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Today's AFL-CIO press clips

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Unions and communities are building a Southern economy for all. (Opinion)

The Telegraph/Yahoo! News

By Liz Shuler and Yvonne Brooks

July 5, 2024

Gov. Brian Kemp and five other Southern governors recently sent a chilling statement to working people in this state: Don’t you dare join a union. While politicians in the South have a long and sordid history of thwarting workers’ legal right to stand together in a union, these brazen and highly inappropriate threats no longer carry the weight they once did. Workers at the Blue Bird electric bus factory in Macon made history last year by voting to join the United Steelworkers and last month ratified their first contract, which included substantial wage gains, health and safety protections, and much more. These workers and many others in the South who choose to stand together in a union are sending a powerful message to anti-union governors like Kemp: We won’t be bullied. 



Democrats revive SCOTUS overhaul ideas in wake of immunity ruling

The Washington Post

By Theodoric Meyer and Leigh Ann Caldwell

July 3, 2024

Shortly after last week’s debate, AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler released a statement focused on the danger of electing Trump. “Donald Trump offered the same stale lies in a pathetic attempt to hide the truth that as president, he betrayed workers and families to govern for the wealthy,” she said.


Too hot to work? Biden administration wants to protect people from extreme heat as temperature rise in Colorado

Colorado Public Radio

By John Daley

July 4, 2024

The AFL-CIO union federation praised the measure. “If finalized, this new rule would address some of the most basic needs for workers’ health and safety,” said AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler.


Stand By Your Man: AFL-CIO says it’s sticking with Biden

People’s World

By Mark Gruenberg

July 5, 2024

In 1968, country and western singer Tammy Wynette hit the top of the charts with the song “Stand By Your Man.” Well, that’s what the AFL-CIO is doing: Standing by its man, and woman, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. With flak flying from big Democratic donors and at least two incumbent lawmakers, scared that Biden is a political goner and will drag others—including pro-worker candidates—down this fall, the AFL-CIO is sticking by the Democratic Biden-Harris ticket, fed President Liz Shuler says. “The stakes of the 2024 presidential election couldn’t be higher, and no one understands this better than working people,” Shuler said in a July 3 statement. “Their livelihoods and union contracts are on the line. That is why the AFL-CIO endorsed” Biden and Harris a year ago, “earlier than we’ve ever endorsed in a presidential race, and why we continue to stand in strong support of them today. “Labor runs on solidarity and no White House has supported workers like the Biden-Harris administration,” Shuler, an Electrical Worker, declared. “No president has been more invested in empowering workers and expanding the labor movement than Joe Biden, who has stood with working people at every opportunity, including on the picket line,” with the Auto Workers, a first. Shuler pointed out that workers “are winning record contracts with double-digit raises” under Biden and Harris for the last 3-1/2 years. 


Biden proposes new rule to protect 36 million workers from extreme heat


By Associated Press

July 6, 2024

The AFL-CIO union federation praised the measure. “If finalized, this new rule would address some of the most basic needs for workers’ health and safety,” said AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler.


Biden returns to battleground Pennsylvania for campaign events in Philadelphia and Harrisburg

Pennsylvania Capital Star

By Kim Lyons, John Cole and Ian Karbal

July 7, 2024

Biden reaffirmed his support for unions during his remarks in Harrisburg, and doubled down on a vision for his second term focused on economic support for the lower and middle classes. He spoke off the cuff, walking in front of the gathering while holding a microphone, this time wearing his signature aviator sunglasses. “The middle class built this country and, guess what, the unions built the middle class,” Biden said to the AFSCME crowd. The president pledged to increase spending on child care and senior care if elected for a second term. 



Low-Wage Workers Are The Least Likely To Enjoy Paid Holidays And Vacation


By Dave Jamieson

July 4, 2024

Millions of Americans will enjoy the day off on Thursday while still collecting a paycheck for the Fourth of July. But many of the country’s lowest-paid workers won’t be among them. While the majority of U.S. workers receive paid holidays and vacation these days, those at the bottom of the income scale are the least likely to be eligible for those benefits, according to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The same goes for paid sick days.


The best way to fight higher prices? Higher wages(Opinion)

Washington State Standard

By April Sims and Karuna Long

July 5, 2024

Every year, prices for things like food and housing go up. Every year, Washington workers get a cost-of-living adjustment to the minimum wage so they and their families can keep up. And every year, someone makes the tired argument that rising prices are workers’ fault and we should let their wages fall behind. Blaming rising costs on the minimum wage is one of the oldest anti-worker tricks in the book. It’s never true, but since it’s once again resurfaced in The Seattle Times’ opinion pages, it’s once again time for business and labor leaders like us to put it to bed.



MBTA celebrates long-term labor stability after striking final union agreement

NBC Boston

By Chris Lisinski

July 3, 2024

T leaders said the contracts were modeled on an agreement reached in August 2023 with Boston Carmen's Union ATU Local 589, the largest workers' union at the MBTA. That deal included pay raises, retention bonuses and more benefits, and officials have credited it as a linchpin of a hiring campaign that has increased the MBTA's headcount by more than 1,100. MBTA officials rolled out the news Wednesday with statements of support from T and Healey administration officials as well as a trio of top union leaders, including Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Chrissy Lynch.


Another Colorado location of Alamo Drafthouse is unionizing; organizers allege firings

CBS News

By Austen Erblat

July 3, 2024

Another location of the Alamo Drafthouse movie theater chain in Colorado is unionizing and union organizers allege the company fired supervisors after asking them to spy on organizers. The Littleton location of the theater chain announced it was forming a union, just a few months after the Westminster location announced it would unionize. "The Alamo Collective Organizing Committee-CWA at the Littleton cinema expresses profound disappointment following the recent announcement of layoffs affecting four supervisors within our ranks," the union said in a statement. "Alamo Drafthouse corporate cited a new policy as the rationale for these layoffs, a policy that was implemented without prior communication to employees and which has never been announced to the workforce."


Hollywood Crafts Unions to Studios: Don’t Hold Up Our Deal Due to Your “Poor Business Decisions”

The Hollywood Reporter

By Katie Kilkenny

July 3, 2024

In a statement on Wednesday, the labor groups said that major entertainment firms at the bargaining table during these talks “can and should respect” the workers that the unions collectively represent, including around 7,600 drivers, electricians, plasterers, caterers, plumbers, laborers, location managers and animal trainers, among others. The group, comprised of the Teamsters Local 399, IBEW Local 40, LiUNA! Local 724, UA Local 78 and OPCMIA Local 755, stated that it expects “to see the companies attempt to use fear mongering tactics against the reasonable terms and conditions our members are fighting for in these negotiations” over the next few weeks, while not specifying what those tactics might be. The group further argued that its members “will not be the ones expected to balance the budget of the company’s poor business decisions over the last year.”


AT&T and its union start negotiations for a new contract. What this means for Kentucky

Courier Journal

By Olivia Evans

July 3, 2024

Louisville stands to see another summer ripe with labor activity, and even the potential for a strike to hit the metro. The Communications Workers of America and AT&T have started labor contract negotiations for workers in the Southeast region; representing states Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Nationwide, CWA represents more than 150,000 AT&T workers across varying bargaining units. In Kentucky, for the current contract being negotiated, roughly 600 workers are impacted, according to Carolyn Cain, the Campaign Lead for CWA District 3.


Second contract ratified at Grand Central

Northwest Labor Press

By Cameron Crowell

July 3, 2024

On June 20, members of a unit of 27 bakers and dishwashers at Grand Central Baking’s Northwest Portland wholesale bakery voted 13-4 to ratify their second collective agreement with Bakers Local 114. Workers there unionized in 2020 and ratified a first contract in 2021. Cost of living increases in the new agreement total 11.25-12.75% over three years, depending on job title. A new hazard policy assures that no worker will be punished if they elect not to go to work during state- and county-declared weather emergencies. This became an issue in January, after ice storms made it hard for evening shift workers to get to work.


Ironworkers Local 29 voting on $15/hour increase over four years

Northwest Labor Press

By Don McIntosh

July 3, 2024

Union ironworkers in Oregon and Washington are voting on an improved employer offer. After union members rejected a previous offer of a $7.50 an hour compensation increase over three years, union and employer group negotiators met again June 27. The new offer is $15 an hour over four years. If ratified by members, compensation would go up by $3 effective July 1, followed by $2 an hour increases July 7, 2025 and every six months after that until the contract expires June 30, 2028. Journeyman ironworkers in the Portland area currently make $43.82 an hour plus $33.98 an hour in fringe benefits. 


Food 4 Less workers ratify new labor deal with grocer

ABC Los Angeles

By Staff

July 4, 2024

Unionized Food 4 Less grocery workers voted to ratify a new three-year labor contract with the grocer, the union announced Wednesday. "Today, by ratifying this contract, Food 4 Less/Foods Co. workers have secured meaningful raises, increased hours for part-time workers, and a more direct path to top-rate pay over the next three years," according to a joint statement from the various included locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers union. "After countless hours at the bargaining table and in the streets between their shifts, the hard-working members of UFCW stood together for their families and each other and secured a strong contract.


Minneapolis park workers officially go on strike


By David Griswold and Samie Solina

July 4, 2024

Minneapolis park maintenance workers officially went on strike Thursday after the union rejected the park board's final offer earlier this week. LIUNA Local 363, which represents more than 300 maintenance and seasonal workers, is seeking more competitive wages, more safety tools and equitable health care.


Contract expires but nurses continue talks with Mission Hospital. Strike vote possible.

Carolina Public Press

By Jane Winik Sartwell

July 3, 2024

The contract between HCA and its nurses at Mission Hospital in Asheville expired Tuesday, but the nurses union has chosen to continue negotiations, delaying any decision to strike. With the contract expired, the nursing staff and the hospital are locked into status quo, meaning the terms of the previous contract are held until the contract is renegotiated and ratified. Nurses will continue to hold their union rights. The Asheville nurses union, which National Nurses United described upon its formation in 2020 as “the largest union election win in the South in a dozen years” is the first of its kind in North Carolina.


Harvard Violated Contract With HGSU in Excluding Some Grad Students, Arbitrator Rules

The Harvard Crimson

By Aran Sonnad-Joshi and Sheerea X. Yu

July 3, 2024

Harvard violated its 2021 contract with the Harvard Graduate Students Union-United Auto Workers by excluding lab-based psychology Ph.D. students from the union’s bargaining unit, an arbitrator ruled on Friday. The decision expands the HGSU-UAW bargaining unit by 70 members and forces Harvard to retroactively repay psychology research assistants for “lost benefits and payments” since April 30, 2022, according to a photo of the award posted on X by Steven W. Kasparek, one of the Harvard psychology graduate students who filed the grievance.


Versant power reaches agreement with union employees


By WABI News Desk

July 5, 2024

Versant Power union employees have reached an agreement with the company after months of negotiations. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1837 represents hundreds of workers at Versant Power from Bangor to Fort Kent. Their previous contract expired on June 30.



Why the freedom to join a union is the freedom I’m celebrating this Fourth of July (Opinion)

Cardinal & Pine

By MaryBe McMillan

July 3, 2024

The Fourth of July marks the birth of our first union: the United States of America—a country where the word “freedom” has been a staple of our national identity since the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence in 1776 to declare our nation as sovereign. In the generations since the Revolutionary War, what freedom in America means, who has access to freedom, and how freedom is preserved for future generations has evolved and changed over time. This year, before we start our yearly traditions of backyard barbeques and cul-de-sac fireworks displays, I invite us all to ask ourselves: How do I define freedom for myself and my family? Is it defined as protection from political tyranny and oppression? Or maybe your idea of freedom is understood as the right to self-actualization and self-determination? Either way, the type of freedom I’m holding close to my heart this Fourth of July is the freedom to join a union.


A judge ruled parts of Act 10 are unconstitutional. What comes next

Spectrum Local News

By Megan Carpenter

July 5, 2024

A Dane County judge ruled Wednesday that parts of the state’s Act 10 law are unconstitutional. 

 The judge ruled that Act 10 violates the equal protection guarantee in the state’s constitution. Act 10 is former Gov. Scott Walker’s landmark legislation, which limits collective bargaining for public workers. The Dane County judge made that ruling because the law applies differently to police, firefighters and public safety workers than it does to other public employees.


Fighting for Keller jobs

Northwest Labor Press

By Grant Stringer

July 4, 2024

As the Portland City Council debates whether to renovate the Keller Auditorium or build a new venue, performers and workers are worried about being put out of work for years. The Keller is Portland’s premier venue for traveling Broadway shows, the Portland Opera, ballet productions, and more. In 2020, a city study determined that the century-old auditorium likely wouldn’t survive a powerful earthquake. This summer, the city council is considering three plans for the Keller’s future: building a modern auditorium at the Lloyd Center or Portland State University, or a renovation and redesign of the existing venue in downtown Portland. “The closure of Keller Auditorium for any length of time would be catastrophic for Portland’s arts and entertainment workers, the arts organizations for whom they work, and the city’s comeback,” said Oregon AFL-CIO Office Manager Emily Sahler during a May 29 city council meeting. Sahler, who is also a member of the Screen Actors Guild, testified at the packed meeting alongside members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), American Federation of Musicians, and UNITE HERE. “We cannot endure any lost work,” said Emily Horton, a wardrobe worker and a member of IATSE Local 28. “Our skills are unique and live-events specific. We cannot just find other jobs. These are the jobs in Portland,” she said.


Oregon governor proclaims Lineman Appreciation Day

Northwest Labor Press

By Don McIntosh

July 4, 2024

Governor Tina Kotek signed a proclamation June 27 declaring July 10, 2024, as Linemen Appreciation Day in Oregon. The proclamation is meant to honor the work utility linemen do. July 10, 1886 is the day electric lineman Henry Miller — IBEW’s first president — was fatally injured while working to restore power.



Wisconsin Supreme Court Says Ballot Drop Boxes Can Again Be Used

The New York Times

By Mitch Smith

July 5, 2024

The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s new liberal majority said on Friday that ballot drop boxes can once again be used widely in the state, reversing a ruling issued two years ago when the court had a conservative majority. On a practical level, the ruling changes how Wisconsin, a closely divided state that could tip the Electoral College, will carry out an election that is just four months away.