by Brian Griffin | Feb 7, 2023 | Uncategorized
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) passed 30 years ago and guaranteed 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year to working families.
Led by the National Partnership for Women & Families, the labor movement fought in coalition with women’s, disability, children’s, religious and senior citizens’ groups.
After nine years, politicians finally put good policy ahead of party and passed the FMLA with bipartisan support. Working people in the United States have used the FMLA more than 460 million times since then.
But we also recognize that the FMLA is a stepping stone—unpaid leave isn’t good enough.
We’re one of the only countries in the world that has no national paid leave.
Working people deserve better. No one should have to choose between a paycheck or their health and family.
So we’ll keep fighting—for paid sick leave, for paid parental leave, and for the dignity and respect working families deserve.
Will you join us and support national paid leave?
by Brian Griffin | Feb 6, 2023 | Uncategorized
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
This week, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine previewed his two-year state budget in his State of the State speech. The plan seeks to spend nearly $87 billion over two years.
The Office of Budget and Management said the plan includes a one-time investment of $2.5 billion in the newly announced All Ohio Future Fund for large economic development sites around Ohio to attract new business. These funds will be used to prepare the infrastructure of large economic development sites located in every single part of Ohio. With the development of these sites, every single Ohio citizen will be within commuting distance of at least one of these sites.
When it comes to education, DeWine called for the inclusion of the Fair School Funding Plan started two years ago and an expansion of income based EdChoice private school vouchers.
Ohio Federation of Teachers President and Ohio AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer joined the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, Policy Matters Ohio and Ohio Education Association releasing the following statement on education:
- No matter where they live or what they look like, all of Ohio’s kids deserve a public school that inspires their creativity, unlocks their potential, and nurtures their dreams. But according to the EdWeek Research Center, Ohio is among the least equitable states for education resource distribution in the country. While we recognize Governor DeWine’s commitment to continuing implementation of the Cupp-Patterson school funding formula, also known as the Fair School Funding Plan, we are calling on Ohio’s lawmakers to take bold action and implement full funding for that plan.
- Fully and fairly funding Ohio’s public schools will give school districts a permanent, adequate, stable funding stream that will allow them to make necessary investments to meet the needs of students and address education staffing shortages. Legislators should also avoid competing funding obligations, such as an expansion of private school vouchers or charter schools, that would hinder our ability to fully fund the public schools that 90% of Ohio students attend.
Other budget items the Ohio AFL-CIO will be focusing on:
- Elimination of the state sales tax on baby products, which is estimated to cost the state $16 million
- $2500 per child state tax deduction, which is not refundable
- $300 million investment in career tech programs
- $40 million for training Ohio law enforcement officers
additional $3,000 for each economically disadvantaged student in charter schools
increases per-pupil facilities funding for all charters from $500 to $1000
- $5,000/year scholarship for high school graduates in the top 10% of their classes who go to Ohio colleges/universities
increasing funding for libraries from 1.66% of general revenue fund tax revenue to 1.7%
- $100 million per year for low income housing tax credits
- $200 million total for single family housing tax credits
Tim Burga, President
by Brian Griffin | Feb 6, 2023 | Uncategorized
We cannot begin Black History Month without honoring Tyre Nichols’ life while mourning that he was taken from his family and community too soon, like so many others before him.
Tyre Nichols was a beloved father, son and friend who was working to build a good life for himself and his family.
His story is part of Black history.
Black history is a story of struggle and resilience against a racist system that constantly dehumanizes and devalues the worth of Black lives.
This month—and always—we should take a truthful look at Black history and recognize everything this country has stolen from Black people.
Black history is also Black joy. It’s a celebration of culture and community. It’s coming together to fight for freedom and justice.
Black workers have always been a crucial part of the fight for justice in the labor movement: from helping to organize the meatpacking industry to the Pullman strike to the sanitation workers striking in Memphis.
Even now, workers of color are on the front lines, leading the most recent wave of organizing.
So this month, we celebrate great labor leaders like A. Philip Randolph, Hattie Canty and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who won historic victories for Black working people.
And we pledge to continue our fight against racism in the workplace, racism in society and the economic exploitation of Black people.
Will you do the same?
by Brian Griffin | Jan 9, 2023 | Uncategorized
UNITED WAY OF GREATER CINCINNATI
POSITION TITLE: Labor Engagement Specialist
UNIT/ORGANIZATION: Community Engagement
REPORTS TO: Chief Community Engagement Officer, United Way of Greater Cincinnati
JOB CODE: 11
FLSA STATUS: Exempt
DATE UPDATED: October 27, 2022
GENERAL FUNCTION: The Labor Engagement Specialist will support United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s (UWGC) efforts to increase family economic well-being through systems change work by serving as a primary liaison for United Way in the labor movement and with the AFL-CIO. The Specialist will focus on engaging labor in community volunteering, advocacy, and fundraising while representing United Way within the labor movement.
The position will also assess opportunities to connect United Way resources and programming to the labor community to support members’ own economic well-being.
KEY AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY:
Percentage of time:
10% 1. Acts as official liaison:
a) between UWGC and the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council; and
b) between organized labor and the network of services available.
10% 2. Develop and activate a UWGC/Labor Community Advisory Committee populated with Labor Leaders and Key Members of the AFL-CIO, one hundred plus affiliated local unions with an overall charter to assist UWGC by making and implementing suggestions, proposals, programs, campaigns and other recommendations to the Chief Community Engagement Officer related to Labor’s role in supporting and sustaining UWGC mission, vision, strategic initiatives, major programs, and services.
50% 3. Manage the activities of union participation in United Way’s fundraising
campaign. Recruit labor Ambassadors to work on United Way fundraising campaign. Outline the Ambassadors objectives and monitor performance metrics related to:
• # of labor volunteer activities held in community
• # of labor community members engaged in volunteering for United Way-sponsored volunteer events
• # of United Way fundraising events attended with labor workforces
• $ raised by union members for United Way campaign (focusing on long-term growth)
20% 4. Provide information, guidance and advocacy service to individuals in need of referrals for assistance.
10% 5. Participate in the development of annual performance objectives for this position.
JOB RELATIONSHIPS WITH: United Way of Greater Cincinnati staff, AFL-CIO Labor Council – both affiliates and non-affiliates, representatives of public and private agencies, and local union members.
CORE COMPETENCIES: Measurable Impact, Self-starter, Interpersonal Skills, Demonstrated leadership and organizational skills are critical in this role, excellent communication skills (oral and written)
• Bachelor’s degree preferred.
• Five years’ experience in organized labor; two years previous experience in a fundraising, development, sales, communication and/or public relations capacity is preferred.
• Proficiency in MS Office; SCRM preferred.
• Demonstrated organizational, mobilization, and administrative skills.
• Excellent written and verbal communication skills required, including public speaking and presentation skills.
• Normal office environment with little exposure to dust, noise, temperature, and the like.
• Ability to lift up to 20 pounds.
• Must have reliable transportation.
• Occasional travel to events within the regional area.
All job requirements listed indicate the minimum level of knowledge, skills and/or ability deemed necessary to perform the job proficiently. This position description is not intended to be construed as an exhaustive statement of duties, responsibilities, or requirements. Team members may be required to perform any other job-related instructions as requested by their supervisor.
by Brian Griffin | Nov 10, 2022 | Uncategorized
If not us, who? If not now, when? That’s the Theme we chose for this, our gathering here tonight… It comes out of a conversation I was having with none other than AFL-CIO President, Liz Shuler. I posed it to her in a conversation we had this past summer, then she used it again in her comments that very day…
If not us, who? If not now, when? So, what do we mean by that? What are we asking?
We are purposefully gathered here this evening … aware of the cross winds that we all navigate currently. It’s been over two years since we were last able to gather like this, break bread, and celebrate. During that time, much has happened… And that may just be the understatement of the night…
2020 was a tumultuous year that saw the onset of a deadly global pandemic… a deeply contentious election… bitter political divisions… and racial unrest explode into violence.
By Crowds of protesters took to the streets in a widespread outcry over systemic racism and injustice, and tens of millions of Americans cast their votes in a hotly contested presidential election, mailing in ballots or heading to the polls in larger numbers than ever before in our nation’s history.
It was a year where The Senate acquitted a President of impeachment charges, The United States began the protracted process of leaving Afghanistan, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed, and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won a historic election.
Americans reckoned with the nation’s racist history as Women’s Track and Field athlete Sheree Barbour joined others in protesting the grand jury decision in the Breonna Taylor case, George Floyd’s death sparked global protests, and Civil rights icon John Lewis left us in July.
Harvey Weinstein was convicted marking the end of a decades’-long tide of allegations of sexual misconduct against him by dozens of women, sparking the “Me Too” movement that has transformed our views on sexual harassment in the workplace.
Wildfires burned more than 8.2 million acres in the American West, Brushfires devastated Australia, Antarctica saw its highest temperature on record, and The United States officially left the Paris Climate Agreement…Go figure.
In January of 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that a cluster of mysterious pneumonia-like cases in Wuhan, China, in late 2019 might have been caused by a previously unidentified coronavirus.
By the end of that month, cases of this new virus were confirmed in Thailand, Japan and the United States, among other countries, totaling 9,800 cases and more than 200 deaths. By year’s end we would reach more than 300,000 lost souls. Worldwide, more than 1.6 million people died from COVID-19 in 2020, with total confirmed cases topping 70 million.
In 2021, the United States—and the world—continued to confront the consequences of 2020, particularly the COVID-19 pandemic.
In what became a record for the fastest vaccine development in history, by year’s end, more than 200 million Americans would be fully vaccinated. However, vaccine hesitancy was a factor in the steady growth of the COVID-19 death toll with over 800,000 by mid-December, and global deaths topping 5 million.
On January 6, a mob of pro-Trump demonstrators stormed the U.S. Capitol in an effort to stop lawmakers from certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Five people died in the chaos either shortly before, during or following the event, including a Capitol police officer. Accused of inciting his supporters to riot, Trump became the first president to be impeached (and acquitted) a second time.
Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States on January 20. Kamala Harris became the nation’s first female, Black and South Asian vice president.
In their first hours in office, Biden signed a letter returning the United States to the Paris accord, which we had officially withdrawn from in late 2020.
Then, in April, President Biden announced the full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
Amid the false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election, numerous states passed laws in 2021 that introduced new limits on voting unfairly targeting people of color, and Democrats in Congress fought for passage of a comprehensive voting rights legislation named after the late Georgia congressman John Lewis.
In February, winter storms bringing snow, sleet and freezing rain combined with frigid temperatures wreaked havoc in Texas, causing road closures, widespread power outages and loss of heat, electricity and water for millions of people. The death toll from the winter storms exceeded 200 people.
In March, two mass shootings within a week of each other proved a devastating reminder of the ongoing scourge of gun violence in the United States. Of the eight people killed in Atlanta, six were Asian women, fueling outrage and fear over the increase in anti-Asian violence during the pandemic.
The summer of 2021 brought us an historic Heatwave in the West, with temperatures reaching 116 degrees in Portland, Oregon and 108 in Seattle, Washington.
On August 29, making landfall as a Category 4 hurricane with 150 mph winds, Hurricane Ida claimed the lives of more than 30 people in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.
After weakening, Ida continued to wreak havoc in the Northeast, killing at least 60 people in six states, and causing widespread flooding of streets, neighborhoods, houses and even the New York City subway.
Police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty in the death of George Floyd, and a jury in Georgia convicted three defendants of murdering Ahmaud Arbery, a young Black man they confronted while he was simply jogging through their neighborhood…
Folks, its been a tough-ass couple years.
So now, here in the fourth quarter of 2022, what do you know…After everything I just told you, and all that happened since the last time we sat and broke bread, the trauma and turmoil of these past two years has altered the balance of power between employers and employees. Amid a burst of 2022 union victories across the country, with successes at major American corporations such as Amazon and Starbucks, 71% percent of Americans look favorably on labor unions — the highest point in over 60 years.
Not in any of our lifetimes has there been a political and social environment this favorable to working people! And more importantly, the face of Labor is changing across the nation. This past June, at the AFL-CIO Convention, I raised my hand proudly voting to elect Liz Shuler as the first ever female President of the AFL-CIO along with the most diverse leadership team in AFL-CIO history.
Now is the time – Now is our time. It is time to embrace the changing nature of the workplace, and fight the fight for what is rightfully ours… rights such as
- protections for collective bargaining agreements
- the right to health and safety protections
- the right to a livable wage
- universal paid sick leave and family and medical leave
- protections for whistleblowers
- an end to worker misclassification
- health care security
- support for childcare
- and the ability to hold corporations accountable for meeting their responsibilities.
And in this time when we find our nation tossed about and torn by all these competing head winds, three out of four Americans see Unions as the greatest hope for the collective good. We are the river that raises all boats!
So, Sisters and Brothers… Let me ask you again… If not us, who… And if not now, when?
We must strike while the fire is hot.