Could the apprenticeship model be applied beyond construction trades?

Andrew Cortes, Founder and Executive Director of Rhode Island Building Futures, joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss how the union apprenticeship model could be applied to fields beyond construction.

The Building Futures program strives to meet employer and industry needs for skilled workers through the Registered Apprenticeship system while creating family-sustaining career opportunities for low-income diverse residents.

The Building Futures program started by teaching pre-apprenticeship skills. Participants are then placed into registered apprenticeship programs. 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

Harvard students push university to divest from fossil fuels

After nearly a decade of protests and two faculty votes, Harvard University announced this month it would begin to divest its multibillion dollar endowment from fossil fuels. The university pledged to make the endowment greenhouse-gas-neutral by 2050.

Ilana Cohen, a Harvard junior and contributor to The Nation Magazine, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the student and faculty campaign to push Harvard to divest from fossil fuels. Continue reading

Florida teachers union stands with District on mask requirements for student safety

Last month, a judge declared the Florida governor’s ban on mask mandates in schools to be unconstitutional. Last Friday, a Florida appeals court ruled in favor of Governor Ron DeSantis — effectively reinstating the ban mask mandate.

DeSantis has threatened to take away millions in state funding from schools that enforce mask mandates. So far, he has only rescinded salaries for board members of two counties that have instituted mask mandates — Alachua and Broward counties.

Anna Fusco, President of the Broward Teachers Union, joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss why her school instituted mask requirements in the face of the governor’s ban, and how her union is working to keep students and staff healthy and safe in the midst of the pandemic. Continue reading

As Ohio Goes Back to School, COVID-19 policies vary across the board

Ohio teachers and students face another difficult school year, as the COVID-19 Delta variant ravages communities, especially among those who are unvaccinated.

Though the State of Ohio recommends school districts follow the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that encourage masking and social distancing, it has left those policies largely up to individual school districts. Continue reading

Library workers succeed in organizing, but still face union election

Library workers at one central Ohio library system have strived for nearly a year to organize and form a union. Steadily inching ever closer to achieving their goal, they face one more hurdle — the election to determine if the Union has the right to exist.

Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper has worked closely with the workers in their efforts and is proud of what they have accomplished. In the latest AWF Union Podcast, Cropper discussed the organizing drive, the challenges the workers faced and the need for an election despite being the only library in Ohio yet to unionize. Continue reading

Florida educators prepare for what could be a tough upcoming school year

Teachers and educators have become the targets of political attacks. Some educators believe these attacks are part of a greater goal to privatize education and strip public schools of their funding.

Florida Education Association President Andrew Spar discussed these tactics when he appeared on the AWF Union Podcast. He also talked about hybrid learning during the pandemic, teacher pay and more. Continue reading

Massachusetts schools look to take advantage of quality funding

Massachusetts American Federation of Teachers President Beth Kontos discussed her background and her union involvement on the America’s Work Force Union Podcast. She also discussed school funding in Massachusetts and voucher expansion. Continue reading

Ohio Senate agrees on Fair School Funding Plan in budget

Ohio’s public school system has been under attack for years by state politicians. Groups are working to advocate for public schools and find ways to improve them throughout the state.

Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding (OCEAFS) is one such group that has been taking on the task for nearly three decades. OCEAFS Executive Director William Phillis joined the AWF Union Podcast to provide an update on the recently signed Ohio budget, the Fair School Funding Plan and the school voucher system. Continue reading

Educating end users on the importance of mechanical insulation

Educating business owners and other decision makers is vital to the success of the mechanical insulation industry. Without knowledge of the many benefits of mechanical insulation, it is difficult for a project owner to invest in the technology.

The Mechanical Insulators Labor Management Cooperative Trust (LMCT) works to advance the industry. Mechanical Insulators LMCT Executive Director Pete Ielmini joined the AWF Union Podcast to preview a new course designed to educate end users about the value of properly installed and maintained mechanical insulation. Continue reading