E-NEWS: JANUARY 12, 2023

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

What’s Up Newport: Whitehouse Encourages Rhode Islanders to Take Advantage of New Tax Credits and Rebates to Lower Energy Bills and Green Up Homes

Whitehouse helped shape new home energy tax credits as a member of the Senate Finance Committee

Cranston, RI – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse today joined with labor officials and representatives of Rhode Island Energy to encourage Rhode Islanders to take advantage of the new energy-efficient and clean energy home improvement tax credits now available thanks to Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act. The tax credits and rebates, which went into effect on January 1, can provide major savings on energy-efficient home improvements that will help families save money on utility bills.

“Our Inflation Reduction Act includes tons of savings for working families,” said Whitehouse, who helped shape the home energy tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act as a member of the Senate Finance Committee.  “For starters, Rhode Islanders who want to make their home more energy efficient can get a lot of their investment back in the form of tax credits and rebates. Families will save money on their utility bills while doing their part to fight climate change.”

The new programs provide:

  • Up to 30 percent in tax credits for energy-efficient home improvements (e.g., insulation, windows, and doors)– generally capped at $1,200 per year, but potentially up to $3,200 if improvements include heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, or biomass stoves;
  • Rebates for residential efficiency retrofits, electrification projects including heat pumps, cooktops, and other appliances, as well as associated electrical upgrades;
  • Up to 30 percent in tax credits for rooftop solar, batteries, and geothermal heat pumps, including certain installation costs. Read more here.

UFCW Local 328: Seven Stars Employees at All Five Café Locations Vote Unanimously to Approve First Contract

After three months of negotiations, employees secure a first contract that raises wages and offers new and improved benefits for Seven Stars employees

Providence, RI – 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 baristas, keyholders and restockers, employed at all five Seven Stars café locations in Providence, Rumford and Cranston, voted unanimously to approve their first contract. The agreement comes after three months of bargaining with the company. Over 100 workers at the cafes joined UFCW Local 328 in June 2022, with the goal of creating more equitable and sustainable futures at the cafes where they enjoy serving their communities.

The agreement, which marks the first of its kind for retail cafe workers in Rhode Island, contains major victories including:

  • Immediate wage increases for all employees of between $2.00/hr. to $4.00/hr., with an average initial increase of $3.72/hr.
  • Additional wage increases averaging 7.3% and 7% in 2023 and 2024
  • Increase in classification base rates by $6.00/hr. over three years
  • Longevity wage increases for long-term employees
  • Guaranteed minimum hours for both full-time and part-time employees
  • Improved paid vacations for full-time and part-time employees
  • Improvement in holiday premium pay for all employees
  • Company matched retirement benefit of up to 4% for all employees
  • Guaranteed weekly pay (was previously bi-weekly)
  • Improvement in bereavement pay for all employees
  • Robust grievance procedure and workplace protections
  • Elimination of the company’s on-call day
  • Reimbursement benefit for no-slip shoes

Read more here.

The Providence Journal: Raymond Tetrault performed the first Spanish Mass in RI. How else he will be remembered

A son of Providence, Raymond Tetrault grew up to be “a quiet revolutionary” — a Catholic priest who was a champion of the poor and particularly immigrants who came to Rhode Island in search of better lives.

Father Tetrault died last Tuesday “surrounded by his close friends, his brother priests, and members of Rhode Island’s Latino community,” according to his obituary in The Providence Journal. He would have turned 88 that Thursday.

“Father Tetrault was a sterling example of what it means to be a priest. He was an inspiration to all who knew him,” former Rhode Island Attorney General Arlene Violet, a former nun, wrote in an online tribute book.

“Father Ray” was pastor at St. Teresa of Avila in Providence from 1993 until 2008. Before that, he was director of the Providence diocese’s Spanish Speaking Apostolate from 1970 until 1990, where he worked with the diocese’s Spanish speaking parish communities, including St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Providence.

From Spanish Masses to marching in the street

Tetrault’s work didn’t stop at the church walls. He was, indeed, a priest who practiced what he preached, and he urged parishioners to do the same, according to Mario Bueno, executive director of Progreso Latino, who attended St. Michael as a child.

Read more here.


A Forum on Infrastructure Funding and Workforce Development

View larger image here.

Marketplace: Gen Z is the most pro-union generation

The U.S. economy has been through some rough times in the past couple of decades — the financial crisis and Great Recession, followed by years of slow-growth recovery, then the pandemic recession.  

Through all that time, labor unions — whose mission is to improve members’ wages and working conditions — have continued to decline. Membership in unions fell to 10.3% of the public- and private-sector workforce in 2021, about half what it was in the early 1980s, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Union membership was 20.1% in 1983, the earliest year for which BLS has comparable data.)

Alongside the steady decline in union membership, there has been a rise in the percentage of Americans who think well of unions and say they’d like to be in one. A Gallup survey finds approval of labor unions at 71%, up from 64% before the pandemic and higher than at any time since 1965.

And approval is highest among young people in the workforce — millennials and especially Gen Zers. In the past decade, people in their teens and 20s have been on the front lines of strikes and organizing drives across the country, for instance at StarbucksAmazon and major universities from New York to California.

“Gen Z is the most pro-union generation alive in America today and is more supportive than Gen Xers and baby boomers were at our age,” said Aurelia Glass, a researcher and member of Gen Z at the Center for American Progress, which polled Americans about their opinions of unions for a report published in October. (You can also read about earlier findings on labor unions from the American Public Media Research Lab.)  Read more here.

Labor 411: Union-Made Low Carb Diet Shopping Guide

It’s a new year! And for millions of Americans that means new resolutions to diet. One popular mainstay diet is the low carb plan, which consists mostly of items like meats, vegetables, and nuts. People rave about the weight loss that they’ve seen with it, which is easier to comply with because of the delicious food choices. If you’re looking start the year with a great diet, check out the union-made shopping guide below and help support good jobs with each purchase.

Happy New Year from all of us at Labor 411.

See list here.

***Remember to purchase your food and drinks at Stop & Shop, Shaws, and Eastside Marketplace to support where our union brothers and sisters work.


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Coming up on Labor Vision …

In this special episode, show host Autumn Guillotte sits down with Matt Taibi, Secretary- Treasurer and Principal Officer and Tommy Salvatore, Business Agent of Teamsters Local 251 to talk about the recent work stoppage at DHL in Pawtucket. Scab subcontractors were issued Stop Work Orders by the State of RI for violations of state law, specifically for not carrying workers compensation insurance. From November 22nd to December 2nd, DHL had little to no operation as the subcontractors scrambled to provide workers’ compensation insurance after they’d been found in violation of misclassification by the RI DLT.

Teamsters at Northeast Transportation Services have been on strike since June 22. The Company has delayed and gone backwards in bargaining. Striker resolve has only increased in the face of Company attempted union-busting.

In response to worker demands for a fair contract, the Company stated it is “unrealistic” to meet the workers’ demands to pay livable wages, offer affordable healthcare and pay a share towards retirement. The South Carolina-based company apparently doesn’t believe that employees have rights and deserve fair treatment. This at a location that has more than doubled in number of employees in the last two years.

The Union believes the Company has committed unfair labor practices. Support for strikers has increased dramatically since news footage of Pawtucket Police attacking, pepper spraying and arresting picketers unprovoked during a rally aired on news broadcasts throughout Rhode Island.

Here’s how you can help:

Stop by the picket line at 101 Concord St, Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Contact us for the best times.

Please tell Northeast Transportation and DHL Express that unfair treatment of workers and an apparent lack of concern for safety is unacceptable. Call 843-906-9655 and 1-800-225-5345. Do not ship through DHL if you are in or shipping to Rhode Island, Southeastern MA, Cape Cod or Eastern Connecticut.

Give financial contributions:

Teamsters Local 251 Strike Fund

121 Brightridge Ave

East Providence, RI 02914

Click here to watch the show: https://youtu.be/360Hr4D66dI

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