Tag Archives: Press

E-NEWS: OCTOBER 27, 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

This mailer was sent to every union household in Cranston, we won’t forget former mayor

@AllanFungRI’s empty promises.

View image larger.

The Providence Journal: Labor Secretary Walsh stumps for Magaziner

In a homestretch effort to rally votes for State Treasurer Seth Magaziner, who is wrestling Republican Allan Fung in a scrappy match for Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District seat, U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh appeared in Providence on Saturday.

Speaking near the Roger Williams Park carousel, Walsh warned that there is ‘a lot at stake in November’ and ‘a lot at stake for the future of our country.’

Walsh’s message was light on Magaziner and heavy on President Joe Biden, touting the administration’s agenda and its accomplishments despite the president receiving a lackluster approval rating that mirrors that of his predecessor.

Walsh reflected on the administration’s work on the American Rescue Plan Act and the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors and Science Act — known as the CHIPS Act — a move to invigorate American semiconductor manufacturing and reduce reliance on China.

The secretary also focused, unsurprisingly, on labor, surrounded by union members, including Michael Sabitoni, the powerful head of the Rhode Island Building & Construction Trades Council.

Walsh recalled growing up in Dorchester with an Irish father who was a union member, and participating in kitchen table discussions on work.

‘Everything that I have in my life, all the different positions I’ve had … has come out of the labor movement,’ Walsh said. ‘It’s been about the labor movement. It’s about what the Democratic Party stands for.’ Read more here.



  • McKee/Magaziner Phone Bank & Canvass, Painters Hall, 269 Macklin Street, Cranston 430pm-630pm

Saturday, October 29th

  • Providence: Saturday Labor Walk – Español, SEIU 1199, 319 Broadway, Providence, 10am
  • Cranston: Magaziner/McKee Canvass, Painters Hall, 269 Macklin Street, Cranston, 9:00am
  • Westerly: Victoria Gu/Magaziner Canvass, Craig Field Recreation Complex, Mountain Ave, Westerly, 12:30pm

Tuesday, November 1st

  • Magaziner Phone Bank, Painters Hall, 269 Macklin Street, Cranston 430pm-630pm

Wednesday, November 2nd

  • Providence: Wednesday Labor Walk, 300 W Exchange St, Providence, 🎂 Birthday Cake Served at 3pm, Walk at 4pm

Thursday, November 3rd

  • McKee/Magaziner Phone Bank & Canvass, Painters Hall, 269 Macklin Street, Cranston 430pm-630pm

Saturday, November 5th

***Please contact Autumn Guillotte, Organizer for Rhode Island AFL-CIO with any questions at (401) 316-1359 or E-Mail Autumn@riaflcio.com.

The Providence Journal: Bus drivers authorize strike in Lincoln, West Warwick and statewide yard in Cranston if demands aren’t meant. Here’s why

PROVIDENCE — First Student bus drivers at three bus yards said they plan to strike Nov. 2 unless management gives them a raise and a guarantee of 30 hours a week.

During a news conference Tuesday at the Service Employees International Union, New England, Local 1199 Executive Vice President Jesse Martin said more than 275 drivers and monitors authorized a strike vote last week. The employees work in the Lincoln, West Warwick and Cranston bus yards.  

How many students would be affected by a bus driver strike?

If a strike goes forward, hundreds of students would be affected because the drivers in Local 1199 provide transportation to students with special needs who are bused all over the state.

hose drivers also haul students to a number of private schools. The Journal could not obtain a list of the schools that would be affected.  

Why are the First Student bus drivers planning to strike?

Martin said drivers are not making enough money to support their families, adding that they make an average of $450 a week. He did not disclose how much more money they are seeking.

“First Student is a global company making billions of dollars in profit a year,” Martin said. “We need to make sure our employees are respected and treated with dignity.” Read more here.

1199 SEIU Rhode Island Facebook:

BREAKING: 275 1199NE bus drivers, monitors and aides who work for First Student, a multi-billion dollar company, will begin an open-ended strike starting November 2. Since June, 1199 workers from the Lincoln, West Warwick and Cranston bus yards have been trying to reach a fair settlement but First Student has refused to provide fair hours to end poverty wages. “We do not take the decision to go on strike lightly, but our children deserve consistent schedules and the best possible experience getting to and from school and as First Student has a responsibility to make that a reality,” said Lorene Hamel, a First Student school bus driver in Lincoln. Stay tuned for more details.

View pictures here.

General Teamsters Local 251 Facebook:


The Teamsters Local 251 Contract Action Team (CAT) at UPS met to put together contract proposals gathered from members. The CAT was elected by the UPS membership and had distributed and collected proposal forms to members ahead of this meeting. Local Business Agents Matt Maini and Tom Salvatore will take the L251 proposals to the New England committee. The CAT will work to unite and mobilize the membership throughout the contract negotiations and contract campaign.

View pictures here.

Local 37 Ironworkers Facebook:

A few of our members training to put another skill in their repertoire.

(Pictures from Cash Pina Facebook)

View pictures here.

RICOSH ADVISORY: Healthy Indoor Air: essential to manage COVID-19 this fall and winter.

On October 11th  Dr Ashish  JA the White House Covid coordinator  hosted a White House Summit on Improving Indoor Air Quality bringing together public health and ventilation experts, private sector and education leaders, and other stakeholders to highlight the benefits of improved indoor air quality in mitigating the spread of COVID-19,  In addition to new, updated COVID-19 vaccines and lifesaving treatments, improving indoor air quality within buildings is an essential part of the Biden Administration’s plan to manageCOVID-19 this fall and winter.

Earlier this year, the Administration launched the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge with recommendations building owners and operations can follow to improve indoor air quality.  {WhiteHouse.Gov/CleanIndoorAir}

Some common Ways to Increase Ventilation and Filteration

·         Increase outside air (OA) into the system as much as possible (most systems supply from 10-20% currently]this increases the effective dilution ventilation.

·         One way to measure ventilation is to figure out how often the air in a space is completely replaced. This is called Air Changes per Hour (ACH). In a 30-foot by 30-foot room that has 25 people in it, if the air is replaced at least every 10 minutes, there is an ACH of 6, There is not a standard for ACH, but a higher ACH lowers the risk of disease spreading through the air. We recommend a qualified HVAC technician or industrial hygienist be consulted throughout the whole process. Aim for at least 6 Air Changes per Hour [ACH ]in occupied spaces- more if possible. Read more here.

Machinists Union Facebook:

Did you know that we’re the largest union at NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration?

Our members build and launch the rockets and space shuttles that explore the universe. We even make spacesuits!

IAM Headquarters


Saturday Labor Walks

When: Every Saturday, 9am – 12pm

Where: Locations vary, please check here for events and sign up

Join us to canvass for endorsed democratic candidates Seth Magaziner and Governor Dan McKee! This is a tight election year and the most valuable thing you have to give to get our candidates elected is your time!

Call/ email RI AFL-CIO Organizer, Autumn Guillotte with any questions: 401-316-1359 // autumn@riaflcio.com


United Way of Rhode Island: Indigenous Peoples Equity Challenge

November is Native American Heritage Month, and United Way of Rhode Island is excited to be partnering with the Tomaquag Museum to launch an Indigenous Peoples Equity Challenge.

The free, five-day challenge will kick off on Nov. 14, but you can sign up anytime and take it at your own pace. After registering, you’ll receive a series of five emails with resources, reflection questions, or actions you can take to help create a more equitable Rhode Island.

Register here

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




Visit our website for more information, news and events.

If you want a voice on the job or to build a better workplace, click the here to start organizing and taking action.

Coming up on Labor Vision …

This special segment of Labor Vision covers the 2022 Rhode Island Institute For Labor Studies and Research 40th Annual Awards Evening featuring Marty Walsh, U.S. Secretary of Labor, introduced by Armand Sabitoni, LIUNA. Future segments will feature student guest speakers and prestigious Eagle Award recipients.

For more photos from the evening: https://www.riilsr.org/annual-award-dinner

Find our latest episodes on our website: www.LaborVisionRI.org

Never miss a segment. Like us on Facebook (@LaborVisionRI), follow us on Instagram and Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube page (LaborVisionTV1).


Bill preserves benefits and protections mandated by the Affordable Care Act

Providence, RI— On Monday, June 19th, the Executive Board of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO unanimously voted to support passage of “The Health Insurance Market Stability and Consumer Protection Act.”
Sponsored by Senator Josh Miller (S831 SubA) and Representative Brian Patrick Kennedy (H6156) the bill, ensures that Rhode Islanders are covered and protected at the state level if any changes are made to the Affordable Care Act at the federal level.
Key provisions of the ACA that the bill would maintain in state law include:
  • No pre-existing condition exclusions
  • Allow dependents up to age 26 to remain on their parents plan
  • Preserves coverage for preventative services with no cost sharing
  • Prohibition on annual limits/ lifetime dollar caps on coverage for essential benefits
Congressional Republican health care plans, including the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA), would repeal taxes on the wealthy, including the Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT)—a tax on combined capital gain, dividend, and interest income applicable to individuals making more than $200,000 or couples filing jointly making more than $250,000 in adjusted gross income.
 This tax cut is paid for by eliminating health insurance coverage for millions low- and middle-income Americans. According to a new report from the Center for American Progress, an estimated 51,500 Rhode Islanders would lose health insurance coverage, in order to give 920 of the wealthiest Rhode Island families a more than $42,000 tax break.



The Governor’s proposal to make college more affordable and accessible is a priority for Rhode Island’s working families

PROVIDENCE, RI The Rhode Island AFL-CIO enthusiastically supports the Rhode Island Promise proposal introduced by Governor Gina Raimondo. The proposal, which provides every Rhode Island student with an opportunity to attend two years of public college tuition-free, will provide working families with much-needed relief and will ensure that Rhode Islanders are prepared to compete for both the jobs of the present and the future.

Rhode Island AFL-CIO President George Nee released the following statement endorsing the Rhode Island Promise proposal:

The Rhode Island Promise scholarship proposal is a priority for working families because it will make Rhode Island workers more competitive. The jobs being created today require more education and training than a high school degree. The labor movement from its beginning has supported free public education for young people in the elementary and secondary schools. Due to the changing nature of employment in our economy, the time has come to extend this concept to our students engaged in post- secondary education. The Governor’s proposal builds on the success of the rest of her jobs agenda, which includes Real Jobs RI, expanded apprenticeship programs and support for career and technical education. The Rhode Island AFL-CIO and working families across Rhode Island strongly support the Rhode Island Promise scholarship proposal and respectfully requests on the General Assembly to pass it.”


New Report Ranks Rhode Island First in Nation for Worker Safety and Health

Providence, RI- In 2015, 150 workers died from preventable work-related injuries and illnesses every day in the United States, on average, according to a report released by the AFL-CIO. Nearly 5,000 workers died due to workplace injuries, and another 50,000-60,000 died from occupational diseases. The number of immigrant workers killed on the job reached a nearly 10-year high.

With 1.2 workplace fatalities per 100,000 workers in 2015, Rhode Island was ranked the safest state for worker safety and health according to Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect released this week. The national average was 3.4 workplace fatalities per 100,000 workers.

Even with the top ranking, there is room for improvement to protect Rhode Island’s workforce. Rhode Island had 6 workplace fatalities in 2015. With only seven Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors for over 36,000 establishments in Rhode Island, it would take 124 years to inspect each Rhode Island workplace once.

“Each and every worker deserves a safe and healthy workplace where they can earn a fair wage and go home safely to their families at the end of the day,” said Rhode Island AFL-CIO President George Nee. “One death on the job is one too many. These are more than numbers; they are our brothers and sisters, and a reminder of the need to continue our fight for every worker to be safe on the job every day.”

“Corporate negligence and weak safety laws have resulted in tragedy for an astonishing and unacceptable number of working families,” added AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Instead of working for stronger protections, too many Republican politicians in Washington, including the Trump administration, are trying to roll back commonsense regulations that enable workers to return home safely to their families.”

The report, titled Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect, marks the 26th year the AFL-CIO has reported on the state of safety and health protections for workers in the United States. The report shows the highest workplace fatality rates are in North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Nebraska and West Virginia. The lowest state fatality rates were reported for Rhode Island, Delaware, Massachusetts, Washington, and California.

According to the report, Latino workers have an 18% higher fatality rate than the national average. Deaths among Latino workers increased to 903, compared with 804 in 2014. Overall, 943 immigrant workers were killed on the job in 2015—the highest number since 2007.

The report also finds that construction, transportation and agriculture remain among the most dangerous sectors. 937 construction workers were killed in 2015—the highest in any sector. Older workers also are at high risk, with those 65 or older 2.5 times more likely to die on the job. Workplace violence continues to be a growing problem for workers, resulting in 703 deaths.

Read the full report here–  https://aflcio.org/reports/death-job-toll-neglect-2017

Over 1,000 Union Members Support Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State at Providence Bruins Union Night


L-R  Michael F. Sabitoni,  Pres., RI Building & Construction Trades Council; Taylor Millspaugh, BBBSOS Development & Communications Coordinator; Scott Duhamel, Secretary-Treasurer, RI Building & Construction Trades Council; Big Brothers and Big Sisters with their ‘Littles’

More than a thousand proud union members and their families from the Rhode Island Building & Construction Trades Council (RIB&CTC) cheered on the Providence Bruins Sunday while supporting the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State (BBBSOS) at the same time!  It was all part of the 7th Annual Rhode Island Building Trades Hockey Night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence.  Two dollars from every ticket purchased was donated to the BBBSOS.  During a special, first period presentation, RIBCTC President Michael F. Sabitoni and Secretary-Treasurer Scott Duhamel presented a check in the amount of $2,412 to BBBSOS Representatives. Families received free P-Bruins hats and enjoyed great lower level seats.  Not only was it an exciting time for Building Trade families, but also Little Brothers and Little Sisters who were able to spend a great night out with their adult mentors.

“We are grateful for the generous support from the Rhode Island Building and Construction Trades Council and the Rhode Island AFL-CIO,” stated BBBSOS Executive Director Katje Afonseca.  “This amazing partnership has allowed us to pair disadvantaged children in with a caring, adult mentor who can serve as a strong, adult role model throughout their young lives.”

The Building Trades sold more than 1,200 tickets to the April 9th game. The annual P-Bruins Hockey event is only one of many fundraisers the RIB&CTC has helped organize for nearly a decade, raising tens of thousands of dollars for Big Brothers Big Sisters.

“I am always very humbled and proud to see so many of our dedicated union craftsmen and women come out to support this vital organization,” expressed Mr. Sabitoni.  “We know the importance of giving back to the communities where we work and raise our families.  Collectively and individually we have the wonderful opportunity to make a significant impact on the lives of children who are in need of a Big Brother or Big Sister.”

Free Tax Prep from the United Way VITA Program

Build a better future—you’ve earned it!
Free income tax filing services for families or individuals earning less than $55,000. All volunteer preparers certified by the IRS. E-filing for fast returns! Get your Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit (EITC). You may qualify for an EITC credit up to $6,269.

Visit any Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site for service.
For information about site locations and times, please dial 2-1-1.


• Social Security Card(s) for self, spouse and
all dependents
• Picture ID for self and spouse (if applicable)
• All 2016 W-2, 1099 and 1095-A forms
• Copy of 2015 Federal Tax Return if you have it
• Child & Dependent Care Expense – Tax Identification Number (SSN, EIN) of the care provider
• For direct deposit… bring a check or a savings account number with routing number


Single, head of household:
• $14,880 – no qualifying children
• $39,296 – one qualifying child
• $44,648 – two qualifying children
• $47,955 – three or more qualifying children
Married, filing jointly:
• $20,430 – no qualifying children
• $44,846 – one qualifying child
• $50,198 – two qualifying children
• $53,505 – three or more qualifying children

VITA Fact Sheet


RICOSH Annual Report

The RI Committee on Occupational Safety and Health {RICOSH} is a (non-profit) resource center for occupational and environmental health and safety. Our primary focus is to prevent occupational and environmental disease and injury. RICOSH pursues this goal in three broad areas: advocacy, training, and technical assistance.

An Advocate for Safety & Health
RICOSH advances policy recommendations both locally and nationally on issues such as incorporating worker safety into climate change response and mitigation and the consequent impacts on health.

To that end, RICOSH continues to press for requirements to protect workers in the development of the resiliency and response and adaptation plans mandated by the Resilient Rhode Island Act, the state’s first comprehensive climate change legislation.

We are advocating a new policy to address climate change for the entire community by proposing the creation of a greenhouse gas emissions infrastructure bank to the Rhode Island Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council which is developing comprehensive state policy on climate change.

This year, we focused on disseminating information the new OSHA Confined Space standard for construction.

Because of the expanding role of coffee roasting in the local economy we jumpstarted a campaign about the link between and the discovery of serious lung disease in workers in the coffee roasting industry caused by exposure to chemical flavorings. We distributed an advisory summarizing the connections to the RI Medical Society’ weekly pulmonary conference, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union to OSHA Consultation Assistance Officers throughout NE and to regional occupational medicine physicians. RICOSH provided information about the flavoring hazards and NIOSH/OSHA recommendations to control them to Beacon Mutual Insurance, the states ‘largest worker compensation insurer.
We followed-up with a workshop on the hazards, methods to control these hazards, and resources such as the RIDOH’s Consultation service to assist small enterprises.

In 2016 we joined on with a new coalition : Fix Our Schools: A Coalition for Healthy School Environments to address the deteriorating conditions of many RI school buildings

RICOSH continues to work for improvement for public transit systems, especially as a key remediation to climate change impacts.

{{Organizations or groups that we have partnerships with or in which we are members that work on occupational and environmental health issues:
{}RI Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council (EC4)
Local Emergency Planning Committee #2
RI Department of Health
RIPTA Riders Alliance,
National Council for Occupational Safety and Health
Providence Community Health Centers
Working RI,
Healthy Housing Collaborative
Childhood Lead Action Project
Fuerza Laboral]].

Training and Education
Worker-centered health and safety training is fundamental to any attempt to prevent and control workplace hazards.

We trained over 160 young, new, immigrant, and low wage workers through an US OSHA Susan B Harwood Capacity Building grant. All told, since 2010, RICOSH trained over 800 workers in these topics and categories. We also participated in seventeen training programs through the UMASS Lowell New England Consortium on hazardous materials.
Since 1987, The New England Consortium (TNEC-CSEA), a partnership of the University of Massachusetts Lowell in the Department of Community Health, and five New England COSH groups and the Civil Service Employees Association, Local 1000, AFSCME is funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences through the National Worker Education Training Program. has conducted top quality learner-centered participatory hands-on Hazardous Waste Worker and Emergency Responder Health and Safety Training throughout the region.

RICOSH provided training through the TNEC–CSEA Project to:–

NEIHS Responding to Emerging Health Threats Trainers meeting Boston MA
OSHA Region 1 Lowell MA
AqualineUtility Randolph MA
Ben & Jerrys Vermont
Woodward &Curran NJ
TF Green Airport Corporation Warwick RI
NEUCO Lawrence MA
Woodward &Curran NJ
MWRA Chelsea MA
Tufts School of Communty Medicine Boston MA
Eversource Power Bow NH
Narragansett Bay Commission Prov RI
US EPA Lab -Narragansett RI
Brown University Superfund Project Prov RI

We joined with Institute for Labor Studies and Research’s Student Training Program as part of RI’s Labor Force Development Board’ grant and loan project to increase employment for the third year in a row
Trained a total of 1,055 students over the course of four weeks
Conducted 40 different sessions to accommodate all youth
Sessions were held at 35 different locations across the state
Sessions were led by 13 different trainers, 10 of which were returning from last year
Most of our trainers were high school

To maintain technical proficiency and skills staff attended the following in-service training programs:

1/19-22 OSHA 500 Lowell.
2/10 ZIKA virus Separating Fact from Fiction Brown University
2/12 EPA/ECRA Tier 2 Workshop
3/2 ZIKA Virus: Strategies for Tackling a World Health Emergency Brown University
3/3 Artificial Photosynthesis: Direct Production of Fuels from Sunlight  Am Chem Society webinar
3/11 Western Wells and Well-Being: Community Impacts of Unconventional Oil and Gas Production in Colorado. SBRP Brown
3/22 Transportation and Health Tool: Demonstrating health impacts of transportation decisions-Environmental Health Program, APHA Center for Public Health Policy
4/8 Methyl Mercury Toxicity—Brown SBRP
4/22 Climate Change Science in an Age of Misinformation-Univ of RI AAUP
4/28 Climate Changes Health: Tools to Communicate the Problem APHA/CDC
517 Climate Change and the News:
Getting to 1.5°: What Will it Take? Metcalf inst URI
5/22 Making the Connection: Climate Changes Children’s Health APHA
5/22 White House Webinar on Building Community Preparedness to Extreme Heat National Security Council and the Office of Science and Technology Policy
6/7 Healthy Community Design and Transportation. Climate for Health/APHA
6/23 OSHA Summit Amherst MA
8/11-“Chemophobia: How We Became Afraid of Chemicals and What to Do About It” Am Chem. Society
8/18-‘Our Renewable Future’-Security and Sustainability forum
8/24 Taking Stock of the Occupational Safety and Health Challenges of Nanotechnology: 2000-2015 OSHERC NORA seminar
9/1-Future Protective Materials for First Responders, Football Players, and Astronauts: Shear Thickening Fluids, Am Chemical Society
9/13 -Lead in Water HHS /George Washington University
9/19 Healthy Cities in the Era of Climate Change, security and sustainability forum 9/22-Towards Healthy Schools: Reducing Risk to Children HHS /George Washington University
9/30 RI Energy and Environmental Leaders Day. Sen S Whitehouse.
10/13-Flavoring Chemical Hazards In The Food Manufacturing Industry Nat’l COSH
10/21- RI High Performance School Summit-NEEP/RIDE
10/2-Brokering Environmental Justice: Community Health Partnerships in Three Milwaukee Neighborhoods: SBRPBrown university
11/19-Nanotechnology to the Rescue: Antimicrobial platform usinf Engineered Water Nanostructures Brown SBRP
12/2-Rhode Island Vulnerability to Sea Level Rise Statewide Planning Program
12/6-8 COSHCONN16 National Health &Safety Conference Baltimore ME
12/22- Lancet Countdown on Public Health and Climate Change. Security and Sustainability Forum
Information & Technical Assistance

“You produce a great newsletter! You have done a great job at solid technical, diverse and useful articles.”

Janet Clark, Senior Associate Director, Toxic Use Reduction Institute UMASS/Lowell Center For Sustainable Production

RICOSH produces a newsletter and we have added an online news and notes memo. Additionally, factsheets and other materials are available through the national COSH website {www. coshnetwork.org}

One of RICOSH’s primary functions is to supply accurate information about environmental and occupational hazards, regulations, and methods of control.
Agencies, institutions, officials, and organizations that requested information and technical assistance:
RI Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council (EC4)//R I Executive Climate Change Science and Technical Advisory Board// Providence Fire Department //US Post Office//United Nurses & Allied Professionals// Unite/Hotel &Restaurant Union, //Narragansett Bay Commission//Providence Health Centers//RI Department of Environmental Management// International Assn. of Fire Fighters //RI Federation of Teachers// Inst for Labor Studies & Research// Clean Water Action // Protecting Workers Alliance-NCOSH.// Brown Climate Development LabTR// LIUNA // LEPC2
Common Ground Labor newsletter//TNEC Quarterly// Prov Environmental Sustainability Task Force //–Allied Service Workers
Revenues and sources of funding: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences National Worker Education Training Program. Susan B Harwood OSHA grant, RI Foundation grant, unions’ dues and individual supporters as well as fees for service

RI Committee on Occupational Safety and Health
741 Westminster St.
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 751-2015/ fx 751-7520

Joint Statement by Rhode Island AFL-CIO President George Nee and Secretary-Treasurer Maureen Martin on President Donald Trump’s Immigration Ban

President Donald Trump’s executive order banning immigrants and refugees is an affront to the values we hold dear and true as Americans. All people should be outraged at Trump’s actions, but we as Rhode Islanders should be especially offended. Rhode Island was founded by Roger Williams on principles of religious freedom and welcoming with open arms all oppressed people no matter their background.

The Rhode Island AFL-CIO leadership calls on President Trump to immediately rescind his executive order. One of the abiding ideals of the labor movement has been, and always will be, an injury to one is an injury to all- Donald Trump’s executive order is a grievous injury to the millions of immigrants and refugees who, over generations, have come to America seeking a better life and in turn have made America great. The Rhode Island labor movement stands in solidarity with all who oppose Trump’s executive order.

That Trump’s order was signed on Holocaust Remembrance Day should be a stark and sobering reminder of past eras when immigrants and refugees were banned from America based on their religious views. May we never forget the words of German Protestant minister, and leader of the church’s opposition to the Nazis, Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out –

because I was not a communist;

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out –

because I was not a trade unionist;

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –

because I was not a Jew;

Then they came for me –

and there was no one left to speak out for me.