What I Do
Deborah Cannada, Librarian - West Side Elementary School, Charleston, WV.
The union movement works to improve the lives of all people who work—not just those who have the benefits of union membership. In fact, the AFL-CIO has formed partnerships with worker centers and other groups of working people who do not have the legal right to collective bargaining. Some, like taxi workers, have been misclassified as independent contractors. Others, including domestic workers and day laborers, have been excluded from coverage by U.S. labor laws. All workers deserve fair treatment, respect and a voice at work, regardless of how they are classified by employers or regarded by labor law.
In 2006, the AFL-CIO began to formalize its relationship with the flourishing worker center movement—-domestically and internationally—in a number of ways. That year, the federation’s Executive Council authorized worker centers to formally affiliate with state labor federations, local labor councils and Working America. At the same time, the AFL-CIO entered into an historic partnership with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network under which the two organizations pledged to work together on state and local enforcement of rights, worker protections in areas including wage and hour laws, health and safety regulations, immigrants’ rights and employee misclassification, as well as immigration reform.
The AFL-CIO continues to work with worker centers, in both the United States and Mexico, on organizing campaigns, policy initiatives and legislative and other joint efforts. In September 2011, the National Taxi Workers’ Alliance (the first worker center to formally affiliate with a local AFL-CIO body) became the first nontraditional workers’ organization to become formally chartered by the national AFL-CIO in more than six decades.
New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech expressed the federation’s support for a proposal by the state’s Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto calling on Gov. Chris Christie to make the state’s annual pension payment at the start of the fiscal year, rather than waiting until the end of the year.
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