E-News: February 24, 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.



Excellent Op-Ed by George Nee is the President of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO and Sheila Dormody is the RI Director of Climate and Cities Programs for The Nature Conservancy, and Chair of the RI Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council (EC4) Advisory Board.

The Patch: Opinion: RI’s Map To Equitable, Worker-Centered, Green Economy

By George Nee and Sheila Dormody

Rhode Islanders don’t have to look far to find evidence of our crumbling infrastructure, deeply unequal economy, or the climate crisis. Luckily, we don’t have to look far for solutions anymore, either.

With a state budget surplus of $618 million and more than $2.5 billion in federal infrastructure money in our public coffers, Rhode Island is in a strong position to tackle the climate crisis, rebuild our infrastructure, and invest in an equitable economy that works for all. A new report, authored by experts at Cornell University, shows how our state leaders can seize the moment and get it done.

This timely climate jobs report, developed in consultation with the Climate Jobs Rhode Island coalition, shows how Rhode Island could become the first fully decarbonized state in the nation by outlining a suite of science-backed policy recommendations to create good union jobs, advance racial equity, and build a vibrant and inclusive renewable economy.

Core provisions of the plan include decarbonizing the state’s K-12 public school buildings, installing 900 MW of solar energy and 1,300 MW of offshore wind energy, and modernizing the state’s electrical grid by 2030. The report also includes recommendations aimed at slashing emissions from households and municipal buildings, expanding public transportation, and facilitating a just transition for workers and communities that rely on the fossil fuel sector. Read more here.


The Boston Globe: R.I. AFL-CIO makes the case for making wage theft a felony

Report cites ‘clear evidence that payroll fraud is rampant in Rhode Island,’ with many employees misclassified as independent contractors.

PROVIDENCE — A study commissioned by the Rhode Island AFL-CIO calls for making wage theft a felony, saying the state is becoming a “hot house” for worker misclassification and off-the-books employment.

“This report provides clear evidence that payroll fraud is rampant in Rhode Island,” the report states. “Data provided by the Department of Labor and Training are unequivocal in identifying that worker misclassification exists in every corner of the state economy.”

Professors from the University of Massachusetts Amherst Labor Center and Allegheny College analyzed state employee misclassification investigations and unemployment insurance audits from 2016 to 2021. They found that 9.3 percent of Rhode Island employers are illegally misclassifying workers as independent contractors — rather than direct employees — reflecting a “substantial increase” from a similar review in 2008.

While misclassification happens in every industry, the construction industry and janitorial companies are among the worst offenders, the report said. Read more here.


Teamsters: Rhode Island School of Design Workers Vote Teamster Yes!

Vote 52 to 4 to Join Local 251

Press Contact: Matthew Taibi Phone: (401) 434-0454

(PROVIDENCE, R.I.) – Congratulations to the custodians, lead custodians, groundskeepers, caretakers, movers and President’s House facilities coordinators employed by Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) that recently voted to join Teamsters Local 251. The vote was 52-4 in favor of the Teamsters. The employees worked very hard for this victory and had to fight off an intense anti-union campaign from RISD management.

“We work hard and we feel nobody appreciates what we do. New management came in and didn’t treat us with any respect,” said Regina Santos, who helped lead the organizing effort. “We are demanding dignity and respect on the job, along with fair compensation for helping to keep the school running every day.”

“I wanted to join the Teamsters for better wages, job security and to be treated fair and equal,” said David Oberlander, a custodian at RISD.

“Workers approached us because of unfair treatment. The school takes advantage of them because of them because of the language barrier among them, assigning tasks usually performed by multiple workers,” said Mike Simone, Organizer for Teamsters Local 251. “Workers, regardless of whether they speak English, Spanish or Portuguese, deserve dignity, respect and a union contract.”

“We are seeing an increase in worker demands for fair treatment that only a union contract can deliver,” said Matthew Taibi, Principal Officer for Teamsters Local 251. “We are excited to empower these workers to demand a fair contract from RISD.”


Providence Journal: 315 Providence teachers learn they may have to apply for new jobs. Here’s what we know

PROVIDENCE — The School Department sent “displacement” notices to 315 teachers Friday.

They will have to apply for new jobs within the district unless they resolve certification issues.

A spokesman for the Providence schools said the displacement letters are not termination notices and said the number of displacements will drop as educators resolve any issues.

March 14 is the deadline for teachers to sort out any problems.

Of the 315, the district said 139 are related to certifications of some kind. Many of these are educators hold an emergency or expert residency certificate for the current year and need to make progress toward advancing their licensure.

“PPSD has and will continue to support educators with certification requirements by providing office hours throughout the fall and winter, a dedicated email address for questions, and additional outreach from Human Resources,” the district said.

Last year, 270 employees, mostly teachers, were notified that they had to apply for different jobs this spring. Read more here.


Experts from Cornell University sit down with Climate Jobs RI to discuss their recommendations to transition the Ocean State to an equitable, green economy.

On February 2nd, Climate Jobs RI released a new report from the Worker Institute at Cornell University. The report, Building a Just Transition for a Resilient Future: A Climate Jobs Program for Rhode Island, outlines a comprehensive action plan to put RI on the path to building an equitable, pro-worker, green economy.

For the first time ever, this report provides a glimpse into the economic potential of Rhode Island’s clean energy future. It highlights the types and potential number of jobs, along with the skills necessary to do them, created by taking tangible climate action. The report also outlines the types of return on upfront investments that would propel RI forward as a leader in the world’s transition to a pro-climate 21st century economy. We are excited about the statewide opportunities this report presents and the conversation it begins about how Rhode Island can get there.

Climate Jobs RI will be hosting a virtual panel discussion on Friday, March 4th from 1-2:30pm with the experts from Cornell University who researched and authored this report. The group will cover the wide-ranging policy recommendations highlighted in the report along with the broader climate plan of the coalition to transition the Ocean State’s building, energy, and transportation sectors to renewable energy with the strongest labor and equity standards.

Please register here: https://aflcio.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_8QUnWBBXQGu63pTRyAxLYg

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


AFL-CIO:

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) awarded the $6 billion contract for the next generation of postal vehicles to Oshkosh Defense, a company with a reputation for tough military trucks built with union labor with just a small number of electric vehicles on order.

But instead of using this opportunity to expand quality jobs under a decades-old union contract, the company plans to refurbish a vacant warehouse in another state and build these vehicles without a commitment to union wages or representation. Sign the petition today!

https://go.aflcio.org/builditunion





UPCOMING EVENTS:

TEAMSTERS, Local 251

SOLIDARITY WITH JOHNSON BROTHERS WORKERS

Please 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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