Government Shutdown Impacts Union Members

The AFL-CIO Executive Council today elected Liz Shuler, a visionary leader and longtime trade unionist, to serve as president of the federation of 56 unions and 12.5 million members. Shuler is the first woman to hold the office in the history of the labor federation. The Executive Council also elected United Steelworkers (USW) International Vice President Fred Redmond to succeed Shuler as secretary-treasurer, the first African American to hold the number two office. Tefere Gebre will continue as executive vice president, rounding out the most diverse team of officers ever to lead the AFL-CIO.

Our brother and leader Richard Trumka passed away on August 5, 2021, at the age of 72.

2020’s growth in pay inequity between workers and CEOs confirms the “executive base salary reductions” touted during the COVID-19 crisis were just lip service, per this year’s AFL-CIO Executive Pay

On the morning of August 5, the nation, the American labor movement, and workers across the globe were rocked by the sudden, unexpected loss of a great man, an incredible leader, and a lifetime fighter for justice, AFL-CIO President Richard Louis Trumka, or “it’s just Rich” as he would so often correct anyone opting for the more formal greeting. 

In April 2020, after the labor market took its largest one-month hit in modern history, Black men and women suffered job losses proportionate to those of white women. Still, their losses were far less severe than those of Hispanic men and women. Black workers already had higher unemployment rates, as has always been the case, but their unemployment rates did not skyrocket as much as other groups.

The nation watched earlier this year as heroic warehouse workers at the Amazon facility in Bessemer, Alabama, made history.

Despite intense pressure, intimidation and bullying by one of the largest corporations in the world, they fought to reclaim their fair share of power and form a union. They spoke out about an experience familiar to so many working people—the stress of being overworked, underpaid, and afraid for the future.

This week, the AFL-CIO is leading a PRO Act Week of Action, part of the labor movement’s national campaign urging senators to pass this transformative labor law reform. This week of action includes at least one event near every U.S. senator’s office.

In April 2020, after the labor market took its largest one-month hit in modern history, Black men and women suffered job losses proportionate to those of white women. Still, their losses were far less severe than those of Hispanic men and women. Black workers already had higher unemployment rates, as has always been the case, but their unemployment rates did not skyrocket as much as other groups.

This month, Union Plus launched a new Retiree Healthcare Program in partnership with Anthem and the AFL-CIO Mutual Benefit Trust.

Union Plus and the AFL-CIO are proud of this innovative program that provides comprehensive health care options to Medicare-eligible retirees through two Anthem BlueCross and BlueShield group Medicare Advantage plans designed exclusively for retired union members (and their spouses/partners). These group plans feature enhanced benefits compared to what members could purchase for themselves through the individual insurance market.

Union Plus offers a variety of hardship benefits to union members and our families, including grants for eligible union members who participate in certain Union Plus programs. An expansion of hardship benefits took effect on July 1, 2021. The trustees for the AFL-CIO Mutual Benefit Fund updated hardship grant eligibility for job loss, furlough, strike, disability, hospital and disaster relief to have a greater positive impact on union families.

Relying on their respective faiths that mandate justice for working people, more than 390 religious leaders have joined together to support the PRO Act. At a news conference yesterday, the members of the Interreligious Network for Worker Solidarity presented a national letter calling for this landmark labor law reform.