The passion and purpose of the workers’ rights movement was on display last night at the 7th Annual American Rights at Work Awards Celebration, held at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. With speeches that ranged from soulful to cerebral, one message was repeated: as Kimberly Freeman Brown, executive director of American Rights at Work put it, “Our aim is to show the Wisconsin teacher and the Washington machinist that they are not alone.”
SOULcial Justice kicked off the celebration, which honors the recipients of the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Awards. The troupe had the audience of over 400 on their feet, setting the tone for the rest of the night. Read more »
On June 20, American Rights at Work will pay tribute to those who have fought for workplace justice at our 7th Annual American Rights at Work Awards Celebration. In addition to recognizing the founders of the organization, the Awards Celebration will honor actor James Cromwell and Oregon’s United Streetcar.
Although one of his most beloved characters, the kindly farmer Arthur Hoggett of “Babe,” was a man of few words, actor James Cromwell has long been an outspoken and dedicated defender of workers’ rights. Beyond serving as a leader within his own unions, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the Screen Actors Guild, he has advocated for the freedom to form unions and the Employee Free Choice Act, and stood alongside film crews and lyricists to improve working conditions. Read more »
Many cities are turning to streetcars to ease congestion and reduce carbon emissions, but until recently, no U.S. manufacturer was meeting the growing demand. Then in 2005, Oregon Iron Works, Inc., seized the opportunity, forming United Streetcar to produce state-of-the-art, modern streetcars. After winning a competitive bid from the city of Portland, OR, United Streetcar rolled out its premiere tram in 2009—the first American-made modern streetcar in nearly 60 years. The company is now using its 250 union workers to build additional streetcars for Portland, and its cars are also operating in Seattle, WA, and Tucson, AZ.
Oregon Iron Works’ longstanding relationship with the Ironworkers and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has allowed United Streetcar to build a collaborative, empowering partnership with its workers. Shop-floor design meetings bring worker ideas in at the ground level, and the company actively solicits employee feedback on all projects and processes, making the company “better, stronger, and more cost-effective,” according to United Streetcar President Chandra Brown. “The union is helpful and can be an important piece of the company and its success,” she says. Read more »
In advance of Labor Day, American Rights at Work is releasing its annual report, The Labor Day List: Partnerships that Work. Every year the Labor Day List highlights positive labor-management relationships, but this year we decided to take it a step further and honor great relationships specifically within the clean energy economy. Read more »