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Today in Labor History

July 8, 1966
From July 8 to August 19, 1966, over 35,000 airline workers across the nation employed by five airlines went on strike. After several years of stilted wage gains as the airline industry invested heavily in jet technology, aircraft mechanics and other ground service workers represented by the International Association of Machinists (IAM) were anxious to share in the substantial profits of 1965. Facing a bargaining impasse between the IAM and the five carriers (United, Northwest, National, Trans World and Eastern) covered in the industry’s first multi-carrier labor contract, a Presidential Emergency Board presented a “compromise” package. In the summer of 1966, IAM members rejected this compromise and walked off the job in the largest strike in airline history. For 43 days during the peak summer travel season, 60 percent of the U.S. commercial airline industry was literally inoperative as 35,000 workers stayed out on strike.
- Voices of Labor

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  • Local and National Union News

    A message from the Passenger Transportation Division
    July 2, 2020 Many of you employed by school districts are hopefully just beginning to enjoy your summer as coronavirus transmissions begin to subside in many parts of the country. For those of you employed in public transit, paratransit and other sectors of passenger transportation, many of you never stopped working, and your country owes you a great debt of gratitude for your continued service during the COVID-19 pandemic. With that in mind, I’d like to keep you abreast of what your union has been doing. School bus and transit workers have been organizing and winning elections in spite of the pandemic… Continue reading here.

    Hoffa: Changes to guest worker programs will help protect U.S. livelihoods
    June 30, 2020 In a statement released yesterday about a White House effort to temporarily curtail guest worker programs during the current economic downturn, General President Hoffa said, “U.S. workers are facing a nearly unprecedented loss of jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. Given the current conditions, it only makes sense to prioritize the lives and the livelihoods of hardworking Americans and protect their wages…” Continue reading Hoffa’s statement here.

    Update from the Solid Waste & Recycling Division
    June 29, 2020 Members of the Teamsters Solid Waste and Recycling Division are still on the front lines of this pandemic, keeping our communities clean and protecting the public health from spread. We continue to be in regular contact with Waste Management Inc. (WMI) and Waste Connections to ensure our members are protected on the job. As many of you know, WMI has been negotiating plans to acquire Advanced Disposal Services. Due to the pandemic, the deal has been renegotiated and should take effect in the coming weeks. We are closely watching this merger and will be working with our Teamster brothers and sisters in Canada as we see more consolidation in the private waste industry… Continue reading here.

    Teamsters demand Republic Services end abuse of Black workers in Atlanta
    June 25, 2020 Republic Services workers and members of Teamsters Local 728 are demanding Republic Services put an end to Black worker abuse following the unjust termination and layoffs of five Black workers in Atlanta this past month. Last week, Republic Services workers held protests outside the Atlanta facility calling on the company to immediately rehire the five workers who were unjustly terminated and support the lives and livelihoods of their workers of color. The actions were part of the AFL-CIO’s nationwide protests demanding racial and economic justice for all workers both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more here.

    Update from the Brewery and Soft Drink Division
    June 25, 2020 Our industry has not been as hard hit as some during the COVID-19 pandemic mainly due to consumer demand. According to Drinks International (see Source, below) wine and beer sales increased dramatically in March. But, the uptick in sales with e-commerce and retail was counterbalanced by the shutdown of bars and restaurants. I have reports from brewery and soft drink local unions that production is ramping up for the seasonal period. Also, members that were on voluntary layoff are returning to work now. With the Independence Day holiday approaching… Continue reading here.

    Older news stories can be found at Local News

    The May/June issue of the shop stewards newsletter is posted
    June 2020 You may view and download the current issue here. Please note that the newsletter contains clickable links to external pages for additional information. Mail delivery of our Joint Council 62 steward newsletter is suspended until further notice.

    Elsewhere in the News
    New House Bill Would Tax Wall St. Windfalls to Guarantee Good Jobs
    July 7, 2020 | JOBS | The pandemic has claimed nearly 15 million U.S. jobs. Meanwhile, high flying financial traders are making a killing off the market volatility caused by the crisis. A new House bill would tax Wall Street windfalls to guarantee good jobs for people in high unemployment areas. The Workforce Promotion and Access Act would ensure employment in jobs that pay at least $15 per hour with benefits and address local needs, such as childcare, eldercare, and infrastructure. “Working people who stand up to corporate bosses and get fired as a result face loss of income, loss of housing, loss of medical care, and food insecurity,” Erica Smiley, Executive Director for Jobs with Justice, said in a press release. “The Workforce Promotion and Access Act blunts the threat of firing and allows working people to demand a role in our economic system.”… Truthout
    Why Labor Unions Make People Less Racist
    July 6, 2020 | EQUALITY | Compared to non-union workers, union members have higher wages and smaller gender and racial wage disparities. A study shows they change the way you see the world too. A new research paper finds that stronger labor unions have an anti-racist side effect: white union members feel less racial resentment against Blacks than their non-union counterparts. The paper published in the American Journal of Political Science, called "Labor Unions and White Racial Politics," was written by Professors Paul Frymer of Princeton University and Jacob Grumbach of the University of Washington. "Union membership reduces racial resentment toward African Americans," they write. The reason, they believe, is partly because union leaders "need to recruit workers of color in order to achieve majority memberships in racially diversifying labor sectors" and therefore "have ideological and strategic incentives to mitigate racial resentment among the rank and file in pursuit of organizational maintenance and growth…” Salon
    Nearly Half the US Population Is Without A Job
    July 2, 2020 | ECONOMY | Nearly half of the population is still out of a job showing just how far the U.S. labor market has to heal in the wake of the coronavirus.  The employment-population ratio — the number of employed people as a percentage of the U.S. adult population — plunged to 52.8% in May, meaning 47.2% of Americans are jobless, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. As the coronavirus-induced shutdowns tore through the labor market, the share of the population employed dropped sharply from a recent high of 61.2% in January, farther away from a post-war record of 64.7% in 2000. This ratio is a broader look at the employment picture. It takes into account adults not in the labor force and captures those who were discouraged about the prospects of finding a job, whereas the unemployment rate looks at people actively looking for a job… CNBC 
    How COVID-19 Widened America’s Wealth Gap
    June 30, 2020 | INEQUALITY The novel coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated income inequality, experts say, stretching the racial wealth gap in the United States and making the richest wealthier while leaving many of the poorest without jobs. As the COVID-19 pandemic overtook the U.S., it brought with it an unprecedented financial crisis and unemployment rates at their highest levels since the Great Depression, especially among Black, Hispanic and Asian workers (16.8%, 17.6% and 15% in May compared to 12.4% for whites). At least 45 million people have filed for unemployment since the pandemic began. Yet between March 18 and June 17, as the pandemic raged, the combined wealth of the 614 U.S. billionaires increased by $584 billion… ABC News
    Unions Support Workers During Crisis
    June 29, 2020 | OPINION | The COVID-19 pandemic has sent our world into a public health and economic tailspin. As of May, the national unemployment rate was at 13.3%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In Michigan, it is a staggering 21.2% — worse than the Great Recession. [ In Maryland, it’s 9.9%.] The Washington Post reports that more than 100,000 businesses have closed permanently. But more important, lives are at stake. While a majority of employees in white-collar industries were able to move to much safer remote work environments, hundreds of thousands of “essential” and “frontline” workers — grocery store clerks, sanitation and transportation workers, medical professionals, and others — could not stay home even when the nation was on lockdown… This pandemic has shown just how critical it is to have a union to protect the rights, working conditions, safety, and health of workers. With almost the flip of a switch, millions of hard-working people across the country were suddenly without work, without health benefits, struggling economically — proud individuals who suddenly needed to file unemployment, miss mortgage payments, and visit food banks… Detroit News

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