Transportation workers struggle to deal with an unruly public during pandemic

Since January, the aviation industry alone has had over 4,000 unruly passenger reports, 3,000 mask related incidents and 750 investigated events, according to Greg Regan, President of the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO.

Regan joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss how transportation workers are struggling to deal with an increasingly unruly public in the middle of a pandemic. He also discussed why pandemic supply chain shortages are largely due to corporate greed and the industry’s insistence on running bare bones operations in an effort to squeeze profits. Continue reading

Fewer ships are flying the U.S. flag. What does this mean for America?

Many American cargo ships are fleeing the U.S. merchant marine in favor of countries with less regulations and lower paid workers. As a result, fewer ships are flying under the U.S. flag. That creates a national security crisis and can hold the transport of American goods hostage to foreign ship owners. Even the Defense Department may not be able to access the goods it needs due to a lack of American ships.

Don Marcus, President of the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots, joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the fight to keep the American flag on merchant ships to protect jobs, maintain the flow of American shipping goods and protect national security.

He also discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected maritime workers, as well as his recent visit to the White House to hear President Biden speak during a Labor Day event. Continue reading

USW redistricting: District 2 to be absorbed into Districts 1 and 7

Michael Bolton, Director of United Steelworkers (USW) District 2 will not run for re-election. The International decided not to replace his position and will instead absorb his district into other districts. District 2 covers steelworkers in Michigan and Wisconsin. Michigan steelworkers will be absorbed into District 1 in Ohio; Wisconsin steelworkers will be absorbed into District 7 in Indiana and Illinois.

USW District 1 Director Donnie Blatt, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the Union’s redistricting efforts — and why the move will strengthen and solidify both districts through larger numbers and a stronger voice.

He also discussed COVID-19 vaccinations and what the USW is doing to encourage worker vaccinations in order to protect its members and their families. Continue reading

Better wages, not government subsidies, are key to defeating poverty

Are the poor to blame for their conditions and struggles? Should government benefits subsidize the low wages of working class people at places like fast food restaurants or nursing homes? Should the middle class bear the financial burden of paying for these benefits or should the wealthy and corporations pay higher taxes?

Sherry Linkon, Contributor to Working Class Perspectives, joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss these issues. She also discussed a new Showtime series, American Rust, and the portrayal of the American Rustbelt in movies and television. Continue reading

Vaccine mandates create a safe space for artists and audiences

Len DiCosimo, President of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) Local 4, joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss mask requirements and vaccine mandates, particularly at concerts and theater performances.

He also discussed how the American Rescue Plan helped artists, musicians and venues recover from the financial devastation of the pandemic — and why the arts need to stick together through these trying times. Continue reading

Congress must address federal debt ceiling

According to an analysis by Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi, if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling and the U.S. is unable to pay its debts, the country could fall into another recession. He believes upwards of 6 million jobs could be lost, $15 trillion in household wealth could be erased and the unemployment rate could double.

Bill Samuel, AFL-CIO Director of Government Affairs, joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss why he thinks Congress will raise the debt ceiling. He also discussed the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill as well as the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and why both bills have a high likelihood of eventually passing. Continue reading

Brooklyn oil workers enter fifth month of labor strike

Brooklyn oil workers at the United Metro Energy Corp. in New York City have been on strike for five months, as they demand a fair union contract after two years of failed negotiations.

Since April 19, the workers have maintained a 24-hour picket line.

They joined Teamsters Local 553 in February 2019 and since that time have been fighting for a contract. The essential workers supply New York with heating oil, diesel and gasoline — but are paid as much as 50 percent less than similar workers doing the same job in the same area. They also receive inferior health and retirement benefits. Continue reading

Improving building insulation fights climate change, saves money

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports buildings account for roughly 40 percent of energy consumption in the U.S.

According to numerous studies, improved insulation is the most cost effective and efficient approach to improve energy efficiency in buildings, and slow climate change.

Pete Ielmini, Executive Director of the Mechanical Insulators Labor Management Cooperative Trust (LMCT), joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss climate change and how mechanical insulation can cut greenhouse gas emissions and save money, effectively paying for itself within six months to two years. Continue reading

Ohio teachers’ union calls on governor to institute school mask mandate

The Ohio Federation of Teachers is calling on Ohio Governor Mike DeWine to institute a mask mandate for all Ohio public schools, arguing it would reduce the spread of COVID-19 and allow more schools to remain open for face-to-face instruction.

Melissa Cropper, President of the Ohio Federation of Teachers, joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss why mask mandates in Ohio schools are necessary to protect the health of children and teachers in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She also discussed an upcoming union election at the Worthington Public Libraries, as well as redistricting efforts in Ohio that many argue continue to be heavily gerrymandered. Continue reading