Every week, we bring you a roundup of the top news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here’s the latest edition of the Working People Weekly List.
Pelosi Slow-Walks Trump’s New Nafta Deal: "'We are not going to be a cheap date,' said Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, a Pelosi ally who is pushing the administration to reopen negotiations with Mexico to strengthen enforcement of labor provisions. 'Nancy Pelosi is not going to sign an agreement if it is not a good agreement. She is not going to bring it to the floor unless she knows that it is going to make the changes that we need in Nafta, period,' he added, echoing the sentiments of people close to the speaker."
Leo Gerard to Step Down After 18 Years as Head of United Steelworkers: "The United Steelworkers announced on Wednesday the retirement of four top officials, including International President Leo W. Gerard, effective mid-July. The changes begin a period of major leadership transition for the Pittsburgh-based union ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Mr. Gerard—high profile in the steel industry and recognizable for his sharp wit and Canadian lilt—will step down after more than 50 years with the largest manufacturing union in the country. The union has 850,000 members in North America. Elected international president in 2001, Mr. Gerard 'has largely decided to enjoy his well-earned retirement and looks forward to spending more time with his wife and family,' according to a union press release."
How Boots Riley Helped Salt Lake Film Society’s Front-of-House Staff Unionize: "'There’s a bunch of us that are organizing to get us paid more. Get some benefits. We could really use your energy to jump things off.' The Salt Lake Film Society is Salt Lake City’s hub for independent cinema, and the front-of-house staff are the ticket selling, snack providing gate keepers to audiences looking for inspiration on the big screen. They’re mostly under the age of 30, and all are passionate film lovers. Although many of them have worked at these theaters for years, the jobs have stagnant wages and provide no sick time and no path for advancement. Many employees were attracted to jobs at these theaters by their love for film, but despite their commitment to the organization, workers saw limited opportunity for growth. So they reached out to the Utah AFL-CIO, who connected them with an organizer from the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the union that represents people in all kinds of behind-the-scenes jobs in the entertainment industry across North America. Despite representing the people who make movies in Hollywood and the people who work front-of-house in theaters with live shows, movie theater front-of-house staff is largely unrepresented in the United States. But the IATSE doesn’t back down from a challenge."
The Interstate Is Crumbling. Try Fixing the Section Used by 200,000 Vehicles a Day: "Dense cities have grown up around the aging freeways, hemming them in so that expensive engineering feats are needed to do work on them. Yet work is often unavoidable. I-4, for instance, was built in the 1960s to handle 70,000 vehicles a day. Now it is jammed with up to 200,000."
Giving Workers a Voice: What Working People Are Doing This Week: "Welcome to our regular feature, a look at what the various AFL-CIO unions and other working family organizations are doing across the country and beyond. The labor movement is big and active—here's a look at the broad range of activities we're engaged in this week."
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Profiles: Jung Sai Garment Work Strikers: "For Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various Asian Americans and Pacific Americans who have worked and continue to work at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Our next profile is about the Jung Sai Garment Work Strikers."
‘State of the Unions’ Podcast: A Union Organizer Goes to Washington: "'State of the Unions' podcast co-hosts Julie and Tim talk to Rep. Andy Levin (Mich.), a former AFL-CIO employee and career union organizer and activist. They discuss labor law reform, trade and the path to power for working people in Michigan and across the country."
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Theatrical Stage Employees: "Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE)."
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Profiles: Monica Thammarath: "For Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various Asian Americans and Pacific Americans who have worked and continue to work at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Our next profile is Monica Thammarath."
Teamwork On and Off the Ice: Worker Wins: "Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with women's hockey players forming a union and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life."
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Profiles: Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes: "For Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various Asian Americans and Pacific Americans who have worked and continue to work at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Our next profiles are Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes."
We Need Action on Infrastructure, Not More Talk: "More than half a century ago, Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower and a Democratic-majority Congress empowered millions of Americans to build an interstate highway system that became the envy of the world. Back then, our nation understood that investment in infrastructure was crucial to creating a better future."
Phoenix Rising: Betty Guardado Ousts Incumbent in City Council Race: "Labor union member and activist Betty Guardado was elected to the Phoenix City Council this week, and with strong union support, she ousted the incumbent. Guardado easily beat her opponent as she won more than 62% of the vote."
Power Connection: Connecticut AFL-CIO Empowers Fight for $15: "In a monumental leap of economic justice last week, the Connecticut Legislature passed a law that increases the state minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2023. The increase brings Connecticut into parity with its neighboring states of New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey, which have passed similar increases. The victory comes as a result of unprecedented coordination among labor unions and allied advocates in the state that have been fighting for an increase for years."
Path to Power Is Clear in the Ocean State: "The Rhode Island AFL-CIO has been busy in 2019, leading the fight on a number of important legislative initiatives. There are numerous union members who have been elected to the state legislature and that has provided an opportunity to pass legislation that will make a huge difference for our members and for working people across the Ocean State."
Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Farm Labor Organizing Committee: "Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC)."
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Profiles: Arlene Inouye: "For Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the AFL-CIO is spotlighting various Asian Americans and Pacific Americans who have worked and continue to work at the intersection of civil and labor rights. Our next profile is Arlene Inouye."
It's Time to Fix Our Roads and Infrastructure with Funding from Congress: "Bent rims. Broken springs. Bridges and roads unfit for drivers. Search #FTDR (short for “Fix the Damn Roads”) on social media, and you’ll find countless stories from Michiganders who are paying the price of crumbling, potholed roads and highways."
The PRO Act: Pathway to Power for Workers: "Abigail Disney, granddaughter of the co-founder of the Walt Disney Co., called out the family business’ current CEO last month for making what’s supposed to be the happiest place on earth pretty darn miserable for its workers."
Invest in Infrastructure: In the States Roundup: "It's time once again to take a look at the ways working people are making progress in the states."