Political, Community, and Labor Leaders Urge OSU Administration to Recognize the Right of Marion Faculty to Organize their UnionPolitical, Community, and Labor Leaders Urge OSU Administration to Recognize the Right of Marion Faculty to Organize their Union 

(Columbus, OH) On Monday, June 27th, professors at the Ohio State University presented a series of letters in support of their union organizing efforts at the Marion OSU Campus. The letters were delivered to Ohio State University President Kristina M. Johnson and the Board of Trustees. Letters of support came from US Senator Sherrod Brown, Ohio House Minority Leader Allison Russo, Franklin County Auditor Michael Stinziano, Franklin County Commissioner Kevin Boyce, esteemed members of the OSU faculty, and a joint letter of support from Columbus labor and community organizations at Ohio State and the Columbus area. 

In early March the organizing campaign filed for an election with the Ohio State Employee Relations Board (SERB). Ohio State University has not acted in good faith throughout this process and has instead used delay tactics in the hopes that employees will lose focus. Despite this, professors across the Marion campus remain committed, and the letters have further strengthened the resolve of the faculty in this effort. 

The letters of support ask for the University to remain neutral, set a date for a union election, and ultimately let the Marion campus faculty decide if they want a union. In the letter from Ohio House Minority Leader Allison Russo she reiterated the right of public employees to form a union, “I believe in the rights of public employees to have the ability to come together and bargain for wage and workload equity, quality healthcare, retirement benefits, and the opportunity to address workplace concerns.” Leader Russo went on to recognize that building a strong union could lead to better communication between the OSU administration and regional Marion professors. “I also believe that the administration and the regional union could better talk to each other and negotiate towards the benefit of all parties.”

Click here to read all of the letters of support.

Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program Eliminates $40,000 in Debt for AFSCME Member

Early in the morning of May 9th, 2022,  Aaron Crane logged in to check his student loan balance and was surprised to see the balance was $0. He remembers refreshing the page several more times over the next few days, taking screenshots just to be sure. After almost 15 years of diligently paying back his student loans, Aaron Crane qualified for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program and had a nearly $40,000 balance zeroed out.  

The process took Aaron several years. “It wasn’t easy checking and making sure I met all the requirements; keeping a close watch on what the rules were as they changed from year to year. I kept checking in and following up until I finally got everything in order to be on track to have my loans forgiven.” Aaron recounts “while it wasn’t a quick process, having my loans forgiven means that such a huge burden has been lifted from my family.” 

Aaron was initially working as a mortgage consultant after he graduated from college in 2007. But a desk job was not for him – instead he felt called to public service.  Thus began his career with the Parks and Recreation departments, first with the City of Elyria and now with the City of Avon.. Aaron is proud of his work – his favorite job is maintaining baseball fields. “I get a rush out of telling my kids that I help maintain that park that brings so much joy to people and I am looking forward to telling my grandkids that one day as well. It’s a legacy that I am proud of.” 

Aaron and his family will no longer have to deal with the burden of student loan debt. “I know it stressed my wife out. It’s like this elephant in the room when we used to do our finances, but now it’s like we have so many more opportunities and ways to care and support our family.” Aaron is committed to helping people navigate the process. “Like I said, it’s not easy, and it will take a lot of your own time and effort to make sure you are reading the guidelines, filling out forms and filing correctly, but I am happy to help anyone navigating this process. It was really worth it.”

Click here to go to the AFSCME Student Debt Resource Center to learn about your options, links to application forms, and the latest news about the rules and regulations. 

2022 Scholarships Awarded to Fletcher and Hash

The Ohio Council 8 Executive Board is pleased to announce that Abryella Fletcher has been awarded the 2022 Cheryl Keeler Scholarship, and Elijah Hash has been awarded the Doug Moore Scholarship as part of the Ohio Council 8 Family Scholarship program.

Abryella Fletcher

Abryella is the daughter of James Fletcher, a 20-year member of AFSCME Local 1632, which represents City of Columbus employees.

A graduate of the Columbus Preparatory Academy, Abryella was a motivated student who achieved an outstanding academic record including recognition by the National Honor Society. In addition, she participated in many school and community activities such as acting as a tutor for the school’s younger students. 

In her winning essay, Abryella noted how she saw firsthand the difference a union can make.  “Because of my father’s AFSCME membership I learned you can’t do it all on your own.” She understands it takes hard work and sticking together “and that’s what a union is all about.”

Abryella will be attending Ohio State University this fall and plans to follow her goal of becoming an early childhood educator.

Elijah Hash

The 2021 men’s scholarship winner, Elijah Hash, is the son of 8-year Erie County Jobs and Family Services employee Kimberly Liebacher, and is a member of AFSCME Local 3616.

Elijah graduated from Bellevue High School where he was an active student with a strong academic record. In addition, he is an outstanding musician who was a member of the marching band, jazz band, pep band, and the high school’s honor band. 

In his winning essay Elijah recounted how his mother’s association with a union workplace changed his family’s life. “Before working for the County, my mother worked long hours at a nursing home and was regularly called in on weekends and her off-hours. My brother and I only saw her when she dropped us off at school and when she picked us up at the babysitters. Working in a union workplace our mother had regular hours, vacation days, weekends, and holidays off, and that made all the difference to our family.”  

Elijah will be attending Bowling Green State University in the fall where he plans on focusing on his passion for music by pursuing a degree in music education.

The 2022 AFSCME Ohio Council 8 scholarships are named in honor of Cheryl Keeler and Doug Moore.    

Cheryl Keeler

Cheryl started her 18-year Ohio Council 8 career in 1987 as a legal secretary and five years later became the Legal Department’s Supervisor/Paralegal. In 1994, she joined the Columbus Region as a staff representative. In 2000, she was appointed Columbus Regional Director, a position she held until retiring in 2005.                        

Cheryl lives in Columbus and is still active in the community as past President of the Second Wind Lung Transplant Association and as a consultant for Council 8 staff.   

Doug’s association with Ohio Council 8 began in 1980 when he was hired as a Code Enforcement Officer by the City of Columbus. He quickly worked his way up through the ranks, serving as a steward, chief steward, executive board member, and vice president. In 1992 was elected President of AFSCME Local 1632. That same year he was elected as a Columbus Regional Vice President and served on the Executive Board until he retired in 2015.  

Doug Moore

Ohio Council 8 First Vice President Marcia Knox, chairperson of the Executive Board Committee that reviews the scholarship applications, wished Abryella and Elijah the best of luck pursuing their higher education goals.  

The Ohio Council 8 Family Scholarship was established in 1982.

AFSCME Local 7 Members Negotiate Strongest Contract in 80 Year History

(Toledo, OH.) AFSCME Local 7 and its members negotiated one of the most successful union contracts in the local’s 80 year history. The bargained contract includes an across the board 4% raise for members, parity between all job classifications, which could lead to an almost 2% to 2.5% wage adjustment for all job classifications, and a change for newer employees to begin earning 95% of the highest end of the earning scale. 

President of AFSCME Local 7 Don Czerniak led the negotiations and was very proud of the results. “Our membership really appreciates this contract – we had over 90% of our membership vote in favor of the contract. This contract is one of the best contracts this local has been able to negotiate in the history of the local.” 

The city of Toledo was facing a large number of vacancies but were wanting to make sure it was hiring quality applicants who they would be able to retain. AFSCME Local 7 members became committed to working with the City to create solutions that would benefit everyone. One of the main solutions was ensuring that employees be paid fairly and equitably. Members will now receive a 4% raise for the next three years. The City also included an additional bonus of $1,300 for each employee in the unit. 

The financial victories also included pushing for most employees to begin at 95% of the wage scale. Employees were previously starting at 75% and then would have to wait almost four years before they could earn 95% of their scale. Some employees will see an almost $4 an hour difference in pay. And finally, up til now some employees have been doing the same job, with one position being paid more than the other depending on their union and classification. Now the City has agreed to adjust the pay between 2% to 2.5% for all of AFSCME Local 7’s job classifications, making pay more equitable across the city. Winning a contract as financially rewarding as this goes a long way to show the City of Toledo employees that when employees come together there is real power in a union.

By Namita Waghray

Speaking Up Leads to Raises for Union Members

AFSCME Local 1746 and Local 27 of AFSCME Ohio Council 8 were able to fight for and secure a one percent increase to raises they had negotiated in 2021 and 2022 respectively. Over 1300 members will now see a 3 percent  raise on July 3, 2022. 

In 2021 and early 2022 both locals had negotiated contracts that won important gains for all their members, including avoiding layoffs and furloughs. As Chelsea Hasrouni a Cuyahoga County employee and President of AFSCME Local 27 shares “During negotiations we even went into fact finding to try and figure out if there was any way we could get all of our members a full three percent raise.” Unfortunately after the fact finder issued his report the union had to settle for a 2 percent increase. But in early March this year local union leadership began to hear rumblings that some county unions were actually going to get a 3 percent increase while AFSCME members were still only getting the two percent. AFSCME Council 8 staff immediately began reaching out to County Executive Armond Budish. 

Marquez Brown the Regional Director of AFSCME Council 8 reached out to the County Executive’s office urging Mr. Budish to reconsider the current contract to include raises for AFSCME members. Chelsea Hasrouni recalls how AFSCME members had rallied in 2020 to demand fair and equal pay for all bargaining units in the county, “As AFSCME union members we understood then and now, it is not just about the raise but about fairness and equality for all public employees.”

However, because of the collaborative relationship built between the County Executor and AFSCME Ohio Council 8, it didn’t have to come to that. County Executive Budish promised that he would bring the one percent increase before the County Council and on May 10, 2022 the council passed a resolution granting a one percent increase bringing AFSCME contracts equal to other unions.. AFSCME Local 27 members and AFSCME Local 1746 will now receive a full 3 percent  raise effective July 3rd, 2022. 

Chelsea and AFSCME members were quick to thank the County Executive but they know that if they hadn’t raised their voices and asked the question, the victory for the members  would never have been achieved. 

By Namita Waghray

AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Celebrates Nurses Across the State 

(Cincinnati, OH) On May 3rd, amidst a torrential downpour, Ohio Council 8 President Sean Grayson, Mayor of Cincinnati Aftab Purval, Interim Director of Nursing for the City of Cincinnati’s Public Health Department, and others came together to celebrate the essential and vital work of our public health nurses. Feelings of gratitude and awe were expressed by speakers throughout the event. The celebration recognized their heroic contributions from the height of the pandemic through the state slowly reopening, to the important work they continue to do to this day. 

From left, Local 2026 members Patty Snyder and Kathy Corturillo and Local 2084 members Raymond Inghram and Linda Stull at the ready in the emergency room.

 

“I hope you think of yourselves as the heroes you are. You deserve all of the thanks and praise that the rest of us can give. I hope that in the years to come, as time goes by and the public’s fear and attention and memories of this pandemic fade that you remember how truly brave your actions were during this crisis. Thank you for your commitment to the health and safety of our communities.” AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President Sean Grayson. 

AFSCME Ohio Council 8 would like to honor nurses across the state working in state and city health departments, hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and other health care facilities. Thank you for all that you do to keep your communities safe and healthy. 

 

 

AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Kicks off Public Service Appreciation Week with The Columbus Clippers 

(Columbus, OH) AFSCME Ohio Council 8 members joined over two hundred of their union family to kick off Public Service Appreciation week at the Clippers game on Saturday April 30. While the Clippers might not have won their game, AFSCME Ohio, including Council 8, OCSEA, and OAPSE members, took advantage of discounted game tickets the entire weekend. 

On Saturday, Matt Bateman, a Supervisor for the City of Columbus Water Department, was joined by AFSCME Local 1632 President Angela WIlliams and OCSEA Vice President Gerard ‘Rocky” Jolly, as he threw out the first pitch to kick off the game between the Columbus Clippers and the Louisville Bats. The weekend series stoked interstate rivalries among AFSCME members. The Columbus Clippers and Louisville Bats are the Cleveland Guardians and Cincinnati Reds minor league teams respectively. While everyone may not have walked away satisfied with the results, everyone enjoyed the game and the beautiful spring weather. 

 

Angela Williams, a police records technician who joined Matt on the field, felt honored that the Clippers recognized the importance of public employees’ contributions. “I am thrilled to join my union family and the Clippers on Saturday to kick off Public Employee Recognition week. As a union member and a public employee my work isn’t just a job, it’s a calling. While I know my coworkers and I don’t seek community accolades, it feels great to know that so many people care about us and the services we provide.” 

AFSCME Ohio Council 8 members can continue to enjoy discounted tickets to the Columbus Clippers games throughout the season as well as to several other recreational activities. Click here for a list of all the discounted fun members can enjoy throughout the year.

2022 AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Scholarships Now Available 

The AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Executive Board is pleased to announce the 40th annual AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Family Scholarships are now available.  The 2022 Women’s scholarship is named in honor of Ohio Council 8 leader Cheryl Keeler the men’s scholarship is named in honor of Ohio Council 8 leader Doug Moore 

Cheryl Keeler

Cheryl Keeler is a native of Columbus who graduated from Central High School and later graduated from the Ohio State University with a degree in English and literature.

Cheryl started her 18-year Ohio Council 8 career in 1987 as a legal secretary and five years later, became the Legal Department’s Supervisor/Paralegal.                                      

In 1994, she joined the Columbus Region as a Staff Representative. In 2000, she was appointed Columbus Regional Director, a position she held until retiring in 2005.                                                  

Cheryl lives in Columbus and is still active in the community as past president of the Second Wind Lung Transplant Association and is a consultant for Council 8 staff.       

                                                 

Doug Moore

Doug Moore’s roots in the labor movement run deep. After graduating from Bluefield State College in 1968 with a degree in education, Moore taught school for two years before bringing his teaching skills to the Ohio Laborer’s Training and Upgrading Program, a labor/management project supported by Laborer’s District Council of Ohio.                                               

Doug’s association with AFSCME Ohio Council 8 began in 1980, when he was hired as a code enforcement officer by the City of Columbus. He quickly worked his way up through the ranks, serving as a steward, chief steward, executive board member, vice president, and in 1992, he was elected President of AFSCME Local 1632 representing more than 2,000 city workers, was elected as a Columbus Regional Vice President the same year and served the executive board until he retired in 2015.                            

Over the years, he has provided the energy and vision that enabled Local 1632 to lead the way with innovative programs like the Quality of Working Life program, grievance mediation, and interest-based bargaining.           

In addition, he was active with the Ohio AFL-CIO, the Coalition of Black Trade unionists, and the A. Philip Randolph Institute. He is still active in the community and his church.

Applications must be postmarked no later than Monday, May 16, 2022.

Find the application here.

Remembering AFSCME Council 8 Leader Marie Clark

Marie Clark

AFSCME Council 8 Leader Marie Clarke, dedicated her life to working for equal rights in the workplace.

As one of Ohio’s foremost Black female labor leaders, Marie began work as an aircraft mechanic in 1946, at the Columbus plant of Curtiss-Wright, which at the time was the largest aircraft manufacturer in the United States.

A single mother, she joined thousands of women who went to work while the men left to serve in World War II. After the war, Marie was one of the few minority women to keep her job.

As a factory worker she helped organize and recruit members into the United Auto Workers union. One of her first job actions was to address the disparity in washroom conditions.

The men’s washroom had large round sinks where dozens of men could wash at one time and then be on their way home. However, the women’s locker room had just a couple of regular sinks, and always had a long line at the end of the shift.

Marie used that time standing in line to organize the women to join the union. As UAW members they successfully persuaded the union to push management to provide equal washroom facilities.

By the end of her 22-year aircraft career, she was the first African American woman to be elected to the executive board of UAW Local 927.

The union survived the company’s transition from Curtiss-Wright to North American Rockwell, but Marie decided to move on.

In 1969, Marie began her 23-year clerical career at Columbus City Hall – and brought her union activism with her. However, she found that only sanitation workers were in the union. 

When the AFSCME Local 1632 went on strike later that year, she supported the sanitation workers, but could not be a part of the union, or participant in the picket lines.  After the strike, Marie set about organizing her co-workers and building the union. She went on to become a proven and effective union leader.

Marie was the “go-to” person on many issues and was appointed to a series of ever more responsible union posts. She was then elected to serve on AFSCME Local 1632’s Executive Board.

In 1980, she was elected the union’s Secretary- Treasurer, an office she held for 12 years. During that time the union kept growing and today represents more than 2,000 city workers.

“When we say we are standing on the shoulders of those who came before us, we’re talking about people like Marie Clarke. She knew the power of solidarity and was a great believer in direct action. Her accomplishments should inspire us all,” said AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President Sean Grayson.

Her outstanding contributions to the Ohio labor movement were recognized in 1985 when Governor Richard Celeste inducted Marie Clarke into the Ohio Woman’s Hall of Fame. She has also been honored by the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and the Coalition of Labor Union Women.

A Columbus native, Clark was born on July 28,1915 and passed away on January 2,2020 at 104 years of age.

Carter G. Woodson and the Origin of Black History Month

The story of Black History Month begins in Chicago during the summer of 1915. Carter G. Woodson, a graduate of the University of Chicago and Harvard, traveled from Washington, D.C. to participate in a national celebration of the 50th anniversary of emancipation sponsored by the state of Illinois. Thousands of African Americans from across the country came to see exhibits highlighting the progress their people had made since the destruction of slavery.

Inspired by the overflow crowds who waited hours to view the exhibits, Woodson decided to form an organization to promote the study of black life and history. Later that year Woodson met with A. L. Jackson, a fellow Harvard alumnus, to form the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH).

In 1925, Woodson decided that the Association would both create and popularize knowledge about the black past and proclaimed Negro History Week in February, 1926.

Woodson chose February to encompass the birthdays of two great Americans who played a prominent role in shaping black history, namely Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, whose birthdays are the 12th and the 14th.

For more information about the origins of Black History month visit the ASNLY web page at:

https://asalh.org/about-us/origins-of-black-history-month/

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