E-NEWS: JANUARY 13, 2022

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 Providence Journal: Teachers union calls for Rhode Island to shift to remote learning due to COVID increase
CRANSTON – The National Education Association Rhode Island has urged districts to shift to distance learning for at least a week, but said it does not contemplate a work stoppage like the one that has shuttered Chicago’s schools.

“This is not Chicago,” said NEARI executive director Robert Walsh on Monday. “NEARI urges superintendents to consider distance learning for the remainder of the week if staffing and student attendance indicate that it’s the best decision.

“Any school that has the staffing, supplies and masks should remain open,” he said. “We haven’t found any district that meets all of these things.”  

The NEA statement comes at a time when large school districts in Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio and Wisconsin have jumped back to distance learning because of dramatic spikes in COVID caused by the omicron variant.

Chicago, the third largest district in the country, canceled classes for a fourth day after the teachers union announced that their members would not return unless certain conditions were met.  

But many national health experts have repeatedly stressed that children suffer emotionally and academically when they are forced to learn remotely. Read more here.

The Providence Journal: Opinion/Magaziner: RI needs to prioritize school modernization

Seth Magaziner is the general treasurer of the State of Rhode Island and co-chair of the state’s School Building Task Force.

Every child in Rhode Island deserves to go to a school that is safe, warm, dry, and equipped for 21st-century learning.

This rallying cry has been central to a historic transformation of school buildings across Rhode Island in recent years. After a 2017 engineering study commissioned by the state Department of Education cataloged thousands of deficiencies across Rhode Island school buildings, the state school building task force that I co-chaired brought together educators, experts, and community stakeholders to develop a once-in-a-generation plan to rebuild Rhode Island’s schools. The plan was adopted by the General Assembly and ratified overwhelmingly by voters in 2018.

We embarked on this ambitious plan because the condition of school buildings has a direct impact on the ability of teachers to teach and students to learn. High-quality school buildings have an impact on outcomes ranging from attendance to reading levels to asthma rates. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated even more clearly the importance of factors like high-quality ventilation. Read more here.

Seth Magaziner, General Treasurer of RI announces legislation to expand historic investment in Rhode Island school buildings at a press conference last week.

WPRI Channel 12: ‘Unacceptable and irresponsible’: RIPTA employees vote no confidence in management after security breach

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — R.I. Public Transport Authority (RIPTA) employees voted “no confidence” in senior management Thursday in the wake of a major security breach that compromised the data of more than 12,000 workers.

The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 618, which represents the nearly 800 people employed by RIPTA, is calling for the resignation of the public transit agency’s chief officers and senior staff.

“They’re ignoring us at service review and safety meetings as we continue to deal with a dangerous pandemic,” Local 618 President Nick DeCristofaro said in a statement. “Along with the severe and egregious security breach of personal information, this lack of communication has resulted in a perfect storm.”

“Our members have been heroes on the frontlines of the pandemic providing essential transportation to keep our community moving,” he continued. “We deserve better than this. The overwhelming vote of no confidence in RIPTA management demonstrates that our members’ demands for change must be heard.”

The cyberattack occurred back in August and the stolen information includes the personal details for some state workers who have no ties to the public transit agency.

Read more here.

ABC 6 News: Teamsters Local 251, Durham School Services come to tentative agreement, ratification process to follow

SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WLNE)- Teamsters Local 251 Secretary Treasurer Matthew Taibi shared an update with ABC6 News that a tentative agreement was made between the union and Durham School Services. The agreement was based on negotiations involving wages, hours, and working conditions for Smithfield school bus employees.

They explained there are still structural issues in the industry, but look forward to working and engaging with public officials to address those problems with the American Rescue Plan Funding.

Last year, Teamsters Local 251 advocated for new school transportation legislation which became law last year, providing 180 paid school days a year, preference for electric school buses, current wage and benefits, and use of disciplinary and grievance procedures for removal situations.

The next steps involve meeting with the Smithfield workers to begin the ratification process.

AFL-CIO: American democracy is under threat today.

Watch video here.
American democracy is under threat today. To save it, we need democracy in the U.S. Senate. That means passing the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. It shouldn’t be this hard to pass laws that help people. It should be a simple 50-vote majority, but an outdated procedure in the U.S. Senate called the filibuster is stopping us. The choice is clear: Sideline the filibuster, not the hopes, aspirations and representation of America’s people. Add your name >> act.aflcio.org/forms/sideline-the-filibuster/


1199 SEIU Twitter:

Local 1199 was founded by a small group of drugstore workers and pharmacists over 90 years ago. Today, we wish all pharmacists a happy #NationalPharmacistDay!


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 at:
Johnson Brothers of Rhode Island 120 Moscrip Ave North Kingstown RI 02852 Key times are 7:30-8:30 a.m. Let Johnson Brothers know about your concerns at: 651-649-5800 (Corporate) or 401-583-0050 (Rhode Island) Donations can be made to: Teamsters Local 251 Strike Fund, 121 Brightridge Ave. East Providence RI 02914

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Coming up on Labor Vision

Labor’s Recommendations for RI’s ARPA Funding – Support Innovation in Rhode Island Public Education

Show host Autumn Guillotte sits down with Jim Parisi and Frank Flynn, of the RI AFT to discuss Labor’s Recommendations for RI’s ARPA Funding and how it can be used to support innovation in Rhode Island’s public education.

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.

Never miss a segment. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and Twitter (@LaborVisionRI), and subscribe to our YouTube channel (LaborVisionTV1). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozCVwEfHII8

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