Labor Council

Saturday, December 11, 2021
Message from President Liz Shuler
  • The ongoing global spread of COVID-19 has made it clear how very connected we are. And through those connections, we have to wonder: What values will spread to define and shape the post-pandemic world?

  • The choice people in America and around the world have to face is whether to embrace a more democratic society or continue the slide toward autocracy. Workers want a society where people are empowered to have a say at the ballot box—and a say in our economic futures and working conditions by standing together in unions.

  • Economic opportunity, equity and inclusion depend on freedom of association and the labor movement. We have a choice, and the labor movement chooses democracy.

  • The House took important action Wednesday by passing the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which strengthens existing policies barring products made with forced labor from entering the U.S. market—including key components of the global solar supply chain.

  • Establishing a domestic solar supply chain is critical to success in the clean energy economy. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act is a crucial step in leveling the playing field.

  • The plight of the Uyghur people and other workers who make up the ethnic and religious minorities in China is appalling. The AFL-CIO stands with workers everywhere in the worldwide struggle to end forced labor once and for all.
Message from President Liz Shuler on President Biden's Executive Order
  • This is the most pro-union, pro-climate White House in history. And it matters. On Wednesday, President Biden signed an executive order that mainstreams sustainability in the federal workforce, advances equity and environmental justice, and promotes domestic content and union jobs.

  • The federal government is leading by example and proving that we can create a domestic clean energy economy with good-paying union jobs.

  • Biden continues to deliver on his commitment to invest in America’s workers and communities. Orders like this one to Buy American will set us up to achieve a clean energy supply chain right here at home.
Message from President Liz Shuler on the Tech Industry
  • Technology workers are on the cutting edge of our economy, innovating breakthroughs that are reshaping our way of life. But many of these workers don’t have a voice on the job.

  • The tech industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the country. We want it to be one of the fastest growing industries for organizing. As we expand our collective power, technology and innovation are the next frontier to make sure more workers can come together to win better wages, benefits and working conditions.

  • Click here to read the article from Reuters about the labor movement’s work to organize the tech industry.
Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond Joins Striking Teamsters on the Picket Line
AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond (pictured above center) expressed solidarity with members of Teamsters (IBT) Local 174 who are on strike against Stoneway Concrete in the Seattle area. More than 100 members of Local 174 walked off the job on Dec. 1, calling on the company to stop undercutting its workers and to bargain in good faith. Local 174 also went on strike on Monday against four other concrete companies in Kings County, Washington. Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, officers, President Larry Brown (IAM) and Secretary-Treasurer April Sims (AFSCME), joined Redmond on the Teamsters’ picket line on Tuesday, where they called on members to keep fighting “one day longer.”
Build Back Better Explained
The Build Back Better Act will help working people. It will create jobs, lower costs and protect our rights in the workplace.
The House passed the Build Back Better Act, and now it’s the Senate’s turn.
Here are a few things in the bill that will help working people:
  • Creation of hundreds of thousands of good-paying union jobs in the green economy.
  • Removal of tax breaks for corporations offshoring jobs.
  • A guarantee workers get paid family and medical leave.
This is what we’ve been fighting for all along. And this is our chance to get it.
It doesn’t matter where you live, who you are, or even what song you sing in the shower. If you’re a person who works, the Build Back Better Act will help you.
In Solidarity,
Save the Date: 2022 MLK Conference
Save the date and join us on Jan. 16 and 17 for the 2022 AFL-CIO Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference!
Our theme is Honoring Our Past and Protecting Our Future. History tells us where we’ve been. And it shows us the path for moving forward.
This conference will challenge us to look to the future. To ask and answer how we can build a multiracial, progressive labor movement reflective of America’s changing workforce—as working people of color will be the majority in just a few years.
As we connect to honor Dr. King’s legacy, we will reinforce the bond between the civil rights movement and the labor movement.

In Solidarity,
Cincinnati Federation of Teachers Local 1520 Organizer Michelle Dillingham Joins Longstanding Cincinnati Labor Radio Show “Boiling Point” as Co-Host 
Organizer for the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers, Michelle Dillingham will join the longstanding radio show “Boiling Point” as a co-host along with founding member Phil Amadon and Casey Whitten Amadon of the IUE-CWA. Her first show as co-host will be Thursday, December 16, 2021. 
Boiling Point has held an important place on the FM dial to uplift and amplify the stories of workers for over 25 years, self-described as: “News and views of working families struggling for justice around the city, around the country, around the world.” Part of CFT’s Mission is that we “champion the social and economic well-being of our members, Cincinnati’s children, families, working people and communities; and that we are committed to advancing these principles through community engagement”. We are excited Michelle will be joining Boiling Point and for the opportunity for a pro-active voice on the issues that impact our families.  

Michelle Dillingham brings an extensive understanding of working families’ issues from her years of work in community-labor coalitions while on staff at the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council, with the Ohio Valley and Southern States Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust (OVSS-LECET) with LiUNA, and now with us at the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers. We know she will represent us well!  
Boiling Point airs on Thursdays from 3p–5p on WAIF 88.3 FM in Cincinnati. You can listen live on the radio at 88.3 FM, on the WAIF iTunes app, and on the WAIF Android app. The show will also now be livestreamed to our Facebook page at  
Ohio To Gain 500,000+ Jobs Due to Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill
According to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan infrastructure bill will create nearly 15 million jobs nationwide.
Per the report, “An infrastructure stimulus plan would create 14-15 million jobs over the next decade and finally spread some economic gains to groups that have been neglected as the economy has increasingly automated. The infrastructure jobs that would be created would be spread among workers with many levels of educational attainment. An infrastructure program of a magnitude suggested by the Biden-Harris proposal would reverse a long-term decline in jobs and earnings for those with high school diplomas or less, creating 8 million jobs for this population.”
The report also highlighted the state distribution of infrastructure jobs, weighted by state population, showing Ohio to gain 534,170 jobs. The report also broke down the distribution of state jobs by occupation, with notable large increases in electricians (675,360), plumbers, pipefitters, steamfitters (424,240) and telecommunications equipment installers and repairers (227,990).
Gerrymandering Lawsuits: Ohio Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments This Week On State Legislative Maps
Over the past few months, a lot about the unconstitutional redistricting process has been reported in these Weekly News Briefs and news outlets across the state and country. This week, the Ohio Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the lawsuits regarding the gerrymandered state legislative maps. Additionally, two lawsuits have been filed with the Ohio Supreme Court over the rigged Congressional maps, which will be heard in the coming weeks. wrote an extensive piece about the redistricting process, stating in part, “If justices strike down the state legislative maps, they will head back to the Ohio Redistricting Commission, which must develop new maps. The court also could issue a more limited ruling, ordering the commission to fix isolated problems.
How the court rules on the state legislative lines could be a preview of how it handles the congressional map, since they deal with similar issues”.
As to the oral arguments tomorrow, lawyers will make their case for and against the state House and Senate maps drawn by the seven-member Ohio Redistricting Commission that could allow Republicans to retain a disproportional and unbalanced majority in the General Assembly.
According to The Columbus Dispatch, "Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor might be the most important person in Ohio politics right now. 
O'Connor will preside over lawsuits challenging Ohio's congressional and statehouse maps – key tests of whether voter-approved changes to the state Constitution will prevent maps that favor the political party in power."
Police, firefighters wants Ohio's communities to pay more toward their pension system
The Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund is asking lawmakers to boost how much local governments pay into cops and firefighters' retirement system – a move that could cost those communities hundreds of millions of dollars. 

The fund is backing proposed legislation that would increase local governments' rates to 26.5% of payroll for cops and firefighters, up from the current rates of 19.5% and 24%, respectively. The hike would be passed onto taxpayers. 

An estimate for how much that would cost Ohio's 900 local police and fire departments was not immediately available. The departments contributed $518.2 million on $2.74 billion in payroll in 2020, according to the fund's most recent comprehensive financial report.

"I think that the employers, mayors, etc, understand the essential nature of recruiting and retaining public safety officers – not just through COVID but we've had a lot of social unrest," fund director Mary Beth Foley said. "So we need them and they need a defined benefit plan that they can rely upon. They need disability benefits to be ensured."

The employer contribution was last increased in 1986.

"We are going to the Legislature with a problem clearly on the horizon with a fair solution that will allow us to avoid difficult decisions driven by ignoring the issue until it's too late," said Michael Taylor, president of the Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters.

He added, "Employers should pay their fair share and the time to act is now while local governments are in a strong financial position."

Cities' finances are already in a tight spot. Many municipalities risk losing millions of dollars in income tax revenues as more workers continue to work from home, Ohio Municipal League executive director Kent Scarrett said.

"The financial stability of municipalities is far from rosy," he said.

Foley said the goal is to move the bill, which has yet to be introduced, through the House and Senate by December 2022.

Over the past eight years, employee contribution rates increased by 2.25% to 12.25% and retirees have been forced to pay more for health care benefits.

Foley also noted that she expects an actuarial study due next year will show the fund should further lower its annual assumed rate of return. Currently, the system expects to average an 8% return on its $18 billion in assets. The 8% rate is the highest among Ohio's retirement funds.

Ohio's five public pension systems serve 675,000 government employees, 1.1 million inactive members and 485,000 beneficiaries. Collectively, the five systems have more than $250 billion in investment assets.

The systems are funded by employer and employee contributions and investment returns. Public employees in Ohio do not participate in Social Security. Benefits and retirement rules are largely set by state law.

Laura Bischoff is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.
Watch: CWA Passenger Service Agents Bring Attention to Passenger Rage Incidents and Encourage Civility in a New Ad
Members of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 6001 who work as airline passenger service agents in Texas released a digital ad campaign ahead of the holiday travel season to raise awareness about the increase in passenger rage incidents and to encourage civility among passengers. The ads are currently running on Facebook and Instagram.
Incidents of passenger rage, including physical and verbal assault directed toward passenger service agents, have been steadily increasing, but gaps in enforcement of federal law means that abusive passengers are often not held accountable for their behavior in airports. Watch and share this ad with friends, co-workers and family members, and encourage all passengers to be patient and understanding during one of the busiest travel seasons of the year.
BCTGM Kellogg's Members Reject Tentative Agreement; Strike Continues
The statement by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) following the December 5 vote on the tentative agreement between the BCTGM and Kellogg’s:

Members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) on strike against Kellogg’s in Battle Creek, Mich., Lancaster, Pa., Omaha, Neb. and Memphis, Tenn. have overwhelmingly voted to reject the tentative agreement. The strike, which began on October 5, 2021, continues.
Reflecting on the vote, BCTGM International President Anthony Shelton stated, “The members have spoken. The strike continues. The International Union will continue to provide full support to our striking Kellogg’s members.
“The BCTGM is grateful for the outpouring of fraternal support we received from across the labor movement for our striking members at Kellogg’s. Solidarity is critical to this fight.”
USW Local 40 Members Hold the Line in Strike Against Special Metals
On Oct. 1, more than 400 members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 40 went on an unfair labor practice strike against Special Metals in Huntington, West Virginia. These skilled workers showed up throughout the pandemic, ensuring continued production of critical supplies needed for national defense, aerospace and energy production. In return for their hard work, Special Metals sought to cut workers’ wages and benefits and take away critical seniority and safety protections. Now, the union members are demanding a fair contract that honors their skill, sacrifice and seniority. Show your support for members of Local 40 by signing this pledge.
SRU-UAW Wins Recognition from the University of California
In a massive victory for the UAW and the entire labor movement, Student Researchers United-UAW (SRU-UAW) announced Wednesday night that the University of California (UC) has recognized their union. SRU-UAW submitted union authorization cards in May after a monthslong organizing campaign. Their recognition now means the union will represent 17,000 higher education workers at all 10 UC campuses and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. SRU-UAW members overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike in November over UC’s refusal to recognize their bargaining unit.
This historic victory was brought about by the tireless efforts of thousands of student researchers who organized to win a union and a direct response to our massive strike authorization vote,” the union tweeted on Wednesday. “Now let’s win a strong contract for all student researchers!”
Front-Line Grocery Workers Vote to Form a Union with UFCW Local 1439
United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1439 announced Monday that some 250 grocery workers at Fred Meyer in Richland, Washington, will join the union after a victorious election, marking the first time in recent history that an entire store of grocery workers in the state have done so. The organizing win now paves the way for these new union members to move forward in bargaining their first union contract to strengthen pay, benefits and working conditions.
“This is an unprecedented victory, inspired by the sacrifices of essential grocery workers during the pandemic,” said Local 1439 Secretary-Treasurer Jeff Hofstader (not pictured). “We hope this inspires other grocery workers to stand up and exercise their rights.”
PECSH-MNA Reaches Tentative Agreement at Sparrow Hospital
The bargaining team of the Professional Employees Council of Sparrow Hospital-Michigan Nurses Association (PECSH-MNA), an affiliate of National Nurses United (NNU), reached a tentative agreement with the hospital administration for a new three-year contract last Friday, averting a possible strike. The new agreement includes significant wage increases, no increases in health care premiums, a safe staffing process and contractually guaranteed access to personal protective equipment.
“We truly believe that this contract will make a difference for caregivers working at our hospital, for the patients we serve and for our community as a whole,” said Katie Pontifex (not pictured), RN, president of PECSH-MNA. “We are really proud of the solidarity shown by caregivers in advocating for our patients and our community.” In November, 96% of PECSH-MNA members voted to authorize a strike. Some 2,200 union members will cast their ballots in the coming days on whether to ratify the agreement.
Actors’ Equity Secures Anti-Discrimination and Harrassment Provisions in New Agreement with Purple Rose Theatre Company
Actors’ Equity Association announced on Tuesday that the union has reached a new agreement with the Purple Rose Theatre Company in Chelsea, Michigan. Equity said the agreement reflects a shared commitment to creating a safe workplace, free from the discrimination and harassment the company experienced under its previous leadership. In addition to improved compensation and work hours, the two-year contract includes strong language prohibiting bullying, discrimination, harrassment and retaliation.
“This contract is now one of the strongest Equity contracts in the country in terms of protecting members from discrimination and harassment, and it will be a model for other theatres,” said Equity Assistant Executive Director and General Counsel Andrea Hoeschen. “Actors and stage managers will have a safer workplace because of the courage and efforts of those who revealed a range of working conditions at Purple Rose that were inconsistent with a safe, equitable, unionized workplace.
Organizing Win: Dancers at Ballet Idaho Vote to Join AGMA
The American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) and Ballet Idaho announced on Monday that the dancers of Ballet Idaho have voted to join AGMA. A vote was held on Tuesday, Nov. 30, based upon mutual agreement between the union and the performing arts company. Given the result in favor of forming a union, Ballet Idaho has recognized AGMA as the exclusive bargaining representative of the dancers.
AGMA is thrilled to welcome the dancers of Ballet Idaho into the union,” said Leonard Egert (not pictured), national executive director of AGMA. “We look forward to a collaborative process with the management of Ballet Idaho, as the safety, well-being and long-term success of these artists remain a top priority for both parties.”
Watch: UA Provides Opportunities for Veterans to Join the Pipe Trades
The United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters (UA) created the Veterans in Piping (VIP) program to equip transitioning military service members with the skills that can lead to solid careers in the pipe trades. Through 18-week accelerated courses—provided free of cost on military bases across the country—VIP participants earn industry-recognized certifications and a direct entry into jobs with good pay and benefits.
“[Veterans] paid the sacrifice, and we owe it to them to give them an opportunity,” UA Local 572 Business Manager Eric Coons told WKRN-TV in a recent interview. “That’s what the United Association is all about, because they’ve made the sacrifice and we have found that military life and trades like ours mesh.”
NNU Releases Report, Urges Federal Government to Address Unsafe Hospital Staffing Crisis
For decades, the hospital industry has used a variety of methods that have driven thousands of registered nurses (RNs) away from the bedside. In a comprehensive report published this morning, National Nurses United (NNU) illustrated the many ways hospitals have created the unsafe staffing crisis by adopting policies of not supplying enough RNs to safely care for patients, cutting corners at work that endanger nurses’ health and safety, disrespecting nurse judgment and autonomy, and resisting hiring RNs from associate degree programs.
The report explains how these hospital industry practices played out during the COVID-19 pandemic, and caused irreparable harm to registered nurses by creating unsafe workplaces that led to mental health distress, moral injury and hundreds of RN deaths. NNU is proposing a number of immediate and long-term legislative and regulatory solutions that Congress and the executive branch could take to retain and grow the nursing workforce. Click here to read more.
Tell the Menlo Park Academy Board of Directors: Stop Using Taxpayer Funds for Union-Busting
The administration at Menlo Park Academy, a K-8 charter school that serves gifted students, has been using public education funds to engage in a union busting campaign. The anti-union campaign, which includes anti-union literature and frivolous legal challenges intended to delay the election, began shortly after 96% of eligible employees supported forming the union and signed union authorization cards. The cards were submitted to the National Labor Relations Board on November 12 and includes support from teachers, instructional assistants, instructional aides, one-on-one aides, and other licensed educators.
“Teachers and students deserve a school environment that is conducive to teaching and learning, but right now our school is loud, chaotic, and under-resourced. That’s why 96% of us signed union cards and requested that management either recognize our union or remain neutral while we have a secret ballot election,” said Deb Vandrasik, a Fourth and Fifth Grade Teacher at Menlo Park Academy. “Instead, they’re using public education funding to try and bully us and keep us from having a union. I’m floored that they turn us down when we need books, chairs and desks, but now they’re spending thousands of dollars to try to bust our union.”
The educators are organizing to join the Cleveland Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff (Cleveland ACTS), Local 6570, which is affiliated with the Ohio Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers. Cleveland ACTS already represents educators and staff at seven local charter schools: Stepstone Academy, Summit Academy Parma, Summit Academy Painesville, and four ACCEL Schools (Northeast Ohio College Preparatory Lower Campus , Northeast Ohio College Preparatory High School, Cleveland College Preparatory School, and University of Cleveland Preparatory School). Teachers at Summit Academy Secondary Lorain also recently filed for a union election, with 100% support from eligible employees. That election will take place by mail ballot beginning on December 15.
If you are an Ohio resident, you can help by writing an email to the members of MPA’s Board of Directors and tell them to stop union busting and interfering with the secret ballot election. Click here to send an email
Velasquez Meets with College Students, Discusses History of the Labor Movement
Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) President Baldemar Velasquez (pictured above on the right) met with students from his alma mater, Bluffton University, in Ohio, last week. He spoke about his time as a student there and shared the rich history of FLOC. The union said on Facebook: “Now it is as important as ever to educate students and young people about the labor movement, together we can #UniteForFarmworkers.”
U.S Senator Sherrod Brown: Working For Working People!
United Way: Make Wishes Come True
Dear United Way friends,

Our annual Wish List partnership with The Cincinnati Enquirer always touches my heart in new ways. This is our 35th year partnering with the Enquirer to help local families in need.

This year’s list of eight families includes:
We work with local partners, nonprofits, grassroots groups, faith groups and others to identify the families and then ask, “How specifically can we help?”

I hope you will check out our Wish List stories in the Enquirer. This is our annual reminder that United is the way to help our neighbors.
Moira Weir
United Way of Greater Cincinnati
Freestore Foodbank: Give Holiday Hope For Hungry Bellies
It’s hard to believe the 2021 holidays are ringing in louder than the Thanksgiving dinner bell! Our spirits are just a little lighter this year, we are eager to start decorating, share festive meals, and enjoy long-awaited reunions with loved ones.

Here at the Freestore Foodbank, we are preparing to distribute enough food for over 280,000 hungry neighbors still facing basic hunger challenges left by the pandemic.

Following closely behind a busy Thanksgiving holiday, families are now in vital need of our help to feed hungry bellies over the holiday break.

Fill a virtual box of food for neighbors with a gift below:
$25 sends 5 kids home with Power Packs for the holiday break
$50 fills 150 plates of food for hungry neighbors
$100 provides 300 pounds of produce for local families
$250 provides 750 meals to your neighbors this holiday
Every box you select for our virtual food drive not only provides 3 meals a day to someone facing hunger, but also gives hope to those who count on Freestore Foodbank to leave the light on during this holiday season.

We ask for a gift today to help us continue to put food on the table for hungry families so they can enjoy a little hope and warmth this holiday season.

Thank you for taking part in spreading some holiday cheer. Your generosity truly makes a world of difference to neighbors who struggle to make ends meet.

Have a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season!

With gratitude,

Kurt L. Reiber
President & CEO
Freestore Foodbank
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, December 10 from daily data reporting to the Ohio Department of Health. These metrics are updated daily.
Below are the current reporting trends from Friday, December 10 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: