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.
Joe Biden Has Laid Down the Gauntlet to Other G-7 Nations: His ‘Worker First’ Policies Are the Blueprint for Global Recovery: "As leaders from the world’s richest nations meet in Cornwall for the G7, significant global challenges are mounting. While many of the nations are continuing the rapid rollout of vaccines in their own countries, the pandemic is gathering pace elsewhere, and the global economic outlook remains bleak, with mass unemployment still a very real threat. On top of that, the economic challenges of the last decade which were thrown into focus by the 2008 financial crisis—rising inequality, stagnant wages and falling living standards—have not gone away. That’s why the G7 must step up and show serious ambition. On the agenda will be our global recovery from the pandemic, tackling the climate crisis and advancing democracy."
U.S. Trade Chief Resets Union Relations in Worker-Centric Push: "Calling Tai a 'friend of the working people' and a 'champion' for them, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said that over the past 40 years, Republican and Democratic administrations have 'pushed the harmful neoliberal free-trade agenda' based on 'the myth that lowering tariffs and expanding trade would somehow make all of us better off. Well, it didn’t work—workers became poorer.'"
Inequity, Pay Disparities and Job Insecurity: Inside the Rise of Tech Unions: "'Tech workers have produced innovations that are changing the course of history—and making their bosses rich in the process,' Liz Shuler, secretary-treasurer at AFL-CIO, said in an email to CIO Dive. 'The folks creating that wealth deserve to be treated with respect, take home their fair share, and make themselves heard.'"
Why the PRO Act Is Critical: "In March, the House of Representatives passed legislation designed to level the field. It’s called the Protect the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act). The Senate version has 47 Democratic co-sponsors. It needs three more to give the PRO Act a fighting chance of getting to Joe Biden’s desk. The PRO Act would end many of the practices Amazon used to defeat the union effort in Bessemer. Real penalties would be imposed on companies and corporate officers who retaliate against union advocates or otherwise violate the National Labor Relations Act. The PRO Act would make it easier for workers to form a union, with the aim of protecting them from unfair working conditions. The PRO Act alone won’t end economic inequality or return prosperity and opportunity to America’s working families. But passage of the PRO Act would help."
U.S. Files Labor Complaint Against Mexican Factory Under USMCA Enforcement Rules: "The U.S. Trade Representative's office said it made the request involving the Tridonex auto parts factory in the northern border city of Matamoros after the AFL-CIO union federation petitioned the agency to review the case over allegations that the factory denied workers collective bargaining and free association rights."
IATSE Praises Biden Budget Proposing Record Increase for Federal Arts Funding: "As the union behind entertainment, we know that funding for the arts directly impacts job growth and work for our skilled craftspeople. Federal arts agencies—like the National Endowment for the Arts—support working families, bolster local economies, and ensure all Americans have access to the arts and entertainment. The Biden administration’s proposed budget includes $201 million in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for FY2022. We also join our fellow arts, entertainment, and media industry (AEMI) unions affiliated with the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) in applauding the Biden administration’s commitment to racial equity and justice, which can be seen throughout the FY2022 budget."
Supreme Court Rejects Bid to Weaken Public-Sector Labor Unions: "The U.S. Supreme Court turned away a bid to weaken the power of public-sector unions, refusing to reconsider a 1984 ruling that lets them serve as the exclusive bargaining agent for workers. The justices without comment rejected an appeal by Jade Thompson, an Ohio high school teacher who said she has a First Amendment right not to be represented by a union. The appeal was one of the first to test the court’s appetite for labor issues since Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation in October created a 6-3 conservative majority."
AFL-CIO Building Trades Unions Back Biden’s Full Infrastructure Plan: "Aware that the pressure must be raised for passage of President Biden’s proposed infrastructure plan, the AFL-CIO’s building trades unions, at a 1-day virtual legislative conference, backed the president’s original $2.2 trillion plan. 'This year has been unlike any other,' National Association Building Trades Unions President Sean McGarvey declared on June 5, referring to the coronavirus pandemic, which sent unemployment soaring, hampered construction work, and forced the conference itself, like so much else, onto Zoom."
Trumka Hits Biden on Delayed OSHA Pandemic Workplace Regulations: "The Biden administration has taken too long to implement Occupational Safety and Health Administration emergency regulations to ensure on-the-job protections for workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. 'I keep pushing the administration to get it done. They keep saying they’re working on it, but I have yet to see that temporary pandemic standard be issued,' the labor leader said in an interview Friday on Bloomberg Television’s 'Balance of Power' program. Trumka, a Biden ally, said he is frustrated at the delayed rule-making process. 'It is a shame because every day it is not there, workers get exposed, workers get hurt, workers get sick.'"
Strong Unions Make for Better Workplaces: "Biden’s executive order, for the first time, requires agencies to engage in bargaining over all issues that are not expressly prohibited by law. With this expansion, Biden is doing more to strengthen worker rights inside the federal government than any president in a generation. This pro-union stance extends beyond federal workers, too; in April, Biden signed an executive order creating a task force of more than 20 Cabinet members and heads of other federal agencies, whose job is to leverage federal programs and policies to empower more workers to organize and bargain with their employers. And he has strongly endorsed the PRO Act, which would make it easier for workers in the private sector to unionize. That is a relief to the government employees who serve the public every day and should be welcome news for all Americans."