• Mourning Richard Trumka

    August 6th, 2021

    Richard Trumka

    It is with a heavy heart we mourn the untimely passing of national AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.  Richard Trumka was a tireless advocate for workers’ rights and always stood with AFSCME to defend the rights of public employees.

          Rich began his work in the labor movement as a coal miner and rose through the ranks to become the leader of the United Mine Workers of America and then became the leader of the national AFL-CIO. Throughout his career he never forgot where he came from and was always on the side of workers on every issue and in every  struggle.

          Rich was on our side when anti-union forces in Ohio tried to take away our hard won collective bargaining rights in 2011. He was with us leading the labor movement’s response to the most anti-worker presidential administration in our lifetime.

          Rich was labor’s voice in the media, in congress, and more importantly, with us in person on the picket line, at rallies and demonstrations, and graced our AFSCME conventions with his message of solidarity and the key part public employees play in communities in Ohio and the nation.

          We can all honor Rich’s legacy by fighting to pass the PRO Act and building solidarity with working people every chance we get. We are sending our love and prayers to the Trumka family and everyone in the AFL-CIO and labor movement as we mourn the loss of a true leader and a strong voice for workers in America and around the world. 
    R. Sean Grayson,
    President AFSCME Ohio Council 8, AFL-CIO

    AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Scholarship Winners 2021!

    July 20th, 2021

    The Ohio Council 8 Executive Board is pleased to announce that Simone Hester has been awarded the Patricia Kittle Scholarship and Michael Patterson has been awarded the Leroy Elmore Scholarship as part of the Ohio Council 8 2021 Family Scholarship program.

    Simone Hester

    Simone is the daughter of Sunday McDuffey is a 16-year member of AFSCME Local 3411, which represents employees of the Toledo City Clerks office.

    A graduate of the Toledo School for the Arts, Simone was a motivated student who achieved an outstanding academic record and skill as an artist. In addition, she participated in many school and community activities including serving as a vocal advocate for several medical causes in her community.

    In her winning essay, Montgomery saw firsthand the difference a union can make.  As the child of a single parent “the opportunity to become a union member provided my mother with one of the most important things she desperately needed  – job security.”

    Simone will be attending Kent State University this fall and plans to follow her passion as an artist and become a fashion designer.       

    Michael Patterson

    The 2021 men’s scholarship winner, Michael Patterson, is the son of 19-year AFSCME Local 0027 member Robin Patterson. An active member of the union representing Cuyahoga County office of Child Support Services, she serves on the union’s executive board. 

    Michael graduated from Euclid Hills High School, where he was an active student with a strong academic record.  He is a member of the National Honor Society, was the, captain of the varsity basketball team for two consecutive years and was respected by his classmates and teachers. 

    In his winning essay, Michael recounted lessons he learned through his mother’s association with AFSCME.  “My mother would always say ‘there is strength in numbers” and through her actions I learned a group has more power than a single person.”

    Michael will be attending John Carroll University in the fall where he plans on pursing a communications degree with a goal of becoming a sports reporter.

    The 2021 AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Scholarships are named in honor of Patricia “Pat” Kittle and Leroy Elmore .

    Sister Kittle worked as a registered nurse at Trumbull Regional Medical Center for more than 42 years. A graduate of the Trumbull Memorial School of Nursing, she embarked on a career dedicated to the selfless care for others. 

    A key activist during the successful nine-day strike for union recognition in 1999, Pat went on to serve as vice president of AFSCME Local 2026 for 20 years and in 2019, she became Union President. 

    A caring individual, she was regarded as a person who could solve any problem with grace and efficiency. Pat passed away in June of 2020.

    Brother Elmore started his health care career in the 1960’s and was employed by Cleveland’s Mt. Sinai Hospital as a pathology assistant starting in 1971.

    A year later, he was instrumental in forming an AFSCME local union at the hospital and served as a member, steward and union president for more than ten years. In 1985, he joined the AFSCME first as an organizer and later he became an Ohio Council 8 staff representative and in 1998, he became Cleveland Regional Director. 

    In 2001, he joined the AFSCME Ohio Care Plan as Plan Administrator and served for 12 years before retiring, topping off his 39-year AFSCME career.

    Leroy lives in Euclid Ohio and is still active in the community.

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

    The Ohio Council 8 Family Scholarship program was established in 1982.

    Memorial Day 2021

    May 30th, 2021

    AFSCME Local 771 City of Ironton Ohio members putting flags up along the city’s flood wall along the Ohio River. Member, Brain Caudil handing flags up to Wade Jenkins, and member Joe Brammer -not shown – is driving the truck.

    On Monday, May 31st America will remember the brave men and women who gave their lives for our country. From large cities to small towns AFSCME Ohio Council 8 members across the state take great pride in honoring those who have served our nation.

    Members in Council 8’s Athens region, serving 14 counties in Southeastern Ohio, included Ohio River towns of Ironton and Portsmouth, members of AFSCME Local 771 and AFSCME Local 1039 were on the job helping their communities honor those that served.

    “Our members show their civic spirit every day on the job, but Memorial Day weekend is special,” said Athens Regional Vice President John Ackison, president of AFSCME Local 1699 representing Ohio University Employees in Athens, Ohio.

    “Our members feel this is important and they take it seriously. Our region is made up of many smaller cities like Ironton and Portsmouth where our members are especially proud because most have family members who served the nation and they take putting up Memorial Day decorations as a personal duty as well as a job,” Ackison said.  

    AFSCME Local 1039 City of Portsmouth members manicuring the city cemetery for Memorial Day weekend.

    The first national celebration of Memorial Day (originally Decoration Day) took place May 30, 1868, at Arlington National Cemetery. 100 years later in 1968, Congress established Memorial Day as a Federal holiday. The change went into effect in 1971.

    AFSCME Local 1252 Members Make Gains

    May 19th, 2021

    Local 1252 members ratify contract by overwhelming margin in drive-through voting

    The members of AFSCME Local 1252, representing the staff at OhioHealth O’Bleness Memorial Hospital in Athens ratified an agreement that improved wages and benefits for more than 350 nurses, respiratory technicians and other health care professionals and support personal covered by the new 2-year agreement.  

    In addition to an average wage increase of 3 percent each year, the contract maintained current benefits along with fully-employer paid AFSCME Ohio Care Plan coverage including dental, prescription drug, vision, life insurance and Care Plan Teledoc – which enables members to talk to a doctor able to consult, diagnose and prescribe over the phone at no cost. 

    Improvements to the current contract include the addition of 12 weeks paid maternity leave, and in addition paid sick time, short-term disability leave at 70% pay, and 80 hours of bereavement leave. 

    “The committee did a great job and we made some big gains that are important to our members,” said Union President Pat Waller. “A large portion of our members are women and the addition of paid maternity leave is a huge improvement over relying on sick leave as we did in the previous contact,” she said.

    Athens Firefighter Loses Life in Line of Duty

    May 7th, 2021

    AFSCME Ohio Council 8 is saddened to report the passing of Nelsonville Ohio senior firefighter Jeff Armes, who died in the line of duty at the scene of a structure fire Sunday, May 2, 2021.

    A member of AFSCME Local 2845B, Armes, 38, of Nelsonville, collapsed while actively fighting a fire. Fellow firefighters and EMS administered CPR and advanced life support care. Armes was transported by Athens County EMS to OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital in Athens where he was pronounced dead.

    He had worked as a fireman for the Nelsonville Fire Department since 2011 and was a longtime volunteer for the Starr Township, Hocking County, Ohio fire department.

    Jeffrey is survived by his parents, loving wife, Lezlee Renee and children, Ayden and Teylar Armes.

    “Jeffery will be greatly missed by our union family,” said AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President R. Sean Grayson. “We offer his friends and family our sincere condolences.”

    Celebrating National Nurses Day

    May 6th, 2021

    National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6th and ends on May 12th, on Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Known as “The Lady With the Lamp,”  Florence Nightingale was a British nurse, social reformer and statistician best known as the founder of modern nursing.

    National Nurses Week is devoted to thanking nurses and other healthcare workers for the hard work they do every day keeping patients healthy, especially after a year of stress and long hours caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

    In 1953, Dorothy Sutherland, an employee at the United States Department of Health, sent a letter to President Eisenhower proposing a National Nurses Day. An official proclamation was not made. The following year, people began celebrating National Nurses Week on their own.

    In 1974, President Nixon issued a proclamation by the White House as establishing a National Nurse Week. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation proclaiming “National Recognition Day for Nurses” to be May 6, 1982.

    Since then the nation has used this opportunity to recognize nurses everywhere and celebrate their dedication and commitment to their patients and their profession. 

    Now more than ever it is time to recognize AFSCME Ohio Council 8 and all nurses.

    Workers Memorial Day 

    April 27th, 2021

    Fifty years ago on April 28, the Occupational Safety and Health Act went into effect promising America’s workers the right to a safe job. 

    While the law was a great step forward for private sector workers, public employees were exempt. It would take Ohio’s public sector workers another 23 years, including an eight-year battle in the Legislature, to end this deadly discrimination and win the same workplace protections.

    Without OSHA protections Ohio public employees could not even refuse to enter an unsafe area if they believed their lives were in danger.

    The law was won because of the tireless efforts of Ohio’s AFSCME unions which organized for safer working conditions and demanded government action. While the law passed in the Ohio House several times it always died in the Senate.

    The law for the first time created a legal obligation for public employers to provide a workplace free of recognized hazards.

    Unions and our allies have fought hard to make that promise a reality in Ohio and across the nation. But our work is not done.

    The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the inextricable link between workplace safety and the health of our communities. Organized labor will continue to organize and strengthen job safety to save lives and make the workplace a safe place.

    AFSCME MEMBERS: Tell your Senators to pass the Pro Act!

    April 8th, 2021

    Attention AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Sisters and Brothers,

    Today is the AFL-CIO National Day of Action for the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. Call your senators and tell them to support working people by voting YES on the PRO Act.

    Let’s show the Senate that AFSCME Council 8 members are pro-union across the Ohio and across party lines.

    Call Your Senators

    Our outdated labor laws are no longer strong enough to protect us in the workplace.

    High-profile corporations openly union-bust without facing consequences. Anti-worker lawmakers have passed wage-killing and racist right to work laws in 27 states. Inequality has skyrocketed as workers have been denied a voice on the job.

    The PRO Act would change that.

    It’s the most significant worker empowerment legislation since the Great Depression. And it’s also a civil rights and economic stimulus bill. If we can get this passed, working people will thrive for generations to come.

    It passed the House on March 9 with bipartisan support, and President Biden has urged Congress to send it to his desk. The Senate is the final obstacle.

    So let’s flood the Senate phone lines with support for the PRO Act. Call your senators and tell them to vote YES on the PRO Act.

    In Solidarity,
    R. Sean Grayson
    President, AFSCME Ohio Council 8

    P.S. There are also in-person actions being organized across the country during our National Week of Action, April 26-May 1, 2021. Find one near you.

    2021 AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Family Scholarships Are Now Available

    March 25th, 2021

    The AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Family Scholarship committee is pleased to announce this year’s four-year, $2,500 per year women’s scholarship is named in honor of Patricia Kittle, and the men’s scholarship honors Leroy Elmore.


    Patricia “Pat” Kittle worked as a registered nurse at Trumbull Regional Medical Center for more than 42 years. A graduate of the Trumbull Memorial School of Nursing, she embarked on a career dedicated to the selfless care for others. 

    A key activist during the successful nine-day strike for union recognition in 1999, Pat went on to serve as vice president of AFSCME Local 2026 for 20 years and in 2019, she became Union President.

    Throughout her career Pat continued her activism. She served on AFSCME International’s Nursing Advisory Committee, AFSCME’s Nursing congress, as a Volunteer Member Organizer, and oversaw the local union’s Member Action Team.

    A caring individual, she was a person who could solve any problem with grace and efficiency. Pat passed away in June of 2020.


    Leroy Elmore started his health care career in the 1960’s and was employed by Cleveland’s Mt. Sinai Hospital as a pathology assistant starting in 1971. 

    A year later, he was instrumental in forming an AFSCME local union at the hospital and served as a member, steward and union president for more than ten years. In 1985, he joined the AFSCME International project staff as an organizer. Two years later he became an Ohio Council 8 staff representative in the Cleveland Region and in 1998, he became Cleveland Regional Director. 

    In 2001, he joined the AFSCME Ohio Care Plan as Plan Administrator and served for 12 years before retiring, topping off a 39-year AFSCME career.

    Leroy lives in Euclid Ohio and is still active in the community.

    Ohio Council 8 First Vice President Marcia Knox, chair of the executive board’s scholarship committee, encourages all eligible students to apply for the $2,500 per year, four-year scholarships.  

    Eligibility Requirements:

    An applicant’s parent must be an AFSCME Ohio Council 8 affiliated local union member who has been in good standing for at least one (1) calendar year prior to June 1, 2021.

    In addition, an applicant must graduate from high school in the year in which an application for the scholarship is made and must attend a four (4) year accredited college or university as a full-time student. 

    Full details are included in the official application brochure can be downloaded at (insert link).

    Applications must be postmarked no later than Tuesday, June 1,2021. Applications which are incomplete, or which are postmarked after the specified date, will be ineligible for consideration.

    Click here to download the application.

    Ohio dramatically expands vaccine eligibility while other numbers go up

    March 18th, 2021

    Ohio got two more pieces of hopeful news about the coronavirus Tuesday.

    Gov. Mike DeWine announced that because of rapidly expanding supplies of the vaccine, all Ohioans 16 and over will be eligible to get a shot by the end of March. At the same time, the percentages of residents already eligible for the vaccine are showing marked improvement after weeks of slow growth.

    Increased production of the first two vaccines to be used in the United States and the approval of a third have tripled the number of weekly doses flowing into the state from early February. Growing supplies prompted DeWine to make his Tuesday morning announcement.

    “It’s a moral imperative that we move as quickly as we can to vaccinate all Ohioans who wish to be vaccinated,” DeWine said in a tweet. “We expect a significant increase in vaccines coming to Ohio soon, so we will expand vaccine eligibility.”

    Read the full story from the Ohio Capitol Journal here.

    A Celebration of Our Fiercest Female Labor Leaders

    March 16th, 2021

    Free College Benefit for AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Members!

    March 5th, 2021

    Learn more about AFSCME Ohio Council 8’s free college program here!

    New Phase of COVID Vaccination Program Starts Tomorrow

    March 3rd, 2021

    To read a fact sheet about the rollout of vaccines in Ohio click here!

    A Celebration of Our Fiercest Female Labor Leaders!

    March 2nd, 2021

    Rosina Harvey Tucker: Labor Organizer, Civil Rights Activist, Educator

    February 26th, 2021

    Rosina Harvey Tucker
    Labor Organizer
    Civil Rights Activist

    • Rosina Harvey was born in Northwest Washington, DC in 1881, one of 9 children of formerly enslaved parents from Virginia.  She married B. J. Tucker, a Pullman porter and a founding member of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.
    • Organizing the porters was difficult because the men were always on the road, working long hours.  Porters were fired by the company for union activities; fear of retaliation was real.
    • Rosina Tucker worked closely with A. Philip Randolph in establishing the Brotherhood. She became a leader in the union’s Women’s Economic Council.  “We furnished a great deal of the money in the beginning that was basic to the struggle to organize, by giving parties, dances, dinners, anyway we could,” she said. “Lots of men lost their jobs, but the women held secret meetings.”
    • A. Philip Randolph and Rosina Tucker

      A. Philip Randolph and Rosina Tucker

    • Visiting the homes of hundreds of porters in the Washington, DC area, her reputation as a black female organizer grew. With no full-time union staff she collected dues, distributed the union newspaper, The Black Worker, and encouraged the wives of Pullman porters to become active.
    •  In 1963 she helped organize the March on Washington. She assisted the District of Columbia labor movement by helping  to organize laundry workers, domestic workers, hotel and restaurant workers, teachers and red caps at Union Station.
    • At the age of 102 she testified before a Senate subcommittee on aging.  She narrated Miles of Smiles, Years of Struggle (1981) the award-winning documentary.

    In 1983 she received a humanitarian award from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and a leadership award from the Coalition of 100 Black Womens’ Clubs.  She was an elder of the 15th Street Presbyterian Church; her autobiography, My Life as I Have Lived It, was published posthumously.

    Carter G. Woodson and the Origin of Black History Month

    February 8th, 2021

    The story of Black History Month begins in Chicago during the summer of 1915.  Carter G. Woodson, a graduate of the University of Chicago and Harvard, traveled from Washington, D.C. to participate in a national celebration of the 50th anniversary of emancipation sponsored by the state of Illinois. Thousands of African Americans from across the country came to see exhibits highlighting the progress their people had made since the destruction of slavery.

    Inspired by the overflow crowds who waited hours to view the exhibits, Woodson decided to form an organization to promote the study of black life and history.  Later that year Woodson met with A. L. Jackson,  a fellow Harvard alumnus, to form the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). 

    In 1925, Woodson decided that the Association would both create and popularize knowledge about the black past and proclaimed Negro History Week in February, 1926.

    Woodson chose February to encompass the birthdays of two great Americans who played a prominent role in shaping black history, namely Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, whose birthdays are the 12th and the 14th. 

    For more information about the origins of Black History month visit the ASNLY web page at:


    AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Members on the Front Lines in Lake County

    February 5th, 2021

    Carol Tackett, right, and Arielle Hillard registering individuals getting COVID 19 vaccinations. 

    AFSCME Ohio Council 8 members of Local 3622 at the Lake County General Health District are on the front lines working together to distribute and administer COVID 19 vaccinations to the more than 230,000 residents of the county located on the coast of Lake Erie.  

    According to Paul Stromp, president of the 40-member union and a14-year employee, “the whole department is working together – our nurses are administering the vaccine, other staff directing traffic, registering people, doing case tracking, and working the phones answering questions and walking older folks through the online registration process.”

    Carol Tackett, a 25-year nurse and union member, is proud that the Lake County General Health District staff is working as a team to vaccinate as many county residents as possible. “We get anywhere from 200 to 400 doses a week and I’m proud to say we have not wasted or lost a single one. But 400 doses don’t go far in a county our size,” she said.

    The community cooperation goes beyond the Health District as the area’s other local government offices, including a fire department, equipment maintenance garages and other locations were made available to provide readily accessible drive-through vaccination clinics across the county.

    “I have never been so proud of my union sisters and brothers and my community for the way we’ve all come together during this time of need,” Tackett said. 

    The health district is anticipating an increase to over 1,500 vaccination doses a week soon and will be ready to administer them to the residents of Lake County as they become available.


    Fund the Front Lines Day of Action Tomorrow!

    February 3rd, 2021

    Participate in AFSCME’s Day of Action 

    Thursday, February 4th by calling your Ohio House and Senate representatives and urge them to pass the American Rescue Plan.

    Lawmakers face a March 14 deadline if they want to provide additional aid before the COVID support extended in December 2020 runs out.

    The American Rescue Plan calls for $1.9 trillion in relief, including:

    • $350 billion in critical state and local fiscal relief in addition to targeted funding to help defeat the coronavirus including through support for vaccines, testing and public health programs.  
    • $170 billion to help K-12 schools safely re-open and $40 billion for childcare. 
    • An extension of Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs through September 2021 with a $400/week federal enhancement and an additional round of individual relief of $1,400 per-person and per-child direct payments. 
    • $160 billion in pandemic aid for vaccines, testing and contact tracing.
    • Relief funds for the millions of Americans struggling to make rent and mortgage payments, as well as those experiencing homelessness.  
    • $20 billion for transit agencies deeply impacted by the pandemic 

    Without this relief package, we won’t be able to keep nurses, teachers, EMS, custodians, childcare providers and so many more on the job keeping our communities safe due to budget shortfalls caused by the pandemic. Without this relief package we will be unable to help the millions of American families struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.

    Call your senators today and tell them we need to pass the American Rescue Plan. 

    Contact your Senators and Representatives at:

    House call in – 1.855.329.5629                     Senate call in – 1.888.981.9704


    Celebrate the 45th Anniversary of Black History Month

    February 1st, 2021

    President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

    The National Archives holds a wealth of material documenting the African American experience and highlights these resources online.

    Explore those records documenting African American History through the African American Research page and within the National Archives Catalog.


    What To Expect from Biden/Harris 

    January 28th, 2021

    Strong unions built the great American middle class. Everything that defines what it means to live a good life and know you can take care of your family – the 40 hour workweek, paid leave, health care protections, a voice in your workplace – is because of workers who organized unions and fought for worker protections. Because of organizing and collective bargaining, there used to be a basic bargain between workers and their employers in this country that when you work hard, you share in the prosperity your work created.

    There’s a war on organizing, collective bargaining, unions, and workers. It’s been raging for decades.

    President Biden is proposing a plan to grow a stronger, more inclusive middle class – the backbone of the American economy – by strengthening public and private sector unions and helping all workers bargain successfully for what they deserve. 

    As president, Biden promises to:

    • Check the abuse of corporate power over labor and hold corporate executives personally accountable for violations of labor laws.
    • Encourage and incentivize unionization and collective bargaining.
    • Ensure that workers are treated with dignity and receive the pay, benefits, and workplace protections they deserve.

    Workers at Ohio’s GE-Savant Lighting Plant fight for jobs in Bucyrus

    January 22nd, 2021

    Workers at the GE-Savant lighting facility in Bucyrus, Ohio are fighting for their jobs after the company issued a WARN notice, informing workers they intend to move the LED residential light bulb line out of the facility to China, permanently laying off 80 workers. The GE-Savant facility is one of the only residential lighting plants left in the USA, where workers currently make bulbs for Walmart.

    Will you show your support by signing the Ohio AFL-CIO Love Us, Don’t Leave Us petition? Sign here: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/love-us-dont-leave-us
    Read the full article here.

    Congratulations to President Joe Biden!

    January 20th, 2021

    Biden-Harris Inauguration

    January 20th, 2021

    Join us for the 59th Presidential Inauguration official events, celebrating the historic inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. In keeping with public health guidance, travel to any official event is discouraged. All are welcome to participate and view these events from home.


    Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

    January 18th, 2021

    President Ronald Reagan signed a bill in November 1983 establishing the holiday . The first federal King holiday was celebrated in 1986. It took longer for the 50 states to adopt the holiday. Martin Luther King Jr. changed his name from Michael to Martin after his father adopted the name Martin in honor of the Protestant leader Martin Luther.

    Columbus Armed Demonstration Statement

    January 15th, 2021

    Ten years ago in 2011, thousands of Ohio’s working women and men of all races packed the Ohio State House and Capital Square to protest the passage of Senate Bill 5 and save the right to collective bargaining. No windows were broken. No shots were fired. No one was injured.

    Workers made their case based on facts without violence or threats of violence, and we won at the ballot box and in the court of public opinion. Working with the tools America provides – the rights of assembly and free speech to peacefully protest, Ohioans won.

    Today, a violent mob fresh from breaching the walls of the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. which left five dead including a U.S. Capitol Police officer, is threatening to spread violence in all of America’s capital cities including Columbus.

    Ohioans of good faith and conscience will refuse to approve of or take part in such violent efforts. We know from experience that this is not the way to make true and lasting change that will benefit our families and our communities.
    President Sean Grayson,
    AFSCME Ohio Council 8 AFL-CIO

    AFSCME Member at Toledo Medical Center Receives COVID 19 Vaccine

    January 12th, 2021

    AFSCME Local member 2415 Tammi Renner received the Moderna COVID 19 Vaccine dose #1 at the University of Toledo Medical Center – as UTMC received 1,200 doses of the vaccine and started with front line workers to make vaccinations available to all staff 

    Earlier in 2020, Local 2415 members at UTMC were part of a team that once again proved the hospital’s worth as a research, training and care institution by developing a COVID19 test that yielded much faster results than others in use at the time.

    According to AFSCME Local 2415 President Randy Desposito, “This is exactly why we need to keep research, teaching, and care public hospitals like UTMC strong as an essential community resource. We have the people, expertise and equipment to make a difference, not just in Toledo but for everyone,” he said.

    UTMC has also been tapped as one of 40 top hospitals in the country joining the government’s national “Big Affects” study to determine which treatments work best to care for COVID 19 patients.  


    We must move forward united.

    January 8th, 2021

    Recent events have shown us America divided.

    In Georgia, a triumph of organizing and motivating voters resulted in the election of two US Senators with the potential to end congressional gridlock and move America forward.

    Twenty-four hours later this victory was eclipsed in Washington D.C. by an attempt to overturn the results of a free and fair national election by a violent mob incited and encouraged by a sitting president of the United States.

    With the incoming Biden/Harris administration and a new majority in Congress I am hopeful that we can start to move forward with a rapid and coordinated response to the COVID pandemic focused first on vaccinating all front line and essential workers and those most at risk.

    The incoming administration also needs to provide additional assistance to America’s working families so they can remain in their homes and keep food on the table. And after more than eight months of lobbying, we may finally see more aid for state and local governments struggling to provide vital services to their communities in the wake of revenue losses and increased costs associated with the corona virus.

    Moving forward will not be easy and will take time. To do this we must start by working together. We can and must rebuild faith in the rule of law, in our institutions and each other.

    AFSCME Members Receive COVID Moderna Vaccine

    January 5th, 2021

    Nina Longwell

    Members of AFSCME Local 2026 representing nurses like Nina Longwell at Trumbull Regional Medical Center in Warren, Ohio have started receiving the COVID Moderna vaccine.

    According to union President Tom Connelly vaccinations will be available for all of the hospital’s more than 1,600 staff. Priority will be given to ER, Critical Care and COVID units first he said.

    “We just started but as we progress we will be picking up speed getting faster was we go,” Connelly said.

    Longwell is an executive board member of AFSCME Local 2026 which has represented nurses at Trumbull Regional Medical Center since 1999.

    A holiday message from AFSCME Ohio Council 8

    December 23rd, 2020

    2020 has been a year of challenge for Ohio and our nation.  AFSCME Ohio Council 8 members have responded with courage, care, and dedication.  Your contribution to keeping your community safe and secure is valued and appreciated.

     A special note of gratitude goes to our members who will not spend the holiday with their families because they are serving the public working in health care, elder care, emergency services, emergency dispatch, transportation, utilities, and all other 24/7 operations on which the public depends.

    In addition, we must thank those who are serving in the military and their families who will miss them during this holiday season.

    On behalf of our union’s officers and leaders, we want to wish all AFSCME Ohio Council 8 members and their families a healthy and happy holiday.

    In solidarity,

    Sean Grayson, President    

    Marcia Knox, First Vice President

    AFSCME Ohio Council 8, AFL-CIO

    COVID-19 Vaccines Administered at Cleveland’s MetroHealth Hospital

    December 21st, 2020

    AFSCME Local 3360 member Dennis Feliciano an Environmental Services Department Porter is one of the first front-line workers at Cleveland’s MetroHealth to receive the coronavirus vaccine now being shipped to Ohio hospitals and nursing homes. 

    Feliciano is responsible for cleaning floors, rooms and other areas of the hospital. As the vaccine becomes more available in the coming weeks AFSCME members working in hospitals, nursing homes and other essential jobs will be among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

    In addition to Cleveland, Ohio Council 8 represents health care workers in Akron, Athens, Cincinnati, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown regions.

    AFSCME Members Are Keeping Us Safe

    December 2nd, 2020

    AFSCME Local 1632 City of Columbus repairing a downed street light probably one of the first casualties of the first central Ohio snowfall. Their work keeps the streets safe and city running. AFSCME members are at work across the city, the county and the state and will be on duty whatever the weather.

    Have a safe Thankgiving!

    November 17th, 2020

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

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

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


    September 23rd, 2020

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

    Click here to register.

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

    September 18th, 2020

    AFSCME Members,

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

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

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

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

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

    What they say fact check:

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

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

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

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

    That strong voice means protecting:

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

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

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

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

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

    In solidarity, Sean Grayson

    President, AFSCME Ohio Council 8, AFL-CIO

    2020 Scholarships Awarded to Eichler and Davis

    September 16th, 2020

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

    Reese Eichler

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

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


    Damian Davis II

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

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

    The 2020 AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Scholarships are named in honor of Toledo unionist George Tucker and Cincinnati unionist and Ohio Retiree coordinator Betty Thomas. Betty Thomas, a mother of five, began her career in education as a school and library volunteer. In 1972 she took a part-time job as an Instructional Assistant for the Cincinnati Board of Education.

    Her skill and dedication were quickly recognized and in 1974, Thomas was hired full-time and  soon joined AFSCME Local 1938, the union for unclassified employees. She continued to work for the board of education and served the union for the next 19 years. In 1995, Thomas joined the International Union staff as the Retiree Coordinator for AFSCME Ohio Retirees Chapter 1184. Thomas is retired and lives in Cincinnati and is still active in AFSCME Retiree Chapter 1184.

    George Tucker is a Toledo native, who after graduating from high school in 1961, joined the United States Navy. Five year later Tucker signed on with the Toledo city workforce and immediately joined AFSCME Local 7, which has represented the city’s workers since 1937.

    Working in the city’s Division of Inspection and the sign shop, Tucker held numerous union positions as a member of Local 7 and in 1972 was elected president of, at that time, the 1,100-member union and also served on the AFSCME Ohio Council 8 executive board.

    In 1984, Tucker joined Ohio Council 8 Toledo regional staff, a post he held until 1987, when he was appointed Toledo Regional Director. Tucker retired in 2004 and in 2012, he agreed to come out of retirement and served as director for an additional year.

    Tucker also served on the Greater Northwest Ohio AFL-CIO steering committee and executive board and as President. In addition, Tucker gave of his time and talents to the United Labor Committee, the Northwest Ohio Center for Labor and Management Cooperation, the Labor Management Citizens Committee, and the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, was President of the Toledo Library Board of Trustees and served on the Toledo Port Authority. Tucker passed away in the spring of 2020. 

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


    Larry Luers: Ordinary day takes unexpected turn.

    August 22nd, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Ohio University Classified Employees say AFSCME Yes!

    August 17th, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Harber Elected New Dayton Regional Vice President

    August 10th, 2020

    Sean Harber

    Sean Harber

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    August 10th, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Our lives and livelihoods are on the line.

    In Solidarity,

    Team AFL-CIO

    Request your absentee ballot today!

    August 3rd, 2020

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

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



    Am I registered to vote?

    Download a request an absentee ballot here

    Find my County Board of Elections


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

    July 30th, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    To read the article on dispatch.com click here.

    America is 97 days away from the most consequential election in the past 100 years

    July 29th, 2020

    As of today, Wednesday July 29, 2020 America is 97 days away from the most consequential election in the past 100 years.

    In the shadow of the COVID pandemic, a faltering economy, and a divided Congress and nation, it will take a total effort by every individual dedicated to moving America forward to get to the polls and vote.

    Ohio’s AFSCME members, retirees, and their families and friends can count on AFSCME Power In Action to play a key role in making Vote-By-Mail happen.

    This election is as much about the voting process as it is about people voting. Just getting voters to the polls is not enough anymore. That’s why early voting is more important than ever.

    In addition to being secure and convenient, early voting is a safe option because will limit the number of voters at polling locations at any one time.

    Ohio has been doing absentee voting for years and voter fraud is virtually nonexistent.

    Click here to download the official form and directions to request an early vote absentee ballot.

    State lawmakers are on summer break, so the time for a legislative fix is past. Now it’s up to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose to use his authority to ensure all modes of voting are easily accessible to all voters.

    Click here to send a letter to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose to demand safety for all Ohio Voters in November.

    In solidarity,

    Political and Legislative Director Robert Davis

    AFSCME Ohio Council 8 stands with Black Lives Matter

    July 3rd, 2020

    AFSCME Ohio Council 8 stands with Black Lives Matter.  Our union embraced the concepts driving Black Lives Matter well before the current protests triggered by the tragic death of George Floyd.

    In 2015, the deaths of Tamir Rice, Eric Garner and others, shocked the conscience of AFSCME Ohio Council 8’s leaders who were moved to action.  We organized a frank and honest discussion about racial and economic justice in America as the center piece of our union’s 28th biennial convention in Cincinnati Ohio.

    John Ackison President of AFSCME Local 1699. Local 1699 is one of more than 150 Ohio Council 8 local unions that has participated in the council’s Implicit Bias Awareness training program.

    We did more than just talk. That ground-breaking and thoughtful discussion lead by participants from Black Lives Matter, the faith community, community-based law enforcement, and academic and social activists, resulted in the convention’s unanimous adoption of resolution to establish a standing committee to promote Racial and Economic Justice within our union, on the job and in our communities.

    Working with AFSCME educators, leaders and activists, the committee spent a year developing a program focused on educating our members about Implicit Bias and how it affects how we interact with people of another race despite our good intentions and conscious feelings.

    By 2017, all Council 8 staff participated in a train-the-trainer program and the program was offered to our local union leaders and members.

    Since that time Implicit Bias awareness is now a permanent part of all AFSCME Ohio Council 8 leadership and activist training and has reached more than 150 local unions.

    The labor movement is at its core an equality movement. We seek to represent our members without regard to color, gender, age, sexual orientation, or religion. We demand dignity and respect and to be recognized only on our ability to do the job and our dedication in service.

    For every moment we fail to act, we are condemning another mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter to economic and social inequality on the job and injustice and violence in our communities.

    We proudly stand with Black Lives Matter.

    Black Lives Matter signs are available at Council 8 Regional Offices.

    George Tucker Blood Drive

    June 29th, 2020

    Toledo Labor activists and union members “Answered The Call” to donate blood in an outpouring of love and affection to honor the memory of the life of AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Leader George Tucker.

    Blood donors packed the Red Cross Blood Drive named in Tucker’s honor held at AFSCME Ohio Council 8’s Toledo Regional office on July 26th.

    Local 544 member Bethany Malory “A great tribute to our AFSCME Brother that’s why I came out today.”

    According to Mark Buford, Labor Liaison for the American Red Cross Western Lake Erie Blood Region, the average first-time blood drive nets about 28 donors.  “But to honor George Tucker, 65 donors from across the region’s labor community rolled up their sleeves and answered the call,” he said.

    The event was so successful it will now become the Annual George Tucker Memorial Blood drive.

    “This is such a fitting memorial for an individual who gave so much to improve the lives of all workers. AFSCME members remember George’s good humor, unmatched skill and dedication, and his tireless work on behalf of public employees and of all Northwestern Ohio’s workers,” said Toledo Regional Director Steve Kowalik.

    “There is a critical shortage of blood right now,” Bueford said.  “It’s summer and people are thinking of outdoor activities and vacation, and giving blood is just not on their radar. And then there is the fear of the pandemic,” he said.

    Rest assured the Red Cross is following all CDC and Ohio Department of Health safety precautions.

    Ohio and across the nation all blood types are urgently needed to help restock the shelves. The Red Cross is thanking those who “Answer the Call”  to donate blood or platelets between July 25 and Aug. 31 by emailing them a $5 Amazon.com gift card claim code.

    To schedule an appointment to donate, use the free Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donation appointments and completion of a RapidPass online health history questionnaire are encouraged to help reduce wait times.

    Calaway Elected New Cleveland Regional Vice PresidentCalaway Elected New Cleveland Regional Vice President

    June 25th, 2020

    At a recent Cleveland Region special convention in May, Valisa Calaway was elected by acclamation as the new Regional Vice President. 

    Valisa Calaway

    Valisa Calaway

    Calaway joins Julie Albers, President of AFSCME Local 3360 at Cleveland’s’ MetroHealth hospital on the executive board representing the region’s 6,600 union members.

    A 20-year member of AFSCME Local 1746, which represents 1,200 members at the Cuyahoga County Department of Job and Family Services, she is a Health and Human Service Specialist.  Calaway is an active member, a proven leader and has served as a union steward.

    “My goal is keep everything honest and fair everywhere.  We are going into contact negotiations and while we have a good relationship with management, it’s hard to predict what the new contract will look like, but we’re optimistic,“ she said.

    Calaway takes over from AFSCME Local 1746 President Pam Brown who stepped down as regional vice president after serving the Cleveland Region on the Ohio Council 8 Executive Board since 2000.

    Essential Workers Can’t Wait: Fund the Front Lines Now

    May 27th, 2020

    While the US Senate goes on vacation and it’s leaders say “let’s wait and see”, state and local finances are taking a nose dive resulting in a wave of layoffs and job losses set to surpass those of the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

    Thanks to action by AFSCME and other unions, the US House passed and sent to the Senate HR 6800 – the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act or the HEROES Act – a funding measure aimed specifically at preserving state and local government jobs and services.

    The stakes couldn’t be higher. Take away defense spending, Social Security and health care, state and local governments account for more than one-fifth of America’s gross domestic product.

    The loss of these essential services hurts a community’s health, safety, education, and quality of life. The economy can’t be successfully reopened without them.

    Dennis Favazzo-President, Local 2007 City of Bedford

    Dennis Favazzo-President, Local 2007 City of Bedford

    “Ohio can’t wait. We can see right now what is happening to our cities, counties, hospitals, public schools, colleges and universities,” said AFSCME Local 2007 City of Bedford union President Dennis Favazzo.

    “Thankfully we have not had any layoffs but things can change quickly. We use the union bulletin boards we have in every city building, discuss it at our union meetings and at work. I think our members get it,” he said. 

    It’s up to us to make sure Ohio Senator Rob Portman is on our side.  Call him at 202-224-3353 or click here to send him an e-mail.

    Tell him: “Ohio can’t wait.  State and local government is the foundation our economy is built upon. The economy can’t be successfully reopened without strong public services. The time to act is now.”

    Now it’s up to the Senate pass the HEROES Act and keep Ohio working. 

    May 19th, 2020

    Keep the pressure on! Now it’s up to the Senate pass the HEROES Act and keep Ohio working.  It’s up to us to make that happen!

    Because of your calls and e-mails to Congress, Funding for Front Line Workers took a leap forward when the House passed the HEROES Act – Thank you!

    Now our union must set its sights on the U.S. Senate to pass the HEROES Act. This vital step is needed to stop the wave of layoffs and unpaid furloughs affecting thousands of health, education, safety and other essential public service workers who are necessary to open our economy safety and to keep Ohio working.

    “Now is the time for politicians to take bold action. I know our union is up to the task of demanding they take that action. ” said Robert Davis Ohio Council Political and Legislative Director. 

    But we can’t count on Ohio Sen. Rob Portman’s support to pass the HEROES Act.  He says wants to “wait and see”. Along with the Senate Majority Leader, who is on record saying he is willing to let cities, towns, hospitals and colleges “go bankrupt”,  we will need every vote to save Ohio.

    Left to right – Patricia Sheldon and Charice Johnson

    Ohio can’t afford to wait and see how many more critical public service jobs will be eliminated.  Jobs like Cincinnati Health Department AFSCME Local 3119 nurses Patricia Sheldon and Charice Johnson perform everyday treating citizens who have tested positive with COVID-19 but who have no health insurance.

    We need every public health nurse like Patricia and Charice. We need every public safety worker, health care worker, custodial and sanitary worker, transportation and human services worker and so many other vital public service workers to stay on the job rather than be laid off.

    It’s clear Ohio can’t “wait and see”. We must make Sen. Rob Portman understand his duty to our communities and families includes supporting the HEROES Act.

    Tell him to Fund the Front Lines, NOW. Click here.

    Tell him Ohio can’t wait. We’re counting on him to support the HEROES Act and provide the vital funding to maintain the essential public services AFSCME members provide.

    TIME IS RUNNING OUT: Tell Congress To Fund The Front Lines!

    May 13th, 2020

    The U.S. House of Representatives is moving their next COVID-19 relief bill THIS WEEK. That means we still have an opportunity to push for a bill that includes $800 billion in funding for state and local government. If you make the call. 

    Without that aid, local government, education, health care and social service workers – the backbone of Ohio’s communities – will face a tidal wave of layoffs as spring turns into summer.

    Cities and counties stand to lose the vital services provided by workers like John Henry, a Columbus Health Department AFSCME Local 2191 member.

    Known affectingly as “the bodyguard” by his coworkers, Henry screens and takes temperatures of clients before allowing them to enter the city’s WIC (Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program) offices. 

    To safely do their jobs and serve the city’s 35,000 WIC clients  – the largest program in Ohio – the health department, working with the union, changed its protocols to allow participants to call-in to update their benefits and visit a drive-up station to receive their WIC cards from Local 2191 members protected by gowns, gloves and masks.

    Henry has now moved on to work on one of city’s four teams of trackers who telephone individuals exposed to the virus requesting them to self-quarantine and supply them with information.

    Can you spare 3 minutes to call or e-mail Congress and urge them to include funding for state and local government in the upcoming COVID-19 relief package? Even if you have called your representative before, please call them again.

    Take Action

    Call Sen. Sherrod Brown at: (202) 224-2315

    Call Sen Rob Portman at: (202) 224-3353

    Click here to find your U.S. Representative

    Click here to e-mail all three.

    Contact Governor Mike DeWine’s Office at (614) 644-4357

    Demand Congress Fund the Front Lines Now! Make The Call.

    May 12th, 2020

    Make the call or e-mail the Senate, U.S House and Ohio’s legislative leaders to demand Full Funding for State and Local Government in the COVID relief bill now before Congress

    Sometimes the front line is not always where you think it is.  First responders and front-line workers cannot get far without reliable equipment. 

    On this unseen “front line” are workers like AFSCME Local 1158 member like Clayton Long who helps keep the City of Marion’s vehicles in action and on the road.

    “Our members know how important it is to fund Ohio’s state and local government during this crisis,” said Greg Mayse, president of the 70-member union for city workers.   

    “It’s vital that all Council 8 members take action now to avoid service cuts, layoffs and lost jobs. And the leaders of our local union will get this message to our members,” Mayes said, noting that the union has 100% membership.

    Call now and demand that congress include over $800 billion in funding for state and local governments in the COVID relief package now under consideration in the Senate and House. 


    Take Action Now!

    Call Sen. Sherrod Brown at: (202) 224-2315

    Call Sen Rob Portman at: (202) 224-3353 

    Click here to find your U.S. Representative.

    Click here to e-mail all three.

    Also call Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s Office at (614) 644-4357 and ask him to do everything in his power to urge Ohio’s Congressional Delegation to make sure Ohioans receive their fair share of this critical aid. 

    Click here to email Gov. DeWine.

    WATCH: OU Workers Fighting For Their Jobs

    May 8th, 2020

    OU workers are fighting for their jobs. Congress needs to fight fight for them, too.

    Call or write to Congress today and demand they fund the front lines and help state and local governments avoid devastating cuts to services.

    Call Sen. Sherrod Brown at: (202) 224-2315

    Call Sen. Rob Portman at: (202) 224-3353

    Click here to find your U.S. Representative.

    Click here to email all three.

    What happens if we don’t fund the front lines?

    May 6th, 2020

    Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Ohio’s state and local governments are experiencing a huge budget crunch. We have two choices: either the federal government can help by funding the front lines or our communities will suffer grave consequences. What kinds of consequences? Let’s talk trash.

    Trash pickup is a key public service. Cut backs mean less collection — and more garbage and rats in our neighborhoods. Definitely not good for public health and the quality of life in Ohio’s cities and towns.

    We can avoid making these impossible choices if we act now.

    Call or write to Congress today and demand they fund the front lines and help state and local governments avoid devastating cuts to services.

    Call Sen. Sherrod Brown at: (202) 224-2315

    Call Sen. Rob Portman at: (202) 224-3353

    Click here to find your U.S. Representative.

    Click here to email all three.


    Council 8 Member International Union Scholarship Winner

    May 1st, 2020

    Holly Sexton, the daughter of Wendy Sexton, a 20-year Ohio Council 8 member of AFSCME Local 3619 at the City of Jackson Auditor’s Department, is one of ten winners awarded $2,000 grants as part of the AFSCME International Family Scholarship program. 

    An outstanding and well-liked student at Jackson High School, Holly participated in school and community activities as well as sports, including winning a letter in Volleyball, and serving as captain of the school’s Varsity Cheerleading squad.  

    Holly has followed her strong interest in leadership, government and politics throughout high school.  She has served on Student Council, is a National Honor Society member, participated in the Youth in Government Association, was an Ohio Attorney General Teen Ambassador, participated in voter registration drives, and has won several awards for her volunteer work.  

    The AFSCME International Family Scholarship grants are renewable for four years.

    Holly will be attending Yale University in the fall where she plans on studying global affairs, French and history.

    Holly Sexton

    University of Toledo Medical Center Testing Breakthrough 

    April 29th, 2020

    Earlier this month AFSCME Local 2415 members at The University of Toledo Medical Center are part of a team that have once again proven the hospital’s worth as a research, training and care institution by developing a COVID19 test that yields much faster results than others in use.

    Before UTMC’s Pathology Lab stepped in, testing in Lucas County took up to eight days to yield results. But now, the lab at UTMC can test up to 180 samples a day and returns take 48 hours or less.

    The test kit UTMC’s team of experts developed is now in use across the region.

    Union member and molecular biologist Heather Kvale said there are not many hospitals like UTMC, which has its own molecular research department with funding by the National Institutes of Health.

    “We have a great team of specialists and they all worked tirelessly to make this happen. I’m really glad that we were able to decrease the testing time so that people didn’t sit there in limbo,” she said.

    To perfect their testing capability UTMC’s molecular diagnostics specialists had to show their test kit provided accurate results. Fortunately, the lab already had the right people, equipment and kit samples to work with.

    Virtually every hospital department pitched in. The laboratory IT department was able to rapidly build the test into their system. UTMC’s phlebotomists and Medical Technologists coordinated to bring specimens into the department for testing, and the Safety and Health department worked to keep the team safe. 

    “Even the Shipping and Receiving department helped coordinate our deliveries so we could stay stocked with the materials we needed to run the tests. There are so many wonderful people here at UTMC it would be impossible to name them all – we couldn’t have done it without each-and-every one of them,” Kvale said.   

    According to AFSCME Local 2415 President Randy Desposito, “This is exactly why we need to keep research, teaching, and care public hospitals like UTMC. They have the people, expertise and equipment to make a difference, not just in Toledo but for all of Ohio,” he said.

    Photo Credit: University of Toledo. Pictured: Back Row, Left to Right: Heather Byrd; Nichole Ortiz; Heather Kavale. Front Row, Left to Right: Michelle Lewandowski; Holly Mohon; Shauna Rasor.

    Earn A Bachelor’s Degree – For Free. But Hurry Up and Apply.

    April 24th, 2020

    Here’s an offer AFSCME members and their families cannot refuse. They can earn a bachelor’s degree in teacher education or business administration – for free.

    In response to the health and economic uncertainty facing many AFSCME members, the AFSCME Bachelor’s Degree Completion Program, in partnership with Central State University, is making it possible for students who enroll in the summer 2020 term to complete their entire degree online with no out-of-pocket cost – as long as they remain continuously enrolled. Students may enroll part time, but continuous enrollment is required.

    But students must act fast. They must enroll in the summer term to take advantage of this offer, and classes begin on May 18.

    There will be no out-of-pocket cost for tuition, fees, or e-books through graduation, not just the summer term. Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and go through Central State University’s aid process.

    Students who are unemployed, furloughed or laid off need not worry. They and their eligible family members can still enroll in the bachelor’s completion program. AFSCME is here to help members and their families through these uncertain times.

    Members can learn more about this limited time offer by calling 888-897-9671 or get started online at bachelorsdegree.afscme.org.

    Also, students still have the option of earning a free associate degree through the AFSCME Free College program.

    Students and their family members will earn the online, two-year degree from Eastern Gateway Community College at no cost. If they haven’t yet earned an associate degree, or if they are interested in programs other than what’s offered through the bachelor’s degree completion program, AFSCME Free College just might be the right fit.

    AFSCME Free College offers many general education and technical courses that are transferrable to other colleges and universities, including in-demand programs such as health care administration, teacher education, programming and development, cybersecurity, advertising, human resources and accounting. Enrollment for the June 1 session is now open.

    Read the full article here.

    Frequently Asked Questions About the CARES Act and PUA Program

    April 23rd, 2020

    Ohio, like every other state in the nation, has received federal funding for individuals made jobless as a result of the Coronavirus crisis. Benefits are available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program.

    In order to speed up the weekly claim filing process the Ohio Department of Job and Family services has announced an application schedule based on the first letter of your last name (see table below).

    If you have experienced a lay-off, furlough, or your job has otherwise been impacted click here for a summary of the programs created by the federal CARES Act.

    For answers to questions regarding eligibility, how to apply, benefits, and other frequently asked questions click here.

    Eastern Gateway Has Your Back

    April 8th, 2020

    Even is you or your family member have been laid off, furloughed, or displaced you will have access to online college programs through graduation, with no interruption.

    Eastern Gateway has got your back. See the flyer below for more information.

    Make a call and protect workers in your community.

    April 7th, 2020

    Congress is now busy at work creating the COVID 4 relief bill. This bill is aimed at helping workers affected by the crisis.
    We must act TODAY – to make sure hospital, education, city, state and county workers will be included in the latest response bill’s funding.

    The bill is intended to work by offering loans to businesses to keep their employees on their payrolls and offer expanded unemployment benefits to workers who do lose their job.

    Currently Hospitals, public schools, and local and state governments are not included.

    Our top priority for this COVID response bill must be to provide $200 billion in additional direct funds with a clear requirement that money will be used to protect public service jobs.

    NOW is the time to act in order to remove the roadblocks and fix previous Coronavirus Aid acts so that public service workers who face cutbacks and job loses will not be left out.

    To make that happen we need you to call or e-mail Sen. Sherrod Brown (click here) and Sen. Rob Portman (click here) and your congressional representative (click here).

    Let them know that hospital, education, city, state and county workers must be included in the latest COVID response bill’s funding.

    From the Emergency Room to the classroom, from the County Engineer to the public health department, these public services workers keep Ohio’s communities healthy and safe. These critical jobs must be protected.

    Call and keep calling. Let your mayor, county executive, Ohio House and Senate representative know Ohio must keep its public service workers on the job.

    Ask them to call their friends in Washington D.C. and go to bat for the people who make Ohio happen.

    Call 1-800-282-0253 to reach your Ohio Representative (click here) to find your Ohio Senator
    To download a detailed COVID4 fact sheet, click here.

    How neighbors in Cincinnati rallied to thank AFSCME sanitation workers

    April 6th, 2020

    Retired Cincinnati employee Gerald Checco has worked in many City departments and recognizes the professionalism of the city’s workforce. “These folks cannot, and will not stay home and wait for the pandemic to pass. They too face conditions that put their personal health at risk.” 
    “We naturally think of our hospital professionals who continue hourly to face an unknown enemy, but we need to also think of our government employees who continue to do their jobs and maintain some semblance of normalcy while the rest of us must do our part and stay at home.”
    Checco rallied his neighbors in the Cincinnati community of Clifton to thank the members of AFSCME Local 255’s “ever-reliable sanitation workers” and through them to “ all committed city and county employees.”
    On pickup day the community said thank you to the union members by posting “thank you” note on their trash cans as an expression of their gratitude. 

    Ohio To Run Mail-in Primary Through April 28

    March 30th, 2020

    Ohio’s official primary Election Day is long gone, but if you didn’t get to the polls on March 17 when the polls were closed because of the coronavirus, you can still cast your ballot.

    The Ohio General Assembly has extended absentee voting until Tuesday, April 28, “but there are a few hoops to jump through,” said Council 8 Political and Legislative Director Robert Davis.

    According to Davis, the first step is to request an absentee ballot. The fastest way is through the secretary of state’s website click here.

    Fill out and print the ballot request, put a stamp on an envelope, and mail it to your local board of elections. In a few days you should receive an absentee ballot. If you don’t have a computer, call your county board of elections to ask that a ballot be mailed to you. Click here to find your county board of elections.

    Make sure you fill out the ballot request carefully. Mistakes may cause the board of elections to reject it.  A common error is putting the current date where your birth date is supposed to go.

    The board will then mail you an absentee ballot specific to your locality. “That means you will still be able to vote on tax, bond, and other local issues,” Davis said.

    Your ballot will arrive with a postage-paid envelope. Fill out the ballot and drop it in the mail or take it to a drop box at your county board of elections.

    “This is not an ideal situation because we were looking forward to primary election day to collect signatures to make sure issues like raising the minimum wage to $13 per hour would be on the November ballot. If you haven’t already voted, act quickly and cast your ballot in this extended primary election,” Davis said,

    Ballots must be postmarked by April 27.

    AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Members Help Athens Schools In Time of Need

    March 27th, 2020

    Food service workers Ashley Dowler, left, and Megan McKenzie are on the job packing meals.

    Food service workers Ashley Dowler, left, and Megan McKenzie are on the job packing meals.

    Members of AFSCME Local 1846 are working with the Athens public schools Board of Education to take care of their students’ appetites for food and knowledge during the present health crisis. 

    Based on the results of a survey of the system’s families “our members are working to making sure our students are being well fed and will continue to be well educated with on-line learning,” said union president Monna French.

    During the week Athens school food service employees prepare breakfast and lunch packages for students which are delivered by Local 1846 bus drivers and paraprofessional volunteers.

    The school’s survey also revealed a shortage of internet learning devices for the now stay-at-home students. “Our members are making sure students will have school issued tablets to keep up with their studies,” said French, a student resource coordinator.

    From left, Local 1846 volunteers Kelly Six, Cara France, and union president Monna French. 

    From left, Local 1846 volunteers Kelly Six, Cara France, and union president Monna French. 

    But a digital book is no good without internet access.  “Athens County is very rural so our members will also turn internet dead-spots into to internet hot-spots by delivering and setting up board provided access equipment so kids can keep on learning,” she said.

    In addition to serving her local union, French is also a Volunteer Member Organizer.

    Cincinnati Enquirer: See why Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley calls ‘Rosie the Riveter’ school nurses ‘inspiring’

    March 20th, 2020

    You are there when your community needs you. Thank you.

    March 18th, 2020

    As many of us work from the safety of our homes to prevent the spread of this deadly virus, we are becoming more aware of the vital role public and private service workers are playing to keep ourselves and our families healthy and safe.

    To the brave women and men who continue to work in our medical facilities; to police, fire fighters, EMTs, dispatchers and call takers who are responding to emergency calls; to the care givers in nursing homes and those providing in home care; to water, waste water, custodial and waste services personnel who are continuing to keep our public spaces and the environment clean; to those transporting food and needed goods; to food service workers who are preparing and delivery meals; to teachers who have worked all week converting in class lessons to on line educational instruction for our kids; to State and county workers still processing food aide and unemployment compensation claims for families in need and workers who have been laid off; to the public policy leaders and elected officials who are trying to coordinate state and local governmental responses to this ongoing and changing crisis and to all of the other service workers everywhere still working for all of us – Thank you.

    We are witnessing true heroism. The heroes are not the movie stars and ball players we usually idolize when times are good. These are our family members, our union sisters and brothers, our neighbors and in most cases, people we don’t even know, risking their lives so that others may be saved.

    Thank you for your work and your sacrifice. Your dedication is not going unnoticed or without deep appreciation. We are all in your debt.

    Thank you to the incredible members of AFSCME, Ohio Council 8. Your strength and devotion to your work and your communities is beyond what words can convey. Our families, our communities will survive this threat, in large measure, because of your efforts.

    May God bless you and keep you safe.

    R. Sean Grayson, President
    AFSCME Ohio Council 8, AFL-CIO

    Joint Statement on School Closings and Coronavirus

    March 14th, 2020

    Ohio’s education community – educators, education support personnel, superintendents and local school boards – is united in its commitment to ensuring the well-being of the students that we serve as we grapple with the spread of COVID-19 and its implications for public education. We applaud the strong leadership of Governor DeWine and his demonstrated willingness to make decisions that are in the best interest of Ohioans.

    We are prepared to do whatever is necessary to adjust very quickly to the unprecedented reality of a global pandemic that threatens public health, has roiled our economy, and led to innumerable disruptions in our daily lives.

    The Governor’s order to close all Ohio schools was a big step and we welcome the opportunity to work with Governor DeWine and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Paolo DeMaria, to chart a path forward for local school districts on how best to manage this pandemic.

    Navigating these uncharted waters will require a lot of patience and creativity for everyone involved in decision-making at all levels.  We know there are major structural impediments to having to switch to an online learning environment. But as Ohio’s education teams strive to implement creative solutions, your associations stand ready to assist in any way possible. 

    There are many questions that have no immediate answers. They include but are not limited to how missing days will be made up, how testing will be handled, and how accountability systems will be adjusted.  Please know that your input is invaluable, and we will make every effort to be responsive to your needs. As questions are considered and answers forthcoming, we will share that information with you in a timely fashion.

    Controlling the outbreak of the virus is extremely important to the health and safety of Ohioans. Being able to influence some control over the growth of the outbreak will allow our healthcare system to have a better chance of having the resources available to provide treatment and medical care for those who do contract the virus. Also, please remember that while children do not seem to be as impacted by contracting the virus, they are known to be carriers and can infect the adults with whom they interact. This can lead to devastating consequences for high-risk adults.

    We ask that you do all you can to keep yourself healthy and safe, including hand-washing, cleaning surfaces, and social distancing.  For more details on steps you can take to keep you and your loved ones safe, please refer to these guidelines from the Center for Disease Control.

    Thank you for your leadership, your patience, and your commitment to the health and well-being of your students, staff, and community.


    Melissa Cropper, President, Ohio Federation of Teachers

    Scott DiMauro, President, Ohio Education Association

    Sean Grayson, President, AFSCME Council 8

    Kirk Hamilton, Executive Director, Buckeye Association of School Administrators

    Rick Lewis, Executive Director, Ohio School Boards Association

    Joe Rugola, Executive Director, Ohio Association of Public School Employees

    AFSCME Local 3956 Member Finds Good Fit At Eastern Gateway Community College

    March 12th, 2020

    AFSCME Local 3956 member Sherry Thomas has always been interested in the criminal justice system and how it works, so her career as a Deputy Clerk II in the Legal Department of the Mahoning County Common Pleas Court is a good fit.

    And the free college program at Eastern Gateway Community College was also a good fit.  It enabled her to move forward on her chosen career path with an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement that she earned through the college’s free, on-line program.

    “I always wanted to go back to school but between a full-time job and the cost I just wasn’t able to do it. So, when I saw the free college program offered by my union, I jumped on it,” Thomas said.

    Thomas was able to reach her goal of going back to school by working on-line in the evenings. “If you have the passion and drive, you can do it. And Eastern Gateway is there to help get you started. I highly recommend it.” she said.

    For more information on go to: www.council8education.org or call


    AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Betty Thomas and George Tucker Scholarships

    January 31st, 2020

    The 2020 AFSCME Council 8 Family Scholarships are named in honor of two long-time Ohio Council 8 leaders who distinguished themselves as public employees and trade unionists and worked to improve the lives of all Ohioans: George Tucker and Betty Thomas.

    Betty Thomas

        Betty Thomas, a mother of five, began her career in education as a school and library volunteer. In 1972 she took  a part-time job  as an Instructional Assistant for the Cincinnati Board of Education. 

      Her skill and dedication were quickly recognized and in 1974, Thomas was hired full-time and soon joined AFSCME Local 1938, the union for unclassified employees. She continued to work for the board of education and served the union for the next 19 years.

    In 1995, Thomas joined the international staff as the Retiree Coordinator for AFSCME Ohio Retirees Chapter 1184.

      For the next 21 years she worked as a strong advocate for retired AFSCME members and helped build Chapter 1184 into one of AFSCME’s strongest retiree chapters.

      In addition, she was active in politics and could be depended upon for block walks, door knocking, attending rallies and phone banks.

      Thomas retired in 2016. She continues to be active with retirees in the Cincinnati area serving as Vice President of Retiree Sub-Chapter 107. 

    George Tucker

      George Tucker is a Toledo native, who after graduating from high school in 1961, joined the United States Navy. Five years later Tucker joined the Toledo city workforce and immediately joined AFSCME Local 7, which has represented the city’s workers since 1937.

        Working in the city’s Division of Inspection and the sign shop, Tucker held numerous union positions and in 1972 was elected president of, at that time, the 1,100-member union.

      In addition, he served on the AFSCME Ohio Council 8 executive board first as a Toledo Regional Vice President and later as Secretary-Treasurer. 

      In 1984, Tucker joined Ohio Council 8′ Toledo regional staff, a post he held until 1987, when he was appointed Toledo Regional Director. Tucker retired in 2004 and in 2012, he agreed to come out of retirement and served as director for an additional year.

       At the same time, he has served the Greater Northwest Ohio AFL-CIO steering committee and executive board and as President. He also holds a position on the national AFL-CIO’s advisory board.

       In addition, Tucker gives his time and talents to the United Labor Committee, the  Northwest Ohio Center for Labor and Management Cooperation, the Labor Management Citizens Committee, and the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists.

      He is also President of the Toledo Library Board of Trustees and serves on the Toledo Port Authority.

    Tucker is now retired, lives in Toledo and is still active in his community.

       AFSCME Ohio Council 8 First Vice President Marcia Knox, chairman of the scholarship committee said, “We strongly encourage every eligible student to apply for these scholarships.”

       Knox stressed that all applications must be postmarked no later than Friday, May 1, 2020

         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. 

      Scholarship applications can be downloaded here.

    Martin Luther King Jr. Day Statement from AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President Sean Grayson

    January 17th, 2020

    Each commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday is a reminder of the contributions one man or one woman can make through acts of courage and conviction to improve the lives of others by joining in the fight for civil rights and social and economic justice. It is also a reminder of the bonds between the civil rights movement and the labor movement forged over time in the struggle for economic security and human dignity.

    Dr. King knew this coalition held the promise to lift people out of poverty and improve their lives. King said: “The labor movement was the principle force that transforms misery and despair into hope and progress. Out of its bold struggles, economic and social reform gave birth to unemployment insurance, old age pensions, government relief for the destitute and above all new wage levels that meant not mere survival, but a tolerable life. The captains of industry did not lead this transformation, they resisted it until they were overcome.” 

    In the dawn of this new year, we once again witness the slow but steady erosion of the economic and social reforms the civil rights and labor rights movements fought so hard to achieve.

    The elimination of defined benefit pension plans is forcing Americans to work well past retirement age just to survive. An ever widening and disgraceful level of income inequality, driven by greed and corruption and an economy that works only for the wealthiest among us, is leaving millions of American families struggling to make ends meet.

    Attempts by the Trump Administration to eliminate guaranteed health insurance coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions and soaring health care and prescription drug costs are resulting in Americans not getting the medical care they need.  And small but aggressive segments of our society are openly targeting people of color, women,  LGBTQI , Muslim and Jewish Americans with hate, discrimination and acts of violence that rip at the very heart of who we are as Americans together. 

    But our society does not have to continue down this path. We need only look to our past and draw from the compassion and resolve of Dr. King to know that each one of us can make a difference. Acting together, change is not only possible but assured. With Dr. King in mind, we can summon the strength and courage to act in defense of civil rights and social and economic justice.

    We can stand up and speak out. We can join and participate in our union and encourage others to do so. We can support efforts to strengthen workers’ rights to organize and to collectively bargain. We can support measures that broaden civil rights protections for all Americans.  And we can, and must, vote. 

    In these and other ways, we can act to save the social and economic justice measures we fought so hard to achieve. And with momentum at our backs we can move the needle of progress farther until our society is one in which every American can prosper.

    In solidarity,

    President Sean Grayson

    2020 Census: Myth vs Fact

    January 11th, 2020

    For more information click the link below.

    2020 Census: Myth vs Fact

    AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Leader Marie Clark Passes

    January 8th, 2020

    In Honor of Women’s History Day, Ohio Council 8 remembers honor beloved AFSCME Local 1632 City of Columbus union leader Marie Clark.  A Columbus native, Clark was born on July 28, 1915 and passed away on January 2, 2020. She was 104 years of age.

    AFSCME Ohio Council 8 marks the passing of beloved union leader Marie Clark on January 2, 2020.  A Columbus native, Clark was born on July 28, 1915. She was 104 years of age.

    As one of Ohio’s foremost Black female labor leaders, Clark dedicated her life to working for equal rights in the workplace and the community as a member of the United Auto Workers and AFSCME.

    In 1946, Marie began work at the Columbus plant of Curtiss-Wright. She immediately joined the United Auto Workers union which represented workers at what was at that time was the largest aircraft manufacturer in the United States.

    Over the next 22 years she worked her way up from assembler to aircraft mechanic. She also became a proven and effective union leader and the first African American woman elected to the executive board of UAW Local 927.

    Always an activist, her first job action at the plant was to address the disparity in men’s and women’s locker rooms. While men had large round sinks where dozens of men could wash at one time, women had only a couple of regular sinks and a long waiting line at the end of each shift.

    Marie used that time standing in line with her co-workers to organize them. Using their power as UAW members they won equal locker room facilities.

    In 1969, Clark decided to move on and began a 23-year career with the City of Columbus, working first for the city treasurer and then for the city auditor’s office.

    When AFSCME Local 1632’s sanitation workers went on strike later that year, she supported the job action but could not be a part of the union. After the strike, Marie set about organizing her co-workers and building the union.

    Clark went on to become a key union leader serving on the union’s executive board and numerous negotiating committees. 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 over 2,000 city workers. Clark retired in 1992.

    “When we say we are standing on the shoulders of those who came before us, we’re talking about people like Marie Clarke,” said AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President R. Sean Grayson. “She knew the power of solidarity and was a great believer in direct action. Her accomplishments should inspire us all.”

    Her outstanding contributions to the labor movement were recognized in 1985, when Governor Richard Celeste inducted Marie Clarke into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame.

    She was also awarded top honors by the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists in 1987 and worked extensively with the Coalition of Labor Union Women.

    In retirement Clark served as the political action coordinator of Ohio AFSCME Retiree Chapter 1184 Sub-Chapter 108.   

    Our New Year’s Resolution: Stand Strong Together

    December 26th, 2019

    On behalf of AFSCME Ohio Council 8’s officers, members, and staff, we extend to you and your family our best wishes for happiness, good health and well-being in the year ahead. As we celebrate in our different ways, we can all be thankful for the solidarity that gives us strength to fight for what is right. We welcome a new year and a new decade to work together to improve the lives of our members and their families.

    There is no question that 2020 will go down in the history books as a truly remarkable year. I believe AFSCME’s chapter will be the story of a strong and united union. A union whose members stepped-up to take on the issues facing us in the workplace, the community and at the ballot box.

    Standing strong together I know we will accomplish great things in 2020 and beyond.

    In Solidarity,
    R. Sean Grayson
    AFSCME Ohio Council 8, AFL-CIO

    Old bells close up, Yaroslavl Church

    Local unions put up billboards to encourage buying union-made products

    December 18th, 2019

    The billboards can be seen around Columbus and are sponsored by the Dayton-Miami Valley AFL-CIO and the Central Ohio Union Label Council.
    “We have 15 billboards that rotate between Ohio’s major cities like those  in Columbus ,” said Rodney French of Sheet-metal Workers Local 24, who is also a leader of the Central Ohio Union Label Council.  “We think it’s a great way to promote and recognize the contribution of union workers, the products they produce and the services they provide year round – especially during the holiday season.”
    Several Ohio AFSCME Local unions contribute to the effort. Sheet metal Workers Local 24 represents workers in West Virginia and, Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana.

    AFSCME Local 954 Member Honored

    December 5th, 2019

    Ron Kelley, the longest serving employee of the Franklin County Engineer’s Office was recognized for his outstanding years of service at the Engineer’s 2019 Employee Appreciation Ceremony.   

    “Ron certainly deserves this award for his 41 years of service. He always does a great job and comes to work each day with a smile for everyone,” said AFSCME Local 954 President Ken Haynes. 

    “I’m proud of Ron and the way all our members work together with the administration to keep Franklin County’s 261 miles of roads and more than 500 bridges and culverts safe year-round,” he said.

    Kelly has served under five county engineers.  In 1978, Ron was new on the job and got a crash course in snow and ice removal when Ohio was hit by the worst blizzard in its recorded history.

    AFSCME Local 954 member Ron Kelley and Franklin County Engineer Cornell R. Robertson

    AFSCME Local 954 member Ron Kelley and Franklin County Engineer Cornell R. Robertson

    AFSCME Council 8 Stalwart Howard Van Kleef, 1924-2019

    November 22nd, 2019

    The Ohio Council 8 Executive board is sad to say that a dear friend of labor and AFSCME stalwart, Howard Van Kleef, died on November 18th, at the age of 95.

    “Howard was fighter for public employees on the job and as a founding member of AFSCME Ohio Retiree Chapter 1184. He was devoted to Ohio AFSCME retirees and served as chapter treasurer into his 90s,” said Ohio Council 8 President R. Sean Grayson.

    Van Kleef worked as a pipefitter at Cleveland’s Mt. Sinai Hospital. He was a member of AFSCME Local 2679, which represented hospital workers from 1973 until the facility closed its doors in 1996. He served on the local union’s executive board, as Vice President and was elected President in 1985.

    Howard retired in 1989 and devoted his attention to helping to organize and represent Ohio’s retired AFSCME members.
    “As a founding member of Chapter 1184 he did a lot to make sure retired AFSCME members received what we need and the respect we deserve,” said fellow Clevelander and Chapter 1184 member Marian Garth-Safford.

    Statement from Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga on Freedom Foundation

    November 1st, 2019

    An out-of-state anti-union and anti-worker extreme and dangerous organization has come into Ohio with the goal to lower your wages, strip you of benefits and healthcare, and privatize your pensions. We need to stay stronger together more than ever now against the dangerous and destructive Freedom Foundation. Read the statement from Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga below.

    Statement by Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga
    on Freedom Foundation Deployment Against Ohio Workers

    “The Freedom Foundation’s announcement that it will set up shop in Ohio is no surprise.  This out-of-state, extreme group has been attempting to undermine American workers’ collective bargaining rights since its inception.  We are proud that we have successfully fended off similar attacks in the past, and we stand ready to defeat the false rhetoric of this front group.  Their dangerous ideas would lower wages, reduce benefits and make workplaces less safe.”

    “We need to work together in Ohio to help grow our economy from the middle out and we don’t need nor do we want these divisive groups trying to prevent that. Popular support for unions is high and Ohioans have directly supported our collective bargaining rights at the ballot box.”

    Changes Coming to Ohio Public Employees Retirement System Benefits

    October 22nd, 2019

    After months of discussion, the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) will institute a “freeze” to its annual Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) in 2022 and 2023.  OPERS has stated that the elimination of the COLA for this two (2) year period will assist in sustaining the healthcare benefit for OPERS retirees. 

    Under the current benefit structure individuals who retired prior to January 7, 2013 receive an annual 3 percent COLA.  Individuals that retired after that date have their COLA based upon the Consumer Price Index (CPI) capped at 3 percent.  Once the freeze is eliminated in 2024, individuals will be returned to the status they held prior to the freeze being implemented.

    In addition to the proposed COLA changes, OPERS is considering additional changes that will impact future retirees hired on or after January 1, 2022.  Known as Group D, these individuals would be impacted by the following changes:

    COLA Freeze – A retiree’s first COLA would be delayed until the 2nd pension anniversary (24 months) after retirement.

    Higher Member Contribution Rate – The Member Contribution Rate would be increased to 11 percent (currently 10 percent).

    Benefit Eligibility – The prosed change would increase the Age and Service requirement needed to receive an unreduced benefit; currently age 55 with 32 years of service OR age 67 with 5 years of service.

    Under the NEW eligibility requirement an individual would had to have reached one of the following thresholds:

    • Age 62 with 35 years of service.
    • Age 67 with 25 years of service.
    • Age 70 with 5 years of service.

    Final Average Salary (FAS) – The amount of years used to calculate benefit would increase to 10 years (currently 5 years).

    Reduction in Multiplier – The multiplier currently used to calculate retirement currently set at 2.2 percent would be reduced to 2 percent.

    AFSCME Ohio Council 8 does not currently support the Group D plan because in our view, it places more of the burden on the backs of workers while threatening the overall financial stability of the system.  As OPERS continues to develop this plan we will keep members update to it status.

    Sean Grayson Elected President of AFSCME Ohio Council 8

    October 18th, 2019

    Left to Right Newly elected Council 8 President R. Sean Grayson, First Vice President Marcia Knox and former President John A. Lyall

    In a resounding and heartfelt show of support, delegates to the 23rd Ohio Council 8 convention unanimously elected the union’s top leaders to new terms.

    Without opposition, Ohio Council 8’s General Counsel Sean Grayson was elected as the new President of AFSCME Ohio Council 8 and former Field Services Director Marcia Knox was elected as First Vice President.


    “I know I am leaving our union in good hands with Sean and Marcia at the helm,” said soon to be former president John A. Lyall.


    “Having faith in their ability and the wisdom of Council 8 members, I knew they would be elected to the union’s top leadership positions. That made my decision to retire much easier,” Lyall said.

    Ann Sulfridge

    In addition, AFSCME Local 265 President Eddie Lawson was re-elected as Secretary  Treasurer and AFSCME Local 101 President Ann Sulfridge was re-elected as Recording Secretary.

    Regional Vice presidents were elected without opposition in the Akron, Cleveland, Dayton and Youngstown regions. Elections were held for Regional Vice Presidents for the Athens, Columbus and Cincinnati regions and for trustees.

    Eddie Lawson

    Below are all those elected for Executive Boards across the state.



    AFSCME Women Are Leaders

    September 13th, 2019


    When AFSCME women stand together and lift our voices, we create strong communities. We organize for rights and respect, and in 2020 we will organize to make sure people in public service have a say in the elections.  

    Whether you’re running for president, Congress, city council or anything in between, you had better be committed to public service and the people who get the job done every day. 

    Women are a majority of public service workers and a majority of AFSCME members. We keep our communities thriving, and we won’t sit on the sidelines when the future of our country is at stake. Our deep love for our families and a commitment to our communities mean AFSCME women will work hard in 2020.

    Read the full story here: https://www.afscme.org/now/afscme-women-lead

    Labor Day Statement From AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall

    August 30th, 2019

    On this Labor Day I want to recognize your dedication as professionals to serve the communities where you live and work.

    Labor Day means many things to many people — the end of summer, back to school, or a day off to spend with family and friends.

    But for AFSCME members, Labor Day stands for something special. It’s a day to honor our work, to stand up, speak out and take pride in what we do.

    It’s a day to reflect on the values we hold — that every worker should be able to have a job that can support a family. Where access to an education and affordable healthcare isn’t a luxury and a secure retirement is within everyone’s reach.

    Thank you for your service and your dedication to keep our nation and our great union moving forward.

    In Solidarity,

    John. A. Lyall

    President AFSCME Ohio Council 8


    AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall Announces Retirement

    August 16th, 2019

    Dear Sisters and brothers,

    At our upcoming 23rd Biennial convention in October we will be electing and re-electing leaders responsible for the continued growth and effectiveness of our great union.

    At this time I am announcing that, after much thought and consideration, I will retire and NOT run for re-election as AFSCME Ohio Council 8 president.

    Many people think of John Lyall as the face of AFSCME Ohio Council 8. Those of you who know me understand that’s not true. I’ve always tried to make it clear that our union isn’t about me, our elected leaders, or professional staff. It’s about you – the members.

    YOU are the people in charge of our union – each and every member. Ohio Council 8’s leaders and staff work hard to make our union great. But at the end of the day, we are a member-driven union. That means we need the participation of every member to make us that much better and that much stronger.

    I am hopeful about our union’s future because I know it will be capable hands. While leaders come and go, our union always carries on. Clearly, Ohio Council 8 is not going anywhere except forward.

    Sisters and brothers, I want you to understand that this was not an easy decision to make. However I know that it is the right one for me, my family and my union family, AFSCME Ohio Council 8.

    Like any organization, we can benefit from new leaders and new ideas. I have full confidence that whoever YOU choose to lead us as our next president will take our union to even greater heights.

    I look forward to the next great chapter in Ohio Council 8’s history. It has been my great honor and privilege to serve as your President. My heart will always be with our great union.

    In solidarity,
    John A. Lyall

    Be Tick Smart!

    June 27th, 2019

    Ticks – Beware These Summer Hitchhikers

    The summer season is here, and many Ohio Council 8 members are busy mowing grass, removing brush and cutting back undergrowth in parks, along streets and highways, vacant lots and rights of way.

    Summer is also tick season. Outdoor workers need to be vigilant to protect themselves and their families from these summertime hitchhikers. According to the Ohio Department of Health, your odds of getting bit by a tick and contracting a disease are getting higher each year in Ohio.

    In the past four years, the number of cases of Lyme disease in Ohio nearly doubled, with 293 cases reported in 2018. There have already been more than 27 cases reported statewide so far this year.

    In addition to Lyme disease, tick bites can also transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Health records indicate there were 38 Rocky Mountain spotted fever cases last year across Ohio.

    If you experience a tick bite on the job, make sure you report the bite to your supervisor as you would any work-related injury. If the bite should make you ill, you will have proof that it occurred on the job and the documentation you will need to take sick leave or apply for workers compensation.

    Thoroughly check yourself and your clothing at the end of your shift or soon after. Ticks are notorious hitchhikers and while you may not get bitten, you may be bringing an infected tick into your home where it could bite other family members or pets.

    Click here for more information on tick bites.

    Remembering AFSCME Local 250 Member Leroy Garrison Jr.

    June 19th, 2019

    Ohio Council 8 is sad to report the death of AFSCME Local 250 member Leroy Garrison Jr., 48 who died Monday in an on the job accident.

    A Cincinnati city electrical maintenance worker in the Department of Public Services, Garrison, a father of two, was working alone when he apparently came into contact with energized wires.

    “We are deeply saddened by this tragic death,” said AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall.  “He was a respected, long-time city employee and he will be missed by his family, his community and all who knew him.” 

    Emergency crews responded after 911 callers reported the accident and found active wires covering the bucket of his City Public Services truck.

    The city has suspended all non-emergency electrical maintenance while the death is investigated. Officials said flags at all city buildings would be lowered in Garrison’s honor according to the city manager’s office.

    Dayton Tornado: Sen. Brown and Mayor Whaley meet with AFSCME members

    May 30th, 2019

    U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown met with Ohio leaders after more than 50 twisters rampaged across the state on the night of May 28. The storms, damaged property, and caused at least 130 injuries and one death.

    While in Dayton Brown met with AFSCME 101 union leaders and Mayor Nan Whaley to assess the damage to the city’s water treatment plant that knocked out water service to thousands. In addition, some 80,000 area residents were without electricity.

    “Senator Sherrod Brown and Mayor Nan Whaley came to our water plant today,” said AFSCME Local 101 President Ann Sulfridge. “With their leadership and the amazing dedication of our AFSCME Local 101 members working around the clock, we are recovering from the damage to our neighborhoods. Our community spirit is second to none. Proving, once again, we are stronger together,” she said.

    All water and electricity services are expected to be  restored today.


    Left to right: U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, AFSCME Local 101 President Ann Sufridge and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley. (Photo by Tom Ritchie Sr.)

    Former Vice President of AFSCME Local 100 Lynnie Powell Presented With The 2019 Honorary Certificate of Applied Politics

    May 23rd, 2019

    Cleveland labor and political activist Lynnie Powell was presented with the 2019 Honorary Certificate of Applied Politics by The University of Akron’s prestigious Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics.

    For more than 50 years Lynnie Powell has been a political icon in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and Ohio Democratic Politics. Since 2004, she has been the Regional Political Director for the Ohio Democratic party and was Deputy Director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections for 13 years.

    “As the former, long-time Vice President of AFSCME Local 100, the union representing City of Cleveland employees, Lynnie has never forgotten her labor roots. She has always focused on ways to make politics work for workers. This recognition is richly deserved,” said AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall.

    Over the course of her career Lynnie Powell has been advisor to U.S. Rep. Lou Stokes, his brother Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes, the first African American mayor of a major U.S. city, Cleveland City Council President George Forbes and countless others.

    Powell served as Regional Political Director for the Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012.  In addition, she is also the former Executive Director for the Black Elected Democrats of Cleveland.

    Lynnie has four children, 11 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. She is a master gardener and each year plants a community garden and always gives away the fall’s harvest.   

    The University of Akron’s Bliss Institute of Applied Politics is a bipartisan research and teaching institute dedicated to increasing understanding of the political process with special emphasis on political parties, grassroots activity and ethical behavior. 


    AFSCME members Support Toledo’s Striking Nurses

    May 9th, 2019

    Members of AFSCME Local 2415 representing University of Toledo Medical Center employees showed their support for nearly 2,000 nurses and support technicians on strike at Mercy Health’s St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo.

    The dispute centers on two main issues: fair and equitable contract so they can get back to the work they love — caring for our community,” said Randy Despoisto, President of the 2000-member union at UTMC.

    United Auto Workers Locals 12 and 2213, representing St. Vincent Medical Center workers, filed unfair labor practice charges against the hospital because of supervisors who have been threatening employees in one-on-one captive audience meetings urging them not to participate in strike.

    Since July 30, the two sides have met a total of 56 times. The unions are negotiating the first labor contract for Mercy Health since it nearly doubled in size last year. St. Vincent has about 2,764 workers, and 1,884 are under union contract.

    Local 2415 member Desiree Spears, second from right, with union President Randy Desposito, far right, support striking nurses at St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo.


    April 24th, 2019

    For Immediate Release

    April 24, 2019



    CLEVELAND – John Lyall, AFSCME Ohio Council 8 president, announced today an agreement has been reached with Cuyahoga County, and nurses and medical staff at the Cuyahoga County Jail will have jobs and not face being fired without due process.

    Lyall thanked UAW Region 2-B Director Rich Rankin, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Warrensville Heights, Cuyahoga County Democratic Party Chairwoman Shontel Brown, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish, County Council President Dan Brady and MetroHealth Systems CEO Dr. Akram Boutros for their efforts over the past week to work together to ensure the nurses and medical staff were not fired.

    “The nurses and medical staff at the Cuyahoga County Jail are dedicated, caring, and deserve to be respected for their commitment to our community,” said John Lyall, President of AFSCME Ohio Council 8. “I’m hopeful that our elected and community leaders will double their resolve in the future to stand up for working people. When workers like these nurses and medical staffers contribute so much to the well-being of our community, they in return deserve to be treated fairly with a living wage, health care, and dignity. They were not asking for anything more than to keep working, and I’m glad we were able to make sure they will have jobs.”

    The picket line scheduled for the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party Dinner on April 28th has been cancelled.

    Lyall also thanked Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga, Petee Talley, retired Secretary Treasurer, Ohio AFL-CIO, Northshore Federation Executive Secretary Harriet Applegate, North Shore AFL-CIO Federation of Labor, President Pat Gallagher, North Shore AFL-CIO Federation of Labor, and leadership in OAPSE AFSCME, SEIU 1199 and FLOC for their support and help in bringing the sides together.


    For more information:

    Joe Weidner



    AFSCME Stands Up For County Jail Medical Services Workers

    April 4th, 2019

    In a move to remedy chronic staff shortages and improve conditions at the county jail, the Cuyahoga County Council recently discussed a planed contract with MetroHealth System to take over all jail medical operations.

    AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Staff  Representative Carlisha Powell was on hand at the public meeting to stand up for members of AFSCME Local 2927 which represents 35 licensed practical nurses, social workers and other service employees at the jail.

    Powell noted that some county medical service employees have worked at the jail for more than two decades and asked the Council to protect their jobs.

    The union is asking that all the jail’s AFSCME bargaining unit employees be guaranteed jobs when MetroHealth takes over the operation scheduled for later this year.

    Nurses and other health care and support personnel at MetroHealth are represented by AFSCME Local 3360.
    Pictured: AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Staff  Representative Carlisha Powell

    Pierrette “Petee” Talley Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

    April 3rd, 2019

    It is with great pleasure we announce that AFSCME’s own  Pierrette “Petee” Talley, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Ohio Chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI).

    “This is a well-deserved recognition of her life-long career as a union activist. Beginning as an AFSCME Ohio Council 8 staffer in 1980, she rose to one of the highest offices of Ohio’s state federation of labor,” said Ohio Council 8 Field Services Director Marcia Knox, who introduced Talley at the APRI awards ceremony held in Dayton.

    “Petee Talley has always been a dedicated trade unionist who has been described as “a Rosa Parks of the Ohio labor movement,” Knox said.

    She has held several positions with AFSCME including working as the union’s political and legislative director in Michigan from 1994 to 1999.

    In 1999, the national AFL-CIO appointed Petee to the position of Ohio Director of Field Mobilization. In that capacity she was responsible for directing and implementing programs that engaged union affiliates and activists around political, organizing and legislative activities and working with the state’s central labor councils.

    Talley was elected as Ohio AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer in 2002 and retired in 2019. She succeeded Donald K. Day, the first African-American and first  public employee to hold the position.  She is the first woman to hold that position.

    In January she was honored with the “World Peace Prize — Roving Ambassador for Peace” by the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Caucus.

    Founded in 1965, the  A. Philip Randolph Institute (www.apri.org/) is an organization committed to the fight for racial equality and economic justice. Today, APRI is led by President Clayola Brown, whose vision and energy has sparked a new beginning for the organization and for the movement as a whole.

    Left to right, AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Dayton Regional Director Stacey Benson Taylor, Petee Talley, Ohio Council 8 Field Services Director Marcia Knox, and Dayton Miami Valley AFL-CIO Executive Director Dianne Walsh.

    Rep. Sobecki responds to State of the State address with cautious optimism

    March 22nd, 2019


    Rep. Sobecki responds to State of the State address with cautious optimism

    COLUMBUS—State Rep. Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo) today reacted to Governor Mike DeWine’s State of the State address and welcomed her guests from the 45th House District for the address, Andre and Tricia Baker.

    “I applaud Governor DeWine for highlighting some of the struggles middle-class families like Andre and Tricia’s face across our state each and every day,” said Rep. Sobecki. “Education and equal opportunity are important priorities for Andre and Tricia, and many other Ohio families. I urge the Governor to follow through on his promises to address these issues and help middle-class families succeed and get ahead.”

    Andre and Tricia’s two daughters attend Toledo Public Schools and face rapidly increasing college tuition costs and a high debt crisis. Andre works at Lucas County Jobs and Family Services in the maintenance department and is an officer with AFSCME Council 8 Chapter 544-01.

    Left to right, State Rep. Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo) former AFSCME Local 544 member, and union member Andre Baker and wife Tricia


    Local 3360 Wins Benchmark Contract at MetroHealth

    March 8th, 2019

    AFSCME Local 3360 won a benchmark contract at Cleveland’s MetroHealth Hospital that increased wages, improved benefits and took a giant step toward a living wage for the union’s lowest paid members.

    Overwhelmingly approved by union members, the contract includes a 6.5 percent across-the-board wage increase over the life of the three-year agreement. In addition, the union won a ground-breaking provision that established a $15 per hour minimum wage.

    According to Julie Albers, president of the 2,000-member union, the move affected nearly 800 hospital employees including some 300 workers whose pay jumped by three dollars per hour.

    “This was a huge gain that will improve the lives of our members and allow us to retain and attract the kind of people that make our hospital great,” Albers said.

    In addition, the union made significant progress on health care benefits which will cover 100 percent of costs starting in the second year of the contract. Under the plan there will be no deductibles or co-pays at the doctor’s office, everything will be covered.

    “There will be a cost increase, but the savings our members will receive will more than make up for that,” said Cleveland Regional Director Mark Davis.

    “We also got a wellness program in the contract that includes a significant premium offset for those who participate, so the cost will be minimal,” he said.

    MetroHealth is a public hospital serving the 1.2 million residents of Cuyahoga County Ohio where employees have been represented by AFSCME Local 3360 for 35 years.   

    The AFSCME Local 3360 leadership team negotiated a bench mark contract with Cleveland’s MetroHealth hospital
    that included a $15 minimum wage provision.

    2019 AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Family Scholarship Now Available

    February 25th, 2019

    The AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Family Scholarship committee is pleased to announce this year’s four-year, $2,500 per year women’s scholarship is named in honor of Carolyn Jackson, and this year’s men’s scholarship honors Donald K. Day.

    Carolyn Jackson began her 20-year AFSCME career in 1978, when she was hired as office secretary for the Columbus headquarters office of Ohio’s newly united Public Employee Councils that we now know as AFSCME Ohio Council 8.

    As her responsibilities grew, she was promoted to Administrative Assistant to Ohio Council 8 President Robert Brindza. Through the 1980s until she retired in 1998, Jackson played an important part in the union’s growth reliably coordinating and maintaining records and dependably providing administrative support.

    Prior to joining AFSCME, she had a 15-year career as a secretary, working first for Batelle Memorial Institute and then as a legal secretary at a private legal firm.

         Jackson lives in Columbus Ohio and is still active in her church and community.

      Donald K. Day started his 32-year labor career as a member, and later became president, of AFSCME Local 1746, which represents Cuyahoga County employees, while working as a probation officer. In 1970, he joined AFSCME’s staff as director of the Cleveland-based Hospital Career Development Program. A year later, he became Assistant Director of AFSCME’s political legislative program in Columbus.

        In 1978, with the creation of AFSCME Ohio Council 8 which unified the state’s multiple public employee regional councils, Day was elected First Vice President and served Council 8 for nine years.

         During this time Day also served on the Executive Board of the Ohio AFL-CIO. In 1987, he left AFSCME after being elected the Ohio AFL-CIO’s Secretary Treasurer, a position he held until his death in 2002.  He was the first public employee to hold that position.      

         Day was active in civic and community organizations, including the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, the Columbus Urban League, NAACP, and served on the Franklin County Mental Health board and the Executive Committee of the Ohio Democratic Party.

        Before his career in the labor movement, he served in the U.S. Army, was a city firefighter and taught in the Cleveland Public School System.

         Ohio Council 8 First Vice President Harold Mitchell, chair of the executive board’s scholarship committee, encourages all eligible students to apply for the $2,500 per year, four-year scholarships. In addition to Mitchell, the scholarship committee includes Ohio Council 8 Cleveland Regional Vice President Julie Albers, Ohio Council8 Athens Regional Vice President David Logan, and Trustee Kim Gaines.

    Eligibility Requirements:

    An applicant’s parent must be an AFSCME Ohio Council 8 affiliated local union member who has been in good standing for at least one (1) calendar year prior to May 1, 2019.

      In addition, an applicant must graduate from high school in the year in which application for the scholarship is made and must attend a four (4) year accredited college or university as a full-time student.

       Full details are included in the official application brochure which is can be downloaded at afscmecouncil8.org and is also available at all Ohio Council 8 regional offices.

      Applications must be postmarked no later than Wednesday, May 1,2019. Applications which are  incomplete, or which are postmarked after the specified date, will be ineligible for consideration. Winners will be announced by June 30, 2019.


    Learn more.

    AFSCME Council 8 Local 2950 member, Josh Keller, Bears The Cold To Care For Animals At The Columbus Zoo

    January 30th, 2019

    The sub-zero temperatures were tough for anyone, but especially those who work outside. Wind chill temperatures hit 31 degrees below zero in central Ohio.

    It was so cold in central Ohio Wednesday that ice caked the eyelashes of Josh Keller as he made his rounds at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium caring for the reindeer, moose and wolverines.

    At the Hilton Columbus Downtown across from the Greater Columbus Convention Center, parking attendants wearing ski caps, gloves and warm jackets welcomed any chance to huddle inside for a few moments between attending to a steady stream of visitors pulling up outside.

    AAA Auto Club worker Bob Byrum was managing to stay warm as he drove around the city jump-starting cars with one exception: “The fingertips, more than anything, get cold,” he said as he fidgeted to get a car started in Worthington.

    Wednesday was a challenge for anyone going from their home to the car to work in the sub-zero weather, but for workers who spend their time outdoors, the conditions were brutal and potentially dangerous.

    Read the full Columbus Dispatch article here.




    Photo by the Columbus Dispatch

    State board rules Wright State faculty strike can continue

    January 29th, 2019

    The board’s decision came after an emergency meeting was called for Sunday during which attorneys for the administration and the Wright State chapter of the American Association of University Professors each made their cases.

    The administration on Thursday filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the state, asking it to declare the faculty strike unauthorized.

    Read the full article in the Dayton Daily News here.

    The picket line continues.

    Union Benefits Go Far Beyond the Workplace

    January 24th, 2019

    Unions also fortify the social safety net and aid communities on the path to self-sufficiency.

    Organized labor has been through a tough half-century, as deindustrialization, economic deregulation, and an all-out right-wing attack have decimated union membership across the country. But new research shows how the benefits of organized labor extend far beyond union members’ paychecks: Unions also help fortify the social safety net and push workers’ families and communities toward long-term self-sufficiency.

    According to a study by University of Minnesota researchers on the effects of union membership on Uncle Sam’s balance sheets, unionized workers overall contribute more in tax revenue, rely less on welfare, and secure more sustainable jobs. The analysis, which tracks tax and income data from 1994 to 2015, shows a clear immediate payoff: union members’ average yearly income (about $48,000) is roughly $7,400, or 16 percent, more than what nonunion workers earn. In turn, these higher-earning workers also depend less on benefits like food stamps or cash assistance.

    Read the full article from The Nation here.

    World Peace Prize for Ohio Labor Leader

    January 11th, 2019

    Fr. Sean McManus, Secretary-Treasurer Petee Talley, Barbara Flaherty

    CAPITOL HILL – The first woman to serve in a top Ohio AFL-CIO position has been honored by the World Peace Prize organization. Pierrette “Petee” Talley of Columbus is the first woman to hold one of the top two offices in the 56-year history of the Ohio AFL-CIO—Secretary-Treasurer. Ms. Talley, a member of AFSCME Local 3616, was first elected in 2002.

    “No one is more deserving of this honor than Secretary Treasurer Talley.  I am proud to stand with the labor community as we recognize her as richly worthy of  this most prestigious award,” said AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall.

    On Monday, January 7, 2019, in the United Food Commercial Workers union hall, Columbus, the World Peace Prize of “Roving Ambassador for Peace” was conferred upon Ms. Talley.

    The Prize was presented by Fr. Sean McManus, president of the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Caucus and Chief Judge of the World Peace Prize. The presentation ceremony was chaired by Barbara Flaherty, Executive Vice President, Irish National Caucus, and a Judge on the World Peace Prize Awarding Council. Fr. Mc Manus described Secretary-Treasurer Talley as “a Rosa Parks of the Ohio labor movement.”

    Ms. Talley said: “This is truly a tremendous honor and I am deeply humbled to accept it on behalf of workers in Ohio and across the nation. World peace is a mission that we all must aspire to in our quest for justice for those who labor in the building of our nation’s goods and services, and we do so unselfishly and with pride, in the spirit of peace.”

    Fr. McManus Speaking.

    Fr. Sean McManus and John Lyall, President, Ohio AFSCME


    Pierrette “Petee” Talley, Secretary-Treasurer of Ohio AFL-CIO

    Acceptance Address on Receiving the World Peace Prize ” Roving Ambassador for Peace.”

    Thank you all so very much for being here today as I accept this very prestigious award.

    To Father Sean McManus, the Chief Judge of the World Peace Prize Awarding Council who deemed me worthy of the proposing my name for the Prize. Thank you also to the 14-member panel of International and Interfaith judges that unanimously agreed. Thank you, Ms. Flaherty, for traveling here today to present the award and my sincerest thanks to all of you for being here today as I accept this award on behalf of the workers and the labor movement that I love so dearly. As a movement for worker justice, it is difficult to separate what we do as advocates for fairness on the job from the cause of peace.

    You will often hear us when we are in the midst of an action chant, “NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE, OR NO CONTRACT, NO PEACE.” What we are suggesting is that in the face of injustice, those who are at the origins of injustice based on indifference, greed, bigotry, and inequality, must be called to task…

    Also, to be clear, this award is also an acknowledgment that if we KNOW JUSTICE, we will KNOW PEACE and that means we must also be keepers of the peace in the face of attacks against humanity.  That means, living one’s life in love, truth, integrity, and commitment to others; something I try to live out daily. … I’m reminded every day that I’m in service to others, to workers who have a voice through collective bargaining, and those who do not.  I’m in the fight for justice and peace because I believe that we must harness our collective power as we continue the fight for our respect at work and in our communities with our neighbors, collectively pushing back against those seeking to keep us divided.

    I will continue to serve even as the threat of injustice looms all around us; I will continue to stand for peace and love. My early upbringing in the church, where we learn the golden rule, grounds me and keeps me humble as I have answered the call. My family couldn’t be here today, but I thank them for their sacrifice while I’m doing this work that eats into so much family time.

    I’m grateful for the love of my union family, AFSCME, Ohio AFL-CIO staff and affiliates, APRI, CBTU, my family and that I have the support of organizations that I serve with and all the folks who are in the trenches making a difference every day. 

    I leave you with a bible verse James 3:18 that reads “And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”

    Do we have any peacemakers in the hall?  Do we have any justice fighters in the hall?

    Thank you for bestowing this great honor of “Roving Ambassador for Peace”!

    Union wins back jobs of illegally fired members

    January 4th, 2019

    Action by AFSCME Ohio Council 8 won back the jobs and pay owed 13 illegally fired Willoughby Hills employees caught in the cross-fire between the northern Ohio city’s feuding Mayor and City Council.

    The 13 workers were fired after the city’s Mayor angered a majority of city council members by recognizing the union and including certain positions in the bargaining unit. 

    Because of their ongoing irritation over this issue, the same Council members attempted to reject the tentative agreement reached between Ohio Council 8 and the Mayor.  However, by not objecting within the 30-day window period required by the State Employment Relations Board (SERB), the agreement became the new union’s first contract.

    City Council then attempted to overrule the Mayor and hired outside counsel to demand that the union re-open the contract and negotiate over wages and the disputed positions. While the union agreed to discuss the Council’s concerns, it steadfastly refused to reopen the contract.

    City Council’s next move, without notice or an opportunity to bargain, was to lay off virtually all of AFSCME’s bargaining unit employees claiming the City lacked funds to retain the jobs.  However, no other non-AFSCME city personnel were targeted for layoff.

    AFSCME Ohio Council 8 promptly filed an unfair labor practice charge with SERB to demand the return of its fired members.   

    Effectively argued before the full SERB board by Ohio Council 8 Associate Counsel Michelle Evans, the board found that no budgetary constraints required the layoffs and the City Council’s action was a pre-text to eliminate the union and its supporters.

    The board ordered the reinstatement of the workers with back pay from their April 30, 2018 layoff date, which could cost the city an estimated $250,000 to $300,000.

    New Years Greetings from AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall

    December 31st, 2018

    New Year’s Greetings,

    The beginning of a new year is a time to both reflect, and to look ahead.

    Working together AFSCME Ohio Council 8 members faced and overcame many challenges in 2018. And for that we are grateful.

    In the coming year our union will continue to fight for dignity on the job.  AFSCME members will be working every day to insure our livelihood is protected, that we are safe at work, and that our contracts are respected by management.

    In 2019, we expect the efforts by the far-right wing to weaken our union will continue.  We will see this on the job, in the courts, in the political arena, and at our front doors.

    In unity there is strength. Standing together as AFSCME Ohio Council 8 members, we are prepared to effectively deal with the issues that lie ahead.

    On behalf of the officers and leaders of AFSCME Ohio Council 8, I wish you and your family all the best for a happy, healthy New Year.

    In Solidarity,

    John A. Lyall
    AFSCME Ohio Council 8, AFL-CIO

    Union Power Wins Strong Contract

    December 28th, 2018

    A united membership and a committed negotiating committee won AFSCME Local 1880 a successor contract with the Stark County Area Regional Transportation Authority (SARTA). The agreement, which included wage increases and benefit improvements, was overwhelmingly approved by union members.

    The three-year contract calls for 3 percent across-the-board pay increase in each year of the agreement.  In addition to the percentage increase, the contract included a 40-cent-per hour equity increase in the first year and a $1,000 signing bonus. 

    With SARTA being one of only a handful of transit systems fueling busses with hydrogen, its Hydrogen Mechanics received a $3 per hour equity increase due to the more dangerous work environment and the special skills needed to maintain the vehicles.

    The union also made significant improvements in health care benefits.

    “Improving heath care was the committee’s number one priority,” said Shawn Daum, president of the 155-member local union.  “We were able to reach agreement on a $750 yearly health care premium which is reduced to $250 by a $500 credit for participation the wellness program.” 

    The union was also able to maximize the cost-effective vision, dental and other health care services provided by the Ohio AFSCME Care Plan.

    According to Daum, the union “finally got a foot in the door” on sick leave. In the absence of actual sick leave, members will now be able to convert up to 3 days of vacation in case of an illness without going through the usual approval process, “and that’s a start,” he said.

    Left to right. Lee Brunkhart, Shawn Daum, Pam Penix, Johnnie Mea Bingham, Paul Henrich, Joe Risby and Chris Cooper

    Breakfast with Santa and Firefighters

    December 13th, 2018

    AFSCME Local 1091 members held a “Breakfast with Santa” community service event to raise money for the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District.

    The 16-member union will use the money to buy hand tools and equipment and to help the Hillsboro community with fire prevention awareness.

    “We’re trying to raise money so we can buy things we usually pay for out of our own pockets,” said AFSCME Local 1091 Steve Vance.

    The union is only three years old and is one of a handful of new unions organized by AFSCME Ohio Council 8 representing part-time paid volunteer firefights around Ohio.   

    From Left, Union president Steve Vance, Spencer Boond,

    Tyler Coleman and Brandon Robinson.

    Ohio Council 8 Volunteer Member Organizers Skill-Up

    December 12th, 2018

    Ohio Council 8 members joined more than 160 AFSCME members from around the country who gathered in Las Vegas last week to lift up the voice of public service workers and move our union forward. 

    “No one is better than a union member to explain the benefits of joining and belonging to a union.  That’s why VMOs are so effective organizing new members and in internal organizing,” said AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Organizing Director Steve Roth.

    Conference attendees participated in skill-building training sessions as well as gaining practical organizing experience. Leaving the classroom and hitting the streets, VMO’s knocked on the doors of Nevada state workers in anticipation of a pro-union administration by the state’s new Governor. 

    For AFSCME Local 2191 Columbus Health Department President Jamie Shoemaker, the conference “was a great opportunity for information sharing and ways to make sure our union continues to grow. Our message was clear – joining a union is the best way to improve lives of all public employees – in Nevada and Ohio.”   

    President Lee Saunders addressed the VMOs on the first day of the conference, telling them, “No matter the politician or the boss, it’s on us to grow this union and take care of our families and those we serve. And that’s why we are here. VMOs have a set of experiences and perspectives that cannot be replaced.”

    In addition to Shoemaker, Council 8 members Kelly Bennett of Dayton, Keava McLoughlin of Columbus, Marilyn Fletcher, of Toledo, Quanna Murphy and Linda Wilson  of Cincinnati, Shawn Daum of Akron, and Tina Brown of Athens, attended the conference.

    AFSCME Local 2191 President Jamie Shoemaker, first row left, joined by other O-H-I-O AFSCME members at the International Union’s Las Vegas VMO conference.

    AFSCME Ohio Council 8 stands strong with Lordstown workers

    November 28th, 2018

    AFSCME Council 8 is standing strong with workers in Lordstown, Ohio as they fight to keep the General Motors Lordstown Complex running and save the countless jobs that rely on the complex.


    Drive It Home Ohio is a collaborative effort bringing together the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce and UAW local 1112, along with local business, community and religious leaders, workers, consumers and their families, to urge General Motors to support growing their investment at the Lordstown Complex. We build cars in northeast Ohio and those jobs build our economy in the region and all across the state. Drive It Home will grow jobs in the Mahoning Valley, protect manufacturing jobs in our state and ensure that American cars are made in the United States.


    American-made cars should be made in America. No more outsourcing jobs and leaving American workers behind. Join us in supporting the efforts of Drive It Home Ohio and the workers in the Mahoning Valley. They have been loyal, hard working dedicated members of the GM Family for 52 years and we need to remind GM and the world that you don’t turn your back on family.


    Find Drive It Home Ohio on Facebook and Twitter and like and follow their pages to show your support!

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Drive-it-Home-Ohio-2154785934574190/


    Twitter: https://twitter.com/driveithomeohio


    You can also sign up for updates and additional information at the Drive It Home Ohio website: http://driveithomeohio.com/


    Shop Union-Made This Thanksgiving!

    November 21st, 2018

    Check out this helpful guide to shopping union-made this Thanksgiving. That’s something we can all be thankful for!

    Right to Work is wrong!

    November 19th, 2018

    Watch this video and see why Ohio workers are fighting back against dangerous right to work legislation. Don’t let legislators take away your voice. Fight back!

    Ohio Right-To-Work Raises Its Ugly Head Again

    November 14th, 2018

    Union members overflowed the House Finance Committee hearing room for the first reading of HB 53, a controversial “Right-to-Work” bill aimed at Ohio’s public employee unions.

    The bill’s sponsor, Rep. John Becker, a Clermont County Republican, had little to offer when questioned about the need for the bill and what effect it would have on unions.

    The bill “would not change anything” he said. In fact, it would change everything public employees have gained since the 1982 passage of Ohio’s public employee collective bargaining law. 

    When challenged by committee members to explain how Ohio would be different than other right-to-work states where pay has plunged and workplace injuries have skyrocketed, he said he didn’t know.

    Right-to-work laws commonly allow members to stop paying union dues while still enjoying union representation, creating a so-called “free riders” problem. Becker’s bill supposedly solves this by wiping out exclusive representation.

    Under HB53, unions would be prohibited from representing non-members. Experience has shown that giving up exclusive representation is a trap. While it may address “free riders”, it’s a divide-and-conquer tactic that ultimately weakens a union’s power to win better pay, stronger pensions, and job security.

    It’s not clear if Ohio’s GOP-controlled Legislature is on board with restricting labor rights during its lame-duck session. Many members recall SB5, a similar law voters soundly rejected by a 62 percent margin in 2011.

    “All of labor is watching this closely and we are ready to act if HB53 picks up any steam,” said AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Political and Legislative Director Robert Davis, who advised all AFSCME members to remain engaged and informed.

    If enacted, Ohio would become the 29th state with union busting laws on the books, including neighboring Michigan, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Indiana.


    AFSCME Council 8 President John A. Lyall appointed to the Industrial Commission Nominating Council

    November 13th, 2018

    AFSCME Council 8 President John A. Lyall of Powell (Delaware Co.) has been appointed to the Industrial Commission Nominating Council by Governor John Kasich for a term beginning November 9, 2018, and ending October 20, 2022.


    John A. 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.  In 1979, he joined the Cleveland AFSCME staff.  He worked  as an assistant administrator with the Ohio AFSCME Care Plan, as an organizer, and staff representative.

    John Lyall 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 an AFSCME International Vice President and serves as chairman of the AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Care Plan.

    In addition, he serves 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.

    John Lyall graduated from Baldwin-Wallace College with honors and completed the Harvard University Trade Union Program. 

    He has been married 28 years and has three children.

    Judges order Ohio to reinstate purged to voters

    November 1st, 2018

    The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals just halted Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s purge of the state’s voter rolls.

    The ruling handed down yesterday, allows Ohio voters who had their registrations cancelled to cast provisional ballots in the Nov. 6, 2018 election.

    The case led by the A. Philip Randolph Institute lost its claim that Ohio’s purge of its voter lists was unconstitutional when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Ohio’s right to “clean up” its voter lists.

    But they continued to challenge the use-it-or-lose-it process that kicks out the voter registration of anyone who has not voted in the last three federal elections.

    Ruling there wasn’t an emergency need to block “purges,” the 6th Circuit Judges said it could consider that part of the appeal later.

    If you believe your voter registration was revoked, you can go to the polls, re-register and cast a provisional ballot during early voting or on election day. 

    If you have questions, call your county board elections.  You can find more voter information at https://voterlookup.sos.state.oh.us/voterlookup.aspx

    Members of AFSCME Local 3073 Having Halloween Fun!

    October 30th, 2018

    Members of AFSCME Local 3073 and the administration at the Belmont County Department of Jobs and Family Services got together for a little Halloween fun prior to starting this season’s joint community projects.

    “AFSCME Local 3073 members and the Administration have a strong relationship that goes beyond the workplace, said Tracey Oates, an Ohio Council 8 Staff Representative in the Youngstown Region.   

    Labor and management work together to serve their community just about every holiday. At back-to-school time, they provided students clothing and school supplies, and virtually all employees participate an annual food drive to make Thanksgiving better for the less fortunate, “and the list goes on,” Oates said.

    Taking its name from the French for “beautiful mountain”, Belmont County, population 70,400, runs along a 40-mile stretch of the Ohio River on Ohio’s eastern state line with Pennsylvania.

    Council 8 stalwart Angela Caldwell is stepping up for the Ohio AFL-CIO Day of Action

    August 28th, 2018

    AFSCME Ohio Council 8 stalwart Angela Caldwell joined members in the Cleveland Region and across the state for the third Ohio AFL-CIO Day of Action. Volunteers turned out to knock on doors and make calls to fired up union households and get them ready to go to the polls to elect Richard Cordray as Ohio Governor.

    “I retired and then looked up to see things going so bad in this country and what we won with our blood, sweat and tears being taken away – it made me mad. I just couldn’t sit back and watch, my union roots wouldn’t let me,” she said.

    A 20-year member of AFSCME Local 100, representing Cleveland city employees, she held many union offices including Union President. In 1993, she started a second career as an Ohio Council 8 staff representative in the Cleveland Region, retiring in 2011. She is currently an active member of AFSCME Retiree Chapter 1184.

    Tuesday October 9th is the deadline for voter registration, “so we need to make sure people are ready and able to vote.  Labor has to lead the way like it always does,” Caldwell said.

    She is now working with the Ohio AFL-CIO’s Cleveland office during the election.

    Angela is now working with the Ohio AFL-CIO’s Cleveland
    office during the election.

    John McCain, a Scarred but Happy Warrior

    August 27th, 2018

    Article published in the New York Times on August 25, 2018.

    With John McCain, you never quite knew. That was a big part of his appeal, one of the things that made him interesting, and also one of the things that drove people who value ideological consistency a bit batty.

    As a professed maverick, Mr. McCain, who died Saturday at the age of 81, was bound to make somebody unhappy. Though for much of his career his votes on the Senate floor were mostly along party lines, his periodic challenges to Republican orthodoxy made him more popular among independents, Democrats and the tattered remnants of his party’s moderate wing than with the absolutists in the party’s base. Five years of torture in a North Vietnamese prison camp appeared to have left him with a pretty good idea of who he was, an ability to think for himself and the capacity to tune out partisan noises.

    He had principles, and he had flaws, from time to time betraying those principles — most grievously in the 2008 presidential campaign. But in a Senate mostly devoid of the kind of commanding figures who once roamed its halls, he was a rare bird. And he could surprise you.

    Read the full article in the New York Times here.

    Desposito and Thomas Returned to OPERS Board

    August 15th, 2018

    The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System Board of Trustees has certified the election of Ken Thomas and Randy Desposito to four-year terms on the OPERS Board of Trustees.

    A Critical Care Nurse and President of AFSCME Local 2415, the union for University of Toledo Medical Center Employees, Desposito was appointed to fill a vacancy on the OPERS Board in 2017.  Elected to a full term, he will represent non-teaching State College and University employees.

    Ken Thomas, representing municipal employees, has served on the OPERS Board since 1993 and is a 33-year City of Dayton employee, currently senior employment manager at the City of Dayton Civil Service Board.  Ken was a long-time member of AFSCME, Local 101 and served for nine years on the AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Executive Board as a Dayton Regional Vice President.

    Both were unopposed. 

    According to AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall, in years past labor had a majority on the board “and now these seats are back with AFSCME. This is an example of the clout only a unified statewide organization has,” he said.

    Thomas and Desposito will join AFSCME Local 3360 Cleveland MetroHealth President Julie Albers, representing County employees, and AFSCME Local 11/OCSEA President Chris Mabe, representing state workers on the 11-member board.

    “Ken and Randy are part of the AFSCME team committed to a strong defense of our defined benefit (guaranteed) pensions. This is more important than ever because of the anti-worker environment we are presently in,” Lyall said.

    The Board of Trustees is responsible for the administration and management of OPERS. Board members also authorize the investments made with the system’s funds. They receive no compensation for their service to OPERS.

    Randy Desposito, left, Ken Thomas, right.

    2018 Scholarships Awarded to Alyssa Ann Grega and Zachary Rondeau

    August 13th, 2018

    The Ohio Council 8 Executive Board is pleased to announce that Alyssa Ann Grega has been awarded the Patricia Kunk Scholarship and Zachary Rondeau has been awarded the Theodore Patton Scholarship as part of  the AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Family Scholarship program.

    Alyssa is the daughter of Leslie Grega who is a member of AFSCME Local 7, which represents City of Toledo employees.

    A graduate of Sylvania Northview High School, Alyssa was as a motivated student who achieved an outstanding academic record. In addition she participated in many school and community activities.

    In her winning essay, Alyssa shared her firsthand union education.  Growing up in the aftermath of “The Great Recession” she saw the toll economic uncertainly takes on a family and a community, and also the value of union representation. 

    “I want to find a career where I feel secure and where my rights as an employee are respected. That means a union contract,” she said.

    She will be attending The Lourdes University this fall pursuing a degree as an Athletic Trainer and plans to work with the Wounded Warrior Project.        

    The 2018 men’s scholarship winner, Zachary Rondeau, is the son of AFSCME Local 3360 member Paul Rondeau. An active member of the union representing employees at Cleveland’s MetroHealth Medical Center, where he serves a steward, Paul has been a member since 2003.

    Zachary graduated from North Olmsted High School, where he was active in sports, had a strong academic record, and was respected by his classmates and teachers.

    In his winning essay, Zachary recounted how being a union member helped his kindergarten teacher cut through red tape to get him help with a learning disability. And thanks to his father’s workplace being represented by AFSCME, “my family had the topnotch medical coverage and the resources to help me overcome my disability.” 

    Excelling at math and science, Zachary will be attending Ohio Northern University in the fall where he plans on becoming a mechanical engineer.

    The 2018 AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Scholarships are named in honor of Toledo unionist Theodore R. Patton Sr. and Dayton Region Office Secretary Patricia Kunk.

    Patricia Kunk began her AFSCME career in 1976, when she became office secretary for AFSCME Local 101 Dayton Public Service Union. Two years later she became office secretary for the Dayton Region that was created with the formation of AFSCME Ohio Council 8, which unified the state’s eight AFSCME public employee councils.

    Prior to AFSCME, she was employed for 13 years by the National Cash Register Company. In addition, she was active in politics and could be depended upon for block walks, door knocking, and phone banks. She retired in 2010 and still helps out in the Dayton office when needed.

    Theodore R. Patton Sr. worked for the Toledo Public Schools for 36 years. As a Boiler Operator, he was a long-time member of AFSCME Local 272 which represents the district’s heating, maintenance, and security employees.

    In addition to holding local union offices, he served as an Ohio Council 8 Toledo Regional Vice President. In 1985, Patton was elected Ohio Council 8 Secretary- Treasurer, a post he held until retiring in 2002.

    He was active in the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, and served with the Toledo community project, Second Chance, which helps felons re-enter society and get their records expunged. He passed away early last year at age 89.                         

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

    In addition to Mitchell, the Scholarship Committee includes Cleveland Regional Vice President Julie Albers, Athens Regional Vice President Dave Logan, and Trustee Kim Gaines.


    Zachary Rondeau and Alyssa Ann Grega

    Susan Reed joins Ohio Council 8 members for the second Ohio AFL-CIO Day of Action

    July 30th, 2018

    AFSCME Local 3501 member Susan Reed joined Ohio Council 8 members in the Athens Region and across the state for the second Ohio AFL-CIO Day of Action aimed at getting people to the polls.

    “Our members are motivated and educated and ready to move ahead. They understand that the only thing that will change the direction we’re heading in is to get out and vote – and time is going by fast,” she said.

    A 26-year employee of Scioto County Department of Jobs and Family Services, Reed works as a Child Support Investigator.  She also serves on the executive board of the local union which represents more than 60 JFS employees.

    Tuesday October 9th is the deadline for voter registration, “so we need to make sure people are ready and able to vote,” Reed said.

    The next Ohio AFL-CIO Day of Action will be Saturday, August 25th. Click here for times and locations across Ohio.

    Click here for Times and Locations

    AFSCME Local 3501 member Susan Reed, right, and Athens Regional Director John Johnson joined Ohio Council 8 members across the state for Ohio AFL-CIO Day of Action.

    Thousands gather at Statehouse for rally to save pensions

    July 16th, 2018

    You’ve worked hard and played by the rules and at the last minute, the goal post is moved.  All people want is what they have worked for and what was promised – a pension they can count on to retire in dignity and security. 

    So said a crowd of thousands who gathered at the Ohio Statehouse to call on their elected representatives — both in Columbus and Washington — to save their dwindling pension funds.

    The massive crowd gathered for a rally ahead of a rare Congressional field hearing at the Statehouse the next day. The hearing included Ohio’s U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a key part of a joint congressional committee tasked with solving the mounting pension crisis affecting the pensions of about 1.3 million private sector retirees and active workers.

    They belong to multi-employer pension plans, including the massive Central States Pension Fund for Teamsters, the United Mine Workers Pension Plan, the Iron Workers Local 17 Pension Plan and hundreds of other plans which are on the brink of failure.

    “Public employees are wrong if they think this doesn’t affect their public employee pensions like OPERS and SERS,” said AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Political and Legislative Director Robert Davis.

    “Those pension dollars go right back into the economy. If the retirees can’t pay their bills it will slow down the economy and make it harder for public employers to keep up their constitutions to our public pensions,” Davis said.

    The hearing at the Statehouse was the fifth on the pension crisis, but the first one outside of Washington, D.C. Ohio was chosen because it is among the states with the most pensions at risk. 

    Sen. Brown proposed the Butch Lewis Act that many in attendance supported, but it failed to get bipartisan support. That bill would have created a low-interest, 30-year federal loan to troubled pension plans, with no cuts to retirees’ benefits.  Ohio Sen. Rob Portman is also on the bipartisan committee.

    By the end of July, the committee will finish its hearings and work toward crafting a solution.  Any solution must be approved by five out of eight members of each party on the committee, then pass both the House and the Senate by an up-or-down vote, with no amendments allowed to be added.

    Board Installs New Members

    July 11th, 2018

    At its recent meeting the Ohio Council 8 Executive board installed new officers to fill vacancies left by retirements and attrition.

    Eric Clemons, President of Local 1027 Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority was elected as a Cincinnati Regional Vice president, and Ann Sulfridge, a Dayton Regional Vice President since 2011 and President of AFSCME Local 101, was installed as Ohio Council 8 Recording Secretary. 

    In addition, Tracey Poellnitz was sworn as the child care representative, and Juanita Griffin, who served as a Cleveland Regional Vice President until retiring in 2003, joined the board as a retiree representative.  She replaces long-time union leader Cenia Willis, who died late last year.  Like the trustees, the retiree representatives have a voice, but do not vote.

    “I firmly believe Ohio Council 8 has the best leadership of any labor organization in the state,” said Council 8 President John A. Lyall.  “These capable and experienced leaders will be great additions to the board and join a group of committed individuals who work to keep our union strong.” he said.

    Pictured above: Left to right, Eric Clemons, Tracey Poellnitz, Ann Sulfridge, and Juanita Griffin.

    Trump’s fight with federal employee unions gets real on Monday

    July 9th, 2018

    July 8 at 8:03 PM 
    Read the full article on the Washington Post here.

    Federal agencies on Monday begin implementing executive orders from President Trump on how to confront employee unions, following strict guidelines likely to escalate tensions that have been building since the president took office.

    The administration describes Trump’s new rules, issued in May, as an effort to streamline a bloated bureaucracy and improve accountability within the federal workforce of 2.1 million. The unions counter that the orders are only the latest in Trump’s aggressive actions intended to weaken their bargaining power and make it easier to fire government workers.

    Jeff Pon, chief of the Office of Personnel Management, gave agencies details late last week for implementing the presidential orders.

    The administration wants agencies to reopen collective bargaining agreements to reduce the on-duty time union representatives spend representing employees. Managers are directed to “monitor and carefully report” on the time and make the information publicly available. And agencies are directed to move swiftly to fire poor performers, renegotiating any contracts that allow for progressive discipline.

    The conflict appears headed for a showdown, either in federal court, where the unions have filed numerous lawsuits challenging the orders, or in Congress. The administration and the unions have courted Capitol Hill allies, with Republicans supporting Trump’s tactics and Democrats backing the unions, a key constituency.

    Trump’s executive orders represent a broadening of the get-tough initiativesthat have played out in individual agencies since he took office, including recent efforts to force unions to move out of government-paid office space and to rein in the use of official work time by union representatives who deal with employee grievances and disciplinary matters.

    Furious union leaders have sued the president, charging that he exceeded his authority and broke the law guaranteeing federal workers union representation. A judge is expected to consider all of the lawsuits later this month.

    “Candidly, I find it reprehensible,” said Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents 150,000 employees. “Why are the president and the administration continually on the attack against working-class Americans who are simply doing a job they’re proud to do?”

    For decades, unions have had vast power over the federal workforce, demanding a voice in almost every workplace issue except pay, which is set by Congress. Federal employee union membership is growing, even as private sector union enrollment declines. And efforts by previous Republican administrations to diminish union power have been piecemeal.

    But since his 2016 election, Trump has made clear that he considers unions to be major contributors in driving up costs and paralyzing agencies in their attempts to discipline poor performers.

    What you need to know about the Supreme Court ruling on public union fees

    The Supreme Court ruled against public unions that required non-member workers to pay fees June 27. Here’s what you need to know. 

    “President Trump has been very clear since the campaign trail that he wants to go after waste and fraud in government. Reforming the federal workforce is a giant step in ensuring more accountability for the government’s use of American taxpayer dollars,” White House spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement.

    A key player for Trump

    Many of the efforts have been overseen by James Sherk, a former Heritage Foundation labor economist who joined Trump’s transition team to tackle labor challenges. He now sits on the low-profile Domestic Policy Council. The White House declined to make him available for an interview.

    Over a decade at Heritage, a leading conservative think tank, Sherk, 37, wrote policy papers on the need to roll back public employee labor rights. He helped Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) engineer a plan to bust the state’s employee unions in 2011. He argued for freezing federal salaries to bring them in line with the private sector and said in a 2007 video that the landmark 1993 law granting unpaid family and medical leave encourages employee timecard abuses.

    Since Trump took office, Sherk’s hard-line stance has helped guide the ongoing power struggles with the unions, according to Trump advisers.

    In quick succession, federal employees have been subjected to budget cuts, a hiring freeze, a proposed pay freeze and $143 billion in proposed cuts to retirement benefits.

    The administration worked through Congress last year to push a precedent-setting bipartisan law clearing the way for the Department of Veterans Affairs to fire problematic employees.

    In June, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney proposed a government reorganization that the unions branded as a thinly disguised effort to slash jobs.

    And Trump officials have cracked down on day-to-day work practices that had been in place for years, severely restricting telecommuting at some agencies, for example, and forcing union representatives to give up free office space and even parking spaces.

    The new rules also restrict working conditions that can be bargained over. They give poor performers 30 days to show improvement rather than the current 120 days. They make performance a key factor, rather than seniority, when layoffs are on the table.

    The administration signaled its hard-line posture in March when the Education Department imposed its own contract after months of bargaining with the American Federation of Government Employees broke down.

    Education officials, meanwhile, are enforcing the contract. The union has been kicked out of its small offices at the agency’s Washington headquarters and its regional offices and told it must pay rent.

    Last month, management sharply curtailed telework to one day a week, a benefit pushed by the Obama administration as a way to save expensive office lease costs and keep cars off the road. Agriculture and some Commerce Department offices also have slashed telework, a practice Trump officials have said they suspect leads employees to slack off.

    Education officials also are insisting that union representatives take time off to represent employees, instead of carving out a portion of their workweek for what is known as “official time” to represent employees who have filed workplace grievances. The AFGE is temporarily sending lawyers from its national office to step in for local representatives.

    As the largest government workers’ union, with 700,000members, the AFGE says management’s contract is illegal — and guts previously negotiated provisions for telework, performance evaluations, work schedules and other protections. The union is awaiting a ruling from the Federal Labor Relations Authority onits complaint of unfair labor practices.

    Resolution of the dispute is uncertain, though. Trump has not named a general counsel for the authority, who would have to approve any disposition for labor or management.

    Targeting unions

    Under Trump, the FLRA has issued a number of anti-union decisions. One reversed years of case law that had allowed unions to bargain over changes to employees’ conditions of employment, such as changes to job duties.

    The administration also disbanded advisory labor-management forums at federal agencies created in the Obama era to foster dialogue.

    A White House official said the forums were a “waste of resources and sucking up a ton of our time.” But the unions called them valuable tools that improved productivity and resolved disputes before they required costly arbitration.

    “Official time” has been a particular target for the White House. Trump’s orders restrict to 25 percent the on-duty time employees may be paid for union work.

    “It means greatly diminished representation,” said David Borer, the AFGE’s general counsel, adding, “We’ve never been attacked quite like this before.”

    The White House official said that limiting it will serve a purpose. “If they have to pay the costs, then they won’t be bringing Mickey Mouse grievances,” said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about labor-management issues.

    At the Department of Housing and Urban Development, for example, union officials say they have received emails from management recently that strongly suggest they accept limits on official time rather than bargain over the issue.

    And management has told the union to stop using agency parking spaces, phones, computers and other resources to which they have long had access. Unions said they expect other agencies to follow suit.

    “The agency feels empowered,” said Holly Salamido, president of AFGE Council 222 of HUD locals. The president “can’t just use an executive order to override a contract.”

    Trump’s orders can be undone by the next president. But the White House decided that presidential orders were a better path to immediate change than seeking legislation, even in a Republican-controlled Congress, because of the vast political clout of federal workers.

    “The administration has played its cards,’’ said Donald F. Kettl, a public affairs professor at the University of Texas at Austin, “and the perception of union-busting has cut off any possibility for bipartisan action on needed reforms to government and the civil service.”

    The executive orders have drawn opposition from a majority of Senate Democrats and a bipartisan group in the House, who have written letters to the president. Last week, four current and former House members submitted a friend-of-the court brief on behalf of the unions in their federal court challenge. The brief says the executive orders would open the door to patronage and upend the “merit-based, non-partisan” civil service.

    Sherk and the policy council, meanwhile, are awaiting the court’s decision while planning more unspecified workforce changes, administration officials say. The top priority now, the White House official said, is to ensure that the new limits on unions are enforced throughout the government.

    Read the full article on the Washington Post here.

    Community Service: AFSCME – The Union that Never Quits

    July 3rd, 2018

    Proving that AFSCME Never Quits, AFSCME Local 7 members and volunteers from five Toledo local unions, along with several Toledo Whitmer High School football players, came together over a blistering hot weekend to replace the roof at Mom’s House, a non-profit organization that helps low-income single mothers as they work to achieve the educational goals needed to become effective parents.

    Work replacing the 21-year old roof started at 6 in the morning “and ended at 1:30 in the afternoon when roof top temperatures reached 115 degrees,” said Don Czerniak, president of the union for Toledo’s blue-collar city employees.   

    “One of the great things about Mom’s House is it affects the lives of two generations by providing education opportunities for both parent and child.  And we think that makes our community stronger,” Czerniak said.

    “Everyone here is here on their own time. It’s the hottest day of the year and they’ve made a decision that they’re going to come help us, and for us that means the world. We can’t function without our community,” said Christina Rodriguez, Executive Director of Mom’s House.

    In a melting pot of 115 degree heat and 100 percent solidarity, AFSCME Local 7 City of Toledo members joined with members of five other Toledo unions to spend a blistering weekend replacing the aging roof at Mom’s House, a non-profit organization that helps low-income single mothers. Photo: AFSCME Local 7

    Remembering Joe Patterson

    June 28th, 2018

    We’re sorry to report that Joe Patterson, an AFSCME Council 8 Local 1091 member, lost his life Sunday while working at the Rainsboro Fire Station in Highland County after sustaining injuries while working with compressed air cylinders.

    Patterson will be remembered for many things, but his fellow firefighters and EMTs remember him as a mentor who would put it upon himself to help newcomers and a man who could lift everyone’s spirits even under tough circumstances.

    “He was the one that took the harshness off a bad situation,” said Chillicothe Assistant Fire Chief Steve Gallagher. “He was just a great guy. It’s going to be a huge loss. We’re going to miss him.”

    Monday afternoon Patterson’s body was brought to Ware Funeral Home where an outpouring of support came from everywhere. Several people exited their vehicles and stood in respect as Patterson passed and a women, whose son serves as a volunteer firefighter in Green Township, released red balloons while holding her hand over her heart.

    Paint Creek Fire District posted a Facebook status on Sunday afternoon saying: “It is with deepest sympathies that we have been informed that our brother has been called home and answered his final alarm and did not survive the injuries inflicted by the accident.”

    Joe Patterson represents all the members in our union. He was courageous, compassionate, and spent his life helping his community and the people around him. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Joe’s family and his fellow union brothers and sisters during this difficult time.

    AFSCME members like Joe spend every day working to keep our communities safe.

    AFSCME Local 101 members provide maintenance and safety services for the Dayton Airport

    June 22nd, 2018

    AFSCME is the nation’s largest and fastest growing public services employee’s union with more than 1.6 million working and retired members. AFSCME’s members provide the vital services that make America happen. We are nurses, corrections officers, child care providers, EMTs, sanitation workers and more. With members in hundreds of different occupations, AFSCME advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services and prosperity and opportunity for all working families.

    Cincinnati Local 3119 Nurses Celebrate Nurses Week

    May 8th, 2018

    Cincinnati’s public health nurses combined AFSCME Local 3119 swearing in of officers with a tribute to their profession during National Nurses Week.

    According to Union President Gina Pratt, National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6th and ends on May 12th, marking the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

    “Our public health nurses are committed to improving the health of the Cincinnati community. And we’re proud AFSCME members,” she said.

    AFSCME Local 3119 members make home visits, are school nurses, are part of the children with medical handicaps program, and work in the clinics.

    Tight budgets put pressure on all public employees and nurses are no exception. “We have a voice on the job with AFSCME. And we’re using that voice to keep our current services and working to fill the health care needs of our city,” Pratt said.

    According to Gallup polls, 80 percent of Americans say nurses have “very high” or “high” standards of honesty and ethics.

    Cincinnati Regional Director Renita Jones-Street, right, swears in the recently elected AFSCME Local 3119 officers during a Nurses Week celebration.

    City Workers Part of Tornado Response Team

    April 10th, 2018

    When the first tornado of the season struck Grove City, members of AFSCME Local 1116 were on the job after the storm’s 105 mph winds tore a 2.6-mile strip through the city of 40,000 southwest of Columbus.

    “There was no shortage of city workers in the Service Department who volunteered to help. Our crews jumped in and cleared fallen trees, blocked off streets, and replaced traffic signs so utility company crews could safely set to work getting the power back on,” said AFSCME 1116 Local President Sean Gabriel. 

    The April 3rd storm hit the city at around 5:30 p.m. and tore off roofs, downed trees, and damaged more than 30 utility poles which knocked out power to 8,500 Grove City-area residents. 

    Several people were stuck on city streets because live power lines were in contact with their vehicles. The last was freed after more than five hours after the tornado struck.

    “Everyone in the Service Department had a job to do including our members in the Parks and Recreation who joined in the tree and debris cleanup work. It just shows that AFSCME members “Never Quit,” Gabriel said.

    Catholic bishops are backing AFSCME in U.S. Supreme Court Fair Share Fee Case

    March 27th, 2018

    The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has sided with unions in the Janus vs. AFSCME case now before the U.S Supreme Court. The Bishops submitted an amicus brief in support of public-sector unions and their right to “fair share fees” from nonmembers for the collective bargaining and representation benefitting non-members.

    The bishops’ involvement with Janus vs. AFSCME. surprised some. But church leaders made their support clear, taking part in a forum last week on labor and faith at Seton Hall University.

    Newark Cardinal Joseph Tobin, on stage with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, explained the bishops’ interest in the case saying the church has a long history of supporting workers and unions. “You should not be able to benefit from all the work that unions do to represent workers without paying your fair share,” Cardinal Tobin said.

    Pope Francis, who recently told a gathering of union delegates in 2017, “There is no good society without a good union.” He was far from the first Pontif to side with unions and workers. In his 1981 encyclical Pope John Paul II lauded organized labor organizations as “an indispensable element of social life” And in 2009, Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged the church’s long history of Catholic-labor relations in a lengthy encyclical.

    The Bishop’s brief argues that ruling against the unions would “constitutionalize” a national ‘right-to- work’ law. The brief points out that no U.S. bishop ever publicly supported right-to- work laws.

    Condensed from a story by Jack Jenkins/Religion News Service

    March 23, 2018 Federal Legislative Report

    March 23rd, 2018

    Fiscal Year 2018 Funding Finalized

    Congress wrapped up funding decisions for fiscal year (FY) 2018 nearly halfway through the fiscal year.  The compromise bill includes much needed investments for public services and does not include many of the harmful policy riders that were expected. In addition, the final package rejects President Trump’s proposed cuts of $54 billion to domestic public services. Instead, Congress increased investments by $63 billion for domestic spending. Defense spending was also increased by $70 billion, as part of the earlier two-year budget agreement.

    President Saunders noted: “I am pleased that this bill rejects and reverses the deep and harmful cuts proposed by the Trump administration. It makes important investments in health care, education, and infrastructure. It also staves off extreme attacks on labor rights, immigrant rights, and other priorities of working families. Though the bill is far from perfect, for the first time in years, investments in working families will move in a positive direction.”

    These domestic funding increases are important, but they do not make up for the inadequate investments in programs that have been restricted by tight budget caps since 2011. On the plus side, the bill includes substantial increases to child care, public education, higher education, census planning, opioid abuse prevention and treatment, transportation, and housing.

    Policy Riders

    AFSCME and our allies fought back over 160 poison-pill policy riders that threatened workers’ rights to organize, workplace safety protections, sanctuary cities, consumer protections, environmental protections, and more. Specifically, efforts to weaken the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB); to add so-called “Tribal Sovereignty” language that aimed to exempt businesses from adhering to National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) worker protections; and to block, delay or otherwise undermine the “fiduciary rule” to protect workers’ retirement savings, were all rejected. Additionally, attempts to expand the H-2B visa program were thwarted, extending only the current program through the end of 2018 which also includes a provision that grants the DHS Secretary discretionary powers to increase the cap if “need” is determined. The bill does not include the president’s request to build a wall at the border with Mexico. Instead it provides $1.6 billion in border security funds, including funds to fix existing fencing and levee structures.

    The ACA and DACA

    The bill fails to address certain issues requiring immediate action, including efforts to stabilize the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by stopping the Trump administration’s action to sabotage and undermine the individual health insurance market. Without legislative action the administration’s efforts will continue to raise premiums and out-of-pocket costs in the individual market.

    The omnibus also falls short by failing to provide a fair and permanent solution that protects Dreamers from deportation and creates a pathway to citizenship.

    The Tip Rule Agreement

    The bill includes a compromise that would prohibit employers from keeping employees’ tips and allows workers to sue employers for stolen wages with damages. While this is a step in the right direction, some lawmakers oppose the compromise out of concerns that it would allow employers to decrease workers’ pay and replace it with tips.

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

    A six-month FAA extension gives Congress until the end of fiscal 2018 to work out a long-term solution and omits earlier efforts to advance privatization.

    Funding for Key Issues:

    Department of Education

    The bill provides a $3.9 billion increase (6 percent), for Department of Education including:

    – Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (Title IV), a source of funding for school counselors and school safety, would see a $700 million increase for a total of $1.1 billion. This program had been targeted for elimination by the president.

    – Title I state grants are increased $300 million, to $15.8 billion.

    – Title II grants are level funded at $2.1 billion. This program had been targeted for elimination by the president.

    – IDEA grants to states are increased $275 million to $12.3 billion.

    – 21st Century Community Learning Centers are increased $20 million to $1.2 billion for before and after care available to low-income students. This program had been targeted for elimination by the president.

    – Increases the maximum Pell grant by $175 to a total of $6,095.

    – Head Start is increased $610 million to $9.9 billion.

    – Child Care and Development Block Grant is increased $2.4 billion, to $5.2 billion.

    – Secure Rural Schools (SRS) had expired, but received a two-year authorization for $426 million over 2 years with $220 million retroactively for FY 2017, and $206 million for FY 2018 in mandatory funds.

    Public Health

    The bill provides an additional $3 billion in programs that help states, tribes, local governments, nonprofits, and faith-based groups prevent, treat, and stop the opioid abuse epidemic.

    Department of Labor (DoL)

    The bill provides a slight increase in DoL funding, (1 percent), as opposed to a 20 percent cut, as proposed in the president’s budget. Increases include:

    • Employment Training Administration (ETA) is increased by $44 million for a total of $10 billion, including $2.8 billion for job training grants to states, $89.5 million for YouthBuild, and $145 million for apprenticeship grants.
    • Job Corps is increased by $15.5 million to $1.7 billion.

    The Census

    The bill increases Census funding by $1.344 billion to prepare for the upcoming Census, a $1.13 billion increase over the President’s request.

    The Social Security Administration (SSA)

    The bill increases SSA funding by $480 million, including $280 million for IT modernization and $100 million for reducing the disability hearings backlog.


    • Public Housing Operating Fund is slightly increased by 3 percent to $4.55 billion but is significantly below the full funding level that Public Housing Authorities need to operate America’s 1.2 million public housing units.
    • Public Housing Capital Fund is increased by 42 percent to $2.75 billion, which will provide additional funds to repair and modernize public housing. This is far short of roughly $40 billion needed to reduce the enormous backlog and to ensure units are safe, decent, and affordable.
    • Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program’s cap increases the maximum number of public housing units from 225,000 to 455,000 which are eligible for conversion and delays expiration of the RAD program to 2024. AFSCME opposes raising this cap and delaying RAD’s expiration.

    East-West Center

    The bill appropriates $16.7 million, the same amount as last year, for the East-West Center, which is a congressionally authorized non-profit in Hawaii that employs AFSCME HGEA members.


    Highway spending is increased by $2.5 billion, including a $1 billion increase for TIGER grants, a $232 million increase for transit, and a $305 million increase for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).

    Election Security

    State election officials would get $380 million in technology grants to upgrade their equipment to ward off digital attacks.

    JANUS: The Case That Could Destroy Unions, Part I

    March 18th, 2018

    AFSCME President Lee Saunders and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders explain how the Janus case will harm unions and workers.

    Toledo Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur Honored

    March 15th, 2018

    After 35 years, two months, and 15 days, Toledo native Marcy Kaptur is set to break a nearly 60-year-old seniority record for a woman in the U.S. House of Representatives.

    On Sunday, Kaptur will become the longest-serving woman in the nearly 230-year history of the House.  She will break the record set by the late Edith Nourse Rogers, who was elected June 30, 1925, and represented a Massachusetts House district until 1960.

    “Marcy Kaptur has always been a great friend of Toledo’s AFSCME members and of all Northeastern Ohio’s union members,” said Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall.  “She has never forgotten her roots or the people she represents,” he said.

    Miss Kaptur was the first woman appointed to the powerful House Appropriations Committee, and has served on the Budget; Banking, Finance, Urban Affairs; Veterans Affairs, and other committees.

    U.S. House of Representatives Rep. Marcy Kaptur, (4th from left), was with us from the start.  This 1983 photo shows her with, left to right, Ohio Council 8 Toledo staff representatives William Fogle, Chuck Hendrix, Toledo Regional Vice President John Hurley, Staff Representative Sally Powless, and Toledo Regional Vice President Cenia Willis.

    We Never Quit – The Flood of 2018

    March 1st, 2018

    Heavy rains have caused extensive flooding along the Ohio River and AFSCME Council 8 members in Ohio and West Virginia show they will never quit protecting their cities.

    As heavy rain pushed the river above the flood level, the 21,000 residents of Portsmouth, Ohio, called on a team of AFSCME Local 1039 members to protect their city.

    The crew began putting up gates on February 21 in preparation for rising water, and as the days of rain continued, they set to work putting up the flood walls.

    AFSCME Local 1039 member Mark Puckett, who heads up the city’s flood defense operations, said protecting the city is a team effort.

    “It takes all of us to do this and these guys work extremely hard to get the job done. Many of the guys have over 100 hours of overtime during this two-week period,” he said.

    A few miles east, in Ironton, Ohio, where the river is expected to crest at 57 feet, AFSCME Local 771 member Rich Jenkins is in charge of flood defense for the city of 12,000.

    According to Jenkins, it takes a dozen men 12-16 hours to put the city’s flood walls up.

    “This is a team effort. These guys have worked hard around the clock to keep the city safe from the rising water,” Jenkins said.

    And the crew knows the job because AFSCME Local 771 has represented city workers for 52 years.

    About 50 miles further east and across the river in Huntington, West Virginia, AFSCME Local 598 members are battling to keep the rising river in its banks and out of the city’s streets.

    Union President Lee Adams said everyone works together to protect the 50,000 residents of Huntington from major flooding.

    AFSCME Local 598 and two other West Virginia AFSCME local unions joined Ohio Council 8 last year after passage of the state’s right-to- work law.


    Mark Puckett, far left, protecting the
    city is a team effort.

    Local 598 members never quit protecting
    their city from Ohio River flood waters.

    Rich Jenkins, far left, we work around the
    clock to keep the city safe from the rising water.

    Patton and Kunk 2018 AFSCME Family Scholarship Honorees

    February 9th, 2018

    This year’s AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Family Scholarships are named in honor of Toledo unionist Theodore R. Patton, Sr. and Dayton Region Office Secretary Patricia Kunk.

    Patricia Kunk began her AFSCME career in 1976, when she became office secretary for the AFSCME Local 101 Dayton Public Service Union. Two years later she became office secretary for the Dayton Region that was created with the formation of AFSCME Ohio Council 8, which unified the state’s eight AFSCME public employee councils.

    Prior to AFSCME, she was employed for 13 years by the National Cash Register Company. In addition, she was active in politics and could be depended upon for block walks, door knocking, and phone banks. She retired in 2010 and still helps out in the Dayton office when needed.

    Theodore R. Patton Sr. worked for the Toledo Public Schools for 36 years. As a Boiler Operator, he was a long-time member of AFSCME Local 272 which represents the district’s heating, maintenance, and security employees.

    In addition to holding local union offices, he served as an Ohio Council 8 Toledo Regional Vice President. In 1985, Patton was elected Ohio Council 8 Secretary- Treasurer, a post he held until retiring in 2002.

    He was active in the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, and served with the Toledo community project, Second Chance, which helps felons re-enter society and get their records expunged. He passed away early last year at age 89.

    Applications for the $2,500 per year, four-year scholarships are available at regional offices or downloaded by clicking the link below:

    Download the 2018 AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Patricia Kunk and Theodore Patton Scholarship Application Form

    Richard Etheridge and the Pea Island Lifesavers

    February 9th, 2018

    Source: Con Carbon

    Along the Outer Banks in North Carolina, near where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Chesapeake Bay, are the treacherous waters known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.” More than 600 ships have wrecked off the sandbars of the Hatteras Islands.  In 1871 the United States Lifesaving Service – a federal agency – was established to save the lives of shipwrecked mariners and passengers.  These first responders were called “surfmen” and, in North Carolina, they worked the desolate beaches.   In 1915 the agency was renamed the United States Coast Guard.

    In 1880 Captain Richard Etheridge, a former slave and Civil War veteran, was appointed as keeper of the Pea Island Lifesaving Station, 30 miles north of Cape Hatteras.  When he arrived to assume his command, the white surfmen there abandoned the station, unwilling to serve under an African American.  Other black surfmen from other stations were transferred to Pea Island which became the first all-black lifesaving station in the nation.  For 70 years the Pea Island station was manned by an all-African American crew until 1947 when it was decommissoned.

    Known for their courage and dedication the Pea Island lifesavers led many daring rescues saving scores of men, women and children.  In 1896, during a hurricane, they rescued the entire crew of the E.S. Newman for which — 100 years later — they were awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal.  In 1992 the U.S. Coast Guard commissioned a cutter, Pea Island, in memory of the African-American crews who served there.

    “The general run of the work of the lifesavers is not the spectacular kind that sometimes gets into the newspapers.  The routine drill, the labor of keeping the station and the boats and outfit bright and clean and ready for business, and the lonely night patrol of the silent beach, constitute the bulk of the men’s work.”  Herbert H. Brimley, naturalist and visitor to the Outer Banks in Fire on the Beach, by David Wright and David Zoby, Oxford Univ. Press, 2000.

    Honoring the National Moment of Silence

    February 1st, 2018

    Today AFSCME members from across our state, and across the country, gather for a National Moment of Silence to pay tribute to Echol Cole and Robert Walker. We mark the 50th anniversary of the accident that killed Cole and Walker and started a movement. We honor their memory and sacrifice as we continue the fight for racial and economic justice. #IAmColeAndWalker

    National Moment of Silence in Cincinnati


    National Moment of Silence in Cleveland

    National Moment of Silence in Canton

    National Moment of Silence in Athens

    National Moment of Silence in Columbus

    National Moment of Silence in Montgomery County


    National Moment of Silence in Warren County

    Public Employee Sick Days Under Attack – Again

    January 24th, 2018

    Here we go again.

    Ohio Republicans have again introduced a bill to limit the number of sick days for public employees. House Bill 298, sponsored by Rep. Derek Merrin (R-Monclova Township), will receive its second hearing this afternoon in the House State and Local Government Committee.

    And Ohio Council 8 members were there to greet them by packing the hearing room.

    (Ohio Council 8 activists packed the hearing room to protest HB 298 as an attack on collective bargaining)

    “This legislative meddling in local employer and employee relations is another attack on our collective bargaining rights,” said Ohio Council 8 Political and Legislative Director Robert Davis.

    “The union and management know what is best for their workplace and have successfully resolved this issue.  This bill is a solution in search of a problem.  It’s unnecessary and a distraction from other critical work that needs to be done by our elected officials,” he said.

    A similar proposal was included in last year’s biennial budget but was pulled after public outcry and lobbying from AFSCME at the Statehouse. In addition to restricting collective bargaining rights, HB 298 hurts working families. For example, if a child becomes sick and is quarantined at home, without the ability to take sick leave, parents are left to scramble to find suitable childcare or go without pay, or worse – lose their job.

    Continued attacks on workers from Statehouse Republicans must be stopped. AFSCME Council 8 is committed to fighting HB 298 and proposals like it and will oppose the bill during committee testimony.

    Mansfield City Council Opposes Dirty Half Dozen Amendments

    January 19th, 2018

    On Tuesday, the Mansfield City Council voted 6-2 to pass a bill condemning six proposed amendments to Ohio’s Constitution.

    The amendments, known as Becker’s Dirty Half Dozen, have been introduced by Cincinnati Republican John Becker and are aimed at destroying the rights of working people to unionize. The amendments will reduce wages, benefits, and pensions for working people and their families, and will lead to more accidents and deaths. These amendments are anti-worker, anti-family, and will take money out of the pockets of hardworking Ohioans and put it in the bank accounts of out-of-state billionaires.

    Dan Mapes, President of AFSCME Local 3308 in Mansfield, asked Council to unanimously approve the bill to oppose these six amendments before the vote.

    (Dan Mapes, President AFSCME Local 3308)

    “These amendments would have negative impacts on communities that are already struggling, and they’re all Right to Work measures,” he said. “Right to Work, it’s not what it says it is, and it’s absolutely not right for Ohio and the hardworking people that live here.”

    Mapes said the changes would apply to all workers, not just those in unions.

    “It covers everybody that puts boots on in the morning,” he said. “Anybody that works for a living is subject to these six constitutional changes.”

    Fourth Ward councilman Butch Jefferson won applause from the audience after saying he opposed the six amendments.

    “I understand unions. I know what they’re about,” he said. “They are so much responsible for a lot of the benefits and perks that workers have…There’s always somebody fighting the working man, trying to get rid of their benefits and perks that unions for years and years have fought for.”

    Jefferson told the union members to “keep fighting,” saying, “As long as I’m up here, you will have my support.”

    AFSCME Council 8 strongly opposes these six amendments and applauds the actions of the Mansfield City Council to stop them from becoming law.

    Cenia Willis Obituary

    January 4th, 2018

    On behalf of the officers and leadership of AFSCME Ohio Council 8, it is with regret we inform you of the passing of Toledo union leader Sister Cenia M. Willis.

    A 40-year union member, she was a member of AFSCME Local 272 and later Local 2174, which both represent Toledo school board employees.

    “Cenia was reliable, trustworthy, and straightforward. She was the salt of the Earth,” said AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall. “She was Toledo’s “go-to” person and was always ready to work for AFSCME’s members anywhere she was needed. Her community was Ohio,” he said.

    Starting as a substitute secretary and security dispatcher with the Toledo Public Schools, after 39 years and one month on the job, she retired as a Security Specialist.

    “She was always for the little guy and people listened to her because she knew what she was talking about,” said former Ohio Council 8 Toledo Regional Director George Tucker. “And she had a beautiful singing voice,” he added.

    As a member of AFSCME Local 2174, Willis served as president, vice president, and treasurer. In 1987, she was elected as a Toledo Regional Vice President and served on the AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Executive Board until 1995.

    She returned to the board in 2003 as Recording Secretary and served until she retired from the board in 2011. In retirement, she continued to serve Council 8 members as a retiree representative on the union’s executive board.

    Willis also served on the Ohio AFL-CIO executive board and was chairperson of the Toledo Chapter of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists.

    The Year Ahead

    December 29th, 2017

    The Year Ahead

    As we look forward to a new year, I hope you and your families had a joyous holiday season. One that has been a chance for all of us to relax with family and friends, and regroup for the challenges that lie ahead.

    In 2018, job number one is to stay AFSCME Strong. In the face of an expected Supreme Court ruling that creates a national right-to-work law, we must stand together and work together to defend the gains we’ve made.

    In spite of this and other challenges facing our union, I remain optimistic. Here’s why.

    Ohio Council 8 members continue to stay AFSCME Strong. We’re negotiating stronger contracts that raise wages and improve benefits. We continue organizing new local unions, and in our established locals, we’re convincing more and more fee-payers to become union members.

    In addition, AFSCME’s free college degree program through Eastern Gateway Community College is opening the door of opportunity to every member and their families. A benefit that adds even more value to belonging to the union.

    Some question the strength of unions in America today. But recent polls show public support for unions increased to over 58 percent. In addition, two-thirds of young workers support unions and would join one if they could.

    This is our time. We can accomplish great things standing together and working together. And I know AFSCME members and retirees are up to the task.

    On behalf of AFSCME Ohio Council 8 First Vice President Harold Mitchell and the AFSCME Ohio Council 8 executive board, I would like to wish you and your family a very happy New Year.

    In Solidarity,

    John Lyall
    President, AFSCME Council 8

    Desposito Appointed to Retirement Board

    December 21st, 2017

    Desposito Appointed to Retirement Board

    The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System Board of Trustees (SERB) has appointed AFSCME Local 2415 President Randy Desposito to fill a vacancy on the 11-member board.

    A Critical Care Nurse and long-time member of the union for University of Toledo Medical Center Employees, Desposito will represent non-teaching State College and University employees on the board’s governing body.

    “I am committed to the long-term survival of our retirement system and will work to make sure it continues to provide meaningful benefits to career public employees,” Desposito said.

    The Board is responsible for the administration and management of OPERS. Board members also authorize the investments made with the system’s funds. They receive no compensation for their service to OPERS.

    He joins AFSCME Local 3360 Cleveland MetroHealth President Julie Albers, former Ohio Council 8 Dayton Regional Vice President Ken Thomas, and AFSCME Local 11/OCSEA President Chris Mabe on the board.

    Desposito will stand for election to the board in 2018.

    Toledo City Workers Make Gains

    December 1st, 2017

    By a 499 to 64 vote, AFSCME Local 7 members approved a new contract with the city of Toledo.  The contract was also unanimously approved by city council.

    In addition, to an across-the-board five percent pay raise, over the life of three-year contract, negotiators were able to hold the line on health care with no increase. Other gains include an increase in hazardous duty pay and improvements in vacation language.

    According to AFSCME Local 7 President Don Czerniak, “this was a win-win for union members and the city.  With the strong backing of Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson, the administration was committed to offer competitive wages and we were able to keep skilled workers on the job serving the citizens of our city,” he said. 

    AFSCME Local 7 represents over 800 city employees, including utility workers, heavy equipment operators and skilled laborers.  Toledo Regional Director Steve Kowalik led the negotiations for the union.


    Long-time AFSCME Local 544 members to retire

    November 28th, 2017

    Long-time AFSCME Local 544 members to retire


    Lucas County commissioners honored two Sanitary Engineer Department employees for their years of service. 35-year employee Scott Novak (right photo center) and 30-year employee Tim McDermott will retire before the end of the year. (left photo center). Both are long-time members of the Technical and Service Chapter of AFSCME Local 544, the union for Lucas County employees.


    AFSCME Local 544 also represents county Job and Family Service employees, Child Support Enforcement and Children Services Board employees, along with employees of the Coroners Office and the County Recorders Office.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    November 20th, 2017

    Thanksgiving is a time for families, a time to love, to give, and a time to reflect on the things that matter most in life — each other.  The same is true of our Union family.

    It’s also a time to take stock of the past year. 2017 has been a year unlike any other. But we’ve made gains and built a stronger AFSCME Ohio Council 8 that’s ready to brave the coming tests.  And we have done it all as a family, as a Union.

    With many forces working against us, we have continued to organize new members, represent you on the job and bargain strong contracts.  We should also be very proud of our success making our union AFSCME Strong.

    Next year AFSCME will face a hostile U. S. Supreme Court set to make right-to-work the law of the land for public employees.  And to the Nation Labor Relations Board will continue tear down private sector worker rights.

    With the strength of our members, activists, retirees, and our local union leadership, our Union will continue to take on the challenges facing Ohio’s working families.

    We’ve always stuck together and looked out for each other and I am confident we will continue to do so.  We all have much to be thankful for.

    First Vice President Harold Mitchell and the Ohio Council 8 Executive Board join me in thanking you for the work you do.

    In Solidarity,

    John A. Lyall
    President AFSCME Ohio Council 8

    GOP tax plan hurts communities, working families Lyall says

    November 3rd, 2017



    NOVEMBER 3, 2017

    GOP tax plan hurts communities, working families Lyall says.

    Worthington – AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall, issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives issued its tax hand-out plan that takes care of millionaires and corporations, but hurts working families:

    “The tax plan released by congressional leaders yesterday will hurt the communities that public employees work around the clock to keep safe, healthy and strong. Working families are already struggling, while the super wealthy and corporations rig the rules to line their own pockets.

    “Paying for these huge tax cuts will make the national debt skyrocket which Congress will use as an excuse to force cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other vital programs our communities and families depend on.

    “The same working families Congress and the President promised to help are picking up the tab again. Under their plan, the tax breaks being eliminated are those that benefit working families. In fact, many middle class families, including Council 8 members, would see their taxes go up. This is because their plan would eliminate popular deductions such as student loan interest payments, as well as the deduction for state and local income or sales taxes.

    “This dangerous tax plan doubles down on the same policies that have only helped the rich and powerful grow more rich and powerful, and failed the rest of us.”

    AFSCME Ohio Council 8 represents approximately 38,000 public and private sector employees who work in a wide range of local government, health care, and education. For more information visit our web site at afscmecouncil8.org

    AFSCME Victory in Iowa

    November 1st, 2017

    The money donated at Council 8’s Dayton Convention to help Iowa’s AFSCME members defend their union paid a big dividend when public employees won a land-slide victory to stay AFSCME Strong in the state’s first re-certification election!

    Earlier this year, Iowa’s Republican-controlled state government passed anti-labor laws that gutted public sector collective bargaining.  Looking to cripple unions even more, unions must hold an election to re-certify their union before negotiating new contracts.

    Iowa’s results are in. With 88 percent participation, nearly 28,500 AFSCME represented employees voted to re-certify while a mere 624 voted against the union – a pro-union margin of better than 400 to 1.

    Had Council 61 failed to get a majority of union and non-members, its current contract would have been immediately repealed and a two-year waiting period imposed before workers could hold another representation vote.

    “It shows that public-sector employees, working men and women, both members and non-members, want to have a union, want to have a voice at the table,” Danny Homan, president of AFSCME Iowa Council 61, told The Des Moines Register. “I believe this sends a very strong message.”

    In addition to a heartfelt “thank-you”, Homan’s message to Council 8 members is “You can’t take for granted that what you have today will be there tomorrow. What happened in Wisconsin and Iowa, can happen to Ohio.

    “You have to get engaged in the political process to elect people who are going to do what’s right for working men and women and what’s right for the labor movement,” Homan said.

    Council 61 President Danny Homan compares the state workers 100-page contract with the 12-page contract after the collective bargaining law was dismantled.

    Albers elected to OPERS Board

    October 18th, 2017

    Julie Albers has been elected by an overwhelming majority to the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System Board of Trustees adding a second woman’s voice on the 11-member board.

    “I want to thank those who circulated petitions to get me on the ballot and to everyone who worked so hard to get AFSCME members and other county workers to vote for me.  As the county employee representative, I promise to do my best on your behalf,” Albers said.

    Albers is a Registered Respiratory Therapist at Cuyahoga County’s MetroHealth Medical Center and has contributed to OPERS for 26 years. She is President of AFSCME Local 3360, has served on the hospital’s Life Flight Team and has trauma and pediatric experience.

    Her career as a healthcare professional will be invaluable helping the board maintain affordable health care benefits while assuring the long-term viability of the system.

    According to AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall, in years past labor had a majority on the board “and now the County seat is back with AFSCME where it belongs. This is an example of something that only a unified statewide organization can do,” he said.

    Albers will join union leaders OCSEA/AFSCME President Chris Mabe, former AFSCME Council 8 leader Ken Thomas, and SEIU leader Cyhthia Sledz on the board.

    Stop Extreme Attacks on Collective Bargaining

    October 11th, 2017

    House Bill 298, which was recently introduced in the Ohio General Assembly, is the latest extreme attack on our freedom to bargain for a better life. This bill would severely limit the rights of working people by curtailing what they can collectively bargain. Even though Ohio voters resoundingly rejected attacks on collective bargaining rights by repealing Senate Bill 5/Issue 2 in 2011, some state legislators persist with these unfair and punitive measures.

    CLICK HERE to E-mail you state Representative now and tell them to stop the attacks on collective bargaining.

    While the extreme legislators behind this bill will tell you that it is about limiting sick days for public employees, we know the truth. This is just the first step in trying to silence our voice at the workplace. Today they try to limit how we collectively bargain for sick days; tomorrow it will be about limiting how we collectively bargain over pay, safety in the workplace and how we grieve unfair conditions. This legislation comes straight from Senate Bill 5. This is their attempt to pass that bad legislation piecemeal and we must fight back against ANY attempts to limit our voice on the job.

    CLICK HERE to download a workplace flier and help us spread the word about this bad  bill . Share the flyer with your co-workers and tell them to call the 888 number to be connected to their State Representative and have their voices HEARD.

    Instead of these unnecessary and undue attacks on our collective bargaining rights, the General Assembly should be focused on helping municipalities get the state funding they need to serve and protect our communities. Please download the flyer  HERE  and share with your co-workers. We need to tell the General Assembly to stop attacking the basic freedoms of working people and to oppose House Bill 298.

    And don’t forget to CLICK HERE to E-mail you state Representative now and tell them to stop the attacks on collective bargaining.

    Pulling the Plug on Health Care – Last Minute Republican ACA Repeal Plan is Worst Yet

    September 21st, 2017

    Called “the last best chance” to repeal Obamacare, the bill offered by Republican Sens. Graham and Cassidy may not be the last proposal, but it is by far the worst one yet.

    Under Graham-Cassidy 32 million Americans will lose insurance and 800,000 of them will be Ohioans.

    This is not “repeal and replace” – it’s flat out repeal. This is “pulling the plug” on Obamacare – period. All funding for health care goes away in 2027.

    The bill includes letting insurers discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, increases out-of-pocket costs, and eliminates the ACA’s “essential health services” including pediatric care for children.

    “This last-ditch ‘Hail Mary pass’ to repeal Obamacare, makes it clear that Senate Republicans are desperate for a win – no matter who gets hurt. It’s hard to call America great when health care is a privilege only for those with the money to pay for it,” said Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall.

    Call Sen. Rob Portman now and tell him “don’t pull the plug on 32 million Americans — vote NO on the Graham-Cassidy ACA repeal bill.”

    Toll-Free: 1-800-205-6446 (OHIO)

    Regional Offices:

    Cincinnati 513-684-3265
    Cleveland  216-522-7095
    Columbus 614-469-6774
    Toledo       419-259-3895
    Washington D.C. 202-224-3353

    Or visit his website to fill out an email contact form at: https://www.portman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-form

    ALERT – Scam Targeting AFSCME Members

    September 12th, 2017

    We have been made aware that a sophisticated phishing and phone scam appears to be targeting AFSCME membership. The email, supposedly from President Saunders and in a screenshot below, is coming from the scam email address info@afscme.us.com and urges members to fill out a form to avoid furlough days. The reported phone calls say that members owe money to AFSCME. Obviously, none of this is true.

    These scams are not affiliated with AFSCME and the union has no control over them.

    Please do the following:

    1. DO NOT CLICK on the “stop recieving email” link at the bottom of the email.
    2. DO NOT RESPOND or open any attachments or click any links.
    3. Delete the email and contact your IT department.

    We are actively tracking down who is behind them. If you have any questions, please contact AFSCME IT hotline at 202-429-1122.

    (Click to enlarge the photo.)


    Labor Day 2017

    September 3rd, 2017

    The first Labor Day with a new President delivers good news, no news, and bad news for unions and America’s workers.

    The good news, according to a new Pew Research Center survey, six-in-ten (61%) adults today have a favorable view of labor unions. That’s a big jump from March 2015, when less than half of adults (48%) expressed a positive view of unions.

    More good news, young people are far more likely than older adults to view labor unions favorably, with three quarters of those ages 18 to 29 say they have a favorable opinion of labor unions. Immigrants, minorities, and people of color are also drawn to unions.

    However, it’s no news that Republicans and Democrats have opposite views on labor unions. That’s the case today with Democrats largely pro-union, while just the opposite is true for Republicans and those leaning Republican who are agitating for state right-to-work laws.

    The bad news comes from an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case called Janus V. AFSCME, which could result in a nationwide right-to-work law. Janus is a carbon-copy of the Friedrichs case which was designed to cripple unions. It failed only due to the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

    With a Presidential appointment unfairly denied to President Obama now on the high court, the case seems destined to strike down 40 years of settled law. We will know next summer.

    In anticipation of this right-to-work “victory” anti-union front organizations are committed to “defund and dismantle unions”. Leading this national effort is the Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

    The Bradley Foundation and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation are pouring money into a coordinated attack on public employee unions in particular – because they are the “foot soldiers of the Democratic party”.

    But here is the hopeful news. Ohio Council 8 and our national union are AFSCME Strong and we have proven “we never quit”. We have dramatically increased our Ohio Council 8 and national membership by organizing new unions and educating our fair-share fee payers about the value the union brings to their work and home life.

    Finally, let me say that AFSCME has always been an early responder in times of crisis in our communities, donating and distributing emergency supplies and raising money for those in need.

    This Labor Day is a time to reflect on who we are as a union. Our job isn’t just to organize members, bargain contracts and protect our members. It’s also our job to bring respect and dignity to all working people. That means being there when we are needed.

    I ask that you do what you can for your union brothers and sisters in Texas affected by the natural disaster still unfolding across the Gulf coast.

    A good way to start is to visit the AFSCME web page, where you can make donations that will help those in need after the devastation of hurricane Harvey.

    On behalf of the AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Executive Board and First Vice President Harold Mitchell, I wish you all a safe and enjoyable Labor Day with your families and friends.

    In Solidarity,

    President John A. Lyall


    AFSCME Retirees Active in Their Communities

    August 21st, 2017

    On Saturday, August 19, AFSCME Retiree Subchapter 102, representing Gallia and Jackson counties in the Athens Region, set up an informational booth in the Gallipolis City park at the annual community yard sale event. Members distributed information on senior issues, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the federal health care legislation. Mike French of the AFL-CIO collected signatures to stop Right to Work is Wrong legislation in Ohio.

    Pictured: Retiree Subchapter 102 Treasurer Keith McCarty, and President of Subchapter 102, Secretary of Chapter 1184 Executive Board, and a retiree representative on the Ohio Council 8 Executive Board Floyd Wright

    America’s Biggest Public Union Leader Is in The Fight of His Life

    July 30th, 2017

    Written by Hamilton Nolan from Splinter

    With more than 1.6 million members, AFSCME is the nation’s biggest union of public employees, and one of the most politically powerful—and now, one of the most threatened. We spoke to Lee Saunders, the president of the union, about trying to survive the “battle” of the vicious new Trump era.

    The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees represents public workers ranging from sanitation workers to corrections officers to nurses—all the sorts of people that Scott Walker hates. The union is a major Democratic political donor. Lee Saunders has been AFSCME’s president for the past five years, and became one of Barack Obama’s closest confidantes in the labor world. Last week, Saunders came to our office to talk about legal threats to his union, organizing, politics, pensions, and navigating Trump world.

    Splinter: You had a good relationship with the Obama administration. How has your relationship with the new administration been different?

    Lee Saunders: There is no relationship. We are in the mode of organizing our members internally to educate them and to organize them in their communities across the country on the issues that working families care about, whether it’s retirement security, or health care—we’re having a big battle on health care in Washington, and, knock on wood, for the time being it looks like we’ve been successful. But it’s all about organizing. It’s about getting back to basics, and grassroots organizing at the local level. So regardless of what happens in Washington DC, or in the state governments, where we are also under attack, I think it’s all about organizing and going back to those basics. Communicating with our folks, talking with them, talking about the issues, and listening to what they have to say…

    We’ve got to fight for what I believe to be our basic freedoms. We’ve got to fight for health insurance. We’ve got to fight for retirement security. We’ve got to fight for a voice on the job. Those are all freedoms that working families should have, and people are trying to take away those kinds of freedoms. We’re in a battle.

    When you say there hasn’t been a relationship with the new administration, does that mean there has been no outreach from them at all?

    Saunders: One of the plans, quite honestly, is that this current administration believes they can divide and conquer. They’ve had discussions with the building trades, they’ve had some discussions with the industrial unions. They have not had any discussions with the public service unions at all. So we have had no contact with the Department of Labor. What we do know is that they’re trying to take away some of the rights that we were able to obtain during the Obama administration. The regulations that were passed, the overtime rule, all those kinds of things—it’s up in the air, nobody knows what’s going to happen. Again, we have to understand we’re in a fight.

    Clearly the Trump administration is trying to cultivate the building trades, but not other unions. Have there been conversations behind the scenes about that between all the big unions?

    Saunders: Sure. I think we’re putting things on the table and we’re being honest with one another. I have a very strong relationship with the president of the building trades, Sean McGarvey. We sit down and we talk. I think that they know sooner or later President Trump will not be supportive of working families, will not be supportive of their members. But they’re willing to sit down and talk and listen to what he’s got to say. He made a lot of promises when he was running for president. He talked about how he was gonna be supporting working families. He talked about how he was gonna create jobs, bring back jobs to this country. He believed in goods being made in America. Well, you can talk the talk, but you’ve also got to walk the walk. And quite honestly he’s not walking the walk on any of those kinds of issues. And we’re going to have to continue to sit down and talk within the labor community about what he’s trying to do—divide and conquer.

    Would you like to see the entire labor community stand up say, essentially, “We’re part of the resistance?” Or is that unrealistic?

    Saunders: It’s a broad cross section of folks that we represent, and I think that will be difficult for some unions to say. I think what we’ve got to do is communicate and organize and mobilize our communities and our members—not talking about individuals, not talking about the elections in 2018 in November, because honestly a lot of our members are turned off by politics. On both sides. We’ve got to talk about the issues that impact them and their families, and how we can fight back and make our voices heard like never before. I think if you go about doing it that way, we’re going to be able to build an army of folks, along with our progressive partners outside of the labor movement, where we’re fighting back on the issues that working families care about.

    A lawsuit that’s making its way to the Supreme Court, Janus v AFSCME, could make public unions like yours “right to work”—which would be a serious blow to your ability to collect dues and maintain membership numbers. What are your thoughts on the suit?

    Saunders: I’m not optimistic. If you look at the makeup of the Supreme Court, I believe that this time next year, this country will be right to work in the public sector. We can’t hide from that, we can’t bury our heads in the sand. The question is, what do we do about it? AFSCME has been very aggressive in making a lot of changes in our union, dealing with what we believe [will] be the Supreme Court ruling against us and overturning 41 years of law with the [Abood v. Detroit Board of Education decision, which allowed public unions to collect agency fees from all workers in union shops, to cover the costs of representing the workers]. We’ve developed a program called AFSCME Strong, which is essentially back to basics. It’s talking with our members one on one, and listening to our members… At one time, we treated all of our members as if they were activists. And all of our members aren’t activists. That doesn’t make them bad people. They love their union. They understand the value of being a union member. But it also means that their plates are full, and they can’t devote 100% of their time to being a union member. And there’s nothing wrong with that…

    Our folks are public service workers. They didn’t get into that profession to become millionaires and billionaires. They got into that profession because they care.

    Public unions have been a popular political target, especially on the state level, in Wisconsin and elsewhere. Is there a way to make the public care about what’s happening to them?

    Saunders: Quite honestly I think we have not done a good job of educating our communities and the public at large about what public service is all about—how people rely and depend upon those public services every single day, whether it’s picking up the trash, keeping your water clean so you don’t get sick when you drink it, repaving and rebuilding roads, providing health care services, providing child care services, providing home care services, having workers in libraries that work with kids. That’s the kind of work that our members perform. And we’ve got to promote that kind of work, because communities rely up on that. And sometimes that connection is not being made, where we’re providing those essential public services, yet we’re under attack.

    Are you projecting a certain amount of membership loss, if the Janus case goes against you and you’re facing a “right to work” situation?

    Saunders: I think there will be a loss of membership. But by the same token, with what we’re trying to do in recasting and rebuilding our program and developing the kind of strategy that I just talked about, I think that in many ways we can be a stronger union. And maybe a little bit smaller. But a stronger union, where we’ve made the connection where non-members are saying, “Wait a minute, I need this. And this is important to me. So I should be a member, and not someone who’s relying upon the benefits but not paying a dime. That’s not fair.”

    Is there a way to turn around the steady decline of union membership on a national level?

    Saunders: There better be. If we don’t do it, then I hate to think about tomorrow. I mentioned the fact that AFSCME is an organizing union. We grew by 12,000 members last year. We’re organizing not only in public service.. but we’re organizing on a national basis EMTs, we’re organizing in hospitals. Because we actually believe that even if it’s a private hospital, it’s still a public service. You’re helping your community, you’re providing an essential service. We’re gonna continue to identify the kinds of targets that should be organized, and you’ve got other unions that are doing the same thing.

    Here’s the problem: in the public sector, it’s about 35% organized. In the private sector, it’s about 6.1%. You cannot have a healthy labor movement with that variance in percentages. And we’ve got to also be committed, while we have the strength and the power and the resources, to help our sisters and brothers in the private sector to organize, so we can increase the density and move that marker from 6.1% to a higher level. And we’re prepared to help and provide resources to do just that… one of the things that we’ve got to do is to push and cajole some of our sisters and brothers in the private sector to treat organizing as a priority, as we treat it.

    What accounts for the fact that public sector union density is so much higher than in the private sector? If it’s only the fact that you haven’t had to contend with “Right to Work” laws, it’s a grim prognosis for you in the near future.

    Saunders: It’s hard, man. It’s hard to organize, especially in the private sector. Because we don’t have a level playing field, as far as the labor laws in this country. At one point, it was easier to organize in the public sector. Now it’s becoming just as difficult, with the kinds of governors and state legislatures and elected officials that we’ve got to deal with. It’s hard. And it doesn’t happen magically—it happens because you’ve got to be committed to it, it happens because you’ve got to put resources into it, and that’s what we’re doing.

    Do you think there’s a tension between the resources you put into politics, and the resources you put into organizing? Is that a zero sum game?

    Saunders: Organizing is our number one priority. We spend about 30% of our budget on organizing. But we also believe that we have the ability to play heavily in the political arena. And especially where it matters most to our members—and it matters most to our members when you talk about governors races, state legislature races, city council races, and things of that nature. If you get them enthused and active in the local fight around politics, then you can start connecting the dots as far as the importance of federal politics associated with that. But a lot of our members say, “Why spend all this money on politics? Because it doesn’t matter.” I think what happened in 2016 was you had a lot of frustrated people who said, “It just doesn’t matter. We don’t care who’s in charge, because it just doesn’t matter.” And that’s why we’ve got to organize around the issues that impact them, and their communities, and their families. We’ve got to play. We’ve got to participate in the political arena. That’s how we’ve been able to move things in a positive way, not just at the bargaining table, but through legislation.

    You talk about retirement security. But when you look at the huge holes in public pension plans across America, do you get a sinking feeling?

    Saunders: As far as we’re concerned, retirement security and the pensions that our folks have worked for should be off the table. Why do I say that? Our people pay into their pension programs. This is not a gift that comes from the employer. They put their hard earned money into that pension, and they should be receiving a fair return on the dollars they put in. Now, you also have a smaller employer match with those pension plans. Yet you have had politicians that decided that they don’t have to put any money into that pension program. Even if it’s constitutionally mandated! They’ve ignored that. And then they come running and say, “Now we’ve got problems with the pension program.” Well obviously you [will], if you aren’t meeting your requirement of putting money in, and then attacking the very people that have put their own money in and expecting they’re gonna have a decent retirement…

    We’re very active in the city of Detroit, when the city went bankrupt. The average pension in that city was $18,000 a year. That was the average pension benefit. Do you think that’s a lot of money? The folks who wanted to concentrate on taking money away from workers and retirees, they wanted to cut that by 40%. Just because they said, “We’re out of money. We don’t have the luxury of paying pensions.” Rather than looking at the corporations and the people who actually put that city under. We were able to fight back, and we organized and mobilized. We took a hit but it wasn’t near 40% at all. So you’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.

    Do you think that the decision of most unions to get behind Hillary Clinton was a mistake, in retrospect?

    Saunders: We were a strong Hillary supporter. I don’t think it was a mistake. I think that we underestimated the frustration and the anger that was out there, even with our own members, because they weren’t seeing any major improvements. And Trump was able to hit the chord about bringing jobs back, about getting rid of NAFTA, about making it in America, bringing the coal mines back. He hit a nerve. I think folks were saying, “It’s bad enough for us now, so why don’t we give this a chance?” And that was because of the level of frustration and the level of anger that’s out there. He talked a good talk, but he’s not walking the walk. You look at who he’s appointed to the cabinet positions—billionaires. Wall Street types. You look at what he’s trying to do. Saying he’s creating jobs? He’s not creating jobs. He’s not saving plants He went to Indiana, he said he was going to save that entire plant. That didn’t happen. There are companies that are continuing to move out of this country. It’s a shell game. What he’s presenting and promoting is completely false, and it doesn’t benefit working families…

    When you’re talking about 22 million people losing health insurance, when you’re talking about cutting Medicaid by over $700 billion, that has a direct impact on families. And we’ve got to connect those dots, so people say, “This is worth fighting for, and I can make a difference.” They would say in the past, I think, “This is worth fighting for,” but by the same token they would say, “but we can’t make a difference.” We’ve got to make sure that they understand that in fact through coalition-building, through their unions and working with other organizations within our communities, they can make a difference.

    Do you think the election of Trump has energized the left so much that we’re entering a new period of activism, like the 1960s? Or in fact are we entering a darker time, like the 1970s, and this is just the beginning?

    Saunders: I’m hopeful and optimistic that if we do it the right way… that this could be a time when people are more engaged, and are willing to fight for the issues they believe in. Rather than saying it doesn’t matter, and they bury their heads in the sand. This is not gonna be a pretty picture, if this country is continuing to move in the direction that it’s moving. And I think that people have got to understand that, and we can help them in understanding it. The question will be, will it be a call to arms? And will we be able to activate a lot of people that are disenfranchised right now, that are frustrated right now, that are very, very angry? I think that we can do it.

    Have you spoken to Obama since he left office?

    Saunders: I have.

    And did he have anything interesting to say?

    Saunders: [Laughs] I’ll keep that between the president and myself.

    AFSCME President Lee Saunders Statement on Failure to Pass “Skinny” Repeal of ACA

    July 28th, 2017

    WASHINGTON — AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the Senate failing to pass the so-called “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act:

    “When you write legislation that takes health coverage away from millions of people – and when you do it in secretive fashion, without transparency or public debate – it’s no wonder that you can’t get a majority of senators to vote for it.

    “The failure of so-called ‘skinny repeal’ is a victory for all working people, for everyone who needs the freedom and security of affordable health insurance, for everyone who has a pre-existing condition, for everyone who worries about what a catastrophic illness or injury will mean for their family.

    “This effort failed because thousands and thousands of Americans – including AFSCME members who are on the front lines of our health care system – made themselves heard loud and clear. With phone calls, emails, rallies and more over the last several months, they demanded that their elected officials in Washington represent their views. And they will continue to raise their voices until Congress abandons any effort to destroy the nation’s health care system.”

    Ohio Takes A 1-2 Punch on Infrastructure

    July 17th, 2017

    Ohioans are taking a one-two punch from Gov. Kasich and President Trump on the state’s infrastructure funding. Kasich’s new two-year budget continues to cut state support for the Local Government Fund, forcing cities to skimp on services. And Trump’s plan would hit the major role the federal government plays financing large scale projects.

    “The only result of starving local government is to drive an increase in local taxes and fees, or scrimping on services – like street repairs,” said Robert Davis, Ohio Council 8 Political and Legislative Director.

    For a street-level view just ask City of Cleveland AFSCME Local 100 member Henry Hughes. Hughes was dispatched to check out a problem on the city’s East Side. After parking his truck on the street near the suspected leak, he returned shortly and was surprised to find a sinkhole had opened up and swallowed the vehicle.

    “Our members work hard to maintain the city’s water system and it’s a job that is never finished,” said Derrick Pollard, president of the 1,200-member union that represents Cleveland City workers.

    “It takes a lot of skill and dedication to supply Cleveland with a high-quality, reliable water supply and we take great pride in the work we do – that’s why we never quit,” he said.

    According to Davis, under Gov. Ted Strickland’s 2010-11 state budget, the Local Government Fund received $694.4 million in state funding. The budget Gov. Kasich just signed appropriates just $381.8 million to fund local government operations.

    “Repairing and improving America’s infrastructure is on everyone’s ‘talking points’ list — but it’s not on many ‘doing points’ list,” Davis said.

    Over half of AFSCME Local 100’s members in Cleveland work maintaining the city’s nearly 5,200 miles of underground pipes and water mains.

    2017 Scholarships Awarded to Irvine and Aukerman

    July 14th, 2017

    The Ohio Council 8 Executive Board is pleased to announce that Sydney Irvine has been awarded the Jaladah Aslam Scholarship and Nick Aukerman has been awarded the Robert Turner Scholarship as part of the 2017 Ohio Council 8 Family Scholarship program.

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

    A graduate of Xenia High School, Sydney was a motivated student who achieved an outstanding academic record. In addition, she participated in many school and community activities.

    She will be attending The University of Indianapolis this fall and plans to earn a degree as an Athletic Trainer and plans to work with the Wounded Warrior Project.

    The 2017 men’s scholarship winner, Nick, is the son of AFSCME Local 101-26 member Kim Auckerman. An active member of the union representing Montgomery County Job and Family Services employees.

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

    Excelling at math and science, Nick will be attending The University of Cincinnati in the fall where he plans to become an engineer.

    The 2017 AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Scholarships are named in honor of Jaladah Aslam and Robert Turner.

    A lifelong resident of the Youngstown metropolitan area, Jaladah Aslam, has been active in the labor movement and politics for the past thirty years.

    In 1986, she became Chief Steward for 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.

    She retired from AFSCME in 2015, and is now a 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.

    In 1978 Turner was hired as AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Dayton Region Staff Representative.  In 1985 Turner was appointed Director of the Athens Region.

    In 2000, he was appointed Cincinnati Regional Director where he served until retiring in 2006.  Turner passed away in 2011.

    Ohio Council 8 First Vice President Harold Mitchell, chairperson of the executive board committee that reviews the scholarship applications, wished Sydney and Nick 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.

    Sydney Irvine (Right) and Nick Auckerman (Left)

    UPDATED: Sick Days Saved

    July 10th, 2017

    Instead of a balanced approach to fill the state’s $800 million budget deficit, Ohio’s Republican controlled legislature decided to cut their way out of the problem, ”which included taking a third of our paid sick days away,” said AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Political and Legislative Director Robert Davis.

    “Thanks to your calls and AFSCME’s lobbying at the statehouse, the proposal which started out aimed only at state university employees but soon grew to include all public employees, was pulled from the budget’s final version,” Davis said.

    According to the bill’s backers paid sick days are nothing more than “perk” enjoyed by public employees.

    “Just tell that to all the working moms and dads who depend on sick days to keep their families – and everyone else healthy,” said Jamie Shumaker, president of AFSCME Local 2191 at the Columbus City Health Department.

    “Even with a vaccination, my son became ill after being exposed to whooping cough. Pertussis is an extremely contagious and Ohio law requires a week-long in-home quarantine.

    “It can come as a real shock to many that not only is the child quarantined – but the parents are too. Without the strong sick leave benefits in our AFSCME contract, I would have lost a week’s pay,” she said.

    In addition to whooping cough, there are dozens of other contagious diseases that must be reported to the Ohio Department of Health Shumaker said.

    “Because of our union contract we can focus on taking care of our loved ones and not worry about losing pay or our jobs,” she said.

    (Pictured above is Dave Logan, President of Local 1699 Ohio University, testifying against sick day cuts)

    Everyday Heroes – and More

    July 6th, 2017

    When an Air Force jet fighter slid off a wet runway and flipped over while practicing for an air show at the Dayton International Airport, AFSCME Local 101 members jumped into action.

    The F-15 fighter was part of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds which were set to perform at the nation’s premier air show, an annual event held at the city’s airport.

    “Our airport Field Operations, Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighters, and airport police were immediately on the scene. After two hours toiling in the rain they freed the two crewmen who, thankfully, were not seriously injured,” said Ann Sulfridge, President of AFSCME Local 101 which represents over 2,100 members in the Dayton region including 180 airport employees.

    AFSCME Local 101 City of Dayton Blue Collar Chapter heavy equipment operators DJ France, Chris Hess, Ed McCormick, and Josh Saylor worked skillfully to turn the $18 million aircraft back over and help free the crew.

    “Like all AFSCME members, these public employees never quit – they are everyday heroes – and more,” Sulfridge said.

    The Dayton International Airport serves more than 1.1 million passengers each year. The city is also home to nearby Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Attendance at the two-day air show tops 80,000 spectators.

    Health Care Update

    June 14th, 2017

    As you all know, the health care debate is heating up again in the Senate and we wanted to be sure to send you an update as well as a flyer that you can use with members with a toll free number that can be used to call Senators.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is bearing down to finalize a health care bill and move it to the Senate floor.  The Senate bill will largely track the House bill, but McConnell is negotiating with Senate moderates and conservatives over some details on Medicaid, in order to nail down his votes.  Below is a summary of where we are with process and timing, policy, and the politics, and also next steps.

    Process and Timing

    McConnell is trying to get the policy nailed down so that it can be sent to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) early this week for an official estimate of the impact on the federal budget and the number of people who will lose their coverage – in fact we are hearing reports that CBO received policy today.  CBO will need ten days to two weeks to score the bill.  Once there is a CBO score, the bill can be put on the floor.  McConnell wants to hold the floor debate during the week of June 26.


    Policy Highlights

    One area of negotiation is over how quickly the bill ends the Medicaid expansion.  Conservatives want the expansion terminated in 2020, moderates want it phased out over a few years, beginning in 2020.

    The bill will include the Medicaid per capita cap funding structure, but there is a question over the annual adjustment.  The annual adjustment will be lower than the increase in health care costs, but it is not clear how much lower.

    The bill may have more generous tax credits for older people buying Affordable Care Act coverage in an exchange.  But, the tax credits for young people may be reduced.

    The Senate bill may keep community rating rules that prohibit plans from charging people with pre-existing conditions higher premiums.  But the Senate bill would allow states to waive essential health benefit requirements, allowing insurance companies to screen out sick people by excluding certain benefits.

    The bill may create a pot of money for opioid treatment, but it won’t make up for the millions who will lose their health coverage.



    Three Senate moderates stated this week that they are willing to go along with an end to the Medicaid expansion, if it is phased out gradually between 2020 and 2024.  Those Senators are Dean Heller (NV), Rob Portman (OH) and Shelley Moore Capito (WV).  This has created a boost of momentum for McConnell.  He doesn’t have the votes yet, but a deal is more likely.  There are 52 Republicans in the Senate.  McConnell needs 50 of their votes, plus the tie-breaking vote of the Vice President.

    You can use the attached flyer and toll free # to encourage members to call their Senators. Below is the target list we are working with but even Democratic Senators need calls to thank them for their support in protecting ACA and Medicaid. The communications department will be pushing calls via text to targeted Senators this week and we are increasing our activity on social media.


    Call Sen. Rob Portman today and tell him to vote NO.

    Washington, D.C.: 202-224-3353

    Columbus: 614-469-6774

    Cleveland: 216-522-7095

    Cincinnati: 513-684-3265

    Column: Nurse on front lines sees value of health-care act

    June 14th, 2017

    From the Columbus Dispatch. Tuesday, June 13, 2017. 

    Pat Waller is on the front lines of our health-care system. As a labor and delivery nurse at O’Bleness Hospital in Athens, she has devoted her career to taking care of pregnant women and infants.

    She is passionate about her work. “It is really the best feeling,” she says, “that you were there at that moment in time when this precious child came into the world.”

    Pat — who is a member of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the union where I serve as president — has seen firsthand the powerful difference that the Affordable Care Act has made in the lives of people in her community. She estimates that 60-70 percent of patients at O’Bleness have coverage thanks to the Medicaid expansion under the ACA. Throughout Ohio, the uninsured rate fell from 12 percent to 6 percent between 2013 and 2015, the period when people began enrolling in the ACA exchanges.

    But back in Washington, DC, politicians are working overtime to take away that coverage and undermine Pat’s work. In early May, the House of Representatives voted narrowly to approve a bill that would repeal the ACA and replace it with a plan that would make the health care system significantly worse for working families.

    According to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, 23 million people would lose their health insurance, nearly 540,000 of them in Ohio. Protections for people with pre-existing health conditions, a cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act, would be eliminated. So if you have high blood pressure, or if your child has asthma, insurance companies can price you out of the market.

    The congressional health-care bill also cuts a staggering $834 billion from the Medicaid program, which serves low-income pregnant women and children, people with disabilities, senior citizens requiring long-term care and more. And in Ohio and elsewhere, as Pat points out, Medicaid dollars are also essential to addressing the growing opioid addiction crisis.

    The new budget proposal from the Trump administration piles on another $611 billion in Medicaid cuts. All told, the program — which 1 in 5 Americans depends upon for health care — would be slashed nearly in half over the next decade. Meanwhile, millionaires and large corporations would be in line for a huge tax giveaway.

    Shrinking Medicaid would also have a domino effect. If the federal government is contributing less to the program, the states would have to pick up the slack, which could mean less investment in schools, law enforcement, transportation and other public services we all depend on every day.

    In Athens, these cuts could be devastating. Not only would far fewer residents have health coverage, but Medicaid also represents a key revenue source that sustains the hospital where Pat Waller works. O’Bleness is the only facility within a 45-minute drive that delivers babies; plus, it is a community anchor and one of the county’s largest employers. Pat worries that Medicaid cuts will lead to layoffs, shattering the local economy and leaving her patients without access to care.

    But there is still time to derail these plans. As of yet, none of these cuts have become law. The ball is now in the court of the U.S. Senate, where Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican, is playing a key role in drafting a bill. Portman has not said where he stands on the House plan to cap the Medicaid dollars that the federal government gives to Ohio and thus end the program as we know it. The time is now for Ohioans to let him know they want to protect the Medicaid program that helps so many of their neighbors live with health and dignity.

    Pat Waller is fighting for a health-care system that provides access to everyone. “I think health care is a basic human right,” she says. “No one ever should have to worry between taking your child to the doctor or putting food on the table.” Not in “one of the strongest, richest countries in the world.”

    Let’s see if Portman and the rest of the Senate are listening.


    Lee Saunders is president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, a union of 1.6 million public service workers and retirees.

    AFSCME Local 1002 City Workers Win Strong Contract

    May 24th, 2017

    Lima City Council voted to approve a new contract with AFSCME Local 1002 which increases wages by 6.5 percent over the life of the three-year deal.

    The new agreement includes an across-the-board first-year pay increase of a 2.5 percent, and additional 2 percent increases in 2018 and 2019.

    The agreement also includes an increase in the uniform allowance, extends the shift differential to employees that work Saturdays and Sundays, and includes a $900 signing bonus.

    “We could not have done it without a strong bargaining committee,” said Adam Maguire, who led the negotiations. “They stayed ‘AFSCME Strong’ and never quit. They’re a great team,” he said.

    The contract covering more than 100 city workers is retroactive to the beginning of 2017.

    The Local 1002 negotiating committee.

    Happy Nurses Week from AFSCME Council 8!

    May 8th, 2017

    During National Nurses week we celebrate and honor the commitment and dedication of our front line health care providers — nurses!
    Operating room nurses and techs at Trumbull Memorial Hospital salute their fellow care givers.

    “We salute every nurse for their tireless work to meet the needs of their patients,” said AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall.  “Nurses are passionate about their work because they are also healers, teachers, and leaders during the most trying times of our lives,” he said.

    “Nurses are the backbone of the health care industry and I’m proud to be represented by AFSCME Ohio Council 8, said Tom Connelly, president of AFSCME Local 2026, which represents 378 nurses at Trumbull Memorial Hospital in Warren.

    “So proud of all my fellow nurses but most importantly my brothers and sisters from Trumbull Memorial Hospital. You have helped patients enter and exit life and all points in between. Nurses can be found in hospitals, clinics, public health, military service, in the air and on the sea, wherever life and health needs safe guarded!  So proud to be one ! God bless all of you who stand with and for the patient!,” Connelly said.

    Each year National Nurses Week is celebrated during the week of May 12 in honor of the founder of modern nursing: Florence Nightingale.

    Along with her trail blazing 19th century work in establishing sanitary “proper care” standards, she was also known for her night rounds to aid the wounded during the Crimean War, establishing her image as the “Lady with the Lamp”.

    In addition to 311-bed Trumbull Memorial Hospital, Ohio Council 8 also represents health care workers at 69-bed Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital in Howland.  AFSCME Ohio Council 8 health care worker across the state including Akron City Hospital, Barberton Citizens Hospital, O’Bleness Hospital in Athens, University of Cincinnati Hospital, University of Toledo Medical Center, and MetroHealth System in Cuyahoga County.

    AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on the American Health Care Act

    May 4th, 2017

    WASHINGTON – AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the passage of the American Health Care Act through the U.S. House of Representatives:

    “The political fig leaves that were added behind closed doors to garner votes do nothing to change the facts of this bill. It will still leave at least 24 million Americans uninsured, still cut Medicaid in exchange for tax handouts for corporations and millionaires, still cause costs to skyrocket for older Americans and still eviscerate the protections for people with pre-existing conditions that are guaranteed under the Affordable Care Act.

    “Patient groups, healthcare providers, and voters in blue states, red states, and purple states alike have already spoken out repeatedly against this cruel and dangerous legislation. But the House of Representatives and the Trump administration chose to ignore their pleas. It now falls to the U.S. Senate to finally listen to the American people and stop this bill in its tracks.”

    ACA Repeal is looming: Here’s what you can do.

    May 1st, 2017

    It’s not over til it’s over. Reportedly by this Wednesday Republicans in Congress are set to take another vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

    Each “replacement” gets worse than the last repeal and replace attempt.

    This bill still takes coverage away from 24 million people and still cuts $880 billion from Medicaid.  And it breaks a key promise by eliminating protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

    Three moderate Ohio Republicans are being pressured by top conservative leaders, including President Trump and Vice President Pence, to vote yes on the bill which will be up for consideration before next week’s Congressional recess.

    Call or e-mail Ohio US 6th District Representative Bill Johnson, 7th District Representative Bob Gibbs, and 14th District Representative David Joyce, today. Their information is below.

    Tell them to do the right thing and vote no on the latest repeal and replace plan that will hurt Ohioans.  We will remember in November.

    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 President’s nominee for Secretary of Labor and his proposal to cut 20 percent of the department’s budget is so 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 this 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.

    BusinessThe 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
      • Marketing
      • Finance
    • EGCC is also offering a Business Management Certificate
      • Option for accounting concentration
    • Accounting

    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.

    Click here for more information.


    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.

    Subscribe Today by Clicking Here.


    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.

    Learn More.

    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.

    Call your Senators today and tell them to pass a clean budget that supports working families and does not cut health care for millions.

    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.

    Call your Senators today and tell them to pass a clean budget that supports working families and does not cut health care for millions.

    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.

    In solidarity,

    Lee Saunders
    AFSCME President

    Two statistics you need to know

    April 22nd, 2017


    Dear Leader,

    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
    AFSCME 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.”

    # # #

    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

    Letter originally appeared in Crawford County Now. You can read it on the site by clicking here.

    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.

    Jackie Stuckert
    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, 2017

    Athens 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.

    Aslam_2A 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.

    TurnerLG1In 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.

    Members, click here for more information on how to apply for the AFSCME Council 8 Scholarships

    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.


     Right to left, Firefighters Logan Tuscany and Todd Marshall

    Right to left, Firefighters Logan Tuscany and Todd Marshall

    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 Ohio Council 8 leaders, members and staff say “Right-To-Work" is Wrong.

    AFSCME Ohio Council 8 leaders, members and staff say “Right-To-Work” is Wrong.





    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.


    AFSCME Local 3975 President Rod Sleiman and member John Sams

    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.

    picture4There 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

    picture2From 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.

    In Solidarity,
    John  A. Lyall

    Happy Holidays from AFSCME Council 8 President John Lyall

    December 22nd, 2016

    Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 3.09.52 PMDuring 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.

    In solidarity,

    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!



     L to R Cincinnati AFL-CIO Executive Secretary Peter McLinden, Council 8 Staff Representative Tracy Oates,  Political and  Legislative Director Robert Davis, Athens Regional Director John Johnson and Staff Represntive Deborah Chonko, prepare to lobby against cut to unemployment benefits.

    L to R Cincinnati AFL-CIO Executive Secretary Peter McLinden, Council 8 Staff Representative Tracy Oates, Political and Legislative Director Robert Davis, Athens Regional Director John Johnson and Staff Represntive Deborah Chonko, prepare to lobby against cut to unemployment benefits.

    A Thanksgiving Message from John Lyall

    November 23rd, 2016

    Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 3.09.52 PMThanksgiving 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.

    In Solidarity,

    John Lyall

    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

    – 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.

    Read more about the bill by clicking here.




    Labor Day Message

    September 2nd, 2016

    Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 3.09.52 PMAmericans 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.

    Read the entire article here.

    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.city-hall

    “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.

    afscme free college benefit

    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.


    AFSCME Local 232 activists Shelby Givens-Blackmon, left, and Executive Board Member Carolyn Park.

    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

    JAL_IntouchI 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

    JAL_IntouchOn 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.

    Lee Saunders
    President, AFSCME

    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.


    Cincinnati Book Drive

    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

    JAL_IntouchAs 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.

    Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 12.14.56 PM











    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

    JAL_IntouchThe 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

    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.”

    AFSCME 2

    “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) Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 5.54.00 PM

    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

    Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 5.50.21 PM

    Dolores Huerta

    (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 year’s 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 city’s 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 Plan’s 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 factory’s 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 Ohio’s 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 men’s and women’s 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.

    Application forms can be downloaded HERE, or from the Ohio Council 8 web site at www.afscmecouncil8.org

    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.

    James Baldwin

    James Baldwin
    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 forebears
    have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes
     from the teaching of biography and history.
    — Carter G. Woodson
      Father of Black History Month

    I am theater

    by Lynn Nottage author of Sweat






    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.

    Tri_C 004According 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.”

    Click here to visit the AFSCME Council 8 Education web page for more information.

    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?OC8_UnionPlus2Evaluation 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.

    Application Timeline:

    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.

    Award date:

    The Scholarship Committee will determine recipients of scholarship awards by May 31 each year.

    To find out more CLICK HERE.

    To apply on-line CLICK HERE.

    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.

    In solidarity,
    Lee Saunders

    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.

    In Solidarity,

    John Lyall


    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.

    JAL_OUThe 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.

    Childcare Providers

    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


    Picture Afscme


    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 From AFSCME Ohio Council 8

    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.

    AFSCME Ohio Council 8 workers have been on the frontlines, risking their lives to protect our community and our society. Our members stepped up at a time when our state needed them the most.

    This Labor Day, we thank you for your service and sacrifice in the face of a pandemic.

    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.

    FullSizeRender-8 FullSizeRender-6FullSizeRender-7

    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 Engineer’s Office employees.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Ayoun_Crop    Irvine

    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

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

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

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

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

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



    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.”

    # # #

     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.


    Photo caption:
    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.

    Read full comments from AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Attorney Michael Batchelder


    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.

    Traci PoellniMy 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.

    Hard-working Ohioans should have the right to collective bargaining, but Gov. Kasich is trying to take this right away. Please help us fight back – click here to take action.

    I’ll be standing up against these attacks. I hope you’ll join me.

    In solidarity,

    Traci Poellnitz

    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.

    Read at http://www.toledoblade.com/Editorials/2015/05/30/Union-busting.html#c2DpzLdgYY5gFFYd.99

    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.

    Read the international blog story here

    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.

    Theresa Warner,


    This letter to the editor originally appeared in the Plain Dealer. 


    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

    JAL_IntouchLike Americans have for the past 150 years, every spring we celebrate this holiday called “Memorial Day” which traditionally marks the beginning of summer.

    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.

    In Solidarity,

    President John A. Lyall

    Ohio Council 8 is AFSCME Strong in Dayton

    May 20th, 2015

    IMG_7685AFSCME 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.

    Click Here for Original Story

    Kent State Taking Cues from Wal-Mart on Pay

    May 5th, 2015

    Kent State Picket

    AFSCME Local 153 bargaining committee members, George Lemons, left, and Ray Davis on the picket line standing up for improved wages and working conditions.

    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

    Stop the Closings Rally in Dayton

    Stop the Closings Rally in Dayton

    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:

    Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall addressing union activists from the South East Ohio Central labor Council who observed Workers Memorial Day in Athens Ohio.

    Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall addressing union activists from the South East Ohio Central labor Council who observed Workers Memorial Day in Athens Ohio.

    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

    AFSCME Local 1685 Seneca County Jobs and Family Services President Heather Oesch, left, and Vice President Michelle Platt get up to speed on the latest IRS changes.

    AFSCME Local 1685 Seneca County Jobs and Family Services President Heather Oesch, left, and Vice President Michelle Platt get up to speed on the latest IRS changes.

    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

    (left to right): Leo Geiger, Alfreda Jones, Stacey Benson­Taylor, , Ann Sulfridge, and Granville Walton.

    (left to right): Leo Geiger, Alfreda Jones, Stacey Benson­Taylor, Ann Sulfridge, and Granville Walton.

    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.

    Bat RallyAt 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

    Take Action Now!

    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

    Photo credit: Mansfield News Journal/Linda Martz

    Photo credit: Mansfield News Journal/Linda Martz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Ohio’s AFSCME Members Rally in West Virginia

    March 9th, 2015

    Photo Credit: Joe Weidner, AFSCME Ohio Council 8

    Photo Credit: Joe Weidner, AFSCME Ohio Council 8


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

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

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

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

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

    Save the Dates!

    March 2nd, 2015

    Financial Standards Trainings

    Open 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 Office
    420 South Reynolds Road
    Toledo, OH 43615
    April 25th in Cincinnati:
    To be held at the Cincinnati Regional Office
    1213 Tennessee Avenue
    Cincinnati, OH 45229
    May 2nd in Columbus:
    To be held at the Quest Conference Center
    8405 Pulsar Place
    Columbus, OH 43240
    May 16th in Cleveland:
    To be held at the Holiday Inn Independence
    6001 Rockside Road
    Independence, 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.

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

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

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

    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.

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