News

On May 7, while recovering from an illness, Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) International President Larry Hanley died suddenly.  In a brief statement, his family,

Patt Moon-Updike wanted to be a nurse since she was 9 years old.

On Feb. 15, just days after massive layoffs at Activision Blizzard, the AFL-CIO issued a powerful public statement of support to game developers in the United States. Its message, published in an open letter at Kotaku, was both simple and profound.

This week, millions of consumers flocked to Amazon looking for a deal on Prime Day, which brought in more than $3.9 billion for the retail giant last year. Maybe you were one of those shoppers.

I was raised in a company house, in a company town, where the miners had to buy their own oilers – that is, rubber coveralls – drill bits, and other tools at the company store.

That company, Inco Limited, the world’s leading producer of nickel for most of the 20th century, controlled the town of Sudbury, Ontario, but never succeeded in owning the souls of the men and women who lived and worked there.

That’s because these were union men and women: self-possessed, a little rowdy, and well aware that puny pleas from individual workers fall on deaf corporate ears.

A year after a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that threatened to cripple public sector unions, they seem to be holding their own.

Government employees, it turns out, see value in belonging to unions. Membership in Illinois government unions actually has increased a year after the June 27, 2018, ruling in Janus vs. AFSCME, as Sun-Times Washington Bureau Chief Lynn Sweet reported in a recent column.

Raise a glass to the longest economic expansion in modern American history.

A full decade has passed since the end of the last recession, in June 2009, and the economy continues to grow. As of Monday, the current expansion surpassed the previous record for uninterrupted growth, set between 1991 and 2001.

But this time around, no one is accusing Americans of irrational exuberance: These good times don’t feel particularly good. Economic growth over the past decade has been slow and fragile, and most of the benefits have been claimed by a small minority of  the population.

On the morning of September 10, 2012, the bells rang to open Chicago’s public schools, but there were no teachers in the classrooms.

The night before, negotiations with Chicago’s reform-minded mayor, Rahm Emanuel, had gone south, and the new activist leaders of the city’s 25,000-member teachers union, clad all in red, walked out. Surrounded by a throng of cameras, they declared that their members would go on strike for the first time in 25 years.

Events

  • June 18- June 19: As hospitals around Western Mass announced plans to close mental health wings and the ICUs in Palmer and Westfield, nurses are organizing to save community services. There will be two Department of Public Health hearings that are an opportunity for the community to speak out about the need for local health services and what a closure would mean for them. The Mass Nurses Association is calling for public and union support for three upcoming events. To find out more information, contact Diane Scherrer at [email protected].

    • June 18, 4 p.m. in the Snow Conference Room at Baystate Wing Hospital at 40 Wright St. in Palmer, MA. Please attend the hearing if you are able, or consider submitting written testimony. 

    • June 19, 4 p.m. at Westfield Middle School, 30 West Silver St. in Westfield, MA. Please attend the hearing if you are able, or consider submitting written testimony.

    • June 19, 7 p.m. A Greenfield Town Council meeting in which councilors will consider a resolution to urge Baystate Health to preserve the inpatient mental health beds at Baystate Franklin Medical Center. The meeting will be held at the John Zon Community Center at 35 Pleasant St. in Greenfield, MA.

  • June 19: Pioneer Valley Assembly Meeting: 5:30 p.m. at 640 Page Blvd. in Springfield, MA. Contact: Assembly President, Fiore Grassetti, [email protected].

  • June 20: Massachusetts Jobs with Justice Regional Council Meeting. Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, 1380 Main St., Suite 203, Springfield, MA  01103 (2nd floor, end of the hall). Join Mass JwJ to celebrate their new office and hear updates of their current organizing campaigns. We’ll have a bite to eat at 5:30 p.m. and then a brief and informal meeting at 6:00 to talk about all that Jobs with Justice is up to. Contact: Alicia Flemings, [email protected].

  • June 25: Hampshire Franklin Assembly Meeting,  5:30 p.m., Pioneer Valley Workers Center, Northampton, MA. Contact: Assembly President, Patrick Burke, [email protected].

  • June 29: Berkshire Assembly Meeting, Saturday,  9:00 a.m., Elks Club, 27 Union St., Pittsfield, MA. Contact: Assembly President, Brian Morrisson, [email protected]

  • Northampton Association of School Employees Summertime Standouts. Every Thursday, 5:00-6:00 p.m., Northampton City Hall. Stand in solidarity with NASE every Thursday as they continue to fight for a fair wage increase in their next contract. 

  • September 10: Save the date for the Mass Nurses Association March for Mental Health. Starting in Greenfield, MA, at 7 a.m., community members will walk to the proposed site of the new "for profit" mental health facility that will replace the Mental Health Unit at Baystate Franklin Medical Center. The march will show just how far a person in Greenfield will have to travel to be treated for mental health care. 

News and Updates

Congratulations to AFSCME 1776. Since this fall, AFSCME 1776 has converted 260 seasonal employees to full-time benefited positions! This reclassification means better wages, more job security, and good benefits for hundreds of UMass Amherst workers. 

Mick Mulvaney, a millionaire who is President Trump’s acting chief of staff and director of the Office of Management and Budget, awarded himself another job last week: spokesman for labor.

As leaders of the AFL-CIO representing working people here in Ohio and across the country, we’ve seen firsthand the damage from bad trade agreements, and no deal has done more harm to working people than the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).