Today's AFL-CIO Press Clips

CORONAVIRUS

The Government Agency That Can End the Covid Pandemic

Washington Monthly

By Jordan Barab

July 20, 2021

After a year of deadly Covid-19 outbreaks in meatpacking, healthcare, retail, prisons, transportation, and other workplaces across the country, and after the Trump administration’s infuriating refusal to protect workers from exposure to the virus, worker advocates were overjoyed on January 21 when President Biden signed an Executive Order calling for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue within two months an enforceable emergency standard to protect workers from the disease. But that deadline came and there was no OSHA standard. Finally, on June 17 the Biden administration issued an emergency standard that covered only health care workers. The rest of the workforce was left to rely on voluntary guidelines that were often impossible to enforce.

LABOR AND ECONOMY

Black Unemployment Matters Just as Much as White Unemployment (Opinion)

The New York Times,

By William E. Spriggs

July 19, 2021

In April 2020, after the labor market took its largest one-month hit in modern history, Black men and women suffered job losses proportionate to those of white women. Still, their losses were far less severe than those of Hispanic men and women. Black workers already had higher unemployment rates, as has always been the case, but their unemployment rates did not skyrocket as much as other groups. In fact, while the Black unemployment rate normally hovers around two times higher than that of whites, the racial disparities in the unemployment rate fell during the height of the coronavirus crisis. Black job losses were not as extreme as might have been expected because Black workers were overrepresented in the sectors deemed essential. Yet, since April 2020, the ratio of Black to white unemployment has been on a path to return to its typical level — with Black workers experiencing twice the level of unemployment as their white neighbors.

IN THE STATES

Guest Opinion: Washington must pass President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure deal (Opinion)

Go Erie

By Rick Bloomingdale

July 20, 2021

As America continues to recover from the pandemic thanks to the leadership of President Joe Biden, Pennsylvania’s economy is poised for a worker-fueled boom that will create good jobs, raise wages and improve towns and cities across our state. But when I talk to members of our unions, we worry about one thing that continues to hold us back: Far too many of us drive across crumbling bridges to make goods that are carried across decrepit highways to second-class airports and rail yards, delayed at every step of the way.

Upper Peninsula workers rally for PRO Act

ABC News 10

By Marta Berglund

July 19, 2021

Upper Peninsula workers showed their gratitude to Senator Debbie Stabenow and Senator Gary Peters this afternoon. Members of the Upper Peninsula Regional Labor Federation (UPRLF) and other U.P. workers celebrated the Michigan senators voting for the Protecting the Right to Organize, or PRO, Act. The legislation supports workers and aims to reform labor laws. “People can’t sustain themselves on $10, $12 an hour,” said UPRLF President Michael Thibault. “This gives them an opportunity to earn a decent wage.” He added, “It would be sad if unemployment benefits pass what a person could earn working for a living.”

Local union members, leaders hold rally, thank Sens. Peters, Stabenow for support of PRO Act

The Mining Journal

July 20, 2021

Local union members and leaders with the Upper Peninsula Regional Labor Federation hosted a rally in Marquette Monday night thanking U.S. Sens. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Hills, and Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, for their support of the Protecting the Right to Organize Act. UPRLF was joined by union affiliates and allied organizations at Peters’ Marquette office to discuss why the PRO Act is essential to “making America’s economy work for working people.”

Gov. Whitmer vetoes GOP push to end $300 federal jobless benefit

The Detroit News

By Craig Mauger

July 20, 2021

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed Tuesday a Republican proposal that attempted to opt the state out of federal unemployment programs that bring an additional $300 weekly benefit for those who lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

RAISING WAGES

Restaurants 'have no choice' but to raise wages even more, strategist says

Yahoo! Finance

By Lisa Scherzer

July 20, 2021

Restaurants “have no choice” but to raise wages, BTIG Managing Director Peter Saleh told Yahoo Finance Live this week. “They need to increase benefits to attract employees or else they can't serve the guests. So they're going to do it. And in the end, all this really means is inflation to the end consumer…. We’ll be paying more.”