Council 8 leaders weigh in on proposed state budget

Ohio Council 8 leaders met face-to-face with law makers to express their concerns and explain the consequences of enacting parts of Ohio’s proposed biennial budget.

Topping the list is the proposed budget’s threat to developmental disability treatment options for individuals and families by fundamentally chaining the way services are delivered.

The proposed state spending plan will eliminate highly specialized state, county, and local residential programs and workshops in favor of home community-based treatment.

“That will limit choice of treatment options for individuals and their families. No family should be forced to choose between a ‘bad’ or a ‘worse’ situation for their loved one,” said AFSCME Local 3794 President Sandy Coutcher, in testimony before the Ohio House Finance Subcommittee on Health and Human Services.

Coutcher, representing more than 425 professional, technical, and support staff at the Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities, said one size doesn’t fit all and without home community-based settings – “and local residential and workshop programs, there can be no real choice.” CLICK HERE FOR FULL TESTIMONY

That message was forceful repeated by a stream of individuals and parents. Some parents brought their children and adult sons and daughters to the packed hearing room to relate their personal experiences to the committee members.

The overwhelming message was clear – that an exclusively community-based setting, or exclusively residential setting, does not guarantee an individual will have a better quality of life. “It all depends on having a real choice so individuals and their families can find the system that best serves their needs,” said Robert Davis, AFSCME Ohio Council 8’s Political and Legislative Director.

In addition to Coutcher and Davis, Sally Tyler, a senior health care policy analyst for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, testified on behalf of AFSCME Ohio Council 8, OCSEA/AFSCME Local 11 and OAPSE/AFSCME Local 4.

“Each of these AFSCME councils and local unions represents members, at either the state or county level, who provide services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and they would be severely harmed by the proposed budget,” Tyler said. CLICK HERE FOR FULL TESTIMONY

Committee members also heard from OCSEA/AFSCME Local 11 members from the Montgomery and Youngstown Developmental Centers that are slated for closure. They called on legislators to keep the doors open of the two state facilities where severely developmentally disabled individuals reside. They were joined by individuals and families who praised the institutions and said they offered the best environment for their loved one.

It’s not too late to change the direction of the state spending plan for developmental disability services. CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION

In addition, AFSCME Local 1360 Akron City Employees President George Johnson offered testimony on House Bill 53, the proposed transportation budget.

At Issue is a proposal to hire and train a specific percentage of Akron city residents who will work on a decade-long, billion dollar sewer improvement project.

“House Bill 53 prohibits municipalities establishing an employment residency requirement for large scale projects like this one,” Johnson said.

The project, which is not funded by federal or state dollars, is being paid for by the citizens of Akron. Guaranteeing that a significant percentage of these jobs will go to the city residents will reduce the project’s financial burden and turn it into an investment in the community, Johnson told the committee.

“Since the city residents are paying for the project, it only seems fair to keep as much of that money in the city as possible,” he said. CLICK HERE FOR FULL TESTIMONY

Take Action Now!

Boy, 2, falls to pieces meeting his garbage man heroes

2-year-old Ohio boy Quincy Kroner “became undone” upon meeting his heroes, Eddie Washington and Mark Davis, two Cincinnati sanitation workers and AFSCME Ohio Council 8 members. Read the full story here http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3004849/Quincy-Kroner-cries-garbage-men-Cincinnati-Ohio-pay-special-visit.html

Mansfield Stops Foreign Vehicle Invasion

Photo credit: Mansfield News Journal/Linda Martz

Photo credit: Mansfield News Journal/Linda Martz

AFSCME Local 3088 President Dan Mapes is as pleased as anyone that Mansfield has finally emerged from years of fiscal emergency and has started replacing the city’s inventory of aging equipment.

But his members and many in the community are at odds with the city’s decision to ditch its decades old “buy American” policy. Mapes spoke out when three new Nissan vans showed up in the municipal garage.

Glad the city has begun upgrading its vehicle fleet, Mapes said he was disturbed the new arrivals were the only “foreign” vehicles the city owned.  When Mapes raised the question at a city council meeting, the administration said the move was justified because the foreign vehicles were $3,000 less than comparable American­-made vans, and claimed the vans were U.S. manufactured in Tennessee.

A little detective work by Mapes using the Nissan’s VIN numbers showed all the vans were actually made in Mexico. “And the lowest price is not the same as the best value,” he said. He noted that city mechanics don’t have the diagnostic tools or the training to work these vehicles.

“I believe when these vehicles need maintenance, they will be out of service longer because the city will have to wait in line at the dealership and the city will have to pay dealer ­rates for repairs. Over the long haul, I see that eating up any money that was saved on the purchase price,” Mapes said.

According to Mapes, the union’s activism had an effect.  After being roundly criticized for the Nissan purchase, the administration dropped plans to buy two Honda vans in favor of Chevrolet vehicles.

The thing that stung about this was the fact that it happened at the same time they were tearing down the closed GM plant ­ which opened up old wounds dating back more than 20 years.

The Mansfield community was torn apart in 1999, when Armco Steel locked­ out 600 United Steel Workers and used scab labor to run the mill for 39 months in a bitter, and at times violent, contract dispute that was finally resolved in late 2002.

And the 2009 closure of the GM stamping plant during the “Great Recession”, cost more than 1,000 good paying jobs. A price the community of 52,000 is still paying.

Ohio’s AFSCME Members Rally in West Virginia

Photo Credit: Joe Weidner, AFSCME Ohio Council 8

Photo Credit: Joe Weidner, AFSCME Ohio Council 8

 

Ohio’s AFSCME members were well represented over the weekend in the group of demonstrators speaking out against “right to work” is wrong in West Virginia.

“Thousands of people came to the West Virginia Capitol building in Charleston on Saturday to hear from the leaders of America’s most prominent labor unions at a rally to protest against the agenda of the new Republican majority in the Legislature.

For more than two hours, the crowd listened to labor leaders denounce charter schools, “right-to-work” laws, mine safety rollbacks and the revamping of West Virginia’s prevailing-wage law…

A union official estimated that 6,000 people attended what was officially called the Mountaineer Workers Rising Rally, but that number could not be independently confirmed. Dozens of buses brought in union members both from across West Virginia and from out of state.”

Read more about the event from the Charleston Gazette by clicking this link: http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150307/GZ01/150309281#sthash.dLV8oJaE.dpuf

Check Out AFSCME Ohio Council 8’s New and Improved Website

Whether you are a member or someone who is just visiting our page, welcome to the new and improved website for AFSCME Council 8. The 41,000 members of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 8 in Ohio delivers vital services to the public each and every day. We make sure your drinking water is safe, your streets are plowed, your local firetrucks are ready for action, and so many other necessary services to keep your communities strong and vibrant.

Our new website features a lot of great information for the general public and AFSCME Council 8 members.

Make sure you visit this blog on a regular basis because we will be posting news stories, event postings, and other information to help the public and Council 8 members better understand the role our dedicated public servants play in the lives of Ohioans each and every day.

You’ll see a drop down tab entitled Jobs We Do at the top of the page. We’re very excited to feature the women and men of AFSCME Council 8, their stories, and a description of the jobs they do. You will be able to learn more about the real faces and real people who provide public services to your community.

Finally, the Regional Directory under the “Contact Us” tab is a place for members to find information about their local AFSCME Council 8 office. Members can find their regional office and learn more about opportunities, benefits, and other special programs offered through AFSCME Ohio Council 8.

Our new website is just the beginning of our continued and improved service to you, whether you are an AFSCME Ohio Council 8 member or a fellow Ohioan, so please spend some time on our site and come back often.

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