2021 Top Moments

As we near the end of the year, we are pausing to recognize the biggest moments that shaped our organization and our movement in 2021.

American Rescue Plan provided much-needed funding

President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act in March. The $1.9 trillion relief bill contained $700 billion to directly support public services across the nation and an additional $360 billion of flexible aid to local governments and schools. The funding kept public-sector union members on the job and provided them with resources to get their job done.

Blue Collar Blueprint for America brought Biden to Cleveland

President Joe Biden visited Cuyahoga Community College on May 27th to promote his Blue Collar Blueprint for America. The visit included a stop at the Tri-C’s Manufacturing Technology Center (MTC). It concluded with remarks before political and labor leaders, including North Shore Executive Secretary Dan O’Malley.

We hosted the Secretary of Labor

We welcomed U.S. Secretary of Labor and union member Marty Walsh to Cleveland on October 25th, a visit that concluded with a rally at the Laborers 310 Union Hall. Secretary Walsh urged the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill and promotion of the Build Back Better Agenda. Leaders from across our movement had the opportunity to speak with Secretary Walsh.

Nearly 85% of our endorsed candidates won their election

Our Federation made 80 general election endorsements across three counties throughout the late summer and early fall. On November 2nd, nearly 85% of those endorsed candidates were successful, including almost two dozen members of union households.

We saw the historic passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill

President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on November 15th, a $1 trillion investment in roads, bridges, utilities, and broadband. The bill is expected to create millions of jobs, producing a generation of good-paying union jobs. In addition, Ohio will receive nearly $1.8 billion in 2022 to repave roads, modernize highways, and reduce commute times.

Mayor-Elect Bibb met with labor

Earlier in December, Mayor-Elect Justin Bibb visited our hall to meet with labor leaders. Nearly 50 leaders from 25 different affiliated unions and organizations attended the meeting. Bibb promised to create an open-door policy with organized labor.

Worker wins were abundant

Over 100,000 workers went on strike across the U.S. in 2021, from John Deere to Frito-Lay, Kellogg’s to Cabel Huntington Hospital. Workers also came together to form more than 550 new local unions, including the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra members and staff members at Preterm.

Our movement grew

Nationwide, the union membership rate increased by 0.5 percent between 2019 and 2020. In Ohio, union membership is at a 10-year high of 11.9%. The national union membership rate is 10.8%.

Labor unions are having a moment

In 2021, a National Opinion Research Corporation poll found that 60 million Americans would join a union if given the opportunity. In the annual survey by Gallup, 68% of Americans said they approve of labor unions – the highest rate since 1965. Approval is even higher for younger working-age adults aged 18-34 at 77%. In addition, a Data for Progress poll found that three-quarters of likely voters supported Striketober, including 87% of Democrats, 60% of Republicans, and 72% of independents. 53% of likely voters supported the PRO Act.

Cleveland is still a labor town

Throughout the year, our affiliate members took action. First, they stood in the cold to protest Walmart shipping LED bulb production to Mexico, costing IUE-CWA members their jobs. Then, they stood in the heat in support of union representation and a fair contract for Cuyahoga County Public Library janitors. They wrote postcards to Senator Rob Portman urging him to support the PRO Act, and they packed into hearing rooms to speak out in support of fair legislative maps. Our affiliate members attended our Labor to Election Day rallies, and they knocked on doors, made calls, and voted for our endorsed candidates. They joined our committees and attended delegate meetings, too.

To all of our affiliate members who stood up, spoke out, and worked to improve the quality of life for working people over the last year – thank you. You have created the momentum we need heading into 2022, a year where we have the opportunity to grow our movement even more and a year where working families are on the ballot.