Today's AFL-CIO press clips

EDITOR'S NOTE: Check out the lead story under LABOR AND COMMUNITY: IBEW journeymen helping restore power in Mayfield because 'the union is all about brotherhood and sisterhood.' It's our post that was cross-posted on Forward Kentucky. 

MUST READ

Biden endures up-and-down first year on labor issues

The Hill

By Alex Gangitano and Karl Evers-Hillstrom

Jan. 18, 2022

Unions also highlight the American Rescue Plan, a top priority in particular for public sector unions, which were facing the threat of state budget cuts that would cost government workers their jobs without the bill’s influx of federal aid. The labor movement has felt burned by previous presidents who ran on a pro-worker agenda but ultimately sided with corporate giants in key battles. “He made promises that he actually kept,” AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler told The Hill of Biden. “It wasn’t necessarily a surprise because we always knew that Joe Biden had unions in his heart and looked through a worker’s lens, but it was a refreshing change, certainly, from the previous administration and even past Democratic administrations.”

CORONAVIRUS

Labor & Management Working To Extend Hollywood’s Covid Protocols To Address Omicron Surge

Deadline

By David Robb

Jan. 18, 2022

Hollywood’s Covid safety protocols, which had been set to expire over the weekend, are being extended on a day-to-day basis as labor and management continue to work out details for a formal extension – the first since the highly infectious Omicron variant has led to a worldwide surge in cases, hospitalizations and deaths. A formal extension is expected to include changes to the protocols that reflect this new reality and the Center for Disease Control’s evolving guidelines. The film and TV industry’s protocols were established in September 2020 by an agreement between the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers and Hollywood’s unions: the DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, the Teamsters and the Basic Crafts.

LABOR AND COMMUNITY

IBEW journeymen helping restore power in Mayfield because 'the union is all about brotherhood and sisterhood'

Forward Kentucky

By Berry Craig

Jan. 18, 2022

“I’m free in the afternoons, so what’s an hour out of my time to go and get somebody’s power back on who otherwise would have to wait a very long time,” said Kendall, whose home was spared by the nighttime twister that spun a path of death and destruction across western Kentucky. “Joel Crider, my high school electricity teacher, who goes to Seven Oaks, contacted me and said they had the material but needed electricians,” said Kendall, a 2014 Mayfield High School grad. Explained Whitenton: “We’ve been going around rebuilding services on houses for people who are less fortunate. We also put up few trailer pole services for campers for people that are displaced from their homes.”

JOINING  TOGETHER

Starbucks employees at Calgary's Chinook Centre apply for certification with United Steelworkers

Calgary CTV News

By Dave Dormer

Jan. 18, 2022

Employees at a Starbucks in Calgary have applied for certification with the United Steelworkers — which is the first step toward unionizing. The Alberta Labour Board will now hold a hearing Jan. 28 so the employer can present any objections, then the 17 employees at a Starbucks in Chinook Centre will be able to vote whether they want to join. It needs a simple majority to pass, said United Steelworkers spokesperson Brett Barden, meaning at least nine of the 17 must be in favour.

King Soopers strike negotiations deteriorate

Axios

By Alayna Alvarez

Jan. 18, 2022

A week after thousands of unionized workers at nearly 80 King Soopers grocery stores went on strike, the two sides are even further from reaching a compromise. Meanwhile, the union has reported "little to no progress" at the negotiation table, where attempted deal-making resumed for the fifth day Tuesday.

State of play: The ripple effects of the worker strike are far-reaching, with rival grocery stores reporting overwhelming demand and shoppers encountering empty shelves. Of note: Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is calling on community members to support the workers.

VOTING RIGHTS

With Senate showdown looming, voting rights tops unions’ MLK commemorations

People’s World

By Mark Gruenberg

Jan. 18, 2022

With Senate showdowns on two key voting rights bills—the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom To Vote Act—looming, that issue took top billing at the AFL-CIO’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr., conference and in commemorative statements and petitions unions issued and posted nationwide. “We are living in a crisis, facing serious attacks on voting rights, civil rights, and workers’ rights. And the fate of our democracy hangs in the balance,” AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler, one of the MLK conference keynoters, declared. “Organized labor has used our collective voices for civil rights and human rights, to stand up to systemic racism in elections and in the workplace,” and must do so again, Shuler added in her address the first night of the conference, on Jan. 16. It was a theme often repeated by speakers, awardees, and in group strategy sessions. They also pushed urgency. “The only way to solve this is by organizing and collective action. This is not the time to engage in gradualism,” AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond warned.

UNION BUSTING

Trade unions accuse Portland officials of interfering in labor effort

OPB

By Rebecca Ellis 

Jan. 18, 2022

A coalition of municipal trade unions has accused Portland officials of interfering with an effort to organize a possible strike over what they say are low wages. In an unfair labor practice complaint filed late Friday, the District Council of Trade Unions alleges city supervisors polled union members on whether they would support a strike, told new members they could not participate and warned employees they would be denying vacation requests due to the looming walkout. Union leaders are now accusing the city of violating Oregon law, which states public employers are not allowed to “interfere with, restrain or coerce employees” who are exercising their rights to unionize.