E-News: January 14, 2021

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

Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce YouTube:

Chamber President Laurie White spoke with Michael F. Sabitoni, President of the Rhode Island Building & Construction Trades Council and Business Manager for the Laborers’ Union Local 271.

Watch Video

Valley Breeze: Lawmakers happy with St. Joseph pension settlement

Senate President Dominick Ruggerio and House Speaker-elect Joseph Shekarchi were among the state leaders expressing hope and saying they were satisfied with a $30 million-plus settlement announced Monday between members of the failed St. Joseph pension plan and several of the defendants they sued for its mismanagement.

“In the end, we want to see the hardworking health care employees of the St. Joseph’s system get the security and funds they deserve for their retirement. We are hopeful that this settlement and any future settlements with remaining defendants will restore as much as possible to the members. One thing the pandemic has made clear is just how dedicated health care workers are and how critical they are to our community. Obviously, their hard-earned retirement assets should be protected, and we are glad to see progress toward addressing the grave injustice that was done to them in this situation,” said Ruggerio, of District 4, North Providence and Providence. Read more here.

RI Committee Occupational Safety & Health: A Year-end Summary of RICOSH Activities for 2020

• With the onslaught of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic RICOSH has been an active part of Protecting Workers Alliance an international network of occupational clinicians, academics, unionists and other health professionals to understand and explore the many facets of the pandemic, from modes of transmission to methods of control, to vaccines and surveillance and tracing. RICOSH has joined on the RIDOH COVID Providers advisory weekly (and now biweekly) briefings. At the request of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s’ staff we drafted a policy memo on Rebuilding a Robust Pandemic Planning and Response System. In the early stages of the pandemic we proposed to the RI healthcare community and the Governor and RIDOH to prepare for a possible surge that might well overwhelm our health care infrastructure by converting Pawtucket’s vacant Memorial facility to serve as a dedicated COVID isolation facility.

• Meanwhile RICOSH has continued working with a National Heat Protection Campaign a coalition of unions and occupational health professionals and advocates to address occupational heat stress issues especially as one key impact of our changing climate will be more frequent days of extreme heat. Read more here.

AFL-CIO: Trumka Unveils Workers First Agenda for 2021: Reiterates Call for Trump Removal

January 12, 2021
President Trumka’s full remarks.

Today, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka introduced the Workers First Agenda to fight back against COVID-19 and build an economy that puts more power and prosperity into the hands of working people. He also discussed the role the labor movement has in preserving democracy after last week’s riot incited by President Trump.

Key Excerpts:

“At the center of this agenda is the PRO Act—Protecting the Right to Organize. This worker empowerment legislation would allow millions to freely and fairly form a union. So we can raise wages and expand health care. So we can make workplaces safer and retirement more secure. So we can expand opportunities for women, immigrants, people of color and the LGBTQ community. The PRO Act is more than labor law reform legislation. It’s an economic stimulus bill. It’s a civil rights package.”

“That is why workers’ safety is another priority of our agenda. We will never get this pandemic under control if we cannot protect working people. That starts with emergency COVID-19 OSHA and MSHA standards so we can protect workers from this virus.”

Read more here.

AFL-CIO: AFL-CIO Launches Technology Institute

January 11, 2021

Amanda Ballantyne Named Inaugural Director

Today, the AFL-CIO launched its Technology Institute, which will leverage the power of technology and innovation for the labor movement. Leading this cutting-edge initiative is Institute Director Amanda Ballantyne, who brings diverse experience in labor and economic justice work. As executive director of the Main Street Alliance, she grew a groundbreaking project into a powerful, national organization. Under Ballantyne’s leadership, the organization developed campaign strategies to engage small business owners in winning a variety of progressive reforms, including job-quality policies like earned sick time, minimum wage and family leave.

The pace of current technological breakthrough is happening so fast, it has no historical precedent. Experts call this the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Technology, like automation and artificial intelligence, is changing life and work, and how people connect and communicate. And the COVID-19 pandemic is only accelerating the digital transformation. Read more here.

AFSCME: Health experts reassure union members that COVID vaccines are safe, effective

The nation’s four largest public sector unions, AFSCME, SEIU, AFT and NEA, sponsored a virtual town hall with leading scientific experts, academics and government officials to explain the safety, efficacy and equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines.

A big goal of Tuesday night’s town hall was to reassure union members that the vaccines are safe and effective and that they shouldn’t hesitate to get vaccinated when it’s their turn.

More than 8 million members of the four unions have been on the front lines of the pandemic, serving their communities, caring for the sick and the elderly, and keeping our cities, towns and schools functioning. Many of them will be among the first to receive the vaccines.

The experts’ responses offered a window into not only how the vaccines were developed safely, but how experts prioritized vaccine distribution equitably, across diverse communities.

The town hall was moderated by Dr. David Michaels of the George Washington University School of Public Health, who served in the Obama administration and is a member of the Biden-Harris COVID advisory board. Read more here.

Bread and Roses 1912-2012 Facebook:

Effective January 1, 1912, a Massachusetts law reduced the maximum workweek for women and children from 56 to 54 hours. When paid on January 11, Polish and Lithuanian women weavers at the Everett Cotton Mills realized their wages had been reduced by approximately 32 cents. Stopping their looms, they left the mill shouting, “Short pay, short pay!” On January 12, thousands more workers join the strike. The Lawrence Eagle-Tribune reported on a strike meeting held on Friday, January 11: “Voting unanimously to walk out if their pay for 54 hours is less than that received for 56 hours, several hundred Italians, Poles, and Lithuanians, who are employed in the local mills, met last evening at Ford’s Hall. A majority of those who attended the meeting will receive their pay today. A mass meeting will be held Saturday afternoon at 2 o’clock in the City Hall at which speakers in English, Italian, Polish, and French will be present.”

As the strike entered its first full week mill owners expected things to return to normal on Monday, January 15; instead, lines hardened. More militia companies arrived to patrol the streets, as shown above. Strike leaders issued a call for others in the city to join them: “To all Workers of Lawrence, as long as the fight was confined to the mills of Lawrence and appeared not to extend any further we deemed it unnecessary to appeal to other classes of workers; but now that the combination of capitalists have shown the unity of all our adversaries, we call on you as brothers and sisters to join hands with us in this great movement. Our cause is just.”


United Way of RI: Annual Celebration, 2021

Phil Fogarty of Utility Workers, Local 310 will receive the Dante Mollo Labor Award at the Annual Celebration, 2021

Join United Way of Rhode Island for our 94th Annual Celebration on Thursday, January 14, 2021 via Zoom.

During this inspiring evening, we’ll kick-off United Way’s new 5-year strategic plan: LIVE UNITED 2025. We will also celebrate our community partners and recognize local leaders who strive to make Rhode Island a better place.

Save the date:

Time: 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Cost: Free
Where: Zoom | Meeting details will be included in your confirmation email.Sign-up here.

Raise the Bar on Resident Care Event

Rally for Nursing Home JusticeDate: Thursday, January 21 at 3:30 p.m.
Location: Veterans Memorial Auditorium 1 Avenue of the Arts, Providence

More info here.

If you want a voice on the job or to build a better workplace, click the here to start organizing and taking action.

Now playing on Labor Vision

The 3-segment series addressing the RI Opioid Crisis is now playing on our website: www.laborvision.org

In the first segment (Part I), Erica Hammond sits down with RI Building and Construction Trades Council President, Michael Sabitoni who outlines the industry impact this crisis has had. Nationally, construction workers account for 20-25% of overdose fatalities and in RI, 1 in 5 individuals who have died of an overdose worked in the construction industry. Over the past few years, the RI Building and Construction Trades Council, along with several partners, such as, Building Futures RI, the Associated General Contractors of America RI Chapter, and RI Dept. of Labor and Training have been working to address this issue and educate leaders and workers on ways to combat it. In this episode, Hammond and Sabitoni discuss some of the reasons this issue has affected construction workers at an alarming rate compared to other industries as well as what’s being done to address it. Sabitoni also highlights many of the peer support programs and resources available for individuals struggling with addiction.

During the second segment (Part II), Hammond is joined by Jill Traecy, a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker & Health Initiatives Manager at Building Futures, to discuss a new training she’s been working on with partners mentioned above. The RI Opioid Crisis: Our Response Our Recovery training is to be offered in all trade union halls as well as on as many construction/job sites in the state as possible. In this segment Traecy outlines each of the training’s core components, additional resources, as well as how to schedule a training.

In the last segment (Part III), Hammond sits down with Tim Potter, a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist, along with Jill Traecy to discuss the benefits and the significant importance of peer support programs along the path of recovery. The group talks about many of the resources offered to individuals who are struggling with addition and/or on the path to recovery.

Additional resources:


Check out these segments and all future segments on our website: www.laborvisionri.org

Cox Channel 14 & FIOS Channel 33
Tuesday @ 7pm
Thursday @ 8pm
Saturday @ 5pm
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