Today's AFL-CIO Press Clips

EDITOR'S NOTE: Kentucky AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan is quoted on Workers Memorial Day and the PRO Act in an LA Progressive article that leads off the "WORKPLACE SAFETY AND HEALTH" section of today's AFL-CIO press clips. The article first appeared on our website and is also posted on Daily Kos

MUST LISTEN

President Trumka Talks Infrastructure and PRO Act

Bloomberg Radio

April 23, 2021

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka joined Bloomberg Radio to discuss the importance of passing the PRO Act and a complete infrastructure package.

POLITICS

West Virginia Unions Pressure Manchin To Back Biden On Infrastructure Plan

NPR

By Don Gonyea

April 23, 2021

And unions in West Virginia, which argue that the future of the state's economy depends on Biden's proposal, took Manchin's line as a cue to mobilize and to start educating their membership and the general public about what's at stake. In the downtown Charleston offices of the West Virginia AFL-CIO, President Joshua Sword says they've not ruled out doing big public events and rallies as a demonstration of support for the Biden infrastructure and jobs plan. Right now, however, they're working it behind the scenes, taking advantage of their longstanding relationship with Manchin. They're talking, says Sword.

Letter: The PRO Act would have protected striking ASARCO workers (Opinion)

Tuscan.com

By Russell Crossan

April 24, 2021

Throughout history, workers have used strikes as leverage in the fight for workplace rights. But today, an employee’s decision to strike is unjustly weighed against the potential for disastrous retaliation. While its legal for workers to withhold their labor, corporations have undermined this right by “permanently replacing” strikers. Increasingly, employers retaliate against striking workers with little, if any, consequence.

JOINING TOGETHER

Portland Museum of Art Employees Vote To Unionize

Maine Public

By Robbie Feinberg

April 23, 2021

Workers at the Portland Museum of Art have voted to form a union. The museum says that workers voted 16-10 to join UAW Local 2110, which represents technical, office and professional workers at workplaces including the ACLU and the Museum of Modern Art. Organizers announced the vote on social media Thursday night. The new union is expected to cover about 35 workers, but not security guards or gallery ambassadors, who were ruled ineligible by the National Labor Relations Board last week.

IN THE STATES

Letter: Warner should join sponsors of union bill (Opinion)

The Daily Progress

By Andrew Levisay

April 23, 2021

The PRO Act — short for the Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2021: HR 842 in the House and S420 in the Senate — is a critical piece of legislation that would greatly expand labor protections and employees’ rights in a time when large corporations are growing ever more flagrant in their violations of basic working standards. This bill would make it harder for businesses to misclassify their workers to avoid paying them just compensation, and make it easier for workers to collectively bargain for improved conditions and pay. The goal is to make every workplace safer, healthier and more democratic, and to provide more equitable compensation to employees.

 

Maine AFL-CIO urging Collins to back PRO Act

WABI

By WABI News Desk

April 22, 2021

The Maine AFL-CIO today joined State Senator Craig Hickman and workers from around the state in a virtual press conference to call on Congress to pass a bill that would allow workers to form unions free from employer intimidation or harassment. The “Protecting the Right to Organize,” or PRO Act, was recently sponsored by Senator Angus King. The Maine AFL CIO is urging Senator Susan Collins to co-sponsor the legislation. “At a time when polling shows that nearly half of non-union workers would join a union if they could, and that a solid majority of voters supports the right to collectively bargain and join a union, this legislation removes barriers to that achievement and is long overdue,” said Cynthia Phinney, President of Maine AFL-CIO.

AMAZON

The union loss at Amazon is another sign big companies have too much power (Opinion)

CNN

By Steven Greenhouse

April 23, 2021

During the union campaign in Alabama, Amazon management launched an anti-union website, had one-on-one talks with workers and required everyone to attend group meetings where the company pressed its anti-union views. Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, told me that Amazon let workers think that the warehouse might close if they unionized. And a worker and a union organizer told me that Amazon warned workers that their wages and benefits might be cut if they unionized. Amazon has said it was giving its workers needed information about unions.

WORKPLACE SAFETY AND HEALTH

What This Workers Memorial Day Needs

LA Progressive

By Berry Craig

April 25, 2021

Since 1989, unions have been observing April 28 as Workers Memorial Day. “Workers killed on the job the previous year are commemorated in events across America,” explained Bill Londrigan, Kentucky State AFL-CIO president. “April 28th was chosen as Workers Memorial Day because the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was born on that date in 1970.” Because of the continuing COVID-19 crisis, many Workers Memorial Day observances will be virtual again this year. Throughout the deadliest pandemic in a century, unions have stood in solidarity with scientists and doctors who are urging people to keep masking, hand sanitizing and social distancing even if they’ve been vaccinated. Londrigan said it is undeniable that OSHA has greatly improved worker safety and health for all workers. “Indeed, multiple studies bear out the fact that union workplaces have been far safer because unions provide a voice on the job where workers can join with management to address workplace hazards and implement solutions jointly.” Added Londrigan: “Recognizing the linkage between worker safety and strong trade unions is another critical reason for Congress to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. For the past 50 years, trade unions and our members have been under constant attack from anti-union multinational corporations and politicians bankrolled by big business.”

UNION BUSTING

It’s all too easy for employers to interfere in union elections (Opinion)

The Washington Post

By Barry Eidlin

April 23, 2021

Earlier this month, we saw a more prominent example of this phenomenon, when workers at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., voted by more than 2 to 1 against joining a union. (Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.) It followed several other high-profile organizing defeats in recent years, including autoworkers at Volkswagen in Tennessee and Nissan in Mississippi, as well as Boeing employees in South Carolina.

GIG ECONOMY

Delivery drivers have one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. It's gotten worse.

Yahoo! News

By Cyrus Farivar

April 24, 2021

It's a pattern that especially affects minorities working in the lower-paying jobs, said Veena Dubal, a professor at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, who has extensively researched the taxi industry and the gig economy. "A lot of these workers are subordinated racial minorities, and they are likely to bear the brunt of physical violence, because they are in public doing this kind of work," she said. The problems have become widespread enough that the major tech companies have been stepping up to address them. Uber recently instituted safety measures to protect drivers, including more verification requirements for people who set up accounts with gift cards or other anonymous payment systems.