e-news: August 27, 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

WPRI Channel 12 News: Postal workers protest in Providence amid concerns over cutbacks, late deliveries

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Postal workers gathered outside of the Main Post Office in Providence Tuesday morning, but not to deliver mail.

Instead, members of Rhode Island’s Federal Delegation and postal workers joined together against recent changes made to the mail service by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. This comes one day after DeJoy sat before the House Committee.

Following legislation passed by the house over the weekend, Reed and Whitehouse are calling on the Senate Majority leader to take up a vote to fund the Postal Service with $15 billion.

Just last week, the delegation was at this very same post office sharing stories of constituents who are not receiving medication, paychecks, or bills on time.

Read more and watch video here.

Watch Video

IAFF: New Law Protects Rhode Island Members Disabled by Cancer

Following the successful lobbying efforts by the Rhode Island State Association of Fire Fighters (RISAFF), state legislators have passed a law guaranteeing cancer as an occupational illness and providing accidental disability benefits to fire fighters who can no longer work due to cancer complications.

“Our Rhode Island State Association of Fire Fighters team did an incredible job fighting to pass this law to protect our members with cancer,” says General President Harold Schaitberger. “It is one of the best presumptive laws I have seen to date.”

“On the job, our members are exposed to cancer-causing agents every day. This law takes the burden of proving exactly which call caused their cancer,” says RISAFF President Joe Andriole. “I want to especially thank RISAFF lobbyist Paul Valetta for successfully guiding the legislation through the General Assembly to secure this benefit for our members who need it.”

If a fire fighter is diagnosed with a cancer but is expected to be treated and return to work, he or she is covered with full pay and benefits. However, if a fire fighter is unable to return to work due to complications from cancer, he or she can apply for accidental disability benefits through the pension system. Read more here.

RICOSH: National COSH statement on the U.S. DOL’s Office of Inspector General report on whistleblower complaints

August 20, 2020  

Contact: Roger Kerson @ Roger@nationalcosh.org, 734.645.0535

Whistleblower Complaints Skyrocket During COVID-19 as Inspector General warns of delays and calls for faster investigations

“OSHA was challenged to complete investigations in a timely manner before the pandemic and the potential exists for even greater delays now,” states an investigative report from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General (OIG)*. “As COVID-19 illnesses and deaths continue to rise, OSHA needs to act quickly to investigate whistleblower complaints, so employees feel protected when reporting unsafe working conditions.”

According to the August 14 OIG report, OSHA received more than 4,100 complaints of illegal retaliation against whistleblowers during the first four months of the COVID-19 pandemic, from February 1, 2020 through May 31, 2020. This is a 30 percent increase compared to complaints received during the same four-month period in 2019.

Read more here.


#WeMakeEvents #RedAlertRESTART and #ExtendPUA represent a major call to action on Tuesday, September 1, 2020, imploring the US Congress to pass the RESTART Act (S.3814) as quickly as possible, offering economic relief to the Live Events Industry, which has been shuttered since March 2020, putting millions of people out of work. Additionally, the movement is to support ExtendPUA.org in their efforts towards continuation and extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to provide relief to those without work due to COVID-19.

The new date is September 1, 2020, when buildings, structures, and residences will be lit in red from 9 pm – 12 am (local time in each market) as the event rolls across North America. The goal to raise public awareness that the Live Events Industry is on Red Alert for its very survival, and create congressional pressure to act now.

As theaters, concert tours, festivals, opera houses, trade shows, and other live events as well as film and television production remain closed, or open on a very limited basis, the entire industry is impacted, from designers, technicians, programmers, and stagehands to rental shops, manufacturers, and distributors of entertainment technology. The first industry to close last March, Live Events could be the last sector to re-open due to the COVID-19 crisis.

More info on Website here.

Economic Policy Institute: Union workers are paid 11.2% more and have greater access to health insurance and paid sick days than their nonunion counterparts

Policymakers must strengthen workers’ ability to form unions, particularly during the coronavirus crisis

A new report by the Economic Policy Institute discusses the importance of unions and workers’ collective action in establishing an equitable economy, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic.

The authors find that unionized workers earn on average 11.2% more in wages than nonunionized peers (workers in the same industry and occupation with similar education and experience). Unionized Black workers are paid 13.7% more than their nonunionized peers, while unionized Hispanic workers are paid 20.1% more than their nonunionized peers. White workers represented by union are paid 8.7% more than their nonunionized peers. Additionally, 94% of workers covered by a union contract have access to employer-sponsored health benefits, compared with just 68% of nonunion workers and 91% of workers covered by a union contract have access to paid sick days, compared with 73% of nonunion workers.

However, in 2019, only 1 in 9 U.S. workers were covered by a union contract, while 48% of all nonunion workers who say they would vote for a union if given the opportunity.

Read more here.

Labor 411: Union-made back to school shopping list

When we think of end of summer and “back to school,” most of us flash to days gone by when our young scholars actually left the house – backpacks stuffed with new supplies – to go back to their physical classroom. For the time being, that won’t be possible for most of us, and our sons and daughters will be pursuing their education from the comfort of home. Still, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be loading up on notebooks, art supplies and the other items that, even from home, they will need to stay prepared and organized. We’ve thrown in a couple of sanitary items because things like tissues are especially important now. The products listed below are made by companies that treat their workers fairly and give them a voice on the job.

Study hard, stay healthy and let’s all work together to build a stronger America.

See shopping list here.


RICOSH / RI AFL-CIO ZOOM Workship: Heat Illness and Staying Healthy in the Heat

Thursday, September 3rd at 3 p.m.

Climate change is already making extreme heat waves more likely and even hotter.  815 workers perished in the United States 1992 through 2017 from heat-related illness. Solutions to heat stress are well-known: constant water/liquid intake, rest in a shaded or climate-controlled location, among other measures. It is important that workers and employers recognize heat’s hazards and what works to minimize these hazards.

Register in advance for this meeting here.

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

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:

Joyce Miller, Vice President of the Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers, became the first woman to sit on the AFL-CIO Executive Council. She was also the co-founder and longtime president of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW). – 1980

The International Longshore & Warehouse Union was granted a charter by the AFL-CIO. – 1988

The Mechanics Gazette, believed to be the first U.S. labor newspaper, was published in Philadelphia, the outgrowth of a strike by carpenters demanding a shorter, 10-hour day. The strike lost but labor journalism blossomed: within five years there were 68 labor newspapers across the country, many of them dailies. – 1827

The National Association of Letter Carriers formed. – 1889

Learn more

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