Labor Council

Saturday, November 20, 2021
What It Means For You
With President Biden’s official signature on the bipartisan bill, Infrastructure Week is finally here.
The passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a monumental political and legislative accomplishment. This is a $1.2 trillion investment in our infrastructure after decades of decline, and America’s workers are ready to rebuild our country. 
This is a tremendous victory for working people in America:

  • $110 billion to rebuild 173,000 miles of roads and 45,000 bridges.
  • $65 billion to expand broadband internet access, particularly in rural areas.
  • $55 billion to make sure Americans have access to safe and clean water, including $15 billion to replace lead pipes.

There’s even more in the bill, and all of this investment will create good union jobs. And that is worth celebrating.
Working people didn’t vote for a return to normal; we voted for a better future. And we’re making progress.
We need to finish the job by also passing the Build Back Better Act. Will you add your name and call on Congress to pass it immediately?
Message from President Liz Shuler
  • No one wants to go on strike, yet still we are picketing because this pandemic has changed us. We believe in a future where every working person has access to a good union job, and we are never going back to how it was.

  • Working people are on the line, standing up, hungry for structural change. The labor movement is leading a national reckoning, and the public is with us.

  • To tackle climate change, we need a just transition to a sustainable, equitable future. The new economy must be centered on working people, with no one left behind.
  • It’s past time for Congress to protect our voting rights and stop the attacks on our democracy. Union members were proud to join a rally at the White House today alongside our community allies to demand action.

  • While some politicians seek to disenfranchise voters and create doubt about our elections, we know that the vote is the most powerful tool we have to make change—and it must never be denied to people of color.

  • We can’t allow a minority of senators to block the hopes and aspirations of working people. If the U.S. Senate can’t overcome a filibuster to defend voting rights, then the rules need to change.
WATCH: President Liz Shuler on Bloomberg TV and Read Her Interview with The New York Times
AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler was recently interviewed by The New York Times about her history of fighting for working people and her vision for the labor movement. Read the interview here.
She also joined Bloomberg TV on Friday to discuss how workers are standing up for change across the country. Here is a portion of Shuler’s remarks:
“Workers are rising up—it’s organic and it’s all over the country. Unions have shown that when you come together, you’re more powerful. And when you rise up and demand more, you can make change."
'Hold the Line’: Rocker Tom Morello Releases Strike Anthem

World-famous rock artist Tom Morello (AFM) is known for his decades of performing music that cries out for justice. Throughout his time as the frontman for the band Rage Against the Machine, Morello has been a cultural icon and a force for change. Now, he’s out with a new song, “Hold the Line,” dedicated to every working person fighting for their rights on the picket line. Click here to watch the music video.
UMWA Holds International Day of Action for Striking Miners
The Mine Workers (UMWA) continued to ramp up the pressure by holding an international day of action earlier today in support of its members at Warrior Met Coal in Alabama. Since April, miners at Warrior have been on strike, determined to win a fair contract that recognizes their contributions to the company. At today’s protests, UMWA targeted Warrior’s investors to urge management to come back to the table and bargain in good faith.
“Today showed that this isn’t just our fight. This is everyone’s fight,” said UMWA International President Cecil Roberts (not pictured). “We had labor leaders across the nation standing up today demanding justice for working families. Warrior Met and the corporations backing them now know we are not stopping until these families get what they deserve.”
Rallies were held in Washington, D.C.; New York City; Denver; Boston; Latrobe, Pennsylvania; Montgomery, Alabama; Newport Beach, California; and Melbourne, Australia. President Shuler helped lead the rally in Washington.
Workers at The New York Times Hold Protest to Demand Respect from Their Employer
Members of The NewsGuild of New York-CWA Local 31003 took to the streets on Tuesday as their fight with The New York Times’ management heats up. Workers in the newsroom, technology workers and those who work at the product review site, Wirecutter, joined together for a protest outside the news giant’s headquarters in Manhattan. The union said management is denying workers at Wirecutter a fair contract, slow-walking bargaining with newsroom members over fair pay and safe working conditions, and fighting its hundreds of tech workers. The members of the three bargaining units are standing together with one clear message: Stop union-busting and respect our union.
Last week, 90% of union members at Wirecutter voted to authorize a work stoppage over the hugely profitable holiday shopping days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Sign up to receive updates and uphold the virtual picket line.
NNU, AFT Urge Implementation of Presidential COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force Recommendations
National Nurses United (NNU) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) praised President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, which last week released its final report to the president addressing the deep structural inequities in our country that led to the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on people of color. The task force is recommending that the administration create a permanent Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases; improve health care access for communities of color and underserved communities; address environmental factors that contribute to health disparities; and enforce anti-discrimination protections for Asian American, Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian health care workers.
“The pandemic’s devastating impact on communities of color laid bare the stark inequities of our nation’s health care system—inequities that existed long before COVID-19 and prevented millions of people of color, rural and low-income Americans from accessing hospitals, medication and more,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten (not pictured). “This task force took critical steps to address those inequities, including assessing rural hospital closures and implementing important standards to make sure health care workers are protected on the job, which in turn creates safer environments for patients to receive care, regardless of where they live.”
Mary Turner (not pictured), RN, who is president of the Minnesota Nurses Association, which is an affiliate of NNU, and a member of the task force, said: “As an ICU nurse on a COVID unit since the start of the pandemic, I am thrilled that the task force is calling for a permanent OSHA COVID-19 standard that includes protections against aerosol and airborne transmission for nurses and other workers. I’ve seen too many workers die during this pandemic, and nurses of color have become infected and died at alarming rates. Nurses should never again have to fight for respiratory and other occupational health and safety protections. I am also proud of our recommendation to assess clinical practice guidelines and health-related algorithms for racial and other types of bias.”
John Oliver Shows How America's Biggest Companies Are Screwing Over Workers By Union Busting
John Oliver closed his latest season with an in-depth look at how some of America’s biggest companies spend millions of dollars trying to stop their workers from forming unions.
And he named names, calling out Amazon, Target, Starbucks and others as he revealed the ham-fisted tactics they use to manipulate workers.
For example, Delta Airlines in 2019 put up signs warning workers that union dues could cost about $700 a year and encouraged them to buy video games with that money instead.
“Telling your workers to play video games instead of unionizing is incredibly condescending,” Oliver said. “And doubly so, when you consider video game characters are the ultimate example of exploited labor. Think about it: They take orders all day, usually get paid in coins and not once in 36 years of playing Mario have I ever seen him get to take a bathroom break.”
Oliver also showed off some union-busting videos companies have made ― and in some cases forced workers to watch ― as well as other tactics they routinely employ to prevent organizing.
Among the jabs at Amazon, Oliver pointed to what he called a “leaked internal video” from Amazon that instructs its managers on warning signs to be on the lookout for when it comes to potential union organizing. Obvious signs include the use of terms such as “living wage” or “steward,” the animated video says.
AFGE Beats Back Anti-Union Tactics at Two Air Force Bases
During the previous administration, federal government agencies felt empowered to pursue anti-union strategies that stripped federal workers of their right to bargain collectively. Management at March Air Reserve Base in California and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona showed their animous when they imposed contracts that took away grievance procedures and did not recognize union leaders. AFGE District 12 subsequently filed unfair labor practice complaints with the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) on behalf of its members and won.
The judges who adjudicated the union’s complaints recently ordered the Air Force to immediately stop implementing the illegal contracts and return to the status quo. They also ordered the agency to go back to the bargaining table with the union and notify all employees regarding the violations.
UAW Ratifies Six-Year Contract with John Deere, Getting Substantial Gains
More than 10,000 members of the UAW held the line for five weeks in their strike against John Deere. They were demanding a contract that values their work, as the company sees record profits from its sale of farming and construction equipment. On Wednesday, the union announced that 61% of its members voted to ratify the latest offer from their employer. UAW President Ray Curry (pictured above) said, “UAW John Deere members did not just unite themselves, they seemed to unite the nation in a struggle for fairness in the workplace.”
The new six-year contract provides 10% raises in the first year, with substantial pay increases and lump sum payments in subsequent years. The agreement preserves the company pension for new hires and improves existing health care coverage. It also includes an $8,500 ratification bonus for each member.
“Our members’ courageous willingness to strike in order to attain a better standard of living and a more secure retirement resulted in a groundbreaking contract and sets a new standard for workers not only within the UAW, but throughout the country," said Chuck Browning (not pictured), UAW vice president and director of the union’s Agricultural Implement Department.
Together for the Win: University Council-AFT Hails Historic Agreement with the University of California
The University Council-AFT (UC-AFT) called off its planned two-day strike after its 6,500 members who work as lecturers at the University of California (UC) reached a historic agreement with their employer. Instead, the workers held a series of victory rallies on Wednesday at nine different campuses to celebrate their groundbreaking new contract with the UC system. The union said the agreement provides transformative improvements in crucial areas: job stability, workload and compensation. “It’s the best contract in UC-AFT history and among the best nationwide for contingent faculty,” UC-AFT President Mia McIver (pictured above center-left holding the microphone) told the Los Angeles Times.
USW Local 3057 Ends Strike After Reaching Agreement on New Contract
The United Steel Workers Local 3057 reached an agreement with ArcelorMittal on Thursday afternoon, bringing an end to the strike that began midnight on Nov. 1.
"We are glad to have our employees back to work safely and providing 'best in class' products and service to our many loyal customers," Plant Manager Rick Gruver said.
The four-year contract addresses many of the workers’ demands, including better wages, pensions and health insurance. “This is the first contract that I’ve ever voted 'yes' for and I’ve been there 21 years. I'm very happy with it,” said Dwight Gregory, the union president.
USW Representative Brian Sealy agreed. “The contract is a fair contract. Overall, it turned out really good.”
Union members voted on the contract last Thursday and Sealy said he was impressed with the turnout  “We got about 90 percent turnout. I deal with a lot of locals and that's a damn good turnout. It was impressive.”
Gregory said he was grateful to the Shelby community and members of the Cleveland Cliffs (formerly AK Steel) USW Local 169 for their support.
South Dakota Meatpacking Workers Condemn Federal Settlement with Smithfield
At the start of the pandemic, the Smithfield Foods meatpacking plant in South Dakota made headlines when nearly 1,300 workers were infected with COVID-19 and four later died in one of the largest outbreaks in the country. On Monday, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 304A, which represents these front-line workers, condemned the new federal settlement between Smithfield and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The union criticized the agreement for weakening the citation for worker safety violations, failing to recognize the company’s safety issues and allowing the company to police itself on worker safety.
“Smithfield workers put their health at risk daily to make sure Americans could feed their families during this pandemic. The Sioux Falls plant experienced one of the most deadly and dangerous COVID-19 outbreaks in the country,” said Local 304A President B.J. Motley (not pictured). “As the union for Sioux Falls Smithfield workers, UFCW Local 304A is disappointed that OSHA has failed to deliver the real accountability these South Dakota workers and their families deserve with meaningful action to strengthen worker safety protections.”
IATSE Members Ratify Contracts with Producers, Studios and Streaming Services
Members of the Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) have voted to ratify two contracts with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the trade group representing producers, major studios and streaming services. The combined vote for both contracts was very close: 50.3% voted yes and 49.7% voted no.
“From start to finish, from preparation to ratification, this has been a democratic process to win the very best contracts,” said IATSE International President Matthew Loeb. “The vigorous debate, high turnout and close election indicates we have an unprecedented movement-building opportunity to educate members on our collective bargaining process and drive more participation in our union long-term.”
The new three-year contracts guarantee adequate rest at the end of the workday and on the weekend, provide for meal breaks during the workday, and institute stiff financial penalties if these provisions are violated. In addition to across-the-board wage increases, the new agreements will lift those at the bottom of the pay scale with a living wage, the union said.
HFIU Applauds Build Back Better Act’s Inclusion of Mechanical Insulation Tax Credits
Mechanical insulation tax credits will put thousands of union insulators to work while helping to meet America’s climate change goals. Heat and Frost Insulators (HFIU) General President Gregory Revard celebrated the tax credits’ inclusion in President Biden’s Build Back Better framework and the House’s version of the bill:
"President Biden has long recognized the economic, energy and environmental benefits of mechanical insulation and the work of our Insulators Union members, and our members and union contractors are looking forward to securing additional work opportunities as we work to save energy and reduce carbon….With the enactment of both the Build Back Better legislation [currently being negotiated in Congress] and the bipartisan infrastructure legislation, the United States is also making the transformative investments in both human and traditional infrastructure that our nation needs. Yes, these important bills are about creating good jobs and helping families, but the inspired work of President Biden and the U.S. Congress also reaffirms that our legislative process can work for the American people.”
Georgetown University Bolsters Labor Standards on Campus
Wage theft is rampant in Washington, D.C.’s commercial construction industry, according to research conducted by The Catholic Labor Network. Georgetown University, a Catholic and Jesuit institution in Washington, is now working to eradicate wage theft from its construction projects. In October, the university released updated construction procurement policies, requiring contractors to submit certified payroll and allowing the university to conduct investigations to ensure compliance with labor laws.

“The administration indeed heard the cry of the poor, and took action,” said The Catholic Labor Network. “By doing so, Georgetown continues to serve as a model of implementing Catholic Social Teaching for university and business leaders across the private sector.”
RWDSU-UFCW Slams $10 Billion Handout to Bezos’ Space Exploration Company
The U.S. Senate is considering a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act that would all but guarantee former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ space exploration company, Blue Origin, will receive a $10 billion contract from the federal government. Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union-UFCW (RWDSU-UFCW) President Stuart Appelbaum (pictured above center) called it “an inappropriate giveaway of galactic proportions.” He said, “Rather than waste $10 billion on a redundant space contract for Bezos, that money could be used to adequately fund Social Security Disability, Medicare and Medicaid and the food stamps that many of his own employees at Amazon and elsewhere have to rely on to make ends meet.”
Labor Movement Celebrates National Apprenticeship Week
This week is National Apprenticeship Week, and the labor movement is celebrating the drive and success of thousands of union apprentices across the country. Apprenticeships offer workers the chance to earn while they learn, opening doors to the middle class as an alternative to traditional higher education. Click here to watch a new video from the Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) about the value of union apprenticeships.
“Our robust labor-management commitment to and private multi-billion dollar investment in craft training ensure workers of all backgrounds, including veterans, women and minority communities, can meet the demands of our competitive industry,” said Sean McGarvey (IUPAT), president of North America’s Building Trades Unions. “Every year, tens of thousands of the most highly-skilled construction workers complete our state-of-the-art Registered Apprenticeship programs not only meeting the demands of industry, but also fully equipped with portable skills for rewarding middle-class careers.”
Department of Labor Secretary Marty Walsh announced the establishment of an Apprenticeship Ambassador Initiative to bring together industry, labor, education, equity and workforce leaders to serve as champions to expand, diversify and modernize Registered Apprenticeship. Ambassadors will partner with the department’s Office of Apprenticeship.
“Our Apprenticeship Ambassador Initiative will build a national network of ambassadors to communicate the value of Registered Apprenticeships as a workforce strategy in high-demand industries such as cybersecurity, healthcare, advanced manufacturing and information technology,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “Ambassadors will support our commitment to expand Registered Apprenticeship, including youth apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs, and develop more opportunities in our workforce that are inclusive of individuals who have been underserved historically.”
U.S Senator Sherrod Brown: Working For Working People!
Its The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!
The December Delegate Meeting & Holiday Celebration!
Legal Implications of Covid in the Workplace
Learn how businesses responded to the covid-19 pandemic and how working conditions changed

Cost: FREE
Date: December 1, 2021 | 12:00 - 1:30PM (virtual)
Must register by November 23, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-21 has changed working conditions for millions of Americans and Canadians quickly and dramatically. Employers responded by requiring employees to quarantine, implementing workplace COVID policies, disciplining employees who violated those policies, changing work schedules, canceling leaves or vacations, and furloughing or laying off employees. Unions have challenged many of these actions, raising a variety of novel issues that are now being resolved through labor arbitration. This presentation describes those labor arbitration awards and how businesses are responding.
An Update from Freestore Foodbank
Thanksgiving is just around the corner. And 1 in 7 of your tristate area neighbors are at risk of going hungry.

As the holiday approaches, because of dedicated volunteers like you, thousands of our own neighbors are all able to count on the Freestore Foodbank for a warm meal and crucial support—and are able to receive that support throughout the year.

On November 30, the largest fundraising day of the year, our partners are doubling up on support to make your donations have TWICE the impact for those facing food insecurity.

We are inviting you to join the celebration today by making a gift of hope to hungry children and families in the surrounding community.

In our fight to end hunger, your donation to Freestore Foodbank will DOUBLE for one day!

Freestore Foodbank provides emergency food and services to children and families in Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, and Southeast Indiana throughout the year. Over the past year and through the pandemic, we have fed children and families over 41 million meals, provided over 49 million pounds of food, and served over 260,000 individuals through our programs.

With the ever-growing increase in hunger and the need for hope during these difficult times, you have an opportunity to help us jump start our efforts before Giving Tuesday.

It is through your generosity and that of our partners, that we are able to do even more for our hungry neighbors this Thanksgiving and beyond!

Thank you for your support,
Kurt L. Reiber
President & CEO
Freestore Foodbank

P.S. Please share your support on Facebook and Twitter to broaden your impact to help solve hunger!
An Update from United Way
Dear United Way friends,
As we enter the holiday season, I am filled with gratitude for the many ways you have shown up to support our community this year. I shared our key strategies with you to showcase our collective impact, but I imagine that you, like me, are most touched by the stories of individual lives forever changed in positive ways. 
In the past 20 months, innovation, ingenuity and resilience have become crucial business qualities. Our Community Impact and Strategy teams, along with our community partners, generous donors, and corporate and institutional partners, have all shifted, learned and continued to strive for better solutions.

We now see even more clearly how important it is to build resilient communities. Systems change is complex work, and I am grateful for the vision and tenacity of those willing to invest in meaningful, sustainable change.
We have a unique opportunity to constructively disrupt systems – to center family voice in decision making and to support community-driven and community-led change. 
Moira Weir
United Way of Greater Cincinnati
An Update from RetireMEDiQ
Retirement isn’t a requirement to enroll in Medicare. In fact, many people over age 65 receive more benefits by enrolling in a Medicare plan while they continue to work.
Join my team at one of our webinars where we will cover the basics of Medicare, including…
  • Medicare Parts A and B: coverage and costs
  • Medicare plan options in 2022
  • Comparing employer group coverage to Medicare
  • Early retirement health insurance options
...and more!
You can share this informational flyer with your team members, clients, and anyone else who could benefit from Medicare Education.

4 Medicare Myths You Can Confidently Ignore
When it comes to Medicare, there are a lot of Medicare myths and misconceptions floating around—maybe you’ve encountered information on social media or in conversation and thought, “Is that really true?” 
Read more as our advisors debunk some common Medicare myths.

Your Monthly Medicare News
Every month, our advisors put together a list of the latest news in the Medicare industry and explain how you and your team members may be impacted. This November, read about COVID-19 booster coverage, actions to take during Annual Enrollment, and more on our blog.

COVID-19 Dashboard
Ohio Vaccination Dashboard

The COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard displays the most recent data reported to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) regarding the number of individuals that have started and completed the COVID-19 vaccination series by various demographics and county of residence.

The COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard displays the most recent data reported to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) regarding the number of individuals that have started and completed the COVID-19 vaccination series by various demographics and county of residence. “Vaccination started” indicates that the individual has received at least one valid dose of COVID-19 vaccine. The number listed as “vaccination completed” is a subset of the number included in “vaccination started,” indicating that those individuals within that group have received all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses and are considered fully immunized. ODH is making COVID-19 data available for public review while also protecting privacy. This dashboard will be updated daily. Please see footnotes below for more details.

Ohio COVID-19 Dashboard

ODH is making COVID-19 data available for public review while also protecting patient privacy.

The State of Ohio COVID-19 Dashboard displays the most recent preliminary data reported to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) about cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Ohio by selected demographics and county of residence. Data for cases and hospitalizations is reported to ODH via the Ohio Disease Reporting System (ODRS), and verified mortality data is reported via the Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS).
Current Trends
Below is a snapshot of key metrics pulled Friday, November 19 from daily data reporting to the Ohio Department of Health. These metrics are updated daily.
Below are the current reporting trends from Friday, November 19 for key indicators calculated from data reported to the Ohio Department of Health. These trends are updated daily and are presented by report date.
Hamilton County
Clermont County
Brown County
Butler County
Warren County
Other News For and About Working People: