UNITE HERE Local 23 Renews Contract at Westin

Congratultaions to members of UNITE HERE Local 23 on their new contract at The Atlanta Westin Peachtree Plaza that includes new job security language. 

Local 23 President Wanda Brown, a bartender at the Westin and the President of Local 23 Atlanta, talks about the struggle for the new contract. 

“There is nothing we cannot do or win if we work together. We didn’t just negotiate at the table, we did actions and showed the Westin Peachtree that we were serious and united.”

How does it feel to win such a great contract after a long fight? 
“It feels good. We fought for this together and we should be proud of our victory together. It was so great to see all my coworkers coming together. When we did the photo campaign we all worked really hard to make sure that workers knew what was at stake. We wanted all of our coworkers to have the opportunity to take a photo and be involved. It didn’t matter if that person was in our department or not. We worked together to win.”

 

Congratulations  to AFSCME Local 1644 on a successful Back to School drive.  Thanks to all who donated to the effort.

CEO pay for major companies in the United States rose nearly 6% in the past year, as income inequality and the outsourcing of good-paying American jobs have increased. According to the new AFL-CIO Executive Paywatch, the average CEO of an S&P 500 Index company made $13.94 million in 2017—361 times more money than the average U.S. rank-and-file worker.

Tefere Gebre came to the United States in 1984 as a teenager. He and four friends had left their home in war-torn Ethiopia and walked nearly 500 miles across the desert to a refugee camp in Sudan.

Joseph Stiglitz, a professor at Columbia University, who was the Nobel laureate in economics in 2001, spoke at a talk on Monday with Damon Silvers, the director of policy and special counsel at the AFL-CIO, part of a day-long strategy session on “Bargaining for the Common Good in the World of Global Finance” held by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung office in New York, a non-profit political German foundation.

House Democratic candidates in town this week for training at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Washington got a visit from AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka for some tips on how they can win back working-class voters.

“I don’t have to tell you that you can’t count on the D next to your name to gain our support,” Trumka told Democratic leadership and a room full of candidates on Red to Blue, the DCCC’s program for its strongest candidates.

In the belly of the political beast in DC, grassroots organizers gathered at AFL-CIO headquarters to discuss collective action under Trump, beyond the beltway. Activists representing teachers, housekeepers, graduate students, and airline workers talked about union power in the wake of the Janus decision and keeping hope alive for the next generation of young labor leaders.

The moment you may have been dreading arrived June 27, when the Supreme Court imposed the open shop on the public sector nationwide with its decision in Janus v. AFSCME District 31.

Their membership has been declining for decades. They’ve been bedeviled by crippling new laws, and by a devastating U.S. Supreme Court decision just this week. From all appearances, it would seem that labor unions are an endangered species.

But here’s the surprise: Organized labor is showing new signs of life.

In Janus v. AFSCME, the US Supreme Court's conservative 5-4 majority held that public employees cannot be required by state law to pay a fair share of the cost of services that unions must provide members and nonmembers alike.

Janus comes a month after Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, where the same majority decided employees can be required by companies to submit all workplace grievances to private arbitration and waive their rights both to go to court and join together in class-action lawsuits.

The radical conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court have twice now in two months ganged up on working Americans, denying them their right to band together to achieve mutual goals.   

Through all the celebration of LGBTQ Pride this month, there’s been a valuable opportunity to reflect on the hard-fought victories, brutal setbacks, and tenacious struggles that have ultimately delivered so much for so many. And just as importantly, there has been time to think about what lies ahead in that fight for justice.