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All this is fine as far as it goes. But we need to be more ambitious. We should be raising the federal minimum to $15 an hour. Here are seven reasons why: 1. Had the minimum wage of 1968 simply stayed even with inflation, it would be more than $10 an hour today. But the typical worker is also about twice as productive as then. Some of those productivity gains should go to workers at the bottom. 2. $10.10 isn’t enough to lift all workers and their families out of poverty. Most low-wage workers aren’t young teenagers; they’re major breadwinners for their families, and many are women. And they and their families need a higher minimum. Read more >>>

It’s good to be a CEO, at least paywise. According to the 2014 AFL-CIO Executive PayWatch, released today, it’s 331 times better to be a CEO than an average worker. PayWatch finds that the average CEO of an S&P 500 company pocketed $11.7 million in 2013, while the average worker earned $35,293. The gap between CEOs and minimum wage workers is more than twice as wide—774 times. Read more >>>

http://vimeo.com/91550135

View the documentary by clicking HERE

CCTA BUS DRIVERS SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE
PRESS RELEASE
For Information: James Haslam, VT Workers’ Center,
Date: April 3rd, 2014

CCTA DRIVERS & THE RIDING PUBLIC WIN A JUST CONTRACT
VICTORY RALLY: 5:00 PM CHURCH & CHERRY, BURLINGTON

[Burlington, VERMONT] Chittenden County Transit Authority (CCTA) bus drivers, members of Teamsters Local 597 will announce to the public their settlement to end the strike and vote to accept a new contract today.

“We won this fair contract because of our unity and the tremendous support from our community. This strike was hard on us and on the community, there was a great deal of self-sacrifice from many people. This contract meets our core concerns, including those that relate to public safety,” says Rob Slingerland, CCTA bus driver and spokesperson for the drivers.

According to James Haslam, director of the Vermont Workers Center, “In the current context of the attack on public transit, the public sector and the labor movement nationally, this is a tremendous victory for work with dignity that benefits all working people in the long haul. It was a amazing example of the community rallying behind workers. There was no doubt this was hard on the riders, but the level of solidarity was tremendous.”

Management forced the drivers to strike by stonewalling negotiations for ten months, refusing to engage in an honest, respectful discussion of the drivers’ basic demands for safe shifts, fair disciplinary and grievance procedures, and humane working conditions. Additionally, years of predatory management practices created a toxic work environment, fueling justified distrust on the part of the drivers.

This strike was triggered by CCTA managements’ intransigence and arrogance. They held the public hostage for three weeks, canceled healthcare coverage for the drivers and their families, and threatened to hire strikebreaking replacement workers, intending to intimidate the drivers at the negotiating table. In the face of all this, the drivers showed tremendous courage and unity, while the public and other unions rallied to the drivers’ side.

Now the drivers are headed back to work stronger than ever before, having developed many new rank and file leaders. With the tremendous backing of Teamsters Local 597, other unions and the community, they will continue to win the respect and dignified work that they deserve.

There will be a victory celebration this evening, April 3rd at 5:00 pm at Church and Cherry Streets, Burlington.

At 4:00 pm immediately before the rally, a community delegation will be attending a special meeting of the CCTA Board of Commissioners to deliver a petition signed by over 500 community members calling for new management at CCTA. This meeting is at Shelburne Town Hall on 5420 Shelburne Road.

###

 

Nights of Labor Studies

Daryl Mosely was desperate for a better opportunity to support his family. Frustrated by his retail job’s low wages and disappointed by the small yearly raises, when his father—a union plumber and former apprentice—encouraged him to apply for an apprenticeship program, Mosely was all ears. Read the full article>>>

 

On behalf of the 900 members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, I am proud to express our support for the hard-working men and women of Teamsters Local 597 in their struggle to protect the wages, benefits, working conditions, and basic collective bargaining rights workers have fought for and deserve. We know from our own experience at BART that workers do not take the decision to withhold their labor lightly; it is a hardship that workers undergo to stand up to defend what workers before them have fought for, and to demand the fair treatment they are due. After enduring two strikes of our own this past year, it is inspiring to see the members of Teamsters Local 597 standing up with such strength!

Employers often underestimate the strength of workers standing together and what those workers can achieve. In the past several years, attacks on public sector unions have increased, with the goal of wiping out the collective voice of workers. The effects harm not only unionized workers, but all workers, since workers standing together set standards for others. The attacks on public sector workers are not only attacks on workers, but an attack on public service and those that depend on public services. These are often the more disenfranchised members of our communities. As workers, community members, and those who depend on public service have come to see such attacks for what they are, public support has increased for those workers willing and able to hold the line against such attacks. For this, we applaud the members of Teamsters Local 597 for standing strong and the community that stands with them.

ATU 1555 calls on the CCTA to end their needless attacks on the men and women who make the CCTA work. Unless management is willing to accept the same conditions they ask of their workers, management has no right to ask those who make the system work to give up more time from their families and lives for a longer day.

On behalf of the members of ATU Local 1555 and in solidarity with the members of Teamsters Local 597,

Chris Finn, President / Business Agent, ATU Local 1555, Oakland, CA

The CCTA Teamster bus drivers have reached a roadblock in their efforts to negotiate a contract that is humane for those behind the wheel and safe for all of us on the road. The issues:

  • Drivers face 12.5 hours behind the wheel, over a split shift of 15 hours, and some drivers driving as many as six days in a row week after week without needed rest.
  • CCTA Management wants to use more part-time drivers who may be driving under-trained and over-tired from working other jobs.
  • When drivers raise concerns about unsafe and disrespectful conditions--such as insufficient time for bathroom breaks--the management response has been, in essence, "Shut up and drive. We run the company. You just drive buses."
  • Failing to solve scheduling problems, managers are subjecting workers to inhumane and unsafe working hours.
  • Drivers face routine abuse: restrictive surveillance and arbitrary discipline, lack of bathroom breaks, and violation of constitutional rights to speak out about management’s neglect of public safety.
  • New immigrant drivers face discrimination with no respect for cultural and religious holidays.

    Take Action Here!
Read more >>>

Vermont State Employee Association (VSEA) members have overwhelmingly endorsed an ambitious legislative agenda for the upcoming 2014 session. The agenda—which was developed by rank-and-file members of the union’s Legislative Committee — includes priority, union-wide issues like stopping the abuse of temporary workers, preventing the further costly privatization of state government and protecting the identities of workers who blow the whistle on corruption and fraud.
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Please call Saint Michael’s College President John Neuhauser at 802-654-2211. Ask him to commit to a fair contract now for AFSCME Custodians and justice for two wrongly fired union leaders. For info: Listen Here

 

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Below is a link that will take you to the "We The People" web site where you can sign a petition to save the Postal Service supported by the NALC, APWU and NPMHU. This is in support of Congressman Peter DeFazio's bill (HR 630), known as the "Postal Service Protection Act" (and the companion Senate bill, S-316, sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders), which would:

prevent post offices from shutting down
support a comprehensive postal reform package that would end the unnecessary pre-funding of retiree health benefits
mandate six-day mail delivery
preserve overnight delivery standards
allow for creation of new streams of revenue through non-postal services
return pension overpayments to the Postal Service, and
save decent middle-class jobs.
Please take a couple of minutes to support this important effort.

Please ask your friends, family members, neighbors, Facebook "friends", etc. to show their support for the USPS by signing it.

Here's how:
Click this link.

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Vermont's leading voices for working families and the environment are united and speak with one voice when it comes to renewable in-state energy production. We, the Vermont AFL-CIO, the Vermont Building and Construction Trades Council, the Iron Workers Local 7, 350Vermont, and the Vermont Sierra Club, agree that renewable energy production is necessary if we are to become energy independent, environmentally responsible and carbon neutral.

AFL-CIO Now Blog -- Recent News Stories

The Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is the state federation of labor representing over 10,000 members in numrous unions throughout Vermont. The mission of the Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is to improve the lives of working families—to bring economic justice to the workplace and social justice to our state and the nation.

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