Cincinnati Local 3119 Nurses Celebrate Nurses Week

Cincinnati’s public health nurses combined AFSCME Local 3119 swearing in of officers with a tribute to their profession during National Nurses Week.

According to Union President Gina Pratt, National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6th and ends on May 12th, marking the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

“Our public health nurses are committed to improving the health of the Cincinnati community. And we’re proud AFSCME members,” she said.

AFSCME Local 3119 members make home visits, are school nurses, are part of the children with medical handicaps program, and work in the clinics.

Tight budgets put pressure on all public employees and nurses are no exception. “We have a voice on the job with AFSCME. And we’re using that voice to keep our current services and working to fill the health care needs of our city,” Pratt said.

According to Gallup polls, 80 percent of Americans say nurses have “very high” or “high” standards of honesty and ethics.

Cincinnati Regional Director Renita Jones-Street, right, swears in the recently elected AFSCME Local 3119 officers during a Nurses Week celebration.

City Workers Part of Tornado Response Team

When the first tornado of the season struck Grove City, members of AFSCME Local 1116 were on the job after the storm’s 105 mph winds tore a 2.6-mile strip through the city of 40,000 southwest of Columbus.

“There was no shortage of city workers in the Service Department who volunteered to help. Our crews jumped in and cleared fallen trees, blocked off streets, and replaced traffic signs so utility company crews could safely set to work getting the power back on,” said AFSCME 1116 Local President Sean Gabriel. 

The April 3rd storm hit the city at around 5:30 p.m. and tore off roofs, downed trees, and damaged more than 30 utility poles which knocked out power to 8,500 Grove City-area residents. 

Several people were stuck on city streets because live power lines were in contact with their vehicles. The last was freed after more than five hours after the tornado struck.

“Everyone in the Service Department had a job to do including our members in the Parks and Recreation who joined in the tree and debris cleanup work. It just shows that AFSCME members “Never Quit,” Gabriel said.

Catholic bishops are backing AFSCME in U.S. Supreme Court Fair Share Fee Case

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has sided with unions in the Janus vs. AFSCME case now before the U.S Supreme Court. The Bishops submitted an amicus brief in support of public-sector unions and their right to “fair share fees” from nonmembers for the collective bargaining and representation benefitting non-members.

The bishops’ involvement with Janus vs. AFSCME. surprised some. But church leaders made their support clear, taking part in a forum last week on labor and faith at Seton Hall University.

Newark Cardinal Joseph Tobin, on stage with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, explained the bishops’ interest in the case saying the church has a long history of supporting workers and unions. “You should not be able to benefit from all the work that unions do to represent workers without paying your fair share,” Cardinal Tobin said.

Pope Francis, who recently told a gathering of union delegates in 2017, “There is no good society without a good union.” He was far from the first Pontif to side with unions and workers. In his 1981 encyclical Pope John Paul II lauded organized labor organizations as “an indispensable element of social life” And in 2009, Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged the church’s long history of Catholic-labor relations in a lengthy encyclical.

The Bishop’s brief argues that ruling against the unions would “constitutionalize” a national ‘right-to- work’ law. The brief points out that no U.S. bishop ever publicly supported right-to- work laws.

Condensed from a story by Jack Jenkins/Religion News Service

March 23, 2018 Federal Legislative Report

Fiscal Year 2018 Funding Finalized

Congress wrapped up funding decisions for fiscal year (FY) 2018 nearly halfway through the fiscal year.  The compromise bill includes much needed investments for public services and does not include many of the harmful policy riders that were expected. In addition, the final package rejects President Trump’s proposed cuts of $54 billion to domestic public services. Instead, Congress increased investments by $63 billion for domestic spending. Defense spending was also increased by $70 billion, as part of the earlier two-year budget agreement.

President Saunders noted: “I am pleased that this bill rejects and reverses the deep and harmful cuts proposed by the Trump administration. It makes important investments in health care, education, and infrastructure. It also staves off extreme attacks on labor rights, immigrant rights, and other priorities of working families. Though the bill is far from perfect, for the first time in years, investments in working families will move in a positive direction.”

These domestic funding increases are important, but they do not make up for the inadequate investments in programs that have been restricted by tight budget caps since 2011. On the plus side, the bill includes substantial increases to child care, public education, higher education, census planning, opioid abuse prevention and treatment, transportation, and housing.

Policy Riders

AFSCME and our allies fought back over 160 poison-pill policy riders that threatened workers’ rights to organize, workplace safety protections, sanctuary cities, consumer protections, environmental protections, and more. Specifically, efforts to weaken the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB); to add so-called “Tribal Sovereignty” language that aimed to exempt businesses from adhering to National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) worker protections; and to block, delay or otherwise undermine the “fiduciary rule” to protect workers’ retirement savings, were all rejected. Additionally, attempts to expand the H-2B visa program were thwarted, extending only the current program through the end of 2018 which also includes a provision that grants the DHS Secretary discretionary powers to increase the cap if “need” is determined. The bill does not include the president’s request to build a wall at the border with Mexico. Instead it provides $1.6 billion in border security funds, including funds to fix existing fencing and levee structures.

The ACA and DACA

The bill fails to address certain issues requiring immediate action, including efforts to stabilize the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by stopping the Trump administration’s action to sabotage and undermine the individual health insurance market. Without legislative action the administration’s efforts will continue to raise premiums and out-of-pocket costs in the individual market.

The omnibus also falls short by failing to provide a fair and permanent solution that protects Dreamers from deportation and creates a pathway to citizenship.

The Tip Rule Agreement

The bill includes a compromise that would prohibit employers from keeping employees’ tips and allows workers to sue employers for stolen wages with damages. While this is a step in the right direction, some lawmakers oppose the compromise out of concerns that it would allow employers to decrease workers’ pay and replace it with tips.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

A six-month FAA extension gives Congress until the end of fiscal 2018 to work out a long-term solution and omits earlier efforts to advance privatization.

Funding for Key Issues:

Department of Education

The bill provides a $3.9 billion increase (6 percent), for Department of Education including:

– Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (Title IV), a source of funding for school counselors and school safety, would see a $700 million increase for a total of $1.1 billion. This program had been targeted for elimination by the president.

– Title I state grants are increased $300 million, to $15.8 billion.

– Title II grants are level funded at $2.1 billion. This program had been targeted for elimination by the president.

– IDEA grants to states are increased $275 million to $12.3 billion.

– 21st Century Community Learning Centers are increased $20 million to $1.2 billion for before and after care available to low-income students. This program had been targeted for elimination by the president.

– Increases the maximum Pell grant by $175 to a total of $6,095.

– Head Start is increased $610 million to $9.9 billion.

– Child Care and Development Block Grant is increased $2.4 billion, to $5.2 billion.

– Secure Rural Schools (SRS) had expired, but received a two-year authorization for $426 million over 2 years with $220 million retroactively for FY 2017, and $206 million for FY 2018 in mandatory funds.

Public Health

The bill provides an additional $3 billion in programs that help states, tribes, local governments, nonprofits, and faith-based groups prevent, treat, and stop the opioid abuse epidemic.

Department of Labor (DoL)

The bill provides a slight increase in DoL funding, (1 percent), as opposed to a 20 percent cut, as proposed in the president’s budget. Increases include:

  • Employment Training Administration (ETA) is increased by $44 million for a total of $10 billion, including $2.8 billion for job training grants to states, $89.5 million for YouthBuild, and $145 million for apprenticeship grants.
  • Job Corps is increased by $15.5 million to $1.7 billion.

The Census

The bill increases Census funding by $1.344 billion to prepare for the upcoming Census, a $1.13 billion increase over the President’s request.

The Social Security Administration (SSA)

The bill increases SSA funding by $480 million, including $280 million for IT modernization and $100 million for reducing the disability hearings backlog.

Housing

  • Public Housing Operating Fund is slightly increased by 3 percent to $4.55 billion but is significantly below the full funding level that Public Housing Authorities need to operate America’s 1.2 million public housing units.
  • Public Housing Capital Fund is increased by 42 percent to $2.75 billion, which will provide additional funds to repair and modernize public housing. This is far short of roughly $40 billion needed to reduce the enormous backlog and to ensure units are safe, decent, and affordable.
  • Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program’s cap increases the maximum number of public housing units from 225,000 to 455,000 which are eligible for conversion and delays expiration of the RAD program to 2024. AFSCME opposes raising this cap and delaying RAD’s expiration.

East-West Center

The bill appropriates $16.7 million, the same amount as last year, for the East-West Center, which is a congressionally authorized non-profit in Hawaii that employs AFSCME HGEA members.

Infrastructure

Highway spending is increased by $2.5 billion, including a $1 billion increase for TIGER grants, a $232 million increase for transit, and a $305 million increase for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).

Election Security

State election officials would get $380 million in technology grants to upgrade their equipment to ward off digital attacks.

JANUS: The Case That Could Destroy Unions, Part I

AFSCME President Lee Saunders and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders explain how the Janus case will harm unions and workers.

Toledo Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur Honored

After 35 years, two months, and 15 days, Toledo native Marcy Kaptur is set to break a nearly 60-year-old seniority record for a woman in the U.S. House of Representatives.

On Sunday, Kaptur will become the longest-serving woman in the nearly 230-year history of the House.  She will break the record set by the late Edith Nourse Rogers, who was elected June 30, 1925, and represented a Massachusetts House district until 1960.

“Marcy Kaptur has always been a great friend of Toledo’s AFSCME members and of all Northeastern Ohio’s union members,” said Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall.  “She has never forgotten her roots or the people she represents,” he said.

Miss Kaptur was the first woman appointed to the powerful House Appropriations Committee, and has served on the Budget; Banking, Finance, Urban Affairs; Veterans Affairs, and other committees.

U.S. House of Representatives Rep. Marcy Kaptur, (4th from left), was with us from the start.  This 1983 photo shows her with, left to right, Ohio Council 8 Toledo staff representatives William Fogle, Chuck Hendrix, Toledo Regional Vice President John Hurley, Staff Representative Sally Powless, and Toledo Regional Vice President Cenia Willis.

We Never Quit – The Flood of 2018

Heavy rains have caused extensive flooding along the Ohio River and AFSCME Council 8 members in Ohio and West Virginia show they will never quit protecting their cities.

As heavy rain pushed the river above the flood level, the 21,000 residents of Portsmouth, Ohio, called on a team of AFSCME Local 1039 members to protect their city.

The crew began putting up gates on February 21 in preparation for rising water, and as the days of rain continued, they set to work putting up the flood walls.

AFSCME Local 1039 member Mark Puckett, who heads up the city’s flood defense operations, said protecting the city is a team effort.

“It takes all of us to do this and these guys work extremely hard to get the job done. Many of the guys have over 100 hours of overtime during this two-week period,” he said.

A few miles east, in Ironton, Ohio, where the river is expected to crest at 57 feet, AFSCME Local 771 member Rich Jenkins is in charge of flood defense for the city of 12,000.

According to Jenkins, it takes a dozen men 12-16 hours to put the city’s flood walls up.

“This is a team effort. These guys have worked hard around the clock to keep the city safe from the rising water,” Jenkins said.

And the crew knows the job because AFSCME Local 771 has represented city workers for 52 years.

About 50 miles further east and across the river in Huntington, West Virginia, AFSCME Local 598 members are battling to keep the rising river in its banks and out of the city’s streets.

Union President Lee Adams said everyone works together to protect the 50,000 residents of Huntington from major flooding.

AFSCME Local 598 and two other West Virginia AFSCME local unions joined Ohio Council 8 last year after passage of the state’s right-to- work law.

 

Mark Puckett, far left, protecting the
city is a team effort.

Local 598 members never quit protecting
their city from Ohio River flood waters.

Rich Jenkins, far left, we work around the
clock to keep the city safe from the rising water.

Patton and Kunk 2018 AFSCME Family Scholarship Honorees

This year’s AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Family 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 the 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.

Applications for the $2,500 per year, four-year scholarships are available at regional offices or downloaded by clicking the link below:

Download the 2018 AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Patricia Kunk and Theodore Patton Scholarship Application Form

Richard Etheridge and the Pea Island Lifesavers

Source: Con Carbon

Along the Outer Banks in North Carolina, near where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Chesapeake Bay, are the treacherous waters known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.” More than 600 ships have wrecked off the sandbars of the Hatteras Islands.  In 1871 the United States Lifesaving Service – a federal agency – was established to save the lives of shipwrecked mariners and passengers.  These first responders were called “surfmen” and, in North Carolina, they worked the desolate beaches.   In 1915 the agency was renamed the United States Coast Guard.

In 1880 Captain Richard Etheridge, a former slave and Civil War veteran, was appointed as keeper of the Pea Island Lifesaving Station, 30 miles north of Cape Hatteras.  When he arrived to assume his command, the white surfmen there abandoned the station, unwilling to serve under an African American.  Other black surfmen from other stations were transferred to Pea Island which became the first all-black lifesaving station in the nation.  For 70 years the Pea Island station was manned by an all-African American crew until 1947 when it was decommissoned.

Known for their courage and dedication the Pea Island lifesavers led many daring rescues saving scores of men, women and children.  In 1896, during a hurricane, they rescued the entire crew of the E.S. Newman for which — 100 years later — they were awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal.  In 1992 the U.S. Coast Guard commissioned a cutter, Pea Island, in memory of the African-American crews who served there.

“The general run of the work of the lifesavers is not the spectacular kind that sometimes gets into the newspapers.  The routine drill, the labor of keeping the station and the boats and outfit bright and clean and ready for business, and the lonely night patrol of the silent beach, constitute the bulk of the men’s work.”  Herbert H. Brimley, naturalist and visitor to the Outer Banks in Fire on the Beach, by David Wright and David Zoby, Oxford Univ. Press, 2000.

Honoring the National Moment of Silence

Today AFSCME members from across our state, and across the country, gather for a National Moment of Silence to pay tribute to Echol Cole and Robert Walker. We mark the 50th anniversary of the accident that killed Cole and Walker and started a movement. We honor their memory and sacrifice as we continue the fight for racial and economic justice. #IAmColeAndWalker

National Moment of Silence in Cincinnati

 

National Moment of Silence in Cleveland

National Moment of Silence in Canton

National Moment of Silence in Athens

National Moment of Silence in Columbus

National Moment of Silence in Montgomery County

 

National Moment of Silence in Warren County

6800 North High Street, Worthington, Ohio, 43085-2512
Phone: 614-841-1918
Fax: 614-841-1299