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John Sweeney, who led an era of transformative change in America’s labor movement, passed away Feb. 1 at the age of 86.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka discusses why America needs a strong labor movement and how the Biden administration is committed to strengthening unions.

Sisters and Brothers,

It’s now six weeks into the North Dakota legislative session and things are slowing down. As we come into crossover, many bills that we have pushed for have been defeated and some we tried to defeat have passed the house. Though this seems grim news, the truth is that most of the worst potential changes are not making it through. So far, we haven’t gained much, but we haven’t lost much either. Unemployment insurance and WSI remains basically unchanged. The rights of workers, though still at risk, remain largely the same.

Sisters and Brothers,

Five weeks has passed and the session marches on. For Labor, this week has been a mixed bag. We aren’t winning overwhelming victories but at the same time, we’re not losing ground and are giving them our best. Labor is making its points, and we are holding legislators accountable for voting against the working people of North Dakota.  Please consider calling or writing your legislator on several of these important bills.

HB 1401 - To provide for collective bargaining for law enforcement officers and paid full‑time firefighters, failed in the North Dakota House 19-75 on Tuesday, Jan 31.

On Tuesday Jan 31, 2017 HB 1401, failed to pass with 19 yeas and 75 nays.

Brothers and sisters,

It’s hard for me to believe that we are done with four weeks of this session, and a big week it was. Admittedly, we have too few allies to have any direct control of events, but that doesn’t mean we can’t put some serious pressure on those legislators who vote against working people. Be certain to pay attention to future actions where we ask you to email your legislators. This can make a real difference.

The North Dakota AFL-CIO Labor Leaders Scholarship was established to recognize the accomplishments and dedication of our past and present union officers. In addition, our affiliated local unions recognize that education is the key to an enhanced standard of living with opportunities for advancement. It is that presupposition which motivated our members to develop the scholarship and extend to you a helping hand in your education

Members of IAM Local 2525 have ratified a new agreement with Rugby Manufacturing in Rugby, ND.
 
The three-year contract includes wage increases of 2.9 to 4 percent each year for senior employees (24+ months), a 2.9 to 4 percent increase to the wage rate table, a 1.5 percent wage increase and improvements in the wage table steps each year for those employees who are new hires to 24 months. The agreement also includes a minimal increase in health insurance, improvements in reimbursements for safety equipment, and an improved attendance policy.

Sisters and Brother,
Last week ended the third week of the North Dakota 2017 legislature. In the bills that came up, Labor won one, lost a few more and some are still tied. I have to admit that this legislature is a difficult one for working people’s issues. In every committee, we have only a few allies and a couple of neutrals, and the rest… It will be a difficult fight, but that just means that we have to try harder, and we will.

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