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New Bill Seeks to Protect Health Care and Social Service Workers from Workplace Violence

Mon, 19 Nov 2018 18:27:59 +0000

New Bill Seeks to Protect Health Care and Social Service Workers from Workplace Violence

Workplace violence is a serious and growing problem for health care and social service workers. Nurses, emergency room doctors, social workers, psychiatric facility aides, and other health care and social service workers frequently face violence that leads to serious, life-altering injuries, loss of productivity and death. In 2016, working people petitioned the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for a workplace violence standard and, in 2017, OSHA granted that petition; yet there has been no action by the Trump administration to develop a national standard to protect workers from violence.

    Some key facts about workplace violence:

    • It is responsible for more than 850 worker deaths and 28,000 serious injuries each year and is on the rise.
    • One of every six workplace deaths each year are from workplace violence.
    • It is now the second leading cause of death on the job.
    • Health care and social service workers are at greatest risk: They are nearly five times more likely than other workers to suffer a workplace violence injury.
    • Last year, workplace homicides doubled for health care and social service workers.
    • Two of every three workplace violence events are suffered by women.
    • Workplace violence is foreseeable and preventable.

    Today, Reps. Joe Courtney (Conn.) and Bobby Scott (Va.) introduced legislation aimed at protecting health care and social service workers from workplace violence. In a letter supporting the legislation, Courtney said:

    To address these rising rates of violence, I am introducing the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act. This legislation will require the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to issue a workplace violence prevention standard requiring employers in the health care and social service sectors to develop and implement a plan to protect their employees from workplace violence. These plans will be tailored to the specific workplace and employee population, but may include training on de-escalation techniques, personal alarm devices, surveillance and monitoring systems, or other strategies identified by the employers and employees to keep workers safe. While OSHA has already issued voluntary guidance to employers on how to prevent violence in these workplaces, data from [the Bureau of Labor Statistics] as well as personal testimony from workers about continuing violence shows that voluntary guidance is not sufficient. An enforceable standard is required to prevent the types of violence that are prevalent in too many of our hospitals, nursing homes and social service settings.

    Watch the video above to hear from working people affected by workplace violence.

    Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 11/19/2018 - 13:27

    Union Veterans Council Leader Attig to Help Gov.-Elect Pritzker Serve Illinois Veterans

    Fri, 16 Nov 2018 21:54:15 +0000

    Union Veterans Council Leader Attig to Help Gov.-Elect Pritzker Serve Illinois Veterans

    J.B. Pritzker & Will Attig
    Union Veterans Council

    Union Veterans Council Executive Director Will Attig will serve on Illinois Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker's transition team, the Serving Illinois' Heroes Committee. Attig will help make sure that Pritzker and his administration are ready to serve veterans right out of the gate.

    Attig said:

    What this committee is is really a working group, a very diverse group of veterans, veteran lawmakers and individuals from the community that are going to be setting out a set of agenda items that the new administration will be looking at to support veterans in Illinois.

    I think that this committee is a great way to improve the lives of the veterans that live in Illinois, not just the younger generation of veterans, but our veterans that are retiring, the Vietnam veterans that are entering retirement age right now that we still need to make sure that we take care of.

    Read more about Attig's role and learn about the Union Veterans Council.

    Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 11/16/2018 - 16:54

    Bridge the Gap

    Fri, 16 Nov 2018 17:05:03 +0000

    Bridge the Gap

    Tefere Gebre talks to Flight Attendants
    AFL-CIO

    Did you know that flight attendants and workers for regional airlines are often paid 45% less than their colleagues at major carriers for doing the same work?

    That’s why AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre (UFCW) joined his fellow labor leaders at a rally to call out this injustice and demand it be fixed.

    Executive Vice President Gebre joined Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) International President Sara Nelson, AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department President Larry Willis, Mine Workers (UMWA) President Cecil Roberts and UNITE HERE Deputy Director Alisa Gallo to build support for flight attendants. The flight attendants are in contract negotiations with Air Wisconsin Airlines, Endeavor Air and PSA Airlines and serve passengers flying with American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines.

    Check out a few highlights from the speakers below, and watch the rally here.

    • Gebre: “When we fight, we win! Your fight is my fight!”

    • Nelson: “It’s just not right, and it’s certainly not fair. Airlines aren’t hurting, but many airline employees are. We’re fighting to fix that.”

    • Willis: “The most important tool working people have to get ahead—union membership—is being vilified. We won't stand for it!”

    • Roberts: “They’re telling us they’re going to pay us different even though we’re doing the same job? We’ve had it up to here with this division!”

    • Gallo: “Everyone who shows up at these workplaces...makes sure that passengers are treated with respect, get where they’re going safely and [workers] deserve the same respect back from those enormously profitable companies.”

    Air Wisconsin’s flight attendants, who service United and have been negotiating since July 2016, recently voted to authorize a strike for better wages and working conditions. This news comes just a few weeks after 2,700 catering workers at United voted overwhelmingly to join UNITE HERE.

    Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 11/16/2018 - 12:05

    Trumka Talks the Future of the Labor Movement on Yahoo Finance

    Thu, 15 Nov 2018 16:57:36 +0000

    Trumka Talks the Future of the Labor Movement on Yahoo Finance

    Yahoo Trumka talk
    AFL-CIO

    AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) appeared on Yahoo Finance this week to discuss the future of labor unions. Here are some key excerpts from the interview.

    In this first clip, Trumka talks about the biggest potential threat to America's workers:

    In this next clip, Trumka talks about the top priorities for the labor movement:

    In this last clip, Trumka talks about the future of labor unions in a changing economic environment:

    Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 11/15/2018 - 11:57

    Union Strong: In the States Roundup

    Wed, 14 Nov 2018 16:56:06 +0000

    Union Strong: In the States Roundup

    It's time once again to take a look at the ways working people are making progress in the states. Click on any of the links to follow the state federations on Twitter.

    Arizona AFL-CIO:

    Arkansas AFL-CIO:

    California Labor Federation:

    Connecticut AFL-CIO:

    Georgia AFL-CIO:

    Illinois AFL-CIO:

    Indiana State AFL-CIO:

    Iowa Federation of Labor:

    Kentucky State AFL-CIO:

    Maine AFL-CIO:

    Metro Washington (D.C.) Council AFL-CIO:

    Michigan AFL-CIO:

    Minnesota AFL-CIO:

    Missouri AFL-CIO:

    Nevada State AFL-CIO:

    New Mexico Federation of Labor:

    New York State AFL-CIO:

    North Carolina State AFL-CIO:

    Ohio AFL-CIO:

    Oklahoma State AFL-CIO:

    Oregon AFL-CIO:

    Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

    Rhode Island AFL-CIO:

    Texas AFL-CIO:

    Virginia AFL-CIO:

    Washington State Labor Council:

    Wisconsin State AFL-CIO:

    Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 11/14/2018 - 11:56

    We Did It! The Working People Weekly List

    Fri, 09 Nov 2018 17:44:44 +0000

    We Did It! The Working People Weekly List

    Working People Weekly List
    AFL-CIO

    Every week, we bring you a roundup of the top news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here’s this week’s Working People Weekly List.

    A Driving Force in This Election: "We did it! The labor movement helped elect a wave of union members and pro-worker allies across the country last night. We proved that if you support working people, we’ll have your back. And we sent a resounding message to every candidate and elected official that if you seek to divide and destroy us, we’ll fight back with everything we have."

    Fighting for Those Who Serve: "As we celebrate millions of service members’ selfless sacrifice this Veterans Day, the Union Veterans Council is fighting to defend their economic rights and dignities when they return home. Join that fight today and be a voice for working-class veterans."

    In the States: Working People Across the Country Respond to Midterm Elections: "Across the country, working people showed up in significant numbers on Election Day to make our voices heard. And while we didn't win every race, we fought hard to make sure that as many winning candidates as possible are champions of working people."

    New Jersey Labor Movement Leads Charge to Take Back House in the Midterm Elections: "On Nov. 6, after what may have been the most consequential election in recent U.S. history, union members across New Jersey celebrated Bob Menendez’s re-election to the U.S. Senate, as well as the election of all 12 labor-endorsed congressional candidates, eight state Senate and assembly members and 50 rank-and-file union members."

    Working People Respond to Midterm Election Results: "Across the country, yesterday's elections showed that where candidates appealed to working people and championed policies that support us, working people will support those candidates. Working people provided winning margins in races across the country, sending a clear message that the pathway to winning elections in the United States goes through the labor movement."

    Who Says Union Organizer Debriefs Can't Be Fun?: "We are coming off of an exciting two days of Debriefs: Successful Strategies and Tactics for Winning Campaigns! This Organizing Institute (OI) Exchange Clinic took place Oct. 22-23 and was held at the historic AFSCME Local 1733 union hall in Memphis, Tennessee.  Sixteen advanced and lead level organizers from Ironworkers International Union and Communications Workers of America (CWA) leading campaigns across the country participated. The clinic focused on how lead organizers understand and apply the components of effective debriefs into their campaigns."

    AFL-CIO and Anti-Slavery Activists Get Results on Mauritania: "On Friday, in response to a petition originally filed by the AFL-CIO in 2017, the U.S. government gave Mauritania an ultimatum: It must make sufficient progress toward protecting internationally recognized workers' rights, including combating the scourge of hereditary slavery, or face the loss of trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Mauritania has until Jan. 1, 2019, to take action."

    AFL-CIO on Wisconsin Governor Race: 'Scott Walker Was a National Disgrace': "Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, issued a brief but harsh statement on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) losing his reelection bid. 'Scott Walker was a national disgrace,' Trumka’s entire statement read. 'Scott Walker was a national disgrace.' The comment was almost identical to Trumka’s statement after Walker formally entered the 2016 presidential race."

    Unions to Push New Democratic House to Alter Trump's Trade Deal: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said Wednesday his group would push the new Democratic majority in the House to demand tougher enforcement language in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement before it's approved. Trumka indicated unions would support the deal to replace the old North American Free Trade Agreement when it comes up for a vote likely next year provided these changes can be made, and if they could be assured that the agreement's provisions on factory wages and auto part rules of origin will work as advertised."

    Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 11/09/2018 - 12:44

    Fighting for Those Who Serve

    Fri, 09 Nov 2018 17:02:23 +0000

    Fighting for Those Who Serve

    Union Veterans Council
    Union Veterans Council

    As we celebrate millions of service members’ selfless sacrifice this Veterans Day, the Union Veterans Council is fighting to defend their economic rights and dignities when they return home. Join that fight today and be a voice for working-class veterans.

    Whether fighting to preserve the integrity of the Department of Veterans Affairs or handing an economic lifeline to returning service members, the labor movement is fighting every day for those who committed themselves to service.

    “We’re seeking to bridge the gap between military and civilian life, helping those who served our country apply the unparalleled leadership and technical skills they learned in the military to a good union job once they’re back home,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka at a Toys for Tots kickoff earlier today. “Serving our veterans is just one way the labor movement is making an impact in our communities.”

    You can be a part of that effort. This Veterans Day, stand with us and speak out on the issues that impact us most. Demand more from politicians and corporations than a lapel pin or catchphrase. Together, we can win the fair economy and just society that millions of veterans have fought and bled for.

    Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 11/09/2018 - 12:02

    In the States: Working People Across the Country Respond to Midterm Elections

    Thu, 08 Nov 2018 17:02:39 +0000

    In the States: Working People Across the Country Respond to Midterm Elections

    Across the country, working people showed up in significant numbers on Election Day to make our voices heard. And while we didn't win every race, we fought hard to make sure that as many winning candidates as possible are champions of working people.

    Here is what working people advocates around the country said about the 2018 midterm elections.

    California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski:

    California voters cast their ballots for progress today, electing Gavin Newsom to lead our state into the future and rejecting the cynical Prop. 6, which would have eliminated thousands of projects vital to our transportation infrastructure.

    In California, we vote our values. The results of tonight’s election are clear evidence that Californians reject gutter politics and instead fight for a hopeful future in which all working people share in the pursuit of the American Dream.

    While we’re still waiting for returns on several key races for working people, the energy and enthusiasm from union volunteers who worked for months through this evening to turn out every last vote this year was off the charts. The massive voter mobilization from California unions once again shows that there’s no substitute for in-person conversations that engage voters on issues that matter to their families. That’s the bread and butter of the labor campaign that could make all the difference in tight races yet to be decided.

    We congratulate Newsom on his election as California’s next governor and look forward to working closely with him to advance workers’ core rights and lead on expanding access to affordable health care and protecting immigrant workers from Trump’s attacks. We’re also thrilled California continues to elect bold leaders to other statewide offices who will ensure our state aggressively moves to grow our economy from the bottom up, tackle income inequality and gender and racial discrimination, and expand voting access.

    Led by the State Building and Construction Trades Council, unions went all-in to defeat the harmful Prop. 6 measure pushed by right-wing extremists. By rejecting Prop. 6, voters solidified support for investing in road and bridge safety and infrastructure. This is a huge win for workers and our state’s future.

    Colorado AFL-CIO President Josette Jaramillo:

    Across Colorado, truck drivers, electricians, social workers, flight attendants, teachers, pipefitters and more came together to set aside party labels and personalities and elect candidates who will lift up workers, not special interests. Workers won big tonight because they made a record-breaking commitment to educate voters on pro-working family candidates. Our people-power made all the difference in moving Colorado to restore an economy and democracy to work for all of us, not just the wealthy few.

    Union members know that when working people join together, we have the power to enact incredible change, even in the face of incredible odds. Working people are on the rise in Colorado and we are taking the energy and momentum that powered the Colorado Labor 2018 program to build a long-term, grassroots movement to improve the lives of working families in our great state, including an agenda that includes protecting our voice in the workplace and rewarding hard work with a path to the middle class.

    Connecticut AFL-CIO President Lori Pelletier:

    Last night was a resounding victory for working people all across our great state.

    I am so proud of all the work our members did this election cycle. They knocked tens of thousands of doors, made tens of thousands of phone calls, mailed nearly every member in the state, and made countless visits to worksites to talk with members about the importance of supporting pro-worker candidates. We engaged in this process earlier than we ever have, starting in April of this year, to make sure working people had a voice in the electoral process ahead of both party’s nominating conventions.

    But now that the election is over, our new governor and legislature should embrace this momentum to act on the concerns workers articulated during the campaign. They have a tremendous opportunity to invest in workers and build the middle class by embracing and moving a real workers’ agenda. Within the first 100 days, Connecticut should raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, enact earned family and medical leave, prohibit the abusive management practice of "on call scheduling," and continue to protect working people’s pay, retirement, and health care.

    Michigan AFL-CIO President Ron Bieber: 

    This is a resounding victory for Michigan’s working families who made a clear statement for where they want to see our state head. Gretchen Whitmer has always been a champion of working people and her administration will be one that protects our freedoms in the workplace. Working folks have seen eight years of corporate special interests manipulating the rules, and today people said they’d had enough. We’re setting a new course in Michigan, one where we create an economy that works for everyone. We now have a governor who will fix the damn roads, make education a priority, and put the needs of the people first.

    Minnesota AFL-CIO President Bill McCarthy:

    A record number of Minnesotans sent a clear message yesterday by electing the full slate of labor-endorsed candidates to statewide offices, putting a working families majority in charge of the Minnesota House, and sending five labor-endorsed candidates to Congress.

    Our volunteer-driven member-to-member political campaign, the largest and most strategic in Minnesota AFL-CIO history, reached tens of thousands of union members at their worksites, at their homes, on their phones, in their mailboxes and on social media.

    Union members knew that our very freedom to join together was on the ballot this year and made sure our voices were heard loud and clear.

    The 2018 election also sent a record number of labor-endorsed union members and retirees into public office, including Governor-elect Tim Walz, Auditor-elect and former Minnesota AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Julie Blaha, and 22 members to the Minnesota House.

    The 2018 election showed that when working people organize, volunteer, and vote; we win. Minnesota’s Labor Movement will continue the enthusiasm of this political campaign into our organizing and legislative work in the months and years ahead.

    Nevada State AFL-CIO Executive Secretary-Treasurer Rusty McAllister:

    Nevada working families were determined to fill the halls of power with leaders who share our values, who want to make our state and our country a better place for all working people. Across Nevada, union members gave their all in service of that shared goal. Their passion and dedication drove an extraordinary campaign, one that built upon and surpassed our accomplishments in 2016. Working together, we knocked on more than 580,000 doors and spoke to more than 136,000 voters in-person and over the phone about the best candidates for working families and the ballot initiatives that will impact their lives.

    Union members know that when working people join together, we have the power to enact incredible change—even in the face of incredible odds. Our 2018 labor political program was an enormous group effort, and we thank everyone who helped to move our state toward a brighter future. We are proud to have done our part to help elect working family champions Jacky Rosen to the U.S. Senate and Steve Sisolak to the Governor’s office, to send a solid, pro-worker majority in our state legislature, and to defeat a risky, corporate-funded energy deregulation effort.

    Working people are on the rise in Nevada. We are taking the energy and momentum that powered the Nevada Labor 2018 program and we are building a long term movement to improve the lives of working families. Tonight was filled with many historic victories, but it is not the end. Nevada working people are just getting started.

    New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech:

    Make no mistake: what made the difference tonight was our unified labor voice as well as the support we received from thousands of union volunteers; national, state, and local affiliates; Central Labor Councils, and Building Trades Councils. By gathering in solidarity every Saturday for labor walks, knocking on more than 366,000 doors, and delivering thousands of mail pieces around the state, we showed the nation what it means to be union strong.

    This election is only the beginning. Organized labor will use this momentum to usher in a new era of progress for all working people that is long-overdue. Together, we made the difference, and together we will continue to be the driving force that moves our state forward and fulfills the promise of fairness, dignity, respect, and opportunity for all working people.

    New Mexico Federation of Labor: 

    New Mexico working families were determined to fill the halls of power with leaders who share our values and ensure voters were informed and engaged regarding candidates on the ballot that would shape the future of our state. Across New Mexico, union members gave their all in service of those shared goals. Their passion and dedication drove an extraordinary labor political campaign. Working together we knocked over 20,000 doors, made over 112,000 phone calls, and contacted union members and their families more than 133,000 times throughout this election cycle.

    Union members know that when working people join together, we have the power to enact incredible changeeven in the face of incredible odds. Our 2018 labor political program was an enormous group effort, and we thank everyone who helped to move our state toward a brighter future. We are proud to have done our part....

    Working people are on the rise in New Mexico. We are taking the energy and momentum that powered the New Mexico Labor 2018 program and we are building a long-term, grassroots movement. Tonight is the end of a long election season, but it is not the end of our efforts to improve the lives of working families. New Mexico’s working people are just getting started.

    New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento: 

    The collective voice of working people was heard tonight with victories for labor’s candidates for governor, attorney general, comptroller and U.S. Senate. I congratulate Governor Cuomo, our new State Attorney General Letitia “Tish” James, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

    Their victories are a victory for all working people. Union members worked hard campaigning for each of these candidates because they understand the issues most important to workers.

    I am particularly proud of our 2.5 million members, retirees and their families for executing a powerful grassroots campaign. We made 4 million voter contacts through knocking on doors, targeted digital messaging, phone calls, mail pieces, palm cards and emails to union members on the importance of having statewide elected leaders who will fight to protect workers’ rights and grow the middle class.

    Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain:

    Oregon’s workers were determined to fill the halls of power with leaders who share our values and ensure voters were informed and engaged regarding initiatives on the ballot that would shape the future of our state. Across Oregon, union members stepped up to make sure we met those shared goals. Their passion and dedication drove an extraordinary campaign. Working together, we knocked on over 110,000 doors and contacted over 210,000 voters by telephone and text message. We reached voters through the mail, on social media and at dozens of worksites. We stood together to do our part to make change happen. 

    Union members know that when working people stand together, we have the power to enact incredible changeeven in the face of incredible odds. Our 2018 political program was an enormous collective effort, and we thank everyone who helped to move our state toward a brighter future. We are proud to have helped re-elect Governor Kate Brown, a champion for working people in Oregon, as well as defeat ballot measures 103, 104, 105 and 106 while passing ballot measure 102. Our efforts helped maintain the Oregon Legislature as a place where the needs of working people are heard and where action is taken to fight for our shared prosperity.

    Working people are on the rise in Oregon. We are taking the energy and momentum that powered the Oregon AFL-CIO Labor 2018 program and we are building a long-term, grassroots movement. Tonight is the end of a long election season, but it is not the end of our efforts to improve the lives of working families. Oregon’s working people are just getting started.

    Pennsylvania AFL-CIO:

    After a stunning, against-all-odds election win in March with the first election of Conor Lamb, the Pennsylvania union movement has stayed the course for a meaningful victory for workers and workers’ rights across all of Pennsylvania. Today was an historic win for workers’ rights in our commonwealth. The re-election of Governor Tom Wolf and U.S. Senator Bob Casey is monumental to the securing of workers’ rights in Pennsylvania and across the country. The officers of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO have made the following statements on tonight’s victories for workers. 

    “These elections were never about a political party or a candidate; this was and is about the issues that affect the lives of workers and their right to join a union. The right for workers to join together and collectively bargain, the right to health care access and the right to a fair wage and economic opportunity was on the line with today’s election. Pennsylvania voters stood up and cast their votes against anti-union extremists. Let it be known, Pennsylvania is a union state,” remarked President Rick Bloomingdale.

    “The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO and our union brothers and sisters across the commonwealth have worked hard for the last several months. We’ve reached hundreds of thousands of union households on the doors, on the phones and at their work sites to convey the importance of this election to Pennsylvania union members. Our union member-to-member program in Pennsylvania has reached out to our politically diverse membership in partnership with our 51 affiliate unions in all 67 counties to win victories for union members in Pennsylvania,” stated Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder.

    Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy:

    Beto O'Rourke neared the mountaintop by standing up for all Texans who seek a fair shot at better lives. His magnificent campaign lit a spark that together with the deep organizing of labor and allied groups has launched a new political era in Texas. What Beto accomplished is only the beginning. We thank him and look forward to working alongside him for a better future for working families.

    Washington State Labor Council President Jeff Johnson:

    Union members and their families have been pumped up this entire election cycle. For months, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and our affiliated unions have organized member volunteers to talk to fellow union members about the importance of this election. Working together, our Labor Neighbor grassroots political mobilization program activated more than 1,000 union members who knocked on doors, made phone calls, and wrote handwritten postcards to more than 45,000 union members and their families. By all accounts, the feedback has been that folks were absolutely determined this year to elect people who share our values and care about good jobs. I think tonight’s results reflect that.

    At a time when some politicians and judges are attacking our freedom to join together in unions, it’s more important than ever to get engaged, to vote, and then to hold elected officials accountable. That’s exactly what we intend to do. We will take the energy and momentum from this year’s successful election mobilization and use it to continue building our long-term grassroots movement. Union members know that when they join together, they have the power to change things for the better.

    Tonight we celebrate the end of a long election season and the gains made by pro-worker candidates. But we are just getting started.

    Wisconsin State AFL-CIO President Stephanie Bloomingdale:

    Wisconsin voters have gone to the polls to reject Scott Walker’s union-busting style of politics and voted him out of office. Tony Ever’s victory is a clear signal that Wisconsinites will not stand for attacks on workers’ rights and our freedom to collectively bargain. We look forward to working with the Evers Administration to restore union rights to every Wisconsin worker, raise wages, fully fund our schools and invest in infrastructure so that we can finally fix our roads and bridges.

    Union members have been doing the grassroots work of lacing up our boots and having conversations on front porch steps, in the workplace, over the phone, and at the mail box to ramp up the union vote for pro-worker candidates. The ground work of labor activism made the difference Tuesday.

    Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 11/08/2018 - 12:02

    New Jersey Labor Movement Leads Charge to Take Back House in the Midterm Elections

    Thu, 08 Nov 2018 16:18:14 +0000

    New Jersey Labor Movement Leads Charge to Take Back House in the Midterm Elections

    On Nov. 6, after what may have been the most consequential election in recent U.S. history, union members across New Jersey celebrated Bob Menendez’s re-election to the U.S. Senate, as well as the election of all 12 labor-endorsed congressional candidates, eight state Senate and assembly members and 50 rank-and-file union members.

    In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, as well as the recent attacks on workers’ rights and union rights, these victories could not have come at a better time for working families in New Jersey. Ultimately, the results attest to the exceptional mobilization efforts of organized labor and the New Jersey State AFL-CIO’s political program, a program unparalleled by any other in the state or nation.

    This election was especially significant in that the nationally renowned New Jersey State AFL-CIO Labor Candidates Program notched its 1,000th candidate victory, a mark many thought impossible to reach when the program first began more than two decades ago. Thus far, Tuesday’s election has seen 50 victories achieved by rank-and-file union members running for public office (with two races still too close to call), bringing the program’s total number of election victories to 1,024 and its all-time win percentage to 76%.

    Moreover, in a stunning upset, labor-endorsed candidate Andy Kim won the 3rd Congressional District—one of the most closely watched U.S. House races in the nation—beating Tom MacArthur and flipping a key district in New Jersey. Kim joins Mikie Sherrill (11th District), Tom Malinowski (7th District) and Jeff Van Drew (2nd District), adding to the list of state federation-endorsed candidates who won open U.S. House seats.

    In addition, working families succeeded in passing Ballot Question No. 1, the Securing Our Children’s Future Bond Act, thereby authorizing $500 million in state borrowing for improvements to public schools, vocational schools and community colleges.

    “Make no mistake: what made the difference tonight was our unified labor voice, as well as the support we received from thousands of union volunteers; national, state and local affiliates; central labor councils; and building trades councils,” said New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech. “By gathering in solidarity every Saturday for labor walks, knocking on more than 366,000 doors and delivering thousands of mail pieces around the state, we showed the nation what it means to be union strong.”

    At the end of the day, not even the multimillion-dollar smear campaigns and hateful rhetoric of Bob Hugin, Jay Webber, U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance and other anti-union politicians could silence the unified voice of New Jersey’s 1 million-member-strong state labor movement. And now, with the midterm elections behind them, New Jersey will lead the way forward for the rest of the nation, securing needed reforms that promote job creation, quality education, skills training, modernized infrastructure, affordable health care, equitable taxation, and a sustainable and secure retirement future for all working families.

    “This election is only the beginning,” said President Wowkanech. “Organized labor will use this momentum to usher in a new era of progress for all working people that is long overdue. Together, we made the difference, and together we will continue to be the driving force that moves our state forward and fulfills the promise of fairness, dignity, respect and opportunity for all working people.”

    For more than two decades, the New Jersey State AFL-CIO has recruited, trained, mentored and campaigned on behalf of rank-and-file union members running for political office. Having achieved 1,024 election victories in this time frame—a win percentage of more than 76%—the state federation's Labor Candidates Program has revolutionized the role labor plays in New Jersey state and local government.

    More than 141 graduates of the Labor Candidates School currently hold public office. Among them are state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, state Sen. Troy Singleton, U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, Assemblyman Joseph Egan, Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, Assemblyman Thomas Giblin, Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli and Assemblyman Paul Moriarty.

    Because of these graduates and their unwavering dedication to the labor movement and working families, several pro-worker pieces of legislation have been passed in New Jersey this year. This includes paid sick days, equal pay for women and minorities, the Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act and unemployment benefits for striking workers.  

    For more information about the New Jersey State AFL-CIO Labor Candidates Program, click here.

    Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 11/08/2018 - 11:18

    A Driving Force in This Election

    Wed, 07 Nov 2018 21:15:42 +0000

    A Driving Force in This Election

    We did it!

    The labor movement helped elect a wave of union members and pro-worker allies across the country last night. We proved that if you support working people, we’ll have your back. And we sent a resounding message to every candidate and elected official that if you seek to divide and destroy us, we’ll fight back with everything we have.

    While many races have yet to be called, make no mistake: This is a historic election for working people. Union members in every community, city and state were a driving force in this election. We fought for our issues, union candidates and proven allies, and we filled the halls of power with our own.

    AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) and AFL-CIO Mobilization Director Julie Greene spoke to the press early this morning. Check out what they had to say about this victory for working people here.

    We’re still gathering and compiling the data, but here are four key takeaways from our work last night:

    • Seven hundred and forty-three (and counting) union members were elected to office from the U.S. Senate to state capitols, including U.S. Sen.-elect Jacky Rosen (UNITE HERE) of Nevada; Michigan Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer (AFT); Minnesota Gov.-elect Tim Walz (Education Minnesota); and U.S. Reps.-elect Jahana Hayes (CEA and AFSA) of Connecticut and Ilhan Omar (AFSCME) of Minnesota.

    • We sent union-busting Govs. Scott Walker (Wis.) and Bruce Rauner (Ill.) packing, and we elected an army of pro-worker governors in Wisconsin, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Colorado, Maine and Kansas.

    • Union members knocked on more than 2.3 million doors this election cycle.

    • We distributed 5 million fliers at more than 4,600 worksites, sent more than 260,000 texts and delivered over 12 million pieces of direct mail.

    Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 11/07/2018 - 16:15

       
      

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