The labor movement continues to lead the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to fight for economic opportunity and social justice for America’s workers. You can look at your inbox for this Daily Brief from the AFL-CIO.
Watch: Trumka on The Washington Post Live
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) joined The Washington Post Live yesterday to talk about the 2020 elections, ensuring workers are safe on the job and saving the U.S. Postal Service.
National Postal Mail Handlers Union-LIUNA Advocates for the Delivering for America Act Amid Postmaster General’s U-Turn
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has retreated from further undermining the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) ahead of the general elections amid widespread criticism from union members. And the National Postal Mail Handlers Union-LIUNA (NPMHU-LIUNA) is pushing ahead with its support for the proposed Delivering for America Act (H.R. 8015) to provide $25 billion in emergency funding for the agency—the same amount of money for the USPS included in the HEROES Act. The union, led by National President Paul Hogrogian (pictured above), said, “The Postal Service is enshrined in Article I of the Constitution, and was considered vital to the creation of our country. As a nation, we cannot stand by while deliberate delays are put in place that undermine the nation’s most trusted federal agency and that threaten our electoral process. During this national health crisis, every American household and business needs to be assured they can continue to rely on the Postal Service.” The Delivering for America Act would repeal operational changes DeJoy implemented in July that have resulted in the systematic delay of mail.
AFL-CIO Hosts Event Commemorating 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage
In honor of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler (IBEW) hosted a roundtable discussion to celebrate women’s right to vote and lift up the issues affecting working women. Shuler, American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten, UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada, Laborers (LIUNA) Women’s Caucus Chair Cassandra Hammond, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) Executive Director Alvina Yeh and Dr. C. Nicole Mason, president and CEO of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, took part in the conversation. “For many women of color and women from immigrant backgrounds, the questions around where we come from and whether or not we’re qualified are all too familiar,” Yeh explained. “That resonates really deeply with me.” Watch the full event here.
USW Members Overwhelmingly Ratify Contract with Briggs & Stratton Bidder
Members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 2-232 voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new contract with a newly formed affiliate of KPS Capital Partners LP, an investment firm trying to purchase the Milwaukee-area manufacturing plant and other assets from bankrupt engine maker Briggs & Stratton. The agreement includes wage increases of more than 11% over the term of the contract and maintains the workers’ existing health care coverage. The contract also includes a strong retirement plan, increased sick and accident coverage, and the establishment of a voluntary employees' beneficiary association to fund retiree health care coverage.
“The USW is very familiar with KPS from its past operations and acquisitions,” said International President Tom Conway. “Our union will welcome their ownership, and we expect to have a strong relationship with the company as we work with them to turn this business around.” The five-year contract agreement, which covers about 300 hourly workers, is contingent upon U.S. Bankruptcy Court approval of the sale to KPS and is not transferable to another bidder. Briggs & Stratton filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July.
Retired Amtrak Conductor and SMART Member Shares His Memories of Joe Biden
Joe Biden commuted to work and back on the Amtrak train, always treating workers with dignity and respect. During a video shown at the Democratic National Convention on Monday night, Gregg Weaver—a retired train conductor and member of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART)—looked back on his regular interactions with the former senator and vice president. “I think [Biden’s] most comfortable around everyday, working-class people. He just always makes you feel like you belong,” Weaver said. “We have heroes all over this country, and a lot of the essential workers out there we don’t even see that are behind the scenes are keeping this country going. He understands that. The average guy is important to him.”
Chalkbeat Workers Form Union with Writers Guild of America, East
Chalkbeat’s reporters, story editors, engagement team and visuals staff—who provide essential local and national educational news—have formed a union with the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). In a statement to management explaining their decision to unionize, Chalkbeat’s 26 staff members wrote they were eager to work with managers to ensure workers from underrepresented communities are hired, and to prevent burnout as the added pressures of working during the COVID-19 pandemic continue. WGAE Executive Director Lowell Peterson said, “Chalkbeat is a must-read for parents, teachers and school administrators who depend on the site’s in-depth and comprehensive coverage of education news and local schools. We are proud to represent these dedicated education journalists.” WGAE announced yesterday that Chalkbeat management had voluntarily recognized the union.