New AFL-CIO Report Lauds Grass-Roots Successes

WASHINGTON—AFL-CIO released a report on the first year of its “Raise The Wage” campaign praises grass-roots successes by local unions and unorganized workers out in the field, and makes an effort to link them to the campaign itself.

The 9-page report says workers hit the streets for causes ranging from decent pay to undoing two-tier wage systems to health and safety. It adds that in a record year of contract bargaining, 2015, the average worker won a 4.2 percent annual raise.

Some of the lowest-paid workers got double-digit percentage raises. And two-tier wage systems are on their way out in the auto industry, the fed says, with the UAW winning a 45 percent raise over the life of its FiatChrysler contract for lower-paid workers there.

The AFL-CIO also claims workers are educating themselves about Common Sense Economics, the fed’s multi-part platform that includes specific “raise the wage” ideas. But the report does not tie any platform planks, by name, into specific successes. By year’s end, “a growing number of people across the country were unwilling to accept stagnant and falling wages without complaint. They’re demanding new rules” for the U.S. economy, the report says. Some of the successes mentioned include:

• Organizing wins included among taxi and Uber drivers, AFT’s win among adjunct professors at Temple University, National Nurses United wins that created new locals, and the Communications’ Workers win among 5,000 airline passenger service agents at Envoy.

• Among others, it cites successful teachers strikes in Chicago and Washington state, the Steelworkers’ success when the major oil firms forced them to strike over safety and the ongoing Fight for 15. That includes successful 1-day strikes by fast food workers.

The report states that as a result, even low-wage and non-union firms such as Walmart had to raise wages for their low-paid workers.

“The landscape in 2016 looks very different than it did in January 2015,” it explains. “The torrent of intolerance and hate unleashed by would-be presidents” — the report doesn’t name names — “is designed to sow fear and division. Anti-union and extremist forces have mobilized to fight on all the fronts. But we’re different, too. We’ll keep our eyes on the prize: A more just and inclusive economy that serves all of us, not just the wealthy and well-connected,” it concludes.

Source: PAI