a public hearing on Oct.17 with the state’s Department of Labor & Training.

“A company with a track record of violating state law for fouryears, and hiring low wage, no benefit part timers, does not deserve public sympathy,” said David Robbins, Local 251 Contract Coordinator. “Gatehouse Media paid three years in back overtime pay when they were caught, while denying to pay the fourth year because the law only covers threeyears. They lied claiming they had an exemption and lied to the Department of Labor & Training in claiming innocence and hardship for the exemption.

he current process of asking for an exemption under state law has been reviewed in recent years. Legislation has been submitted requiring such exemptions to pass through the Legislature. The Providence Journal also enjoys an archaic taxpayer subsidy under the law. The state, cities and towns all must pay forspace in the ProJo when making public notices.

“It’s about time these laws should be reviewed with vigor in the next legislative session,” said Matthew Taibi, Local 251 Principal Officer. “Requests for exemption on the law for overtime should be through the normal legislative process, so they receive the appropriate public scrutiny and lawmakers are held accountable for their votes. Also, Gatehouse Media should not be given a public subsidy in the public notices requirement under the law. In this day andage of digital media and declining print newspapers, this law is just a cash cow for Gatehouse top executives, serving no public good.”



Economic Policy Institute Twitter:
The #minimumwage would be about $20/hr if it had risen with the pace of productivity. #demdebate

UAW Twitter:
In 2019, approval for labor unions is at a record level. Americans are standing with unions in the fight for good jobs and fair wages! #StandWithUS

Bloomberg: AT&T Union Says Elliott’s Proposals Could Affect 30,000 Jobs

If activist shareholder Elliott Management Corp. has its way, more than 30,000 AT&T Inc. workers could lose their jobs or face reductions in wages, according to a new estimate from the Communications Workers of America union.

Most of the impact on workers would come from divestitures of DirecTV and AT&T’s landline business and closures of the company’s retail locations, if the company follows Elliott’s suggestions, said the CWA, which represents more than 100,000 AT&T employees.

In September, billionaire Paul Singer’s New York hedge fund disclosed a new $3.2 billion position in AT&T, along with a plan to boost the telecom and media giant’s share price by more than 50% through asset sales and cost cutting. The fund hasn’t specifically called for job cuts. AT&T has said it has no plans to dispose of DirecTV, but Elliott could potentially engage in a proxy battle to push its agenda through.


Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO: New Report Calls on Lawmakers to Hold Ride-hailing Industry Accountable

Washington, D.C. — A new report released today by The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), a coalition of 33 unions, explores how features that have driven explosive growth and popularity in the ride-hailing industry—relatively affordable and convenient service—are based on a business model that exploits workers and undermines the goals of public transportation.

The costs of doing business: Why lawmakers must hold the ride-hailing industry accountable as they undermine their workers and play by their own rules comes as lawmakers discuss the future of Transportation Network Companies at a hearing today by the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. TTD President Larry Willis will testify during the hearing as a witness.

Willis’ testimony will focus on the report’s findings that the business model of companies like Uber, Lyft, and Via artificially drive down prices by classifying drivers as independent contractors, trapping them in low-wage, no-benefit positions, avoiding regulation, and relying on massive subsidies from private capital. Because those business practices have not translated into profit, ride-hailing companies are now seeking public funding to pad their losses.


VICE: Gig Workers Are Forming the World’s First Food Delivery App Unions

There is a case to be made that workers on food delivery platforms have it the worst when it comes to precarious pay and dangerous working conditions in the gig economy. Apps including Uber Eats, Deliveroo, DoorDash, and Foodora are notorious for pocketing tips, refusing to compensate workers for injuries, and systematically refusing to recognize workers as employees as a way of circumventing the costs of benefits.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, these workers have been busy organizing unions. And over the past two weeks, they have made history: Foodora delivery workers in Norway and Uber Eats couriers in Japan have succeeded in forming the first unions at major global food delivery platform companies—and with them, new rights and benefits on the job.

After a months-long campaign, Uber Eats couriers in Japan formed the global food delivery platform’s first union on October 3. The union aims to fight for “safer and more stable working conditions for all platform workers,” its chairman said at a press conference. There are an estimated 15,000 Uber Eats couriers across 10 cities in Japan—none of whom receive worker’s compensation or unemployment insurance because of their status as contractors. Uber said that it would implement an injury compensation program for its Japanese workers beginning on October 1. The company said it would pay up to $93,000 in the case of death. Uber Eats did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Quote of the Week

“I was hardly surprised to read your characterization of the hard hat as a symbol of masculinity. The Times isn’t the only one to see it that way. But it’s wrong.” —AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler’s (IBEW) response to The New York Times

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UPCOMING EVENTS:                                                        

Recognition Event & Dinner for Chas Walker

When: Friday, October 18 @ 6 p.m. – Late
Where: 1199 Union Hall (319 Broadway, Providence, RI)
Details: Chas played a key role in building 1199 SEIU in RI over the last decade in a half. Chas helped shape the direction and strategy of the union as an elected organizer. He was instrumental in making the Rhode Island chapter of family child care providers the strongest child care bargaining unit in the country. Chas improved the lives of thousands of workers through his organizing talent. He will be missed by 1199, as he continues to fight for working people in his future endeavors.

Tickets may be purchased for $25 per person by credit/debit card at this link.  You may also mail a check to the 1199 Rhode Island office at 319 Broadway, Providence RI 02909.

Please RSVP and purchase tickets by Friday, October 11.



Voices in Labor:

President Woodrow Wilson signed the Clayton Antitrust Act, often referred to as “Labor’s Magna Carta”, establishing that unions are not “conspiracies” under the law.

It for the first time freed unions to strike, picket and boycott employers. In the years that followed, however, numerous state measures and negative court interpretations weakened the law. – 1914

Home care workers finally got protections they should have had years ago. After a U.S. Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a Department of Labor Home Care Final Rule to extend minimum wage and overtime protections to almost 2 million home care workers, the ruling is effective as of today. – 2015

Formal construction began on this date on what was expected to be a five-year, $3.9 billion replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge on the Hudson River. It was estimated that the project would employ 8,000 building trades workers over the span of the job. – 2013



Once again on Labor Vision, we’ll be tackling the issue of opioid addiction as Jill Sypole of Building Futures sits down with Erica Hammond for the full half hour to help educate members and the general public how best to identify common signs of opioid dependence, the contributing risk factors in the construction industry especially, and how anyone can help avoid injuries at home or in the work place. The two also discuss how family and friends need to act around someone with a problem, as a friend, without judgment; and to give the person with the problem time, rather than try to intervene immediately.