Labor Council
News & Updates
Friday, June 19, 2020
Celebrating Juneteenth!
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.  Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19 th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger , landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free . Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863 . The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order . However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865 , and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.
Later attempts to explain this two-and-a-half-year delay in the receipt of this important news have yielded several versions that have been handed down through the years. Often told is the story of a messenger who was murdered on his way to Texas with the news of freedom. Another is that the news was deliberately withheld by the enslavers to maintain the labor force on the plantations. And still another is that federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. All of which, or none of these versions could be true. Certainly, for some, President Lincoln's authority over the rebellious states was in question. Whatever the reasons, conditions in Texas remained status quo well beyond what was statutory.

General Order Number 3
One of General Granger’s first orders of business was to read to the people of Texas, General Order Number 3 which began most significantly with: "The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer."
The reactions to this profound news ranged from pure shock to immediate jubilation . While many lingered to learn of this new employer to employee relationship, many left before these offers were completely off the lips of their former 'masters' - attesting to the varying conditions on the plantations and the realization of freedom. Even with nowhere to go , many felt that leaving the plantation would be their first grasp of freedom. North was a logical destination and for many it represented true freedom, while the desire to reach family members in neighboring states drove some into Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Settling into these new areas as free men and women brought on new realities and the challenges of establishing a heretofore non-existent status for black people in America. Recounting the memories of that great day in June of 1865 and its festivities would serve as motivation as well as a release from the growing pressures encountered in their new territories. The celebration of June 19 th was coined "Juneteenth" and grew with more participation from descendants. The Juneteenth celebration was a time for reassuring each other, for praying and for gathering remaining family members. Juneteenth continued to be highly revered in Texas decades later, with many former slaves and descendants making an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston on this date.
Juneteenth Festivities and Food
A range of activities were provided to entertain the masses, many of which continue in tradition today. Rodeos , fishing , barbecuing and baseball are just a few of the typical Juneteenth activities you may witness today. Juneteenth almost always focused on education and self-improvement . Thus, often guest speakers are brought in and the elders are called upon to recount the events of the past. Prayer services were also a major part of these celebrations.
Certain foods became popular and subsequently synonymous with Juneteenth celebrations such as strawberry soda-pop . More traditional and just as popular was the barbecuing, through which Juneteenth participants could share in the spirit and aromas that their ancestors - the newly emancipated African Americans, would have experienced during their ceremonies. Hence, the barbecue pit is often established as the center of attention at Juneteenth celebrations.
Food was abundant because everyone prepared a special dish. Meats such as lamb, pork and beef which were not available everyday were brought on this special occasion. A true Juneteenth celebration left visitors well satisfied and with enough conversation to last until the next.
Dress was also an important element in early Juneteenth customs and is often still taken seriously, particularly by the direct descendants who can make the connection to this tradition's roots. During slavery there were laws on the books in many areas that prohibited or limited the dressing of the enslaved . During the initial days of the emancipation celebrations, there are accounts of former slaves tossing their ragged garments into the creeks and rivers and adorning themselves with clothing taken from the plantations belonging to their former 'masters'.
Juneteenth and Society
In the early years, little interest existed outside the African American community in participation in the celebrations. In some cases, there was outwardly exhibited resistance by barring the use of public property for the festivities. Most of the festivities found themselves out in rural areas around rivers and creeks that could provide for additional activities such as fishing , horseback riding and barbecues . Often church grounds were the site for such activities. Eventually, as African Americans became landowners, land was donated and dedicated for these festivities. One of the earliest documented land purchases in the name of Juneteenth was organized by Rev. Jack Yates . This fund-raising effort yielded $1000 and made possible the purchase of Emancipation Park in Houston, Texas . In Mexia , the local Juneteenth organization purchased Booker T. Washington Park , which had become the Juneteenth celebration site in 1898. There are accounts of Juneteenth activities being interrupted and halted by white landowners demanding that their laborers return to work. However, it seems most allowed their workers the day off and some even made donations of food and money. For decades these annual celebrations flourished , growing continuously with each passing year. In Booker T. Washington Park, as many as 20,000 African Americans once attended during the course of a week, making the celebration one of the state’s largest.
Juneteenth Celebrations Decline
Economic and cultural forces led to a decline in Juneteenth activities and participants beginning in the early 1900’s. Classroom and textbook education in lieu of traditional home and family-taught practices stifled the interest of the youth due to less emphasis and detail on the lives of former slaves. Classroom textbooks proclaimed Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863 as the date signaling the ending of slavery - and mentioned little or nothing of the impact of General Granger’s arrival on June 19 th .
The Depression forced many people off the farms and into the cities to find work. In these urban environments, employers were less eager to grant leaves to celebrate this date. Thus, unless June 19 th fell on a weekend or holiday, there were very few participants available. July 4 th was already the established Independence holiday and a rise in patriotism steered more toward this celebration.
The Civil Rights movement of the 50’s and 60’s yielded both positive and negative results for the Juneteenth celebrations . While it pulled many of the African American youth away and into the struggle for racial equality, many linked these struggles to the historical struggles of their ancestors. This was evidenced by student demonstrators involved in the Atlanta civil rights campaign in the early 1960’s, who wore Juneteenth freedom buttons. Again in 1968, Juneteenth received another strong resurgence through the Poor Peoples March to Washington D.C. Rev. Ralph Abernathy’s call for people of all races, creeds, economic levels and professions to come to Washington to show support for the poor. Many of these attendees returned home and initiated Juneteenth celebrations in areas previously absent of such activities. In fact, two of the largest Juneteenth celebrations founded after this March are now held in Milwaukee and Minneapolis .
Texas Blazes the Trail
On January 1, 1980 , Juneteenth became an official state holiday through the efforts of Al Edwards , an African American state legislator. The successful passage of this bill marked Juneteenth as the first emancipation celebration granted official state recognition.  Edwards has since actively sought to spread the observance of Juneteenth all across America.
Juneteenth In Modern Times
Today, Juneteenth is enjoying a phenomenal growth rate within communities and organizations throughout the country. Institutions such as the Smithsonian , the Henry Ford Museum and others have begun sponsoring Juneteenth-centered activities . In recent years, a number of local and national Juneteenth organizations have arisen to take their place along side older organizations - all with the mission to promote and cultivate knowledge and appreciation of African American history and culture.
Juneteenth today, celebrates African American freedom and achievement, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures . As it takes on a more national, symbolic and even global perspective , the events of 1865 in Texas are not forgotten, for all of the roots tie back to this fertile soil from which a national day of pride is growing.
The future of Juneteenth looks bright as the number of cities and states creating Juneteenth committees continues to increase. Respect and appreciation for all of our differences grow out of exposure and working together. Getting involved and supporting Juneteenth celebrations creates new bonds of friendship and understanding among us. This indeed brightens our future - and that is the Spirit of Juneteenth .
History of Juneteenth © Look for the Official Juneteenth Worldwide Celebration emblem at Juneteenth events across America and beyond! You'll know you have a friend, a common bond and a worldwide family. 

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Watch a sneak preview of the Virtual Juneteenth Festival and Father’s Day concert HERE!
Workers First Caravan for
Racial + Economic Justice
This past Wednesday, June 17, Working people across the country joined together to demand safe jobs, economic security and freedom from systemic racism. The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated our country. Tens of thousands of America’s workers have died and millions more have lost jobs. Yet Congress and President Trump aren’t responding to this crisis with the urgency it deserves.

All across America, working people joined together in solidarity for the Workers First Caravan for Racial + Economic Justice . Our choice is not picking healthy people or a healthy economy or upholding justice. The choice is simply this: all or none. We choose all. That is why today and every day that follows, working people will mobilize like never before to make the HEROES Act the law of the land and to enact the policing reforms that are the first step toward ridding our laws and institutions of systemic racism.

To do this, we need our elected leaders to implement America’s Five Economic Essentials to save lives and our economy, and to pass the HEROES Act, which will be one of the most important pieces of social legislation in decades.

Support America’s Five Economic Essentials

We need the Senate to:

  • Keep front-line workers safe and secure.
  • Keep workers employed and protect earned pension checks.
  • Keep state and local governments, our public schools and the U.S. Postal Service solvent and working.
  • Keep America healthy—protect and expand health insurance for all workers.
  • Keep America competitive—hire people to build infrastructure.

Team AFL-CIO National Newsletter Highlights CLC Worker's Caravan Video
Recently, members of our Local Affiliates raised their voices in a video produced as part of the National Day of Action, the "Workers First Caravan for Racial + Economic Justice." They were asking the Senate to support workers by supporting The Heroes Act. The following shout-out to the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council appeared in the Wednesday, June 17 Special Edition of the national Team AFL-CIO Newsletter in recognition of that video:

Cincinnati Union Members Call for Passage of the HEROES Act

As thousands of workers across the country take part in collective action today to demand racial and economic justice, union members in Cincinnati are lending their voices to demand that the U.S. Senate pass the HEROES Act. This  video from the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council  shows these members who work for public schools, the U.S. Postal Service, building trades, private businesses and public services. While workers of color have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and high levels of unemployment, dozens of union members in Cincinnati all joined together to share one simple message: Support the HEROES Act.
Survey Finds Black Workers Retaliated Against at Higher Rates for Speaking Out About Unsafe Working Conditions
According to a nationwide survey from the National Employment Law Project (NELP),  Black workers are being retaliated against at a much higher rate  than their White counterparts for speaking out about unsafe working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. While one in eight workers who responded to the survey has perceived possible employer retaliation against working people in their company for raising health and safety concerns during the pandemic, Black workers are more than twice as likely as White workers to have seen possible retaliation. NELP explained, “Our results suggest that virus transmission in the workplace may be exacerbated by employer repression and that the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black communities may be related to  greater exposure of Black workers to repressive workplace environments .”
Firefighters Organize New IAFF Local Unions in Ohio and Michigan
Two of the newest affiliates to join the Fire Fighters (IAFF) are Local 5272 in Oxford, Ohio, and Local 5267 in Highland Township, Michigan. As the emergency service needs of the city of Oxford and community of Highland Township continue to grow, additional full-time positions have been added. “Our primary reason for organizing was to  ensure we have a seat at the table  as decisions are being made about fire department protocols and resources,” said Local 5272 President Jeremy Smith. “We are also hoping to establish a strong labor-management relationship with our city administration.” Local 5267 President Nicholas George said, “We are proud to become part of the IAFF and are  looking forward to connecting with fellow IAFF members  and its resources to continue to aid in the improvement of our department.” Since March 15, more than 15 new locals have joined the IAFF. Membership has increased 45% since 2000 to over 320,000, with steady growth every year.
Lunch With Your Legislators Is Back Today at 11:00 AM
Your legislators were on the floor of the Statehouse last week until 2 AM Friday morning, unfortunately requiring us to miss Lunch with your Legislators. We are excited to be back this week to reconnect with you all and to celebrate Pride Month. If you have not registered for today's Lunch with your Legislators event yet, the time is now!
Join us today, June 19th, at 11:00 am  on Facebook Live and Zoom. This week we are joined by  Equality Ohio to discuss LGBTQ+ issues . Please  sign up here  or by clicking the invitation below.

Come enjoy Lunch with your Legislators while we answer your questions and discuss what the future holds for all of us. We work for you and want to make sure we do so in the best way possible.

Please  sign up here  to enjoy another conversation with your legislators. As long as we continue to work together and stay strong, I know we can get through this! R egister at: 

We Demand a Safe, Anti-Racist, Equitable Re-Opening of Schools
The murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many others have laid even more the bare systemic racism that has always existed. The uprising for Black Lives has shown the kind of movement we need to transform society. The disproportionate, deadly impact of COVID-19 on communities of color and working-class communities has shown in sharp relief the lack of a social safety net.

Amidst all of this, public education, one of the remaining hopes for racial justice, advancement, democracy, and community, is either targeted with devastating budget cuts or neutral budgets in a crisis of historic proportions. In this unprecedented moment, with public schools reopening post-COVID-19, we must demand transformed schools, a transformed social system, and a transformed economy.

Come learn from CPS students, parents, community members and teachers; listen and help take action for a safe, anti-racist, equitable re-opening of schools.

Moira Weir asks "Have you seen our latest video?"
Dear United Way friends,

Have you seen our latest video? It truly captures what United Way means to this community. 
David Taylor, this year’s campaign chair, devoted P&G resources and enlisted a Cincinnati creative agency, Curiosity, to make this happen. Both worked with our in-house marketing team over the past few months to help define United Way’s value to the community. We are extremely grateful. 

The words are powerful. I am thrilled how they personalize the giving community I have come to know and love. 

I hope you enjoy it. Watch it at .
Moira Weir
Stamp Out Hunger Donor Drive
Dear friends, 
The Donor Drive is live!!! Go and share and retweet what has been posted. So excited!

  1. Go to
  2. Select your state
  3. Choose a food bank in your area
  4. Make a contribution
#NALC #stampouthunger #donordrive #heroesdelivering #lettercarriers
Supreme Court Extends Protections to LGBTQ Workers in Landmark Decision
At this crucial time for our nation, the Supreme Court ruled earlier today that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act  protects LGBTQ workers from discrimination on the job . Pride At Work Executive Director Jerame Davis released a statement: “We’ve said over and over that  LGBTQ working people deserve the dignity and respect of being protected from discrimination at work  and now the Supreme Court agrees. In this moment of national uncertainty, we all need some good news and this is a huge win for equality.
“Today, the Court recognized that discrimination based on someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity is rooted in sex discrimination. The approximately 11.5 million LGB people and 1.5 million transgender people in the United States are now protected from discrimination in workplaces across the country. While many lower courts already have recognized that, we now have clarity from the highest court in the land.”
George Tucker (1942-2020)
Labor Leader Active in Community
George R. Tucker, a longtime northwest Ohio labor leader, trustee of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library since 2000, and mostly recently, its board president, died Friday, June 12, 2020 in Hospice of Northwest Ohio, South Detroit Avenue. He was 78.

Mr. Tucker of Sylvania Township had cancer three times, lung cancer most recently. “He beat them all, including this last time,” his wife Deb, said...
COVID-19 in Numbers
From  Johns Hopkins University  (as of publication time):
  • Nearly 8.4 million global cases and nearly 450,000 deaths have been confirmed.
  • The coronavirus has spread to at least 188 countries/regions.
  • There have been at least 118,000 deaths in the United States.
  • More than 2.1 million cases in all 50 states, U.S. territories and Washington, D.C., have been reported.
Other Important Headlines:
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