e-news: september 24, 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


For immediate release: September 22, 2020

Contact: Patrick Crowley

401.330.6870 / pcrowley@neari.org

Rhode Island AFL-CIO Endorses Ballot Question Changing the Official Name of the State of Rhode Island

Providence, RI – On Monday, September 21, 2020, the executive board of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO unanimously voted to endorse the proposed amendment to the state’s Constitution, dropping the phrase “ and Providence Plantations” from the official state name. The 80,000 member AFL-CIO is the largest labor organization in the state, representing working men and women in every community in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island AFL-CIO President George Nee said, “It is time for Rhode Island to remove the hurtful references to plantations in the official state name. Part of the mission of the AFL-CIO is to “vanquish ­oppression, privation and cruelty in all their forms” and one of those forms is embedded in the very name of our state. As working people, we cherish the idea of solidarity and take seriously the idea that “an injury to one is an injury to all.” As the entire country struggles to come to terms with the original sin of slavery in America, we as union members must also do our part. This is an important step in the right direction.”

Rhode Island AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Patrick Crowley said, “Black Lives Matter is not just a slogan: it is a call to action. As we identify the elements of structural racism that are holding us back as a country and as a state, we are committed to tearing down those structures that reinforce inequality and discrimination. It’s about more than a name on stationary – it is about standing together with all our sisters and brothers, in every community, and moving our state forward.”

The Rhode Island AFL-CIO is calling upon all members, and all working families, to vote YES on Question 1 to support the changing of the official name of the state on November 3.

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WJAR Turn to 10: Providence teachers protest district’s ‘Virtual Learning Academy’

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WJAR) — Ahead of Tuesday’s Rhode Island Department of Education meeting, dozens of Providence teachers gathered along Westminster Street to protest the district’s Virtual Learning Academy, a new option for students who chose not to attend school in-person.

“There was little to no planning for virtual learning,” said Providence Teachers Union President Maribeth Calabro. “They think things are going swimmingly in the opening of schools and we know differently. Parents signed on believing it would be the same as it was in the spring, but virtual learning, as it stands now, is not a teacher with 26 students. Now, it’s a teacher with 52 students at the elementary level.”

Calabro, who called the class-size an “impossible task” for some teachers to manage, said each is responsible for about 200 students at the high school level, and argued teaching middle school is complicated, too.

“With students online and students in front of them, that’s a logistical nightmare, trying to walk around with a Zoom camera to try and make sure the students online and the students in front of you can see the instruction,” Calabro said.Read more here.

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AFL-CIO: Ginsburg One of America’s Greatest Jurists

Statement from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

America has lost one of the greatest jurists in our nation’s history. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent her career defending the Constitution and the everyday working people who bring that document to life. She was a consistent, unshakable champion of civil and women’s rights and the freedom to form a union. The AFL-CIO, the labor movement and all those who aspire for dignity on the job are better off because of Justice Ginsburg’s service. Her passing leaves a hole in our collective hearts and a vacancy on the highest court in the land, and you can rest assured that America’s unions will honor Justice Ginsburg’s memory as we fight for our democracy in the days and weeks to come.

AFL-CIO: Get to Know AFL-CIO’s Affiliates: United Steelworkers

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

Name of Union: The United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (USW)

Mission:The values upon which the USW was founded in 1942 still guide the organization today. These include:

  • Uniting in one organization, regardless of creed, color or nationality, all workmen and working women eligible for membership.
  • Increasing the wages and improving the conditions of employment of members by legislation, joint agreements or other legitimate means.
  • Securing equitable statutory old-age pension, workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance laws.
  • Enforcing existing just laws and to secure the repeal of those which are unjust.
  • Securing, by legislative enactment, laws protecting the limbs, lives and health of members, protecting their right to organize and other legislation as will be beneficial.

Current Leadership of Union:Thomas M. Conway has served as the international president of the USW since July 15, 2019. Prior to that, he served as the international vice president (administration) since 2005. Born to a New Jersey union household, Conway began his union career in 1978 after serving in the U.S. Air Force.

Learn more here.

Laborers’ Health & Safety Fund of North America: Take a STAND Against Suicide This September

With a suicide rate four times higher than the national average, the construction industry is one of the most at-risk industries for suicide. Male-dominated industries tend to have more suicides, and the macho, tough guy culture of construction can discourage those most at risk for suicide from seeking help. There are many other contributing factors that put construction workers at a heightened risk for suicide. However, changing the workplace culture is likely one of the biggest differences we can make to help people come forward and ask for the help they need and deserve.What Is the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention?

The Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention (CIASP) was started in response to a CDC report that ranked construction as the #1 industry for deaths by suicide between 2012 and 2015. CIASP’s mission is to raise awareness about suicide prevention and provide resources and tools to create a zero suicide industry by uniting and supporting the construction community. The Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention is made up of contractors, association representatives and union representatives. Jamie Becker, the LHSFNA’s Director of Health Promotion, serves on the CIASP Board of Trustees.

Read more here.



Memorial service for nursing home victims of COVID-19

Today at 4 P.M at RI Department of Health, 3 Capitol Hill, Providence, RI

Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, hundreds of nursing home residents – our mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles – along with their caretakers, have tragically lost their lives to the virus in Rhode Island. The sad truth is too many nursing homes were unprepared to meet the challenge head on, lacking the proper staffing and supplies to keep residents and staff safe.

Join us for a Memorial Service for the victims of this terrible tragedy. Help us honor their lives, mourn their passing and commit ourselves to working to ensure every Rhode Island nursing home has safe staffing levels, proper supplies, equipment and training for staff to prevent a tragedy of this magnitude from ever happening again.

Sign-up here.

URI: Suffrage Centennial Lecture Series

In 2020 we celebrate two monumental events in American history: the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, granting American women the right to vote, and the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment that at least nominally enfranchised African American men. To mark the occasion, URI is planning a yearlong virtual series. Join us as we explore suffrage history and modern-day voting issues.

Virtual lectures and registration info here.

Upcoming Segment:

▪ Bob Delaney and Erica Hammond co-host the latest What’s Up at the Institute LaborVision segment and they are joined by three of their colleagues from the Institute for Labor Studies and Research (ILSR); Sabine Adrian, Fatima Martin, and Lorina Harte. The group discusses their new partnership with Tri-County Community Action Agency and the role ILSR played in Tri-County’s Virtual Career Exploration Academy. The group also highlights many of the programs ILSR has been running virtually including, English classes for speakers of other languages, the Pathways to Education Professions Program, and the Occupational Health and Safety Training for young workers.

▪ Also, Erica Hammond sits down with Jim Parisi of the RI Labor History Society to get an idea of what the organization does, how it operates, how it keeps interest alive by sponsoring history-themed projects with students, and a short lesson on its annual Labor Day commemoration.

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