Richard Cordray for Ohio’s Working Families

Richard Cordray for Ohio’s Working Families

Too many Ohioans are being ignored and left behind. That must change, and we need to work together to do it. Richard Cordray and Betty Sutton spent their careers in public service focusing on the kitchen table issues that keep families up at night. Each brings unparalleled experience working at the local, state and federal levels, taking on powerful special interests and institutions on behalf of Ohioans — and delivering results. Together, we will change the system so that it starts working for Ohioans and their families, rather than the powerful interests. And it starts by electing Richard Cordray as our next governor. Join our campaign today.

“Right to Work” is Making “Bricks Without Straw”

“Right to Work” is Making “Bricks Without Straw”

From a presentation before the West Chester Township Trustees…

I am writing this to say to you that I believe what is being proposed regarding so called right to work is morally wrong. It is wrong for West Chester Township. Wrong for Ohio. Wrong for all of us.  

The federal Taft- Hartley Act among other things forbids that any worker be forced to join a union, requires unions to represent all workers regardless of whether they join or not, and allows unions to collect a nominal service fee from non-members as just compensation for the expenses incurred in representing them in negotiations with management. This so called right to work proposal would prohibit the union from asking non-union members for compensation for their services although the unions are required by federal law to provide them. This is called free riding.

Allow me to state an alternate type of the Golden Rule which is “Don’t do unto others what you don’t want done to you.”   Let’s say the state of Ohio had the authority to tell all local rule political subdivisions like this Township they no longer had authority to require their citizens to pay taxes to run their jurisdictions. I speculate this Board of Trustees would respond with these questions: How do we protect our people from crime and injustice and keep them safe from injury or worse? How do we make sure our people have opportunity for a good standard of living and quality of life for themselves and their families if we don’t have the revenue to provide the services we are obligated to provide?

I dare say this Board would feel like the people of Israel did in the Book of Exodus when, to punish them and to make them weaker and more submissive, Pharaoh told the Israelites to make bricks without straw.  Well, that is exactly what this so called right to work legislation is intended to do to the unions.

I know there are powerful ideological monied interests hostile to unions driving this so called right to work legislation, but that does not change the values that are found in Scripture and that I believe should be driving us and this Board of Trustees, 18 For the Scripture says, You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” (1 Timothy 5:18)   

Don’t require the unions to make bricks without straw and work for no compensation for their services.  As you have no doubt already heard and will hear from others tonight, it hurts members and non-members, their families, as well as their communities. Therefore, I ask this Board to do right and not wrong.

Thank You.

Dominick Lijoi

Dominick Lijoi is a resident of West Chester, Ohio.  He is an active attender and volunteer at Vineyard Cincinnati church. Dominick describes himself as a follower of Jesus Christ living in America. He retired from the U.S. Army, Corps of Engineers after a 35-year career, and is currently the Southeast Regional Chair of the Butler County Democratic Party.

Done Playing Defense!

In the last few weeks my brothers and sisters and I have withstood a barrage of misguided and too often hateful attacks. I for one am tired of playing defense. So, where to begin… Let’s start with the racially charged, not to mention very angry, editorial by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). ABC should have no voice on the issue of apprenticeship. Period. He claimed that 86% of all construction is done by firms whose workers do not belong to a union. If that is so, why is it that as of June 6, 2017, they had only 618 apprentices registered in the entire state of Ohio?

By way of comparison, on that same date, with ABC reporting a mere 618 registered apprentices in its program, there were 9,044 in the Organized Labor, Union Joint Programs.  It doesn’t take a Ph.D. to know that the number of trained and workforce-ready resources we turn out dwarfs those of ABC. ABC has one priority…one goal – to lobby against and silence the voices of the dedicated, hard-working men and women of our building trades unions.

Here is another “inconvenient truth” for our friends at ABC… We have 82% of all apprentices registered with the State, and Joint Programs have 87.6% of minorities and 93% of women apprentices registered with the State. Those are genuine, hard-working, well trained men and women with kids and families. Men and women of all colors, faith, races, and sexual orientations….Your neighbors… People looking for a fair day’s wage for an honest day’s work. These are people who know that with a Joint Programs certification they are able to go anywhere in this nation, show their certificate and be instantly considered a valuable resource on any project. That is “Workforce Readiness!”

So enough! It’s time to stop casually tossing around old, tired, unsupported, unsubstantiated, worn-out misconceptions of how Unions are prejudice and don’t represent underserved populations. The facts are on our side. And with that, allow me to turn my attention to Cincinnati City Council. I attended both the Economic Growth Committee meeting, Tuesday March 6th and the City Council meeting the next afternoon. It was everything I could do to sit there quietly and politely as my good, honest, hard-working brothers and sisters were repeatedly attacked as racists… Shame on you!

Perhaps accusing us of institutional racism, plays well to your base… it must play well to someone’s base, because the term was allowed to be used throughout the meeting by a person who in no small part owes that chair to the very people that we being derided. To have allowed these false and defamatory allegations against a substantial number of your fellow citizens and constituents – the very people who fought for you and won with you – was shameful.

Do you really believe it is possible that that same merry band of brothers and sisters who stood with you last year in the week before the election could, in a mere four months, become the bigoted mob, bent on the decimation of the minority business community, you now seem to think we are? Such broad-brush accusations serve only to divide, foment anger and play on the uglier aspects of our nature.  Shame!

One Councilman even made reference to “the labor unions of the 1960s.” Talk about diversion, distraction, and desperation. Good sir, if you despise unions just come out and say it. Don’t lay some 58-year-old history on me… It serves only to demonstrate your ignorance of and inexperience with the proud men and women of today’s labor movement.

In summary, all I can be held accountable for is my attitude and my actions since the young man I was first embarked on my apprenticeship with the IBEW Local 212 in June of 1979. And if you take nothing else away from this missive, I want you to remember this — My wife, my three adult-children, and I owe everything we have to the IBEW. I could not be more proud to be a member of Local 212, the building trades as a whole and the broader Labor Community. No matter how aggressively or ignorantly we are attacked — even if by those we supported — we will continue to do the right thing. We will continue to provide a pathway to success…a way that change lives one good, honest, hard-working soul at a time. And that is through a career path in one of our trades.

Before I close, I want to thank all of our signatory partners in the construction industry. I did not want to send the message; organized labor takes all the credit. We have very dedicated contractors who do not consider it a burden to train and graduate apprentices because, like us, they also believe it is the right thing to do. Signatory contractors work diligently to secure employment for our members while paying our tradesmen and women a fair and living wage.  To my knowledge, they were not asked for input on subjects such as Responsible Bidder. Read into that whatever you may, but I see it as an insult. It would seem that there is little care for what effect any of this may have on our contractors. But we know — we are indeed, “Stronger together!”

Council, how about an even playing field and hold everyone to the same standards our friends abide by every day.

Frederick E. Lampe

Frederick E. Lampe is a 38 year member of the IBEW Local 212, the current Executive Secretary of Cincinnati Building Trades and a member of the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council Executive Committee.

A Rising River…

Diversity has been an issue for the labor movement since its earliest days. Yes, perhaps in our history, Labor may have reflected certain unfortunate trends that were pervasive in the society as a whole, but more recently the labor movement is a unifying voice for equality, social justice and bringing diverse people together in common cause. Unions provide a forum for people of all communities to have a stronger, more unified voice — to help bring about positive change.

The American workforce overall is becoming increasingly diverse, and here in Greater Cincinnati, we’re no different. We recognize that it is more important than ever that labor not just be more inclusive, but be leaders in diversity and inclusion — for our good and the good of all working families. A diverse and inclusive labor movement is essential to connecting with and representing the workforce of the future, where women workers, workers of color, LGBT workers are not only our future but soon to be the majority.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2020, the traditional white worker force will make up a decreasing percentage of the overall workforce while African Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans are an increasing share. In addition, Women, who made up 48% of the workforce in 2012, will have a greater rate of growth than their male colleagues.

Thanks to research from the Pew Research Center, we know that this growing diversity in the overall workforce equates to positives gains for Labor in groups that are (1) more likely to hold a positive view of organized labor and are (2) more likely to become union members based on

  • African Americans, currently 11.7% of the workforce, constitute 14% of union membership nationally, and 69% of African Americans overall hold a very positive view toward unions compared with 51% for the population as a whole, making them nearly 20% more likely to join unions.
  • As with African Americans, Latinos hold a very positive view of unions, with 58% of Latinos expressing a positive view and they represent 14% of union members, up from 6% in 1983.
  • Due to a steady and significant growth in women membership in unions, 45% of union members are women, compared with 33% just 30 years ago. The Pew research found that women, too, hold positive views of unions (55% positive), making for even greater growth in that segment of the labor movement.
  • Finally, while still the lowest overall at 4.2%, over 60% of people under 30 years of age have very positive views of unions.

Current and ongoing efforts by unions to address issues of diversity, both in their roles as workplace representatives as well as within the structure and culture of their own organizations, reflect the best traditions of the past, illustrate an exciting and exhilarating willingness by many today to value, and respect the diversity of their memberships. It is Labor’s strength through numbers that leads the way with its position that fair  wages, seniority, due process and other negotiated provisions of employment apply equally to all represented members, and not just a small but powerful few. Labor is leading the way in the active pursuit of building stronger community ties across historical divides. Labor Unions are value-based organizations that believe deeply in worker dignity, safety, respect, fairness and ensuring that worker’ voices are at the table and part of decision-making. As we say, “Stronger Together!” Now we are walking the talk, and we are indeed stronger together.

Yours in Solidarity!

Bill Froehle, President

Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council

National Moment of Silence Held in Remembrance of Memphis Sanitation Workers Killed In 1968, Sparking Pivotal Strike

National Moment of Silence Held in Remembrance of Memphis Sanitation Workers Killed In 1968, Sparking Pivotal Strike

Memorial Activity is one of many “I AM 2018” Campaign Events Observing the 50th Anniversary of Strike and Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Cincinnati will be one of many municipalities across the country observing a nationwide Moment of Silence on February 1, 2018 in honor of Echol Cole and Robert Walker, two Memphis, TN sanitation workers who were crushed to death 50 years ago in the compactor of their garbage truck.

To commemorate their lives and to honor the 50th anniversary of the tragic events that sparked the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike, AFSCME members across the country are joining in a nationwide Moment of Silence on February 1, 2018.

In Cincinnati, a brief but solemn event will be observed at The Cincinnati Sanitation Division, 3320 Millcreek Road, Cincinnati, OH 45223, 6:30 AM.

If you cannot attend that event, please organize at your workplace and/or take a moment during the day to pay respect and remember the lives so needlessly lost and the seminal moment this event became.

BACKGROUND:  On February 1, 1968, a storm forced Memphis sanitation workers Echol Cole and Robert Walker to seek shelter in the back of their truck. The workers’ repeated warnings to management about faulty equipment proved tragically prophetic that day when the truck’s compactor kicked on, crushing the two men to death.

Their co-workers decided they had had enough. They had worked for far too long for poverty wages, without any benefits, in dangerous conditions, and with no respect. They voted to strike, and despite facing intense animosity, they bravely continued their strike for more than two months.

They were joined in their struggle by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who traveled to Memphis to march in solidarity. King was assassinated after making a powerful and historic speech in support of the workers’ struggle for dignity and justice.

Approaching Retirement? Here’s A Medicare Checklist

Approaching Retirement? Here’s A Medicare Checklist

Whether you’re currently working or already retired, as you approach Medicare eligibility there is a lot to plan for. To help reduce the confusion and provide a clear path to a smooth transition, we’ve compiled a step-by-step checklist to walk you through the process.

12 Months Before Turning 65 and/or Medicare Eligibility

  • Learn the basics of Medicare. Part A, Part B, Part C, Part D, eligibility, enrollment and much more – there is a lot to know about Medicare. Understanding what all these things include and how they will work for your situation is a great place to start your Medicare journey.
  • Sign up for the RetireMEDiQ Program emails. Medicare’s details can trip the best of us up, often causing retirees to incur late enrollment penalties that stay with them for life and add unnecessary expense. Our personalized email newsletters ensure you never miss a deadline and are always informed and in control of your Medicare situation.
  • Attend a RetireMEDiQ educational meeting. Between Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Supplements and Part D Prescription Drug plans, many retirees are initially delighted to find out that they have so many plans to choose from. However, this can quickly become overwhelming once you begin digging deeper into the details. At a RetireMED®iQ educational meeting, led by one of our experts, you can learn about how these plans work as well as get answers to your questions.

6 Months Before Turning 65 and/or Medicare Eligibility

  • Schedule a pre-retirement counseling meeting with a RetireMED®iQ advisor. Because each individual’s Medicare situation is extremely unique, we recommend meeting with one of our licensed Benefit Advisors (in person or over the phone) six months before your transition to Medicare. This allows you to tell your advisor all about your situation (Social Security, which options may be right for you, your spouse’s situation, etc.) and begin outlining a game plan for you.

3 Months Before Turning 65 and/or Medicare Eligibility

  • Enroll in Medicare Part A and/or Part B. Depending on your situation, you may either be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B three months before turning 65, or you may have to manually enroll. The good news is that, thanks to your six-month counseling meeting with a RetireMEDiQ Benefit Advisor, you will already know what you need to do.
  • Receive a personal plan recommendation from your RetireMEDiQ Benefit Advisor. After months of preparation and research, you’re finally ready to make the move to the Medicare plan that is right for you. Lucky for you, your Benefit Advisor does all the research and analysis for you and presents a plan recommendation tailored specifically to your needs, budget and lifestyle. All you have to do is choose.
  • Sign up for the Medicare plan of your choice. Not only does your Benefit Advisor provide a tailored plan recommendation just for you, your advisor also walks you through the entire enrollment process, helping you fill out your paperwork and filing it with your insurance company on your behalf.

Sit Back, Relax and Enjoy Retirement

As you wait for your Medicare coverage to begin, you can sit back, relax and enjoy the transition, knowing you have all the details taken care of. What’s more, you can call RetireMEDiQ anytime you have questions about your plan or encounter issues.


What to read next:

Provided to Cincinnati AFL-CIO by
Alisha Barger and our Friends at Retire MEDiQ
(Alisha Barger, is a Account Manager with RetireMEDiQ and works with many local employer groups to ensure their employees can retire confidently, knowing their Medicare plan is right for them. Alisha specializes in working with Union groups and has helped hundreds of local, retiring individuals with their Medicare insurance. She has her accident and health license in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. Her goal is to keep you informed and to provide you with the knowledge and confidence you need to make the most important decisions affecting your health plan coverage. If you have questions about retirement or finding the right Medicare plan for your specific needs—and budget, contact Alisha at )
Congress Urged to Remember Mine Workers who Risked Their Lives as New Budget Deadline Looms  

Congress Urged to Remember Mine Workers who Risked Their Lives as New Budget Deadline Looms  

For Immediate Release
January 24, 2018

Contact: David Blank 202-637-5275 or

Statement of Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance for Retired Americans, on the critical need to address the pensions of the United Mine Workers of America as plans are made to fund the government before the next deadline of February 8:

“As Congress works to develop legislation to fully fund the government, it is critical that the pension rights of thousands of retired United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) covered by the 1974 Pension Plan are addressed.

“Since 1946, the United States government has lived up to the promise it made to retired miners: ‘If you will bring out the coal that provides the foundation for the American economy, then the government will make sure you have a secure retirement.’

“Legislation is the only option that will prevent insolvency and preserve benefits for these retired mine workers. They earned their pensions by risking their lives in a dangerous line of work to meet the country’s energy requirements. Their average pension is just $586 per month. Many pension recipients are widows who depend on that pension to meet their most basic needs.

“It is not the workers’ fault that their pension plan is in trouble. In fact, just ten years ago the plan was 93% funded, and on a path to 100% funding. However, the 2008-09 recession and a series of bankruptcies in the coal industry over the last six years have decimated the fund. Several coal companies were relieved of further pension obligations by bankruptcy courts and contributions were wiped out.

“Our government must meet that commitment that was made generations ago. Preserve these pensions, so that thousands of our seniors can live in dignity.”