Tuesday, June 2, 2020 — Cincinnati, OH — As I write this, I feel the very real pain that most of America feels as we look back at the events of this last week. No feeling human being can avoid the sense of disillusionment and loss, watching now too often repeated images of a person of color dying at the hands of those who are sworn to “protect and serve.” The image of George Floyd pinned neck down to the road by a sworn police officer; who like us is a son, a brother, a father, an American citizen and human being with full rights, freedoms and fair protections provided by the U.S. Constitution and our democratic government; crying out in anguish and desperation as his last few dying breaths are crushed out of him, as he cries out in pain for his mother. Another tragic day in what we call the United States of America, so-called land of the free, home of the brave.
More unfortunately, this heartbreaking incident is not the first time we as Americans are hearing the tortured cries of “I can’t breathe”, watching the senseless killing and murders of unarmed American Africans. In July 2014, a cellphone video captured the final words of Eric Garner as New York City police officers sat on his head and pinned him to the ground on a sidewalk. We watched the recent videos showing: Ahmaud Arbery, murdered while simply jogging in broad daylight; Freddie Gray, while being transported in a police van; Tamir Rice, a 12-year kid while playing on a playground; John Crawford, while shopping in a Walmart store; Sam Dubose, for missing a front license plate; Philando Castile, for driving with a legally permitted firearm; not to mention what happened to Terence Crutcher, Alton Sterling, Jamar Clark, Jeremy McDole, William Chapman II, Walter Scott, Eric Harris, Akai Gurley, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and on and on, a systematic continuation of what has been happening in our country for more than 400 years. When you see the same circumstances and tragic outcomes play out over and over again, simple denials and excuses are no longer possible … This is RACISM, plain, simple and truly evil. And this cancer – the original sin our nation – permeates our lives and stains our nation as it consumes the lives and livelihoods of the working people of America, especially those of color.
Why do I say, “working people?” Because as AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said last week:
“… this is a labor issue because it is a workplace issue. It is a community issue, and unions are the community. We must and will continue to fight for reforms in policing and to address issues of racial and economic inequality.”
Essentially, as working people in America, we must never stop fighting for economic, social and racial justice for all. Racial privilege and prejudice must have no place our American society.
At the same time, this statement of solidarity in no way condones the actions of a few who are taking advantage of this tragedy by laying waste and inflicting destruction upon our community. Their violence and reckless disregard for life detracts from the sincere intentions and tireless efforts of those who peacefully protest in an honest effort to right this terrible wrong and bring about change that is so sorely needed and long overdue. However, as a good friend recently reminded me, let’s not confuse our most important priorities: Instead of thinking “It’s horrible that an innocent black man was killed, but destroying property has to stop”, we should be reinforcing “It’s horrible that property is being destroyed, but killing innocent black men HAS TO STOP.” If you cannot sincerely say this statement, if you cannot meaningfully live/act upon this statement, then you do not mean it.
Just know this though…no amount of violence and destruction will deter the efforts of working people of all colors to bring about the end to America’s historic and systemic inequities of economic, social, and racial justice. We stand in steadfast solidarity with our Sisters and Brothers of all colors against hate, greed, and those who seek to keep the good, honest, hard-working people of America divided. No number of burned building, or panes of broken glass will stop us. As stated by Jean-Bertrand Aristide, “If one suffers, we all suffer. Togetherness is strength”; and the great Martin Luther King, Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” The work of the AFL-CIO goes on unabated. I proudly deliver this Labor message on behalf of our President Bill Froehle, twenty-one Executive Board members (who unanimously approved this message at a meeting held earlier today), one hundred and four union affiliates and over 30,000 union members covering our greater Cincinnati jurisdiction.
Peter M. McLinden, Esq.
Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council
About the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council – As one of over 500 state and local labor councils of the AFL-CIO, the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council is at the heart of the labor movement in southwest Ohio. We are democratically elected bodies dedicated to representing the interests of all working people at the state and local level. We mobilize our members and community partners to advocate for social and economic justice, striving every day to vanquish oppression and make our communities better for all people—regardless of race, color, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, or ethnic or national origin. For information of the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council, call (513) 421-1846 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2010, Barack Obama walked into the well of the House to deliver his annual State of the Union address and declared: “A new decade stretches before us.” He spoke to us of our frustrations and anger, many of which were fresh, open wounds inflicted upon us by the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. But then he quickly pivoted to a more optimistic note and said, “In this new decade, it’s time the American people get a government that matches their decency, that embodies their strength.” Well, from where I sit at the close of that decade, that optimism has yet to be born out.
In the decade since Barrack Obama first sounded that now remote note of optimism, political, cultural, and economic gaps have widened, hearts have hardened, and anxiety born of a prolonged financial crisis, has come to define so many of our behaviors, relationships, and conversations. Divergent ideologies now determine even the sources by which we gather our news and harvest our information, resulting in alternative and irreconcilable truths. And then, just when you think the world cannot become more divided, a thing called COVID-19 comes along and adds a literal twist to what had been only a metaphor as we spoke loosely of “a nation divided.”
Well, if you are still reading this after that rather stark assessment, let me tell you that I say all that to better illustrate this… Amid all this, let’s try for a moment to take a slightly different perspective … a more horizontal view of this darker interpretation of our culture. We may even find some silver lining. To the extent that this world of ours has continued to function in these terrible times of political division and COVID 19, we have been given a unique and inspiring look at the true face of our nation. As unsolvable as it all may seem, to the extent that America continues to galumph its way along in spite of the ineptitude and false hopes of it so-called leaders, it does so riding squarely on the solid, reliable, steadfast backs of its hard-working middle class.
Yes. The hard-working people of America’s Labor Movement have once more proven to be the “not-so-little engine that could.” It’s you… it’s us… it’s our Sisters and Brothers in Healthcare, Public Safety, Building Trades/Construction, Food Workers/Retail, Transportation, Public Sector, Education and US Postal Service putting your lives on the line every hour of every day. To the extent this nation is functioning, you can thank a Union Worker. Bravo Sisters and Brothers! Its us!
So yes, live humbly, but take pride in each other… and in the very noble work we do…work too often performed in silence and out of the view of the more strident minority. However, know that today, you are heard! You are seen! Your voice rings out in the sound of our hammers and in the squeaking of our brakes…in the roar of our engines, the quenching of fires and the easing of pain… in our hands — the hands that do God’s noble work… the hands of America’s Unions! You are America at its best!
You my Sisters and Brothers are why this nation will persevere. You are why we will continue and pull out of this…Because we persist, we will see more and brighter days ahead. And here, as we stand once again… on the edge of yet another new decade, it may yet prove out yet that in this new decade, the American people will get “…a government that matches their decency, that embodies their strength.” We have the opportunity to get it right this time.
So, thank you, Sisters and Brothers, for all you do… and for all that you are. A sometimes seemingly ungrateful nation sees you now and is indeed grateful. And what they see is the absolute best of this nation’s character and its hope. You have shown them what is truly meant by “Solidarity forever!”
God bless you and God bless America!
National, State, Regional, County and City Labor and Elected Leaders to Discuss
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ― May 5, 2020 — Cincinnati, OH — Friday, May 8, 11:00 am, Labor Leaders and National, State, Regional, County and City Elected Leaders will meet in an online panel discussion covering how best to “Reopen America.” This not-to-miss event being produced by the Cincinnati AFL-CIO and hosted by Doug Bolton from CincinnatiCares.com, features a panel of representatives from the U.S. Senate and House, Ohio House and Senate, Hamilton County, City of Cincinnati, and Labor Leaders representing Healthcare, Public Safety, Building Trades/Construction, Food Workers/Retail, Transportation, Public Sector, Education and US Postal Service sectors. (A list of the Elected and Labor Leaders for this panel is located on page 2 of this release.)
At the heart of this discussion is “Safety First: Working People’s Plan for Reopening Our Economy.” Every day, health care workers, transit workers, meatpacking workers, first responders, grocery workers, utility workers, letter carriers, construction workers, doormen, retail workers, child protective service workers, factory workers, solid waste workers, corrections officers, janitors and other workers are being exposed to the coronavirus in U.S. workplaces. Hundreds of thousands of workers have been infected and thousands have died. Putting worker safety first is the first step in any viable plan to save lives, defeat the coronavirus and revive the economy, as the AFL-CIO has further laid out in America’s Five Economic Essentials. These important points will drive our discussion.
Registration for this event is HERE. Further information and details on registering to attend this panel discussion are available on the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Facebook Page, and Website. Prior to this panel meeting, please review the AFL-CIO’s “Safety First: Working People’s Plan for Reopening the Economy The Right Way” plan by clicking on the title and following the embedded link. If you have other questions, or if you wish to receive the registration information directly, please email us at email@example.com and include the phrase “Reopening America” in the subject line.
About the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council – As one of over 500 state and local labor councils of the AFL-CIO, the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council is at the heart of the labor movement in southwest Ohio. We are a democratically elected body dedicated to representing the interests of all working people at the state and local level. We mobilize our members and community partners to advocate for social and economic justice, striving every day to vanquish oppression and make our communities better for all people—regardless of race, color, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, or ethnic or national origin. For information of the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council, call (513) 421-1846 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
National, State, Regional, County and City Labor and Elected Leaders to Discuss
“Reopening America” – On Online Event
||Councilmember, City of Cincinnati
||Chair/Commissioner, Hamilton County
||Ohio House 28th District Rep.
||Ohio House 31st District Rep.
||Ohio House 32nd District Rep.
||Ohio House 33rd District Rep.
||Ohio Senate 9th District Senator
||Congressman, U.S. Representative 13th Congressional District
||Chief of Staff, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown’s office
||Tim Burga ― President, Ohio AFL-CIO
||Bill Froehle ― President, Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council, Business Manager, UA Plumbers-Pipefitters, Local 392
||Melissa Cropper ― President, Ohio Federation of Teachers Secretary-Treasurer, Ohio AFL-CIO
||Michelle Thoman ― President, RNA-Nurses-UC Health
||Ted Thompson ― President, NALC-Letter Carriers, Branch 43
||Matt Alter ― President, Intl. Assn. of Fire Fighters, Local 48
||Sean Grayson ― President, Ohio Council 8-AFSCME
||Kevin Garvey ― President, UFCW, Local 75
||Troy Miller ― President, Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 627
Ted Thompson, President of NALC Branch 43, sent us the most recent NALC Legislative Update. We’ve probably all read something about the USPS recently… Much is on the news with President Trump threatening a veto if any stimulus includes appropriations for the USPS. While NALC leadership along with the leadership of the UPWU continues dealing with the everyday issues the COVID-19 pandemic, our Sisters and Brothers at the USPS need our help and our voices. Please give this important document your attention and do what you can to help where you can. Thank you!
We’re here for you and all of our families.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of millions of working people and our families, and the labor movement has been working tirelessly to limit the impact of this crisis on our health and livelihoods. We worked to make sure the relief packages Congress recently passed put the needs of working families and our communities first.
To help navigate these new and expanded federal and state benefits and assistance programs, we put together an online resource that has information about unemployment benefits, paid leave, health insurance and community assistance resources.
Find resources about unemployment insurance and other benefits and programs to help workers impacted by COVID-19 here.
This resource contains the most relevant services and programs in your state to help you find the relief you and your family need. Simply select your state and the category of resources you’re looking for, and we’ll point you to the organizations and agencies that can help.
These are trying and uncertain times. But the labor movement is here for you. We are your resource to help you and your family through this crisis.
Find resources about unemployment insurance and other benefits and programs to help workers impacted by COVID-19 here.
We will continue to improve this online resource to help you find the critical programs and benefits for you and your family.
Amazon’s plans to smear a warehouse worker who was fired after organizing a protest over the lack of coronavirus protection for 5000 workers was racist and classist, illegal and “immoral” says New York’s Attorney General calling for a federal investigation of Chris Small’s termination. With Chris Smalls, terminated Amazon worker/organizer and Derrick Palmer, protesting Amazon warehouse worker
Chris Smalls a warehouse fulfillment center worker for Amazon, the third richest company in the world with a market cap that is nearing a trillion dollars was forced to organize a walk out, at the 5,000 employees warehouse when faced with the rising tide of COVID-19 there. Well, what do you think Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos, whose personal worth is estimated at $123.9 billion, making him the richest man in the world did in response to its frightened and vulnerable workers walkout, employees who are pay a mere $11 – $19 and hour was? Bezos, himself and his top brass met with Amazon’s general counsel David Zapolsky to cook up a strategy to smear Chris Smalls, a memo leaked to Building Bridges revealed.With classic racist and classist characterizations Amazon contrived to defame and denigrate Chris Smalls, the courageous worker fighting for the very lives of his fellow workers against COVID-19. And then, Bezos fired Smalls, who was demanding a temporarily shut down of the huge warehouse facility for cleaning, after reports of multiple employees testing positive for COVID-19, and then fighting for protective gear and hazard pay for the associates working through the pandemic and for the pay and full paid stick leave ALL workers deserve.
How the Pandemic Reveals the Race & Class Divide of the Education System to Assist Students and Families with Eleanor Bader, educator, freelance writer and activist. She is the author of Targets of Hatred: Anti-Abortion Terrorism and a 2015 winner of a Project Censored award for “outstanding investigative journalism” and a recipient of an Independent Press Association award.
The COVID-19 pandemic is unfolding fast, with each day’s missives giving us new, and sometimes contradictory, information about the virus. Schools — public and private, pre-K through university — have been scrambling to figure out how to respond since the virus hit the U.S. Meanwhile, all the evidence suggests that children—and poor children especially—will bear an incredible burden during the coronavirus pandemic and the attendant economic shocks. But that evidence has trouble breaking into a national conversation dominated by mortality rates and work-from-home strategies. The pandemic is acutely affecting the delivery of K–12 education.As of March 19, 2020, 44 states had closed 104,000 schools, affecting nearly 48 million students, turning millions of families into accidental home-schoolers. The pandemic arises on the tail the nation’s public school system having been faced with a wave of protests, teacher strikes, and student walkouts exposing the outrageous inequality plaguing the public education system and where the budget numbers reveal how unfair funding programs dictate what our children are worth, depending on where they live, the color of their skin, and their families’ wealth. School funding levels, according to the analysis of the Education Law Center and the Rutgers Graduate School of Education vary most dramatically along school-district lines, generally dictated by local property taxes, which renders the education of some wealthy children funded at double the rate of a poor kid’s. There are also stark disparities across state lines, with statehouses primarily managing education policy. Fifteen years after “No Child Left Behind” promised to “close the achievement gaps” in race and socioeconomic background, children in more than one-third of the states are not just stagnating, they’re sliding backward with what the ELC calls “regressive” funding. Poor kids are priced out of educational equity.School budgets are moral documents, revealing not only how much society values education as a public good, but how we value the children of different communities. Today, with a reactionary administration seeking to privatize public education further, children living in extreme deprivation stand to lose the most. About four in 10 students attend schools in districts with poverty rates of upwards of 75 percent, which perpetuates the structural poverty that keeps families trapped in poor communities with impoverished schools. Now says Bader the likely outcome of this pandemic, like most others in history, will again uncover our most basic educational inequities.
Tune in at 9 am Thursdays to Equal Rights and Justice hosted by Mimi Rosenberg
In addition to being broadcast over WBAI, 99.5 FM in NYC and the tri-state area 7 – 8 pm EST Mondays, Building Bridges is syndicated to 50 broadcast and internet radio stations in the US, Canada and the UK
Building Bridges National Edition is regularly broadcast over:
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For archived Building Bridges Programs go to
We just received this email from Lavita Payton, a registered nurse and Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1104 member, and thought you should read it.
Payton tells us why she is petitioning President Trump to use the Defense Production Act to get all front-line workers the personal protective equipment she and others need to do their jobs now.
Will you add your name to the petition?
———- Forwarded message ———
From: Lavita Payton, CWA <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, Apr 3, 2020 at 10:11 AM
Subject: Our lives are on the line.
To: Team AFL-CIO <firstname.lastname@example.org>
FIGHTING FOR ECONOMIC JUSTICE & DEMOCRACY
“We have done a hell of a job.”
– President Trump, March 27th, 2020 (New York Times, p. A8, March 28, 2020)
“Something’s going on. Where are the masks going—are they going out the back door? Somebody should look into that….”
– President Trump, March 29th, 2020 (New York Times, p. A7, March 30, 2020)
Is President Trump kidding?
Is he really accusing me and my co-workers of hoarding and stealing excess personal protective equipment? Does he have any clue about what’s really happening in my hospital, and hospitals like mine across the country?
My name is Lavita Payton, and I work at a major hospital in New York City. I’m writing today to let you know what’s really going on where I work and to ask you to take action now to tell President Trump to use the Defense Production Act (DPA) to get us and all public-facing essential workers the protective equipment that we need NOW.
Never in my 25 years of nursing have my co-workers and I seen anything like what we are seeing with this COVID-19 pandemic.
Ambulances streaming in hour after hour with critically ill patients in respiratory distress. ICU beds totally filled, as we frantically try to create new units for COVID patients around the hospital grounds. Doctors, nurses, respiratory techs, auxiliary personnel, working 14-16 hours a day, totally and completely burnt out, terrified of getting sick and bringing the disease home to our families.
And you know what? We don’t have the protective equipment we need. We are all reusing single-use gear like N95 respirators for a week because there aren’t enough. We don’t have enough surgical masks or surgical gowns to keep ourselves safe. Estimates are that we will need literally billions of N95s for health care workers and others in this crisis.
And it’s not just health care workers who need proper Personal Protective Equipment.
Hospital workers are on the frontlines, exposed every day on the job to sick and dying patients. But across this country, there are other public-facing “essential workers”—people in grocery and drug stores, my brothers and sisters working for phone companies like Verizon, AT&T, Altice and Frontier, NYC Traffic Agents and Supervisors, my brothers and sisters working for city and state government, transit workers, utility workers, direct care workers—who also need PPE. They are required to go to work every day, they must interact with the public, they are getting sick and dying too.
Click here to sign the petition telling President Trump to use the Defense Production Act to its fullest extent to get all of our CWA members on the front lines the protective equipment we need.
Trump says this is like a war and that he is a wartime president. Then lead like it’s a war. Stop the delays. Stop quarreling with Governors. Invoke the DPA now and get American industry moving forward on producing the protective equipment that health care and other essential workers need NOW!
If you care about health care workers, if you care about all “essential” workers, please sign our petition right now to pressure President Trump to invoke the full force of the National Defense Production Act. Take action right now to tell him to get the federal government behind producing the massive amount of PPE we need.
Please sign now. It’s literally a matter of life and death.
RN and CWA Local 1104 member
PROTECT FRONT-LINE WORKERS
- Streamline approaches for allocating and distributing personal protective equipment to working people in greatest need.
- Issue a workplace safety standard to protect front-line workers and other at-risk workers from infectious diseases.
- Provide workplace controls, protocols, training and personal protective equipment.
- Provide clear, protective federal guidance for different groups of workers with different needs.
- Increase funding for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Mine Safety and
- Health Administration for additional inspectors and health specialists, and for developing and implementing an infectious disease standard.
MITIGATE THE BROADER PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS
- Guarantee 14 days of paid sick leave for all working people.
- Provide federal resources and guidance to increase capacity of the health care system, including hospital beds.
- Use emergency federal authority to expand production of medical supplies and equipment.Increase capacity to provide testing for everyone, starting with a priority for front-line workers that includes health care workers, firefighters and paramedics.
- Provide testing, treatment and vaccination (once approved) at no cost.
- Emergency federal subsidy of premiums for multi-employer health plans.
- Remove barriers to testing, treatment and benefits for immigrant workers.
SUSTAIN PEOPLE THROUGH THE CRISIS
- Re-imagine the unemployment insurance system by dramatically broadening eligibility and increasing both benefit levels and administrative funding.
- In addition to paid sick days, guarantee 12 weeks of paid leave.
- A federal COBRA subsidy of 100% for workers who lose jobs or hours.
- Provide relief for payment on rent, mortgages and student loans.
- Issue a moratorium on foreclosures, evictions and student loan defaults.
- Increase funding and remove restrictions on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and the school lunch program.
SUSTAIN WORKERS IN SEVERELY AFFECTED SECTORS
- Severely impacted sectors include airlines, other transportation, construction, retail, manufacturing, entertainment and hospitality.
- The federal government should offer to assume payroll costs of idle or hibernating firms to ensure they stay in business and workers stay employed.
- Additional targeted assistance to private firms in particular sectors should be conditioned on providing paid sick days, with no layoffs, pay cuts, benefit cuts, outsourcing, reopening of union contracts, abrogating union contracts in bankruptcy or stock buybacks, and including workers on corporate boards.
- Provide aid to workers’ pension funds comparable to the aid available to business.
- Provide funding for public transit and Amtrak to keep workers on the job and financial relief and flexibility for the U.S. Postal Service.
SUSTAIN STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
- Provide federal funding for the full cost of Medicaid for one year.
- Provide federal grants to state and local governments equal to 7% of state and local revenues, totaling more than $175 billion.
- Pass the Students in Response to Coronavirus Act (H.R. 6275).
REBUILD THE ECONOMY AND PUT PEOPLE BACK TO WORK
- Reauthorize the Surface Transportation Act.
- Pass a $1 trillion infrastructure package.
- Pass the Protecting the Right to Organize Act and guarantee comparable rights and protections for public employees.
A number of unions, guilds and affiliated nonprofits have established relief funds for workers devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, many of which are listed below. Your donation will help provide crucial support to workers during this challenging time.
Actors’ Equity Curtain Up Fund
Help everyone in performing arts and entertainment in need, in particular seniors, immunocompromised individuals and those in financial distress.
The Actors Fund
Help our nation’s performing arts and entertainment community in times of need.
AFA-CWA Distaster Relief Fund
Assistance for flight attendants or their partners or surviving families in the aftermath of disasters.
Help provide crucial support to Canada’s arts and entertainment professionals and their families.
AFM Emergency Relief Fund
Help support American Federation of Musicians members in need.
AGMA Relief Fund
Help provide critical aid to American Guild of Musical Artists members in times of crisis.
Motion Picture and Television Fund
Help provide essential programs and services for the entertainment industry community.
National Domestic Workers Alliance Coronavirus Care Fund
Help provide immediate financial support for domestic workers.
SAG-AFTRA Foundation COVID-19 Disaster Fund
Help provide relief to SAG-AFTRA members impacted by the pandemic.
UNITE HERE Education and Support Fund
Donate to help hospitality workers impacted by COVID-19.
The Information on the pandemic and virus is constantly evolving, and this site is updated frequently.
COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic, and the disease is spreading rapidly across the United States. Federal, state and local governments are taking steps to slow the spread of the disease by limiting crowds in public settings, such as schools, workplaces, public transportation, and cultural and sporting events. These necessary measures not only disrupt everyday life but cause economic uncertainty for millions of working people.
The labor movement is working nonstop to protect the health and safety of all workers, including workers on the front lines of this public health emergency. We have trained, educated and equipped our members with the tools they need to be safe on the job, but we are demanding additional urgent action to ensure employers implement comprehensive plans to protect front-line workers and reduce the risk of exposure to the general public.
This crisis has exposed the shortcomings of our worker protection and health care systems. We cannot afford to allow cost considerations to discourage workers from taking the necessary action to protect public health. Workers should not incur additional costs for doing what is recommended or required, including staying home from work or getting the tests and treatments they need.
The pandemic also is beginning to inflict a heavy toll on the economy. We are doing everything we can to limit the negative impact on the livelihoods of working people, and we continue to demand dramatic action from local, state, and federal governments on a scale every bit as large as the threat.
Below are resources and guidance from leading experts, government agencies and America’s unions about the COVID-19 pandemic, and recommendations to limit its impact on working families.
GENERAL GUIDANCE AND RESOURCES
HARDSHIP ASSISTANCE AND RELIEF FUNDS
Participants in the Union Plus Mortgage, Credit Card, Personal Loan, or supplemental insurance programs may be eligible for additional hardship assistance. Visit Union Plus Hardship Help for eligibility requirements
I voted by mail or in person before March 17, 2020, do I need to vote again?
No, all ballots already submitted by mail or in-person will count, so long as they were otherwise valid. If you voted prior to March 17th your ballot is secured behind double locks at your county board of elections and will be counted on April 28th. Please encourage friends and family who haven’t already voted to request an absentee ballot from your local board of elections.
Will there be in-person voting on April 28, 2020?
Yes, but since most Ohioans are being advised to stay home right now, the new law only allows for limited in-person voting on April 28th. In-person voting will only occur on April 28 and only at boards of elections early vote centers, not at precinct polling locations. And in-person voting will only be available for individuals with disabilities who require in-person voting and those who do not have a home mailing address.
What is the deadline to register to vote in the 2020 primary?
The deadline to register for the 2020 primary election was February 18, 2020. Anyone who is eligible to vote, but has not yet registered, can do so for the November 3, 2020 General Election, at VoteOhio.gov(opens in a new window).
What should disabled or visually impaired voters do if they rely on accessible voting machines?
A remote ballot marking system is available through each county board of elections for use by an absentee voter with a qualifying disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The remote ballot marking system allows a qualifying voter to mark their ballot privately and independently. You can contact your county board of elections or fill out the Form 11-G online form.
Disabled and visually impaired voters may also vote at the board of elections early vote center on April 28, 2020.
I have since moved. Do I need to update my registration before requesting my ballot?
A voter must be properly registered by February 18, 2020. If a voter has moved but did not update their address, the voter may apply for a ballot and will receive a provisional ballot by mail from the board of elections. State law requires registration and address changes for the 2020 primary to be completed by February 18th 2020, so no new address changes or registrations are being accepted for the 2020 primary.
When will the results of the election be announced?
Tabulation of votes will begin on April 28, 2020 after 7:30 p.m. It’s important to note that ballots postmarked by April 27, 2020 will all be counted, so final unofficial results won’t be available until May 8, 2020. (This is standard for every election.)
I don’t have a printer. Can I request an absentee ballot?
Yes. You can call your county board of elections and a request can be sent to you. A directory of all boards can be found here: OhioSoS.gov/boards.
Voters who can’t print their own form may also simply write the following information on a blank sheet of paper and mail it to their board of elections;
- full name
- date of birth
- full registration address including county
- address where ballot should be mailed if different from your registration address
- one of the these: Ohio driver’s license number, last four of your Social Security number or include a copy of an acceptable form of ID
- state that “I’m a qualified elector and I’m requesting an absentee ballot for the March 17th Ohio Primary”
- indicate if you want a: Democratic, Republican, Libertarian or Issues only ballot (choose only one)
- sign it
- today’s date
- phone number (optional, but suggested)
- email address (optional but suggested)
When does my ballot need to be postmarked?
Unless you are a member of the U.S. military currently deployed overseas or an American living abroad, ballots must be postmarked by April 27, 2020 and received by the board of elections by May 8, 2020 to be counted in the primary election if the proper information was provided on the identification envelope.
I’m registered to vote but have changed my name. Can i still vote?
Yes. If you are able to provide a signed Form 10-L and a proof of the name change(opens in a new window), a regular ballot may be provided. However, if you request a ballot under a former name and request to receive an absentee ballot by mail, a provisional ballot will be provided to you by your local board of elections.
What date do I put on the absentee ballot application under “date of election?”
Please write March 17, 2020 (or 03/17/2020) as the election date has not changed, only extended for mail-in voting. However, anyone who writes another date will still have their absentee application processed if the remainder of the required information is included on the request.
Can corona virus be spread over the handling of paper?
The experts at the Ohio Department of Health have said that COVID-19 doesn’t spread by penetrating the skin on your hands, but only leads to infection when it is transferred from your hand to places like your mouth, nose, or eyes. Given that, the best measure you can take to prevent the spread of germs is washing your hands after handling mail and even cash.
Is voting by mail secure?
Yes. From the moment you request your ballot to the moment it is received at the board of election to be counted, the ballot may be tracked at VoteOhio.gov. Ballots are stored securely in rooms requiring both a Democrat and Republican staff member to gain access.
POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS AND CANDIDATES
Has the deadline for independent candidates been changed? (the deadline says “day before the day of the primary election” in the orc)
No. As the election has not been rescheduled, only extended, all of the deadlines stay in place except for absentee mail-in ballot submissions.
My ballot issue committee, for a school levy, wants to file for the august special election if it fails in the primary. Can i still do that?
Yes, as this extended election ends on April 28, 2020, the deadline to file for the August special election is May 6, 2020. A question or issue that is approved by the voters in the Primary may be withdrawn before the August special election.
I’m a candidate, campaign or committee. Can i send absentee ballot requests to my supporters?
Yes, you can send the absentee ballot request form to any Ohio voter who hasn’t already voted. You can find and print that form here(opens in a new window). Make sure to let them know the address of their county board of elections which can be found here. You may also include a pre-addressed envelope with the board of elections address on it but state law says that you may not provide them postage.
Click here for Frequently Asked Questions about Accessible Absentee Voting in Ohio.
Click here for a printable (PDF) version of these Frequently Asked Questions
- Press Announcement: The Delaware Department of Labor Expands Unemployment Benefits to Workers Affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic
- Delaware Division of Unemployment Insurance FAQs Regarding the Potential Impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
- Reemployment Assistance Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs
- Apply for unemployment benefits
- New information for filing for unemployment, mandatory filing by employers for partial claims, and reemployment services
- How to file for unemployment insurance claim
- FAQs for claimants filing for unemployment benefits due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- General information about the Unemployment Insurance program, includes information on filing for unemployment insurance
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs for Businesses and Workers
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources
- Apply for unemployment insurance claim online
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) mandatory notice – new policy re: visiting New Hampshire offices
- News Release: Governor Sununu Issues Three Emergency Orders To Provide Relief (re: utilities, housing, unemployment benefits)
- General information about the Unemployment Insurance program
- FAQs regarding Unemployment Insurance and Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- General information about the Unemployment Insurance program
- Information for Pennsylvania employees impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19)
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND OTHER RESOURCES
UHCAN Ohio and Advocates for Ohio’s Future compiled resources where you can find help for yourself, your family or your neighbors. The information is available on the AOF website.
The Ohio Department of Health opened a call center to answer questions from the public regarding coronavirus (COVID-19). The call center will be open 7 days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and can be reached at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634)
Unemployment Insurance Benefits – If you have been requested by a medical professional, local health authority, or employer to be isolated or quarantined as a consequence of COVID-19, or have been laid-off, you may file for unemployment benefits online athttps://unemployment.cmt.ohio.gov/cmtview/ or by calling 1-877-644-6562. Please visit Ohio Jobs and Family Services’ Coronavirus and Unemployment Insurance Benefits website for more information.
Health Care – If you do not have health care coverage or have lost it, you may be able to get affordable coverage through Medicaid or the Marketplace. Check first to see if you qualify for Medicaid at https://benefits.ohio.gov/. If you have changed or lost your job, you may be able to get affordable coverage through the Marketplace athttps://www.healthcare.gov/screener/
Patients who need hospital care, but are unable to pay for it, may be eligible for free or reduced fee care at Ohio hospitals through the Hospital Care Assurance Program (HCAP). Applications for HCAP are accepted by the hospital where care was received, and patients seeking HCAP assistance should contact their hospital’s billing department for application instructions.
There are a few resources for assistance with prescription costs. See these resources herehttp://uhcanohio.org/rxassistance/
Child Support – If you are having problems paying child support or you need additional child support, contact your county child support enforcement agency (CSEA). The CSEA will consider your case and present a recommendation for a possible adjustment. The amount could go up, go down or stay the same. To find the CSEA in your county, call (800) 686-1556 toll-free or visitjfs.ohio.gov/County.
Cash Assistance – You can apply for cash assistance online by going to Benefits.Ohio.gov or by filling out a“Request for Cash, Food and Medical Assistance” formand submitting it to your county department of job and family services. Ohio counties are waiving various work and community engagement requirements and granting good cause exemptions in light of the pandemic.
Child Care – ODJFS offers financial assistance to help eligible parents pay for child care while they work. Call your county department of job and family services. For more information, go tojfs.ohio.gov/factsheets/ChildCare.pdf or call (877) 852-0010
Food – You can apply for food assistance online atBenefits.Ohio.gov To be eligible for food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), your family income cannot exceed 130 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. You also can check your eligibility by calling your county department of job and family services. More information about the program is available atjfs.ohio.gov/factsheets/foodassistance.pdf.
You may be eligible for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), which is distributed through local nonprofit agencies, such as food pantries. To be eligible for TEFAP, your family income must be below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. To find a local food bank, visit oashf.org/.
Pregnant women and children may also get food from WIC. You can apply by printing out a WIC Program Application and mailing it to the WIC clinic in your area. Please note that you must schedule an appointment at the clinic, too. To find a WIC clinic near you, please click WIC Clinic Directory or call 1- 800-755-GROW (4769).
Food and Nutrition Assistance for Children – The Ohio Department of Education has created a website to support whole-child nutrition at education.ohio.gov. Refer to the map and map site key at for available meal service in your area. Contact your school or district for details about their meal programs.
Older Adults – You can find your Local Area Agency on Aging by going to http://ohioaging.org or calling 1- 866-243-5678 to be connected to the area agency on aging serving your community.
Local Assistance – Dial 211 or see 211.org for local assistance on food, paying housing bills, accessing child care and other crisis help.
Mental Health Help
- Ohio Crisis Text Line Text keyword “4HOPE” to 741 741
- Ohio MHAS Help Line 1-877-275-6364
- Find Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Treatment https://findtreatment.gov
- Disaster Distress Helpline 1-800-985-5990 1-800-846-8517 TTY o Text “TalkWithUs” to 66746
- Spanish-speakers: Text “Hablanos” to 66746 Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year-round
Southwest Ohio Advocacy Coordinator
Universal Health Care Action Network Ohio
3021 Vernon Place, Suite 2
Cincinnati, Ohio 45219-2417
(513) 541-7099 ext. 23
(513) 541-0989 Fax
UHCAN Ohio is a statewide non-profit organization working
for affordable, accessible, high quality health care for all.
The labor movement is working nonstop to protect the health and safety of all working people, including workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. And we are doing everything we can to reduce the heavy toll this public health emergency is inflicting on the economy and the livelihoods of working people.
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives took urgent action and passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), a critical first step in making sure working people facing serious health and financial risks receive the assistance we need.
Now it’s the U.S. Senate’s turn to act. Call your senator now and tell them to pass this urgent measure as soon as possible.
This crisis has exposed the shortcomings of our worker protection and health care systems and is inflicting a heavy toll on the economy. We need to make sure working people do not bear the brunt of the impact.
All working people should have access to paid leave, paid sick days, workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance, and the necessary medical testing and treatment without incurring additional costs.
H.R. 6201 is an important first step toward a comprehensive response to the pandemic. It would provide free testing for most people, improve access to food security programs, provide additional unemployment insurance funding to states, and mandate paid sick leave for some workers who fall ill or are affected by quarantine orders.
Bold action is needed to protect the health and economic security of all working people. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act is a critical first step.
Call your senator now and tell them to pass H.R. 6201 without delay.
Union Plus is here to help union members and their families through times of uncertainty with unique Hardship Help benefits. Find out if you’re eligible for these Union Plus programs.
Summary Plan Descriptions for the Union Plus Hardship Programs:
As you have heard, The United States and the world are facing the very real threat of the widespread transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). Ohio too is bracing for the inevitable, as state health officials fully expect that we will eventually see COVID-19 here. Health professionals and medical experts gathered in Columbus this week to emphasize preparation and avoid panic.
The health and safety of all our affiliates, members and the community where we live, work and play are extremely important to us. So, in that spirit, we are taking this opportunity to share some important resources, helpful information, and best practices for planning and preparedness for the COVID-19 situation.
For current information and guidance regarding COVID-19, we recommend the following resources:
Although there is no vaccine yet for COVID-19, we encourage you and your loved ones to adhere to the following prevention practices in order to combat the spreading of the virus:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
And here is an excellent article about simple steps you can take – “Stop touching my face? Why the easiest way to prevent coronavirus is so hard.”
If you or someone in your care feels ill, especially if there is a fever involved, immediately consult with your family doctor or other medical professional. And please, avoid contact with other people if sick.
We will continue to closely monitor this evolving situation, as should you. As further information is made available, we will provide updates as needed. And for ongoing, updated information see the great resources provided by The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) resource page HERE!
Be Smart and Be Well!
More Important Information Sources:
As information evolves and changes, we will make every effort to keep you informed with the latest updates.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) appeared on CNBC yesterday afternoon to discuss the labor movement’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the concrete steps our government can take right now to protect the health and safety of workers, our society and our economy. This includes emergency legislation that will help protect health care workers from infectious diseases, make test kits free and accessible to the public, provide paid sick leave for all workers, and ensure the most vulnerable members of our society have access to food assistance programs.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on CNBC Closing Bell
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka appeared on CNBC's Closing Bell this afternoon and talked about what we are doing to fight for frontline workers and workers across the country in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Posted by AFL-CIO on Wednesday, March 11, 2020
We are standing up for our public Postal Service. It’s time to protect America’s most cherished institution.
The House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed the USPS Fairness Act. Now let’s get it through the Senate. We are telling our Senators to pass S.2965, the USPS Fairness Act.
In 2006, Congress saddled our public Postal Service with an unfair and unsustainable burden of pre-funding retiree health care benefits for the next 75 years! That means paying now for USPS workers who aren’t even born yet.
Selling the public Postal Service to private corporations is not in the public interest and would be nothing more than a raid by corporate pirates on our treasured public Postal Service which is protected in our Constitution.
The USPS Fairness Act will start to put that right by removing the unfair burden. By repealing the prefunding mandate, the Postal Service would then be able to focus on investing and innovating services in order to better meet its mission to service every American household and business.
Join us in supporting our public Postal Service. Call Senator Rob Portman today at (833) 924-0085 and tell him to stand up and protect our public Postal Service by supporting S.2965, the USPS Fairness Act.
The White House’s plan states, “Like many European nations the United States could privatize its postal operator.” What’s left unsaid is European nations charge substantially more for mail services delivered in a much smaller area, and they regularly raise the price of delivery. One example is that the price of sending a letter in the United Kingdom has increased 80 percent over the last decade.
Eliminating the universal service obligation to deliver to the 157 million U.S. addresses at the same price, as the plan suggests, would hurt businesses and individuals alike. It would be a dagger in the heart of rural America and undermine e-commerce.
Join us in supporting our public Postal Service. Call Senator Rob Portman today at (833) 924-0085 and tell him to stand up and protect our public Postal Service by supporting S.2965, the USPS Fairness Act.
Tim Burga, President
116th Congress is the Most Pro-Retiree Congress in 9 Years
Still, more than half of the Senate and more than one-third of the House earned scores below 50%
Washington, DC – The Alliance for Retired Americans released its 2019 Congressional Voting Record, which scores each U.S. Senator and Representative on critical retirement security issues, today.
“Almost every elected official in Washington says they care about older Americans,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance. “This report considers numerous votes to determine who stood up for seniors last year, and who did not.”
Forty-two members of the U.S. Senate and 216 members of the House of Representatives earned perfect scores of 100 percent. However, 51 percent of senators and 45 percent of House members earned scores below 50 percent.
The annual report reviewed votes on 10 key Senate and House bills that affect the health and well-being of retirees. The votes included bills and amendments to lower skyrocketing prescription drug prices, protect people with pre-existing health conditions, ensure caregivers can take sick leave, protect pensions, and repeal the 40% excise tax on employer-sponsored health plans.
“These issues are important and the votes have real consequences for millions of older Americans. They will either strengthen or weaken retirement security for millions of people,” said Fiesta. “Retirees need to have this information to hold their elected officials accountable.”
Fourteen senators and 4 House members earned scores of 0 percent. They are: Senators John Barrasso (WY), Marsha Blackburn (TN), Mike Braun (IN), Mike Crapo (ID), Ted Cruz (TX), Steve Daines (MT), Mike Enzi (WY), John Kennedy (LA), James Lankford (OK), Mike Lee (UT), James Risch (ID), Ben Sasse (NE), Tim Scott (SC), and Pat Toomey (PA); and Reps. Justin Amash (MI), Dan Bishop (NC), Andy Harris (MD), and Gregory Murphy (NC).
The 2019 Congressional Voting Record is available online at https://retiredamericans.org/voting-record.
Right now, Congress has a critical opportunity to strengthen workers’ rights.
Lawmakers, in 2019, introduced the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, H.R. 2474, which would give millions of America’s workers additional protections to organize and negotiate for better pay and benefits, and a voice on the job.
The U.S. House of Representatives will vote next week on this crucial piece of legislation. But greedy CEOs will do everything they can to oppose working people standing together.
Can you make a call right now to tell your representative to pass the PRO Act?
It’s no secret that the right to form a union is under attack. “Right to work” laws are spreading, while wages have stagnated. More than ever, we need our lawmakers to stand up for working people’s rights—that’s where the PRO Act comes in. It would:
- Penalize employers who violate workers’ right to organize.
- Help workers secure a first contract.
- Protect workers who go on strike.
- Close loopholes that allow companies to misclassify workers as independent contractors.
Working people deserve the right to organize and demand living wages, safe workspaces and good benefits—and it’s up to our members of Congress to protect and strengthen that right. Call your representative and tell them to stand up for working families and pass the PRO Act!