Fifty years ago this week, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his final speech in Memphis, Tennessee. In the decades since his assassination, much of the focus on King’s life has centered on his civil rights legacy. But his final days in Memphis are a reminder that he was also a relentless champion for the dignity of work.
Kenneth Quinnell works for the AFL-CIO.
As a result of the federal tax cut, Disney promised that its employees would get $1,000 bonuses. Disney offered the bonuses to most of its employees with no conditions. But for 41,000 union members in Orlando, Florida, and Anaheim, California, Disney is requiring them to agree to the company’s contract proposals in order to get the bonus.
Wow, the “Black Panther” movie was awesome, wasn’t it? And while we could spend hours about how great an action movie it is or how beautiful it looks or the social implications of the themes and representation of African culture, let’s take a few minutes to look behind the scenes at the work it took to bring a movie like “Black Panther” to life, work done by union members.
Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. joined the sanitation strikers in Memphis, Tennessee, who carried signs that boldly proclaimed “I Am a Man,” at a time when many employers rejected that very notion. King and the working people of Memphis fought for the freedom to join together in unions and to be treated with dignity and respect on the job.
It’s not too late yet to find that perfect holiday gift that carries a union label. Below is a wide range of gift possibilities, from clothes to games to sports equipment and more, made by union-members across the country.
The U.S. Supreme Court has granted certiorari in the case Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, meaning the court will hold a hearing and make a ruling on the case. The case started with the billionaire governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, attempting to undercut the voice of public service workers through the courts. Janus is party of a broader strategy by corporate-funded organizations like the State Policy Network, which admits that the whole point of Janus is to strike a “mortal blow” and “defund and defang” unions. Working people are speaking out against these attempts to use the courts to attack their rights.
Betsy DeVos was nominated as secretary of education, and hearings for her nomination are currently underway. As reporters and pundits are examining DeVos’ record, we thought it would be interesting to imagine what it would be like to actually work for DeVos. This is speculative fiction, of course, but based on the things she’s said and done over the years (click on the link after each entry to read more about DeVos and that topic). But here’s what we think it could be like to work for DeVos.
It’s not too late yet to find that perfect holiday gift that carries a union label and is made in America!
Since Donald Trump won the election, nearly 900 incidents of violence, hate speech and harassment have been reported. In light of these attacks, it’s important that you know what your rights are and what you can do if you or someone you know is the target of one of these attacks in the workplace. Click on the links to learn more about your rights, what constitutes illegal activity and what you can do about it if you are targeted.
Finally, after what seems like years, we are almost to Election Day, Nov. 8, 2016. But we aren’t quite there yet, so we can’t let up now. We need to create a virtual wall between Donald Trump and the White House. Choose a brick, add your name and make sure that Trump won’t ever make it inside the White House without a visitor’s badge.
If you want your Halloween to be all treats and no tricks, make sure all your candy is union-made in America.
If you’re like me and millions of other Americans, the beginning of the National Football League season is one of the more fun times of the year. Week 1 means that all of our teams are still in contention (at least for one more day). In contention all season, though, are the working people who bring you Game Day. Nearly every aspect of the NFL experience, in the stadium or at home, is brought to you by union members.
by Kenneth Quinnell
Mother’s Day is less than a week away (May 8), so you have no excuse for waiting until the last minute to find a nice tribute for mom that also carries the union label. Our friends at Labor 411, the union business directory from the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, can help you out.
by Kenneth Quinnell
The world lost a musical icon last week. You'll read about his impact as a musician and an entertainer elsewhere, but let's take a second to look at Prince's career-spanning fights on behalf of working people.
by Kenneth Quinnell
The AFL-CIO released a video today showing firsthand the devastating economic impact the Trans-Pacific Partnership could have on communities across the country. When global companies move jobs offshore to take advantage of trade deals, they not only destroy jobs, they suppress wages, deprive local governments of needed resources and leave working families behind.
by Kenneth Quinnell
The AFL-CIO Executive Council affirmed that working people in the gig economy share a single common designation: employees.
by Kenneth Quinnell
A new report released yesterday shows how the Trans-Pacific Partnership lacks adequate labor rights provisions.
by Kenneth Quinnell
The Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) held it's 18th Biennial Convention in November. Among the wide array of activities during the convention, the delegates passed numerous resolutions related to issues that affect and concern women in the workforce.
by Kenneth Quinnell
A new tax on health care plans is threatening to hurt working people and their families. The 40% tax on many health care plans will lead to increased out-of-pocket costs for workers. You can go right now and add your name to a petition to members of Congress asking them to keep the Affordable Care Act affordable by supporting a repeal of the health care benefits tax.
It's not too late yet to find that perfect holiday gift that carries a union label and is made in America!
On Oct. 7, the White House is holding a summit with leaders in the various movements to improve the lives of working people across the country, with a focus on how to make sure that economic growth is broad-based and that workers share in the benefits they help create with their labor. Until the summit begins, we'll be highlighting the stories of workers and their struggle to make sure their voices are heard on the job.
Throughout this month, the AFL-CIO and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) are profiling past and present leaders in the intersecting movements to protect and expand the rights of Hispanics, Latinos and working families.
Union members built this country and our dedication keeps it running. To celebrate the folks who make America possible, Union Plus is bringing Labor Day back to its roots. It’s time to show our appreciation and cook up a little fun in the process.
This week, in the lead-up to the nation's birthday on July 4, we'll be spotlighting union-made products. Stay tuned for a new list each day.
Many of us will celebrate Independence Day with a barbecue. We can keep the red, white and blue in the holiday with this made-in-America, union label backyard barbecue checklist, compiled from the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM), the LA Labor 411's website, Union Plus and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).
by Kevin Banatte and Kenneth Quinnell
Rachel Bryan is currently the governmental relations and community liaison at Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 595 in Stockton, Calif. She became involved in the labor movement as a member of the local’s apprenticeship program.
In the face of aggressive attacks on the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), a wide range of national organizations are standing up and fighting for one of the more widely used and important public goods in the United States. The Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service unites more than 60 groups in opposition to weakening the USPS for the sake of private investment and profit. Actor and activist Danny Glover supports the alliance and explains why, in a new video (see above) sponsored by the organization.
Today, fast food workers around the world will engage in a one-day strike calling for higher wages and the right to form a union. The events are taking place on May 15 as a symbol of the $15 wage that is being asked for by workers in the U.S. Actions are planned in more than 150 cities around the United States and in 30 other countries, according to Josh Eidelson. Thousands of workers are expected to participate and many cities will be seeing their first fast food strikes.
It was with great excitement that California elected officials welcomed the Chinese company Build Your Dreams (BYD) to build electric buses in places like Lancaster, Long Beach and Los Angeles. Hopes were high that BYD's Zero Emissions buses would clean the air, and hundreds of Angelenos would go to work in BYD's new downtown Los Angeles office, earning paychecks to support their families.
But this weekend, news reports revealed that the company's promises of jobs and quality products couldn't be more hollow. The California Department of Industrial Relations issued BYD numerous citations on Oct. 10, fining the company $79,250 and requiring it to pay $20,000 in back wages to 22 employees.
This week, working families are calling 27 U.S. senators and urging them to vote for an immigration reform bill that provides a reliable road map to citizenship for more than 11 million aspiring Americans.
The bill is expected to reach the floor of the Senate this week, and the labor movement is ramping up its national campaign in support of the bill through phone calls, Internet advertisements and by having more than 50 leaders and allies from 24 states fly to Washington, D.C., to lobby elected officials today, the first full day of Senate debate.
One of the proposals floated for months in the fiscal bluff debate in Washington, D.C., is a change to the formula used to measure inflation for Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLAs) called the “chained” CPI. Let's be clear: This is a benefit cut. These COLAs make sure seniors' income keeps pace with the rising costs of housing and food. The “chained” CPI would cut future Social Security benefits by as much as $2,432 for someone who is 17 years old today. Studies from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) show that not only is the “chained” CPI a benefit cut, it eventually will lead to higher taxes for most working people.
Michigan is poised to become the latest state to pass “right to work” for less legislation, a mislabeled policy that is designed to weaken the rights and wages of working families. As is often the case in recent years, extreme anti-worker legislation, like the law in Michigan, can be traced back to Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and the group's founders Charles and David Koch, the billionaire brothers who fund a host of extreme right-wing organizations.
In the recently convened “lame-duck” session of Congress, senators and representatives will take on a number of issues that could have major consequences for working families and retirees. Congress is considering benefit cuts for Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare and members are looking at cutting taxes for the wealthy even further. Any deal that Congress makes, though, should be based on facts and not the myths that have sprung up around taxes, the deficit and the earned benefit programs. Here are a few of the key myths and the truth behind them.