Weekly Labor Reader, August 14, 2019

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Statement from President Steven Tolman on Boston Calling Verdict

“As President of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, I can say without question that this decision is an outright attack on working people and the people of Boston. This verdict is inconsistent with the Judge’s instructions and Hobbs Act jurisprudence. If the Court lets it stand an Appeals Court will surely set it aside.”
-Steven A. Tolman, President MA AFL-CIO

For more information, read: "When did it become a crime to fight for good jobs" by Don Gillis

                  UE Local 274 Strike

UE members at Kennametal's Greenfield Tap & Die plant in Greenfield, MA are on strike against the company's demands for healthcare concessions, mandatory overtime, and allowing temp workers to do union members' jobs.

The company is insisting on eliminating the current health insurance plan, replacing it with an unreasonably expensive high-deductible plan. They are also demanding the right to make unilateral changes to the healthcare plan without negotiating with the union.

Click here to support UE Local 274 Strike.

Click here to learn more about the Strike.

“Our top three demands were wages, healthcare, and the cost of living, and the negotiating committee was able to get GE to make improvements in those categories.”

The approval comes a month after union membership, including IUE Local 201, rejected an initial offer from the company and a week after a tentative agreement was reached between IUE-CWA and GE negotiators.

Changes to the proposed contract over four years include a wage increase totaling $2.80 per hour, up from the initial $1.80, which includes an additional 20 cents in a general wage increase and 80 cents for a cost of living increase; a total cash compensation of more than $14,000, up from $12,000; and a 4.9 percent employee healthcare premium contribution in the final three years, which is down from the 5.9 percent contribution first proposed, according to the company.

Click here to read more

 Announcing the 2019 MA AFL-CIO Biennial Constitutional Convention

On September 25th - 27th, 2019, over 200 delegates and guests will gather for the Biennial Constitutional Convention of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO.
The Convention theme of unity will be reflected throughout the proceedings, from resolutions, to keynote speakers, to panels.
The convention will feature keynote speakers, David Webber and Steven Greenhouse. Webber is the author of "The Rise of the Working Class Shareholder: Labor's Last Best Weapon," and will sign copies of his books for attendees. Greenhouse is a New York Times Reporter and author and will be speaking and signing copies of, “Beaten Down, Worked Up - The Past, Present and Future of American Labor Movement."

Learn More about featured author Greenhouse:

Learn more about featured author Webber:

The Convention is not open to the public and is closed to the press. Affiliated unions in good standing should have received their credentials by mail. Registration is due by September 10th. For more information and to download the delegate and guest registrations, click here.

Governor Baker Vetoes Janus Legislation

Earlier this month Governor Baker chose to veto our Janus legislation, the Freedom to Join bill, even though the bill has already received overwhelming bi-partisan support. We have urged the House and Senate to override the Governor’s veto following the August recess. Stay tuned and we will keep you updated on the progress of this legislation.

Boston's Operation Exit Provides Pipeline From Courtroom to Union Careers

Darius Hines stands in front of a construction site on Harrison Avenue where he's a labor steward for Local 223.
Darius Hines stands in front of a construction site on Harrison Avenue where he's a labor steward for Local 223.
“An initiative launched by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s office six years ago, it puts men and women who have been involved in the court system through a three-week introductory course with the building and trades unions. The class tours jobs sites and witnesses the day-to-day requirements of working in one of the city’s 19 trade unions, such as sheet metal work, brick-laying and carpentry. The teachers try to model the three weeks to reflect the circumstances of the students' potential new careers: get to class by 6:45 a.m., no cellphones and no drugs. Then, after graduation, union representatives help them navigate the apprenticeship process.
Operation Exit has graduated 104 students since its inception, and according to the city’s Office of Workforce Development, there’s a roughly 90 percent success rate for job retention. The mayor’s office is hoping to expand the size and frequency of the program.

Continue reading more from the WGBH.

Save Our Apprenticeships!

Building Trades unions’ world-class registered apprenticeship programs train Massachusetts and U.S. workers to become highly-skilled, well paid construction workers through a debt-free, technologically-advanced education. These earn-as-you-learn programs pay family-sustaining wages, provide health care coverage and retirement benefits and emphasize workplace safety. These programs and our future is at risk. A new proposal by the Trump Administration’s U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) could drive down training and labor standards in construction registered apprenticeship programs and set off a race to the bottom throughout the industry.
In June, the Trump Administration proposed regulations to implement Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs). Unlike the Registered Apprenticeship model, the IRAPs puts the fox in charge of the henhouse. The new IRAP system will give private organizations, such as employers and trade associations, free rein to create new watered-down standards and certify subpar apprenticeship programs.
The proposed IRAPs differ significantly from Registered Apprenticeship Programs. Construction registered programs help recruit, train and retain workers through progressive wage increases; apprentice-to-journey worker ratios that promote safety; quality assurance assessments by the government; uniform standards; mandatory safety training; instructor eligibility requirements; and transparency requirements. The proposed IRAP regulations abandon the important protections of the registered model and give employers license to implement whatever low-road standards they see fit.

Labor Guild School of Labor-Management Relations Classes

The Labor Guild's Fall Term Courses are now available. You can find full course descriptions and register for classes here.
The 2019 Fall Term kicks off on September 9! Courses run September 9–November 4 (no class October 14)
All courses will be held at the Labor Guild (in the Archdiocese Pastoral Center), 66 Brooks Drive in Braintree.

Announcing Union Member Candidate School

Support for union members running for elected office is a top priority for the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and our affiliates. We know that when our members run on a platform of working people’s values and receive unified support from the labor movement, we will win. The Massachusetts AFL-CIO and its Executive Board are establishing a union candidate school to train our members to run for elected office from the local/municipal level all the way up to statewide/federal office.
Our first session will be held on Saturday December 7th, 9am-2pm. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. The training will be free of charge and participants will be given materials to use as a reference for campaign purposes.

Learn more and register here.

August 14: Building Trades Futures (rotating locations)

August 23: MA AFL-CIO Political & Legislative Roundtable, Dorchester

August 23-August 25: MA Jobs with Justice Organizing and Leadership Training

September 2: Greater Boston Labor Council Labor Day Breakfast

September 2: Central MA Labor Day Breakfast

September 2: Bread and Roses Heritage Festival in Lawrence

September 6: Western MA Area Labor Federation's Labor Day Breakfast, Chicopee

September 14 : Helmets to Hardhats Motorcycle Run

September 19: Building Pathways Awards Benefit, Boston

September 25-September 27: MA AFL-CIO Convention, Springfield

October 15: Tradeswomen Tuesday Worcester

For a full list of events, visit the calendar on our website. If you have any events that you would like to be included, contact Rachael Running at [email protected]

@greenhousenyt: Half of working Americans in 2018 said they believe workers need strong unions, up from 40% in 2006. Among workers under 35, 60% favor strong unions at a time when union participation has been steadily dwindling.

@LydiaMEdwardsAs stewards of the public good, it is our obligation to advance the economic security and physical safety of all people. Today's verdict creates a terrible and damaging precedent that benefits only corporations seeking to evade public accountability #bospoli #mapoli