News

Working people are being infected at work and dying from COVID-19 in every sector.

Join fellow union members this Saturday, October 24, at noon for a Labor 2020 virtual rally and phone bank to get out the union vote.

On October 16, 2020, eighty-nine members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) Local 1855 went on strike at AstenJohnson in Appleton for a fair contract.

Working people are bearing the brunt of this global pandemic and economic crisis. The physical toll, death, pain, and suffering that Oregon’s frontline and essential workers have experienced is unprecedented.

Coupled with the economic collapse that has exacerbated long-term inequities for low wage workers and BIPOC communities, workers are hurting and they need protections.

Daniel DiSalvo asks: “Will Unions Let Schools Reopen?” (op-ed, June 30). Of course! The AFT published our school reopening plan in April. We said it isn’t a question of whether to reopen, but how to do it safely. We need the infrastructure and investment to physically distance, stagger classes, provide personal protective equipment and test, trace and isolate new cases.

Racial disparities in who contracts the virus have played out in big cities like Milwaukee and New York, but also in smaller metropolitan areas like Grand Rapids, Mich., where the Bradleys live. Those inequities became painfully apparent when Ms. Bradley, who is Black, was wheeled through the emergency room. Early numbers had shown that Black and Latino people were being harmed by the virus at higher rates.

On June 29, 2020, an appeals court upheld Republican-authored attacks on voting rights in Wisconsin.
 
During the COVID-19 pandemic having access to safe voting is a fundamental underpinning of our democracy. After forcing in-person voting in April during the COVID-19 health pandemic, Republicans have now limited options for safe, early in-person voting.

This month’s historic Supreme Court ruling that LGBTQ employees are protected in the workplace by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was another step forward in the march for equality. While there is much to celebrate, this ruling comes as our nation is suffering from centuries-old systemic racism and grieving its latest victims. George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were killed by police officers. Twenty-five-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was gunned down on a run by two white men. We need to say their names, know their stories, and recognize why they were deprived of a full life.

Race-neutral policies simply will not address the depth of disadvantage faced by people this country once believed were chattel. Financial restitution cannot end racism, of course, but it can certainly mitigate racism’s most devastating effects. If we do nothing, black Americans may never recover from this pandemic, and they will certainly never know the equality the nation has promised.

Read the full article in The New York Times Magazine.

America is suffering under the crushing weight of three crises, which are a public health pandemic, an economic free fall, and structural racism. They are knotted together in that untangling one depends on how we untangle the others. For instance, structural racism is deeply ingrained in the share of black workers unemployed and dying from the coronavirus. Today, thousands of working people across the country will join together in a national day of action called the Workers First Caravan for Racial and Economic Justice.

As part of the Workers First Week of Action, the Wisconsin AFL-CIO is unveiling one of our ongoing initiatives to keep workers safe on the job and in the community…the Union Mask Brigade! Join the effort at