Labor Council

Saturday, January 8, 2022
New Year Message from President Liz Shuler
  • As we start a new year, I’m excited for the possibilities in front of us. There will be challenges in the months ahead, but if there’s anything we’ve shown, it’s that the labor movement is ready to meet this moment.

  • We need to make sure the Build Back Better Act is passed as soon as possible, and we’re mobilizing to show the U.S. Senate that working people mean business.

  • The investments in the Build Back Better Act will provide opportunities for all working people to get ahead, including those who have been sidelined by the pandemic. It will create a fairer economy, which is just what we need to move America forward.

  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced earlier this week that he plans to move ahead with changing the Senate’s rules so that voting rights legislation can get a fair up or down vote.

  • The labor movement has consistently argued that we can’t allow a minority of senators to block the will of the majority on an issue as fundamental as protecting the right to vote.

  • As we near the first anniversary of the insurrection on Capitol Hill, it’s urgent that we do everything we can to save our democracy. Working people and all Americans deserve equal access to the right to vote. Overcoming the filibuster is a necessary step forward to protect that right.
President Shuler on the Discontinuation of the ETS
  • We strongly disagree with the Biden administration’s decision to discontinue the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s emergency temporary standard (ETS) for health care workers. With the omicron variant surging and no permanent standard in place, our front-line heroes are in grave danger of COVID-19 infection.

  • The ETS made clear to health care employers that proven prevention measures limiting airborne exposures to COVID-19 are absolutely necessary, and would be fully enforced to keep workers from getting sick and being removed from work.

  • Our message to every employer is this: While vaccines and boosters help prevent serious disease and death, COVID-19 is life-threatening, especially to health care and medical workers, and all proven protective measures must remain in place. To protect workers now, we need to build on the emergency COVID-19 standard by making it permanent, not scrapping it altogether.
Watch: President Liz Shuler on Protecting Democracy
  • One year ago today, we watched in shock as American citizens violently attacked our own government. Their goal was to stop the peaceful transition of power and overturn the will of the American people.

  • We, the working people of our country, have always stood up to defend our democracy. With our voices and our votes, at work and through our unions, democracy is in our DNA.

  • Our democracy is only safe as long as all of us are ready to defend it. And a year later, we remain ready, as we always have, to mobilize, educate, activate and do our part. Our freedom depends on it.
Harper's Bazaar: The Women Leading Today's Historic Labor Movement
Amid pandemic-fueled workplace strikes demanding better pay and benefits, and more flexibility, female union leaders are heading the charge for a brighter professional future.

The labor movement saw an unprecedented, uproarious resurgence in 2021, as workplace strikes became commonplace throughout the country in what’s being referred to as a historic employee uprising. As the pandemic continues to evolve, leaving in its wake the worst U.S. recession in history with millions of people still out of jobs, employers across industries are facing acute labor shortages. Why? In short, because swaths of people have left their pre-COVID positions in pursuit of more money, more flexibility, and generally better quality of life in an especially fraught time. According to the Labor Department, four million people quit their jobs in April of 2021 alone, while those who’ve remained are shown to be joining unions and organizing in ways they perhaps previously hadn’t. READ MORE
Remembering January 6
On Jan. 6, an angry mob attacked the U.S. Capitol and our democracy. They wanted to go back to the days of segregation, voter suppression and violence against communities of color. Sign the pledge saying you will protect voting rights and fight extremism.
Working people are not willing to cede American democracy to insurrectionists who try to overturn the will of the people.
We will not sit back as the enemies of democracy pass voter suppression bills in 19 states since the 2020 election, targeting Black voters and other communities of color.
And we will not be quiet as we watch corporations break the law to bust democratically elected unions, where workers voted for stronger protections and racial equity in the workplace.
So in 2022, we’re pledging to advance democracy everywhere: in the workplace and at the ballot box.
Politico Remembers Richard Trumka Among the Leaders We Lost in 2021
Politico published a series of essays honoring influential American leaders who passed away in 2021. Among them was our brother and friend, former AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (pictured above), who Politico described as “the labor leader who told hard truths.” The essay was penned by Timothy Noah (not pictured), who wrote about Trumka’s leadership, from the historic Pittston coal miners strike of 1989 all the way to his final days as president of the AFL-CIO, during which he led the charge for all working people to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Click here to read the full essay.
Ashley Schleicher Joins Cincinnati AFL-CIO as Communication & Administrative Associate
Ashley Schleicher has officially joined the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council as Communication & Administrative Associate. Many of you already know her, and if you don’t you should. Ashley Schleicher first came to the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council in Spring of 2021 as a college intern through the Labor Council Internship Program created out of a portion of the Solidarity Grant Fund through the National AFL-CIO.

Ms. Schleicher was introduced to The Council by her undergraduate professor, and a well-known friend of Labor, Lou Manchise. Ms. Schleicher had been a student in several of his labor management courses while working on her undergraduate degrees at Northern Kentucky University. In Spring 2021 she reached out to Professor Manchise to see if he knew of any opportunities for her within the Labor Community. He connected her with then Director of Communication & Technology, Brian Griffin, and the rest was history…or shall we say, “the future.”

Ms. Schleicher was born and raised on the westside of Cincinnati and graduated from Ohio Connections Academy in 2015. From there she went to Northern Kentucky University to pursue her undergraduate studies. During her undergraduate years, she was a member of Kappa Delta sorority, Campus Outreach, and a cheerleader. In May 2020 she received dual undergraduate degrees -- a Bachelor of Science in Management and a Bachelor of Science in Sports Business and Event Management.

“I knew I wanted to have a meaningful career where I could help people, but I didn’t want to work in healthcare, so I needed to find something else,” said Ms. Schleicher. “I’ve found my calling in Labor where I get to help working people by making sure their voice is heard. I am passionate about ensuring work conditions are safe and that people are paid a fair, living wage. Working people give so much, they deserve a better life and I want to be a part of the movement that gives working people a better life.”

She is currently enrolled in Northern Kentucky’s Master of Business program concentrating in Human Resources and Organizational Leadership and Change. Following completion of her MBA, she hopes to enroll in a program focused on employment law/labor management.

“I have learned so much in just 8 months here and have met so many wonderful, influential people.” Said Ms. Schleicher. I am thrilled to continue this journey with all of you and promise to continue to help make a difference for working people in Cincinnati with my role… and this is just the beginning.”

Beyond general and administrative support duties, Ms. Schleicher will be working in Council communications, taking the lead on social media as well as this weekly news update, “Working For A Living.” Please welcome Ashley Schleicher!
MLK 2022 Conference
Registration is now open for the 2022 AFL-CIO Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference: Honoring Our Past and Protecting Our Future taking place on January 16-17, 2022. 

You can find information on how to register here.

We will be updating the conference landing page periodically with details about the agenda, speakers, workshops and more. You can share the link with your networks so that they can stay up to date on the most recent developments.

As a reminder this conference is not limited to labor only, so if there are allies and community groups you'd like to invite, please feel free to do so.
Renewed Support for Unions Belies Anti-Labor Laws in Most States
Unions rarely have been more popular than they are today, but anti-union labor laws are keeping union membership numbers artificially low by making it harder for workers who want to form or join a union to do so.
Indeed, a 2021 Gallup poll found that 68% of Americans approve of labor unions—the highest percentage since 1965. Support is even higher among young adults (ages 18-34), at 71 percent.
That support is translating into action as workers across the country are getting organized and fighting for better wages and working conditions. A group of Starbucks workers in Buffalo, N.Y., made history in December by becoming the first employees of the coffee chain to unionize. Amazon workers in Alabama will get another shot at forming a union after the company was found to have interfered in the April election there, while workers at four Amazon warehouses in Staten Island are collecting signatures now to win support for a union election there. And here in Ohio, workers at the Worthington Public Library voted to form their union with the Ohio Federation of Teachers.
Yet, despite all this action, there is a huge gap between the share of workers with union representation (12.1 percent) and the share of workers who want union representation — which has grown from 32 percent in 1995 to 48 percent in 2017, an increase of 50 percent. That’s nearly a 36 percentage point gap between Americans who want a union, and those who actually have one.
the House approved legislation in March that would protect the right of all U.S. workers to organize, but it’s stalled in the Senate.
If we have any hope of improving the economic situation of workers in this country and ensuring that all working Americans have the benefits and support needed to balance work and home life, then we must pass meaningful legislation protecting workers’ right to form a union. That means passing the PRO Act.
Taking on the Challenge: AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust Still Tackling the Shortage of Affordable Housing
The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) reached a key milestone in 2021, investing $1.6 billion in 100 multifamily housing projects in Minnesota. The projects include a mix of affordable, workforce, mixed-income and market-rate housing.
According to HIT, these projects have provided about 22.8 million hours of union construction work, 13,142 units of housing that are 47 percent affordable and a total economic impact of $4.8 billion.
HIT now has 36 projects under construction across the country, including in Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
It’s no secret that the supply of affordable multifamily housing remains far below the demand. There are too many people who can’t afford to live in apartment units located close to where they work. Any influx of new affordable apartment units, then, is an important benefit.
The HIT was established in 1984 to earn competitive returns on pension fund investments and also create union jobs in the building and construction trades. The HIT requires the use of 100% union labor in its construction-related investments, and its investments increase the nation’s supply of affordable and workforce housing. Its portfolio focuses on high credit quality multifamily securities that provide a way to diversify fixed income investments from Treasuries and corporate bonds.
Law Aiming to Protect Consumers Against Surprise Medical Bills Takes Effect
Starting on January 1 of this year, the Biden-Harris Administration, "No Surprises Act" will ensure working people are not left on the hook for hefty medical bills they didn't know were coming. Surprise billing happens when people unknowingly get care from providers that are outside of their health plan's network and can happen for both emergency and non-emergency care. Balance billing, when a provider charges a patient the remainder of what their insurance does not pay, is currently prohibited in both Medicare and Medicaid. This rule will extend similar protections to Americans insured through employer-sponsored and commercial health plans.
"No patient should forgo care for fear of surprise billing," said HHS Secretary Becerra. "Health insurance should offer patients peace of mind that they won't be saddled with unexpected costs. The Biden-Harris Administration remains committed to ensuring transparency and affordable care, and with this rule, Americans will get the assurance of no surprises."
Among other provisions, today's interim final rule:
  • Bans surprise billing for emergency services. Emergency services, regardless of where they are provided, must be treated on an in-network basis without requirements for prior authorization.
  • Bans high out-of-network cost-sharing for emergency and non-emergency services. Patient cost-sharing, such as co-insurance or a deductible, cannot be higher than if such services were provided by an in-network doctor, and any coinsurance or deductible must be based on in-network provider rates.
  • Bans out-of-network charges for ancillary care (like an anesthesiologist or assistant surgeon) at an in-network facility in all circumstances.
  • Bans other out-of-network charges without advance notice. Health care providers and facilities must provide patients with a plain-language consumer notice explaining that patient consent is required to receive care on an out-of-network basis before that provider can bill at the higher out-of-network rate.
These provisions will provide patients with financial peace of mind while seeking emergency care as well as safeguard them from unknowingly accepting out-of-network care and subsequently incurring surprise billing expenses.
President Biden Knows We Cant Have An American Manufacturing Renaissance Without American-Made Steel
It matters whether the United States makes steel. The industry, far smaller than at its peak, still provides several hundred thousand jobs directly and indirectly, and supports local economies. Steel is also home to one of America’s most important and progressive unions, the United Steelworkers. It is unthinkable to imagine an American industrial renaissance without steel.
American-made steel also demonstrates how heavy manufacturing can be far less carbon-intensive than in years past. Domestic steel production is nearly three times cleaner than steel made in China. For decades, the USW has been a leading force in bringing together climate activists and trade unionists, via the BlueGreen Alliance and dozens of ad hoc collaborations.
As in so many areas of U.S. industry, Chinese subsidy and overproduction have ravaged domestic steel. China makes about half of all the world’s steel. Thanks to tariffs on Chinese steel and other products, first crudely imposed by President Trump and then better targeted by President Biden as part of an overall industrial policy that includes more aggressive use of Buy America laws, domestic steel production and employment have rebounded.
A major prong of the Biden administration’s industrial policy for steel is more aggressive use of the Buy America Act. In past administrations, this has not been a priority, as when the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey rebuilt the upper deck of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, they used Chinese steel, even though plenty of domestic steel was available.
However, the Biden administration created a high-level Made in America office headed by Celeste Drake, a longtime leader of the AFL-CIO. Federal procurement totals $600 billion a year, and having an office to systematically enforce requirements under the Buy America and Buy American statutes is a huge gain.
Thanks To All The USPS Postal Employees For Delivering Us The Holidays
The Postal Service and several other private shippers reported that holiday season deliveries went smoothly for the most part.
ShipMatrix, which analyzes shipping package data, reported that 96.9% of the Postal Service’s shipments were on time during a two-week period in December. Overall, it was a major improvement across the board compared with last year, when more than a third of first-class mail was late by the time Christmas arrived.
“We’re happy to have brought all of the good holiday cheer that we could,” said Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union, which represents more than 200,000 postal workers.
Leading up to the holidays, there were dire warnings of supply chain problems and shipping delays. In the end, shoppers heeded supply chain warnings by ordering and shipping items earlier, while more people opted to shop in stores than the year before, said Satish Jindel, ShipMatrix president in Pennsylvania.
Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, said obstacles like the pandemic and quarantines provide staffing challenges, but “they don’t alter the mission.”
Rest in Power, Sister Betty White
Actress and comedian Betty White (SAG-AFTRA, pictured above), a cultural icon whose popularity and influence reached across the generations, passed away on New Year’s Eve at the age of 99. The television star was awarded the SAG Life Achievement Award in 2009 in recognition of career achievement and humanitarian accomplishment.
Betty was the best! A kind woman, sensitive to the feelings of all animals. A talented woman blessed with a long life. She enjoyed being recognized by her peers in her lifetime, and it was well deserved,” said SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher (not pictured). “In this biz, in this town, to have that kind of longevity in one’s career is rare and wonderful.” Thank you for being a friend, Sister Betty.
Watch: IUPAT Celebrates Its Proud History While Looking Toward the Future
2021 was a year unlike any other, and together, the unions that make up the AFL-CIO showed our strength and resolve to carry on the work we do despite enormous challenges. On New Year’s Eve, the Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) released a new video, reflecting on the union’s history and spreading hope for the future. “Let us take a moment to appreciate that, despite overwhelming odds, our international union is still standing strong after another year, the 134th year of our proud existence,” the union posted on Facebook. “In 2022, let’s commit ourselves like never before to building IUPAT power, strength for our trades, and towards creating a labor movement future generations can take great pride in as unionists just like all of us are today.”
U.S Senator Sherrod Brown: Working For Working People!
NKU Alternative Dispute Resolution Center: Quarterly Speaker Series
Negotiate Like a Pro
Learn powerful methods to boost your success

Cost: $50 per registrant
Date: February 4, 2022 | 8:00AM - 2:00PM (in-person)
Must register by January 28, 2022

Whether you are a company principal, lawyer, executive, or project manager negotiations are critical to a project’s success. Even with years of experience, we're often left with questions about the effectiveness of our negotiations. Could I have gotten more from the deal? Have I or my client been taken advantage of? Will the deal last? One of the most powerful tools you can have is the ability to negotiate with confidence. Upon completion of this seminar, participants will be able to: plan for effective negotiation, analyze potential clients, and turn a bargaining session into a more positive outcome for you, your client and your company. This training builds on your existing negotiation experience to improve your future performance. No one is born a great negotiator. It's a skill that must be learned and practiced. This seminar will provide you with a variety of practical strategies to become a successful negotiator.
LAST CHANCE to attend Women LEADing Ohio's Running for Office 101
Join us for our final introductory webinar on Thursday, January 20th, from 6:00-7:30 PM. The deadline for most 2022 candidates to file petitions to get on the ballot is February 2nd, so this will be your last chance to learn more about considerations of running for office, specifically for women. If you or a woman who inspires you has any interest whatsoever in running for office in the near future, join us for a free webinar on how to get started.
United Way Update
Dear United Way friends,

Tax season is upon us. You, or someone you know, may benefit from United Way’s Free Tax Prep program.

Free Tax Prep is available to Greater Cincinnatians with low or moderate incomes, and filing is even more important this year. Individuals and families can claim stimulus and Child Tax Credit payments missed in 2021 only by filing taxes. Most who use Free Tax Prep also are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit.

United Way helped 7,000 people avoid more than $2 million in tax filing fees last year, while collecting more than $10 million in refunds!

Get more information on our website. We are here if you need us!
Families caring for children in kinship care arrangements may need a bit of help during the holidays. Thanks to the efforts of volunteers across the United Way network, 71 families received additional holiday support.
Get more information on our website. We are here if you need us!

Moira Weir
United Way of Greater Cincinnati
RetireMediQ Update
Happy New Year! You can now access our on-demand webinars to download and watch on your schedule!

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.

Still want to ask questions and connect with a local expert live? Join us at one of our live Jan. webinars this month where we 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!
This January Live Webinars Flyer gives you an early look at Medicare webinars this month. Please share this flyer with your team members, clients, and anyone else who could benefit from Medicare education.

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, January 7 from daily data reporting to the Ohio Department of Health. These metrics are updated daily.
Below are the current reporting trends from Friday, January 7 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: