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Season 5, Episode 135

Newly appointed AFL-CIO Director of Advocacy Jody Calemine

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John Coneglio

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Jody Calemine, Director of Advocacy for the AFL-CIO, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss his journey to his new position. Calemine discussed his previous work on labor policy with the CWA and what he will be trying to accomplish during this session of Congress.

Growing up in West Virginia and Virginia, Calemine talked about deindustrialization's impact on him and his family. Originally, he said he wanted to be a physicist, but after deciding that wasn’t his future, he earned a Bachelor of Philosophy degree from the University of Virginia before attending law school to become a labor lawyer. He graduated and went to work for the Communications Workers of America, left to work on labor policy with the U.S. House of Representatives. He eventually became the General Counsel for the CWA Union. Following the retirement of Bill Samuel from the AFL-CIO, Calemine was appointed the Director of Advocacy in March of this year.

As Democratic staff director for the Committee on Education and the Workforce, Calemine helped enact legislation such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). He discussed the ACA and why people are still eligible for health coverage but not filing for coverage. Calemine also discussed the issues created by lobbyists looking to weaken the ACA and what he expects to happen as more legislators work to repeal the Act.

With a history of working for workers, Calemine had previously worked with Samuel as the Director of Government Affairs. Calemine said that it would be impossible to try to replace Samuel, so his goal is to create a new path for himself while continuing Samuel’s passion for helping workers. He outlined what he wants to do with the time left in this session of Congress and why getting several positions confirmed, including Acting Department of Labor Secretary Julie Su, is crucial to future worker protections.

Listen to the show above to hear more about Calemine and his new role with the AFL-CIO.


America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

America’s Work Force Union Podcast is brought to you in part by our sponsors: AFL-CIO, American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of Musicians Local 4, American Alliance for Manufacturing, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Communication Workers of America, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 50, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Crafts, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6, Ironworkers Great Lakes District Council, The Labor Citizen newspaper, Laborers International Union of The National Labor Office of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, North America, North Coast Area Labor Federation, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Survey and Ballot Systems, United Labor Agency, United Steelworkers.

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