Thousands rally as 22,000 miners are threatened with cut off of health benefits

UMWA Plans March on Washington Lexington, Kentucky–Over 5,000 miners rallied here last Tuesday to protest health benefit cuts threatened to happen before the end of the year.  Responding to the call of their union, United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), miners came from seven states to gather at the convention center.  Some arrived with walkers, canes, wheel chairs, and oxygen tanks, giving tangible evidence of the toll on human health inflicted by the mining industry. The UMWA reports that 22,000 retired union miners, widows or dependents would lose health care benefits at the end of the year if federal legislation they are backing isn’t enacted this year.  Retirement benefits are also at risk. UMWA President Cecil Roberts told those assembled that union miners had spent their lives working in dangerous places to provide America’s electricity and steel and make it the most prosperous nation on earth. “We have stood up for America, and it’s time America stood up for us!” said Roberts, “America owes us, and we will collect on that debt!” Union miners said the promise of good health care and pensions dates to 1946, when the federal government promised benefits in resolving a labor dispute. Roberts Calls for March on Washington with Civil Disobedience Roberts announced at the rally that union members will march on Washington D.C. later this year and risk being arrested if that’s what it takes. He told miners to go home and find at least five others that would be willing to rally at the nation’s capital. The UMWA is calling for passage of legislation in Congress, Senate Bill 1714 and House Resolution...
CWA Members on Strike at Verizon

CWA Members on Strike at Verizon

After nearly 10 months of trying to reach a fair contract with “Verigreedy,” 39,000 CWA and IBEW working families went on strike as of 6 a.m., Wednesday April 13. Elected officials across Verizon territory are rallying with striking Verizon workers, and CWA members were joined by AFL-CIO activists and other supporters as the strike continued. CWA Verizon members tell their stories. Watch here. Watch all the CWA Verizon videos here. Despite making record profits – $39 billion in profits over the last three years – Verizon executives have been pushing to offshore more jobs to the Philippines, Mexico and other locations, close call centers, outsource work to low-wage contractors and transfer workers away from their families for up to four months at a time. Verizon workers also are frustrated with the company’s continued refusal to meet its commitment to regulators and communities and build out high-speed FiOS broadband. Not only has Verizon failed to bring this telecommunications service to communities, it is failing to properly maintain the copper network, putting consumers and communities at risk. Union members were out at 6 a.m. on Wednesday on picket lines from Virginia to Massachusetts. There were rallies, mass picketing, visits and messages of support from elected officials and community leaders and other shows of solidarity. CWA President Chris Shelton joined members of Local 2222 picketing at a Verizon garage in Falls Church, Va., and told members that standing together, we will take on this greedy corporation and win. “We’re going to show this company that we deserve a decent life for ourselves and our families,” he said. “We’re standing up for working...
AFL-CIO endorsement of BCTGM’s boycott of “Made in Mexico” Mondelez International snack foods

AFL-CIO endorsement of BCTGM’s boycott of “Made in Mexico” Mondelez International snack foods

MEMORANDUM TO: AFL-CIO Executive Council Members National and International Union Presidents Trade and Industrial Departments General Board Representatives AFL-CIO State Federations and Central Labor Councils FROM: Elizabeth H. Shuler DATE: May 3, 2016 RE: AFL-CIO endorsement of BCTGM’s boycott of “Made in Mexico” Mondelez International snack foods The AFL-CIO has endorsed the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union (BCTGM) boycott of the snack food items of Mondelez International (“Mondelez,” “Mondelez/Nabisco”) that are made in Mexico. The boycott is being conducted because Mondelez is shifting work from U.S. production facilities, most recently in Chicago, IL, to a facility in Salinas Victoria, Mexico. Shortly after the Salinas Victoria facility went online in 2015, Mondelez approached BCTGM Local 300 (Chicago) seeking $46 million in annual concessions to secure an investment of $130 million into the Chicago plant. The concessions would have meant an approximately 60% reduction in pay and benefits for the 1,000 workers in Chicago, decimating fifty years of collective bargaining gains. The members refused. In July 2015, Mondelez announced it would be investing the $130 million in the Salinas Victoria plant to construct several more lines. It also announced that it would eliminate 600 jobs at its plant in Chicago as it transferred production to Salinas Victoria. That same year, the CEO of Mondelez received over $19 million in total compensation. The BCTGM’s “check the label” campaign is designed to educate the public about Mondelez transfer of jobs to Mexico and to urge consumers to not buy Mondelez/Nabisco snack food products that are made in Mexico, http://www.fightforamericanjobs.org/check-the-label/. It is very important to emphasize that the BCTGM is only...

AFL-CIO Adds Mondelez International “Made in Mexico” Snack Foods to Boycott List

The AFL-CIO has announced its endorsement of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union’s boycott of Mexican made Nabisco products as a result of the company’s decision to move hundreds of Chicago jobs to a plant in Mexico. BCTGM, which represents about 4,000 workers at Mondelez International, the parent company of Nabisco, launched its Check the Label campaign earlier this year to push back against the company’s outsourcing of American jobs. The April 25, 2016 letter issued by Liz Schuler, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer is printed below. The AFL-CIO has approved your request to include Mondelez International on the list of AFL-CIO national boycotts. Specifically, the boycott will apply to all Mondelez International snack food products that are labeled ‘Made in Mexico,’ including Oreos, Newtons, Chips Ahoy, Honey Grahams, Animal Crackers, Ritz Crackers, Premium, Belvita, Lorna Doane, Teddy Grahams, Honey Maid, and Wheat Thins. In accordance with the policy on boycott endorsements adopted by the AFL-CIO Executive Council, the federation will maintain the “Made in Mexico” snack products of Mondelez International on its published boycott list for up to one year from the date of endorsement unless your union requests an earlier termination of the listing. At the end of the year, you may request to have the company included on the list for another 12 months. The AFL-CIO and the AFL-CIO Union Label and Service Trades Department will post this product line to the list on their websites and Union Label Letter publication. A pdf of the letter from Secretary-Treasurer Schuler can be downloaded here. Download “Durkee_BCTGM-Boycott-Letter-003.pdf” Durkee_BCTGM-Boycott-Letter-003.pdf – Downloaded 199 times – 39...
Bakery Workers Double Down on Nabisco Consumer Boycott

Bakery Workers Double Down on Nabisco Consumer Boycott

On March 23, the BCTGM — which represents nearly 4,000 members at Mondelez International, maker of Nabisco snack products — escalated its efforts to promote its “Check the Label” campaign. The action is in response to the layoff of the first 277 workers at the Southside Nabisco Chicago Bakery. The campaign encourages American consumers to reject Nabisco products made in Mexico and instead, buy those that are produced in America in support of American jobs. BCTGM will send teams of the laid off workers around the country, focusing on large urban areas, to meet with unions, social organizations, churches, state labor federations, and others to enhance support for the efforts and continue to expand its coalition. “Today’s layoff of the first 277 employees from the Nabisco Chicago Bakery should not be seen as the end of the Union’s effort to save these American jobs, but rather the launch of an intensified effort to educate the American consumer on the transfer of this work from the hard working employees of Chicago to low wage jobs at Nabisco’s production facility in Salinas Victoria, Mexico,” said David B. Durkee, International President of the BCTGM. “We will send teams of these laid off workers to talk to thousands in multiple communities across America to tell their story, redoubling our efforts on their behalf to educate the American consumer regarding the importance of withholding their consumer dollars from the purchase of Nabisco’s Mexican-made products.” Mondelez, the owner of the Nabisco brand, told workers at the Chicago bakery back in May of 2015 that they would consider putting new technology in Chicago if the workers...
Divided Supreme Court Narrowly Rejects Anti-Worker Attack

Divided Supreme Court Narrowly Rejects Anti-Worker Attack

When the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Friedrichs v. the California Teacher Association, ended in a 4-4 tie, public-sector unions breathed a collective sigh of relief. Since its initial filing in 2013, labor activists feared the case could deal a crippling blow to public-sector unions throughout the country. “The judgement is affirmed by an equally divided court,” the justices wrote in a brief, unsigned ruling. The suit, filed by Rebecca Friedrichs and nine other California teachers, argued that the state’s agency-fee system violated their First Amendment rights by forcing them to subsidize “political activities they don’t support.” Under California labor law, public employees vote to designate a union as their exclusive collective bargaining representative. The employees cannot be forced to join the union, and those who choose not to are required to pay a lesser “agency fee,” also known as a fair share fee, to help fund the administrative costs incurred by the union in support of collective bargaining activities. The lesser fee helps avoid a free-rider problem where employees benefit from the union’s representation without paying to support it. The split vote left in place the 1977 decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education that set the basis for public employee contracts. In a statement issued about the ruling from the AFL-CIO, President Rich Trumka said: “[T]oday, working people have persevered in the face of another attack on our rights. All over the country working people are showing that we won’t allow wealthy special interests or their politicians to stand in our way to join collectively and make workplaces better all across America. In the face of...

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