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Today's AFL-CIO Press Clips

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Liz Shuler Wants AI to Reinvigorate the Labor Movement

Politico Magazine

By Tom Mcgrath

March 31, 2024

Liz Shuler was standing inside a university lab one day a few years ago when she saw the future of everything — in a cutting board. At the time Shuler was secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, one of America’s most storied labor organizations, and she’d come to Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University with a delegation that included members of Unite Here, the union representing hundreds of thousands of workers in the hospitality industry. Their mission: to get a glimpse at how technology might impact the workplace in the years ahead. It didn’t take long before that impact became clear, at least in the kitchen. One of the professors at CMU, a school known for its prowess in technology and design, was demonstrating a cutting-edge cutting board that was able to measure how fast someone sliced vegetables, as well as the quality of their motion. “It was easy to see we were basically one step away from having the technology cut the vegetables,” Shuler remembers. “That was kind of a wake-up call where we thought — this isn’t just about industrial kitchens. It’s about every setting you can imagine.” Fast forward a few years, and the world has evolved. Shuler is now the president of the AFL-CIO, having moved into the top spot in the summer of 2021, following the death of the organization’s longtime leader, Richard Trumka. Meanwhile, the labor movement, after a decadeslong fallow period, suddenly seems to be having a moment, at least in part due to all that AI anxiety. The Writers Guild of America got much of what it wanted in its monthslong strike against Hollywood producers last summer. Union autoworkers not only won the support of Joe Biden in their walkout against U.S. car manufacturers last year, but scored historic contract gains that could ripple across other industries. And overall support for organized labor is at a 60-year high, with more than 70 percent of Americans saying they approve of unions.



Major Nebraska Labor Federation Backs U.S. Senate Candidate Dan Osborn


By Chase Porter

March 28, 2024

Independent U.S. Senate candidate Dan Osborn has announced significant endorsements from major Nebraska unions for his campaign, along with the achievement of collecting enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot. Osborn, a U.S. Navy and Nebraska Army National Guard veteran and steamfitter from Omaha, was joined by local union leaders/members at the Steamfitters & Plumbers Local Union #464 in Omaha on his lunch break to make the announcement Thursday. At the event, the Nebraska State AFL-CIO — the state chapter representing the federation of labor unions in the United States — announced their support for Osborn in the U.S. Senate race, challenging incumbent Senator Deb Fischer. “…because we know he will be a champion for working people,” said Lori J. Meyers, Communications Director/Mobilization Coordinator for the Nebraska State AFL-CIO. “Osborn has proven that he will fight to ensure that workers have a voice in the workplace, protect, and strengthen labor standards and expand employment protections. Our affiliates believe that Dan Osborn is the right person to represent working people in the U.S. Senate.”


‘The right to organize is on the line,’ Casey says as he picks up labor endorsement

Pittsburgh Union Progress

By Steve Mellon

March 28, 2024

Shortly after thanking dozens of trade union members and leaders for endorsing his reelection bid, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., stood near a wall-size mural of an overalls-clad working man gazing past the Pittsburgh skyline and concluded the 2024 election cycle could be summed up in one word: rights. “If you and I were having this conversation, say, 15-20 years ago, and you were saying this election would be about women’s rights, workers’ rights and voting rights, I’d have said, ‘Well, that’s not where the election’s going to be because those rights are settled,’” Casey said. “But now those three rights are on the line, in this election.” His specific focus on this day: workers’ rights. Dressed in jeans and a gray pullover, Casey made his argument to a friendly crowd — he was visiting the Plumbers Union Local 27 headquarters in North Fayette, a suburb west of Pittsburgh, to receive the endorsement of the Pittsburgh Regional Building Trades Council. The council supports 33 local unions representing a broad swath of workers, from carpenters to plasterers to electrical workers to bricklayers.



Immigrants were on the job when the Key Bridge in Baltimore collapsed

Chicago Sun-Times

By CST Editorial Board 

March 29, 2024

The bodies of two missing construction workers, victims in the collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge, were recovered from the Patapsco River on Wednesday. Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera, 26, was from Guatemala. Alejandro Hernández Fuentes, 35, was from Mexico. Another victim, one of four still missing on Friday and presumed dead, was also from Mexico, as was a rescued worker who survived the collapse, Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said. A missing worker identified as Miguel Luna was from El Salvador. Another missing man, Maynor Yassir Suazo Sandoval, was from Honduras. Another whose identity has not been made public was from Guatemala.



‘Lowest on the totem pole’: 93% of WMed residents, fellows unionize for higher pay


By Aya Miller

March 29, 2024

An overwhelming majority of residents and fellows at WMed voted in favor of starting a union roughly two weeks ago. Medical residents and fellows are the “lowest on the totem pole” when it comes to the medicine field, said Jamil Khondkr, a psychiatry resident at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine. There are 260 residents and fellows at WMed, according to a press release.



Graduate student union demands UMaine System negotiate a fair contract

Bangor Daily News

By Kaitlyn Budion

March 28, 2024

The newly formed University of Maine Graduate Workers Union is calling on the University of Maine System to negotiate a fair contract and add protections for graduate student workers. It’s part of a rise in union activity at colleges and universities across the country, where many staffers are demanding better pay and working conditions. “We’re not recognized and respected for the work that we do here,” said Em Sowles, a fourth-year Ph.D student in the physics department, where she also works as a research assistant.


WGA and More Unions Pen Letter to Congress Demanding ‘Urgent Action’ on AI Protections for Writers and Journalists


By Jennifer Maas

March 28, 2024

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) and other unions representing film and TV writers and journalists sent a letter to Congress Thursday urging protections for their industries in any legislation regarding Artificial Intelligence. Addressed to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the letter was co-signed by the NewsGuild-CWA, Writers Guild of America East (WGAE), Writers Guild of America West (WGAW), and National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET-CWA). “So far this year, our members have witnessed the impact of unregulated AI on their jobs,” the letter, obtained by Variety, states. “Major news media companies, including Gannett and G/O Media sites, deployed AI articles with fake bylines to replace the work of hardworking local and digital journalists and writers. Film and television writers won critical protections in their collective bargaining agreement, but their work continues to be used by AI developers without their consent.”


Oxford University Press Workers Threaten Strike

Publishers Weekly

By Ed Nawotka

March 29, 2024

Workers at Oxford University Press are threatening to go on strike as negotiations over a new contract drag on. The union, News Guild TNG/CWA 31222, was elected to represent employees in September 2021 and covers approximately 150 people in the New York metropolitan area. The union opened negotiations with OUP in February 2022 and has been asking for better working conditions and higher wages.


Workers in Knoxville get wage gains and bolster other benefits in new pact with Hormel

Des Moines Register

By Kevin Baskins

March 29, 2024

Hormel workers in Knoxville overwhelmingly approved a new four-year contract Friday, avoiding a strike. Ratification of the new pact will mean wage increases of $4 an hour spread out over the life the contract, as well as nearly doubling bereavement leave, protecting health care benefits and increasing both pensions and 401K benefits for the approximately 200 employees covered by the contract, all provisions that union officials say are important to the workers being represented. The new contract represents the largest wage increase in the plant’s history, according to Mark McRoberts, business agent for The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) representing the employees.


Studios and Labor Leaders Hope More Time for IATSE Talks Cuts Risk of Another Strike


By Gene Maddaus

March 29, 2024

Studio negotiators have been talking for nearly a month with the largest union representing Hollywood film crews, and have still not tackled most of the major issues on the table. The two sides have set an unusually long bargaining schedule, hoping that more talking on minor matters will build good will and lower the risk of another crippling strike this summer. In the last couple of weeks, negotiators have chalked up a handful of wins, shaking on six tentative agreements with local IATSE unions. But the heavy lifting is still more than a month away, with the issues that could lead to a strike not likely to be dealt with before June. The contract between the studios and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees is due to expire on July 31, along with the contracts for Teamsters Local 399 and the other “Basic Crafts” unions, including plumbers, electrical workers, and plasterers.


New Contract Ratified by Hotel Workers

Beverly Hills Courier

By Eric Licas

March 29, 2024

Hotel workers in Beverly Hills and across Southern California overwhelmingly approved a new labor agreement that will give them a $10 wage increase over the next four years, union officials announced on March 25. Ratification of the new contract comes three months after negotiators at the Beverly Hilton, Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills and the Beverly Wilshire had tentatively reached a deal in December. As many as 98% of hotel workers in Beverly Hills and 31 different properties throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties voted in favor of the agreement, according to representatives for Unite Here! Local 11. 


Sega and the CWA come to an agreement on a dev union contract

Checkpoint Gaming

By Staff

March 31, 2024

In some good news around companies and unions, The Allied Employees Guild Improving Sega (AEGIS) union have signed off on their collective bargained contract, according to In what is essentially the first developer union contract for a US games company, the contract will protect those working at Sega of America. Some of the protections that staff will gain are base pay raises, layoff protection (including severance) and crediting all staff who worked on a game, including early QA testers.


More IATSE Locals Reach Tentative Agreements With Studios on Craft-Specific Issues

The Hollywood Reporter

By Katie Kilkenny

March 30, 2024

Two more Locals of Hollywood’s major crew union have reached tentative agreements on their craft-specific issues with studios and streamers, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. IATSE Local 80 struck a provisional deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents major Hollywood companies in bargaining, on Thursday night. Local 80 represents grips, craft services, first aid employees, warehouse workers and others in the industry. On Wednesday, IATSE Local 706 reached a tentative deal with the AMPTP covering issues related to its make-up artists and hair stylists members.


With contracts settled, Culinary Union eyes aggressive growth in 2024

The Nevada Independent

By Howard Stutz

March 31, 2024

Jose de Jesus Zuniga, a cook at Alexxa’s inside Paris Las Vegas, watched last November as restaurant employees at the Strip resort celebrated the ratification of a new five-year labor agreement between Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and property operator Caesars Entertainment. He hopes to have that same experience one day. Alexxa’s, an American eatery with patio views of the Bellagio Fountains on the other side of the Strip, operates independently of the dozen Paris-run restaurants. Like other privately owned food outlets inside Strip resorts, it's not part of the five-year labor agreements Culinary and its affiliated Bartenders Local 165 settled during the past 10 months with companies representing nearly 40 Strip and downtown resorts covering nearly 50,000 non-gaming workers. But one of the provisions in the new contracts allows the Culinary and Bartenders to organize nonunion restaurant workers at those properties. That was good news to Zuniga, who said he makes $6 an hour less than unionized Paris restaurant workers and pays for his health care. He is often asked to perform several tasks outside his job classification, such as washing dishes, which wouldn’t happen under a union contract.  



Penn union coalition, local elected officials call on University to stop union-busting

The Daily Pennsylvanian

By Jessica Wu

March 28, 2024

The Coalition of Workers at Penn — a recently formed association of unions across Penn’s campus — held a press conference in front of College Hall on Thursday. The “Unions Belong at Penn” event was led by the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO — which represents over 100  unions in the city — and several of Philadelphia’s elected officials. At the press conference, the Coalition of Workers at Penn called on the University to respect workers’ rights to organize and to stop their pattern of union-busting. The event was organized by 2018 Penn graduate Jana Korn, the organizing director at the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO. The press conference, which was attended by more than 50 Penn workers, precedes a union election scheduled for Apr. 16 and 17 to vote on the unionization of graduate student workers at Penn. Graduate Employees Together-University of Pennsylvania represents more than 4000 graduate student Penn employees who are forming a union to improve their working conditions.



Push for safe staffing levels in Maine hospitals gets bipartisan support

Maine Beacon

By Dan Neumann 

March 29, 2024

Marking the furthest any such legislation has gone in the Maine Legislature, the Maine Senate voted (22-13) on Wednesday to pass LD 1639. Known as The Maine Quality Care Act, the bill aims to address unsafe staffing levels in Maine hospitals by implementing minimum staffing requirements based on patient needs. The vote was hailed as a major step by the Maine State Nurses Association (MSNA), the state’s largest nursing union, which has organized its members behind the bill. “This is the most significant legislation for patient safety that has ever been proposed or passed in our state,” said MSNA president Cokie Giles, RN. “Our membership from Portland to Fort Kent has worked tirelessly to educate the public and our legislators about how important this bill is to protect nurses and their patients. We are ecstatic that this bill has taken another important step forward to becoming law in our great state. Nurses know that safe staffing saves lives.”