Dear Sisters, Brothers and Friends of working families,
Every year at this time starting back around 1985, the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council has held its annual Labor Day Picnic/Coney Island invitation for our union affiliates, their members and working families, and to our Friends of Labor. We would go about preparing for one of the largest, most recognized Labor-sponsored Labor Day picnics in the country.
Unfortunately, once again this year, out of an abundance of caution and to maintain Labor’s Leadership position placing health and safety above all else, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our Annual Labor Day Celebration at Coney Island for a second year. This decision is not an easy one. Quite frankly, our Labor Day Picnic is the biggest annual fundraising event for the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council.
And while we know that it serves the health and best interests of our local affiliates, union families and friends of Labor, we are once more preparing for an important election with opportunities to elect pro-Union, pro-working family candidates to our courts, and to our municipal, county, state, and federal offices. In short, the work we do is incredibly important.
So, what can we do now? The funds that are generated each year from our historic annual Labor Day Picnic/Coney Island help run our daily operations and Labor programs, maintain our office and communication tools, fairly compensate our dedicated staff, and progressively move forward our Labor movement/agenda in the greater Cincinnati area.
As our labor affiliates/partners and Friends of Labor, we respectfully request that your organization once again consider making a Labor Day donation to the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council to make certain that we are able to continue doing the good work that we do for you, and all the hard-working women and men of Greater Cincinnati.
We thank you for your leadership, your activism/dedication to the Labor movement, and your consideration of the above request. We will continue to stand with you, fight for your union and members rights, and social/racial/economic justice for all working families, in Cincinnati and throughout our great nation! Please help us continue to serve you and this community where we all live, love, learn, work, play and pray.
In unity and solidarity,
Bill Froehle, President
Dear Sisters, Brothers and Friends,
Over the past year and a half, we have all made enormous adjustments, immense sacrifices, and difficult decisions. And while we had hoped and believed that we would be beyond most of this by now, unfortunately, reversals over the past month or so in vaccination rates accompanied by a steep rise in new cases of COVID-19 spawned the Delta variant, a much more virulent and insidious form of this virus which is dangerous in its own right, but proving to be even more contagious for children, the very group for whom a vaccination is not even choice.
Given this recent turn of events and the likelihood, that circumstances surrounding this Delta variant, cases will continue to rise, and overall circumstances of safety will continue to degenerate, we once again find ourselves facing some uncomfortable truths and difficult decisions. So, it is with a truly unhappy and heavy heart that I now inform you that the Executive Board of the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council decided today, Thursday August 12 to cancel the upcoming Annual Labor Day Picnic.
Throughout this pandemic Labor has led the way as a beacon of hope and voice of reason, maintaining that above all, worker health and safe workplaces remain our primary consideration, and must never be compromised. We will continue to take a leadership position in doing the right thing and taking every precaution to ensure that all of you, our Sisters, Brothers, and your families remain healthy and well. For those of you who are disappointed, or even angered by this decision, it is essential to remember that worker health and safety are the primary driving principle of the Labor movement, and that is precisely why this decision could go no other way.
Over the next few days, we will be reaching out to each affiliate that has already made the investment to support this event and work out the return of that investment to you. Thank you for your understanding.
In unity and solidarity…
William E. Froehle,
President, Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council
Definition of “buy-in.” Acceptance of and willingness to actively support and participate in something (such as a proposed new plan or policy or organization such as a labor union) Without buy-in from his troops, Gruden’s just another tuned-out coach. — Tim Keown
I heard this story about a football coach that was passionate about having his players tuck in their shirts. Of course, the players really questioned him and pushed back on tucking in their shirt. They asked him, “Is tucking in my shirt going to help me score more touchdowns? Will tucking in my shirt help me run faster?” And, of course, the coach responded, “No… it’s for buy in.”
This coach was testing the commitment level of his players. Are they willing to do whatever it takes? Are they willing to show everyone that they trust the team? Are they willing to cut the life raft and go down with the ship? Are they “buying in”? Or will they send the message to their teammates that they are not willing to simply tuck in their shirt.
Brothers and Sisters,
As members of Local 392, or any other organization that we are members of, the story is almost always the same. Those organizations are continually looking for members who “buy in” to whatever the organization advocates for. If you are a member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars or Disabled American Veterans you advocate on behalf of veterans of the United States military. If you are a member of a Kiwanis club you advocate on behalf of children and local communities. As a member of several organizations over the past 54 years of my life it is no secret that many of them are struggling to attract new members or to retain existing members. As the Business Manager of Local 392 this is something that concerns me deeply because at times it feels like many of our own members are not “buying in” to what we as a labor union advocate for every day.
It is no secret why teams are successful whether it is at the grade school, high school, college, or professional level. Success of an organization is always tied to the level of “buy in” from its members, Local 392 is no different. Whenever we speak to new apprentices at orientation, whenever we speak to new members who come to us through organizing, whenever we speak to members who have been with local 392 for any length of time our message is always the same, “Local 392 NEEDS our members to “buy in” to the mission of the United Association which has always been to help our members build a better life for themselves and their families. For over 130 years, this has been the cornerstone of who we are and what we stand for. Even as our organization and the world have grown and evolved, we have not changed in our commitment to the following core values, 1. The highest standards in training, 2. The health and safety of our members, 3. Fair wages and benefits, 4. Building industry relationships with our partner contractors and the end users who utilize them.
As your elected leaders of local 392 our ability to advocate for our members and all workers will only be effective if we have “buy in” from you.
The next union meeting will be on March 12th, 2021 @ 7 P.M. at the Local 392 JATC. Please remember that you are responsible for keeping your dues and drug card current.
(Bill Froehle is Business Manager for Plumbers, Pipefitters & Mechanical Equipment Service Local Union No. 392 and President of Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council – firstname.lastname@example.org )
Brothers & Sisters in the Building Trades,
We had not planned on addressing racial issues in the upcoming issue of Union Builder however with the recent incident that took place at the high profile FC Cincinnati job site as well as the opportunity for all of us to learn from it and grow as one human race; we feel it is absolutely mandatory that we do.
For those of you who have not heard, there were multiple incidents at the jobsite that included at the very least defacing property in one instance as well as the use of racist language in another incident that is unacceptable anywhere and especially on any jobsite. We could argue all day long whether the intent of these incidents were racially motivated or if the incidents were just insensitive in their intent but the fact of the matter is that we need to understand that if our words or actions cause another person to feel belittled, threatened or uncomfortable then we need to check ourselves.
The FC Cincinnati job site is one of the few jobs in recent memory that we were successful in securing a community benefits agreement on. The community benefit agreement allowed for an almost entirely union built project, over 70% so far as well as an opportunity for the labor community to show why working union is the best avenue to the middle class for all working men and women and their families. Incidents such as those that took place do nothing but cast a negative light on the entire unionized construction industry regardless of which trade was at fault. Racism in any form, whether it is overt, covert, implied or otherwise will never be acceptable and we as the building trades need to be the conduit for its eradication once and for all.
Several Building Trades leaders including Bill Froehle (392), Rick Fischer (212), Larry Thompson (265), Dave Baker (44), Brian Wear (18) and Jeff King (18) met with Turner Construction Vice President Dave Spaulding to discuss the FC Cincinnati jobsite and Turners policies moving forward on their jobsites nationwide.
Turner Construction has made it crystal clear that any defacing of property on their jobsites will result in craft workers being banned from all Turner jobsites up to and including possible lifetime bans depending on the infraction. For those of you who enjoy being porta-let poets we want you to understand that it will not be tolerated as well. In many areas of the country workers are required to sign in prior to using the “facilities” and there is a monitor who disinfects the area after each use (Covid-19). If there is graffiti found the worker who caused the damage is removed from the jobsite. Turner does not want to implement monitors here locally however they do not want to deal with childish behavior and criminal damaging either. We would venture to say that every construction manager and contractor we work for would echo this sentiment as well.
As leaders in the Building Trades we are asking each and every member to take an active part in creating an environment on every job site that allows for every worker to be free from harassment of any kind. Our forefathers and foremothers gave us all of the tools and the intellect to be able to do this and just like the physical tools of the trade that we use every day the proper care and respect of those tools will determine our success. We are all proud construction workers in our respective trades and the examples we set today will be emulated by the men and women who pick up the “tools of the trades “tomorrow.
If not us, who? If not now, when?
As leaders of the Building Trades we are asking all of our members, including us to do their part.
The Greater Cincinnati Building Trades
Frederick E. Lampe
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