Every week, we bring you a roundup of the top news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here’s this week’s Working People Weekly List.
Worker Death Shines Spotlight on Disney's Poverty Policies: "As a result of the federal tax cut, Disney promised that its employees would get $1,000 bonuses. Disney offered the bonuses to most of its employees with no conditions. But for 41,000 union members in Orlando, Florida, and Anaheim, California, Disney is requiring them to agree to the company's contract proposals in order to get the bonus."
How Unions Carried Pennsylvania’s 18th District — and Why the DNC Should Be Paying Attention: "Rep.-elect Conor Lamb made national waves with an improbable win last week in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District. He faced down $10 million in outside money funneled to his opponent by corporate and right-wing interests. He fought through a barrage of incessant, hyper-partisan attacks blanketing the airwaves. He was abandoned by his own party’s national infrastructure in a district that hadn’t elected a Democrat in nearly 15 years. And he still came out on top."
The Lessons of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Are Still Relevant 107 Years Later: "On March 25, 1911, a fire broke out on the top floors of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory. Firefighters arrived at the scene, but their ladders weren’t tall enough to reach the impacted area. Trapped inside because the owners had locked the fire escape exit doors, workers jumped to their deaths. Thirty minutes later, the fire was over, and 146 of the 500 workers—mostly young women—were dead."
The Racist Roots of Right to Work: "Proponents of 'right to work' laws often use lofty language to sell their agenda, with false appeals to freedom, among other high ideals. But right to work is about freedom only in this way: It’s about taking away the freedom of working people to join together in strong unions."
UAW Takes Action to Support Incarcerated Korean Trade Unionists: "A UAW representative recently returned from a trip to South Korea to try to secure the release of two key labor leaders jailed for their union activity. Since December 2015, Han Sang-gyun, who was president of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, has been imprisoned for representing his members. And last December, KCTU General Secretary Lee Young-joo also was arrested after a 10-day hunger strike and two years of house arrest. There are other trade unionists who are charged or incarcerated as well."
The People's March Madness Sweet Sixteen: "Welcome to the AFL-CIO's March Madness Sweet Sixteen! But instead of focusing on the hottest basketball teams, we're focusing on the MARCH part of March Madness. Not the month, but actual marches."
New President for the New Mexico Federation of Labor: "On March 20, the New Mexico Federation of Labor Executive Board unanimously appointed Vince Alvarado as its new president. Alvarado is the business manager and financial secretary for International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) Local 49, a position he has held since 2010. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees for the SMART Local 49 Health Plan and Joint Apprenticeship and Training Council. Alvarado is a third-generation sheet metal worker originally from El Paso, Texas, who served in various leadership roles on the job and with his union for more than two decades. He is currently the only state federation leader in the country who comes from SMART."
JetBlue Inflight Crew Members Vote on Joining TWU: "Nearly 5,000 JetBlue inflight crew members have begun the voting process this week in an effort to join the Transport Workers (TWU). Last year, an overwhelming majority of the inflight crew members signed cards in favor of coming together to negotiate a fair and just contract. Ballots will be cast between now and April 17."
Puerto Rico: Those Unforgettable Days: "There are days in our lives that are unforgettable. They are entrenched in our minds. They follow us like perennial shadows. Six months ago, I spent five days in Puerto Rico—two weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated this Caribbean island. As I look back into this short trip, I see images and situations that have stayed with me. Memories that are a constant reminder of how much remains to be done to lift up all working families who were affected by this disaster. Here are some of these moments."
Trumka: The Politicians Screaming About a Trade War Are Beholden to Wall Street: "Wall Street’s hair is on fire about steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by President Trump, because closing mills and factories in the United States and moving them overseas is how investors enrich themselves. And those wealthy investors reap even fatter profits when offshore mills and factories violate trade laws. Wall Street doesn’t care about the social and economic costs of unfair trade, because working people and our communities pay the price."
It's About Dignity and Humanity: Worker Wins: "Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with a group of production assistants voting unanimously for a voice on the job and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life."
Today's Working Women Honor Their Courageous Foremothers: "Nearly two centuries ago, a group of women and girls—some as young as 12—decided they'd had enough. Laboring in the textile mills of Lowell, Massachusetts, they faced exhausting 14-hour days, abusive supervisors and dangerous working conditions. When threatened with a pay cut, they finally put their foot down."
Drake: 'Tariffs to Protect U.S. National and Economic Security Are Overdue': "Celeste Drake, trade policy specialist at the AFL-CIO, participated in a discussion last week about trade and tariffs at The Dialogue."