e-news: april 2, 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.


You can find some helpful resources on our website.
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For Immediate Release: March 30, 2020



RICOSH is working with partners in National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences via the TNEC Lowell Project to develop materials and trainings on COVID-19.
Click here for more information.

Providence Journal: A morning with the Providence firefighters dedicated to coronavirus response
PROVIDENCE — As a voice came over the radio at the Reservoir Avenue fire station Friday morning, Capt. David Palumbo and rescue technician John Tierney prepared to suit up.

“We’re getting a call,” said Palumbo, 49, as he slipped a yellow plastic gown over his navy blue Fire Department shirt.

He strapped a mask over his mouth and nose before stepping into the passenger seat of Rescue 5 — the Providence Fire Department ambulance that’s dedicated to calls that may involve patients with COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

Tierney, 59, decked in the same protective gear, pulled the ambulance out of the driveway, sirens wailing and lights flashing.

“I think everyone owes them a debt of gratitude for stepping up to do this,” said Derek Silva, president of the Providence firefighters union. “By them doing it, they’re decreasing exposure to the rest of the Fire Department.”




Union Veterans Council: TSA Officers’ Union Says Agency Has Answered their Call for Increased Protective Equipment

TSA Officers’ Union Says Agency Has Answered their Call for Increased Protective Equipment
Thanks to their union, TSA officers can now wear N95 masks

WASHINGTON – The union representing Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) nationwide says TSA has finally listened to their demands for increased safety protocols to protect officers and the flying public from COVID-19 by updating their policy to allow N95 respirator masks for employees.

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), which represents nearly 46,000 TSA officers nationwide, first wrote to TSA Administrator David Pekoske in January and asked the agency to aggressively respond to the emerging coronavirus threat. The union specifically requested N95 masks for every TSA officer. That request was ignored. Subsequent email requests from the union’s TSA leaders to Pekoske and TSA management were denied repeatedly in February and early March.

Since then, AFGE TSA union leaders have continued to urge TSA management and lawmakers to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) beyond the basic surgical masks that do not block small particles from coughs and sneezes that spread the virus. Since the pandemic, about 60 TSOs have tested positive for COVID-19 with dozens of their coworkers being forced to self-quarantine.

On Wednesday, TSA emailed all employees notifying them that N95 masks will be provided to all officers who elect to wear them. To be eligible, TSOs must complete a brief N95 Respirator training. Employees will be issued one respirator per work shift following completion of the training.


NBC News: ‘We answered the call’: Custodial and sanitation workers demand support amid outbreak

When Fasika Getahun, 48, finishes her shift as a custodian at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle each day, she goes home exhausted but excited to see her seven kids. She’s a single mom who immigrated from East Africa, and it’s gratifying to come home to see them healthy and happy.

But since the coronavirus outbreak has pummeled Washington and her adopted city, the anxiety of working on the front lines in a hospital — where she thoroughly disinfects bathrooms and infected patient areas without personal protective equipment — has begun to wear on her.

Returning home now doesn’t bring the same comfort it once did.

Getahun said she and the 50 other members of the cleaning staff are asked to constantly work without masks or any protective gear, and their team meetings each morning begin in a small room where they are packed together tightly.


Axios: The New Labor Movement

The coronavirus pandemic has had a big impact on working people, who are increasingly banding together to put pressure on employers and raise public awareness about health and safety issues they’re facing on the job.

Why it matters: After years of declining union membership, a new labor movement is rising, amplified by the power of social media and fueled by concerns that workers deemed essential during the crisis are putting their lives at risk to ensure the well-being of others.

Driving the news: Some Whole Foods employees used an online petition to organize a so-called sick out Tuesday, demanding double hazard pay, a day after workers at Amazon and Instacart staged other actions.

Unionized nurses, flight attendants and auto workers have all leveraged their collective voices in recent weeks to try to influence policy and corporate decision-making during the crisis.

  • The United Auto Workers union — which has had at least nine of its members succumb to the disease in the past week — pressured Detroit carmakers to close their factories on March 18 until social distancing protocols could be established.
  • Nurses in New York, Georgia, Illinois and California staged protests this week calling for more personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks, gloves and gowns.


CNN: Health care workers on frontlines feel like ‘lambs to the slaughterhouse’

An anesthesiologist in Arizona turned to eBay for N95 masks. A nurse in Ohio said she and her colleagues are forbidden from wearing any masks for fear that it would spread anxiety. A nursing home employee in Arkansas who developed a fever said she couldn’t get tested.

Across the country, health care workers on the frontlines of the escalating fight against Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, describe a grim scene of rationed personal protective equipment — widely known as PPE — and lack of testing.

The scarcity of equipment is at a critical stage, where medical workers are being asked do something that weeks ago would have brought reprimand or even termination: reuse supplies. “I was provided one mask; they said that’s all I’m getting,” said a certified nurse anesthetist in Akron, Ohio, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal. “We just had a survey by the joint commission that oversees the hospital…One of the sticking points in the survey was that you need to change your mask between every case.”


The American Prospect: Union Wins $3 Billion to Protect Airport Workers

After four years working as a baggage handler at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, Kachelle Lasley was laid off last Saturday, becoming one of thousands of airport workers laid off nationwide as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Like many of these laid-off workers—a group that includes wheelchair attendants, airplane-cabin cleaners, skycaps, and security guards—Lasley was deeply worried how she would pay her April rent.

“I’m not sure how I’ll survive,” she said in an interview on Tuesday. “I still have a few dollars from my last paycheck. I worry whether I’ll have enough money for food next week.”

Lasley, 30, joined a major campaign by her Manhattan-based union, Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union, that called on Washington not to give the airlines the $60 billion bailout they were seeking unless airport workers—not just direct employees like pilots and flight attendants, but also contracted airport employees like baggage handlers and cabin cleaners—benefited from the bailout.


March 31 is Cesar Chavez day. President George Nee used to work for Chavez and the UFW back in the 70s. View the link on our website to read an essay he wrote about his time working with Cesar Chavez.

Read Essay by President George Nee on HERE.

The Institute for Labor Studies & Research (ILSR) is a 501 (c) (3), private, non-profit educational institution that provides education and training to enable working Rhode Islanders and the labor movement to have a stronger voice in the workplace, to participate more effectively in Rhode Island’s changing job market and to create a more just and equitable society.

The ILSR has been supporting businesses, labor unions, and workers since 1980 by working to build an educated, competitive workforce that helps Rhode Island grow and prosper.


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.


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Voices in Labor:

Major league baseball players began what was to become a 13-day strike, ending when owners agreed to increase pension fund payments and to add salary arbitration to the collective bargaining agreement. – 1972

More than 2,000 workers went on strike at the Draper Corporation power loom manufacturing plant in Hopedale, Massachusetts. They were seeking higher wages and a nine-hour workday. Eben S. Draper, president of the firm and a former state governor, declared: “We will spend $1 million to break this strike” and refused to negotiate. Striking workers staged protest marches, rallies, and mass meetings and were met with concerted and relentless legal action, police violence, and scabs. The strike ended in a stalemate 13 weeks later. – 1913

The U.S. minimum wage increased to $3.80 per hour. – 1990

The U.S. minimum wage increased to $4.25 per hour. – 1991


This week on Labor Vision

New segment running this week; LaborVision At Home edition! In lieu of the COVID-19 crisis, Erica Hammond sits down with Patrick Crowley, Rhode Island AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer and Government Relations Director of NEA RI, through Zoom conferencing, to discuss Labor’s response to the crisis in Rhode Island.

In the second half of the show, one from late last year that is of growing importance now, Senator Sandra Cano (D) Pawtucket, sits down with Thom Cahir to talk about the need to count every person in Rhode Island during the upcoming 2020 census; especially those in hard-to-count communities, or RI fears losing a congressional seat and the funding for vital programs that accompany it. Also view on YouTube.

Cox Channel 14 & FIOS Channel 33
Tuesday @ 7pm
Thursday @ 8pm
Saturday @ 5pm
More Info on Labor Vision:
Website: http://www.LaborVisionRI.org
FaceBook: @LaborVisionRI
Twitter: @LaborVisionRI
Instagram: LaborVisionRI
YouTube: LaborVisionTV1