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.
Business Groups, Unions Join Together on Infrastructure Plan: "Major business and union groups have formed a new coalition designed to add momentum for a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package that the Senate is expected to take up this month. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO, along with trade groups representing manufacturers and retailers, announced the coalition Thursday. The group’s formation comes as a bipartisan group of senators tries to craft a bill from a blueprint that aims to dramatically boost public works spending over the next five years."
Three Things You Should Know About the Millions of People Quitting Their Jobs, According to the Chief Economist of the AFL-CIO: "Ahead of Wednesday's data release, Insider spoke to Dr. William Spriggs, an economics professor at Howard University and chief economist at the AFL-CIO, and he offered three reasons America is seeing so many people say, 'I quit.' Spriggs told Insider that the number of people retiring is a 'huge factor' in the current labor market, as the pandemic looks to have accelerated the end of workers' careers, especially in certain industries. 'I think a lot of people who were 59 or 60 last year' got enough support so they were prepared to retire in 2021. This created a loop where now-empty roles need to be backfilled, and none of the firms hiring had expected they've have to make up for so many retirees."
AFL-CIO: 'Optimistic' We 'Will Ultimately Get What We Need' from Biden, Democrats: "AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler expressed optimism that the Biden administration and the Democrat-led Congress will be able to deliver on passage of $4 trillion in new federal spending that President Biden has proposed related to physical infrastructure and new social safety net programs. 'We are optimistic that we will ultimately get what we need,' Shuler said during an online discussion of unionization in the green economy envisaged by Democrats. 'We support the American Jobs Plan. We support the American Families Plan. All of those elements are essential so we believe we will get them eventually. We're lobbying very hard for that.' Shuler said the AFL-CIO supports the infrastructure deal the White House reached with a bipartisan group of senators. 'We think it has a lot of sorely needed investment,' she said. 'We need to get this across the finish line.'"
Bishop Stowe: Essential Workers Sacrificed Their Safety During the Pandemic. Now Congress Must Pass Stronger Labor Protections: "Like most other states, Oregon does not have specific standards for shutting down farm worksites because of heat. In a statement released on June 30, Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN), Oregon’s largest Latino farmworker union, pointed out that the state’s agricultural workers have endured wildfire smoke, a winter storm and now a devastating heat wave. 'Workers should not have to decide between their health and a paycheck,' PCUN said."
Transit Workers Risk 'Great Ambush' Without Federal Investment in Training, Labor Leaders Say: "'I think the government and the trade union movement and other stakeholders, the manufacturers of the technology, should be developing a system that's always looking 20 years to the future, to ensure the nation's workforce isn't ambushed by technology going forward,' Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) President John Samuelsen said in an April interview. 'There is a great ambush going on right now. There are many who work in diesel buses in cities across America that have no idea of the danger they're in.' TTD President Greg Regan said agencies cannot afford to invest more, as they lack reliable federal funding for workforce development."
PRO Act Will Strengthen Union Retiree Benefits: "A strong and growing labor movement is good for workers and for all Americans. The labor movement has been and continues to be the leading force in the fight to strengthen Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, ensuring a measure of retirement security for all Americans. Our country, our democracy, and our people benefit when workers have a strong voice at work and are able to join together to build a more secure future for their families and their communities. The Alaska Alliance for Retired Americans endorses the PRO Act and urges Senators Murkowski and Sullivan to co-sponsor the PRO Act (S420) and work toward its enactment. It’s the right thing to do for Alaska’s working families."
President Trumka on Worker-Focused Economic Recovery: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka joined Bloomberg TV's Balance of Power to discuss how critical it is to keep working people front and center throughout the economic recovery, and the importance of passing the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the PRO Act."
Black Workers in U.S. Saw Gains in June, but Racial Gap Persists: "The more rapid rebound in labor force participation for Black workers suggests that unemployment benefits may not be deterring Black people from looking for work, William Spriggs, an economics professor at Howard University and chief economist for the AFL-CIO labor group, wrote on Twitter."
Frito Lay Union Members Reject Latest Offer from Management. A Strike Is Set to Begin Monday: "Employees at Topeka's Frito Lay plant voted Saturday to reject a proposed labor contract with the company, paving the way for a strike to begin on Monday. While workers had previously voted to go on strike last week, negotiations between Local 218 of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers union and PepsiCo, Frito Lay's parent company, had continued in a bid to reach a deal. According to John Nave, executive vice president of Kansas AFL-CIO, the state's labor federation, a strike is the last thing workers want when negotiating union contracts. He expected donations from the community and other labor unions throughout the state as the strike date nears. 'It's kind of like the last line of defense,' Nave said. 'And that's a hard decision because it affects many, many people. Union members don't want to do that.... But when the company fails to do a fair negotiation at the bargaining table—and history has shown (Frito-Lay has) repeatedly failed to do that—then there's no other alternative.'"