Wow, it worked! And a big shout out and thank you to Sisters and Brothers that made it happen: Paul Frankenfeld (AFM Local 1), Carl Vineyard (USW Local 14734), Paige Stephens (UFCW Local 75), Ted Thompson (NALC Branch 43), and Jeremy Tyler (Workers United Local 12). Thank you for being the very finest version of us – the best that we can be! To you five, thank you!
Frankly, I wasn’t sure it would work, and I’m sure it will likely still have fits and starts, but the Delegate Meeting Wednesday evening was about, by, and for Delegates. Instead of a valiant effort by the Executive Secretary-Treasurer alone to make the meeting worthwhile, over half of Wednesday’s meeting was dedicated to voices of Sisters and Brothers in the struggle, sharing their view of that struggle with one another. We heard about victories, we heard of losses, and we heard stories of battles yet undecided. We heard about The Labor Movement we all love and share, and it was, by my estimation, the most informative and uplifting delegate meeting I’ve attended in my near-five years with the CLC.
It has long been my vision that we would be better…we would be stronger…we would be in greater solidarity if we were more connected. We all live busy lives, and we are all stretched to our maximum putting it all in and on the line for the Labor movement each and every day. It’s an indisputable fact! Having said that, it can be a difficult, frustrating, and often lonely slog, fighting the good fight every minute of every day… and when you lay your head down at night, sometimes you aren’t entirely sure if it was a good day or not…if you made headway or not…if you won more than you lost. I know… The work is hard and often the love for the movement can seem unrequited.
However, fear not! Wednesday evening, we got a glimpse into the movement all around us. Those good and noble persons named above stepped out and stepped up to share some moments with us from their corner of the movement. Bits and pieces of the battles they have lost, and won, and are yet to be determined… They, for those few moments, were speaking not just with all of us, but for all of us. And I could not have been prouder of them, and you, and the movement.
We speak often of Unity and Solidarity – and we should! We easily toss it about and place it in our closing on the written page – all good. But we must be more intentional…more purposeful in living it. And where better to make that happen than during the one time each month when we come together as Sisters and Brothers, joined in common cause, to tell the stories of our struggles, victories, hopes, dreams, disappointments and more?
“After all, it’s called a “Delegate” meeting, not an “Executive Secretary-Treasurer” Meeting!” So, it is my intention to do my work and dedicate myself 110% to the stewardship and advancement of the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council, and to each of you… but going forward, this is about you — not me. The stage is set. I am asking you to take it. So, until next month, I will see out there!
In unity and Solidarity Forever!
(Brian Griffin, Executive Secretary-Treasure, Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council)
“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” These words have long been associated with the American Postal Worker. Though not an official creed or motto of the United States Postal Service, the Postal Service acknowledges it as an informal motto.
In the very earliest of day, before the United States was its own nation, long before the internet or telephones and multitudes of methods for instantaneous communication over vast distances, the connective of the American colonies was the mail which was transported by horseback riders on the rough-hewn roads between cities and towns. The safe, efficient delivery of the mail was critical to the colonies’ survival, which is why three months after the battles of Lexington and Concord, the Continental Congress turned to Benjamin Franklin to establish a national post service as the first Postmaster General.
The postal service was a mess when Philadelphia’s 47-year-old Benjamin Franklin took the helm. At that time, it was run under the crown as a moneymaking venture for Britain. For years, it ran a deficit, and Franklin realized the best way to turn a profit was to improve services instead of gutting them. Ironic isn’t it that the future Founding Father — a statesman, scientist, and shrewd businessman — believed in efficiency and innovation. Historians by and large believe he would have been alarmed at the more recent attempts to slash operations of one of the nation’s founding institutions.
So, let’s fast forward to January 18 this year, when a federal crisis-response service launched and anyone with a fixed address in the United States or its territories could go to CovidTests.gov and order four tests sent for free to their home. The initiative may have come weeks too late to help contain the omicron surge, but at last, free rapid testing by mail is finally available in the U.S.
As it turns out, that inviting website is really just a splash page for the United States Postal Service (USPS), one of our nation’s first public institutions, founded for the sake of public good, and yet, in recent times, one that has been systematically dismantled. And now, in the third year of this pandemic, the Covid-19 response is being foisted upon critical public institutions that have been underfunded or tampered with for decades.
It’s counterintuitive that some of our most essential institutions that might have remained stable during a crisis have been stripped to where they can barely function, and yet still leaned on as if whole and robust. Even before the prior administration admittedly was starving the agency to make it harder to vote by mail, USPS has been besieged by challenges. To no small extent, the problem is that the office is made to operate differently from any other public institutions.
Trying to provide world-class service like the USPS by making its money off the sale of postage and services instead of relying on taxpayer funds, as do all other public services we enjoy, is insane.
One can point to 2006, when Congress passed a law requiring the post office to prefund health care benefits for retiring employees, as that moment, and the financial burden that created, for the financial situation the USPS is in now.
With the advent of a new administration in 2021, attention on the USPS crisis slowed, but the office continues to struggle under the strain of the remnants of so many destructive policies, compounded by this pandemic. Just a few months ago, the postal service announced it was slowing down its mail delivery for some letters and packages; staffing shortages that have roiled other industries have overburdened postal employees, who work as many as 80 hours a week, have caused additional delays.
It might be less frustrating if it weren’t all so predictable. Rural Americans have reported delays and losses, significantly impacting their livelihoods. Essential government communications such as stimulus checks and advanced child tax credits, delayed and lost, and all because an essential public utility all of us and the government rely on to fulfill basic functions has been willfully neglected.
Let me conclude by asking this: If I had a letter, and I gave it to you, then demanded that you take it to the most remote corner of the planet, find a specific location, no matter how difficult the terrain, or harsh the weather, and safely deliver that letter to a specific individual, all for $.58, would you be able to do it? Yet that is what we ask the USPS to do millions of time each and every day.
So, as we all sit in our nice warm homes on this brutally cold winter morning, let’s remember the Sisters and Brothers who are out there now…doing it…getting it done…even while their good work is kneecapped and handcuffed. The USPS is a mission-critical system, a necessary government service, and the good, noble, dedicated women and men who carry out that service each and every day, are doing their level best, under willfully burdensome and unnecessarily onerous circumstances. Remember that if your package is a little late, or your mail doesn’t arrive as you wish. It isn’t becasue of the hard-working women and men of the USPS. Stand strong with our Sisters and Brothers and support the USPS!
“This is where we go from here.” – Cincinnati Labor Council EST Griffin Opening Remarks from COPE 2021
“Fast forward to today… Organized Labor is in an exceptional period of both transition and opportunity right now. Not in any of our lifetimes has there been a political and social environment this favorable to working people and our right to organize! We have the most pro-union administration in the white house in over 75 years. Recently, the Executive Council of the AFL-CIO elected the most diverse leadership team in the history of the AFL-CIO. And more broadly, the face of the rank and file of Labor is changing across the country. Labor Unions are more broadly popular now than they’ve been in over 60 years and our youngest workers are our biggest backers. Now is the time – Now is our time. It is time to embrace the pace and the changing nature of the workplace, workers, workers’ rights and to fight for what is rightfully ours.
- 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.
This is where we go from here. This is where we must focus our fire. And it starts right here… this very evening.”
(Brian Griffin, Executive Secretary – Treasurer, Cincinnati AFL-CIL Labor Council)
It is indeed a privilege and an honor to invite our endorsed candidates to be a part of our Meet The Candidate Night, Wednesday, October 6, 2021.
At 7:00 PM sharp, we will hold an abbreviated version of our regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the Labor Council Delegates at the LiUNA (Laborers’ International Union of North America) Local 265 Union Hall.
Immediately following that meeting, at approximately 7:30, we will open the floor so that our endorsed candidates for Mayor, City Council, Cincinnati Public School Board and Hamilton County Municipal Court may address the Delegate Body.
Each Candidate will be given 3-4 minutes to introduce themselves and make brief remarks as their candidacy and most compelling reason for running.
We hope you will join us for this very important evening so we can celebrate our endorsed candidates and their candidacy while having the opportunity to get more familiar with them and them with us.
The LiUNA Union Hall is located at the LiUNA Local 265 Union Hall, 3457 Montgomery Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45207.
Thanks to all our endorsed candidates for their willingness to serve and for all you do and mean to our community. We look forward to having you join us for this informative and celebratory event.
In Unity and Solidarity…
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