E-news: November 14, 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.

Press Release: News Guild – CWA

November 7, 2019

News Guild-CWA: GateHouse-Gannett Deal Threatens Journalism

Washington, D.C. – The merger of GateHouse Media and Gannett poses a threat to journalism, an analysis by The NewsGuild-CWA shows.

“This merger will hurt the communities these media organizations serve,” said NewsGuild President Bernie Lunzer. “To fund the merger, local papers will likely disappear, jobs will be slashed, and journalism will suffer.”

Meanwhile, he said, “Gannett shareholders – many of whom are NewsGuild-CWA members – will be stiffed: the current value of the deal is less than what Alden Global Capital offered in January 2019.”

Ultimately, the deal will accelerate the destruction of news initiated by the hedge fund backer of New Media Investment Group, the publicly traded owner of GateHouse. The Fortress Investment Group, which has managed NEWM for the last five years, will be the biggest beneficiary of the deal. Not only has Fortress extracted excessive cash from the company – cash that could have financed 336 reporters at local newspapers – but it is scheduled to receive a golden parachute when it finally stops managing the company at the end of 2021. As New Media investor Leon Cooperman put it on a recent investor call, “They’re going to walk away with millions of dollars. It’s just morally wrong.”

Who else will benefit? Apollo Global Management LP will loan the new Gannett nearly $1.8 billion at an interest rate of 11.5 percent. That is 3 percent higher than any current long-term loan obligation at the company. That interest rate premium could pay the salaries of 320 reporters. Paying off that loan will burden the new Gannett to the point where it will have to choose between jobs and default. This tug-of-war will result in further hits to local news. If the U.S. enters a recession and advertising plummets: Apollo will gain seats on the board of directors and begin the company’s takeover.


Warwick Beacon: Horrors of nursing home staffing underscored at forum

Annie Oster of Scituate has seen enough of nursing home treatment of her sister to know conditions need to improve, and unless they do, she and the rest of us run the risk of less than adequate care in our twilight years.

Oster’s unrehearsed plea for lawmakers to enact legislation and for regulators to take action came at the conclusion of testimony from certified nurse assistants, or CNAs, and other nursing home caregivers at a forum held by the Raise the Bar on Resident Care coalition at Sts. Rose and Clement Church Tuesday evening.

The coalition is made up of SEIU (Service Employees International Union) 1199 Rhode Island, Sista Fire, Fuerza Laboral, Interfaith Coalition to Reduce Poverty, the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Organizing Project.

The coalition defines the issue as “the nursing home staffing crisis.” It notes that Rhode Island is the only New England state without a staffing standard in nursing homes. It sets forth three steps to solving the crisis: A minimum staffing standard of 4.1 hours of direct care per resident per day; a raise in wages for caregivers and to recruit more staff; and to provide training opportunities for caregivers to match the increased complexity of resident care.


AFL-CIO: Get to Know AFL-CIO’s Affiliates: National Nurses United

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is National Nurses United.

Name of Union: National Nurses United (NNU)

Mission:To win workplace and health care justice here in the United States and globally by building the nation’s most powerful union of direct-care registered nurses and by fostering a social movement of nurses allied with the patient public. To achieve these goals, NNU aims to unionize all direct-care registered nurses (RNs) in the United States; promote effective collective bargaining representation to all NNU affiliates to advance the economic and professional interests of all direct-care RNs; organize that collective power to compel the health care industry, governments and employers to be accountable to patients and not solely profits; expand the voice of direct-care RNs and patients in public policy, including the enactment of safe nurse-to-patient ratios and patient advocacy rights in Congress and every state; protect and advance the practice of nursing so that RNs can fully exercise their professional judgment to provide safe, effective, therapeutic care; and campaign to win health care as a human right through a Medicare for All system.


American Federation of Musicians:

Music is vital in bringing films to life, yet the major entertainment companies don’t include musicians in the credits or pay us fairly for streaming. Actors, writers & directors appear in the credits & they receive residuals for streaming work. Musicians deserve their fair share just like everyone else working in film & TV.


ABC News: As income inequality soars, languishing labor unions make a return

After decades of declining membership and seemingly sidelined authority, a series of national strikes has put unions back in the spotlight. And as economic inequality has become a hot-button issue for workers and candidates on the 2020 campaign trail, some experts have said a surge of emboldened organized labor movements could be on the horizon.

Once considered by many to be essential, union membership is a fraction of what it once was: Approximately 10% of U.S. workers were part of a union in 2018, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 1983, the first year the department collected data, the number was more than twice that — over 20%.
“We’ve had massive union decline — back in the ’40s, over 30% of workers were unionized in this country,” Sylvia Allegretto, a labor economist and the co-chair of the University of California, Berkeley’s Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics, told ABC News.


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UPCOMING EVENTS:                                                        

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Voices in Labor:

Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union activist Karen Silkwood was killed in a suspicious car crash. She was driving to a meeting with a New York Times investigative reporter. She was bringing them documents proving the company she worked for, Kerr-McGee Nuclear Corporation, had falsified quality control record of nuclear fuel rods. – 1974

Members of the International Typographical Union, on strike against the Green Bay (Wisconsin) Press-Gazette over technology changes, created the Green Bay Daily News (later the News-Chronicle) as a money-maker for the strikers and to support their cause. Surviving until 1976, it was seen as the longest-running strike paper in newspaper history.  The Gannett chain ultimately bought the paper, only to fold it in 2005. – 1972

The Holland Tunnel opened, running under the Hudson River for 1.6 miles and connecting the island of Manhattan in New York City with Jersey City, New Jersey. Thirteen workers died over its seven-year-long construction. – 1927

GM workers’ post-war strike for higher wages closed 96 plants. – 1945



As the first segment in our Women at Work series, Erica Hammond sits down with RI AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer and CLUW RI Chapter President, Maureen Martin, and South Kingstown School Committee Vice-Chair and NEARI representative, Sarah Markey, to talk about the Rhode Island Coalition of Labor Union Women, the importance of collective bargaining rights in the workplace, the need for income equity in all workplaces, especially where marginalized communities make up a majority of the workforce.

And in the second half of the show, Bob Delaney sits down with Erica Hammond, Sabine Adrian, and Fatima Martin, staff members at the RI Institute for Labor Studies and Research for the second half of a series around the Institute’s overgrowing Teacher Assistant program and how many municipalities have expressed a large need for TAs in their classrooms; the appeal of working school hours and a school calendar schedule, the benefits of a good-paying job with benefits and the fact that most positions are within bargaining units.

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