City Workers Make Gains

In virtually unanimous vote, more than 45 service workers represented by AFSCME Local 2681 ratified a successor contract with the city of North Olmsted.
Topping the list of gains is a 2 percent across-the-board wage increase each year over the life of the three-year contract.
Other gains include a $200 a year increase in the uniform allowance, and CDL mileage went from .35 to .55 per hour. In addition, waste treatment plant employees received, on average, a .75 equity adjustment in addition to the general wage increase.
“This was a hard working committee and they did a great job,” said Staff Representative Marquez Brown, who assisted the union at the bargaining table.
In addition to Brown, the AFSCME Local 2681 service unit negotiating committee included President Kirt Ward, Jack Grasso, Tim Szcabo, Tony Farrella, James McCuthen, and Brian King.
In a separate contract affecting 18 clerical and technical employees, all positions’ starting rates were increased by at least 2 steps. And those the at the top step of the scale received at least a .50 per hour increased in addition to the 2% general wage increase.
In addition, the city Inspector’s incentive went from .75 to $1.50 per hour when inspectors get licensed to perform electrical, plumbing, structural, and other specialities.
Both units have fair-share-fee provisions and participate in the Ohio AFSCME Care Plan.

 

Koch Bros in Columbus

More than 3,000 union members, retirees and supporters turned out in Columbus to send a loud and clear message to the Koch Brothers – everyone has a piece of the American Dream and it’s not for sale.

The fattest of America’s fat-cats dipped into petty-cash to send their front group into Ohio to showcase their stable speakers and hawk their conservative wares.

The two-day “Defending the American Dream Summit” included five “Koch-approved” Republican presidential candidates.

“There are as many American dreams as there are Americans,” said Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall. “No one owns that dream, but today’s super-wealthy think they are entitled to buy it.”

“We’re here to stop right-to-work and to stand up for working people,” said Maurice Brown, president of AFSCME Local 250 representing Cincinnati City Employees.

“This is not just a union cause, we’re out here fighting for the common man in Ohio. This affects everyone,” he said.

Lyall said the great turnout of AFSCME members from across the state shows our members are engaged, mobilized, “and ready to do what it takes” to build an America that works for everyone.

Click on this link for additional photos.

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AFSCME Council 8 President John Lyall (center) with AFSCME Members.

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AFSCME Local 250, including Local President Maurice Brown (center).

Union Provides Back-to-School Help

AFSCME Local 1252 members at O’Bleness Memorial Hospital helped ease Athens families into “back-to-school” mode by providing 146 of the community’s students with free backpacks stuffed with school supplies.

It’s that time of the year again. But for some families, it’s a financial hardship, “and we thought this would be a good way to help the community and build the union,” said union President Jonathan Lax.

After a month of planning, the project was a success thanks to union members who purchased the school supplies, and those who helped fill the bags and helped with distribution.

According to Lax,“We were worried our $1,000 budget would not be adequate, but the Administration graciously matched the union’s contribution, and we received donations from hospital security and other individuals,” he said.

Everyone associated with the project agreed that working together was good for the union, the hospital and the community. “And we could tell the assistance was really appreciated by the families. That made us all feel like we really did something,” Lax said.

AFSCME Local 1252 represents 445 O’Bleness hospital employees including nurses, support staff, and maintenance workers.

 

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AFSCME Local 2429 Holds Informational Picket

Last week, AFSCME Local 2429 held an information picket to raise awareness about the wage negotiation situation with city employees in Sidney, Ohio.

In their negotiations, the Fact Finding report found that the AFSCME bargaining unit was being treated differently when it came to the issue of raises. Employees had been without an increase in wages for more than three years, a situation that none of the other bargaining units have had to deal with.

While the employer prevailed on the majority of the items being discussed, the AFSCME bargaining unit was successful in securing wage increases for their employees.

They were also able to secure two more victories: Imposing new regulations that require disciplinary hearings and actions to occur within 30-days of a complaint, and keeping the fair share fee.

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2015 Scholarships Awarded to Irvine and Sabeh-Ayoun

 

The Ohio Council 8 Executive Board is pleased to announce that Montgomery Irvine has been awarded the Patricia Moss Scholarship and Mohamed Sabeh-Ayoun has been awarded the Jesse Johnson Scholarship as part of the Ohio Council 8 Family Scholarship program.

Montgomery is the daughter of Jerry Irvine who is Chapter Chairman of AFSCME Local 101-19, which represents Greene County Highway Engineer’s Office employees.

A graduate of Xenia High School, Montgomery was as a motivated student who achieved an outstanding academic record. In addition she participated in many school and community activities including serving as president of the student council at the high school.

In her winning essay, Montgomery saw firsthand the difference between a union and non-union workplace. Her mother Robin, is also a public employee, but without union representation. “She once went four years without a pay raise. And with no voice on the job, her working conditions and hours can be changed by her employer at any time.”

She will be attending Defiance College this fall and plans to become a nurse specializing in Pediatric Oncology.

The 2015 men’s scholarship winner, Mohamed Sabeh-Ayoun, is the son of 20-year AFSCME Local 232 member Sawsan Srouji. An active member of the union representing Cincinnati Public School employees, he has been a member since he began with the board of education in 1995.

Mohamed graduated from Oak Hills High School, where he was an active student with a strong academic record who was respected by his classmates and teachers.

In his winning essay, Mohamed recounted lessons he learned through his family’s 20-year association with AFSCME. “I remember going to union meetings as a child and participating in many AFSCME activities.”

As a high school student he took the lead and volunteered to help the union build its first web page. On March 21,2012, he completed the task and afscmelocal232.org was on line. Since then he has been the local union’s web master.

He will be attending The Ohio State University in the fall where he plans on becoming a doctor.

The 2015 AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Scholarships are named in honor of Patricia Moss and Jesse Johnson.

A graduate of Ohio University, Patricia Moss began her career as a public employee in 1969, when she joined the Cuyahoga County Welfare Department.

In 1972, Moss was hired as a staff representative for Council 78. She earned her law degree and was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1981. In 1987 she became Cleveland Regional Director.

Then in 1991, the delegates to Ohio Council 8’s ninth biennial convention elected her First Vice President.

With the retirement of President William T. Endsley in 2001, Moss became the first woman to serve as Ohio Council 8 President. She retired in 2007.

Jesse Johnson embodies AFSCME’s fighting spirit in his 28-year career as a member, on Council 8 staff, and his service on the Ohio AFSCME Care Plan.

In 1956, Johnson was hired as an X-ray technician at Sunny Acres, Cuyahoga County’s tuberculosis hospital, where he was paid $1.25 per hour.

Fed up with no benefits and low pay, Johnson joined more than 150 Sunny Acres Hospital workers to stage a successful 75-day strike to win union recognition.

A proven leader, Johnson worked his way up through the ranks and was elected President of AFSCME Local 1746, which represented Cuyahoga County workers. In 1970, he joined the staff of AFSCME District Council 78, which represented northeastern Ohio public employees. By 1982 he was promoted to Regional Director of the Cleveland Region.

In 1987, Johnson left Council 8 to become Executive Director for the Ohio AFSCME Care Plan where he worked to expand benefits and make the plan available to Council 8 member across the state. Johnson retired in 1998.

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

In addition to Mitchell, the scholarship committee included AFSCME Cleveland Regional Vice President Julie Albers, At-Large Vice President Asyia Haile, and Trustee Kim Gaines.

 

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Budget passed by the Legislature fails to meet Ohio’s needs.

The Ohio legislature has passed the FY16 thru FY17 Biennial Budget and once again has failed in meeting the needs of Ohio.
Under the budget, cuts to local governments continue whereby cities and counties do not see any additional dollars in state aid; dollars that are used to help fund vital public services.

And in what may be considered the most mean-spirited attack on workers, Governor Kasich rescinded the executive orders that allowed the state to bargain with in-home child care providers and health care aids. The legislature even went so far as to add language into state law that prohibits the state from ever bargaining with workers that are not covered by Ohio’s collective bargaining law or the National Labor Relations Act.

Also under the budget, most local school districts continue to remain flat-funded over the biennium. And in what can only be viewed as another attack on public education, legislation was passed that continues the trend of taking away local control of school districts.

House Bill 70 will allow for the creation of a local Academic Stress Commission that calls for the appointment of a CEO of a school district whereby a local school board’s authority is basically eliminated. This individual would then have the authority to suspend union contracts and close school buildings or reopen them as charter schools.

Thousands of AFSCME Ohio Council 8 members work for cities, counties and school districts across Ohio. This November, elections for mayors, city councils and school boards will be on the ballot. We have the opportunity to make change and it starts in our local communities. So, on Tuesday, November 3rd, lets make our voice heard. VOTE!

U. S. Supreme Court Poised to Deal Crippling Blow to Public Sector Unions

JAL_IntouchFour years and one day after delivering the more than 1.2 million petition signatures that successfully repealed SB5, Ohio’s “right-to-work” is wrong law, we are now facing the threat of a national “right-­to-­work” law.

The U.S. Supreme Court just agreed to take up a case that may overturn more than 40 years of settled labor law regarding public sector unions. That decision could come as early as next spring.

Our union has been out front in preparing for this attack in two ways. First, with AFSCME Strong,  a bold vision of building a strong union of committed members; a union that has power on the shop floor, at the bargaining table and at the state legislature. It’s building a union that 100% of our members will be loyal to.

And second, by forming alliances with other unions and affected constituency groups. Below, you will find the full text of a joint statement by AFSCME International President Lee Saunders and the nation’s top union leaders.

Please take a moment to read the statement and educate yourself about the task ahead. Then, click here to visit AFSCME Strong and see how you can join the fight.

PUBLIC SERVICE WORKERS ON SUPREME COURT

GRANT OF CERT IN FRIEDRICHS V. CTA

Lawsuit Seeks to Curtail Freedom of Firefighters, Teachers, Nurses, First ­Responders to Stick Together and Advocate for Better Public Services, Better Communities

Jeopardizes American Promise that Hard Work Leads Families to a Decent Life

WASHINGTON—NEA President Lily Eskelsen García, AFT President Randi Weingarten, CTA President Eric C. Heins, AFSCME President Lee Saunders, and SEIU President Mary Kay Henry issued the following joint statement today in response to U.S. Supreme Court granting cert to Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association:

“We are disappointed that at a time when big corporations and the wealthy few are rewriting the rules in their favor, knocking American families and our entire economy off­balance, the Supreme Court has chosen to take a case that threatens the fundamental promise of America—that if you work hard and play by the rules you should be able to provide for your family and live a decent life.

“The Supreme Court is revisiting decisions that have made it possible for people to stick together for a voice at work and in their communities—decisions that have stood for more than 35 years—and that have allowed people to work together for better public services and vibrant communities.

“When people come together in a union, they can help make sure that our communities have jobs that support our families. It means teachers can stand up for their students. First responders can push for critical equipment to protect us. And social workers can advocate effectively for children’s safety.

“America can’t build a strong future if people can’t come together to improve their work and their families’ futures. Moms and dads across the country have been standing up in the thousands to call for higher wages and unions. We hope the Supreme Court heeds their voices.”

And public servants are speaking out, too, about how Friedrichs v. CTA would undermine their ability to provide vital services the public depends on. In their own words:

“As a school campus monitor, my job is to be on the front lines to make sure our students are safe. Both parents and students count on me—it’s a responsibility that I take very seriously. It’s important for me to have the right to voice concerns over anything that might impede the safety of my students, and jeopardizing my ability to speak up for them is a risk for everyone.”

—Carol Peek, a school campus security guard from Ventura, Calif.

“I love my students, and I want them to have everything they need to get a high-­quality public education. When educators come together, we can speak with the district about class size, about adequate staffing, about the need for counselors, nurses, media specialists and librarians in schools.

And we can advocate for better practices that serve our kids. With that collective voice, we can have conversations with the district that we probably wouldn’t be able to have otherwise ­ and do it while engaging our communities, our parents and our students.”

—Kimberly Colbert, a classroom teacher from St. Paul, Minn.

“As a mental health worker, my colleagues and I see clients who are getting younger and more physical. Every day we do our best work to serve them and keep them safe, but the risk of injury and attack is a sad, scary reality of the job. But if my coworkers and I come together and have a collective voice on the job, we can advocate for better patient care, better training and equipment, and safe staffing levels.

This is about all of us. We all deserve safety and dignity on the job, because we work incredibly hard every day and it’s certainly not glamorous.”

—Kelly Druskis­Abreu, a mental health worker from Worcester, Mass.

“Our number one job is to protect at-­risk children. Working together, front-­line social workers and investigators have raised standards and improved policies that keep kids safe from abuse and neglect. I can’t understand why the Supreme Court would consider a case that could make it harder for us to advocate for the children and families we serve—this work is just too important.”

—Ethel Everett, a child protection worker from Springfield, Mass.

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AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders Statement on the King v. Burwell Decision

WASHINGTON – AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement regarding the Supreme Court’s King v. Burwell decision:

“We are thrilled that the Court came down on the side of allowing millions of Americans to keep their health care. By rejecting this overtly partisan attack against existing law, the Court has preserved the health and peace of mind of the more than 8 million Americans who will now continue to rely on the law for access to quality, affordable health coverage. Any further attempts by extremists in Congress or in the states to undermine the law should be dismissed as the dangerous, out of touch, and partisan ploys that they are. We hope this decision is a signal that the Court will not stand for political attacks on existing laws that work well, especially laws that benefit everyday Americans.”
 

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 AFSCME’s 1.6 million members provide the vital services that make America happen. With members in hundreds of different occupations — from nurses to corrections officers, child care providers to sanitation workers — AFSCME advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services, and prosperity and opportunity for all working families.

Ohio Labor Leader Turns 100

AFSCME Council 8 Leader Marie Clarke, who dedicated her life to working for equal rights in the workplace, is celebrating her 100th birth day this month.

As one of Ohio’s foremost Black female labor leaders, Marie began work as a mechanic in 1946, at the Columbus plant of Curtiss-Wright, which at the time was the largest aircraft manufacturer in the United States.

As a single mother, she was one of thousands of women who went to work in the factories while the men left to serve in the military. After the men returned, Marie was one of the few minority women to keep her job.

As a factory worker she helped organize and recruit members into the United Auto W
orkers union. One of her first job actions was to address the disparity in washroom conditions.

The men’s washroom had large round sinks where dozens of men could wash at one time, and then be on their way home. However, the women’s locker room had just a couple of regular sinks, and always had a long line at the end of the shift.

Marie used that time standing in line to organize the women to join the union. As UAW members they successfully persuaded the union to push management to provide equal washroom facilities.

By the end of her 22-year aircraft career, she was the first African American woman to be elected to the executive board of UAW Local 927.

The union survived the company’s transition from Curtiss-Wright to North American Rockwell, but Marie decided to move on.

In 1969, Marie began a 23-year clerical career at Columbus City Hall – and brought her union activism with her.However, she found that only sanitation workers were in the union members. When the AFSCME Local 1632 went on strike later that year, she supported the sanitation workers, but could not be a part of the union, or participant in the picket lines.
After the strike, Marie set about organizing her co-workers and building the union. She went on to become a proven and effective union leader.

Marie was the “go-to” person on many issues and was appointed to a series of ever more responsible union posts. She was then elected to serve on the AFSCME Local 1632 Executive Board.

In 1980, she was elected the union’s Secretary- Treasurer, an office she held for 12 years. During that time the union kept growing and today represents more than 2,000 city workers.

“When we say we are standing on the shoulders of those who came before us, we’re talking about people like Marie Clarke. She knew the power of solidarity and was a great believer in direct action. Her accomplishments should inspire us all. We wish her a happy 100th birth
day,” said Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall.

Her outstanding contributions to Ohio and the labor movement were recognized in 1985 when Governor Richard Celeste inducted Marie Clarke into the Ohio Woman’s Hall of Fame. She has also been honored by the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and the Coalition of Labor Union Women.

 

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Union Dad: Economic Justice and a Rich Family Spirit

When I was growing up in Cleveland, my dad, Emmett Saunders, Jr. was a bus driver and a proud member of the Amalgamated Transit Union, ATU. Although he passed away in 2009, the lessons he taught about what it means to be a union member have never left me. That’s why I’m proud to be a union son, and proud to be a union dad.

I can clearly remember sitting at the kitchen table and having conversations about the value of unions and what they meant for working families like ours. My dad had a strong role model in his own father, my grandfather, Emmett Saunders, Sr. Granddad was a principal, community activist and president of the West Virginia State Teachers’ Association, the professional organization for the state’s black teachers — at a time when membership in the West Virginia Education Association was segregated.

My mom was a union member as well. After raising my brother and me, she went back to school, earned a college degree and taught at the local community college. One of the very first things she did was join the American Association of University Professors, AAUP.

Union membership meant our family didn’t have to struggle on low-wage, no-benefit jobs to make ends meet. It meant my dad could be confident that my brother and I would have more opportunities than he had.

Because of my dad’s good union job, not only did my family have enough for the necessities, we had enough for extras, too. We went to Euclid Beach, the now-closed local amusement park on Lake Erie, a few times a year. We took road trips to different parts of the country and visited our family in West Virginia every summer.

But stories of union families like mine are becoming less common. The right to bargain collectively is under attack across the nation. As bargaining is weakened, working families like the one I grew up in are losing their footing and their hold on the American Dream. Unions work because, through solidarity, we can have a voice and the power that goes with that voice to support our families. That’s how workers get strong, and how America gets stronger…

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