The Right to Work

The Right to Work Respect By U.S. Representative Donald Norcross (D-NJ) I joined the IBEW as an electrician’s apprentice in 1979, and spent the following decades wiring buildings, lighting bridges, and fighting for the rights of my fellow workers. I felt the dignity of working with my hands, and I saw the benefits of union membership. Hard work provided me with the pay and benefits to support a growing family and the opportunity to help others do the same. As a business agent, I fought for fair contracts, safe workplaces and higher wages. As the president of the Southern New Jersey AFL-CIO Labor Council for seventeen years, I forged relationships with businesses and governments to create jobs and put my union brothers and sisters to work. And now, as the only electrician in Congress, I’m fighting to defend Davis-Bacon, create jobs, and defeat a national “right-to-work” law. As Americans, we are guaranteed the right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness — and we already have the right to work. When corporate billionaires push “right to work,” what they’re really saying is that the right to work is all we have, regardless of the pay or the conditions. They’re saying we have the right to work for less, in less safe conditions, with less secure retirements. They’re saying we’re on our own – and they’re wrong. So-called “right-to-work” states rank among those with the lowest union membership, and as this egregious law spreads across the country, union membership nationally steadily declines. Workers in right-to-work states make an average of about $1,500 less a year, they pay more for health...

We Won!! The USPS and Staples Deal is Over!

From www.apwu.org Postal management informed the APWU in writing that the “Approved Shipper” program in Staples stores will be shut down by the end of February 2017. This victory concludes the APWU’s three-year struggle. The boycott against Staples is over!“I salute and commend every member and supporter who made this victory possible,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “I never doubted that if we stayed the course, stuck together and kept the activist pressure on, we would win this fight.”  APWU Sprung Into Action “The Staples pilot was an acceleration in the privatization of retail services and a direct assault on our jobs,” said Dimondstein. “It was time to draw a line in the sand.” “We wasted no time swinging into action,” Dimondstein continued. Early in 2014, the Stop Staples campaign started to put pressure on Staples and the USPS. On April 24, 2014, APWU members staged a country-wide National Day of Action with 56 Stop Staples protests in 27 states. After this, the APWU launched the official Staples Boycott.The APWU delegates to the 2014 National Convention reaffirmed the Stop Staples fight, authorizing necessary resources for the campaign. A thousand delegates took to the streets in front of a Staples store in downtown Chicago, IL, proclaiming, “The U.S. Mail is Not for Sale!” “If Staples was going to take our work and jobs for their private profit, we were going to hit back and affect their bottom line,” Dimondstein explained. The APWU launched StopStaples.com where tens of thousands pledged to join the boycott. The union also engaged in a postcard campaign which resulted in over 100,000 postcards delivered to Staples’...

SAG-AFTRA Strikes Eleven Video Game Companies

On October 24, more than 350 picketers turned out for a rally and picket line at EA offices in Playa Vista, Calif. in response to failed negotiations with video gaming companies that union officials say have been unwilling to meet even close to where the needs of its members are. The strike involves the following video game employers: Activision Publishing, Inc.; Blindlight, LLC; Corps of Discovery Films; Disney Character Voices, Inc.; Electronic Arts Productions, Inc.; Formosa Interactive, LLC; Insomniac Games, Inc.; Interactive Associates, Inc.; Take 2 Interactive Software; VoiceWorks Productions, Inc.; and WB Games, Inc. The strike applies to games that went into production after February 17, 2015, for the aforementioned employers. In a statement issued in early October by the union, SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said, “Through many months of bargaining with interactive employers, we have not reached a fair agreement covering SAG-AFTRA performers working in video games – often the most popular games in the world. Our members have been clear, now is the time for employers to negotiate a modern contract that covers this highly profitable industry. “A strike is not to be entered into lightly, but when the employers leave us with no recourse, we must stand firm for our members. It is imperative that we secure for them the protections, compensation and benefits they deserve,” Carteris added. The Union’s Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez noted that members working in the video game industry were negotiating to reach a fair contract, but that progress had essentially been stalled for more than a year. “We need a contract that fits the needs of our members working...

Workers’ Compensation Law Rollbacks Have Created a Crisis Across the U.S.

“A critical part of the safety net is being both attacked and eroded in no small measure because there are no federal minimum standards for workers’ compensation” — DOL Secretary Tom Perez A recent U.S. Department of Labor report lays out in gory detail the problems with workers’ compensation programs in the U.S., noting that those hurt on the job are at “great risk of falling into poverty” because state workers’ compensation systems are failing to provide them with adequate benefits. Unfortunately, the DOL has no oversight of workers’ compensation programs and has not monitored state compliance since 2004 because of cutbacks. According to the report, more than 30 states have changed their workers’ compensation laws since 2003, favoring employers far more than workers. In most instances, states have decreased benefits to injured workers, created hurdles to medical care, raised the burden of proof to qualify for help and shifted costs to public programs, such as Social Security Disability Insurance, Medicare and Medicaid. Employers are reaping the rewards—the cost of insurance has decreased dramatically and insurance companies are paying their overages back to corporations in the form of dividends. Since 1988, the average cost to employer has declined from $3.42 for every $100 paid in wages to $1.85 per $100. “With this report, we’re sounding an alarm bell,” Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez said in an interview with ProPublica, which had published a series of articles with NPR on the issue over the past year and a half (https://www.propublica.org/series/workers-compensation). The Grand Bargain Workers’ compensation was created more than 100 years ago. It was a response to challenging and horrific...
AFL-CIO Adds LAX Hotel and Restaurants to Boycott List

AFL-CIO Adds LAX Hotel and Restaurants to Boycott List

On September 7, 2016, the AFL-CIO officially endorsed the boycott of the Crowne Plaza Hotel LAX per the request of UNITE HERE President, D. Taylor. The boycott includes the Crowne Plaza Hotel LAX, Yokoso Sushi Bar, the Landing Restaurant, Century Taproom, and the Boulevard Market Cafe. The boycott endorsements adopted by the AFL-CIO Executive Council will remain in effect for up to one year, unless UNITE HERE requests an earlier termination of the listing. At the end of the first year, the union may request for the hotel to continue to be included on the list for another 12 months....

Working Families Toolkit

Electing the right people to office is an important part of ensuring that workers’ rights are protected. The new Working Families Toolkit (www.wftoolkit.org ) — built by the AFL-CIO — aims to make electing the right candidates easy. This web-based tool offers prebuilt materials for virtually every race taking place around the country. Materials can be ordered as social media ready files and pdf documents that are emailed to you, or they can be printed by the AFL-CIO’s union contracted printer and delivered to you free of charge. To create materials using the toolkit, visit www.wftoolkit.org to register and follow the prompts. A quick guide to using the toolkit can be found on the Union Label’s website at http://wp.unionlabel.org/download/13880/ Training is available through the AFL-CIO Campaigns Department. Contact Emilia Torre, etorre@aflcio.org to set up your quick 30-minute tutorial...

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