News

The NWPA Area Labor Federation is excited to be able to offer the following classes via ZOOM.

John Sweeney, who led an era of transformative change in America’s labor movement, passed away Feb. 1 at the age of 86.

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.

The American Jobs Plan is not threatened by America’s labor movement. It is strengthened by us and the inclusion of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act.

Let’s clarify a few points. First, the PRO Act will not “force Americans” into anything. Instead, it will give workers the choice to form a union through a free and fair election. That’s not a power grab—just workplace democracy.

As the president of the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE), I lead a coalition of 24 national unions representing more than four million professionals. Through bargaining for pay, benefits, and working conditions, our affiliates’ members have created sustainable, family-supporting careers in their industries. While these workplace improvements have raised standards for all professionals, employees of color tend to see some of the greatest gains from union membership.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) announcement last week that fully vaccinated people no longer have to wear masks or socially distance came as a great relief to millions of people who have been vaccinated. But it has also led to confusion and chaos in workplaces and other locations where vaccinated and unvaccinated people mix.

In a stark illustration of how current U.S. labor law is tilted against workers, two experts on changing it—AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler and Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich., a former top union organizer—say the Protect The Right To Organize (Pro) Act would have basically outlawed Amazon’s high-pressure tactics that defeated the union organizing drive at its big warehouse in Bessemer, Ala.