e-news: december 19, 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    

December 19, 2019    

Matthew Taibi, (401) 434-0454


(EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I.) – A group of 95 school bus monitors and monitors in East Providence have voted in favor of having Teamsters Local 251 represent them in contract negotiations with Ocean State Transit. The group will join 105 bus drivers currently in contract negotiations who are already represented by Teamsters Local 251.

“Recently Ocean State Transit management has made decisions that affect drivers, monitors, aides and students in a very negative way,” said Matt Taibi, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 251. “This is what initially drove these workers to seek representation with us. They are tired of the broken promises made to them. A Teamster contract will bring stability, respect and a voice on the job into the everyday lives of these men and women.

If the company wants to address the current shortage and keep the quality people currently on staff, it must listen to the needs of its workers. The monitors’ and aides’ votes show the company still doesn’t treat its workers fairly and hasn’t learned this lesson since the drivers voted for the Teamsters back in May. In fact, negotiations for the drivers have slowed down and now require mediation. This doesn’t project the image of an employer that is concerned about anything other than the bottom line.

Parents of East Providence students should expect worthwhile investments in their community. Safe, dependable, daily transportation of children by qualified, caring and knowledgeable workers must be high on that list of investments.”

“We are entrusted with the daily transportation of our communities’ most valuable assets,” said Karen Lee Hyman, an Ocean State Transit Monitor. “We deserve to be treated with dignity and respect by our employer.”

“We decided to join the union after we saw how hard Local 251 was fighting for the drivers in contract negotiations,” said Ann Caravan, also an Ocean State Transit Monitor. “By joining together with the drivers, we have doubled our strength in numbers. We hope Ocean State Transit will begin to respect us for our hard work.”

Ocean State Transit is an affiliate of transportation giant Student Transportation International (STI). In 2018, STI ranked second-highest in the country, with approximately 1.2 million students transported.

Negotiations for the monitors and aides will begin soon after the vote is certified by the National Labor Relations Board.

Teamsters Local 251 represents workers in a wide variety of industries throughout Rhode Island. For more information, go to https://teamsterslocal251.org/

Providence Journal: Warwick City Council to take up firefighters contract in unusual Friday night session

Warwick’s city clerk has posted notice of a special City Council meeting Friday night, paving the way for possible ratification of a new firefighters contract by Christmas and alarming some critics who fear the process is moving too fast.

Others, including Councilman Timothy J. Howe, say the process is moving along at a reasonable pace — and it was even dragged out Monday night.

Howe and a majority of the council opted to schedule Friday’s session for 5 p.m. If some council members still need answers to questions in a meeting environment, it makes sense to tackle that work sooner, he said.

“I’m saying instead of kicking the can down the road, let’s get it done,” said Howe.

The chairman of the council’s finance committee, Edgar N. Ladouceur, said he was startled by the scheduling of Friday night’s special council meeting.




Published in OPEIU Fall/Winter White Collar.: The Five Biggest Corporate Lies About Unions


AFL-CIO: Get to Know AFL-CIO’s Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union’s 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.


AFSCME: Report: Employer Aggression Against Unionizing Workers is Strong

Labor unions are at their most popular in nearly half a century, and a growing number of American workers would join one if given the chance.

So why is the national union membership rate – or the percent of wage and salary workers who belong to a union – stuck at roughly 10%?

Part of the answer is likely that employers are doing everything they can to stifle workers’ efforts to unionize, and they’re getting away with it. A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute highlights the breadth of the wrongdoing, noting that employers are charged with violating federal law in four out of every 10 union elections, and of illegally firing workers in one out of every five union elections.

“Employers routinely threaten, intimidate, and fire workers when they try to form a union at their workplace,” said Celine McNicholas, the institute’s director of government affairs and co-author of the report. “Employers face few consequences because our current labor law fails to provide workers meaningful protections.”


Labor 411: Companies Spend $340 Million Annually To Stop Workers From Organizing

“A new report on employer opposition to union campaigns released today by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that employers spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year against union organizing efforts, and were charged with breaking federal labor laws in 41.5 percent of union campaigns in 2016 and 2017. While the authors of the report, who gained access to unfair labor complaints through FOIA requests, could not comment on specific cases, they say the newly organized tech industry is no exception.

‘Tech companies have traditionally set themselves aside as a cutting-edge employers. But what you’re seeing increasingly is that they behave the same way as Walmarts and Targets,’ Celine McNicholas, one of the report’s authors who reviewed thousands of complaints filed with the NLRB, told Motherboard.. ‘When faced with demands of improved working conditions and respecting workers’ voices, they turn to union avoidance consultants. They’d rather spend the money there than on addressing the demands of their workforce.’


Labor 411: 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

The old saying goes that “it is better to give than receive.” But really, who are we kidding? We all like to receive. Be it a small but heartfelt knick-knack from a coworker, something sparkling and dazzling from a partner, or a really cool toy from the Jolly Ol’ Elf himself, receiving an expression of gratitude topped with the perfect bow brings as much warmth as that cup of cocoa or glass of spiked eggnog.

Gift giving is a key tenant of the Holiday Season, but we could all do a little better job with the buying. Oh, we have no trouble spending money – just look at the crowded malls and bloated credit card bills. But it’s how and where we spend our dollars that could use some work.

When we as consumers buy something, we are doing more than selecting an item – we are casting a vote in favor of the company that made that product. Considering that, shouldn’t we throw our support behind companies that share our values? READ MORE


Fact of the week.

28.5 million
The number of uninsured Americans, up from 27.5 million in 2018.

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UPCOMING EVENTS:                                                        

Save our Custodians Rally

When: Tuesday, January 7 @ 6:00 p.m.

Where: Scituate High School, 94 Trimtown Road, N. Scituate, RI 02857

Details: The Scituate School Committee is considering outsourcing custodial jobs in the school district. Our permanent, dedicated custodians would be replaced by transient custodians who have not spent years working with our students and taking care of our schools. We say NO to privatization. Contact: Sarah Markey @ SMarkey@NEARI.org for more information.

Union Member Candidate Program:

If you are a Rhode Island union member who is considering running for municipal or state elective office in 2020, or who might want to serve as a campaign manager, or campaign worker, you are invited to an Open House on Wednesday, January 22, 2020 at 5:30PM, at the United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 328 Union Hall, 278 Silver Spring Street, Providence, RI. You can register online at  https://actionnetwork.org/events/ri-afl-cio-union-candidate-open-house.

*Before registering, please make sure that you discuss your interest with your local union leadership prior to the event and get their approval to attend. This is mandatory!

Sign-up for the next Leadership for a Future class.
The application is open and the deadline to apply is January 31, 2020.
Link to application: https://www.riilsr.org/leaf-application


Voices in Labor:

The International Union of Aluminum, Brick & Glass Workers merged with United Steelworkers of America. – 1996

General Motors announced it was closing 21 North American plants over the following four years and would slash tens of thousands of jobs. – 1991

Some 33,000 striking members of the Machinists ended a 69-day walkout at Boeing after winning pay and benefit increases and protections against subcontracting some of their work overseas. – 1995


Next Week on Labor Vision:

Wishing everyone the best of the holidays, please enjoy the scenes of the season from our clips of the annual “Gingerbread Express,” as the NEARI Children’s Fund, with help from Teamsters Local 251 and IBEW Local 2323 bring joy to the faces of kids at Providence’s William D’Abate School; to the UFCW Toy Drive from their members; to as far back as the Thanksgiving celebration we enjoyed with the members of Fuerza Laboral. And no matter what holiday you celebrate, please remember to drive responsibly, we all have family and fellow members that want to see us safe and sound in the New Year. In solidarity and good cheer!

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