Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

How FirstEnergy CEO Is a ‘Poster Child for What Is Wrong in Our Country Today’

12.13.13

How FirstEnergy CEO Is a ‘Poster Child for What Is Wrong in Our Country Today’

FirstEnergy Corp.’s lockout of 150 utility workers in central Pennsylvania has stirred up a hornet’s nest that CEO Anthony Alexander already regrets.

Throwing workers off their jobs right before the holidays has energized working families in four states and focused negative international attention on the nation’s largest investor-owned electric utility company. As a result, Alexander has made himself the poster child for what is wrong in our country today.

“Our members were exercising their legal right to collectively bargain, something FirstEnergy obviously does not respect,” Utility Workers (UWUA) President D. Michael Langford said Nov. 25, the day the company locked out UWUA Local 180 members employed by the company’s Penelec utility in central Pennsylvania…

(read more of this article by clicking on the link below)

http://www.aflcio.org/Blog/Organizing-Bargaining/How-FirstEnergy-CEO-Is-a-Poster-Child-for-What-Is-Wrong-in-Our-Country-Today

Hurricane Sandy message from Richard Trumka- President, AFL-CIO

10.29.12

I’m in Washington, D.C., right now and conditions are getting progressively worse.

I hope you and your family are staying safe. We wanted to share with you some resources and tips for dealing with Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath.

Click here to check out this information now.

I also wanted to take a minute to thank all the workers who began preparing for the storm early, will be working through it and will keep up their work long after it passes to help repair and rebuild our communities.

Mario Cilento, president of the New York State AFL-CIO, said it best in a statement yesterday:

We’re hopeful that preparations will prove unnecessary, but we have peace of mind knowing that union workers–public sector, private sector and building trades–will be there for us: supermarket and retail workers making sure that supplies are available; utility and communication workers laboring day and night to keep the lights and phones on; police officers, firefighters and EMS professionals maintaining our safety; transportation workers preserving our subway, commuter rail and bus infrastructure; state, county and municipal employees keeping the roads clear; construction workers repairing our homes, businesses and communities; hospital workers providing care to our family, friends and neighbors; teachers and child care workers keeping our children safe until we can be with them; and hotel workers making sure there is a place to stay for those who cannot remain home.

Their work and the work of others will get our communities back up and running.

Find important resources and information for dealing with Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath at the link below:

http://go.aflcio.org/Stay-Safe

We hope you and your family and friends stay safe. Thanks for all you do.

In Solidarity,

Richard Trumka
President, AFL-CIO

Former Coal Miner Out-Mobilizes Millionaire in Big Win for W.Va. Workers

05.15.12

Former Coal Miner Out-Mobilizes Millionaire in Big Win for W.Va. Workers

by Nora Frederickson

Can a former coal miner win an election against a millionaire? Just ask Clyde McKnight.

A retired coal miner from southern West Virginia, he worked for more than 30 years in the mines and currently serves as the South Central AFL-CIO president. McKnight defeated millionaire and former gubernatorial candidate Melvin Kessler in the Democratic primary by a razor-thin margin of 52 votes this past Tuesday, a win in large part to the grassroots efforts of working people.

A former coal miner beating out a millionaire for a state representative seat was just one of the success stories in West Virginia’s primary election. More than one-third of the 100 candidates that the West Virginia AFL-CIO endorsed this year were union members. And they’re enjoying a high success rate –of the 34 union members who ran in the state primary on Tuesday, 30 won their races….

(Read the rest of this article at the link below.)

http://www.aflcio.org/Blog/Political-Action-Legislation/Former-Coal-Miner-Out-Mobilizes-Millionaire-in-Big-Win-for-W.Va.-Workers

AFT President Randi Weingarten Praises Community Engagement In Public Schools During Two Stops in West Virginia

08.30.11

AFT President Randi Weingarten Praises Community Engagement In Public Schools During Two Stops in West Virginia

2011 Back-to-School Tour Begins at Schools in Charleston and McDowell County

CHARLESTON, W.Va.—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, a national leader in efforts to improve schools, launched a coast-to-coast, back-to-school tour Monday with two stops in West Virginia.

At schools in Charleston and McDowell County, Weingarten highlighted collaborative efforts by school, union, parent, political, business and community leaders to strengthen schools and help students succeed by confronting poverty and other challenges with targeted programs and services.

In Charleston, Weingarten toured West Side Elementary School, one of two in the city that are becoming true community schools with the support of a grant from the AFT Innovation Fund and the help of an array of community partners, including the faith-based Hope Community Development Corp. She was accompanied for the tour and a round-table discussion at the school by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and First Lady Joanne Tomblin, former first lady Gayle Manchin, state schools Superintendent Jorea Marple and many others involved with the community school project.

“It takes the commitment of the entire community to ensure that its public schools are the best they can be,” Weingarten said. “That support is clearly in place at West Side Elementary as it becomes the hub of its community—a place not only for academics, but also a center where children can visit a health clinic and obtain other social and recreational services that will help them succeed.”

At a news conference, Weingarten, AFT-West Virginia President Judy Hale and school officials announced a partnership with First Book, a national organization that provides books to low-income children. On Monday, every student at West Side Elementary was able to take home two new books, all donated by First Book. The organization will make a similar donation to students at Stonewall Jackson Middle School. In addition, the AFT Innovation Fund presented the library at each school with a $1,000 grant to be used to purchase books at reduced prices through First Book’s marketplace, and First Book matched the grants with a $1,000 credit to each school.

In McDowell County, Weingarten visited Mount View High School, where she, Manchin and Marple had invited a diverse group of community partners to a round-table discussion of ideas and strategies for how the county school system can help overcome the difficult challenges of high unemployment and poverty that face McDowell students and their families. The county’s school system has struggled in an environment that includes one of the nation’s highest suicide rates and illegal drug use.

“With this meeting, we are opening a dialogue with state and local officials, parents and teachers, and many committed community partners to consider strategies for improving McDowell schools,” Weingarten said. “Our goal is to figure out what we might be able to do together to make the opportunities for kids better in McDowell County.”

Those participating in the discussion on Monday included representatives from Cisco and Frontier Communications, foundations and community groups, Save the Children, school board members and state legislators, as well as the president of Bluefield State College and the chancellor of the West Virginia Community and Technical College System.

“It is so exciting to see this broad-based support for public schools,” Weingarten said. “Rather than demonizing teachers and defunding public education as is happening in so many places across the country, West Virginia leaders, parents and teachers are stepping up to the challenge of making schools better.”

For stories and photos of the “Making a Difference Every Day” tour, see: www.aft.org/difference. The tour includes stops in Charleston and McDowell County, W. Va.; Palm Beach, Fla.; Hartford, Conn.; Tacoma and Seattle, Wash.; Detroit; Austin, Texas; and Long Island, N.Y.

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The AFT represents 1.5 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.

Union Proposes Hot Dog Sale to Protest Tax Breaks

07.26.11

Union Proposes Hot Dog Sale to Protest Tax Breaks

By Kristina Peterson

A pair of union leaders in West Virginia announced their own plan to help cut the budget deficit and protest at the same time – by selling hot dogs.

The AFL-CIO’s West Virginia President Kenny Purdue and Secretary-Treasurer Larry Matheney announced the “Help the Really Rich Hot Dog Sales” in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) this week. The stunt is to protest GOP efforts not to raise taxes as part of any deficit-reduction deal.

In the wrangling over the debt ceiling, Democrats and Republicans have clashed repeatedly over whether to end the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest taxpayers, and over narrow tax breaks for owners of corporate jets and yachts, among other proposals….

Read the rest of this article at the link below

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2011/07/21/union-proposes-hot-dog-sale-to-protest-tax-breaks/?fb_ref=article_top&fb_source=profile_oneline

Labor Unions May Have To Abandon Obama to Beat Corporate America

05.16.10

Published by AlterNet / Written By Mike Elk

Labor Unions May Have To Abandon Obama to Beat Corporate America

Labor unions need to start fighting their battles in the workplace, not on Capitol Hill.
May 13, 2010 |

As president of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka is emerging as the voice of an increasingly irrelevant labor movement. As unionized work sinks to only 7 percent of the private sector, the labor movement is losing its influence within the Democratic Party. To revitalize labor, Trumka must not only challenge Democratic leaders, but wage political battles outside the bounds of party politics by bringing labor back to its working-class activist roots.

The failure of President Barack Obama to make a major push on the Employee Free Choice Act ## let alone give even a single speech dedicated to the topic ## is a telling sign of organized labor’s declining momentum inside the Beltway. As Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson noted in February, “For American labor, year one of Barack Obama’s presidency has been close to an unmitigated disaster.” Labor ranks so low on the president’s list of priorities that a new generation of Obama activists is now planning for a political environment altogether devoid of the labor movement….

Read more at:

AlterNet article link
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Mike Elk is a third-generation union organizer who writes for Campaign for America’s Future. He previously worked for the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers (UE).

33 States Reported Job Growth in March

04.17.10

33 States Reported Job Growth in March

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania recorded sizable gains in employment in March and were among 33 states posting increases.

In its monthly look at state job trends, the Labor Department said Friday that Maryland led the country with a gain of 35,800 payroll jobs last month. Virginia and Pennsylvania also posted increases that topped 20,000 in the month.

By contrast, Michigan continued to have the nation’s highest unemployment rate and also led the country in job losses in March with a decline of 9,500. Nevada and Florida also posted sizable job losses and were among 17 states recording job losses in the month.

Nationally, the unemployment remained unchanged at 9.7 percent in March while payrolls grew by 162,000, the biggest gain in three years.

The department’s report Friday showed how the job gains and losses were distributed among the states.

The increases in nonfarm payroll employment occurred in 33 states and the District of Colombia. In February, only 23 states had seen job gains while 27 states and the District of Columbia had recorded job losses…..

Read the rest of this article at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/17/business/economy/17jobless.html?th&emc=th

W.Va. Coal Mine Blast Kills 6, 21 Miners Missing

04.05.10

W.Va. Coal Mine Blast Kills 6, 21 Miners Missing

by Mike Hall, Apr 5, 2010

http://blog.aflcio.org/2010/04/05/wva-coal-mine-blast-kills-6-21-miners-missing/#more-27732

An explosion at a Raleigh County, W.Va., coal mine late this afternoon killed six miners and 21 other coal miners remain unaccounted for, according to news reports. The Associated Press reports that the blast occurred at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine

Mine rescue crews, including those from the Mine Workers (UMWA), were dispatched to the mine. There are no further reports about the missing miners.

The non-union mine is operated by Massey subsidiary Performance Coal Co. In a statement, UMWA Workers President Cecil Roberts says “hearts and prayers of all UMWA members are with the families of those lost today. “

He says the mine rescue teams are “putting their lives on the line, entering a highly dangerous mine to bring any survivors to safety.”

As a mine operated by a subsidiary of Massey Energy, the Upper Big Branch mine is a nonunion mine. Nevertheless, I have dispatched highly trained and skilled UMWA personnel to the immediate vicinity of the mine, and they stand ready to offer any assistance they can to the families and the rescuers at this terrible and anxious time. We are all brothers and sisters in the coalfields at times like this.

The AP reports that three miners have been killed at the mine since 1998, the most recent in 2003 when an electrician died after being electrocuted while repairing a shuttle car there

We will follow the rescue efforts and bring you updates.

Expanding our website service area to include West Virginia

08.06.09

At the suggestion of Clem Guttata, we are going to expand our news & views coverage area to include West Virginia.

You can help by emailing relevant information to demlabor@aol.com.