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Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Texas AFL-CIO Fights for the Right to Vote Safely

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, an anti-worker politician, is making a last-minute attempt to suppress votes ahead of unexpectedly competitive elections in the Lone Star State. With a month left to vote, Abbott signed an executive order on Thursday limiting each county to only one drop-off site for those voters who wish to turn in their ballots early. Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy (TSEU/CWA) responded, calling it an attempt to suppress the right to vote:

“All working families need to know about our power to change Texas at the polls is [yesterday’s] attempt by Gov. Greg Abbott to rig his own rules at the 11th hour to suppress the vote. Poll after poll shows Republicans losing their decades-old grip on power. Abbott's desperate order must not stand, and working families will not stand for it. In the most...

National Hispanic Heritage Month Profiles: Esther López

UFCW

Throughout National Hispanic Heritage Month, the AFL-CIO will be profiling labor leaders and activists to spotlight the diverse contributions Hispanics and Latinos have contributed to our movement. Today's profile features Esther López.

López first connected with the labor movement in high school. Because she was bilingual, she volunteered to register Latino voters and get them to the polls. From there, she never turned back.

As her post-school career progressed, she began to play an active role in improving labor conditions in Illinois. She served as deputy chief of staff for the state's Department of Labor before going on to lead the department.

In November 2006, López joined the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) as director of the Civil Rights and Community Action Department. She served on the front lines of battles against voter suppression, ending exploitation of refugees, expanding opportunities for women and pursuing LGBTQ equality, including overseeing the launch of UFCW's LGBTQ constituency group, OUTreach. She created the UFCW's Union...

Economy Gains 661,000 Jobs in September; Unemployment Declines to 7.9%

The U.S. economy gained 661,000 jobs in September, and the unemployment rate declined to 7.9%, according to figures released Friday morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The improvements reflect the continued resumption of economic activity that previously was curtailed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to the September job numbers, AFL-CIO Chief Economist William Spriggs tweeted:

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 661,000 in September, and the unemployment rate declined to 7.9 percent. Employment dropped for women, so this decline reflects lower labor force participation for women. @AFLCIO
— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) October 2, 2020

 

#JobsReport unemployment rate dropped, but the share of white women and of Black men who were employed dropped, both their labor force participation rates dropped, so the 7.9% unemployment rate is not showing that much improvement for workers. @AFLCIO
— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) October 2, 2020

 

#JobsReport for the second straight month, the unemployment...

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: MM&P Backs COVID-19 Relief Funding for Maritime Security Program

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

Masters, Mates & Pilots (MM&P) thanked the House leadership and supports the new version of the HEROES Act, introduced in Congress earlier this week to provide COVID-19 relief. The legislative package includes emergency funding for the Maritime Security Program, which provides America’s military access to a variety of vessels, including privately owned U.S.-flag ships operated by members of MM&P and other U.S. maritime unions. “Increased funding is needed to maintain the supply chain for American troops overseas and keep the U.S. flag flying aboard merchant ships engaged in international trade,” said MM&P President Donald Marcus. The legislation provides an additional $500,000 in fiscal year 2021 for each vessel participating in the Maritime Security Program.

The...

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Poor People’s Campaign Marches on the Supreme Court

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, led 100 leaders of different faiths in a silent march from Capitol Hill to the Supreme Court to honor the lives of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Breonna Taylor, and to remind us all of the importance and urgency of voting. “My brothers and sisters, I would rather not be here to render judgment on what’s going on. But I do know there comes a time when the men and women of God have to call it,” Barber explained. “This isn’t about left or right, this is about sin and unrighteousness. It’s about time we use that word in Washington, D.C. It’s about time we call it what it is.” Faith leaders spoke on the steps of the Supreme Court about the injustice America is experiencing. Watch the full event here...

Vote for Worker-Friendly Candidates: In the States Roundup

It's time once again to take a look at the ways working people are making progress in the states. Click on any of the links to follow the state federations on Twitter.

Alaska State AFL-CIO:

On Day 26 of Labor Month, we thank our nurses like Kimberly Kluckman, member of @AlaskaNurses and nurse at Providence, who are on the frontlines of #COVIDー19. Again, for their sake, let’s remember to mask up, wash our hands, and socially distance.#alaskaunionstrong #nursesrock pic.twitter.com/wtnu66oBYK
— Alaska AFL-CIO (@AKAFLCIO) September 26, 2020

California Labor Federation:

We can smell the desperation through the app. Shameful. #NoOnProp22 https://t.co/PY2S3q1wY6
— California Labor Federation #NoOnProp22 (@CaliforniaLabor) September 28, 2020

Connecticut AFL-CIO:

.@AFSCMECT4 Exec. Dir. Jody Barr: "Once again, the state ends up hiring outside consultants rather than partnering with workers to find savings and plan for the future."...

A Big Organizing Win in the South: Worker Wins

Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with one of the largest hospital organizing victories in the South since 1975 and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life. 

In Landslide Organizing Victory, Asheville Nurses Vote to Form a Union with National Nurses United: By an overwhelming vote of 70% in favor, nurses at Mission Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, have emphatically delivered one of the largest hospital organizing victories in the South since 1975. Some 1,800 registered nurses (RNs) at the for-profit health care facility have been engaged in an organizing struggle for many months to form a union with NNU. What began as a robust grassroots effort before the pandemic became even more urgent as COVID-19 swept across the community. The nurses at Mission Hospital will now have a strong voice on the job to collectively fight for workplace safety and improved care for their patients following the vote tally that concluded early this morning. Along the way, the Mission RNs prevailed over a heavily funded anti-union campaign by the...

Service + Solidarity Spotlight: UWUA Helps America’s Veterans Transition to Good Jobs

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

The Utility Workers’ (UWUA’s) Power for America Training Trust Fund (P4A) announced last week it is the recipient of a $200,000 Lumina Foundation grant to help service members successfully transition into post-military careers. The union said this grant will help P4A replicate the success of its gas sector training-to-placement program that’s benefited more than 700 veterans since 2012. “The utility sector has a lot to offer veterans and service members, including a supportive team environment and a mission-driven ethos to serve communities,” said UWUA President James Slevin. “This important grant funding will help more individuals take full advantage of the skills they learned in the military and smoothly launch them into high-wage, family-supporting careers.” The funding will help some 100 service...

A Model for the Labor Movement: 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 the latest edition of the Working People Weekly List.

Organizing Wins in Minneapolis Serve as a Model for the Labor Movement: "More than six months have passed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., and more workers across America are joining together in solidarity to create changes in our workplaces. Minneapolis is one city that has seen a wave of worker actions and organizing wins in the hospitality sector, and the labor movement’s successes there will undoubtedly inspire workers in other parts of the country who are looking to form a union."

National Hispanic Heritage Month Profiles: Dora Cervantes: "Throughout National Hispanic Heritage Month, the AFL-CIO will be profiling labor leaders and activists to spotlight the diverse contributions Hispanics and Latinos have contributed to our movement. Today's profile covers Dora Cervantes."

50 Reasons the Trump Administration Is Bad for Workers: "As a candidate, Donald Trump...

#ExtendPSP: 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.

Actors' Equity:

Justice has not been served - Not for Breonna Taylor, not for her family or for the community of Louisville. Her death was a tragedy and Wednesday’s decision acts as a reminder of the systemic racism that still plagues our country.
— Actors' Equity (@ActorsEquity) September 25, 2020

AFGE:

“We feel like our Com­man­der in Chief has waged war on his troops. The staff is burned out and liv­ing in fear.” https://t.co/3ty6yPqjPr
— AFGE (@AFGENational) September 25, 2020

AFSCME:

To ensure Election Day runs smoothly, AFSCME launched a new poll worker program during a tele-town hall last night. https://t.co/NGqzqBFRr0
— AFSCME (@...