E-news: january 23, 2020

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.

Providence Business News: R.I. had 4th highest share of workers represented by unions in U.S. in 2019

UNION MEMBERSHIP in Rhode Island in 2019 reflected 17.4% of all workers, the highest rate in New England. / COURTESY U.S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS

PROVIDENCE – The share of workers represented by unions in Rhode Island was 19% in 2019, a 0.5 percentage point increase year over year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Wednesday.

The number of workers represented by unions was 90,000, an increase of 10,000 year over year.

Rhode Island had the highest union representation rate in New England and the fourth highest rate in the country.

Union membership reflected 17.4% of worker in Rhode Island in 2019, the same as the previous year. Union membership declined in that time from 89,000 to 83,000. Total employed also declined from 479,000 to 475,000 in that time.

Link to article: https://tinyurl.com/ryo3h24

Press Release:-VIEW LARGER

Read a message from John Jordan, President of Middletown Firefighters, Local 1933 in response to the Town Council President.

Newport Now: Manpower Matters

Rebuttal to Middletown Council President Sylvia

The recent letter to the editor by Town Council President Robert Sylvia made bold and unfounded statements about me, the recent Woolsey Rd fire, and Fire Department operations in general. I was surprised that a person with no experience in the world of firefighting or emergency medical services would have such strong opinions on how firefighters should do their jobs. I have spent most of my life as a firefighter; volunteering at age 16 until landing my dream job as a career firefighter here in Middletown. As an experienced firefighter, I would like to provide some insight concerning the opinions Mr. Sylvia gave in his letter and help educate the public.

I would like to begin with two things Mr. Sylvia actually had correct in his letter – structure fires are less frequent and EMS calls continue to rise. Modern technology, fire prevention and education have contributed to less fires, but has not eliminated them. Mr. Sylvia implies that because fires occur “only once-in-a-while”, firefighters can be less prepared for them and should focus on other things. This is an absurd notion, even if less common, when a fire occurs citizens expect and deserve to have a adequately staffed and trained Fire Department to respond quickly in order to save lives and protect property. Mr. Sylvia then states Emergency Medical Services (EMS) are the bulk of the calls the Fire Department receives and “they are reluctant to adjust to the calls for service that they experience today.” Over the years the demand for EMS has grown; Middletown firefighters have both embraced and adapted their skills to meet the needs of the community. Many years ago, firefighters were not trained to provide medical interventions, they would simply transport patients to the nearest hospital. Now, all firefighters are required to maintain Advanced Life Support qualifications. Protocols written by doctors and experts in the medical field, mandated by the Rhode Island Department of Health, dictate the treatment we provide to the public. Performing life saving measures in a timely manner is vital to survival. Timely being the key word here. To be effective, having an adequate number of firefighters able to respond in a timely matter is what makes the difference.


AFL-CIO: Get to Know AFL-CIO’s Affiliates: Plasterers and Cement Masons

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Plasterers and Cement Masons.

Name of Union: Plasterers and Cement Masons (OPCMIA)

Mission:To protect and promote the quality of the industry and the livelihood of members, to promote cement and plaster, to recruit and train skilled craftsmen to meet the demands of the industry, and to hold the union responsible to this commitment for the future of the industry and the welfare of all those who earn their living in it.

Current Leadership of Union:Daniel E. Stepano serves as the general president for the OPCMIA, a role he has served in since 2016. He first joined the union as a plasterer in 1980 in Pittsburgh for Local No. 31. After many years of service to the local and beyond, he was appointed international vice president in 2004. At that year’s international convention, he was elected to serve as vice president. In 2007, he became executive vice president for the OPCMIA and was re-elected to the role before becoming president.

Kevin D. Sexton serves as general secretary-treasurer.

Members Work As:Plasterers, masons and shop hands.

Industries Represented:Members work in two major construction fields, concrete and plaster.


The Root: Dr. King Understood the Power of Unions

On what would have been his 91st birthday, we celebrate the towering legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—his moral force as a faith leader, his devotion to nonviolent resistance and, of course, the sacrifices he made to end legalized segregation in the South.

But there is an often-overlooked aspect of his work: Dr. King was one of his era’s most fearsome champions of working people coming together to organize, build power and improve their lives. Here is how he put it in a speech to the Illinois AFL-CIO convention in October 1965:

The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress. Out of its bold struggles, economic and social reform gave birth to unemployment insurance, old age pensions, government relief for the destitute, and, above all, new wage levels that meant not mere survival but a tolerable life.


Common Wealth: Young workers key to a resurgent labor movement

A decade that started with the worst recession in 75 years ended with a booming economy and record low unemployment rate. The “too big to fail” era also ushered in a new generation of workers far more progressive and activist than in the past. That’s a great thing for the labor movement.

Certainly young workers are concerned with the same issues that were the focus of those who came before them — fair wages for fair work, access to quality health care, and a stable pension that will enable a dignified retirement.

But we are also more expansive in our approach fighting for workplace protections against harassment and discrimination, demanding LGBTQ+ rights, advocating for clean building practices and green investments that protect our environment and address climate change; and ensuring a healthy work-life balance for all employees.

Here in Massachusetts, the AFL-CIO’s Young Worker Movement successfully and unanimously ushered through a resolution at this year’s AFL-CIO convention which, among other issues, urges each local in Massachusetts to form their own Futures Committee and to foster a community of young, engaged members at every union.


Family Circle: Teens Need to Know They Can Make Money in Trade Careers

High-paying jobs are available for students who choose trade school or vocational or technical education instead of bachelor’s degree programs.

My son is 15 and will be starting his junior year of high school in the fall. The talk of going to college is buzzing all around while no other options are even suggested half as much. There seems to be such a stigma around not going off to school to earn a bachelor’s ­degree, and I don’t think this is fair to our kids.

My son probably won’t go to college, at least not right away.

While I am still going to take him to visit schools to make sure it’s not what he wants to do straight after graduation, it might not change his mind about what he wants to do. For now, he feels like he wants to be a plumber like his father, and we both think that’s great.

When he was younger, he watched his dad go to work in a big truck that had different compartments and held fittings, long copper pipes, and cool PVC things that fit together like a puzzle. He loved helping him clean and organize it.


Tweet of the Week:

For more information visit Website.

Are you following Rhode Island AFL-CIO on Social Media? Click on the links below.



Visit our websitefor more information, news and events.


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:

A four-day strike by 2,000 postal workers at the New Jersey Bulk and Foreign Mail Center in Jersey City began on this date. The “Battle of the Bulk” was caused by postal management’s unilateral changes in workers’ hours and working conditions. The wildcat strike was led by a group of young workers who identified themselves as “The Outlaws”. A federal judge ruled in the union’s favor, directing management to settle the issue through binding arbitration. -1974

Terence V. Powderly was born in Carbondale, Pennsylvania. Powderly would become the Grand Master Workman of the Knights of Labor a labor organization that promoted an eight-hour workday, the end of child and convict labor, a graduated income tax, equal pay for equal work, and worker cooperatives. At its height in 1886, the Knights had over 700,000 members. – 1849

750,000 US steelworkers struck as part of a post-war strike wave that encompassed well over a million workers. – 1946


Next Week on Labor Vision:

In the first half of the show, Jenn Woods, Executive Director of the Center for Justice, sits down with Erica Hammond to discuss the work the center does on behalf of workers’ rights, especially when it comes to the all-too-common practice of wage theft on the part of employers; as well as their willingness to many times take on causes for the overlooked or dispossessed.

And in the second half of the show, Bob Delaney and Erica sit down to talk about the 40th anniversary of the Institute for Labor Studies and Research and the upcoming Teacher’s Assistant program, and the institute’s own, Leadership for a Future Program that is now enrolling; and give a glimpse of what’s coming down the road at the institute in the form of an ” Introduction to Hospitality,” apprenticeship.

Cox Channel 14 & FIOS Channel 33
Tuesday @ 7pm
Thursday @ 8pm
Saturday @ 5pm