AFL-CIO - American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations

06/11/2024 | News release | Distributed by Public on 06/11/2024 13:46

Good Jobs Summer: The Working People Weekly List

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

University of Minnesota Employees Welcome Reforms to State's Public Employment Law: "Employees and student workers at the University of Minnesota are hailing reforms to the state's public labor law that they say will allow more than 23,000 workers to more easily unionize. The Public Employee Labor Relations Act was put in place decades ago to grant collective bargaining rights to workers in the state's public sector, but critics said it effectively prevented two-thirds of the university's workforce from forming and joining unions, in large part because of the way various workers were grouped across the system."

Pete Buttigieg Promotes American-Made Steel While Visiting Harrisburg Area: "Maurice Cobb, the Secretary-Treasurer with the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, was a fourth generation steelworker at the Steelton plant and said it was great for Buttigieg and [Gov. Josh] Shapiro to tour the plant. 'It shows a partnership between the union and the company and the dedication to good-paying jobs, investment in our facilities, and keeping our infrastructure and transportation made in America,' Cobb told The Keystone. Cobb went on to explain the importance of using American-made steel for the country's infrastructure projects. 'The importance of it is it's providing well paying jobs for Americans and our products made in America are far superior to foreign steel,' Cobb said."

Fairfax Educators Rally for Historic Collective Bargaining Effort to Improve Teaching Conditions, Student Learning: "The Fairfax Education Association and the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers have banded together to ensure that educators and school support staff are able to negotiate a contract with Fairfax County Public Schools for better working conditions and student learning conditions. Teachers and school support staff in Fairfax on Monday launched a campaign that would secure their right to collectively bargain for the first time in nearly 50 years if successful, all in an effort to better serve local students."

AFL-CIO President Notes LGBTQIA+ Pride Month: "AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler released the following statement to commemorate LGBTQIA+ Pride Month and the many contributions of queer workers to the labor movement: 'This June, we celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community, and reaffirm our commitment to ensuring equity, dignity, and inclusion both in life and in the workplace. Collective bargaining remains the best tool against discrimination of any kind, which is why the AFL-CIO fights so that working people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions can enjoy the protections of a union contract.'"

Federal Judge Blocks GOP Attempt to Censor New Hampshire Teachers: "U.S. District Judge Paul Barbadoro in New Hampshire has rejected the state's attempt at censoring what public school teachers may teach about race in the Granite State's classrooms, a decision that elates both big teachers' unions, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers. The AFT called the measure 'a divisive concepts' law. 'The judge saw this case for what it was: A politically based, divisiveness-fueled attempt to stoke fear-fear of honest history, fear of critical thinking, fear of knowledge,' said AFT President Randi Weingarten, a New York civics teacher with a law degree. AFT Local 8037, with 3400 members, was one of two unions that sued. New Hampshire's National Education Association affiliate was the other."

Influencers Are Driving a New Category of Unionizing: Pharmacists: "It started with posting memes on Facebook and has grown into a national labor-organizing campaign. The target: unionizing pharmacists at CVS, Walgreens and other chains. With social-media handles like 'The Accidental Pharmacist,' 'RxComedy' and the hashtag #PizzaIsNotWorking, a small group of social-media influencers late last year co-founded the Pharmacy Guild, a union affiliated with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. This new breed of labor organizers are pushing for more staffing, which they say will alleviate prescription backlogs and ease the frustrations of customers. The organizers also seek better wages and benefits, especially for the workhorses of the pharmacy called technicians who often put the pills in bottles."

The Biden Administration's Labor Department Is Hitting the Road for 'Good Jobs Summer': "It's the DOL's latest attempt at promoting the idea of 'good jobs,' and making them more widespread. Part of [Acting Secretary of Labor Julie] Su's guiding edicts is to fill the economy with jobs that provide workers security, stability, good pay, and benefits. The Good Jobs Principles framework outlines eight hallmarks of what makes a job good quality; that includes hiring and recruitment from underrepresented backgrounds and doing away with unnecessary educational or credential requirements-a major barrier for many workers. It also includes better pay, benefits, job security, and access."

Biden Vetoes Bill to Overturn NLRB Joint Employer Rule, Protecting Workers: "President Biden has vetoed a Congressional Review Act measure that sought to overturn the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rule preventing corporations from hiding behind a subcontractor or staffing agency when workers want to collectively bargain. The NLRB's joint employer rule expands bargaining obligations and liability for labor violations for employers that have power over working conditions, even if workers are hired through a third party or by franchisees of a larger franchise. The regulation ensures that union members can bargain with each company that has the power to make changes in the workplace. A two-thirds majority in the House and Senate would be required to overturn the veto, an unlikely scenario as an overwhelming majority of congressional Democrats endorse the rule."

AFGE, AFL-CIO Laud Anti-Job Discrimination, Pro-Public Service Bills: "The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) are lauding the latest version of legislation opposing job discrimination on the basis of age and of being differently abled. And the AFL-CIO has thrown its support behind a reintroduced bill giving all public service workers the freedom to bargain-effectively overriding bargaining bans in Texas, North Carolina and elsewhere. The Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act would extend bargaining rights, the right 'to join a union chosen by a majority,' the right to bargain 'over essential workplace matters, to access dispute resolution' and to collect union dues, AFL-CIO Legislative Director Jody Calemine wrote to lawmakers on May 15. They'd also be able to 'engage in activities related to collective bargaining and mutual aid.'"

Unions Building Up: "At Trumbull Energy Center, a more than $1 billion natural gas-fired power plant that's under construction in Lordstown [Ohio], [Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 396 Business Manager Marty] Loney said, 'We'll probably have 50 or 60 fitters out there' in the next few months. Another large project, but one that's still in the wings, is an expected manufacturing plant at the former Republic Steel site in Trumbull County. Kimberly-Clark, a Fortune 200 company that makes consumer products under brands like Kleenex, Cottonelle, Huggies, Kotex and Depends, purchased 560 acres at the site in December for $9.9 million from the Western Reserve Port Authority. The demand for carpenters, electricians, pipefitters, operators and other trades is steady, which is why the unions have expanded their recruitment efforts over the last 10 years. While baby boomers continue to retire, vacant roles are being filled more frequently by young professionals in construction."

'We're Not Done:' Pro-Union Mercedes Workers Hope for Revote: "The United Auto Workers is challenging the results of the recent unionization vote at the Mercedes-Benz U.S. International plant in Vance [Alabama]. The UAW filed an objection to the National Labor Relations Board a week after the vote to unionize failed. The union said Mercedes used 'relentless anti-union campaign marked with unlawful discipline, unlawful captive audience meetings, and a general goal of coercing and intimidating employees.'"

Biden Campaign HQ Staffers Finalize Union Agreement, Making It the First Presidential Reelection Campaign to Organize: "Staffers at President Joe Biden's campaign headquarters in Delaware finalized a union contract last week after collective bargaining negotiations, making Biden the first incumbent to run for reelection with a unionized workforce and underscoring his pro-labor outlook. Officials said the new contract covers wages, time off and severance, among other issues. The unionization effort is affiliated with the Campaign Workers Guild, a non-partisan labor union founded in 2017 to represent workers on campaigns and political committees."