e-news: february 6, 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 Journal: R.I. Senate passes $1 rise in minimum wage

If approved by the House — where the proposal stalled out last year — the election-year wage hike would take effect on Oct. 1

PROVIDENCE — For the second year in a row, the Rhode Island Senate has approved a $1 hike in the state’s $10.50-an-hour minimum wage.

If approved by the House — where the proposal stalled out last year — the election-year wage hike would take effect on Oct. 1.

Republican Sen. Elaine Morgan unsuccessfully sought to limit the wage hike to employees at companies with 50 or more employees, and failing that, to delay it until January 2021. Both proposals were defeated.

Rep. Leonidas Raptakis, the one-time owner of Venus Pizza and the lone Democrat to vote against the bill on the 30-to-6 vote, said this proposed $1 increase — on top of the earlier increases in the minimum wage — would total a 46% hike since 2013. “That’s a very steep increase,″ he said.

He suggested, as he has in past years, that Rhode Island tie future minimum wage increases to the consumer price index, or take the tack taken by some other states, by creating different minimum wages for businesses above or below certain employment thresholds.


Raise the Bar on Resident Care at the State House to Rally for Safe Staffing!


The Firehouse: RI Residents Cool Down But Firefighter Staffing Still Hot Issue

“This excessive, irresponsible reliance on mutual aid will not go away until we add more firefighters,” one resident said during public comments at Monday’s Middletown Town Council.

It was a more cordial atmosphere during Monday night’s meeting of the Middletown Town Council as President Robert Sylvia allowed a number of speakers during the public comment period to address the Middletown Fire Department staffing issue. Sylvia said he wanted to “give our firefighters and those who want to talk an opportunity,” something that didn’t happen during the council’s last meeting.

Kevin Kosinski, the second speaker in line, told the council the department has seen an increase in the volume in calls as the town’s population has dwindled. His reasoning was a growing population of elders and the rise in hotel rooms and tourism. Kosinski also mentioned the number of instances Middletown has received mutual aid compared to its neighbors. -READ MORE

AFL-CIO: Get to Know AFL-CIO’s Affiliates: Seafarers

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Seafarers.

Name of Union: Seafarers International Union (SIU)

Mission:To represent the best-trained, most efficient crews in the world as a dynamic, politically active organization dedicated to protecting the membership’s job security in the face of the ever-changing needs of the industry.

Current Leadership of Union:Michael Sacco serves as president of the Seafarers International Union of North America, having first been elected to the position in 1988. He also serves as president of his home union, the Seafarers International Union; Atlantic, Gulf, Lakes and Inland Waters, which he has been a member of since 1958. Sacco also serves as president of the AFL-CIO’s Maritime Trades Department. The Brooklyn-born Sacco served in the U.S. Air Force and he and his wife, Sophie, have four children.

Augustin Tellez serves as executive vice president, David W. Heindel serves as secretary-treasurer and SIU has six vice presidents.

Number of Members: 80,000.

Members Work As:Professional merchant mariners sailing aboard U.S.-flag vessels in the deep sea, Great Lakes and inland trades.


IBEW: IBEW Members Deliver Another Super Performance on the World Stage

Football fans across the world aren’t likely to realize it, but most years, IBEW members are as critical to their Super Bowl viewing experience as chicken wings and guacamole.

This year’s game on Fox marked the 29th time that IBEW professionals provided the pictures and sound from the big game. The Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium.

Fox’s telecast averaged 99.9 million viewers, according to Fox Sports public relations, and 102 million across all platforms, including Fox Deportes, which aired the Spanish-language telecast.

More than 400 IBEW members were in South Florida working as camera operators, sound mixers, graphic artists, replay technicians and other responsibilities. The IBEW has had a relationship with Fox Sports since the early 1990s, when the network was just beginning its sports division. This was the ninth Super Bowl televised by the network.

“We’re incredibly proud of our long-standing partnership with Fox Sports and thankful that it gives our talented and hard-working members a chance to work on the biggest stage of all,” International President Lonnie R. Stephenson said. “They always do us proud and they did just that during this year’s game. They’re the best at what they do.”


Labor 411: Professional Union Membership Reaches Record Levels

The AFL-CIO Department of Professional Employees has just released good news on professional union membership:

“The number of professionals in unions inched up in 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) annual report on union membership. Professional union membership rose to 6.27 million, a gain of just over 90,000 members from 2018 and a new all-time high. However, the growth of the professional workforce outpaced the growth in union organizing, leading to a small decrease in union density among professional and technical employees.

Professionals are continuing to join unions,’ said Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) President Jennifer Dorning. ‘The modest gains made last year helped the total number of professionals in unions reach the highest level to date, clearly demonstrating continued opportunities to grow the labor movement by organizing professional and technical employees. ’  -READ MORE


Tweet of the Week:

“The union movement and all working people are hungry for pro-worker reforms to our existing labor laws. The PRO Act would do many important things, chief among them is to provide more substantial relief for workers whose rights have been violated.” —AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA)

For more information visit Website.

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

FaceBook: @riaflcio

Twitter: @riaflcio

Visit our website RhodeIslandAFLCIO.org for more information, news and events.


Sign-up for the next Leadership for a Future class.
Link to application: https://www.riilsr.org/leaf-application


Voices in Labor:

Mary Harris “Mother” Jones addressed Milwaukee brewery workers during a two-month stint working alongside women bottle-washers while on leave from the United Mine Workers: ”Condemned to slave daily in the washroom in wet shoes and wet clothes, surrounded with foul-mouthed, brutal foremen . . . the poor girls work in the vile smell of sour beer, lifting cases of empty and full bottles weighing from 100 to 150 pounds, in their wet shoes and rags, for they cannot buy clothes on the pittance doled out to them. . . . Rheumatism is one of the chronic ailments and is closely followed by consumption . . . An illustration of what these girls must submit to, one about to become a mother told me with tears in her eyes that every other day a depraved specimen of mankind took delight in measuring her girth and passing comments.” – 1910

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled unanimously in United States v. Darby to uphold the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which banned certain types of child labor, established a minimum wage, and set a maximum workweek at 44 hours. – 1941


Next Week on Labor Vision:

In what has proved to be a very turbulent period for UFCW Local 328, Secretary-Treasurer Domenic Pontarelli and Lead Organizer Sam Marvin sit down with Erica Hammond in the first half of the program to discuss the ongoing troubles with Durham School Services and their unwillingness to recognize, negotiate or pay a fair wage to bus drivers, monitors or aides in the Cumberland school district.

And in the second half of the show, Erica speaks with member Melissa Gaethofs, who works in the North Kingstown Stop & Shop store, and her Business Manager, Joe Renzi, over the latest outrace, the company throwing a birthday party for their robot, Marty; and how they treat him better than their own employees.

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