Workers Memorial Day 2017
April 28th, 2017
Today, on the 46th anniversary of the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “AFSCME Ohio Council 8 joins all of labor remembering those working men and women who have lost their lives on the job,” said Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall.
On April 28, 1971, OSHA was given responsibility for establishing safe and healthful workplaces for all workers – “except public employees, who were specifically excluded,” he said.
“It would be another 23 years and many lives lost before Ohio’s public employees won the right to a safe workplace. And it was AFSCME that led an eight-year battle that finally won a state job safety law in 1993,” Lyall said.
With no legal responsibility to provide worker training and safety equipment, safety was an after thought. This led to thousands of injures and the on-the-job deaths of about 20 public employees every year.
The new law gave Ohio’s public employees the right-to-refuse unsafe work if they reasonably believed they faced imminent danger or death. Prior to the law workers were routinely disciplined or fired for refusing to perform clearly hazardous work.
Ohio Council 8 Political and Legislative Director Robert Davis stressed that OSHA is part of the Labor Department, which is why who the President names as Secretary of Labor and his proposal to cut 20 percent of the department’s budget is critical.
“It’s not just politics, it’s a matter of life and death for working Americans. We all need to pay attention and raise our voices for safe jobs,” said Davis.
Get the Degree You Need to Succeed – New Programs Added to AFSCME Free College Benefit
April 26th, 2017
Dear Ohio Council 8 Member,
A recent survey showed that nearly 100% of surveyed members are excited that AFSCME is offering the AFSCME Free College Benefit. This benefit is helping make college a reality for thousands of our members and their families.
We have heard from many of you that you’d like to see additional programs offered through the AFSCME Free College Benefit. To that end, we are pleased to announce that our partner, Eastern Gateway Community College, is now enrolling students for Summer and Fall for the following online Associate Degree and Certificate programs.
Healthcare — These programs will get you started in the dynamic, growing field!
- Healthcare Management (Business Management Degree Concentration)
- Patient Navigator Certificate — An excellent program designed to train students for patient-centered work in healthcare.
Business — The changing economy means workers need to regularly update their skills. These programs will help you do just that.
- Business Management Degree with additional Concentrations in:
- Human Resources
- Health Care Management
- EGCC is also offering a Business Management Certificate
- Option for accounting concentration
Paralegal — The Paralegal Program is designed to prepare students for employment in a law environment in both public and private sectors.
Associate of Individualized Study Degree — A flexible program designed for students who have substantial previous college credit.
Criminal Justice Degree — Many of our members can receive college credit for their Corrections or Peace Officer Training certifications.
Associate of Arts Degree — A great way to get started on your college degree.
Early Childhood Education Degree — Many courses will count toward state education standards points and help providers earn more pay.
Visit www.FreeCollege.AFSCME.org or call 888-590-9009 now to enroll. Summer classes begin May 30 and Fall classes begin August 21. All full-dues paying AFSCME members and their families* are eligible. Take just one class or go full-time. And you’ll never have to pay for tuition, fees or e-books. Get started today!
(* Family is defined as children and grandchildren, step children and step grandchildren, spouses, domestic partners and financial dependents.)
Spring into a New Home!
April 25th, 2017
Choose a Union Plus Mortgage
Now’s a great time to spring into a new home. AFSCME can help. If you’re a dues paying AFSCME member in good standing, an AFSCME member retiree, a spouse or domestic partner of an AFSCME member, or the parent or child of a union member, you’re eligible for the Union Plus Mortgage Program.
Shop Smarter with Consumer Reports Digital
Spring is a great time to find a great deal on appliances, televisions and electronics. Buy the best by using the comprehensive archive of expert, unbiased reviews from Consumer Reports Digital. AFSCME members save 26% off the annual subscription rate with their Union Plus discount.
Earn Cash Back on Your Home Sale or Purchase
March through July are the most popular months for buying a house. If you’re looking to buy or sell, Union Plus Real Estate Rewards can save AFSCME members thousands of dollars. Every real estate agent that the Union Plus Real Estate Rewards program uses is pre-screened and is the best in your area, based on performance and service.
Shut down the government?
April 25th, 2017
Dear Ohio Council 8 Member,
Here we go again. In just a few days, our country faces the threat of another government shutdown, all over a multi-billion dollar game of chicken President Trump and extremists in Congress are playing with our nation’s budget.
If our government shuts down, it will be because President Trump has threatened to veto any budget that does not defund key pieces of the Affordable Care Act, and pay for a $1.4 billion down payment on his proposed border wall.
If this budget stalemate results in a government shutdown, even funding for state and local public service workers is affected. A shutdown could cost us the resources we need to do our jobs, and it will cost our communities the public services they rely on.
For our communities, for our families and for our country, we need to stop this shutdown before it happens.
Those of us who spend every day making our communities stronger, safer and healthier know how important it is to keep the government running. Make sure Congress and President Trump know our communities are depending on them.
Two statistics you need to know
April 22nd, 2017
I can’t emphasize enough how devastating making Ohio a “Right to Work” is Wrong state would be for working people.
Today, I’m going to tell you about two numbers that are truly unbelievable, but unfortunately all too real.
“Right to Work” is Wrong because it will make all of us, union and non-union workers, poor. In RTWIW states, the average household median income is $681 less per month. What would you do right now to reduce your household monthly budget by nearly $700? And that’s every house in your community.
The next number I’m going to talk to you about is even worse if you can believe it, and that is the death rate on the job in “Right to Work is Wrong states is 49% higher than in free bargaining states like Ohio.
Yes, 49% higher.
We all want our loved ones, spouses, children, neighbors to go to work and come home safe and sound. In “Right to Work” is Wrong states, the death rate is 49% higher. And that means fewer loved ones are coming home at the end of the shift.
There’s a simple reason for this: Workers lose their voice and their freedom and their rights on the job with this deviously named anti-worker idea.
So, let’s keep our incomes rising, ourselves and our loved ones safer, and let’s stand together because “Right to Work” is WRONG for Ohio, wrong for working people and wrong for all of us.In solidarity,John Lyall
PresidentAFSCME Council 8
Friday’s Labor Folklore: Helen Keller — Labor’s Unsung Hero
March 24th, 2017
“The true task is to unite and organize all workers on an economic basis, and it is the workers themselves who must secure freedom for themselves, who must grow strong.”
Helen Keller (1880-1968) is perhaps the most recognized symbol of the disability community – a powerful representative of a person overcoming almost insurmountable obstacles. Yet the now-mythic story of Keller as a deaf-blind child learning to communicate with her teacher has overshadowed the complex story of the mature advocate, activist, lecturer and author who honed her intellect and leveraged her celebrity to side with the disadvantaged the world over – especially in defense of the American working classes.
Born in Alabama to a wealthy family, she lost her sight and hearing as an infant as a result of illness.
In 1903, at the age of 22, she published the first installment of her autobiography “The Story of My Life,” which became a bestseller and brought her worldwide fame.
In 1908 Keller joined the American Socialist Party (SP) and the Women’s Suffrage movement.
In 1912, she joined the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), noting in her lectures that that many forms of blindness prevalent in the U.S. were traceable to industrial working conditions.
Journalists, interviewers and editors frequently redacted, edited or outright censored her comments to fit the sensibilities of the times. Keller herself noted the contradiction in the way her life and ideas were treated – how the iconic story of the disabled child cast a long shadow over her own mature ideas and activism. In the second installment of her autobiography in 1929, she reflected:
“So long as I confine my activities to social service and the blind, they compliment me extravagantly . . . but when it comes to discussion of a burning social or political issue, especially if I happen to be, as I so often am, on the unpopular side, the tone changes completely. They are grieved because they imagine I am in the hands of unscrupulous persons who take advantage of my afflictions to make me a mouthpiece for their own ideas . . . I like frank debate, and I do not object to harsh criticism so long as I am treated like a human being with a mind of her own.”
Mansfield City Council Unanimously Approves Resolution Opposing ‘Right to Work’
March 22nd, 2017
Mansfield City Council unanimously approved a resolution opposing ‘Right to Work’ yesterday. AFSCME Members turned out in large numbers to make their voices heard and show that ‘Right to Work’ is WRONG for working and middle class families.
In states with ‘Right to Work’ policies, wages are $681 lower per month and there are 49 percent more deaths on the job.
Learn more about the threat of ‘Right to Work’ by clicking here.
Elissa McBride Elected AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer
March 22nd, 2017
LEESBURG, VA — The International Executive Board of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees today by acclamation elected Elissa McBride as its new secretary-treasurer. McBride, who will assume office effective immediately, has served as AFSCME’s director of Education and Leadership Training since 2001.
“AFSCME members are the backbone of our communities,” McBride said. “Members of our union staff our libraries, maintain our roads, care for us in times of medical crisis, ensure the safety of our children and much more. I am honored to serve as their secretary-treasurer, and I pledge to serve with passion, integrity and commitment as we continue to organize for workers’ rights and fight for public services.”
AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders added: “Elissa McBride has been a dynamic force in our union for more than 15 years. As a superb educator and organizer, she has helped lead us through a period of growth and change. She never quits fighting for our members, and for all working people, to get the respect they deserve. At this critical moment in AFSCME’s history, she has the energy and expertise we need to put us on the right course for the future.”
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AFSCME Council 8 Member Pat Waller on the Affordable Care Act
March 16th, 2017
Registered Nurse and AFSCME Council 8 member Pat Waller spoke with AFSCME about the effects that repealing the Affordable Care Act and cutting Medicaid would have in her rural community of Athens, Ohio.
“No one should ever have to worry between taking your child to the doctor, or putting food on the table,” she said. “I’m afraid that, you know, with the current administration that they’re going to just repeal every good thing in the Affordable Care Act that has made health care so much better for people in this country.”
Pat works in labor and delivery at a small, rural hospital in Athens, Ohio. She describes the passion she has for her job and the people she serves, but also notes that many more patients coming into the hospital now have coverage because of the Affordable Care Act.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if 60-70% of the people we serve in the hospital do not have some form of the Medicaid health care expansion, especially in Labor and Delivery where I work.”
With insurance, more and more women are getting prenatal care, which makes for a safer and healthier pregnancy.
Share Pat’s story and call 1-888-851-1916 to tell Congress: NO CUTS to Medicaid.
Resident takes stance against Right-to-Work
March 3rd, 2017
I write in response to Rep. Wesley Goodman’s (R-Cardington) Feb. 27 op-ed. Like many statehouse politicians, Rep. Goodman seems to be easily fooled by the deceptively-named “Right to Work.”
I’m a customer service representative for the Ohio Dept. of Job and Family Services and I assist unemployed workers. I’m also a mother, a neighbor and a taxpayer, and I spend my hard-earned dollars right here in Crawford County. As an active community member – not a statehouse politician – I can tell you that Right to Work is WRONG. It’s wrong for middle and working class families. Wrong for Ohio. Don’t trust it. Ohio is surrounded by a desert of Right to Work is Wrong states. In these states, wages are lower. Workers in Right to Work is Wrong states make $681 less every month than workers in free bargaining states, like Ohio. $681! That pay cut is devastating to families, and it hurts our communities too. Less wages means less spending at local businesses. And that hurts everyone.
Right to Work is Wrong strips workers of their voices and that makes workers less safe. Death rates on the job are 49 percent higher in Right to Work is Wrong states. Workers put up with unsafe working conditions – at risk of losing their lives – to avoid being fired for simply speaking up.
What makes Right to Work is Wrong states even worse is the lack of jobs and opportunities. Right to Work is Wrong laws don’t create jobs. What businesses are looking for when they move and hire is a well-trained workforce and great communities. And good businesses are willing to pay good wages for skilled workers in healthy communities.
Compared to these other states, Ohio is a free bargaining oasis. And we can attract more businesses by continuing to be a free bargaining oasis.
Right to Work is WRONG. Don’t trust it.
Bucyrus, OH 44820
AFSCME Utility Workers on the Job 24/7
February 27th, 2017
On the job rain or shine, day or night, public employees across Ohio are at work providing water to our homes and fire protection to our communities.
Water main breaks are often due to Ohio’s winter weather, but they can occur at any time of the year. They happen on both older and newer water lines.
While the pressurized lines are buried nearly 4 feet deep to keep them from freezing, intense cold and extreme swings in temperature “can cause the ground above the pipes to shift which can put a lot of stress on the lines,” said Chip Moore, president of AFSCME Local 1632, which represents Columbus city workers.
“We have about 150 people who maintain the 3,518 miles of water mains belonging to the City of Columbus. The crews work two shifts, but our members are on call 24/7. They are an incredibly skilled and dedicated workforce” he said.
According to Moore, the city utility department delivered an average of 133 million gallons of water daily to the Greater Columbus area and also maintain the city’s 25,611 fire hydrants.
From large cities to small towns AFSCME members keep the water flowing – including AFSCME Local 100 members in Cleveland who maintain the city’s nearly 5,200 miles of underground pipes and water mains. And in Toledo, where AFSCME Local 7 members are responsible for more than 1,100 miles of water mains and more than 10,000 fire hydrants, and Cincinnati where AFSCME Local 240 members supply the area with more than 48 billion gallons of water a year.
Athens Child Care Provider Honored
February 16th, 2017Athens independent child care provider Juanita McLead is being honored as the 2017 “Child Care Provider of the Year” by the Ohio Children’s Hunger Alliance.
An AFSCME Child Care Providers Together supporter, McLead has been an in-home child care provider since 1983. “I appreciate this honor because child care providers and the Alliance make a difference in the lives of a lot of children,” she said.“I still see many former clients around town and they’re now young adults. They remember me and I enjoy seeing their success. I know the care we provide makes for successful parents too.”According to McLead, the Alliance provides food assistance across the state especially in high child poverty areas like Southeastern Ohio. “If it was not for the Alliance, the parents would have to provide meals for the children, which because of the family income, can be a hardship and may not be adequate or nourishing.”Founded in 1970, Children’s Hunger Alliance is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger.The Alliance partners with more than 900 organizations throughout Ohio to provide nutritious meals to at-risk children who need them most. The Alliance provides resources for balanced, healthy meals to day care providers, day care centers, local school districts and after school and summer programs.
The Children’s Hunger Alliance, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio with regional offices in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Toledo, has a team of 65 professionals throughout the state who are passionate about ending childhood hunger in Ohio’s 88 counties.
2017 AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Scholarships Now Available
February 10th, 2017
The AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Executive Board is pleased to announce the 35th annual AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Family Scholarships are now available. The 2017 scholarships are named in honor of retired Youngstown Staff Representative Jaladah Aslam and former Cincinnati Regional Director Robert Turner.
A life-long resident of the Youngstown metropolitan area, Jaladah Aslam, has been active in the labor movement and politics for the past thirty years.
In 1986, Jaladah became Chief Shop Steward for the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 2001, representing 286 of her fellow employees of the Mahoning County Department of Human Services where she was a Caseworker. In 1992, she became the first African American female to serve as a Staff Representative for AFSCME in the Youngstown region.
For the next twenty-three years, Jaladah represented union members in nine different counties along the eastern portion of Ohio.
In addition to negotiating contracts, representing employees in grievance and arbitration hearings and unemployment compensation hearings, Jaladah also served as the Lead Staff for Political Action in Mahoning and Columbiana counties for AFSCME.
Jaladah retired from AFSCME January 31, 2015. She is now an independent political and labor consultant.
Robert Turner started his career as a public employee in 1969 when he was hired by the City of Kettering. He immediately joined the chapter of AFSCME Local 101 Dayton Public Service Union which represented Kettering city workers.
Working his way up through the ranks Turner became chapter chairman, served on AFSCME Local 101’s executive board and in 1977, was elected the union’s vice president.
In 1978 Turner was hired as an AFSCME Local 101 staff representative. Later that year with the formation of AFSCME Ohio Council 8 he joined the Dayton Region staff.
In 1985 Turner was appointed director of the Athens Region. For the next 15 years served members in the region’s 14 Southeast Ohio counties.
In 2000, he was appointed Cincinnati Regional Director where he served until retiring in 2006. Turner passed away in 2011.
Ohio Council 8 started providing a yearly scholarship for the child of an Ohio Council 8 member in 1982. In 1989 the program was expanded to include a men’s’ and women’s scholarship. Since then the union has awarded more than 50 scholarships.
To be eligible for the four-year grants of $2,500 per year, an applicant must be a high school senior graduating in 2017, be accepted at a four-year accredited college or university as a full-time student, and submit two 500-word essays on, “What AFSCME Means to My Family,” and their reasons for pursuing a college degree.
Council 8 First Vice President Harold Mitchell, chairman of the scholarship committee, said, “Students entering college today need significant financial assistance to pursue their higher education goals. We take great pleasure in awarding scholarships to these outstanding students,” he said.
Mitchell is the chairperson of the committee that reviews the scholarship applications.
In addition to Mitchell, the Scholarship Committee includes Cleveland Regional Vice President Julie Albers, Council 8 Trustee Kimberly Gaines, and At-Large Vice President Asyia Haile.
Volunteer Firefighters Choose AFSCME
February 1st, 2017
Ohio Council 8 members in the Cincinnati Region welcomed their newest members with the addition of the volunteer firefighters serving the city of Mt. Healthy, who recently voted to form an AFSCME Local union.
Representing 23 members, the new local is now in negotiations with the city. “We are the only department that is not represented by a union”, said Todd Marshall, who has been with the department for 24 years. “We are just looking for fairness, and improving our wages and benefits across the board,” he said.
The Mt. Healthy Fire Department provides firefighting, rescue, haz-mat, and Intermediate-level EMS service in a 1.4 square mile area serving 6,100 citizens.
The department, which was an un-paid volunteer force until 2004, averages about 1,250 runs a year. In 2015 they answered 1025 EMS calls and 225 fire calls.
AFSCME Ohio Council 8 leaders, members and staff say “Right-To-Work” is Wrong
January 25th, 2017
Union members from Southwest Ohio converged on West Chester Township and successfully convinced township trustees to table a local government right-to-work ordinance up for consideration.
“It’s clear that right-to-work is wrong because it not only costs jobs, it costs lives,” said AFSCME Local 1543 President Tom West. “We know that in RTW states 36 percent more workers are killed on the job than in collective bargaining states like Ohio.”
The crowd also included AFSCME Local 3975 members who work at the West Chester Community Service Department. They are responsible for maintaining the township’s streets, parks, highway signs and cemetery.
AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Political and Legislative Director Robert Davis said “We must fight right-to-work everywhere it raises it’s ugly head.” He said the strong show of opposition convinced the trustees to reconsider the measure. “With the legality of local government right-to-work measures still being contested in the courts we convinced them that it would be wise to wait until the law is settled before raising the issue again,” Davis said.
AFSCME Members Protest West Chester Proposal for RTW Ordinance
January 11th, 2017
Yesterday in West Chester AFSCME Local 3975 President Rod Sleiman and member John Sams were among the 113 people who filled the room at a City Council meeting to protest plans for a township “Right-to-Work” ordinance.
“‘Right-to-Work’ is wrong it doesn’t just hurt us, it ends up lowering everyone’s pay and hurts the entire community,” Sleiman said.
AFSCME Local 3975 represents workers at the West Chester Community Service Department who maintain the township’s streets, parks, and highway signs.
“Right-to-work” is WRONG because it does not create jobs, but lowers wages and benefits, and spikes the number of injuries and deaths on the job.
Kentucky Gov. signs “Right to work” law over the weekend
January 9th, 2017
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin wasted no time–he signed “Right to work” is WRONG into law on Saturday as soon as the bill hit his desk. Kentucky is now the 27th state in America to have this anti-worker law that leads to lower wages and benefits and higher injury and death rates on the job.
Ohio Council 8 Toledo Staff Representative Adam Maguire (pictured below) was on hand over the weekend to protest against the signature of the law, along with Cincinnati Staff Representative Mark Caddo.
AFSCME Council 8 Holiday Wrap-Up
January 5th, 2017
AFSCME Council 8 members were busy at the end of 2016 spreading goodwill and good cheer. Check out our highlights!
AFSCME Holiday Party 2016
On December 16th AFSCME Local 1632 held their Holiday Party at the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 189 Union Hall located at 1250 Kinnear Rd. There were close to 200 members that RSVP’d to attend, but due to inclement weather approximately 120 members were in attendance. Also a very special guest was in attendance, “Santa Claus.” Entertainment was provided by John Baisden from KCK-Karaoke, and the dinner was provided by Gloria Sutton of Caterers Three.
There was also a 50/50 drawing that raised $130.00, with $65.00 going towards Families for a Cure. There were seven gift baskets raffled off that raised $395.00, with a grand total of $460.00 going to Families for a Cure. Paul Rual from Families for a Cure was there to accept the donation from Chip Moore, President of AFSCME Local 1632 and Mike Winland Co-Chair of AFSCME Local 1632 Charities Committee. All in attendance had a wonderful time, and a special thanks to Roberta Skok, Regional Director of Ohio Council 8 and Bill Devore, Staff Representative of Ohio Council 8.
Inter-City Toy Drive
From November 14th to the 25th, the great employees of the City of Columbus opened their hearts to buy a new toy for Nationwide Children Hospital. There were 15 drop off points throughout the City that gathered a HUGE donation for a great cause. All toys were delivered to Children’s Hospital on December 2nd to a warm thank you from the administration. So a HUGE THANKS to all the City employees!
Food for Families Food Drive
On December 10th AFSCME Local 1632 teamed up with St. Stephens Community House for the second annual Food Drive. For a donation of 5 non-perishable food donations, you got a picture with Santa Claus. There was a great turn-out and all food went to local families. A special thanks to Amy Kerns, Administrative Project Manager at St. Stephens for letting us hold the event at St. Stephens, and all the AFSCME Local 1632 members that helped at the event.
Toys 4 Tots Toy Drive
On December 2nd AFSCME Local 1632 teamed up with 99.7 The Blitz radio station and held a toy drive to help benefit the mission of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys For Tots. We had an AMAZING turnout from the great citizens of Columbus, and gathered a lot of toys that were turned into the Toys for Tots drop-off point.
A huge thanks to Courtney Stone, Production Manager at 99.7 The Blitz, Lopper & Randi, Radio Personalities, Frankie Hejduk, Former Columbus Crew Player, and Shawn Jarvis, Owner of 22 Caliber Tattoo Studio’s for assisting in the toy drive. A BIG THANK YOU to the AMAZING citizens of Columbus for opening your hearts for this great cause.
AFSCME Council 8 President John Lyall: Reflections on 2016
December 30th, 2016
As 2016 closes we say goodbye to a real hero, Ohio space pioneer U.S. Senator John Glenn. We also join the nation in greeting a new Congress and President.
Winston Churchill was correct when said “The price of greatness is responsibility.” As President, we owe Donald Trump a fair chance to become a thoughtful president who leads America with dignity and respect to both law and custom. We owe him a fair chance – but not a free pass.
After more than a year of front-page campaigning we can’t forget it’s not all about Donald Trump. Congress must confirm appointments, approve Supreme Court appointees, ratify trade deals, and enact budgets.
With few exceptions we are facing the same individuals that vowed to make Barack Obama “a one term president,” pushed anti-union laws and cuts to Social Security, and waged an eight-year battle to deny Americans access to affordable health care.
It’s the same with state and local government. Gov. John Kasich deserves credit for vetoing bills that would have weakened air pollution rules and struck down legislation allowing Ohio lawmakers to do away with state agencies and departments. However, despite gains, the legislature remains stacked against us.
Still, our union carries on the work of representing its members on the job, negotiating strong contracts and organizing new members.
The future is always uncertain. But, I’m certain AFSCME Council 8 leaders and members will meet these challenges with the same energy and solidarity that has always won the day for workers.
On behalf of First Vice President Harold Mitchell and the officers of AFSCME Ohio Council 8, I wish you a prosperous 2017. A new year where we are engaged in the work building a better life for our members and all working American families.
John A. Lyall
Happy Holidays from AFSCME Council 8 President John Lyall
December 22nd, 2016
During the Holiday Season, our thoughts turn to our families and friends as we begin to think about spending some much-needed quality time with our loved ones after a hectic year.
We also think of others who are less fortunate than we are. As public service workers it’s those thoughts that motivate us to devote ourselves to making our communities stronger on the job, and as community volunteers and leaders.
As trade unionists, we devote ourselves to creating a better future for our members, their families, and a better life for all. Even with the many forces working against us, AFSCME Ohio Council 8 continues to organize new members, represent you on the job and bargain strong contracts – we should be very proud of these accomplishments.
With the strength of our members, retirees, activists, and our local union leadership our Union will continue to take on the challenges facing Ohio’s working families. Working together, we can make sure our children and grandchildren have a bright future.
On behalf of First Vice President Harold Mitchell and the officers of AFSCME Ohio Council 8, I want to express my deepest gratitude for what you do each day to make our Union and our state the best it can be.
I take this opportunity to wish you and your family a safe and enjoyable holiday season.
John A. Lyall
President, AFSCME Ohio Council 8
Unemployment Compensation – No Cuts to Benefits for Ohio Workers!
November 30th, 2016
AFSCME Ohio Council and labor leaders from across Ohio participated in the recent Ohio AFL-CIO Lobby Day as part of a two-year effort to derail harsh legislation aimed at slashing unemployment benefits for Ohio workers.
Aimed at making the system solvent after years of employers short changing the fund, the bill’s cuts fell on the backs of workers. The original bill introduce early in the session would have cut benefits down form 26 weeks to only 12 weeks. In addition, new rules would have made it easier for employers to discharge workers and harder for the jobless to qualify for benefits.
“Labor showed its strength and through a sustained effort we were able to keep this bad bill bottled up most of the session,” said AFSCME Council 8 Political and Legislative Director Robert Davis. “We were prepared when this bill came up in the lame duck session. Our work resulted in the bill being pulled and replaced with new legislation,” he said.
While the new bill would still cut benefits—reportedly from 26 to 20 weeks—it does raise rates employers will pay. Other objectionable side issues were removed from the bill.
While the new bill isn’t perfect, there is still time for political mischief before the end of the session, Davis said. “We still need to keep the pressure on so this new bill stays on course with no ‘poison pill’ amendments. We still need you to contact your legislator to tell them how critical the unemployment compensation safety net is for working families,” he said.
You can call your Senator or Representative toll free. Call 1-844-213-8172, ask for your legislator and you will be connected to their office.
Tell them that the unemployment compensation safety net for working families is critical – No Cuts!
A Thanksgiving Message from John Lyall
November 23rd, 2016
Thanksgiving is a time when we gather family together and regardless of the circumstances or the challenges we faced over the past year, we join together to give thanks for what we have — each other. The same is true of our Union family.
We’ve built a stronger AFSCME Ohio Council 8 ready to face the future with courage. We’ve made tough decisions, organized new members and defended our rights. And we have done it as a family, as a Union.
We have just come through a bruising election. For more than a year the campaign sparked passionate debate within our union as it has within our country. The election is over and now it’s time to focus our energy on making our jobs more secure, negotiating decent pay and benefits, and making our workplaces fairer and safer.
Our ability to respect our differences and work together is why America is admired by much of the world.
In his last Thanksgiving message to America, President John F. Kennedy wrote: “Neither the fanatics nor the faint-hearted are needed… Our duty is not merely the preservation of political power but the preservation of peace and freedom… when our cause is so great let us not quarrel amongst ourselves … our Nation’s future is at stake.”
Ohio Council 8 members have always stuck together and looked out for each other. I am confident we will continue to do so. We all have much to be thankful for.
First Vice President Harold Mitchell and all the officers of Ohio Council 8 join me in thanking you for the work you do. May you and your family enjoy a safe and joyful Thanksgiving.
President, AFSCME Ohio Council 8, AFL-CIO
AFSCME Election Day Victories
November 10th, 2016
Voters across Ohio showed their support for public services and the people who provide them by passing AFSCME endorsed funding measures.
The Toledo region topped the list with one city and seven Lucas County funding issues.
Voters approved a critical city 0.75 percent income tax. A rejection would have been devastating to the city which would have had to cut the budget by more than $55 million.
The other six Lucas County levies won by a sizeable margin including:
∙ a five-year, 0.75-mill levy for The Toledo Zoo where employees are represented by AFSCME Local 3640.
∙ Lucas County Children Services Board where employees are represented by AFSCME Local 544 won approval of a 1.4-mill levy renewal.
Voters also approved funding issues for Lucas County Public Library, Lucas County Emergency Services and the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority.
In the Cincinnati Region, voters approved Issue 44, a tax levy for Cincinnati Public Schools. AFSCME Local 232 represents the district’s support employees.
In the Akron Region, voters supported – by a two-to-one margin – an operating levy for the Stark Area Regional Transit Association, where employees are represented by AFSCME Local 1880.
In the Dayton Region strong voter support won Issue 9, a City of Dayton tax issue along with a successful funding levy for the Fairborn City School District where workers are represented by Council 8.
The Youngstown Region had successes when voters approved funding for the Mahoning County Board of Developmental Disabilities where employees belong to AFSCME Local 1143, and ballot box success for a critical City of Warren tax issue with the support of AFSCME Local 74 members who provide many city services.
“Through AFSCME Power in Action your union supports it’s members at the ballot box and at the bargaining table,” said Political and Legislative Director Robert Davis. “For pubic employees every election is important because the outcome often has a direct affect on us and our families.”
AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on 2016 Election Results
November 9th, 2016
WASHINGTON – AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the results of the 2016 election:
“As we take stock of the message voters sent yesterday, we see that many were motivated by a real, palpable fear for their ability to provide for their families. We must come together now to address that economic insecurity while not falling prey to the politics of division and hate. We must focus on rebuilding the middle class and restoring the American Dream for everyone, not just the privileged few.
“For our part, the 1.6 million public service workers of AFSCME will never quit working to make their communities safer, healthier and better places to live. We will do what we do best to hold President-elect Trump accountable on his promise to restore the American Dream: organize and advocate for solutions for all working people, from affordable health care for all, to reducing student debt, to rebuilding America’s infrastructure.”
AFSCME Members ‘Get Out The Vote,’ Help Hamilton County Surpass Early In-Pereson Voting Numbers for 2012
November 7th, 2016
With the conclusion of Saturday’s early voting and with two days of early voting to go, Hamilton County had a total of 25,740 early, in-person voters who have cast their ballots in 2016 — a total that surpasses the figure for all of 2012.
AFSCME members hit the pavement with AFSCME President Lee Saunders (center) to knock doors and make sure that everyone has the opportunity to vote.
Friday set a record for the highest number of early in-person voters in the county’s history, with 2,174 voters casting ballots at the early voting location at 824 Broadway St., Cincinnati.
Union to Picket Beef Cattle Auction in Mansfield
October 25th, 2016
Next week, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction will auction off its award-winning herds of Angus beef cattle as well as additional farm equipment at Mansfield Correctional Institution as part of a plan to close all 10 state prison farms.
In protest, activists from the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association and those affected by the farm closures will be picketing at that location on auction day, Tuesday, October 25, 2016, from 9 a.m. until noon.
DR&C has already sold hundreds of dairy cattle as well as a massive inventory of farm equipment in public auction. Some of the equipment sold for pennies on the dollar and large barns that were built just this last year sit empty, having never been used.
The union had sought an injunction from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to halt the sale of prison farm assets until a pending grievance was arbitrated. The court denied the union’s request. A grievance filed by the union regarding the closures is still pending.
What: Picket of prison farm cattle auction
When: October 25, 2016
Where: In front of the Mansfield Correctional Institution, 1150 N. Main St., Mansfield, OH 44905
Time: 9 a.m. – noon
OCSEA represents approximately 30,000 state employees who work in a wide range of security, regulatory, administrative, direct care, maintenance, customer service and other positions, including 8,600 who work in the Ohio Dept. of Rehabilitation and Correction. For more information, contact Sally Meckling, 614-865-2602 or 614-404-3881 (cell).
Election 2016 Special Event with Special Guests Lee Saunders and Leo W. Gerard
October 12th, 2016
Come join United Steelworkers and AFSCME in Cleveland this Friday afternoon to show your support for your union brothers and sisters.
Senate Bill 329: Destroying Essential Services
September 30th, 2016
On Wednesday, the Ohio Senate approved a bill that would effectively allow for the dissolution of state government departments if they deem them to be unnecessary. The same government departments that provide for the state’s economic vitality and competitiveness.
Under the new bill, departments would have to justify their existence every four years. Departments that provide Ohioans with education, public safety and other services could be stripped away.
Labor Day Message
September 2nd, 2016
Americans look at Labor Day in many ways. As a three-day weekend, the end of summer, 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 many 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 2016 is an excellent opportunity to honor the cornerstone of worker’s rights – the 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. It created the National 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 economy that works for everyone.
It’s encouraging that those who feel the economic deck is stacked against them are starting to get the message that a government that cares about working people can level the playing field.
It’s also become clear that organizing or joining a union makes a real difference. It’s more than dollars and cents, it’s a voice on the job and the health care and retirement security workers and their families deserve.
A recent poll found that nearly 6 in 10 Americans say they have a positive view of labor unions, the highest approval rate since 2008.
And that’s something to celebrate.
Happy Labor Day.
No more ‘Golden Week’ for Ohio voters, again
August 24th, 2016
Golden Week is gone again in Ohio.
For the time being, at least.
The controversial period in which Ohioans can both register to vote and cast an early ballot was struck down Tuesday by a federal appellate pane, overturning a lower-court ruling re-establishing Golden Week.
“Proper deference to state legislative authority requires that Ohio’s election process be allowed to proceed unhindered by the federal courts,” said a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that split 2-1.
Thus continues the ritual witnessed every presidential election year in bellwether Ohio: Bitter court battles over voting.
Joyce Beatty and House Democrats Sit in to Stand Up Against Gun Violence
August 18th, 2016
The nation paused on July 24th to watch the drama of a brave band of Democrats stage a day-long sit-in protest on the House floor demanding a vote on common sense gun laws.
The sit-n launched by Rep. John Lewis, eventually drew 170 lawmakers, lit up social media with demands for a vote on common sense gun control measures like prohibiting those on the government’s no-fly list from being able to legally purchase a weapon.
Polls show that 80 percent of the public support for common-sense measures, and surveys show more than 70 percent of NRA members support measures to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and keep Americans safe.
Capitol steps after the sit-in Rep. John Lewis said “The fight is not over. So don’t give up, don’t give in. Keep the faith, and keep your eyes on the prize.”
He also tweeted, “We got in trouble. We got in the way. Good trouble. Necessary Trouble. By sitting-in, we were really standing up.”
Columbus City Issue 1 Voted Down
August 4th, 2016
In the August 2nd special election Columbus city residents rejected a plan that would have divided the city into 10 wards and expanded the Columbus City Council from 7 to 13 members by 2018. Of the 9 percent of eligible voters who cast ballots, nearly 72 percent said no.
“The folks who put this on the ballot raised some important issues, but their plan raised too many questions in the public’s mind,” said Chip Moore, president of AFSCME Local 1632, which represents city workers.
“How do we pay for the expansion, who will draw the ward lines, who appoints committee members, and a lot of other things were unanswered. I think the vote shows most of the people think the city is heading in the right direction,” Moore said.
Columbus neighborhoods are currently served by a robust network of official Area Commissions and other recognized neighborhood organizations that inform City Council members of their community’s needs, plans and possibilities.
The AFSCME free college benefit
August 3rd, 2016
We are excited to announce a new AFSCME benefit available to you and your family: a free associate degree from Eastern Gateway Community College.
Having a college degree is more important than ever for getting ahead these days, but tuition costs just keep getting higher and higher. That’s why the AFSCME Free College Benefit is absolutely free. We want to help you and your family succeed without piling on thousands of dollars in student debt.
An associate degree can be your pathway to new opportunities, greater responsibility, a better job and higher wages. This program is also designed to be flexible. You can take online classes that fit into your schedule.
This is a unique opportunity — available only to AFSCME members, your families and retirees. You can find more information about the benefit and available degree programs here.
You work hard for your community, and that work can often go unsung. The AFSCME Free College Benefit is one more way AFSCME helps members secure the opportunities and the respect you deserve.
We hope you’ll take a look at this exciting new program and take advantage today to help grow your career.
Lyall Re-Elected as AFSCME International Vice President
July 28th, 2016
In addition to re-electing President Lee Saunders and Secretary Treasurer Laura Reyes, Ohio Council 8 delegates to the AFSCME International 42nd Biennial Convention also voted unanimously to return Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall to a third, four-year term on the 35-member AFSCME International Executive Board.
“I am proud and humbled to receive this vote of confidence. And working together, I know we will continue to make AFSCME Ohio Council 8 one of Ohio’s strongest unions,” Lyall said.
Lyall has served as President of AFSCME Ohio Council 8 since 2007, and was unanimously elected to a third, four-year term in 2015, at AFSCME Ohio Council 8’s 21st Biennial Convention.
President Lyall is a native of Cleveland and first joined AFSCME as a member in 1973, when he went to work for the City of North Olmsted.
He was appointed Cleveland Regional Director in 1991. In 1996, he was elected head of the Cleveland Federation of Labor AFL-CIO, now the North Shore Labor Council, and served as President until 1998. In 1999, he moved to Columbus when he was appointed Council 8’s first Organizing Director, and in 2001, became the union’s First Vice President.
He serves as chairman of the AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Care Plan, as a vice president on the Ohio AFL-CIO Executive Board, and is a member of the Ohio AFL-CIO Executive Committee. Lyall is also a member of the State Executive Committee of the Ohio Democratic Party.
Ohio Council 8 Solidarity In Action
July 14th, 2016
Cincinnati Public School Employees AFSCME Local 232 members recently joined in solidarity with OCSEA/AFSCME members who are continuing their struggle to stop the liquidation of prison farms at 10 correctional facilities across Ohio.
AFSCME Local 232 member/activists Shelby Givens-Blackmon, and Carolyn Park, along with Ohio Council 8 Staff Rep. Andrew Hasty, joined other unions at the Lebanon Correctional Facility’s prison farm just north of Cincinnati.
They joined an informational picket-line along the side of highly traveled State Route 63, a two lane highway near the prison.
The following is a report by Carolyn Park:
As cars and tractor/trailers drove by, we held signs and spoke with other members and supporters; including Cincinnati AFL CIO representatives and even Cincinnati Federation of Teachers members who were in attendance.
We learned about a great number of the issues. We were there to help EXPOSE and STOP The Great Land Grab. It seems that out of nowhere, The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) decided to close all 10 Ohio prison farms.
This decision comes on the heels of a plan to expand cattle and dairy production. In fact, last year, DRC Director Gary Mohr asked the Ohio State Legislature for $9 million dollars to build three state of the art cattle and dairy barns.
So why the sudden the change of heart? These projects are all but complete and the DRC is making more milk and harvesting more beef than it ever has before.
So with long-term plans in place and millions of tax payer dollars spent on improvements, now they want to “chuck” the entire plan? It didn’t seem to make sense to any of us out there on that informational picket line.
Could it be there is outside pressure to close prison farms from corporate food suppliers, like Aramark, and corporate mega-farms, as well as the powerful beef industry lobbyists? This selling-off of valuable livestock, farming equipment, and in the near future the land itself, clearly looks like a giveaway to powerful financial interests.
The livestock and farm equipment is not being bought by many local producers. Representatives of the same corporate groups, have shown up time and again at each farm auction across our state, to cart away their spoils.
Why is it important to keep these facilities open? The farm programs do in fact serve DRC’s core mission. Farm jobs give inmates more responsibility and help them develop a strong work ethic. They are taught all kinds of skills, from heavy machinery to equipment maintenance, to carpentry, to welding to using hand tools, driving tractors and loaders and large vehicles, you name it.
This is a perfect case of “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.
The struggle isn’t only about the loss of OCSEA member jobs or the hundreds and thousands of inmates who have participated in the farm programs. It’s about all the stakeholders that will be affected by the farm closures.
Did you know the OSU Veterinary Medicine program teaches students at prison farms? Or that Ohio’s food banks receive hundreds of thousands of pounds of produce each year from the prison farms? Or the move will hurt the local economy as farm equipment suppliers, who have been providing goods and services to prison farms for years, close up? All of those programs and relationships are now in jeopardy.
Shelby and I are glad we took the time to show support, not only as union members, but because we are also taxpayers in Ohio.
We do not like to see our tax dollars squandered and our communities harmed in giveaways to corporations. We want our voices to be heard!
Statement from AFSCME President Lee Saunders
July 8th, 2016
I wanted to share with everyone a statement that AFSCME President Lee Saunders posted to social media this evening in response to the tragic shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.
I also wish to add our condolences to the families of the Dallas officers killed and injured in a senseless act of violence. In the aftermath of this horrific event we stand with the people of Dallas and their police department. And pray that we each work for justice and to heal our nation.
Statement from AFSCME President Lee Saunders on the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile
“As a union that represents public service workers, including law enforcement officers, and is steeped in the history of civil rights, AFSCME has a unique perspective of the crisis roiling this country. And make no mistake: this is a crisis. Denying it is not an option.
“We must end the unacceptable violence that cut short the lives of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, while honoring the millions of officers who do a dangerous job each day with dignity and respect for all. We are better than this.”
President Lee Saunders
Coutcher Appointed Recording Secretary
July 7th, 2016
The AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Executive Board is pleased to announce the appointment of Sandra L. Coutcher as Recording Secretary.
Sandra Coutcher is a long-time member of AFSCME Local 3794 and a 32-year employee of the Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities, where she is a Skills Coach.
She first joined AFSCME in 1985 and has held a number of leadership positions including local union recording secretary, vice president, and was elected union president in 2004, a post she continues to hold. In 2008, Coutcher was elected to the Council 8 Executive Board as a Toledo Regional Vice President.
As an activist leader, she has served on the union’s negotiating, PEOPLE, political action, and scholarship committees.
In addition, Coutcher, also serves her community as a reliable volunteer. She participates in get-out-the-vote, food drives, the Northwest Ohio Labor Fest, and was a member of the Northwest Ohio AFL-CIO Executive Board from 2001 through 2015.
In 2015, she was honored with the Outstanding Community Service Award by The Arc of Ohio, which works to provide support and opportunities for children and adults with developmental & intellectual disabilities.
“The board’s unanimous vote to appoint Sandy as Recording Secretary speaks volumes of the respect she has earned as a trade unionist. Her work in the service of her union sisters and brothers, as well as in her community, make us all proud to be Council 8 members,” said AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall.
Coutcher replaces Patricia Taylor, who retired from her job with the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority. Taylor was a founding member and long-time President of AFSCME Local 3707, the union for housing authority workers.
Independence Day 2016
July 1st, 2016
On July 4, 1776, representatives of the 13 colonies voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence, declaring their independence from Great Britain. From 1776 until the present day, July 4th is celebrated as America’s birth day.
While the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back 240 years, July 4th has only been a federal holiday since 1941.
While enjoying the fireworks, parades and concerts, or just having a family gathering or barbecue, say a thank you to our union brothers and sisters who are working on July 4th. That’s because “AFSCME Never Quits” – we’re on the job every day providing the vital services our communities depend on.
And most important, let’s take a moment to honor those who serve in our armed forces, and their families, who have given so much to defend the ideals and the free institutions we often take for granted.
The dedication of our veterans and active duty personnel reminds us that preserving America’s liberties comes with a heavy cost. Today, as we celebrate our nation’s birth, let us honor their service and strive to be worthy of their sacrifices.
God bless you and our great nation. Happy Fourth of July!
Ken Haynes Elected Vice President Ohio AFSCME Council 8 Columbus Region
June 9th, 2016
AFSCME Council 8 congratulates Ken Haynes, who was elected Vice President of the Ohio AFSCME Council 8 Columbus Region. He has served as President of AFSCME Local 954, Franklin County Engineers Department, and was elected to his current post at a mini-convention held in the Columbus region.
Haynes was a dedicated member mentored by former President Jim Mattox. Ken has been employed by the County for twenty years as an auto mechanic. As an active member and eventually President of his Local, he constantly worked to accomplish Council 8s agenda to secure better salaries and working conditions for all union members.
He replaces former regional vice president AFSCME Local 2191 Columbus Health Department member James Hicks, who resigned to pursue an advanced degree.
AFSCME: World’s Greatest!
June 5th, 2016
Tomorrow the ION Network will air a segment featuring AFSCME, dubbing us the world’s greatest public sector labor union. It features footage of AFSCME members serving their communities as I talk about our proud history.
If you want to watch “World’s Greatest!…” live, visit iontelevision.com and click on the location icon to find the channel listings for your cable provider (illustrated below). The schedule for Episode 228 is here.
If you don’t have access to The ION Network, you can watch the video above.
Thank you for all that you do.
Cincinnati Unions Key to Successful Book Drive
May 24th, 2016
Cincinnati Council 8 members helped a community book drive surpass its goal of furnishing 3,000 books to the city’s elementary schools. In fact, AFSCME unions were responsible for nearly half of the 3,400 books collected during the two-week effort.
“Our goal was to place one new book in the hands of each student in kindergarten through third grade before the start of summer vacation – and we succeeded,” said Gina Pratt, president of AFSCME Local 3119, representing the city’s public health nurses. According to Pratt, summer reading is critical for every student, and especially important in helping to meet Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee.
Each book given to a student will come with corresponding activities and will encourage summer reading through incentives tied to a student’s school.
“This is our way of giving back to the community,” said Cincinnati Regional Director Renita Jones-Street. “And in the front of each book there was a label naming the union that provided the book,” she said.
Members of the six AFSCME local unions representing city members who pitched in to help.
George Q. Johnson wins the 2016 Leo E. Dugan Labor Award
May 17th, 2016
George Q. Johnson, has been serving as the AFSCME Ohio Council 8, AFL-CIO Akron Region Vice President from May 2014, to date and as a Delegate to the Tri-County Regional Labor Council AFL-CIO.
George states “when I became involved with the union I never expected to meet so many wonderful and caring people. I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to work for and be elected by, the membership of AFSCME 1360 on many different levels of our union. I am now back at the Division of Customer Service working as a Public Project Crew Leader, and loving every minute of it.”
George Q. Johnson is pictured below, accompanied by his daughters Tiffany (right) and Tia (left).
Community Action Derails City County Merger Plan
May 12th, 2016
Public officials, AFSCME Local 101 members, leaders from the Dayton NAACP and local church and community groups succeeded in a drive that stopped a proposal to merge the governments of Dayton and Montgomery County.
“This is the first time in a long time that Republicans and Democrats are on the same page. The Mayor, the City Commission, and two out of three County Commissioners are against the plan,” said Ann Sulfridge, president of AFSCME Local 101, the union representing both city and county workers.
The final blow to the merger plan was delivered by the Dayton City Commission’s recent decision to annex city-owned land in Greene County. Merging cities that cross multiple county boundaries is complicated and difficult under state law.
Dayton Mayor Ann Whaley said the city annexed the land to protect the water system and because it would impede consolidation efforts.
The merger plan put forward by the non-profit group “Dayton Together” would have consolidated the governments of Dayton and Montgomery County.
Supporters claimed a more unified local government structure can help build a stronger regional economy and save money by cutting costs and duplication of services.
However a closer look at other city/county mergers showed little long term saving and a lot of citizen discontent.
Critics also said the merger would have disenfranchised 140,000 Dayton voters and given suburban voters control over city operations. They also took exception to the behind-closed-doors way the plan was drafted.
Dayton Together has pulled its merger proposal and now plans to focus on achieving savings through shared services.
“AFSCME has always worked with the both city and the county at the bargaining table to provide efficient public services. We’ve always been open to ideas that produce real savings while maintaining the high quality of the services our members now provide,” Sulfridge said.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, center, speaks for the coalition in opposition to city county merger plan.
Pullman Strike of 1894: When Labor Day was Born
May 11th, 2016
From The Chicago Tribune, September 4, 2011 by Ron Grossman
Read the full article here.
On America’s mental calendar, Labor Day marks summer’s end with a reminder to close up beach cottages and get the kids to school. But the circumstances of its birth were bloodier. Legislation declaring the first Monday in September a national holiday was signed by President Grover Cleveland mere days before he sent the Army to violently squash the Pullman Strike of 1894.
Fourteen years earlier, George Pullman had built a self-sufficient community, south of what were then Chicago’s city limits, with factories, homes for the workers who built his famed sleeping cars and all the shops and schools its inhabitants needed. The Tribune saluted Pullman Town as “a model in its arrangements for the welfare of its citizens.”
But in 1893, with his business declining because of a depression, Pullman cut his workers’ wages — while holding them to their rents. He owned everything in town. “How long will it be before he owns you body and soul?” a labor organizer asked Pullman workers. They struck on May 11, 1894.
When railroad workers across much of the nation refused to handle Pullman’s cars, uncoupling them from trains and, in some instances, destroying them, a federal judge declared the strike an illegal interference with the mail.
In the midst of that unrest, Cleveland on June 28 established Labor Day, for which organized labor had been campaigning. With the situation in Chicago boiling over in the spring of 1894, it would have been impolitic for the Democratic president to resist the efforts of labor’s supporters in Congress.
But with railroad cars being sabotaged, Cleveland on July 3 ordered troops into Chicago. The Tribune reported: “Bayonets bristle from Grand Crossing to Harvey.” Pitched battles were fought in working-class neighborhoods until it looked like Chicago was descending into civil war. Soldiers rode on locomotives — “their mouths filled with cartridges, which protruded like steel tusks” — shooting their way through blockades. The Tribune described scenes right out of the French Revolution: “The women were hysterical and they urged the men to wipe the soldiers off the face of the earth.”
About two dozen were killed in clashes between soldiers and strikers, and the conflict’s momentum began to turn. “The shedding of blood brought the men to a realization of the folly of resisting United States authorities,” as the Tribune put it, and in August, Pullman’s factory reopened. It was a monumental setback for labor. The American Railway Union, the country’s largest union, disappeared, and with it the hope of organizing industrial workers until it was revived by the Congress of Industrial Organizations, four decades later.
But it was pyrrhic victory for Pullman. In 1898, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled a company town illegal, ordering it sold off, although the factory remained open until the 1950s.
The Pullman Strike became part of Windy City lore and labor history, but who now recalls that Labor Day, a holiday seemingly so bucolic, was born amid turmoil and bloodshed in Chicago?
Workers Memorial Day 2016
April 28th, 2016
As we observe Worker’s Memorial Day, it is important to note that according to a recently released report by the National Safety Council, workplace injuries have reached their highest level since 2008.
In 2014, the latest data available, 4,132 workers died in workplace related accidents — an increase of 6 percent over 2013. This is the first sizable increase in workplace deaths in 20 years.
Since OSHA went into effect, workplace fatalities have been cut by 62 percent and occupational injury and illness rates have declined 40 percent.
On Worker’s Memorial Day we need to remember those we have lost and renew our commitment to safety so we can save lives and reverse this trend.
Today we are up against the Tea Party radicals, fat-cat contractors, and billionaire businessmen who are working to turn back the clock on job safety by pushing state right-to-work laws.
In addition to lower pay and skimpy benefits, the rate of workplace injuries and deaths is higher in right-to-work states. How much higher? According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 36 percent higher.
Mother Jones’ said we must “mourn for the dead and fight like hell for the living.” That’s one more reason why we say “Right to Work is Wrong!”
Our fight for the living must be to stop the Ohio Legislature from passing a right-to-work law in the lame duck session on their way out the door after the November elections.
This is not just a political issue or only a union cause – it is truly a matter of life and death for every Ohio worker – and their families who will care for their injured and mourn for their dead.
Members Only Benefit: PayCheck Direct Gift Finder
April 22nd, 2016
Check out this special Members Only Benefit from PayCheck Direct! Click the picture below to visit the website and learn more.
Financial Standards Training
April 18th, 2016
Cincinnati union officers spent a sunny spring Saturday brushing up on their responsibilities as guardians of union funds under the AFSCME Financial Standards Code.
“These treasurers, trustees and officers do the most important, and often the least appreciated, work in the local union,” said AFSCME Ohio Council 8 First Vice President Harold Mitchell.
“Our union has one of the strongest financial standards codes in the labor movement, and it’s critical those who are elected to guard the unions funds receive the tools, training, and resources to do the job correctly,” he said.
The AFSCME Bill of Rights for Union Members” states that “members shall have the right to a full and clear accounting of all union funds,” which is something every AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Local union takes very seriously.
“Tax rules are always changing and it’s critical for our members to keep up with the latest developments,” said William Del-Pino, a Certified Public Accountant from AFSCME International’s Auditing Department, who was one of the main instructors.
The day-long workshop presents a comprehensive overview of the union’s financial standards code, including officer responsibilities and how to authorize and account for all union expenditures. Other issues dealt with record keeping, audits, and IRS filings.
The training also focused on tips and technology to make the job of record keeping easier and more accurate.
“As a newly appointed Executive Board member I found the training very informative and comprehensive,” said first time attendee Tyree Jackson, Executive Board member, AFSCME Local 250
The next workshop will be held in Columbus on April 30th, and May 14th in Cleveland.
April 12th, 2016
Equal Pay Day is about making sure that EVERYONE gets equal work for equal pay–regardless of gender.
Visit AFSCME.ORG to find out more.
AFSCME Strong – Keep The Pedal to the Metal
March 31st, 2016
The unexpected death of United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and the court’s deadlock 4 to 4 ruling in the “Friedrichs” case has rocked the judiciary and the political universe.
While it’s a significant victory, it changes nothing about the continuing threat we face from the state-by-state creep of right-to-work laws and an anti-union bill in the Ohio legislature. Now is not the time to take our foot off the gas pedal.
The court’s tie vote upholds current law and kicks the can down the road to a future court. This issue is far from over. And neither is the risk before us because there are several other cases moving up the judicial pipeline that are of great concern to us.
There is no clearer illustration of what’s at stake when it comes to the Supreme Court.
Blocking President Obama from exercising his constitutional duty to fill a Supreme Court vacancy is taking obstruction and political game playing to a new and dangerous level.
The next president will have the potential to shape the character of the court for the next 20 years and beyond. That’s why it is critical to elect a President who will appoint individuals who will act for the American people, and are not beholden to special interests and the 1%.
Our fight continues, but we have been given the gift of time. Let’s make the most of it. We must continue to stay AFSCME Strong because AFSCME never quits.
Click here to visit AFSCME Strong and see how you can join the fight.
MetroHealth approves new contract
March 25th, 2016
Members of AFSCME Local 3360 at Cleveland’s MetroHealth Hospital came away from the bargaining table with a strong contract that includes wage increases and breakthroughs on several long-standing issues.
Topping the list of gains are 2 percent across-the-board pay raises in each year of the three-year contract covering 1,900 bargaining unit members. In addition, the union won a long overdue increase in the shift differential for second and third shift workers, raising the sift premium from 60 to 80 cents per hour.
“And we made real progress on mandatory overtime and sick leave for employees with a contagious disease,” said AFSCME Local 3360 President Julie Albers.
According to Albers, the union was able to win employees the right to refuse mandatory overtime once a year with no discipline. “You may have tickets to a concert or be in a childcare crunch so this will be a big help. And it also holds the administration accountable to plan staffing better,” Albers said.
Sick leave policy changes now protect workers who have a contagious disease like a strep infection or pink eye from burning through their sick leave while quarantined. “Now, with a doctor’s note, they will only be charged for the first eight hours they are off, even if it takes two or three days to fully recover,” Albers said.
In addition to Albers, The negotiating committee included Melanie Salem, Robin Lagorin, Michael Lancaster, Julie Albers, Kevin Smith, Theodor Jefferson, Michelle Sigler, and Roosevelt Jamison.
(L to R) Melanie Salem, Robin Lagorin, Michael Lancaster, Julie Albers, Kevin Smith, Theodor Jefferson, Michelle Sigler, and Roosevelt Jamison.
Friday Labor Folklore: March 18
March 18th, 2016
The Force Feeding of Alice Paul
It was shocking indeed that a government of men could look with such contempt on a movement that was asking nothing except such a little thing as the right to vote.
Alice Paul, the American feminist and suffragist, led a successful campaign for women’s suffrage that resulted in the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1920. A founder of the National Woman’s Party (1916) she helped to organize picketing outside the White House demanding that President Wilson take action to secure voting rights for women.
In 1917 the picketers began to be arrested on the trumped-up charge of “obstructing traffic.” When they refused to pay the fine the arrested suffragists were taken to Occoquan Workhouse, a rat-infested prison in Virginia. There Alice Paul and her compatriot, Rose Winslow, began to stage a hunger strike.
“Paul chose hunger striking to show that she was willing to give her life for suffrage. Her own sacrifice would thus constitute a powerful form of nonviolent persuasion and pressure because no warden wanted to be responsible for the severe illness or death of this well-known leader.”
“As Paul’s hunger strike continued, she was threatened with force feeding. In response, her supporters telegrammed commissioners and the warden and secured physicians to make statements for the press about the dangers of a hard tube being forced down the throat to shove food into the stomach. Although protests appeared in newspapers, the threats of force-feeding turned into reality.”
“Yesterday was a bad day for me,” reported Rose Winslow in a letter smuggled out of jail by friends. “I was vomiting continuously during the process. The tube had developed an irritation somewhere that was painful. Don’t let them tell you we take this well. Miss Paul vomits much, I do too. It’s the nervous reaction, and I can’t control it much. We think of the coming feeding all day. It is horrible.”
Fourteen other imprisoned women – at Occoquan Workhouse and at the District Jail – began their own hunger strikes. “Dr. Gannon then forced the tube through my lips and down my throat, I gasping and suffocating with the agony of it,” one woman wrote. “I didn’t know where to breathe from and everything turned black when the liquid began pouring in.”
Alice Paul was subjected to force feedings three times a day. Despite her poor health and deteriorating condition she refused to stop her hunger strike. After three weeks prison authorities transferred her to the psychiatric ward.Edited from Alice Paul and the American Suffrage Campaignby Katherine H. Adams and Michael L. Keene, Univ. of Ill. Press, 2008.
‘Fighting for Racial and Economic Justice’ Committee Holds First Meeting
March 18th, 2016
The Committee on Racism and Economic Justice created by delegates to Ohio Council 8’s 21st Biennial Convention held its first meeting in Columbus to begin setting goals and defining AFSCME Ohio Council 8’s role in confronting racism and promoting economic justice.
The unanimously approved resolution was inspired “by the realization that America is in a moment of real change and labor needs to be a part of it,” said Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall.
“These individuals are ready to get down to work and make this an activist committee that’s going to be a powerful voice for our union,” he said.
AFSCME International facilitators Tiska Pasipanodya and P.J. Dowsing-Buie, along with AFSCME Ohio Area Field Services Director Boyd McCamish, led a discussion that enabled committee members to share their common ground and explore their individual perspectives.
According to Lyall, the committee will join with the national and Ohio AFL-CIO, and partner with movements like Black Lives Matter, The Fight for $15, and other groups and community allies “in a determined effort to tackle racial and economic injustice wherever we find it – at work or in our communities,” Lyall said.
AFSCME Ohio Area Field Services Director Boyd McCamish leads a discussion on recognizing “dog whistle” politics.
Folklore Friday: Women’s History Month
March 4th, 2016
Rosaura Revueltas in Salt of the Earth (1954)
Everybody knows this infamous line from the movie ‘On the Waterfront’ – a propaganda movie about corrupt union bosses that Hollywood gladly made. But not too many folks know about ‘Salt of the Earth’ – a movie whose makers were blacklisted and terrorized by the U.S. government, major Hollywood studios, and other criminals. You thought Michael Moore had it bad having to deal with death threats? Nothing taken away from Moore’s efforts, but the makers of this simple movie were terrorized far worse. Click here to watch the video.
National Women’s Hall of Fame Honors
(United Farm Workers, AFL-CIO)
Ohio Council 8 Child Care Unions Still Serve Members
February 29th, 2016
Even stripped of their collective bargaining rights under Ohio law by Gov. John Kasich, AFSCME Local 4025 Child Care Providers Together members continue to meet and support their union.
At their recent monthly membership meeting in Columbus, the union provided training to help providers advance in the state’s “Step Up To Quality” program.
While the union is no longer able to collectively bargain for Ohio’s independent child care providers, “our members still have a voice with representatives on the state’s Childhood Development and the Early Childhood Development committees,” said AFSCME Local 4025 President Asyia Haile.
“Many of us still support the union because even without our bargaining rights, its still the best place to get the latest information and training,” added 24-year child care provider Tammy Garham.
It was nearly a year ago that Gov. John Kasich erased the right of independent in-home child-care workers to collectively bargain with the state. AFSCME Ohio Council 8 had represented independent child care providers for more than seven years.
AFSCME Local 4025 represents child care providers in more than 15 central Ohio counties.
Child care providers Jennifer Bump, left, and Tammy Graham from Mt. Giliad, Ohio, increase their skills as they time each other while experiencing the difficulty a handicapped child has buttoning and unbuttoning a shirt.
Members Only Benefit: AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Grace Davis and William Fogle Scholarships Now Available
February 23rd, 2016
Application Deadline for the two $2,500 scholarships is Monday, May 2, 2016
The AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Executive Board is pleased to announce that applications for the 2016 AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Scholarships are now available.
This years scholarships are named in honor of AFSCME Ohio Council 8 leaders Grace Davis of Cincinnati and William Fogle of Toledo.
Grace Davis began her career as a public employee in 1967, when she was hired by the City of Cincinnati as a Licensed Practical Nurse. As an LPN, she worked in various city departments including school health clinics.
In 1972, Davis joined AFSCME Local 1543, the local union representing the citys clerical and technical employees, and was elected president in 1985. That same year she was also elected as a Cincinnati Regional Vice President, and served on the AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Executive Board until 1993.
In addition, from 1988 until 1993, she served on the AFSCME Ohio Care Plan Board of Trustees.
After retiring from the City of Cincinnati in 1993, she became the AFSCME Ohio Care Plans Cincinnati Office Manager in 1994, a job she held until retiring in 2007.
Davis passed away on January 7, 2014 at 79 years of age.
William Bill Fogle started his more than 50-year career in the labor movement in 1956.
As a young man Bill started as a construction worker and then landed a job in a shoe factory. Becoming a member of the factorys union sparked his life-long passion for improving the lives of workers and their families.
Fogle went to work for AFSCME in 1969 as an International Union Representative serving various locals throughout the state. With the unification of Ohios district councils into Ohio Council 8 in 1978, he worked for Ohio Council 8’s Toledo region from 1978 through 2009.
Fogle was a seasoned negotiator, and a skilled member advocate in arbitration and grievance cases. In addition, he excelled as CDL and Health and Safety Trainer.
Fogle passed away December 21, 2012 at the age 74.
Each year Ohio Council 8 provides a mens and womens scholarship for a son and a daughter of an AFSCME Ohio Council 8 member. To be eligible for the four-year grants of $2,500 per year, an applicant must be a high school senior graduating in 2016, and be accepted at a four-year accredited college or university as a full-time student.
Parents must complete the verification of union membership, and be a member in good standing for at least one year prior to May 2, 2016. Students must fill out the official scholarship application form, provide the requested high school academic records, and compose two essays, each between 350 and 500 words in length. One on What AFSCME Means To My Family, and the second, on their reasons for pursuing a college education.
AFSCME Ohio Council 8 First Vice President Harold Mitchell, chairman of the scholarship committee said, We strongly encourage every eligible student to apply for these scholarships.
Mitchell stressed that all applications must be postmarked no later than Monday, May 2, 2016. In addition, it is suggested that applicants place their name on each page of their essays, and to ensure verified delivery to AFSCME Ohio Council 8, mail the application with a return receipt request.
The AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Scholarship Program was created in 1982. In addition to Mitchell, the Scholarship Committee includes Cleveland Regional Vice President Julie Albers, Council 8 Trustee Kimberly Gaines, and Council 8 Secretary Treasurer Patricia Taylor.
Friday Labor Folklore
February 19th, 2016
Featuring content from the ‘Friday Labor Folklore’ weekly email.
Novelist, playwright, social critic
“History does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us and are unconsciously controlled by it.”
Those who have no record of what their forebearshave accomplished lose the inspiration which comesfrom the teaching of biography and history.— Carter G. WoodsonFather of Black History Month
by Lynn Nottage author of Sweat
Bill Lucy recalls
the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike
Ohio Council 8 member saves life
February 17th, 2016
Tuesday, February 16th stared out as a normal day for AFSCME Local 2678 member Ray Barnhardt, a 15-year member of the campus police force at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) in Cleveland Ohio. Little did he know he would be called on to save a student’s life before the morning was over.
According to union President John P. Buettner, at around 10:30 that morning Officer Barnhardt was on Tri-C’s western campus when an out of breath student approached him saying “‘I need your help right now – a woman is going to jump,’ and the two took off running,” he said.
They raced to the main campus building which has a large, common area where they saw a woman on the second-story balcony surrounding room. She was on the outside of the railing holding on with one hand.
Barnhardt dashed up the stairs arriving just as the woman let go. Fortunately, he was quick enough to grab her and pull her to back safety.
“Had it not been for the intervention of Officer Barnhardt, she would surly have died. My co-worker got to her at the very last second as she let go, saving her life,” said Buettner, a long-time leader of the 160- member bargaining unit for offices and blue-collar college employees.
According to Buettner, a similar incident at the same location four years ago led the death of a student.
Each year Cuyahoga Community College’s 12 locations serve more than 55,000 credit and non-credit students. Tri-C opened in 1963 as Ohio’s first community college, and today, remains Ohio’s oldest and largest public community college.
AFSCME Volunteers Help Rehab Center
February 11th, 2016
Mansfield city workers represented by AFSCME Local 3088 helped make last weekend’s telethon in support of the Rehab Center, which provides behavioral health services drug and alcohol treatment services in Richland County, a huge success.
The “The Rehab Telethon”, which stared in 1992, marked it’s 25th anniversary by raising $110,351 which will go toward filling in the gaps in the center’s programs, which also include service for children and adolescents.
“It’s great we all came together to help make life better for those utilizing rehab services – and that makes Mansfield a better community, too.” said Mapes, who is union president has worked 23 years for the city
The Rehab Center, which has been in existence since the mid-1950s originally focused on vocational rehabilitation.
It takes more than 300 people to put on the telethon, including behind the scenes volunteers and those on the phone banks.
Using money raised from the telethon, the center has been able to make up for cuts in state funding. The proceeds from the event account for about 5 percent of the agency’s overall budget.
AFSCME Local 3640 Negotiates Raise for Toledo Zoo Employees
February 5th, 2016
Employees of the Toledo Zoo started out 2016 with a raise after AFSCME Local 3640’s negotiating committee won an across-the-board 2 percent wage increase in each year of the there-year contract.
“And our members have the opportunity gain another increase as a performance bonus,” said David Ross, president of the 80-member local union.
Based on the zoo’s revenue, Local 3640 members have the potential for an additional across-the-board 4 percent bonus. “That would be on top of the 2 percent base increase, so we have the potential of a 6 percent increases each year,” Ross said.
The bonus could be well within reach if the zoo’s popularity continues to climb. The zoo attracted more than 1.3 million visitors in 2015, breaking the previous record established in 1988, when the zoo exhibited giant pandas on loan from China.
The record marks the sixth time in the zoo’s 115-year history that attendance has exceeded a million visitors. By comparison, nearby amusement park Cedar Point in Sandusky usually has more than 3 million visitors a year.
In addition to President David Ross, the AFSCME Local 3640 negotiating committee included Treasurer Virgil Baird, Vice President Teri Waller, and Kristen Farley. The committee was lead by Ohio Council 8 Staff Representative Dawn Baily.
The Local 3640 negotiating committee, right to left, Treasurer Virgil Baird, Kristen Farley Vice President Teri Waller, and President David Ross.
Strong push-back by labor caused the Ohio House Insurance Committee to slow down action House Bill 394 – the Unemployment Compensation benefits reduction bill.
January 29th, 2016
A plan to restore solvency to the Unemployment Compensation system is needed. But House Bill 394 would fix the system entirely on the backs of workers.
HB 394 will not only dramatically reduce benefits; it will make it harder to get them in the first place. At 12 weeks of coverage, the plan cuts Ohio’s benefit weeks to some of the lowest levels in the nation.
“While putting the brakes on HB 394 is a real victory, it will take more action to stop it in its tracks,” said Ohio Council 8 Political and Legislative Director Robert Davis.
“If you are a victim of a lay-off or plant closing, it is virtually impossible to find a job with comparable pay and benefits in just three months. HB 397 will force people to take the first minimum wage, no benefit job they can find – and that drives wages down for everyone,” Davis said.
Call this toll free number: 1-844-213-8172 where you will be connected directly to your state legislator.
Tell them you OPPOSE HB 394 because it’s an unbalanced plan that would fix the system entirely on the backs of workers. Cutting benefits and eligibility in not the way to build and economy that works for all Ohioans.
You can also participate by sending your representative a letter opposing HB 394: Click here
Download this flier to share with your co-workers: Click here.
Eastern Gateway Community College
January 27th, 2016
Union membership is vital to Ohio Council 8’s ability to negotiate fair contracts with job security, good wages and benefits. And signing a membership card also enables the union to offer members-only benefits that can enhance the quality of life for you and your loved ones.
That’s why we have developed a partnership with Eastern Gateway Community College enabling our members and their families to earn an associate degree at no cost and on their own schedule.
Briefly, Eastern Gateway Community College is fully accredited by the state of Ohio and the credits are transferable to four-year institutions. The program is open to Ohio Council 8 members – as well as a retiree, spouse, child, step-child, grandchild, step-grandchild, or parent.
Through the union’s partnership with Eastern Gateway Community College, “Council 8 members and their families can attended classes or earn a degree debt-free,” said Ohio Council 8 First Vice President Harold Mitchell, chairman of the scholarship committee. “And the on-line, self-paced courses are designed to fit into your family’s 24/7 life.”
AFSCME ADVANTAGE Scholarship Deadline Approaching
January 14th, 2016
Time is running out for Ohio Council 8 members to apply for AFSCME/Union Plus scholarships. Ranging from $500 to $4,000 the grants are available for union members and their children. But act fact, the 2016 Union Plus Scholarship application deadline is Sunday, January 31, 2016. You can apply on-line using this link. (You do not have to apply for a Union Plus credit to apply)
How does the Union Plus Scholarship Program work?Evaluation criteria:
This is a competitive scholarship. Applicants are evaluated according to academic ability, social awareness, financial need and appreciation of labor. A GPA of 3.0 or higher is recommended.
The required essays can account for up to half your total score.
Scholarship applicants are judged by a committee of impartial post-secondary educators.
Applications are available starting in mid-June, and a complete application must be received on or before 12:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) on January 31, 2016. Applications received after this deadline will not be considered.
Scholarship Award Amounts:
Amounts range from $500 to $4,000. These one-time cash awards are for study beginning in the Fall of 2015. Students may re-apply each year.
The Scholarship Committee will determine recipients of scholarship awards by May 31 each year.
AFSCME Never Quits
January 12th, 2016
Something important happened inside the Supreme Court yesterday. But first, I want to talk about what happened outside.
Stephen Mittons, a child protective investigator, spoke to the crowd about how his union advocates for the resources he needs to keep Chicago’s most vulnerable children safe.
Dovard Howard, who makes sure his Southern California community has clean, safe drinking water, talked about his pride in protecting children’s health and in being a member of AFSCME Local 1902.
Watch the video!
As Stephen, Dovard, and dozens of other public employees were speaking on the steps of the Court about the vital role their unions play in helping them serve their communities, inside the nine justices were hearing arguments in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association.
You’ve probably heard about Friedrichs, but let me give you the quick background on the case. A group of plaintiffs, led by a group called the Center for Individual Rights, is hoping to silence the voices of millions of public service workers who seek to bargain for better pay, health and retirement benefits and job protections through their union.
Even though no one is forced to join a union, and union fees cannot be used on political activities, the Center for Individual Rights is targeting “fair share fees,” the fees that nonunion members pay to cover the cost of providing the benefits they still receive.
Listen, I don’t want to sugarcoat this. A lot is at stake here: the very work we do, the benefits we receive and the protections we rely upon. As I write this, right-wing activists are working on a campaign to convince union members to drop their union if we lose this case.
But I’m optimistic for one reason.
Even if the Supreme Court tries to divide us, AFSCME members will stick together because we know the value of coming together and bargaining for better pay and a safer workplace. You never quit on your communities, and your union will never quit fighting to defend and protect the critical jobs we do every single day.
You and I know rich and powerful people want to weaken our union. That’s why, no matter what the Supreme Court decides, we must continue to fight together.
Volunteer to talk with your co-workers about what’s at stake for our union and why standing together is so important.
Stephen and Dovard set an amazing example outside the Court yesterday just as you do in your communities every day. Join them in standing up for our right to a voice and power in the workplace and at the bargaining table. And together, we will always be strong.
Ohio HB 394 Set to Slash Unemployment Benefits
January 11th, 2016
On January 19, the Ohio House will begin hearings on HB 394, proposed legislation that would slash benefits for the unemployed.
Ohio AFL-CIO president Tim Burga described the toll this bill would take on working families:
“The unemployment compensation reform legislation introduced today is an incredibly imbalanced approach toward solvency. It unfairly puts the burden of reform on the backs of the unemployed while employers will pay less overall. The bill foolishly goes after the benefits of working people and does not represent sacrifice by all parties involved.
“The bill completely misdiagnoses the solvency problem by cutting needed benefits when it is very clear that the real problem with Ohio’s unemployment compensation fund is that employers have been paying way too little into the system for far too long.
“It is also very clear that the authors of this bill did not give any consideration to the working people of Ohio who will be disproportionately hurt by this lopsided bill. I urge the legislature to go back to the drawing board and do what’s right by all Ohioans, workers and employers alike.
The bill, which was introduced by Rep. Barbara Sears, (R-Toledo), is likely to pass the Ohio House this month following the hearings. Here is what it would do:
Cuts in Unemployment Benefits
In total, this bill would reduce unemployment benefits by an estimated average of $465 million each year, beginning in 2018 and running through 2025. This would include fewer weeks of benefits, mandatory drug testing, and reduced eligibility. Lastly, there would be no additional benefits for dependents.
Tax breaks for employers
If passed, this bill would cut the contribution rates for most new employers. In addition, by cutting benefits, it would mean employers would have to pay fewer taxes.
You can read more about HB 394 here.
Stephanie Wiley, AFSCME
January 8th, 2016
My name is Stephanie and I’m a child care attendant in Ohio. I wake each day before the sun comes up to help children with special needs ride the bus to school.
I’ve been doing my job for 25 years and I do it because I care about my community. I’m not alone. Across the country, millions of public service workers like me — teachers, corrections officers, nurses — are keeping our communities safe, healthy, and running smoothly each day.
But corporate CEOs and wealthy special interests who manipulate the economic rules in their favor are trying to make it even harder for working people like us to come together, speak up, and get ahead.
They’ve pushed a case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, called Friedrichs v California Teachers Association, that could make it harder for us to serve our communities.
This week I traveled to Washington, DC, with workers from across the country to deliver an important message to the group backing the case that could silence workers’ voices.
We delivered a petition signed by more than 100,000 people nationwide to the Center for Individual Rights, the group behind the case. Our message in that petition: Enough is enough! Stop the attacks on working people.
I made a short video explaining what this is all about: We don’t want our voices silenced. We’re not giving up on the communities we serve. Please take a look.
I’m concerned about what would happen if the special interests have their way in Friedrichs. I’m afraid of losing my voice on the job. I’m worried about the consequences for our communities, the students we serve, and our families. But I’ll never quit. And neither should you.
In Touch with Ohio Council 8
December 30th, 2015
As author Melody Beattie said, “The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written.”The chapter we write in 2016 will define both Ohio’s and the nation’s political landscape for years to come.
Here’s what is on the horizon:
A right-to-work case that has worked it’s way to the U.S. Supreme court is set to overturn 40-years of settled law to create a national right-to-work law.
A worrying, silly, yet savage presidential campaign where candidates are seriously calling into question America’s core values.
The fight to take back local control of Ohio’s public schools hi-jacking in the legislature which enabled the take-over of Youngstown’s city school system
And last, but not least, a homegrown right-to-work bill in the Ohio Legislature set to back-door Ohio’s labor movement in the last hours of a lame-duck legislature.
These challenges are serious, but AFSCME has a plan – AFSCME Strong – that is already in action, and we are not without friends.
But the best plan and the staunchest allies can’t win the battle for us – that is up to each AFSCME Ohio Council 8 member.
Our new year’s resolution must be to remain engaged and mobilized in our workplace and in our communities.
Despite tremendous odds, our unity and solidarity continue to win the fight for working families everyday. We had a good local election cycle where we elected friends in Toledo, Dayton, and Columbus. We’ve passed many vital funding issues across the state, and we’re now seeing more 2,2 and 3 percent contract settlements.
On behalf of Ohio Council 8’s officers, board members and staff – we wish you and your families all a happy and prosperous new year.
Identity Theft Defense Available From Your Union
December 23rd, 2015
The holiday shopping, and returning, season is in full swing, and identity theft is also booming.
A discarded receipt, a birthday listed on social media, or stolen mail with a social security number, can allow thieves to make unauthorized charges on your accounts and apply for credit in your name – or your even in a child’s name.
Prevention is the best defense. You can avoid trouble by using strong passwords, not sharing personal information on-line, avoiding unsecured “free” Wi-Fi in stores and coffee shops, and shredding documents and receipts to be put in the trash.
However, if you are hit by identify thieves you will likely need legal help. If your local union negotiated legal benefits through the AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Legal Plan as part of your union contract, assistance is just a phone call away.
The legal plan is a fully employer-funded negotiated benefit your union won at the bargaining table.
The Ohio Council 8 Legal Plan Identity Theft Defense service provides participants with consultations with a local attorney regarding potential creditor actions resulting from identity theft and attorney services as needed to contact creditors, credit bureaus and financial institutions.
It also provides defense services for specific creditor actions over disputed accounts. The defense services include limiting creditor harassment and representation in defense of any action that arises out of the identity theft such as foreclosure, repossession or garnishment, up to and including trial if necessary.
The service also provides the Participant with online help and information about identity theft and prevention.
The AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Legal Plan covers a full range of services including real estate matters, wills, estate planning, family law, and document preparation.
To find out if you are covered, ask your union staff representative. If your local union is preparing for negotiations, request legal plan coverage be on the list of contract demands.
Click here for more info.
TPM’s Deep, Deep Dive into the Economics of Inequality
December 11th, 2015
Understanding the growth of economic inequality in the United States is both simple and complex. The simple part, which is also the most important part, is that by virtually all the relevant metrics, types of income, and data sets, inequality has significantly increased since the 1970s. The complex part is that to understand this increasing trend in some depth, one needs to undertake some degree of immersion in all those different metrics, data sets, and income types. That means we’ll need to look at the growth of inequality by wages, incomes, and wealth; we’ll have to understand the strengths and limitations of the various data sets.
Though not all readers will share the same tolerance for digging around in the data weeds, the exposition can be relatively quick and painless, with lots of nice pictures. When you’re trying to understand the evolution of a big, important phenomenon like inequality, think of yourself as a navigator getting a fix on her position by looking at various points in the firmament, which in this branch of economics means surveys and tax records on incomes, wages, and wealth. Since no one survey is definitive, we must fix our position by looking at all of them.
Fortunately, at least in an analytic sense, when it comes to inequality, all the surveys point in the same direction: toward greater economic distance between people and households in their economic outcomes. Though there may be some economists and policy makers who deny that inequality has increased—you can always find (or pay) someone to take the other side of any position in economics—as a very active participant in this debate, I can tell you that we don’t hear much from them. It’s easier to find a denier of global warming than of rising inequality.
Of course, there is a robust debate as to the causes of inequality, whether it matters, and what, if anything, should be done about it. In fact, as we’ve largely agreed on the trends, these, in my view, are the compelling questions regarding inequality in America.
But one must eat one’s spinach before dessert, so let’s turn first to a rigorous look at the evidence and then discuss what it all means.
To read the rest of the article, click here.
NAACP opposes city-county merger
December 7th, 2015
By Josh Sweigert
Read the article from the Dayton Daily News in its entirety here.
Officials from the Dayton Unit NAACP and local church groups launched a petition drive Saturday in opposition to the proposal to merge the governments of Dayton and Montgomery County.
“This merger will disenfranchise Dayton’s 140,000 residents who will be pushed into a larger voting block,” said Dayton NAACP President Derrick Foward, flanked by community leaders at an event Saturday.
After the event the group fanned out to the Dayton African American Cultural Festival and planned to circulate the petition at area churches “so we can send a powerful message to the Dayton Together initiative,” Foward said.
Dayton Together is a non-profit group that is drafting a proposal to merge the governments of Dayton and Montgomery County. A draft city-county charter is expected in December, and may go to voters in the November 2016 election.
Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley, one of the backers of the initiative, said Saturday the group hopes to start holding public input sessions in September to hear the community’s thoughts and concerns and take them into account when drafting the plan.
“This is a big idea,” he said. “We’re hoping by the time we get done writing this thing we’re going to take the concerns that people have and try to make it stronger.”
He touted the proposal’s purported merits: “We think a more unified local government structure can help us have a stronger local economy, we think it can help us get some costs down so we can invest in the community without raising taxes and we think it will help us address some long-term issues like poverty.”
But the petition makes clear the opponents’ concerns: giving voters outside of Dayton control over city operations, decreasing the power of the minority community, spreading city services thin and threatening the city’s water resources.
The Rev. P.E. Henderson of the Corinthian Baptist Church called it a “civil rights issue.” He noted there is only one black countywide elected official: Recorder Willis Blackshear. By contrast, three of the five sitting city commissioners are black.
Demographically, Dayton is 43 percent black, while the county is 21 percent black, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Plus those at the petition kickoff Saturday complained that Dayton Together is drafting its plan behind closed doors.
“This is an initiative that simply allows the county to take over the city,” said Stacey Benson-Taylor, Dayton NAACP executive committee member.
Of primary concern to the people there was that the interests of Dayton voters would be swallowed up by county voters who see as much benefit in investment going to Miller Lane or Austin Landing as to Dayton.
“Why would every city and township in Montgomery County be permitted to vote on the future of Dayton, Ohio?” said William B. Schooler, president of the Dayton Baptist Pastors and Ministers Union.
Benson-Taylor said she hopes the petition will help educate the public about what is at stake in such a merger, though Foward expressed doubt that any merger proposal would pass muster.
“I don’t think any kind of regionalism makes sense at this point in time,” he said.
AFSCME Represented at “Right to Work” Hearing
December 2nd, 2015
Gov. John Kasich is off campaigning in New Hampshire bragging that under his leadership “Ohio has become a top-ten state for job creation” and “Wages are growing faster than the national average.”
Meanwhile back in Columbus, fellow Republican State Rep. Tom Brinkman is pushing a private sector right-to-work bill. He says Ohio’s weak economy needs to spark job growth so “we can compete with Michigan and Indiana.
Mike Ross, President of City of Heath AFSCME Local 3439 (right) and his wife, came to the packed hearing room to show their disapproval of a private sector right-to-work law introduced in the Ohio Legislature.
“While this is aimed at the private sector, that affects all of us,” said Ross, who works for Heath’s wastewater treatment plant.
Ross said that trying to sell right-to-work as a job creator has been shown not to be the case. And the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute agrees with Ross.
Just last year, the institute published a study which found that claim false, and that “the simple reality is that RTW laws undermine the resources that help workers bargain for better wages and benefits.”
The Ross’s joined more than 100 fellow unionists that filled the hearing room and two additional overflow rooms while the bill’s sponsor, Republican State Rep. Tom Brinkman, was peppered by Democratic committee members about RTW’s negative impact on job safety, wages, and job security.
AFSCME Council 8 President John A. Lyall speaks to undergraduates at Ohio University
November 28th, 2015
AFSCME Council 8 President John A. Lyall, standing, and Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga were guest lecturers at an undergraduate course focused on organized labor offered at Ohio University.
The for-credit course is an outgrowth of recent organizing activities and was promoted by the faculty and student organizations. Currently, Ohio Council 8 is working with the Resident Advisors seeking to form a union for the individuals who play a vital role in the success of Ohio University’s on-campus life experience.
OU’s resident advisors approached AFSCME as a natural fit because the university’s blue collar service and maintenance workers are represented by AFSCME Local 1699
“We’re talking about labor’s history, but also showing how that heritage holds the solutions to the same questions workers have always faced – including today’s workers. Will I have a job, will the pay be fair, will it be safe, will I be treated with respect? On a level playing field labor wins on these issues,” Lyall said.
Currently, the organizing committee committed to continuing our organizing effort..
Council 8 Wins Member’s Job Back with Full Back Pay
November 23rd, 2015
AFSCME Local 3313 members at the Scioto County Regional Water District were recently reminded how important the binding arbitration rights guaranteed by their Ohio Council 8 union contract are when a member was returned to his job with full back pay after being unjustly fired.
A six-year employee with no previous discipline problems, Wesley Baker was fired after management determined he violated work rules regarding fighting in the workplace.
“This whole case was built on smoke, mirrors and guess work,” said Staff Representative Gary Arnold, who presented the case. “In the first place, Wes was not the aggressor – he was the one who was pushed. Add in the fact that the alleged conduct he was disciplined for supposedly happened after hours and not on the employers property, so the case fell apart,” he said.
After the parking lot incident where Baker was shoved by another employee, he left the area and called the Sheriff’s dispatcher. A Deputy was on his way and Baker was directed to return to the parking lot.
When he did so, management supposed that Baker had returned to follow the other employee home and continue the fight there. This reasoning snowballed into a workplace violence charge and that resulted in Baker’s termination.
In his decision, the arbitrator agreed management failed on all counts and ordered Baker back to work with full back pay, seniority, vacation, and all other benefits accrued over the four months he was unemployed.
According to Arnold, prior to the argument, the two individuals had no animosity toward each other. “This whole thing was blown out of proportion and Baker was made the scapegoat. Without the union this would have turned out a whole different way,” Arnold said. “And no legal charges were ever filed,” he added.
Sidney City Council
November 13th, 2015
After a year of fruitless negotiation with the City of Sidney and four years without a pay rise, frustrated AFSCME Local 2429 members, their families and supporters took their case to a recent city council meeting.
“All we want is to treated like other city workers who have all had raises,” said Ohio Council 8 Regional Director Marcia Knox, who is leading the negotiating committee.
“They have all had raises that ranged from 1 to 3 percent per year. But our members have been skipped over while the administration has reached agreements with the other city employees. And that is not fair,” Knox said.
The union went to fact finding and the hearing officer agreed with the union that the AFSCME bargaining unit was being treated differently on wages.
The fact-finder’s report called for a 2 percent increase and keeping the fair share fee. However, City Council rejected the fact-finding report in May.
After returning to the bargaining table, the city put forth a last-best offer that included a 1 percent pay raise for 2015. However it would have taken effect when the contract was signed and last only till the end of the year – approximately four months.
Local 2429 members representing the city’s service, maintenance and clerical departments overwhelmingly voted to reject the administration’s offer.
Knox said we have shown our willingness to reach an agreement and sent the administration a list of dates to resume talks.
“We were here tonight to let city council see the faces of the people who work for the city. These are the people who put up the Christmas decorations downtown. And they will be the ones who will plow the snow off the streets. They deserve the city’s respect, not a lump of coal,” Knox said.
The union stands ready to reach a good-faith resolution and will not give up, union members said.
Convention Delegates Elect Officers
November 1st, 2015
Blending fresh ideas with seasoned leadership, delegates to AFSCME Ohio Council 8’s 21st Biennial Convention in Cincinnati set an action organizing and mobilizing agenda, and elected officers, including six new board members.
President John A. Lyall and First Vice President Harold Mitchell were re-elected by acclamation, along with Patricia Taylor, who was unanimously elected to her first full term as Recording Secretary. Akron Regional Vice President Eddie Lawson was elected AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Secretary-Treasurer.
Lawson has served on the Ohio Council 8 Executive Board as an Akron Regional Vice President since 2005, and for the past 12 years, he has served as vice president of the Tri-County Regional Labor Council. He is president of AFSCME Local 265, which represents nearly 300 members employed by the City of Barberton, Barberton City Schools, City of Norton, Medina Housing Authority, and Wadsworth Wastewater Treatment plant operators.
Other new board members include Athens Regional Vice President Dave E. Logan, president of AFSCME Local 1699 Ohio University, At-Large Vice President Traci R. Poellnitz, representing Council 8 Child Care Providers, Akron Regional Vice President Erik Sharp, of AFSCME Local 684 Akron City Hospital, and Columbus Regional Vice President Woodrow “Chip” Moore, president of AFSCME Local 1632 Columbus City Employees.
In addition, AFSCME Local 7 Toledo City Employees President Donald C. Czerniak and AFSCME Local 684 Akron City Hospital member Eric Sharp were elected as Trustees.
Follow this link for biographies and a complete list of AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Executive Board members: www.afscmecouncil8.org/your-leaders/
Ohio AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Petee Talley swears in Ohio Council 8’s new and re-elected board members.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley
October 15th, 2015
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley was one of the key note speakers on Saturday. She was recognized and received a standing ovation for being the first mayor in the state to pass a policy enabling city workers to receive paid maternity leave, which was subsequently passed in Cincinnati. Mayor Whaley went on to thank AFSCME workers for the work we do for the city of Dayton, “I appreciate those of you who are on the front lines every single day, delivering vital public services. As mayor I rely on the men and women who are out there every day fixing the pot holes, picking up the trash, keeping our neighborhoods safe, responding to emergencies, and clearing the snow from our streets. What you do improves the quality of life for the communities that you serve. I’m here today to say, thank you.”
She went on to stress how her personal roots shape her politics and values, “It’s important to remember what we value and where we came from. Much of who I am, and what I believe, as an elected official, I owe to lessons I learned from my parents. When I graduated college, and I was celebrating my accomplishments with my family, my father said to me, ‘it’s wonderful what you’ve done, but never forget that all we have and everything we achieve would not be possible without the sacrifices of the men and women of organized labor.’”
Mayor Whaley was one of three key staff leaders leading the “We Are Ohio” campaign to defeat Senate Bill 5. Mayor Whaley continues to be a strong leader in the fight for a more fair and equitable society. More than one AFSCME Council 8 member called on Mayor Whaley to consider running for a state-wide office sometime in the future.
Saunders Rocks the House!
October 15th, 2015
Council 8 President John Lyall introduced AFSCME International President Lee Saunders to our state convention highlighting how Saunders “effectively brought together a divided international executive board during one of the labor movements most challenging moments. He’s a labor leader that brings people together.”
President Saunders began his speech by highlighting Council 8 working class fighting spirit. “When extremists tried to privatize your pension system in Cincinnati, we didn’t run away from that fight did we? We didn’t bury our heads in the sand. We stood up like champs, because we always stand up. We volunteered; we coordinated a coalition in this city and because of that activity, because of that commitment. We won!”
The speech also touched on the importance of AFSCME getting back to the basics through the AFSCME Strong Program. “We need to start talking with our members and non members, looking them dead in the eye. Not calling them on the phone, not texting them, but talking to them in the work site, listening to them, knocking on doors and asking them to be active, asking them to be engaged in their union.” Saunders ended his speech with a call for collective action. “We have the ability to stand up, and be counted. We have the ability to right the wrong in this country today. We don’t just owe it to our children to take on this fight, when we fight together and come together in solidarity, when we stand up, and make our voices heard. When we fight, we win.”
AFL-CIO President Tim Burga
October 15th, 2015
AFL-CIO President Tim Burga joined Council 8 for our state convention. He made a speech thanking AFSCME Council 8 for the work we do to support working families. Tim Burga highlighted the growing support of unionism among the broader public, particularly among workers under 30 years old.
President Burga reminded the audience that organized labor continues to be a force to be reckoned with when it comes to issues of public policy. “When we come together sisters and brothers, like we did with Senate Bill 5 and Issue 2, we’re the most powerful force in the state of Ohio and let’s never forget that”.
21st Biennial Convention Day One: Remarks by President Lyall
October 9th, 2015
AFSCME Council 8 members kicked off the first day of the 21st Biennial Convention with greetings from Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune, Cincinnati CLC Executive Secretary-Treasurer Peter McLinden. President Lyall departed from the usual convention topics for a sobering assessment of the challenges facing our union, and to pay tribute to AFSCME Council 8 leader Bob Brindza who recently passed away.
President Lyall noted that Brindza was largely responsible for transforming our union into one of the most powerful unions in the state. Bob Brindza led the Council 8 from 1978 to 1991. He inspired our membership to be more than just dues payers, and instead prioritized mobilizing our membership to be active in both civic and political life. President Lyall emphasized that Bob knew that an active membership was the only way to guarantee the continued growth and success of the union. “It’s our responsibility to continue his generation’s vision and legacy, and carry it into the future.”
President Lyall also highlighted progress we’ve made towards the goals delegates identified during our convention two years ago. We’ve gained 400 new members and elected pro-worker mayors in Toledo, Cuyahoga Falls and Dayton. AFSCME Council 8 also fended off an attack by the Tea Party to privatize the Cincinnati Retirement System. “We fought back at the ballot box and won a resounding victory for public sector workers by a 78% to 22% margin.”
One of the largest roars of approval during President Lyall’s speech focused on Governor Kasich’s attempts to strip collective bargaining rights and local control from school districts in financial distress. “If we don’t stop this in the court, we will take it to the streets and raise more hell than we did with SB5!”
The 21st Biennial AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Convention is Underway!
October 8th, 2015
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.”
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
September 21st, 2015
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.
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
September 18th, 2015
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.
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
September 16th, 2015
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
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
September 4th, 2015
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
September 1st, 2015
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
August 22nd, 2015
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.
AFSCME Council 8 President John Lyall (center) with AFSCME Members.
AFSCME Local 250, including Local President Maurice Brown (center).
Union Provides Back-to-School Help
August 10th, 2015
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.
AFSCME Local 2429 Holds Informational Picket
July 23rd, 2015
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.
2015 Scholarships Awarded to Irvine and Sabeh-Ayoun
July 14th, 2015
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 Engineers 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 mens 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 familys 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 unions 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 Countys 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.
Budget passed by the Legislature fails to meet Ohio’s needs.
July 7th, 2015
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
July 1st, 2015
Four 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.
AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders Statement on the King v. Burwell Decision
June 25th, 2015
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
June 24th, 2015
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.
Union Dad: Economic Justice and a Rich Family Spirit
June 19th, 2015
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…
For more please click here.
Active Members Make Strong Unions
June 17th, 2015
Strong unions are built on the shoulders of active members who have earned the respect of their communities. And the best way to recruit and encourage active members is leading by example.
In Cincinnati, AFSCME Ohio Council 8 leaders, members and staff did exactly that by volunteering to help the Greater Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity rehabilitate a home intended to house a family in need.
“Earlier this year the staff got together and discussed what we could do for the people Cincinnati,” said Regional Director Renita Jones-Street.
That discussion led to the re-hab project, the first in an ongoing community action program “to ‘give back’ to the community – because we don’t just work here, we live and raise our families here, too,” said Cincinnati Regional Vice President Emily Moore.
The crew of volunteers painted, put in drywall, tore out the kitchen floor, and repaired the deck at the rear of the home.
The home’s recipient is a low income single mother with children. Qualifying for a home is a three-year process and includes 250 hours of work. The individual is prepared for home ownership by completing courses in an owner’s responsibilities, finances, and home maintenance.
Habitat for Humanity is a global, nonprofit housing organization dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally and worldwide through constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes.
It advocates for fair and just housing policies and provides training and access to resources enabling families improve their shelter conditions.
The AFSCME rehab crew included, left to right, Rebecca Frankenhoff, Andrew Frankenhoff, Harold Mitchell, Cherika Carter, Mark Caddo, Eric Clemons, Don Klapper, Carolyn Parks, Renita Jones-Street, Detra Covin-Willams, Emily Moore, Julia Mason, Rachel Thomas , and not pictured, Ryan Baumgartner.
AFSCME Child Care Providers Make Their Case
June 12th, 2015
AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Child Care providers defended their union rights before the Senate Finance Committee and urged its members to adopt a budget amendment that would restore the collective bargaining rights recently stripped away by Gov. John Kasich.
Testifying before the committee, AFSCME Local 4025 President Aysia Haile explained how “having a voice on the job promotes better child care.
“Without our voices, the state will lose a critical negotiating partner. In addition, parents and their children will lose our voice as their advocate,” she said.
Haile went on to say, “I feel this is discrimination against women. Our profession is 90 percent run by women, and I feel our concerns, our voices, and our rights are being shut off,” she said.
In addition, Michael Batchelder, an Ohio Council 8 attorney, testified that in-home child care providers fill an irreplaceable niche in the state’s early childhood care system.
He noted that the union does all of this work on behalf of our members at no additional cost to the state.
“We do not bargain over wages or health insurance. The only cost is that providers who care for Ohio’s children have basic rights and a voice in decisions that affect their businesses and the children they care for,” he said.
Gov. Kasich and the legislature often pronounce their support for enhanced early childhood education. Yet the Governor’s action to strip collective bargaining rights from family child care providers sends the opposite message.
“We call on the legislature to do the right thing for Ohio’s child care providers, parents and children, and restore our collective bargaining rights,” Batchelder said.
Will You Stand Up for Ohio’s Children?
June 10th, 2015
Traci Poellnitz, President of AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Local 4023 wrote the following message for We Are Ohio. We’re thankful for leaders like Traci who are standing up to these attacks on Ohio’s working people. You can read Traci’s message below.
My name is Traci Poellnitz. I am an independent child care provider with a degree in Pre-K education. I’ve been caring for young children in my home for over twenty years. It’s tiring, difficult work, but I love what I do.
Most of the children I work with are growing up in low-income, at-risk families. From the time they’re born until they start kindergarten, my staff and I provide a warm and supportive environment while preparing these children for future success.
By taking away collective bargaining rights for independent care providers, Gov. Kasich isn’t just hurting workers like me – he’s hurting the children we care for and their families.
For working parents, quality childcare can be the difference between living on public assistance and moving up into the middle class. And for many of my fellow independent childcare providers, collective bargaining has made it possible to do this job well.
Collective bargaining has improved the standards of care that independent providers offer families in need. And it’s secured the wages, hours and benefits that hard-working care providers deserve.
I’ll be standing up against these attacks. I hope you’ll join me.
Toledo Blade Editorial: Union Busting
June 1st, 2015
Published Sunday, May 30 in the Toledo Blade
Gov. John Kasich this month quietly stripped 10,000 Ohio in-home health-care workers of their right to belong to unions. That move marks the latest offensive in the governor’s troubling campaign against labor rights.
In 2007, former Gov. Ted Strickland granted independent home health-care workers the right to bargain collectively with state government. He extended the right to home child-care providers the following year. The policy applied to workers who are reimbursed for care through state programs such as Medicaid.
Such employees contract with Ohio agencies to provide care. But because they are not considered direct employees of the state, they aren’t eligible for the same benefits and bargaining rights as public employees.
Mr. Kasich vowed to rescind Mr. Strickland’s policy during his 2010 gubernatorial campaign. He claimed that independent care providers have no right to collective bargaining with the state because they aren’t state employees.
Home care workers provide vital services to disabled, elderly, and the youngest Ohioans. They should be entitled to the same opportunities to address work-related concerns and bargain collectively as public employees and other care providers. The governor shouldn’t strip these workers of their rights based on a technicality.
In-home child-care providers have made gains in their contracts since they got the right to unionize. Joe Weidner, a spokesman for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, which represents child-care providers, told The Blade’s editorial page: “Before they unionized, their contract with the state was take it or leave it.”
Democratic state senators plan to introduce legislation that would effectively undo the governor’s repeal. It’s unlikely to gain approval by Republican lawmakers who control the General Assembly.
Mr. Kasich says home health-care workers no longer need access to health insurance through their unions because of recently expanded opportunities to obtain insurance through the Affordable Care Act and state Medicaid expansion. Yet plans on the health insurance marketplace often are more costly to workers than employer-subsidized plans and don’t offer the same benefits.
Workers’ continued access to Obamacare is hardly guaranteed. Governor Kasich has called for repeal of the Affordable Care Act, even as he relies on the law to pay for Ohio’s Medicaid expansion. A case before the U.S. Supreme Court threatens to dismantle federal subsidies for Obamacare recipients in many states, including Ohio.
The governor evidently has not fully learned the lesson of the controversial Senate Bill 5, which would have severely restricted public unions’ bargaining power. Mr. Kasich signed the bill into law in 2011, but Ohioans overwhelmingly voted to repeal it that year.
To his credit, Mr. Kasich has said he doesn’t intend to bring extreme “right to work” legislation to Ohio, which has decimated unions in other states. Yet the governor’s position on labor rights often remains troublesome.
Mr. Kasich has again chosen political expediency over the welfare of thousands of Ohio workers. If he makes his long-anticipated entrance into the presidential race, that will be a valid topic for discussion.
Kasich Axes Bargaining Rights for Child Care, Home Care Providers
May 29th, 2015
The collective bargaining rights of more than 15,000 independent in-home child care and home care providers in Ohio were stripped away last week by Gov. John Kasich in the most recent of several anti-worker actions taken since his election in 2010.
Governor Kasich rescinded two executive directives, including one issued to independent child care providers in 2008 by then-Gov. Ted Strickland. More than 2,700 providers, who care for an estimated 20,000 children in Ohio, are represented by AFSCME Council 8.
The second executive order, signed in 2007, covered home health care providers represented by the Service Employees International Union. Both orders allowed the providers to seek a union and engage in collective bargaining with the state.
Since 2010, the child care providers have been covered by a contract signed by then-Governor Strickland that included health care benefits, a “Bill of Rights,” a grievance procedure and recognition of their union, improving provider reimbursement rates, pay practices, and training and operating rules with state and county officials. That contract would have expired at the end of June.
Governor Kasich’s order revokes all of those contract rights. The governor’s action “isn’t about doing what’s right for our state, it’s an attack on Ohio’s most vulnerable children that will limit their opportunities in the future,” said AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Pres. John A. Lyall, also an AFSCME International vice president.
“Governor Kasich has repeatedly targeted Ohio workers since taking office, and he’s continuing that pattern today,” Lyall added. “A loss of collective bargaining rights will mean lower-quality child care available to parents, and the loss of thousands of jobs that are largely held by women and minority workers now. This is another mean-spirited attack on working people that will hurt our families and our communities.”
Independent child care provider Asyia Haile, president of AFSCME Local 4025, which represents child care providers in 16 central Ohio counties, said Governor Kasich’s actions undermine their efforts to provide quality care that “can be the difference between a family living on public assistance or moving into the middle class. Without union representation, I worry that families won’t be able to find the same professionalism or standards of care for their children.”
Haile said the governor’s action “will probably drive some providers out of business or discourage talented professionals from entering the industry at all. Ultimately, this move will be bad for Ohio’s working families and for our communities.”
You can help these hard-working child care providers regain their union rights. Click here to send a message to Governor Kasich and other state lawmakers to urge them to restore collective bargaining rights with an amendment to the state’s two-year budget.
Childcare Providers Speak Out
May 28th, 2015
Denying child care providers union rights won’t improve early childhood education: Letter to the Editor
I have been an independent in-home care child provider in Cleveland for 14 years and I care for four children ages 14 months to 6 years. In my opinion, Governor Kasich’s decision to rescind my collective a bargaining rights is a short-sighted, politically motivated move Ohio’s working parents will come to regret. (“Kasich halts union rights for child care providers,” Plain Dealer, May 22) And the first thing Kasich needs to know is I am a licensed, early childhood education professional, not a babysitter.
The work I do makes a lifelong difference to my community and the children I care for. As a professional, the union is my voice to advocate for those I serve and my fellow providers. Through the union I can share my everyday experience about what works and what doesn’t, and offer improvements. This real-life feedback channel will now be lost. Denying me my right to union representation has little to do with improving early childhood education in Ohio, and a lot to do with the governor’s political ambitions.
As much as Kasich claims all is forgiven for Senate Bill 5, he still never misses a chance to take a whack at working Ohioans. Without a voice on the job, I believe many providers will leave the profession and many talented individuals will be discouraged to take up early childhood development as a career. Only the Legislature can overrule the governor’s decision. In my opinion it was made only to earn credibility with the far right on the back of Ohio’s working parents and children.
Shame on them if they don’t.
This letter to the editor originally appeared in the Plain Dealer.
KASICH HITS EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT – AXES COLLECTIVE BARGAINING RIGHTS FOR CHILD CARE PROVIDER
May 22nd, 2015
Worthington, Ohio–Canceling collective bargaining rights for independent, in-home child care providers takes Ohio’s working families another step backward.
Gov. John Kasich’s move affects more than 2,700 of the state’s independent child care providers who provide home-based care for an estimated 20,000 children.
The union, recognized by Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland in 2008, is nearing the end of its contract with the state which expires at the end of June.
“Every investment in early education is an investment in a child’s future. Today’s action isn’t about doing what’s right for our state, it’s an attack on Ohio’s most vulnerable children that will limit their opportunities in the future,” said AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall.
“Gov. Kasich has repeatedly targeted Ohio workers since taking office, and he’s continuing that pattern today. A loss of collective bargaining rights will mean lower-quality child care available to parents, and the loss of thousands of jobs that are largely held by women and minority workers now. This is another mean-spirited attack on working people that will hurt our families and our communities,” Lyall said.
“We’re not babysitters. Quality child care like what we provide can be the difference between a family living on public assistance or moving into the middle class,” said independent child care provider Asyia Haile, President of AFSCME Local 4025 which represents independent child care providers in 16 central Ohio counties.
“Without union representation, I worry that families won’t be able to find the same professionalism or standards of care for their children. This will probably drive some providers out of business or discourage talented professionals from entering the industry at all. Ultimately, this move will be bad for Ohio’s working families and for our communities,” she said.
On Memorial Day 2015
May 22nd, 2015
It is a day when families can get together for a picnic or a barbecue, and it a time when communities large and small hold parades and observances. It’s a day we pause to honor and remember those who were called, and gave their lives in the service of America.
Although the celestial beginning of summer isn’t for another three weeks, today is recognized as the day when summer events officially commence.
It makes me proud to know that on Memorial Day, and the summer days that follow, millions of Ohioans will be able take to the streets and highways to enjoy our public recreation, historical sites, zoos, and festivals because of the vital work you do.
And while many Ohioans will enjoy this and other holidays with their families, AFSCME Council 8 members will be on the job keeping our communities safe and our public spaces attractive and accessible.
Our AFSCME sisters and brothers staffing hospitals will be on the job ready to take care of summer accidents, illness and injuries from minor to major.
AFSCME Ohio Council 8 health department workers will be at work keeping outdoor events food-safe and swimming pools clean and sanitary. And our parks and recreation members will be on the job putting our public recreation centers, parks and public golf courses in top share for all to enjoy.
This weekend I hope every AFSCME family has the opportunity to break bread together and take a moment to remember that our freedom did not come without costs.
Every family has someone who served this nation in time of war. We must share that legacy with our children so they better understand our nation rich history and the part each family plays.
I wish you and yours a safe and happy Memorial Day.
President John A. Lyall
Ohio Council 8 is AFSCME Strong in Dayton
May 20th, 2015
AFSCME Local 101 City of Dayton employee June Zeis has worked for the city for 20 years. She opens the city’s emergency vehicle garage most mornings, and she makes the coffee, she answers the phone, she handles the billing for the work the garage does for suburban fire departments, and she is 85.
A permanent part-time employee, she is the union’s oldest member, “and a union supporter,” said Local 101 President Ann Sulfridge. “We met up with June during house call exercises that were part of a two-day AFSCME Strong train-the-trainer session recently held in Dayton.”
After retiring from an architectural firm, Zeis looked forward to spending time with her husband, children and five grandchildren. Unfortunately, a year after she retired, her husband, who worked for the city emergency vehicle garage, was killed in an accident.
“About a month went by when I got a call from his supervisor at the garage asking how I was and was there anything I needed,” Zeis said. He also asked if she could come in for a few hours on a volunteer basis to help them with the record keeping void left by her husband’s untimely death.
Under AFSCME Local 101’s contract, “you can’t ‘volunteer’ to do a bargaining unit job,” Sulfridge said. So the union helped arrange for Zeis to be hired as a part-time employee.
That was 20 years ago and she is still on the job.
“The firefighters and mechanics are like my family and I really love them all and love working here,” she said. Still lively and engaged in many activities, including editing her high school alumni newspaper, she lives with her youngest son.
“He just turned 65 and would like to retire, but he says he can’t as long as his mother is still working,” she joked.
AFSCME Strong is our union’s defense against those out to destroy us through “right to work” and other anti-union actions. It means organizing is job one. Over the next 12 months, our goal is to engage 80 percent of our members in the struggle, one conversation at a time. To make it happen, we will recruit and train 5 percent of AFSCME members to have one-on-one conversations with their coworkers.
To become an AFSCME Strong activist, contact your regional office.
Ohio Flexes AFSCME Strong Training
May 11th, 2015
By Tiffany Ricci, AFSCME International
DAYTON, Ohio – Focusing on communicating and organizing, more than 75 activists gathered here last week to practice the skills needed to lead the AFSCME Strong campaign to protect jobs, ensure financial security, and preserve and improve wages and benefits for workers nationwide.
One-on-one conversations are the key to the AFSCME Strong campaign. As part of the training, activists went door to door to hear firsthand from AFSCME Local 101 members on the issues important to them and their families.
Many Local 101 members went years without real wage increases and had to accept numerous furlough days that cut into take-home pay. Recently Local 101’s bargaining committee secured an exceptional contract that banished furlough days, and included wage increases and a uniform allowance.
Buoyed by the success at the bargaining table, AFSCME Strong activists visited more than 115 workers at their homes, and 84 members signed commitment cards. “People were really excited to see AFSCME in the streets and visiting their homes,” said Local 101 Pres. Ann Sulfridge. “The one-on-one conversations are the key to building our union.”
The critical nature of the training was not lost on participants. As longtime union activist Eddie Lawson said, “This is one of the most important trainings that I have been involved in. It is crucial that we do the hard work and get this right in order to continue the great work of our union.”
Ohio Retirees at Forum Push to Expand Social Security
May 7th, 2015
BY OMAR TEWFIK | APRIL 30, 2015 – AFSCME International
CLEVELAND – Standing up for retirement security for all Americans during a White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA) regional meeting here Monday, AFSCME Ohio retirees amplified the call to preserve, protect and expand Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.
Retirees continue to make the case that these earned benefit programs are absolutely essential to millions of Americans, enabling them to pay the bills and afford medical care once they leave the workplace. More than half of American workers do not have pensions, and millions of seniors are unable to save up enough money for retirement, let alone have the money to pay for costly long-term health care.
“We have to keep fighting to make sure future generations of working Americans can retire with security and dignity, said Marian Garth Saffold, from AFSCME Retiree Chapter 1184. “Social Security works, it’s necessary, and it’s popular. These are reasons to expand it, not attack it for political purposes.”
Nearly two out of every three seniors depend on Social Security for most of their income, and Social Security lifts 22.2 million Americans out of poverty. Without it, the poverty rate of our seniors would quadruple to a staggering 44 percent.
Meanwhile, Medicare and Medicaid provide reliable access to health care for older Americans and people with disabilities, preventing millions of aging Americans from falling into poverty because of medical expenses.
“We ought to be expanding Social Security. We ought to be financing long-term care and supports,” said Norman Wernet, also from Chapter 1184, who facilitated a retirement security rally across the street from the WHCoA event.
“We’re saying to people who don’t necessarily have the money to save for retirement that they should not have to bear the entire burden of their poverty as they age,” Wernet said. “It’s unconscionable for members of Congress to allege that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are unearned benefits, that they’re some kind of welfare program.”
Despite the obvious importance of these programs for real retirement security, right-wing politicians and their special interest allies continue to launch political attacks aimed at weakening and even destroying them altogether. But AFSCME retirees are fighting back, participating in WHCoA events in Tampa, Florida, Phoenix, Arizona, and Seattle. Another regional conference will be held in Boston in May.
Kent State Taking Cues from Wal-Mart on Pay
May 5th, 2015
Move over Wal-Mart, McDonald’s and Yum-Brands (Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC), some Kent State University employees’ paychecks are so small they qualify for public assistance.
AFSCME Local 153 held an information picket line to highlight difficult contract negotiations. The demonstrators were joined by 80 students and labor activists in support of the 375 union members who maintain the 824 acre campus which serves more than 22,000 students.
“About a third of these members are food service and housekeeping workers. They make more than the minimum wage, but at the end of the day, many can’t keep up,” said Woodall, who is leading the union’s negotiating committee.
Low pay is the reason for that, Woodall said. The starting wage for some jobs pays below $24,000 per year, which is below the poverty line for a family of four.
Income inequality is fast becoming the “new normal” for all service workers in both the private and public sector.
This has not escaped the attention of Ohio’s U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, who showed his support for fair pay and good jobs by stopping by the AFSCME picket line.
On her way to her formal inauguration before an audience of more than 700, Kent State University’s 12th President Beverly Warren avoided the union’s picket line.
Invited speakers at the event included Ohio House Representative Kathleen Clyde(D-Kent), and syndicated columnist Connie Schultz (who is also the wife of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio).
As Kent State graduates and strong union supporters, they asked AFSCME officials for permission to cross the picket line before attending the inauguration. Both mentioned AFSCME in their remarks.
Contract negotiations with the university are now in fact-finding, and the union is hopeful a fair resolution can be reached.
Rally To Save Choices for the Developmentally Disabled
May 1st, 2015
Ohio Council 8 members joined advocates and family members to attend a rally organized by OCSEA/AFSCME Local 11 to raise public awareness of the state’s plan to close two state developmental centers, the first step in a move to phase out the centers as well as sheltered workshops and other countybased services provided by Council 8 members.
AFSCME Local 3794 President Sandy Coutcher, representing more than 425 professional, technical, and support staff at the Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities said “losing local residential and workshop programs like ours will leave families with fewer choices not more.”
“The choices open to families are not only quality of life issues, it can be a life and death decision,” said Keith Lander, AFSCME Local 101 Chapter Chairman representing employees of Dayton’s Stillwater Center. Stillwater Center is a home operated by Montgomery County serving children and adults having the most severe and profound intellectual disabilities, are physically challenged and/or have significant medical needs.
According to Lander, many families have tried community-based environments, “and when their needs were not met, they chose our center and they’re pleased with the care their loved ones receive. It doesn’t make sense to take that choice away.”
OCSEA/AFSCME Local 11 led the fight by organizing a coalition of families, community allies and members which was successful in lobbying and exerting enough public pressure which led to the creation of a “closure commission” amendment to the budget bill. The commission will make the final determination regarding any DC closures.
“They did a heck of a job getting the budget subcommittee members’ attention,” said Ohio Council 8 Political and Legislative Director Robert Davis. “Closing the state center in Youngstown directly affects the Council 8 members as well because they provide transportation services to the center’s clients. While the news is hopeful, there is still a long way to go before declaring victory,” Davis said.
The attention now moves to the state Senate where action will focus on keeping the closure commission in the Senate version of the budget bill. After the Senate, the bill is debated by a conference committee of Representatives and Senators before making its way to the Governor’s desk.
Click here for details on the Closure Commission:
Workers Memorial Day
April 29th, 2015
Remarks by AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall on Workers Memorial Day:
Workers memorial day is a day to honor our sisters and brothers who’s lives were taken in on-the-job accidents.
It’s also a call for labor to work tirelessly to see that every worker comes home alive from their day – or night’s – work.
April 28th was chosen because it is a day the labor movement declared a major victory in its decades-long job safety fight.
What the OSHA Act did in 1970, was to replace the patchwork of some states with – and many with without – job safety laws, with a federal law.
Looking back, it’s clear the sates with the strongest safety law were also states with the strongest unions.
However public employees were not covered under the Federal act. For Ohio, it would be another 22 years before public sector workers won that right.
Then, in 1992, House Bill 308 became law and Ohio’s 500,000 public employees joined the rest of America’s workforce with the right to a safe workplace.
This was huge for our members. Prior to passage of the law, public employers had no legal responsibility to provide a safe workplace. As a result –every year more than 25 public employees were killed on the job –- and hundreds more were injured in preventable accidents.
HB 308 was passed several times by the Ohio House only to be held hostage in the Senate. During those eight years we struggled to pass that bill, some 200 public employees lost their lives and thousands more were injured.
Today, the Koch brothers are getting sore arms writing checks to the right-to-work scammers who are determined to turn back the clock on workers rights – including job safety with laws.
They want to take us back to those “good old says” when a wife saw the foreman walking up to her door with a box of groceries, she knew her husband was not coming home from the mine, the mill, or the plant – but the company was real sorry.
It’s a fact that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that right-to-work states 54% higher workplace death rate than collective bargaining states like Ohio.
Sisters and brothers, we are truly in a life-and-death battle with the super wealthy who believe they own America.
The spider web of anti-union organizations they fund are busy at work in the courts and government at all levels. Using every tactic – fair or foul – because they are out to smother the labor movement and roll back a century of progress won by workers and their families.
Workers Memorial Day is an ideal time to have a one-on-one conversation with a coworker and let them know what’s at stake and how being a member of strong and active union is our strongest and best defense.
Click below for coverage of the event:
Financial Standards Training
April 14th, 2015
Toledo union officers spent a sunny spring Saturday brushing up on their responsibilities as guardians of union funds under the AFSCME Financial Standards Code.
“These treasurers, trustees and officers do the most important, and often the least appreciated, work in the local union,” said AFSCME Ohio Council 8 First Vice President Harold Mitchell. “Our union has one of the strongest financial standards codes in the labor movement, and it’s critical those who are elected to guard the union’s funds receive the tools, training, and resources to do the job correctly,” he said.
The AFSCME “Bill of Rights for Union Members” states that “members shall have the right to a full and clear accounting of all union funds,” which is something every AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Local union takes very seriously.
“Tax rules are always changing and it’s critical for our members to keep up with the latest developments,” said Cathy German, a Certified Public Accountant from AFSCME International’s Auditing Department, who was one of the main instructors.
The day-long workshop presents a comprehensive overview of the union’s financial standards code, including officer responsibilities and how to authorize and account for all union expenditures. Other issues dealt with record keeping, audits, and IRS filings.
The training also focused on tips and technology to make the job of record keeping easier and more accurate.
“We’re doing a pretty good job, and we received information we can take back home and share with the other officers,” said first time attendee Heather Oesch, president of 45-member AFSCME Local 1685 Seneca County Jobs and Family services.
“Even though we’re a small local and don’t have much money, it’s important that we take good care of it that’s what our members expect,” she said.
The next workshop will be held at 9:00am at the Cincinnati Regional Office on April 25th, with other sessions scheduled on May 2nd in Columbus, and May 16th in Cleveland. For locations and more information, go to the AFSCME Ohio Council 8 web page.
Union and City Reach New Contract
April 7th, 2015
By a three-to-one margin, Dayton City workers represented by AFSCME Local 101 voted to ratify a new agreement with the administration that raises wages by 7 percent over the life of the three-year contract.
The 800 workers covered by the agreement will receive a 3 percent across-the-board raise in 2015, followed by 2 percent increases in 2016 and 2017.
“There was give and take during the negotiations and while we won wage increases, we also agreed to give the city some relief on health insurance costs,” said AFSCME Local 101 President Ann Sulfridge.
Changes include a $20 premium increase for family plan coverage, a $10 office co-pay after they meet their deductible, which will increase to $20 in 2017. In addition, in 2016 the spouses of city workers whose employers offer health insurance must select those plans as their primary coverage.
“After six years of cuts, zeroes and 1 percent increases, it’s good to see wages are rebounding in the public sector. But that’s due to the economy getting better – not because of any help given to local government by the Legislature – including Ohio’s current proposed state budget,” said Ohio Council 8 Dayton Regional Staff Representative Stacey Benson-Taylor, who led the negotiating committee.
In addition to Sulfridge and Benson-Taylor, the committee included Vice President Granville Walton, Blue Collar Chapter Chair Leo Geiger, and Clerical Chair Alfreda Jones.
Ohio University’s $1.2 Million Bat Problem
April 1st, 2015
Ohio’s brown bats are shaking off their winter hibernation and so are Ohio University’s big spenders who responded to a bat “infestation” at the university president’s residence with a proposal to buy a $1.2 million replacement home.
In February, after a single bat invaded the 116-year old campus residence of President Roderick J. McDavis and his wife, the university moved the family to a gated development of million-dollar homes three miles off campus. In addition, the administration spent $75,000 to furnish the home that it currently rents for $4,318 per month.
At a time when students and their families are sinking in education debt and tuition and fees are steadily climbing, “They’re moving our president to an extremely luxurious location and asking us to foot the bill,” OU senior and protest organizer Ryan Taylor told the crowd of some 400 students, professors and employees who showed up for the “Bat Rally”.
According to Dave Logan, president of AFSCME Local 1699 which represents 630 service, technical, and maintenance workers at the university, finding a bat in a home or garage is common around Southeast Ohio in the spring and summer. “We’ve removed maybe a dozen bats from the residence over the last 10 years, so it’s hardly an out of control infestation. And while the administration is spending $1.2 million on an off-campus mansion for the President, we have 73 members who are ‘off-campus’ because they’re laid off,” Logan said. “The university also has something like $400 million in ‘deferred maintenance’ on residence halls, classrooms, and university systems. That is how the administration has dealt with OU’s finances,” he said.Union members are in the final year of a three-year contract and will be going to the bargaining table with the administration later this year.###
Council 8 leaders weigh in on proposed state budget
March 26th, 2015
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
Boy, 2, falls to pieces meeting his garbage man heroes
March 25th, 2015
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
March 10th, 2015
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
March 9th, 2015
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
Save the Dates!
March 2nd, 2015
Financial Standards TrainingsOpen to all union table officers, board members and trustees, the AFSCME Financial Standards Code Seminars for 2015 will take place around Ohio on the following days starting at 9:00 A.M.:April 11th in Toledo:
To be held at the Toledo Region Office420 South Reynolds RoadToledo, OH 43615April 25th in Cincinnati:
To be held at the Cincinnati Regional Office1213 Tennessee AvenueCincinnati, OH 45229May 2nd in Columbus:
To be held at the Quest Conference Center8405 Pulsar PlaceColumbus, OH 43240May 16th in Cleveland:
To be held at the Holiday Inn Independence6001 Rockside RoadIndependence, OH 44131
The AFSCME Family in Action
December 19th, 2014
The AFSCME family is constantly providing services to our communities. But sometimes, our members go above and beyond in their commitment to serve. What happened in Mansfield earlier this week, is one such case.
Rob Ruth was injured in October of 2013 in an accident. As a result, Rob was forced to take time off from his job as a dispatcher with the city of Mansfield’s 911 public service communications center, where he has worked for 20 years.
As his symptoms grew more and more severe, he was diagnosed with avascular neurosis, which ultimately required several surgeries. As a result of the disease, he has lost the use of both of his hips and was forced to stay for three months at a rehabilitation facility in Ashland.
Because he has used up all of his sick leave, Rob is no longer being paid by the city.While he is in the process of applying for disability, funds are tight. This reality meant that there was no money to fund the construction of a wheelchair ramp for his home.
That’s where AFSCME comes in.
AFSCME Local 3088, along with several other unions, banded together to raise the money for the ramp. Then, the group drew up plans for the ramp and began construction. Thanks to their teamwork, something that was once a huge challenge has become no problem.
Now, Rob can focus on the real goal: recovering so he can go back to work as a 911 operator.
As always, we’re proud to be a part of the AFSCME family, and this is just one of the many reasons why.
Help Starts Here
December 19th, 2014
Christmas, New Years, or July 4th, members of AFSCME Local 2937 are on the job at the City of Canton 911 call center.
“We’re on the job 24 hours a day serving the citizens of Canton. Our families miss us, but they know it’s part of the job we do,” said Sean O’Bryan, the union’s vice president and the father of three pre-teen children.
“At their ages Christmas is especially exciting, but they are ok with me working some holidays. My ten-year old son ‘gets it’. And he’s proud of what I do,” he said.
It comes natural to O’Bryan, who’s father was a police officer. “I’m lucky my wife is there with them. I know how difficult it can be for single parents who have no choice but to work during the holidays.”
AFSCME Local 2937 has negotiated fair and orderly shift assignment provisions in its contract. The agreement meets the operational needs of the city, and offers flexibility to its members and their families.
The city of 75,000 is served by a four-person team of dispatchers each shift. In 2013, dispatchers at the Canton Call Center answered more than 15,000 fire and 83,000 police calls.
AFSCME Helps Fight Fire in Downtown Athens
December 19th, 2014
Members of AFSCME Local 3315 helped to battle a large fire that broke out in the historic city center of Athens Ohio, right down the street from Ohio University. While the fire fighters and police were able to get everyone in the burning buildings to safety, several of the first responders were treated at a nearby hospital for injuries. They were cared for by none other than their union brothers and sisters of AFSCME Local 1252.
Read more about the story by clicking here
Check Out AFSCME Ohio Council 8’s New and Improved Website
October 27th, 2014
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.
Youll see a drop down tab entitled Jobs We Do at the top of the page. Were 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.
Ebola Prevention for AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Members
October 27th, 2014
During the past several weeks, the United States has taken measures to protect the health and safety of its citizens against the threat of the Ebola virus. As health care workers treat existing cases and prevent the spread of the virus, it is vital that our medical centers are prepared with the proper protocols and training to safely and effectively battle this sickness.
So far, many hospitals across the country have been slow or faulty in implementing infectious disease procedures. As a result, health care workers, along with those working in patient transport, intake, laboratory and environmental services have been unnecessarily exposed to this deadly disease.
AFSCME has been and will continue monitoring the situation as it unfolds. However, we have taken several steps we believe will lead to increased safety for those treating victims of the disease:
-We wrote "Protecting Health Care Workers from Exposure to Ebola" and "Ebola and General Exposure Protections for Workers" to prepare our members to demand effective protections from employers.
– We provided our members with a generic letter based on one developed by the United Nurses Association of California, which lists the components of an effective protection plan for hospitals.
-We created an Ebola section on the AFSCME website, which provides facts and updates on the situation.
AFSCME Ohio Council 8 is committed to protecting the workers who put themselves at risk in order to keep others safe. As this situation develops, we will continue our efforts to ensure that Council 8 members are working in the safest environment possible.