Cincinnati
AFL-CIO
Labor Council
Friday, March 5, 2021
The labor movement continues to lead the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to fight for economic opportunity and social justice for America’s workers.
Quote of the week:
"I’ve long said America wasn’t built by Wall Street, it was built by the middle class, and unions built the middle class. Unions put power in the hands of workers. They level the playing field. They give you a stronger voice for your health, your safety, higher wages, protections from racial discrimination and sexual harassment. Unions lift up workers, both union and non-union, and especially Black and brown workers."
~ Joseph R. Biden, President of the United States
 President Joe Biden Speak Up In Support Of Amazon Workers Organizing In Alabama
President Joe Biden tweeted out a video showing his support for Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama who are voting to form a union with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). Stuart Appelbaum, President of the RWDSU, which is conducting the unionization drive for the workers at the Amazon fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama, issued the following statement:
 
“Thank you, President Biden, for sending a clear message of support for the BAmazon Union workers in Alabama seeking to bring the first union to an Amazon warehouse with the RWDSU. As President Biden points out, the best way for working people to protect themselves and their families is by organizing into unions. And that is why so many working women and men are fighting for a union at the Amazon facility in Bessemer, Alabama.”
 
Labor Movement Urges Speedy Senate Passage of For the People Act
Statement from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka after the passage of H.R. 1, the For the People Act, in the House of Representatives:

For years, the rich and powerful have worked to suppress working people’s right to freely cast a ballot. And in January, we were wounded by one of the most brazen anti-democratic attacks in our history. This sustained assault on our democracy is far from over, as right-wing politicians across the country continue their effort to curb our voting rights. 

If we fail to take action, our most fundamental freedoms will continue to be eroded. Yesterday's passage of the For the People Act is a critical step forward, and the labor movement calls on the Senate to quickly send this bill to President Biden’s desk.

The American people are in a desperate struggle to preserve our right to free and fair elections, and this landmark legislation will give us the tools we need to defeat those seeking to gain power through intimidation, coercion and suppression.
Following White House Statement on Amazon, AFL-CIO Urges Passage of PRO Act
Statement from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka following President Biden’s video statement on the right to organize:

President Biden is right: Every worker should have the free and fair choice to join a union. 

The burdens of this pandemic have fallen squarely on the shoulders of America’s workers, who are toiling through unprecedented challenges just to keep food on the table. Now more than ever, we need our voices heard on the job.
Yet, Amazon and employers across the country have continued resorting to coercive threats to keep working people quiet. When managers bully us out of exercising our most basic freedoms, they deny us our best shot at winning the fundamental dignity, security and respect that we’re owed. It's time to put an end to it. 

President Biden campaigned on a promise to be a friend to the labor movement. He has proven he’s willing to speak out and stand with us. Now it’s time to follow words with action. In order to convert the spirit of the president’s message into the letter of the law, we must pass the PRO Act.
Ohio AFL-CIO To Promote "The Workers First" Agenda As Legislative Priority
With the election of President Joe Biden and a pro-worker Congress, the AFL-CIO is aggressively advancing a Workers First agenda which includes the PRO Act and several key areas that emphasizes the dignity of work and building back better with union jobs.  The Ohio AFL-CIO followed suit and has adopted an Ohio-specific "Workers First" agenda that the federation will be working on in the Ohio General Assembly over the next two years. 
 
As the essential nature of our workforce and unions has been on display during the pandemic, Union favorability among Americans is at a near all-time high. Our Workers First agenda will focus on six key areas that invest in workers and rebuilds our economy from the middle class out. You can read the full Workers First agenda here.
So, What's in the "Workers First" Agenda?
Tell your senators:
Vote YES on the American Rescue Plan
Dear Sisters, Brothers and Friends,
 
Call your senators and tell them we’ve waited long enough for COVID-19 relief. They must vote YES on the American Rescue Plan.
 
The American Rescue Plan funds vaccinations and testing so we can contain COVID-19 and get back to normal. It also delivers direct, immediate relief to our families and communities who have been struggling through this pandemic over the past year.

This is a historic rescue package. It provides benefits and programs America’s families need:

  • Overdue support for our states, cities and towns so we can preserve critical public services.
  • More money for COVID-19 testing, treatment and protective supplies.
  • Funding to shore up multiemployer pension plans, protecting earned retirement benefits for millions of hard-working Americans.
  • An 85 percent COBRA subsidy for unemployed workers who lost health care (the AFL-CIO is advocating for 100 percent).
  • Renter and homeowner assistance.
  • School funding for safe reopenings or remote learning.
  • Paid sick and family and medical leave for more than 14 weeks.
  • An increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

More than 28 million Americans have contracted COVID-19 and over 500,000 have died already.
 
Senators have had enough time. They’ve had enough chances.
 
 
In Solidarity,
Ohio AFL-CIO Secretary/Treasurer and OFT President Melissa Cropper Testifies For Waiver On Student Testing
A new bipartisan Ohio Senate bill would allow the state to seek federal approval for canceling testing, as schools seek to recoup learning losses from a sudden switch to remote learning.
 
The bill would also continue a freeze on state report cards, yearly performance assessments that can have heavy consequences for school districts. The legislature canceled state testing and froze the report cards in the spring, as the coronavirus pandemic shuttered schools across the state.
 
The bill would remove state tests for this school year and would prompt the state to ask for a waiver on fulfilling federal testing requirements. If the state does not receive that waiver, Department of Education officials would need to figure out which tests to administer to meet federal requirements.
 
“Time will need to be dedicated to getting students back on track before advancing to new content, making this a difficult year to meet “normal grade level” standards and benchmarks,” Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper said in testimony. “Furthermore, given that there are still a lot of uncertainties about when the learning environment will return to normal, conditions are not optimal for either learning or testing.”
 
Event: Ever Essential: Women’s Work Is the Backbone of the Global Economy!

Celebrate 2021 March 8 International Women's Day with us!
YOU'RE INVITED!
Celebrate this year's International Women's Day with the
Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) and the Solidarity Center.

Proudly presenting:

Ever Essential: Women’s Work Is the Backbone of the Global Economy

Join inspiring women union leaders from Colombia, Ghana, Palestine, Ukraine and the U.S. to learn how the world's ever-essential women workers are organizing around the globe to promote and defend the rights of women workers to equality, good jobs and an end to violence and abuse.

Co-sponsored by CLUW and the Solidarity Center

\Monday, March 8, 2021 9:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m. EST
Registration in advance is required.

Arabic and Spanish simultaneous interpretation will be provided.
الترجمة الفورية ستكون متاحة باللغتين العربية والأسبانية.
La interpretación simultánea estará disponible en árabe y español

Moderated by CLUW National President Elise Bryant 

Labor Heritage Foundation Executive Director Elise Bryant was elected CLUW national president by Convention delegates in 2017. She served as bargaining unit chair at the National Labor College for eight years and is a longstanding member of the Communications Workers of America (CWA)/The News Guild (TNG).

Speakers include:

Dr. Sanaa Alsarghali, Chairwoman, Women, Media and Development (TAM), Palestine

Dr. Sanaa Alsarghali is the elected chairwoman of Women, Media and Development (TAM), a non-governmental organization dedicated to correcting the stereotypical image of Palestinian women in the media. Last year she was appointed the UNESCO Chair on Human Rights, Democracy and Peace at An-Najah University. The first Palestinian woman to be awarded a Ph.D. in Constitutional Law, Alsarghali co-founded and directs the university’s constitutional studies center and serves on the Palestine Liberation Organization’s legislative drafting committee.

Yulia Batalina, President, WizzAir Local Union, Ukraine

Yulia Batalina, flight attendant for Hungary’s low-cost WizzAir airlines, has worked for the company for more than seven years and been recognized as one of the company’s best flight attendants. When working conditions for flight crews worsened significantly during the COVID-19 crisis, she organized her coworkers into a union to fight worker rights violations and protect their rights on the job.

Carolona Del Valle Hevia de Brandts, Secretary General, Union de Trabajadores de Plataformas–UNIDAPP, Colombia

Carolona Del Valle Hevia de Brandts founded Union de Trabajadores de Plataformas – UNIDAPP, a new union representing more than a thousand Colombian and Venezuelan workers delivering food from restaurants and grocery stores to homes. A recent refugee to Colombia, she while working for an online and app-driven food-delivery service she organized her coworkers and led protests demanding decent wages, job safety and health protections for gig economy workers in the country.

Emelia Ghansah, Training and Education Head, General Agricultural Workers' Union of Ghana (GAWU), Ghana

Emelia Ghansah has more than 16 years of experience in the Ghana labor movement including almost two decades in labor education and, from 2008-2012, the organizing of rural women into the union. For GAWU, she coordinates a palm oil sector project for global union federation International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF) in five West African countries that is identifying health hazards to women on the plantations and promoting the appointment of women as health and safety representatives.

Koren M. Parker, President, CLUW Philadelphia Chapter and Staff Representative, AFSCME Council 13, U.S.

As Philly CLUW president, Koren M. Parker helps lead local initiatives furthering community-service work projects and anti-trafficking, and national initiatives addressing issues important to women and working families such as paid leave and closing the gender pay gap. As a staff representative at AFSCME Council 13, she represents rank and file members working for Lincoln and Cheyney Universities, Norristown Municipality, Merakey and the Commonwealth of Philadelphia. As an advocate for women’s rights and fair working conditions, Koren strives every day to better someone’s life.

Liz Shuler, Secretary-Treasurer, AFL-CIO, U.S.

Elizabeth H. Shuler is the AFL-CIO’s Secretary-Treasurer, its second ranking officer, the first woman elected to the position and the youngest woman ever on the federation’s Executive Council. Shuler oversees the federation’s operations and leads the AFL-CIO’s initiatives on the future of work, the clean energy economy, workforce development and empowering women and young workers.
IUE-CWA’s Campaign to Save America’s Manufacturing Jobs Here In Ohio
Today, we bring you the stories of working people who have been fighting to save America’s manufacturing jobs. Over the past several weeks, workers have been rallying outside of Walmart stores across the country to draw attention to IUE-CWA’s campaign to keep lightbulb manufacturing jobs at a GE-Savant plant in Ohio. The plant supplies LED light bulbs to Walmart and is one of the last residential lighting factories in America. Here are some of the states where workers have joined together to take collective action.

Members of the Ohio AFL-CIO and central labor councils across Ohio have been in front of Walmart locations from Cleveland down to Cincinnati each Saturday since Jan. 30. On Feb. 6, members of the Ohio AFL-CIO and the Central Ohio Labor Council led a delegation to a Walmart location in Columbus to tell store management that union members in Columbus expected them to do everything they could to keep manufacturing jobs in the state. While the delegation inside spoke to store management, workers outside leafleted shoppers and asked them to sign a digital petition demanding that Walmart keep producing its lightbulbs in Bucyrus, Ohio. Central Ohio Labor Council Executive Director Mark Fluharty is included in the picture above.
 U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown
Working for Working People
For Immediate Release
Thursday, March 4, 2021
Contact: Trudy Perkins/Matt Keyes  
(202) 224-3978
 
U.S CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ENDORSES BROWN’S PENSION FIX IN COVID-19 RESCUE PACKAGE
 
After Years-Long Push, Brown Working to Secure Important Pension Win in COVID-19 Rescue Package 
 
Failure to Save These Pension Plans Would Have Drastic Consequences for Ohio Retirees, Workers, Small Businesses and Taxpayers
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a letter to Congressional leaders this week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) efforts to save multiemployer pension plans in the COVID-19 rescue package currently coming together in Congress. Earlier this week, Brown formally reintroduced the Butch Lewis Act, which builds on his years-long fight alongside Ohio retirees, workers and small businesses to save multiemployer pension plans. Brown is pushing for a version of the bill to be included in the COVID-19 rescue plan. The failure of these plans would have drastic consequences for the country’s economy, especially amid the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Yesterday, Brown took to the Senate floor to underscore the need for a pension fix in the COVID rescue package. And a Toledo Blade editorial called Brown’s fix “a lifeline to faltering the multiemployer pension funds.” 
 
·       Read the letter from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce HERE.
 
“It is wrong to assume that because the multiemployer crisis began before COVID-19 it is unrelated to or immune from the effects of the pandemic. The economic drag on plans, employers, and workers is profound. If Congress’ priority is to strengthen the confidence of retirees, small businesses, and essential workers during these uncertain times, then it should pass multiemployer relief without further delay. To do otherwise would make the solution more expensive and more complex. We urge Congress to pass the multiemployer pension relief in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and support the more than 200,000 businesses and 10.9 million workers and retirees that contribute to, and rely on, the multiemployer pension system,” writes the Chamber of Commerce.
 
Specifically, Brown’s Butch Lewis Act would:
 
·       Keep multiemployer pension plans solvent and well-funded for thirty years—with no cuts to the earned benefits of participants and beneficiaries;
 
·       Restore full benefits for retirees in plans that previously had to take cuts and increase the maximum Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) insurance amount; and
 
·       Require each plan that receives assistance to file regular status reports with the PBGC and Congressional Committees, in order to prevent recurrence and to protect retirees’ benefits.
 
Brown has led efforts to secure these pensions for Ohioans, touring the state pre-pandemic to stand with Ohio retirees and workers and co-chairing a Congressional Committee on the pension crisis in Columbus in 2018.
 
Last December, Brown stressed the need to include a multi-employer pensions fix in COVID-19 relief following the release of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s (PBGC) annual report. The report underscores why it’s critical that Congress act to solve the multiemployer pension crisis. According to the report, the Multiemployer Program remains severely underfunded with liabilities of more than $66 billion and only little more than $3 billion in assets. The PBGC is the arm of the federal government that insures pension plans, and the Multiemployer Program is highly likely to become insolvent by 2026 at the latest.
 
In August, Brown took to the Senate floor to call on his Senate colleagues to take swift action on behalf of more than a million American workers and retirees who are in danger of losing the pensions they’ve earned.
 
More on the Pension Crisis:
 
The pension crisis threatens the retirement of more than 1-1.5 million workers and retirees nationwide and could put small businesses across the country in jeopardy. These truck drivers, carpenters, bakers and others worked hard all their lives and gave up raises at the bargaining table in order to put that money toward retirement for themselves and their families. Now that retirement is at risk.
 
Numerous pension plans, including the Central States Pension Plan, the Bakers and Confectioners Pension Plan, and more are at risk of failure. Several other plans have already had to cut benefits. If nothing is done to help the plans, they will fail and retirees will face massive cuts to the benefits they earned over decades of work.
 
If the plans are allowed to fail, not only will they no longer be able to pay promised benefits, but taxpayers and small businesses would be at risk of having to pay billions because the PBGC would be on the hook for billions of dollars it cannot pay.
 
There are several causes for this crisis, including the fact that the economic collapse of 2008 devastated these plans and the people who depend on them. These retirees and workers who have done everything right did not cause this crisis, and Congress must not turn its back on them.
An Update From Ohio AFL-CIO Southwest Ohio Field Rep.
Julien Johnson
The WARN notice Deadline is here! Please Join us this Saturday March 6, 2021 to save American Jobs at the GE-Savant facility in Bucyrus, Ohio! Thanks to our previous collective efforts, Walmart has noticed us, but we can’t stop there! This Saturday is the deadline for the issued WARN notice and we are asked to stand in solidarity with our IUE-CWA family. Please Join us this Saturday as we educate shoppers and Walmart Employees!
 
What:
Leafletting Walmart parking Lot to educate shoppers and urge Walmart to not allow GE-Savant to outsource Jobs to China!
 
Time:
Saturday March 6, 2021 @ 12pm-1pm
 
Location :
2801 Cunningham Dr. Cincinnati, Ohio 45240
 
For information contact Ohio AFL-CIO
Southwest Ohio Field Rep,
 Julien Johnson
614-312-4507
jjohnson@ohaflcio.org
Ohio AFL-CIO Legislative Agenda: 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.
 
Infrastructure: 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 Saturday the IUE-CWA and Cincinnati AFL-CIO will have its final action in support of the GE-Savant light bulb plant in Bucyrus Ohio. The Actions thus far, have garner national attention from the National AFL-CIO and even the Wal-Mart Corporation. The Action will be on Saturday March 6,2021 from 12-1pm.
 
COVID Relief: The COVID relief bill has been introduced in the House and will be voted on by the senate by this weekend. Raising the minimum wage was removed from the bill as well as senate proposed restrictions on incomes ($80,000 single, 150,000 family) to receive a stimulus check.
 
Pro Act Summary: The pro Act (H.R. 842) has recently been introduced by the 117th congress. The bill currently has 212 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and 45 cosponsors in the Senate. The bill has since been referred to the Education & labor committee. The Pro-Act may be on the house floor sometime next week. Afterward, The resolution would still need to pass the Senate without a filibuster or vote by party lines with Vice President Harris as the tiebreaker. President Biden has express support for the PRO Act as apart 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 8thPlease 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! 
Don't Miss The Ohio AFL-CIO Labor Leader Roundtables
2 Sessions To Choose From
A Word From Our Community Partners
March Medicare Webinars from RetireMEDiQ

If you want to learn more about Medicare, RetireMEDiQ hosts Medicare webinars every month to keep you informed on the latest topics. During these online sessions, our experts discuss Medicare planning, expenses, and comparing coverage options. A Medicare and retirement specialist near you will be online to answer your questions in real time.

Please click on the links below to register for these informative webinars!

Ohio Department of Health COVID-19 Update - March 2, 2021
Health Orders Regarding Mass Gatherings, Sports, Entertainment Venues Signed
 
(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today announced that Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud signed the following public health orders:
 
 
  • Wedding receptions, funeral repasts, proms, and other events, whether or not food is served, at banquet facilities shall comply with previously signed health orders, including those regarding restaurants and facial coverings.
  • Events at banquet centers no longer have a 300-person limitation, so long as they comply with other health orders.
 
 
Changes include:
  • The maximum number of spectators in any indoor sports venue shall be 25% of fixed, seated capacity.
  • The maximum number of spectators permitted in any outdoor sports venue shall be 30% of fixed, seated capacity.
  • The maximum number of patrons permitted in any indoor entertainment venue shall be 25% of fixed, seated capacity.
  • The maximum number of patrons gathered in any outdoor entertainment venue shall be 30% fixed, seated capacity.
 
Both orders are effective beginning 12:01 p.m. on March 2, 2021.
Questions and Answers
COVID-19 Vaccination: Ohio's Phased Approach

Questions about COVID-19
Ohio Department of Health call center is ready to answer your questions about COVID-19

Call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634)
The Call Center is staffed from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day, including weekends.
COVID-19 By The Numbers
Global Confirmed ― 115,331,329
Global Deaths ― 2,562,739
U.S. Confirmed ― 28,763,373
U.S. Deaths ― 518,530
Global Map        U.S. Map
Ohio COVID-19 Dashboard
Current Trends

Below are the current reporting trends for key indicators calculated from data reported to the Ohio Department of Health. The graphics and information were taken from the Ohio Department of Health Coronavirus (COVID-19) website Thursday, March 4.
Hamilton County
Cases
73,684
Hospitalizations
2,638
Deaths
1,034
Clermont County
Cases
18,459
Hospitalizations
762
Deaths
201
Brown County
Cases
3,722
Hospitalizations
54
Deaths
44
Butler County
Cases
35,678
Hospitalizations
1,094
Deaths
505
Warren County
Cases
22,510
Hospitalizations
643
Deaths
271
Just The Facts:

  • A $15 minimum wage could boost Social Security benefits by about $5,000 a year.
  • In the past four years, more than 300,000 jobs were sent overseas.
  • Raising the minimum wage to $15 would benefit 17 million of America’s workers—about 10% of the labor force—and could increase earnings for another 10 million workers making slightly more than $15 an hour.
Other Important Headlines: