E-NEWS: JANUARY 20, 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.


AFL-CIO Daily Brief: Union Members Working at USPS Ready to Deliver Millions of COVID-19 Test Kits

The Biden administration has announced a program to mail up to 500 million at-home COVID-19 test kits to every household that requests them. These kits could be mailed to as many as 160 million addresses. Union members who work for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will be critical to the success of the program. You can order free COVID-19 test kits through COVIDTests.gov.

“The APWU is excited and fully supports this plan,” said American Postal Workers Union (APWU) President Mark Dimondstein. “It is in the interests of the health and wellbeing of the general population as this dangerous pandemic continues. It underscores the invaluable role of the public Postal Service in the lives of the people. It shines a light on the importance of maintaining universal service to every address and person.”

“The ongoing pandemic has proven beyond a shadow of doubt the critical importance of the services we provide six and seven days a week to keep people connected and essentials moving,” National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) President Fredric Rolando said. “This partnership is the perfect example in action. Letter carriers are proud to be the face of this important initiative as we continue serving all communities equitably.”

The National Postal Mail Handlers Union-LIUNA (NPMHU-LIUNA) stated: “This pilot provides Mail Handlers with the opportunity to perform an essential Public Health Service to the American Public in our battle against the coronavirus pandemic. Mail Handlers are proud to be a part of these critical efforts.”


AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler Twitter:
Have you ordered your COVID-19 tests through @USPS yet? Each household can order 4 free home rapid tests. The fulfillment, packaging, & shipment of these tests wouldn’t be possible without our postal workers, who are critical to the success of the program! https://go.aflcio.org/covidtests


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

The Supreme Court has effectively blocked OSHA’s COVID {Vaccination}ETS: Designed to Increase Vaccination Rates

OSHA’s promulgation of a Emergency Temporary Standard this past November {2021} designed to increase vaccination rates, period (Vaccination) ETS covers all firms (with 100 or more employees) under OSHA’s jurisdiction; that is most of the private sector from construction to transportation to retail, more than 84 million workers This OSHA (Vaccination) ETS directed employers to have a policy that will A] Determine the vaccine status of all employees; B} Requires employees to be vaccinated or if unvaccinated to submit to weekly COVID testing also wear a mask in congregate work setting. [Without requiring employers to pay for testing, nor face coverings].C} Require employees to report to the employer if they test positive for COVID-19 or receive a COVID-19 diagnosis. Employers must then remove the employee from the workplace, regardless of vaccination status.

·   At the same time the court did rule that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services could mandate vaccinations in any hospitals and long-term care facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid funds. That’s about 17 million workers at approximately 76,000 health care facilities.

Read more here.


AFT: What it takes to be back in school—and stay back

Small things sometimes have an outsized impact. That has struck me as I’ve visited with students and staff in public schools in recent weeks, particularly since the surge of the omicron variant. Ordinary activities—pre-K children playing side by side, students working on a group project, a teacher guiding students through a lesson on conflict resolution, and kids doubling over with laughter—left me with profound gratitude that they were doing these things together, in school. Two years into the pandemic, these small signs of a return to normalcy don’t feel so little anymore.

Throughout the pandemic, teachers and school support staff have been working with parents to meet kids’ needs and build trust. Through this collaboration, along with resources for academic recovery and safety protocols, schools were able to reopen last fall. Even with new cases of COVID-19 averaging more than 700,000 per day for the first time, 98 percent of public schools in the United States were open for in-person teaching and learning last week.

Read more here.


Economic Policy Institute: Minimum Wage Tracker

The federal minimum wage has not been raised since 2009. In the absence of action at the national level, many states and localities have raised their own minimum wages. Explore the map to see how these rapidly changing laws differ across the country, and read EPI’s recent research explaining the benefits of raising the minimum wage and eliminating the subminimum wage for tipped workers. Values as of January 1, 2022.

More info 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 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

More information here.



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LABOR VISION

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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