Toledo City Workers Make Gains

By a 499 to 64 vote, AFSCME Local 7 members approved a new contract with the city of Toledo.  The contract was also unanimously approved by city council.

In addition, to an across-the-board five percent pay raise, over the life of three-year contract, negotiators were able to hold the line on health care with no increase. Other gains include an increase in hazardous duty pay and improvements in vacation language.

According to AFSCME Local 7 President Don Czerniak, “this was a win-win for union members and the city.  With the strong backing of Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson, the administration was committed to offer competitive wages and we were able to keep skilled workers on the job serving the citizens of our city,” he said. 

AFSCME Local 7 represents over 800 city employees, including utility workers, heavy equipment operators and skilled laborers.  Toledo Regional Director Steve Kowalik led the negotiations for the union.

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Long-time AFSCME Local 544 members to retire

Long-time AFSCME Local 544 members to retire

 

Lucas County commissioners honored two Sanitary Engineer Department employees for their years of service. 35-year employee Scott Novak (right photo center) and 30-year employee Tim McDermott will retire before the end of the year. (left photo center). Both are long-time members of the Technical and Service Chapter of AFSCME Local 544, the union for Lucas County employees.

 

AFSCME Local 544 also represents county Job and Family Service employees, Child Support Enforcement and Children Services Board employees, along with employees of the Coroners Office and the County Recorders Office.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a time for families, a time to love, to give, and a time to reflect on the things that matter most in life — each other.  The same is true of our Union family.

It’s also a time to take stock of the past year. 2017 has been a year unlike any other. But we’ve made gains and built a stronger AFSCME Ohio Council 8 that’s ready to brave the coming tests.  And we have done it all as a family, as a Union.

With many forces working against us, we have continued to organize new members, represent you on the job and bargain strong contracts.  We should also be very proud of our success making our union AFSCME Strong.

Next year AFSCME will face a hostile U. S. Supreme Court set to make right-to-work the law of the land for public employees.  And to the Nation Labor Relations Board will continue tear down private sector worker rights.

With the strength of our members, activists, retirees, and our local union leadership, our Union will continue to take on the challenges facing Ohio’s working families.

We’ve always stuck together and looked out for each other and I am confident we will continue to do so.  We all have much to be thankful for.

First Vice President Harold Mitchell and the Ohio Council 8 Executive Board join me in thanking you for the work you do.

In Solidarity,

John A. Lyall
President AFSCME Ohio Council 8

GOP tax plan hurts communities, working families Lyall says

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NOVEMBER 3, 2017

GOP tax plan hurts communities, working families Lyall says.

Worthington – AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall, issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives issued its tax hand-out plan that takes care of millionaires and corporations, but hurts working families:

“The tax plan released by congressional leaders yesterday will hurt the communities that public employees work around the clock to keep safe, healthy and strong. Working families are already struggling, while the super wealthy and corporations rig the rules to line their own pockets.

“Paying for these huge tax cuts will make the national debt skyrocket which Congress will use as an excuse to force cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other vital programs our communities and families depend on.

“The same working families Congress and the President promised to help are picking up the tab again. Under their plan, the tax breaks being eliminated are those that benefit working families. In fact, many middle class families, including Council 8 members, would see their taxes go up. This is because their plan would eliminate popular deductions such as student loan interest payments, as well as the deduction for state and local income or sales taxes.

“This dangerous tax plan doubles down on the same policies that have only helped the rich and powerful grow more rich and powerful, and failed the rest of us.”

AFSCME Ohio Council 8 represents approximately 38,000 public and private sector employees who work in a wide range of local government, health care, and education. For more information visit our web site at afscmecouncil8.org

AFSCME Victory in Iowa

The money donated at Council 8’s Dayton Convention to help Iowa’s AFSCME members defend their union paid a big dividend when public employees won a land-slide victory to stay AFSCME Strong in the state’s first re-certification election!

Earlier this year, Iowa’s Republican-controlled state government passed anti-labor laws that gutted public sector collective bargaining.  Looking to cripple unions even more, unions must hold an election to re-certify their union before negotiating new contracts.

Iowa’s results are in. With 88 percent participation, nearly 28,500 AFSCME represented employees voted to re-certify while a mere 624 voted against the union – a pro-union margin of better than 400 to 1.

Had Council 61 failed to get a majority of union and non-members, its current contract would have been immediately repealed and a two-year waiting period imposed before workers could hold another representation vote.

“It shows that public-sector employees, working men and women, both members and non-members, want to have a union, want to have a voice at the table,” Danny Homan, president of AFSCME Iowa Council 61, told The Des Moines Register. “I believe this sends a very strong message.”

In addition to a heartfelt “thank-you”, Homan’s message to Council 8 members is “You can’t take for granted that what you have today will be there tomorrow. What happened in Wisconsin and Iowa, can happen to Ohio.

“You have to get engaged in the political process to elect people who are going to do what’s right for working men and women and what’s right for the labor movement,” Homan said.

Council 61 President Danny Homan compares the state workers 100-page contract with the 12-page contract after the collective bargaining law was dismantled.

Albers elected to OPERS Board

Julie Albers has been elected by an overwhelming majority to the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System Board of Trustees adding a second woman’s voice on the 11-member board.

“I want to thank those who circulated petitions to get me on the ballot and to everyone who worked so hard to get AFSCME members and other county workers to vote for me.  As the county employee representative, I promise to do my best on your behalf,” Albers said.

Albers is a Registered Respiratory Therapist at Cuyahoga County’s MetroHealth Medical Center and has contributed to OPERS for 26 years. She is President of AFSCME Local 3360, has served on the hospital’s Life Flight Team and has trauma and pediatric experience.

Her career as a healthcare professional will be invaluable helping the board maintain affordable health care benefits while assuring the long-term viability of the system.

According to AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall, in years past labor had a majority on the board “and now the County seat is back with AFSCME where it belongs. This is an example of something that only a unified statewide organization can do,” he said.

Albers will join union leaders OCSEA/AFSCME President Chris Mabe, former AFSCME Council 8 leader Ken Thomas, and SEIU leader Cyhthia Sledz on the board.

Stop Extreme Attacks on Collective Bargaining

House Bill 298, which was recently introduced in the Ohio General Assembly, is the latest extreme attack on our freedom to bargain for a better life. This bill would severely limit the rights of working people by curtailing what they can collectively bargain. Even though Ohio voters resoundingly rejected attacks on collective bargaining rights by repealing Senate Bill 5/Issue 2 in 2011, some state legislators persist with these unfair and punitive measures.

CLICK HERE to E-mail you state Representative now and tell them to stop the attacks on collective bargaining.

While the extreme legislators behind this bill will tell you that it is about limiting sick days for public employees, we know the truth. This is just the first step in trying to silence our voice at the workplace. Today they try to limit how we collectively bargain for sick days; tomorrow it will be about limiting how we collectively bargain over pay, safety in the workplace and how we grieve unfair conditions. This legislation comes straight from Senate Bill 5. This is their attempt to pass that bad legislation piecemeal and we must fight back against ANY attempts to limit our voice on the job.

CLICK HERE to download a workplace flier and help us spread the word about this bad  bill . Share the flyer with your co-workers and tell them to call the 888 number to be connected to their State Representative and have their voices HEARD.

Instead of these unnecessary and undue attacks on our collective bargaining rights, the General Assembly should be focused on helping municipalities get the state funding they need to serve and protect our communities. Please download the flyer  HERE  and share with your co-workers. We need to tell the General Assembly to stop attacking the basic freedoms of working people and to oppose House Bill 298.

And don’t forget to CLICK HERE to E-mail you state Representative now and tell them to stop the attacks on collective bargaining.

Pulling the Plug on Health Care – Last Minute Republican ACA Repeal Plan is Worst Yet

Called “the last best chance” to repeal Obamacare, the bill offered by Republican Sens. Graham and Cassidy may not be the last proposal, but it is by far the worst one yet.

Under Graham-Cassidy 32 million Americans will lose insurance and 800,000 of them will be Ohioans.

This is not “repeal and replace” – it’s flat out repeal. This is “pulling the plug” on Obamacare – period. All funding for health care goes away in 2027.

The bill includes letting insurers discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, increases out-of-pocket costs, and eliminates the ACA’s “essential health services” including pediatric care for children.

“This last-ditch ‘Hail Mary pass’ to repeal Obamacare, makes it clear that Senate Republicans are desperate for a win – no matter who gets hurt. It’s hard to call America great when health care is a privilege only for those with the money to pay for it,” said Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall.

Call Sen. Rob Portman now and tell him “don’t pull the plug on 32 million Americans — vote NO on the Graham-Cassidy ACA repeal bill.”

Toll-Free: 1-800-205-6446 (OHIO)

Regional Offices:

Cincinnati 513-684-3265
Cleveland  216-522-7095
Columbus 614-469-6774
Toledo       419-259-3895
Washington D.C. 202-224-3353

Or visit his website to fill out an email contact form at: https://www.portman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-form

ALERT – Scam Targeting AFSCME Members

We have been made aware that a sophisticated phishing and phone scam appears to be targeting AFSCME membership. The email, supposedly from President Saunders and in a screenshot below, is coming from the scam email address info@afscme.us.com and urges members to fill out a form to avoid furlough days. The reported phone calls say that members owe money to AFSCME. Obviously, none of this is true.

These scams are not affiliated with AFSCME and the union has no control over them.

Please do the following:

  1. DO NOT CLICK on the “stop recieving email” link at the bottom of the email.
  2. DO NOT RESPOND or open any attachments or click any links.
  3. Delete the email and contact your IT department.

We are actively tracking down who is behind them. If you have any questions, please contact AFSCME IT hotline at 202-429-1122.

(Click to enlarge the photo.)

 

Labor Day 2017

The first Labor Day with a new President delivers good news, no news, and bad news for unions and America’s workers.

The good news, according to a new Pew Research Center survey, six-in-ten (61%) adults today have a favorable view of labor unions. That’s a big jump from March 2015, when less than half of adults (48%) expressed a positive view of unions.

More good news, young people are far more likely than older adults to view labor unions favorably, with three quarters of those ages 18 to 29 say they have a favorable opinion of labor unions. Immigrants, minorities, and people of color are also drawn to unions.

However, it’s no news that Republicans and Democrats have opposite views on labor unions. That’s the case today with Democrats largely pro-union, while just the opposite is true for Republicans and those leaning Republican who are agitating for state right-to-work laws.

The bad news comes from an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case called Janus V. AFSCME, which could result in a nationwide right-to-work law. Janus is a carbon-copy of the Friedrichs case which was designed to cripple unions. It failed only due to the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

With a Presidential appointment unfairly denied to President Obama now on the high court, the case seems destined to strike down 40 years of settled law. We will know next summer.

In anticipation of this right-to-work “victory” anti-union front organizations are committed to “defund and dismantle unions”. Leading this national effort is the Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

The Bradley Foundation and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation are pouring money into a coordinated attack on public employee unions in particular – because they are the “foot soldiers of the Democratic party”.

But here is the hopeful news. Ohio Council 8 and our national union are AFSCME Strong and we have proven “we never quit”. We have dramatically increased our Ohio Council 8 and national membership by organizing new unions and educating our fair-share fee payers about the value the union brings to their work and home life.

Finally, let me say that AFSCME has always been an early responder in times of crisis in our communities, donating and distributing emergency supplies and raising money for those in need.

This Labor Day is a time to reflect on who we are as a union. Our job isn’t just to organize members, bargain contracts and protect our members. It’s also our job to bring respect and dignity to all working people. That means being there when we are needed.

I ask that you do what you can for your union brothers and sisters in Texas affected by the natural disaster still unfolding across the Gulf coast.

A good way to start is to visit the AFSCME web page, where you can make donations that will help those in need after the devastation of hurricane Harvey.

On behalf of the AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Executive Board and First Vice President Harold Mitchell, I wish you all a safe and enjoyable Labor Day with your families and friends.

In Solidarity,

President John A. Lyall

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