Due in large part to the hard work of North America’s Building Trades Unions and other unions, registered apprenticeships have been a reliable pathway to the middle class for decades – including for workers who don’t go to college – by training workers for good jobs and allowing them to earn while they learn. A Mathematica study shows workers can earn $240,000 more over the course of their lifetime – $300,000 when including benefits – by participating in these programs. Registered apprenticeships are especially important as we recover from the pandemic, allowing workers who have lost their jobs or young people who are entering a weak job market to train for the jobs of the future while earning a decent income.
To this end, President Biden took the bold step to end the Trump-era program by reversing industry recognized apprenticeship programs (IRAPs), which threaten to undermine registered apprenticeship programs. Industry-recognized apprenticeship programs have fewer quality standards than registered apprenticeship programs – for example, they fail to require the wage progression that reflects increasing apprentice skills and they lack the standardized training rigor that ensures employers know they are hiring a worker with high-quality training.
In an Executive Order, President Biden rescinded Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13801, which spurred the creation of these programs. He is also asking DOL to consider new rulemaking to reverse these programs and to immediately slow support for industry recognized apprenticeship programs by pausing approval of new Standards Recognition Entities and ending new funding for existing Standards Recognition Entities.
The Ohio AFL CIO has released its legislative agenda for the 2021-2022 calendar year. The Agenda focuses on the Pandemic, Worker safety, Jobs, Racial justice, Education equity, Tax Fairness and fair districting. Many of these priorities impact a not just our membership but all Ohio citizens. These key issues will be the guide this year as we fight for Labor and working people across the state. With the collaboration with our CLC’s and Local unions, we can be a positive force that can pass effective legislation and give security to all Ohioans.
The Ohio AFL-CIO is waiting on an infrastructure Bill to be announced from the Federal Level, Pres. Biden has vowed to push for a revitalization of Americas infrastructure with backing from the House and Senate. There will be a bill in the near future and will be shared with our CLC and members when available.
IUE-CWA Walmart Action:
This past Saturday the Cincinnati AFL-CIO held a 2-location action in support of the GE-Savant light bulb plant in Bucyrus Ohio. The Actions have garner national attention from the National AFL-CIO and even the Wal-Mart Cooperation. Actions containing to go on around the nation every Saturday from 12-1pm. The Next Walmart Action in Cincinnati will be March 6th (details TBD)
The COVID relief bill will be introduced on the House floor within the next week, After a passing vote the Bill will be sent to the Senate for a final vote. As we’ve seen in in the recent past the vote may fall by party lines. The COVID relief bill will cover minimum wage, stimulus checks and the PRO Act.
Pro Act Summary:
The pro Act (H.R. 842) has recently been introduced by the 117th congress. The bill currently has 200 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and has been referred to the Education & labor committee for further review. The resolution would still need to pass the Senate without a filibuster or possibly vote by party lines with Vice President Harris as the tiebreaker. President Biden has express support for the PRO Act as a part of his “Build Back better” plan and his support for Labor. The Passage of the Pro Act would strengthen unions, penalize employers for violating labor laws and eliminate ALL Right to Work laws. Pro Act will be introduced to senate around March 8th. Please review and participate in our Pro Act Campaign Actions!
PRO Act Actions
Call In: We are mobilizing and organizing members to participate in the Pro- Act campaign by calling in our Legislators and Urging them to Support the Pro-Act. Please Call your Legislator and urge them to PASS THE PRO ACT.
To Participate, Please Call 866-832-1560 and tell Congress to PASS THE PRO ACT!
Letter to the Editor (LTE): We are mobilizing and organizing members to participate in the Pro- Act campaign by submitting Letters to the Editors to local Newspapers across the State. If interested, please see attached file for Letter templates!
PRO Act Informational meetings: We are mobilizing and organizing members through education. If you would like to organize a PRO Act Informational or want a short Pro Act presentation at your next Local union meeting, Please Contact me to set up the event.
Follow the Bill: If you are interested in following the PRO Act (HR 842) through Congress, Please Click the link!
A project critical to protecting the environment and the long-term viability of Enbridge Line 5, a crude oil pipeline that supplies refineries throughout the Midwest, is in jeopardy.
The Enbridge Straits Line 5 Replacement Segment Project would allow for the current pipeline that runs through the Straits of Mackinac to be rerouted through a tunnel in the bedrock beneath the Straits, protecting the waterway and the Great Lakes.
Representative Michael Sheehy (R-46) has introduced a bi-partisan resolution to encourage Michigan to grant Enbridge the Act 16 application to relocate Line 5. The Ohio AFL-CIO Executive Board also voted to support the resolution. Read the resolution here
The Enbridge Line 5 pipeline delivers a majority of the crude oil refined at The Toledo Refining Company (TRC), in Toledo, Ohio. TRC provides over 550 permanent good paying jobs to Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan. A vast majority of these jobs belong to the Union members of United Steelworkers Local 912 and several building trades unions. Without the Line 5 Tunnel project these brothers and sisters jobs may be in danger, as well as the supply of transportation and jet fuels in Ohio, Michigan, and the surrounding areas.
To protect good paying jobs and safeguard the environment, it is imperative that the Michigan Public Service Commission grant Enbridge its Act 16 application to relocate Line 5. You can sign the USW petition here.
Ronnie (Pup) Wardrup has run the race, fought the good fight, and has hung up his cap as Staff Representative at USW. Ronnie joined Southwestern Ohio Steel September 7th, 1978 and became dues paying member of the United Steelworkers Local Union 5541. He was Appointed as a Grievance Committeeman in the early 1980’s of USW Local Union 5541.
Ronnie joined the Butler Warren Clinton Counties AFL-CIO serving as an Executive Board Member until merging with the Dayton-Miami Valley Regional Labor Council of the AFL-CIO serving on the Executive Committee and Executive Council and worked collaboratively with the Cincinnati AFL-CIO at every opportunity. He was first appointed and then elected in his own right to serve on the Area Labor Federation (ALF) of the Cincinnati and Dayton/Miami Valley Labor Councils of the AFL-CIO.
Ronnie joined the Butler County Democratic Party serving as 2nd Vice President until serving as Chair of the Executive Committee Butler County Democratic Party. He is currently serving as Central and Executive Board member and Governing Board member in a Labor Position.
Served Vice President of USW Local Union 5541 and moved up according to USW Constitution to President of USW Local Union 5541 when the office was vacated. He worked on the Civil Rights Committee, the Political Committee, Organizing Committee. Ronnie also served on State of Ohio Worker’s Compensation Committee and on USW Safety Committee and was appointed as Butler County United Way as a board member by the Butler Warren Clinton County AFL-CIO.
Ronnie was brought out of the plant and placed on Casual Status by Director Frank Vickers. He was hired by Director Dave McCall for the United Steelworkers as a Staff Representative May 15th, 1998 and served in that capacity as a USW Staff Representative for 21 & 1/2 years. He was appointed to Co-chair of the USW Sports Committee by Director Dave McCall and was elected as Democratic Party Man for Butler County as a member of the Executive Committee to the Ohio Democratic Party then appointed and serving as “At Large” for the Ohio Democratic Party Executive Committee. Finally, Ronnie was appointed and served as a USW Vice President to the Ohio AFL-CIO State Federation by Director Donnie Blatt.
Another of the many, many things Ronnie was not just involved in, but active and dedicated to was Masons. In 1993 he became a Freemason in Columbia Lodge # 44, now known as Nova Caesarea Harmony # 2. Soon thereafter he joined the Cincinnati chapter of Scottish Rite Masons, and then the Cincinnati Chapter Shriners Serving the Shriners Burns hospitals.
Of course, anyone who really knows Pup, knows the greatest source of his energy, focus, and zeal for life comes from the love of his life, his wife Lisa. About them and their relationship, he said “I would never have been able to do any of my activism without the love and support of my beautiful and understanding wife Lisa.”
In speaking with Ronnie about his new-found status, he said “Although my exit from The United Steelworkers as a Staff Representative was hurried along due to health reasons, I will never forget all of those I have met through this journey of Solidarity, from the beginning when I first started paying dues In September of 1978 until my Retirement on February 1st, 2021. I’ve have made lifelong friends I will treasure eternally. Always remember to say a good word about your Union. Solidarity Forever…
Ronnie (Pup) Wardrup, your leadership, your activism, your support, and most of all your kindness will always be remembered and missed. Happy retirement Brother Pup…Well deserved!
As a result of the last election, we currently control the Senate, the House, and the Presidency. We have now been truly given a chance to really make some strides for the working people of America. My hope is they take full opportunity to now pass some long-needed assistance in Unionizing and rebuilding the Middle Class.
The last four years we have watched as the National Labor Relations Board was slowly being decimated by Peter Robb. This anti-union lawyer was hired by the Trump administration and has done everything he could to take away our rights to Organize. Joe Biden fired him on the first day of his Presidency and then fired his second in command Alice Stock on January 21st.
We have also gotten to see the realigning of Buy American. Which will ensure when your taxes are used for government purposes then American products and services will be utilized. There will be a new leader appointed here and the loopholes to the system will be closed. This will do way more than sanctions ever would.
Now I know what you’re thinking. “What about that shutting down of the Keystone pipeline.” To those folks, I say maybe you should look at the photos of the 410,000 gallons of spilled oil which was caused by that pipeline so far. Then ask yourself just how many jobs were lost. By the numbers I have been given it was about 1,000 lost jobs. Some Union and most not. Meanwhile we saved the environment and ensured a lot more work for the Teamsters who will be driving trucks to deliver the oil instead. Those trucking jobs were going to be gone after the pipeline was completed.
These are just a few things we have had happen so far. I believe we will finally get an infrastructure bill soon. We will also see more stimulus granted to help the working class. The Coronavirus is slowly getting better and will continue to lessen now that there is a Federal plan of containment. But this is only the tip of the iceberg.
I honestly think we are about to see the rebuilding of the American Labor Unions. Groups like Amazon are already seeing people trying to Organize the facilities and this is going to catch on. The people are tired of not making a decent living and they know the only way to change it is to Unionize.
Many people have lost hope for the future. I have spoken with many young people lately and they are tired of the bullshit which has become the political norm for the last 20 years. They have spent their whole lives watching the government do nothing but fight between the two parties for control. This has inspired them to action.
I anticipate we will begin seeing the old rule leave and a new group of fresh new faces with fresh new ideas take over. The youth believe in this country, but they feel it has lost its way. They are ready for real changes and they believe in Unions. This country has always had a way of fixing its problems and the time has come for some real changes.
While I am excited about what the current office holders will do for us, I am even more excited for were we will be in 10 years. The attitudes and ideas I have heard from people under 25 have restored my faith in the future. We are on the dawn of a new generation. While it has been very dark times for our country lately, remember, “It is always darkest before the dawn”
(Dave Baker is Business Manager / F.S. – T. Iron Workers Local Union #44 and a member of the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council Executive Board – firstname.lastname@example.org)
In 1935, Congress passed, and President Franklin Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act (aka Wagner Act), the legal foundation for a new national labor policy, guaranteeing the right of private sector employees to organize into unions, engage in collective bargaining and participate in collective employment actions. Under this Act, the government would act as a neutral intermediary, to promote labor peace, protecting and balancing the rights of employers and workers, while promoting stronger labor-management relationships. In the midst of the Great Depression, massive economic inequalities and expanding Fascist and Communist dictatorships, the United States government decided that it served the best interests of our nation, our democracy, and our people, to have a national labor policy based on cooperation, collaboration, and collective bargaining. Utilizing this policy, we put people back to work, rebuilt our economy and country, won victory in the Second World War, and built the strongest, working/middle class citizenry in the history of the world.
Over the last forty years, anti-union corporations, far-right extremists and their political allies have continued their relentless attacks to weaken and dismantle the NLRA and national labor policy: politicizing the National Labor Relations Board; allowing Federal judges to create countless loopholes, exemptions and exceptions to the law; disproportionately favoring the rights of employers to the detriment of employees under the false claims of economic/individual freedom and so-called “free trade”. The consequential results speak for themselves: a rapidly declining American middle class; corporations closing American factories and moving production overseas; a U.S. trade deficit of more than $679 Billion dollars (2020); parents having to work 2-4 jobs with longer hours, less pay and benefits to support their struggling families; lower jobs/economic opportunities for our children; lower union membership/density; and, finally, a weaker United States of America, trying to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and facing greater challenges/threats from other rising world powers (China, Russia, etc.).
In 2021, our country is ready for change and an economic revitalization; to strengthen our national labor policy and bring it into the 21st century: Congress must pass the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act), the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act, and the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act. These federal laws will bring back a new, fairer balance of employer-employee rights; promote strong labor-management relationships and collective bargaining; hold bad employers both responsible and accountable for their unlawful actions against workers; bring renewed hope, jobs and economic opportunities to millions of American working families and future generations; and finally, these laws will help to rebuild America and make our nation stronger and more united.
Sisters and Brothers, if there is one lesson to be learned over the last forty years, it is this simple truth: We are always stronger when we act collectively together. So please, on behalf of yourself, your family, and your union sisters and brothers throughout the country, join our collective action campaign and contact Congressman Steve Chabot, Congressman Ben Wenstrup, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and U.S. Senator Rob Portman, and demand that they stand up for all working Americans by co-sponsoring and voting for the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act), the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act, and the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act.
Thank you, and may God’s Blessings be with all working American families throughout 2021… In Solidarity, U and I…
(Peter M. McLinden Esq. is a proud member of AFSCME Local 2461/Union Township, and Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council – email@example.com)
Definition of “buy-in.”Acceptance of and willingness to actively support and participate in something (such as a proposed new plan or policy or organization such as a labor union) Without buy-in from his troops, Gruden’s just another tuned-out coach. — Tim Keown
I heard this story about a football coach that was passionate about having his players tuck in their shirts. Of course, the players really questioned him and pushed back on tucking in their shirt. They asked him, “Is tucking in my shirt going to help me score more touchdowns? Will tucking in my shirt help me run faster?” And, of course, the coach responded, “No… it’s for buy in.”
This coach was testing the commitment level of his players. Are they willing to do whatever it takes? Are they willing to show everyone that they trust the team? Are they willing to cut the life raft and go down with the ship? Are they “buying in”? Or will they send the message to their teammates that they are not willing to simply tuck in their shirt.
Brothers and Sisters,
As members of Local 392, or any other organization that we are members of, the story is almost always the same. Those organizations are continually looking for members who “buy in” to whatever the organization advocates for. If you are a member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars or Disabled American Veterans you advocate on behalf of veterans of the United States military. If you are a member of a Kiwanis club you advocate on behalf of children and local communities. As a member of several organizations over the past 54 years of my life it is no secret that many of them are struggling to attract new members or to retain existing members. As the Business Manager of Local 392 this is something that concerns me deeply because at times it feels like many of our own members are not “buying in” to what we as a labor union advocate for every day.
It is no secret why teams are successful whether it is at the grade school, high school, college, or professional level. Success of an organization is always tied to the level of “buy in” from its members, Local 392 is no different. Whenever we speak to new apprentices at orientation, whenever we speak to new members who come to us through organizing, whenever we speak to members who have been with local 392 for any length of time our message is always the same, “Local 392 NEEDS our members to “buy in” to the mission of the United Association which has always been to help our members build a better life for themselves and their families. For over 130 years, this has been the cornerstone of who we are and what we stand for. Even as our organization and the world have grown and evolved, we have not changed in our commitment to the following core values, 1. The highest standards in training, 2. The health and safety of our members, 3. Fair wages and benefits, 4. Building industry relationships with our partner contractors and the end users who utilize them.
As your elected leaders of local 392 our ability to advocate for our members and all workers will only be effective if we have “buy in” from you.
The next union meeting will be on March 12th, 2021 @ 7 P.M. at the Local 392 JATC. Please remember that you are responsible for keeping your dues and drug card current.
(Bill Froehle is Business Manager for Plumbers, Pipefitters & Mechanical Equipment Service Local Union No. 392 and President of Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council – firstname.lastname@example.org )
Outdated labor laws have hampered our fundamental right to join together and negotiate for better wages, benefits and working conditions. The Protecting the Right to Organize Act will empower America’s workers and make our economy work for working people.
The House of Representatives passed the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act last year, but anti-worker legislators in the Senate blocked it. Undeterred, working people fought to elect pro-worker lawmakers to the Senate, House and White House. And we won. We thank Senator Sherrod Brown and Representatives Tim Ryan, Joyce Beatty and Marcy Kaptur for signing on as co-sponsors. Now is the time to put pressure on our Republican Representatives to stand up for working people.
The union representing State of Ohio employees who handle unemployment claims is crying foul after the announcement by Governor DeWine that the administration will hire yet another private contractor to “take over” unemployment insurance.
Leaders of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association say hiring another contractor is not the answer. In fact, the contracting out of unemployment claims is the major reason claims processing in the Ohio Department of Job and Family (ODJFS) Services has fallen so far behind, says the union.
Multiple ODJFS private contractors hired since the pandemic have caused an unprecedented number of overpayments and fraud claims, which has slowed down the whole unemployment process.
Alarmingly, a data breach with at least one of those vendors has caused the number of fraud claims to spin out of control. Now, existing ODJFS staff are having to keep up and clean up.
Those developments have had a ripple effect within the agency, causing existing unemployment staff to work overtime to try to keep up with fraud claims and overpayments—in addition to performing their regular work of processing unemployment claims. For months, ODJFS unemployment staff have been working up to 14 hours per day as well as weekends to keep up with the workload.
Due to the fraud alone, state unemployment staff must now verify and double check every claim as well as address new appeals of claims, which has also risen in number. All of these things have stalled the unemployment process.
“The slow-down of unemployment claims rests squarely on the shoulders of these private vendors,” said OCSEA President Chris Mabe.
But the agency’s problems go back many years, says the union. OCSEA leadership had been pressing the agency even before the pandemic to hire more full time staff. Between 2011 and 2019, the agency lost nearly 600 full-time unemployment claims specialists, so were already short-staffed going into the health crisis.
The outsourcing of unemployment duties to unskilled, untrained staff has made the problems exponentially worse.
“This is at least a two-part problem. On the one hand, even before the pandemic, staff in the unemployment division in ODJFS was bare bones,” said OCSEA President Chris Mabe. “Secondly, private vendors from other states and countries, hired at a cost of at least $20 million dollars to the taxpayer, have made the problems much worse,” he said.
Despite these difficulties, state unemployment workers have paid out an unprecedented $16 billion dollars to 1.7 million claimants in less than a year. “Our members in ODJFS have done a remarkable job in the face of these challenges,” said Mabe.
An outdated computer system at the agency, which Governor DeWine has recognized, is only part of the problem, according to the union. The other is the long-term lack of investment in the agency and the continued use of unskilled private contractors.
OCSEA leaders believe the unemployment process could be dealt with from within the agency using existing staff and smarter work processes.
“We’ve been down this road during the Great Recession,” said Mabe. “We did it then, we can do it now. It’s still a lot of work, but it can be done,” he said.
“Privatization is often government’s default position during a crisis,” said Mabe. “It’s a knee-jerk reaction that appears easier at first, but, ultimately, is much more costly. We need a measured, thoughtful approach that invests in existing, skilled staff, that brings us all to the table and maps out a path forward with all stakeholders. We are willing and able to do that,” he said.
OCSEA represents approximately 27,000 state and local government employees who work in a wide range of security, regulatory, administrative, direct care, maintenance, customer service and other positions, including 2,188 employees in the Ohio Dept. of Job and Family Services. For more information, contact Sally Meckling, 614-865-2602 or 614-404-3881 (cell).
For Immediate Release: FEBRUARY 1, 2021 Contact: President Julie Sellers, Cincinnati Federation of Teachers Email: email@example.com Phone: (513) 961-2272
CFT was disappointed to receive Judge Lisa Allen decision denying CFT’s request to delay in-person instruction until an
arbitrator could decide the union’s health and safety grievance. The Judge failed to recognize the union’s fundamental
right to enforce the terms of its contract with CPS. The contract requires CPS to co-operate with CFT on safety issues
and gives union members the right to file grievances contesting unsafe working conditions.
CFT will examine its legal remedies in light of the court’s decision today.
In the meantime, CFT will continue to fight for the health and safety of its members and the entire CPS community. In
person instruction is scheduled to begin tomorrow for some of our students. We have advised our members that each of
them must make their own personal decision on whether they should risk COVID infection by ignoring state health
guidelines to minimize contacts with others while our county remains in the “Red”. They and the parents of our students
must consider their own health conditions, and the conditions of their family members in making the decision on
whether to report to school.
We are disappointed that unlike the Columbus School District, CPS has so far declined to extend the FFCRA COVID leave
options previously available under federal law. As a result, if our members get infected or are required to quarantine
because of COVID exposure while at school, they will have to take their own sick leave, if they have any left.
We know many CPS families are also concerned about whether they can safely return their children to school under
these circumstances. We appreciate the support many parents have shown for wanting our members to be effectively
vaccinated before returning to in person instruction.
We had hoped to collaborate with CPS so we could assure our members and the entire community that our schools are
as safe as possible before children return to class. Unfortunately, the Board chose to ignore the concerns of teachers,
staff and many CPS parents. As a result we cannot assure our members or parents that schools will be safe as they
reopen starting tomorrow and in coming weeks.
The Cincinnati Federation of Teachers is a union of professionals who champions the social and economic wellbeing
of our members, Cincinnati’s children, families, working people and communities. We are committed to
advancing these principles through community engagement, organizing, collective bargaining and political
activism and especially through our members’ work.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” Charles Dickens from A Tale of Two Cities
Most of us know this quote as the opening paragraph from A Tale of Two Cities by the remarkable Charles Dickens. And you likely also know that in A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens was offering us a close-up view into 18th century England, and across the Channel, in France. If you know about the disruptive state of affairs in England and France during this time, perhaps you’ll appreciate the allegorical reference of these phrases for us here today, more than two and a half centuries later.
With these remarks, Dickens described an age of radical opposites taking place just a few miles apart, separated only by the English Channel. It speaks of contrasts and comparisons between two cities in the midst of a revolution. And while it kept its storyline focused on London and Paris, it was certainly representative of far more. He was pointing to a major conflict between family and love, hatred, and oppression, good and evil, light and darkness, wisdom, and folly. Now if that doesn’t sound frighteningly familiar, you may want to just cease reading this now…
On Wednesday of this week, the absolute best and worst of our Nation were on full display simultaneously. While an armed rabble of seditionists breached and occupied our Nation’s capital in what is arguably the greatest threat to our democracy this nation has ever known, in Georgia – yes, I said Georgia – the very spark of that same democracy was being rekindled and casting light on what we must all now pray is a new era of American greatness. I would truly never have believed either of these stories if I hadn’t been witness to them as played out right in front of me on Wednesday, January 6, 2021.
The first of our two stories is how, after four years of his lies, deceit, greed, and indifference, an immoral, would-be tyrant lead a small, but dangerous band of misinformed followers to our nation’s capital building – “The Peoples’ House” – to try to take and keep what he had lost in a safe, fair and solemn election. There, they breached the doors of that sacred shrine to freedom, occupied, vandalized, and desecrated its hallowed rooms and halls. Even after the people had spoken and said no…not you…and not this anymore. Nature will write the remainder of that story, but It was, hopefully, the final act of a maniacal autocrat and his last trampling of the long-respected principles, practices, traditions, and laws that set our nation apart.
The second of our two stories is one of triumph. Of longshots paying off. Of the mighty being brought down by the lowly. A story where two champions of democracy, against all odds, are triumphant in their pursuit of victory in their races for the US Senate, becoming two crucial stones in the great wall defending our republic. It is the story of how sanity, stability, reason, and safety are restored to a nation savagely abused and neglected for four long years, but ultimately unbowed.
Yes, Wednesday, January 6, 2021 may well be the second date on the awful, but thankfully very short list of days that will “live in infamy,” but I cannot help but wonder if in the longer arc of history, we won’t look back and recognize it as a day that may well have ended in the tragic death of the greatest experiment in representative democracy the world has ever known but was instead given a rebirth. I wonder if the tragedy of that day will be the near-death experience that was needed to shock this nation into recognizing the weakened and ignoble state in which we now find ourselves because of our own corrosive, petty, spoiled, child-like actions.
It has been said that “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants.” Andlike so many things of late, this quote is most often used badly out of context and far from its initial meaning. It comes from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to William Stephens Smith on Nov. 13, 1787 regarding Shay’s Rebellion in Massachusetts. While Jefferson was sympathetic to that cause, he did go on in his letter to note that such seditious acts were all too often fomented by treasonable actors to enrage ill-informed factions, and that the remedy to these uprisings, was to “set them right as to facts…” In short, truth!
As did Jefferson, I too believe that democracy must be vigilantly protected, and truth be the sword it wields against the mischaracterization and falsehoods of those who would have us ultimately lose our freedoms by telling us that they alone are the only means by which they can be protected and defended. History is replete with tyrants who subdued and subjugated a people in the name of protecting and defending them. Our only hope against such evil is the cold, glaring light of truth, so that we may never fall prey to the darkness and fallacy of specious promises ever again… Vagaries and platitudes such as those we have heard, over and over, these past four years.
Okay, I’ve given you Dickens and Jefferson, but I also promised some Dylan, so I will finish with this: “Come senators, congressmen, please heed the call. Don’t stand in the doorway. Don’t block up the hall. For he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled. The battle outside ragin’ will soon shake your windows and rattle your walls. For the times they are a-changin’. Wow! Could he have been more prophetic?
Less than a month after Dylan recorded that song, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963. The next night, Dylan opened a concert with “The Times They Are a-Changin’.” He later told biographer Anthony Scaduto, “I thought, ‘Wow, how can I open with that song? I’ll get rocks thrown at me.’ But I had to sing it, my whole concert takes off from there.” What Dylan didn’t yet fully understand is how truth is democracy’s only real defense.
Democracy requires “the truth,” however good or bad it may be. And it must be repeated with more volume and greater frequency than the corrosive falsehoods of the would-be tyrants and depots who are always circling democracy, looking for a chink in its armor. Because the greatest truth is that democracy is fragile, and beautiful, like a glimmering piece of crystal or a small, delicate bird. If we learn nothing else from these past four years, we must come to understand that democracy is tenuous at best, and always, always under threat. Then, when the vigilance of true patriots becomes the very sunlight, air, and water that feeds that same “tree of liberty, precious democracy may be kept from crashing down around us. Because, as Bob Dylan told us, “The Times They Are a-Changin’.”
On January 5th and 6th, our nation witnessed the best and worst of American democracy and values. On Tuesday, Georgia voters went to the polls, elected officials and Board of Election workers did their jobs with fairness and full transparency, all votes were counted; American democracy worked! With the help of Union leaders and members from across the country, Georgia voters were brave and courageous enough to break the Labor unfriendly, anti-working families, partisan political blockage which has hurt working people and harmed our country’s battle with and recovery from the COVID-19 epidemic and consequential economic depression. Looking forward into 2021, we joyously celebrate the upcoming President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ new administration, to work for and represent all Americans, in one common and united front.
On Wednesday, we watched the national disgrace and indignities as an armed, pro-Trump militia/mob attacked our Capital building, threatened the lives of our elected leaders and Capital Police, carried and waved Confederate flags in Capital building hallways, and ransacking the Ohio Senate floor and government office. As angry and upset as I and many others are at these seditious, traitorous and un-American terrorists, we must focus our attention on those elected officials who encouraged, incited and literally called-to-arms this terrorist militia/mob: President Donald Trump and his Senate/Congressional Republican leaders/followers.
We must hold these un-American, un-patriotic leaders fully accountable and responsible for their words, actions and misdeeds. Laws must be upheld and Justice should prevail: investigations should be made, charges issued and criminal trial proceedings held in our courts of law.
Sadly, the world watched the worst of American hypocrisy on Wednesday.
In 2020, we saw, countless, unarmed and innocent African-Americans being killed by police officers; peaceful protesters and Black Lives Matter advocates threatened, gassed and forcefully attacked by riot-geared police and angry, racist and armed white mobs, while exercising their First Amendment rights. Now, we watched hundreds of armed insurgents attack Capital police (over fifty injured, some with life threatening injuries); occupy, steal and destroy government property in our Capital building; and causing such chaos/unrest to lead to the deaths of at least four individuals. However, at this time, only 40-45 of these terrorists have been arrested for attacking/invading the Capital building. The racial and justice hypocrisy between these two police/law enforcement actions is both obvious and clear. So, we must ask ourselves: If the mostly white, armed and pro-Trump militia/mob who attack the Capital building and police had been African-Americans, how would the outcome have differed and why is that so?
Such questions hard to ask, even harder to contemplate and answer in the United States of America in 2021.
In the late hours of Wednesday and early hours of Thursday, American democracy and constitutional principles worked once again; certified election results from the fifty states were counted and affirmed, electing President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris. On Thursday morning, the sun rose once again in the United States of America, and everyday people went to work, kids went to school (some online) and our lives continue on.
So, sisters and brothers, in the year 2021, let us now come together and be united, celebrating our strengths as a nation, recognizing our weakness and failures, reconciling our committed injustices and past grievances, and healing as one country and people, on a greater path of hope and justice. Thank you, and May God’s Blessing be with us all!
In Solidarity, U and I . . .
(Peter M. McLinden is Executive Secretary – Treasurer of Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor COuncil)
Dear Sisters, Brothers, Community Partners and Friends,
Thanks to the dedication of postal workers, 65 million Americans successfully cast their mail ballots this election.
Postal workers put in long hours, did special sweeps of facilities and made extra deliveries to make sure our votes were delivered.
On November 17, we’re coming to deliver our demands for a thriving, public Postal Service. Find an event to join or host one in your community!
The dedication of postal workers kept mail ballots moving, but now that the election is over Postmaster General Louis DeJoy plans to resume his disastrous policies that created delays and chaos this summer and fall.
At the same time, the Postal Service’s finances are still devastated by COVID. The House has passed $25 billion in COVID relief twice, but this administration refused to deliver that aid before the election.
Join us November 17 to demand funding and reverse DeJoy’s delays.
The unprecedented success of vote by mail this election is more evidence that we should be expanding and strengthening the Postal Service—not undermining it.
I hope we’ll see you Nov. 17 to #SaveThePostOffice,
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.