Rhetoric vs. Reality: The Working People Weekly List

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.

When It Comes to Janus, There Is Rhetoric and There Is Reality: "Sometime in the next few weeks, the Supreme Court will decide a case called Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, that threatens to undermine the freedom of working people to join together and negotiate for better wages and working conditions. Corporate CEOs and their allies know that working people have a much stronger voice when we speak together, so they are pulling out all the stops to silence our voices."

From #MeToo to a Global Convention on Sexual Harassment at Work: "Labor unions around the globe are participating in the International Labor Conference to demand a new global standard to end violence and sexual harassment in the workplace. This epidemic of unwanted touching, sexual comments, requests for sexual favors and sexual assault happens in palm fields in Honduras, garment factories in Cambodia and hotels in the United States. Violence in the workplace hurts both women and men, but women and workers with nonconforming gender identities experience the highest rates of violence."

Say No to Subpar VA Service: In the States Roundup: "It's time once again to take a look at the ways working people are making progress in the states."

Better Answers on Trade, America’s Economy: "In 2016, Donald Trump prevailed over 17 establishment opponents. He is a disrupter. In particular, he disrupted establishment trade policies that have failed millions of Americans."

Kentucky: Labor 'Batted' .647 in the Primary: "If candidate endorsements were like baseball batting averages, the Kentucky State AFL-CIO would be leading the big leagues and heading for the Hall of Fame."

Harley-Davidson Move Shows Failure of Trump Tax Cuts: "In February of last year, President Donald Trump met with executives and working people at Harley-Davidson, promising that his proposed changes to tax law, trade, tariffs and other policies would help the company grow and working people would be the beneficiaries. This promise was widely made by Trump and other Republican advocates of the tax bill that Trump signed in December. But, as time goes on, we see, more and more, that the law not only isn't helping working people, it's making things worse."

Boeing's Flight Line Workers in North Charleston Vote for Union, Giving Organized Labor a Boost in South: "Anti-union ads, social media campaigns and a mea culpa from Boeing Co. executive Kevin McAllister weren't enough to sway flight-line employees at the aerospace giant's North Charleston campus Thursday, as they voted for union representation in a big win for organized labor in the South. Of the 169 workers who cast ballots, 104 — or 61.5 percent — voted in favor of having the International Association of Machinists union represent them in collective bargaining."

AFL-CIO Launches ‘Join a Union’ Ad Campaign: "The AFL-CIO has launched a national print and digital 'join a union' ad campaign, complete with quarter-page ads in top national and regional newspapers. The point, federation President Richard Trumka says in an open letter to all workers—the centerpiece of the drive—is to tell workers if they want decent raises, better benefits, and a voice on the job, unionizing is the way to go. 'Join us—be a part of the fight to build a brighter future for you, your family and working people everywhere,' his open letter reads."

Editorial: CEO-Employee Pay Disparity Rises, Threatening the Golden Goose: "The AFL-CIO’s study for 2016 found the ratio was 347 to 1, up from 20 to 1 in 1950, 42 to 1 in 1980 and 120 to 1 in 2000. Results vary widely depending on who a company’s workers are. At Mattel Inc. the ratio was 4,987 to 1, but the company operates a lot of overseas factories with extremely low-paid workers. Also, CEO Margaret Georgiadis left the struggling toy maker last month, forfeiting all but $10.8 million of what was to have been $31.3 million in compensation. In other instances, ratios can be lower when companies outsource a lot of labor to contract employees."

The Democrats’ Labor Pains: "'It's not hard to think that the defeat of 2016 had its roots in 1994,' said Liz Shuler, the secretary and treasurer of the AFL-CIO during a panel discussion on labor's political woes this week."

Labor Leader William Burrus, Longtime Clevelander, Dead at 81: "William Burrus, who rose from sorting mail in Cleveland to leading one of the largest postal unions, died on Saturday, May 19. He was 81. He had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure two years ago, according to his wife, Ethelda, who survives him. Burrus was the first black president of a major union directly elected by members."