News

News from the Central Labor Council of Middle Tennessee.

The Central Labor Council of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, representing 40 local affiliate labor unions, has announced its endorsements in the Nashville School Board race. They are:

The path to the presidency runs through the labor movement.

Entertainment workplaces need more time and data to prepare and change the way show business works. “Here’s the reality: Because of the nature of the industry, arts and entertainment professionals may likely be some of the last workers able to return safely to their jobs,” said Liz Shuler, the AFL-CIO’s secretary-treasurer. “And when they do, they’re not going to be returning to ‘normal’; it’s going to be a very different approach to the industry.

The United States now has more than a million reported coronavirus cases, by far the most of any country in the world. The health of our nation, physically and economically, depends on the safety of our workers. That has always been true, but perhaps never more so than in the face of today’s crisis — and it’s why we need clear and decisive action from the White House. President Trump has given us more confusion than solutions, failing to use his executive authority to protect working people.

As Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, wrote in a public letter to the U.S.

“For all workers, the toll of COVID-19 infections and deaths is mounting and will increase even more rapidly as workers return to work without necessary safety and health protections,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka wrote in the letter, which listed dozens of members who have died from the virus. He faulted the agency for not doing more inspections, not issuing citations and releasing only voluntary coronavirus safety guidelines. “Without government oversight and enforcement, too many employers are disregarding safety and health standards,” he wrote.

The national union that represents workers in meatpacking and food processing jobs, the United Food and Commercial Workers, says the administration should enact enforceable standards instead of guidance that requires protections like protective equipment, physical distancing, daily testing for workers and paid sick leave so workers can stop the spread of illness. And Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, echoed their concerns tweeting, "Using executive power to force people back on the job without proper protections is wrong and dangerous."

We hope that each of you, your families, and coworkers are safe and healthy during these unprecedented times. Many of our lives and plans have been disrupted in in untold ways, but we hope they have also brought opportunities for reflection and closeness with your loved ones.

Last Thrusday, April 23, workers from across the state joined together to testify about their experiences working and organizing under COVID-19. Labor council and TOSHA representatives also shared information about resources available to workers during the current crisis.

The AFL-CIO warned Tuesday that workplaces were still far too dangerous to consider reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic, even as some governors are starting to lift restrictions in order to get businesses up and running again. Richard Trumka, the federation’s president, said there was still insufficient personal protective equipment and not enough testing to make worksites safe yet. He called for stronger legal protections for those who will have to refuse dangerous work as their employers begin to call them back.