Senator Sherrod Brown is speaking directly to Ohio Ohio’s working families this week, speaking directly to them about why Joe Biden is the most pro-worker, pro-labor nominee in a generation. Here’s the first video of a series we’ll be featuring this week. Please feel free to share this and all of our posts with anyone you feel could benefit from the message. Thank you!
IBEW LU 212 held elections for officers for the next term and delegates to the International convention July 6th. Thank you to all who ran and the members who did their part including the tellers and election judge. New officers were sworn in August 4th. Your satisfaction with your Union is directly proportionate to your level of involvement! Our local is currently very busy. If you have family members or friends who may be working non union, reach out to them. Right now would be a perfect opportunity for them to better themselves and their future. Have them contact our office 513-559-0200. IBEW L.U.212 Newofficers sworn in. Joe Bulach (left) administered the oath to BM Rick Fischer (right) and other officers 8/4/20. Photo credit Courtney Groeschen.
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.
More than six months after President Donald Trump promised that the COVID-19 pandemic was “totally under control,” cases are still rising across the country, Ohioans are still losing their lives, and working families are still struggling to survive the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression.
But this week, far from doing everything he can to get help to those who need it, Trump is parachuting into Ohio to stage a photo op and raise money from a handful of rich friends. Once again, Trump is focused on the wealthy and big corporations; while he rubs shoulders and pockets cash, working families are paying the price for his disastrous pandemic response.
Even as the situation has grown more desperate, Trump has repeatedly allowed his own incompetence and selfishness to stand in the way of delivering the basic necessities that working Ohioans need to survive.
We don’t need to play host to a high-dollar fundraiser. We need a national testing strategy, we need a domestic supply chain that provides widespread access to personal protective equipment, and we need a president in the White House with the capacity to lead us through this crisis.
Working people know that our greatest strength is found in solidarity. We can overcome immense challenges if we work together, support each other, and put our urgent collective needs first. But instead of rallying us together — rather than carry out the most basic responsibilities of his job — Trump has put himself first at every turn.
From the first days of the outbreak, Trump ignored public health experts, downplayed the virus, and failed to take meaningful action, causing the United States to lead the world with more than 4.6 million cases. As a result, thousands of Ohioans have lost their lives to COVID-19, tens of thousands have been infected, and hundreds of thousands have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.
Just last week, we learned the economy suffered through its worst quarter on record, contracting by nearly a third. And asked about the growing death toll, Trump said: “It is what it is.”
Even now, rather than keeping Ohio families from falling further into this economic nightmare, Trump and his congressional allies have allowed emergency unemployment benefits to expire. And instead of securing Ohioans’ health coverage in the midst of historic job loss, they have continued to wage a twisted campaign to overturn the Affordable Care Act, endangering health coverage for more than 740,000 Ohioans and threatening protections for millions more with pre-existing conditions.
Ohioans want to go back to work. But this virus doesn’t care about convenience. It doesn’t care about what’s easy, and it certainly doesn’t care about Donald Trump’s political interests.
In order to begin returning to any kind of functioning economy — as so much of the world has already done — the United States needs to work together and rally behind a common cause. The labor movement knows a thing or two about that.
If the last three and a half years have made anything clear, it’s that Donald Trump is incapable of living up to this moment. Joe Biden has spent a career engaging and mobilizing communities to do great things in the face of enormous hardship. While Trump continues to ignore the reality of this pandemic, Biden is showing us the path forward — a plan to build back better.
Now more than ever, we need that kind of leadership in the Oval Office. Working Ohioans have suffered tremendously over the last several months. We can’t afford four more years of Donald Trump’s chaos, incompetence, and broken promises. We deserve better, and on Nov. 3, we’re going to win it.
America faces a crisis on three critical fronts: a public health pandemic, an economic free fall and long-standing structural racism. Working people need safe jobs, economic security and freedom from systemic racism. Delivering on economic essentials included in the HEROES Act is an absolute minimum requirement for stopping the free fall into even deeper and deadly racial inequality.
Watch the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Video Call To Action!
H.R. 6800, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, includes an emergency workplace infectious disease standard; gives aid for state and local governments, public schools, the U.S. Postal Service, and pension funding relief; keeps workers on payrolls to avoid mass layoffs; extends unemployment insurance; provides more direct payments to working people; extends health care coverage; provides housing and food benefits; and much more.
Of course, as is the case with any legislation, the HEROES Act is not perfect. We would urge Congress to protect mine workers by requiring not only the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) but also the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to issue an emergency temporary standard on infectious disease.
In addition, since there is no consensus in the labor movement about the GROW Act (which authorizes composite multiemployer retirement plans), we would suggest further review and debate on it as the HEROES Act moves toward enactment.
Working people are desperate for our leaders to put partisanship aside and do what is right for our health, our economy and our country. The HEROES Act is a major step forward.
La Ley de Soluciones de Emergencia Omnibus de Salud y Recuperación Económica, H.R. 6800, incluye un estándar de emergencia de enfermedades infecciosas en el lugar de trabajo; brinda ayuda a gobiernos estatales y locales, escuelas públicas, el Servicio Postal de EE. UU. y alivio de fondos de pensiones; mantiene a los trabajadores en nóminas para evitar despidos masivos; extiende el seguro de desempleo; proporciona pagos más directos a personas que trabajan; extiende la cobertura de atención médica; proporciona vivienda y beneficios alimenticios; y mucho más.
Por supuesto, como es el caso con cualquier legislación, la Ley HEROES no es perfecta. Instamos al Congreso a proteger a los trabajadores mineros al exigir no solo a la Administración de Seguridad y Salud Ocupacional (OSHA) sino también a la Administración de Seguridad y Salud Minera (MSHA) que emita un estándar temporal de emergencia sobre enfermedades infecciosas.
Además, dado que no hay consenso en el movimiento laboral sobre la Ley GROW (que autoriza los planes compuestos de jubilación para empleadores múltiples), sugeriríamos una revisión y debate adicionales a medida que la Ley HEROES avance hacia su promulgación.
Los trabajadores están desesperados por que nuestros líderes dejen de lado el partidismo y hagan lo correcto para nuestra salud, nuestra economía y nuestro país. La Ley HEROES es un gran paso adelante.
Tuesday, June 2, 2020 — Cincinnati, OH — As I write this, I feel the very real pain that most of America feels as we look back at the events of this last week. No feeling human being can avoid the sense of disillusionment and loss, watching now too often repeated images of a person of color dying at the hands of those who are sworn to “protect and serve.” The image of George Floyd pinned neck down to the road by a sworn police officer; who like us is a son, a brother, a father, an American citizen and human being with full rights, freedoms and fair protections provided by the U.S. Constitution and our democratic government; crying out in anguish and desperation as his last few dying breaths are crushed out of him, as he cries out in pain for his mother. Another tragic day in what we call the United States of America, so-called land of the free, home of the brave.
More unfortunately, this heartbreaking incident is not the first time we as Americans are hearing the tortured cries of “I can’t breathe”, watching the senseless killing and murders of unarmed American Africans. In July 2014, a cellphone video captured the final words of Eric Garner as New York City police officers sat on his head and pinned him to the ground on a sidewalk. We watched the recent videos showing: Ahmaud Arbery, murdered while simply jogging in broad daylight; Freddie Gray, while being transported in a police van; Tamir Rice, a 12-year kid while playing on a playground; John Crawford, while shopping in a Walmart store; Sam Dubose, for missing a front license plate; Philando Castile, for driving with a legally permitted firearm; not to mention what happened to Terence Crutcher, Alton Sterling, Jamar Clark, Jeremy McDole, William Chapman II, Walter Scott, Eric Harris, Akai Gurley, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and on and on, a systematic continuation of what has been happening in our country for more than 400 years. When you see the same circumstances and tragic outcomes play out over and over again, simple denials and excuses are no longer possible … This is RACISM, plain, simple and truly evil. And this cancer – the original sin our nation – permeates our lives and stains our nation as it consumes the lives and livelihoods of the working people of America, especially those of color.
Why do I say, “working people?” Because as AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said last week:
“… this is a labor issue because it is a workplace issue. It is a community issue, and unions are the community. We must and will continue to fight for reforms in policing and to address issues of racial and economic inequality.”
Essentially, as working people in America, we must never stop fighting for economic, social and racial justice for all. Racial privilege and prejudice must have no place our American society.
At the same time, this statement of solidarity in no way condones the actions of a few who are taking advantage of this tragedy by laying waste and inflicting destruction upon our community. Their violence and reckless disregard for life detracts from the sincere intentions and tireless efforts of those who peacefully protest in an honest effort to right this terrible wrong and bring about change that is so sorely needed and long overdue. However, as a good friend recently reminded me, let’s not confuse our most important priorities: Instead of thinking “It’s horrible that an innocent black man was killed, but destroying property has to stop”, we should be reinforcing “It’s horrible that property is being destroyed, but killing innocent black men HAS TO STOP.” If you cannot sincerely say this statement, if you cannot meaningfully live/act upon this statement, then you do not mean it.
Just know this though…no amount of violence and destruction will deter the efforts of working people of all colors to bring about the end to America’s historic and systemic inequities of economic, social, and racial justice. We stand in steadfast solidarity with our Sisters and Brothers of all colors against hate, greed, and those who seek to keep the good, honest, hard-working people of America divided. No number of burned building, or panes of broken glass will stop us. As stated by Jean-Bertrand Aristide, “If one suffers, we all suffer. Togetherness is strength”; and the great Martin Luther King, Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” The work of the AFL-CIO goes on unabated. I proudly deliver this Labor message on behalf of our President Bill Froehle, twenty-one Executive Board members (who unanimously approved this message at a meeting held earlier today), one hundred and four union affiliates and over 30,000 union members covering our greater Cincinnati jurisdiction.
Peter M. McLinden, Esq.
Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council
About the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council – As one of over 500 state and local labor councils of the AFL-CIO, the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council is at the heart of the labor movement in southwest Ohio. We are democratically elected bodies dedicated to representing the interests of all working people at the state and local level. We mobilize our members and community partners to advocate for social and economic justice, striving every day to vanquish oppression and make our communities better for all people—regardless of race, color, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, or ethnic or national origin. For information of the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council, call (513) 421-1846 or email email@example.com.
In 2010, Barack Obama walked into the well of the House to deliver his annual State of the Union address and declared: “A new decade stretches before us.” He spoke to us of our frustrations and anger, many of which were fresh, open wounds inflicted upon us by the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. But then he quickly pivoted to a more optimistic note and said, “In this new decade, it’s time the American people get a government that matches their decency, that embodies their strength.” Well, from where I sit at the close of that decade, that optimism has yet to be born out.
In the decade since Barrack Obama first sounded that now remote note of optimism, political, cultural, and economic gaps have widened, hearts have hardened, and anxiety born of a prolonged financial crisis, has come to define so many of our behaviors, relationships, and conversations. Divergent ideologies now determine even the sources by which we gather our news and harvest our information, resulting in alternative and irreconcilable truths. And then, just when you think the world cannot become more divided, a thing called COVID-19 comes along and adds a literal twist to what had been only a metaphor as we spoke loosely of “a nation divided.”
Well, if you are still reading this after that rather stark assessment, let me tell you that I say all that to better illustrate this… Amid all this, let’s try for a moment to take a slightly different perspective … a more horizontal view of this darker interpretation of our culture. We may even find some silver lining. To the extent that this world of ours has continued to function in these terrible times of political division and COVID 19, we have been given a unique and inspiring look at the true face of our nation. As unsolvable as it all may seem, to the extent that America continues to galumph its way along in spite of the ineptitude and false hopes of it so-called leaders, it does so riding squarely on the solid, reliable, steadfast backs of its hard-working middle class.
Yes. The hard-working people of America’s Labor Movement have once more proven to be the “not-so-little engine that could.” It’s you… it’s us… it’s our Sisters and Brothers in Healthcare, Public Safety, Building Trades/Construction, Food Workers/Retail, Transportation, Public Sector, Education and US Postal Service putting your lives on the line every hour of every day. To the extent this nation is functioning, you can thank a Union Worker. Bravo Sisters and Brothers! Its us!
So yes, live humbly, but take pride in each other… and in the very noble work we do…work too often performed in silence and out of the view of the more strident minority. However, know that today, you are heard! You are seen! Your voice rings out in the sound of our hammers and in the squeaking of our brakes…in the roar of our engines, the quenching of fires and the easing of pain… in our hands — the hands that do God’s noble work… the hands of America’s Unions! You are America at its best!
You my Sisters and Brothers are why this nation will persevere. You are why we will continue and pull out of this…Because we persist, we will see more and brighter days ahead. And here, as we stand once again… on the edge of yet another new decade, it may yet prove out yet that in this new decade, the American people will get “…a government that matches their decency, that embodies their strength.” We have the opportunity to get it right this time.
So, thank you, Sisters and Brothers, for all you do… and for all that you are. A sometimes seemingly ungrateful nation sees you now and is indeed grateful. And what they see is the absolute best of this nation’s character and its hope. You have shown them what is truly meant by “Solidarity forever!”
National, State, Regional, County and City Labor and Elected Leaders to Discuss
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ― May 5, 2020 — Cincinnati, OH — Friday, May 8, 11:00 am, Labor Leaders and National, State, Regional, County and City Elected Leaders will meet in an online panel discussion covering how best to “Reopen America.” This not-to-miss event being produced by the Cincinnati AFL-CIO and hosted by Doug Bolton from CincinnatiCares.com, features a panel of representatives from the U.S. Senate and House, Ohio House and Senate, Hamilton County, City of Cincinnati, and Labor Leaders representing Healthcare, Public Safety, Building Trades/Construction, Food Workers/Retail, Transportation, Public Sector, Education and US Postal Service sectors. (A list of the Elected and Labor Leaders for this panel is located on page 2 of this release.)
At the heart of this discussion is “Safety First: Working People’s Plan for Reopening Our Economy.” Every day, health care workers, transit workers, meatpacking workers, first responders, grocery workers, utility workers, letter carriers, construction workers, doormen, retail workers, child protective service workers, factory workers, solid waste workers, corrections officers, janitors and other workers are being exposed to the coronavirus in U.S. workplaces. Hundreds of thousands of workers have been infected and thousands have died. Putting worker safety first is the first step in any viable plan to save lives, defeat the coronavirus and revive the economy, as the AFL-CIO has further laid out in America’s Five Economic Essentials. These important points will drive our discussion.
About the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council – As one of over 500 state and local labor councils of the AFL-CIO, the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council is at the heart of the labor movement in southwest Ohio. We are a democratically elected body dedicated to representing the interests of all working people at the state and local level. We mobilize our members and community partners to advocate for social and economic justice, striving every day to vanquish oppression and make our communities better for all people—regardless of race, color, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, or ethnic or national origin. For information of the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council, call (513) 421-1846 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
National, State, Regional, County and City Labor and Elected Leaders to Discuss
“Reopening America” – On Online Event
Councilmember, City of Cincinnati
Chair/Commissioner, Hamilton County
Ohio House 28th District Rep.
Ohio House 31st District Rep.
Ohio House 32nd District Rep.
Ohio House 33rd District Rep.
Ohio Senate 9th District Senator
Congressman, U.S. Representative 13th Congressional District
Chief of Staff, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown’s office
Tim Burga ― President, Ohio AFL-CIO
Bill Froehle ― President, Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council, Business Manager, UA Plumbers-Pipefitters, Local 392
Ted Thompson, President of NALC Branch 43, sent us the most recent NALC Legislative Update. We’ve probably all read something about the USPS recently… Much is on the news with President Trump threatening a veto if any stimulus includes appropriations for the USPS. While NALC leadership along with the leadership of the UPWU continues dealing with the everyday issues the COVID-19 pandemic, our Sisters and Brothers at the USPS need our help and our voices. Please give this important document your attention and do what you can to help where you can. Thank you!
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of millions of working people and our families, and the labor movement has been working tirelessly to limit the impact of this crisis on our health and livelihoods. We worked to make sure the relief packages Congress recently passed put the needs of working families and our communities first.
To help navigate these new and expanded federal and state benefits and assistance programs, we put together an online resource that has information about unemployment benefits, paid leave, health insurance and community assistance resources.
This resource contains the most relevant services and programs in your state to help you find the relief you and your family need. Simply select your state and the category of resources you’re looking for, and we’ll point you to the organizations and agencies that can help.
These are trying and uncertain times. But the labor movement is here for you. We are your resource to help you and your family through this crisis.
Amazon’s plans to smear a warehouse worker who was fired after organizing a protest over the lack of coronavirus protection for 5000 workers was racist and classist, illegal and “immoral” says New York’s Attorney General calling for a federal investigation of Chris Small’s termination. With Chris Smalls, terminated Amazon worker/organizer and Derrick Palmer, protesting Amazon warehouse worker
Chris Smalls a warehouse fulfillment center worker for Amazon, the third richest company in the world with a market cap that is nearing a trillion dollars was forced to organize a walk out, at the 5,000 employees warehouse when faced with the rising tide of COVID-19 there. Well, what do you think Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos, whose personal worth is estimated at $123.9 billion, making him the richest man in the world did in response to its frightened and vulnerable workers walkout, employees who are pay a mere $11 – $19 and hour was? Bezos, himself and his top brass met with Amazon’s general counsel David Zapolsky to cook up a strategy to smear Chris Smalls, a memo leaked to Building Bridges revealed.With classic racist and classist characterizations Amazon contrived to defame and denigrate Chris Smalls, the courageous worker fighting for the very lives of his fellow workers against COVID-19. And then, Bezos fired Smalls, who was demanding a temporarily shut down of the huge warehouse facility for cleaning, after reports of multiple employees testing positive for COVID-19, and then fighting for protective gear and hazard pay for the associates working through the pandemic and for the pay and full paid stick leave ALL workers deserve.
How the Pandemic Reveals the Race & Class Divide of the Education System to Assist Students and Families with Eleanor Bader, educator, freelance writer and activist. She is the author of Targets of Hatred: Anti-Abortion Terrorism and a 2015 winner of a Project Censored award for “outstanding investigative journalism” and a recipient of an Independent Press Association award.
The COVID-19 pandemic is unfolding fast, with each day’s missives giving us new, and sometimes contradictory, information about the virus. Schools — public and private, pre-K through university — have been scrambling to figure out how to respond since the virus hit the U.S. Meanwhile, all the evidence suggests that children—and poor children especially—will bear an incredible burden during the coronavirus pandemic and the attendant economic shocks. But that evidence has trouble breaking into a national conversation dominated by mortality rates and work-from-home strategies. The pandemic is acutely affecting the delivery of K–12 education.As of March 19, 2020, 44 states had closed 104,000 schools, affecting nearly 48 million students, turning millions of families into accidental home-schoolers. The pandemic arises on the tail the nation’s public school system having been faced with a wave of protests, teacher strikes, and student walkouts exposing the outrageous inequality plaguing the public education system and where the budget numbers reveal how unfair funding programs dictate what our children are worth, depending on where they live, the color of their skin, and their families’ wealth. School funding levels, according to the analysis of the Education Law Center and the Rutgers Graduate School of Education vary most dramatically along school-district lines, generally dictated by local property taxes, which renders the education of some wealthy children funded at double the rate of a poor kid’s. There are also stark disparities across state lines, with statehouses primarily managing education policy. Fifteen years after “No Child Left Behind” promised to “close the achievement gaps” in race and socioeconomic background, children in more than one-third of the states are not just stagnating, they’re sliding backward with what the ELC calls “regressive” funding. Poor kids are priced out of educational equity.School budgets are moral documents, revealing not only how much society values education as a public good, but how we value the children of different communities. Today, with a reactionary administration seeking to privatize public education further, children living in extreme deprivation stand to lose the most. About four in 10 students attend schools in districts with poverty rates of upwards of 75 percent, which perpetuates the structural poverty that keeps families trapped in poor communities with impoverished schools. Now says Bader the likely outcome of this pandemic, like most others in history, will again uncover our most basic educational inequities.
Tune in at 9 am Thursdays to Equal Rights and Justice hosted by Mimi Rosenberg
************************************************ In addition to being broadcast over WBAI, 99.5 FM in NYC and the tri-state area 7 – 8 pm EST Mondays, Building Bridges is syndicated to 50 broadcast and internet radio stations in the US, Canada and the UK
Building Bridges National Edition is regularly broadcast over:
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WWUH, West Hartford, CT
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as well as internet stations:
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Radio for Peace International
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Detour Network, Knoxville, TN
KDX Radio, Homeland, North American
Radio Ear Network, Sarasota, FL
Channel One Radio ========================================
For archived Building Bridges Programs go to our website: www.buildingbridgesradio.org
– President Trump, March 27th, 2020 (New York Times, p. A8, March 28, 2020)
“Something’s going on. Where are the masks going—are they going out the back door? Somebody should look into that….”
– President Trump, March 29th, 2020 (New York Times, p. A7, March 30, 2020)
Is President Trump kidding?
Is he really accusing me and my co-workers of hoarding and stealing excess personal protective equipment? Does he have any clue about what’s really happening in my hospital, and hospitals like mine across the country?
Never in my 25 years of nursing have my co-workers and I seen anything like what we are seeing with this COVID-19 pandemic.
Ambulances streaming in hour after hour with critically ill patients in respiratory distress. ICU beds totally filled, as we frantically try to create new units for COVID patients around the hospital grounds. Doctors, nurses, respiratory techs, auxiliary personnel, working 14-16 hours a day, totally and completely burnt out, terrified of getting sick and bringing the disease home to our families.
And you know what? We don’t have the protective equipment we need. We are all reusing single-use gear like N95 respirators for a week because there aren’t enough. We don’t have enough surgical masks or surgical gowns to keep ourselves safe. Estimates are that we will need literally billions of N95s for health care workers and others in this crisis.
And it’s not just health care workers who need proper Personal Protective Equipment.
Hospital workers are on the frontlines, exposed every day on the job to sick and dying patients. But across this country, there are other public-facing “essential workers”—people in grocery and drug stores, my brothers and sisters working for phone companies like Verizon, AT&T, Altice and Frontier, NYC Traffic Agents and Supervisors, my brothers and sisters working for city and state government, transit workers, utility workers, direct care workers—who also need PPE. They are required to go to work every day, they must interact with the public, they are getting sick and dying too.
Trump says this is like a war and that he is a wartime president. Then lead like it’s a war. Stop the delays. Stop quarreling with Governors. Invoke the DPA now and get American industry moving forward on producing the protective equipment that health care and other essential workers need NOW!
Streamline approaches for allocating and distributing personal protective equipment to working people in greatest need.
Issue a workplace safety standard to protect front-line workers and other at-risk workers from infectious diseases.
Provide workplace controls, protocols, training and personal protective equipment.
Provide clear, protective federal guidance for different groups of workers with different needs.
Increase funding for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Mine Safety and
Health Administration for additional inspectors and health specialists, and for developing and implementing an infectious disease standard.
MITIGATE THE BROADER PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS
Guarantee 14 days of paid sick leave for all working people.
Provide federal resources and guidance to increase capacity of the health care system, including hospital beds.
Use emergency federal authority to expand production of medical supplies and equipment.Increase capacity to provide testing for everyone, starting with a priority for front-line workers that includes health care workers, firefighters and paramedics.
Provide testing, treatment and vaccination (once approved) at no cost.
Emergency federal subsidy of premiums for multi-employer health plans.
Remove barriers to testing, treatment and benefits for immigrant workers.
SUSTAIN PEOPLE THROUGH THE CRISIS
Re-imagine the unemployment insurance system by dramatically broadening eligibility and increasing both benefit levels and administrative funding.
In addition to paid sick days, guarantee 12 weeks of paid leave.
A federal COBRA subsidy of 100% for workers who lose jobs or hours.
Provide relief for payment on rent, mortgages and student loans.
Issue a moratorium on foreclosures, evictions and student loan defaults.
Increase funding and remove restrictions on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and the school lunch program.
SUSTAIN WORKERS IN SEVERELY AFFECTED SECTORS
Severely impacted sectors include airlines, other transportation, construction, retail, manufacturing, entertainment and hospitality.
The federal government should offer to assume payroll costs of idle or hibernating firms to ensure they stay in business and workers stay employed.
Additional targeted assistance to private firms in particular sectors should be conditioned on providing paid sick days, with no layoffs, pay cuts, benefit cuts, outsourcing, reopening of union contracts, abrogating union contracts in bankruptcy or stock buybacks, and including workers on corporate boards.
Provide aid to workers’ pension funds comparable to the aid available to business.
Provide funding for public transit and Amtrak to keep workers on the job and financial relief and flexibility for the U.S. Postal Service.
SUSTAIN STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
Provide federal funding for the full cost of Medicaid for one year.
Provide federal grants to state and local governments equal to 7% of state and local revenues, totaling more than $175 billion.
Pass the Students in Response to Coronavirus Act (H.R. 6275).
REBUILD THE ECONOMY AND PUT PEOPLE BACK TO WORK
Reauthorize the Surface Transportation Act.
Pass a $1 trillion infrastructure package.
Pass the Protecting the Right to Organize Act and guarantee comparable rights and protections for public employees.
A number of unions, guilds and affiliated nonprofits have established relief funds for workers devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, many of which are listed below. Your donation will help provide crucial support to workers during this challenging time.
Actors’ Equity Curtain Up Fund
Help everyone in performing arts and entertainment in need, in particular seniors, immunocompromised individuals and those in financial distress.
The Information on the pandemic and virus is constantly evolving, and this site is updated frequently.
COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic, and the disease is spreading rapidly across the United States. Federal, state and local governments are taking steps to slow the spread of the disease by limiting crowds in public settings, such as schools, workplaces, public transportation, and cultural and sporting events. These necessary measures not only disrupt everyday life but cause economic uncertainty for millions of working people.
The labor movement is working nonstop to protect the health and safety of all workers, including workers on the front lines of this public health emergency. We have trained, educated and equipped our members with the tools they need to be safe on the job, but we are demanding additional urgent action to ensure employers implement comprehensive plans to protect front-line workers and reduce the risk of exposure to the general public.
This crisis has exposed the shortcomings of our worker protection and health care systems. We cannot afford to allow cost considerations to discourage workers from taking the necessary action to protect public health. Workers should not incur additional costs for doing what is recommended or required, including staying home from work or getting the tests and treatments they need.
The pandemic also is beginning to inflict a heavy toll on the economy. We are doing everything we can to limit the negative impact on the livelihoods of working people, and we continue to demand dramatic action from local, state, and federal governments on a scale every bit as large as the threat.
Below are resources and guidance from leading experts, government agencies and America’s unions about the COVID-19 pandemic, and recommendations to limit its impact on working families.
Participants in the Union Plus Mortgage, Credit Card, Personal Loan, or supplemental insurance programs may be eligible for additional hardship assistance. Visit Union Plus Hardship Help for eligibility requirements
I voted by mail or in person before March 17, 2020, do I need to vote again?
No, all ballots already submitted by mail or in-person will count, so long as they were otherwise valid. If you voted prior to March 17th your ballot is secured behind double locks at your county board of elections and will be counted on April 28th. Please encourage friends and family who haven’t already voted to request an absentee ballot from your local board of elections.
Will there be in-person voting on April 28, 2020?
Yes, but since most Ohioans are being advised to stay home right now, the new law only allows for limited in-person voting on April 28th. In-person voting will only occur on April 28 and only at boards of elections early vote centers, not at precinct polling locations. And in-person voting will only be available for individuals with disabilities who require in-person voting and those who do not have a home mailing address.
What is the deadline to register to vote in the 2020 primary?
The deadline to register for the 2020 primary election was February 18, 2020. Anyone who is eligible to vote, but has not yet registered, can do so for the November 3, 2020 General Election, at VoteOhio.gov(opens in a new window).
What should disabled or visually impaired voters do if they rely on accessible voting machines?
A remote ballot marking system is available through each county board of elections for use by an absentee voter with a qualifying disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The remote ballot marking system allows a qualifying voter to mark their ballot privately and independently. You can contact your county board of elections or fill out the Form 11-G online form.
Disabled and visually impaired voters may also vote at the board of elections early vote center on April 28, 2020.
I have since moved. Do I need to update my registration before requesting my ballot?
A voter must be properly registered by February 18, 2020. If a voter has moved but did not update their address, the voter may apply for a ballot and will receive a provisional ballot by mail from the board of elections. State law requires registration and address changes for the 2020 primary to be completed by February 18th 2020, so no new address changes or registrations are being accepted for the 2020 primary.
When will the results of the election be announced?
Tabulation of votes will begin on April 28, 2020 after 7:30 p.m. It’s important to note that ballots postmarked by April 27, 2020 will all be counted, so final unofficial results won’t be available until May 8, 2020. (This is standard for every election.)
I don’t have a printer. Can I request an absentee ballot?
state that “I’m a qualified elector and I’m requesting an absentee ballot for the March 17th Ohio Primary”
indicate if you want a: Democratic, Republican, Libertarian or Issues only ballot (choose only one)
phone number (optional, but suggested)
email address (optional but suggested)
When does my ballot need to be postmarked?
Unless you are a member of the U.S. military currently deployed overseas or an American living abroad, ballots must be postmarked by April 27, 2020 and received by the board of elections by May 8, 2020 to be counted in the primary election if the proper information was provided on the identification envelope.
I’m registered to vote but have changed my name. Can i still vote?
What date do I put on the absentee ballot application under “date of election?”
Please write March 17, 2020 (or 03/17/2020) as the election date has not changed, only extended for mail-in voting. However, anyone who writes another date will still have their absentee application processed if the remainder of the required information is included on the request.
Can corona virus be spread over the handling of paper?
The experts at the Ohio Department of Health have said that COVID-19 doesn’t spread by penetrating the skin on your hands, but only leads to infection when it is transferred from your hand to places like your mouth, nose, or eyes. Given that, the best measure you can take to prevent the spread of germs is washing your hands after handling mail and even cash.
Is voting by mail secure?
Yes. From the moment you request your ballot to the moment it is received at the board of election to be counted, the ballot may be tracked at VoteOhio.gov. Ballots are stored securely in rooms requiring both a Democrat and Republican staff member to gain access.
POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS AND CANDIDATES
Has the deadline for independent candidates been changed? (the deadline says “day before the day of the primary election” in the orc)
No. As the election has not been rescheduled, only extended, all of the deadlines stay in place except for absentee mail-in ballot submissions.
My ballot issue committee, for a school levy, wants to file for the august special election if it fails in the primary. Can i still do that?
Yes, as this extended election ends on April 28, 2020, the deadline to file for the August special election is May 6, 2020. A question or issue that is approved by the voters in the Primary may be withdrawn before the August special election.
I’m a candidate, campaign or committee. Can i send absentee ballot requests to my supporters?
UHCAN Ohio and Advocates for Ohio’s Future compiled resources where you can find help for yourself, your family or your neighbors. The information is available on the AOF website.
The Ohio Department of Health opened a call center to answer questions from the public regarding coronavirus (COVID-19). The call center will be open 7 days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and can be reached at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634)
Health Care – If you do not have health care coverage or have lost it, you may be able to get affordable coverage through Medicaid or the Marketplace. Check first to see if you qualify for Medicaid at https://benefits.ohio.gov/. If you have changed or lost your job, you may be able to get affordable coverage through the Marketplace athttps://www.healthcare.gov/screener/
Patients who need hospital care, but are unable to pay for it, may be eligible for free or reduced fee care at Ohio hospitals through the Hospital Care Assurance Program (HCAP). Applications for HCAP are accepted by the hospital where care was received, and patients seeking HCAP assistance should contact their hospital’s billing department for application instructions.
Child Support – If you are having problems paying child support or you need additional child support, contact your county child support enforcement agency (CSEA). The CSEA will consider your case and present a recommendation for a possible adjustment. The amount could go up, go down or stay the same. To find the CSEA in your county, call (800) 686-1556 toll-free or visitjfs.ohio.gov/County.
Child Care – ODJFS offers financial assistance to help eligible parents pay for child care while they work. Call your county department of job and family services. For more information, go tojfs.ohio.gov/factsheets/ChildCare.pdf or call (877) 852-0010
Pregnant women and children may also get food from WIC. You can apply by printing out a WIC Program Application and mailing it to the WIC clinic in your area. Please note that you must schedule an appointment at the clinic, too. To find a WIC clinic near you, please click WIC Clinic Directory or call 1- 800-755-GROW (4769).
Food and Nutrition Assistance for Children – The Ohio Department of Education has created a website to support whole-child nutrition at education.ohio.gov. Refer to the map and map site key at for available meal service in your area. Contact your school or district for details about their meal programs.
Older Adults – You can find your Local Area Agency on Aging by going to http://ohioaging.org or calling 1- 866-243-5678 to be connected to the area agency on aging serving your community.
Local Assistance – Dial 211 or see 211.org for local assistance on food, paying housing bills, accessing child care and other crisis help.
Mental Health Help
Ohio Crisis Text Line Text keyword “4HOPE” to 741 741
The labor movement is working nonstop to protect the health and safety of all working people, including workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. And we are doing everything we can to reduce the heavy toll this public health emergency is inflicting on the economy and the livelihoods of working people.
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives took urgent action and passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), a critical first step in making sure working people facing serious health and financial risks receive the assistance we need.
This crisis has exposed the shortcomings of our worker protection and health care systems and is inflicting a heavy toll on the economy. We need to make sure working people do not bear the brunt of the impact.
All working people should have access to paid leave, paid sick days, workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance, and the necessary medical testing and treatment without incurring additional costs.
H.R. 6201 is an important first step toward a comprehensive response to the pandemic. It would provide free testing for most people, improve access to food security programs, provide additional unemployment insurance funding to states, and mandate paid sick leave for some workers who fall ill or are affected by quarantine orders.
Bold action is needed to protect the health and economic security of all working people. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act is a critical first step.