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 – email@example.com)
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 – firstname.lastname@example.org)
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 – email@example.com )
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
America faces a crisis on three critical fronts: a public health pandemic, an economic free fall and long-standing structural racism. Working people need safe jobs, economic security and freedom from systemic racism. Delivering on economic essentials included in the HEROES Act is an absolute minimum requirement for stopping the free fall into even deeper and deadly racial inequality.
Watch the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Video Call To Action!
H.R. 6800, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, includes an emergency workplace infectious disease standard; gives aid for state and local governments, public schools, the U.S. Postal Service, and pension funding relief; keeps workers on payrolls to avoid mass layoffs; extends unemployment insurance; provides more direct payments to working people; extends health care coverage; provides housing and food benefits; and much more.
Of course, as is the case with any legislation, the HEROES Act is not perfect. We would urge Congress to protect mine workers by requiring not only the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) but also the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to issue an emergency temporary standard on infectious disease.
In addition, since there is no consensus in the labor movement about the GROW Act (which authorizes composite multiemployer retirement plans), we would suggest further review and debate on it as the HEROES Act moves toward enactment.
Working people are desperate for our leaders to put partisanship aside and do what is right for our health, our economy and our country. The HEROES Act is a major step forward.
La Ley de Soluciones de Emergencia Omnibus de Salud y Recuperación Económica, H.R. 6800, incluye un estándar de emergencia de enfermedades infecciosas en el lugar de trabajo; brinda ayuda a gobiernos estatales y locales, escuelas públicas, el Servicio Postal de EE. UU. y alivio de fondos de pensiones; mantiene a los trabajadores en nóminas para evitar despidos masivos; extiende el seguro de desempleo; proporciona pagos más directos a personas que trabajan; extiende la cobertura de atención médica; proporciona vivienda y beneficios alimenticios; y mucho más.
Por supuesto, como es el caso con cualquier legislación, la Ley HEROES no es perfecta. Instamos al Congreso a proteger a los trabajadores mineros al exigir no solo a la Administración de Seguridad y Salud Ocupacional (OSHA) sino también a la Administración de Seguridad y Salud Minera (MSHA) que emita un estándar temporal de emergencia sobre enfermedades infecciosas.
Además, dado que no hay consenso en el movimiento laboral sobre la Ley GROW (que autoriza los planes compuestos de jubilación para empleadores múltiples), sugeriríamos una revisión y debate adicionales a medida que la Ley HEROES avance hacia su promulgación.
Los trabajadores están desesperados por que nuestros líderes dejen de lado el partidismo y hagan lo correcto para nuestra salud, nuestra economía y nuestro país. La Ley HEROES es un gran paso adelante.
Tuesday, June 2, 2020 — Cincinnati, OH — As I write this, I feel the very real pain that most of America feels as we look back at the events of this last week. No feeling human being can avoid the sense of disillusionment and loss, watching now too often repeated images of a person of color dying at the hands of those who are sworn to “protect and serve.” The image of George Floyd pinned neck down to the road by a sworn police officer; who like us is a son, a brother, a father, an American citizen and human being with full rights, freedoms and fair protections provided by the U.S. Constitution and our democratic government; crying out in anguish and desperation as his last few dying breaths are crushed out of him, as he cries out in pain for his mother. Another tragic day in what we call the United States of America, so-called land of the free, home of the brave.
More unfortunately, this heartbreaking incident is not the first time we as Americans are hearing the tortured cries of “I can’t breathe”, watching the senseless killing and murders of unarmed American Africans. In July 2014, a cellphone video captured the final words of Eric Garner as New York City police officers sat on his head and pinned him to the ground on a sidewalk. We watched the recent videos showing: Ahmaud Arbery, murdered while simply jogging in broad daylight; Freddie Gray, while being transported in a police van; Tamir Rice, a 12-year kid while playing on a playground; John Crawford, while shopping in a Walmart store; Sam Dubose, for missing a front license plate; Philando Castile, for driving with a legally permitted firearm; not to mention what happened to Terence Crutcher, Alton Sterling, Jamar Clark, Jeremy McDole, William Chapman II, Walter Scott, Eric Harris, Akai Gurley, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and on and on, a systematic continuation of what has been happening in our country for more than 400 years. When you see the same circumstances and tragic outcomes play out over and over again, simple denials and excuses are no longer possible … This is RACISM, plain, simple and truly evil. And this cancer – the original sin our nation – permeates our lives and stains our nation as it consumes the lives and livelihoods of the working people of America, especially those of color.
Why do I say, “working people?” Because as AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said last week:
“… this is a labor issue because it is a workplace issue. It is a community issue, and unions are the community. We must and will continue to fight for reforms in policing and to address issues of racial and economic inequality.”
Essentially, as working people in America, we must never stop fighting for economic, social and racial justice for all. Racial privilege and prejudice must have no place our American society.
At the same time, this statement of solidarity in no way condones the actions of a few who are taking advantage of this tragedy by laying waste and inflicting destruction upon our community. Their violence and reckless disregard for life detracts from the sincere intentions and tireless efforts of those who peacefully protest in an honest effort to right this terrible wrong and bring about change that is so sorely needed and long overdue. However, as a good friend recently reminded me, let’s not confuse our most important priorities: Instead of thinking “It’s horrible that an innocent black man was killed, but destroying property has to stop”, we should be reinforcing “It’s horrible that property is being destroyed, but killing innocent black men HAS TO STOP.” If you cannot sincerely say this statement, if you cannot meaningfully live/act upon this statement, then you do not mean it.
Just know this though…no amount of violence and destruction will deter the efforts of working people of all colors to bring about the end to America’s historic and systemic inequities of economic, social, and racial justice. We stand in steadfast solidarity with our Sisters and Brothers of all colors against hate, greed, and those who seek to keep the good, honest, hard-working people of America divided. No number of burned building, or panes of broken glass will stop us. As stated by Jean-Bertrand Aristide, “If one suffers, we all suffer. Togetherness is strength”; and the great Martin Luther King, Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” The work of the AFL-CIO goes on unabated. I proudly deliver this Labor message on behalf of our President Bill Froehle, twenty-one Executive Board members (who unanimously approved this message at a meeting held earlier today), one hundred and four union affiliates and over 30,000 union members covering our greater Cincinnati jurisdiction.
Peter M. McLinden, Esq.
Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council
About the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council – As one of over 500 state and local labor councils of the AFL-CIO, the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council is at the heart of the labor movement in southwest Ohio. We are democratically elected bodies dedicated to representing the interests of all working people at the state and local level. We mobilize our members and community partners to advocate for social and economic justice, striving every day to vanquish oppression and make our communities better for all people—regardless of race, color, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, or ethnic or national origin. For information of the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council, call (513) 421-1846 or email email@example.com.
In 2010, Barack Obama walked into the well of the House to deliver his annual State of the Union address and declared: “A new decade stretches before us.” He spoke to us of our frustrations and anger, many of which were fresh, open wounds inflicted upon us by the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. But then he quickly pivoted to a more optimistic note and said, “In this new decade, it’s time the American people get a government that matches their decency, that embodies their strength.” Well, from where I sit at the close of that decade, that optimism has yet to be born out.
In the decade since Barrack Obama first sounded that now remote note of optimism, political, cultural, and economic gaps have widened, hearts have hardened, and anxiety born of a prolonged financial crisis, has come to define so many of our behaviors, relationships, and conversations. Divergent ideologies now determine even the sources by which we gather our news and harvest our information, resulting in alternative and irreconcilable truths. And then, just when you think the world cannot become more divided, a thing called COVID-19 comes along and adds a literal twist to what had been only a metaphor as we spoke loosely of “a nation divided.”
Well, if you are still reading this after that rather stark assessment, let me tell you that I say all that to better illustrate this… Amid all this, let’s try for a moment to take a slightly different perspective … a more horizontal view of this darker interpretation of our culture. We may even find some silver lining. To the extent that this world of ours has continued to function in these terrible times of political division and COVID 19, we have been given a unique and inspiring look at the true face of our nation. As unsolvable as it all may seem, to the extent that America continues to galumph its way along in spite of the ineptitude and false hopes of it so-called leaders, it does so riding squarely on the solid, reliable, steadfast backs of its hard-working middle class.
Yes. The hard-working people of America’s Labor Movement have once more proven to be the “not-so-little engine that could.” It’s you… it’s us… it’s our Sisters and Brothers in Healthcare, Public Safety, Building Trades/Construction, Food Workers/Retail, Transportation, Public Sector, Education and US Postal Service putting your lives on the line every hour of every day. To the extent this nation is functioning, you can thank a Union Worker. Bravo Sisters and Brothers! Its us!
So yes, live humbly, but take pride in each other… and in the very noble work we do…work too often performed in silence and out of the view of the more strident minority. However, know that today, you are heard! You are seen! Your voice rings out in the sound of our hammers and in the squeaking of our brakes…in the roar of our engines, the quenching of fires and the easing of pain… in our hands — the hands that do God’s noble work… the hands of America’s Unions! You are America at its best!
You my Sisters and Brothers are why this nation will persevere. You are why we will continue and pull out of this…Because we persist, we will see more and brighter days ahead. And here, as we stand once again… on the edge of yet another new decade, it may yet prove out yet that in this new decade, the American people will get “…a government that matches their decency, that embodies their strength.” We have the opportunity to get it right this time.
So, thank you, Sisters and Brothers, for all you do… and for all that you are. A sometimes seemingly ungrateful nation sees you now and is indeed grateful. And what they see is the absolute best of this nation’s character and its hope. You have shown them what is truly meant by “Solidarity forever!”
National, State, Regional, County and City Labor and Elected Leaders to Discuss
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ― May 5, 2020 — Cincinnati, OH — Friday, May 8, 11:00 am, Labor Leaders and National, State, Regional, County and City Elected Leaders will meet in an online panel discussion covering how best to “Reopen America.” This not-to-miss event being produced by the Cincinnati AFL-CIO and hosted by Doug Bolton from CincinnatiCares.com, features a panel of representatives from the U.S. Senate and House, Ohio House and Senate, Hamilton County, City of Cincinnati, and Labor Leaders representing Healthcare, Public Safety, Building Trades/Construction, Food Workers/Retail, Transportation, Public Sector, Education and US Postal Service sectors. (A list of the Elected and Labor Leaders for this panel is located on page 2 of this release.)
At the heart of this discussion is “Safety First: Working People’s Plan for Reopening Our Economy.” Every day, health care workers, transit workers, meatpacking workers, first responders, grocery workers, utility workers, letter carriers, construction workers, doormen, retail workers, child protective service workers, factory workers, solid waste workers, corrections officers, janitors and other workers are being exposed to the coronavirus in U.S. workplaces. Hundreds of thousands of workers have been infected and thousands have died. Putting worker safety first is the first step in any viable plan to save lives, defeat the coronavirus and revive the economy, as the AFL-CIO has further laid out in America’s Five Economic Essentials. These important points will drive our discussion.
About the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council – As one of over 500 state and local labor councils of the AFL-CIO, the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council is at the heart of the labor movement in southwest Ohio. We are a democratically elected body dedicated to representing the interests of all working people at the state and local level. We mobilize our members and community partners to advocate for social and economic justice, striving every day to vanquish oppression and make our communities better for all people—regardless of race, color, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, or ethnic or national origin. For information of the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council, call (513) 421-1846 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
National, State, Regional, County and City Labor and Elected Leaders to Discuss
“Reopening America” – On Online Event
Councilmember, City of Cincinnati
Chair/Commissioner, Hamilton County
Ohio House 28th District Rep.
Ohio House 31st District Rep.
Ohio House 32nd District Rep.
Ohio House 33rd District Rep.
Ohio Senate 9th District Senator
Congressman, U.S. Representative 13th Congressional District
Chief of Staff, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown’s office
Tim Burga ― President, Ohio AFL-CIO
Bill Froehle ― President, Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council, Business Manager, UA Plumbers-Pipefitters, Local 392
Ted Thompson, President of NALC Branch 43, sent us the most recent NALC Legislative Update. We’ve probably all read something about the USPS recently… Much is on the news with President Trump threatening a veto if any stimulus includes appropriations for the USPS. While NALC leadership along with the leadership of the UPWU continues dealing with the everyday issues the COVID-19 pandemic, our Sisters and Brothers at the USPS need our help and our voices. Please give this important document your attention and do what you can to help where you can. Thank you!
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of millions of working people and our families, and the labor movement has been working tirelessly to limit the impact of this crisis on our health and livelihoods. We worked to make sure the relief packages Congress recently passed put the needs of working families and our communities first.
To help navigate these new and expanded federal and state benefits and assistance programs, we put together an online resource that has information about unemployment benefits, paid leave, health insurance and community assistance resources.
This resource contains the most relevant services and programs in your state to help you find the relief you and your family need. Simply select your state and the category of resources you’re looking for, and we’ll point you to the organizations and agencies that can help.
These are trying and uncertain times. But the labor movement is here for you. We are your resource to help you and your family through this crisis.