Let’s be honest. Sometimes, outside of election campaign seasons, even progressives wonder what’s so great about unions. Sure, we had a role to play before job safety laws, the eight-hour day, Social Security and civil rights laws were passed. But today?
Even our friends aren’t immune to the relentless attacks on unions from the right and the stereotypes that come with them: union thugs, lazy workers, relics of the past, self-absorbed, yadda, yadda, yadda.
Today, let’s celebrate 20 years of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Since 1993, the FMLA has been used more than 100 million times, helping 35 million people keep their jobs and health insurance while caring for a family health crisis or a new baby. That’s truly something to celebrate.
But this groundbreaking law didn’t just pop into our lives in 1993. A committed community of activists—women’s groups, union members, faith allies, family advocates and more—worked together for nine years to win it.
Over these final few days before Election Day, AFL-CIO officers have been on the ground in key states talking with union members about the vital importance of getting out the vote, they’ve also joined in neighborhood walks and made phone calls alongside volunteers in union phone banks.
AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler joined Colorado union members and other working families this weekend for a rally and canvassing during the last leg of the 2012 election campaign. The rally, at Colorado AFL-CIO headquarters, encouraged activists to reach out to undecided voters and make sure everyone gets out to vote.
The person who’s flipping burgers and making sure there are enough hot dogs to go around at your Labor Day barbecue deserves a little extra thanks, don’t you think?
Unions and working families will honor the holiday that celebrates the hard work that has made America strong by doing something special this year: recognizing people for their work.
The AFL-CIO is launching a new online application just in time to reclaim Labor Day as a day to recognize people for their hard work. On the new app, at www.aflcio.org/thankyou, participants can send thank-you cards and videos through Facebook and e-mail to friends and others whose work they depend on.
Stacey Hendler Ross, communications director of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council, sends us this.
Through rap, “spoken-word” poetry and music, one strong message permeated a room full of supporters for a November ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage in San Jose, Calif.: “It’s time for $10.” The event, held at IBEW Local 332 featured AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler who flew in from Washington, D.C., to throw her support behind the campaign. Shuler's labor roots are with IBEW Local 125 in Oregon.
Shuler offered her unwavering endorsement of the minimum wage increase as she lauded the group of young activists who launched the effort to create an ordinance mandating a $10 an hour minimum wage in San Jose. The current California state minimum is $8.
With workers’ rights under attack, new labor partnerships like the merger of SAG-AFTRA “represents a bright spot in the union movement," said SAG-AFTRA Co-President Roberta Reardon.
SAG-AFTRA today received a national charter from the AFL-CIO. SAG-AFTRA joins 55 other unions, comprising more than 12 million working men and women, under the AFL-CIO banner. SAG and AFTRA voted to merge earlier this year.
New members were elected to the AFL-CIO Executive Council this morning. Sean McGarvey, president of the Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD), will fill the seat of former President Mark Ayers, and Laura Reyes, secretary-treasurer for AFSCME, will fill the seat of retiring AFSCME President Gerry McEntee. AFSCME President Lee Saunders was named chair of the Executive Council Political Committee.
Check out the AFL-CIO's new Innovators website feature, "Not Your Daddy's Labor Movement," here.
Leave behind what you know about Robert's Rules of Order and structured union meetings. A new generation of emerging labor leaders across the country is bringing young workers together in paintball games, music festivals, trivia nights and pub crawls—all with an activist edge.
In a 52-47 vote, the U.S. Senate blocked a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act this afternoon. With 60 votes needed to proceed to a vote on the bill, Republicans succeeded in blocking pay equity for women for the second time.