e-news: april 22, 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.

AFL-CIO Weekly Dispatch: Three Questions for Rhode Island AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Patrick Crowley

The AFL-CIO is including this regular feature in our Dispatch newsletter, where we ask three questions of a labor leader. We continue this feature with a short interview with Patrick Crowley (NEA), secretary-treasurer of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO. Q: How did you get started in the labor movement? A: My first union job was as a member of RWDSU-UFCW Local 513 in Needham, Massachusetts, when I worked at the Coca-Cola factory to pay my way through college, but I really first became an active member when I joined UAW Local 2322 as a graduate student employee for the Labor Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Q: What are your highest priorities in 2021? A: The Rhode Island AFL-CIO helped to organize Climate Jobs Rhode Island, a coalition of unions and environmental organizations that work on prioritizing a just transition to a green economy. So far we’ve made good progress, helping to pass a pro-worker environmental bill into law called the “Act on Climate.” We are also working on increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024, trying to make wage-theft a felony, establishing a patient/caregiver staffing ratio for nursing home workers, and enacting a moratorium on new charter schools. We are also advocating to make our statewide public bus service, RIPTA (where members of Amalgamated Transit Union [ATU] Local 618 work) free to all riders, so the service can expand and help us address the effects of climate change by encouraging more people to use public transportation. Q: Can you tell us about recent progress that the Rhode Island AFL-CIO has had? A: Despite everything going on with the pandemic, it’s been great to help our affiliates continue to organize new workers. In recent weeks we’ve seen union organizing wins for both private and public sector affiliates, adding members in the cannabis industry, school bus drivers, and public higher education. I’m optimistic that with the support of Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse we can get the PRO Act passed so we can ramp up our organizing even more


On Friday April 23rd, 250 members of UAW Local 7770 at Tiverton Casino will collect their share of the over $300,000 settlement awarded after a 2-year battle with the former Twin River Corporation, currently Bally’s Corp.

UAW Local 7770, a part of Region 9A, represents Environmental Service Workers, Cage Cashiers, and Waitstaff, as well as many other workers at Tiverton Casino. The Locals legal battle began with a grievance filed by President Cathy Rayner, a 44-year employee and longtime Union activist. The grievance alleged the employer unilaterally changed many employees shift lengths to avoid paying employees for a 30-minute break- a benefit they had enjoyed for over 20 years with the previous owner, Newport Grand Casino.

The case eventually landed in the hands of Arbitrator Craig Overton who in his February 29, 2020 decision, found Tiverton Casino had violated the parties Collective Bargaining Agreement and ordered the employees receive compensation equal to the pay and benefits lost due to the casino’s violation. Tiverton Casino filed a petition in US District Court for the District of Rhode Island to vacate the Award. UAW Local 7770, represented by Attorney Marc Gursky again prevailed with the Honorable Judge John McConnell Jr. affirming the arbitrators award on November 30, 2020 and further ordering Tiverton Casino to reimburse the Unions legal fees. Read more here.

Op-Ed by Erik Loomis (@ErikLoomis) a history professor at the University of Rhode Island and the author of “A History of America in Ten Strikes.”

New York Times: Why the Amazon Workers Never Stood a Chance

Our system of labor law and regulations has too strongly tilted the playing field in favor of companies and against unions.

Labor activists had great hopes for the attempt to organize the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., and the effort by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union attracted national attention.

President Biden released a video in support of the right of workers to join a union without company interference. As far as I know, no previous president — not even Franklin Delano Roosevelt or Harry Truman — made such a direct statement about a specific union campaign. Other high-profile supporters of the union — from Senator Bernie Sanders to the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II — appeared at rallies in Bessemer.

But the union lost the election — and in a rout. Some critics claimed it did not do the proper legwork to gain worker support. The lack of a union culture in Alabama meant few workers had experience with one. (And only roughly half the eligible workers voted.)

But the biggest barrier for the union — as it is in nearly every private sector union campaign in the country — is that the system of labor law and regulations created in the New Deal no longer functions effectively. Corporate manipulation of the labor law regime has so strongly tilted the playing field in favor of companies that winning a private sector union election has become nearly impossible. Read more.

Secretary-Treasurer Patrick Crowley Twitter:
Happy #Earthday to all of the champions making #RI a better place ! @RISenate @RIHouseofReps @SenatorRuggerio @RISpeaker @GovDanMcKee @DawnEuer@CBlazejewski @SenWhitehouse @SenJackReed @davidcicilline @JimLangevin @TNC_RI @GEConsumers @riaflcio @ri_trades @cleanwater_ri

AFL-CIO: Trumka: Chauvin Verdict Just The Beginning

Press Release: April 20, 2021

Statement from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on the conviction of Derek Chauvin:

We are relieved the jury delivered justice for George Floyd’s family. Floyd’s murder shocked our collective conscience and sparked a movement for change that has inspired America over the past year. While this verdict is welcome news, the work of dismantling systemic racism and white supremacy is just beginning. As members of our communities and representatives of union public safety professionals, the labor movement has a unique role to play in changing this culture of policing. We are hard at work developing a public safety blueprint for change, and we look forward to using our experience and influence to heal this nation through liberty and justice for all.

Contact: Carolyn Bobb (202) 637-5018

AFL-CIO Twitter: BREAKING: @Sen_JoeManchin has signed on to co-sponsor the #PROAct, saying it will “level the playing field” for union workers.

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International Association of Fire Fighters: Collective Bargaining Bill Passes First Hurdle in Congress

Legislation to extend basic collective bargaining rights to fire fighters and emergency medical personnel in all 50 states has been introduced in the U.S. House by Representatives Dan Kildee (D-MI) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA). The bipartisan Fire Fighters and EMS Employer Employee Cooperation Act, HR 2586, is expected to be advanced by the House Education and Labor Committee and the full House of Representatives in the coming months.

“Fire fighters and emergency medical personnel deserve to have a say in their own health and safety and that of the people they protect,” says General President Edward Kelly. “This important legislation will guarantee that we protect our members and their families in all 50 states, including for the nearly 80,000 fire fighters and EMS personnel currently lacking such rights, and provides a needed voice for our hard-working members who dedicate their careers to keeping their communities safe.” Read more here.


Celebrating our YMCA Heroes

Join us as we celebrate our fourth annual Y Heroes Event on Cinco de Mayo Wednesday, May 5 2021 on our YMCA Facebook page. Armand Sabitoni, General Secretary-Treasurer, & New England Regional Manager, Laborers International Union of North America is one of the Y heroes being honored. For more information and to donate, visit YMCAHeroes.org.

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Now playing on Labor Vision

LaborVision welcomes Jocelynn White of Books Are Wings and Lori DiMatteo of United Way of RI to talk about their annual Children’s Book drive. This month-long event, kicks off on May 1st and is a collaboration between Books Are Wings, United Way of RI, and Women United. Over the last eight years this event has put 216,675 books into the hands of children throughout Rhode Island. The goal is to collect new and gently used books for babies to middle school-aged youth in an effort to foster a love for reading and the opportunity for children to grow their at-home libraries.

Reading is a critical part of learning development in young children. Children who are not proficient in reading by the end of third grade are four times less likely to graduate from high school than proficient readers. It is Books Are Wings’ mission to put free books in the hands of children because they believe every child deserves access to high-quality reading materials. Tune into this segment to learn more about not only this event but also the incredible work BAW is doing in our community.

Contact Info: bookdrive@unitedway.org

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