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

University of Toledo Medical Center Testing Breakthrough 

Earlier this month AFSCME Local 2415 members at The University of Toledo Medical Center are part of a team that have once again proven the hospital’s worth as a research, training and care institution by developing a COVID19 test that yields much faster results than others in use.

Before UTMC’s Pathology Lab stepped in, testing in Lucas County took up to eight days to yield results. But now, the lab at UTMC can test up to 180 samples a day and returns take 48 hours or less.

The test kit UTMC’s team of experts developed is now in use across the region.

Union member and molecular biologist Heather Kvale said there are not many hospitals like UTMC, which has its own molecular research department with funding by the National Institutes of Health.

“We have a great team of specialists and they all worked tirelessly to make this happen. I’m really glad that we were able to decrease the testing time so that people didn’t sit there in limbo,” she said.

To perfect their testing capability UTMC’s molecular diagnostics specialists had to show their test kit provided accurate results. Fortunately, the lab already had the right people, equipment and kit samples to work with.

Virtually every hospital department pitched in. The laboratory IT department was able to rapidly build the test into their system. UTMC’s phlebotomists and Medical Technologists coordinated to bring specimens into the department for testing, and the Safety and Health department worked to keep the team safe. 

“Even the Shipping and Receiving department helped coordinate our deliveries so we could stay stocked with the materials we needed to run the tests. There are so many wonderful people here at UTMC it would be impossible to name them all – we couldn’t have done it without each-and-every one of them,” Kvale said.   

According to AFSCME Local 2415 President Randy Desposito, “This is exactly why we need to keep research, teaching, and care public hospitals like UTMC. They have the people, expertise and equipment to make a difference, not just in Toledo but for all of Ohio,” he said.

Photo Credit: University of Toledo. Pictured: Back Row, Left to Right: Heather Byrd; Nichole Ortiz; Heather Kavale. Front Row, Left to Right: Michelle Lewandowski; Holly Mohon; Shauna Rasor.

Earn A Bachelor’s Degree – For Free. But Hurry Up and Apply.

Here’s an offer AFSCME members and their families cannot refuse. They can earn a bachelor’s degree in teacher education or business administration – for free.

In response to the health and economic uncertainty facing many AFSCME members, the AFSCME Bachelor’s Degree Completion Program, in partnership with Central State University, is making it possible for students who enroll in the summer 2020 term to complete their entire degree online with no out-of-pocket cost – as long as they remain continuously enrolled. Students may enroll part time, but continuous enrollment is required.

But students must act fast. They must enroll in the summer term to take advantage of this offer, and classes begin on May 18.

There will be no out-of-pocket cost for tuition, fees, or e-books through graduation, not just the summer term. Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and go through Central State University’s aid process.

Students who are unemployed, furloughed or laid off need not worry. They and their eligible family members can still enroll in the bachelor’s completion program. AFSCME is here to help members and their families through these uncertain times.

Members can learn more about this limited time offer by calling 888-897-9671 or get started online at bachelorsdegree.afscme.org.

Also, students still have the option of earning a free associate degree through the AFSCME Free College program.

Students and their family members will earn the online, two-year degree from Eastern Gateway Community College at no cost. If they haven’t yet earned an associate degree, or if they are interested in programs other than what’s offered through the bachelor’s degree completion program, AFSCME Free College just might be the right fit.

AFSCME Free College offers many general education and technical courses that are transferrable to other colleges and universities, including in-demand programs such as health care administration, teacher education, programming and development, cybersecurity, advertising, human resources and accounting. Enrollment for the June 1 session is now open.

Read the full article here.

Frequently Asked Questions About the CARES Act and PUA Program

Ohio, like every other state in the nation, has received federal funding for individuals made jobless as a result of the Coronavirus crisis. Benefits are available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program.

In order to speed up the weekly claim filing process the Ohio Department of Job and Family services has announced an application schedule based on the first letter of your last name (see table below).

If you have experienced a lay-off, furlough, or your job has otherwise been impacted click here for a summary of the programs created by the federal CARES Act.

For answers to questions regarding eligibility, how to apply, benefits, and other frequently asked questions click here.

Eastern Gateway Has Your Back

Even is you or your family member have been laid off, furloughed, or displaced you will have access to online college programs through graduation, with no interruption.

Eastern Gateway has got your back. See the flyer below for more information.

Make a call and protect workers in your community.

Congress is now busy at work creating the COVID 4 relief bill. This bill is aimed at helping workers affected by the crisis.
We must act TODAY – to make sure hospital, education, city, state and county workers will be included in the latest response bill’s funding.

The bill is intended to work by offering loans to businesses to keep their employees on their payrolls and offer expanded unemployment benefits to workers who do lose their job.

Currently Hospitals, public schools, and local and state governments are not included.

Our top priority for this COVID response bill must be to provide $200 billion in additional direct funds with a clear requirement that money will be used to protect public service jobs.

NOW is the time to act in order to remove the roadblocks and fix previous Coronavirus Aid acts so that public service workers who face cutbacks and job loses will not be left out.

To make that happen we need you to call or e-mail Sen. Sherrod Brown (click here) and Sen. Rob Portman (click here) and your congressional representative (click here).

Let them know that hospital, education, city, state and county workers must be included in the latest COVID response bill’s funding.

From the Emergency Room to the classroom, from the County Engineer to the public health department, these public services workers keep Ohio’s communities healthy and safe. These critical jobs must be protected.

Call and keep calling. Let your mayor, county executive, Ohio House and Senate representative know Ohio must keep its public service workers on the job.

Ask them to call their friends in Washington D.C. and go to bat for the people who make Ohio happen.

Call 1-800-282-0253 to reach your Ohio Representative (click here) to find your Ohio Senator
To download a detailed COVID4 fact sheet, click here.
6800 North High Street, Worthington, Ohio, 43085-2512
Phone: 614-841-1918
Fax: 614-841-1299