Labor Movement to Rs: Let’s Talk – About Workers’ Rights

Labor Movement to Rs: Let’s Talk – About Workers’ Rights

Clayton Sinyai | Sep 13 2013 – 5:05pm | 0 comments


As I discussed yesterday, the AFL-CIO’s Constitutional Convention in LA this week began with a lot of buzz about proposals that progressive groups that were not labor organizations might be invited to affiliate with the AFL-CIO.  A number of union leaders expressed both practical and principled objections to such a tie-up. Practical, because there were times when their interests diverged – as when the Sierra Club and the construction unions clashed over the XL pipeline. Principled, because some felt workers needed a voice entirely of their own, and that would be lost in such a conglomerate. Plenty of progressive think tanks, coalitions, and pressure groups already existed, and they could always create new ones if the current ones were inadequate.  The labor movement, they contended, should remain a movement of workers, for workers, and by workers. Continue reading “Labor Movement to Rs: Let’s Talk – About Workers’ Rights”


AFL = American Federation of Liberal Organizations?

AFL = American Federation of Liberal Organizations?

Clayton Sinyai | Sep 12 2013 – 5:57pm | 3 comments


Along with the outreach to alt-labor groups I discussed yesterday, the AFL-CIO Convention delegates have been weighing ways to form tighter associations with progressive groups like the NAACP, La Raza, the Sierra Club, the National Organization of Women, and others. In politics, these organizations frequently find themselves confronting the same movement conservatives. Some labor leaders even floated proposals to invite such organizations to affiliate with the AFL-CIO, even though they were not labor organizations. The construction unions, among others, expressed skepticism, and the resolution delegates in fact passed was fairly modest.  AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department President Sean McGarvey explained, “Giving people a seat where they have governance, and they don’t represent workers, that was a bridge too far for lots of folks.” Continue reading “AFL = American Federation of Liberal Organizations?”

The AFL-CIO and “Alt-Labor”

The AFL-CIO and “Alt-Labor”

Clayton Sinyai | Sep 11 2013 – 5:44pm | 0 comments


This week witnesses thousands of trade unionists and labor activists assembling in Los Angeles for the 27th Constitutional Convention of the AFL-CIO.  With union membership continuing to decline, the federation has been seeking new approaches to advocate for American workers.

The labor movement’s reach peaked in the early 1950s, when some one-third of US workers belonged to a trade union. This pinnacle was achieved under labor relations system created by the Wagner Act in 1935: workers voted in government-supervised election campaigns to decide whether they wanted collective bargaining and if so, which union would represent them. Labor and management would then negotiate a contract; the workers, now union members, would enjoy improved wages and benefits and pay dues to support their union in return. Continue reading “The AFL-CIO and “Alt-Labor””

Why Immigration Is a Top Priority for US Labor

HomeWhy Immigration Is a Top Priority for US Labor

Submitted by Sarah on Wed, 03/06/2013 – 2:54pm.
Maria Elena Durazo speaks during the Action Summit on Worker Safety and Health at East Los Angeles College, April 26, 2012. (Photo: Susan Goldman / US Department of Labor)
Maria Elena Durazo speaks during the Action Summit on Worker Safety and Health at East Los Angeles College, April 26, 2012. (Photo: Susan Goldman / US Department of Labor)

Monday, 04 March 2013

By Amy DeanTruthout | Interview

Immigrants’ rights are workers’ rights. These days, that idea is a principle held dear by the US labor movement. But that wasn’t always the case.

As recently as the mid-1990s, many unions took protectionist stances against allowing new immigrants to come to this country. It was only after these unions saw the abuses that became prevalent under an employer-driven system for verifying immigration status that the labor movement embraced a new position. The movement recognized that for working people to thrive, all employees had to have full rights in the workplace. Continue reading “Why Immigration Is a Top Priority for US Labor”

A Speech To The Pontifical Council For Justice and Peace – John J. Sweeney

A Speech To The Pontifical Council For Justice and Peace John J. Sweeney President, AFL-CIO Meeting of Trade Union Leaders Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace December 2-3, 1996

I. The principal problems for the world of work resulting from the process of globalization of the economy.
I want to thank Cardinal Etchegaray and the Pontifical Council for the great honor of participating in this meeting.
I am here as president of the AFL-CIO, the more than 13 million-member labor federation of the United States. As we do in our work every day, I will try to speak for the values and the interests of working Americans — people of every faith and viewpoint, union and non-union. And I will speak out of a deep belief that we share those concerns with our sisters and brothers throughout the world.
Cardinal Etchegaray has set the tone for this discussion in his article calling upon us all to “re-establish the concepts of solidarity and common responsibility as essential principles of the human endeavor.” As he writes, “These principles must be placed not just at the center of international development policy, but so much more so in the hearts of citizens and of societies, especially in the wealthier countries.” Continue reading “A Speech To The Pontifical Council For Justice and Peace – John J. Sweeney”

Tell American Crystal Sugar: We’re Not Buying It

Tell American Crystal Sugar: We’re Not Buying It

 Join the Boycott of American Crystal Sugar Products

American Crystal Sugar has locked out 1,300 workers for over a year in an attempt to break the employees’ union and sweeten its corporate profits.

Brave employees have been sacrificing their livelihoods while waiting for over 14 months to get back at the negotiating table and back on the job. The company has taken extreme measures to maximize profits – no matter the cost to their workers – and we’ve had enough.

So we’re making sure American Crystal Sugar gets the message that we aren’t buying their excuses, and we’re not buying their products until the lockout ends.

Stand with us against corporate greed. Sign the pledge below and join the boycott until American Crystal Sugar ends the lockout and negotiates a fair contract.

“I pledge to boycott American Crystal Sugar products until CEO David Berg and the company’s board members end the lockout and come back to the table with workers to negotiate a fair contract.”

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“Right to Work” Laws: Get the Facts


“Right to Work” Laws: Get the Facts

What is a “right to work” law?

Despite its misleading name, this type of law does not guarantee anyone a job and it does not protect against unfair firing.  By undermining unions, so-called “Right to Work” laws would weaken the best job security protections workers have – the union contract.

A “right to work” law is a state law that stops employers and employees from negotiating an agreement – also known as a union security clause – that requires all workers who receive the benefits of a collective bargaining agreement to pay their share of the costs of representing them.  Right to Work laws say that unions must represent every eligible employee, whether he or she pays dues or not.  In other words, “Right to Work” laws allow workers to pay nothing and still get all the benefits of union membership.

“Right to Work” laws aren’t fair to dues-paying members.  If a worker who is represented by a union and doesn’t pay dues is fired illegally, the union must use its time and money to defend him or her, even if that requires going through a costly, time-consuming legal process.  Since the union represents everyone, everyone benefits, so everyone should share in the costs of providing these services.  Amazingly, nonmembers who are represented by a union can even sue the union is they think it has not represented them well enough! Continue reading ““Right to Work” Laws: Get the Facts”