e-news: October 22, 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

Providence Journal: Lifespan nurses’ union blasts management bonuses, asks hazard pay for members

PROVIDENCE — The union that represents nearly 3,000 nurses, therapists and other healthcare professionals at Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children’s Hospital is criticizing Lifespan for giving bonuses to mid-level managers and supervisors amid the pandemic — and renewing its call for hazard pay for union members.

The criticism from Local 5098 was sparked by Dr. Timothy J. Babineau, Lifespan’s president and CEO, who in a recent email to some employees outlined a one-time “monetary bonus” for middle managers and supervisors who “rose to meet the challenges of the last year.“

In a media release, Local 5098 president Frank Sims retorted that “anyone working in a hospital or clinical environment during this pandemic continues to put themselves and their loved ones at risk for the sake of providing care to others. Read more here.

Providence Journal: Dozens rally in Providence for ordinance requiring hotels to rehire workers

PROVIDENCE — Dozens of hotel workers on Thursday night rallied outside Providence City Hall in support of an ordinance that would require city hotels that have closed during the pandemic to, once they reopen, offer positions to previously laid-off workers before hiring new employees.

“When the jobs come back, we come back!” they shouted from the steps of City Hall while the Providence City Council met via Zoom.

Around 700 hotel workers in Providence are out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impacts, said City Council Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan.

“This ordinance before you tonight is really about fairness,” she said. “It’s about supporting our labor force… If you worked at a hotel in March and were laid off, then you should be called back when that hotel reopens.” Read more here.

Providence Hotel Workers Rally Outside City Hall

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Fortune: Why stronger labor unions would speed up America’s post-COVID recovery

Recessions always inflict the most pain on Americans in the middle and lower end of the income distribution range, destroying jobs, eroding wages and wiping out savings for those working in industries such as construction, manufacturing, hospitality and retail.

But the crushing economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have reached levels unseen in the last four decades, and the long-term scarring will be severe without intervention from Congress – not just in the form of emergency relief, but also with targeted policy solutions.    

One solution lawmakers should prioritize is a historic workers’ rights proposal, given that defanged labor protections are a large part of the reason the downturn has been so devastating to those who can least afford it. We need to bring back fairness to an economy that is increasingly plagued by a fundamental imbalance of power between workers and employers. And at a time when our nation is engaged in a vital conversation about economic justice, we need to make union membership a civil right.   Read more here.

Economic Policy Institute: Rebuilding American manufacturing—potential job gains by state and industry

Analysis of trade, infrastructure, and clean energy/energy efficiency proposals

This report examines the economic output and employment implications of a two-pronged strategy for rebuilding the domestic economy around high-wage jobs and restoring American manufacturing. Job losses due to growing U.S. trade deficits hit manufacturing industries particularly hard, shrinking the share of middle-class jobs available to workers without a college degree (Scott 2020; Scott and Mokhiber 2020). Failure to maintain and upgrade U.S. infrastructure investment has been a chronic weakness, hindering American public safety and productivity growth (ASCE 2017; Bivens 2014). Read more here.

Labor Notes: Review: Forty Years of Working-Class Films

If you search for films about labor, one makes every list: Norma Rae. This most iconic of union movies was a critical and box office smash when it came out in 1979, the same year Labor Notes published its first issue. At that moment, when more Americans than ever before were union members, it wasn’t surprising that a movie about a gutsy labor organizer would prove popular.

Now, over 40 years later, we know that the labor movement was not then surging but was on the cusp of collapse. And on the big screen, Norma Rae proved to be a one-off. Feature films expressly about class conflict have always been rare in American cinema, and in recent decades have become even more so.

It is still possible, though, to find engaging and valuable movies about working people where labor/management conflict is not the central focus. Here are my recommendations of some of the best that have come out since Norma Rae and Labor Notes debuted back in 1979.

To keep things manageable, I’ve excluded documentaries and foreign films. Most of my suggestions are available through online streaming services; see the box below for info on where to find them. Read more here.

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