A joint letter from SEIU, District 1199, RIFTHP, UNAP, IAM and the Rhode Island AFL-CIO has been sent to Governor Raimondo, Senate President Ruggerio, and House Speaker Mattiello urging a significant increase in pay for Direct Service Providers who provide services and care to close to 4,000 Rhode Islanders living with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Please see attached letter and stand with our brothers and sisters who provide this critical service.
January 14, 2019
Stuart Malec (Langevin) – 401-486-6007
Rich Luchette (Cicilline) – 202-225-3311
Chip Unruh (Reed) - 202-224-4642
Meaghan McCabe (Whitehouse) – 401-453-5294
Congressional Delegation Joins Unpaid Federal Employees to Call for End to Trump Shutdown
Hundreds of federal employees in Rhode Island have gone without pay since the shutdown began even as they perform critical services
WARWICK, R.I. — U.S. Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline and U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse joined federal employees at T.F. Green Airport today to call on President Trump to immediately reopen the federal government. Since the shutdown began 24 days ago, an estimated 800,000 federal workers — including hundreds of TSA agents and air traffic controllers at T.F. Green — have either been furloughed or required to work without a paycheck.
“We rely on TSA agents and air traffic controllers to keep the traveling public safe and secure, and they deserve better than to be left wondering if they will be able to pay their bills,” said Congressman Jim Langevin, a senior member of the House Committee on Homeland Security. “Democrats have provided President Trump with several opportunities to end this self-imposed and unnecessary shutdown. It’s time for the President to work with Democrats to reopen the government and provide stability for our federal workers and the American people.”
“This senseless shut down is hurting working people here in Rhode Island and across America. Each week, it costs our economy more than $1 billion,” said Congressman Cicilline. “Last week, the House approved spending bills that already passed the Senate unanimously. But Mitch McConnell won’t take them up again without the President’s permission. It’s time for President Trump to end this shut down and get back to work on the real challenges facing our country.”
“Every day it drags on, the Trump shutdown is making our country less safe. Republicans need to join Democrats to end this wasteful shutdown, re-open the government, and get our country working again,”said Senator Reed. “I support stronger, smarter border security. Real border security requires strategic investments in places where they are actually needed. President Trump’s vanity wall would actually make our nation less safe because it would take away public safety resources and divert them to a wall whose main objective seems to be guarding President Trump’s political right flank.”
"This shutdown has caused unnecessary hardship for the T.F. Green employees and other federal workers around the state who have not been paid said,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “The Senate Republican majority has the power to end President Trump's shutdown today, voting for bills they’ve already supported, and making these hardworking Rhode Islanders whole."
Joining Rhode Island’s congressional delegation were representatives from the Rhode Island AFL-CIO, National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), and American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Region 2, who spoke about the challenges faced by federal employees who have been furloughed or required to work without pay for almost a month.
“Across the country, hundreds of thousands of hardworking federal employees are being denied pay and millions are left without critical government services as this shutdown continues,” said George Nee, the President of the R.I. AFL-CIO. “Many of our members in Rhode Island are being required to work without a paycheck and don’t have any idea how they will pay their outstanding bills. This shutdown is unnecessary and detrimental to so many people. We must reopen the government immediately.”
“The partial government shutdown is detrimental to the safety and efficiency of our National Airspace System (NAS)”, said Peter Geddis, the President of the NATCA R.I. Chapter. “Approximately 3,000 NATCA-represented FAA safety professionals are furloughed. The FAA has suspended hiring and closed its training academy in Oklahoma City where new air traffic controller hires begin their careers. The number of fully certified controllers is now at a 30-year low. If the staffing shortage gets any worse, we will see reduced capacity in the NAS, meaning more flight delays. Air traffic control is an already stressful job, and the added stress of not being paid, and not knowing when you’ll be paid, makes matters much worse. NATCA will always be fully committed to the safety of the NAS, but this government shutdown must end now.”
“Our employees strongly oppose being collateral damage in this prolonged government shutdown,” said Frank Womack, an AFGE Region 2 Representative. “Many of our employees – including TSA agents here at T.F. Green Airport – cannot afford to miss a single paycheck without falling behind on their mortgage, car payments, and other financial obligations. Sadly, these hardships are only getting worse and more widespread as the shutdown drags on. The government must be reopened immediately so our employees can collect the pay they’ve rightly earned.”
Two weeks ago, House Democrats passed comprehensive legislation to reopen the government. Last week, House Democrats passed four funding bills, all of which had passed the Senate with overwhelming Republican support last Congress and would reopen parts of the government while border security negotiations continue. To date, the President has rejected them. On Saturday, January 12, the Trump shutdown became the longest in American history.
PROVIDENCE RI. Thursday, November 15, 2018—The World Peace Prize has come to the smallest State in America.
Presently, the World Peace Prize— founded in 1989 and headquartered in Seoul, South Korea—is focusing on the huge contribution the Labor Movement has made to equality, justice and peace, not only nationally but globally.
And on Thursday, November 15, the World Peace Prize," Roving Ambassador for Peace," was presented to George Nee, noted Labor Leader, and President of Rhode Island AFL-CIO.
The presentation ceremony was chaired by Barbara Flaherty, Judge and Corporate Manager, World Peace Prize and Executive Vice President of the Capitol Hill-base Irish National Caucus. She welcomed the large turn-out in the Rhode Island Convention Center and introduced both Fr. Sean McManus, Chief Judge, World Peace Prize, and President of the Irish National Caucus.
In his remarks, Fr. Mc Manus said:" As new Judges based in the Nation's Capital, we wanted to make a signature innovation to the World Peace Prize: to squarely place the American Labor Movement in the category of those who work for peace. Labor leaders who spend their entire lives working in solidarity for justice for working men and women are indeed working for peace—not only nationally but also globally. Hence, Labor leaders are eminently qualified to be candidates for the World Peace Prize of "Roving Ambassador for Peace. Of course, a memorable quote by Pope John Paul II, from one of his great Encyclicals helped us to make the case. Reflecting on the maxim "peace is the fruit of justice," the pope declared: “Today, one could say, with the same exactness and the same power of biblical inspiration peace is the fruit of solidarity.” (“Solicitude for social concerns”). 39. 1988.
President Nee expressed deep appreciation for receiving the Prize, and great humility, stating he was accepting it on behalf of all members of the AFL-CIO in Rhode Island. He also paid homage to his "patron Saint," the late famed Cesar Chavez, for whom he worked in earlier days. According to Fr. McManus, "George Nee is the quintessential, totally authentic Labor leader. He is a most impressive man. Cesar Chavez would be proud of him, and so should the entire Labor Movement in America."
As is now, the practice of the Irish National Caucus at the end of these events, the Irish American Peace Prize is also presented to a worthy recipient—one who has shown steadfastness in standing up for equality, justice and peace in Ireland. This time the recipient was George McLaughlin of Providence. Mr. Mc Laughlin is a longtime campaigner for justice in The North/Northern Ireland. He is most recently known for his good work in arranging to erect a tombstone in Philadelphia for Robert Cranston and Thomas Darragh, two of the Fenian heroes to escaped from the Australian penal colony on the good ship Catalpa in 1876.
CAPITOL HILL. August 28, 2018—For the first time a Rhode Island Labor leader will be honored with the World Peace Prize.
The World Peace Prize Awarding Council (WPPAC) has announced that George Nee president of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO, will receive the prestigious prize of "Roving Ambassador for Peace."
The presentation ceremony will take place on Thursday, November 15, 2018, 2:30-4:30 PM, Rhode Island Convention Center, 1 Sabin Street. Providence, RI 02903.
World Leader and Master Planner, Rev. Dr. Han Min Su, founded the World Peace Prize in Seoul, South Korea, in 1989. Dr. Han is a Presbyterian Minister.
Dr. Han said: “Our Washington office, headed by Fr. Sean Mc Manus and Barbara Flaherty of the Irish National Caucus, nominated the Honorable George Nee. Our 14-member Board of International and Interfaith judges unanimously selected Mr.Nee. Our Board is comprised of representatives of the world’s nine major religions: Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Russian Orthodox, and Zoroastrianism. We congratulate Mr. Nee while also knowing that his acceptance honors our noble idea and mission of world peace.”
Fr. Sean Mc Manus — President of the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Caucus and Chief Judge of the World Peace Prize Awarding Council (WPPAC)— said: “I have the honor of being the Chief Judge of the World Peace Prize Awarding Council (headquartered in Seoul, South Korea).
We were pleased to be able to propose George Nee because of the intrinsic link between justice and peace: peace is, indeed, the fruit of justice. Labor Leaders who spend their entire lives working in solidarity for justice for working men and women are, indeed , working for peace—not only nationally but also globally. Hence, Labor leaders — and George Nee in particular—are eminently qualified to be candidates for the World Peace Prize of Roving Ambassador for Peace. Furthermore, our Peace Prizes encourage members of the Labor Movement to positively think of themselves as not just fighters for justice but as peace builders as well. I believe this gives an important dimension to Labor's self-understanding, self-image, and self-identity. And, I urge all members of the Labor Movement to embrace it —as I know George Nee does. So, too, does the national president of the AFL-CIO, the great Richard L. Trumka."
Mr. Nee said: “I am deeply honored and humbled to receive this prestigious prize. The recognition by the World Peace Prize Awarding Council that there is an inextricable link between the work of the Labor movement in its historic struggle for economic justice for all workers and peace will encourage increased activities for a more peaceful and just world.”
Supreme Court decision hurts Rhode Island families
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States today issued a ruling in a case that abandons decades of common sense precedent.
The case, Janus v. American Federation of County, State Municipal Employees, Council 31, overturns sound jurisprudence that was established more than 40 years ago in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. The unanimous ruling in Abood had allowed states and localities the freedom to choose whether all public employees should pay their fair share for the employment representation they receive.
“The history of the AFL-CIO demonstrates that we have fought through far more adversity than one Supreme Court decision. The AFL-CIO is an organization of unions and by its very nature we depend on cooperation and collective action. This court decision presents a challenge in the short term, but in the long term we will draw on our successful history of labor organizing to grow even stronger,” said Rhode Island AFL-CIO President George Nee. As stated eloquently by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, “we have never depended on any politician or judge to decide our fate and we sure aren’t about to start now.”
The Woonsocket Little League Scores with a State-of-the-Art Concession Stand and Press Box Built by the Rhode Island Building & Construction Trades Council, its Union Partners including Gilbane Construction and the Pawtucket Red Sox.
It was an extra special Opening Day at Napolean “Nap” Lajoie Field for the Woonsocket Little League this April. Not only was the weather picture perfect, so was the ballpark with its brand new addition - a 600-square-foot concession stand and press box worth an estimated $300,000. The official unveiling of the facility took place during a ribbon cutting ceremony following the little league’s player parade and ceremonial first pitch.
“On behalf of the City of Woonsocket, we are grateful for the hard work, commitment, and in-kind services and contributions from the Rhode Island Building Trades, the Pawtucket Red Sox, Gilbane Construction and many other union friends who have made the vision for a concession stand a reality,” expressed Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt. “We could not have done it without the altruism of Building Baseball. This facility will allow us to host tournaments so that players, parents, coaches, family and friends from all over the region can enjoy the game of baseball right here in our beautiful city.”
Building Baseball is a charitable partnership between the Rhode Island Building & Construction Trades Council (RIB&CTC) and the Pawtucket Red Sox to further advance the revitalization of Little League fields and Babe Ruth ballparks in urban and underserved communities. This was Building Baseball’s first community project, with the concession stand dedicated in honor of the late, great Ben Mondor – the legendary Pawtucket Red Sox owner. The baseball icon was raised, schooled and began his career in Woonsocket’s Mills before turning the Pawsox from a bankrupt minor league baseball team into one of the most successful in baseball’s Triple-A International League.
“We know the positive impact the game of baseball has on youth and the life lessons it teaches,” stated Michael F. Sabitoni, President of the RIB&CTC and Business Manager of the Rhode Island Laborers’ District Council. “This is one of the reasons we formed Building Baseball with the Pawtucket Red Sox - a vital, philanthropic institution in our state. Our highly skilled union tradesmen and women are proud to give back to the communities where we work and raise our families – a most basic tenet in the labor movement.”
Signatory Contractor Gilbane Construction was instrumental in building the concession stand with Ryan Brennan serving as its project manager. During the ribbon cutting, a plaque was also presented to the Mayor recognizing the many union contractors, companies and organizations who donated resources, materials and/or in-kind services for the project. The Building Baseball group broke ground for the concession stand in the fall and had it completed in record time for opening day.
Sabitoni added, “It has been a great experience working with Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt who is deeply passionate about her city and the youth in her community. We congratulate Woonsocket and hope all who play or come to watch a game here will enjoy the facility for many, many years to come.”
The Rhode Island Building & Construction Trades Council Generates Record Funds for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State at its Eighth Annual Providence Bruins Hockey Night.
Enjoying a Providence Bruins Game with fellow union members and their families has become an annual and most important tradition for the Rhode Island Building & Construction Trades Council and the RI AFL-CIO. Not only is it a great night out, but it’s also an essential way for local tradesmen and women to help support the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State. (BBBSOS)
For the eighth year in a row, the Rhode Island Building Trades, along with its signatory contractors and partners, including the Rhode Island AFL-CIO, has hosted its annual Providence Bruins-RI Building Trades Hockey Night in support of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State. Sunday’s game against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms raised a record $2,350.00! More than 1,200 tickets were sold, with $2 from every ticket going directly to the BBBSOS. More than a hundred BBBSOS mentors and their ‘littles’ also enjoyed the exciting hockey game, with great lower level seats and a free P-Bruins hat.
A special check presentation took place on the ice during the game’s first intermission, paying tribute to the hardworking men and women of the Rhode Island Building Trades, the RI AFL-CIO and their support of BBBSOS. Together they have raised more than $100-thousand dollars through various fundraising events.
“Our philanthropic union craftsmen and women care deeply about the charities they help support and the children and families who are served by these vital organizations,” stated Michael F. Sabitoni, RIBTC President. “They are our neighbors - our friends - our children’s friends - where we work and raise our own families. Collectively we know we can make a significant impact in helping to secure necessary funds BBBSOS depends upon every year in order to operate. That’s why this annual P-Bruins game has become an ever-growing tradition among the building trades and the RI AFL-CIO that we all look forward to.”
“We can’t thank the Rhode Island Building Trades and the entire labor community enough for their generous support hosting this successful fundraising event year after year,” emphasized Katje Alfonseca, BBBSOS Executive Director.
RHODE ISLAND AFL-CIO EXECUTIVE BOARD VOTES TO ENDORSE CURRENT CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION
Providence, RI – On Monday, April 9, 2018, the Executive Board of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO unanimously voted to endorse U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressman David N. Cicilline, Congressional District 1, and Congressman James R. Langevin, Congressional District 2 for re-election to their respective seats in the United States Congress.
Following the vote by the Executive Board, Rhode Island AFL-CIO president George H. Nee, stated, “The Rhode Island AFL-CIO’s 80,000 members and retirees proudly stand behind Senator Whitehouse, Congressman Cicilline and Congressman Langevin’s 2018 re-election bid for United States Congress.. For many years, these three members of our federal delegation have proven themselves with their tireless commitment to workers rights, as well as social and economic justice for all.”
Press release from Build Rhode Island challenging Republican National Committeeman Steve Frias and his erroneous financial depiction of the City of Pawtucket's Ballpark at Slater Mill. (March 1, 2018)
Build RI, a local labor/management construction trade organization released a survey they conducted to determine the support for a new ballpark for the Pawtucket Red Sox. (February 26, 2018)