Member-Driven Involvement: The Working People Weekly List

Member-Driven Involvement: The Working People Weekly List

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.

AFL-CIO Kicks Off Labor Day with Detailed Political Plan: “The AFL-CIO kicked off the Labor Day weekend, in advance, with a detailed political plan for the fall elections and beyond, released August 24 in a nationwide zoom call. The plan features massive from-the-ground-up member-driven involvement, including a feedback loop where workers’ recommendations will adjust the federation’s issue priorities between now and Election Day, and afterwards, President Liz Shuler said. ‘What we need to be thinking about is how we’re taking these (issues) out into the field, listening to our members, talking about what matters to them and what matters locally,’ and changing accordingly, Shuler explained. ‘We start with worksite communications, then to local unions, then connecting back to state federations and local labor councils’ and finally the national headquarters. Then the issues members decide on locally would be applied to campaigns ‘from school boards to the U.S. Senate,’ she elaborated.”

Student Debt Relief: “‘About half the 27.5 million U.S. households with student debt are people who did not finish college,’ said AFL-CIO chief economist Bill Spriggs. ‘Of those 13.9 million households, roughly 4.6 million will now be debt free. This isn’t about helping the privileged.’”

Minnesota Nurses’ Strike Vote Puts Safety and Conditions in Spotlight: “Throughout the COVID pandemic, nurses around the U.S. have faced deteriorating working conditions and challenges, from safety concerns to increasing workloads that have stemmed from understaffing as nurses have quit their jobs or retired early. Those nurses who are still on the job at many hospitals say they have been expected to do more with fewer resources, an issue that nurses say is causing retention crises and jeopardizing patient safety and care. Now nurses at 15 hospitals in the Twin Cities area (Minneapolis-St Paul) and Duluth, Minnesota, that are negotiating new union contracts with their respective hospitals have overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike. A date for the work stoppage has not been set yet by the union, the Minnesota Nurses Association, which represents about 15,000 nurses who voted on the strike authorization, but a 10-day notice must be given ahead of any strike. If a strike is carried out, it would be one of the largest nurses’ strikes in U.S. history.”

Nation’s Top Union Leaders Back Gay Activists at Pride At Work Convention: “Union leaders Fred Redmond, Randi Weingarten and Sara Nelson hit different themes—electoral activism, right-wing hate and corporate greed, respectively–at the Pride@Work convention in Minneapolis in mid-August. And the meeting, of the AFL-CIO’s constituency group for LGBTQ+ people also featured—what else?—a protest, which delegates eagerly joined in. In this case, though, the protesters were members of UNITE HERE Local 17, who are campaigning for a contract with the Millennium Hotel, site of the convention. Bosses, as usual, are stonewalling—having reneged on a tentative agreement two months after the hotel booked the convention, So Pride@Work delegates joined the Unite Here members in occupying the hotel lobby for half an hour. Redmond and [News Guild President Jon] Schleuss, who attended the whole convention, received Solidarity awards. The convention theme was ‘Out for Democracy.’ Redmond challenged the LGBTQ community not just to get involved in politics, but to seek public office. ‘Everybody in. Nobody is left out. I dare you, members of Pride@Work, get involved, run for office and follow the examples of (Bayard) Rustin, (A. Phillip) Randolph and others,’ Redmond declared. ‘Push for the change you want to see in our unions, our communities and our country.”

A Coal Miner’s Political Transformation: “For more than 500 days, coal miners in rural Alabama have been on strike. Around 900 workers walked off the job in April 2021, and they haven’t been back since.”

Hormel Workers at Corn Nuts Plant Go on Strike: “Forty employees at a Hormel Foods plant in Fresno, California, that makes Corn Nuts have gone on strike, according to the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 85 that represents the workers. The strike, which started on Aug. 16, occurred because Hormel changed the workers’ medical plan without notifying the employees or bargaining with the union, BCTGM said. The strike is the latest to hit the food industry as workers look for changes or concessions from companies at a time of labor shortages, increased product demand and supply chain disruptions.”

Trader Joe’s Suddenly Closed Its Bustling Wine Store in the Heart of New York City. Employees There Say They Were Unionizing and Are Calling on the Store to Reopen: “‘Trader Joe’s openly brags about being a good employer but there is nothing ‘inclusive and respectful’ about abruptly shutting its tremendously popular wine store just days before workers were set to go public with their union organizing efforts,’ AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said in a statement to Insider. ‘It’s a cruel form of union-busting. The AFL-CIO stands in solidarity with UFCW and the dozens of workers who are now out of a job because they had the courage to come together and stand up for better working conditions.’”

New White House Labor Adviser Isn’t Looking for a Fight: Q&A: “Celeste Drake is drawing on her experience at the nation’s largest federation of unions to bring the White House’s labor agenda to fruition. Drake is wearing ‘two hats,’ as she put it, working both as the National Economic Council’s labor expert and as ‘Made in America” director for the White House Office of Management and Budget. In an interview with Bloomberg Law—her first since taking the job as Biden’s top labor adviser in July—she said she plans to use her experience at the AFL-CIO, where she was a trade and globalization policy specialist, to deliver on the president’s goal to be the most pro-labor administration in modern history.”

Kenneth Quinnell
Wed, 08/31/2022 – 10:25

Updated: September 9, 2022 — 3:02 am