2017 in Headlines: For unions and workers, Trump dominates news
AFT President Randi Weingarten was among the union leaders denouncing the GOP-passed tax cut for corporations and the rich. Weingarten and others said unionists would remind voters to remember in November. PAI File Photo.

Like it or not, and regardless of whether he tells the truth or covers-up or flat-out lies, the president of the United States – his words, his actions, his speeches, his tweets, his agenda, the reaction he creates – dominates the news. And so it was in 2017, for workers, unions, and Republican President Donald Trump.

Even before he took office on Jan. 20, Trump had already shoehorned his way into labor’s agenda, with his highly publicized trip to Indianapolis where he boasted he saved 1,100 union jobs at the Carrier plant. When Steelworkers Local President Chuck Jones called him on it – the actual number was far fewer – Trump launched angry tweets at the local leader.

And the domination continued: Unionists were a contingent of the massive women’s march the day after Trump’s inauguration. Their numbers increased at other marches in 2017.

Union lobbying helped force Trump to withdraw his first nominee for Labor Secretary, millionaire fast-food magnate Andrew Puzder, and came close to derailing his Education Secretary nominee, GOP big giver and union-hater Elizabeth “Betsy” DeVos.

Unions were in the forefront of the protests which saved the Affordable Care Act – so much so that by the end of the year the ACA showed positive poll ratings for the first time ever. And unionists were a contingent of the not-as-large protests which failed to stop the Trump GOP’s $1.5 trillion 10-year tax cut for the rich and corporations.

But unions’ and workers’ agitation over the new law made it clear the rich would get richer and everyone else would get trashed. It also left union leaders vowing to make sure workers, their families and other voters remember in November.

And Trump enthusiastically backed and signed anti-worker laws, repealing key job safety and health rules and financial protections, while nominating anti-worker and anti-union right wingers to positions all over the federal government, including the National Labor Relations Board. Its new GOP majority promptly overturned three more pro-worker rulings.

Unions split on how to deal with Trump. The Oregon AFL-CIO adopted “Resist. Persist. Repeat” as its motto, but not everyone agreed. While federation President Richard Trumka and two other top union leaders resigned in protest from Trump administration advisory committees, one union president joined an advisory committee on apprenticeships.

Trump addressed the Building Trades legislative conference, reminding them of his background as a builder and developer – even as one local president noted, he never uttered the word “union.” And the trades lauded Trump’s decision to build the whole Keystone XL pipeline. By contrast, National Nurses United and other unions also opposed Keystone as a huge environmental hazard. And NNU was among the constant outspoken Trump resisters.

That’s not to say there weren’t other developments involving unions and workers during the year. Notably, the “Fight for 15” campaign kept the pressure on, with low-paid workers gaining raises. But the second part of their cause, “and a union”, was often forgotten. Graduate student research assistants and teaching assistants at private universities, including Chicago and Columbia, unionized. So did undergrads at U. of Chicago’s libraries, with the Teamsters.

And unionists gathered three times the number of names they needed on petitions to delay Missouri’s onerous right-to-work-for-less law until a voter referendum next year.

Unionists campaigned for stronger and enforceable worker rights written into the text of a “new NAFTA” Trump was negotiating with Canada and Mexico. He met them partway.

But there were negative developments, too. The AFL-CIO spent the year trying to figure out why half of all union voters in the key swing states around the Great Lakes went for Trump. Those states’ electoral votes won him the Oval Office. The fed still hasn’t figured out why.

On the other hand, voters in Virginia and Alabama handed big rebukes to Trump in off-year and special elections, and unions, women and minorities led the way in those wins.

And unions advanced causes important to African Americans – notably the campaign against police killings of unarmed black men – even as top Mine Workers official Jim Gibbs gave AFL-CIO convention delegates a piece of his mind on lack of diversity in top leadership.

The federation promulgated a strong code banning sexual exploitation in the workplace, but it also had to force out a top director at headquarters who hit on woman staffers. So did the Service Employees. President Mary Kay Henry had to fire the male director of the Fight for 15 campaign, for sexual harassment of staffers toiling on that drive.

The Auto Workers lost their second big election in the union-hostile South in two years, this time at the Nissan plant in Mississippi, despite making it a civil rights cause.

On the wider labor front, the big news was unemployment declining, as a result of the Obama administration’s measures in the prior eight years, down to 4.1 percent by the end of 2017. But while joblessness dropped, the type of jobs was another story: Most U.S. job growth came in low-paying service sector occupations, such as health care and bars and restaurants. The jobs lost in the prior Bush Crash were higher-paying, and unionized.

As a result of that and anti-union anti-worker state laws, union density declined. And unions are bracing for further declines when – not if – the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, will make every state and local public-sector worker a potential “free rider.” The Janus case, thanks to the virulently anti-union so-called National Right to Work Committee, turns all those workplaces into RTW shops where people could take union services without paying for them.

With Trump, and the reaction to Trump, as the centerpiece, this, then was the 2017 as seen through the headlines of Press Associates Union News Service.


STORY OF THE WEEK: UNEMPLOYMENT ENDS 2016 AT 4.7 PERCENT. That’s less than half of the height – 10 percent – it reached in the Great Recession. The number of jobless is less than half, too. OTHER LEADING STORIES: AFL-CIO, lawmakers to push ‘new NAFTA’ to protect workers’ rights, raise incomes… Communications Workers launch drive vs four Trump Cabinet picks…GOP-passed ‘Midnight rules’ bill could kill nursing home standards, 9/11 aid, more… Treasury OKs first pension benefit cuts by financially troubled multi-employer plan…House GOP schemes to cut pay for federal workers …ATU: D.C. Metro has long record of putting safety last.…Washington Window: Get ready for reruns. STORY OF THE WEEK: FOES MARSHAL EVIDENCE VS. TRUMP LABOR SECRETARY NOMINEE PUZDER. The fast-food magnate’s corporate record contains numerous violations of worker protection laws. But will it be enough to get GOP senators to switch and defeat him? OTHER LEADING STORIES: Teachers unions campaign to derail Trump nominee DeVos as Education Dept. head…Michaels: OSHA to start rulemaking on preventing workplace violence… Obama: Right to unionize must be part of new social compact… Organizations challenge plans to cut health care for 2.4M Minnesotans …Labor Dept. report finds huge problems in Colombian labor rights enforcement…Trumka urges lawmakers: Keep Affordable Care Act…To counter big-money politics, Portland, Ore., city council enacts public financing. STORY OF THE WEEK: A PAI News Analysis: OBAMA YEARS PRODUCE GAINS FOR WORKERS, BUT NOT AS MUCH AS HOPED, AND PROGRESS NOW ENDANGERED. The phrase running through pro-worker achievements of the last eight years is ‘Yes, but…’ OTHER LEADING STORIES: King commemoration stresses tight link between economic, social justice…Supreme Court action: Justices reject right-wing scheme to kill airline, rail unions’ agency fees, will decide labor-law rights vs. arbitration case…School Administrators, AFL-CIO, AFSCME join opposition to Education Secretary nominee DeVos, citing her vouchers stand…AFGE to mobilize members fast to counter anti-worker schemes…Working and retired women tell senators of real impact of Affordable Care Act, Medicare, Medicaid …Minnesotans select designs for plaque honoring workers who built state capitol… AFSCME in Illinois tries to restart bargaining with new proposal STORY OF THE WEEK: 500,000 DESCEND ON D.C. FOR MASS MARCH FOR WOMEN’S RIGHTS. Unionists join huge crowd, holding signs that say “Will strike if provoked.” OTHER LEADING STORIES: Trump formally trashes TPP, plans to re-open NAFTA…Fight for 15 marches vs Puzder; Workers file wage theft, sexual harassment claims… GOP House majority rushes to halt future pro-worker rules…Unions, lawmakers denounce Trump’s federal hiring freeze…Here we go again: Machinists bid to organize Boeing Dreamliner plant in S.C…. House panel, now led by chair who questions the very value of unions, to examine pro-worker rules… BLS: Union numbers, share declined in 2016… Construction union leaders praise Trump pro-pipeline executive orders; Trumka met Trump beforehand…Federal agency backs Steelworkers, plans tariffs on Chinese truck, bus tires.


STORY OF THE WEEK: SERVICE EMPLOYEES, TEACHERS TAKE LEAD VS GORSUCH HIGH COURT PICK. And National Nurses United is not far behind. The big problems: A Supreme Court seat is a lifetime post and Gorsuch’s rulings are both anti-worker and ideologically right wing. OTHER LEADING STORIES: Over teacher, parent objections, Senate panel OKs DeVos as Education Sec…Unions challenge Trump executive orders on travel, immigration… Fed constituency groups unite against Trump’s anti-undocumented plans…Wisconsin’s Walker urges Trump VP Pence: Take anti-union crusade national… Anti-worker GOP lawmakers reintroduce natl. right-to-work law, repeal of Davis-Bacon Act… On party-line vote, House tosses Obama rule targeting biz bad actors… Jobless rate in January is 4.8%…SAG-AFTRA award winners strongly hit GOP Muslim ban. STORY OF THE WEEK: CWA SUES TRUMP. The union joins a lengthening parade of individuals and groups taking the new administration to court. Its objective: Retaining pro-worker rules. OTHER LEADING STORIES: Citing Trump’s years as a builder, reps ask him to back Project Labor Agreements…Federal judge upholds Labor Dept’s. investment advisors rule… AFGE’s Cox: Airport screeners need full federal worker rights EPI: U.S. trade deficit with China cost 3.4M jobs since 2001…Postal unions back bipartisan postal reform bill … Teachers, parents and Dems campaign to defeat DeVos falls just short… Lawmakers reintroduce paid family leave bill… Bipartisan coalition unveils proposed constitutional amendment vs big money in politics…Senators to Trump: Put broadband development in infrastructure bill… Airline Pilots, carriers complain to Trump about Norwegian Air decision… ‘Drain the swamp?’ A top House GOP leader thinks federal workers are the swamp.STORY OF THE WEEK: PUZDER DROPS OUT. With GOP senators raising questions about his record and unions and their allies putting on pressure, the fast-food magnate whom Trump wanted as Labor Secretary withdraws. OTHER LEADING STORIES: House GOP goes after NLRB – again… Unions promise to probe Acosta, new Trump Labor Secretary nominee… Lawmakers, unions challenge Trump to rewrite NAFTA in favor of workers …Trump’s nominees symptom of business-govt. interlocking worldwide…Wash. Senate GOP right to work push hits massive worker opposition… L.A. port truckers seek DOD probe of cartage firm’s wage theft… Resisters stage mock ‘wedding’ of Trump, Wall Street… House Dems reintroduce bill to strengthen OSHA …AFGE, NNU back collective bargaining rights bill for VA docs, nurses… Boeing workers in S.C. vote against Machinists… AFT wins NLRB ruling for election at top New Orleans charter school. STORY OF THE WEEK: TWO BIG UNIONS, SIX UNION GROUPS OPPOSE GORSUCH NOD FOR HIGH COURT. The Communications Workers and the National Education Association, plus six labor constitu-ency groups, join a mass anti-Gorsuch letter to senators. One big reason: His anti-worker writings as an appellate court judge. ACTION IN THE STATES: Right to work heads for referendum in Missouri …Minnesota workers, businesses back proposal to stop wage theft …Right-wing GOP gov’s stonewalling forces Illinois state workers to authorize strike… Teamsters lead lobbying that buries right to work in New Hampshire… AFSCME in Iowa takes state to court over new law yanking public workers’ collective bargaining rights. OTHER STORIES INSIDE: Management cut demands force 21,000 CWA AT&T Wireless workers to vote to authorize strike… Laborers, Fire Fighters, Operating Engineers back Acosta at Labor Dept…Unionists join in as resistance to Trump, GOP agenda builds… Pro-worker analyst defends Labor Dept. overtime pay rule, minimum wage, as GOP-run panel attacks Fair Labor Standards Act… ROC: Now, there are ‘sanctuary restaurants,’ too… Twin Cities retail janitors ratify historic contract… Washington Window: In the fight against Trump, the unions are split.


STORY OF THE WEEK: HERE COME THE JUDGES. If Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, gets on the Court and gets his way, everything from union election eligibility to rules governing when sleepy truckers must pull over and rest would be in judges’ hands. OTHER LEADING STORIES: Under the Ross Island Bridge: Investigating a non-union contractor, union finds problems a-plenty…Union leaders back Perez after he wins Democratic National Committee chair …Treasury Employees craft plans to combat ‘toxic environment’ in D.C…Top House Dem: Economic agenda will reach working-class whites…Worker testimony, Democratic votes kill RTW bill in New Mexico… Women’s groups, several unions, plan mass marches, potential strike on March 8. STORY OF THE WEEK: THE GOP PLANNED TO TAX YOUR HEALTH CARE – ALL OF IT. Seeking to fill in the budget-busting hole they create by repealing the Affordable Care Act, House Republican leaders planned to tax health care benefits – by taxing workers, calling the benefits income. Pressure reportedly forced them to back off. OTHER LEADING STORIES: Senate GOP ensures another Labor Dept. pro-worker rule permanently dies…Unionists lead, join D.C. section of women’s strike… Unemployment for February at 4.7%; Businesses claim to create 227K net new jobs…NLRB official tosses university’s objections, certifies UAW win at Columbia… Union leaders turn thumbs down on GOP replacement for Affordable Care Act…Workers and lawmakers hit cuts in Coast Guard, emergency agency funds to pay for Mexican wall… SAG-AFTRA wins organizing drive at Telemundo…Federal workers head to Hill to push value of government to taxpayers…Federal commission won’t slam Chinese truck and bus tires with tariffs …Unions, other groups: Trump intimidation of media threatens basic U.S. rights…House votes to overturn yet another pro-worker OSHA rule. STORY OF THE WEEK: AFL-CIO LEADERS STRUGGLE WITH 2016 ELECTION LOSS. The federation’s Executive Council met in San Antonio, still groggy from November’s results, unsure of what to do. ALSO FROM THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL: Bldg. trades’ McGarvey predicts $1 trillion infrastructure bill by year’s end… Top AFL-CIO officer: Unions never backing down on immigrant workers’ rights…AFL-CIO race relations report advocates higher priority for empowering minorities and addressing problems they face…AFL-CIO reorganizes as part of budget trims…Union leaders give Trump budget proposal bad reviews… Washington Window: On politics, no action. STORY OF THE WEEK: LABOR SECRETARY NOMINEE ACOSTA DUCKS QUESTIONS. GOP President Trump’s pick to head the department wouldn’t say what he would do about enforcing DOL rules, but he skated through his nomination hearing anyway. THE BATTLE OVER HEALTH CARE… Union activist nurse warns of GOP health plan’s impact on people… With votes looming, nurses’ union condemns GOP health care bill as ‘flawed and deadly’… Washington Window: On health care, politics makes strange bedfellows…OTHER LEADING STORIES: Laborers’ O’Sullivan, senators unite on bipartisan push for energy infrastructure improvements… Ironworkers, pro-worker contractors OK paid maternity leave… Teamsters plan anti-right-to-work campaign…Union chief counsel to Senate: ‘Working people cannot be assured a fair shake’ from Gorsuch…Lawmakers bounce OSHA rule requiring firms to retain job injury record. STORY OF THE WEEK: A PRESIDENT ON PRESIDENTS: In an exclusive talk with Press Associates Union News, AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka discusses Barack Obama and Donald Trump. OTHER LEADING STORIES: Perez: Shoe leather, organizing, jobs to help revive Dems; ‘Middle class jobs should pay a middle-class wage,’ including union bldg. trades jobs… Union leaders line up against Gorsuch nod…School Administrators slam Trump for meeting with ‘advocates for privatizing’ public schools…Unions: Crushed hand, crushed finger in job accidents shows need for not crushing job safety regs… To GOP cheers, Trump dumps ‘Fair Play and Safe Workplaces’ rule. Washington Window: Don’t let up and don’t back down.


STORY OF THE WEEK: TRUMP AT THE BUILDING TRADES. The new GOP president tells the Building Trades Legislative Conference that “labor leaders will find an open door.” OTHER LEADING STORIES: Trumka advocates strong bargaining rights for all, union and non-union…Medicare for all in California? …Teamsters win at Schnuck’s in St. Louis ends 9-month boycott…McGarvey; Bldg. Trades must again become labor movement backbone … Unionists to be big part of April 29 march on D.C. to campaign for battling climate change…OSHA delays start of silica exposure rule enforcement … Lawmakers mark Equal Pay Day by reintroducing Paycheck Fairness Act…Florida House votes automatic decertification of public worker unions in shops with too many free riders… Maryland on verge of joining states with paid family/medical leave. STORIES OF THE WEEK: THE STATE OF THE STATES: In the Midwest, the difference a boundary makes…Missouri GOP lawmakers try to halt citizen referendums, in order to stop anti-RTW vote…Unions split on New York state budget… California unions, lawmakers move to protect the undocumented. OTHER LEADING STORIES: Steelworkers convention stresses solidarity, unity… Cornell grad students’ election for AFT inconclusive; Union may file labor law-breaking charges …Teamsters rack up bus company wins in N.Y., Calif. STORY OF THE WEEK: GRANTING THE CORPORATE WISH LIST. In their first months in power, Trump and the GOP granted or solicited a huge corporate wish list, including anti-worker actions. OTHER LEADING STORIES: AFL-CIO lauds Trump ‘Buy America’ pledge, waits to see details on his visa plans… Steelworkers cheer Trump order to probe steel dumping on national security grounds… Govt. Employees, Treasury Employees hit latest Trump job cut plans… Fight for 15 wins raises for D.C. airport workers… Treasury Employees blast plan to turn delinquent taxpayers over to debt collectors…Ill. lawmakers try to claw back subsidies from firms that move out of state… SAG-AFTRA takes on Spanish Broadcasting System… Unionists join pro-science march descending on D.C.; 480 other cities nationwide. STORIES OF THE WEEK: WILL JOB SAFETY PROGRESS GO DOWN THE DRAIN? Top union job safety official Peg Seminario says Trump and the GOP-run Congress could undo decades of progress on job safety and health. They already killed one OSHA rule, requiring firms to keep their records for five years, not six months. OTHER LEADING STORIES: National COSH Council names ‘Dirty Dozen’ job safety violators…Congress heads for brinkmanship on federal shutdown, miners’ health benefits… Report: Top 100 federal contractors offshored tens of thousands of jobs… Four Dems propose bill to let Commerce Dept. impose tariffs vs. currency manipulators…GOP majority on House panel OKs comp time for overtime bill… Strike in Twin Cities, mass mobilization of low-wage workers part of May Day actions …Right wing Republicans scheme to write right to work into N.C. state constitution… Steelworkers hail administration probe into foreign aluminum dumping on national security grounds…Senate OKs Acosta to run Labor Dept., 60-38.


STORY OF THE WEEK: There’s more than just money in a money bill. Workers won big as lawmakers dump anti-labor provisions from measure funding the govt. up to Oct. 1. OTHER LEADING STORIES: Mass May Day marches champion immigrant workers…Retired miners, families win health benefits extension …High school students learn collective bargaining – by doing it…Common-sense science, fear for grandkids, hostility to Trump pushes unionists to march for climate, jobs, justice. STORY OF THE WEEK: HOUSE HEALTH CARE BILL HURTS MILLIONS. With the battle turning to the Senate, union leaders are criticizing the legislation and gearing up for a bitter fight in the upper chamber of Congress. OTHER LEADING STORIES: Workers rally to back national pension legislation…On party-line vote, House GOP pushes through comp time for overtime bill…OSHA drops ‘walkaround’ privileges for safety and health unionists in non-union shops…NALC’s Rolando: Postal Service turned a profit on operations in the last six months… New York union leaders praise legislation to make joining public worker unions easier. STORY OF THE WEEK: TRUMP BUDGET DRAWS LOTS OF FLAK. Union leaders and their congressional allies blast the federal spending blueprint for the year starting Oct. 1 that GOP President Donald Trump sent to Capitol Hill. OTHER BUDGET STORIES: Trump budget proposes 18 percent worker cut at NLRB…NALC’s Rolando: Trump budget ‘a missed opportunity’ on postal reform… Three unions: Trump’s budget trashes federal workers …Washington Window: Slashing holes in the safety net. OTHER LEADING STORIES: Steelworkers laud Calif. OSHA for tough new safety management rules for refineries…Top Calif. Democrats back drive against national RTW bills …With union cooperation and lobbying, cities and hotels move vs. sexual harassment of female workers…Maryland GOP Gov. Hogan vetoes paid leave bill; Override expected… NLRB rejects attorney’s try to extend representation rights in potential discipline hearings to non-unionists,,, Long after the flames, Fire Fighters at risk from cancer-causing chemicals…Dems try again to raise minimum wage, to $15 hourly…OMB recommends Trump sign GOP comp time for overtime bill.


STORY OF THE WEEK: TRASHING WORKERS’ RIGHTS. Congressional Republicans start concerted effort to trash labor law by huge revisions in Natl. Labor Relations Act. OTHER LEADING STORIES: Lawmakers tackle lack of protections and benefits in so-called ‘gig economy’… Right wing GOP Missouri governor signs Project Labor Agreements ban …Calif. Senate panel OKs statewide single-payer health care bill…Teamsters, Kentucky AFL-CIO challenge state right-to-work law in court…Pope Francis criticizes corporate abuses of workers, again…A. Philip Randolph Institute challenges another state anti-voting law, in Ohio …Unions again split on GOP plan to privatize air traffic control. STORY OF THE WEEK: ‘COMPLIANCE ASSISTANCE’ was the buzz phrase GOP President Donald Trump’s Labor Secretary used in his first congressional testimony. What it means: He’s pushing aiding business first, over workplace enforcement. OTHER LEADING STORIES: White House about to roll out paid parental leave proposal …Gerard: Treat iron and steel ‘holistically’ when pondering dumping threat to national security …Ignoring worker objections, Senate OKs bill to make firing VA rank-&-file workers easier…Over labor, consumer protests, GOP-run House dismantles financial protections …CWA voting on pact covering 17K workers for AT&T West, DirecTV…Trumka: Widening income inequality threatens democracy worldwide…Big N.J. hospital settles OSHA workplace violence charges by paying $14K fine; Union leader there calls it ‘slap on the wrist’… Portland, Ore., unionist dies defending women against hate speech, attack. STORY OF THE WEEK: HERE’S WHAT A ‘NEW NAFTA’ SHOULD LOOK LIKE: Strong worker rights, no secret trade court and open agreements openly arrived at, the fed formally says. OTHER LEADING STORIES: Radical Right GOPers aim at NLRB, unions – again… Teamsters, AFL-CIO protest Labor Dept. plan to weaken ‘persuader rule’…Fed launches big phone campaign vs. Senate GOP’s stealth health care bill…Sanders to People’s Summit: ‘The political revolution is on!’…Right-wing Bradley Foundation leads charge to de-fund, destroy labor unions. STORY OF THE WEEK: SECRET GOP HEALTH CARE BILL DRAWS PROTESTS. Despite 90-plus heat, a mass rally in D.C. pledges opposition to Republican plan to throw millions off of health care. OTHER LEADING STORIES: Supreme Court tosses corporate challenge to organizing segments of workers at firms… NY State fed cheers political leaders’ OK of state ‘Buy American’ steel and iron …Coalition: Trump’s pay, pension cuts harm services and federal and postal workers…Misclassification, exploitation force LA-Long Beach port truckers to strike again…Trump administration executes labor law U-turn, telling justices mandatory arbitration overrides worker rights …NALC members’ lobbying yields support for pro-employee, pro-Postal Service bills…With govt. shutdown looming, Washington state unions pressure legislature to solve budget impasse…SEIU VP hits Trump dumping of program keeping undocumented parents of citizens… ALSO: Washington Window: Mitch McConnell, health care stealth bomber…Guest Editorial: Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation President Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou on ‘Beyond the tweets, working families facing real attacks’. STORIES OF THE WEEK: THE NAFTA REWRITE. Unions and their legislative allies testify in detail about what a “new NAFTA” should include: Enforceable worker rights, no secret trade court, Buy American rules, outlawing currency manipulation and other tough standards. UAW’s Nassar: ‘NAFTA’s been a real failure’ for U.S. workers. OTHER LEADING STORIES: Trumka: Labor campaign vs. Senate GOP health care bill to continue through congressional break, beyond… Trump Labor Dept. takes first step towards yanking overtime pay expansion … Building trades: Trump Transp. Sec. Chao backs Davis-Bacon …Trump Labor Dept. formally yanks added beryllium protections for construction, longshore workers…Natl. Nurses United blasts Calif. Assembly Speaker’s decision to shelve single-payer bill… N.J. unions hit Christie’s budget shuffling, $300M grab from state Blue Cross-Blue Shield…Minneapolis City Council to OK $15 hourly minimum wage …Nine years after charges filed, arbitrators bounce AFL-CIO-U.S. complaint on Guatemala labor conditions…Nevada GOP governor vetoes mandatory 2-person freight train crews.


STORY OF THE WEEK: AS CONGRESS RETURNS, UNIONS CONTINUE CAMPAIGN VS. SENATE GOP HEALTH CARE BILL. ACTION IN THE STATES: State budget struggles affecting workers: Four solved – even Illinois… Pushed to brink of shutdown, Wash. legislature OKs budget, worker raises, adds paid leave law…Fair work week: Oregon to be first state to curb scheduling abuses …OTHER LEADING STORIES: Dem leaders to Teamsters: We’ll block national “right-to-work” bill…NEA President warns convention of perils of Trump administration, Cabinet …Chicago News Guild: City Labor Fed, progressive political-financial heavyweight close to saving two unionized Chicago newspapers…Pope Francis again speaks out strongly for unions, warns of “epochal challenges”…June jobless rate at 4.4 percent. STORY OF THE WEEK: THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE GOP HEALTH CARE PLAN CONTINUES. The Senate may vote on it the third week in July. Meanwhile, people nationwide make it clear they hate the legislation. OTHER LEADING STORIES: Steelworkers and job safety specialist hit Trump EPA’s plan to kill protections around chemical plants…Federal and postal worker unions to conduct mass call-in to save pay, pensions from Trump cuts…Unions with nurses hit latest Senate GOP health care bill; EPI analyst says it could raise state taxes…Duck, bob and weave: Trump Labor Board nominees avoid answering tough questions…Study: Senate GOP health care bill could cost 919K health care jobs by 2026…Auto Workers file for representation election at Nissan in Mississippi …Investor coalition, including Chicago Labor Federation, formally buys unionized Sun-Times, Reader…House panel Dems oppose GOP money cuts for job training, labor law enforcement… Franken: Trump nominee for DOL’s #2 job lobbied for government that let firms exploit workers…Senate panel OKs renewal of Fire Fighter programs…Teamsters: 82-day strike vs. Long Island beer distributor ends with win …Natl. Consumers League, unions praise CFPB rule vs. forced arbitration ban on class actions…STORY OF THE WEEK: UNIONS KEEP HEALTH CARE PRESSURE ON. Despite defections that killed Senate GOP’s health care bill, unions and allies kept pressure on, to preserve the Affordable Care Act and – for Natl. Nurses United – to enact single-payer. OTHER LEADING STORIES: Industrial unions skeptical about Trump’s ‘new NAFTA’ negotiating objectives…Building on defeat of GOP health care bill, Natl. Nurses United, allies march for Medicare For All… Union leaders pan House GOP’s budget blueprint…Senate panel overrides AFL-CIO opposition to Trump NLRB nominees…UAW vote at Nissan set for August 3-4; Union files more labor law-breaking charges…Teamsters, panel Dems rap House GOP’s transportation money bill…Letter Carriers’ food drive collects 71.1M pounds.


STORY OF THE WEEK: AFL-CIO BACKS SINGLE-PAYER GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTH CARE. The federation’s Executive Council issued a strong endorsement of Medicare for All, among the resolutions it passed at its summer meeting. OTHER LEADING STORIES: AFT’s Weingarten to join pro-Affordable Care Act nationwide health care bus tour… Seafarers going to bat for Food for Peace program…Missouri’s rollback of St. Louis higher minimum wage prompts coalition to launch ‘save the raise’ drive…News Guild’s Lunzer: Journalists must lobby for ‘right to report,’ freedom of the press… Bipartisan group of lawmakers protest proposed pay cuts for federal workers…Pro-business lawmakers try to kill NLRB’s joint employer rule…Nurses union challenges right-wing Texas lawmaker to a duel – with words, not bullets – on health care…AFGE’s Cox: House budget blueprint means immediate pay cut for feds…Illinois worker retirees picket the governor – who flees out the back door… Nurses cheer ruling finding labor law-breaking at big Maryland hospital. Washington Window: Drain the swamp? Not. STORY OF THE WEEK: CWA STRONGLY BACKS REPRODUCTIVE CHOICE. The union’s convention delegates voted – with, surprisingly, no dissent – to back reproductive choice. What changed: Donald Trump and total Republican control in Washington. OTHER LEADING STORIES: Working Families Party, citing Trump threats, advocates bill restricting first use of nukes… CWA’s Shelton: Corporate America ‘going in for the kill’ against unions… After Nissan election loss, UAW ponders court suit to ban further Nissan labor law-breaking…Dems introduce wage theft ban …Feds file big sex discrimination suit vs. CSX Railroad; Top rail union official applauds it, but says real problem is firms mistreat families…NALC’s Rolando: USPS’ 2-cent first class stamp price cut put Postal Service back in the red…Union objections lead another Trump top job pick to bite the dust…Sunkett: Communications Workers prep for hostile High Court ruling…UAW pushes South Korea for release of jailed union leaders. STORY OF THE WEEK: UNION PRESIDENTS WARY AS ‘NEW NAFTA’ TALKS OPEN. Both U.S. and Canadian union leaders are keeping a sharp eye on their nations’ trade negotiators – for different reasons — as talks on a new ‘free trade’ pact started in D.C. on August 16. Mexican unions, government-dominated, stayed silent. Workers didn’t. OTHER LEADING STORIES: Union leaders condemn hater-caused deaths in Charlottesville; One links them directly to Trump… Communications Workers, progressive allies argue in court vs. Trump regulation cuts…Weingarten pushes petition to preserve ACA against stealth Trump effort to kill it…Two first-in-the-nation pro-worker bills highlight Oregon legislative session… Steelworkers, top rep on trade wonder: Where’s Trump’s anti-Chinese steel ruling?…Mass exodus in protest, including two from AFL-CIO, leads Trump’s Manufacturing Council to disband…AFGE’s Cox again defends whistleblowing federal workers…Solidarity now and forever: Tacoma labor honors the man who wrote Solidarity Forever. Washington Window: Heather Heyer, another martyr for justice. STORY OF THE WEEK: RIGHT TO WORK GETS STALLED IN MISSOURI. Workers collect more than 300,000 signatures to put a question on next year’s state ballot to repeal the anti-worker RTW law. By doing so, they automatically stopped its implementation. OTHER LEADING STORIES: Led by now-noted retired Steelworker local President Jones and Sen. Sanders, unionists and allies kick off Midwest campaign vs. Trump…Fight for 15 plans mass fast-food walkout for Labor Day, political activism…Unions, allies: GOPer’s demand to speed up chicken-processing lines endangers workers, consumers… Top federal union leader: Trump govt. closure threat ‘irresponsible’…Citing Trump’s racism, SEIU VP Long quits presidential infrastructure advisory panel…Minn. State Capitol shines anew as special event honors workers who built it, unionists who renovated it…S.F. Longshore Workers local challenges white nationalists.

LABOR DAY SPECIAL EDITION: Though election is next year, unions already revving up for 2018 govs’ races… Supreme Court preview: Union fees and “free riders” – Here we go again… Labor’s Randolph Institute top player in a key voting rights case…Changing demographics of work force call for changing U.S. policies…GOP, Trump administration undertake wide-ranging assault on pro-worker federal rules…News analysis: Consumer buying patterns produce complicity in trade deficit, income inequality…Philadelphia AFL-CIO President: We must sell unions to union members…Op-Ed: Sam Pizzigati on ‘In fighting inequality, which nations do more than pay lip service?’… Washington Window: The path left to us: Resist.


STORY OF THE WEEK: TRUMKA SAYS UNIONS PLAN TO FOCUS ON THEIR MEMBERS IN RUN-UP TO 2018 VOTE. But they have to make sure their message is getting through. Last time, he said, it often didn’t. OTHER LEADING STORIES…AFGE’s Cox joins ministers in mass march for moral values in government…Catholic bishops’ Labor Day statement emphasizes just wages, hits business, pols… Unions call for aid to Hurricane Harvey victims…SEIU regional President Contreras leads Dreamers demonstration at White House …2018 politics starts on Labor Day as Fight for 15, SEIU start voter engagement drive. STORY OF THE WEEK: UNION LEADERS CONDEMN TRUMP FOR TRASHING DACA. And the Service Employees and the Asian-Pacific AFL-CIO constituency group vow active resistance to Trump’s deportations of the Dreamers. OTHER LEADING STORIES…Texas federal judge permanently kills Obama overtime pay expansion …Leading Mexican presidential contender ducks NAFTA question, says raising wages, creating jobs by eliminating corruption is solution …LCLAA convention turns into pro-Dreamers anti-Trump march…15 states and D.C. challenge Trump’s decision to end DACA… ‘Fight for $15 and a union’ marks Labor Day with walkouts. STORY OF THE WEEK: ANTI-WORKER HIGH COURT CASES PART OF CONCERTED CAMPAIGN. A top SEIU attorney says the cases the justices will consider this fall – one forcing workers into mandatory arbitration and the other to make every state and local employee a “free rider” – are part of a concerted corporate campaign against unions. OTHER LEADING STORIES: House defeats GOP federal job privatizing plan…Union leader: In “New NAFTA” talks, Canada demands end to U.S. ‘right to work’ laws…Sanders unveils Medicare for All bill at campaign-style press conference turned rally…House Dems hit ideological schemes, budget cuts in GOP money bill…AFGE launches ‘Save the EPA’ drive… Laborers, Asian-Pacific workers urge straight Dream Act OK. STORY OF THE WEEK: KEEP YOUR PROMISES. Midwest industrial workers demand Trump act to save jobs, just as he promised during last year’s campaign. Their solution: A ban on federal contracts to firms – such as Verizon and GE – that offshore their jobs. OTHER LEADING STORIES… Weingarten warns unionists of last-ditch GOP try to repeal ACA, substitute block grants… Ellison goes 0-for-3 in fighting for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau… More unions jump on single-payer caravan… Treasury Employees to challenge judge’s ruling freeing govt. of responsibility for big cyberattack. STORY OF THE WEEK #1: UNIONS, ACTIVISTS BEAT GOP BILL KILLING AFFORDABLE CARE ACT. Three Republican senators listened to their citizens and said they would vote “no,” so the measure died. STORY OF THE WEEK #2: UNION LEADERS DISCUSS REAL GOAL OF HIGH COURT JANUS CASE: Rob unions of money, workers of protection, benefits, by making state, local workers “free riders.” OTHER LEADING STORIES…Ignoring senators, Steelworkers, Commerce Sec. Ross stalls steel import decision…EPI: Justice Dept. siding with employers in key arbitration case hurts workers’ rights…Trumka hits Trump tax plan…Senate OKs GOPer to NLRB; Trump nominates PATCO union-buster as agency’s top enforcement officer…NFLPA defends its members in battle with Trump over free speech, player safety…Trump waives Jones Act, opens Puerto Rican ports to non-U.S. ships with relief aid…Single-payer dominates discussion at Natl. Nurses United convention…News Guild condemns reporter’s arrest during St. Louis protests; Paper’s lawyer: Videos show police ‘seem to be celebrating’ the arrest.


ACTION AT THE SUPREME COURT…Justices wrestle with mandatory arbitration vs. labor law…High Court tackles gerrymandering and voters’ rights…Union target of free-rider case: It ‘aims to take away the freedom of working people’. OTHER LEADING STORIES: September jobless rate at 4.2%; Firms shed 33,000 jobs due to hurricanes… Two Teamsters, one NEA teacher among the dead in Las Vegas shooting massacre…AFL-CIO, several unions send volunteers to Puerto Rico…Bipartisan group of lawmakers unite to defend U.S. mariners, Jones Act, against ideological attacks… St. Louis police arrest Peoples World reporter, other journalists covering protests…El Faro sinking leads to Coast Guard safety recommendations …Letter Carriers hero: ‘I really didn’t know what to expect’ in talking down shooter…AFL-CIO, Working Families Party urge Congress to pass “clean” Dream Act…Panel presents evidence against privatizing VA health care system… Senate Dems: GOP budget cuts Medicare, Medicaid by $1.47 trillion over decade…Washington Window: The Democrats’ – and labor’s – dilemma. STORIES OF THE WEEK: ‘New NAFTA’ talks draw heat. Unions in U.S., Canada, Mexico join to demand strong worker rights provisions in new trade pact…Lawmakers oppose renewing secret pro-business trade court. OTHER LEADING STORIES… Unionists on Puerto Rican relief say situation dire; PR Fed head: ‘They want us to die’… BlueGreen Alliance, Service Employees hit Trump dump of Clean Power Plan …NFL players union again defends players, this time vs. Trump and Pence…Mine Workers cheer as Supreme Court upholds Blankenship conviction …Spokane transit union wins free speech right vs. bosses…Federal union leaders hit Trump trashing of joint labor-management councils. STORY OF THE WEEK: STATE AGS SUE TO STOP TRUMP FROM YANKING HEALTH CARE. The officials from 18 states and D.C. went to court after Trump declared he’d dump subsidies to insurers which let low-income people pay for health insurance. OTHER LEADING STORIES…Union coalition to push fed to make single-payer top AFL-CIO legislative goal…AFGE protests ‘death by a thousand cuts’ plans for VA health care…UAW: Forced choice ‘new NAFTA’…Puerto Rico’s plight, govt.’s response dominates a day at AFL-CIO…Canadian union editor: Trudeau’s ‘new between sick kids, parents’ jobs leads to unionization drive…Senate readies vote on budget blueprint to pave way for tax cut for the rich…Bldg. trades unions demand refugees from disasters get to stay in U.S. FROM THE AFL-CIO AND ILCA CONVENTIONS IN ST. LOUIS: Trumka: One labor message: Trump’s not keeping promises…Union solution to Janus case: Wall-to-wall organizing…AFL-CIO OKs break with ‘lesser of two evils’ in politics resolution after unionists push Labor Party revival…Building trades leader McGarvey: U.S. needs $4 trillion for infrastructure repairs…UMW’s Gibbs tells labor to walk the walk on diversity…AFL-CIO OKs ‘Workers Bill of Rights’ as political litmus test…Mexican union leader ‘not optimistic’ about NAFTA’ demand vs. U.S. RTW laws ‘is all show’…AFL-CIO slams hate groups, fascists, administration support for them…Delegates re-elect AFL-CIO’s top three officers. OTHER STORIES…UFCW, anti-poverty group oppose industry chicken-line speed-up scheme…CWA’s Shelton urges action now to stop Trump-GOP tax hike on middle class…New York unionists hit the streets to battle ConCon…University of Chicago research assistants, TAs vote to unionize.


STORY OF THE WEEK: DEM LEADERS UNVEIL PRO-WORKERS RIGHTS AGENDA. Make worker rights civil rights, complete with high fines. Outlaw right to work laws. Ban captive audience meetings. And so on. All are in congressional Dems’ new workers’ rights agenda – which labor praised and which has zero chance on Capitol Hill. OTHER LEADING STORIES…Massive mobilization under way against GOP tax cuts for the rich…Over union protests, lawmakers give big gift to big banks, credit card companies…Arkansas workers make the case to organize the South…House GOP’s tax cut for the rich draws slams from AFSCME, Retired Americans Alliance…Iowa GOP’s de-unionization scheme backfires…Minneapolis fed’s commission on racial, economic justice develops standards for work…Intl. trade unionists agree on harms from ‘free trade’ pacts, struggle for solutions. STORY OF THE WEEK: A PROGRESSIVE POLITICAL SWEEP. Personal contact and talking issues led unionists and their allies to electoral victories from coast to coast in the balloting on November 7, beating campaign cash, pro-Trump candidates. OTHER LEADING STORIES…Led by the Fed, more unions blasting GOP tax cut for the rich…Top union VP challenges progressives to hit the streets for democracy… Teamsters, lawmakers bring misclassification of port drivers issue to Capitol Hill …Over labor, Dem protests, House OKs anti-worker ‘joint employer’ bill… Challenged ballots will decide WashU RAs and TAs unionization vote… Grad student TAs, RAs demonstrate against potential NLRB veto of unionization. STORY OF THE WEEK: HOUSE PASSES TAX CUT FOR THE RICH. Workers, seniors, women, Dems protest, but the GOP brushes them aside in party-line vote. OTHER LEADING STORIES… Protests rise against GOP tax cut for the rich…NALC’s Rolando: If stamp prices hadn’t dropped, USPS would have been profitable… Pro-worker senator: White House ‘chaos’ might prevent new NAFTA… Natl. Nurses United, Alliance for Retired Americans slam Trump nod of drug company exec to head Health and Human Services Dept…. OPEIU rolls out digital ID protection benefit…Trump Labor Secretary Acosta defends rules cuts, GOP tax plan…Unions, Dems take another shot at fixing multi-employer pension plan problems. STORY OF THE WEEK: TAX CUT VOTE LEADS TO MASS MOBILIZATION. Unions and progressive groups mobilized against Senate GOP’s tax cut for the rich, as GOP leaders plan for vote by end of next week. OTHER LEADING STORIES… With focus on constitutional violations, group of House Dems moves to impeach Trump …As EEOC touts case record and wins, head of its workers’ union paints another picture… Steelworkers: Korean tire firm, run by govt. bank, violated workers’ rights at Ga. plant… Workers raise concerns about wage theft by Amazon subcontractors …Study: U.S. becoming ‘hereditary aristocracy’ of wealth at the top.


LEADING STORIES…Defying seniors, workers, sit-in outside Capitol, senators on verge of passing tax cut for the rich, corporations…Supreme Court tackles cellphone privacy …Dreamers demand immediate passage of legislation keeping them in the U.S….With tax bill votes looming, CWA’s Shelton challenges Trump, GOP, biz to keep tax cut promise to workers, middle class…Unions band together for $1M campaign to protect group of migrants…Washington Window: Remember next November what lawmakers did to you….For some, the fight against the tax cut for the rich continues…Restaurant Opportunities Center: Trump DOL opens way for theft of workers’ tips…Union leaders, Dreamers to lawmakers: Attach Dream Act to money bill…Memo from new NLRB General Counsel Robb puts a stop to almost everything…Trump Justice Dept. to High Court: Kill ‘agency fees’ for public workers …American Values Survey shows large chunk of Trump voters immovable. WASHINGTON WINDOW: Sexual exploitation on the job: Union opportunity, union problem. STORY OF THE WEEK: UNIONS MOUNT LAST-MINUTE PUSH AGAINST TAX CUT FOR THE RICH. The lobbying blitz continued even as the $1.5 trillion measure hit rocks in the GOP-run Senate, with two Republicans threatening to defect from it. OTHER LEADING STORIES…Steelworkers mobilization in Mobile, African-American vote statewide tip Alabama U.S. Senate race to Jones…Hundreds rally at Capitol, despite deep freeze, against GOP tax cut for rich, companies…Trump Labor Board majority seeks rollback of union elections rule…Next target for crackdown on sexual exploitation: Corporate culture of secrecy …NLRB Trump-named majority dumps joint employer rule…In reversal, Georgetown Univ. refuses to recognize union for RAs, TAs after signing contract covering adjunct professors… Trump FCC chairman brushes aside union, worker protests, plans to kill net neutrality…Senate panel’s party-line vote OKs FedEx exec as new OSHA chief…Wages, overtime pay, mgmt. favoritism lead to Smart Union win at Ga. tank car plant… Monster Calif. fires kill union Fire Fighter Cory Iverson, 32.





Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of Press Associates Inc. (PAI), a union news service in Washington, D.C. that he has headed since 1999. Previously, he worked as Washington correspondent for the Ottaway News Service, as Port Jervis bureau chief for the Middletown, NY Times Herald Record, and as a researcher and writer for Congressional Quarterly. Mark obtained his BA in public policy from the University of Chicago and worked as the University of Chicago correspondent for the Chicago Daily News.