Trumka advocates strong bargaining rights for all – union and not. Expanding on a point he recently made in his one-on-one meeting with GOP President Donald Trump, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in April came out for strong bargaining rights for all workers, whether or not they’ve unionized.
Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington at the same time Trump was addressing North America’s Building Trades Unions elsewhere in downtown D.C. on April 4, Trumka said expanding collective bargaining rights could help right an economy that “is historically out of balance, tilted steeply against working people and in favor of corporations.” Equal Pay Day, which happened to be on April 4, is a symptom and symbol of that gap, he added.
“In each of the last three years, corporate profits have reached record highs, one year after the other, yet workers haven’t gotten a real raise in half a century,” he said. “Corporate CEOs are making more than 300 times the average worker. And despite living in the richest country in the world at its richest point in history, our overall standard of living is going down. This is a moral and an economic crisis.”
Trumka also criticized Trump – who didn’t use the words “union” or “collective bargaining” in his remarks to the Building Trades – for being beholden to Wall Street, particularly in executive orders and signing recent laws that roll back or eliminate federal rules protecting workers and consumers. And he didn’t spare Democrats, adding, “Building an economy that works for everyone requires putting our issues and our values first. We will not be an ATM for any political party. We will stand up to the corporate Republicans who attack working people and the neoliberal Democrats who take us for granted.”
Teamsters win at Schnuck’s in St. Louis. After 277 days of boycotting Schnuck’s Markets, the 102 members of Teamsters Local 688 still working in the Schnuck’s Bridgeton warehouse have ratified a new, five-year contract that guarantees job security for the life of the agreement, Local 688 Chief Executive Officer Mike Goebel told the St. Louis Labor Tribune.
Including two months of informational leafleting, the union’s campaign to get Schnucks to reverse its stand, and its hiring of scabs, had gone on for almost a year. Schnuck’s tried to replace 200 fired Teamsters members at Bridgetown with “permanent replacement” minimum-wage workers, or scabs, at its new Kinloch, Mo., warehouse — after previously promising, during its campaign for state and local aid for the new warehouse, to keep the Teamsters.
The Fire Fighters, Bricklayers and Heat & Frost Insulators were among unions that helped Local 688.
Letter Carriers gear up for 25th annual “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive May 13. The Letter Carriers union is gearing up for the largest one-day collection of donated food for the hungry in the country. Last year’s drive broke prior records, with more than 80 million pounds of food collected and distributed to pantries, food banks, homeless shelters, religious institutions and other charitable groups that feed the hungry, said Letter Carriers Community Outreach Coordinator Pam Donato, the drive’s director.
Letter Carriers president Fredric Rolando said workers hope to see another big community response so even more food will be collected for those who need it the most.
“Letter Carriers see many along our routes each day,” he told the Postal Record. “Our food drive can make a positive difference in the lives of those who have been dealt difficult hands.”
Laborers’ O’Sullivan, Senators unite on bipartisan push for energy infrastructure. Laborers president Terry O’Sullivan and leaders of the Senate panel that handles energy bills are uniting on a push for energy infrastructure improvements. The only complaints – from Senate Energy Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and top Democrat Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) is that the GOP-run House isn’t cooperating.
O’Sullivan was one of several witnesses who outlined the need for improving and upgrading U.S. energy infrastructure. He pushed that point, and the well-paying middle-class jobs it would bring to construction workers, including Laborers, in erecting those projects.
“This infrastructure is in desperate need of repair and modernization,” he testified. “In its most recent report card on the state of America’s infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave our energy infrastructure a grade of D+.”
Unions won’t back down on immigrant rights: The U.S. labor movement “is never backing down, not an inch, on its commitment to full immigrant rights in this country,” said AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre during the AFL-CIO Executive Council’s two-day meeting in San Antonio.
“The immigration work and policies of the federation remain the same, despite the outcome of these contentious elections” in 2016, according to a statement. “If anything, our efforts to organize and represent all workers, and to advance immigration policies that help to raise wages and standards, take on greater urgency as immigrants and refugees are being criminalized and terrorized in our workplaces and communities.”
Gebre, himself a political refugee and immigrant born in Ethiopia who came to the U.S. as a teen, said the current immigration system “exposes immigrant workers to special exploitation with millions struggling to support their families in poverty wages or unsafe working conditions. They face the highest rates of wage theft, sexual harassment and death and injury. When a segment of society suffers, all suffer.”
News briefs courtesy of The Labor Paper