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A Message from Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga

During this difficult time, it is imperative that society come together to keep one another safe, and as always, trade unionists will do our part to protect and serve. We will also continue to bring forth a worker perspective as the Governor, the Ohio General Assembly and to Congress respond to this crisis.

An area where our voice is undoubtedly needed is recognizing and protecting those who are at increased risk due to the nature of their work. These workers include:

  • Health care workers;
  • Emergency responders (e.g. firefighters, law enforcement, EMTs);
  • Airline personnel and other Transportation operations;
  • Customs and Border Protection and Transportation Security Administration workers;
  • Correctional workers;
  • Grocery & Retail workers;
  • Educators & School Support personnel;
  • Cleaning workers;
  • Other workers with broad exposure to the public.

Additionally, we will stand up and fight for benefits for all workers that do not have paid time off or become laid off. We are the richest nation in the world and this is a time for government, big-business and the super wealthy to step up and fully support workers and those that need help the most.

Regarding unemployment compensation (UC); for more than a decade we have sounded the alarm that the state’s UC trust fund is not solvent and unprepared to handle another recession. The business community and lawmakers’ refusals to do the right thing and simply fund the system at a national average has put us in a dire situation with mass layoffs and displacement seemingly inevitable.

In dealing with this in its immediacy, the Governor announced that he will issue an executive order today, which will grant the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) with the authority to accept and grant requests for unemployment compensation suspending the normal one-week waiting period. This order will also give relief to applicants who are not offered paid leave through their job, as well as those who have been quarantined by a medical professional, their employer, or whose employers must temporarily close. Those who apply for unemployment under these circumstances will be exempt from the requirement that they be actively seeking work. The Governor’s move on this matter is appreciated and a good first step.

Stay safe and thank you for doing your part to get us through this crisis together.

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