E-News: March 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.



WJAR Channel 10: NBC10 I-Team: Wage theft victim spends 10 years fighting for paycheck

(WJAR) — Nick Brissette had been working under the same boss as a painter for five years, when his paychecks suddenly stopped.

“Emotional stress, grief, I mean I was almost homeless,” he said.

Brissette’s boss owed him $15,000 in earned wages.

“He stopped returning my phone calls. He told me to call a lawyer instead of calling him for my money,” Brissette said.

He was a victim of wage theft, a crime committed by employers that targets hundreds of Rhode Islanders every year, mainly in the construction industry.

Brissette took matters into his own hands, creating a blog to find other workers victimized by the same employer, then filed cases against his former boss in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

The case in Rhode Island was eventually dropped after his former employer failed to show up for court.

Since wage theft is a misdemeanor, the defendant couldn’t be forced to return from Massachusetts.

The case did move forward in Massachusetts, but since it’s also a misdemeanor in the Bay State, the defendant walked away with three years’ probation. Meanwhile, it took Brissette a decade to get his money. Read more here.


Hey Rhody:The State of the School Bus Driving Industry in RI

Union representative weighs in on the shortage made worse by the pandemic

As Rhode Island schools began to reopen after initial COVID shutdowns, among the health and safety concerns and protocols that came with it was another crucial problem: there weren’t enough bus drivers to bring kids back to the classroom. Still in the midst of the pandemic and several union negotiations later, the shortage persists.

“People are leaving,” shares Secretary Treasurer and Principal Officer Matthew Taibi of Teamsters Local 251. “People aren’t going [into the industry] because of the typically low-pay work and fairly high qualifications.”

Teamsters 251 represents over 1,000 school bus workers within the state of Rhode Island, from cities and towns throughout the state and from three different companies. Taibi explains that the issue was already present before the pandemic, but COVID exacerbated the problem faced by many underpaid yet essential industries, and presented unique challenges, too. “Actually, the beginning of [2021 was when] we saw the issues that COVID laid bare. The issue of virtual days, like individual day layoffs, became more so than usual,” says Taibi.

“School bus drivers have sort of planned-in layoffs – holiday weeks and summers and things of that nature – so they work 36 or so weeks a year typically. That’s always a challenge, knowing that you’re laid off a chunk of the year and you have to split shifts,” Taibi adds. “It’s also part time and especially with all of the requirements that are involved, the critical nature of the job – taking care of our kids – it’s a lot of responsibility and typically not a lot in the way of pay.”

Read more here.


RI Building & Construction Trades Twitter:

Pres. Sabitoni commends state leaders for expansion of 600 MW of offshore wind. RI to be North American Hub Green Industry . Clean Energy=thousands family sustaining jobs for Trade Unionists.


UFCW Local 328: Cannabis Workers at Solar Therapeutics in Somerset, MA Vote Unanimously to Ratify First Contract

Somerset, MA– Today, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local Union 328, which represents 11,000 workers in a variety of industries in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, announced that the hardworking team of budtenders employed at Solar Therapeutics in Somerset, Massachusetts, voted unanimously to approve their first union contract. The workers joined UFCW Local 328 in October, 2021, with a focus on gaining full-time opportunities, improving benefits, raising wages and securing important workplace protections. Their newly ratified 3-year agreement includes:

  • Guaranteed wage increases
  • Higher starting rates
  • Improvements in paid sick leave and paid vacations
  • Pathway to Full-Time employment
  • Robust grievance procedure and workplace protections
  • Improvement in paid breaks
  • Improvement in paid holidays
  • Protected time and a half on Sundays and Holidays
  • Clothing allowance
  • Newly established 401k plan
  • Improvement in employee discounts

Read more here.


Providence Business News: Providence City Council approves proposed firefighters contract

PROVIDENCE – City firefighters would get 4% annual raises in exchange for doubling their contributions toward the city pension fund under a proposed five-year contract approved by the City Council Thursday.

The tentative agreement between the city and the Providence chapter of the International Association of Firefighters also needs the sign-off of Mayor Jorge O. Elorza and the firefighters union to take effect.

The new contract would save the city more than $20 million – based in present day savings – from fiscal 2023 through fiscal 2040 by upping employee contributions to the city pension fund and, in turn, reducing the amount the city has to pay as the employer, according to a fiscal analysis report from Chief Financial Officer Lawrence Mancini. In nominal savings as of fiscal 2040, the city will see its annual pension contribution cut by $36 million, according to the city report.

Providence firefighters currently pay either 8% or 9% of their salaries to the city pension fund, depending on which year they were hired. The five-year contract calls for incrementally increasing their contributions over the next five years, reaching 16% of salaries as of fiscal 2028. Read more here.


SEIU Local 1199 Facebook:

UNION POWER  … Luck ain’t got nothin to do with it!

Great day marching with the healthcare heroes and friends of 1199 in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade!!!

See everyone next year !!!

See more pictures here.


Building Futures Facebook:

View pictures here.

Drum roll please! Congratulations to the newest pre-apprenticeship graduates ready to enter Registered Apprenticeships in Building & Construction.

Our 200-hour training is a rigorous, challenging undertaking- we couldn’t be prouder of this new class of future tradeswomen & men. Thank you Scott Duhamel for joining the celebration!

The next class is around the corner!

Orientation is:

Tuesday, April 12, 2:00 pm

Wednesday, April 13, 4:30 pm

Thursday, April 14, 10:00 am

At 1 Acorn Street, Providence RI 02903.

Visit https://www.bfri.org/orientation-dates/ for more info.


Building Futures / Apprenticeship RI: Tradeswomen are organizing together in the Women’s Council

Rhode Island Trades Women are organizing for the future! The RI Building & Construction Trades Women’s Council celebrated Women’s History Month with an event at Twin Oaks.

More than 30 women joined from multiple trades including LIUNA Laborers’ Local Union 271, Painters & Tapers IUPAT DC 11, Bricklayers Local 3, Heat & Frost Insulators Local 6, Iron Workers Local 37, and the Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 51. A current pre-apprentice at Building Futures (and prospective electrician, although she’s still considering multiple career options) also joined the event.

The event featured guest speaker Rochelle Sabatos of Arden Engineering who spoke about her experience and the role of Health and Safety in advocating for all workers’ rights and for gender equity on the job.

The newly-organized Women’s Council is focusing on:

·         culture change— creating more opportunities for women to explore careers in the trades and to support both recruitment and retention of new women into the trades,

·         advocating for women’s rights on the job— from ensuring rules on adequate sanitation facilities are met to supporting each other through apprenticeship and beyond, and

·         community advocacy— working together to advocate on issues that impact tradeswomen and their communities, for example, to support expanded hours for childcare that would enable tradeswomen and men to access childcare at the early hours they need.

Read more here.


TODAY!

UNAP INFORMATIONAL PICKET

WHERE: LANDMARK MEDICAL CENTER, 115 CASS AVE, WOONSOCKET RI.

WHEN: THURSDAY, MARCH 24th FROM 4:00 P.M UNTIL 8:00 P.M.

Come join your brothers and sisters on the picket line as they fight for a fair contract.

Landmark Medical Center has forgotten the hard work and sacrifices given by the Landmark Healthcare Workers during the Pandemic and is refusing to provide a fair contract.

The Parties’ have bargain for a new contract since October of last year and Landmark is refusing to provide the needed wage and benefit package necessary to attract and retain the excellent healthcare workers working at Landmark.  

Landmark Medical Center’s refusal to provide a fair contract will not enable the Hospital to retain its experienced workforce which will jeopardize patient care.


JOB OPENING:

Assistant Executive Director (UniServ) opening at the National Education Association Rhode Island (NEARI).

NEARI represents public school teachers, education support professional, higher education faculty and staff in both public and private sector, as well as state and municipal employees. Given Rhode Island’s small size and our proximity to and interactions with NEARI’s 12,000 plus members, as well as the coordinated work of our staff and governance (we are all in one building), we are looking for candidates with more than just competency in skills such as grievance handling, arbitration, collective bargaining, membership advocacy, and organizing. Those skills are our minimum requirements.


We want an Assistant Executive Director/UniServ who will enhance our established team, and we expect them to be an active and integrated part of NEARI. The successful candidate must excel at communications; be self-motivated; be a strong advocate in bargaining, in our organizing efforts, and in training our members; represent our members in hearings; and support our legislative agenda. Where there are obstacles, we expect our staff to figure the way around them and organize the members they represent to do the same.

View Job Description and requirements here.





UPCOMING EVENTS:

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R.I. Labor History Society: 2022 Spring Speaker Series

Lessons on African American Labor History

Dates:

Monday, April 18, 2022

Monday, June 6, 2022

Speakers:

Keith Stokes, Director of Business and Development for the City of Providence

Patrick Crowley, Organizer and Government Affairs Specialist with the NEARI and Secretary-Treasurer of RI AFL-CIO

For more information and topics see here.

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Calling All Union Members! Don’t miss your chance to enter the “Future is Union: Climate Urgency through the Eyes of Workers” photo contest! Submit a photo that shows what climate work means to you and win up to $500!

The contest is open to any union member who sees their work as a “climate job” – whether you’re driving or fixing electric buses, working on wind turbines, teaching students about the climate crisis, cleaning up after climate-related disasters, working on green buildings, installing solar, operating water systems, or anything that relates to climate change.

Learn more and submit your photos before April 22 here: https://www.climatejobsphotocontest.org/

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Rhode lsland P.O.W.E.R. Network

Request the pleasure of your company ,as we commemorate the
Fourth Anniversary of the State Day of the Cooperative in Rhode Island

RI State House, 2nd floor

On Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022
3:00p.m. – 5:00p.m.
Press Conference: 3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Resolution at the Senate: 4 p.m. – 4:30 p.m

Cooperative Fair: 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. Hall, 2nd Floor

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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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United Way of RI:

For more information, visit website here.



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LABOR VISION

Coming up on Labor Vision

🎴 NEW @LaborVisionRI EPISODE! 🎴

Show host Autumn Guillotte sits down with Majority Whip Katherine Kazerian, House sponsor of the Let RI Vote Act and Marcela Betancur, Director of the Latino Policy Institute & spokesperson for the @letrivote Campaign. Continuing with the conversation on this year’s legislative priorities for working people, we discuss the Let RI Vote Act and how improving voter access helps working people. Voting rights and unions put power behind our voices! You can learn more about everything discussed here at https://buff.ly/3FIxICc and send a message to your State Rep & Senator asking them to support the bill!

Watch here: https://youtu.be/yvST1_lA0gs

Like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and Twitter (@LaborVisionRI), and subscribe to our YouTube channel (LaborVisionTV1). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYjDqDCHe_I&t=205s