$1 trillion infrastructure plan “a down payment” on the rebuilding of America

In August, the U.S. Senate passed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill with bipartisan support. The bill now goes to the U.S. House, which is expected to vote on the bill later this month.

The bill provides $550 billion in new federal spending, including $110 billion for roads, bridges and other projects; $25 billion for airports; and the most funding for Amtrak since the passenger rail service was founded in 1971. Continue reading

Unions receive highest poll ratings in nearly 50 years

According to a recent Gallup poll, 68 percent of Americans now approve of labor unions. It is the highest approval rating organized labor has enjoyed since 1965.

Tim Burga, President of the Ohio AFL-CIO, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the increasing popularity of unions and the leadership direction of the AFL-CIO after the passing of Rich Trumka.

Burga also discussed the redistricting of Ohio’s congressional map following the census and how the process continues to be threatened by gerrymandering. Continue reading

Labor Day special: U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh joins AWF

The U.S. has a union member at the helm of the Department of Labor for the first time in almost 50 years. Part of the department’s mission is to “foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States.” With a union member leading the way, many in the labor movement believe workers will be better represented than in recent years.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast on the special Labor Day edition. Secretary Walsh discussed his upbringing in a union household, being selected to serve as Labor Secretary, how the department of labor will improve the standing of workers, multiemployer pension plans and more. Continue reading

Sen. Brown: Infrastructure bill is great news for Ohio jobs

The $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by the U.S. Senate last month will mean good union jobs for Ohioans, if passed by the U.S. House and signed into law by the President.

The bill includes $550 billion in new federal spending, including $65 billion to expand high-speed internet access; $110 billion for roads, bridges and other projects; $25 billion for airports; and the largest funding round for Amtrak since the passenger rail service was founded in 1971.

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss what the bill will mean for Ohio’s workers, particularly when it comes to public transit and rebuilding bridges. Continue reading

Are OSHA fines and penalties enough to mandate worker?

Some companies choose whether or not to follow federal and state workplace safety regulations based on a mathematical calculation. Too often, penalties are so minor that it is cheaper for the company to break the law and pay the fines, rather than adequately address the safety or worker rights issue.

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale believes this is true, and he joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss how companies base breaking rules and regulations on a simple financial calculation, he also made the case that more must be done to hold companies accountable. Continue reading

Why the PATCO strike changed unions in America and how they can make a comeback

This month marks the 40th anniversary of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) strike. On Aug. 5, 1981, President Reagan fired 11,000 striking air traffic controllers who refused to return from the picket line after the President issued an ultimatum.

The move to fire the air traffic controllers and ban them from working in the industry changed the face of unionization in America. Company owners took it as a sign that they too could break strikes with impunity, severely curtailing the effectiveness of strikes as a tool to fight for workers’ rights.

Joe McCartin, a professor and labor history expert at Georgetown University, joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the strike, how it impacted the working class and why legislation such as the PRO Act could give unions back their muster. Continue reading

Could amending the filibuster benefit unions?

Democrats have control of Congress in both the U.S. House and Senate, but if the filibuster rule requiring a supermajority of 60 votes to pass Senate legislation remains, much of its pro-union legislation will remain stalled at the gate.

Bill Samuel, Director of Government Affairs for the AFL-CIO, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss why changing or amending the filibuster would change the game for unions and the right to organize. Continue reading

Better firestop installation and inspection can save lives

About 57 percent of people killed in fires are not in the room of the fire’s origin, according to the NFPA Fire Protection Handbook.

Firewalls are designed to protect against the spread of fire from one room to another, but if there are holes in the firewall, such as a hole drilled to install fiber optic wire for example, the wall becomes compromised. Continue reading

AFL-CIO in good hands with succession of leadership

The passing of labor legend Rich Trumka was a shock to many. Last Friday, Liz Schuler, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer, was appointed as the organization’s new President.

Fred Redmond was appointed to fill Schuler’s role as AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer.

Tom Buffenbarger, America’s Work Force Union Podcast independent labor voice, joined today’s episode to discuss Trumka’s legacy and why the federation is in good hands under the leadership of Schuler and Redmond. Continue reading

Fred Redmond new Secretary-Treasurer of AFL-CIO

Following the recent death of Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO since 2009, Liz Schuler, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer, was appointed as the organization’s new President. This was a historical feat, as she became the first woman to be elected president of the federation.

Fred Redmond was then appointed to fill Schuler’s role as AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer. He became the first African American to hold the position, the second highest ranking position within the AFL-CIO.

Just days after his appointment, Redmond joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss his goals and aspirations for the position, and what it means to have a minority-led AFL-CIO for the first time in history. Continue reading