Category Archives: Events

E-News: September 12, 2019

Rhode Island AFL-CIO Union Directory

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.


NEARI: Addressing Mental Health in Public Schools

In November of 2018, NEARI hosted a Mental Health Summit with hundreds of educators and members. At that event, we collectively identified the areas of need to support mental health for Rhode Island students.

A smaller committee then met and put together this final document. It is our hope that with community partners we can use these recommendations to guide mental health advocacy for our students on the state and local level. We are in the midst of a mental health crisis and our students are counting on us.

Read the statement of values compiled by the committee [link button below]. Hard copies are available to NEARI locals by request. Email request to: smarkey@neari.org

“Addressing mental health in our schools is crucial. We are making this document available because our educators and education support professionals see firsthand every day that their students need mental health supports. The people who educate and nurture Rhode Island’s students want resources to help their kids. Let’s continue the conversation from their recommendations and work together to make it happen.” – NEARI President Larry Purtill

Read the Statement of Values on Mental Health


Press Release:


***Note about article below: The writer of this column is Paul F. Cole, Executive Director of the American Labor Studies Center and Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus of the New York State AFL-CIO. He served as the Vice President of the American Federation of Teachers. He holds degrees from Marquette University and Canisius College.

Albany Times Union: People of faith and unions share values

When the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered in Memphis, he was helping the city’s black sanitation workers protest their abysmal pay and dangerous working conditions. The workers went on strike after two of their coworkers were crushed to death in a garbage truck compactor. Before King was assassinated, he marched with those sanitation workers. Many of them wore signs that stated: “I Am a Man.”

Cesar Chavez often expressed gratitude to the priests, pastors and rabbis who stood by him as he organized farmworkers who desperately needed to negotiate their poverty level wages and endless work days under the blazing sun.

Justice for workers surely must be in the DNA of religious faith. Sacred texts of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and Sikhs address the topic. The Israelites, with God as their champion, rebelled against their Egyptian enslavement.

-READ MORE


Read the Fall/Winter Newsletter from RICOSH —-> NEWSLETTER


R.I. Labor History:

85 years ago today, Set 12, 1934, the Saylesville Massacre took place. It was the 3rd day of a running street battle in the mill village of Saylesville, RI and by the end of it 2 men – William Blackwood and Charles Gorcynski – would be shot dead by the forces of the State.


AFL-CIO: Get to know AFL-CIO’s Affiliates: Operating Engineers

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Operating Engineers.

Name of Union: International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE)

Mission: To serve the needs and develop the skills of a constantly expanding and varied group of construction and maintenance professionals through collective bargaining, legislative action and extensive skills training programs.

Current Leadership of Union: James T. Callahan serves as the general president of IUOE. He was first elected in 2011. Previously, he served as international vice president and business manager of IUOE Local 15 in New York. Callahan was one of many operating engineers who responded immediately on 9/11, and he worked the entire recovery effort at Ground Zero.

Brian E. Hickey serves as general secretary-treasurer. IUOE also has 14 vice presidents: Russell E. Burns, James M. Sweeney, Robert T. Heenan, Daniel J. McGraw, Daren Konopaski, Michael Gallagher, Greg Lalevee, Terrance E. McGowan, Randall G. Griffin, Douglas W. Stockwell, Ronald J. Sikorski, James T. Kunz Jr., Edward J. Curly and Charlie Singletary.

Current Number of Members: 400,000.

-LEARN MORE


Yahoo Finance: Unions under attack as their approval ratings soar

President Trump took to Twitter on Labor Day to attack AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, slamming him for his criticism of Trump’s trade deals. The AFL-CIO is the country’s largest coalition of more than 50 major unions and represents some 12.5 million American workers, from pilots to teachers.

dump their unions and stop paying “exorbitant” fees.” data-reactid=”16″>In his tweet, Trump claimed that union workers would not only vote for him in 2020, but should dump their unions and stop paying “exorbitant” fees.

Economic Policy Institute (EPI).” data-reactid=”17″>But even before Trump lashed out at Trumka, labor unions have been under attack in the United States from conservative politicians and employers alike. “Working people have been thwarted” in their attempts to unionize and collectively bargain, says a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

“It’s been a decades-long attack on working people,” said AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler. “It’s been a slow decline from our peak in the 70’s — it’s been trailing off year after year primarily because of our broken labor laws.”

“It’s been a multifaceted attack because most of the people in power don’t want to see working people have a slice of that power. We are the last institution left standing to bring the collective strength of working people together to fight back,” she said.

-READ MORE


Labor 411: New Report: The 10 Worst States For Workers Are ‘Right To Work’, While The 10 Best Are Not

If you are looking for the best states for workers, steer clear of “right to work” states, says a new study.

The Oxfam America report reveals that the ten worst states to work in America are the following, which are all “right to work:” Louisiana, Tennessee, North Dakota, Idaho, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Virginia.

And the ten best, none of which are “right to work,” are District of Columbia, California, Washington, Massachusetts, Maine, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, and Minnesota.

Oxfam relied on three indicators for their rankings: wage standards, worker protection, and right to organize. Oxfam also notes that “good ratings on labor policies definitely relate to positive economic and health indicators. For example, states with higher scores have longer life expectancy and lower infant mortality rates.”

-READ MORE


Labor 411: Kick Off the Football Season with Ethical Brews

The wait is over. Football season, with all its intrigue, triumph and heartbreak, is back. That means parties will be thrown, jerseys will be worn and beer will be consumed in great amounts. The choices of brews available in your local supermarket or liquor store could practically stretch the length of a football field, but how many of those brews are ethically made by companies that give their employees a voice on the job? Consult the list below or go to the Labor 411 directory for a complete list of more than 250 smart choices. Here’s to the return of football season, and let’s all rush our way to a stronger America.

-SEE LIST


QUOTE OF THE WEEK

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler (IBEW) spoke about the future of work and workers this morning at the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future in Washington, D.C. Shuler outlined why the debate about the future of work must include workers: “Innovation and inequality go right through the labor movement. Worker voice and bargaining power are essential in any conversation about the work of the future.”



AFL-CIO: Want Power? Join a Union!

-WATCH VIDEO


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UPCOMING EVENTS:                                                          

Providence Central Federated Council Annual Fall “Fun Fest”

known as Hot Dogs and Beer Fundraising Event

When: Wednesday, September 18

Where: Scenic parking lot of UFCW, 278 Silver Spring St. Providence from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Details: Contributions are not necessary, But, if you are able to make a contribution, please do so. We need to support our friends who support issues critical to our members livelihood. Local unions can make contributions up to $1,000.

~~~~~



THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY

Voices of Labor:

Boston police walked off the job during the strike wave that was spreading across the country. The police had affiliated with the American Federation of Labor, prompting the police commissioner to suspend 19 of them for their organizing efforts, forcing others to go on strike in solidarity. Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge announced that none of the strikers would be rehired and he called in the state police to crush the strike. An entirely new police force was ultimately created from unemployed veterans of World War I. – 1919

More than 3,000 people died when suicide hijackers crashed planes into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field. Among the dead in New York were 634 union members, the majority of them New York City firefighters and police on the scene when the towers fell.- 2001

Crystal Lee Sutton, the real-life Norma Rae of the movies, died at age 68. She worked at a J.P. Stevens textile plant in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina when low pay and poor working conditions led her to become a union activist. She was fired from her job for “insubordination” after she copied an anti-union letter posted on the company bulletin board. – 2009

-LEARN MORE



NEXT WEEK ON LABOR VISION:

In the first half of the show, Sen. Sandra Cano (D) Pawtucket, sits down with Thom Cahir to talk about the need to count every person in Rhode Island during the upcoming 2020 census; especially those in under-counted populations, or fear losing a congressional seat and the funding for vital programs that goes with it.

And in the second part of the show, The R.I. Building Trades join Governor Gina Raimondo and the RI Congressional Delegation to outline the expansion of operations at local ports in Providence and Quonset Point which provide good-paying jobs in the offshore wind industry.

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ENews: August 29, 2019

Rhode Island AFL-CIO Union Directory

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.


RICOSH Memo: What Price Carbon?

Comments on RI Carbon Pricing Study

In 2014 the Rhode Island General Assembly enacted the Resilient Rhode Island Act, which in turn created an Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council (EC4)composed of major state agencies(Departments of Energy, Environment, Transportation, Administration, as well as Infrastructure Bank , Coast Resources, Public Utilities etc.,)EC4’s mission is to“assess, integrate, and coordinate climate change efforts throughout state agencies toreduce emissions, strengthen the resilience of communities, and prepare for the effects of climate change.

The Climate ChangeCarbon Pricing Study

In 2017, the General Assembly amended the Resilient Rhode Island Act requiring the EC4 to study carbon pricing. It charged the EC4to “study the effectiveness of the state and/or multi-state carbon pricing program to incentivize institutions and industry to reduce carbon emissions. The study shall include the effectiveness of allocating revenues generated from such carbon pricing program to fund enhanced incentives to institutions and industry for targeted efficiency measures; projected emissions reductions; economic impact to businesses; any economic benefits to Rhode Island; and impacts to the state’s economic competitiveness if the program were implemented.”

-READ MORE


AFL-CIO: Get to Know AFL-CIO’s Affiliates: Elevator Constructors

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Elevator Constructors.

Name of Union: International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC)

Mission: To promote and protect the interests of elevator constructors, with a focus on dignity, skills and the well-being of members.

Current Leadership of Union: Frank J. Christensen serves as general president, with James K. Bender II serving as assistant general president and Larry J. McGann as general secretary-treasurer.

Current Number of Members: 29,000.

Members Work As: Elevator constructors.

Industries Represented:Construction sites across industries throughout the United States and Canada.

History: On July 15, 1901, 11 men met at the Griswold Hotel in Pittsburgh. They were all elevator constructors in the early days of that field of work and they came from several cities. They drafted bylaws and a constitution, elected officers and formed the National Union of Elevator Constructors, which would later become the IUEC.

They applied for a charter and membership in the National Building Trades Council of the American Federation of Labor and were approved. The total expense of the founding convention was $13.90 and the whole process, from the launch of the convention to approval from the AFL, took three days. The elevator constructors knew what they wanted to achieve and had a pretty good idea of how to get it done.-READ MORE


Gallup: As Labor Day Turns 125, Union Approval Near 50-Year High

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sixty-four percent of Americans approve of labor unions, surpassing 60% for the third consecutive year and up 16 percentage points from its 2009 low point. This comes 125 years after President Grover Cleveland signed a law establishing the Labor Day holiday after a period of labor unrest in the U.S.

Union approval averaged 68% between Gallup’s initial measurement in 1936 and 1967, and consistently exceeded 60% during that time. Since 1967, approval has been 10 points lower on average, and has only occasionally surpassed 60%. The current 64% reading is one of the highest union approval ratings Gallup has recorded over the past 50 years, topped only in March 1999 (66%), August 1999 (65%) and August 2003 (65%) surveys.

Higher public support for unions in the past few years likely reflects the relatively good economic conditions in place, particularly low unemployment. By contrast, the lowest union approval ratings in Gallup history came from 2009 through 2012, years of high unemployment that followed the Great Recession. Gallup also observed relatively low union approval during the poor economic times in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
-READ MORE


AFL-CIO:


Economic Policy Institute: Low-wage workers are suffering from a decline in the real value of the federal minimum wage

Summary:The real value of the federal minimum wage has dropped 17% since 2009 and 31%since 1968. Workers earning the federal minimum wage today have $6,800 less per year tospend on food, rent, and other essentials than did their counterparts 50 years ago. Some stateshave raised their minimum wages beyond just the rate of inflation, and wage growth for low-wageworkers in those states is faster than in states without such increases. It’s not just minimum wageworkers who benefit: Low-wage workers in general tend to get a wage bump when the wagefloor rises. The Raise the Wage Act of 2019 would raise wages for 33.5 million workersnationwide by increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025,and would set it to updateautomatically each year based on median wage growth.

While the unemployment rate remains at historic lows and the labor market continues to tighten, wagegrowth has remainedbelow target levelsand has indeed showedsome signs of slowingin the first half of2019.1Over time,ever-tighter labor markets have been neededto generate a given pace of wage growth,in part because of the erosion of policy institutions and labor standards that support workers’ bargainingpower and leverage when they negotiate over pay with employers.

-READ MORE


Labor 411: Labor Day Fun Around the Country.

The Labor Day weekend traditionally signifies the end of summer. But while we’re taking it easy, getting together with family and friends, or otherwise enjoying a well-earned day off, we should all remember a very basic fact. Labor Day is a holiday created by – and for – the labor movement that recognizes the contributions that working men and women to the strength, prosperity and well-being of America. The 40-hour work week? Weekends? On the job protection? We can thank unions for all these essentials and more.

For Labor Day 2019, we have highlighted a few events taking place over the August 31-Sept 2 weekend. These range from sports and cultural offerings (all of which are staffed by union employees, of course) to Labor Day parades and celebrations.  Although it happens the weekend after he holiday, we’ve also thrown in the New York City Labor Parade because…well…because it’s big.

-READ MORE



QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“We entered these negotiations prepared to bargain in good faith with AT&T to address our members’ concerns and to work together to find solutions. Our talks have stalled because it has become clear that AT&T has not sent negotiators who have the power to make decisions so we can move forward toward a new contract.”CWA District 3 Vice President Richard Honeycutt




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UPCOMING EVENTS:

                                              ~~~~~                                              

PROVIDENCE JOURNAL TEAMSTER UNION RALLY AND INFORMATIONAL PICKET

When? Tuesday, September 3, 2019 from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM

Where? 210 Kinsley Avenue, Providence

Why? To demand a fair and equitable Contract !

Who? Teamsters Local 251 members and community supporters

                                                                            ~~~~~

House of Hope Event: Wednesday, September 11

~~~~~

Providence Central Federated Council Annual Fall “Fun Fest”

known as Hot Dogs and Beer Fundraising Event

When: Wednesday, September 18

Where: Scenic parking lot of UFCW, 278 Silver Spring St. Providence from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Details: Contributions are not necessary, But, if you are able to make a contribution, please do so. We need to support our friends who support issues critical to our members livelihood. Local unions can make contributions up to $1,000.



THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY

Voices of Labor:

The Mechanics Gazette, believed to be the first U.S. labor newspaper, was published in Philadelphia, the outgrowth of a strike by carpenters demanding a shorter, 10-hour day. The strike lost but labor journalism blossomed: within five years there were 68 labor newspapers across the country, many of them dailies. – 1827

The Gatling Gun Company, manufacturers of an early machine gun, wrote to B&O Railroad Company President John W. Garrett during a strike, urging that their product be purchased to deal with the “recent riotous disturbances around the country”. Says the company: “Four or five men only are required to operate (a gun), and one Gatling … can clear a street or block and keep it clear”. – 1877

The National Association of Letter Carriers formed. – 1889

The United Farm Workers Union began a lettuce strike. Sometimes called the “Salad Bowl Strike”, it was a series of strikes, mass pickets, boycotts and secondary boycotts which led to the largest farm worker strike in U.S. History. The strike was led by the United Farm Workers against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The Salad Bowl strike was in part a jurisdictional strike, because many of the actions taken during the event were not strikes. The strike led directly to the passage of the California Agricultural Labor Relation Act of 1975. – 1970-LEARN MORE



NEXT WEEK ON LABOR VISION:

Kathy McElroy, President of SEIU Local 580, representing workers at DCYF, sits down with Erica Hammond to talk about the recent hearing about ongoing issues in the department, the new hires to alleviate the under-staffing, and hopefully a new approach by legislators and elected officials on how to treat those forced into the worst of circumstances.

And in the second half of the show, Mike Whittaker and Dave Cookson of Beacon Mutual Life Insurance Co. sit down with Bob Delaney to talk about the dangers of heat-related illnesses while working on the job. And even while summer may be waning, everyone should still be vigilant for the signs and be careful on the job site.

E-NEWS: August 22, 2019

Rhode Island AFL-CIO Union Directory

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.


WPRI Channel 12: One-quarter of fatal opioid overdose victims in RI are construction workers

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Department of Health has found that construction workers make up nearly a quarter of all fatal opioid overdose victims in the state.

The data was collected from July 2016 to June 2018 and found those in the natural resources, construction and maintenance occupation category — trades like plumbers, fishermen and carpenters — had a much higher rate of opioid-involved overdose death.

The trend in Rhode Island is in line with what’s been observed nationally.

Rachel Scagos, a senior public health epidemiologist at the Department of Health, said experts are not exactly sure why those in the construction and extraction arenas are disproportionately affected.

“We’re still looking into it, but we definitely recommend that for injury prevention, if you are injured on a job site, do not use opioids to treat that injury,” she told Eyewitness News.

Michael Sabitoni, president of the Rhode Island Building and Construction Trades Council, believes part of the reason construction workers are more frequently impacted by fatal overdoses is because of the physically demanding nature of the job.

“We are working aggressively to change the culture because it isan industry where toughness and perseverance dominate,” Sabitoni said in a statement. “There is pressure to get back to work even if you are injured or in pain. Sick days and time off for health care are often rare. Appointments need to be scheduled after work which can be difficult, especially with overtime or night shifts.”  READ MORE


Providence Journal: Construction workers prone to overdose deaths in R.I.

PROVIDENCE — The construction industry leads the way in Rhode Island when it comes to fatal overdoses, according to the state Department of Health.

Data presented to Governor Gina Raimondo’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force shows that a quarter — or 140 of the 569 — overdose deaths in Rhode Island from July 2016 through June 2018 came from fields that include carpentry, laborers, construction workers, electricians and commercial fishing. Of those deaths, 20 percent were in the construction industry alone.

Eighty percent of the fatal overdoses in the construction and maintenance fields involved fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid painkiller that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl use contributed to 75 percent of the overdose deaths in Rhode Island overall, with cocaine contributing to 37 percent. Alcohol and benzodiazepines, psychoactive drugs commonly known to treat anxiety and insomnia, each contributed to 23 percent of the fatal overdoses.

Nearly three-quarters of those to die overall were men, with the second highest proportion of overdose death coming from the service industry — cooks, bartenders, barbers, maintenance workers — followed by those in the management, business, science, and arts fields.

The findings did not come as a surprise to Justin Kelley, business representative for the Rhode Island Painters Union, District Council Local 195. It’s a trend that’s been playing out nationally.

-READ MORE


AFL-CIO: Get to Know AFL-CIO’s Affiliates: Electrical Workers

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Electrical Workers.

Name of Union: International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)

Mission: The IBEW is committed to organizing electrical workers across North America and promoting on-the-job excellence, good wages and benefits, a safe workplace, and a voice on the job.

Current Leadership of Union: Lonnie R. Stephenson serves as international president of IBEW. Born and raised in Rock Island, Illinois, Stephenson began as an apprentice inside wireman in 1975 and became a member of Local 145. He rose through the ranks and was elected business manager in 1996. He was appointed international representative for the sixth district in 2002 and appointed as international vice president in 2010, winning election to the position the following year. Stephenson was appointed international president in 2015 and elected to a full five-year term at the 2016 IBEW International Convention.

Kenneth W. Cooper serves as international secretary-treasurer, and the IBEW has 11 international vice presidents: Thomas Reid, Michael P. Monahan, Michael Welsh, Brian G. Malloy, Brian Thompson, David J. Ruhmkorff, Steven M. Speer, Jerry Bellah, John J. O’Rourke, Brent E. Hall and Curtis E. Henke.

The IBEW is governed by its International Executive Council, which has nine members: Christopher Erikson, Joseph P. Calabro, Myles J. Calvey, James Burgham, William W. Riley, Frank J. Furco III, Dean Wine, Patrick Lavin and Ross Galbraith.

Current Number of Members: 775,000 active and retired-READ MORE


UFCW: What is a Union Contract

In a non-union setting, the employer makes all the rules. They may promise to listen to employee input, but at the end of the day, they aren’t required to take any of that input seriously and ultimately still get to decide what the final policies are. But in a union setting, the rules are negotiated by the union and the employer with the union representing the best interests of the workers and the employer representing the best interests of the company.

The union has the right, as well as the legal obligation, to speak with one voice for all the employees that make up what is known as the “bargaining unit,” or employees covered by a particular contract. When we talk about having a “union contract,” what we mean is the official rules that have been agreed upon by the employer and the union, and that have also been voted on and accepted by the majority of the union membership covered by the contract.

How do contracts help a workplace run smoothly?

Contracts can help ease possible tensions between you and your managers by making it really clear what the agreed upon rules are, as well as what to do when they are violated. Confronting your manager one on one can end up feeling like a personal attack or criticism with someone you have to work with every day and maintain a good relationship with. In the end, many people just decide to let minor problems go rather than risk creating an uncomfortable situation or even just seeming like they aren’t a team player.

-READ MORE


VOX: I was skeptical of unions. Then I joined one.

A union isn’t just right for Vox Media, but for everyone.

On November 17, 2017, right after the Vox Media editorial staff started a push to unionize, I sent out my worst tweets of all time. “I am against #VoxUnion,” I wrote in one of the tweets. I wrote in another, “Vox Media is a generous company (unusually so for digital media), and some people want to take advantage of that.”

“I am generally fine with and even supportive of unions,” I concluded. “Just not this one.”

I wasn’t convinced, based on my experience, that we needed a union to ensure the company treated us well. And I was worried that “lazy” or bad workers could take advantage of union protections to stay on the job — something I feel that police unions, for instance, have helped do with even the worst cops.

Almost immediately, I was barraged by much of lefty Twitter with a huge ratio. A few people tried to genuinely debate me, explaining that unions could be good for even workers who feel they are well off. But it was mostly insult after insult, and after a while, I stopped looking at my notifications.

-READ MORE


Save Our Apprenticeships: A Conversation with North America’s Building Trades Unions Chief of Staff Mike Monroe

Tim talks to NABTU Chief of Staff Mike Monroe about a Department of Labor proposal that would undermine world-class apprenticeships in the construction industry.-LISTEN to PODCAST


QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“There is always a large horizon….There is much to be done….I am not going to be doing it! It is up to you to contribute some small part to a program of human betterment for all time.” —Frances Perkins, Secretary of Labor, 1933–1945



TEAMSTERS:


Are you following us on Social Media? Click on the links below.

FaceBook

Twitter

Visit our websitefor more information, news and events.


UPCOMING EVENTS:

                                              ~~~~~                                              

House of Hope Event: Wednesday, September 11

~~~~~

Providence Central Federated Council Annual Fall “Fun Fest”

known as Hot Dogs and Beer Fundraising Event

When: Wednesday, September 18

Where: Scenic parking lot of UFCW, 278 Silver Spring St. Providence from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Details: Contributions are not necessary, But, if you are able to make a contribution, please do so. We need to support our friends who support issues critical to our members livelihood. Local unions can make contributions up to $1,000.



THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY

Voices of Labor:

The short-lived National Labor Union (U.S.) was formed on this date and called for the 8-hour workday. The union, led by William H. Sylvis, was the first American labor union to unite skilled and unskilled workers (preceding the Industrial Workers of the World by nearly 40 years). At its height, the union had 640,000 members. – 1866

The first edition of the IWW Little Red Songbook was published. Since the founding of the Industrial Workers of the World, also known as the IWW, songs have played a big part in spreading the message of the One Big Union (an idea in the late 19th and early 20th centuries among trade unionists to unite the interests of workers and offer solutions to all labor problems). – 1909

This day marked the founding of the American Federation of Government Employees, following a decision by the National Federation of Federal Employees (later to become part of the International Association of Machinists) to leave the AFL. – 1932

-LEARN MORE



NEXT WEEK ON LABOR VISION:

Kathy McElroy, President of SEIU Local 580, representing workers at DCYF, sits down with Erica Hammond to talk about the recent hearing about ongoing issues in the department, the new hires to alleviate the under-staffing, and hopefully a new approach by legislators and elected officials on how to treat those forced into the worst of circumstances.

And in the second half of the show, Mike Whittaker and Dave Cookson of Beacon Mutual Life Insurance Co. sit down with Bob Delaney to talk about the dangers of heat-related illnesses while working on the job. And even while summer may be waning, everyone should still be vigilant for the signs and be careful on the job site.

E-News: August 15, 2019

Rhode Island AFL-CIO Union Directory

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.


PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: July 29, 2019

RI Council 94 AFSCME Calls for Action to Protect the Public & Training School Staff

North Providence – Today, Rhode Island Training School Local 314, Rhode Island Council 94, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO issued the following statement addressing continuing concerns about safety and security at the Training School and out in the community at large.

Steve Shears, President of Local 314, stated, “We have met with DCYF administration on numerous occasions over the last year with our safety proposals, yet little progress has been made. Our highly competent staff are regularly injured due to assaults and insufficient equipment and staffing. Another problem is that RITS Staff lacks sufficient equipment/facilities to separate known rival gangs. Due to the administration’s resistance to providing protective tools, such as body armor, O.C. Pepper Foam, and safe rooms, it’s only a matter of time until another RITS staff member is grievously injured.”

President Shears continued, “Local 314 has repeatedly pointed out that DCYF’s rush to place juveniles, many of whom have committed serious crimes, back into the community has eroded public safety. In 2007 RI Training School housed approximately 150 juveniles. Today, the Training School houses around 50 juveniles.”

President Shears concluded, “In the face of overwhelming odds, our uniformed professional staff are struggling to maintain the safety and security of the Training School. Local 314 urges the Governor and General Assembly to take swift action to protect the public/state employees and avert another crisis.”

Contact: Nicole Barnard

724-5900 ext. 38–work

(917) 318-1050 -cell


RI Monthly: Why Labor Unions Are Increasing Influence

Unions have found their mojo and public approval is climbing. What’s behind it?

As negotiations entered their second month, Mike Pietros felt his optimism fade and his anger build. Pietros, fifty-three, had worked for Stop and Shop since 1998, when he was hired as a part-time meat cutter who floated from store to store. In twenty-one years, the North Providence resident had worked his way up to a meat manager’s position at the Cumberland store, and he now sat on the bargaining team for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union hammering out the terms of the next contract.

The grocery chain’s corporate parent, Ahold Delhaize, had posted a $2 billion profit in 2018, but its offers were paltry. The Netherlands-based company had proposed a small wage increase, but also a rise in workers’ health care premiums, and reductions to holiday pay and to pension benefits for new full-timers. The UFCW saw this fundamentally as a pay cut, and an attempt to create a two-tiered employee system. By the time the old contract expired on February 23, their respective positions had hardened.

“We were just treading water, and I started to get upset,” Pietros says. “The company was not taking us too seriously, but without us, they don’t have a company. We are the ones who take care of the people. The customers come in to see us, not the people in corporate. We had to send the company a message.”

-READ MORE


WPRI Channel 12: Here’s why Victory Day is a holiday only in Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Like Del’s Lemonade or Saugy dogs, Victory Day is a unique summertime tradition in the Ocean State.

Monday is Rhode Island’s 71st annual Victory Day, continuing the state’s custom of being the only one that observes a legal holiday to mark the end of World War II. While the actual event it commemorates happened on Aug. 14, when Japan’s surrender was announced here, the holiday is now observed on the second Monday in August.

And no, despite what many residents believe, the legal name of Rhode Island’s holiday was never “V-J Day” (short for “Victory Over Japan”). It has always been called “Victory Day” on the statute books, going back to its establishment in 1948.

Rhode Island has apparently been on its own since the late 1960s or ’70s, when Arkansas dropped its version of Victory Day — known there as “World War II Memorial Day” — and reportedly gave state workers their birthdays off as a consolation. (While some websites claim Victory Day used to be a federal holiday, too, that appears to be a myth – there is no evidence for it in an authoritative 1999 U.S. Senate report on the topic.

-READ MORE



Ironworkers Local 37 FaceBook:

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Apprenticeship RI / Building Futures Twitter:
-SEE PHOTOS


AFL-CIO: Get to Know AFL-CIO’s Affiliates: Bricklayers

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Bricklayers.

Name of Union: International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC)

Mission: To help workers in the industry deal with unfair treatment, discrimination and other workplace issues in pursuit of balancing the power that an employer has over individual employees. To provide information, training and support for bricklayers and allied craftworkers.

Current Leadership of Union: James Boland serves as president of BAC. Boland became a BAC member in 1977 and worked on projects in the San Francisco Bay Area for a decade. In 1988, he became a business agent for BAC Local 3 before being elected president in 1992. A year later, he joined BAC’s Executive Council. Boland joined the international union’s headquarters staff as assistant to the vice president. Later that year, he became regional director for California and Nevada. He served as secretary-treasurer from 1999 to 2010. He became president in 2010 and was re-elected in 2015.

Timothy J. Driscoll serves as secretary-treasurer. Gerard Scarano and Carlos Aquin serve as executive vice presidents. The executive council also includes regional vice presidents, regional directors, craft vice presidents and at-large members.

Members Work As: Bricklayers, stone and marble masons, cement masons, plasterers, tile setters, terrazzo and mosaic workers, pointers, cleaners and caulkers.

-READ MORE



United Farm Workers Twitter:

-WATCH VIDEO


QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“The question is how do we make the labor movement relevant for working people outside of our own? We are facing a tipping point, we can grow dramatically or we can continue to do things the same—we decide the future for us. Our greatest threats are our greatest opportunities.” —AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler (IBEW) at the Virginia AFL-CIO State Political Conference on Saturday, Aug. 10




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THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY

Voices of Labor:

Lane Kirkland, former AFL-CIO President from 1979-1995, died on this day. Kirkland inherited a labor movement under heavy assault. Moving quickly to stem labor’s decline, Kirkland initiated institutional innovations and secured the re-affiliation of almost all the large national unions that remained outside the AFL-CIO. Kirkland was a staunch anti-Communist and strong supporter of the Solidarity movement in Poland. – 1999

The national Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners was founded in Chicago in a gathering of 36 carpenters from 11 cities. – 1881

Based on the news that their boss, Florenz Ziegfeld, was joining the Producing Managers’ Association, the chorus girls in his Ziegfield Follies created their own union, the Chorus Equity Association. They were helped by a big donation from superstar and former chorus girl Lillian Russell. In 1955 the union merged with the Actor’s Equity Association. – 1919

Teamsters official William Grami was kidnapped, bound and beaten near Sebastopol, California. He was leading a drive to organize apple plant workers in the area. – 1955

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NEXT WEEK ON LABOR VISION:

Kathy McElroy, President of SEIU Local 580, representing workers at DCYF, sits down with Erica Hammond to talk about the recent hearing about ongoing issues in the department, the new hires to alleviate the under-staffing, and hopefully a new approach by legislators and elected officials on how to treat those forced into the worst of circumstances.

And in the second half of the show, Mike Whittaker and Dave Cookson of Beacon Mutual Life Insurance Co. sit down with Bob Delaney to talk about the dangers of heat-related illnesses while working on the job. And even while summer may be waning, everyone should still be vigilant for the signs and be careful on the job site.

ENews: August 8, 2019

Rhode Island AFL-CIO Union Directory

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.


Boston Globe: Union, Republicans agree on this: more child welfare workers needed in Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE — Union leaders and Republican lawmakers find themselves in unusual agreement, calling for the state to hire more front-line child-welfare workers after a damning report about the death of an adopted 9-year-old who was left in a bathtub for up to eight hours.

Union members in the state Department of Children, Youth and Families plan to hold a “caseload/workload crisis rally” on the State House steps at 4 p.m. Thursday — one hour before the House Oversight Committee meets to see what action DCYF has taken on the report’s recommendations.

In a 57-page report issued in June, Child Advocate Jennifer Griffith and the Child Fatality Review Panel detailed a series of failures leading up to the January death of Zah-Nae Rothgeb, who had cerebral palsy and was one of eight special-needs children that Warwick’s Michele Rothgeb was allowed to keep in her care.

-READ MORE


WPRI Channel 12: DCYF expands staffing following devastating Child Advocate report

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — In an effort to address concerns highlighted in a scathing report from the Office of the Child Advocate, the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) has hired 23 additional staff members.

The 57-page report released in early June found DCYF was partly to blame for the death of 9-year-old Zha-Nae Rothgeb, who was found face down in the bathtub of her adopted mother’s home back in January.

The report also found DCYF had ignored complaints about her adoptive mother, Michelle Rothgeb, for years prior to Zha-Nae’s death.

Following the report, DCYF spokeswoman Kerri White said the agency hired another 23 frontline workers: 17 social caseworkers, three frontline supervisors and three child support technicians.

-READ MORE


GoLocalProv: Rhode Island PBS Ordered to Cease and Desist From Coercive Abuse of Employees by NLRB

A three-judge panel of the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Rhode Island PBS was coercive in its treatment of employees — and tried to break a local union.

The sweeping decision orders RI PBS — the local public broadcasting station — to cease and desist from “coercively interrogating employees about their un­ion sympathies.”

The decision orders RI PBS to fairly negotiate with the Interna­tional Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1228.

The 17-page decision is the latest — and may be — the final setback for the Rhode Island-based public television station that the NLRB says has been trying to break the union.

-READ MORE


Providence Journal: Providence officials point to school building improvements

The city recently approved $20 million worth of major renovations. And the Rhode Island Department of Education approved a plan by Providence to spend $278 million in repairs that, when completed, will “touch” every one of the city’s 41 schools.

PROVIDENCE — City and school officials offered a counter narrative Thursday to the teachers union’s complaints that some of the district’s buildings are in deplorable condition.

During a tour of the Veazie Street Elementary School near Branch Avenue, Mike Borg, director of public property, noted the new flexible membrane roof, part of $7.2 million worth of major renovations to the school planned over the next five years. The school was built in 1909.

The original tar roof sprung a major leak last winter, which can still be seen in the discolored tiles on the upper floors. The city had to step in and repair the leaks to the tune of $128,000, Borg said. It’s just this kind of costly emergency repair that Providence is trying to avoid by developing a five-year master plan for major capital repairs.

The Providence schools, like so many schools in Rhode Island, are seeing the result of decades of deferred maintenance, estimated at $372.4 million for Providence alone and that was just to make the schools “warm, safe and dry.”

-READ MORE


Boston Newspaper Guild:


AFL-CIO: Get to Know AFL-CIO’s Affiliates: Longshoremen

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Longshoremen.

Name of Union: International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA)

Mission: To promote the best interests of our members and their families; to organize unorganized workers; to bargain collectively and to negotiate; to improve the wages, hours of work, job security, work and living conditions; to secure and promote laws for the benefit of all workers; to expand educational opportunities of our members and their families; and to promote health, welfare, pension, recreational and civic programs in the interests of our members and their families.

Current Leadership of Union: Harold J. Daggett serves as international president of ILA. Daggett began his career with ILA as a mechanic with Local 1804-1 in 1967. He is a third generation ILA member who worked with Sea-Land Services for more than a decade until he was appointed as secretary-treasurer and business agent for his local. He was re-elected to that position six times, while also serving as secretary-treasurer of the New York–New Jersey District Council. In 1991, he was elected secretary-treasurer of the ILA Atlantic Coast District, a position to which he was re-elected twice. In 1998, he was elected president of ILA Local 1804-1. He began serving as an ILA executive officer in 1999, the first eight years as assistant general organizer and then four years as executive vice president. He was first elected international president of the ILA in 2011 and has been re-elected in 2015 and 2019.

-READ MORE


CNBC: Corporate profits have soared and workers from Amazon to United Airlines are now demanding their cut

In the decade since the U.S. emerged from the recession, many industries, including airlines and automakers, have enjoyed a near uninterrupted streak of profits.

U.S. airlines, better known for their boom and bust cycles, are headed for their 10th straight year of profitability. The top four biggest airlines and three biggest automakers in the country brought in more than $25 billion in profit last year.

Now, across the U.S., workers who assemble cars, fly planes, prepare airplane food, clean hotel rooms and stock grocery store shelves, just to name a few — many of them unionized employees in the middle of contract talks — are determined to get a bigger cut of the spoils.

-READ MORE

Do you need to purchase some school supplies for the upcoming school year?

Support your union brothers and sisters and buy union-made school supplies.



AFL-CIO:

-WATCH VIDEO


weekly statistic

33 million: The number of working people who would receive a raise under a $15 minimum wage.




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THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY

Voices of Labor:

Workers at Verizon, the nation’s largest local telephone company, launched what was to become an 18-day strike over working conditions and union representation. Nearly 85,000 unionized Verizon workers joined the picket line. – 2000

The Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers is formed. It partnered with the Steel Workers Organizing Committee, CIO in 1935; both organizations disbanded in 1942 to form the new United Steelworkers. – 1876

15,000 silk workers went on strike in Paterson, N.J. for 44 hour week. – 1919

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, led by President Ron Carey, went on strike at UPS. Involving 185,000 IBT members, the strike effectively shut down UPS operations for 16 days and cost UPS hundreds of millions of dollars. This victory for the union resulted in a new contract that increased wages, secured their existing benefits and gave increased job security. – 1997

-LEARN MORE



NEXT WEEK ON LABOR VISION:

In the first half of the show, President Tim Melia and Secretary-Treasurer Domenic Pontarelli of UFCW Local 328 recap the events of the strike against retail giant Stop & Shop with host Bob Delaney; detailing how negotiations deteriorated, how union leadership saw it coming and used the time to plan for the worst, and how membership were professionals about leaving the job site and always courteous on the picket line as they won the hearts and minds of customers, the public, the media and local politicians.

And in the second half of the show, Principal Officer Matt Taibi, President Paul Santos and Vice President Tony Suazo sit down with Erica Hammond to discuss their recent success in getting a contract for their members at Rhode Island Hospital.

ENews: August 1, 2019

An excellent Letter to the Editor in today’s Boston Globe by Maribeth Calabro, President of Providence Teachers Union, Local 958, RIFTHP

Boston Globe: Simply blaming teachers won’t solve Providence schools’ woe

In “R.I. education chief seeks to take over Providence schools” (Metro, July 19), you suggest that the biggest thing standing in the way of the state takeover of Providence public schools is the Providence Teachers Union contract. As president of that union, and as a person who has spent 26 years in the classroom educating the kids of Providence, I disagree.

The way we tackle the challenges facing our schools — crumbling infrastructure, kids and teachers who feel unsafe, and a gap between the community and the place its kids are spending a majority of their time — falls on all of us, elected officials, educators, parents and students alike. The teacher’s union isn’t the enemy here. We are the voice of the teachers who want what’s best for our kids, and we’ve been fighting for it for years, despite some incredibly challenging conditions.

Since the Johns Hopkins report came out, the Providence Teachers Union has shouldered a great deal of blame for the issues facing our schools. But it’s far too easy to just blame teachers. These are systemic, community-wide problems that date back years and require deep investment and commitment across the board, including more support and professional development for educators, increased counselors and social emotional learning opportunities for students, and a commitment to collaboration on developing cultural competencies and behavioral norms for everyone who walks through our school doors.

If our contract — which was negotiated, ratified and implemented by both our union and the district — now stands in the way of any of those goals, I’ll be first in line to discuss revising it. Otherwise, I look forward to getting to work on the real issues facing the students and teachers of Providence.

Maribeth Calabro, President, Providence Teachers Union


Providence Journal: School Dept. bars union head, reporters from buildings tour

PTU President Maribeth Calabro had asked reporters to tour Hope High School after getting reports from teachers that the East Side high school and Del Sesto Middle School on Springfield Street have issues with rodents with fewer than 40 days until classes resume.

PROVIDENCE — The president of the Providence Teachers Union and two reporters were denied entrance to two city schools, Hope High School and Del Sesto Middle School, on Monday morning.

PTU President Maribeth Calabro had asked reporters to tour Hope High School after getting reports from teachers that the East Side high school and the middle school on Springfield Street had issues with rodents with fewer than 40 days until classes resume.

At Hope, Principal John Hunt asked reporters from the Journal and Channel 10 to wait while he contacted someone from central office. After 30 minutes, Calabro brought the reporters to the middle school. There, an assistant principal said she had to reach out to central office and someone from facilities. She later told Calabro that she would have to schedule a tour. She told the same thing to the reporters.

-READ MORE


Providence Journal: Providence Teachers Union on schools takeover: We’re ready to work with state

PROVIDENCE — Less than a week after the State granted the Department of Education control of Providence schools, the Providence Teachers Union issued a report Monday declaring its willingness to work with the state on reform.

“While we may disagree with some aspects of what has transpired in the last two months, let’s be crystal clear,” the report states. “The PTU — after extensive review of the Johns Hopkins
Institute for Education Policy’s report on the Providence Public School District, and after participating in all the listening sessions held by Rhode Island Department of Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green — is committed to partnering with the state to improve Providence Public Schools for all children.”

“The spirit and the structure of any state plan must recognize that teachers and school staff are part of the solution, not a problem to be overcome,” it reads. “While teachers and our union have much to contribute and a great eagerness to contribute it, the State of Rhode Island has the ultimate responsibility for the success of this plan.”

The Department of Education’s decision to seek control of Providence schools — a move supported by Mayor Jorge Elorza — came in the wake of a damning report that highlighted a culture of low discipline, low expectations, low communication and low learning that permeated the district.

-READ MORE


Providence Journal: Report calls understaffed R.I. nursing homes a ‘crisis’

Low wages, high staff turnover and regulatory shortcomings have combined to create a “resident care crisis in Rhode Island nursing homes,” according to a report released by the District 1199 SEIU New England union.

PROVIDENCE — Low wages, high staff turnover and regulatory shortcomings have combined to create a “resident care crisis in Rhode Island nursing homes,” according to a report released Thursday by the District 1199 SEIU New England union. A coalition of groups called for legislative action to remedy the situation during a press conference at Bannister Center.

“Rhode Island nursing homes are understaffed and Rhode Island caregivers are underpaid,” certified nursing assistant Shirley Lomba said. “When our residents have more time with their caregivers, they have better outcomes. The lack of staffing standards forces us to rush through the very basics of care and doesn’t give us any time to answer questions or even just chat with our residents; basic things that are necessary to maintain quality of life.”

The eight-page “Raise the Bar on Resident Care” report states that CNAs in Rhode Island earn $14.42 an hour, compared to $15.54 in Massachusetts and $16.18 in Connecticut, and that Rhode Island is just one of 11 states in the U.S. that does not have “staffing regulations that establish minimums on the number of hours of daily care a resident must receive.”

-READ MORE

Turn to 10 WJAR: Martha’s Vineyard bus drivers approve contract ending strike

OAK BLUFFS, Mass. (AP) — Bus drivers on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts have approved a new contract after a nearly month long strike.

Martha’s Vineyard Transit Authority drivers said on their Facebook support group Sunday that their unionized members overwhelmingly ratified the deal after a discussion and vote Sunday afternoon in Oak Bluffs.

The Amalgamated Transit Union, the labor group representing the workers, announced on Thursday the deal with Transit Connection Inc., the private company that operates the island’s public bus system.

The proposal includes pay raises, double pay for working holidays, union protections during layoffs and certain seniority rights, among other provisions.

The transit authority in a statement called it “an affordable and sustainable” agreement and apologized to customers.

Drivers walked off the job June 28 but the authority has continued to provide limited service.



AFL-CIO: AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka just offered remarks ahead of the Democratic Debate in Detroit.

-WATCH VIDEO


QUOTE OF THE WEEK




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THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY

Voices of Labor:

Picture: Pirate pitcher Luis Tiant reads about the end of the strike.

Members of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) went on strike. The strike lasted only two days, but inaugurated the NFLPA as a real union. The new agreement won the right for players to bargain through their own agents with the clubs, and minimum salaries were increased to $12,500 for rookies and $13,000 for veterans. Also, players’ pensions were improved and dental care was added to the players’ insurance plans. Players also gained the right to select representation on the league’s retirement board and the right to impartial arbitration for injury grievance. – 1970

A crippling fifty-day baseball player strike ended. The strike divided the season into two as owners adopted a split-season format with increased playoff participants. Purists were enraged, as several teams whose first-rate records somehow failed to qualify the for the postseason.  – 1981

The Great Shipyard Strike of 1999 ended after Steelworkers at Newport News Shipbuilding ratified a breakthrough agreement which nearly doubled pensions, increased security, ended inequality, and provided the highest wage increases in company and industry history to the nearly 10,000 workers at the yard. The strike lasted 15 weeks. – 1999

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NEXT WEEK ON LABOR VISION:

In the first half of the program, RI AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer and local CLUW Chapter President, Maureen Martin presents the fruits of a months-long effort to collect, “period products,” for women who can’t afford them, to the RI Community Food Bank with members of the local CLUW chapter and an appreciative audience.

And in the second part of the show, Dr. Okurowski from the Occupational and Environmental Health Center sits down with Erica Hammond of the Institute for Labor Studies and Research to discuss the need for automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in the workplace; their ease of use with simple training, coverage under the “Good Samaritan,” law and efficacy when used on someone in the first minutes after a cardiac event.

ENEWS: July 18, 2019

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release: July 16, 2019

Statement from George Nee, President of Rhode Island                                                              

“The Rhode Island AFL-CIO, on behalf of the Rhode Island labor movement and the sisters and brothers of our state who everyday work to make sure our state and its people enjoy the prosperity of our labors, condemns in the strongest possible way the recent comments of President Trump against Democratic Representatives Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib. For the President of the United States to embrace the racist rhetoric of White Nationalism as a weapon against four duly elected members of Congress, all of whom are United States citizens, who just happen to be women of color, is a dark day in our long history as a country founded on the principle of “All Men Are Created Equal.”

We in the labor movement live by a simple creed: “An Injury to One is an Injury to All.” The President’s attack on these women leaders is not simply about them, it is about all of us, and as a labor movement we stand united in our condemnation of this hateful, hurtful, and un-American rhetoric. Our 80,000 members are Democrats, Republicans, Independents and everything in between – but as workers we stand united in the principles that make this country great. We will not be silent while the values that we hold dear are undermined by a President who is more focused on dismantling the very foundations of our democracy than in upholding the values that our movement works daily to promote and protect.”


Providence Journal: Mark Patinkin: Woman in a hard hat building respect on the job

Maria Toedt, 27, is one of two women working at the Marriott Residence Inn project on Providence’s Fountain Street.

I often pass a downtown construction site, where the work involves lifting and sweat and thick jeans on hot days, worn mostly by males of beefy build.

And then there is the case of Maria Toedt.

She is 27 and a painter, and of the 90 hard-hats on this site, she is one of two women.

She spent much of Tuesday morning lugging scores of big 60-pound paint cans to set up in a new space, not to mention shoulder-borne bolts of wallpaper.

She was kind enough to pause and chat.

“I think I’m about the only girl left at this point,” Maria said.

She meant here at the Marriott Residence Inn project on Providence’s Fountain Street. Bob Vierra is overseeing it for Gilbane Construction, and he said it’s true: they have had as many as six females, but now just two, the other a site cleaner.

Maria has been a union apprentice for over a year and will need three more to become a journeyman, a word she is fine with.

-READ MORE


CNN Business: ‘Prime Day’ is a prime time for collective action

Editor’s note: Liz Shuler is secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), a federation of international labor unions. The opinions expressed in this commentary are her own.


This week, millions of consumers flocked to Amazon looking for a deal on Prime Day, which brought in more than $3.9 billion for the retail giant last year. Maybe you were one of those shoppers. But, as you await the delivery of the trendiest tech or basic household items you bought for a bargain, remember that it takes hundreds of thousands of workers to turn your simple click of the button into a package at your door at breathtaking speed. And far too often, these workers say they are being treated terribly and denied basic rights on the job. That’s why workers in Shakopee, Minnesota, took a stand and walked out on Monday.

These workers aren’t asking for the moon. They’re demanding a safe and reliable working environment, the chance to advance in their career and the opportunity to organize and advocate for a better life.

Workers in Shakopee are fighting for their right to organize, a right they know creates opportunities to advance their careers and provide better pay, better benefits and faster mobility from temporary to full-time employment. Amazon has defended its worker policies.

But on labor-friendly Beacon Hill, a “fix” for that court decision is nearing the finish line.

-READ MORE


AFL-CIO: Get to Know AFL-CIO’s Affiliates: Boilermakers

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Boilermakers.

Name of Union: International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers (IBB)

Mission: Uniting members across multiple industries and occupations in the union’s common endeavor of improving each other’s lives and lifestyles through union representation.

Current Leadership of Union: Newton B. Jones serves as international president of the Boilermakers. Jones began his career as a Boilermaker 47 years ago and has worked as a field construction boilermaker, high rigger, tube roller, certified pressure welder and in other jobs in the industry. In 1981, he joined the staff of the international union. Five years later, he was appointed director of organizing and communications. After that, he served as international vice president for the Southeast Section and in 2003 was chosen to complete the unexpired term of International President Charles W. Jones, who retired. Newton Jones was then re-elected as international president in 2006, 2011 and 2016.

William T. Creeden serves as international secretary-treasurer, and the Boilermakers have five international vice presidents that serve geographical regions, including Lawrence McManamon (Great Lakes Section), J. Tom Baca (Western Section), Warren Fairley (Southeast Section), John T. Fultz (Northeast Section) and Arnie M. Stadnick (Canada).

Current Number of Members: 60,000

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International Association of Machinists and Aerospace workers: 50 Years Ago, Machinists Push to the Moon

Fifty years ago, NASA launched its epic Apollo 11 flight placing man on the moon for the first time. The mission was aided by scores of Machinists Union members.

The eight-day Apollo mission started with the July 16, 1969 takeoff of a Saturn V rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. On July 20, the 240,000-mile flight to the moon reached the historic milestone with the lunar landing by Neil Armstrong and Edward “Buzz” Aldrin, the world’s first space mechanic and an honorary IAM member.

The July 20 lunar landing was the achievement of a goal set eight years earlier by President John F. Kennedy, who challenged the nation to place a man on the moon before the end of the decade.

In addition to Aldrin, many other IAM members assisted in the Apollo 11 mission.

That included IAM members represented by roughly a dozen locals in Florida and Texas. Among those was nearly 1,500 space mechanics, and members of nine IAM locals in Florida. The workers for companies such as Boeing and Trans World Airlines were tasked with orders such as maintenance, inspection and integration of the shuttle.

Machinists leaders such as then-Grand Lodge Rep. W. J. Usery dubbed the workers as some of the unsung heroes who helped NASA reach the Apollo 11 milestone.



Labor 411: Grilling Season

Ah, summer! You may not have realized it, but July is National Grilling Month, National Picnic Month and National Hot Dog Month. Which means this weekend is the perfect occasion to toss some weenies on the grill or have yourself a picnic. When you hit the outdoors for summer food-related fun, choose the products below made by ethical companies that treat their workers with respect. Let’s all grill and picnic our way to a stronger America. -SEE LIST


QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“Prevailing wage prevents unscrupulous contractors from low-balling bids and undercutting community wages with cheap, unskilled labor; and this new law will help ensure work is performed by trained workers and that those workers are rewarded fairly for their labor.” —New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charlie Wowkanech (IUOE)




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MORE INFORMATION
—————————————–


Call (401) 780-6887
for more information and to purchase tickets.
—————————————–
Call (401) 463-9900 for more information.



THIS WEEK IN LABOR HISTORY

Unionist:

A half-million steelworkers begin what is to become a 116-day strike that shutters nearly every steel mill in the country. Management wanted to dump contract language limiting its ability to change the number of workers assigned to a task or to introduce new work rules or machinery that would result in reduced hours or fewer employees – 1959

San Francisco Longshoreman’s strike spreads, becomes 4-day general strike – 1934

Hospital workers win 113-day union recognition strike in Charleston, S.C. – 1969

The Brotherhood of Telegraphers begins an unsuccessful 3-week strike against the Western Union Telegraph Co. – 1883

-LEARN MORE



NEXT WEEK ON LABOR VISION:

In the first half of the program, President Jim Vincent of the Providence Branch of the NAACP, sits down with Erica Hammond to discuss the importance of the upcoming census count, the need for affordable low-income housing, the ability for parolees and probationers to attain licenses upon their release, and for just as much focus to be put on teaching trades in schools; all issues that labor and the minority community should work together to achieve moving forward.

And in the second part of the show, Erica speaks with Matt Taibi, Secretary-Treasurer and Matt Maini, Business Agent, both of Teamsters Local 251, about the recent contract win for workers at Centrex Distributors in West Greenwich.