The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, August 10, 2018

After Janus, 'Join a union'

By The Building Tradesman



The AFL-CIO announced a major, national print and digital ad campaign calling on workers to join together in the face of continued corporate assaults, exposing on the freedom to join together in a union.

An open letter to working people, penned by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, will run in USA Today, the Washington Post and regional newspapers in nine states, including Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Massachusetts.

Trumka’s letter offers an urgent call to action: “If you want a raise, better benefits and the dignity of having a voice on the job, we’re saving a seat for you. Join us—be a part of the fight to build a brighter future for you, your family and working people everywhere.”

An accompanying digital ad campaign will target workers online and direct them to FreedomToJoin.org, a new website that outlines efforts by wealthy corporate interests to take away the freedoms of working people.

Additionally, the website offers background on Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, a Supreme Court decision handed down June 27 which essentially makes all public workers in the U.S., such as teachers, police and firefighters, subject to right-to-work rules. The site also offers resources for forming a union and information about ongoing organizing campaigns.

"This comes as a wave of collective action has continued to sweep the country,"  the AFL-CIO said. "As striking teachers march and secure raises even in anti-labor states, working people from all backgrounds are embracing the power of solidarity. Unions’ approval rating has broken above 60 percent, while dissatisfaction with corporations has risen to similarly high levels."

The labor federation said young people, who are disproportionately impacted by corporate-driven policy decisions, have been leading the most recent surge in unionization. Of the 262,000 new union members last year, more than three-quarters were under the age of 35. This trend has continued steadily into 2018. In May, nearly 15,000 workers organized unions in a single week, ranging from nurses and flight attendants to Harvard graduate workers.

“From the boardroom to the steps of the Supreme Court, a dark web of corporate interests is trying to stop us with everything it has,” said Trumka. “But no matter what any CEO or lobbyist does, we’re standing up for the freedom to join together in a union.”

Although unions gained 262,000 members last year, the share of American workers belonging to labor unions held steady in 2017, matching the historic low of 10.7 percent set in the prior year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.