Today's AFL-CIO Press Clips

CORONAVIRUS

Stress on the front lines of covid-19

The Washington Post

By Scott Clement, Cece Pascual and Monica Ulmanu

April 6, 2021

Worry, exhaustion, constantly changing safety rules and long hours of wearing PPE are just a few things America’s health-care workers cite as the hardest parts of going to work on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. Their work has saved countless lives but also taken a personal toll: 62 percent say worry or stress related to covid-19 has had a negative effect on their mental health. A 55 percent majority feel “burned out” going to work. Nearly half of all health-care workers say worry or stress has caused them to have trouble sleeping or to sleep too much.

POLITICS

The wage gap that threatens Biden's climate plan

Politico

By Kelsey Tamborrino 

April 5, 2021

"For people that are in the fossil sector, the prospect of moving to the clean energy sector if you have to take a pay cut is not attractive," said Brad Markell, the executive director of the AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council. But, Markell added, the Biden administration's plan unveiled last week has the elements to tackle the problem, including support for the Protecting the Right to Organize Act and strong labor standards attached to the extension of clean energy tax credits.

LABOR AND ECONOMY

Black workers being left behind as economy recovers from pandemic

Chicago Tribune

By Julia Fanzeres

April 6, 2021

In March, the unemployment rate for Black workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher was 4.7%, compared to 3.6% for white Americans, according to Labor Department data that’s not seasonally adjusted. To be sure, that gap did shrink from the prior month. The disparity is nearly double between Black and white workers who graduated high school, 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

AFL-CIO poll shows majority of respondents support Bessemer union efforts

Alabama Political Reporter

By John H. Glenn

April 6, 2021

Three-quarters of polled individuals support efforts to organize a union at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Bessemer, Alabama, according to a new poll released by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations and GBAO strategies. Out of the 600 surveyed nationwide between March 28 and 30, 77 percent of respondents supported the unionization efforts, with 16 percent opposing. The party split was 96 percent of Democrats supporting and 55 percent of Republicans supporting, with 79 percent of independents supporting the Bessemer warehouse’s unionization efforts.

 

Most Americans support Alabama Amazon union drive, poll finds

AL.com

By William Thornton

April 5, 2021

Union organizers today are touting a new national poll of registered voters which found overwhelming support among all political parties for the union drive at Amazon’s Bessemer fulfillment center. The results were compiled by Data for Progress, a progressive think tank and polling firm and released by the AFL-CIO. The poll found 69% of likely voters supported the unionization effort, with 16% opposing. The nationwide poll, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4%, surveyed 600 registered voters from March 28 through 30.

 

Why the Amazon union vote is taking so long and what could come next

CNBC

By Annie Palmer

April 6, 2021

Amazon workers around the world are anxiously awaiting the results of a high-stakes union election at one of the company’s warehouses in Bessemer, Alabama. Voting wrapped up on March 29 in the election to determine whether roughly 5,800 workers at the BHM1 warehouse will join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. Vote counting began the next day and the public portion of the count is expected to begin as soon as Wednesday.

 

NLRB

Biden Is Rebuilding the National Labor Relations Board

The Nation

By Lynn Rhinehart

April 6, 2021

On his first day in office, President Joe Biden fired Peter Robb, the Trump-appointed general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the agency responsible for interpreting and enforcing federal labor law. A new report by the nonpartisan US Government Accountability Office (GAO) shows why Biden was right to fire Robb—and to do so quickly. The GAO found that Robb was dismantling the agency from the inside. He reduced staff size, destroyed employee morale, and failed to spend the money appropriated by Congress. This all occurred while Robb was pursuing an anti-worker, pro-corporate agenda.

IN THE STATES

COUNTERPOINT: The NH House Must Reject ‘Right-to-Work.’ (Opinion)

NH Journal

By Glenn Brackett

April 5, 2021

On Thursday, March 25, the New Hampshire House Labor Committee held a seven-hour committee hearing on SB-61, legislation that attempts to make New Hampshire the first “Right-to-Work” state in New England. In total, 61 witnesses testified. Out of the 61, only nine testified in support (excluding the prime sponsor and legislators). And out of those nine, all but three were lobbyists for out-of-state special interests. Not a single New Hampshire worker voiced their support for this piece of legislation. Not one. On the contrary, those who did testify in opposition to SB-61? Fifty-six New Hampshire union members, more than 40 New Hampshire business representatives, including Liberty Utilities, members of the faith community, workers, and their families.

Democratic-backed Jill Underly elected Wisconsin superintendent of schools

TMJ4

By Associated Press

April 6, 2021

President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO Stephanie Bloomingdale said in a statement: "Today, Wisconsin voters continued the call for a better future for all by voting to elect union-endorsed candidate Dr. Jill Underly to lead our public schools out of the pandemic with a focus on equality and a strong, fully-funded public education system that supports every child, every day."

STUDENT DEBT
The faces of student debt

The Washington Post

By Danielle Douglas-Gabriel and John D. Harden

April 6, 2021

There are parents who have traded in their financial security for their children’s dreams. Husbands who have dropped out of college to care for family. Professionals whose bid for parity at work has pushed retirement farther out of reach. And young graduates who forgo health insurance to pay down their loans. These are some of the stories of the nearly 45 million people who hold $1.7 trillion in education loans in the United States. For some, repayment of the debt is an inconvenience. For others, it’s a burden.

 

LABOR AND COMMUNITY 

Food to be handed out on Thursday at Hudson Falls High School

The Post Star

By Michael Goot

April 6, 2021

The mass food distribution event is a partnership among Catholic Charities, the AFL-CIO-Capital District Area Labor Federation Chapter, CDPHP and the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York.