The 21st Biennial AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Convention is Underway!

Each morning you will find the Convention News ready to update you on the day’s events and report on the activities of the Convention.

“On behalf of more than 5,300 Council 8 members in the Cincinnati Region, I want to welcome you to our city and hope you have an enjoyable stay,” said Regional Vice President Emily Moore.

“As convention delegates, we have a great responsibility because the business we conduct will affect our union for years to come. I know Council 8’s leadership and staff have developed a series of programs that will be educational and challenging.

“In addition to AFSCME Strong program, this convention will be addressing many critical issues which affect us at work and at home — including the attacks on childcare providers collective bargaining rights, the Youngstown Plan and the Friedrichs Supreme Court ruling” Moore said.

“We have an exciting four days ahead of us and I’d like to join Emily in welcoming everyone to Cincinnati,” added Regional Vice President Detra Covin-Williams. “At the close of the convention, I know all of us will have committed to taking action to save our collective bargaining rights as well as our union. The Friedrichs ruling may threaten our right to build a strong public sector labor movement.” “That is why it’s so important that we talk to our coworkers about the power and benefits of a unionized workplace.” Covin-Williams said “Council 8 delegates have an informative and challenging program ahead of them, “and we invite everyone to participate.”

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From left, Cincinnati Regional Vice Presidents Detra Covin-Williams, Emily Moore, Cincinnati regional Director Renita Jones-Street, and Council 8 Secretary -Treasurer Eric Clemons.

 

AFSCME Ohio Council 8, Akron Region Bowl-A-Thon, Promoting Solidarity, Unity and Community

On August 15, 2015, Vonda Johnson, President of Local 2696 put together Akron’s first Regional Bowl-A-Thon at Bill White’s Lanes in Springfield Township. The social event brought together over forty union members and their families for a night of bowling, food and socializing. AFSCME Council 8 members from locals in Stark, Summit and Portage Counties participated in the family gathering. The idea came through discussions on the importance of bringing locals across the Akron Region together to network, socialize and show unity.

The event was a great success, and has already generated interest in future socials. AFSCME Local 2696 member Jonetta Johnson Bell has proposed an AFSCME movie night.

Many of the Council 8 members brought their family members, including their siblings and children. While no one kept track of the high scores during the bowling, it was clear there were a number of excellent bowlers among the crowd.

Social events such as Akron’s Regional Bowl-A-Thon demonstrate that we are active in our union for more than just the fair pay and benefits we fight for. Being a union member is also about standing up for our families, and building the communities we want to live in.

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AFSCME Council 8 member Adam Artimez and his son Alex pose for a photo during the Akron Region Bowl-A-Thon.

 

Loss of Rights Won’t Stop Child Care Provider Unions

Being stripped of their collective bargaining rights by Gov. John Kasich and the Legislature didn’t shut the doors on Ohio Council 8’s Child Care Provider unions.

“The lights are still on and we’re open for the business of advocating for early childhood education and winning fairness and dignity for our members,” said AFSCME Local 4025 President Asyia Haile.

Open to all central Ohio providers, the union brought more than 50 attendees up to speed on new rules and discussed ways the union can still assist them with training, lobbying, and continuing to work with our allies.

In addition, new membership and dues procedures were outlined. Building up the Child Care Providers union requires our membership to re-sign under a bank draft process.

Membership for the Columbus Local 4025 continues to grow. The large turnout for the last child care providers meeting demonstrates the membership’s continued desire for a voice in child care policy, and workplace protections while on the job. On Saturday alone, 11 members re-signed their union cards bring the total number of dues paying members to 125 for Columbus Local 4025.

The Child Care Providers union is working with advocacy organizations such as Ohio GroundWork on research regarding the cost of providing public funded childcare. In addition, the state is moving publicly funded child care towards an early education focus.

The union is here to make sure you are aware of upcoming rule changes, have a voice in crafting child care policy and to advocate for appropriate funding.

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Asyia Haile Local 4025 President speaking at recent Child Care Providers union meeting

AFSCME Council 8 members celebrate labor day with second annual Northwest Ohio Labor Fest

The Northwest Ohio Labor Fest, Inc is a non-profit organization made up of local unions organized to celebrate Labor Day and give back to our community. The event this year was presented for the second consecutive year by Gallon, Takacs, Boissoneault & Schaffer. It was estimated that over 5,000 union members and their families attended this year’s festival. The event included live bands, multiple climbing walls, face painters, a clown, a dunk tank, a tug-o-war, competition between union locals, and a number of other family friendly activities.

The labor festival brought together 31 unions from across the region. Among the participating unions were three from AFSMCE Council 8; Local 3794, Local 2415 and Local 2916. In addition to broad based support from labor, the festival had 56 community partners. Elected officials and local companies were also asked to contribute to a fundraiser to support the Lucas County Special Olympics.

The fundraiser raised $10,000 for the Lucas County Special Olympics. This non-profit was selected because AFSCME members provide transportation services for the Special Olympics, as well as work with individuals with disabilities to obtain employment and to undergo rehabilitation services. AFSCME Council 8 Staff Representative Adam Maguire notes that “Those that received services from the Lucas Board of Developmental Disabilities are being overlooked in our community by the state and federal government, and we need to make them a priority. ”

Other AFSCME members volunteered during the festival, and AFSCME Local 755 member Paul Drake received the Activist of the Year Award for his 18 years of service as a Special Olympics umpire. Paul’s passion for his volunteer work with the Special Olympics has taken him across the United States and even internationally as a volunteer umpire. Congratulations and thanks to Paul for his years of service!

AFSCME Council 8 would also like to thank the following union activists for their contribution to making the second annual Labor Fest a success.

Labor Fest Officers and Committee Chairs:

President: Chris Monaghan, Sheet Metal Workers Local 33

Secretary/Treasurer: Kate Jacob, AFL-CIO

Trustee: Donna Westrick, AFSCME Retiree

Trustee: Kris Schwarzkopf: Toledo Federation of Teachers

Trustee: Ramona Collins: AFSCME/OCSEA

Kids Activities: Rachael Lee, Teamsters Local 20

Food and Beverages: John Mickey, Insulators Local 45

Car Show and Tournaments: Ken Erdmann, IBEW Local 245

Sponsorship: Adam Maguire, AFSCME Council 8 and Dawn Christen, GTB&S Law Firm

Admissions: Corky Hymore, Teamsters Local 20 and Ramona Collins, AFSCME/OCSEA

Tents, Seating, and Trash: Norm Lewallen, Teamsters Local 20

 

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From left to Right: Adam Maguire(Council 8 Staff Rep), Steve Mentrek (former Local 3794 member) , Paul Drake (Local 755) Sandy Coutcher (President of Local 3794)

A Labor Day Message

Americans look at Labor Day in many ways. As a three-day weekend, or the end of summer, or back to school, or the start of the ‘political season’. No matter what your plans, take a few minutes to consider why we celebrate labor Day.

The original intent of Labor Day was to provide a holiday to honor the social, technical, and economic achievements of American workers and their unions. It was intended to be, and in may ways remains, an annual national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our nation.

And Labor Day 2015 is an excellent opportunity to honor the 80th anniversary of National Labor Relations Act(NLRA).

Signed into law in 1935 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as part of the “New Deal”, the NLRA gave working people the opportunity to stand together and organize for better wages and working conditions. And it created the Nation Labor Relations Board, an independent federal agency vested with the power to safeguard employees’ rights.

Throughout its history, the NLRA has proven itself to be the great equalizer in the fight for a balanced American economy that works for everyone.

FDR had it right 70 years ago in his ‘Four Freedoms’ speech.  He said the basic things expected by our people of their political and economic systems are simple.

“They are: Equality of opportunity for youth and for others. Jobs for those who can work. Security for those who need it. The ending of special privilege for the few. The preservation of civil liberties for all.”

Today, in the world of small government, the deregulation of industry and finance, and unlimited political spending, Roosevelt’s words might seem quaint.

But those who feel the recovery has passed them by are starting to get the message that government can level the playing field and organizing or joining a union makes a real difference. A recent poll showed that now 51 percent of Americans have a favorable view of labor unions, up 10 percentage points since 2011.
While there is much more work to do – that’s something to celebrate.

Happy Labor Day.

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.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/cam3vomh1ae8pro/AACm79WvMEf1_jOMC9m8O7LXa?dl=0

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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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