Missouri AFL-CIO Working to Take So-called ‘Right to Work’ Law to Ballot Box

The Missouri AFL-CIO and a coalition of local unions called “Preserve Middle Class America” are looking to gather enough signatures to place Missouri’s recently passed “right-to-work” to work law on the ballot in November 2018. The coalition wants to give voters the chance to weigh in on the issue after it was pushed through the GOP-controlled Legislature this year and signed into law by Republican Gov. Eric Greitens. The coalition must gather enough signatures by August 25 to stop the law from taking effect and to place it on the ballot. Missouri residents can call a referendum on a new law by collecting signatures totaling five percent of voters from two-thirds of the state’s congressional districts. The new law, which was set to go into effect Aug. 28, would allow employees in unionized workplaces to opt out of paying union dues for the cost of being represented. Greitens says the change will boost the state’s economy by attracting more businesses, a claim the facts show is not true. Efforts to pass a right-to-work law last year were stymied when Missouri’s former governor Jay Nixon vetoed the bill. The referendum needs 140,000 signatures to get on the ballot, but the coalition is aiming to get around 300,000 to be safe. There are over 260,000 union members in Missouri, Ryan Burke, senior field representative with the AFL-CIO, who conducted a signature-gathering training at IBEW Local 1, said. “If you all just do your job, go back to your locals and your friends and family and collect your signatures, we can get there.” Since 1914, Missouri voters have had the chance to...

Union Label Building New App

The Union Label and Service Trades Department, AFL-CIO, is in the process of building a new App for iPhone and Android devices to help union members and conscientious consumers find union-made products and services. In addition to offering a database of products, the App will have links to all of our affiliated unions and push notifications to alert users when companies are added to the ‘Don’t Buy’ list. The Department is working to reach out to all of our affiliated unions to help us update our existing database of products and to add new products and services. If you have a product you would like to see listed, please visit our website at www.unionlabel.org and add it today. The new App is expected to launch in late summer or early...

The Right to Work

The Right to Work Respect By U.S. Representative Donald Norcross (D-NJ) I joined the IBEW as an electrician’s apprentice in 1979, and spent the following decades wiring buildings, lighting bridges, and fighting for the rights of my fellow workers. I felt the dignity of working with my hands, and I saw the benefits of union membership. Hard work provided me with the pay and benefits to support a growing family and the opportunity to help others do the same. As a business agent, I fought for fair contracts, safe workplaces and higher wages. As the president of the Southern New Jersey AFL-CIO Labor Council for seventeen years, I forged relationships with businesses and governments to create jobs and put my union brothers and sisters to work. And now, as the only electrician in Congress, I’m fighting to defend Davis-Bacon, create jobs, and defeat a national “right-to-work” law. As Americans, we are guaranteed the right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness — and we already have the right to work. When corporate billionaires push “right to work,” what they’re really saying is that the right to work is all we have, regardless of the pay or the conditions. They’re saying we have the right to work for less, in less safe conditions, with less secure retirements. They’re saying we’re on our own – and they’re wrong. So-called “right-to-work” states rank among those with the lowest union membership, and as this egregious law spreads across the country, union membership nationally steadily declines. Workers in right-to-work states make an average of about $1,500 less a year, they pay more for health...

We Won!! The USPS and Staples Deal is Over!

From www.apwu.org Postal management informed the APWU in writing that the “Approved Shipper” program in Staples stores will be shut down by the end of February 2017. This victory concludes the APWU’s three-year struggle. The boycott against Staples is over!“I salute and commend every member and supporter who made this victory possible,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “I never doubted that if we stayed the course, stuck together and kept the activist pressure on, we would win this fight.”  APWU Sprung Into Action “The Staples pilot was an acceleration in the privatization of retail services and a direct assault on our jobs,” said Dimondstein. “It was time to draw a line in the sand.” “We wasted no time swinging into action,” Dimondstein continued. Early in 2014, the Stop Staples campaign started to put pressure on Staples and the USPS. On April 24, 2014, APWU members staged a country-wide National Day of Action with 56 Stop Staples protests in 27 states. After this, the APWU launched the official Staples Boycott.The APWU delegates to the 2014 National Convention reaffirmed the Stop Staples fight, authorizing necessary resources for the campaign. A thousand delegates took to the streets in front of a Staples store in downtown Chicago, IL, proclaiming, “The U.S. Mail is Not for Sale!” “If Staples was going to take our work and jobs for their private profit, we were going to hit back and affect their bottom line,” Dimondstein explained. The APWU launched StopStaples.com where tens of thousands pledged to join the boycott. The union also engaged in a postcard campaign which resulted in over 100,000 postcards delivered to Staples’...

SAG-AFTRA Strikes Eleven Video Game Companies

On October 24, more than 350 picketers turned out for a rally and picket line at EA offices in Playa Vista, Calif. in response to failed negotiations with video gaming companies that union officials say have been unwilling to meet even close to where the needs of its members are. The strike involves the following video game employers: Activision Publishing, Inc.; Blindlight, LLC; Corps of Discovery Films; Disney Character Voices, Inc.; Electronic Arts Productions, Inc.; Formosa Interactive, LLC; Insomniac Games, Inc.; Interactive Associates, Inc.; Take 2 Interactive Software; VoiceWorks Productions, Inc.; and WB Games, Inc. The strike applies to games that went into production after February 17, 2015, for the aforementioned employers. In a statement issued in early October by the union, SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said, “Through many months of bargaining with interactive employers, we have not reached a fair agreement covering SAG-AFTRA performers working in video games – often the most popular games in the world. Our members have been clear, now is the time for employers to negotiate a modern contract that covers this highly profitable industry. “A strike is not to be entered into lightly, but when the employers leave us with no recourse, we must stand firm for our members. It is imperative that we secure for them the protections, compensation and benefits they deserve,” Carteris added. The Union’s Chief Contracts Officer Ray Rodriguez noted that members working in the video game industry were negotiating to reach a fair contract, but that progress had essentially been stalled for more than a year. “We need a contract that fits the needs of our members working...

Workers’ Compensation Law Rollbacks Have Created a Crisis Across the U.S.

“A critical part of the safety net is being both attacked and eroded in no small measure because there are no federal minimum standards for workers’ compensation” — DOL Secretary Tom Perez A recent U.S. Department of Labor report lays out in gory detail the problems with workers’ compensation programs in the U.S., noting that those hurt on the job are at “great risk of falling into poverty” because state workers’ compensation systems are failing to provide them with adequate benefits. Unfortunately, the DOL has no oversight of workers’ compensation programs and has not monitored state compliance since 2004 because of cutbacks. According to the report, more than 30 states have changed their workers’ compensation laws since 2003, favoring employers far more than workers. In most instances, states have decreased benefits to injured workers, created hurdles to medical care, raised the burden of proof to qualify for help and shifted costs to public programs, such as Social Security Disability Insurance, Medicare and Medicaid. Employers are reaping the rewards—the cost of insurance has decreased dramatically and insurance companies are paying their overages back to corporations in the form of dividends. Since 1988, the average cost to employer has declined from $3.42 for every $100 paid in wages to $1.85 per $100. “With this report, we’re sounding an alarm bell,” Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez said in an interview with ProPublica, which had published a series of articles with NPR on the issue over the past year and a half (https://www.propublica.org/series/workers-compensation). The Grand Bargain Workers’ compensation was created more than 100 years ago. It was a response to challenging and horrific...

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