July 13, 2016 |
Black lives matter, no doubt. But what will often make a crucial difference in those black lives are good jobs. "Anytime there is economic insecurity, you see racial tensions like we have now," Derrick Johnson, president for the Mississippi State Conference for the NAACP, told about 75 workers, labor leaders and activists gathered at City Hall on Monday. Monday's conference, sponsored by two of the nation's largest labor unions, follows six days of local protests over fatal shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana.
April 28, 2016 |
Samuel Staten Sr., 80, a longtime leader of the Philadelphia Laborers union and an ally to top Democratic politicians, died Tuesday, April 26. "Sam Staten was nothing less than a giant in the world of Philadelphia labor for more than a half-century, and I'm tremendously sorry to learn of his passing," Mayor Kenney said in a statement. "I counted Sam as a friend, and I will miss his wisdom and guidance. My condolences go out to the entire Staten family, including Sam Staten Jr., the current business manager of Laborers Local 332, as well as to all union members whose lives he worked to improve," Kenney said.
April 16, 2016 |
Patrick D. Finley, 64, of Morrisville, head of the 45,000-member Operative Plasterers' and Cement Masons' International Association, died Sunday, April 10, of complications from diabetes at home. Secretary-treasurer Earl F. Hurd marked Mr. Finley's passing in a statement on the labor organization's website. The union, which covers workers in the United States and Canada, "is better off because of Mr. Finley's vision, dedication and hard work," Hurd wrote. Born in Philadelphia, the son of Margaret and Daniel Finley, he grew up in Levittown.
April 7, 2016 |
MAYBE THE Democrats are the party of working people, said Richard Trumka, leader of the nation's largest federation, the AFL-CIO. But "look how easy it has been for Donald Trump to tap into the justifiable anger" of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, unable to cover a $500 car repair, he told 700 Pennsylvania labor leaders Tuesday at the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO's convention in Philadelphia. "But we can't be fooled," he added. "Trump isn't interested in solving our problems. " And so it began Tuesday, three weeks from Pennsylvania's primary, as the state's top union leaders exhorted each other - with help from Trumka - to double down on their efforts to elect politicians who "create an economy that works for everybody," he said.
December 16, 2015 |
E.T. Thorpe was giddy. On the same day last week, at two different corners in one of Philadelphia's most distinguished neighborhoods, he came face-to-gut with a creature of mystifying proportions. "Did you know," Thorpe said, with artful eyeglasses and a bemused smile as he teased from the doorway of a Pine Street framing shop, "there were two dueling rats?" Scabby the Rat, the two-story-tall inflatable rodent of labor-movement legend, was on double duty in Center City, serving as a monstrous prop of protest that labor leaders say is an essential ploy in hostile times.
July 19, 2015 |
Patrick Eiding, head of Philadelphia's largest federation of labor unions, found himself facing a terrible dilemma. Should he attend a Monday morning rally to support fellow labor leader Joseph Dougherty? Dougherty, 73, has been convicted of racketeering, and on Monday will be sentenced by a federal judge. He could get 15 to 25 years in prison. Or should he stay clear of public association with Dougherty? For Eiding, the predicament placed him at the crossroads of friendship and marketing, where public image challenges personal loyalty.
June 12, 2015 |
ORGANIZED LABOR is lining up behind the teachers union to oppose a plan by the School District of Philadelphia to potentially privatize health services. Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan, joined yesterday by activists and union supporters, said the district's request for a private company to provide health services is a risky bet for students and families, and could lead to eliminating experienced school nurses. Jordan was also armed with a leader from local power broker Pat Eiding, head of the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO, expressing "grave concerns" about the district's plan.
May 29, 2015 |
Solar advocates in Pennsylvania, including John Hanger, Gov. Wolf's policy chief, and labor leader John "Johnny Doc" Dougherty, called on the legislature Wednesday to boost support for renewable power. At a rally, Hanger and Dougherty asked supporters to pressure the legislature to approve Wolf's budget proposal to spend $225 million on renewable energy and efficiency programs. The package includes $50 million to relaunch the Pennsylvania Sunshine Program, which ran out of money for solar rebates in 2013.
January 24, 2015 |
City Councilman James Kenney said Thursday that he would decide "in the next week or so" whether to enter the Democratic primary race for mayor. Kenney, who has vacillated for months on the question, appears more likely now to enter the field. And he may have strong support from a coalition of labor unions. "It feels more real," Kenney said. Three recent events have influenced Kenney's thinking: City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, first choice for mayor among some union leaders, last week said he would instead seek a fifth term on Council.
October 16, 2014 |
Outraged by the School Reform Commission's decision to cancel its collective bargaining agreement with Philadelphia public school teachers, city labor leaders contemplated calling for a general strike. In two meetings, last Thursday and Sunday, labor leaders debated the wisdom of asking members of all area unions - laborers, electricians, communications workers, janitors, nurses, bus drivers, city employees - to walk off their jobs to protest the SRC's decision. "If there is going to be a fight, we have to fight about the future, and the kids are the future," said Henry Nicholas, president of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, headquartered in Philadelphia.