E-NEWS: DECEMBER 16, 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.


The Boston Globe: Unions, climate groups call for ‘decarbonizing’ R.I. public school buildings

Climate Jobs Rhode Island calls for using federal funds and placing a school bond referendum on the ballot in 2022

PROVIDENCE — A coalition of labor unions and environmental groups is calling for Rhode Island to tap federal and state funds to “decarbonize” public school buildings by shifting them from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.

The Climate Jobs Rhode Island coalition is urging Governor Daniel J. McKee and General Assembly leaders to back a 2022 school bond referendum and to use some of the $1.1 billion in American Rescue Plan Act money to help school districts who already have projects underway.

The coalition said the “Green and Healthy Schools” initiative would help Rhode Island meet the targets established in the newly enacted Act on Climate, which requires Rhode Island to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 45 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and to achieve “net zero” emissions by 2050. Decarbonizing every public school in the state would eliminate 105,913 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, the group said.

“Crumbling schools powered on fossil fuels are bad for kids, teachers, support staff, school lunch employees, and our planet,” Rhode Island AFL-CIO President George Nee said. “It’s time to rebuild our schools for the future — with solar panels, energy efficiency retrofits, and climate-safe school buildings. And let’s do it with the strongest labor and equity standards in the country.” Read more here.


Secretary Jennifer Granholm Facebook:
Rhode Island is at the forefront of offshore wind! Thanks to @GovDanMcKee’s leadership, Rhode Island will house the first regional offshore wind manufacturing facility of its kind—increasing job growth, speeding up supply chains, & opening the U.S. for business on offshore wind.

Watch video with Secretary Granholm and labor leaders here.


General Teamsters Local 251 Facebook: RI School Bus Workers Need ARPA Funding To Support Essential Services

View pictures here.
School bus drivers, monitors and aides from Smithfield, Pawtucket, Scituate and Portsmouth represented by Teamsters Local 251 are sending a loud and clear message to First Student and Durham School Services, “We give our best to the students we transport and deserve fair wages, benefits and working conditions!” Workers at all the bus yards have all authorized a strike and begun “practice picketing.” The Smithfield Durham bus yard was the latest to make their message public and received great support from the community when they picketed last week between the morning and afternoon runs. Durham school services workers, members of UFCW Local 328, in Cumberland RI expressed their solidarity. After a nearly two year long battle, these workers achieved a first contract. General Teamsters Local 251 worked hard with the General Assembly and the Governor’s office to pass legislation that will bring these workers better wages and benefits, but the law won’t fully take effect until 2024. Currently these workers are still dealing with the consequences of COVID, whether from work schedule instabilities or concerns over the latest variant making its way onto their buses. In the meantime, the State and municipalities have the ability to allocate some of the $1.1 billion in broad stimulus funding already received from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) as a stopgap until the new law is fully implemented. A strike is always a last resort but as each day passes without agreements, it gets closer and closer to that point.


NEA Rhode Island Twitter:
Our deep appreciation to the @RISenate, @hannagallo27, @SenatorMillerRI

Nancy Miller, and Senate staff for hosting the annual Gingerbread Express lunch and bringing holiday joy to public school students in need through the NEARI Children’s Fund. Happy Holidays!

View pictures here.


RI Council 94 Facebook: DCYF Pajama Drive RI Council 94 would like to recognize the very gracious work in the DCYF Pajama Drive by President Mario DiDino of Local 2876, his wife, and various members. Together, they were able to raise almost 4,000 pairs of pajamas to help those in DCYF Care.
Please see the below message from President DiDino: I want to take this opportunity to personally thank everyone for their tremendous support with our 1st Annual DCYF Pajama Drive. Thank you for sharing information about this pajama drive and helping to collect these essential items. Your generous donations helped us to gather nearly 4,000 pairs of new pajamas for children and youth of all ages. These pajamas will go directly to children who come into DCYF care. Cozy pajamas are something we can provide to make them feel more comfortable. Thank you for your heart-felt support for our children in care. I appreciate your kindness and wish all of you the happiest of holiday seasons! Mario DiDino President, Local 2876


AFL-CIO: Message from Liz Shuler

  • The tornadoes that ripped through several states on Friday have left a trail of devastation and heartbreak. Our thoughts are with the dozens of families who lost loved ones—including the many workers at a candle factory and an Amazon warehouse who were killed.
  • From the rubble of this disaster, union members will do what we always do: Roll up our sleeves and get to work building stronger communities. Union members know the power of the bond we share is there to rely on in the difficult days ahead.
  • With each ensuing extreme weather event, we are reminded that the climate crisis is not just a future problem. It’s happening right now. The labor movement will continue to center those impacted by climate change in our work toward a clean energy future built by good-paying union jobs.


Bloomberg: Starbucks Workers Push to Unionize in Boston Area After New York Win

Starbucks Corp. employees are petitioning to unionize two Massachusetts coffee shops, just days after a landmark New York vote created the sole labor foothold among the chain’s thousands of corporate-run U.S. stores.

In filings with the National Labor Relations Board on Monday, workers at locations in Boston and nearby Brookline requested votes on joining Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. The same union last week prevailed in initial vote-counting at one of three stores in the Buffalo region where it had petitioned in August for elections. The group fell short at a second, while the third result hinges on the outcome of voter-eligibility disputes. Workers United has also filed for votes at three other New York sites and one in Arizona.

The filings in Massachusetts underscore how quickly change may be coming for Starbucks, which has long resisted organizing efforts. Pro-union employees in Buffalo say they’ve heard from a slew of supportive coworkers around the country. The union’s staying power will depend in large part on its ability to actually secure a collective bargaining agreement with Starbucks, which is no easy task. While federal law requires that a company negotiate “in good faith” once a union is certified to have won an election, it doesn’t force it to make major concessions.Read more here.





UPCOMING EVENTS:TEAMSTERS, Local 251SOLIDARITY WITH JOHNSON BROTHERS WORKERSPlease visit the picket line and show Johnson Brothers that workers stick together and will not be treated like second-class citizens. Picket lines are up 24 hours a day at: Johnson Brothers of Rhode Island
120 Moscrip Ave.
North Kingstown RI 02852
Key times are 6:30-8:30 a.m. and 4-6 p.m.
Customer banners are typically on Wednesdays from 4-6pm. Contact us to participate.
Johnson Brothers of RI Donations can be made to: Teamsters Local 251 Strike Fund, 121 Brightridge Ave. East Providence RI 02914

More information here.



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Coming up on Labor Vision

New show host Autumn Guillotte sits down with  Paul Valletta, of the Rhode Island State Association Of Fire Fighters to discuss Labor’s Recommendations for RI’s ARPA Funding and how it can be used to protect our first responders.

The American Rescue Plan Act (or “ARPA”) was signed into law on March 11, 2021 by President Biden. This Act is a way for the Federal Government to aid State and Municipal governments coping with the fall-out from the COVID-19 pandemic. Rhode Island’s share of these dollars includes $1.13 billion for state fiscal relief, $540 million for local fiscal relief, and $415 million for relief for k-12 schools.

On August 4, 2021, the Rhode Island AFL-CIO convened a gathering of labor leaders from across the state to discuss how the State could best deploy these funds to help working class Rhode Islanders. The full list of 26 Recommendations can be accessed here: https://bit.ly/ARPARecs.

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