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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.

Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, on Thursday morning accused President Trump of breaking his promises to bring more manufacturing and infrastructure jobs to working Americans.

They were some of Mr. Trumka’s strongest comments to date — and a recognition that even labor leaders who were willing to give Mr. Trump a chance four years ago are no longer open to finding common ground.

Belonging to a union is not a panacea for all that plagues workers during a pandemic, as many hospital and other workers short on protective gear can attest. Still, being covered by a collective bargaining does increase the chances of having medical coverage and paid sick time — benefits that are particularly important during a public health crisis — a new study finds. Nearly all, or 94%, of workers covered by a union contract have access to employee-sponsored health benefits, compared to 68% of nonunion workers, according to recent research published by the Economic Policy Institute.

One way to view President Donald Trump’s executive actions last week on COVID relief is that they represent unlawful overreach. But that would imply that while his actions are illegal, they are nevertheless effective — and therein lies the core problem. What our showman president signed last week was nothing more than smoke and mirrors. 

In March, working families across the country started to scramble. Our homes were transformed into makeshift classrooms, summer camps and daycare centers as the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered schools and child care facilities.

More than three years after taking office, the administration has never filled the job running the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which is charged with enforcing workplace safety laws. The $560 million-a-year agency, whose estimated 2,000 inspectors performed 32,020 on-site inspections in 2018, spent months not doing any in-person inspections related to coronavirus, other than in hospitals, said Rebecca Reindel, director of occupational safety and health for the AFL-CIO.

Working people are bearing the brunt of this global pandemic and economic crisis. The physical toll, death, pain, and suffering that Oregon’s frontline and essential workers have experienced is unprecedented.

Coupled with the economic collapse that has exacerbated long-term inequities for low wage workers and BIPOC communities, workers are hurting and they need protections.

Daniel DiSalvo asks: “Will Unions Let Schools Reopen?” (op-ed, June 30). Of course! The AFT published our school reopening plan in April. We said it isn’t a question of whether to reopen, but how to do it safely. We need the infrastructure and investment to physically distance, stagger classes, provide personal protective equipment and test, trace and isolate new cases.