How neighbors in Cincinnati rallied to thank AFSCME sanitation workers

Retired Cincinnati employee Gerald Checco has worked in many City departments and recognizes the professionalism of the city’s workforce. “These folks cannot, and will not stay home and wait for the pandemic to pass. They too face conditions that put their personal health at risk.” 
“We naturally think of our hospital professionals who continue hourly to face an unknown enemy, but we need to also think of our government employees who continue to do their jobs and maintain some semblance of normalcy while the rest of us must do our part and stay at home.”
Checco rallied his neighbors in the Cincinnati community of Clifton to thank the members of AFSCME Local 255’s “ever-reliable sanitation workers” and through them to “ all committed city and county employees.”
On pickup day the community said thank you to the union members by posting “thank you” note on their trash cans as an expression of their gratitude. 

Ohio To Run Mail-in Primary Through April 28

Ohio’s official primary Election Day is long gone, but if you didn’t get to the polls on March 17 when the polls were closed because of the coronavirus, you can still cast your ballot.

The Ohio General Assembly has extended absentee voting until Tuesday, April 28, “but there are a few hoops to jump through,” said Council 8 Political and Legislative Director Robert Davis.

According to Davis, the first step is to request an absentee ballot. The fastest way is through the secretary of state’s website click here.

Fill out and print the ballot request, put a stamp on an envelope, and mail it to your local board of elections. In a few days you should receive an absentee ballot. If you don’t have a computer, call your county board of elections to ask that a ballot be mailed to you. Click here to find your county board of elections.

Make sure you fill out the ballot request carefully. Mistakes may cause the board of elections to reject it.  A common error is putting the current date where your birth date is supposed to go.

The board will then mail you an absentee ballot specific to your locality. “That means you will still be able to vote on tax, bond, and other local issues,” Davis said.

Your ballot will arrive with a postage-paid envelope. Fill out the ballot and drop it in the mail or take it to a drop box at your county board of elections.

“This is not an ideal situation because we were looking forward to primary election day to collect signatures to make sure issues like raising the minimum wage to $13 per hour would be on the November ballot. If you haven’t already voted, act quickly and cast your ballot in this extended primary election,” Davis said,

Ballots must be postmarked by April 27.

AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Members Help Athens Schools In Time of Need

Food service workers Ashley Dowler, left, and Megan McKenzie are on the job packing meals.

Food service workers Ashley Dowler, left, and Megan McKenzie are on the job packing meals.

Members of AFSCME Local 1846 are working with the Athens public schools Board of Education to take care of their students’ appetites for food and knowledge during the present health crisis. 

Based on the results of a survey of the system’s families “our members are working to making sure our students are being well fed and will continue to be well educated with on-line learning,” said union president Monna French.

During the week Athens school food service employees prepare breakfast and lunch packages for students which are delivered by Local 1846 bus drivers and paraprofessional volunteers.

The school’s survey also revealed a shortage of internet learning devices for the now stay-at-home students. “Our members are making sure students will have school issued tablets to keep up with their studies,” said French, a student resource coordinator.

From left, Local 1846 volunteers Kelly Six, Cara France, and union president Monna French. 

From left, Local 1846 volunteers Kelly Six, Cara France, and union president Monna French. 

But a digital book is no good without internet access.  “Athens County is very rural so our members will also turn internet dead-spots into to internet hot-spots by delivering and setting up board provided access equipment so kids can keep on learning,” she said.

In addition to serving her local union, French is also a Volunteer Member Organizer.

Cincinnati Enquirer: See why Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley calls ‘Rosie the Riveter’ school nurses ‘inspiring’

You are there when your community needs you. Thank you.

As many of us work from the safety of our homes to prevent the spread of this deadly virus, we are becoming more aware of the vital role public and private service workers are playing to keep ourselves and our families healthy and safe.

To the brave women and men who continue to work in our medical facilities; to police, fire fighters, EMTs, dispatchers and call takers who are responding to emergency calls; to the care givers in nursing homes and those providing in home care; to water, waste water, custodial and waste services personnel who are continuing to keep our public spaces and the environment clean; to those transporting food and needed goods; to food service workers who are preparing and delivery meals; to teachers who have worked all week converting in class lessons to on line educational instruction for our kids; to State and county workers still processing food aide and unemployment compensation claims for families in need and workers who have been laid off; to the public policy leaders and elected officials who are trying to coordinate state and local governmental responses to this ongoing and changing crisis and to all of the other service workers everywhere still working for all of us – Thank you.

We are witnessing true heroism. The heroes are not the movie stars and ball players we usually idolize when times are good. These are our family members, our union sisters and brothers, our neighbors and in most cases, people we don’t even know, risking their lives so that others may be saved.

Thank you for your work and your sacrifice. Your dedication is not going unnoticed or without deep appreciation. We are all in your debt.

Thank you to the incredible members of AFSCME, Ohio Council 8. Your strength and devotion to your work and your communities is beyond what words can convey. Our families, our communities will survive this threat, in large measure, because of your efforts.

May God bless you and keep you safe.

R. Sean Grayson, President
AFSCME Ohio Council 8, AFL-CIO

Joint Statement on School Closings and Coronavirus

Ohio’s education community – educators, education support personnel, superintendents and local school boards – is united in its commitment to ensuring the well-being of the students that we serve as we grapple with the spread of COVID-19 and its implications for public education. We applaud the strong leadership of Governor DeWine and his demonstrated willingness to make decisions that are in the best interest of Ohioans.

We are prepared to do whatever is necessary to adjust very quickly to the unprecedented reality of a global pandemic that threatens public health, has roiled our economy, and led to innumerable disruptions in our daily lives.

The Governor’s order to close all Ohio schools was a big step and we welcome the opportunity to work with Governor DeWine and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Paolo DeMaria, to chart a path forward for local school districts on how best to manage this pandemic.

Navigating these uncharted waters will require a lot of patience and creativity for everyone involved in decision-making at all levels.  We know there are major structural impediments to having to switch to an online learning environment. But as Ohio’s education teams strive to implement creative solutions, your associations stand ready to assist in any way possible. 

There are many questions that have no immediate answers. They include but are not limited to how missing days will be made up, how testing will be handled, and how accountability systems will be adjusted.  Please know that your input is invaluable, and we will make every effort to be responsive to your needs. As questions are considered and answers forthcoming, we will share that information with you in a timely fashion.

Controlling the outbreak of the virus is extremely important to the health and safety of Ohioans. Being able to influence some control over the growth of the outbreak will allow our healthcare system to have a better chance of having the resources available to provide treatment and medical care for those who do contract the virus. Also, please remember that while children do not seem to be as impacted by contracting the virus, they are known to be carriers and can infect the adults with whom they interact. This can lead to devastating consequences for high-risk adults.

We ask that you do all you can to keep yourself healthy and safe, including hand-washing, cleaning surfaces, and social distancing.  For more details on steps you can take to keep you and your loved ones safe, please refer to these guidelines from the Center for Disease Control.

Thank you for your leadership, your patience, and your commitment to the health and well-being of your students, staff, and community.


Melissa Cropper, President, Ohio Federation of Teachers

Scott DiMauro, President, Ohio Education Association

Sean Grayson, President, AFSCME Council 8

Kirk Hamilton, Executive Director, Buckeye Association of School Administrators

Rick Lewis, Executive Director, Ohio School Boards Association

Joe Rugola, Executive Director, Ohio Association of Public School Employees

AFSCME Local 3956 Member Finds Good Fit At Eastern Gateway Community College

AFSCME Local 3956 member Sherry Thomas has always been interested in the criminal justice system and how it works, so her career as a Deputy Clerk II in the Legal Department of the Mahoning County Common Pleas Court is a good fit.

And the free college program at Eastern Gateway Community College was also a good fit.  It enabled her to move forward on her chosen career path with an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement that she earned through the college’s free, on-line program.

“I always wanted to go back to school but between a full-time job and the cost I just wasn’t able to do it. So, when I saw the free college program offered by my union, I jumped on it,” Thomas said.

Thomas was able to reach her goal of going back to school by working on-line in the evenings. “If you have the passion and drive, you can do it. And Eastern Gateway is there to help get you started. I highly recommend it.” she said.

For more information on go to: or call


AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Betty Thomas and George Tucker Scholarships

The 2020 AFSCME Council 8 Family Scholarships are named in honor of two long-time Ohio Council 8 leaders who distinguished themselves as public employees and trade unionists and worked to improve the lives of all Ohioans: George Tucker and Betty Thomas.

Betty Thomas

    Betty Thomas, a mother of five, began her career in education as a school and library volunteer. In 1972 she took  a part-time job  as an Instructional Assistant for the Cincinnati Board of Education. 

  Her skill and dedication were quickly recognized and in 1974, Thomas was hired full-time and soon joined AFSCME Local 1938, the union for unclassified employees. She continued to work for the board of education and served the union for the next 19 years.

In 1995, Thomas joined the international staff as the Retiree Coordinator for AFSCME Ohio Retirees Chapter 1184.

  For the next 21 years she worked as a strong advocate for retired AFSCME members and helped build Chapter 1184 into one of AFSCME’s strongest retiree chapters.

  In addition, she was active in politics and could be depended upon for block walks, door knocking, attending rallies and phone banks.

  Thomas retired in 2016. She continues to be active with retirees in the Cincinnati area serving as Vice President of Retiree Sub-Chapter 107. 

George Tucker

  George Tucker is a Toledo native, who after graduating from high school in 1961, joined the United States Navy. Five years later Tucker joined the Toledo city workforce and immediately joined AFSCME Local 7, which has represented the city’s workers since 1937.

    Working in the city’s Division of Inspection and the sign shop, Tucker held numerous union positions and in 1972 was elected president of, at that time, the 1,100-member union.

  In addition, he served on the AFSCME Ohio Council 8 executive board first as a Toledo Regional Vice President and later as Secretary-Treasurer. 

  In 1984, Tucker joined Ohio Council 8′ Toledo regional staff, a post he held until 1987, when he was appointed Toledo Regional Director. Tucker retired in 2004 and in 2012, he agreed to come out of retirement and served as director for an additional year.

   At the same time, he has served the Greater Northwest Ohio AFL-CIO steering committee and executive board and as President. He also holds a position on the national AFL-CIO’s advisory board.

   In addition, Tucker gives his time and talents to the United Labor Committee, the  Northwest Ohio Center for Labor and Management Cooperation, the Labor Management Citizens Committee, and the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists.

  He is also President of the Toledo Library Board of Trustees and serves on the Toledo Port Authority.

Tucker is now retired, lives in Toledo and is still active in his community.

   AFSCME Ohio Council 8 First Vice President Marcia Knox, chairman of the scholarship committee said, “We strongly encourage every eligible student to apply for these scholarships.”

   Knox stressed that all applications must be postmarked no later than Friday, May 1, 2020

     It is suggested that applicants place their name on each page of their essays and to ensure verified delivery to AFSCME Ohio Council 8, mail the application with a return receipt request. 

  Scholarship applications can be downloaded here.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Statement from AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President Sean Grayson

Each commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday is a reminder of the contributions one man or one woman can make through acts of courage and conviction to improve the lives of others by joining in the fight for civil rights and social and economic justice. It is also a reminder of the bonds between the civil rights movement and the labor movement forged over time in the struggle for economic security and human dignity.

Dr. King knew this coalition held the promise to lift people out of poverty and improve their lives. King said: “The labor movement was the principle force that transforms misery and despair into hope and progress. Out of its bold struggles, economic and social reform gave birth to unemployment insurance, old age pensions, government relief for the destitute and above all new wage levels that meant not mere survival, but a tolerable life. The captains of industry did not lead this transformation, they resisted it until they were overcome.” 

In the dawn of this new year, we once again witness the slow but steady erosion of the economic and social reforms the civil rights and labor rights movements fought so hard to achieve.

The elimination of defined benefit pension plans is forcing Americans to work well past retirement age just to survive. An ever widening and disgraceful level of income inequality, driven by greed and corruption and an economy that works only for the wealthiest among us, is leaving millions of American families struggling to make ends meet.

Attempts by the Trump Administration to eliminate guaranteed health insurance coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions and soaring health care and prescription drug costs are resulting in Americans not getting the medical care they need.  And small but aggressive segments of our society are openly targeting people of color, women,  LGBTQI , Muslim and Jewish Americans with hate, discrimination and acts of violence that rip at the very heart of who we are as Americans together. 

But our society does not have to continue down this path. We need only look to our past and draw from the compassion and resolve of Dr. King to know that each one of us can make a difference. Acting together, change is not only possible but assured. With Dr. King in mind, we can summon the strength and courage to act in defense of civil rights and social and economic justice.

We can stand up and speak out. We can join and participate in our union and encourage others to do so. We can support efforts to strengthen workers’ rights to organize and to collectively bargain. We can support measures that broaden civil rights protections for all Americans.  And we can, and must, vote. 

In these and other ways, we can act to save the social and economic justice measures we fought so hard to achieve. And with momentum at our backs we can move the needle of progress farther until our society is one in which every American can prosper.

In solidarity,

President Sean Grayson

2020 Census: Myth vs Fact

For more information click the link below.

2020 Census: Myth vs Fact

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