Wednesday, November 25, 2009

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Today, as the global community commemorates the United Nations
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
, the
AFL-CIO joins trade unionists from every nation in calling for renewed
efforts to combat gender-based violence.

Violence against women is a global problem that affects women of all
ages, ethnicities, races, nationalities and socio-economic backgrounds.
It is also a workplace issue. Unequal treatment of women in workplaces
and the unsafe employment conditions of many women increase their risk
of being victims of sexual harassment, abuse and rape. At the same
time, domestic violence often impedes the ability of women to go to
work and earn a living to support their families. To meet their
families’ needs, many women have been forced to leave their home
regions in search of work elsewhere, often thereby becoming vulnerable
to exploitation by unscrupulous employers.

The AFL-CIO recognizes this dynamic in its Charter of Rights of Working
, issued in a statement by the AFL-CIO Executive Council on March
5, 2009. It states: “Although [women around the world] speak different
languages, they share the vision of a world founded on respect, peace,
equality and solidarity, and without violence, harassment and
discrimination. For all women, especially for the millions who work in
insecure, temporary, unsafe, underpaid and unpaid jobs, this vision
lies far beyond the truth of their daily lives.”

Employers must be held responsible for ensuring that women have safe
workplaces free of all forms of violence and sexual harassment.
Bringing an end to violence and discrimination against women will have
a positive impact on our families, our economies, our nations and our

Statement from AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Liz Shuler
November 25, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bill Helps Workers, Communities Move to Clean Energy Jobs

Workers would get assistance in upgrading their skills and communities could create good green jobs and build infrastructure under legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate last week. The American Worker and Community Assistance Act (S. 2742), co-sponsored by Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), would provide job training and support to workers and also would help communities adapt to a changing economy.

Says Casey:

There is tremendous potential in clean energy technology and manufacturing, but we must give workers the skills to succeed and employers must have access to a skilled workforce. Legislation being considered by Congress to combat global warming can reduce our dependence on foreign energy, increase our security and create a better world for our children. However, we also have a responsibility to our workers, industries and communities who may be affected by the shift in the economy.

The bill would protect workers and communities during the transition that could be sparked as a result of climate legislation. It would provide assistance such as job training assistance, wage replacement and health benefits replacement.

The bill also provides temporary income support to workers who lose jobs due to climate change policy. That income support may continue for a maximum of 156 weeks—enough time for workers to return to school and get training to help them find a new job that provides decent, family-sustaining wages and benefits.

As AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says:

It is essential that workers and communities impacted by climate change policy be provided with the tools to transition into the new clean energy economy and the millions of new jobs that stand to be created.

The training programs will focus on the development of skills related to the rehabilitation of environmentally troubled areas and creating new renewable and efficient energy.

Send Your Best Wishes to Fort Hood Hero

Our union sister Sgt. Kimberly Munley is a bona fide hero, having risked her life to stop the alleged gunman who killed 13 people and injured 30 at Fort Hood, Texas, on Nov. 5. Munley shot the alleged assailant, Maj. Nidal Hasan, four times, despite being shot herself. She currently is recovering from her injuries and is in stable condition.

Now her union, AFGE, has set up a site where you can send your best wishes to Sgt. Munley. Just click here and compose a message to her. Your messages will be collected and AFGE will deliver the messages to Munley on Friday, Nov. 20.

Munley, 34, is a member of AFGE Local 1920 and the mother of a three-year-old. She and her partner were the first to arrive at the Soldier Readiness Center, where Hasan allegedly opened fire.

AFGE President John Gage said Munley “acted with great heroism.”

Lt. Gen. Bob Cone, commanding general at Fort Hood, told CNN that Munley’s actions stopped Hasan cold and saved lives. He said Munley is a “trained, active first responder” who acted quickly after she “just happened to encounter the gunman.”

Governor Beebe Expands Arkansas Works Initiative To Offer Job Training, Career Education

Governor Mike Beebe yesterday announced a major expansion of Arkansas Works, the governor's strategic initiative to coordinate education, training and economic development in Arkansas communities. The expansion focuses on providing unemployed and underemployed Arkansans with career training and educational opportunities.

"As communities work hard to attract new business, the State will help ensure that a qualified workforce stands ready to fill those jobs," Beebe said. "The world is quickly changing, and Arkansas must accelerate its pace to create careers for our citizens. This effort has something to help every Arkansan, whether you need a job, want to find a better job or want to shift to a new career."

Beebe helped unveil the College and Career Planning System, an online information resource that will help Arkansans locate jobs that fit their interests and help businesses find qualified candidates to meet their workforce needs. Every Workforce Development Center in Arkansas has personnel prepared to assess job seekers and help them connect with jobs and industries that lead to satisfying careers.

In January, 43 career coaches will be placed in high schools to offer enhanced career guidance to students who want to build careers in Arkansas. The career coaches will be employed by the two-year colleges located in the communities theses coaches are placed.

In addition, up to $8,000 in financial aid may be available, based on the needs of each individual, to help pay for career training and education.

The Governor's Workforce Cabinet will lead the public-private partnership. The Cabinet includes the Arkansas Department of Career Education, Arkansas Department of Career Services, Arkansas Department of Higher Education, Arkansas Department of Education, Arkansas Economic Development Commission as well as private partners such as the Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges and the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce.

Beebe began the Arkansas Works Initiative in October, 2008, with The Governor's Summit on Education and Economic Development, the first such summit in the State's history. At that time, Beebe brought together more than 1,500 education, economic development, community and business leaders from every county.

The College and Career Planning System will build a database that Arkansas's businesses can use to locate an available and interested workforce. Businesses also will be able to use the Arkansas Works website to showcase themselves and the career opportunities they offer.

The System can be accessed at or by calling 1-866-ARWORKS (1-866-279-9677). Participants must visit a Workforce Development Center first to start the process and to get log-in information.