Weekly Update: Coming Up Short

Affordable Care Act Repeal Comes Up Short

Working people again have stopped the latest attempt by Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell to gutt health care and give more tax cuts to the rich and powerful. While remaining steadfast on health care, we also are looking to the next big policy fights, especially the federal budget.

You can expect to see union members mobilize across the country to defeat any federal budget proposal that hurts working people. The AFL-CIO’s budget priorities are simple:

  • Massive investments in America’s infrastructure, including mass transit, to create jobs, increase competitiveness and bring more workers into apprenticeship programs for a lifetime in the skilled trades.
  • Long-term investment in public education, from pre-K through graduate schools, which includes basic research for the next generation of innovation.
  • Expand Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to make sure more people have access to quality, affordable health care and a secure retirement.

In Oregon, we face an attempt to roll back health insurance for hundreds of thousands of Oregonians through the Oregon Healthcare Protections bill, which provides coverage for 375,000 Oregonians and lowers premiums for 220,000. Click here to learn more and to defend healthcare for working people in Oregon.

Juno: Union-Made Spacecraft Making History

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, a swirling gas storm more than double the size of Earth, is getting a close-up. The mesmerizing photos being taken from just above the planet’s surface are due in large part to the skill of Machinists (IAM) union members.

IAM members built and launched Juno, a spacecraft now orbiting our solar system’s largest gas giant. Juno passed over the giant storm this week as it continued a series of close passes around the gaseous world more than 365 million miles away.

The photos are breathtaking—and we have fellow Machinists members to thank.

Juno was built by IAM Local 44 members at Lockheed Martin in Decatur, Alabama, and launched, in 2011, by IAM Local 610 members at United Launch Alliance in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

NASA scientists hope the Juno mission will answer long unanswered questions about the mysterious gas giant, including why its Great Red Spot appears to be shrinking.

See more images and follow Juno’s historic journey.

Roundup of Workers’ Wins

Our latest roundup of worker wins includes inspiring stories of workers joining together and persevering over years to achieve victory. Does your union have a story to share? Reply to this email and we’ll make sure get the exposure your victory deserves!

Hotel Workers Win 16-Year Fight to Join Together in Union: Workers at the DoubleTree in Santa Monica, Calif., have been fighting for their freedom to negotiate together since 2001. The workers announced their victory last month, saying they “sought dignity, good salaries, benefits and job security.”

Farmworkers in Washington’s Skagit Valley Win First Contract: After five years of hard work, farmworkers at Sakuma in Washington state’s Skagit Valley have won their first contract. The workers, members of Familias Unidas por la Justicia, overwhelmingly approved the contract, which increases wages, bars discrimination, establishes seniority, creates a grievance procedure and improves disciplinary procedures.

IAFF Testifies in Support of National Cancer Registry for Firefighters: IAFF testified before the House Health Subcommittee in support of the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act. The legislation would create a registry to collect detailed information about firefighters with cancer across the U.S. The research would help us understand the link between firefighting and cancer, and could lead to improvements in safety and prevention.

National Grid Agrees to Hire IBEW Members for Granite State Power Link Project: IBEW Local 104 negotiated a memorandum of understanding with National Grid and Citizens Energy that will create as many as 2,000 jobs in the construction of the Granite State Power Link electric transmission project. The project will bring electricity to the U.S. from Canada.

Texas Fire Fighters Successfully Lobby to Improve Workers’ Compensation for Members with PTSD: The Texas State Association of Fire Fighters successfully lobbied for legislation that will improve workers’ compensation coverage for first responders with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Connecticut State Employees Reach Deal to Avoid Layoffs: State workers in Connecticut reached a deal that will save as many as 4,200 jobs. The agreement freezes wages for three years and cuts pension and health care benefits, but the contract’s length was extended to 10 years.

Employees at New York Times Walk Out to Protest Cuts: After proposed cuts, staffers at The New York Times walked out in support of copy editors. The proposals could lead to half of the Times’ copy editing staff losing their jobs.

SAG-AFTRA Reaches Agreement with Film and TV Studios: SAG-AFTRA has reached a tentative deal with the major film and television studios on a three-year contract. Details were not released, and the deal must still be ratified.