e-news: may 20, 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.

WPRI Channel 12: McKee to sign bill increasing RI’s minimum wage to $15 by 2025

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Gov. Dan McKee is set to sign legislation on Thursday that will increase Rhode Island’s minimum wage to $15 over a four-year period.

The state’s minimum wage has been $11.50 since last October when former Gov. Gina Raimondo signed a bill that raised wages by $1.

The governor is scheduled to sign the bill during a ceremony outside the State House at 10:30 a.m.

With McKee’s signature, the minimum wage would increase to $12.25 on Jan. 1, 2022, $13 in 2023, $14 in 2024, then $15 by 2025.

McKee has previously expressed support for the legislation. He said during his weekly briefing Tuesday he looks forward to signing it into law.

McKee will be joined by House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi, Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio, along with bill sponsors Rep. David A. Bennett and Sen. Ana B. Quezada.

Providence Journal: RI environmental officials to lawmakers: Heat is on to join regional climate pact

To meet the mandatory greenhouse-gas reduction goals Rhode Island set earlier this year, state environmental officials Wednesday said lawmakers must join a proposed regional transportation carbon-pricing pact.

The Transportation Climate Initiative, which Rhode Island officials have been working on with counterparts from Massachusetts and other northeastern states, would cap diesel and gasoline emissions and charge wholesalers for their contribution to them.

Since taking office in March, Gov. Dan McKee has been noncommittal about the multi-state TCI plan his predecessor Gina Raimondo helped draw up.

But after some initial misgivings, McKee signed the Act on Climate requiring net zero emissions by 2050. And on Wednesday, his administration’s Department of Environmental Management made clear it is enthusiastic about the Transportation Climate Initiative. Read more here.

Providence Business News: Providence Foundation voices concerns, asks for more time on city TSA reform

PROVIDENCE – As the City Council prepares to take its second, and final, vote on more stringent requirements for developers whose projects receive city tax breaks, a local civic group representing prominent business leaders is asking lawmakers to take a step back.

The Providence Foundation in a press release on Tuesday outlined a host of concerns with the proposed Tax Stabilization Investment Act, calling for further consideration of how changes such as wage and apprenticeship requirements and expanded council review might impede development and the benefits projects bring to the city.

Cliff Wood, the foundation’s executive director, described the public statement as a last-ditch effort after previous negotiation attempts proved unsuccessful.

The council had its initial vote approving a compromise version of the ordinance earlier this month, though a second vote is required and the proposal can be amended at the second and final passage. Read more here.

Providence Journal: Bill that would give state employees ‘evergreen’ contract rights quickly approved by Senate committee

PROVIDENCE — In the blink of an eye, the Senate Labor Committee on Wednesday night approved a newly introduced bill — listed as a top priority of the AFL-CIO — to extend the terms of expired state employee contracts indefinitely when talks deadlock.

The lone sponsor of the bill introduced just last Friday: Senate Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey.

With the only Republican on the committee absent at the time of the vote, the tally was 7 to 0 without any audible testimony, on the night of the first and only hearing on the bill, which mirrors a controversial contract right given to teachers two years ago that is under challenge in court.

Gov. Dan McKee has not yet taken a stand on the legislation, which could impact the cost of every state union contract going forward. A House committee held a hearing on a matching bill but did not vote on it.

In response to a Journal inquiry, J. Michael Downey, the president of the largest state employees union — Council 94, AFSCME — said his union sent a brief letter supporting the bill.

But “I don’t think it is that big of a deal,” he said.  

He said only one governor in his four decades in the union — Republican Donald Carcieri — attempted by executive order to make state employees pay more for their health insurance than they paid under their expired contract. Read more here.

A message from Matthew Gunnip, President of the Rhode Island Alliance of Social Services Employees, SEIU, Local 580.

In 2010, legislation was passed “to provide the resources for the department of children, youth, and families to meet, achieve and sustain accreditation by the Council on Accreditation” and “the general assembly shall appropriate sufficient funds for expenses associated with achieving initial COA accreditation and subsequent re-accreditation with said funds being placed in a restricted receipt account to be used solely for this purpose.”

In 2010, this law was voted for by every legislator and the Governor. However, the law was not implemented.

Since this time there have been child fatalities and a Children’s Rights class action lawsuit that exposed our broken child welfare system that highlighted children falling through the cracks to due excessive caseloads, being understaffed, amongst other systemic failures. A lawsuit settlement agreement mandated by a federal consent decree to overhaul the DCYF system. At this time 9 out of 12 benchmarks of the consent decree have still not been met despite years gone by.

DCYF is understaffed by 90 workers and our most vulnerable children continue to fall through the cracks.

The past is the past.

We have the opportunity to do what every child fatality report for the last 20 years has recommended, appropriately staff DCYF.

The time is now to pass and implement the 2010 legislation to fully fund accreditation. This is our moment to leave a legacy of truly reforming DCYF. Join us in contacting our legislators to fight for our children at work and our children at home who are affected by our stress and burnout due to our high caseloads.

Please take a moment to register in support of our brothers and sisters of SEIU, Local 580. Register here

Providence Journal: Opinion/Goodwin and Slater: Our seniors deserve the care they need

Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin, D-Providence, and Rep. Scott A. Slater, D-Providence, are the sponsors of the Nursing Home Staffing and Quality Care Act.

Nursing home residents deserve quality care. When a family makes the difficult decision to choose placement in a long-term-care facility, they do so with the expectation that they will be receiving quality, nurturing care.

Sadly, for years we have heard from our constituents and front-line caregivers that nursing home residents are not always receiving sufficient quality of care, a problem exacerbated by the pandemic. Residents need greater certainty of quality care, including the implementation of guaranteed staffing minimums.

That is why we sponsored legislation to make our nursing homes safer. The legislation sets a state standard, with minimum hours of care to residents. We want to give residents and their families the peace of mind that comes from knowing these standards are in place to ensure staffing levels that adequately meet the needs of residents. Our legislation makes it clear that patient care and protection is a priority. Read more here.

Randi Weingarten, President of AFT Twitter:
I’ve spent the day in Providence with @PTU958 and @rifthp. I’m so glad I got to tour some amazing schools with @Renny920 and @RIFTFrankFlynn.

General Teamsters, Local 251 Facebook:


On Friday, Johnson Brothers of RI workers held a “Just Practicing” informational rally at their workplace, along with other Teamsters members and retirees.

On Saturday, the workers again informed the public about Gallo wine products, this time at the Applebee’s restaurant in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

These 12 essential workers are standing strong and demanding fair treatment.

View pictures here.

Economic Policy Institute: Identifying the policy levers generating wage suppression and wage inequality

Inequalities abound in the U.S. economy, and a central driver in recent decades is the widening gap between the hourly compensation of a typical (median) worker and productivity—the income generated per hour of work. This growing divergence has been driven by two other widening gaps, that between the compensation received by the vast majority of workers and those at the top, and that between labor’s share of income and capital’s. This paper presents evidence that the divorce between the growth of median compensation and productivity, the inequality of compensation, and the erosion of labor’s share of income has been generated primarily through intentional policy decisions designed to suppress typical workers’ wage growth, the failure to improve and update existing policies, and the failure to thwart new corporate practices and structures aimed at wage suppression. Inequality will stop rising, and paychecks for typical workers will start rising robustly in line with productivity, only when we enforce labor standards and embrace policies that reestablish individual and collective bargaining power for workers.

Between 1979 and 2017, the compensation of median workers trailed economywide (net) productivity growth by roughly 43%, leading to rising inequality. The effects have been felt broadly: During this time 90% of U.S. workers experienced wage growth slower than the economywide average, while workers at the top (mostly highly credentialed professionals and corporate managers) and owners of capital reaped large rewards made possible only by this anemic wage growth for the bottom 90%. Read more here.

View full picture here.


RICOSH – Heat Stroke Seminar

When: May 26th @ Noon

Register in advance for this meeting: https://aflcio.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAvceuvrDkrH9PPZqvRZZ9ah-ju7QsjIHQ-

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Now playing on Labor Vision

Erica Hammond sits down with both Jessica Lachey, Strategic Events Manager and Program Officer of the Young Leaders Circle at United Way of Rhode Island and Maria Marroquin a Member and the Community Engagement Chair of the Young Leaders Circle (YLC). YLC began thirteen years ago with a group of 200 members, and it has since grown to over 1800. The network is an ever-growing group of young professionals, between the ages of 25-40, who come from all different walks of life but share many common values. The group highlights the 3-pilars of membership; Professional Development, Community Engagement, and Fundraising, as well as the many ways this network is working to make Rhode Island a better place to live and work for everyone.

Check out this segment on our website to learn more about how you can join this network for free and get involved in the work they’re doing. Don’t miss their fundraiser coming up on Saturday, April 22nd at the Misquamicut Drive-In Movie Theater. For any questions about the Young Leaders Circle or upcoming events check out their page on the United Way of RI website or contact Jessica Lachey: jessica.lachey@unitedwayri.org.

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