WIN Week In Review: Saturday, October 28, 2017
By Doug Cunningham
[AFL-CIO Convention Audio]: “The freedoms of working people are under attack. And these attacks are causing real pain for working families.
It’s an all-out assault by corporations, CEOS and their politicians. It’s a well-funded, coordinated attack.”
America’s labor movement – its largest labor federation is meeting in St. Louis at its quadrennial convention. AFL-CIO President Ruch Trumka set the tone as he accepted election to another term.
[Rich Trumka]: “We build the cars and planes and infrastructure, … From the East Coast to the West Coast, north to south, we the American worker makes America strong. We don’t duck. We don’t run We are the American labor movement, and we will not – we will NOT be denied!”
Call it labor’s Spirit of St. Louis. The solidarity of the AFL-CIO labor delegates gathered for their convention in St. Louis is up against one of the most challenging times in the history of the labor movement.
Dan Duncan is Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO’s Maritime Trades Department.
[Dan Duncan]: “There’s a heck of a fightin’ spirit on the convention floor. And people are sayin’ OK, if we’re gonna fight, let’s fight. Let’s give it everything we’ve got.”
American Federation of Government Employees President David Cox says a fighting solidarity spirit is alive and growing in his union
[David Cox]: “AFGE is a fighting union. Our members are fighters. We are seeing our membership continuously grow.
We’re seeing the activism of our members get more concerned, more focused. People are engaging like they have never engaged before.”
Speaking at the AFL-CIO convention United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts cited the power and solidarity the labor movement still has to deliver results for its members and retirees.
The miner’s union waged a multi-year battle to save the pensions of coal mine retirees, threatened by corporate maneuvers and bankruptcies. They succeeded in winning money from the coal companies and from Congress.
[Cecil Roberts]: “And we went to jail in the rain, and we went to jail in the snow and we went to jail in the sunshine.
Port truck drivers from Los Angeles, Long Beach and New Jersey took their fight for justice on the job to Capitol Hill Thursday. The truckers are mis-classified as contractors instead of employees and they face wage theft and other exploitation.
U.S. Representatives Napolitano and Nadler are introducing two bills – the Port Drivers’ Bill of Rights Act of 2017 and the Clean Ports Act of 2017 – to end a system of forcing port truck drivers into illegal leases as contractors.
The port truckers, like Daniel Seko Uaina, say that port truckers have their wages stolen, often have to wait long hours without being paid at the ports, and must take on all the company overhead burden.
[Daniel Seko Uaina]: “Paying for the equipment – meaning the truck – the fuel, the lease. it’s on the backs of us drivers and we need to change it!”