Due in large part to the hard work of North America’s Building Trades Unions and other unions, registered apprenticeships have been a reliable pathway to the middle class for decades – including for workers who don’t go to college – by training workers for good jobs and allowing them to earn while they learn. A Mathematica study shows workers can earn $240,000 more over the course of their lifetime – $300,000 when including benefits – by participating in these programs. Registered apprenticeships are especially important as we recover from the pandemic, allowing workers who have lost their jobs or young people who are entering a weak job market to train for the jobs of the future while earning a decent income.
To this end, President Biden took the bold step to end the Trump-era program by reversing industry recognized apprenticeship programs (IRAPs), which threaten to undermine registered apprenticeship programs. Industry-recognized apprenticeship programs have fewer quality standards than registered apprenticeship programs – for example, they fail to require the wage progression that reflects increasing apprentice skills and they lack the standardized training rigor that ensures employers know they are hiring a worker with high-quality training.
In an Executive Order, President Biden rescinded Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13801, which spurred the creation of these programs. He is also asking DOL to consider new rulemaking to reverse these programs and to immediately slow support for industry recognized apprenticeship programs by pausing approval of new Standards Recognition Entities and ending new funding for existing Standards Recognition Entities.
The Ohio AFL CIO has released its legislative agenda for the 2021-2022 calendar year. The Agenda focuses on the Pandemic, Worker safety, Jobs, Racial justice, Education equity, Tax Fairness and fair districting. Many of these priorities impact a not just our membership but all Ohio citizens. These key issues will be the guide this year as we fight for Labor and working people across the state. With the collaboration with our CLC’s and Local unions, we can be a positive force that can pass effective legislation and give security to all Ohioans.
The Ohio AFL-CIO is waiting on an infrastructure Bill to be announced from the Federal Level, Pres. Biden has vowed to push for a revitalization of Americas infrastructure with backing from the House and Senate. There will be a bill in the near future and will be shared with our CLC and members when available.
IUE-CWA Walmart Action:
This past Saturday the Cincinnati AFL-CIO held a 2-location action in support of the GE-Savant light bulb plant in Bucyrus Ohio. The Actions have garner national attention from the National AFL-CIO and even the Wal-Mart Cooperation. Actions containing to go on around the nation every Saturday from 12-1pm. The Next Walmart Action in Cincinnati will be March 6th (details TBD)
The COVID relief bill will be introduced on the House floor within the next week, After a passing vote the Bill will be sent to the Senate for a final vote. As we’ve seen in in the recent past the vote may fall by party lines. The COVID relief bill will cover minimum wage, stimulus checks and the PRO Act.
Pro Act Summary:
The pro Act (H.R. 842) has recently been introduced by the 117th congress. The bill currently has 200 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and has been referred to the Education & labor committee for further review. The resolution would still need to pass the Senate without a filibuster or possibly vote by party lines with Vice President Harris as the tiebreaker. President Biden has express support for the PRO Act as a part of his “Build Back better” plan and his support for Labor. The Passage of the Pro Act would strengthen unions, penalize employers for violating labor laws and eliminate ALL Right to Work laws. Pro Act will be introduced to senate around March 8th. Please review and participate in our Pro Act Campaign Actions!
PRO Act Actions
Call In: We are mobilizing and organizing members to participate in the Pro- Act campaign by calling in our Legislators and Urging them to Support the Pro-Act. Please Call your Legislator and urge them to PASS THE PRO ACT.
To Participate, Please Call 866-832-1560 and tell Congress to PASS THE PRO ACT!
Letter to the Editor (LTE): We are mobilizing and organizing members to participate in the Pro- Act campaign by submitting Letters to the Editors to local Newspapers across the State. If interested, please see attached file for Letter templates!
PRO Act Informational meetings: We are mobilizing and organizing members through education. If you would like to organize a PRO Act Informational or want a short Pro Act presentation at your next Local union meeting, Please Contact me to set up the event.
Follow the Bill: If you are interested in following the PRO Act (HR 842) through Congress, Please Click the link!
Ronnie (Pup) Wardrup has run the race, fought the good fight, and has hung up his cap as Staff Representative at USW. Ronnie joined Southwestern Ohio Steel September 7th, 1978 and became dues paying member of the United Steelworkers Local Union 5541. He was Appointed as a Grievance Committeeman in the early 1980’s of USW Local Union 5541.
Ronnie joined the Butler Warren Clinton Counties AFL-CIO serving as an Executive Board Member until merging with the Dayton-Miami Valley Regional Labor Council of the AFL-CIO serving on the Executive Committee and Executive Council and worked collaboratively with the Cincinnati AFL-CIO at every opportunity. He was first appointed and then elected in his own right to serve on the Area Labor Federation (ALF) of the Cincinnati and Dayton/Miami Valley Labor Councils of the AFL-CIO.
Ronnie joined the Butler County Democratic Party serving as 2nd Vice President until serving as Chair of the Executive Committee Butler County Democratic Party. He is currently serving as Central and Executive Board member and Governing Board member in a Labor Position.
Served Vice President of USW Local Union 5541 and moved up according to USW Constitution to President of USW Local Union 5541 when the office was vacated. He worked on the Civil Rights Committee, the Political Committee, Organizing Committee. Ronnie also served on State of Ohio Worker’s Compensation Committee and on USW Safety Committee and was appointed as Butler County United Way as a board member by the Butler Warren Clinton County AFL-CIO.
Ronnie was brought out of the plant and placed on Casual Status by Director Frank Vickers. He was hired by Director Dave McCall for the United Steelworkers as a Staff Representative May 15th, 1998 and served in that capacity as a USW Staff Representative for 21 & 1/2 years. He was appointed to Co-chair of the USW Sports Committee by Director Dave McCall and was elected as Democratic Party Man for Butler County as a member of the Executive Committee to the Ohio Democratic Party then appointed and serving as “At Large” for the Ohio Democratic Party Executive Committee. Finally, Ronnie was appointed and served as a USW Vice President to the Ohio AFL-CIO State Federation by Director Donnie Blatt.
Another of the many, many things Ronnie was not just involved in, but active and dedicated to was Masons. In 1993 he became a Freemason in Columbia Lodge # 44, now known as Nova Caesarea Harmony # 2. Soon thereafter he joined the Cincinnati chapter of Scottish Rite Masons, and then the Cincinnati Chapter Shriners Serving the Shriners Burns hospitals.
Of course, anyone who really knows Pup, knows the greatest source of his energy, focus, and zeal for life comes from the love of his life, his wife Lisa. About them and their relationship, he said “I would never have been able to do any of my activism without the love and support of my beautiful and understanding wife Lisa.”
In speaking with Ronnie about his new-found status, he said “Although my exit from The United Steelworkers as a Staff Representative was hurried along due to health reasons, I will never forget all of those I have met through this journey of Solidarity, from the beginning when I first started paying dues In September of 1978 until my Retirement on February 1st, 2021. I’ve have made lifelong friends I will treasure eternally. Always remember to say a good word about your Union. Solidarity Forever…
Ronnie (Pup) Wardrup, your leadership, your activism, your support, and most of all your kindness will always be remembered and missed. Happy retirement Brother Pup…Well deserved!
The union representing State of Ohio employees who handle unemployment claims is crying foul after the announcement by Governor DeWine that the administration will hire yet another private contractor to “take over” unemployment insurance.
Leaders of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association say hiring another contractor is not the answer. In fact, the contracting out of unemployment claims is the major reason claims processing in the Ohio Department of Job and Family (ODJFS) Services has fallen so far behind, says the union.
Multiple ODJFS private contractors hired since the pandemic have caused an unprecedented number of overpayments and fraud claims, which has slowed down the whole unemployment process.
Alarmingly, a data breach with at least one of those vendors has caused the number of fraud claims to spin out of control. Now, existing ODJFS staff are having to keep up and clean up.
Those developments have had a ripple effect within the agency, causing existing unemployment staff to work overtime to try to keep up with fraud claims and overpayments—in addition to performing their regular work of processing unemployment claims. For months, ODJFS unemployment staff have been working up to 14 hours per day as well as weekends to keep up with the workload.
Due to the fraud alone, state unemployment staff must now verify and double check every claim as well as address new appeals of claims, which has also risen in number. All of these things have stalled the unemployment process.
“The slow-down of unemployment claims rests squarely on the shoulders of these private vendors,” said OCSEA President Chris Mabe.
But the agency’s problems go back many years, says the union. OCSEA leadership had been pressing the agency even before the pandemic to hire more full time staff. Between 2011 and 2019, the agency lost nearly 600 full-time unemployment claims specialists, so were already short-staffed going into the health crisis.
The outsourcing of unemployment duties to unskilled, untrained staff has made the problems exponentially worse.
“This is at least a two-part problem. On the one hand, even before the pandemic, staff in the unemployment division in ODJFS was bare bones,” said OCSEA President Chris Mabe. “Secondly, private vendors from other states and countries, hired at a cost of at least $20 million dollars to the taxpayer, have made the problems much worse,” he said.
Despite these difficulties, state unemployment workers have paid out an unprecedented $16 billion dollars to 1.7 million claimants in less than a year. “Our members in ODJFS have done a remarkable job in the face of these challenges,” said Mabe.
An outdated computer system at the agency, which Governor DeWine has recognized, is only part of the problem, according to the union. The other is the long-term lack of investment in the agency and the continued use of unskilled private contractors.
OCSEA leaders believe the unemployment process could be dealt with from within the agency using existing staff and smarter work processes.
“We’ve been down this road during the Great Recession,” said Mabe. “We did it then, we can do it now. It’s still a lot of work, but it can be done,” he said.
“Privatization is often government’s default position during a crisis,” said Mabe. “It’s a knee-jerk reaction that appears easier at first, but, ultimately, is much more costly. We need a measured, thoughtful approach that invests in existing, skilled staff, that brings us all to the table and maps out a path forward with all stakeholders. We are willing and able to do that,” he said.
OCSEA represents approximately 27,000 state and local government employees who work in a wide range of security, regulatory, administrative, direct care, maintenance, customer service and other positions, including 2,188 employees in the Ohio Dept. of Job and Family Services. For more information, contact Sally Meckling, 614-865-2602 or 614-404-3881 (cell).