AFL-CIO Now Blog

10/26/2020 - 5:49pm
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: CSEA Ramps Up Member-to-Member Election Campaign in California

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

While California may not be a battleground state when it comes to the presidential election, there are still important initiatives and state legislative races on the ballot. The California School Employees Association (CSEA) is not taking anything for granted. Instead, the union is pushing hard with its member-to-member phone call and text message program. “It’s exciting watching so many members volunteer their time to support election efforts,” CSEA President Ben Valdepeña said. He pointed out that thousands of calls and text messages have been sent to CSEA members over the past few weeks, with the get-out-the-vote outreach set to continue leading up to Election Day. CSEA and its member volunteers are fighting hard to pass Proposition 15, which would create fair and reliable funding for the state’s public schools.

Fri, 10/16/2020 - 09:33

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service


10/26/2020 - 5:49pm
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: IAFF Fights Opioid Epidemic

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

While the world remains consumed by the COVID-19 pandemic, another public health crisis continues to rage. The opioid epidemic has ravaged our country, and it’s estimated that in the United States alone, nearly 130 people die every day from opioid overdose. The Fire Fighters (IAFF) have launched a new online resource, “Responding to the Opioid Epidemic,” a 10-segment video and podcast series. The series provides an in-depth understanding of opioid addiction and treatment, addiction treatment considerations for firefighters, and responsible approaches to pain management for firefighters.

IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger said, “The U.S. and Canada are in the midst of a severe public health crisis caused by a surge in opioid misuse, addiction and overdose. Our members have a front row seat to the devastating impact of this epidemic and need more resources and training to continue to address this challenge head-on. We also have to work with all levels of government and community organizations to keep this crisis from continuing to grow.” Visit IAFF.org/Opioid-Epidemic to learn more.

Mon, 10/19/2020 - 09:51

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service


10/26/2020 - 5:49pm
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: IBEW Members Volunteer Labor of Love for Crisis Center in Missouri IBEW Local 257

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

A crisis center and shelter in Jefferson City, Missouri, now has bright, efficient lighting, thanks to a dozen Electrical Workers (IBEW) volunteers who were proud to lend a hand. The members of Local 257 gave their time and talent to help the community’s Rape and Abuse Crisis Service (RACS) spare funds that are badly needed to aid and shelter survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. The workers at the center expressed their gratitude.

“We were glad to answer the call. That’s what we do as IBEW members,” said local President Joel Vanderslice (pictured on the right), who helmed the project. “And we want to thank RACS for everything they do, and for being such a great organization to work with.”

Through energy audits, RACS leaders learned that a lighting upgrade could save thousands of dollars in coming years, with the additional benefit of making their two-story building safer and more secure. The center, which can house up to 36 residents, was largely vacant at the time IBEW members were there volunteering, as the pandemic forced RACS to spread out its services.

Thu, 10/15/2020 - 09:35

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service


10/26/2020 - 5:49pm
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: IFPTE Backs Members Running in Kansas

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

The International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) is throwing its support behind three of its own members running in Kansas: Matthew Joyce and Derek Milligan are running for the state House and Charity Kennedy is a candidate for Sedgwick County treasurer. Earlier this month, IFPTE sent out a series of mailers in support of the three members of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace/IFPTE (SPEEA/IFPTE) Local 2001. The mailers, which were sent to nearly 2,700 members living in Kansas, highlighted not only the fact that fellow IFPTE members were seeking office, but that they would be strong voices for the rights of workers to collectively bargain. IFPTE International President Paul Shearon commented that, “IFPTE is a strong proponent of union members running for elected office, as they are the ones who become the strongest advocates for workers and unions in office. IFPTE is proud that Matthew, Charity and Derek are taking this step to run and are happy to support them.”

Mon, 10/26/2020 - 09:32

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service


10/26/2020 - 5:49pm
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Operation Feed Atlantic City Cares for Laid-Off Workers Operation Feed Atlantic City

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

“When hardworking people are laid off,” said New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech (IUOE), “the food we provide helps them feed their children while at the same time lets them know that their union family cares.”

On Thursday, Oct. 15, for the 11th time since the coronavirus pandemic walloped the casinos and related industries, brothers, sisters and friends from Atlantic City’s casino-related unions and other nearby affiliates volunteered their day to help distribute food kits to laid-off workers and the New Jersey Shore resort community at large. Members from the Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), Operating Engineers (IUOE), Shore Nurses Union/NYSNA and UNITE HERE provided the strong arms and the warm smiles.

“I’m so impressed with everyone who dedicated their time and energy at every one of these,” Wowkanech said. “These brothers and sisters treated all the recipients with dignity and respect.”

The New Jersey State AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions, the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and the Community FoodBank of New Jersey held this distribution at Bader Field in Atlantic City, in an area where food insecurity runs high. 

“I’m proud and thankful for everyone who made Operation Feed Atlantic City possible,” said Wowkanech. “The organizers, our affiliates, our generous donors, the union members doing whatever it takes to make this run smoothly…for all of that, I am deeply grateful.”

Tue, 10/20/2020 - 10:00

Tags: COVID-19, Community Service


10/26/2020 - 5:49pm
Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Seafarers Perform Humanitarian Rescue of Stranded Boaters SIU Rescue

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

Members of the Seafarers (SIU) recently came to the rescue of stranded boaters in the Pacific Ocean, some 150 miles off the California coast. Chief Steward Samuel Sinclair provided the photo above from the MV Jean Anne (Pasha Hawaii). “The boat was drifting at sea for days….The captain notified the U.S. Coast Guard,” Sinclair explained. “The people in the boat were Mexican citizens trying to gain access to the U.S. Their motor gave out, resulting in the boat drifting aimlessly in the Pacific. The SIU crew professionally performed duties in this humanitarian rescue.”

Wed, 10/21/2020 - 09:37

Tags: Community Service, COVID-19

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