Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Open Letter to Postal Workers

Dear Postal Workers,

We are writing to speak directly to postal workers everywhere in the United States. We hope you will take this letter and pass it around, copy it, and get it in the hands of co-workers in your own workplace… and also in other towns, cities and states across the country.

We are writing to tell you that you are not alone.

Your jobs have been put on the chopping block by a U.S. Congress that is determined to destroy one of the most valued public services in our country. They have put a fake – and impossible – demand on the USPS to fund the pension fund for 75 years into the future, costing $5.5 billion each year out of operating revenues. Their goal has been to close hundreds of post offices and distribution plants, lay-off thousands of postal workers, and allow the private companies to keep snatching up your work.

Millions of Americans oppose this.

We know that the founding principles of the USPS were to guarantee democracy by promoting communication and connection among citizens. The security of our correspondence is the cornerstone of freedom of expression… and that is the job of the USPS. No one has voted to give that up. It’s being slowly weakened and stolen… but it’s not gone yet.

We want you to know that members of the undersigned organizations are committed to standing by your side, and working with your unions, to protect the work you do and the service you provide.

We, members of the undersigned organizations, know that America becomes weaker every year as decent, well-paying, secure union jobs are eliminated by Congress. We know that our only hope as a nation is to maintain jobs during periods of economic recession. We know that unions are the main organizations that fight for equalizing wealth, so that workers can earn a fair share of the economic benefit they create.

We join you in your fight to protect your jobs, protect our post offices, and keep safe the public service we all need.

Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO
United Academics: AFT-AAUP
Vermont-National Education Association Executive board
VSEA Board of Trustees
UE Local 255
UE Local 267
UE Local 203
Vermont Workers Center
General Assembly of Occupy the Upper Valley
General Assembly of Occupy Dartmouth
Labor Solidarity working Group of Burlington Occupy
General Assembly of Occupy Montpelier

- list in formation -

Friday, November 11, 2011


In Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and across the country, including here in Vermont, working families want to see politicians do the jobs they were elected to do – to build an economy that restores balance and creates jobs instead of one that works only for CEOs and special interest groups.
On Tuesday Ohioans resoundingly vetoed legislation that would have taken collective bargaining rights away from teachers, firefighters and first responders – sending a strong message that politicians need to stand with working families and stand for building a strong middle class.
They marched to the polls to demand politicians like Ohio Gov. John Kasich stop his partisan agenda.   And voters rejected the crazy notion that the 99 percent – nurses, bridge inspectors, firefighters, and social workers – caused the economic collapse, rather than Wall Street. Despite untold millions of dollars dumped into Ohio by shady special interest groups, the voters spoke out loud and clear.

This election should be a wake-up call for elected officials about what happens when politicians go too far. Voters in Vermont want to see action that creates jobs and creates an economy that works for everyone. We can start heading in the right direction by passing legislation like a federal jobs bills that will repair deficient bridges and roads and get Vermonters back to work at family wage and benefit jobs.
Vermont political leaders need to craft a state budget and priorities that Put People First, that:
• meets the needs of the most vulnerable among us
• funds public education
• ends the layoffs of state employees and teachers
• grants bargaining rights to thousands of low-income early childhood educators.
Our elected officials need to focus on creating jobs in order to get our economy back on track.  Together we can create an economy that works for the 99 percent.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Resolution to AFL-CIO 2009 Convention for Single-Payer Health Care: H.R.676 & S.703

Submitted by Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Our nation is in crisis. People everywhere are experiencing the effects of economic dislocation and insecurity. The absence of a universal, comprehensive, single-payer health care system is a major factor in how desperate the situation is becoming for countless Americans. The Labor Movement has a special responsibility to aggressively address the social injustice of a broken health care system and lead the attack on the institutional causes of its perpetuation. Health care should be a right, not a privilege.

Whereas: the U.S. health system treats health care as a commodity distributed according to ability to pay, rather than as a human right provided according to medical need. This has resulted in more than 49 million people in the U.S. not having any health insurance and another 40 million who have inadequate coverage with high co-pays and deductibles, with many others at risk of losing coverage as the economy spirals downward. A recent study has shown that 62% of bankruptcies in 2007 were related to problems involving health care. It is certain to be higher today.

Whereas: no union today can engage in collective bargaining without facing a demand or hard choices regarding health care coverage in our contracts. The disproportionate costs of health insurance at the bargaining table have significantly depressed our member's wages despite the productivity gains their work has produced. "Reform" proposals which include a continuation of for-profit insurance companies, whose interests are counter to and destructive of ours, will not control costs or improve the international competitiveness of U.S. based employers.

Whereas: Both H.R.676 and S.703 would end deductibles and co-payments, and provide an effective mechanism for controlling skyrocketing costs while covering all in America. And, both H.R.676 and S.703 would save billions annually by eliminating the administrative burdens, overhead and profits and apply those savings to expanded and improved coverage for all.

Whereas: A Single-Payer health care system will provide a major stimulus to the economy, create millions of new jobs, positively increase the national GDP, and create billions in new tax revenues; and

Whereas: hundreds of union organizations, including 39 State Federations and numerous CLCs, have endorsed H.R.676 and many have and continue to vigorously advocate for its enactment.

Therefore be it resolved, that the AFL-CIO adopt this resolution and endorse both H.R.676, the United States National Health Care Act and S.703, the American Health Care Security Act of 2009;

and that the Federation and all its affiliates play a leading role in mobilizing broad public and political support for single-payer health care to meet the needs of our members, their families, and all in America.

And, that the Federation and its affiliates reject any call to endorse or support any health care proposals that call for mandated insurance or public option plans which include the wasteful for-profit insurance industry, or taxation of employer-based benefits.

On June 29th, 2009, the delegates of the Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO approved the above resolution for submission to the AFL-CIO 2009 Convention and respectfully submitted it to Secretary-Treasurer Richard L. Trumka

Friday, April 25, 2008

VT AFL-CIO Calls On Workers to Support Work Stoppage Against War

The Vermont AFL-CIO urges our 10,000+ members, and all working Vermonters, to discuss the actions of the Longshoremen, to wear anti-war buttons, and to take various actions of their own design and choosing in their workplace on May 1st, 2008.

For Release April 23, 2008
Contact Persons:
David Van Deusen,District Vice President of the Vermont AFL-CIO
(802) 522-5812
Traven Leyshon , President Washington-Orange-Lamoille Labor Council, AFL-CIO
(802) 522-3484


Montpelier, VT –The Executive Board of the Vermont AFL-CIO, representing thousands of workers in countless sectors across Vermont, have unanimously passed an historic resolution expressing their “unequivocal” support for the first US labor work stoppage against the war in Iraq. The work stoppage, being organized by the Longshore Caucus of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU), will seek to shutdown all west coast ports during the day on May 1st 2008. The Vermont AFL-CIO is the first state labor federation to publicly back the Longshoremen; other state federations are expected to follow.

The resolution, among other things, calls the war in Iraq “immoral, unwanted, and unnecessary”, states that the vast majority of working Vermonters oppose the war, and contends that the war will only be brought to an end by “the direct actions of working people.” Many other Vermont labor unions and organizations, including the Vermont Workers’ Center, have also made official statements condemning the war.

The resolution also calls on working Vermonters to “discuss the actions of the Longshoremen, to wear anti-war buttons, and to take various actions of their own design and choosing in their workplace on May 1st, 2008.”

“Workers in Vermont and all across this nation are against this war. We have already demanded that the government end it, but they have consistently failed to heed our words. Therefore working people are beginning to take concrete steps to make our resistance known. If the war does not immediately end we, the unions and working people of Vermont, will also be compelled to take appropriate action,” said David Van Deusen, District Vice President of the Washington-Lamoille-Orange region AFL-CIO.

Traven Leyshon, President of the Washington-Orange-Lamoille Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, said, “Vermont labor has long called for an end to this war. The untold billions being spent on the war could instead be used to address our domestic needs. It is working people who pay the cost of the war - in some cases with our lives, but always with our sacrifices.”

Vermont AFL-CIO Resolution In Solidarity With Longshoremen’s

West Coast Strike Against War April, 2008

Whereas the war in Iraq is immoral, unwanted, and unnecessary,

Whereas this unjust war is opposed by the great majority of Americans & Vermonters, the bulk of organized labor, and by thousands of enlisted military personal,

Whereas this unjust war has already resulted in over 4000 American dead (including a disproportionate number of brave Vermonters), and tens of thousands of service men & woman being wounded,

Whereas this unjust war has further resulted in untold number of Iraqi deaths,

Whereas the Federal Government has not made any constructive moves towards the ending of this war and the full removal of US troops, and instead has taken the course of escalation and indefinite occupation,

Whereas the government of Vermont, and especially Governor Jim Douglas, have failed to find ways to bring Vermont National Guard troops home from Iraq,

Whereas this war will only be brought to an end by the direct actions of working people,

Therefore, Let It Be Resolved that the Vermont AFL-CIO continues to stand in firm opposition to this war, and unequivocally supports the decision of the Longshore Caucus of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) to shutdown the west coast ports for a period of 8 hours on May 1st, 2008, as a means of resistance.

Let It Be Resolved that the Vermont AFL-CIO stands in full solidarity with the New York Metro Local of the American Postal Workers who have resolved to conduct two minute periods of silence on May 1st, 2008, at 1PM, 5PM & 9PM in protest of the war and in support of the Longshoremen.

Let It Be Resolved that the Vermont AFL-CIO encourages all Vermont workers to stand in solidarity with the historic actions being taken by the Longshoremen & other labor unions to end this war.

Let It Be Further Resolved that the Vermont AFL-CIO calls for all Vermont workers to discuss the actions of the Longshoremen, to wear anti-war buttons, and to take various actions of their own design and choosing in their workplace on May 1st, 2008 as a means of resistance against this unjust war.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Labor Forum: Turn Around America - Health Care

Wednesday, April 23rd at 6:30
at Montpelier's Kellog-Hubbard Library, downstairs in the East Montpelier Room
hosted by the Washington-Orange-Lamoille Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Our labor council is joining hundreds of others around the country in featuring the fight for health care.
This is one meeting you can't afford to miss - and bring friends and co-workers with you.

Health Care: Turn Around America in 2008
Traven - Organizing to Make Health Care a Human Right for All
Dr. Marvin Malek

"Turn Around America: Health Care" Video
Health Care and Labor 2008
Our Approach: Organize!

This is part of a national AFL-CIO campaign to win universal health care. The Vermont campaign will be coordinated with the Vermont Workers Center's Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign which aims to change what is "politically possible" in the healthcare debate through grassroots organizing and a strategic re-framing of healthcare as a basic human right and the healthcare crisis as a human rights emergency. While our long-term goal is a universal, single-payer healthcare system, our focus in the immediate period is not on policy, but on educating, organizing and mobilizing the broad working class around the demand that healthcare is a human right.

Free and open to the public

Monday, February 11, 2008


The AFL-CIO Organizing Institute will be holding a 2-day organizer training in the Manchester, NH area. The training will be held at the New Hampshire AFL-CIO office located at 161 Londonderry Turnpike, Hooksett, NH.

The purpose of this training is to give activist members basic organizing skills. All affiliate unions are welcome to send members to this training.

If you are looking to train members to help work on your organizing campaigns here is your chance. At this training members will learn …

· One-on-one communication skills

· How to move workers to take action

· Leadership identification

· Basic elements of a union organizing campaign

The 2-day training will run from:

10:00am – 8:00pm Saturday, February 23, 2008

9am – 5:00pm Sunday, February 24, 2008

Contact Dennis LaBounty: at the Vermont AFL-CIO for more information and a sponsorship form.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Hundreds of Workers Join AFL-CIO Unions

Here are Bargaining Digest highlights from Jan. 7–11. The AFL-CIO Collective Bargaining Department delivers daily bargaining-related news and research resources to more than 900 subscribers. Union leaders can register for this service through our website, Bargaining@Work.

CWA, AT&T: Some 600 AT&T customer service representatives in Dover, N.H., have voted to join the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1298, becoming the largest union local to organize in New Hampshire since 1966, when 950 workers organized at the Granite Rubber Co. with the Pulp and Sulphate Union.
More >>