Let’s take a look back at where we collectively stood up and fought back in 2012! Read more »
As you head to the store to load up on the sugary sweets that put a smile on the faces of trick-or-treaters this Halloween, make sure that the candy you are treating them to is union-made! Read more »
If you don’t like Peanut Chews… you’re nuts! These delicious morsels of “peanuts and molasses covered in chocolatey coating” are made by BCTGM members.
Peanut Chews are available at retailers nationwide. Click here for more information.
Watching another politician visit a local diner on the campaign trail, I couldn’t help but notice the irony of politicians—who, research shows, have become exponentially wealthier than the average American family—claiming to understand the daily challenges facing the middle class. Outside of the campaign trail, do our elected officials know what it’s like to have to clock in and out, or live paycheck to paycheck? Read more »
For the third consecutive Labor Day, American Rights at Work organized the #unionmember Tweet-a-Thon – connecting actors, athletes, writers, entertainers, rank-and-file union members, and workers’ rights supporters nationwide to share the value of unions and what it means to be a #unionmember through Twitter. We were proud to once again partner with Actors’ Equity, MLB Players Association, NFL Players Association, SAG-AFTRA, and the Writers Guild of America, East, to take over Labor Day on Twitter.
Guest post by Barbara J. Easterling, president of the Alliance for Retired Americans
As we near Labor Day, I want to encourage you to help younger generations better understand why labor unions are so important. Too many people either know very little about unions, or only know what politicians and Fox News tell them.
Capitol Hill got a dose of reality today at a panel featuring entertainment insiders and lawmakers who discussed the perils of the freelance economy and revealed the behind-the-scenes challenges facing professional employees like writers in nonfiction television, as well as temps, subcontractors, and freelancers in nearly every industry, who lack the protections and structures of traditional employment.
Sen. Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota and a member of three unions himself, opened the panel by noting the lack of employment protections he faced as a writer at the beginning of his career. He called attention to important provisions in the Rebuild America Act that would help protect writers and other contingent workers.
American Rights at Work and Jobs with Justice Executive Director Sarita Gupta then moderated a panel discussion with Lowell Peterson, executive director of Writers’ Guild of America East (WGAE), and Lee Ellenberg, a writer for The Late Show with David Letterman and WGAE member.
Peterson described how in nonfiction TV, despite controlling their work as a typical employer does, many studios misclassify writers as independent contractors. “The reality of freelance employment in nonfiction TV is that even creative professionals face grueling hours, no job security, no benefits, and no certainty about compensation. Writers and producers in this industry find that, joining with the WGAE, it’s possible to change those conditions, but there is a lot of work to be done.”
Ellenberg shared his personal experience of seeing industry friends looking for work every six weeks, not sure if they would ever receive health care coverage or a retirement plan. He noted how fortunate he was to be a union member, knowing that he would receive proper pay for the work that he did and basic benefits, like health care and a pension, which provide economic security.
Rounding out the discussion, Gupta connected the insights Peterson and Ellenberg shared from the nonfiction TV industry to the precarious situation workers in all types of contingent work find themselves today. She explained, “Until lawmakers are able to modernize federal labor laws, employers will continue to abuse the contingent labor model and lower job standards to the detriment of us all.”
Today’s briefing helped educate policymakers that America’s workers – from writers to housekeepers – need legislative improvements to help the 99%, not just the 1%.
Today I had the privilege of joining over a dozen Hyatt workers and representatives from numerous allied organizations at the National Press Club for the launch of a global boycott of Hyatt hotels. In the room stood members from the labor movement, the religious community, and progressive organizations. We were there to show Hyatt that we expect more from them.
Shopping for a new car, truck, van or SUV? Make sure you’re supporting American jobs by buying a union-made vehicle. Read more »