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By George H. Nee

In 2014, the Rhode Island AFL-CIO plans to pursue a legislative agenda that is pro-growth, pro-worker, pro-union and, yes, pro-business. These four basic tenets have served as the basis of our legislative activities, and will continue in the future, to ensure that all Rhode Islanders prosper and succeed. We have made our most progress when business, labor and government have worked together to improve our economy.

For its economy to grow, our state needs workers to fill the jobs of the 21st century. We are pleased that Gov. Lincoln Chafee recognizes the skills gap and his fiscal year 2015 budget proposes $1.6 million for workforce development. However, we must go further to retrain Rhode Islanders who are being left by the wayside because of a lack of technical skills.

We will also advocate increased funding for adult literacy programs. Workforce development and adult literacy would help workers come up to speed and excel. To avoid a future skills gap, we must be willing to invest in education from an early age. The Rhode Island AFL-CIO will advocate funding for full-day kindergarten to ensure that our school children are prepared to compete in an increasingly global economy.

To get workers to their jobs in a safe, affordable, dependable and environmentally friendly manner, a sustainable and reliable funding stream for the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority needs to be in place.

Apprenticeships have long been an avenue for younger workers to gain the skills and experience necessary to have a fulfilling career in the building and construction trades. The Rhode Island AFL-CIO supported the restoration of the Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program requiring certified apprenticeship programs on projects over $10 million, and we fully support the increased funding in this year’s budget. Businesses benefit from tax credits, Rhode Island’s rich architectural history is preserved, workers are put to work, and the programs teach a new generation of workers the skills needed to construct and maintain Rhode Island’s infrastructure.

We will also advocate prescribed apprenticeship hours on all publicly funded state and quasi-public projects to ensure that public money is being spent on reputable contractors while providing training opportunities for a new generation in the building and construction trades. We will continue to support the Rhode Island College/ University of Rhode Island Joint Nursing Education Center as an integral part of the Dynamo House Project.

Governor Chafee’s budget succinctly states what the Rhode Island AFL-CIO has been saying for years: “[The] state’s economy, its workers and its businesses are harmed by the existence of an illegal underground economy in which individuals and businesses conceal their activities from government licensing, regulatory and taxing authorities.” We need a clear, strong and enforceable definition of employee misclassification to stop the rampant abuse of employees by unscrupulous employers. Business owners who follow the rules are harmed by those who improperly classify their employees; the state is robbed of substantial tax revenues; workers are cheated of wages and benefits; and union members are harmed when their work is undercut by those willing to flout the laws.

We are supporting a raise in the minimum wage to $9 an hour on Jan. 1, 2015, then to $10 an hour in 2016, and indexed to inflation going forward. This measure would greatly benefit Rhode Island businesses and workers, and spur growth in the local economy.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would affect approximately 65,000 Rhode Island workers and have a $77.7 million impact on the state’s gross domestic product. This is money that will be spent in Rhode Island right away. Having a job should lift a worker out of poverty, not trap him or her in it.

Rhode Island’s most vulnerable citizens deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. That is why we have long advocated increased funding for programs benefiting the developmentally disabled and residents in nursing homes. Our state should support the effort by the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless to increase funding for rental vouchers to combat chronic homelessness.

Rhode Island should continue to lead by example and keep Victory Day as a state holiday, recognizing the sacrifices made by millions to preserve our freedom. We will vigorously oppose any changes to the status of Victory Day.

Our legislative agenda is one of fairness, growth, education and opportunity that lets all Rhode Islanders from all walks of life succeed and thrive together. Because of the depth and breadth of the issues supported by the Rhode Island AFL-CIO for the benefit of all, we truly are the “people’s lobby.”

George H. Nee is president of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO.
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http://www.providencejournal.com/opinion/commentary/20140212-george-h.-nee-labors-2014-agenda-for-r.i.-serves-the-people.ece

IBEW Local 2323 has learned retired member Sally Horsman has passed away.  Sally was one of the first Fiber Network Technicians staffed into the Fiber Solutions Center upon opening in Providence in 2005. Her loss will be felt by many who had the pleasure of working with her over the years.   The Officers & Staff of the Local extend their thoughts & prayers for Sally, and her family.   Arrangements are listed below.

 

Sarah Elizabeth Bimbo Horsman died peacefully after a long illness at the Ellis Nursing Home. She was 68.

 

Sarah was born in Newport, RI, the daughter of the late Albert and Sarah (Costello) Horsman. She was raised in Weymouth and spent a lot of time in Cambridge before settling in Medford. Sarah worked in many capacities with Verizon for over 30 years. She also worked as a waitress at Fantasia’s Restaurant before it closed. Sarah was devoted to her family. She loved spending time with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Sarah had many friends and enjoyed making her Spring Street home a welcoming place.

 

 

She was a loving mother to Christine Troy and her husband Michael of Malden, Melissa Hathaway and her husband Scott of Attleboro, Matthew Bimbo and his wife Melissa Hartman of Franklin, and the late Tammy Auger. The devoted wife of the late Arthur W. Bimbo, she was a beloved grandmother to Billy, Matty, Richard, Kimberly, Christina, David, Ashley, Tiffany, Joshua, Amanda, Christian, Jake, Brooke and also leaves 13 loving great-grandchildren. She was a dear sister to Albert Horsman, June Denafio, Marcia Aufiero and Dale Horsman.

 

Her funeral will be from the Dello Russo Funeral Home, 306 Main St., Medford, Monday February 3rd at 8 AM followed by a funeral mass celebrated in St. Raphael Church, 512 High Street, Medford, at 9 AM. Services will conclude with entombment at Woodlawn Mausoleum, Everett. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend and may visit with the family Sunday 4 – 8 PM.

 

Memorial contributions may be made in Sarah’s name to Abundant Hope Pregnancy Resource Center 104 County St. Attleboro, MA 02703.

With a heavy heart IBEW Local 2323, has learned retired,  long time member Bobby Allen has passed away.  The Officers & Staff of the Local extend their thoughts & prayers for Bobby and his family.   Details of the services can be found below.
ALLEN, BOBBY L. 70 of Punta Gorda, Florida and formerly of East Providence died Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at the Philip Hulitar Hospice Center. He was the husband of Deborah (Silva) Allen. Born in Richmond, Virginia he was the son of the late Robert and Sara (Bishop) Allen. Bobby was a lineman for Verizon for 40 years before he retired. He served in the Navy for 6 years. Besides his wife he leaves two sons, Kurt Allen and Michael Allen, two daughters, Gizette Allen and Michelle Caverio, one sister, Jacqueline Robinson, nine grandchildren, Danielle, Malcolm, Dominic, Jayden, Mason, Alexis, Gary, Jr., Neema and John and three great grandchildren. Calling hours will be held on Friday from 5-8 PM in the PERRY-McSTAY FUNERAL HOME, 2555 Pawtucket Avenue, East Providence with a funeral service to follow at 8 PM. Burial will be private. – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/providence/obituary.aspx?n=bobby-allen&pid=169400227&fhid=28489#sthash.scrsngHn.dpuf

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of IBEW Local 2323 member Kathy Brown.   Kathy worked as an Administrative Assistant, and has been a long time, beloved member of IBEW Local 2323 along with several of our sister locals (IBEW 2322 & IBEW 2325) over the years.  The Officers & Staff of the Local, send our thoughts & prayers for Kathy, and to her family in this difficult time.

Services for Kathy are as follows –

Gospel Tabernacle Outreach Ministries

145 Oakland Ave

Providence, RI 02908

Wednesday 01/29/2014    5:00pm – 7:00pm  is a private viewing for the family members ONLY.

Thursday 1/30/2014 from 10:00am-11:00am will be the wake & 11:00am–12:00pm will be the funeral.

The repast will follow immediately after the funeral.

For those who are interested in helping the family, they are requesting food for the rep

President Dan Musard, has informed me, that the Executive Board met January 23, 2014.   The Executive Board has voted to fill the vacant Treasurer seat, and Brother Mike Angelotti has been elected to the position by majority vote.  President Musard, and the entire Executive Board, wish to thank the following members who submitted their names for consideration – Mike Walsh, Bill Dunn, Christine Wingren, Paul Graham and Dave Caramiciu.   President Musard has asked that any member interested in becoming involved to please consider serving on on of the many committee’s of the Local.

Gervais

Dave Gervais – Education Committee Chairman

 

 

The Topic of our feature is income inequality. The disparity of wealth

between the classes is growing at an alarming rate and those that control the

wealth hope that you are not paying attention. But how can we not notice when a

bank gets a bailout but we lose our houses; or when a company like Hostess files

for bankruptcy and the CEO’s take home big bonuses but the employees take

home pink slips. How is it that our parents had a house, a car, a few kids, and a

savings all on one salary but many of us need two or three salaries just to live

paycheck-to-paycheck?

Thanks to the occupy movement, this issue is reaching the mainstream and

people are talking about it. From Warren Buffett, to economist Paul Krugman, to

former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and current Labor Secretary Thomas

Perez, to senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, to the President and

even the Pope. Income inequality is eroding the fabric of this nation and a lack of

upward mobility is tarnishing our image around the globe.

Pope Francis said “We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient

golden calf has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and

the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking truly human purpose.” And

“The grave financial and economic crises of the present time…have pushed man

to seek satisfaction, happiness and security in consumption and earnings out of

all proportion to the principles of a sound economy. The succession of economic

crises should lead to a timely rethinking of our models of economic development

and to a change in lifestyle.”

President Obama said in his speech at THEARC

“The American people’s frustrations are rooted in their own daily

battles – to make ends meet, to pay for college, buy a home, save for

retirement. It’s rooted in the nagging sense that no matter how hard they

work, the deck is stacked against them. And it’s rooted in the fear that

their kids won’t be better off than they were. That fear is a dangerous

and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility that has jeopardized

middle-class America’s basic bargain – -that if you work hard, you have a

chance to get ahead.

The Topic of our feature is income inequality. The disparity of wealth

between the classes is growing at an alarming rate and those that control the

wealth hope that you are not paying attention. But how can we not notice when a

bank gets a bailout but we lose our houses; or when a company like Hostess files

for bankruptcy and the CEO’s take home big bonuses but the employees take

home pink slips. How is it that our parents had a house, a car, a few kids, and a

savings all on one salary but many of us need two or three salaries just to live

paycheck-to-paycheck?

Thanks to the occupy movement, this issue is reaching the mainstream and

people are talking about it. From Warren Buffett, to economist Paul Krugman, to

former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and current Labor Secretary Thomas

Perez, to senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, to the President and

even the Pope. Income inequality is eroding the fabric of this nation and a lack of

upward mobility is tarnishing our image around the globe.

Pope Francis said “We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient

golden calf has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and

the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking truly human purpose.” And

“The grave financial and economic crises of the present time…have pushed man

to seek satisfaction, happiness and security in consumption and earnings out of

all proportion to the principles of a sound economy. The succession of economic

crises should lead to a timely rethinking of our models of economic development

and to a change in lifestyle.”

President Obama said in his speech at THEARC

“The American people’s frustrations are rooted in their own daily

battles – to make ends meet, to pay for college, buy a home, save for

retirement. It’s rooted in the nagging sense that no matter how hard they

work, the deck is stacked against them. And it’s rooted in the fear that

their kids won’t be better off than they were. That fear is a dangerous

and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility that has jeopardized

middle-class America’s basic bargain – -that if you work hard, you have a

chance to get ahead.

President Dan Musard has notified me that the Local,  Treasurer position is being declared vacant.  Any member who is interested in putting their name in for the vacant seat must send a letter to the Union Office – 22 Amflex Drive, Cranston RI 02921 C/O President Dan Musard by close of business Jan 22, 2014. The Executive Board intends on filling the position at this month’s Executive Board meeting which will take place Thursday January 23, 2014 at 6:00pm.

Monica Igbinovia-Reid a new member to local 2323 who bid into the Providence FSC, sadly passed away this past Friday. Monica was a longtime member of our sister local IBEW 2222 in Boston. Details for the arrangments are below. October 18, 2013 Monica Igbinovia-Reid, 52, of Plymouth died suddenly at Quincy Medical Center on October 18. Beloved wife of Waldemar “Wayne” Reid of Plymouth, loving mother of Courage Reid of Plymouth. Monica was born in Binie City Nigeria, Africa. And she also leaves her mother and several brothers and sisters there. Monica worked for Verizon as an Account Representive. She has lived in Plymouth for 14 years coming from Weymouth. Monica loved going to school she has degrees from North Eastern University, Clark University and Boston University, Economics, Computer Science, and Clinical Laboratory Technician. Visiting hours will be held at the Richard Davis Funeral Home 619 State Road (Rte 3A) Plymouth (Manomet) on Friday October 26 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM. A funeral service will be held at the funeral home on Saturday October 26, at 11:00 AM. Burial will be in the Vine Hills Cemetery Plymouth, MA. In lieu of flowers donations in Monica’s memory may be made to the American Heart Association, P.O. Box417005, Boston, MA 02241-7005

It with a heavy heart the local has learned that longtime Local 2323 member & steward Joe Stravinsky from Allens Ave has been diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer.

Joe and his family face a very difficult fight in the months ahead. We ask all our members to rally around Joe these next few months. The family ask we all keep Joe in our thoughts & prayers.

A fund has been set up to assist Joe and his family information can be found at the link below. Additionally stewards around the local will begin weekly collections on behalf of Joe to help in his difficult fight in the months ahead.

www.gofundme.com/44dxx8

Cards of support can be sent to:

Joseph Stravinsky
Rhode Island Hospital
Main Building, Room 830
539 Eddy Street
Providence RI 02903

Thank you to everyone who came out to the Chuck Austin Memorial Golf Tournament. The day was a huge success which couldn’t be possible without your participation. Also, a special thanks to everyone who helped run the event- Ray Silvestri, Jen Silvestri, Becky Barbieri, Cindy Silva, Kelly San Souci, Lisa Stravinsky and Joe Stravinsky. Thank you!