AFSCME Ohio Council 8 stands with Black Lives Matter

AFSCME Ohio Council 8 stands with Black Lives Matter.  Our union embraced the concepts driving Black Lives Matter well before the current protests triggered by the tragic death of George Floyd.

In 2015, the deaths of Tamir Rice, Eric Garner and others, shocked the conscience of AFSCME Ohio Council 8’s leaders who were moved to action.  We organized a frank and honest discussion about racial and economic justice in America as the center piece of our union’s 28th biennial convention in Cincinnati Ohio.

John Ackison President of AFSCME Local 1699. Local 1699 is one of more than 150 Ohio Council 8 local unions that has participated in the council’s Implicit Bias Awareness training program.

We did more than just talk. That ground-breaking and thoughtful discussion lead by participants from Black Lives Matter, the faith community, community-based law enforcement, and academic and social activists, resulted in the convention’s unanimous adoption of resolution to establish a standing committee to promote Racial and Economic Justice within our union, on the job and in our communities.

Working with AFSCME educators, leaders and activists, the committee spent a year developing a program focused on educating our members about Implicit Bias and how it affects how we interact with people of another race despite our good intentions and conscious feelings.

By 2017, all Council 8 staff participated in a train-the-trainer program and the program was offered to our local union leaders and members.

Since that time Implicit Bias awareness is now a permanent part of all AFSCME Ohio Council 8 leadership and activist training and has reached more than 150 local unions.

The labor movement is at its core an equality movement. We seek to represent our members without regard to color, gender, age, sexual orientation, or religion. We demand dignity and respect and to be recognized only on our ability to do the job and our dedication in service.

For every moment we fail to act, we are condemning another mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter to economic and social inequality on the job and injustice and violence in our communities.

We proudly stand with Black Lives Matter.

Black Lives Matter signs are available at Council 8 Regional Offices.

George Tucker Blood Drive

Toledo Labor activists and union members “Answered The Call” to donate blood in an outpouring of love and affection to honor the memory of the life of AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Leader George Tucker.

Blood donors packed the Red Cross Blood Drive named in Tucker’s honor held at AFSCME Ohio Council 8’s Toledo Regional office on July 26th.

Local 544 member Bethany Malory “A great tribute to our AFSCME Brother that’s why I came out today.”

According to Mark Buford, Labor Liaison for the American Red Cross Western Lake Erie Blood Region, the average first-time blood drive nets about 28 donors.  “But to honor George Tucker, 65 donors from across the region’s labor community rolled up their sleeves and answered the call,” he said.

The event was so successful it will now become the Annual George Tucker Memorial Blood drive.

“This is such a fitting memorial for an individual who gave so much to improve the lives of all workers. AFSCME members remember George’s good humor, unmatched skill and dedication, and his tireless work on behalf of public employees and of all Northwestern Ohio’s workers,” said Toledo Regional Director Steve Kowalik.

“There is a critical shortage of blood right now,” Bueford said.  “It’s summer and people are thinking of outdoor activities and vacation, and giving blood is just not on their radar. And then there is the fear of the pandemic,” he said.

Rest assured the Red Cross is following all CDC and Ohio Department of Health safety precautions.

Ohio and across the nation all blood types are urgently needed to help restock the shelves. The Red Cross is thanking those who “Answer the Call”  to donate blood or platelets between July 25 and Aug. 31 by emailing them a $5 gift card claim code.

To schedule an appointment to donate, use the free Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce wait times.

Calaway Elected New Cleveland Regional Vice PresidentCalaway Elected New Cleveland Regional Vice President

At a recent Cleveland Region special convention in May, Valisa Calaway was elected by acclamation as the new Regional Vice President. 

Valisa Calaway

Valisa Calaway

Calaway joins Julie Albers, President of AFSCME Local 3360 at Cleveland’s’ MetroHealth hospital on the executive board representing the region’s 6,600 union members.

A 20-year member of AFSCME Local 1746, which represents 1,200 members at the Cuyahoga County Department of Job and Family Services, she is a Health and Human Service Specialist.  Calaway is an active member, a proven leader and has served as a union steward.

“My goal is keep everything honest and fair everywhere.  We are going into contact negotiations and while we have a good relationship with management, it’s hard to predict what the new contract will look like, but we’re optimistic,“ she said.

Calaway takes over from AFSCME Local 1746 President Pam Brown who stepped down as regional vice president after serving the Cleveland Region on the Ohio Council 8 Executive Board since 2000.

Essential Workers Can’t Wait: Fund the Front Lines Now

While the US Senate goes on vacation and it’s leaders say “let’s wait and see”, state and local finances are taking a nose dive resulting in a wave of layoffs and job losses set to surpass those of the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

Thanks to action by AFSCME and other unions, the US House passed and sent to the Senate HR 6800 – the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act or the HEROES Act – a funding measure aimed specifically at preserving state and local government jobs and services.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. Take away defense spending, Social Security and health care, state and local governments account for more than one-fifth of America’s gross domestic product.

The loss of these essential services hurts a community’s health, safety, education, and quality of life. The economy can’t be successfully reopened without them.

Dennis Favazzo-President, Local 2007 City of Bedford

Dennis Favazzo-President, Local 2007 City of Bedford

“Ohio can’t wait. We can see right now what is happening to our cities, counties, hospitals, public schools, colleges and universities,” said AFSCME Local 2007 City of Bedford union President Dennis Favazzo.

“Thankfully we have not had any layoffs but things can change quickly. We use the union bulletin boards we have in every city building, discuss it at our union meetings and at work. I think our members get it,” he said. 

It’s up to us to make sure Ohio Senator Rob Portman is on our side.  Call him at 202-224-3353 or click here to send him an e-mail.

Tell him: “Ohio can’t wait.  State and local government is the foundation our economy is built upon. The economy can’t be successfully reopened without strong public services. The time to act is now.”

Now it’s up to the Senate pass the HEROES Act and keep Ohio working. 

Keep the pressure on! Now it’s up to the Senate pass the HEROES Act and keep Ohio working.  It’s up to us to make that happen!

Because of your calls and e-mails to Congress, Funding for Front Line Workers took a leap forward when the House passed the HEROES Act – Thank you!

Now our union must set its sights on the U.S. Senate to pass the HEROES Act. This vital step is needed to stop the wave of layoffs and unpaid furloughs affecting thousands of health, education, safety and other essential public service workers who are necessary to open our economy safety and to keep Ohio working.

“Now is the time for politicians to take bold action. I know our union is up to the task of demanding they take that action. ” said Robert Davis Ohio Council Political and Legislative Director. 

But we can’t count on Ohio Sen. Rob Portman’s support to pass the HEROES Act.  He says wants to “wait and see”. Along with the Senate Majority Leader, who is on record saying he is willing to let cities, towns, hospitals and colleges “go bankrupt”,  we will need every vote to save Ohio.

Left to right – Patricia Sheldon and Charice Johnson

Ohio can’t afford to wait and see how many more critical public service jobs will be eliminated.  Jobs like Cincinnati Health Department AFSCME Local 3119 nurses Patricia Sheldon and Charice Johnson perform everyday treating citizens who have tested positive with COVID-19 but who have no health insurance.

We need every public health nurse like Patricia and Charice. We need every public safety worker, health care worker, custodial and sanitary worker, transportation and human services worker and so many other vital public service workers to stay on the job rather than be laid off.

It’s clear Ohio can’t “wait and see”. We must make Sen. Rob Portman understand his duty to our communities and families includes supporting the HEROES Act.

Tell him to Fund the Front Lines, NOW. Click here.

Tell him Ohio can’t wait. We’re counting on him to support the HEROES Act and provide the vital funding to maintain the essential public services AFSCME members provide.

TIME IS RUNNING OUT: Tell Congress To Fund The Front Lines!

The U.S. House of Representatives is moving their next COVID-19 relief bill THIS WEEK. That means we still have an opportunity to push for a bill that includes $800 billion in funding for state and local government. If you make the call. 

Without that aid, local government, education, health care and social service workers – the backbone of Ohio’s communities – will face a tidal wave of layoffs as spring turns into summer.

Cities and counties stand to lose the vital services provided by workers like John Henry, a Columbus Health Department AFSCME Local 2191 member.

Known affectingly as “the bodyguard” by his coworkers, Henry screens and takes temperatures of clients before allowing them to enter the city’s WIC (Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program) offices. 

To safely do their jobs and serve the city’s 35,000 WIC clients  – the largest program in Ohio – the health department, working with the union, changed its protocols to allow participants to call-in to update their benefits and visit a drive-up station to receive their WIC cards from Local 2191 members protected by gowns, gloves and masks.

Henry has now moved on to work on one of city’s four teams of trackers who telephone individuals exposed to the virus requesting them to self-quarantine and supply them with information.

Can you spare 3 minutes to call or e-mail Congress and urge them to include funding for state and local government in the upcoming COVID-19 relief package? Even if you have called your representative before, please call them again.

Take Action

Call Sen. Sherrod Brown at: (202) 224-2315

Call Sen Rob Portman at: (202) 224-3353

Click here to find your U.S. Representative

Click here to e-mail all three.

Contact Governor Mike DeWine’s Office at (614) 644-4357

Demand Congress Fund the Front Lines Now! Make The Call.

Make the call or e-mail the Senate, U.S House and Ohio’s legislative leaders to demand Full Funding for State and Local Government in the COVID relief bill now before Congress

Sometimes the front line is not always where you think it is.  First responders and front-line workers cannot get far without reliable equipment. 

On this unseen “front line” are workers like AFSCME Local 1158 member like Clayton Long who helps keep the City of Marion’s vehicles in action and on the road.

“Our members know how important it is to fund Ohio’s state and local government during this crisis,” said Greg Mayse, president of the 70-member union for city workers.   

“It’s vital that all Council 8 members take action now to avoid service cuts, layoffs and lost jobs. And the leaders of our local union will get this message to our members,” Mayes said, noting that the union has 100% membership.

Call now and demand that congress include over $800 billion in funding for state and local governments in the COVID relief package now under consideration in the Senate and House. 


Take Action Now!

Call Sen. Sherrod Brown at: (202) 224-2315

Call Sen Rob Portman at: (202) 224-3353 

Click here to find your U.S. Representative.

Click here to e-mail all three.

Also call Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s Office at (614) 644-4357 and ask him to do everything in his power to urge Ohio’s Congressional Delegation to make sure Ohioans receive their fair share of this critical aid. 

Click here to email Gov. DeWine.

WATCH: OU Workers Fighting For Their Jobs

OU workers are fighting for their jobs. Congress needs to fight fight for them, too.

Call or write to Congress today and demand they fund the front lines and help state and local governments avoid devastating cuts to services.

Call Sen. Sherrod Brown at: (202) 224-2315

Call Sen. Rob Portman at: (202) 224-3353

Click here to find your U.S. Representative.

Click here to email all three.

What happens if we don’t fund the front lines?

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Ohio’s state and local governments are experiencing a huge budget crunch. We have two choices: either the federal government can help by funding the front lines or our communities will suffer grave consequences. What kinds of consequences? Let’s talk trash.

Trash pickup is a key public service. Cut backs mean less collection — and more garbage and rats in our neighborhoods. Definitely not good for public health and the quality of life in Ohio’s cities and towns.

We can avoid making these impossible choices if we act now.

Call or write to Congress today and demand they fund the front lines and help state and local governments avoid devastating cuts to services.

Call Sen. Sherrod Brown at: (202) 224-2315

Call Sen. Rob Portman at: (202) 224-3353

Click here to find your U.S. Representative.

Click here to email all three.


Council 8 Member International Union Scholarship Winner

Holly Sexton, the daughter of Wendy Sexton, a 20-year Ohio Council 8 member of AFSCME Local 3619 at the City of Jackson Auditor’s Department, is one of ten winners awarded $2,000 grants as part of the AFSCME International Family Scholarship program. 

An outstanding and well-liked student at Jackson High School, Holly participated in school and community activities as well as sports, including winning a letter in Volleyball, and serving as captain of the school’s Varsity Cheerleading squad.  

Holly has followed her strong interest in leadership, government and politics throughout high school.  She has served on Student Council, is a National Honor Society member, participated in the Youth in Government Association, was an Ohio Attorney General Teen Ambassador, participated in voter registration drives, and has won several awards for her volunteer work.  

The AFSCME International Family Scholarship grants are renewable for four years.

Holly will be attending Yale University in the fall where she plans on studying global affairs, French and history.

Holly Sexton

6800 North High Street, Worthington, Ohio, 43085-2512
Phone: 614-841-1918
Fax: 614-841-1299