E-NEWS: DECEMBER 30, 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.


UFCW Local 328 Cannabis Division Facebook:

Breaking News! After months of investigations, the National Labor Relations Board issued multiple complaints against Greenleaf for violations of workers’ rights. In a victory for workers, the company agreed to settle on every complaint. The agreed to settlement includes: – Back pay for employees during a six-week period the company did not extend their employee discount to eligible union voters – Back pay for employees affected by the company’s elimination of the Friday lunch program for the past 25 weeks – The immediate reinstatement of the Friday lunch program – The offer of reinstatement to employee Ben Telford, who was illegally terminated by the company in June, with compensation of full back pay for wages, interest and additional compensation – The immediate restoration and protection of bargaining unit work for keyholders – A signed commitment by the company to not interfere with employees’ rights under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, to not disparage, surveil, discipline or discharge workers for their union activity, to not create new positions to avoid collective-bargaining obligations, to not transfer work to managers or other employees because of their union activity, and a commitment to bargain in good faith with UFCW Local 328. Read more here.


Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 51 earns Worksite Health Award for commitment to employee health and well-being

(East Providence), RI (December 27, 2021) – Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 51 was recognized with an Outstanding Worksite Health Award from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) and the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce (the Chamber) for effective programs encouraging employee health and well-being in a meaningful way.

“We here at Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 51 prioritize the health and safety of our members and their families. We are proud to be the only building trades union to receive the Worksite Health Award over the past five years.” -Paul Alvarez, Business Manager

The 27th Annual Worksite Health Awards celebrate companies that prioritize employee wellness. Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 51 was one of more than 30 Rhode Island-based businesses honored by BCBSRI and the Chamber in recognition of their continued efforts to advance employee wellness and build a healthier Rhode Island.

The Worksite Health Awards are an opportunity for employers to learn from best practices while showcasing the advances being made every day to improve the health and well-being of Rhode Islanders at work. In this year’s awards, companies were once again recognized for their support of employees’ physical and emotional well-being during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With so many still working remotely, there continues to be a heightened priority on connecting with employees through new and innovative wellness offerings. Read more here.


Providence Journal: RI must move forward on offshore wind

Your Turn: Guest Columnist Kai Salem, Vice President of Policy for the Environment Council of Rhode Island and the chair of the R.I. Committee of the New England For Offshore Wind coalition.

This spring, federal regulators approved the first large-scale offshore wind project in the country: Vineyard Wind 1. The project will power 400,000 homes, save Massachusetts ratepayers $1.4 billion in energy costs, and create 3,600 jobs for local residents. While this project will primarily benefit Massachusetts residents, it heralds the beginning of a new era of opportunity in green job creation and emissions reductions throughout our region.

Rhode Island has the potential to be a leader in the industry — if, that is, it seizes the opportunity.

As the first state to build an offshore wind farm, Rhode Island set a gold standard for deploying local skilled labor and evaluating wildlife impacts at the Block Island Wind Farm. Since then, offshore wind technology has advanced significantly. The cost is now competitive with fossil fuels.

Unfortunately, Rhode Island is faltering on offshore wind. To date, Rhode Island has procured only 430 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind, about 1% of the offshore wind currently in planning nationally, with no plans for further purchasing. Over a year ago, then-Gov. Gina Raimondo announced plans to procure an additional 600 MW, which coincided with an investment of $4.5 million in offshore wind workforce development. These plans stalled as Gov. Dan McKee transitioned into office and National Grid announced plans to sell Rhode Island’s electric business to a Pennsylvania-based company with no experience in offshore wind. Read more here.


AFL-CIO: The Top AFL-CIO Blog Posts of 2021

By any measure, 2021 was another historic year. Working people across the country continued to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, engaged in an historic wave of strikes and worked to hold the administration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris true to their promise to be pro-worker. We covered these stories and many others throughout the year and here are the top 10 most-read stories by you, our readers.

Working People Respond to Attempted Coup at Nation’s Capitol (January 7): Yesterday saw an unprecedented attack on U.S. democratic institutions and working people across the country, and world, were shocked by what unfolded before us. Here are responses to Wednesday’s events from across the labor movement.

RWDSU-UFCW Leads Organizing Drive at Amazon Fulfillment Center in Alabama (January 26): The strongest effort to create a union at Amazon in many years is underway in Bessemer, Alabama. Organizers with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union-UFCW (RWDSU-UFCW) have been working with employees at the Amazon fulfillment center. By December, more than 2,000 workers had signed union cards, leading to an election set to begin in February. The company is engaging in union-busting activities in response, but the workers are not backing down. Many of the organizers and the employees at the fulfillment center are Black, and the organizers have focused on issues of racial equality and empowerment as a part of the drive.

Read more here.


RICOSH Brief: OSHA & COVID-19: Where Are We At?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA] launched back in March 2021 (revised in July) a national emphasis program [NEP] focusing enforcement efforts on work sites where workers have significant documented exposure to SARS-CoV2 the source of the COVID-19 infections, transmission and illness. National Emphasis Programs (NEPs) are temporary programs that OSHA periodically uses to focus investigations and inspections on particular hazards associated with certain industries. Because OSHA had no specific standard covering COVID-19 the NEP was a form of preventive maintenance; (without specific a standard OSHA has a more difficulties pressing successful enforcement and abatements because it has to push through several layers of judicial obstacles -including direct court challenges. Under the NEP OSHA would program inspections and investigations based on previous OSHA investigation involving COVID-19 and/or establishments with elevated rates of COVID in 2020.   For enforcement OSHA would use some existing standard (e.g. respiratory protection) as well as the General Duty Clause (an all purpose standing directive in the actual OSHA Act that requites employers provide safe and healthy work environments).

This NEP follows on OSHA guidance released in January 2021 [Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace]; basic directions to put into practice a COVID protection program and better identify risks which could lead to exposure and infection. This guidance addresses workplace settings to identify risks of being exposed to and/or contracting COVID-19 at work and to help determine appropriate control measures. OSHA points directly to CDC guidance for prescribed protections –like social distancing, altering work schedules, and improving ventilation. Read more here.


Economic Policy Institute: More than $3 billion in stolen wages recovered for workers between 2017 and 2020

Over the last four decades, the U.S. economy has been marked by extreme inequality, which has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the midst of this global pandemic and an economic crisis, the number of individuals with household weekly earnings below the poverty line rose to 65.1 million, a 28% increase from February to June 2020 (Saenz and Sherman 2020). In contrast, CEO pay rose by nearly 19% in 2020 (Mishel and Kandra 2021). This rise in poverty and pay inequality is compounded by wage theft, which robs millions of workers of billions of dollars from their paychecks each year (Cooper and Kroeger 2017).

What this report finds: Each year millions of workers across the country are victims of wage theft—meaning they are paid less than the full wages to which they are legally entitled. Between 2017 and 2020, more than $3 billion in stolen wages was recovered on behalf of workers by the U.S. Department of Labor, state departments of labor and attorneys general, and through class and collective action litigation.

Why it matters: This staggering amount represents just a small portion of wages stolen from workers across the country. And while wage theft impacts workers broadly, it disproportionately affects low-wage workers, many of whom already are struggling to make ends meet. Wage theft also disproportionately impacts women, people of color, and immigrant workers because they are more likely than other workers to be in low-wage jobs. Finally, these stolen wages hurt local economies and tax revenues. Read more here.





UPCOMING EVENTS:

Advocacy 101 Virtual Training
January 11, 2022 | noon – 1:30 p.m.

Join United Way of Rhode Island on Tuesday, January 11, 2022, from noon – 1:30 p.m. to learn how to make your voice heard through our state legislative process.

Our advocacy 101 workshop is designed for both corporate and community volunteers interested in helping to drive change through public policy on issues such as housing, education, workforce development and more.

This entry level workshop will cover topics including: how local and state government works; what advocacy is; and how to use your voice to make our state a place where every individual can succeed.
 
Join us to learn how you can make a difference in Rhode Island through advocacy.

Click here to register for this event

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United Way Community First Conversation: MLK Day

January 14, 2022   12 p.m.- 12:30 p.m.

For 95 years, United Way of Rhode Island has been focused on strengthening the Rhode Island community so that every Rhode Island’er can have an equal chance at a bright and prosperous future. For all too many Rhode Island’ers, that is easier said than done. In this episode of Community First Conversations, we invite you to join us as we hear about what the community is doing to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

On August 28, 1963, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. This historic speech was considered a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement, bringing national attention to the racial strife in the South and followed by the passage of two of the most important civil rights policies: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965. Now, over 50 years later, how much progress has been made? Join United Way of RI for a Community First Conversation facilitated by our own Dr. Adama Brown, highlighting Black Policy Month. Panelists will be Dr. Akilah Dulin, Associate Professor at Brown University School of Public Health, who will discuss her research on the State of Black RI and Paige Clausius-Park, Senior Policy Analyst at Rhode Island Kids Count who will discuss Racial Disparities in Economic Well-Being.

Sign up to be a part of this zoom webinar style conversation on Friday, January 14, 2022, from 12 p.m.- 12:30 p.m.  Attendance is free.

Sign Up Link: https://www.unitedwayri.org/event/mlk-day-a-community-first-conversation/ ###
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

Show host Autumn Guillotte sits down with Special Assistant Attorney General Etie-Lee Schaub to discuss the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Limited Waiver Opportunity. This is the first part of a series on Student Loan Debt as a Labor Issue.

This is a time sensitive issue!

The Loan Moratorium ends January 31, 2022! For Individuals to have their payments qualify for the NON-Direct Loans, the Loans must be CONSOLIDATED INTO DIRECT LOANS BEFORE OCTOBER 31, 2022.

As of 2019, the average Rhode Island student loan borrower owes more than $33,000 when they leave school. More than 133,000 Rhode Islanders are carrying a combined $4.5 billion in student loans.

Learn more and watch here: https://youtu.be/l0O-DGjut4I

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