Performers survived the pandemic and a decimated industry thanks to union help

No other demographic in America was affected by the pandemic quite like the live performance industry.

Within a week after March 12, 2020, the entire industry shutdown. Musicians, performers and stagehands suddenly found themselves with no income and their health insurance threatened, with no sign of when the world would re-open.

Adam Krauthamer, President of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) Local 802, joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the challenges performers faced during the pandemic and how the AFM fought to secure pay, healthcare and pension benefits for its members. Continue reading

USW redistricting: District 2 to be absorbed into Districts 1 and 7

Michael Bolton, Director of United Steelworkers (USW) District 2 will not run for re-election. The International decided not to replace his position and will instead absorb his district into other districts. District 2 covers steelworkers in Michigan and Wisconsin. Michigan steelworkers will be absorbed into District 1 in Ohio; Wisconsin steelworkers will be absorbed into District 7 in Indiana and Illinois.

USW District 1 Director Donnie Blatt, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the Union’s redistricting efforts — and why the move will strengthen and solidify both districts through larger numbers and a stronger voice.

He also discussed COVID-19 vaccinations and what the USW is doing to encourage worker vaccinations in order to protect its members and their families. Continue reading

Vaccine mandates create a safe space for artists and audiences

Len DiCosimo, President of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) Local 4, joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss mask requirements and vaccine mandates, particularly at concerts and theater performances.

He also discussed how the American Rescue Plan helped artists, musicians and venues recover from the financial devastation of the pandemic — and why the arts need to stick together through these trying times. Continue reading

Ohio teachers’ union calls on governor to institute school mask mandate

The Ohio Federation of Teachers is calling on Ohio Governor Mike DeWine to institute a mask mandate for all Ohio public schools, arguing it would reduce the spread of COVID-19 and allow more schools to remain open for face-to-face instruction.

Melissa Cropper, President of the Ohio Federation of Teachers, joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss why mask mandates in Ohio schools are necessary to protect the health of children and teachers in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She also discussed an upcoming union election at the Worthington Public Libraries, as well as redistricting efforts in Ohio that many argue continue to be heavily gerrymandered. Continue reading

Florida teachers union stands with District on mask requirements for student safety

Last month, a judge declared the Florida governor’s ban on mask mandates in schools to be unconstitutional. Last Friday, a Florida appeals court ruled in favor of Governor Ron DeSantis — effectively reinstating the ban mask mandate.

DeSantis has threatened to take away millions in state funding from schools that enforce mask mandates. So far, he has only rescinded salaries for board members of two counties that have instituted mask mandates — Alachua and Broward counties.

Anna Fusco, President of the Broward Teachers Union, joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss why her school instituted mask requirements in the face of the governor’s ban, and how her union is working to keep students and staff healthy and safe in the midst of the pandemic. Continue reading

As Ohio Goes Back to School, COVID-19 policies vary across the board

Ohio teachers and students face another difficult school year, as the COVID-19 Delta variant ravages communities, especially among those who are unvaccinated.

Though the State of Ohio recommends school districts follow the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that encourage masking and social distancing, it has left those policies largely up to individual school districts. Continue reading

Union convinces management to adapt remote workplace COVID-19 safety measures

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, some employers were not forthcoming with information about employees becoming ill and how it might affect the safety of other workers.

After word that an employee fell ill with COVID-19 in March of 2020, Conduent employees showed up to work with little information about their coworker and few guidelines when it came to workplace safety. Continue reading

Help available for families behind on utility bills

For many families, the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has been tough. Many people were laid off, while others changed careers due to unforeseen circumstances caused by a changing economy. As a result, many families have fallen behind on their utility bills.

Andrew Tinkham, Senior Outreach and Education Program Specialist with the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the help that is available for families. Continue reading

Vaccines divide workers, even among medical community and families

It is a tale of two sisters, but also a tale of two opposing communities — the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. ProPublica reporter Jenny Deam, along with writers Ryan Gabrielson and Bianca Fortis wrote a story of a pair of siblings who both worked as nurses. One received the COVID-19 vaccine, the other refused.

Deam joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss this story that highlighted a shocking statistic: Roughly 40 percent of care workers in nursing homes and other long term care facilities remain unvaccinated. Continue reading

COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard issued after more than a year

Sadly, inaction in the beginning days of the COVID-19 pandemic left many workers misguided, confused and often unprotected in a chaotic work environment. Workers watched their colleagues become furloughed or fired, and it left many too scared to speak up about their own situation.

In the early stages of the pandemic, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) was at the forefront of demanding protections for workers. On a recent America’s Work Force Union Podcast, AFGE National Veterans Affairs Council 53 First Executive Vice President MJ Burke discussed recent workplace protections. She also explored the importance of a union presence in the workplace. Continue reading