BCTGM | The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union http://www.bctgm.org The BCTGM represents working men and women at some of the best known companies throughout the U.S. and Canada. We represent manufacturing, production workers, maintenance and sanitation workers in the bakery, confectionery, tobacco and grain milling industries in North America. Wed, 16 Aug 2017 14:56:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 AFL-CIO Representatives Resign from Presidential Council on Manufacturing http://www.bctgm.org/2017/08/afl-cio-representatives-resign-presidential-council-manufacturing/ Wed, 16 Aug 2017 14:20:23 +0000 http://www.bctgm.org/?p=6404 Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on his and Thea Lee’s resignation from President Trump’s council on manufacturing: We cannot sit on a council for a President who tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism. President Trump’s remarks today repudiate his forced remarks yesterday about the KKK and neo-Nazis. We must resign on behalf of America’s working […]

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Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on his and Thea Lee’s resignation from President Trump’s council on manufacturing:

We cannot sit on a council for a President who tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism. President Trump’s remarks today repudiate his forced remarks yesterday about the KKK and neo-Nazis. We must resign on behalf of America’s working people, who reject all notions of legitimacy of these bigoted groups.

It’s clear that President Trump’s Manufacturing Council was never an effective means for delivering real policy that lifts working families and his remarks today were the last straw. We joined this council with the intent to be a voice for working people and real hope that it would result in positive economic policy, but it has become yet another broken promise on the President’s record. From hollow councils to bad policy and embracing bigotry, the actions of this administration have consistently failed working people.

On CBS Wednesday August 16, Trumka discusses why the labor movement had to “follow its conscience” and why President Trump’s comments were unacceptable.

 

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BCTGM Commends “Better Deal on Trade and Jobs” Economic Plan http://www.bctgm.org/2017/08/bctgm-commends-better-deal-trade-jobs/ Thu, 03 Aug 2017 15:36:34 +0000 http://www.bctgm.org/?p=6396 BCTGM International President David Durkee released the following statement in response to the Senate Democrats’ unveiling of the “Better Deal on Trade and Jobs” economic plan. “The BCTGM commends the leadership of Senator Schumer and the Senate Democrats for crafting the “Better Deal” economic blueprint for America’s workers with trade and jobs at its core. […]

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BCTGM International President David Durkee released the following statement in response to the Senate Democrats’ unveiling of the “Better Deal on Trade and Jobs” economic plan.

“The BCTGM commends the leadership of Senator Schumer and the Senate Democrats for crafting the “Better Deal” economic blueprint for America’s workers with trade and jobs at its core.

The BCTGM has long believed that Congress needs to take bold and comprehensive action to revitalize America’s middle class. Unfair trade agreements such as NAFTA have fueled the profits of U.S. companies as they have outsourced and off-shored tens of thousands of good, middle-class American jobs to low-wage countries.  These trade deals and the resulting erosion of the U.S. manufacturing base are the root cause of stagnant wages for workers and the decline in the standard of living for working families.

Nabisco/Mondelez is prime example of a company that has taken advantage of NAFTA to offshore hundreds of good, middle-class jobs to Mexico where the company reportedly pays workers around one dollar per hour.  In the process, U.S. and Mexican workers are exploited and American communities and consumers suffer.

A “Better Deal” on trade is a vital step forward toward a better economic future for American workers. There cannot be a growing, prosperous middle class without good, well-paid manufacturing jobs. And there cannot be good, high-wage manufacturing jobs without a growing labor movement and robust collective bargaining.

The BCTGM looks forward to standing with Senate Democrats in the fight for fair trade policies that level the playing field for American workers, labor law reform that gives workers a fair shot at forming a union and bargaining collectively, revised tax laws that eliminate incentives for U.S. corporations to offshore manufacturing jobs, penalize those that do and reward those that bring work back to the U.S., legislation that punishes companies that incorporate overseas to avoid taxes and federal government procurement reform that includes broad ”Buy American” requirements.”

A “Better Deal” is a strong start in the battle to improve the lives of America’s working men and women and their families.”

 

Message of the Day—We Need More Jobs

  • If President Donald Trump would put the same energy into job creation as he has attacking worker protections and health care, our economy would be booming.
  • Consumer spending drives 70 percent of the economy. So the best way to create a real Trump bump is by raising worker pay.
  • There are several key ways to do that:
    ✔ Invest trillions of dollars to rebuild America’s infrastructure.
    ✔ Rewrite trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement so they benefit working people, not corporations.
    ✔ Stop the attacks on health care, worker safety and retirement security.
    ✔ Guarantee the freedom of every worker to negotiate a better life.

 

Kitchen Table Economics

205,300: The number of jobs that need to be created every month just to keep up with population growth.

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Workers’ Weekend Message: Together we WIN http://www.bctgm.org/2017/07/workers-weekend-message-together-win/ Fri, 28 Jul 2017 19:51:39 +0000 http://www.bctgm.org/?p=6387 In the early hours of this morning, Senate Republicans held a dramatic vote on their last ditch effort to to undo the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and gut Medicaid. The so-called “Skinny Repeal” would have repealed the ACA’s individual mandate and suspended the employer mandate for nine years, disrupting insurance markets and eliminating access to health […]

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In the early hours of this morning, Senate Republicans held a dramatic vote on their last ditch effort to to undo the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and gut Medicaid. The so-called “Skinny Repeal” would have repealed the ACA’s individual mandate and suspended the employer mandate for nine years, disrupting insurance markets and eliminating access to health care for 16 million Americans.

Republican Senators Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK) and John McCain (AZ) joined all 48 Democrats in voting to defeat this bill. For now, the Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land. Union members from coast to coast made thousands of phone calls to Congress in the past few months, many in the past few days, to fight back against the repeal efforts.

Still, the fight will continue. Republicans are likely to make more attempts to repeal-and-replace the Affordable Care Act, threaten Medicare, Medicaid and workplace coverage and disrupt the individual insurance markets. Additionally, this week saw two amendments to the Republican health care bill that would have repealed the Cadillac Tax, which would tax working peoples’ health plans.

What You Can Do NOW

  • Contact your senators today to either thank them or hold them accountable for their vote.  All senators should be contacted, but immediate outreach is particularly needed for Senators Collins, Murkowski, and McCain as well as Democratic senators who are on the ballot in 2018 and from states Donald Trump won last November.
  • This weekend, working people will join with allies at Our Lives on the Line events across the country. We will thank those elected officials who stood up for us and hold accountable senators like Dean Heller (NV), Shelley Moore Capito (WV), and Rob Portman (OH) who violated their promises to protect their constituents. Please share these events widely and encourage union members and their families to attend.
  • The House and Senate will soon break for August Recess. It is important that we use recent momentum to hold accountable members of Congress who have voted against the interests of working families on this and other important legislation. Visit Town Hall Project (updated daily) and mobilize members and their families to attend public events and town halls during the month of August.

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Global Day of Action Against Nike: Tell Nike – Just CUT IT! http://www.bctgm.org/2017/07/global-day-action-nike-tell-nike-just-cut/ Mon, 24 Jul 2017 19:50:45 +0000 http://www.bctgm.org/?p=6376 Twenty years ago, Nike’s name was synonymous with sweatshop abuses. Reports abounded of Indonesian workers earning 14 cents an hour – less than minimum wage – and Vietnamese workers who were hit with shoe parts, sexually assaulted, and forced to run outside until they collapsed. By 1998, iconic Nike CEO Phil Knight had acknowledged that, “the Nike product has […]

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Twenty years ago, Nike’s name was synonymous with sweatshop abuses. Reports abounded of Indonesian workers earning 14 cents an hour – less than minimum wage – and Vietnamese workers who were hit with shoe parts, sexually assaulted, and forced to run outside until they collapsed.

By 1998, iconic Nike CEO Phil Knight had acknowledged that, “the Nike product has become synonymous with slave wages, forced overtime, and arbitrary abuse.” While Nike has trumpeted its corporate social responsibility operation for the past fifteen years, the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) and other independent investigators have continued to document violations that have been missed – or left uncorrected – by Nike and its monitors. In 2001, the first investigation of the newly formed WRC was conducted at the Mexmode/Kukdong factory in Mexico. As the New York Times explained, workers “fed up with finding worms in their salad” and with other abuses had protested at Mexmode; when the factory fired the protesting workers, universities successfully pressured Nike to require that the workers be reinstated and their union recognized.

Over the past decade, the WRC and other independent investigators have continued to identify serious violations at Nike factories around the world. These violations had persisted despite Nike’s audits, indicating that Nike had either failed to detect the violations or failed to correct them.

Global Day of Action Against Nike

 

On July 29, students across the U.S. and workers around the world will be taking on Nike in Cambodia, Honduras, Bangladesh and India.

Actions are planned to take place in: New York CityWashington D.C.SeattleBoston DenverPittsburghOklahoma CityJackson, MS,  San Francisco, CA , Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Columbus, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Portland OR and more.

Visit the Global Day of Action Page and find out how to become involved!

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Kids Not Cuts! http://www.bctgm.org/2017/07/kids-not-cuts/ Thu, 20 Jul 2017 15:40:24 +0000 http://www.bctgm.org/?p=6340 BCTGM International staff joined hundreds of American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and AFSCME members and Democratic members of Congress outside the U.S. Capitol to rally in opposition to Republicans’ Trumpcare bill and budget proposal which would strip funding from students, teachers, nurses and health workers. The rally was organized by the AFT and led by […]

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BCTGM International staff joined hundreds of American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and AFSCME members and Democratic members of Congress outside the U.S. Capitol to rally in opposition to Republicans’ Trumpcare bill and budget proposal which would strip funding from students, teachers, nurses and health workers. The rally was organized by the AFT and led by AFT President Randi Weingarten. 

Congressional speakers denounced the proposed budget cuts, which would fall heavily on schools and other vital social services. The education budget proposed by Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, would devastate schoolchildren by slashing $9 billion from public education, $800 billion from Medicaid and $143 million that helps students afford college. The budget would take a meat cleaver to programs like after-school and summer programs, efforts to reduce class sizes, mentoring for early-career teachers, child nutrition programs and community schools.

The Senate and House healthcare bills would take away resources for schools serving students with special needs, end healthcare coverage for more than 20 million people, raise costs for many others, limit healthcare access for the most medically vulnerable in the country and tax employer-based health insurance plans—which is essentially a tax on middle-class Americans—all to provide major tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy.

House Minority Leader Senator Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senator Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD)  and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) addressed the rally, calling on the Administration to invest in public education – not cut it.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) proclaimed to the union crowd, “I’m here today with one simple message: no budget cuts for public education!”

House Minority Leader Pelosi noted that when asked about the three most important issues facing the economy, she always says the same thing, “Our children, our children, our children.  Their health, their education, the economic security of their families, a clean safe environment in which they can thrive, a world at peace in which they can reach their fulfillment.  What we have in this budget cuts their education, undermines their health care, and cuts Medicaid.

“It is a terrible, terrible budget, but it is a path for them.  A path to bring up a tax bill that will give tax breaks to the richest people in America at the expense of investments in the future of our children: their health, their education, and their well-being,” Pelosi concluded.

In addition to Congressional leaders, Weingarten, AFSCME President Lee Saunders and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka spoke out against the Trump budget. The union members and labor leaders lobbied members of Congress after the rally.

AFL-CIO Pres. Richard Trumka

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Paid Leave is an Investment in Working Families http://www.bctgm.org/2017/07/paid-leave-investment-working-families/ Tue, 18 Jul 2017 16:12:58 +0000 http://www.bctgm.org/?p=6335 Approximately 87 percent of workers receive no paid family leave, a problem that BCTGM and other advocates for working families have been pushing elected officials to address for years. The issue finally emerged as a policy focus in last year’s presidential elections. In a July 10 letter to the president, more than 100 congressional Democrats urged President Donald […]

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Approximately 87 percent of workers receive no paid family leave, a problem that BCTGM and other advocates for working families have been pushing elected officials to address for years. The issue finally emerged as a policy focus in last year’s presidential elections.

In a July 10 letter to the president, more than 100 congressional Democrats urged President Donald Trump to support legislation providing working families with 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave “that is sustainable, affordable, and inclusive.” They noted that Trump’s 2018 budget request – which includes a paid family leave provision – “is inadequate because it only provides six weeks of paid leave for limited circumstances and without a solid funding mechanism.”

Democratic lawmakers also wrote that Trump’s plan is “inconsistent with the 12-week national standard” set by current federal law. That law, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), requires an employer to provide up to 12 weeks of family leave – but unpaid.

The letter also points out Trump’s plan limits paid leave to birth or adoption. Yet, under current law, justification for family leave includes putting a child up for adoption or foster care, caring for a spouse, child or parent with a “serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job,” or qualifying emergency of a covered family member on “covered active duty.”

In a recent article for The Wall Street Journal, the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, a White House advisor, called paid family leave “an investment in America’s working families.”

The BCTGM agrees that providing paid family leave is an investment in America’s working families. However, President Trump’s plan for six weeks of limited paid family leave falls far short of what most working families need.

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VIDEO: Freedom Belongs to Everyone http://www.bctgm.org/2017/07/freedom-belongs-to-everyone/ Thu, 13 Jul 2017 13:56:13 +0000 http://www.bctgm.org/?p=6329 Freedom means more than making a living. It means the ability to financially support your family and have time to be there for them. Check out AFSCME’s new video with President Lee Saunders explaining how corporate interest groups are working tirelessly to chip away at the freedoms that unions have won for everyone.

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Freedom means more than making a living. It means the ability to financially support your family and have time to be there for them.

Check out AFSCME’s new video with President Lee Saunders explaining how corporate interest groups are working tirelessly to chip away at the freedoms that unions have won for everyone.

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WATCH NOW: Our Full Public Television Segment http://www.bctgm.org/2017/07/watch-now-full-public-television-segment/ Mon, 10 Jul 2017 19:29:49 +0000 http://www.bctgm.org/?p=6321 The BCTGM is proud to present the full six-minute cut of our short form documentary, “Made in America,” detailing the plight of our members at the iconic Nabisco/Mondelēz bakery in Chicago. This public television segment, produced by Front Page, will air to over 50 million TV homes across the country for one full year and […]

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The BCTGM is proud to present the full six-minute cut of our short form documentary, “Made in America,” detailing the plight of our members at the iconic Nabisco/Mondelēz bakery in Chicago. This public television segment, produced by Front Page, will air to over 50 million TV homes across the country for one full year and we want our members, their families and all of our supporters to be the first to see it!

Click here to watch and SHARE the final cut of “Made in America,” narrated by James Earl Jones.

*Mobile Viewers: Simply tap anywhere on the screen when it comes up to start playing the video.

On March 23rd of this year, The Nabisco 600 marked the solemn first anniversary of the first round of layoffs from their Chicago bakery with a Digital Day of Action. The entire labor movement, along with advocacy groups, college students, global supporters and online activists like you, shattered BCTGM records that day when you helped us share the one-minute video promotion for this documentary over 4 million times on social media.

Help us complete that narrative. Click here to watch and SHARE the completed video project with James Earl Jones.

The broad coalition of support for our campaign continues to grow in size and strength. Each day, more American consumers are joining our boycott and challenging Nabisco/Mondelēz’ destructive corporate business model where it matters the most – at the cash register – by refusing to purchase Nabisco products made in Mexico.

By saying NO to Nabisco products made in Mexico, consumers are saying NO to sending good, middle-class jobs to Mexico; saying NO to business practices that devastate families and communities; saying NO to Nabisco/Mondelēz’ exploitation of workers across borders and oceans.

Please help us continue to spread this message. Click here to watch “Made in America” with James Earl Jones, and be sure to SHARE it with your networks.

*Mobile Viewers: Simply tap anywhere on the screen when it comes up to start playing the video.

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Corporations use Bankruptcy Laws to Undermine Workers’ Retirement Security http://www.bctgm.org/2017/07/corporations-use-bankruptcy-laws-to-undermine-workers-retirement-security/ Thu, 06 Jul 2017 13:54:56 +0000 http://www.bctgm.org/?p=6307 For BCTGM members who have dedicated their working lives to hard and physically demanding jobs, a defined benefit pension plan is key to the foundation for a financially secure and dignified retirement. This is why the BCTGM places the highest priority on preserving and strengthening our members’ pensions. Whether it is the highly-respected multi-employer B&C […]

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For BCTGM members who have dedicated their working lives to hard and physically demanding jobs, a defined benefit pension plan is key to the foundation for a financially secure and dignified retirement.

This is why the BCTGM places the highest priority on preserving and strengthening our members’ pensions. Whether it is the highly-respected multi-employer B&C Pension Fund, covering nearly 110,000 active and retired members and which has paid out more than $12.5 billion in benefits since its inception, or the many single employer plans covering BCTGM members across our industries, the BCTGM continues to be relentless in defending BCTGM members’ retirements.

A growing number of employers are waging a full-scale assault on the B&C Fund and BCTGM members’ benefits, seeking to walk away from their longstanding commitments and obligations to their employees, both active and retired. These attacks come on the heels of other significant challenges to our Fund and all multi-employer funds over the past several years.

The 2008 Great Recession, which was brought on by massive Wall Street and banking industry fraud, caused dramatic equity decreases for virtually every multi-employer Fund. For the B&C Fund, which is consistently ranked as one of the very best run Taft-Hartley Funds in the country, the 2008 financial crisis led to a market value decrease of 31 percent, nearly $2 billion.

Congress should’ve learned its lesson when it got rid of important oversight regulations of Wall Street which led to the 2008 Great Recession. Yet, today, the Republican-led Congress is attempting to gut the Dodd-Frank law which was put in place following the 2008 economic crisis to strengthen oversight and controls on Wall Street and protect against another economic catastrophe.

At the same time, Wall Street private equity companies have become a much larger presence in the economy. These predatory companies engage in a process of “strip and flip” whereby they buy a company, saddle it with debt to pay themselves huge dividends and fees, attempt to de-unionize the workforce, slash jobs, close plants and then sell the business for a profit, or abandon the investment and let it fall into bankruptcy.

One of the most egregious examples of their predatory business model is the old Hostess Brands. After the company entered bankruptcy in 2004, the BCTGM worked to keep the company operating with a commitment of $110 million in contract concessions in return for company commitments to make investments in new plant equipment, technology upgrades, marketing and product development. The company emerged from bankruptcy in 2009 operated by a trio of Wall Street private equity companies. These new owners squandered the money from the workers’ concessions, didn’t make the necessary investments and thoroughly reneged on their commitments.

As the business was failing due to severe mismanagement and corporate greed, the owners stopped making their contractually-mandated pension contributions in August 2011, gave the executives raises of 300 percent and then entered bankruptcy and finally liquidation in 2012.

The bankruptcy laws then allowed the company to walk away from its pension obligations totaling almost $1 billion. This nearly $1 billion hole left by the Hostess withdrawal became the second severe blow to the Fund.

Had the federal bankruptcy laws demanded that the court put the interests of workers and retirees first instead of last, this $1 billion hole would have been filled before the banks and Wall Street profiteers got paid. But, because of the flawed bankruptcy laws, this was not the case and the Fund never received any compensation.

More and more corporate executives have turned the bankruptcy process into a cash cow for themselves and a weapon used to drastically reduce workers’ wages, pensions and health care.

Employer misuse of the bankruptcy process is facilitated by courts that have watered down the standards for employer rejection of collective bargaining agreements and termination of health care and pension benefits.

Through the travesty and human tragedy of the old Hostess Brands demise, the BCTGM knows all too well the devastating impact on lives and families brought about when corporate executives abuse the bankruptcy process.

The fight to defend BCTGM pensions is urgent and ongoing. Now, more than ever, retirees, together with union members in every BCTGM shop, must stand up and fight to help secure what this union has worked so hard to achieve over the course of many decades.

BCTGM members and retirees, stay tuned to this website and The BCTGM News for updates on how you can stay involved in this very important effort to defend your BCTGM pension.

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Happy Father’s Day to all the Union Dads! http://www.bctgm.org/2017/06/happy-fathers-day-to-all-the-union-dads/ Fri, 16 Jun 2017 18:28:07 +0000 http://www.bctgm.org/?p=6052 Five years ago, President Barack Obama started a program protecting immigrants who came to America as children. Today, thousands of hardworking aspiring citizens have been able to reach their dreams thanks to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA. “We need everyone in our country to be able to live and work without fear,” […]

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Five years ago, President Barack Obama started a program protecting immigrants who came to America as children. Today, thousands of hardworking aspiring citizens have been able to reach their dreams thanks to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA. “We need everyone in our country to be able to live and work without fear,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

  • 95%: That’s how many of the nearly 1 million DACA enrollees are employed or enrolled in school
  • Check out this blog post written by Maria Dominguez, an AFT member and a teacher in Texas, who is a DACA recipient.

On Father’s Day Celebrate the Power of Union Dads

  • Expand paternity leave. Of companies that offered paid family leave to both parents, more than 90% said it had a neutral or positive impact on profit and performance.
  • Respect the power of workers. People who join or form unions negotiate for $200 more a week compared with people working the same kind of job without a union. The difference adds up to about $10,000 a year, which can help a lot when raising a family.

fathersday

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