Inside the World Trade Center when the first plane hit: a personal account

Most people remember what they were doing on Sept. 11, 2001 when they learned that two planes had struck the World Trade Center in the deadliest attack on American soil.

That tragic day was a personal experience for Paul Capurso, President of the New York City District Council Of Carpenters. He was in one of the World Trade Center towers when the first plane struck.

Capurso joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss his personal experiences from that heartbreaking and historic day. 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

Refinery to hire non-union workers for turnaround

For generations, the Lima Refinery routinely relied on Local Union workers for its annual maintenance turnaround — repairing and replacing worn out parts, pumps and equipment to ensure the plant continues production and avoids costly shutdowns.

In operation for over 135 years, the Ohio plant was acquired by Canadian-based Cenovus Energy in January. The new owners told building trades leaders they planned to bring in 3,000 out-of-town non-union workers to do the turnaround — an unprecedented move considering multiple generations of union families in Lima have consistently performed the turnaround work. 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

How can unions ensure safe and fair elections in virtual environments?

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the face of union meetings, many of which are still held virtually over Zoom or similar technologies.

John Westerhaus, CPA and Account Manager for Survey & Ballot Systems, joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss how his company provides unions and professional institutions a system for fair, balanced and secure virtual elections. Continue reading

UAW: Museum professionals value the right to organize

As one of the largest and most diverse unions in America, the United Auto Workers (UAW) also fight for the rights of lawyers, librarians, museum professionals and more.

Maida Rosenstein, President of UAW Local 2110, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss her work with museum workers, and why museum management often opposes union representation. Continue reading

Electric vehicle market to create a huge demand for electrician jobs

Under President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, 50 percent of all cars sold will be electric by 2030. Earlier this month, Detroit’s Big Three automakers announced plans to have half of their vehicles be electric-powered by 2030. Volkswagen plans to have 70 percent of its sedan and SUV sales to be electric by 2030.

The electric car is quickly becoming a reality, transforming the vehicle landscape. And that has the potential to create plenty of jobs for union electricians — not just in the construction and maintenance of these vehicles, but also in the infrastructure needed to power them. Biden has called for the creation of 500,000 charging stations. For comparison’s sake, there are currently 115,000 gas stations and 41,000 charging stations.

Justin Walsh, Training Director for IBEW 567, joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss what the move toward electric vehicles will mean for union jobs and how his union is preparing to meet the demand. 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