Press releases

Providence Journal Release Oct 9 2019 (pdf)


RI Council 94 AFSCME calls for action (pdf)


Statement from George Nee July 16 2019 (pdf)


DD End of Session Press Release 2019 (pdf)


RISAFF Press Release30052019 (pdf)


#HelpASisterOut Press Release Final (pdf)


NEARI (pdf)


Stop & Shop (pdf)


Teamsters RIH (pdf)


Teamsters_Gatehouse Media (pdf)


press advisory

For Immediate Release:



May 23, 2019 Maureen Martin



The Rhode Island Coalition of Labor Union Women to hold press conference celebrating the donation of menstrual products from the #HelpASisterOutPeriod campaign.

Over 50,000 menstrual period products will be donated, providing 2,000 girls & women of lesser means with a month’s supply of free menstrual products.

WHO:  In February, the Rhode Island Coalition of Labor Union Women (RICLUW), with the support of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals (RIFTHP), Teamsters Local 251, and the Rhode Island AFL-CIO, launched the #HelpASisterOutPeriod campaign, to raise awareness for women who lack the financial means to purchase menstrual products. They are holding a press conference celebrating the end of their 1st Annual Menstrual Equity Drive, in which they collected menstrual products and monetary gifts for low-income girls and women.

Speakers will include Rhode Island Food Bank CEO Andrew Schiff, Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale CEO Kate Brewster, President of RIFTHP Frank Flynn, and Rhode Island AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Maureen Martin.

WHAT: Press conference

WHEN: Tuesday, May 28th at 11:00 am

WHERE: Rhode Island Community Food Bank
200 Niantic Avenue
Providence, RI 02907

WHY:  Rhode Island girls and women miss days of school and work every month because they cannot afford the menstrual products they need. The #HelpASisterOutPeriod campaign is not only raising awareness for menstrual health but it is smashing the period taboo by shedding light on the underprivileged girls and women that lack reliable menstrual care. The Rhode Island Coalition of Labor Union Women took on this challenge by raising 50,000 period products that will supply 2,000 menstruators with a month’s worth of free menstrual supplies.

Providence Journal

My Turn: Maureen Martin: Union-affiliated women fight for progressive policies


As Women’s History Month comes to an end, it is a time to  honor the outstanding achievements of women throughout history and  celebrate the work that remains ongoing through various movements and  organizations.

One such movement, #MeToo, was founded by Tarana  Burke. Ms. Burke appeared at Roger Williams University before an  enthusiastic audience where she explained: “The movement is about  supporting and healing survivors, about organizing communities to become  safe places, and about changing the culture of gender-based violence”  (news, Feb. 14). It is not, she emphasized, about “taking down men,” but  instead, it focuses on “making it safe for people to speak their  truth.”

As for organizations, Time’s Up is working to change  culture, companies, and laws to increase women’s safety, equity, and  power at work. Established last year by Hollywood celebrities in  response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal, it has raised more than $22  million for its legal defense fund to support lower-income women and men  seeking justice for sexual harassment and assault in the workplace.

 Several decades before the #MeToo and Time’s Up initiatives, another  group of women was equally committed to addressing the needs of women in  the workplace. Their goal was to create an organization focused on  making unions more responsive to the needs of working women by providing  a space for them to develop programs to help deal with their concerns.  The Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) is an affiliate of both the  local and national AFL-CIO with local branches in states all over the  country, including Rhode Island.

Both the national and state chapters of CLUW have joined with other  groups committed to eradicating discrimination, but women know that  there is much more work to do in this regard. To that end, CLUW is  conducting and co-sponsoring various marches and peaceful demonstrations  across the United States. Through these endeavors and public displays  of solidarity, CLUW anticipates getting closer to the gender parity  women have never experienced but have always deserved.

After all,  as U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: “achieving gender  equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of  our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world.”

Maureen  Martin is president of the Rhode Island chapter of the Coalition of  Labor Union Women and secretary-treasurer of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO.


R.I. Building Trades & Construction Trades

 The 9th Annual Providence Bruins RI Building Trades Night at The Dunk!  Raised $2,146.00 for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State! 

Please download letter below from the Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island AFL-CIO's in support of  fight for a fair contract for members working at Stop & Shops throughout New England. 


R.I. Coalition of Labor Union Women

 Rhode Island girls and women miss days of school and work every month  because they cannot afford the menstrual products they need. No one  should have to live in period poverty. All women deserve to have:

Dignity  - No one should feel ashamed because they can’t afford vital period  products. Women deserve the dignity that comes with reliable menstrual  care.

Safety - No one should have to resort to using unsafe  materials and methods that can cause health problems. Lack of access to  reliable products is a health concern.

Empowerment - No one  should feel burdened by their period – they should feel empowered. It’s  time to smash the taboo and advocate for each other about periods and  the menstrual cycle.

The Rhode Island Coalition of Labor Union  Women, with the support of  the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and  Health Professionals, Teamsters Local 251, and the Rhode Island AFL-CIO,  is launching our #HelpASisterOutPeriod campaign, to raise awareness for  women who lack the financial means to purchase menstrual products.  We’re hosting our 1st Annual Menstrual Equity Drive to collect products  and monetary gifts.

You can use this GoFundMe page to donate  money to our campaign and share it with others through social media to  spread the word. 100% of the proceeds will be used to collect menstrual  period products for girls and women in need.                      

Demanding Dignity Joint Letter


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.

DSP Letter (pdf)


providence Business news (11/23/2018)





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. 




World Peace Prize Comes to Rhode Island George Nee, President, Rhode Island AFL-CIO


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.

RI Labor leader to receive world peace prize

George Nee, President, Rhode Island AFL-CIO

 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.  



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.”