AFSCME Ohio Council 8 leaders, members and staff say “Right-To-Work” is Wrong

Union members from Southwest Ohio converged on West Chester Township and successfully convinced township trustees to table a local government right-to-work ordinance up for consideration.

“It’s clear that right-to-work is wrong because it not only costs jobs, it costs lives,” said AFSCME Local 1543 President Tom West.  “We know that in RTW states 36 percent more workers are killed on the job than in collective bargaining states like Ohio.”

The crowd also included AFSCME Local 3975 members who work at the West Chester Community Service Department.  They are responsible for maintaining the township’s streets, parks, highway signs and cemetery.

AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Political and Legislative Director Robert Davis said “We must fight right-to-work everywhere it raises it’s ugly head.”  He said the strong show of opposition convinced the trustees to reconsider the measure.  “With the legality of local government right-to-work measures still being contested in the courts we convinced them that it would be wise to wait until the law is settled before raising the issue again,” Davis said.

AFSCME Ohio Council 8 leaders, members and staff say “Right-To-Work" is Wrong.

AFSCME Ohio Council 8 leaders, members and staff say “Right-To-Work” is Wrong.





AFSCME Members Protest West Chester Proposal for RTW Ordinance

Yesterday in West Chester AFSCME Local 3975 President Rod Sleiman and member John Sams were among the 113 people who filled the room at a City Council meeting to protest plans for a township “Right-to-Work” ordinance.

“‘Right-to-Work’ is wrong it doesn’t just hurt us, it ends up lowering everyone’s pay and hurts the entire community,” Sleiman said.

AFSCME Local 3975 represents workers at the West Chester Community Service Department who maintain the township’s streets, parks, and highway signs.

“Right-to-work” is WRONG because it does not create jobs, but lowers wages and benefits, and spikes the number of injuries and deaths on the job.


AFSCME Local 3975 President Rod Sleiman and member John Sams

Kentucky Gov. signs “Right to work” law over the weekend


Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin wasted no time–he signed “Right to work” is WRONG into law on Saturday as soon as the bill hit his desk. Kentucky is now the 27th state in America to have this anti-worker law that leads to lower wages and benefits and higher injury and death rates on the job.

Ohio Council 8 Toledo Staff Representative Adam Maguire (pictured below) was on hand over the weekend to protest against the signature of the law, along with Cincinnati Staff Representative Mark Caddo.


AFSCME Council 8 Holiday Wrap-Up

AFSCME Council 8 members were busy at the end of 2016 spreading goodwill and good cheer. Check out our highlights!

AFSCME Holiday Party 2016


On December 16th AFSCME Local 1632 held their Holiday Party at the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 189 Union Hall located at 1250 Kinnear Rd. There were close to 200 members that RSVP’d to attend, but due to inclement weather approximately 120 members were in attendance. Also a very special guest was in attendance, “Santa Claus.” Entertainment was provided by John Baisden from KCK-Karaoke, and the dinner was provided by Gloria Sutton of Caterers Three.

picture4There was also a 50/50 drawing that raised $130.00, with $65.00 going towards Families for a Cure. There were seven gift baskets raffled off that raised $395.00, with a grand total of $460.00 going to Families for a Cure. Paul Rual from Families for a Cure was there to accept the donation from Chip Moore, President of AFSCME Local 1632 and Mike Winland Co-Chair of AFSCME Local 1632 Charities Committee. All in attendance had a wonderful time, and a special thanks to Roberta Skok, Regional Director of Ohio Council 8 and Bill Devore, Staff Representative of Ohio Council 8.


Inter-City Toy Drive

picture2From November 14th to the 25th, the great employees of the City of Columbus opened their hearts to buy a new toy for Nationwide Children Hospital. There were 15 drop off points throughout the City that gathered a HUGE donation for a great cause. All toys were delivered to Children’s Hospital on December 2nd to a warm thank you from the administration. So a HUGE THANKS to all the City employees!


Food for Families Food Drive

On December 10th AFSCME Local 1632 teamed up with St. Stephens Community House for the second annual Food Drive. For a donation of 5 non-perishable food donations, you got a picture with Santa Claus. There was a great turn-out and all food went to local families. A special thanks to Amy Kerns, Administrative Project Manager at St. Stephens for letting us hold the event at St. Stephens, and all the AFSCME Local 1632 members that helped at the event.


Toys 4 Tots Toy Drive


On December 2nd AFSCME Local 1632 teamed up with 99.7 The Blitz radio station and held a toy drive to help benefit the mission of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys For Tots. We had an AMAZING turnout from the great citizens of Columbus, and gathered a lot of toys that were turned into the Toys for Tots drop-off point.

A huge thanks to Courtney Stone, Production Manager at 99.7 The Blitz, Lopper & Randi, Radio Personalities, Frankie Hejduk, Former Columbus Crew Player, and Shawn Jarvis, Owner of 22 Caliber Tattoo Studio’s for assisting in the toy drive. A BIG THANK YOU to the AMAZING citizens of Columbus for opening your hearts for this great cause.


AFSCME Council 8 President John Lyall: Reflections on 2016

As 2016 closes we say goodbye to a real hero, Ohio space pioneer U.S. Senator John Glenn. We also join the nation in greeting a new Congress and President.

Winston Churchill was correct when said “The price of greatness is responsibility.”  As President, we owe Donald Trump a fair chance to become a thoughtful president who leads America with dignity and respect to both law and custom.  We owe him a fair chance – but not a free pass.

After more than a year of front-page campaigning we can’t forget it’s not all about Donald Trump. Congress must confirm appointments, approve Supreme Court appointees, ratify trade deals, and enact budgets.

With few exceptions we are facing the same individuals that vowed to make Barack Obama “a one term president,” pushed anti-union laws and cuts to Social Security, and waged an eight-year battle to deny Americans access to affordable health care.

It’s the same with state and local government.  Gov. John Kasich deserves credit for vetoing bills that would have weakened air pollution rules and struck down legislation allowing Ohio lawmakers to do away with state agencies and departments.  However, despite gains, the legislature remains stacked against us.

Still, our union carries on the work of representing its members on the job, negotiating strong contracts and organizing new members.

The future is always uncertain.  But, I’m certain AFSCME Council 8 leaders and members will meet these challenges with the same energy and solidarity that has always won the day for workers.

On behalf of First Vice President Harold Mitchell and the officers of AFSCME Ohio Council 8, I wish you a prosperous 2017.  A new year where we are engaged in the work building a better life for our members and all working American families.

In Solidarity,
John  A. Lyall

Happy Holidays from AFSCME Council 8 President John Lyall

Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 3.09.52 PMDuring the Holiday Season, our thoughts turn to our families and friends as we begin to think about spending some much-needed quality time with our loved ones after a hectic year.

We also think of others who are less fortunate than we are.  As public service workers it’s those thoughts that motivate us to devote ourselves to making our communities stronger on the job, and as community volunteers and leaders.

As trade unionists, we devote ourselves to creating a better future for our members, their families, and a better life for all. Even with the many forces working against us, AFSCME Ohio Council 8 continues to organize new members, represent you on the job and bargain strong contracts – we should be very proud of these accomplishments.

With the strength of our members, retirees, activists, and our local union leadership our Union will continue to take on the challenges facing Ohio’s working families.  Working together, we can make sure our children and grandchildren have a bright future.

On behalf of First Vice President Harold Mitchell and the officers of AFSCME Ohio Council 8, I want to express my deepest gratitude for what you do each day to make our Union and our state the best it can be.

I take this opportunity to wish you and your family a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

In solidarity,

John A. Lyall

President, AFSCME Ohio Council 8

Ohio Council 8 Solidarity In Action

Cincinnati Public School Employees AFSCME Local 232 members recently joined in solidarity with OCSEA/AFSCME members who are continuing their struggle to stop the liquidation of prison farms at 10 correctional facilities across Ohio.

AFSCME Local 232 member/activists Shelby Givens-Blackmon, and Carolyn Park, along with Ohio Council 8 Staff Rep. Andrew Hasty, joined other unions at the Lebanon Correctional Facility’s prison farm just north of Cincinnati. 

They joined an informational picket-line along the side of highly traveled State Route 63, a two lane highway near the prison.


AFSCME Local 232 activists Shelby Givens-Blackmon, left, and Executive Board Member Carolyn Park.

The following is a report by Carolyn Park:

As cars and tractor/trailers drove by, we held signs and spoke with other members and supporters; including Cincinnati AFL CIO representatives and even Cincinnati Federation of Teachers members who were in attendance.

We learned about a great number of the issues. We were there to help EXPOSE and STOP The Great Land Grab. It seems that out of nowhere, The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) decided to close all 10 Ohio prison farms.

This decision comes on the heels of a plan to expand cattle and dairy production. In fact, last year, DRC Director Gary Mohr asked the Ohio State Legislature for $9 million dollars to build three state of the art cattle and dairy barns.

So why the sudden the change of heart?  These projects are all but complete and the DRC is making more milk and harvesting more beef than it ever has before.

So with long-term plans in place and millions of tax payer dollars spent on improvements, now they want to “chuck” the entire plan? It didn’t seem to make sense to any of us out there on that informational picket line.

Could it be there is outside pressure to close prison farms from corporate food suppliers, like Aramark, and corporate mega-farms, as well as the powerful beef industry lobbyists?  This selling-off of valuable livestock, farming equipment, and in the near future the land itself, clearly looks like a giveaway to powerful financial interests.

The livestock and farm equipment is not being bought by many local producers. Representatives of the same corporate groups, have shown up time and again at each farm auction across our state, to cart away their spoils.

Why is it important to keep these facilities open? The farm programs do in fact serve DRC’s core mission. Farm jobs give inmates more responsibility and help them develop a strong work ethic. They are taught all kinds of skills, from heavy machinery to equipment maintenance, to carpentry, to welding to using hand tools, driving tractors and loaders and large vehicles, you name it.

This is a perfect case of “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.

The struggle isn’t only about the loss of OCSEA member jobs or the hundreds and thousands of inmates who have participated in the farm programs. It’s about all the stakeholders that will be affected by the farm closures.

Did you know the OSU Veterinary Medicine program teaches students at prison farms?  Or that Ohio’s food banks receive hundreds of thousands of pounds of produce each year from the prison farms? Or the move will hurt the local economy as farm equipment suppliers, who have been providing goods and services to prison farms for years, close up? All of those programs and relationships are now in jeopardy.

Shelby and I are glad we took the time to show support, not only as union members, but because we are also taxpayers in Ohio.

We do not like to see our tax dollars squandered and our communities harmed in giveaways to corporations. We want our voices to be heard!

Statement from AFSCME President Lee Saunders

JAL_IntouchI wanted to share with everyone a statement that AFSCME President Lee Saunders posted to social media this evening in response to the tragic shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

I also wish to add our condolences to the families of the Dallas officers killed and injured in a senseless act of violence. In the aftermath of this horrific event we stand with the people of Dallas and their police department. And pray that we each work for justice and to heal our nation.

Statement from AFSCME President Lee Saunders on the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile

“As a union that represents public service workers, including law enforcement officers, and is steeped in the history of civil rights, AFSCME has a unique perspective of the crisis roiling this country. And make no mistake: this is a crisis. Denying it is not an option.

“We must end the unacceptable violence that cut short the lives of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, while honoring the millions of officers who do a dangerous job each day with dignity and respect for all. We are better than this.”

President Lee Saunders

Coutcher Appointed Recording Secretary

The AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Executive Board is pleased to announce the appointment of Sandra L. Coutcher as Recording Secretary.

Sandra Coutcher is a long-time member of AFSCME Local 3794 and a 32-year employee of the Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities, where she is a Skills Coach.

She first joined AFSCME in 1985 and has held a number of leadership positions including local union recording secretary, vice president, and was elected union president in 2004, a post she continues to hold. In 2008, Coutcher was elected to the Council 8 Executive Board as a Toledo Regional Vice President.

As an activist leader, she has served on the union’s negotiating, PEOPLE, political action, and scholarship committees.

In addition, Coutcher, also serves her community as a reliable volunteer. She participates in get-out-the-vote, food drives, the Northwest Ohio Labor Fest, and was a member of the Northwest Ohio AFL-CIO Executive Board from 2001 through 2015.

In 2015, she was honored with the Outstanding Community Service Award by The Arc of Ohio, which works to provide support and opportunities for children and adults with developmental & intellectual disabilities.

“The board’s unanimous vote to appoint Sandy as Recording Secretary speaks volumes of the respect she has earned as a trade unionist. Her work in the service of her union sisters and brothers, as well as in her community, make us all proud to be Council 8 members,” said AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall.

Coutcher replaces Patricia Taylor, who retired from her job with the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority. Taylor was a founding member and long-time President of AFSCME Local 3707, the union for housing authority workers.

Ken Haynes Elected Vice President Ohio AFSCME Council 8 Columbus Region

AFSCME Council 8 congratulates Ken Haynes, who was elected Vice President of the Ohio AFSCME Council 8 Columbus Region.  He has served as President of AFSCME Local 954, Franklin County Engineers Department, and was elected to his current post at a mini-convention held in the Columbus region.

Haynes was a dedicated member mentored by former President Jim Mattox. Ken has been employed by the County for twenty years as an auto mechanic. As an active member and eventually President of his Local, he constantly worked to accomplish Council 8s agenda to secure better salaries and working conditions for all union members.

He replaces former regional vice president AFSCME Local 2191 Columbus Health Department member James Hicks, who resigned to pursue an advanced degree.




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