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-Self Determination For Black People In The U.S.; -Free All Black Political Prisoners; -The Murders Must Be Stopped; -Black Lives Matter. Vermont AFL-CIO Position Statement On The Fight Against Racism: Now Is The Time For Unity & Action! June 28, 2020, Montpelier, VT - Black Lives Matter. The Vermont AFL-CIO understands and recognizes that the United States of America is a nation which has long been governed by a ruling class whose power (social and economic) is rooted in slavery, racism, inequity, and oppression. We further see with clear eyes that Black people, whose ancestors were brought to this country in chains, have suffered (and continue to suffer) oppression on a massive and inexcusable scale. Such facts are made plain by not only looking at history, but also by looking at contemporary unemployment figures, poverty rates, average household income, incarceration rates, and through policing data. People who are Black are also murdered by American police officers with sickening regularity. George Floyd was not an exception. He, like Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, Terence Crutcher, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray (to name but a few), was one of the latest in a long line of martyrs going back hundreds of years (and accounting for thousands of taken lives). We must not become numb to these murders. We cannot accept that Black families must educate their children on how to not become the target of unprovoked police violence. We cannot allow systematic racism and police violence against Black people to continue as the regularity that it has always been. Rather, we must resist.
A New Path Towards Progressive Change For Labor Organized Labor has been the most powerful force for change in the History of the United States of America. From the 8 hour day/40 hour work week, the establishment of the weekend, livable wages (in Union shops), to workplace safety standards; Labor has won these foundational victories through collective action and solidarity. However, for some decades Labor, nationally, has been on the decline...We can (and must) be a social and political power once again; one capable not only of defending against the attacks we now face from DC, but also of going on the offensive and delivering positive life altering changes for working people. But we will not achieve our potential if we stay on the road more traveled....

The core principle of organized labor in America has always been a commitment to fairness and opportunity for all working people — it’s why collective bargaining agreements have long included robust and durable protections that reflect a commitment not only to union members, but to the common good of all our communities and the people who live and work in them.

The Rural Electrification Act was signed into law 85 years ago this month. It was a visionary infrastructure program for the 20th century, the centerpiece of a federal energy investment strategy that brought growth and prosperity to the South, the West, and across rural America. Because of these investments, generations of Americans were wealthier, healthier and led better lives.

Today’s energy infrastructure challenges are no less daunting. We must invest quickly and decisively to reduce emissions and stem climate change, and to improve our lagging competitiveness. New infrastructure must also deliver results on social equity, inequality, and systemic racism, 21st century crises whose solutions cannot be deferred.

In 2020, Union Plus was able to give more than $2 million in hardship help to union members, plus some end-of-year gifts for extraordinary union members who were nominated by their communities. One hardship grant recipient was Beau Bittner. Bittner, a member of the UAW, worked on the line at an automaker factory in Louisville, Kentucky, performing torque inspections and ensuring the quality of big-name trucks and SUVs. He comes from a long line of union members and is heavily involved in his UAW local union.

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler visited Mine Workers (UMWA) members yesterday in Brookwood, Alabama, who are striking against Warrior Met Coal in their fight for a fair contract. In addition to visiting the picket lines, Shuler spoke at a rally alongside UMWA International President Cecil Roberts and AFGE President Everett Kelly. The miners have been on strike since April 1 and don’t plan on slowing down until they reach their goals of fair pay and a safer workplace.