AFL-CIO Weblog

07/15/2024 - 6:30pm
Building a Southern Economy for All: The Working People Weekly List Working People Weekly List

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

President Biden Attends Meeting with Union Leaders at AFL-CIO: “President Biden delivered remarks at a meeting with national union leaders at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C. ‘We’re gonna build this country from the bottom up and the middle out, not the top down,’ he said, and drew a contrast between himself and his Republican presidential challenger Donald Trump on plans for the economy and labor. He was introduced by AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler.”

Unions and Communities Are Building a Southern Economy for All: “Gov. Brian Kemp and five other Southern governors recently sent a chilling statement to working people in this state: Don’t you dare join a union. While politicians in the South have a long and sordid history of thwarting workers’ legal right to stand together in a union, these brazen and highly inappropriate threats no longer carry the weight they once did. Workers at the Blue Bird electric bus factory in Macon made history last year by voting to join the United Steelworkers and last month ratified their first contract, which included substantial wage gains, health and safety protections, and much more. These workers and many others in the South who choose to stand together in a union are sending a powerful message to anti-union governors like Kemp: We won’t be bullied.”

Three Ways Project 2025 Will Impact American Workplaces: “A 922-page document, the Mandate for Leadership 2025: The Conservative Promise, also known as Project 2025, has been a big topic of conversation as the presidential election draws near. The document, which contains a detailed right-wing proposal of drastic changes for the next Republican president to implement, was drafted by the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation. The leader of the Heritage Foundation, Kevin Roberts, stated in a podcast interview that Republicans are in the midst of ‘taking this country back’ and that the U.S. is currently in a second American Revolution that will ‘remain bloodless if the left allows it to be.’ Although several Trump administration officials contributed to the document, former president Trump has claimed to know nothing about it. Every American should understand Project 2025 and its potential long-term impacts. This article explores three major shifts that the authoritarian playbook will cause in the American workplace if implemented.”

Biden Administration Makes Largest-Ever Federal Grant to NY/NJ: Gateway Tunnel Is Finally Funded: “Yesterday, elected officials from New Jersey and New York announced that $6.88 billion in federal funding for the Hudson Tunnel Project has been obtained. The long-awaited project now has enough federal funding to begin the full construction phase. This is the largest federal funding commitment to a rail transportation project in over a decade. The New Jersey State AFL-CIO thanks the Biden Administration for delivering on their commitments to increasing the number of good paying union jobs, while investing in much needed improvements to infrastructure.”

Workplace Heat Rules Proposed by Biden Administration to Protect Workers: “A rule proposed by federal workplace safety regulators would offer some workers protection from extreme heat. The regulation pitched by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognizes that climate change makes dangerous high heat days more common, said Matt Schlobohm, executive director of the Maine AFL-CIO labor union. ‘Employers obviously can’t control everything about the weather and the temperature, but workers deserve fundamental rights and protections and we need to adjust to this new reality and this rule is a great step in that direction,’ Schlobohm said.”

Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese Strengthen Players' Union Seeking Larger Piece of Financial Pie: “As the WNBA enjoys a surge in attendance and TV ratings, negotiates a lucrative media-rights deal and prepares to add four teams that will net tens of millions in expansion fees, the players want a larger slice of the pie. So here's what is likely to happen: Before the Nov. 1 deadline, the Women's National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA) will opt out of the existing Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) set to run through 2027, with added star power. Clark and Reese will be in the fold. The players' association is in a new position thanks to Clark, Reese and the rest of the WNBA's rookie class, said Gary Roberts, the former dean of the Indiana University law school whose expertise includes sports law. ‘This is really the first draft class that has gotten this kind of attention that would give the union some bargaining leverage," Roberts said. ‘And it’s all about leverage.’”

Advancement of Immigrant Rights Is a Win for ALL Workers: “The AFL-CIO lauds President Biden’s action to remove barriers to citizenship and good jobs for long-term members of our workforce, our communities, and our unions. Immigrant rights are workers’ rights, and any policies that strengthen protections for immigrants are key to our efforts to build worker power and lift standards in our industries. Until all workers, regardless of immigration status, have equal and enforceable rights in this country, employers will continue to underpay, mistreat, and misclassify the hardworking immigrants who help keep our economy running. In the face of decades of shameful congressional inaction, the Biden administration has taken a sensible and much-needed step forward.”

Biden to Extend Overtime Protections for 1 Million Workers: “President Biden is extending overtime protections to 1 million workers who make less than the median individual salary and is vowing to take more action if re-elected. The executive action announced Monday will extend protections to workers making less than $43,888 per year, the White House said in a statement.”

Biden Unveils $1.7 Billion to Boost EV Production at U.S. Auto Factories: “The Energy Department on Thursday unveiled $1.7 billion for retooling 11 auto factories to make electric vehicles and their components, with a focus on facilities that have shuttered or could close without federal help. The president met Wednesday with the executive council of the AFL-CIO, the country’s largest federation of trade unions. ‘Building a clean energy economy can and should be a win-win for union autoworkers and automakers,’ Biden said in a statement Thursday. ‘This investment will create thousands of good-paying, union manufacturing jobs and retain even more—from Lansing, Michigan to Fort Valley, Georgia—by helping auto companies retool, reboot and rehire in the same factories and communities.’”

U.S. Miners' Union Head Calls House Republican Effort to Block Silica Dust Rule an 'Attack' on Workers: “The head of the national mine workers’ union on Friday condemned what he characterized as an effort by House Republicans to block enforcement of a long-awaited federal rule directed at curbing workers' exposure to poisonous, deadly rock dust, calling it ‘a direct attack on the health and safety of coal miners.’ United Mine Workers of America International President Cecil E. Roberts said a budget provision—approved by a U.S. House subcommittee Thursday—prohibiting the Department of Labor from using funding to enforce a silica dust rule operators must be in compliance with next year is ‘morally reprehensible’ and that the action ‘undermines the principles of fairness and justice that our country stands for.’”

Mon, 07/15/2024 - 09:15

07/15/2024 - 6:30pm
Service & Solidarity Spotlight: Vallejo City Council Approves New Contract with IBEW Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1245 members

Working people across the United States regularly step up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our Service & Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

The Vallejo City Council last week approved with near unanimity a new contract with the Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1245, which was overwhelmingly ratified by membership days prior.

The memorandum of understanding secures key wins like wage increases, improvements to medical benefits and more. Council members approved a two-part resolution—which recognized the tentative agreement and passed a notice of intent to amend the city’s 2024–25 budget and salary plan—and also took an opportunity to commend the dedication of city workers. The union credits this hard-won victory after months of negotiations to members’ commitment to making strong appearances at City Council meetings and to an outpouring of support from labor and faith allies in the community.

“It’s a great day,” Local 1245 Business Manager Bob Dean said. “This is a victory that belongs to the hard-working men and women of the City of Vallejo and everyone who supported them.”

Mon, 07/15/2024 - 10:03
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