Author: alameda-mmcadmin

2018 Unionist of the Year Dinner

Together, we are an unstoppable force for good. Community and Labor. Raising wages and stopping inequality. Raising standards and stopping abuse. Raising expectations and stopping despair.

We would love to have you join us in our celebration….

May 25, 2018 • Oakland Marriot
Reception 5:30pm Dinner 7pm

Contact Eleanor Angeles, Atty/Community Services Director
for sponsorship or advertisement information at (510) 632-4242 ext 106
or email: eleanor@alamedalabor.org

In Janus Case, Working People Continue Fight Championed by Martin Luther King Jr.

by Kenneth Quinnell via AFL-CIO

Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. joined the sanitation strikers in Memphis, Tennessee, who carried signs that boldly proclaimed “I Am a Man,” at a time when many employers rejected that very notion. King and the working people of Memphis fought for the freedom to join together in unions and to be treated with dignity and respect on the job.

Now, corporate lobbyists and the special interests that fund them are trying to undo many of the things King, the sanitation workers and many others have fought hard to win. Through a Supreme Court case, Janus v. AFSCME Local Council 31, they are ratcheting up their fight to divide and conquer us. These are the same extremists who are working to limit voting rights, roll back economic protections and gut the laws that protect working people.
The Supreme Court soon will hear the Janus case, and it will have a big impact on our voice in the workplace. Tomorrow, working people across the country will be standing up in defense of the freedoms that we’ve fought for with a day of action from coast to coast.

Working people across the country have been using their voice to reject the attacks on unions in the Janus case. Here are some highlights of what they’ve been saying.

Bonnee Breese Bentum, science teacher, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers: “As a teacher in the School District of Philadelphia for the past 16 years, I am living proof that being a member, a supporter and an activist in my local union assists not only the lives of our members, but also the consumers, the clients and the children we serve. Our contracts go far beyond what we do in the classroom or in an office. Our members withstood a four-year fight for a fair contract from a hostile School Reform Commission, driven by our state with an antiquated and unfair funding formula, and coupled with the force of a majority of politicians who opposed public schools and unions. We were able to win counselors and nurses for every public school; pay increases for staff after obtaining graduate degrees; and safe and healthy building conditions for all our children.”

Maureen Dugan, RN, University of California-San Francisco and board member of the California Nurses Association/NNOC: “With the union I have that platform where I can safely speak out for patient care. A lot of time in nonunion environments, nurses are intimidated and bullied into staying quiet. These hospitals that don’t have unions don’t care. It’s the union that brings many safety laws in legislation and public regulatory protections. It’s the union dues that fund those efforts. It’s the nurses in my hospital, in my region, in my whole state that make up the strength of our union and our ability to protect our patients, our license, and our profession.”

Dovard Howard, certified control systems technician in California, AFSCME Local 1902: “It is my job to make sure that the public has safe drinking water. There is no room for any mistakes. That’s why I am deeply concerned that this Supreme Court case threatens the ability of the skilled and dedicated people I work with to have a say about their future.”

Stephen Mittons, child protection investigator in Illinois, AFSCME Council 31: “My work as a child protection investigator for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is vital to the safety of our state’s most vulnerable children and families. This court case is yet another political attack on the freedom of my colleagues and I to speak up to ensure that we can safely and adequately manage our caseloads, which reflects our commitment to safety and public service to our community.”

Rich Ognibene, chemistry and physics teacher, Fairport (N.Y.) Educators Association: “Technological advances and societal changes make us more isolated, and we are hesitant to make commitments to others. We assume the wages, benefits, safety and social justice that we enjoy at work have always been there, and that they will never disappear. That’s a dangerous assumption. The benefits we have today were earned over many years of hard-fought negotiations; they could disappear tomorrow without our union. Billionaire CEOs are trying to destroy our community and create a Hunger Games scenario for workers. They want to remove our collective voice and reduce the quality of life for working families. We cannot let them succeed. Now, more than ever, we must fight to keep our unions strong.”

Sue Phillips, RN, Palomar Medical Center, Escondido, Calif.: “Union protection absolutely saves lives.”

Matthew Quigley, correctional officer in Connecticut, AFSCME Local 1565, Council 4: “Big-money corporations and super-wealthy special interests are trying to prevent correctional officers, firefighters, police officers and other working people from having the freedom to join together and create positive working conditions. When we belong to strong unions, we are better able to fight for staffing levels, equipment and training that save lives within state prisons and the communities where we work and live.”

Stephanie Wiley, child care attendant in Columbus, Ohio, AFSCME Local 4/OAPSE: “Our ability to speak together with a collective voice ensures that we can better assist children who need our help. That’s why I am deeply concerned about the Supreme Court case, which could severely limit our voice on the job and hurt our ability to best serve the children we care so much about.”

Labor Has a Special Responsibility to Stop Sexual Harassment

by Richard Trumka via California Labor Federation

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka delivered the following remarks at a labor movement convening on sexual harassment:

Good morning, everybody. And thank you for being here.

I want to start by reading the AFL-CIO Code of Conduct, which is also printed out on the cards in front of you. It is as follows:

The AFL-CIO is committed to providing an environment free from discrimination and harassment, regardless of an individual’s race, ethnicity, religion, color, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity or expression, ancestry, pregnancy, or any other characteristic prohibited by law.

As such, the AFL-CIO will not tolerate discriminatory, harassing or otherwise unacceptable behavior in the workplace or at any of its activities, events or meetings. It adopts the following code of conduct and expects everyone in the workplace—and those who participate in any of its activities, events or meetings—to abide by it.

Our designee for this meeting is Chris Neff, executive assistant to the secretary-treasurer. If you see or experience something that you think is prohibited by the code, please let Chris know.

Long before Harvey Weinstein became a household name, we adopted this comprehensive Code of Conduct that goes beyond the law of the land and is read at every AFL-CIO event throughout the country.

When we begin our union events with these important words, it’s a powerful signal that harassment, retaliation and discrimination won’t be tolerated; and it helps move the cultural change we need at work and in our unions.

This conversation we are about to have is long overdue. I am extremely proud of and humbled by the courage of women who are bringing the issue of sexual harassment to the forefront, including my sister and partner AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler.

I also want to recognize and thank the labor leaders who have joined us today, along with the incredible allies and partners who are leading this work and strengthening the important intersection of workers’, women’s and civil rights.

Together, we can create an America where every single person can work free from sexual harassment.

This meeting is so important. We need men and women working together to end sexual harassment in the workplace. And some of us are in positions of power to influence the culture in our organizations and workplaces. That’s right. I want to acknowledge my privilege.

I came from humble beginnings. And I’ve worked hard to get where I am today. But there is no denying I am a white man in a position of power. Social and cultural norms have been specifically enforced to benefit people like me.

When I go to work, I don’t have to worry about someone touching me inappropriately or judging me by what I’m wearing. I don’t have to live in fear of harassment or reprisal. When I speak with passion and conviction, no one calls me bossy.

Let me assert another hard truth.

Labor has been part of the problem.

The sexism and misogyny in our ranks has been tolerated for far too long. Some of you have personally experienced it. The looks. The comments. The innuendo.

This old boys’ club mentality must die, and it must die today.

Here is the good news: Labor is part of the solution.

We are still the greatest force for social change in America.

We can combat sexism with solidarity. We can tear down misogyny with movement building. We can use our contracts to discourage bad behavior and punish bad actors.

That’s exactly what we are focused on here today.

Let me leave you with this.

No worker should be treated like a piece of property.

No one should be touched, bullied, harassed, assaulted or discriminated against on the job.

We must do everything in our power to protect working people from sexism, misogyny, racism, xenophobia, transphobia and homophobia. And we must hold abusers accountable.

Every single person who lives and works in America has the right to do so safely.

And we have a special responsibility to make that happen.

I’m here today as the leader of the AFL-CIO because stopping sexual harassment is both an institutional priority and a moral necessity. But our conscience on this issue is my friend and partner Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler. I am committed to listening to her and working with all of you to make the needed changes to end sexual harassment once and for all.

Thank you.