Friday, June 18, 2021
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Cuccinelli’s Attacks on Project Labor Agreements are Par for the Course…and False

MarvinScapegoating unions. Attacking the workers they represent. This is Ken Cuccinelli’s plan to score political points and it's par for the course for him. But let's not lose sight of the proven benefits of project labor agreements and the well trained workers who proudly (and safely) build our infrastructure.

Background, facts, and local case studies on Project Labor Agreements:  

A project labor agreement is a market-based tool that sets the rules and expectations for management and workers and as a result, projects with PLAs come in on-time and on-budget.  

• Promote local workers on local projects
• Make sure workers are trained properly and have all the necessary certifications
• Help ensure projects are done on time and on budget, as evidenced on Phase I of Dulles Rail
• Provide exemptions for subcontractors, do not require them to use the PLA
• Promote Minority and WMB Participation on projects with set-asides
• Provide critical healthcare benefits to the workers
• Serve as a taxpayer protection and create accountability on megaprojects where millions of dollars are at stake
• Prevent megaproject DISASTERS such as the Springfield Interchange  which DID NOT USE A PLA and had massive cost overruns and deaths on the  project
• Anger many anti-union Contractor Groups and their Chamber of  Commerce allies because they don’t allow the companies to set the rules  and make money (taxpayer and toll road user money) off of mistakes and  delays  

Workers Memorial Day

Workers should be able to go to work and return home safely. Unions fight for this promise every day. When working people have the ability to collectively bargain, they have a say in health and safety conditions on the job. Collective bargaining means workers can insist on protections without fear of retaliation. When working people speak out for better working conditions, it benefits everyone, not just union members.

Still too many workers remain in danger. The tragedy in West, TX is a painful reminder of the consequences of lax safety regulations combined with weak enforcement. Fourteen people including 10 first responders lost their lives and 200 people were injured when a fertilizer plant exploded.

According to reports, the West fertilizer plant had 270 tons of ammonium nitrate (1,350x the legal amount) and no sprinklers or fire barriers. The plant went 28 years without a safety inspection by OSHA. During that investigation, OSHA found 5 "serious" violations and fined the company $30.

No worker should have to sacrifice life, limbs or health to earn a day's pay. In 2011, 127 Virginians left for work one day and didn't come home to their families. That's 127 too many.

Every year on April 28, Workers Memorial Day, we pay tribute to those who lost their lives on the job, as well as those who've been injured or made sick due to workplace violations.  We also renew our struggle for safe workplaces and the rights of workers to basic protections that keep them safe.  

What does Labor Day mean to you?

By: Doris Crouse-Mays, Virginia AFL-CIO President

I grew up in Rural Retreat- a town tucked in far southwest Virginia. My mother spent all of her time working in a sewing factory. She worked day in and day out and made minimal wages. My father died when I was only 5 years old which left my mom trying to raise 3 kids as a single working mother. She didn't have a union, so growing up we struggled to make ends meet. I also saw how my mom had no say and no voice in anything that went on at work.

Whether it's a family like mine who had one bread winner or a two parent home, most families rely on every little bit to put food on the table and a roof overhead.

A couple hundred bucks a month may not sound like a lot to some, but that translates to books for school, groceries, car payments, electric bills, and gas for the car for millions of people just trying to raise families and take care of their kids.

That's why issues like pay fairness and budget priorities matter; it's about watching out for kids, protecting seniors and providing financial stability and security for families.  

After I graduated from high school and on my way to college, I was fortunate enough that when I went to work, I worked at the telephone company as an operator- there I had a union. I knew firsthand the difference it made in what my life was becoming. I made a decent wage, had health care, had vacation, had a safe environment to work in and had a say on the job.

As we go to work, we all want our life to be better for ourselves and for our children and having a union can do that for you.  

Philthy Rich and Meg A. Rich Visit Rep. Cantor


Millionaire couple Philthy and Meg A. Rich visited Rep. Cantor's office last week to deliver a check from the Rich Super PAC thanking the Congressman for being a true champion of the very, very rich. By walking out of budget talks and protecting them from paying their fair share, Rep. Cantor showed who he goes to bat for in Washington. Philthy Rich noted, "Eric Cantor is willing to let the entire country go into default just so we rich don't have to pay more taxes. What a hero."

Acknowledging the critics of Mr. Cantor, Philthy explained, "Of course, there are trouble makers and there are naysayers who say Mr. Cantor may be going too far. Sure, he wants to get rid of Medicare, Medicaid, food inspections, funding for clean air and clean water. In short, the things workers rely on. Well, to them, I say, 'quit whining."

Earlier in the afternoon, constituents, retirees, retail workers, construction workers, and employees of the U.S. Defense General Supply Center and McGuire VA Medical Center delivered hundreds of petitions urging the Congressman to fight for the good jobs and vital services working people depend on.

Virginia April 4th “We Are One” Events


On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis where he had gone to stand with 1300 sanitation workers demanding their dream: the right to bargain collectively for a voice at work and a better life. The workers were trying to form a union with AFSCME.

As President and CEO of the NAACP Ben Jealous explained, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. viewed the struggle of working people and the struggle for racial equality as one fight. One fight for justice.

Across our country, we’re fighting together for the rights of all workers to bargain for a middle class life, our right to a voice in the political process and the respect that all people deserve.

It's with this in mind that community organizations, students, labor unions, people of faith, religious leaders, small business owners and workers from all sectors are coming together to celebrate April 4th as a national day of solidarity and consciousness.

Check out the website for information on how to plan your own event, latest details on events near you, web goodies, fliers, and resources for allies.

Below is a list (so far) of public events planned around the Commonwealth.

Solidarity Rally in Williamsburg- Saturday at 1PM

From Williamsburg to Wisconsin

Solidarity Rally hosted by Virginia's Working Middle Class

Virginia Stands with all Public Workers

We stand with the brave workers, students and activists all across the country who are fighting for their rights and protecting the American Dream.

Join fire fighters, teachers, public employees, students, and community members Saturday to send that message loud and clear!

IAFF 2498 Local Union Hall
7294 Merrimac Trail
Williamsburg VA, 23185

Park @ Marquis Shopping Center (between Dick's Sporting Goods & JC Penny's). Shuttle provided.  
GPS address: 120 Gristmil Plaza, Williamsburg, VA 23185

Saturday February 26th @ 1:00 PM

Ronnie Lewis
IAFF Local 2498 Vice President
Phone: 804 815 4337 Email:

Help protect American workers’ lives: Town Hall meeting July 27th


Scary numbers to consider:

14 workers die each day

5,000 workers die each year

Over 4,000,000 workers are injured each year

Sadly, as we've seen in the Massey and BP disasters, far too many employers put profits before workers’ safety & health.

Join us Tuesday July 27th for a town hall meeting and learn more about legislation (H.R. 5663) that would:

  • Strengthen oversight and enforcement in mines and other dangerous workplaces
  • Provide for tougher penalties for employers who flagrantly violate the law
  • Increase protections for whistleblowers who report unsafe conditions

Speakers include Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, OSHA, area workers who have been injured on the job and family members who've lost loved ones in workplace accidents.

When: Tuesday, July 27 at 7:00 to 8:30 PM

Where: Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington [] 4444 Arlington Boulevard, Arlington VA

Refreshments will be served and free parking is available. For more information, email

RSVP on Facebook (requires log in):

Download the event flyer and directions.

Scary graphs illuminate jobs crisis


All of us know friends and /or family who have lost their jobs, students who graduated from college jobless, and too many who have been looking and looking for work for months. These graphs illustrate a frightening trend and puts our jobs crisis in shocking clarity. 

This first graph shows the ratio of employed Americans to the adult population. At the start of the current recession (highlighted in blue), this figure plummeted showing the sharp decrease in employed Americans as the economy rapidly shed jobs.


This next graph compares this recession to previous recessions by percent job losses.

graph 2

Graph #3 highlights the frightening percentage of unemployed workers who have been out of work for over 27 weeks or more. In May 2010, there were a record 6.763 million people unemployed for 27 weeks or more, or a record 4.38% of the labor force. This is drastically higher than during previous recession periods.

As the AP reports:

The proportion of people jobless for six months or more has accelerated in the past year and now makes up 46 percent of the unemployed. That's the highest percentage on records dating to 1948. By late summer or early fall, they are expected to make up half of all jobless American


graph 3

Graphs from Calculated Risk blog.

If your roof fell in, what would you do?


6 for 1 

Right now, there are 5-6 jobless workers for every one job opening, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

As AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said after Congress left jobless workers hanging:

We are in a jobs emergency—a national crisis. Millions of lives are in ruins and children are being condemned to poverty. Excuses from their elected representatives are of no help to them….Working family voters will not forget who sided with them and who did not.

If your roof fell in, what would you do?

You'd probably invest in fixing the roof.

Well the roof, in terms of this country’s unemployment, has fallen in and it's time to fix it. Job creation is what will make the economy strong and as our friend's with the Virginia Organizing Project found in Charlottesville and Danville working families in Virginia know it.

We need bold action, not rhetoric. It’s time to pass the Local Jobs for America Act (H.R. 4812). It will create or save more than 675,000 local community jobs and more than 250,000 education jobs, according to the latest estimates from the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee.

We need jobs. Period.  Working family voters know that and make sure your Congressman knows it too.

ALF-CIO’s 2010 Executive PayWatch


This week the AFL-CIO launched their annual Executive Pay Watch and chose 6 of the Wall St. Banks as case studies. Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo/Wachovia, and JP Morgan all received government bailouts in order to steady our economy, free up credit to loan to small business and stimulate job growth.

Instead, they’ve handed out huge bonuses to their highest execs and are paying for armies of lobbyists to kill financial reform.

Even in the face of a national disaster when in the final 18 months of the Bush administration, we lost 20% of our national wealth. This is all the wealth that was accumulated in America over the course of 2 centuries and we lost it in 18 months. - Rep. Alan Grayson (FL-D), PayWatch Launch

Contact Senators Webb and Warner and tell them to put an end to the reckless games on Wall Street by re-regulating our financial system.

In addition to documenting these arrogant corporate practices, the 2010 Executive Pay Watch site includes all kinds of interesting info and tools including a searchable database, a list of the highest paid CEOs in Virginia and trends in CEO pay.

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