Today's AFL-CIO Press Clips

 POLITICS

The Filibuster Threatens Both Civil Rights and Workers’ Rights

American Constitution Society

By Craig Becker

April 5, 2021

The GOP’s embrace of the filibuster to thwart President Biden’s legislative agenda reveals how the struggles to extend civil rights and labor rights are inextricably intertwined. The use of the anti-democratic device to block civil rights legislation is well known. In 1957, Senator Strom Thurman of South Carolina talked for 24 hours and 18 minutes to stall the first piece of federal civil rights legislation enacted since the Reconstruction era, a bill that empowered federal prosecutors to prevent interference with voting.

Labor: Don’t believe ‘gaslighting’ about effects of PRO Act (Opinion)

Syracuse.com

By Mark Spadafore

April 5, 2021

This letter is in response to Brian Sampson’s op-ed regarding Congressman John Katko’s recent vote on the Protect the Right to Organize Act, or PRO Act (“Builders: Katko’s vote aiding labor unions reduces workers’ rights,” March 26, 2021). His letter is a continued example of gaslighting perpetrated by business interests against workers. The pieces from the act that he states as being detrimental to workers have the opposite effect than what he writes. 

Biden’s Infrastructure Package Is Designed to Boost Unions

The Wall Street Journal

By Kate Davidson and Amara Omeokwe

April 3, 2021

Many of the new jobs are likely to be union positions, because the plan targets sectors that already have high levels of union participation, said Greg Regan, president of the Transportation Trades Department, a coalition of unions in industries such as aviation and rail transit.

LABOR AND ECONOMY

Unemployment Rate for Educated Black Workers Lagged in March

Bloomberg

By Julia Fanzeres

April 5, 2021

The labor market is recovering, but not as strongly for Black workers. The unemployment rate for Black Americans improved slightly last month, but at 9.6% is still higher than all other race groups tracked and the national average of 6%, according to data from the Labor Department released Friday. Gaps persist between Black and White workers, including among those who are highly educated, the data show. “If even the best-educated Black person doesn’t do as well in the economy, then that must be discrimination,” said William Spriggs, chief economist at the AFL-CIO.

 

AMAZON

Amazon Illegally Fired Activist Workers, Labor Board Finds

The New York Times

By Karen Weise

April 5, 2021

Amazon illegally retaliated against two of its most prominent internal critics when it fired them last year, the National Labor Relations Board has determined.

 

Amazon is on edge over Alabama union vote

CNN

By Sara Ashley O'Brien

April 4, 2021

For more than two decades, Amazon has bulldozed over bricks-and-mortar businesses, hired and churned through vast numbers of workers and even pitted cities against each other to bid for its second headquarters, all in service to its seemingly bottomless thirst for growth and satisfying customers. Its dominance was only further cemented in the last year by the pandemic, as households across the country leaned on the company for deliveries. But if the company's recent public statements are any indication, a small town in Alabama now has the tech giant on edge. In the last week-and-a-half, as a milestone union election at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, came to a close, the company openly antagonized lawmakers and some behind the union effort.

JOINING TOGETHER

The battle for Tribune: Inside the campaign to find new owners for a legendary group of newspapers

The Washington Post

By Elahe Izadi and Sarah Ellison

April 5, 2021

Jon Schleuss, president of the national NewsGuild union which funded the Sun’s PR push, said there was no precedent for this national campaign toward local ownership. “Many journalists who have just had enough are taking things into their own hands,” he said.

Bath shipyard signs new contract with Local S7 union

The Times Record

By Kathleen O'brien

April 5, 2021

Bath Iron Works signed a new three-year contract with its International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local S7 union on Sunday. The new contract, which took effect Monday morning, holds “numerous improvements to wages and benefits over the life of the contract” for the union’s roughly 200 members, according to a statement from the company. The union represents the shipyard’s clerical and administrative workers. According to a statement from the Maine AFL-CIO, which oversees BIW’s Locals S6 and S7 unions, the new contract includes 3% pay raises each year for the duration of the contract. Union members will also see an increase in accident and sickness benefits from $250 a week to 50% of a member’s gross pay and an increase to $72,000 a year for members who reach the high end of the pay scale.

IN THE STATES

NH Primary Source: Poll for progressive grassroots group shows opposition to right-to-work, vouchers

WMUR

By John DiStaso

April 5, 2021

A poll conducted for a progressive grassroots group shows most Granite Staters opposed to right-to-work legislation and publicly funded school vouchers, while Gov. Chris Sununu receives a positive job approval rating. The poll by California-based Change Research was conducted March 23-26 on behalf of Protect New Hampshire Families. The polling sample was 1,669 registered voters.

Push for UI Reform Grows as NC Workers' Challenges Linger

Public News Service

April 5, 2021

MaryBe McMillan, president of the North Carolina AFL-CIO, said the state lags far behind the rest of the nation on the amount and duration of financial assistance. "And we are dead last, the worst in the country, in terms of the share of unemployed workers who received benefits," McMillan reported. "Before the COVID pandemic, less than 10% of unemployed workers received benefits."