Weekly Update: Las Vegas

Las Vegas

On Sunday night at a country music festival, tragic violence erupted on the Las Vegas strip. Unions in Nevada and throughout the country have responded through statements and by stepping up to organize donation and blood drives to help the victims.

Statement from Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain

The affiliated unions of the Oregon AFL-CIO send our condolences to the victims of the tragic violence in Las Vegas, and we stand in solidarity with all impacted by this incident. We applaud the actions of emergency personnel and heroic citizens who did everything they could to make a difference amidst what I can only imagine was a chaotic, terrifying and traumatic experience.

The Oregon AFL-CIO fights for an economy where working people have the freedom to prosper and to stand together. That freedom includes the ability to attend public events without fear of violence, but the echoes of anguish from Nevada dampen that freedom. We, as a nation, must do better.


Response from Nevada State AFL-CIO Officers

“Last night in Las Vegas was devastating. The Nevada labor movement offers our condolences to the shooting victims and their families,” said Rusty McAllister, Executive Secretary Treasurer of the Nevada State AFL-CIO. “We thank the first responders, law enforcement officers, and medical professionals who worked all through the night to save lives. Working people will continue to come together to do all that we can to provide resources to the victims and help our community through this awful ordeal.”

“Our hearts and prayers are with everyone who was impacted by the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas,” said Liz Sorenson, President of the Nevada State AFL-CIO. “In the face of unimaginable violence, working people are coming together to support one another. Nevada is our home and union members will step up to do whatever is needed to help the survivors and their families.”

Local unions are working with other groups in the Las Vegas community to offer assistance with coordinating donations and support for the victims of the shooting. There are several unions attempting to set up blood donation sites at their facilities. The logistics of this effort are being worked through. As the Nevada State AFL-CIO receives more information about dates, times, and locations, we will make that information widely available.

All of our affiliated unions are reaching out to their members to check on their safety and to assist in any way possible. The Culinary Union Local 226 has over 4,000 members at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and they are phone banking them to check on their wellbeing and needs.

As more information becomes available, we will continue to send it out. We will inform working families of locations of upcoming blood drives and donation opportunities to assist those in need.

Click here to read more about the union movement’s response to the tragic events in Las Vegas.


The Janus Case

The following statement was issued by members and leaders of AFSCME, AFT, NEA, and SEIU – the nation’s four largest public sector unions – in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to grant Certiorari in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31:

The Janus case is a blatantly political and well-funded plot to use the highest court in the land to further rig the economic rules against everyday working people. The billionaire CEOs and corporate interests behind this case, and the politicians who do their bidding, have teamed up to deliver yet another attack on working people by striking at the freedom to come together in strong unions. The forces behind this case know that by joining together in strong unions, working people are able to win the power and voice they need to level the economic and political playing field. However, the people behind this case simply do not believe that working people deserve the same freedoms they have: to negotiate a fair return on their work.


This case started with an overt political attempt by the billionaire governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, to attack public service workers through the courts. And, in a letter to supporters detailed in The Guardian, the CEO of the corporate-backed State Policy Network (SPN) reveals the true intent of a nationwide campaign of which Janus is a part: to strike a ‘mortal blow’ and ‘defund and defang’ America’s unions. The merits of the case are clear. Since 1977, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education has effectively set the precedent governing labor relations between public sector employees and employers, allowing employers and employees the freedom to determine labor policies that best serve the public. When reviewing the legal merits of this case, it is clear that this attempt to manipulate the court against working people should be rejected.

Click here to read statements from national union leaders about Janus and more.


Don’t Pass Massive Tax Cuts for the Wealthy on the Backs of Working People

Republicans in Congress have proposed a budget that would devastate many programs that help working people to pay for massive tax cuts for big corporations and the wealthy. We cannot afford for this budget to become law. Here’s why:

It cuts trillions from Medicare and Medicaid. The budget cuts hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare and Medicaid, taking funding away from seniors in nursing homes, children and people with disabilities. It also would turn Medicare into a voucher-like program.


It forces cuts to education programs and unemployment benefits. The budget cuts more than $1 trillion from education and job training, and likely would lead to cuts in federal employee pensions, food stamps and unemployment benefits that millions of Americans rely on.

It paves the way for a massive tax cut for the rich. An estimated 96% of a planned massive tax cut would go to people making $1 million dollars or more, providing a huge giveaway to the GOP’s rich donors but doing nothing for working people.

Click here to learn more & take action


Standing Together to Help Puerto Rico

Today, the labor movement and United Airlines have teamed up to fly more than 300 union nurses, doctors, electricians, truck drivers, heavy equipment operators and others, as well as tens of thousands of pounds of critical supplies, to San Juan, Puerto Rico. This endeavor is part of an unprecedented effort by America’s labor movement to help Americans in a time of crisis. Working people stand together. It’s what we do.



NAFTA Renegotiation Update

One of the reasons that so-called U.S. “trade” deals (such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA) should really be called “offshoring” deals is that they do not contain any enforceable restrictions on currency misalignment and manipulation. Without such restrictions, countries can game the value of their currency to gain a trade advantage that provides corporations an incentive to strip jobs and wages from the U.S.  Click here to read more about fair currency rules for NAFTA

Click here to read more about what renegotiating NAFTA means for working people