Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council

 

President's Message

After reading through nearly 80 pages of bills that the Tennessee House of Representatives has calendared for next week, it would be easy to think that the world wasn't in the midst of a pandemic. As we mentioned last week, there is still a lot that the public, lobbyists, and even the media don't know because of lawmakers' inability to agree on what the rest of session will look like. This Twitter thread is a very good summary of what we could experience for possibly the next six weeks.

Legislative Updates

Late last night, the second half of the 111th Tennessee General Assembly recessed until at least June 1st, 2020 (if not later). To say that the proceedings around passing the budget were anything but business as usual would be an understatement. Governor Bill Lee's proposed budget was made public, put before lawmakers, discussed, and passed all within less than 24 hours.
First of all, we'd like to apologize for the brief lapse in our weekly updates during one of the busiest times of the legislative session. Between the devastating and destructive tornadoes that hit Middle Tennessee last week and killed over two dozen people, to the cancellations of countless meetings, conferences, sporting events, concerts, etc. in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it goes without saying that life is anything but normal right now. These are scary and uncertain times for all of us, but we will navigate a path towards the future together.
Our journey to defeat SJR 648 (aka The "Kelsey Amendment") continues this week as the legislation heads to the full House Consumer & Human Resources Committee. While the resolution passed out of the House Employee Affairs subcommittee this past Tuesday on a 4-2 vote (Representative Bob Freeman and Representative Harold Love voted against it), we cannot thank all of our brothers and sisters throughout the state enough for your efforts.

Take Action

The labor movement is working nonstop to ensure workers devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic receive the protections and support needed during this challenging time. Get involved and make sure the needs of working people are heard.


National News

Support for the labor movement is the highest in nearly half a century, yet only one in 10 workers are members of unions today. How can both be true?

Ivanka Trump took the stage at CES on Tuesday to muted reception. Forty minutes later, she left to robust applause.

After a quarter century of suffering under the failed North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and 18 months of hard-fought negotiations, the American Federation of Labor and

With states reopening for business and millions of people heading back to work, the nation's largest labor organization is demanding the federal government do more to protect workers from contracting the coronavirus on the job.

What's happening: The AFL-CIO, a collection of 55 unions representing 12.5 million workers, says it is suing the federal agency in charge of workplace safety to compel them to create a set of emergency temporary standards for infectious diseases.

Even Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia’s recent letter to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, intended to defend his agency’s performance, offers little in terms of real enforcement. The word “guidance” and its variant “guidelines” appear nine times, as well as the observation that “employers are implementing measures to protect workers” (emphasis in original). Absent from the letter: the word “citation.” The word “penalty.”
“This isn’t just about infection control, which is how the CDC looks at it, this is about exposure assessment,” said Rebecca Reindel, safety and health specialist with the labor organization AFL-CIO. “You look at how people are exposed. Your main source of exposure is other people and so where you’re mainly running into other people right now is the workplace.”

Every labor communicator is responding to minute-by-minute changes in policies and practices affecting workers’ livelihoods. ILCA members are challenged to process, manage, and disseminate essential information to both internal and external audiences. Just by doing our work, labor communicators are producing real-time, textbook examples of crisis communications case studies. In this new series, we’ll profile national newsmakers who are amplifying labor’s call to protect the physical and economic health of workers.