E-news: november 7, 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.

Labor Vision: Tribute to Marcia Reback

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Providence Business News: Hammer, Nails…Narcan: Construction training aims to ease opioid crisis

As an industry, construction has been beset by the national opioid epidemic. In Rhode Island, a report by public-health officials found that about 20% of people who had died between June 2016 and June 2018 had last been employed in construction.

That overrepresentation has helped to spur more inward looking and inspired specialized training for workers, as well as supervisors, in how to respond when someone is overdosing. In a training series developed by the construction training organization Building Futures, construction workers are receiving hands-on education in how to help co-workers and friends survive an overdose and find resources for treatment and ­recovery.

Andrew Cortés, executive director of Building Futures, said the industry has an opportunity to empower people to help other workers who are struggling. He knew construction was overrepresented in opioid deaths and had braced himself for the Rhode Island data when a similar percentage was reported in Massachusetts.

“The reason we developed this customized training is because of the ­disproportionate impact that the construction industry has felt related to the opioid crisis,” he said. “While every town and city is impacted, disproportionately the data shows construction ­workers are impacted more.”


Huffington Post: Unions Are Pushing Members To Run For Office ― And It’s Paying Off

The AFL-CIO backed about 1,500 union members in the 2018 elections, and two-thirds of them won.

Labor unions are seeing a surge of support. They’re more popular than they have been at any point in the last 15 years, and a majority of Americans believe that the declines in union membership are bad for the country. Democratic presidential candidates are embracing unions, appearing on picket lines and talking about strengthening the labor movement in ways the party hadn’t for much of the past decade.

The labor community, in turn, is increasingly recognizing the need to get its members into public office ― and putting more resources into doing so.

“For years and years and years, we’ve been told that the economy is like the weather: There’s nothing you can do about it,” said Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO. “That’s simply not true. The economy’s nothing but a set of rules, and those rules are made by the men and women we elect. For decades, those rules have been designed for us to lose and for the rich and powerful to win.


The New York Times: Push to Raise Minimum Wage Goes Local, at Airports and Hotels

Labor unions and community groups are pursuing an increasingly successful strategy to force employers to pay their workers more: minimum wages for specific occupations and industries.

The effort has resulted in several noteworthy victories recently — mandatory pay of up to $20 an hour for hotel workers in Oakland, and raises for airport employees in Denver and Houston. Organizers behind these efforts say they want to shift the debate from establishing a bare-minimum wage for workers at the lowest rung of the economic ladder to lifting more people into the middle class.

“Our goal was to keep up with rising housing costs and help people stay in their homes and communities,” said Jahmese Myres, acting executive director of the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, a major force behind the Oakland effort. “While we’re hoping it gets addressed comprehensively at the federal and state level, workers in Oakland can’t afford to wait,” she added.


AFGE: The Race to Become #1 E-Dues Local Intensifies

AFGE’s total E-Dues membership surpassed the 10,000 enrollee milestone for the first time in October, thanks to locals’ concerted efforts to protect our union’s financial resources by switching members to AFGE-run dues deduction system. The hike constitutes more than 300% increase in enrollees since our scale-up efforts were kicked into high gear in August.

During the past few months, several locals have intensified their efforts to get all their members to enroll in E-Dues. Local 31 in Cleveland, Ohio, is no exception.

The local, which represents Department of Veterans Affairs employees, has moved up quickly the past few weeks to stand at number 2 among the locals with the highest number of E-Dues members. The local has 545 members enrolled in E-Dues as of Oct.18, but it’s not stopping at that.

“We want to take the number one spot,” said Local 31 President Darryll Bell.

The local’s E-Dues push began late July. Once the e-board made the decision to switch to E-Dues, the local stopped processing new members through traditional payroll deduction and started signing new members up through the AFGE-operated system.  

It also generated and mailed a letter of explanation to the entire membership to notify them that the local was converting to E-Dues and why. The letter was sent along with a How-to-Join-AFGE-in-4-Easy-Steps flyer, which the local found to be very useful in explaining to members how to enroll in E-dues.


The Baffler: Making Waves

The U.S. working class is currently riding a mighty strike wave, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the height of Ronald Reagan’s 1980s union-busting spree. The biggest stories have dominated the headlines for weeks, or—in the case of the ongoing #RedforEd movement within the education sector—even years, and their main characters have become folk heroes: The CTU and SEIU teachers and support staff of Chicago fighting for a better future for their coworkers, their students, and their city. The UAW factory workers of General Motors who left the line cold for almost six weeks to end discrimination and inequality at a company that had grown fat off of a government bailout and kept the spoils for itself. The Uber and Lyft drivers leading protests for the fair wages and safer working conditions that their Silicon Valley overlords will do anything to avoid paying for. The fast food workers of #Fightfor15 calling for basic dignity, a $15 minimum wage, and a union, who have forced the national conversation (and the current crop of presidential hopefuls) to catch up to their demands.

These and so very many other players are the driving force behind our current moment of widespread labor unrest, one that has seen almost half a million workers hit the bricks in pursuit of a better deal since 2018. The year’s not over yet, and it’s likely that those numbers will shoot even higher before 2020.

Quote of the Week

“Our efforts recruiting, training and supporting labor candidates have led to the passage of pro-worker legislation from coast to coast and everywhere in between.” —AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA)

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UPCOMING EVENTS:                                                        


Voices in Labor:

A coal mine explosion in Spangler, Pa. killed 79. The mine had been rated gaseous in 1918, but at the insistence of new operators it was rated as non-gaseous even though miners had been burned by gas on at least four occasions – 1922

The Everett Massacre occurred in Everett, Washington. Industrial Workers of the World(IWW) labor activists were killed by the Everett police. On October 30, in the midst of a depression, forty IWW members arrived by boat in Everett to help support the shingle workers strike, but before they could land they were clubbed and jailed by local deputies. Later that night they were beaten. On Nov. 5, 250 more IWW supporters arrived to fight for free speech and to support their jailed comrades, but gunfire broke out as soon as they arrived. Between 5 and 12 Wobblies were killed, and another 31 were injured. Both Big Bill Haywood and Samuel Gompers called on the federal government to protect the rights of working-class citizens in Everett, but no action was taken. –  1916



In the first half of the show, Executive Director of Building Futures RI, Andrew Cortes, and journeyman ironworker and program graduate, Orlando Correa sit down with Bob Delaney to talk about the benefits of building a career through an apprenticeship program; how apprenticeships are sometimes the perfect fit for non-traditional students; and most of all, the event coming up Friday (Nov. 15) of this week with Gov. Raimondo to highlight the importance of apprenticeships in the workplace.

And continuing in the second half of the show, Bob Delaney sits down with three members of his staff from the Institute of Labor Studies and Research, Fatima Martin, Sabine Adrian, and Erica Hammond, respectively the case manager-pathways to TA certification program, director of adult literacy, and labor liaison; to talk about the teaching assistant program at the institute and how it has grown and the need to grow further as the demand has increased exponentially just over the last couple of years.