E-News: August 6, 2020

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.

Fired Tiverton teacher Amy Mullen gets her job back after judge’s ruling

“Never once was her teaching called into question,” U.S. District Court Chief Justice John J. McConnell Jr. said.

Amy Mullen has her job back with the Tiverton School Department.

U.S. District Court Chief Justice John J. McConnell Jr., ruling on a preliminary injunction Friday morning, said Mullen’s First Amendment rights were violated when she was terminated from her teaching job April 15 for speaking up about wanting to discuss distance learning as it pertained to her member teachers. Mullen is head of the teachers union.

In granting the preliminary injunction filed by attorney Elizabeth Wiens, the judge ordered that Mullen “be restored as a teacher until further notice. No doubt Ms. Mullen was retaliated against because of her First Amendment speech,” McConnell said from the bench at the end of a virtual hearing.

“Never once was her teaching called into question” in the 25 years Mullen has worked for the district as a special education teacher, McConnell said, adding that she is considered “an exemplary teacher.” Read more here.

Nursing-home union calls off strike after Raimondo intervenes

The union representing workers at five Rhode Island nursing homes has postponed a strike indefinitely after Gov. Gina Raimondo urged them to hold off and pledged to work on staffing legislation the union favors.

Workers at Charlesgate Nursing Center in Providence, Bannister Center in Providence, Genesis Pawtucket Center, Hopkins Manor in North Providence and Genesis Greenville had planned to go on strike Aug. 5. In a letter Thursday, Raimondo urged SEIU Healthcare 1199NE to postpone any strike and said she was “fully committed” to working on staffing issues and developing a minimum-staffing standard.

The union wants Rhode Island to pass legislation that would mandate 4.1 hours of resident care a day in nursing homes. Raimondo said July 22 that she favored the legislation, which passed the Senate but did not pass the House.

“My office is fully committed to working with the Legislature and the leadership of SEIU District 1199 to reach a fair resolution of the staffing issues you have raised and to develop a minimum staffing standard,” Raimondo said in her letter.

Raimondo had previously urged the unions not to go on strike, pointing to the crisis that nursing homes face right now with the coronavirus pandemic.

After her letter Thursday, the union agreed.Read more here

LHSFNA Plays Critical Role in First-in-Nation COVID-19 Standard

On July 15th, with COVID-19 cases spiking in many parts of the country, Virginia became the first state in the nation to adopt an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to protect workers from COVID-19. The Fund is proud to share that our own Travis Parsons, Associate Director of Occupational Safety and Health, played a large role in pushing the ETS forward and ultimately voting to adopt the standard. Travis has served as a member of the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s (DOLI) Safety and Health Codes Board since 2014 and is a former chair of the Board.

“In adopting this emergency standard, the state of Virginia sent a clear message that workers are its most important resource, and that protecting their health and safety must come first,” says LIUNA General Secretary-Treasurer and LHSFNA Labor Co-Chairman Armand E. Sabitoni. “The Fund commends the work that went into this standard, which not only ensures stronger protections for workers in Virginia, but also sets a precedent that other states and federal OSHA may soon follow.”

As we covered in our July issue, public health groups and labor groups have repeatedly called on federal OSHA to issue an ETS for COVID-19. A federal standard would also compel state-run OSHA programs to adopt similar measures. Thus far, federal OSHA has only issued guidance, leaving further action up to individual states.

The Path to an Emergency Temporary Standard in Virginia

The push for an ETS began in May with an executive order signed by Governor Ralph Northam that directed DOLI to draft a standard to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. The Safety and Health Codes Board would determine what went into that standard.Read more here.

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Yahoo Finance: Millions of American workers lost health insurance as coronavirus pandemic worsened

Millions of Americans have lost employer-sponsored health care coverage since the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S., causing a recession and widespread job losses.

Nearly half of all Americans receive their health insurance through their employer. And amid coronavirus layoffs, some states have seen a massive uptick in the number of uninsured adults.” data-reactid=”17″>Nearly half of all Americans receive their health insurance through their employer. And amid coronavirus layoffs, some states have seen a massive uptick in the number of uninsured adult

According to a report by Families USA, a non-profit public health organization, nine states and the District of Columbia have more than a 30% increase in the number of uninsured from February to May 2020, compared to 2018. Overall, the percentage increase of uninsured in the U.S. is at 21%, with 5.3 million people losing health care coverage between February and May.

Massachusetts saw a 93% increase in the number of uninsured adults compared to 2018. Next highest was Hawaii at 72%. The state relies heavily on tourism, an industry that’s been devastated by the pandemic due to travel restrictions put in place across the world.

Rhode Island and Michigan followed at 55% and 46% respectively. Michigan was among the states that was hit by the virus early on and had to implement stay-at-home orders before most other states because of the high case count. Read more here.

3 key reasons to continue construction training even amid the pandemic

Historically, companies will do two things when times get tough: They will curtail their training departments and sales departments.

The world was not prepared for the coronavirus, and there is no denying companies are facing hard decisions. Some companies have been required to do reduction in workforce because projects have been delayed.

Although halting training may be fiscally understandable, it’s short-sighted and hurts your program and the construction industry as a whole in the long run. This is the time to really focus on projects that are going and ensure people are working at their maximum capacity.

Proactive, successful companies have historically managed to maintain training through difficult times. It may not look the same and may be adapted, but progressive companies will not quit training. Why?  Read more here.



Zoom Event: RI Committee on Occupational Safety and Health Worker Safety & Health in the Age of Covid-19 Update

Date: Wednesday, August 12

Time: 4 – 5:30 p.m.

Our response to COVID-19 is constantly evolving. This program will address some of the new directions that current research and guidance is proposing to address the occupational threat from SARs-CoV-2 and the disease it causes, COVID-19.

Register in advance for this meeting:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


Register here

For more information visit Website.


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


Voices in Labor:

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, led by President Ron Carey, went on strike at UPS. Involving 185,000 IBT members, the strike effectively shut down UPS operations for 16 days and cost UPS hundreds of millions of dollars. This victory for the union resulted in a new contract that increased wages, secured their existing benefits and gave increased job security. – 1997

The Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers is formed. It partnered with the Steel Workers Organizing Committee, CIO in 1935; both organizations disbanded in 1942 to form the new United Steelworkers. – 1876

The American Federation of Musicians began a strike against the major American recording companies in a fight over royalty payments.  Decca Records settled with the union after one year, followed shortly by Capitol Records, while Victor and Columbia Records held out for another year before agreeing to the union’s terms.  The strike did not affect musicians performing on live radio shows or in concerts. – 1942

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