Ohio Right-To-Work Raises Its Ugly Head Again

Union members overflowed the House Finance Committee hearing room for the first reading of HB 53, a controversial “Right-to-Work” bill aimed at Ohio’s public employee unions.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. John Becker, a Clermont County Republican, had little to offer when questioned about the need for the bill and what effect it would have on unions.

The bill “would not change anything” he said. In fact, it would change everything public employees have gained since the 1982 passage of Ohio’s public employee collective bargaining law. 

When challenged by committee members to explain how Ohio would be different than other right-to-work states where pay has plunged and workplace injuries have skyrocketed, he said he didn’t know.

Right-to-work laws commonly allow members to stop paying union dues while still enjoying union representation, creating a so-called “free riders” problem. Becker’s bill supposedly solves this by wiping out exclusive representation.

Under HB53, unions would be prohibited from representing non-members. Experience has shown that giving up exclusive representation is a trap. While it may address “free riders”, it’s a divide-and-conquer tactic that ultimately weakens a union’s power to win better pay, stronger pensions, and job security.

It’s not clear if Ohio’s GOP-controlled Legislature is on board with restricting labor rights during its lame-duck session. Many members recall SB5, a similar law voters soundly rejected by a 62 percent margin in 2011.

“All of labor is watching this closely and we are ready act if HB53 picks up any steam,” said AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Political and Legislative Director Robert Davis, who advised all AFSCME members to remain engaged and informed.

If enacted, Ohio would become the 29th state with union busting laws on the books, including neighboring Michigan, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Indiana.

 

AFSCME Council 8 President John A. Lyall appointed to the Industrial Commission Nominating Council

AFSCME Council 8 President John A. Lyall of Powell (Delaware Co.) has been appointed to the Industrial Commission Nominating Council by Governor John Kasich for a term beginning November 9, 2018, and ending October 20, 2022.

Biography

John A. Lyall has served as President of AFSCME Ohio Council 8 since 2007, and was unanimously elected to a third four-year term in 2015, at AFSCME Ohio Council 8’s 21st Biennial Convention.

President Lyall is a native of Cleveland and first joined AFSCME as a member in 1973,  when he went to work for the City of North Olmsted.  In 1979, he joined the Cleveland AFSCME staff.  He worked  as an assistant administrator with the Ohio AFSCME Care Plan, as an organizer, and staff representative.

John Lyall was appointed Cleveland Regional Director in 1991. In 1996, he was elected head of the Cleveland Federation of Labor AFL-CIO, now the North Shore Labor Council, and served as President until 1998.  In 1999, he moved to Columbus when he was appointed Council 8’s first Organizing Director, and in 2001, became the union’s First Vice President. 

He serves as an AFSCME International Vice President and serves as chairman of the AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Care Plan.

In addition, he serves as a vice president on the Ohio AFL-CIO Executive Board and is a member of the Ohio AFL-CIO Executive Committee.  Lyall is also a member of the State Executive Committee of the Ohio Democratic Party.

John Lyall graduated from Baldwin-Wallace College with honors and completed the Harvard University Trade Union Program. 

He has been married 28 years and has three children.

Judges order Ohio to reinstate purged to voters

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals just halted Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s purge of the state’s voter rolls.

The ruling handed down yesterday, allows Ohio voters who had their registrations cancelled to cast provisional ballots in the Nov. 6, 2018 election.

The case led by the A. Philip Randolph Institute lost its claim that Ohio’s purge of its voter lists was unconstitutional when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Ohio’s right to “clean up” its voter lists.

But they continued to challenge the use-it-or-lose-it process that kicks out the voter registration of anyone who has not voted in the last three federal elections.

Ruling there wasn’t an emergency need to block “purges,” the 6th Circuit Judges said it could consider that part of the appeal later.

If you believe your voter registration was revoked, you can go to the polls, re-register and cast a provisional ballot during early voting or on election day. 

If you have questions, call your county board elections.  You can find more voter information at https://voterlookup.sos.state.oh.us/voterlookup.aspx

Members of AFSCME Local 3073 Having Halloween Fun!

Members of AFSCME Local 3073 and the administration at the Belmont County Department of Jobs and Family Services got together for a little Halloween fun prior to starting this season’s joint community projects.

“AFSCME Local 3073 members and the Administration have a strong relationship that goes beyond the workplace, said Tracey Oates, an Ohio Council 8 Staff Representative in the Youngstown Region.   

Labor and management work together to serve their community just about every holiday. At back-to-school time, they provided students clothing and school supplies, and virtually all employees participate an annual food drive to make Thanksgiving better for the less fortunate, “and the list goes on,” Oates said.

Taking its name from the French for “beautiful mountain”, Belmont County, population 70,400, runs along a 40-mile stretch of the Ohio River on Ohio’s eastern state line with Pennsylvania.

Council 8 stalwart Angela Caldwell is stepping up for the Ohio AFL-CIO Day of Action

AFSCME Ohio Council 8 stalwart Angela Caldwell joined members in the Cleveland Region and across the state for the third Ohio AFL-CIO Day of Action. Volunteers turned out to knock on doors and make calls to fired up union households and get them ready to go to the polls to elect Richard Cordray as Ohio Governor.

“I retired and then looked up to see things going so bad in this country and what we won with our blood, sweat and tears being taken away – it made me mad. I just couldn’t sit back and watch, my union roots wouldn’t let me,” she said.

A 20-year member of AFSCME Local 100, representing Cleveland city employees, she held many union offices including Union President. In 1993, she started a second career as an Ohio Council 8 staff representative in the Cleveland Region, retiring in 2011. She is currently an active member of AFSCME Retiree Chapter 1184.

Tuesday October 9th is the deadline for voter registration, “so we need to make sure people are ready and able to vote.  Labor has to lead the way like it always does,” Caldwell said.

She is now working with the Ohio AFL-CIO’s Cleveland office during the election.

Angela is now working with the Ohio AFL-CIO’s Cleveland
office during the election.

John McCain, a Scarred but Happy Warrior

Article published in the New York Times on August 25, 2018.

With John McCain, you never quite knew. That was a big part of his appeal, one of the things that made him interesting, and also one of the things that drove people who value ideological consistency a bit batty.

As a professed maverick, Mr. McCain, who died Saturday at the age of 81, was bound to make somebody unhappy. Though for much of his career his votes on the Senate floor were mostly along party lines, his periodic challenges to Republican orthodoxy made him more popular among independents, Democrats and the tattered remnants of his party’s moderate wing than with the absolutists in the party’s base. Five years of torture in a North Vietnamese prison camp appeared to have left him with a pretty good idea of who he was, an ability to think for himself and the capacity to tune out partisan noises.

He had principles, and he had flaws, from time to time betraying those principles — most grievously in the 2008 presidential campaign. But in a Senate mostly devoid of the kind of commanding figures who once roamed its halls, he was a rare bird. And he could surprise you.

Read the full article in the New York Times here.

Desposito and Thomas Returned to OPERS Board

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System Board of Trustees has certified the election of Ken Thomas and Randy Desposito to four-year terms on the OPERS Board of Trustees.

A Critical Care Nurse and President of AFSCME Local 2415, the union for University of Toledo Medical Center Employees, Desposito was appointed to fill a vacancy on the OPERS Board in 2017.  Elected to a full term, he will represent non-teaching State College and University employees.

Ken Thomas, representing municipal employees, has served on the OPERS Board since 1993 and is a 33-year City of Dayton employee, currently senior employment manager at the City of Dayton Civil Service Board.  Ken was a long-time member of AFSCME, Local 101 and served for nine years on the AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Executive Board as a Dayton Regional Vice President.

Both were unopposed. 

According to AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall, in years past labor had a majority on the board “and now these seats are back with AFSCME. This is an example of the clout only a unified statewide organization has,” he said.

Thomas and Desposito will join AFSCME Local 3360 Cleveland MetroHealth President Julie Albers, representing County employees, and AFSCME Local 11/OCSEA President Chris Mabe, representing state workers on the 11-member board.

“Ken and Randy are part of the AFSCME team committed to a strong defense of our defined benefit (guaranteed) pensions. This is more important than ever because of the anti-worker environment we are presently in,” Lyall said.

The Board of Trustees is responsible for the administration and management of OPERS. Board members also authorize the investments made with the system’s funds. They receive no compensation for their service to OPERS.


Randy Desposito, left, Ken Thomas, right.

2018 Scholarships Awarded to Alyssa Ann Grega and Zachary Rondeau

The Ohio Council 8 Executive Board is pleased to announce that Alyssa Ann Grega has been awarded the Patricia Kunk Scholarship and Zachary Rondeau has been awarded the Theodore Patton Scholarship as part of  the AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Family Scholarship program.

Alyssa is the daughter of Leslie Grega who is a member of AFSCME Local 7, which represents City of Toledo employees.

A graduate of Sylvania Northview High School, Alyssa was as a motivated student who achieved an outstanding academic record. In addition she participated in many school and community activities.

In her winning essay, Alyssa shared her firsthand union education.  Growing up in the aftermath of “The Great Recession” she saw the toll economic uncertainly takes on a family and a community, and also the value of union representation. 

“I want to find a career where I feel secure and where my rights as an employee are respected. That means a union contract,” she said.

She will be attending The Lourdes University this fall pursuing a degree as an Athletic Trainer and plans to work with the Wounded Warrior Project.        

The 2018 men’s scholarship winner, Zachary Rondeau, is the son of AFSCME Local 3360 member Paul Rondeau. An active member of the union representing employees at Cleveland’s MetroHealth Medical Center, where he serves a steward, Paul has been a member since 2003.

Zachary graduated from North Olmsted High School, where he was active in sports, had a strong academic record, and was respected by his classmates and teachers.

In his winning essay, Zachary recounted how being a union member helped his kindergarten teacher cut through red tape to get him help with a learning disability. And thanks to his father’s workplace being represented by AFSCME, “my family had the topnotch medical coverage and the resources to help me overcome my disability.” 

Excelling at math and science, Zachary will be attending Ohio Northern University in the fall where he plans on becoming a mechanical engineer.

The 2018 AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Scholarships are named in honor of Toledo unionist Theodore R. Patton Sr. and Dayton Region Office Secretary Patricia Kunk.

Patricia Kunk began her AFSCME career in 1976, when she became office secretary for AFSCME Local 101 Dayton Public Service Union. Two years later she became office secretary for the Dayton Region that was created with the formation of AFSCME Ohio Council 8, which unified the state’s eight AFSCME public employee councils.

Prior to AFSCME, she was employed for 13 years by the National Cash Register Company. In addition, she was active in politics and could be depended upon for block walks, door knocking, and phone banks. She retired in 2010 and still helps out in the Dayton office when needed.

Theodore R. Patton Sr. worked for the Toledo Public Schools for 36 years. As a Boiler Operator, he was a long-time member of AFSCME Local 272 which represents the district’s heating, maintenance, and security employees.

In addition to holding local union offices, he served as an Ohio Council 8 Toledo Regional Vice President. In 1985, Patton was elected Ohio Council 8 Secretary- Treasurer, a post he held until retiring in 2002.

He was active in the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, and served with the Toledo community project, Second Chance, which helps felons re-enter society and get their records expunged. He passed away early last year at age 89.                         

Ohio Council 8 First Vice President Harold Mitchell, chairperson of the executive board committee that reviews the scholarship applications, wished Alyssa and Zachary the best of luck pursuing their higher education goals. 

In addition to Mitchell, the Scholarship Committee includes Cleveland Regional Vice President Julie Albers, Athens Regional Vice President Dave Logan, and Trustee Kim Gaines.

 

Zachary Rondeau and Alyssa Ann Grega

Susan Reed joins Ohio Council 8 members for the second Ohio AFL-CIO Day of Action

AFSCME Local 3501 member Susan Reed joined Ohio Council 8 members in the Athens Region and across the state for the second Ohio AFL-CIO Day of Action aimed at getting people to the polls.

“Our members are motivated and educated and ready to move ahead. They understand that the only thing that will change the direction we’re heading in is to get out and vote – and time is going by fast,” she said.

A 26-year employee of Scioto County Department of Jobs and Family Services, Reed works as a Child Support Investigator.  She also serves on the executive board of the local union which represents more than 60 JFS employees.

Tuesday October 9th is the deadline for voter registration, “so we need to make sure people are ready and able to vote,” Reed said.

The next Ohio AFL-CIO Day of Action will be Saturday, August 25th. Click here for times and locations across Ohio.

Click here for Times and Locations

AFSCME Local 3501 member Susan Reed, right, and Athens Regional Director John Johnson joined Ohio Council 8 members across the state for Ohio AFL-CIO Day of Action.

Thousands gather at Statehouse for rally to save pensions

You’ve worked hard and played by the rules and at the last minute, the goal post is moved.  All people want is what they have worked for and what was promised – a pension they can count on to retire in dignity and security. 

So said a crowd of thousands who gathered at the Ohio Statehouse to call on their elected representatives — both in Columbus and Washington — to save their dwindling pension funds.

The massive crowd gathered for a rally ahead of a rare Congressional field hearing at the Statehouse the next day. The hearing included Ohio’s U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a key part of a joint congressional committee tasked with solving the mounting pension crisis affecting the pensions of about 1.3 million private sector retirees and active workers.

They belong to multi-employer pension plans, including the massive Central States Pension Fund for Teamsters, the United Mine Workers Pension Plan, the Iron Workers Local 17 Pension Plan and hundreds of other plans which are on the brink of failure.

“Public employees are wrong if they think this doesn’t affect their public employee pensions like OPERS and SERS,” said AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Political and Legislative Director Robert Davis.

“Those pension dollars go right back into the economy. If the retirees can’t pay their bills it will slow down the economy and make it harder for public employers to keep up their constitutions to our public pensions,” Davis said.

The hearing at the Statehouse was the fifth on the pension crisis, but the first one outside of Washington, D.C. Ohio was chosen because it is among the states with the most pensions at risk. 

Sen. Brown proposed the Butch Lewis Act that many in attendance supported, but it failed to get bipartisan support. That bill would have created a low-interest, 30-year federal loan to troubled pension plans, with no cuts to retirees’ benefits.  Ohio Sen. Rob Portman is also on the bipartisan committee.

By the end of July, the committee will finish its hearings and work toward crafting a solution.  Any solution must be approved by five out of eight members of each party on the committee, then pass both the House and the Senate by an up-or-down vote, with no amendments allowed to be added.

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