On this Labor Day weekend, I would like to take a moment to remember those men, women and children in Texas who lost their lives in Hurricane Harvey. This terrible storm affected many union members, whether they be workers whose homes were damaged or lost in the storm, or first responders who worked tirelessly to help those in need. Many of our own members faced unimaginable hardships over the past week experiencing the devastation first hand. Please join with me in praying for all the residents of Texas, and if you can, consider donating to the relief fund established by the Texas AFL-CIO.
For many, Labor Day is the last official day of summer vacation. And, many folks don’t even know the origins of Labor Day, but union member do. We know that the men and women who fought fiercely for the rights of workers in the 19th Century, built the labor movement, and forged a path that has given us the opportunities we have today. We know that their sacrifices and bravery gave us the weekend, ensured us a voice on the job, and secured our right to collectively bargain with our employers. So, I encourage you to also take time this weekend to remember those whose hard work and sacrifice brought us our union voices.
The last several years have been rough for the labor movement. We have seen attacks to our wages, benefits and pensions. Calls for national right-to-work, and successful passage of state and local level right-to-work ordinances. With the new Administration, we can only assume that our battle has just begun. We face a GOP majority in charge at the National Labor Relations Board. OSHA, the agency tasked with making sure you are safe at work, no longer cares to record on-the-job injuries and deaths, they would rather cow-tow to corporations. Labor indeed is in a fight for its life. We, like those that came before us, must stand with our union brothers and sisters and redouble our efforts to rebuild and reaffirm our place at the table. Like Texas, the labor movement is strong, and resilient, and will whether its storms of attack, but it is up to you to get involved.
May God bless you all, and have a safe and happy Labor Day.
The Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO sent the following letter to Senators Baldwin, Gillibrand, Schumer, Duckworth, Durbin, Klobuchar, Franken, Donnelly, Brown, Casey, Stabenow, and Peters urging them to enact the Commercial Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (CVIDA).
|July 19, 2017
The Honorable Tammy Baldwin
709 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Dear Senator Baldwin:
There is no issue more critical for the Great Lakes shipping industry today than enactment of the Commercial Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (CVIDA). The current patchwork of vessel discharge laws and regulations undermines efforts to protect Great Lakes waterways. We understand that CVIDA has been incorporated into the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2017, S. 1129, and that this legislation could be considered in the U.S. Senate soon.We also understand that you are working diligently to craft CVIDA text that protects the Great Lakes without overwhelming the American shipping industry and the critically important supply chain that it supports. As you know, the Great Lakes U.S.-flag maritime industry is crucial to the region’s steel production, manufacturing, energy, construction, and agriculture industries and the hundreds of thousands of jobs in those industries.
CVIDA is critical to the U.S.-flag fleet because it recognizes the necessity to treat commercial vessels that stay in the Great Lakes (“lakers”) differently than vessels that enter the Great Lakes from the ocean. Any provision in CVIDA that potentially eliminates the laker exemption in the future needs to explicitly weigh the economic impacts of such a decision on the industries and employees that depend on the lakers against the most probable (not just any possible) environmental benefits.
We understand that the Lake Carriers’ Association recently forwarded language for your consideration in an effort to respond to concerns raised by environmental groups and state government officials. This is a good faith effort to work out a compromise. We urge you in the strongest possible terms to accept this proposal and to enact CVIDA.
From the Kitsap Sun
BREMERTON — The defense budget passed Friday by the U.S. House of Representatives includes help for local shipyard workers and veterans.
U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, secured an extension of overtime pay for Puget Sound Naval Shipyard workers who conduct nuclear maintenance on the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in Yokosuka, Japan. Payments would continue through Sept. 30, 2019.
Read the full story here >
See the letter sent by President Hart to all Representatives regarding HR1180, the inappropriately named Working Families Flexibility Act.
The legislation would weaken overtime protection for workers. The MTD strongly opposes the bill and asks all House members to oppose the legislation.
The Federal Workers Alliance (FWA), coalition of labor unions representing more than 300,000 federal workers sent sent a letter to Congress this week urging Representatives to vote no on the Official Time Reform Act of 2017 (HR1364). In all, 16 unions signed on to the letter.
The legislation aimed to withhold service credit hours towards retirement from employees who work 80 percent or more in official time duty status. It also outlaws recruitment, retention and relocation funding for the same employees.
Labor leaders believe that the bill unfairly targets the financial security of individual federal employees for their lawful service to their colleagues and their agencies.
See the full text of the letter below or download a copy here.
March 24, 2017
The undersigned unions of the Federal Workers Alliance (FWA), collectively representing more than 300,000 federal workers, urge you to VOTE NO on the Official Time Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 1364). This bill passed out of committee under false pretenses through a series of serious mischaracterizations about federal official time use, and what H.R. 1364 will prevent and provide.
In summary, this bill targets individual federal workers (and their families) who have done nothing more than perform the lawful duties of their jobs, under the supervision of agency management representatives. The bill withholds service credit hours toward retirement from employees who work 80% or more in official time duty status. It also outlaws recruitment, retention and relocation funding for the same employees.
Most reprehensively, this bill retroactively denies employees their retirement service credit hours for time already worked if they retire on or after October 1, 2017. This provision serves no purpose other than to force certain employees who perform representational work into retirement or risk losing months or years of retirement service credit hours for doing nothing other than their lawful duties.
We would like you to understand the facts about H.R. 1364 and official time:
Official time is not “union time.” Activities such as political and internal union business are already prohibited (e.g. the Hatch Act affords no exceptions for unions).
- Official time is used to address important workplace concerns including issues regarding safety, efficiency, mission effectiveness, employee engagement, and support to management to implement initiatives.
- Official time is used to advise and represent federal employees on personnel matters often saving the agency time and money by avoiding costly litigation.
- Official time is allotted through communications with agency representatives to ensure it is used carefully and in a way that benefits the workforce and the agency mission.
- This bill cannot stand on its own merits. That is why we believe its supporters chose to fabricate problems with the official time process and then attempt to institute false solutions that will punish federal workers and their families.
Official time is a beneficial workforce practice. H.R.1364 falsely depicts this longstanding, important workplace process as illegitimate. The bill’s main goal is to target the financial security of individual federal employees for their lawful service to their colleagues and their agencies.
At a time when the checks and balances of the government are especially valuable and important tools, H.R. 1364 will discourage employees who wish to perform the important services provided using official time, which has been shown to be of significant value to agencies and civil service employees and encourages transparency and accountability in government.
Again, the undersigned unions of the FWA ask you to VOTE NO on H.R. 1364, the Official Time Reform Act of 2017.
Thank you for your review of this issue and supporting this request.
American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
Federal Education Association/National Education Association (FEA/NEA)
International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF)
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW)
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE)
International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots (MM&P)
Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO (MTD)
National Association of Government Employees, SEIU
National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE)
Overseas Federation of Teachers, AFT, AFL-CIO
Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS)
Seafarers International Union/NMU (SIU)
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART)
SPORT Air Traffic Controllers Organization (SATCO)
The Metal Trades Department Annual Conference is set for October 11-12, 2017 at Bally’s Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.