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

New Rule on Investment Advice Leaves Working People Vulnerable
New Rule on Investment Advice Leaves Working People Vulnerable

Workers depend on investments in the financial markets to finance our retirements and grow our other long-term savings. That means we need sound investment advice, provided by experts who are looking out for our best interests. While it seems obvious that the people whom we rely on to provide this advice should be required to act in our best interest and not line their own pockets, that is not always the case under current rules. Research shows that, as a result, many working people lose more than one-fourth of their potential retirement paychecks to corrupt financial advice.

Investor advocates have been fighting for decades to close this egregious loophole. On Wednesday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission proposed a rule called Regulation Best Interest. And while any movement in this area could be viewed as a positive sign, the proposal as is appears to be inadequate.

The devil is in the details, which will take some time to fully understand. The standard of conduct required of brokers appears to fall short of a clear and unambiguous requirement that brokers recommend the best available investment options.

Democratic SEC Commissioner Kara Stein said:

Does this proposal require financial professionals to put their customers’ interests first, and fully and fairly disclose any conflicting interests? No. Does this proposal require all financial professionals who make investment recommendations related to retail customers to do so as fiduciaries? No. Does this proposal require financial professionals to provide retail customers with the best available options? No. 

Could we have proposed a best-interest standard? Yes, we could have proposed such a standard. Unfortunately, we did not.

Commissioner Robert J. Jackson Jr., also a Democratic SEC commissioner, said:

The standard set forth in Regulation Best Interest is far too ambiguous about a question on which there should be no confusion: the duty that investors are owed by those who are entrusted with ordinary families’ economic futures. Americans deserve a clear best-interest rule that places the client’s needs ahead of the broker’s. Period.

The commissioners’ statements say it all. The SEC should have proposed a rule that would stop people who provide investment advice from skimming our savings. The proposal does not do that.

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 04/19/2018 - 11:59

Ten Years Later: Worker Wins
Ten Years Later: Worker Wins

OPEIU Protest
OPEIU Local 459

Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with a victory 10 years in the making and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life.

OPEIU Workers Win Historic 10-Year Fight at American Red Cross: After a decade-long battle, workig people at American Red Cross in Michigan have won a new contract. They also came to resolution of an unfair labor practice charge that will repay workers more than $1.6 million in lost benefits.

A Growing Wave of Campaigns Are Organizing: In advance of the 2018 midterm elections, nine Democratic campaigns have come together in union. Additionally, Revolution Messaging, a digital communications firm, also has unionized. The newly organized campaign workers are represented by The Campaign Workers Guild, which is assisting in negotiations with dozens of other campaigns. The nine campaigns that have organized so far are: for the U.S. House of Representatives—Randy Bryce (Wis.), Brian Flynn (N.Y.), Dan Haberman (Mich.), Jess King (Pa.), Marie Newman (Ill.), Andy Thorburn (Calif.); attorney general—Renato Mariotti (Ill.); governor—Erin Murphy (Minn.); and County Council—Chris Wilhelm (Montgomery County, Md.).

Restaurant Workers Win Protection for Their Tips: Restaurant workers across the country won big with legislation that codifies protections for tipped workers against employers taking any portion of their tips. "Today represents a historic victory for restaurant workers. The National Restaurant Association wanted to steal workers’ tips, but the workers said no—and they won. The fact that hundreds of thousands of workers stood up and said no to employers taking their tips, and that congressional leadership listened and acted, is a testament to the power of workers standing up together," said Saru Jayaraman, president of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United.

California Nurses Want New Safety Rules Made National: The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU) pushed for and got new safety regulations, as the rate of nonfatal violence against nurses is three times higher than against other industries. Now the nurses are pushing for the same rules to be established nationally. "What works for health care facilities should be extended to all workplaces. Our patients and their families are then also at risk because violence impacts everyone in the vicinity. We know that the frequency and severity of these violent attacks can be drastically reduced through workplace violence prevention plans that are specific to the needs of each facility and unit and are created with the expertise and input of nurses and other workers," said NNU Executive Director Bonnie Castillo.

Onion Staff Request Formal Recognition of Union: The overwhelming majority of staff at satirical website The Onion have signed cards expressing their desire to be represented by the Writers Guild of America, East, (WGAE) and asked management to voluntarily recognize the union. The unit would represent all of the creative staff at The Onion and related websites.

Aviation Workers at FAA Join PASS: Working people at the Federal Aviation Administration's Eastern, Central and Western Service Centers voted by an overwhelming majority of 89% to be represented by the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS). "This is a big win for PASS, of course," said PASS National President Mike Perrone, "but more importantly, it’s a big win for these dedicated federal employees. They will soon be able to enjoy the workplace benefits of a collective bargaining agreement."

Facebook Cafeteria Workers Win Major Improvements: Food service workers at Facebook's offices in Menlo Park, California, ratified their first union contract. "We’re glad to have negotiated this first contract; it’s a big step forward for cafeteria workers in Silicon Valley. We still have work to do, and we’re not going to stop until all the food service jobs have the job standards and security that people need to live a decent life," said Enrique Fernandez of UNITE HERE Local 19.

New Republic Employees Continue Trend of Editorial Organizing: Editorial staff at The New Republic, which has been published for more than 100 years, have joined The NewsGuild of New York, joining a growing trend of editorial organizing, which includes publications like the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and Mic.com. "We all work for TNR because we love it here, but all workers need the protection of a union. We believe that unionizing is the best way to strengthen our workplace, not just for ourselves but for future generations of journalists. By organizing, we're simply affirming our commitment to The New Republic's progressive values. We're also affirming our commitment to each other," said Sarah Jones, staff writer.

California Virtual Educators Agree to First Union Contract: Teachers who work for California Virtual Academies, one of the largest online public charter schools, reached an agreement on their first union contract. "Organizing teachers in a workplace—where we don’t see our peers and where the bargaining unit stretches across a state as large as California—isn’t easy, and it also isn’t easy establishing a precedent-setting agreement. We are so proud of the hard work and commitment our teachers made in ensuring that our core values on work status, caseloads and workload were recognized....Our schools here in California and other online schools have had very little input from the teachers on the front line. This agreement will change that and allow those who work most closely with students a greater say in shaping the curriculum and school policies."

NLRB Regional Director Certifies Green Valley Ranch Employees' Election to Join Culinary Workers: Despite a history of telling employees that it would respect the results of their union election, Station Casinos challenged the election where a super majority of 78% of Green Valley Ranch's working people voted in favor of the union. The NLRB regional director rejected the challenge and certified the election, finding no objectionable conduct by union organizers.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 04/18/2018 - 13:38

JetBlue In-Flight Crew Members Overwhelmingly Vote to Join TWU
JetBlue In-Flight Crew Members Overwhelmingly Vote to Join TWU

Victory at JetBlue
TWU

In-flight crew members at JetBlue overwhelmingly voted to join the Transport Workers (TWU). With more than 86% of eligible employees participating in the vote, more than two-thirds voted in favor of joining TWU.

TWU President John Samuelsen said:

This historic victory is yet another example of the tide turning in America as workers continue to lock arms and fight back to defend their livelihoods. The TWU intends to immediately commence contract bargaining with JetBlue. It is our sincerest wish that the company comes to the table and bargains a fair and just contract with the workers they employ....If JetBlue refuses to bargain in good faith, this union is prepared to engage in a fightback campaign that will continue until a contract is secured and the in-flight crew members are protected.

JetBlue said it respects the outcome of the election. Once the National Mediation Board authorizes TWU as the representative for the in-flight crew members, contract negotiations will begin.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka applauded the victory:

New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento said:

On behalf of the 2.5 million members of the New York State AFL-CIO, I congratulate the Transport Workers Union and their president, John Samuelsen, on today’s overwhelming vote to unionize JetBlue flight attendants. We are a stronger movement today as we continue to fight back against those who seek to diminish organized labor. Working people understand that by standing shoulder to shoulder and speaking with one voice, we raise the standard of living and quality of life for all working men and women.

Larry I. Willis, president of the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department, said:

At a time when our economy favors the rich and powerful, today’s victory by JetBlue’s in-flight crew members to join the Transport Workers Union demonstrates the power working people have when they come together. JetBlue’s 5,000 in-flight crew members want nothing more than a share in the profits they make possible, a say in workplace policies and procedures, and a seat at the table. Having a powerful union voice evens the playing field and ensures these hardworking, dedicated employees receive the dignity and respect they deserve. I congratulate JetBlue’s in-flight crew members on their hard-earned victory and welcome them to the transportation labor family.

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 04/18/2018 - 10:14

12 Things We've Learned About the GOP Tax Bill
12 Things We've Learned About the GOP Tax Bill

President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans rushed to pass the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December 2017, leaving very little time for public scrutiny or debate. Here are a few things we have learned since the GOP tax bill passed.

1. It Will Encourage Outsourcing: An April 2018 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office confirms that two "provisions [of the GOP tax bill] may increase corporations’ incentive to locate tangible assets abroad."

2. It Has Not Boosted Corporate Investment: The rate of investment growth has stayed pretty much the same as before the GOP tax bill passed.

3. Few Workers Are Benefiting: Only 4.3% of workers are getting a one-time bonus or wage increase this year, according to Americans for Tax Fairness.

4. Corporations Are Keeping the Windfall: Americans for Tax Fairness calculates that corporations are receiving nine times as much in tax cuts as they are giving to workers in one-time bonuses and wage increases.

5. Corporations Are Using the Windfall to Buy Back Stocks: Corporations are spending 37 times as much on stock buybacks, which overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy, as on one-time bonuses and wage increases for workers, according to Americans for Tax Fairness.

6. Corporations Are Laying Off Workers: Americans for Tax Fairness calculates that 183 private-sector businesses have announced 94,296 layoffs since Congress passed the tax bill.

7. It Costs More Than We Thought: The GOP tax bill will eventually cost $1.9 trillion by 2028, according to an April 2018 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. And we know some Republicans will call for cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to pay for it.

8. We’ve Fallen Behind When It Comes to Corporate Tax Revenue: Thanks to the GOP tax bill, corporate tax revenue (as a share of the economy) will be lower in the United States than in any other developed country, according to an April 2018 report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

9. Extending the Individual Tax Cuts Would Benefit the Wealthy: The GOP tax bill’s temporary tax cuts for individuals expires by 2025, and some Republicans are now proposing to extend them.  An April 2018 report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy shows that 61% of the benefit from these extending individual tax cuts would go to the richest one-fifth of taxpayers.

10. It Is Shoddy Work: In March 2018, a leading tax expert concluded that the GOP tax bill’s new rules for pass-through businesses "achieved a rare and unenviable trifecta, by making the tax system less efficient, less fair and more complicated. It lacked any coherent (or even clearly articulated) underlying principle, was shoddily executed and ought to be promptly repealed."

11. It Is Still Unpopular: The GOP tax bill polls poorly, with a clear majority disapproving.

12. The Outsourcing Incentives Can Be Fixed: In February 2018, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) introduced the No Tax Breaks for Outsourcing Act, which would eliminate the GOP tax bill’s incentives for outsourcing by equalizing tax rates on domestic profits and foreign profits.

Kenneth Quinnell Mon, 04/16/2018 - 10:26

Make It in the USA: The Working People Weekly List
Make It in the USA: The Working People Weekly List

Make it in the USA contest
BuildBuyUSA

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.

There's No Reason Not to Enter the BuildBuyUSA Video Contest: "Did you know that BuildBuyUSA is sponsoring a 'Make It in the USA' video contest? The competition offers four chances for you to win $5,000 by creating a short video about using your individual buying power to reward pro-union employers for recognizing working people's right to come together in union."

Southern Labor Leaders Unite Around a Common Strategy to Build Worker Power: "'Collective action is alive and well here in the South,' said AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler to more than 300 labor leaders gathered in New Orleans this week. Southern union leaders from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia joined together to unite around a common strategy to build worker power in their states."

Texas AFL-CIO Takes Next Step to Expand Union Participation in Citizenship Drives: "In January, delegates to the Texas AFL-CIO COPE Convention unanimously approved a far-reaching resolution calling for the state federation and affiliates to conduct citizenship drives across the state, with the long-term intent of registering new voters and changing the political environment."

11 Things You Need to Know on Equal Pay Day: "Equal Pay Day calls attention to the persistent moral and economic injustice working women face. For a woman to earn as much as a man, she has to work a full year, plus more than a hundred extra days, all the way to April 10. The problem is even worse for women of color, LGBTQ women and part-time workers."

No Bargaining, No Justice: What Working People Are Doing This Week: "Welcome to our regular feature, a look at what the various AFL-CIO unions and other working family organizations are doing across the country and beyond. The labor movement is big and active—here's a look at the broad range of activities we're engaged in this week."

Economy Gains 103,000 Jobs in March; Unemployment Unchanged at 4.1%: "The U.S. economy gained 103,000 jobs in March, and unemployment was unchanged at 4.1%, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics."

At State Labor Convention, Unions Confront Uncertain Future by Embracing Diversity, Technology: "National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, a Greene County native who worked in coal mines before rising through the labor ranks, attended to swear in new delegates and take part in a panel discussion on automation's effect on jobs. Mr. Trumka said unions on a local level could bargain over the effects of technology, requiring companies to provide training to obtain new skills or wage insurance packages to find other careers. 'We're not shying away from the advances of automation,' he said. 'But we are using our voice to make sure working people are not left behind.'"

Trump Weighs Rejoining Trans-Pacific Partnership Amid Trade Dispute with China: "'TPP was killed because it failed America’s workers and it should remain dead,' Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, wrote on Twitter. 'There is no conceivable way to revive it without totally betraying working people.'"

Equal Pay Day: How Does Your State Stack Up on Pay Equity for Women?: "Equal Pay Day arrives Tuesday, marking the day on the calendar when the average woman’s earnings finally catch up to what a male peer earned in 2017. It took three more months and 10 days. The notion of bringing home 80 cents for every dollar pocketed by a man on a national basis is unsettling enough. But it's even more startling when those lost wages are added up."

Teachers Union Threatens to Cut Ties with Wells Fargo Over NRA Support: "AFT President Randi Weingarten has been in talks with Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan about the partnerships, according to the release. The group praised other companies, including Dick’s Sporting Goods and REI, that cut ties with the NRA or changed their policies on gun sales in the wake of the mass shooting at a Florida high school in February. 'We’re issuing Wells Fargo an ultimatum—they can have a mortgage market that includes America’s teachers, or they can continue to do business with the NRA and gun manufacturers,' Weingarten said in the statement. 'They can’t do both.'"

Want to Carry on Martin Luther King Jr.’s Work? Join a Union: "Fifty years ago this week, Martin Luther King Jr. went to Memphis, Tennessee, to march with the city’s striking black sanitation workers. Wages were bad, and conditions were so unsafe that workers were seriously injured or even killed while using the trash compactors of their trucks. The city of Memphis, their employer, refused to do better; city officials refused to act to improve their wages or safety. So they took matters into their own hands and went on strike, demanding basic dignity and civil rights on the job."

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 04/13/2018 - 13:20

Southern Labor Leaders Unite Around a Common Strategy to Build Worker Power
Southern Labor Leaders Unite Around a Common Strategy to Build Worker Power

Southern District Meeting
AFL-CIO

“Collective action is alive and well here in the South,” said AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler to more than 300 labor leaders gathered in New Orleans this week. Southern union leaders from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia joined together to unite around a common strategy to build worker power in their states.

Shuler acknowledged recent victories in the South and the importance of building on that momentum. Those wins include:

  • Across the South, union members mobilized to elect champions for working people, such as Ralph Northam in Virginia, Doug Jones in Alabama, Linda Belcher in Kentucky and Braxton Winston in North Carolina.
  • In New Orleans, workers at the city’s largest hotel formed a union with UNITE HERE.
  • In Tennessee, the labor movement stopped a corporate-backed effort to privatize maintenance and management at most state-run facilities.
  • In Arkansas, we saw the addition of 15,000 new union members last year, reaching the highest level of union membership in the state since 2008.
  • Teachers in Oklahoma and Kentucky walked out and demanded higher salaries and more school funding.
  • Workers at Disney World rejected the company’s lowball contract offer and continue to stand together for better pay and working conditions.  

“Our test of 2018 and beyond will be to build on these successes,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in a video address to attendees. Two panels dove further into the achievements and challenges we face in the states and featured state federation presidents from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

 

Breakout sessions gave participants the tools they need to build a stronger labor movement in the South. Sessions focused on internal organizing, using issues to engage our members and allies, building a program to elect union members to political office, and using data and technology to break new ground in politics and organizing.

Participants left feeling energized and ready to increase worker power. Attendee Cheryl Eliano, national vice president of AFGE District 10, said, “Too often we work in silos, so I wanted to see how we can work more collaboratively as a labor movement. We need a change of course. If we leave here with a new mindset and put what we learned to action, we’ll be a stronger labor movement.”

The AFL-CIO Southern District meeting was the sixth and final district meeting of 2018.

Check out the photo album on Facebook.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 04/13/2018 - 10:13

Texas AFL-CIO Takes Next Step to Expand Union Participation in Citizenship Drives
Texas AFL-CIO Takes Next Step to Expand Union Participation in Citizenship Drives

Texas citizenship drives
Texas AFL-CIO

In January, delegates to the Texas AFL-CIO COPE Convention unanimously approved a far-reaching resolution calling for the state federation and affiliates to conduct citizenship drives across the state, with the long-term intent of registering new voters and changing the political environment.

On April 10, in a strategy meeting attended by union affiliates from across the state, the Texas AFL-CIO took the next step to fulfill the goals of that resolution.

We were honored to welcome as a major participant Esther Lopez, international secretary-treasurer of the United Food and Commercial Workers, whose union has done pioneering work on citizenship drives. Lopez described the initiative as “the throwdown in Texas.”

Rather than taking a “go big or go home” approach, Lopez said, unions need to “go deep” and commit to making citizenship drives “core union work” that goes hand in hand with organizing and political education. She said UFCW has done citizenship drives in big cities, but also in places such as Marshalltown, Iowa, and Tar Heel, N.C. The union has trained 700 volunteers and helped 3,000 UFCW members become citizens, Lopez said.

Lopez said citizenship drives transform the lives of working people.

Representatives from unions, central labor councils, constituency groups and allies were warm to the idea of designating members who will take responsibility for growing the program.

Allies from the Equal Justice Center, United We Dream, Casa Marianella and the Mexican Consulate detailed citizenship drives that have been held in Austin over the last few years.

The AFL-CIO passes along a startling statistic that makes Texas prime ground for union citizenship drives: Our state has more than 1 million people who are eligible to become naturalized citizens, based on an American Community Survey by the U.S. Census.

Eligible residents don’t move through the process at a high rate of speed because of cost ($725 to apply) and complexities of the application process. A growing number of employers and lenders are helping out with the expenses, either defraying costs outright or setting up manageable payment plans. As for the complexities, that’s where citizenship drives can make a giant difference.

We are not starting from ground zero. For years now, Education Austin has worked with the Texas AFL-CIO, other unions and allies in carrying out citizenship drives. Eleven Education Austin-led drives have resulted in completed applications for approximately 1,200 people, said Texas AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Montserrat Garibay, who took the lead in organizing citizenship drives when she worked at Education Austin.

The most recent one, which took place last week, resulted in 112 completed applications for naturalization. Applicants go to workshops ahead of the events to learn what information and documentation they need to fill out an application. On the day of the drive, they leave with a well-vetted application, down to a properly addressed envelope. The Austin events have generated hundreds of volunteers, including the officers and most of the staff of the Texas AFL-CIO. Few bouts with bureaucracy give us so much pleasure.  

Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy said the next step will be to train union representatives on developing local citizenship drives. The unions and labor organizations at the meeting committed to identifying and sending such leaders for training in June or moving quickly to obtain officer approval.

Garibay emphasized the program has to be long-term. She said the potential for citizenship drives to accelerate the change happening in Texas is not around the corner.

“You’re not going to see changes in 2020,” said Garibay, who was naturalized five years ago. “It’s going to be a long process, but we have to be committed.”

Levy said the people who become citizens after going through the union process are instantly aware of the role their new status can play in their workplaces and in society. The potential is extraordinarily high, he said. “This program is an on-ramp for over 1 million people to become participating, voting Texans.”

Kenneth Quinnell Thu, 04/12/2018 - 10:45

There's No Reason Not to Enter the BuildBuyUSA Video Contest
There's No Reason Not to Enter the BuildBuyUSA Video Contest

Make it in the USA contest
BuildBuyUSA

Did you know that BuildBuyUSA is sponsoring a "Make It in the USA" video contest? The competition offers four chances for you to win $5,000 by creating a short video about using your individual buying power to reward pro-union employers for recognizing working people's right to come together in union.

The great news is that the contest is for you. That's right, you have no reason not to enter the competition. I already can hear you coming up with reasons why you can't participate in the contest. Let me answer those concerns and then you can start on your path to the fame and fortune (well, a $5,000 fortune) you so richly deserve!

"Well, there's no way I qualify for this contest."

Sure, you do. All you have to do is be older than 18 and a U.S. resident.

"Creating original content is hard. How do I know the effort is worth it?"

The winners of the contest, and there are four of them, each get $5,000.

"Maybe I'm not in it for the money."

The winner of the best song also gets a recording session at the studios of the American Federation of Musicians in Los Angeles.

"I can't sing."

The contest has a category specifically for videos that aren't songs. And the winner of that category gets $5,000. Non-musical entries also are eligible for the union member-only category and the people's choice category. Your video can be anything; the only limit is your imagination.

"I'm not a union member."

You don't have to be a union member to enter the contest.

"But I am a union member. Does that mean I can't participate?"

You are welcome to participate, too. In fact, there is a separate category just for union members. At least one union member will win $5,000.

"How do I know that the judges are actually knowledgable about the music and the themes of the contest?"

You can check their credentials. The judges include actor/philanthropist/investor Ashton Kutcher, musician/activist Tom Morello, Demos President Heather McGhee, Emmy-nominated cinematographer Michael Goi, AFM Local 47 President John Acosta and musician/labor leader Dan Navarro!

"I don't do well with judges. I'm more of a people person."

Great, there is a people's choice category that will be publicily voted on. The top 20 entries that don't win the awards for best song, best non-song video and the union member category will be put to a public vote, with the winner getting $5,000.

"Nobody will want to listen to my original song, with people doing cover songs and such written by famous musicians."

The contest is limited to original material. There is one big exception. UNITE HERE (the modern International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union [ILGWU]) has invited participants to remake or sample their song "(Look for) the Union Label."

"I don't really have the time to make a video."

The video can't be longer than four minutes. And the submission deadline is April 25. That's two weeks away. Surely you have the time to record a four-minute video in a two-week timespan.

"I have no idea what the video should be about."

No problem. BuildBuyUSA has provided you with the themes.

"OK, well all that sounds good, but I don't know how to get more information about the contest."

BuildBuyUSA has you covered with this handy-dandy website!

So what are you waiting for? Get to work on your video today!

Kenneth Quinnell Wed, 04/11/2018 - 11:34

11 Things You Need to Know on Equal Pay Day
11 Things You Need to Know on Equal Pay Day

Equal Pay Day
AFL-CIO

Equal Pay Day calls attention to the persistent moral and economic injustice working women face. For a woman to earn as much as a man, she has to work a full year, plus more than a hundred extra days, all the way to April 10. The problem is even worse for women of color, LGBTQ women and part-time workers.

Here are 11 things you need to know on Equal Pay Day:

1. Equal Pay Day for women of color is even later: For black women, Equal Pay Day comes later because they are paid, on average, even less than white women. Equal Pay Day for black women is Aug. 7. For Native American women, it's Sept. 7. For Latinas, it's Nov. 1.

2. LGBTQ women face a host of related problems: A woman in a same-sex couple makes 79% of what a straight, white man makes. Additionally, they face higher rates of unemployment, discrimination and harassment on the job.

3. It will take decades to fix the problem if we don't act now: If nothing changes, it will take until 2059 for women to reach pay equality. For black women, parity won't come until 2124 and for Latinas, 2233.

4. Fixing the wage gap will reduce poverty: The poverty rate for women would be cut in half if the wage gap were eliminated. Additionally, 25.8 million children would benefit from closing the gap.

5. Fixing the wage gap would boost the economy: Eliminating the wage gap would increase women's earnings by $512.6 billion, a 2.8% boost to the country's gross domestic product. Women are consumers and the bulk of this new income would be injected directly into the economy.

6. Women aren't paid less because they choose to work in low-paying jobs: The gender pay gap persists in nearly every occupation, regardless of race, ethnicity, education, age and location.

7. Education alone isn't the solution: Women are paid less at every level of education. Women with advanced degrees get paid less than men with bachelor's degrees.

8. The Paycheck Fairness Act would help: This bipartisan legislation would close loopholes in existing law, break harmful patterns of pay discrimination and strengthen protections for women workers.

9. Being in union makes a difference: Women who are represented by unions and negotiate together are closer to pay equality, making 94 cents per dollar that white men make.

10. Business leaders have a role in the solution: Individual business owners and leaders have the power to close the pay gap and improve people's lives. Catalyst offers five tips on what business leaders can do.

11. Many companies already are working on solutions: Learn from them.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 04/10/2018 - 11:38

No Bargaining, No Justice: What Working People Are Doing This Week
No Bargaining, No Justice: What Working People Are Doing This Week

Welcome to our regular feature, a look at what the various AFL-CIO unions and other working family organizations are doing across the country and beyond. The labor movement is big and active—here's a look at the broad range of activities we're engaged in this week.

A. Philip Randolph Institute:

Actors' Equity:

AFGE: