Labor Council
News & Updates
Friday, August 7, 2020
"A Point of No Return"
A Statement from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
The United States faces an unemployment crisis, as another 1.6 million working people applied for unemployment last week. More than 33 million workers are either on unemployment benefits or have applied for them. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proposed cutting those benefits to $200 a week. But we're not fooled by McConnell's anti-worker rhetoric.

No working person prefers collecting unemployment to earning a paycheck. Slashing benefits will not incentivize people to find jobs that just aren't there. In fact, cutting federal unemployment benefits will lead to more job losses. Extending unemployment benefits is common sense and popular: More than 70% of Americans support it. It's time for McConnell to quit playing games and schedule a vote on the HEROES Act, which would extend unemployment benefits and provide other critical protections to keep working people whole.

It’s not an exaggeration to say we are approaching a point of no return. Millions of working people lost extended unemployment benefits, which expired Friday. This is the result of inaction and incompetence. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could have prevented this, but he refused to. Now millions are wondering how we’re going to pay the mortgage or afford the next prescription. Millions of children, educators and school staff will start a new school year. There is no strategy to ensure their safety, just a president who is demanding that schools reopen recklessly.
And millions of people have contracted this fast-spreading virus and over 157,000 have died from it. Every day, nearly 1,000 Americans are dying from it. Our president heartlessly said: “It is what it is.” After more than six months, after more than 157,000 dead, after an economic catastrophe that rivals the Great Depression, our president thinks: “It is what is.” The coronavirus is not going away any time soon. But on Nov. 3, Trump has got to go.
Tim Burga: Working Ohioans Are Paying the Price for President Trump’s Incompetence
More than six months after President Donald Trump promised that the COVID-19 pandemic was “totally under control,” cases are still rising across the country, Ohioans are still losing their lives, and working families are still struggling to survive the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression.

But this week, far from doing everything he can to get help to those who need it, Trump is parachuting into Ohio to stage a photo op and raise money from a handful of rich friends. Once again, Trump is focused on the wealthy and big corporations; while he rubs shoulders and pockets cash, working families are paying the price for his disastrous pandemic response.

Even as the situation has grown more desperate, Trump has repeatedly allowed his own incompetence and selfishness to stand in the way of delivering the basic necessities that working Ohioans need to survive.

We don’t need to play host to a high-dollar fundraiser. We need a national testing strategy, we need a domestic supply chain that provides widespread access to personal protective equipment, and we need a president in the White House with the capacity to lead us through this crisis.

Working people know that our greatest strength is found in solidarity. We can overcome immense challenges if we work together, support each other, and put our urgent collective needs first. But instead of rallying us together — rather than carry out the most basic responsibilities of his job — Trump has put himself first at every turn.

From the first days of the outbreak, Trump ignored public health experts, downplayed the virus, and failed to take meaningful action, causing the United States to lead the world with more than 4.6 million cases. As a result, thousands of Ohioans have lost their lives to COVID-19, tens of thousands have been infected, and hundreds of thousands have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.
Tim Burga is president of the AFL-CIO of Ohio.

Just last week, we learned the economy suffered through its worst quarter on record, contracting by nearly a third. And asked about the growing death toll, Trump said: “It is what it is.” 

Even now, rather than keeping Ohio families from falling further into this economic nightmare, Trump and his congressional allies have allowed emergency unemployment benefits to expire. And instead of securing Ohioans’ health coverage in the midst of historic job loss, they have continued to wage a twisted campaign to overturn the Affordable Care Act, endangering health coverage for more than 740,000 Ohioans and threatening protections for millions more with pre-existing conditions.
Ohioans want to go back to work. But this virus doesn’t care about convenience. It doesn’t care about what’s easy, and it certainly doesn’t care about Donald Trump’s political interests.

In order to begin returning to any kind of functioning economy — as so much of the world has already done — the United States needs to work together and rally behind a common cause. The labor movement knows a thing or two about that.

If the last three and a half years have made anything clear, it’s that Donald Trump is incapable of living up to this moment. Joe Biden has spent a career engaging and mobilizing communities to do great things in the face of enormous hardship. While Trump continues to ignore the reality of this pandemic, Biden is showing us the path forward — a plan to build back better.

Now more than ever, we need that kind of leadership in the Oval Office. Working Ohioans have suffered tremendously over the last several months. We can’t afford four more years of Donald Trump’s chaos, incompetence, and broken promises. We deserve better, and on Nov. 3, we’re going to win it.
Tim Burga, President
Save Our Public Services!
The Senate plans to go on vacation AGAIN starting Friday, August 7th. But our communities—and the front-line workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic and helping Americans who have lost their jobs—can’t afford to wait any longer.
Without this relief package, we won’t be able to keep nurses and other front-line health care workers on the job. Our schools won’t be able to reopen safely. Help for Americans who lost their jobs will slow even further. The trash won’t get picked up, and 911 response times will only increase.
This isn’t a blue state or a red state issue. Federal help for America’s states, cities, towns and schools is critical to saving the essential public services that all of our people and communities rely on every single day. It’s these services that we need to beat this pandemic and safely reopen the economy. We cannot choose between the two—they go hand in hand.
Each day the Senate delays is another day of essential public services being cut and front-line public service workers being thanked with a pink slip. Continued inaction will be catastrophic for the economy and our chances of recovery.
Our lives and livelihoods are on the line.
In Solidarity,
Randi Weingarten: "I need you to make a call"
Mitch McConnell finally released his proposal last week. I’m sure you’re not surprised, but the proposal is bad. Simply put, it doesn’t match the scale of the crisis.
What McConnell is proposing for families and public education is woefully inadequate given the expenses schools are facing to reopen safely and people are facing just to stay afloat. It falls dramatically short by ignoring what schools need to reopen safely and, instead, prioritizes the president’s political agenda, tying the funding to in-person instruction and diverting money for private school vouchers. There is no money for states and no protections for health care workers. And it leaves people who have lost their jobs in the biggest economic crisis in a generation wondering if they’re going to get any help at all.
We need to extend the enhanced unemployment benefits. McConnell is standing in the way. People are facing an eviction crisis. Renters need relief, but Republicans are more interested in bailouts for corporations than passing a bill that helps people.
Can you believe it? GOP lawmakers are actually using the COVID-19 pandemic to try to pass a bill with political goals they couldn’t pass on their own. To rub salt in the wound, while this proposal includes no protections for workers on the front lines of fighting the pandemic, it does include a nice bailout for corporations and other employers to limit their liability if employees get sick on the job.
I know we’re all busy, but I want to thank you for consistently taking action. We’ve driven tens of thousands of emails and phone calls to the Senate. Let’s keep it going and stop McConnell’s bad proposal.
In unity,
Randi Weingarten
AFT President
An Online Screening and Panel Discussion
Of the Multiple Award Winning Documentary
The Voter Suppression Playbook

RIGGED: The Voter Suppression Playbook

With the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council &
Faith Community Alliance

In collaboration with
American Issues Initiative

Aug. 13th @ 7 PM
Watch The Trailer NOW
  • RIGGED: The Voter Suppression Playbook is an award-winning documentary that exposes the nefarious tactics used to suppress the vote and serves to spark discussion on the actions needed to protect our democracy.
  • Shot principally during the 2016 election, the film tracks a systematic, decade-long effort to reverse the impact of the growing demographic tide of non-white and younger voters who helped elect President Barack Obama in 2008.
  • RIGGED details a variety of voter suppression “plays,” or tactics, ranging from the purging of voting rolls and passing of new, restrictive voter ID laws to gerrymandering and voter intimidation.
  • The film includes revealing interviews with Republican strategists detailing how the voter suppression game is played as well as cogent insights from leading voting rights advocates, law professors and Democratic strategists. It is narrated by Tony & Emmy award-winning actor, Jeffrey Wright. 
Join us for this exclusive screening of Rigged with a panel discussion on the topic of: Democracy in the time of COVID-19. This screening will be presented via Zoom Webinar. Registration is required and the Zoom Event link will be emailed to all RSVPs 48 hours in advance of the screening.
Have you been purged?

Between 2016 and 2018, over 17 million names were purged from voter rolls across the United States.

The 2020 election is less than six months away.

Is your registration safe?

Not yet registered to vote?
Special thanks to American Issues Initiative for making this screening possible. The American Issues Initiative has a simple charge: to inform and educate the American public about the pressing issues of our day – from criminal justice to education to the challenges of maintaining the vibrancy of our democracy.

The Initiative will seek to maintain a narrow, laser focus – tackling one critical issue at a time. But equally important is to give voice to viable solutions, ones that we believe will make America a better, fairer place for Americans of every race, creed and sex.

To tell our story, America’s story, we paint on a broad canvas utilizing every content platform: film, video, the web and social media.
AFT Authorizes Strikes if Schools Can’t Be Reopened Safely
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) issued a resolution saying the union will support any local that decides to strike as a response to school openings that aren’t being conducted with the safety of students, teachers and other school personnel as a top priority. The AFT says strikes should only be used as a last resort, but if school administrators don’t go far enough in ensuring adequate safety procedures, strikes may be necessary. In those situations, the AFT will provide locals with legal, communications and staffing support. Teachers in Chicago already have seen a victory in response to a threatened strike, as Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that schools will move to remote learning in response to mobilization by the Chicago Teachers Union.
Kindergarten Teacher Highlights Risks of Unsafely Reopening Schools
Candace Pinn is a kindergarten teacher in New Rochelle, New York, and a member of the New Rochelle Federation of United School Employees-AFT. Whether schools open or not is one of the biggest questions right now during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We can’t guarantee kids’ safety. We can’t guarantee teachers’ safety. And, in my opinion, until we can, we can’t open up our schools,” Pinn said. “If staying at home is going to be what keeps us all safe, I will be that person to stay home...and that’s real.” Learn more about what might happen and how teachers are feeling during these dangerous times.
(*Monday August 10, 12 PM)
Phone Bank Training
Donald Trump has been a disaster for our country, yet he could win another four years. We must do everything we can to make sure that man leaves the White House and we install a leader who cares about our future.
Please join our Veterans & Military Community (VMC) Caucus phone bank training and phone bank sample on Monday, August 10, 2020. We will be reaching out to members of our veteran and military community.
Who:              Veterans & Military Community
What:             Phone Bank Training & Action
Date:              Monday, August 10, 2020
Time:             5:30 – 7:30 pm
Sponsor: Ohio Democratic Party
Please join me. Our country needs you. 
Connie Pillich
Do Something!
This past Tuesday, August 4 marked the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting in Dayton's Oregon District. A year ago, I stood on stage at an emotional candlelight vigil in front of thousands of my friends and neighbors. As our Republican governor, Mike DeWine, rose to speak, they began to chant “Do Something!”

Do something.

I have dedicated much of the last year to try to heed their call. I did more interviews than I can count. I wrote op-eds. I testified before the U.S. House of Representatives. I spoke to Senators. I built a bipartisan coalition with Gov. DeWine in support of sensible, albeit inadequate, gun reforms. I worked to build momentum behind a ballot initiative for universal background checks. I spoke to any group that would listen. I ran myself – and my staff – ragged.

For a brief moment, it seemed like something might finally break loose. But now, a year later, nothing has changed. And at the one year anniversary, our community cannot even gather together in person because of the continued threat of COVID-19. 

In many ways, the crisis we now face with COVID-19 feels familiar. With the immense human suffering of both gun violence and COVID-19, I always come back to the same thought: “It didn’t have to be this way.”

Just like with gun violence, Republican politicians in Columbus and Washington, DC have stood in the way of taking real action to keep us safe and healthy during this pandemic.

We do not have to endure endless mass shootings. We do not have to endure endless death and economic despair from COVID-19. These are not natural disasters. These are disasters created by politicians across our country that refuse to act.

I have spent the last twelve months engulfed in these two crises, trying to find solutions with our state and federal elected officials. Unfortunately, I am now convinced that the only answer is to elect new leaders up and down the ballot who are committed to real, transformative action.

In November, we have the chance to hold accountable the people who allow gun violence to continue unabated. In November, we have the chance to insist that our country take comprehensive measures – like most of the rest of the world – to control the spread of COVID-19. In November, we have our chance to do something.

When people ask me what they can do to commemorate what happened on August 4th in Dayton, I tell them to vote. Vote to honor the victims of gun violence in Dayton and across the country. Vote to stand up for the needless death and despair caused by COVID-19. 

On a hot night a year ago, at the end of the longest day of my life, I promised the people of Dayton that I would do something. I intend to keep that promise. I hope you will join me. 
Nan Whaley
Mayor of Dayton, Ohio
From Our Friends and Community Partners at
Community Action Agency
"Economic, social costs of evictions staggering"
Hamilton County Municipal Court should impose a moratorium on evictions. The situation is dire. We are in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic. And people are suffering from the resulting economic collapse that we have come to find has had a much harsher effect on people than the Great Recession.

People have lost their jobs in industries that are showing no signs of coming back. The supplemental unemployment assistance from the federal government has expired, and the federal moratorium on evictions has expired – all of which will cause even further hardship to those already struggling. 

We need time – time to connect those struggling and seeking assistance with agencies that have the funding to help.

And there is help available. Hamilton County commissioners have allocated $3.5 million of CARES Act funding to eviction prevention programs at Community Action Agency (CAA), Talbert House and Freestore Foodbank. This funding comes just at the right time, but all of our agencies are overwhelmed with the increased demand for rental assistance. Over the last few days, CAA has seen a five-fold increase in applications for rental and utility assistance. We currently have over 900 people in the pipeline waiting for help, with more contacting us for help every day. And Talbert House and the Freestore are having a similar experience.

From Our Friends and Community Partners at
Cincinnati Cares
BoardConnect Event
Hundreds of Cincinnati area
nonprofits are looking for board members. Start the process of becoming one on August 12
A local technology platform and virtual connecting event
make it easy for leaders to find the right fit

CINCINNATI, Ohio -- Ready to make a difference in the lives of thousands? Start now, by beginning the process of finding the right nonprofit organization to serve as a board member.

Cincinnati Cares, the region’s only online guide to what active nonprofits need now, makes it easy for volunteer leaders to find their right fit, beginning with an Aug. 12 virtual connecting event. Cincinnati Cares operates a technology platform aimed at creating WIDER nonprofit boards -- that is, welcoming, inclusive, diverse, equitable and representative. More than 200 nonprofits are using the platform to identify and connect with 500-plus board candidates. A virtual event planned for Aug. 12 from 5-6:30 p.m. will speed the process.

Board candidates must register and complete a profile by Aug. 7. Nonprofits interested in connecting with candidates must register by July 31. Here are links with more information for each:
Cincinnati Cares, 1776 Mentor Avenue Suite 200, Norwood OH, 4521
From Our Friends and Community Partners at United Way of Greater Cincinnati
Don't Let Adversity Define You
Dear United Way friends,

“It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself, that determines how your life’s story will develop.”

I don’t remember where I first heard it or who first quoted it to me, but those words resonate and I often repeated them throughout my career in child welfare, especially to young foster children whose lives were turned upside down through no fault of their own. 

Now, after 100 days as the president and CEO of United Way of Greater Cincinnati, I find that quote running through my head on a near daily basis. 

COVID-19 turned our world upside down. My 90-day ramp-up plan went out the window before I even started, which I did a week early because of the pandemic. 

Adversity gave me great insight into what United Way means to this community. Many – from the influential businessperson who touts our value to his or her employees to the parent facing homelessness because of COVID – thanked me for United Way immediately responding to the great need in our community.

But it is me who should give thanks -- to a great Board led by Steve Shifman and Barbara Turner; to a tremendous staff; and, most importantly, to you. None of this is possible without you.

Moira Weir
United Way of Greater Cincinnati
COVID 19 By The Numbers
(as of Thursday, August 6, 3:00 PM)

  • Global Confirmed Cases 18,875,773
  • Global Deaths 708,941
  • U.S. Confirmed Cases 4,842,313
  • U.S. Deaths 158,606
  • Ohio Confirmed Cases 96,305
  • Ohio Deaths 3,596
(As of Wednesday, August 5, 2020, 10:00 AM)

Commission President Denise Driehaus
• COVID stats as of this morning:
  • 9, 240 positive cases (up 615 since last week)
  • 933 hospitalizations (up 48 since last week)
  • 248 deaths (up 15 deaths since last week).
• We are at elevated levels, but have plateaued and are starting to move downward a bit. Even though hospitalizations are up, we think last week’s number was an anomaly. The numbers this week are still a decrease in the trend.
• Hamilton County EMA will provide PPE and thermometers to any school in Hamilton County that needs it. This is funded by CARES Act dollars.
• We are starting more Pop-Up Testing Sites. Please arrive early as lines are long.
• Launching a Childcare Providers Relief Program with $2.3 million in CARES Act dollars for low income households. Visit for more information.

Greg Kesterman, Director, Hamilton County Health Department
• Our numbers continue to look positive. Complaints continue to decline. We are seeing a decline in hospitalizations; regional hospitalizations also seeing a decline in ICU admissions.
• Our reproductive value is 0.87. Overall, things are very positive.
As a reminder, Ohio's statewide mask order is effect as of July 23, 6:00 PM. The graphic below shows eight counties that have moved into Level 3/"Red." Regardless of the advisory level for the county you live in, masks are now required while in public.
Hardship Assistance and Relief Funds

  • Participants in the Union Plus Mortgage, Credit Card, Personal Loan, or supplemental insurance programs may be eligible for additional hardship assistance. Visit Union Plus Hardship Help for eligibility requirements.

Take Action!
Other Important Headlines:
In an effort to better serve you by doing our part to minimize the amount of email we send and you receive, we've included in this single email the best information we have received this week on issues of importance to all of us. If you have information you would like included in future distributions, please send it to:

Brian D. Griffin | Director of Communication & Technology
Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council | 513.421.1846 Office | 513.608.0033 Cell |