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Despite its setbacks, or perhaps because of them, organized labor has an energy level that AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka says he hasn’t seen before in his 50 years with the movement.

WGBH COMMENTARY
Boston Calling: Crime? Or Politics As Usual?

By Harvey Silverglate

On September 25th - 27th, 2019, over 200 delegates and guests will gather for the Biennial Constitutional Convention of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO.

President Trump's chief trade official Monday offered a modicum of optimism about the ongoing talks to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement, even as he shot down two key Canadian proposals and blasted a recent trade action by Canada as a "massive attack on all of our trade laws."

Thanks to the pressure you've created the GIC has announced it will reconsider its disruptive decision to eliminate three health insurance carriers. This is good news but we need to keep the pressure on. See below for updates and ways to be involved during the GIC Week of Action.

The Donald Trump Labor Department is proposing a rule change that would mean that restaurant servers and bartenders could lose a large portion of their earnings. The rule would overturn one put in place by the Barack Obama administration initiated, which prevents workers in tipped industries from having their tips taken by their employers. Under the new rule, business owners could pay their wait staff and bartenders as little as $7.25 per hour and keep all tips above that amount without having to tell customers what happened.

Last week, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual report on union membership, which found that the number of union members rose by 260,000 in 2017. This reflects critical organizing victories across a range of industries, which have reaped higher wages, better benefits and a more secure future for working people around the country.

Of the report, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said:

The Mexican government has filed legislation that would substantially weaken rights for working people. In response, the AFL-CIO filed a complaint alleging that Mexico is violating the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation, the NAFTA labor side deal.

Journalists at the Los Angeles Times have overwhelmingly elected to form a union, a first for the 136-year-old news organization that for much of its history was known for its opposition to organized labor.

The union drive was launched publicly in October and culminated in an election earlier this month. Results, tallied Friday by the National Labor Relations Board, show workers voted 248 to 44 to be represented by the Washington, D.C.-based NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America.

The middle class has been on a steady slide for decades. Signs of this slide are all around us: anemic wage growth, historic income inequality, chronic unemployment and underemployment and, not coincidentally, the steady erosion of workers’ freedom to join unions and bargain for fair wages and benefits. At the same time, American households are facing rising costs that far outpace their stagnant wages.

To Washington, D.C. insiders, this month’s budget negotiations are just the latest partisan exercise in a series of manufactured crises that too often result in short-term solutions. But for those who live and work outside of the Beltway bubble, much more is at stake.

What happens in the coming days has the potential to fundamentally shift the balance of power in the workplace. Nothing less than the right to dream, live, work and retire in security is on the table as Congress faces key decisions and deadlines.