|Johnstown Regional Central Labor Council|
Rana Plaza, the Bangladesh factory that collapsed three weeks ago, killed more than 1,100 workers, many of them young women. This tragedy adds to the more than 1500 Bangladeshi workers killed in preventable fires and building collapses since 2005. Documents found at the factory show that the workers produced for big names in global retail revealing the link between poor workers in Bangladesh and major retail brands.Obviously, the government must improve local laws and their enforcement to stop these tragedies, but brands must also take responsibility for their supply chains. They must be held accountable to the tragedy that happened in their supply chain. Read more >>>
Marcus Hedger will have to wait even longer to get his job back if Senate Republicans continue to block President Obama’s bipartisan nominees to serve on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Call your senators toll free at 1-888-264-6154 and tell them to confirm the board nominations now. Hedger was illegally fired in 2010 from his pressman’s job at an Illinois printing company for his union activities on behalf of his fellow union members in the Graphic Communications Conference of the Teamsters. Last September, the full NLRB—two Democrats and one Republican, at the time—ruled he should get his job back with back pay. Read more >>>
Most voters agree that big corporations and the wealthy should start paying their fair share in taxes. But, of course, big corporations and the wealthy don’t want to do that. They want to pay less, and they are used to getting their way. So what do you do? Some people in Washington think the answer is a “grand bargain.” In a “grand bargain,” Republicans agree to stop protecting millionaires from having to pay a single penny more in taxes. In return, Democrats agree to cut Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare benefits. Read more >>>
Q&A with Saru Jayaraman
The partition that separates diners from the inner workings of the restaurant industry toppled for Saru Jayaraman shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Fekkak Mamdouh, one of the headwaiters of the restaurant housed on the top floor of the World Trade Center, approached Jayaraman seven months after the attacks. His former boss deemed him and his former crew “not experienced enough” to work in his new Times Square restaurant. Jayaraman, a 27-year-old organizer of immigrant women, took up the case to advocate for the displaced workers, organized protests and won—most of the workers were awarded the good jobs their former boss promised.
Jayaraman and Mamdouh formed Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United in April 2002 and were flooded with stories of workplace atrocities in New York City and, eventually, across the country. We spoke with Jayaraman earlier this month about her new book on the ills of the restaurant industry, Behind the Kitchen Door.
For Lapronda Eason and the other building service workers at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, the link to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.--who died in Memphis in 1968 advocating for the rights of city sanitation workers to form a union--is as real as the job they do every day.
Read more >>>
The time for immigration reform is now, says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. This will be a focus for labor in 2013 as the country needs to create a common-sense immigration process with a road map to citizenship. Read more >>>
A little rain never hurt anybody and it certainly didn't stop hundreds of Pennsylvania voters from getting their voter IDs today at the Driver & Vehicle Services office in the Oxford Levick Shopping Center in Pittsburgh.
Pennsylvania voters who need IDs—thanks to a new state law that disenfranchises hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania residents, including civic-minded seniors— were assisted by representatives from the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), along with the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO and various community groups. Because of the new law, Pennsylvania state officials say that more than 785,000 voters don’t have a state-issued photo identification.Read more >>>
We Need To Organize A New Generation of Workers
This information came from Don Siegel of IBEW, which he recently sent to his members, I have taken the liberty to edit it to be more inclusive to the entire labor movement.
AFL-CIO Now Blog -- Recent News Stories
Faces of Labor
Faces of Labor
By Terry J Havener February 6, 2009
From my perspective, a friend is a blessing, bestowed upon us to define our value and relevance on this earth. True friendship is given freely and unselfishly. You have only to accept it and, hopefully, return the same…for to have a friend, you must be one.
Shelley Herochik was my friend. Though we never met face to face, we talked via the internet and established a friendship that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Those of you who have read my columns in the T-D have Shelley to thank for it. Her encouragement is what inspired me to write down my thoughts and present them to the newspaper. Recently, an illness took her life and, I will freely admit, left a void in my own.
Except for my wife, Denise, who is my sounding board/proofreader, Shelley was my biggest supporter. While friendship established the lines of communication between Shelley and me, her qualifications made me respect her words.
Over her career in organized labor she represented Garment workers and Healthcare workers on both ends of the country. Shelley serviced union workers at both the local level, serving as staff to Garment workers local 122 in New York City and Service Employees healthcare local 49 in Portland Oregon; and at the International level as Assistant Education Director to the then International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) in Washington DC.
As is often the case, her labor involvements led her into other responsibilities such as a time spent as a staff person for Congresswoman Jolene Unsoeld from the 3rd District in the state of Washington. She also served on the task force on National Health Care Reform lead by then First Lady Hillary Clinton.
After 20 years in the labor movement, Shelley used her writing skills and refocused herself. She became a regular contributor to the west coast periodicals, the Portland Business Journal, Portland in Focus and BUILDERnews Magazine covering a diversity of subjects from healthcare and high-tech business development to personnel profiles and building techniques.
In 2005, Shelley returned to her first love, teaching (early in her career she had taught labor history at Rutgers University). That year she accepted a position at Cambridge College in Chesapeake, VA as the undergraduate coordinator. Even in this position, Shelley found a use for her labor background, coordinating a program which targeted dislocated union workers from a local auto manufacturing plant shutdown and assisting in assimilating them back into the local workforce.
Shelley’s life on this earth was a full one, and she will be missed by those whose lives she touched.
In these times of escalating costs and economic downturns the value of most goods and services fluctuate, but a friendship is free and its value is constant…priceless. When you are fortunate enough to develop one, hold it close and cherish it.
For many, myself included, Shelley was indeed a valued friend and a true Face of Labor.
2009 Scholarship Essay Contest
Sponsored by the
Johnstown/Somerset Labor Council, AFL-CIO
Since the early 1990’s, the Central Labor Council has administered an annual essay contest encouraging students to conduct research about the many contributions Organized Labor has made to the American society
The Johnstown Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO seated new officers. The new executive board consists of Tim Custer, president; Tom Tyger, vice president; Jim Hollis, secretary-treasurer; and Rod Rudge, Augie Didiano and Jim Cassidy, trustees.
The Johnstown Regional Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO is the regional representative of the nation's largest and strongest labor federation—the AFL-CIO, representing the members of 54 local unions throughout Cambria and Somerset counties in the state of Pennsylvania. The mission of the Johnstown Regional Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO is to improve the lives of working families—to bring economic justice to the workplace and social justice to our state and the nation.
© AFL-CIO. All rights reserved.
Photographs and illustrations, as well as text, cannot be used without permission from the AFL-CIO.