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The Town Hall Meeting with Democratic presidential contender Sen. Bernie Sanders originally scheduled for Sunday, June 21st, 2015 in Charleston has been postponed following the Charleston shooting. A new date will be announced at a later time.

"The healing of the Charleston community has to be the only priority in this time of mourning," the Sanders campaign said. 

 

The South Carolina AFL-CIO released a statement of condolences to the friends and families of the nine victims killed at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. Below are some excerpts from the statement:

"The South Carolina AFL-CIO wishes to extend its condolences to the family, friends and entire community of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, which is grieving the loss of Reverend Clementa Pinckney, the State Senator for District 45, and eight others following the tragic mass shooting at the church."

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1958 Mike Wallace Interview with Walter Reuther

This is a 1958 interview with UAW President Walter Reuther concerning a plan by US automakers to replace pensions with profit sharing. That profit sharing proposal caused Senator Barry Goldwater to say that the UAW was "more dangerous than Soviet Russia."  This is definitely worth watching!

Members of the American Postal Workers Union(APWU) turned out in Columbia, Charleston and other cities on May 14th to get their message out, that the postal service is under attack. 

The contract between the union and the Postal Service expires on May 20th.  In past years negoitations have often continued for months after the expiration date until an agreement has been reached. 

Literature from the APWU says, "Our national treasure is in the grips of a manufactured financial criisis that is being used to justify an all-out assault on postal workers and on service to the American people."

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April 28th is celebrated each year as Workers Memorial Day, to honor those who have given their lives or been disabled just doing their jobs.  Thanks to the efforts of South Carolina labor activists, the city governments in Columbia and Charleston created proclamations recognizing the occasion.  Proclamations were signed in Columbia by Mayor Steve Benjamin and in Charleston by Mayor Joe Riley. 

 

 

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A vote for organization at North Charleston's Boeing plant was postponed in late April due to "a toxic environment." Check out this story from the Seattle Times, how some organizers canvassing door-to-door were threatened with guns.  Organizers say they will file unfair labor-practice charges against Boeing with the National Labor Relations Board(NLRB) and that after six months they will try again.    http://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/machinists-withdraw-request-for-union-vote-at-boeings-south-carolina-plant/

 

 

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SC AFL-CIO Legislative Liaison Loreen Myerson on the possibility of a Constitutional Convention

Among those issues discussed at the SC AFL-CIO's 2015 Legislatiive Conference was the threat of a Constitutional Convention, the same variety of meeting that established our current US government centuries ago. 

Congress is being pushed by radical conservatives torward such an event, which could literally restructure the government of the United States.  There are bills in both chambers calling for the Convention.  The original US Constitution created in 1787 has built-in provisions that would allow it to be changed.   

As SC AFL-CIO Legislative Liasion Loreen Myerson says, "It would be no holds barred and there's no telling what you would end up with." (see video)

 

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RJ Foley--"There are those who believe in unions and those who don't, and the challenge is to communicate with those people."

The new president of Columiba, SC's local organization of IATSEE(International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) says that one of the biggest challenges facing labor in the US is the members of unions themselves, who must learn to communicate with those who don't believe in unions. 

R.J. Foley spoke during a recent political action held in downtown Columbia.

IATSE has hundreds of members in South Carolina and includes many of those workers who set up riggings for the sound and lighting systems at large concert venues.   Nationally, the organization increased membership from 74,000 in 1993 to currently more than 122,000, during a period when membership in most priviate sector unions shrank. 

 

 

 

 

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Members of labor groups showed up to demostrate their dislike for Wisonson Governor Walker's anti-union position when he came to South Carolina during a two-day visit.  Walker appeared first at a luncheon on a rainy afternoon in Columbia, and again on the next day in Charleston.  Read more >>>


While much of the Internet this week was focused on escaped llamas, figuring out what color a dress is or mourning the loss of SAG-AFTRA member and Star Trek icon Leonard Nimoy, we can forget that legislation is still being pushed that would make the lives of working families worse. Whether it is the "right to work" policies pushed by the allies of Gov. Scott Walker (Wis.), who likes to compare workers to terrorists, and in other states like New Mexico and West Virginia, or the ongoing negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) using the Fast Track process, we need to stay alert. Read more >>>


NC workers speak out after being locked out of ADT Security jobs

Nineteen workers with ADT Security Services in Winston-Salem, NC have been locked out of work. The IBEW is currently in negotiations with the company over the issue. The workers voted to join IBEW Local 342 two years ago. Recently the company proposed slashing hourly wages up to 30 percent but workers would not agree and were locked out and bused off the property the last week of February 2015.

 

 

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The 2015 Legislative Conference will be held March 24th-25th at the Courtyard Marriott on the USC campus in downtown Columbia(630 Assembly St.). President Erin McKee encourages all those who can attend not to miss this event, especially because it includes a visit to the SC Statehouse and will give lawmakers and others present a chance to see that the SC Labor Movement is alive and well.  The event will also feature a screening of the popular film “Pay 2 Play.”

 

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DUH Dir. Sue Saltmarsh on what's wrong with US healthcare

A documentary screeniung in Columbia was one of approximately 60 such events held around the country over the past year, attempting to show the story of how the health care systems in Canada and the US evolved to be so different.

The event featured a panel discussion, including former SC AFL-CIO President Donna Dewitt.  Also included, Summerville resident Donna Ellington with Drive For Universal Healthcare(DUH) which sponsored the event, and Illinois resident Sue Saltmarsh, Founding Director of that organization.


 

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Walmart has proudly announced that it will be boosting the hourly pay of beginning employees to $9 an hour beginning in April and again to $10 in February 2016. But business analysts say the reasons behind this include competition from other employers, which has grown as the economy has continued to heal, as well as efforts by organizations like the AFL-CIO. Protests in recent years have given the company bad press. Sixteen-hundred stores were targeted nationwide this past year.

 

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SC AFL-CIO President Erin McKee responded immediately to Governor Nicki Haley's State-of-the-State address, saying that unions are everywhere in the state.  "To use some of the governor's own words, 'you've seen these men and women, whether you know it or not,'" she said.   

She went on to question Haley's statements about Boeing, and stated that South Carolinians deserve to know the exact number of permanent jobs that are brought to the state, and what tax incentive deals are cut with prospective industries. 

The response was sent to newspapers and business journals around South Carolina(as of this posting, the Georgetown Times has published the piece).  

 

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www.huffingtonpost.com/thomas-e-perez/all-labor-has-dignity-kin_b_6487008.html

Check out this blog post from US Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez in the Huffinton Post.  King said, "Our needs are identical with labor's needs..." 

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Share of Households Earning Middle-Class Income

Income inequality became a hot topic of economic conversation in 2014, and publications like The Atlantic have taken notice. In 17 Things We Learned About the Economy in 2014, the authors explore the growth of low-income jobs, stagnant wages for families and shrinking wages for younger workers, the racial and gender wage gap, taxes and the dwindling middle class.

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SC labor leaders Charles Brave(left), Steve Auerbach(right) comment on the challenging year ahead
(Charleston) During the December meeting of the Low Country's Central Labor Council(CLC), several union leaders stressed that union members and their families need to brace for possible fights in upcoming contract negotiations, and for fights that are being launched against the labor movement in general. They also warned that some younger union members are not taking their responsibility seriously enough, and "need to get of the couch and be more pro union, and fight if necessary." Read more >>>


McKee discusses misclassification and survival on low wages
(Columbia) US Senator Debbie Stabenow from Michigan was keynote speaker for the 2014 Fall forum held by the SC Democratic Women's Council. Not only did Stabenow talk about the importance of the labor movement, but one of the event's two panel discussions also included SC AFL-CIO President Erin McKee, and Alliance for Retired Americans(ARA)of SC President Donna Dewitt, who is also a member of CWA 3710 and President Emeritus of the SC AFL-CIO(see videos in this story for comments). Read more >>>


Protesters invade a North Charleston Burger King
Protests were held at several different locations in the Charleston-North Charleston communities, on the same day that thousands participated in similar protests across the US, calling for higher wages for fast food workers. Beginning at 5am on a foggy Thursday morning, three workers stood in a parking lot near a McDonalds restaurant and did a series of live news shots with Channel 4 for an hour and a half. They were then joined by dozens of protestors who stood at the crossing of Ashley-Phosphate and Dorchester roads, two of the city's busiest arteries. Read more >>>

Representatives of the SC AFL-CIO joined with union members on "Black Friday" to send a message to the -real- Walton family(not the old TV series), and the Walmart national office in Arkansas. A dozen protesters appeared at two Charleston-area stores, representing two different groups. There were also small protests at stores in Columbia and Rock Hill, and even one at a store in Winston-Salem, NC where a SC supporter took the time to take his family over to the store near their Thanksgiving gathering, the morning after Thanksgiving. "This shows how far a little extra effort can go!" said Erin McKee, President of the SC AFL-CIO. Families from New York and DC joined the Charleston protestors after they saw the actions posted on the Black Friday protest web site. Read more >>>

The Waltons are the richest family in the US, worth $150 Billion, which is a staggering 43% of all the wealth owned by the ENTIRE AMERICAN PUBLIC. They made $16 Billion in profits last year alone. The majority of Walmart workers earns less than $26,000 a year. Plans are underway for protests at Walmart stores around the US, including South Carolina, set for the Friday following Thanksgiving, typically one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Members of all unions in South Carolina, and non-union workers as well, are asked to give just a few hours on that day in order to call for an increase in wages for Walmart workers. Read more >>>


Please take a few minutes to watch and important video and spread the word
The Obama Administration and certain members of Congress have come under attack for their support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership(TPP). The President visited Australia recently in the last of his meetings with foreign leaders and trade officials, as negotiations continue in a deal under pending US legislation that began almost a decade ago. Supporters call it a free-trade agreement. Critics say there is nothing "free" about it and say it will not only make life more difficult for foreign workers affected by the power grab but will make life more expensive for Americans, noting that its current provisions would affect, among other things, drug prices. Read more >>>


SC AFL-CIO President Erin McKee talks about "misclassification," how some companies cheat their workers and their competitors
Supporters of the SC Progressive Network met for their Fall Retreat, to discuss the results of the mid-term elections, described by one pundit as a Republican "blood bath" that left many Democrats wondering about the future. The SC AFL-CIO was represented, and President Erin Mckee talked about labor issues including "misclassification," when a company uses workers to do the same jobs as better-paid workers, but pay them less and often deny them benefits. Read more >>>

In the biggest election for paid sick days in history, voters in four locations – Massachusetts; Montclair and Trenton, New Jersey; and Oakland, California – all passed ballot initiatives guaranteeing paid sick days to a million additional workers.  The victories cap a historic year in which the number of locations and workers with access to paid sick days has nearly tripled.  Read more >>>

There were no surprises in the November 4th South Carolina elections and Democrats were left wondering what they might have done better.   Only 44% of registered voters went to the polls Tuesday.   As often is the case a better turnout by Democrats and potentially Democratic voters migh have grabbed some seats.  But SC AFL-CIO President Erin McKee says the problem is not just apathy and a failure to get off the couch.  

McKee says she knows that it's often a situation of people voting for a candidate without good reason, due to an influence of the many millions of dollars that are spent on advertising.  "Why do working people vote against their best interest?," she asks..  

(Read ahead for a run-down of races involving many of the AFL-endorsed candiidates)

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The resignation of SC House Speaker Bobby Harrell substantially increases the chances that one of his opponents, namely Democrat Mary Tinkler, would be elected to the 114 House seat. Tinkler was among the list of candidates endorsed by the SC AFL-CIO months ago, well before Harrell's resignation. But Republican's are trying their best to stop the Democrat from having a sure thing. The SC Election Commission had said that the election would go forward as planned even though some voters had already cast absentee ballots for Harrell. But Charleston and Dorchester county Republican leaders filed paperwork seeking to have the election postponed, allowing other Republicans to file for the seat. To facilitate that, Harrell has filed an affidavit with the SC Election Commission. Read more >>>

Union members have been busy calling other union members to let them know how important the November 4 election is for South Carolina workers and their families. SC AFL-CIO Executive Director Erin McKee says, "This year we have a chance to elect candidates that know there are unions in SC, and they are proud to be endorsed by the members of the SC AFL-CIO!" Read more >>>


Dwight James(forgive poor sound quality--turn volume up)

Executive Director of the SC NAACP Dwight James is starting a state-wide effort to get people to the polls.  The civil right's agency will be promoting the importance of voting in this mid-term election as an opportunity to make a difference in the Confederate flag issue, as well as the Medicaid issue. Opponents want state lawmakers to remove the Confederate flag from the monument in front of the Statehouse.  And critics say that conservatives in state govwernment who have refused to accept federal Medicaid funds for some of the state's neediest citizens will cause the deaths of approximately 1300 residents this year alone, according to a study by Harvard University. Read more >>>

The SC AFL-CIO has endorsed seven candidates for US congressional offices, either for the House or the Senate. There bios follow. BRAD HUTTO, US SENATE Hutto is running as a Democrat and a member of the Working Families Party for the US Senate against Republican Lindsay Graham, a long-time incumbent. Hutto says he wants to change a government that’s spending too much on large corporations and foreign countries, and not investing enough in South Carolina jobs, schools, and roads. As our Senator, he will focus on Abbeville and our other 45 counties — not Afghanistan and 45 other foreign countries. He has the endorsement of the The National Education Association’s political action committee, the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education, as well as the SC AFL-CIO. Read more >>>


SC Progressive Network Leader On Labor Movement and Haley "Dismantling Civilization"
The SC AFL-CIO plans constant Get-Out-the-Vote efforts between now and election day in November, to include a series of phone banks, drawing upon labor volunteers from around the state, who will place calls to labor supporters around the state. Read more >>>


SC lawmaker says it's imperative that everyone vote!
Democratic candidate Bakari Sellers spoke to the Central Labor Council(CLC) of the Midlands during a meeting in Columbia. The state representative from Bamburg County, who was recently endorsed by Anderson Mayor Terence Roberts as well as the SC AFL-CIO, told the small group of labor leaders that he and gubernatorial candidate Vincent Sheheen want to get at least 30% of the African-American voters to vote in the general election. That, he said, could win the election for Democrats and make a giant different for the state. Read more >>>

The SC AFL-CIO Labor Person of the Year was named during that organization’s annual convention held in Georgetown, SC earlier this month.
Leonard Riley, Jr. of Charleston is a member of the International Longshoreman Association(ILA). Riley was nominated by his brother Kenneth Riley, President of ILA Local 1422, who described his older brother as “a 21st century freedom fighter"
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Gov. Haley's new video

Governor South Carolina Nikki Haley has begun airing her new television campaign ad, which not only attacks Democratic opponent Sen. Nick Sheheen, but also the labor movement.

You’ve heard of the multi-billion dollar political colossus known as the Koch Brothers. The AFL-CIO is introducing “The Koch Sisters” to the American electorate – a national project featuring two women, Karen and Joyce, who share the same last name, but not the same values.

www.kochsisters.org

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Sept. 6th was the 80th Anniversary of Textile Industry Massacre in Honea Path, SC. When a documentary on the subject was first produced, SC ETV chose not to run it, but the state network has aired the program several times this month. The final showing will be September 25th, 10pm.

On the morning of Sept. 6, 1934, in the tiny town of Honea Path, friends and neighbors came to blows in a labor dispute. When it was over, seven people were dead and 30 others wounded....

 

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Check this out!  Great story about SC AFL-CIO President Erin McKee-- a perfect way to recognize Labor Day by one of the region*s largest newspapers, Charleston's Post and Courier, which has statewide distribution.  Read it here !


Charles Brave with the ILA leading a chant at the 2014 SC AFL-CIO Convention

 The SC AFL-CIO held it's annual convention in Georgetown, as it has done for eight years in a row, drawing more union representatives from all around South Carolina and other states than the event has in recent years, according to group president Erin McKee.

The group heard from numerous guest speakers, including Mark Dimondstein, International President of the American Postal Workers Union, who told attendees that the US postal service has served the public everywhere in the country for 239 years and still supports itself from its profits. "But those who want to make money off of it for themselves are trying to privatize the organization, and that would affect mail service," he said.

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Sen. Sanders speaks on education in America in Columbia, SC before a large crowd including union members

US Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, longtime known for his pro-labor stance, spoke several times in Columbia, SC, meeting with union leaders and supporters. Sanders indicated that he was open to a possible presidential bid in 2016 but stopped short of saying what ticket he would run on. Sanders has been counted as a Democrat for the purposes of committee assignments but does not belong to a formal political party and appears as an independent on the ballot. He did indicate during a question and answer period that running as a Democrat was not out of the question. Sanders chairs the Senate Committee on Veteran's Affairs and had been in Charlotte the day before receiving the prestigious Patriot Award from the American Legion during that organization's national convention. Read more >>>

It's pretty frustrating seeing all the headlines that claim the economy is alive and kicking. Sure, there is economic growth and a steady increase in jobs, but what kind of jobs are we talking about exactly? Well, they aren't the kind of jobs we think of first when it comes to steady, middle-class jobs. No big surprise here, low-wage service sector jobs like those in the fast-food industry are seeing the biggest gains. Bryce Covert at The New Republic has a nice summary of what America's workers are up against when it comes to wages. Read more >>>

When President Barack Obama first announced his candidacy for president, he said: “I am running in this race because of what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called ‘the fierce urgency of now.’ Because I believe that there’s such a thing as being too late. And that hour is almost upon us.” Like Dr. King, our president was calling on America to make real the promises of our democracy. That fierce urgency of now is here for thousands of refugee children from Central America. I know many of these kids’ stories because it is my story, too. Read more >>>

The SC AFL-CIO were among those participating in the Annual Spring Meeting of the SC Progressive Network, which deals with issues affecting working families around the state. The event was held in a local union hall near Columbia. Around 80 activists from across the state spent a recent Saturday debating and refining strategies for the rest of the year. Continuing the Network's strategic focus on the state's refusal to accept Medicaid funding, and the generally sad state of democracy in South Carolina, they are preparing tools that can be used to organize efforts in local areas. They can now map the location of registered, inactive and unregistered voters by neighborhood who have been denied Medicaid coverage. Read more >>>

More than 40 protesters stood on busy roads in Charleston (Thursday 5/15/14) calling for a $15 minimum wage.  A 6am demonstration took place in front of a Burger King, and one later that morning was conducted in front of a McDonalds(check out the SC AFL-CIO on Facebook for a collection of photos!)

Delegates flocked from around South Carolina for the state's annual Democratic Convention held in Coluimbia.  It was kicked off by the annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner Friday night, as well as Congressman Clyburn's World Famous Fish Fry, which has become an institution over the years.   Read more >>>

 Check this out !!

Check out this story from Live5 News!!

click here

 US Senator Bernie Sanders and congressional hopeful Gloria Bromell Tinubu addressed a large crowd in Charleston, calling for fair wages for working people, and issuing a call to arms against conservative big business forces that may require a wake up from the “American Dream.” Sanders, a Vermont senator, is the longest-serving independent in congressional history. He said that the US middle class is quickly disappearing. He said workers are producing more, earning much less, and that people are getting really angry. Read more >>>

 It's not a recognized holiday for many, and you won't see it on most calendars.

But this year marks the 25th anniversary of Workers Memorial Day in the United States. It is also the 43th anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the right of every worker to a safe job. This is a hats off, a Thank You, to all those workers, over the decades and throughout the centuries, who have paid the ultimate price, just trying to support their families. Workplace fatalities and injuries have declined, but that progress isn't due purely to the OSHA law.

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Here's Gov. Haley expressing her love for the labor movement, SC Auto Summit in Greenville.  View Interview

 Labor delegates came from around the state for the SC AFL-CIO's annual Legislative Conference held at the organization's conference center, endorsing candidates for congressional races as well as those running for state offices and local house districts. Approximately 40 attendees also heard from a day-full of speakers concerning political issues.

Congressman James Clyburn addressed the group on the issue of raising the minimum wage, saying that the US was built on the backs of those who were willing to work hard. A federal bill would raise the minimum to $10.10 per hour.

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 Members of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) from Columbia SC Local 807 protested Thursday(April 24th) at a Staples store against what they called a sweetheart deal between the U.S. Postal Service and a retailer that is privatizing postal retail services and replacing postal jobs with lower-wage jobs. They were joined by members of the Columbia Central Labor Council and representatives of the SC AFL-CIO. Read more >>>

Anti-ALEC Letter Draws Comparison Between Ideals of Different Groups

In April The State Newspaper published a letter focusing on SC AFL-CIO President Erin McKee's statements at a January Statehouse rally, where she drew attention to the dangers of ALEC.   The letter received many comments on the paper's website as well as on Facebook.

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 "Political subdivision's authority to set minimum wage or other benefits": Derailed! This bill would have amended a 2002 law (brought to SC by ALEC)  that prevents any local government from setting a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum. The amendment would have prohibited ANY required employee benefits, like sick leave. The bill, which passed the House last year, was heard in the Senate Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee March 26. It was voted out, but Sen. John Scott (D-Richland) attached a minority report on the bill and placed an objection that moves it to the bottom of the Senate's calendar. Scott said he was "surprised at the amount of heat he took" for stopping the bill. Below is an op ed piece written by Brett Bursey with the SC AFL-CIO:

Can being too business-friendly make you sick?

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 Immediately after SC Governor Nikki Haley appeared at an automotive industry conference in Greenville and attacked unions, saying that new companies were not welcome in South Carolina if they plan to bring a union with them, SC AFL-CIO President issued a letter to the editors of news publications around the state. Haley said, “Unions are trying to come to South Carolina...My wearing heels is not a fashion statement...we're kicking them everyday and we'll continue to kick them.” Her comments came days after UAW failed to organize at a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee.

"She is lying when she says there are no unions in South Carolina and she knows she is lying," McKee said.

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Friends of the Feathered

As part of the Union Sportsmen's Alliance's (USA's) Work Boots on the Ground project, New Jersey union members built and painted 52 pheasant and 10 quail transport boxes to support the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, which raises and releases some 50,000 pheasants and 11,000 quail annually across the state. Read the full article>>>

 SC AFL-CIO President Erin McKee participated in a panel discussion held by the Democratic Women's Council, which conducted a day of events at the State House encouraging more women to run for political office. McKee discussed the AFL-CIO's support of candidates, “who support unions and aren't afraid to say so, but also those people who are going to be strong, viable candidates.” She talked about Governor Nikki Haley's attack on unions and how during a conference concerning the automotive industry in Greenville, Haley stated that there were no unions in the state... Read more >>>

The South Carolina AFL-CIO is the state federation of labor representing more than 130 unions throughout the state.

The mission of the South Carolina AFL-CIO is to improve the lives of working families—to bring economic justice to the workplace and social justice to our state and the nation.

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 Vice President Joe Biden promoted needed improvements at the Port of Charleston from its Columbus St. Terminal on the early afternoon of Monday, Sept. 16.

About 40 members of local labor unions, including the International Longshoremen’s Association that serves the port, attended the event by direct invitation from the White House, and made up the largest collective group amongst the 240 attendees.

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A South Carolina labor group said it will air its objections today to a local business seminar about “stifling the use of social media” by unions trying to organize workers. Read more >>>

Several union leaders spoke out against a Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce event at a news conference today in downtown Charleston. Read more >>>

Erin McKee was elected president of the South Carolina AFL-CIO at its 57th annual convention in Georgetown on September 6.

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