Today's AFL-CIO press clips

MUST READ

Business groups, conservatives hail Supreme Court decision on vaccines as victory for individual liberty

USA Today

By Michael Collins

Jan. 13, 2022

Liz Shuler, president of the AFL-CIO, said the court's ruling should prompt other steps to keep workers safe, particularly those at higher risk. The federal agency that oversees workplace safety should issue "an emergency standard to ensure all at-risk workers are provided layers of protections against COVID-19 transmission at work, like improved ventilation, distancing, masking and paid leave," Shuler said. "We will not beat this pandemic until we stop the spread of the virus at work."

POLITICS

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema a 'no' vote to change filibuster, puts voting rights legislation on life support

ABC 15

By Mark Phillips

Jan. 13, 2022

Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema took to the well of the U.S. Senate Thursday, announcing her support for both the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. But the senator said she will not change her mind on her Democratic colleagues' attempt to circumvent Senate rules and change the 60-vote threshold needed to pass the voting rights legislation. In a statement, Fred Yamashita, the Executive Director for AFL-CIO in Arizona said, "her decision to protect the filibuster to the detriment of our democracy is devastating."

ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT

Huge offshore wind energy lease sale announced for New Jersey and New York

WHYY

By Susan Phillips

Jan. 12, 2022

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, and AFL-CIO president Liz Shuler joined Haaland on the call, and each focused on the twin benefits of tackling climate change and creating “tens of thousands” of jobs. AFL-CIO president Shuler said wind energy could help with the loss of unionized oil and gas jobs that would result from shifting away from fossil fuels. Workers in those industries have not been big supporters of a switch to renewables, she said. “They’ve been skeptical of the transition because they have not seen the same quality, stable careers in clean energy that they have in the industries that they’ve worked in in the past,” said Shuler. “And there hasn’t been a commitment historically to high-quality jobs in the clean-energy economy. But it doesn’t have to be that way.”

Interior to hold auction for offshore wind power in NY, NJ

AP News

By Matthew Daly and Mike Catalini

Jan. 12, 2022

The Biden administration said Wednesday it will hold its first offshore wind auction next month, offering nearly 500,000 acres off the coast of New York and New Jersey for wind energy projects that could produce enough electricity to power nearly 2 million homes. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said the Feb. 23 auction in the New York Bight region will allow offshore wind developers to bid on six lease areas, the most ever offered in an auction for offshore wind energy projects.

JOINING  TOGETHER

Union backers rally to urge Colectivo to drop appeals, start contract talks

Wisconsin Examiner

By Erik Gunn and Isiah Holmes

Jan. 13, 2022

Wisconsin AFL-CIO President Stephanie Bloomingdale noted as much, directing her comments at Colectivo’s owners, Lincoln Fowler, Ward Fowler and Paul Miller, while speaking to the rally participants. “We stood with your values, we stood with your fair trade policies on making sure that the workers in Central America had good working conditions, we stood with your environmental practices,” Bloomingdale said. “And this coffee shop was more than just coffee — it was an idea, with Alterra and now with Colectivo. But right now, Paul, Ward, Lincoln, you are betraying that brand. You are betraying that ideal.” Calling Milwaukee “a union town,” Bloomingdale reiterated the call for the company to “fairly negotiate” with its employees and the union.

King Soopers strikers, supporters, hold Glendale rally

KDVR

By Lanie Lee Cook and Nicole Fierro

Jan. 13, 2022

On the second day of their strike, King Soopers workers and their supporters held a rally. The rally began at 1 p.m. Thursday across the street from the King Soopers store at Leetsdale Drive and Dahlia Street in Glendale. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 7 said the ongoing strike impacts 8,400 workers across 77 King Soopers or Kroger stores. The decision to strike was supported by 95% of union workers who voted.

New Colectivo workers union delivers petition to owners in hopes of getting to negotiations

WUWM

By Teran Powell

Jan. 13, 2022

Employees of Milwaukee-based Colectivo Coffee are still waiting for Colectivo management to bargain with them, following the employees’ vote to unionize last August. Workers organized as the “Colectivo Collective.” They’re represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, or IBEW. Colectivo workers say management has stalled bargaining efforts. They point to the company’s multiple appeals to the National Labor Relations Board, which question the vote's validity to form a union. The workers also accuse Colectivo of signing a contract with a union-busting organization. Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson was there. So were the Milwaukee Area Labor Council and the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO presidents, and members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. IBEW business manager Dean Warsh said Colectivo owners have used every opportunity to delay the recognition of the union. He said most recently, the owners asked the National Labor Relations Board in Washington to review, again, the Milwaukee NLRB's decision to overrule their objection to the election. Pam Fendt, president of the Milwaukee Area Labor Council, was one of the event speakers who shared words of encouragement with Colectivo workers. She said she’s happy to stand in solidarity with them.

Union, King Soopers agree to resume negotiations

9 News

By David Mullen 

Jan. 13, 2022

As strikers continued to walk the picket lines, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 and the owners of King Soopers agreed Thursday to resume negotiations.  Kim Cordova, president of the union's local chapter, announced at a rally on Thursday that union had told officials with Kroger, which operates King Soopers and City Market, that it was willing to reopen negotiations. 

IN THE STATES

Lack of paid sick time an issue for Northeast Ohio workers during omicron surge

Ideastream Public Media

By Leigh Barr

Jan. 12, 2022

With guest Dan O'Malley, Executive Secretary, North Shore AFL-CIO & President, Lakewood City Council: Millions of workers still have no paid sick leave and incentives for employers to provide paid time off for COVID-19 have gone away. That means workers having to choose whether to go to work sick or stay home and go unpaid and/or possibly risk losing a job. The difficult choices are falling disproportionately on lower earning workers who largely do not receive paid sick time.

Bill to honor late historian with labor education center receives overwhelming support

Maine Beacon

By Evan Popp

Jan. 13, 2022

In her testimony Wednesday, Cynthia Phinney, president of the Maine AFL-CIO, said the COVID-19 crisis has forced the state and country to grapple with continued challenges that plague workers, such as rampant wealth inequality. Passing LD 1816 would be an essential step toward helping workers understand the context behind such circumstances and the collective power needed to create change, she said. “It is urgent that we strengthen and expand our public systems of lifelong worker education. It is important that Maine’s working people have ample, lifelong opportunities to make sense of the world, the economy and workers’ rights, history and organization,” she said.