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Recent News Stories

Every week, we'll be bringing you a roundup of the important news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here's this week's Working People Weekly List. Read more >>>

Each week, we take a look at the biggest friends and foes of labor. We celebrate the workers winning big and small battles, and we shame the companies or people trying to deny working people their rights. Read more >>>

AFL-CIO Now Blog -- Recent News Stories

Working People Flip State House Seat in Kentucky
Working People Flip State House Seat in Kentucky

Kentucky victory
AFL-CIO

On Tuesday, working people claimed a landslide victory in a Kentucky special election. "I could not have done this without labor," said Democrat Linda Belcher in her victory speech. She’s the newly elected state representative for House District 49 in Bullitt County, just south of Louisville where then-presidential candidate Donald Trump carried 72% of the vote in 2016.

Union members knocked on doors in freezing weather and made phone calls in the district to make sure a real champion for working people would represent them in the state House. The Greater Louisville Central Labor Council, Kentucky State AFL-CIO, United Steelworkers (USW), Laborers (LIUNA), UAW Local 862 and Teamsters Local 89 members had thousands of conversations with more than 2,000 union members who live in House District 49.

"Unions stand in solidarity with pro-working family candidates. We are proud to fight for folks who will pass pro-working family policies and give all of Kentucky's hardworking men and women a better life," said Todd Dunn, president of the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council and Local 862.

Fred Zuckerman, president of Local 89, added, "In January 2017, the previous state representative in District 49 betrayed the working people of Kentucky by voting for so-called right to work and voting to repeal prevailing wage. Teamsters Local 89 swore on that day we would do everything in our power to flip any seat that voted against workers. Tonight, the Kentucky labor movement has done just that by helping to elect Linda Belcher. They started this war on workers but, in the end, we are going to win it."

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 02/21/2018 - 13:22

Time for Solidarity: What Working People Are Doing This Week
Time for Solidarity: What Working People Are Doing This Week

Welcome to our regular feature, a look at what the various AFL-CIO unions and other working family organizations are doing across the country and beyond. The labor movement is big and active—here's a look at the broad range of activities we're engaged in this week.

A. Philip Randolph Institute:

AFGE:

AFSCME:

AFT:

Air Line Pilots Association:

Alliance for Retired Americans:

Amalgamated Transit Union:

American Federation of Musicians:

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance:

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA:

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists:

Coalition of Labor Union Women:

Communications Workers of America:

Department for Professional Employees:

Electrical Workers:

Fire Fighters:

Heat and Frost Insulators:

International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers:

Ironworkers:

Jobs With Justice:

Laborers:

Machinists:

Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association:

Maritime Trades Department:

Metal Trades Department:

Musical Artists:

National Air Traffic Controllers Association:

National Association of Letter Carriers:

National Domestic Workers Alliance:

National Nurses United:

National Taxi Workers Alliance:

The NewsGuild-CWA:

NFL Players Association:

North America's Building Trades Unions:

Painters and Allied Trades:

Plasterers and Cement Masons:

Pride At Work:

Professional Aviation Safety Specialists:

SAG-AFTRA:

School Administrators:

Seafarers:

Solidarity Center:

Theatrical Stage Employees:

Transport Workers:

Transportation Trades Department:

UAW:

Union Label and Service Trades Department:

Union Veterans Council:

UNITE HERE:

United Food and Commercial Workers:

United Steelworkers:

Working America:

Writers Guild of America, East:

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 02/21/2018 - 12:02

Time to Go on Offense: The Working People Weekly List
Time to Go on Offense: The Working People Weekly List

Great Lakes Meeting
AFL-CIO

Every week, we bring you a roundup of the top news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here’s this week’s Working People Weekly List.

AFL-CIO President Trumka Tells Unions It’s Time To Go on Offense: "All that came just after Trumka told the UAW 'It’s time to drop our shield, pick up our sword and go on offense for a while,' to campaign for protecting pensions, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, to rebuild infrastructure and to 'protect our water from becoming poisoned like it was in Flint, Mich.'"

Is Trump Joking About ‘Strengthening the Federal Workforce’?: "At an AFGE rally Tuesday outside the AFL-CIO headquarters, just across Lafayette Square from the White House, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) warmed the crowd by saying, 'You are here today not only on behalf of hundreds of thousands of federal workers who want decent pay and decent working conditions, but you are here today on behalf of 300 million Americans who understand that what this country is about is providing quality care for veterans, to the elderly, to the children, to the poor and to the sick. That’s what you do. Thank you very much for doing it.'"

German Union's Big Win Shows U.S. Labor the Path Forward: "Last week the German metalworkers’ union, IG Metall, arguably one of the world’s most powerful unions, showed that unions have the power to shape their future workplaces.  IG Metall negotiated a precedent-setting collective-bargaining agreement that privileges working conditions over wages. It won its key demand that workers have the right to reduce their working week from 35 to 28 hours for a period of up to two years in order to care for family members."

Labor Chiefs Make Their Pitch to CEOs Studying Connecticut's Competitiveness: "'Simply put, union workers empowered by the freedom to negotiate with their employers do better on every single economic benchmark,' said Lori Pelletier, president of the state AFL-CIO."

Empowering Working People in the West: AFL-CIO Holds Third Regional Meeting of 2018: "AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre welcomed nearly 400 labor leaders and activists to his home state of California for the AFL-CIO Western District meeting this week. Gebre emphasized the importance of the actions attendees are taking to empower working people in the West, saying, 'Our movement is at its best when we work from the grassroots up, not from D.C. down.'"

Trump Administration Should Rescind Proposal That Allows Bosses to Pocket Working People's Tips: "As we previously reported, President Donald Trump’s Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta announced a new proposed regulation to allow restaurant owners to pocket the tips of millions of tipped workers. This would result in an estimated $5.8 billion in lost wages for workers each year?wages that they rightfully earned."

Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act Would Strip Working People of Freedoms: "Congress should protect worker freedom and uphold the sovereignty of Native American tribes, not pit the two against each other. Working people must have a legally enforceable right to form unions and negotiate together with the tribal enterprises that employ them. It’s fair, it’s democratic and it’s one important step toward an economy that works for all working people."

SAG-AFTRA Releases Sexual Harassment Code of Conduct: "SAG-AFTRA recently released a code of conduct on sexual harassment as part of a broader program to protect its members, confront harassment and advance equity in the workplace."

We Don't Play 'Chicken' with Safety: Worker Wins: "Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with poultry workers coming together to preserve safe line speeds and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life."

Taking the Wheel: A New Generation Is Driving the Future of the Labor Movement: "Building on the achievements of the past, newly elected union leaders and young workers are spreading optimism across the country. Inspired by the history and mission of the labor movement, a new generation of workers and activists are assuming leadership roles as the ranks of young union workers continue to grow."

Unions Are Fighting for Families by Supporting Women and Rejecting the Status Quo: "Women in the workplace have made major strides. Women currently make up 48% of the workforce and are the sole or primary breadwinner for 40% of families in the United States. Yet most family responsibilities still rest on women’s shoulders and, too often, women put in a full day’s work only to come home and clock in for a second shift."

6 Activist Women You Need to Know About for Black History Month: "As we celebrate Black History Month, we thought we'd take a look back at some of the women who have made history in the realm of fighting for the rights of working people. The battles they fought at the intersection of the rights of African Americans, women and working people should have made these women household names. Women continue to be at the forefront of battles for the rights of African Americans today, building on the work of these women and many others. Here is an introduction to a group of amazing women who did some amazing things."

Shuler: ‘What Unites Us Is Work and the Desire for a Better Life': "'Our movement is made up of working people of all parties and ideologies,' AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler told a crowd of more than 300 labor leaders and activists gathered at the AFL-CIO Northeast District Meeting in Silver Spring, Md. 'What unites us is work and the desire for a better life. Improving the lives of union members and all working people must be our guiding light in politics.'"

Working People Stand Together Against Sexual Harassment: "The AFL-CIO brought allies and union leaders together yesterday with the aim of ending sexual harassment in the workplace. When working people join together in union, we can listen to each other, mobilize our co-workers, speak with a unified voice and fight together to win justice in the workplace."

A Wave of Worker Activism: In the States Roundup: "It's time once again to take a look at the ways working people are making progress in the states. Click on any of the links to follow the state federations and central labor councils on Twitter."

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 02/16/2018 - 14:47

Empowering Working People in the West: AFL-CIO Holds Third Regional Meeting of 2018
Empowering Working People in the West: AFL-CIO Holds Third Regional Meeting of 2018

AFL-CIO Western Meeting
AFL-CIO

AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre welcomed nearly 400 labor leaders and activists to his home state of California for the AFL-CIO Western District meeting this week. Gebre emphasized the importance of the actions attendees are taking to empower working people in the West, saying, "Our movement is at its best when we work from the grassroots up, not from D.C. down."

Representatives from state federations, central labor councils and affiliate unions from Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming joined together at the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 324 hall in Buena Park, California, for a full day of strategizing to win for working people. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) acknowledged the latest achievements of the union movement out West, including the successful union election at the Los Angeles Times and the election of labor leaders to local government positions in Washington and Utah.

Other recent examples of workers out West turning the tide include:

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka urged everyone in the room to keep growing that momentum. "The test of 2018 and beyond will be to build on these successes. Each election, each organizing drive, each legislative battle will showcase our growing clout," Trumka said.

A series of breakout sessions and a panel of state federation presidents from Alaska, California, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming conveyed a key theme of the meeting: engaging union members and empowering them to be active and take ownership of their unions. Participants left the meeting energized and ready to turn anti-worker attacks into opportunities to strengthen the labor movement in 2018.

This was the third of several regional meetings the AFL-CIO is organizing for early 2018. The others are in Chicago; Washington, D.C.; Detroit; New Orleans; and Las Vegas.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:04

A Rising Tide of Buyer's Remorse Even in the Red States?
A Rising Tide of Buyer's Remorse Even in the Red States?

Donald Trump carried all but two of Kentucky’s 120 counties, and he collected a whopping 62.5% of the vote.

Kentucky is among only a dozen states where the president’s popularity is 50% or higher. He’s at 51 in the Red State Bluegrass State.

Nationwide, Trump received votes from 43% of union households, according to a poll by the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research. The survey didn’t break down the results state by state. The president probably did as well or better among Kentucky union households.

Anyway, go ahead and call it whistling past the graveyard. But the 51% number suggests that buyer’s remorse is creeping up in the border state I’ve called home for all my 68 years.

I’ve packed a union card for about two dozen years. Most of us in organized labor voted for Hillary Clinton, the AFL-CIO-endorsed Democrat. But I’m hearing about rumblings of regret in union ranks.

We said Trump was—and still is—a fraud and a con man. He ran on a standard Wall Street Republican platform with planks supporting:

  • "Right to work" (On the campaign trail, Trump said he preferred right to work states to non-right

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