Mercer County Central Labor Council

Recent News Stories

Every week, we'll be bringing you a roundup of the important news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here's this week's Working People Weekly List. Read more >>>

Each week, we take a look at the biggest friends and foes of labor. We celebrate the workers winning big and small battles, and we shame the companies or people trying to deny working people their rights. Read more >>>

AFL-CIO Now Blog -- Recent News Stories

Pride Month Profiles: Josette Jaramillo
Pride Month Profiles: Josette Jaramillo

Josette Jaramillo
Colorado AFL-CIO

Throughout Pride Month, the AFL-CIO will be taking a look at some of the pioneers whose work sits at the intersection of the labor movement and the movement for LGBTQ equality. Our next profile is Josette Jaramillo.

Josette Jaramillo grew up in Pueblo, Colorado, the granddaughter of Henry Jaramillo, a longtime member of United Steelworkers Local 2102. When she began working in the Pueblo County Department of Social Services in 2005, she became a member of AFSCME Local 1335. Before long, she was working on the elections committee and became an executive board member and then president of the local, where she has served since.

Jaramillo was elected vice president of AFSCME Council 76, Colorado, in 2011, before being elected president in 2015 and again in 2017. She was elected executive vice president of the Colorado AFL-CIO in 2013 and later elected president, where she still serves. She also serves as recording secretary for the Southern Colorado Labor Council and political chair for the lower 16 counties of the state.

Using vacation time to participate in union activities, Jaramillo maintains her full work schedule as a senior caseworker in social services and child protection. She also runs a group home for boys. As a caseworker, Jaramillo, along with co-worker Lori Rafferty (another member of AFSCME Local 76), showed the type of dedication to community that improved the life of one young child immensely.

The tireless work and innovative research that Jaramillo and Rafferty pursued in the case of a 9-year-old girl helped find a safe home for the child and connect her with family. After discovering that her biological parents had a history of neglect and abuse, Jaramillo and Rafferty not only worked with the Department of Human Services to terminate the abusers’ parental rights, they helped track down five siblings whom the child had never been told about. The adoptive parents of two of those siblings expressed a desire to adopt the 9-year-old as well. 

The state recognized Jaramillo and Rafferty with Excellence in Practice awards for their efforts. But there was a bigger reward for Jaramillo: “We were able to establish a sibling relationship with a child who didn’t think she had siblings. I felt awesome. I drove her down to Lubbock, Texas, so she could meet them. She now realizes she’s not alone in the world.”

Jaramillo is a certified trainer in several subject areas, including Common Sense Economics (AFL-CIO), Stewards in Action (AFSCME) and From Playground to Prom (Colorado Youth Matter). She also volunteers for various organizations, including Southern Colorado Equality Alliance, Pueblo Latino Chamber of Commerce, Steel City Supporters and various other nonprofits in Pueblo.

On the power of collective action, Jaramillo said:

Years ago, I worked with a fellow organizer (now elected to the Colorado State Legislature), Daneya Esgar, to work towards winning same-sex/domestic partner benefits through the City of Pueblo. We went to the City Council, and they tabled the issue “indefinitely.”

We organized our members and people in the community to demand that City Council take action, and together, we won. It was a pretty big deal at the time, well before civil unions or legalized gay marriage.

On the power of unions, she said:

Belonging to a union has given me a sense of community. It has made me feel part of something that’s difficult to put into words. I belong somewhere, and I know that the hurdles and success stories in my life are shared collectively. I also get to take on issues and fight for things that matter. I get to fight the fights that are not my own. A few years back, state legislation was passed for women who breastfeed. I got to be an integral part of my workplace implementation to help secure a safe and sanitary place for my co-workers who were new moms to pump in private, in a non-bathroom setting. That legislation mattered to those women in my workplace. Being part of a union allowed those women to have an advocate for them.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 06/29/2018 - 16:34

Pride Month Profiles: Marsha P. Johnson
Pride Month Profiles: Marsha P. Johnson

Marsha P. Johnson
AFL-CIO

Throughout Pride Month, the AFL-CIO will be taking a look at some of the pioneers whose work sits at the intersection of the labor movement and the movement for LGBTQ equality. Our next profile is Marsha P. Johnson.

Marsha P. Johnson was an LGBTQ activist who became well known in New York City by being herself and fearing no judgment on her comfort as a black trans woman. She lived in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, a socially liberal area where most LGBTQ people felt acceptance and salvation.

In 1968, a riot broke out at the Stonewall Inn, a popular LGBTQ bar, when police officers raided the building. This became known as one of the most important events that sparked the LGBTQ rights movement, commonly referred to as the Stonewall Riots or, more accurately, the Stonewall Uprising. 

Author David Carter wrote that Johnson was one of three key figures leading the resistance, but Johnson modestly downplayed her role, saying, “I was uptown, and I didn’t get downtown until about two o’clock. When I got downtown, the place was already on fire, and there was a raid already. The riots had already started.”

Either way, she joined in and played a pivotal role not only in the uprising, but in the founding of the Gay Liberation Front, an organization founded in the aftermath of Stonewall that advocated for the sexual liberation of all people.

Fighting back against discrimination toward transgender people, Johnson, along with Sylvia Rivera, founded STAR—Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries—a trans rights group that organized shelters for homeless transgender teens and drag queens. Johnson also helped found STAR House, which provided shelter to homeless queer youth.

Johnson’s life wasn’t all battles, however; she was a social butterfly who spent time with the likes of Andy Warhol. She also toured America and Europe as part of Hot Peaches, an avant-drag performance troupe.

Johnson died in 1992 at the age of 46, and the circumstances surrounding her death remain a mystery today. A recent Netflix documentary, “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson,” examined her amazing life and tragic death. 

Johnson’s life speaks to the fluidity of gender and a person’s right to self-identify without judgment, and she helped pave the way for increased awareness of the challenges faced by the LGBTQ community in the U.S., in the workplace and in the larger culture.

 

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 06/29/2018 - 13:02

Sticking with the Union: The Working People Weekly List
Sticking with the Union: 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 this week’s Working People Weekly List.

Working People Across the Country Reject Janus Ruling, Say We're 'Sticking with the Union': "After a narrow majority ruled against working people in the Janus v. AFSCME case, we have come together to reject attacks on our rights by corporate interests and their allies in government. All working people deserve a chance to prosper on the job and beyond. Unions are the answer. Learn more at FreedomToJoin.org."

Stand Up for All Workers' Rights: "Hardworking immigrant women and men were detained last week while simply trying to do their jobs at Fresh Mark meat processing plants in Ohio."

Baseball Food That’s Always a Hit: "A ball game just isn’t a ball game without the hot dogs, the salty snacks, the sodas and the beer. To best enjoy these goodies, we recommend ethical brands made by companies that treat their employees fairly. If you’re headed to the stadium, you can bring your own snacks (but don’t try this with the beer)! If you’re watching at home, consult the list of products below and make it an ethical baseball feast. Let’s all support good middle-class jobs as we slug, throw and pitch our way to a stronger America."

Congress and the President Need to Listen to Workers on Trade: "If you read this blog regularly, you already know that the United States has a ginormous, humongous trade deficit with China. The goods trade deficit with China reached $375 billion in 2017. This deficit has cost 3.4 million U.S. jobs between 2001 and 2015. About 2.6 million of those lost jobs were in manufacturing, including more than 1.2 million in computer and electronic manufacturing. You probably also know that the loss of all these jobs pulls down wages, and that bad trade policies lower an average U.S. worker’s pay by $2,000 every year."

Working People Stand Resolute in the Face of Janus Ruling: "While a narrow and ideologically driven majority on the Supreme Court ruled against working people in Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, working people will not allow this attack to silence our collective voices. We will continue to organize and bring our collective voices together in opposition to the ongoing assault on our rights."

Intertwined: The Labor Movement and LGBT Rights: "Through all the celebration of LGBTQ Pride this month, there’s been a valuable opportunity to reflect on the hard-fought victories, brutal setbacks, and tenacious struggles that have ultimately delivered so much for so many. And just as importantly, there has been time to think about what lies ahead in that fight for justice."

World Cup 2026 Offers FIFA an Opportunity to Live Up to Its Human Rights Commitment: "Last week, the international governing body for football, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), awarded the 2026 World Cup to a joint bid from Canada, Mexico and the United States. The planning and execution of one of the world's top sporting events will provide a test to the human rights commitment of FIFA."

Working People Say Neither the U.S. nor Canada Gets Trade Policy Right: "Working people can’t afford any more trade policies written by and for corporations. But neither should we be pawns in a misguided power struggle that antagonizes allies or empowers corporations but fails to fix our economy."

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 06/29/2018 - 11:11

Stand Up for All Workers' Rights
Stand Up for All Workers' Rights

Hardworking immigrant women and men were detained last week while simply trying to do their jobs at Fresh Mark meat processing plants in Ohio.

Working people who do these incredibly difficult jobs should be treated with dignity, respect and fairness, no matter where they were born. This Saturday, June 30, working people will rally all over the country to address the broken policies that have led to the systemic violation of working families’ rights.

Click here to let us know that you’d like to RSVP for this Saturday's rally at Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C.

These raids destroy communities. No matter what side of the political aisle you fall on, this is wrong. Seeking a better life for yourself and your family is not a crime. We cannot allow a climate of fear that leaves workers too afraid to stand up for their rights on the job and in their communities to continue. The attacks on these workers call to question the freedom of all working people.

Any system that would allow immigrant families to be torn apart at our borders while politicians back the devastation of working families must be broken. It’s up to working people to band together and hold our leaders accountable if we are ever going to even the economic playing field for all workers.

Join an event this Saturday, as we remind our leaders that they should be doing all they can to strengthen the rights and security of working families instead of viciously attacking, brutalizing and traumatizing them.

RSVP for the rally in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, June 30.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 06/29/2018 - 10:11

Working People Across the Country Reject Janus Ruling, Say We're 'Sticking with the Union'
Working People Across the Country Reject Janus Ruling, Say We're 'Sticking with the Union'

Freedom to Join
AFL-CIO

After a narrow majority ruled against working people in the Janus v. AFSCME case, we have come together to reject attacks on our rights by corporate interests and their allies in government. All working people deserve a chance to prosper on the job and beyond. Unions are the answer. Learn more at FreedomToJoin.org.

Here's what working people advocates from around the country are saying about Janus and the next steps we must take as working people.

Alaska AFL-CIO President Vince Beltrami: 

Today, we commit to not only sustaining the labor movement, but building and strengthening it so more working people can negotiate a fair deal in return for their hard work. Despite this decision, Alaska’s unions will continue to lead the fight for a balanced economy that gives everyone a fair shot.

Allegheny–Fayette  Central Labor Council President Darrin Kelly:

Today’s ruling by the US Supreme Court went against 40 years of legal precedent and obliterated current laws in nearly half the states in the nation. It is nothing more than a full-frontal assault on working families and the American middle class. For 150 years, wealthy special interest groups have been funding efforts like this with one objective in mind: disempower the American worker and keep wages low so the rich get richer, the poor get poorer and the economic ladder of opportunity that built this nation, gets burnt to the ground. The unity of America’s working families has outlived these attacks for more than a century because our strength lies, not in our pocket books, but in our continuing belief in the promise of the American dream.

Corporate financed efforts to rig the system against working people simply remind us how important collective bargaining is. This decision only emboldens our commitment to our members, our message and America’s middle class. No Court case will ever destroy our movement.

California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski: 

Never in its history has the court issued a ruling so clearly motivated by politics and outright disdainful of the constitutional tenets it has vowed to vigorously defend. Working families should never trust this court again....

No one court decision can stamp out decades of progress made by unions and our members. In the face of today’s decision, California’s unions are redoubling our efforts to remain a beacon of hope for a country sliding into plutocracy. We won’t settle for surviving this decision. We’ll continue to build strength to give all working people a fair shot at pursuing the American Dream.

Connecticut AFL-CIO President Lori Pelletier:

From brave first responders to dedicated public school teachers to life-saving nurses, our community is strong because of those who answer the call to public service. These public service workers are able to serve their communities better because they are union workers, and together as a union, they have the freedom to speak up together to help make our communities strong and safe.

The billionaires and corporate CEOs who supported the Janus case are attempting to divide working people and limit our power in numbers. They know that unions give workers a powerful voice in speaking up for themselves, their families, and their communities.

Florida AFL-CIO President Mike Williams:

Florida workers already understand the disastrous implications of the Supreme Court’s Janus v. AFSCME decision. In right-to-work states like Florida, workers live this decision everyday through a system that not only undermines their freedom to have a voice on the job, but ensures that our state’s workers continue to be paid less, have less access to healthcare, and less opportunities to retire with dignity.

With this decision, SCOTUS has checked off another box on the wealthy special interest wish list. This ruling will continue our nation’s decades long race to the bottom for workers' rights, increase economic inequality, and make it even more difficult for America’s workers to make ends meet.

The Florida AFL-CIO with it’s over 1 million union members, retirees, and their families, will continue to stand together with Florida’s working people who, even when the decks are stacked against them, will continue to join together in unions and fight for a stronger, fairer America.”

Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Rusty Hicks:

Today, Trump’s Supreme Court made a decision big employers hope will weaken our unions. The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor has news for them. When workers can choose—without fear or threat—to either stay in their union or leave it, they will choose to earn higher wages, protect their benefits and keep their workplaces safer. Those realities will overpower those who believe working people are worth less.

To our adversaries we say be careful what you ask for—when we fight, we win.

Maine AFL-CIO President Cynthia Phinney:

Every day, right here in Maine, workers continue to stand together in their unions to demand fairness and fight for a better future for our families. Millions of other workers around the country aspire to improve their wages and working conditions and to have a voice on the job....

We have never depended on any politician or judge to decide our fate and we aren’t about to start now.  We will continue to fight for the rights of all working people to have the freedom to join a union and bargain for a better life. We will continue to stick together in our unions and as the labor movement to build a better future for our communities, our country and all working people.

Michigan AFL-CIO President Ron Bieber:

As billionaires and corporate special interests seek to further rig our economy against working people across the country, this is the latest attempt to take away our rights to join together in unions.  It is a shame that these special interests have manipulated the Supreme Court to further their harmful agenda.

This decision comes at a point in time when thousands of Michigan workers are recommitting to join unions and are launching new organizing drives, and as support for labor unions has risen to its highest level in years. Indeed, Michigan added 52,000 new union members in 2017—the biggest annual jump in union membership in Michigan in over a decade. Even more importantly, it means there are now more union members in Michigan than there were in 2012—the year Gov. Rick Snyder signed right-to-work legislation into law.

So we have faced these attacks before and we have weathered the storm well. The labor movement remains a strong and vibrant force for working people and will continue fighting to sustain our families, improve our workplaces and make our communities stronger regardless of the court’s ruling.

Minnesota AFL-CIO President Bill McCarthy:

No court decision will ever stop working people from joining together in union to negotiate a fair return on their work. No matter how many roadblocks corporate special interests put in our path, our state’s labor movement will continue to fight for working Minnesotans’ freedom to prosper.

Nevada State AFL-CIO Executive Secretary-Treasurer Rusty McAllister:

The Supreme Court’s ruling this morning is an assault on the working people of America by corporate interests who fear their collective power. The Nevada State AFL-CIO and our local union leaders will continue to fight for, serve and protect our 150,000 members against any force that seeks to undermine or work against them.

New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento:

Improving the lives of all working men and women is what defines us, not one court case.

The Janus v. AFSCME case has always been a thinly veiled attack on the rights of all working people to join together and speak with one voice.

New York’s labor movement, with 2.5 million members, will remain strong. In fact, today’s decision will only make us stronger and more determined to fight for better wages, benefits and conditions of employment, as well as for a brighter future for all workers and their families.

Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga:

This decision comes just as millions of workers across the country are recommitting to unions with new organizing drives and growing ranks in important sectors of our economy right here in Ohio. Public support for labor unions has risen to its highest level in years. 

The billionaires and corporate special interests that have manipulated our system of justice have succeeded in getting the highest court in the land to do their bidding. The labor movement, however, remains undeterred. 

We have faced similar attacks in Ohio and ultimately prevailed. Powered by our membership and carried by the expressed support of a vast majority of Ohioans, labor unions will continue to fight to sustain our families, improve our workplaces and make our communities stronger regardless of the court’s ruling.

Orange County Labor Federation:

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision furthers this administration’s agenda of putting corporate interest over working families. This case is a multi-million dollar effort to rig the economy benefiting a select few.

While this decision negatively impacts working families, the OCLF will continue to be a strong force in Orange County, standing up to those in power who have rigged the economy against working people. When unions are strong, Orange County is strong. We won’t allow a court decision to stand in the way of our fight for good jobs, fair pay and dignity at work.

Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain:

While the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a long-expected decision in the Janus case that was backed by anti-worker forces, Oregon union members remain dedicated to sticking together, uniting more working people in unions and working with our state’s political leaders to create more good, union jobs.

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale:

Businesses are not mandated to give away goods and services free of charge to whomever walks through their door. But labor unions are legally required to represent every working person in a workplace, regardless of their membership-status. Every worker benefits from the terms of the union contract, and fair share fees cover the cost of that representation and negotiation. We know that union contracts lift up wages and improve conditions for all workers. The dark money that has bankrolled this case and subsequent decision, will not sway us from fighting for economic dignity and the rights working people deserve.

Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO President Pat Eiding:

The labor movement stretches back centuries in this country and stretches out beyond the borders of our nation as well. Working women and men in past generations faced the greatest imaginable challenges when they stood together for their interests: armed company goons, sometimes working with the support of state or local governments; courts that refused to recognize the legitimacy of labor unions; an unsympathetic media. Nevertheless, working people persisted. We stood together against every challenge and built vibrant, diverse, democratic labor unions, and those unions in turn lifted tens of millions of American workers out of poverty and into dignity. We are the engine of the most productive economy in the world. We built this country’s middle class.

So, while I am gravely disappointed in the 5-4 decision in the Janus case, I am not worried about our labor movement. Working people will continue to stand together, to organize democratically, and to stand up to massive corporations and to the privileged and powerful. History is on our side. And despite the opinion of 5 justices in Washington, our solidarity remains unbroken.

Sacramento Central Labor Council Executive Director Fabrizio Sasso:

While there is no doubt that this decision will make it more difficult for working people to exercise our freedom to join together, we will not allow it to stand in our way as we continue our fight for good jobs, safe workplaces, equal pay for women, fair treatment of immigrants and dignity at work for everyone. Nor will it stamp out the decades of progress made by hard working Americans who fought for the freedoms we still enjoy. 

The labor movement marches forward with the same commitment and a renewed vigor to stand together for all working people. Despite the deep pockets of wealthy corporations, billionaires and wealthy elites’ ability to influence the Supreme Court’s decision, Sacramento’s unions will continue to lead the fight for a balanced economy that gives everyone a fair shot at the American Dream.

Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy and Texas AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Montserrat Garibay:

In Texas, we battle to raise wages, enact paid sick leave and other benefits, make jobs safer, ensure civil rights, and expand opportunity for all working families. We fight immigrant-bashing, voter suppression, moves to privatize our neighborhood schools, and assaults on the freedom of working people to speak up to improve their lives.

Organizing is on the rise, in Texas and in the nation. Public approval of unions is up. A growing percentage of young working people, women and people of color see unions as a ticket to the middle class. Teachers are striking to do right by their students.

Reject the dark web of corporate interests that produced Janus and join us in the fight. Texas unions stand for the antidote to the status quo: a fair shot for all working families.

Utah AFL-CIO President Jeff Worthington:

Those that funded the Janus case are hailing the SCOTUS decision as a great victory and end of unions. They will be disappointed. Unions are alive and well in Utah and across the nation. We will continue to thrive and prosper. Utah unions from the public sector and trades along with the Utah AFL-CIO have united together in solidarity to protect employee rights, safeguard working families, and push back against attacks from those that would demonize the good that unions do in our communities.

We've been here for over a hundred years; we look forward to being even stronger for another century.

Washington State Labor Council President Jeff Johnson and Washington State Labor Council Secretary Treasurer Lynne Dodson:

Now more than ever, working people understand that they need unions and strength in numbers to fight for a balanced economy. This is particularly true for our proud public employees. These are our family members, friends and neighbors. They teach our children, care for the sick and elderly, keep our communities safe, maintain our roads, and provide many other essential public services. They know they need strong unions, not just because it makes life better for themselves and their families, but also so they can advocate for their students, their patients, and the public they serve....

No court decision will stop us from fighting for good jobs, safe workplaces, affordable health care, and dignity at work for everyone. Today, we recommit not only to sustaining Washington's labor movement, but to building a stronger one. In this economy, working people must stick together in strong unions to demand better wages and benefits. The unions of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO will redouble efforts to guarantee the freedom to join, stand and negotiate together.

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt:

While billionaires and the corporate interests behind the Janus case use their power and wealth to continue to rig our economy against working people, workers are busy building a movement to rewrite the rules of our economy to create broadly shared prosperity. Workers are on the rise and the Supreme Court can’t stop us. At a time when our democracy and economy are rigged to overwhelmingly favor the wealthy, America needs unions now more than ever so our middle class can thrive.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 06/28/2018 - 14:03

Baseball Food That’s Always a Hit
Baseball Food That’s Always a Hit

Ethical baseball feast
Labor 411

A ball game just isn’t a ball game without the hot dogs, the salty snacks, the sodas and the beer. To best enjoy these goodies, we recommend ethical brands made by companies that treat their employees fairly. If you’re headed to the stadium, you can bring your own snacks (but don’t try this with the beer)! If you’re watching at home, consult the list of products below and make it an ethical baseball feast. Let’s all support good middle-class jobs as we slug, throw and pitch our way to a stronger America.

Hot Dogs and Franks

  • Ball Park 
  • Butterball
  • Farmland
  • Farmer John
  • Hebrew National
  • Oscar Mayer

Beer

  • Budweiser
  • Coors
  • Miller
  • Pabst
  • Samuel Adams

Peanuts

  • Frito-Lay Salted In-Shell Peanuts

Popcorn

  • Act II
  • Orville Redenbacher

Soft Drinks

  • Barq’s Root Beer 
  • Coca-Cola
  • Dr. Pepper
  • Mountain Dew
  • Pepsi

And hundreds more. Check out our listings at Labor411.org.

This post originally appeared at Labor 411.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 06/28/2018 - 08:30

Congress and the President Need to Listen to Workers on Trade
Congress and the President Need to Listen to Workers on Trade

Tariffs
AFL-CIO

If you read this blog regularly, you already know that the United States has a ginormous, humongous trade deficit with China. The goods trade deficit with China reached $375 billion in 2017. This deficit has cost 3.4 million U.S. jobs between 2001 and 2015.  About 2.6 million of those lost jobs were in manufacturing, including more than 1.2 million in computer and electronic manufacturing. You probably also know that the loss of all these jobs pulls down wages, and that bad trade policies lower an average U.S. worker’s pay by $2,000 every year.

The labor movement has been working to fix U.S. trade policy for more than 20 years. After years of having our trade recommendations ignored by both Democratic and Republican presidents and Congresses, President Donald Trump has started to take some of our advice. He announced tariffs on China to deter it from stealing patents and copyrights and pressuring companies to transfer technology and jobs from the United States (many companies are ready to outsource anyway—working people don’t need extra threats from China!). The real test will come in what happens in negotiations with China and with Canada and Mexico over the North American Free Trade Agreement.

We have to hold both Trump and members of Congress in both parties accountable and make sure they actually make real change in the trade rules that will help working people.

Labor has been fighting for stronger trade enforcement for years. So we think these tariffs are a good start, if used strategically. But alone, they aren’t enough to reform and undo decades of bad trade rules. The president can’t fix the trade deficit, create jobs and raise wages if he ignores the rest of our advice.

As AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has explained

In isolation, this enforcement effort won’t be enough to fulfill the president’s promise to boost manufacturing, stop outsourcing or raise wages. These actions must be combined with policies that protect workers’ rights and our safety on the job, investments in our communities and working people, smart rules to prevent big banks from crashing our economy again, and renegotiated trade deals—starting with NAFTA—that end special privileges for global companies, protect worker freedoms, and promote a fair and sustainable economy for all of us.

In addition, countries need to work together to rewrite trade rules. But Trump’s trade policies are so far a solo effort. His unilateral approach has led to backlash instead of cooperation from U.S. allies.

We’ve got more advice on how to make trade work. We’ve put forth 17 key recommendations for a better NAFTA and suggested eight ways to make trade enforcement more effective. We’ve supported bills that would better protect our national security from predatory foreign investors and recommended that Congress oppose dumb ideas like making it harder for a president to enforce trade laws.

The AFL-CIO has a positive vision of international trade rules that lift up hardworking families here and across borders. When the United States and neighboring economies grow together, we create more exports and jobs. On the other hand, ignoring the violence, poverty and labor rights abuses in neighbors like Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras is a recipe for more inequality and less union power both there and here.

It all boils down to this: Trade policy is not a question of "free trade" versus "protectionism." Instead, trade rules must promote good family-wage jobs, sustainable growth, vibrant economies, smart natural resource conservation and human rights and dignity globally. We believe these principles will lead to better trade rules that support more jobs and higher wages. Now we just have to convince our elected representatives to take more of our advice.

To help us, text TRADE to 235246.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 06/27/2018 - 12:53

Working People Stand Resolute in the Face of Janus Ruling
Working People Stand Resolute in the Face of Janus Ruling

I'm sticking with the union
AFL-CIO

While a narrow and ideologically driven majority on the Supreme Court ruled against working people in Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, working people will not allow this attack to silence our collective voices. We will continue to organize and bring our collective voices together in opposition to the ongoing assault on our rights.

Advocates for working people soundly rejected the ruling in Janus. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka:

The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, abandons decades of commonsense precedent. In this case, a bare majority of the court, over the vigorous dissent of four justices, has conceded to the dark web of corporations and wealthy donors who wish to take away the freedoms of working people. Until it is overturned, this decision will be a political stain on what is intended to be the most honorable, independent body in the world. But more importantly, it will further empower the corporate elites in their efforts to thwart the aspirations of millions of working people standing together for a better life.

But here’s the thing: America is heading in a different direction. All over the country, workers are organizing and taking collective action as we haven’t seen in years. More than 14,000 workers recently formed or joined unions in just a single week. This followed a year where 262,000 workers organized and the approval rating of unions reached a nearly 14-year high. Working families know the best way to get a raise, better benefits and a voice on the job is through a union contract. The corporate narrative of the labor movement’s downfall is being dismantled by working people every single day.

We have never depended on any politician or judge to decide our fate and we aren’t about to start now.

AFSCME President Lee Saunders:

Unions will always be the most effective force and vehicle to propel working people into the middle class. Despite this unprecedented and nefarious political attack—designed to further rig the rules against working people—nothing changes the fact that America needs unions now more than ever. We are more resolved than ever to fight like hell to win for our members and the communities they care so much about. AFSCME members don’t do this work to get rich. They do it because it’s a calling—and for that service, they deserve respect. They deserve the same freedoms as the CEOs and billionaires who continue to rig the rules against everyone else. The American labor movement lives on, and we’re going to be there every day, fighting hard for all working people, our freedoms and for our country.

AFT President Randi Weingarten:

Forty years ago, the court recognized that collective bargaining for teachers and other public sector workers benefits those workers, their employers and their communities. Union representation, if chosen by a majority, is the glue that holds us together. That wisdom has now been abandoned by the slimmest majority. The dissenting justices saw this case for what it really was—a warping and weaponizing of the First Amendment, absent any evidence or reason, to hurt working people. Not only was Abood well within the mainstream of First Amendment law, it has been affirmed six times and applied to other cases upholding bar fees for lawyers and student activity fees at public colleges.

Actors' Equity Executive Director Mary McColl:

Today, the Supreme Court issued a decision that is a blatant attempt to take away the freedom of working people to join together in union. Equity stands with our brothers and sisters across the country who are fighting against a system that is rigged in favor of special interests and big corporations. We will organize. We will hold our elected officials accountable. And we will fight back against efforts to divide us. Every working American has had their lives made better by labor unions. We will not rest while the American worker is being attacked.

AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr.:

On behalf of the wealthiest one percent and special interest groups, the Supreme Court has attempted to strike the death knell for public-sector unions, but the workers themselves will ultimately decide their own fate. Workers know the importance of unions in the workplace and they will survive. We need to come together as workers and use this as our moment to stand up, join the union, and organize like never before. Every worker can use their voice to fight for better working conditions and fair representation by joining the union.

When union members pay to negotiate a contract for their workplace, everyone who’s covered by that contract takes home higher pay and benefits, has greater job security, enjoys improv

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