Have a safe Thankgiving!

Traditional Thanksgiving gatherings with family and friends are fun but can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu. Follow these tips to make your Thanksgiving holiday safer.

The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate with people in your household. If you do plan to spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household, take steps to make your celebration safer.

For a full guide of how to stay safe this Thanksgiving and reduce the spread of COVID-19, read the CDC’s guidelines here.


Join health care policy experts, practitioners and community advocates for discussion panels and virtual workshops on issues impacting black women’s health outcomes, such as physical, mindful, economic and community health.

Click here to register.

Right to work is a fraud. Don’t take the bait.

AFSCME Members,

Have you been propositioned lately? City of Cleveland AFSCME Local 100 members have. They recently received an e-mail from the so-called “Freedom Foundation” sent to their work address.   

Here’s the pitch – you can quit your union and lose nothing – everything stays the same.

Don’t take the bait! Remember – there’s always free cheese in a mouse trap.

Local 100 members and others receive e-mails like this at work because the anti-union gang has been scouring the internet searching for your personal information.  They are collecting your employment records, pension records, Bureau of Worker’s Compensation records and any other information they can find about you.

Right-to-Work is a fraud. It’s a trap to turn our union from a powerhouse, into a poorhouse.

What they say fact check:

It’s about freedom of speech. (Not true – it’s about weakening the union).

Pay and benefits stay the same. (Until the current contract is up –then?)

The boss won’t change a thing. (Are you kidding me?)

The billionaires funding right-to-work want you to take the bait. They want you to opt-out to take away the power our union has as your strong voice on the job every day. 

That strong voice means protecting:

  • Job Security
  • Decent Pay
  • Strong Benefits
  • Secure Pensions
  • Job Safety

If ever there is a need for union members standing together it’s now.  Facing a continuing pandemic and the U.S. Senate holding up HEREOS Act funding to state and local governments hit hard by unemployment and the loss of tax revenue caused by COVID19, public employers are threatening more furloughs and layoffs.  A strong union on your side is vital.

It’s our members that make us strong.  As union members we work together for a better life for each other, for our families and our community.

Being a member gives us the power to defend our jobs, win the pay we’re worth, the benefits we depend on, and the respect we deserve. 

Don’t take the bait – stick with the union!

In solidarity, Sean Grayson

President, AFSCME Ohio Council 8, AFL-CIO

2020 Scholarships Awarded to Eichler and Davis

The Ohio Council 8 Executive Board is pleased to announce that Reese Eichler has been awarded the Betty Thomas Scholarship and Damian Davis II has been awarded the George Tucker Scholarship as part of the AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Family Scholarship program.

Reese Eichler

Reese is the daughter of Janet Eichler who is a member of AFSCME Local 2026, which represents nurses at Steward Health/ Trumbull Memorial Hospital in the Youngstown Region. A graduate of Pymatuning Valley High School, Reese was as a motivated student who achieved an outstanding academic record and was respected by her classmates and teachers.

She is attending a 6 year program at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.


Damian Davis II

The 2018 men’s scholarship winner, Damian Davis II, is the son of AFSCME Local 1632 member Damian Davis. An active member of the union representing City of Columbus employees, he is a 23-year union member and works for the city water department.

His son Damian graduated from Bexley High School with a strong academic record and was an outstanding athlete. Damian will be attending Bluffton University where he will major in sports management and business.

The 2020 AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Scholarships are named in honor of Toledo unionist George Tucker and Cincinnati unionist and Ohio Retiree coordinator 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 Union staff as the Retiree Coordinator for AFSCME Ohio Retirees Chapter 1184. Thomas is retired and lives in Cincinnati and is still active in AFSCME Retiree Chapter 1184.

George Tucker is a Toledo native, who after graduating from high school in 1961, joined the United States Navy. Five year later Tucker signed on with 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 as a member of Local 7 and in 1972 was elected president of, at that time, the 1,100-member union and also served on the AFSCME Ohio Council 8 executive board.

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.

Tucker also served on the Greater Northwest Ohio AFL-CIO steering committee and executive board and as President. In addition, Tucker gave of 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, was President of the Toledo Library Board of Trustees and served on the Toledo Port Authority. Tucker passed away in the spring of 2020. 

Ohio Council 8 First Vice President Marcia Knox, chairperson of the executive board committee that reviews the scholarship applications, wished Reeese and Damian the best of luck pursuing their higher education goals.


Larry Luers: Ordinary day takes unexpected turn.

Most employees encounter unusual circumstances on the job at some point. Some even find opportunities to perform a good deed while working. But just this week (on Tuesday, Aug. 18), Water Service Representative Larry Luers found something extraordinary and responded with a very good deed.

While working in the field reading water meters, Larry turned his City vehicle into an alley off Prescott Avenue. He quickly noticed a child’s car seat on the ground, with a very young, unattended baby in it…in the rain. Larry immediately radioed his dispatcher, who in turn called 911.

While waiting for the police to arrive, Larry watched over the baby, now safe in his truck. As officers responded, other water service reps arrived on the scene, to see if Larry needed assistance.

As the situation settled, it was determined by police that the 6-month-old baby had been left by his mother in a car while she visited a nearby store. The car was then stolen; the baby, fortunately, was left behind and had the good fortune to be found by Larry Luers.

Larry’s supervisors in the Finance Dept., Rhonda Salone and Valerie Hudson, shared his story and are proud to count him among their crew.

“Every city worker is on the front lines serving the citizens of Dayton,” said Ann Sulfridge, AFSCME Local 101 President. “His actions are in the best tradition of our members and all city workers.”

Ohio University Classified Employees say AFSCME Yes!

By a landslide vote, more than 450 full-time and part-time clerical and technical classified employees at Ohio University overwhelming said AFSCME Yes and won union representation after more than a year-long organizing effort.

In the wake of recent university layoffs of classified employees and more than 150 AFSCME Local 1699 skilled-trade, maintenance and culinary employees, the new union is set to elect officers and enter negotiations with the administration.

“I’m looking forward to working with the newly formed classified bargaining unit to negotiate a fair contract with the administration that will address job security, wages, benefits, health insurance, and other labor concerns,” said John Johnson, AFSCME Ohio Council 8’s Athens Regional Director.

Early this year the organizing committee was ready to move to a mail-in secret-ballot election. However, due to the pandemic shutdown of the State Employment Relations Board the election was delayed until July and the ballots were counted on August 5th.

According to Melanie Quolke, a classified employee with ten years of experience in the university community and a member of the administration appointed Executive Policy Committee* which was supposed give classified employees a voice, “the main issue is trust”, she said.

*Correction –  Quolke is not a member of the Executive Policy Committee. She was a member of the Classified Senate which up to this point has been the voice for Classified Staff at the University. 

“We presented many detailed proposals to the committee on improving our jobs, our workplace and the university only to have many of them rejected out-of-hand by the administration.

“The union will give us representation that counts. With AFSCME we will have a real voice and a seat at the table,” Quolke said.

The new union will now be in addition to AFSCME Local 1699, which has represented skill trades, maintenance and culinary employees since 1967.

“I am very proud of this committee for their commitment to stick together for the long haul,” said Steve Roth, AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Organizing Director.

“I think this victory at OU will show classified employees at other state universities what a real voice on the job can do for them and their families,” Roth said.

Harber Elected New Dayton Regional Vice President

Sean Harber

Sean Harber

At a recent special convention held in the Dayton Region Sean Harber was elected as the new Regional Vice President. 

Harber joins Regional Vice President Jeff Hasty on the executive board representing the region’s 4,000 union members.

A 27-year member of AFSCME Local 101, Harber works as a Parks and Forestry Department employee responsible for maintaining park streets, guard rails, shelter houses, mowing grass, plowing snow, and the maintenance of other park facilities. 

Harber, a life-long resident of Dayton, is an active union member, a proven leader and has served as a union steward for nine years.

“I’m proud to be a city worker. It’s fulling to take care of the areas where people live, work and go to for relaxation and entertainment.  “I’m looking forward to meeting all the other board members and working with them to keep Ohio Council moving forward,” he said.

Harber takes over from Elizabeth Elliott who retired from the city and stepped down as regional vice president after serving the Dayton Region on the AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Executive Board since 2014.

AFL-CIO: Call your senators today and tell them we need at least $1 trillion in federal aid to our states, cities, towns and schools.

The Senate plans to go on vacation AGAIN starting Friday, August 7th. But our communities-and the front-line workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic and helping Americans who have lost their jobs-can’t afford to wait any longer.

Call your senators today and tell them we need at least $1 trillion in federal aid to our states, cities, towns and schools.

Without this relief package, we won’t be able to keep nurses and other front-line health care workers on the job. Our schools won’t be able to reopen safely. Help for Americans who lost their jobs will slow even further. The trash won’t get picked up, and 911 response times will only increase.

This isn’t a blue state or a red state issue. Federal help for America’s states, cities, towns and schools is critical to saving the essential public services that all of our people and communities rely on every single day. It’s these services that we need to beat this pandemic and safely reopen the economy. We cannot choose between the two-they go hand in hand.

Call your senators today and tell them we need at least $1 trillion in federal aid to our states, cities, towns and schools.

Each day the Senate delays is another day of essential public services being cut and front-line public service workers being thanked with a pink slip. Continued inaction will be catastrophic for the economy and our chances of recovery.

Tell your senators to stop delaying and save our public services.

Our lives and livelihoods are on the line.

In Solidarity,


Request your absentee ballot today!

Our union is stronger when all of our members make their voices heard and vote!

Click the links below to request your absentee ballot and vote!



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Columbus Dispatch: Column: State and local aid must be in next relief package

Julie Albers, Guest columnist
Posted Jul 24, 2020 at 4:15 AM

We’re halfway through 2020, and it’s clear that this pandemic is far from over. People are torn between a desire to return to some form of normalcy and the fear of a virus that is still spreading and killing people.

Business owners are in limbo, their doors shuttered by stay-at-home orders that have saved thousands of lives but have also frozen the economy. Unemployed Americans are desperate to return to work, but want to make sure they will have the protection and support they need to stay safe and healthy while they do their jobs.

As a respiratory therapist at a public hospital for nearly 30 years, I have never before seen the level of devastation facing communities like New York, Los Angeles and Seattle. But even those who manage to avoid infection won’t escape the economic impact of COVID-19.

State and local budgets are straining under the increased demand for services and shrinking resources, forcing cuts to programs that people need even more under COVID-19. Without $1 trillion in aid, we will undercut any chance that the economy recovers anywhere near as fast as it fell apart. It is a big number, but that is how big a mess we are in.

Meanwhile, federal lawmakers in Congress are divided about whether to move forward on more relief and recovery funding immediately or “wait and see” just how bad things can get before intervening, even though nearly 140,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus and a second, potentially more deadly wave is expected this the fall. Republicans in the Senate are twiddling their thumbs when they should be passing emergency funding to help states and local governments close budget shortfalls.

If deep budget shortfalls lead to funding cuts for health care and our hospital, we could see personal protective equipment shortages for health care providers, staffing cuts that can force burnout and diminished quality of care and more patients delaying or going without treatment.

Instead of addressing the massive budget shortfalls that will lead to harsh cuts, President Trump and the leaders of his party think they’ve done enough and are content to just wish away the pandemic and its serious consequences. We cannot maintain the essential public services that communities in Ohio depend on — including quality care from our hospitals — without significantly more support for states and localities.

My hospital primarily serves low-income patients on Medicaid. Losing funding for our services would leave many of them with nowhere else to go and no health care during the biggest public health crisis in a century.

My colleagues and I will do everything possible to help every person who comes through our door for as long as we can, but funding cuts will not only make our job harder, they will worsen the health of our patients.

And it’s not just health care that’s at risk because of budget shortfalls. Cuts will mean 911 calls take longer to be answered, roads and bridges are left un-repaired, schools don’t have the funds to safely reopen to students and the programs that disadvantaged communities that have already faced the greatest impact from the pandemic are underfunded. To make matters worse, without federal assistance, more than 2 million workers will lose their jobs. That’s in addition to the 20 million Americans who are already unemployed.

Without those workers and the services they provide, economic recovery will be more uphill, take longer and hurt more people. Denying our tax dollars to our own communities will force cuts to public services that we need to reopen the economy, help businesses and get people back to work.

The impacts of those budget cuts will be felt far beyond the immediate future. By refusing to provide federal aid to states and localities, Republican leaders in Washington are putting frontline workers at risk and undermining public health and economic recovery.

Stalling and complacency from elected officials in Congress won’t help us beat COVID-19. Americans need immediate action on federal legislation that provides funding to states and localities immediately.

Julie Albers is a respiratory therapist at a Cleveland hospital and president of her local American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union.

To read the article on dispatch.com click here.

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