What’s So Great About Unions, Anyway?

AFL-CIO Now

02/19/2013  Elizabeth Shuler

Let’s be honest. Sometimes, outside of election campaign seasons, even progressives wonder what’s so great about unions. Sure, we had a role to play before job safety laws, the eight-hour day, Social Security and civil rights laws were passed. But today?

Even our friends aren’t immune to the relentless attacks on unions from the right and the stereotypes that come with them: union thugs, lazy workers, relics of the past, self-absorbed, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Most of you know that as union strength has declined over the past three or so decades, so has the middle class. That’s because unions are just regular working people who come together to balance power with employers and bargain for better living and working standards. And when unions are weakened by corporate and right-wing politicians, all working people feel the squeeze. Continue reading “What’s So Great About Unions, Anyway?”

NRDC-Farmworker Justice: Overdue Standards Better Protect People from Human Pesticide Tests

Environmental News: Media Center

Natural Resources Defense Council

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press contact: Jake Thompson, jthompson@nrdc.org,  202-289-2387  or  301-602-3627  (cell) or Elizabeth Heyd, eheyd@nrdc.org,  202-289-2424  or  202-725-0648  (cell)
If you are not a member of the press, please write to us at nrdcinfo@nrdc.org or see our contact page

NRDC-Farmworker Justice: Overdue Standards Better Protect People from Human Pesticide Tests

WASHINGTON (February 8, 2013) – The Environmental Protection Agency today strengthened federal standards to make it harder for the chemical industry to use people as test subjects in pesticide research that is sent to EPA to help set health protection standards.

“This will better protect Americans from often unethical and unscientific human testing by pesticide manufacturers,” said Jennifer Sass, senior scientist in the Natural Resources Defense Council’s health and environmental program. “While the new standards do not completely ban human testing, they prohibit the EPA from considering pesticide tests conducted on pregnant women and children. They also protect people by ensuring that the EPA puts sound science in determining whether a human study can be relied upon for setting human health standards. Continue reading “NRDC-Farmworker Justice: Overdue Standards Better Protect People from Human Pesticide Tests”

Union Members Remember 9/11 by Rebuilding the World Trade Center

AFL-CIO Now

09/11/2012; Jackie Tortora

As millions of Americans took a moment this morning to remember the tragedy that occurred 11 years ago on Sept. 11 in New York City, Virginia and Pennsylvania, military veterans who’ve found careers through the Ironworkers, Laborers (LiUNA), Heat and Frost Insulators and Bricklayers (BAC) are rebuilding the World Trade Center in New York.

Take a minute to watch the YouTube video in the post.

Other unions spoke out in honor of those who lost their lives on 9/11 and the members who made a difference that day:

The Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) said:

Eleven years ago, twenty-five Flight Attendants took action as first responders in a war we didn’t know we were fighting. These heroes were among the first to relay the intelligence that alerted our country and our flying partners in flight 93, who in turn sacrificed their own lives to save countless others on the ground.

Immediately following the horrific events of September 11th, Flight Attendants and crewmembers helped usher millions of passengers home to their families and loved ones. Our work continues every day since then, adding to our role as first responder the new responsibility as aviation’s last line of defense.

The Air Line Pilots (ALPA) said:

On that horrific day 11 years ago, the emotional questions of why and how such attacks could have happened quickly evolved into our firm resolve: We will prevent this act from happening again. We will, as airline pilots, never again witness a friend, a family member or a fellow crewmember leave us too early in this manner.

Today, as we have done each year since 2001, the airline pilots and staff of ALPA reaffirm our commitment to stand together and to stay vigilant and actively engaged in every effort to secure our skies. We will never forget.

Fire Fighters (IAFF) released the following statement:

Even though 11 years have passed since that cloudless blue morning in September, the IAFF has not forgotten.

In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, IAFF staff mobilized swiftly to assist members in New York City, providing extra staff, financial support and counseling for the grieving.

“At the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, our members gave everything they had. The best that this union and this nation have to offer was demonstrated in their courageous response,” says [IAFF General President Harold] Schaitberger.

In the years since, the IAFF has strived in numerous ways to honor the service of members who made the ultimate sacrifice on September 11. In addition, the International has fought to ensure safer and healthier working conditions and advocated for benefits and protections for IAFF members and their families.

The Ironworkers tweeted:

Today, we remember the 9/11 tragedy, those who lost their lives, their families, brave first responders….Then…we rebuild! #ironworkers

Watch Helmets to Hardhats: Military Veterans Rebuild the World Trade Center.

FORGOTTEN PENTAGON 9/11 FIRST RESPONDERS

For Immediate Release: September 11, 2012
Contact: Kirsten Stade (202) 265-7337

FORGOTTEN PENTAGON 9/11 FIRST RESPONDERSNo Health Monitoring or Tightened Standards for Corrosive Dust

Washington, DC — Public servants who responded to the crash of American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 were subjected to the same type of harmful fumes that felled many of the First Responders at New York City’s World Trade Center, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).  Pentagon First Responders were not tracked for the crippling health effects that followed, nor have safeguards for First Responders been improved despite overwhelming scientific evidence that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for corrosive dust are woefully inadequate. Continue reading “FORGOTTEN PENTAGON 9/11 FIRST RESPONDERS”