White House Talks to Some Unions

From Politico’s Morning Report:

TRUMP’S DOOR ALWAYS OPEN, BUT ONLY FOR CERTAIN UNIONS: At the North America’s Building Trades Unions Conference in April, President Donald Trump told attendees that “America’s labor leaders will always find an open door with Donald Trump.” But that’s not quite right, the Associated Press reports. Trump has welcomed to the White House union representatives for the construction trades as well as workers in the auto, steel and coal mining industries who supported him during the election. But “there’s been no White House invitation for other unions representing the sprawling but shrinking pool of 14.6 million workers who collectively bargain with employers in the labor movement.” For example, the administration did not invite the two largest teacher unions- the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers- to White House sessions with teachers and other educators, hosted by Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.”

“Much like President Ronald Reagan did, Trump is not so much pursuing a labor agenda but one that appeals to those who share his ‘Buy American, Hire American’ priorities and happen to be union members.” More here. Continue reading

Unlikely Alliance Stopped Federal Rollback of Construction Wage, Worksite Protections

By Mike Elk

Mike Elk

Earlier this year, a small minority of Republicans helped Democrats defeat a GOP attack on two key labor provisions aimed at hurting construction workers. The defeat was a result of a dynamic decade-long effort by construction unions to persuade business and Republicans of the importance of union rights on construction sites.

Forty-eight Republicans, including leader Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), joined 185 Democrats in opposing a repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act. The Act mandates wage levels on federally funded construction projects and ensures that they do not undercut existing union wage levels. Likewise, 26 Republicans joined 184 Democrats to barely defeat an anti-Project Labor Agreement (PLA) amendment with a 210-210 vote.

PLAs are often used by government agencies and companies to negotiate, before construction even begins or bids are made, pay, benefits and safety issues. They help to ensure that unionized construction firms are not at a competitive disadvantage. They have been a top target of anti-union forces since President Barack Obama permitted their use on federal constructed projects, as I wrote for Working in These Times last fall.
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The Return of LIUNA: What It Really Means

by Joseph Riedel

Solidarity. That was the message AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka sent in a statement welcoming the Laborers’ international Union of North America (LIUNA) back into the fold, after the organization announced on August 13, 2010, that it will rejoin the AFL-CIO, effective October 1, 2010. In his statement, Trumka said,

“We are very happy that LIUNA is rejoining the AFL-CIO at a critical moment for working people…LIUNA brings a proud history and dedication to the union movement and we are delighted to welcome them back to the AFL-CIO.”

Aside from the expected kumbaya moment where labor leaders flaunt terms like Solidarity and Coalition Building, what does LIUNA’s return to the AFL-CIO mean in practice for the Labor Movement, the AFL-CIO, and more specifically, the other members of the AFL-CIO Building Trades Coalition Department? Will this move galvanize the building trades, or will it cause former tensions to resurface? Once the ink is dry on the press statements and the photo ops have ended, there will be some serious issues to be hammered out between LIUNA and the AFL-CIO.

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