Labor Council
Friday, November 20, 2020
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.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Discusses Worker Safety and COVID-19 with President-Elect Biden
November 16, 2020, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka joined President-Elect Joe Biden, Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris and leaders from the business community and labor movement to share the federation’s vision for how to get people back to work safely in face of COVID-19. Here are excerpts from Trumka’s remarks:

“We need to manufacture the respirators and personal protective equipment that continue to be in short supply. We need to make the investments to retrofit our workplaces and schools to meet the ventilation and distancing requirements scientists and workplace safety experts tell us are absolutely vital. We need to make sure all COVID-19 cases are counted and reported so we know where the major outbreaks are before they get worse.”

“But with close to 200,000 Americans becoming infected every day and workers dying at alarming rates, especially in communities of color, the most important thing we can do on Day 1 is to reestablish OSHA’s mission of protecting workers. For four years, OSHA has been AWOL. There’s been no full-time director. There are fewer inspectors today than at any point in the agency’s history.”
“OSHA has been totally absent during this pandemic, and workers across industries have been left to fend for ourselves. One of the best ways OSHA can reestablish its mission is through an emergency temporary standard to protect workers from COVID-19. We’ve petitioned for it. We’ve sued for it. I can tell you that working people voted for it. We cannot afford to wait any longer.”

“An emergency standard would quickly put in place requirements for employers across the country as we enter this very difficult period in the pandemic. And it would set in motion a six-month timeline to create a long overdue permanent standard so we are better prepared if and when the next outbreak occurs. The president-elect rightfully reminds us that a job is about more than a paycheck—it’s about dignity. And if we believe that all work has dignity, then all workplaces need to focus on safety. It’s not too late to save tens of thousands of lives.”

On multiple occasions, Senator Sherrod Brown asked his Republican colleagues to wear a mask while presiding over the Senate - to stop recklessly endangering the Senate workers who sit just feet away. Over and over, they've refused to simply put a mask on. See this exchange below:
More Work For Working Families from Sherrod Brown

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs today took to the Senate Floor to urge his colleagues to move on from Judy Shelton’s nomination, and instead get to... READ MORE

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) hosted a news conference to discuss his new legislation to ensure more Americans can receive necessary vaccines, including any future COVID-19 vaccine, at no out-of-pocket cost. Brown’s Helping... READ MORE
Union-Made Thanksgiving
As we celebrate Thanksgiving in new ways as the coronavirus continues to surge, we hope you and your family are safe and healthy. We take a moment during this challenging year to give thanks for our democracy and our movement of working people who are powering our communities through the COVID-19 pandemic while continuing to fight for a better tomorrow for all. We look ahead to moving forward together with a Biden Harris Administration to responsibly tackle this virus head-on and build back better by investing in our families, our communities, and an economic recovery that works for all.

We continue to give thanks for all the frontline farm workers, food processing workers, and grocery store workers who show up day in and day out to keep America fed during the pandemic.
From Ocean Spray products, some of which are made by members of the Machinists Union, to Birdseye Vegetables made in Darien by United Food and Commercial Workers to crescent rolls, made by Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco and Grain Millers workers and more -- there’s a bounty of union-made in America food items to choose from this Thanksgiving. You can even serve your meal on union-made plates with union-made cutlery. View our list of union-made Thanksgiving items below.
Union-Made Thanksgiving
Boar's Head—UFCW
Foster Farms—UFCW

Side Dishes and Vegetables
Ocean Spray whole berry cranberry sauce—IAM
Birds Eye—UFCW
Andy Boy—UFW
Eurofresh —UFCW
Muranaka Farm —UFW
Sunripe —UFCW
Keebler (Kellogg) crackers—BCTGM
Betty Crocker specialty potatoes — BCTGM
Dole— IBT
Mann's fresh culinary cuts sweet potatoes — UFCW

Bread and Stuffing
Pillsbury crescent rolls, frozen and ready to bake rolls/breads—BCTGM
Stroehmann bakery products—BCTGM
Banquet fruit pies—UFCW
Marie Callender's—UFCW
Sara Lee pie—BCTGM
Mother’s Kitchen cheesecakes—BCTGM
Nabisco (Mondelez) cookies—BCTGM
Rich Products pies and cakes—BCTGM
Pillsbury pie crusts—BCTGM
Del Monte fresh apples—IBT
Food Club canned pumpkin pie filling—UFCW
Kroger pumpkin pie filling—UFCW

Set the Table
All-Clad cookware—USW
Regal Ware—USW
Anchor Hocking—GMP
Pyrex – USW
Bennington Potters—UNITE HERE
Clauss knives—USW
Homer Laughlin china—GMP
Libbey glassware—USW and GMP
Special thanks and recognition to our Sisters and Brothers at Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, the voice of working families, for the content of this article.
An Expanded Vision for the USPS
Greetings all.

I am sharing a new Stand By Your Mail video about an expanded vision for the U.S. Postal Service. Please post and share it and share any feedback.

BTW, it was great to be part of yesterday's Day of Action press conference in midtown Manhattan organized by the NY Metro Area Postal Union. It was a strong event.

Liza Barrie
Always Darkest Before The Dawn...
by Brian Griffin
The first person to use this proverb was Thomas Fuller, an English theologian, in the year 1650 and the idea behind this is related to the literal meaning of dawn. Dawn begins when the first light begins to show over the horizon from the sunrise. Therefore, there is the least light before dawn begins, because there while there is no sunlight at that point, it is also the longest point since last seeing light.

Well, while having my first cup of coffee this morning, an article came onto the morning news about a turkey farm near by that was having an unusual problem this year. Apparently, their number one product from prior years, their biggest, prize turkeys are just not selling. They couldn’t give them away. Apparently, because of the COVID-19 threat and the current rates of transmission, most people just weren’t gathering in the large numbers they had in prior years. I know we too have altered our usual order from our loyal and faithful neighborhood deli from a 12-14-pound bird to a boneless breast that we’ll be smoking this Thanksgiving Day. It will of course be delicious, but it will certainly be different.

Funny how something as simple as a brief TV news package about a local turkey farm can illustrate the strange times in which we find ourselves. As you likely did last year, probably on New Year’s Eve, I spoke of saying goodbye to what I thought was a rather rough and unkind year to welcome the hope and promise of a new year. With 2019 behind us, 2020 did start off with great promise and enthusiasm. Yet even as we were saying goodbye to 2019, a dark shadow was looming on the horizon as news of a strange new virus from far away was spreading its mantle and exacting its cost on a growing number of lives. Images of people donning masks and grieving lost ones began to appear in increasing numbers and the murmur that had been mostly background noise grew as we huddled through a fairly mild winter, still believing we were far from this growing menace.

Then, in Spring, the distant, but growing noise of overseas became a clamor as this thing hitched a ride on a plane, or boat, and found its way to us. Yes, it was here and unbeknownst to us, our world was about to change in every way we thought it could not, would not ever, here. Right? I mean, this is America! This is "rugged individualist," and that still vibrant “Don’t Tread On Me” attitude that made us the single greatest force for good in the world, right? Well, maybe not…

The very thing that makes America exceptional was about to be flipped on its head. The sole global superpower – the only country in history to dominate both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans – our faith in personal freedom and what we refer to as the "American Dream" of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, was coming face to face with an existential crisis, invisible to the naked eye. Yes, a thing so tiny as to be only visible under the finest microscopes was about to act on us in ways that would heighten our fears, play on our prejudices, harden our divisions and draw lines where none had been before. Oh…and let’s not forget… having just passed the 100-year anniversary of the 1918 pandemic and the 10-year anniversary of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, we were suddenly looking square into the face of what would prove to be the most virulent, deadly medical emergency in over a century.

By March, COVID-19 completely and entirely upended daily life in the United States. This mysterious SARS-CoV-2, the virus spreading the disease, swept across the country as we began adjusting to strict guidelines, cancelled activities and closures, and mandates to stay home. Since that time, this thing has ebbed and flowed, at times giving false hopes that it would recede, only to come back with even greater ferocity and spread itself like the plague that it is across our nation. And now, it has found its way into every corner, crack, and crevice of American life. It divides families along physical, emotional and political lines such as have not been seen since the American Civil War, pitting brother against brother, sister against sister, family against family, urban against rural, city against country, heaping coals on the very fire that fuels a polarization entirely unprecedented in American history.

So, that is where we find ourselves now. We’re over a quarter-million souls who will not be joining us at our Thanksgiving Day tables this year. Within days, we will eclipse the total number of souls who gave their “last full measure of devotion” during World War II. For all too many, there will be no family gathered for the annual Thanksgiving Day feast. There will be no Christmas morning, bustling with loved ones for many, even most of us. We continue to fight political battles that distract and divide us when we should be focused like a laser on the business of getting our arms around this scourge. Yes, 2020 will be the year of the asterix. Football, baseball, basketball, soccer, school, church, marriage, birth, death and every element of life is forever marked with an asterix signifying how every aspect of American life was “exceptional,” in the most literal meaning of the word, this year…

But, as many of you know who may be familiar with my story-telling style, my stories most often paint the darkness before bringing the light. And after what you just read, you may ask, what light? And if you are still reading this at this point, I can well understand that you, as most of us, may feel more than a bit overwhelmed by all of this… And yet, I promise you, there is light. Yes, there is great light and as we approach the coming Winter Solstice, we stand, both metaphorically and literally, at the point when the shortest day of the year is proceeded by the longest, darkest night of the year, only to introduce the very day when the light begins its long awaited return.

As I write this, we have not one, but two promising vaccines that will be in circulation by the end of this year and find their way to a majority of us by Spring. In January, we welcome new leadership into the sacred halls of our nation’s capital and the most working-family friendly president in decades. In every state, city, and neighborhood, across the land, a sincere and promising conversation about our nation’s original sin – systemic racism – has begun. We have the opportunity to address the existential threat to our environment while creating a wealth of good, solid, well-paying jobs that will usher in a new age of prosperity for the middle class, and most importantly middle-America where hope has been all but lost for so long, and the voiceless may find their voice again.

Yes, we have a way to go, make no mistake. And unfortunately, more still will not make the next leg of this journey back with us. But, make no mistake, we are coming back. Facts will once more be facts and truth will be truth again. While fear will never leave us, hope will once again reign. Science will prevail over myth and misinformation. And we will rebuild the shining city on the hill on the same solid, unshakeable foundation once again. “We the People” will decide our fate once more and we will get there by the grit and determination, the sweat and blood of American exceptionalism. But let us not confuse exceptionalism with the easy, self-flattering nationalism that has recently reared it so ugly face. America’s capacity for greatness is rooted in its capacity for goodness. It is the force behind what makes America great. We only needed a bit of reminding.

Finally, let’s remember what Mary G. Harris Jones, also known as Mother Jones, said: “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.” Let’s continue being prudent. Let’s continue to watch out for one another and do the fundamental things required to ride out the last few months of this great national nightmare. But know that there is an end to this dark tunnel, and a great light awaits there. But most importantly, we will get there together! Give thanks for your smaller turkey, then Zoom those you love! Gather in smaller groups now so we can all gather in great numbers to celebrate the tremendous victory of not just surviving 2020, but thriving on the promise, the pledge, the opportunity of 2021 and beyond. Happy Thanksgiving dear Sisters, Brothers, Community partners and friends. Indeed we have plenty to be thankful for.

Unity and Solidarity forever!

(Brian Griffin is the Director of Communication & Technology for Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council -
New Resource for Immigrant Families
Now Available: Bilingual Handouts on BMV Ruling
One of the biggest accomplishments IJPC had this year was winning a class-action lawsuit against the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) for denying 16- and 17-year-olds the right to drive because of their parents' immigration status. The ruling not only grants equal access to driver's licenses to teens, but allows any eligible child under 18 the right to obtain an Ohio ID card.

We need your help making sure immigrant families around Ohio know about the ruling! IJPC has created two handouts, one for teen drivers and one for parents. Please download these handouts and share with your networks!

Help Us Fill Plates This Thanksgiving
Dear Friends,

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner.

Every year we work hard to ensure we can provide the makings of a warm holiday meal to families facing hunger across the tristate.

But this year is different.

This year, the need is greater than ever before. In fact, we’ve had a 63% increase in food distribution since the start of the pandemic.

So, this year, we’re doing more.

We’re distributing the makings of a holiday meal the entire months of November and December at our Liberty Street location and gearing up for a big off-site food distribution event on November 20, just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.

We need your help to fill as many plates as possible on Thanksgiving. Every gift of $20 can provide the makings of a holiday meal to a family who would otherwise go without.

The generous spirit of big-hearted people like you never ceases to amaze me. Brian, this Thanksgiving season your generosity will make a huge impact for our neighbors facing hunger.

With gratitude,
The generous spirit of big-hearted people like you never ceases to amaze me. Brian, this Thanksgiving season your generosity will make a huge impact for our neighbors facing hunger.

The generous spirit of big-hearted people like you never ceases to amaze me. Brian, this Thanksgiving season your generosity will make a huge impact for our neighbors facing hunger.

With gratitude,
Kurt L. Reiber
President & CEO
Freestore Foodbank
NOVEMBER 9-22, 2020

The Freestore Foodbank Fall Classic ends this Sunday, and we hope you’ll be a part of it! A perfect way to participate is to buy a $50 gift card in our Restaurant Raffle, presented by TriHealth.

Your purchase will support our local restaurants who support Freestore Foodbank including Salazar, Forty Thieves, Via Vite and many more! TriHealth will donate $50 to Freestore Foodbank for every gift card purchased to help feed our neighbors in need this holiday season.

What’s more, for every $50 gift card purchased, you’ll be entered in a raffle for two club seats for a 2021 Cincinnati Bengals season home game, donated by TriHealth!
Many of the local restaurants participating have generously supported Freestore Foodbank for nearly 20 years. The pandemic has impacted these local businesses as well, and they need our support.

Give a gift that gives back to our local community. Buy a restaurant gift card today!
Many thanks,

Your friends at Freestore Foodbank

PS: Two other ways to participate in our Fall Classic include our Freestore Foodbank Silent Auction and the Cincinnati Bengals Virtual Food Drive. Be sure to check them out!

1141 Central Parkway, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

Phone: 513-482-4500

© 2020 Freestore Foodbank, All rights reserved.
AT&T Special Promotions for Union Members
Sisters and Brothers

I wanted to send a note to let you know Union Plus has a promotion with AT&T through November 30, 2020, that extends additional benefits for union members who switch over to AT&T and purchase a new smartphone. Resources to share this promotion with your members and on your networks can be found in our digital toolkit link:

That same link contains materials on the other special promotions this month – including a Holiday Giveback campaign that will award 100 extraordinary union members with $1000 based on their video or written submission. I hope you will also consider sharing both of these events with your members this month. (Collateral for the contest will appear in the Digital Toolkit link in the next 24 hours.)
We’ve also refreshed the Union Plus website including the section designed to serve union leaders. It’s our hope more local union leaders and staff turn to Union Plus for free materials, customized flyers and any resources they may need to share Union Plus programs with their members.

The Holiday Giveback campaign materials can be found here:
In solidarity,
Jill Cashen
Vice President, Union Plus
O: 202-778-9820
COVID - 19 By The Numbers
Global Confirmed: 56,561,918
Global Deaths: 1,354,780
U.S. Confirmed: 11,573,758
U.S. Deaths: 251,029
(As of 2:00 PM, Thursday, November 19, 2020)
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. These trends are updated daily and are presented by report date.
Hamilton County
Clermont County
Brown County
Butler County
Warren County
Other Important Headlines and Information: