Celebrate Juneteenth but Know The Truth!

Celebrate Juneteenth but Know The Truth!

History teaches us that on September 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing more than three million black slaves in the Confederate states as of January 1, 1863.

It also teaches us that On April 9, 1865, Robert E. Lee surrendered his 28,000 Confederate troops to Union General Ulysses S. Grant, in Appomattox, Virginia, effectively ending the American Civil War. What it doesn’t tell us is that both of those accepted “historical facts” are incorrect.

Slavery in the Confederate states was technically ended by the Emancipation Proclamation, January 1, 1863, but many African Americans remained unaware and still being held against their will till June 19, 1865. The next year, in 1866, formerly enslaved Black Texans began celebrating the occasion now known as Juneteenth.

Juneteenth is a portmanteau of the words June and nineteenth, and references June 19, 1865, the day that enslaved African Americans were actually emancipated in every part of the United States. Celebrated by African Americans since the late 1800s, it wasn’t until recently that it became more widely known outside of the Black community, finally becoming a federal holiday in 2021.

Ultimately, Juneteenth is an opportunity… It is an opportunity to begin getting history right. We have to amend the story, where the story was told with bias and disregard for the truth, because anything built on something other than the truth cannot long endure.

But most importantly, Juneteenth is an opportunity to reflect on all the ways our society has deprived (and in many ways, continues to deprive) Black Americans of their freedom and humanity, from slavery to segregation and beyond.

Yes, it is a day to celebrate freedom for all, but because of it, we must persist in seeking and telling the truth. We must amend our history where it is flawed and biased so we might shine a light on the power of justice and pray for continued change in the future.

Maybe something like this prayer from the Evangelical Lutheran Church Association which focuses on finding ways to identify and work against modern discrimination, racism, and hatred.

Dear God,

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like those generations before us who resisted the evil of slavery and human bondage in any form and any manner of oppression.

Help us to use our freedoms to bring justice among people and nations everywhere to the glory of your holy name through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Have a safe, happy, and blessed Juneteenth!

Labor Takes Pride in Our Work, And in Each Other — No Matter Who You Love!

By Brian Griffin, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council

Organized Labor is the American Melting Pot. It is the single most reflective body of what these United States actually look like. We are the face of America, and America’s face continues to change and evolve. Not only do we look like America, but we also fight for all working people, because America’s real diversity is on full display in the rank and file of The Labor Movement — no matter the race, creed, gender, ethnicity, or any other identity.

It is simply a Human Right that all people should be safe and free from harm, discrimination, violence, and abuse, whether at home, in the workplace, in their community, wherever they choose to exercise the individual liberties and freedoms promised them by this great American Experiment. However, it isn’t enough that LGBTQ+ people still lack basic federal legal protections in the workplace, which make them vulnerable to recent appalling and shameful actions by state legislatures. In recent months, the LGBTQ+ Community has once again become the unfortunate focus of opportunistic politicians on the right that threaten to take us backward after decades of forward progress, inclusion, and freedom to love whomever a person loves.

Unfortunately, anti-LGBTQ+ attacks by right-wing extremist groups have surged, and anti-trans politics spurred by lawmakers and far-right news outlets have renewed fears and once more threaten the community’s safety. But despite the noise generated by the right wing, polls suggest they are at odds with the vast majority of real Americans. In March, a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 76% of Americans – including 62% of Republicans – favor laws that would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans from discrimination in jobs, housing, and public accommodation.

And thankfully, The American Labor Movement is fighting back with everything we have. Union contracts, legally enforceable in every state, protect LGBTQ+ workers from harassment and can mean real progress for workers and our families to gain health care, savings, a future, and so much more. Check out some model contract language from our constituency group, Pride at Work

However, we still have a long way to go, and it will take all of us to secure the change we seek. Far too often, LGBTQ+ workers face retaliation and fear getting fired for standing with their co-workers. We still regularly see the same corporations that use Pride as a marketing ploy, celebrating Pride while employing union-busting consultants that deny workers the promise of a union contract.

Far too often, I see and hear people who just want to give up because It’s just too hard… But we cannot. We, The Labor Movement, are the best-equipped, most appropriate single body of people in this great land to fight this fight and secure this change, once and for all. We must be at the vanguard of this movement and be the change we seek.

Talk to your family, your friends, your church members, your fellow workers, and everyone within the sound of your voice. Help them see a different way of perceiving and accepting people, especially if you know people who look in love and but also look different than your family, your friends, your church members, your fellow workers. Remember: An injury to one of us is an injury to all of us, and that includes all our Sisters, Brothers and friends, no matter which pronouns they employ.

AFL-CIO Report Data Shows Latino and Black Workers Dying on the Job at Highest Rate in Over a Decade

AFL-CIO Report Data Shows Latino and Black Workers Dying on the Job at Highest Rate in Over a Decade

BREAKING: AFL-CIO Report Data Shows Latino and Black Workers Dying on the Job at Highest Rate in Over a Decade
April 26, 2023

The federation’s 2023 Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect report shows alarming working conditions across the country.

View the Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect report, social media graphics and infographics here.

Today the AFL-CIO, America’s largest labor federation, released its 32nd annual report, Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect, a national and state-by-state profile of worker safety and health. Key findings from the report point to a troubling rise in worker deaths, particularly among Black and Latino workers, and illustrate the urgency of funding and support needed for critical job safety oversight and enforcement.

The report shows the fatality rate for Black workers grew from 3.5 to 4.0 per 100,000 workers and more than 650 died on the job, the highest number in nearly two decades. Latino workers have the greatest risk of dying on the job, with a fatality rate at 4.5 per 100,000 workers that has grown by 13% over the past decade. There was also a slight uptick in deaths for Latino workers in 2021, and the overwhelming majority who died were immigrants.

“Every American should be alarmed and outraged by the tragic data unearthed in this report,” said AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler. “It is unconscionable that in the wealthiest nation in the world, Black and Latino workers are facing the highest on-the-job fatality rates in nearly two decades. This report is more than a wake-up call, it is a call to action. No one should have to risk their lives for their livelihoods. There is no corporate cost-benefit analysis that should put human life and worker safety on the wrong side of the ledger.

“This report isn’t just about data points, it is about people. Every worker who died on the job represents another empty seat at a family’s kitchen table. Every worker accounted for in this report is a person who just went to work one day and never came home. It is our solemn responsibility to these workers to do everything in our power to honor their memories by making America’s workplaces safer—because that’s what unions do. It is our history, it is our responsibility and it is our cause to always put workers and their safety first.”

This year’s report also reveals that in 2021:

  • 343 workers died each day from hazardous working conditions.
  • 5,190 workers were killed on the job in the United States.
  • An estimated 120,000 workers died from occupational diseases.
  • The job fatality rate increased to 3.6 per 100,000 workers.
  • Employers reported nearly 3.2 million work-related injuries and illnesses.
  • The true impact of COVID-19 infections due to workplace exposures is unknown. Limited data show that more than 1.5 million nursing home workers have been infected with COVID-19 and more than 3,000 have died.
  • Fewer data are now reported on job injuries and illnesses related to workplace violence, musculoskeletal disorders and heat illness, which continue to be major problems.
  • Underreporting is widespread—the true toll of work-related injuries and illnesses is 5.4 million to 8.1 million each year in private industry.

The report, which includes data on the worker fatality rate in all 50 states as well as the most affected industries, also lays out recommendations for strengthening federal agencies tasked with enforcing worker safety. In 2021, there were 1,871 inspectors—900 at the federal level and 971 at the state—for the more than 10.8 million workplaces under the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s jurisdiction. That equates to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) having the ability to inspect every workplace once every 190 years and just $3.99 in OSHA’s budget to protect each worker. Penalties for employer violations also remain too low to be a deterrent, and fewer than 130 worker deaths have been criminally prosecuted since 1970.

“The federal agencies responsible for safeguarding workers were created for a reason, and it’s past time that they received the funding and staffing they need to create and enforce worker protection standards,” said AFL-CIO Safety and Health Director Rebecca Reindel. “Employers should be held accountable for the working conditions on jobsites, and our lawmakers at every level must use their power to properly enforce the policies designed to protect us.”

Contact: Danielle Noel, 202-637-5018

It’s Time for National Paid Leave for All!

It’s Time for National Paid Leave for All!

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?

In Solidarity,


Gov. DeWine Lays Out Budget Priorities by Tim Burga

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:

Affordable housing.

  • 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

In Solidarity,

Tim Burga, President

We cannot begin Black History Month without honoring Tyre Nichols…

We cannot begin Black History Month without honoring Tyre Nichols…

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 RandolphHattie 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?

In Solidarity,


Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council & United Way of Greater Cincinnati are Hiring Labor Engagement Specialist

Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council & United Way of Greater Cincinnati are Hiring Labor Engagement Specialist


POSITION TITLE: Labor Engagement Specialist

UNIT/ORGANIZATION: Community Engagement

REPORTS TO: Chief Community Engagement Officer, United Way of Greater Cincinnati


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.

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.

If Not Us, Who? If Not Now, When?

If Not Us, Who? If Not Now, When?

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.

Thank you.

Thank you Paul, Carl, Paige, Ted and Jeremy… You’ve Set The Stage!

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)

Our Sisters and Brothers at the USPS Remember the Creed. Its the Bureaucrats that Don’t!

Our Sisters and Brothers at the USPS Remember the Creed. Its the Bureaucrats that Don’t!

“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)

Cincinnati Labor Council “Meet The Endorsed Candidates Night,” Wednesday, October 6

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…


Brian D. Griffin
Executive Secretary – Treasurer
Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council

Labor Day Canceled, but Labor Council Still Needs Us!

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

51st Annual COPE Dinner: Date Change and Going On Line!

Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council

51st Annual COPE Dinner

Thursday, October 21, 2021

VIP Virtual Reception(s) — 6:00 PM

51st Annual COPE Dinner Broadcast Program — 7:00 PM


Never before has Labor had an opportunity like we have today. Not in any of our lifetimes has there been a political environment this favorable to working people and our right to organize! New Leadership and new opportunity…

It’s time to seize the day!


Because we stood up and stood strong, Unions are on the rise, and to the extent that this world has continued to function in these times of political division and COVID 19, we have been given a unique and inspiring look at the true face of our nation.  It’s you… it’s us… it’s your Sisters and Brothers in Healthcare, Public Safety, Building Trades and Construction, Food Workers/Retail, Transportation, Public Sector, Education and US Postal Service making it happen for America, every hour of every day. To the extent this nation is functioning, thank a Union Worker. Bravo Sisters and Brothers! So, where do we go from here! Cope 2021 will celebrate new leadership, new direction, new inspiration!

Unfortunately, because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the new threat posed by the Delta Variant, we are once again unable to hold our traditional, in-person dinner gathering.  Instead, the Cincinnati AFL-CIO will be holding a private COPE broadcast/online event. So, once more from the comfort of your own living room, join us and the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council family and friends to celebrate Unity, Solidarity, and the greater Cincinnati Labor movement.

Details of our exciting program and dinner are coming together nicely and will be released soon! Reserve your passes now!

Please complete and return the following to Request your passes for this unforgettable, unprecedented event!


Primary Contact:                                                              Phone:                                                 Email:                                                                   

Street:                                                                                  City:                                                       State:                    Zip:                                        

  • Enclosed is my check/reservation for $1,500 for a premium VIP group of 8.
  • Enclosed is my check/reservation for $1,200 for a standard group of 8.
  • Enclosed is my check/reservation in the amount of                           for                          Standard Passes at $150 each.
  • I/we are not able to attend. Please accept this contribution of  to support the good work COPE provides (Please check on of the following:  My check is enclosed -or-  Please invoice me for our contribution).

The COPE Dinner is an important fundraiser for the Committee on Political Education. COPE sponsors voter registration, voter education, candidate screenings and endorsements, Meet-the Candidates Night, sample ballots, Chronicler, and Get-Out-the-Vote activities. Contributions to the Cincinnati AFL-CIO COPE are not deductible for income tax purposes. Tickets may be purchased individually, out of general funds or out of political action accounts.

To reserve your access pass(es) make your check payable to Cincinnati AFL-CIO COPE and send along with this registration form to Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council, 1385 Tennessee Avenue – 2nd Floor, Cincinnati, OH 45229. Please respond by Friday, October 15.

For further information contact the CLC Communication Office at 513-421-1846 ext. 5 or email us at info@cincinnatiaflcio.org.


Picture1.pngContact: Richard Gerrein,

Business Manager

IUOE Local 20

1150 W. Eighth Street

Suite 205

Cincinnati, Ohio 45203

(513) 751-1671


For Immediate Release:  August 20, 2021


Local 20 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, AFL-CIO, is pleased to announce that it has reached an agreement upon a new labor agreement with the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners.  As a result, the strike, which was to commence this Sunday, August 21, 2021 has been averted.

IUOE Local 20 had served notice upon the County Commissioners of its intent to strike following the parties’ inability to reach agreement upon the key issue of wages after more than 1 ½ years.  Following notice of its intent to strike, the County Commissioners increased their wage offer which was accepted by IUOE Local 20.

IUOE Local 20 Business Manager Rick Gerrein stated: “We are pleased that the strike was averted, and that our members received a wage increase taking them one step closer to full parity with employees of other comparable Cincinnati employers.  More importantly, we are pleased that the public will continue to receive, without interruption, professional maintenance of County Buildings, including the HVAC systems so critical to ensuring safe air quality during the ongoing pandemic.”

IUOE Local 20 represents 23 separate bargaining units in the Greater Cincinnati area with a total membership of approximately 500.  Employers include the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners, the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, the University of Cincinnati, the Cities of Fairfield and Hamilton, and the Southwest Regional Water District. Visit us on the web at iuoe20.org.