AFSCME Local 101 City of Dayton employee June Zeis has worked for the city for 20 years. She opens the city’s emergency vehicle garage most mornings, and she makes the coffee, she answers the phone, she handles the billing for the work the garage does for suburban fire departments, and she is 85.
A permanent part-time employee, she is the union’s oldest member, “and a union supporter,” said Local 101 President Ann Sulfridge. “We met up with June during house call exercises that were part of a two-day AFSCME Strong train-the-trainer session recently held in Dayton.”
After retiring from an architectural firm, Zeis looked forward to spending time with her husband, children and five grandchildren. Unfortunately, a year after she retired, her husband, who worked for the city emergency vehicle garage, was killed in an accident.
“About a month went by when I got a call from his supervisor at the garage asking how I was and was there anything I needed,” Zeis said. He also asked if she could come in for a few hours on a volunteer basis to help them with the record keeping void left by her husband’s untimely death.
Under AFSCME Local 101’s contract, “you can’t ‘volunteer’ to do a bargaining unit job,” Sulfridge said. So the union helped arrange for Zeis to be hired as a part-time employee.
That was 20 years ago and she is still on the job.
“The firefighters and mechanics are like my family and I really love them all and love working here,” she said. Still lively and engaged in many activities, including editing her high school alumni newspaper, she lives with her youngest son.
“He just turned 65 and would like to retire, but he says he can’t as long as his mother is still working,” she joked.
AFSCME Strong is our union’s defense against those out to destroy us through “right to work” and other anti-union actions. It means organizing is job one. Over the next 12 months, our goal is to engage 80 percent of our members in the struggle, one conversation at a time. To make it happen, we will recruit and train 5 percent of AFSCME members to have one-on-one conversations with their coworkers.
To become an AFSCME Strong activist, contact your regional office.