e-news: august 20, 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.

WJAR Channel 10 News: Teacher unions in Rhode Island call for a remote start to the school year

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WJAR) —Rhode Island’s largest teachers union is calling for a remote start to the school year, and criticizing Governor Gina Raimondo for her push to get students back in the classroom.

“I don’t get it. The governor is one of the smartest people I know. I don’t get what she’s seeing that the educators aren’t,” NEA Rhode Island Executive Director Robert Walsh told NBC 10 News Thursday.

“We’re all saying the same thing. Start with distance learning. It’s not that hard. She’s not listening right now. We encourage her to listen,” Walsh said.

Raimondo has made clear she wants kids back in the classroom, and claims that won’t happen until it’s safe.

But teachers unions are increasingly voicing concerns over safety, especially now about air quality and ventilation in old schools.

The Providence Teachers Union is also calling for distance learning to start the school year, mostly because of concerns over ventilation.

Read more here.

WJAR Channel 10 News: Some RI classrooms don’t meet CDC recommendations to prevent COVID-19 spread

Air quality has become the latest concern for school districts, as Rhode Island debates whether to send students back to class.

The layout and design of a school building can impact the spread of COVID-19. The virus can infect people through respiratory droplets circulating in the air, which means a building’s heating, ventilation and HVAC system can play a major role in stopping the infection from spreading through particles.

Coventry Superintendent Craig Levis says air quality has become the latest barrier in reopening plans.

“I’m very concerned about air quality and ventilation. We have many classroom spaces that as of right now, we should not be putting kids in those,” he said.

Some buildings, like hospitals, have filters designed to remove these particles from the air, but NBC 10 learned the standard school building does not.

Many Rhode Island classrooms do not meet CDC recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which include increasing circulation of outdoor air, installing fans, and upgrading ventilation and filtration systems. Read more here.

AFL_CIO: Trumka to DNC Labor Council: Our Democracy Is at Stake

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka delivered the following remarks at the 2020 Democratic National Convention Labor Council Meeting:

I want to thank my longtime friend, Brother Stuart [Appelbaum], for that introduction. And I want to thank Chairman [Tom] Perez, for his great leadership.

As we convene this meeting of the Labor Council, as we begin four days of a Democratic convention unlike any other, working people are counting on us more than ever because working people are doing more for us than ever. Right now, in big cities and small towns, union members are on the job. A pandemic is not stopping us from lifting the loads, stocking the shelves and fighting the fires. From healing the suffering and teaching our children. And while many of us are joining this meeting and watching this convention from the comfort of our homes, too many working people are wondering if they will be able to keep their home or make next month’s rent. They are choosing between groceries and prescriptions. Millions are out of work through no fault of their own. As travel halts. And shows stop. And our economy grinds to a halt.

These workers did their job and they did it well, but our president refused to do his. Donald Trump did not create the coronavirus, but his utter incompetence, his inaction and his lack of basic compassion have made COVID-19 worse. Instead of pouring himself into a national response plan, the president is pouring gasoline on the fire!

Read more here.

The Conversation: COVID-19 is hitting tipped workers hard

Even prior to COVID-19, tipped workers suffered from the inadequacies of the United States’ social safety net and minimum wage standards.

The pandemic has exposed not only the inherent vulnerability of food service workers to a public health emergency but also how even government efforts to support them can fail those who rely on tips for some or most of their income.

As a postdoctoral fellow studying the health implications of precarious employment, including tipped-service work, I believe that there needs to be more help for tipped workers in order for them to survive the pandemic and whatever comes after.

Sick at work

Well before the first case of the coronavirus emerged on U.S. soil, food service jobs were among the 25 lowest-paid occupations in the country.

As cases began to crop up, initial public health guidance for workers included advising them to work from home and stay home when sick.

Read more here.

Voice of Labor:


Register here

Basic/Advanced Steward Training Virtual Workshop via ZOOM

The Institute for Labor Studies and Research is offering a Basic/Advanced Steward Training Virtual Workshop via ZOOM consisting of 2 sessions.

Tuesday, September 22 @ 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Tuesday, September 29 @ 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Seating is limited and on a first come first serve basis.

If you are interested in attending the Steward Training Virtual Workshop, please reply by Friday, September 11, 2020 directly to Denise Cesino at 401-463-9900 or dcesino@riilsr.org.

For more information visit Website.


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Voices in Labor:

William George Meany was born on this date. Meany was a labor leader for 57 years. He was the key figure in the creation of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), and served as its first president from 1955-1979. Meany’s father was a union plumber, and George also became a plumber at an early age. He became a full-time union official twelve years later. As an officer of the American Federation of Labor, he represented the AFL on the National War Labor Board during World War II. He served as president of the AFL from 1952 to 1955. He proposed its merger with the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in 1952, and led the negotiations until the merger was completed in 1955. He then served as president of the combined AFL-CIO for the next 24 years. Meany had a reputation for integrity and opposition to corruption in the labor movement, as well as uncompromising anti-communism. In his official biography, George Meany and His Times, he said he had “never walked a picket line in his life.” – 1894

This day marked the founding of the American Federation of Government Employees, following a decision by the National Federation of Federal Employees (later to become part of the International Association of Machinists) to leave the AFL. – 1932

The National Agricultural Workers Union merged into Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen. – 1960

Learn more

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