Exxon workers locked out of refinery as USW continue to negotiate

Since May 1, about 650 Exxon workers have been locked out of a Beaumont, Texas refinery and packaging plant after contract negotiations between the United Steelworkers (USW) Local 13-243 and management stalled.

Fred Redmond, Secretary-Treasurer of AFL-CIO and International Vice President of the USW, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the lockout and the USW’s effort to reach an agreement. Continue reading

Ohio’s new redistricting maps are gerrymandered

In 2015, Ohio voters approved Issue 1, which was designed to end gerrymandering, when the leading political party designs political districts to favor its politicians. This measure created the Ohio Redistricting Commission, which currently includes five Republicans and two Democrats.

Ohio AFL-CIO Legislative Director Matt Smith, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss political redistricting in Ohio and the efforts to prevent gerrymandering despite Republicans controlling five out of seven seats on the Ohio Redistricting Commission.

He also discussed two voter suppression bills being put forth through the Ohio legislature and the effects those bills could have on voter turnout. Continue reading

America is stronger with unions

James Hart, President of the Metal Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the importance of unions in the fight to advance the middle class, why workplace safety protects workers while simultaneously making companies more profitable and the importance of the Rich Trumka PRO Act. Continue reading

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

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

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

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

A look at the legacy of Rich Trumka

The recent death of AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka shook the organized labor movement to its core. A close ally of the Biden Administration, Trumka was known as a relentless champion of workers’ rights, as he fought to make unions inclusive, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or immigration status.

John Nichols, a National Affairs Correspondent with The Nation, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss Trumka’s legacy and why it is important to pursue his vision for a more unionized America through the PRO Act. Continue reading