Author Archives: Joe Doc

Say NO to fast track and to the TPP: Leaked TPP documents prove fears about fast track are justified

By the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO via Public Citizen Press Room

- Secret documents publicized by wikileaks on Wednesday demonstrated that unions, consumer organizations, and grassroots groups have been right to oppose fast-track authority for the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

According to the leaked documents, the TPP would open the door for US firms to send thousands more jobs overseas to nations with cheaper labor markets and worse environmental and labor standards. It would also empower thousands of foreign companies to bring actions in secret courts that could cancel basic regulations such as wage and hour laws, workplace safety standards, and pollution controls.

Call Congress now at 1-855-712-8441 and tell your elected officials to say NO to fast track and to the TPP!


Stand up with fast food workers as they stand up for $15 and a union

By the Philadelphia Council AFL0CIO

- On April 15, fast food workers across the country will take to the streets to demand a living wage, safe working conditions, and the right to organize a union without interference. Join them for a major rally at 3:00 PM at Broad and Arch in Philadelphia.
Fight for $15 rally

When – Wednesday, April 15 at 3:00 PM

Where – Broad and Arch Streets, Philadelphia

For information about how to participate throughout the day, contact

Support Transportation and Transit Funding at the Stand Up 4 Transportation Rally on April 9

Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO

Modern transportation and transit systems are essential for a healthy economy and a livable region. Federal funding is essential to build and maintain those systems. But a huge portion of federal transportation and transit funding is scheduled to expire on May 31st, unless Congress acts.

On Thursday, April 9th tens of thousands of people across the country will participate in Stand Up 4 Transportation, urging Congress to pass legislation to fund our transit and transportation needs. Join us in Philadelphia as a broad coalition of organizations, including the Philadelphia AFL-CIO, the Pennsylvania Public Transportation Association, the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, and many others stand together to call for public investment in our infrastructure.

What – Stand Up 4 Transportation Rally

When – Thursday, April 9, 9:00 AM

Where – Dilworth Plaza, West Side of City Hall, Philadelphia

The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Congratulates Martina White On Her Special Election Victory


- After a hard fought campaign between two quality candidates, The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO would like to congratulate Martina White on her victory this evening, as she was elected to fill the vacancy in the 170th legislative district in Northeast Philadelphia. The surprisingly high turnout for a late-March special election can likely be credited to the hard work that was done on the ground by both candidates, and by labor unions on both sides of the contest.

“At just 26 years old, Martina White ran an impressive campaign, and obviously won the support of many Democratic voters in the 170th district,” Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale said. “The fact that both candidates had significant support from organized labor was not the result of a division in the labor movement, but was rather a sign of the appeal that both candidates brought to the table.”

“We look forward to working with Representative White on a variety of important issues facing the Commonwealth,” added PA AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder. “White has been a vocal supporter of workers’ rights on the campaign trail, and we expect that she will be a partner to improving education and employment opportunities in Philadelphia.”

Martina White will fill the vacancy created when former State Rep. Brendan Boyle was elected to the US Congress in the 13th District.


AFL-CIO President, Richard Trumpka: “Don’t Forget About Fast Track”

From The Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO

- While much of the Internet this week was focused on escaped llamas, figuring out what color a dress is or mourning the loss of SAG-AFTRA member and Star Trek icon Leonard Nimoy, we can forget that legislation is still being pushed that would make the lives of working families worse. Whether it is the “right to work” policies pushed by the allies of Gov. Scott Walker (Wis.), who likes to compare workers to terrorists, and in other states like New Mexico and West Virginia, or the ongoing negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) using the Fast Track process, we need to stay alert.

If you’re not sure what Fast Track is, check out the video above where AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka explains it quite simply. If you need a more in-depth primer, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) provides one. Meanwhile, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) is holding meetings across the country to try to convince members of Congress that Fast Track is wrong for the country. And the more we look at what TPP might turn out to be, we find out that it has elements like Investor-State Dispute Settlement or that it won’t require potential members to comply with international labor rights.

If you think this doesn’t sound like what working families or America’s economy need right now, sign the AFL-CIO’s petition opposing Fast Track.

Source –

Philly teachers call on Kenney to be next mayor

By Kevin McCorry

- Surrounded by teachers and students outside of John B. Kelly Elementary in Germantown Monday, Democratic mayoral hopeful Jim Kenney accepted the endorsement of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.

Kenney, a 23-year veteran of City Council, has been a vocal supporter of teachers throughout the campaign.

“Teachers and principals did not cause that problems that we’re facing in the United States and in Philadelphia,” Kenney said to the crowd gathered Monday. “They are holding on by their fingertips with lack of resources and lack of respect. We’re going to fight as best we can to get them resources, but they’re certainly going to have our respect.”

The endorsement came after a citywide vote among the PFT’s active members, which includes roughly 12,000 teachers, counselors, nurses and other school staff.

About half of those members actually cast ballots. Of those, the union voted 3 to 1 for Kenney. Former Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham placed second.

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan says the union is ready to throw its full weight behind Kenney, which he said will include grassroots campaigning door to door in addition to the $11,500 maximum allowable direct campaign contribution.

“He has been a staunch supporter of our city’s educators, fighting to ensure that we have a say in what happens in our schools,” said Jordan.

Jordan said the PFT would not make an additional independent expenditure in support of Kenney. He wouldn’t rule out that possibility for the PFT’s parent organization, the American Federation of Teachers.

Kenney said having the union’s support is about more than dollars and cents.

“The most important part is that educated, intelligent people who work with children every day think that I will do a good job for them,” he said. “That’s very, very gratifying.”

Kenney’s stance on recent controversies gave PFT members plenty of reason to show support. He criticized the School Reform Commission’s October decision to unilaterally cancel the teachers contract. And he opposed the recent expansion of new charter schools, which employ non-unionized staff.

“We also believe that he can see through many organizations attempts to buy off teachers and other departments within the School District of Philadelphia,” said teacher Steven Flemming, a reference to Kenney’s opposition to the Philadelphia School Partnership’s recent $35 million offer to help defray the cost of charter expansion.

Mayor Michael Nutter has proposed a 9 percent property tax increase to generate $105 million in recurring revenue for the school district.

Kenney said he wasn’t sure “if that would be successful in an election year.”

“It would not have been something that I would have supported out of the box,” said Kenney. “I would have looked at other ways of raising money. [Nutter] wanted to bring back the sugar tax again. He probably had a better shot of getting that than a property tax [increase].”

Kenney said Nutter should have waited to see how Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposals worked their way through the Legislature before asking City Council “to have to make a Hobson’s choice of ‘do you support education,’ or do you raise taxes again on people who just had their taxes raised under AVI.”

State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, another Democratic mayoral hopeful, has the backing of a trio of wealthy school-choice advocates who run the Susquehanna International Group, a Bala-Cynwyd-based quantitative trading firm.

In addition to Kenney, Williams and Abraham, former PGW executive Doug Oliver, former Common Pleas Court Judge Nelson Diaz and former state Sen. Milton Street have formally filed to run as democrats in the May 19 primary.

Businesswoman Melissa Murray Bailey is the sole Republican candidate in the race.

Source –

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Endorses Statewide Judicial Candidates For The May 19, 2015 Primary Election

Harrisburg, PA: The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO endorsed statewide judicial candidates for the Tuesday, May 19, 2015 Primary Election. The state labor federation is the largest labor organization in Pennsylvania representing over 800,000 union workers.

The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO endorses the following judicial candidates for the Primary Election:


Judge Kevin Dougherty, (D)
Judge David Wecht, (D)
Judge Christine Donohue, (D)


Judge Robert J. Colville, (D)


Todd Eagan, (D)

“In our judgment these candidates are exceptionally qualified in applying equal justice and dignity for workers under the laws protecting the working families of Pennsylvania,” Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale said in announcing these endorsements. “Each has demonstrated an uncommon commitment to the values and principles of fairness and justice. We will work on their behalf, sharing their record of support and respect for the rights of working men and women,” Bloomingdale said.

“We have a historic opportunity to elect well-qualified candidates to the most important courts in the Commonwealth. Their success will enable us to end the political gerrymandering that has disenfranchised millions of Pennsylvanians. The importance of electing these judges cannot be underscored enough,” Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder said. “Starting immediately, we will be working with our unions and our members to help elect our endorsed candidates,” Snyder added, who is also the statewide Political Director of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO.

The endorsements were made today by the members of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO’s Executive Council. The Council also endorsed Sarah Del Ricci, the Democratic candidate for the 170th State House seat in the Special Election to be held on Tuesday, March 24, 2015.

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Steelworkers stand up to Big Oil and win


The United Steelworkers have reached a tentative agreement with Shell Oil that is expected to set the pattern for bargaining in the oil refining industry, after a strike lasting nearly 6 weeks and involving over 6,500 workers. According to USW president Leo Gerard, the the tentative agreement includes “vast improvements to safety and staffing.” Dangerous conditions at refineries, and the companies’ refusal to bargain in good faith over those conditions, were the primary motive of the largest strike by US oil refinery workers in over 30 years.