Cuyahoga County Board of Health Employees Win Union Election

January 24, 2024 

Namita Waghray, [email protected] or (440) 305-1117 

Cuyahoga County Board of Health Members Overwhelmingly VOTE YES for their Union, Despite Employer Led Anti - Union Delay Tactics.

Cuyahoga County Board of Health Employees Win Union Election 

Cuyahoga County Board of Health Employees (CCBH) overwhelmingly voted “yes” to form their union and join AFSCME Ohio Council 8 in early January 2024. Almost one year ago, in January of 2023, a diverse group of employees representing all five service areas at CCBH gathered at a local union hall with AFSCME Ohio Council 8 staff members. Together they created their union - Cuyahoga County Board of Health Workers Union. 

Employees from the Cuyahoga County Board of Health began to  form a union as the workforce was recovering from the pandemic. Employees recognized the need to come together and win a voice and an impact on the policies that affect their work and the communities they serve. 

We believe our union is the best way for us to show up in a more informed, equitable way, and for us to have a more active voice in the protocols and decisions that are made.” Maurice Cole, CCBH Grant Program Manager, CCBH Workers United member. 

The first step in the process was to petition the CCBH Commissioner and CCBH Board to voluntarily recognize the union. That did not happen. The CCBH Board voted to remain neutral, and then proceeded to mount one challenge after another to restrict the employees ability to organize, including challenges to the Ohio State Employee Relations Board (SERB) that would have denied over thirty employees the right to be part of their union. Members stayed focused on the ultimate goal - a true voice on the job.

“One of the most important parts of unionizing in the workplace, is the guarantee that we have that opportunity to speak out.” Monica Ligon, CCBH Outreach Linkage Liaison, CCBH Workers United member.

To combat these challenges, unionizing efforts were supported by more than two dozen local elected officials, including members of Cleveland City Council and Cuyahoga County Council.  Additionally, several mayors submitted letters of support to the health commissioner, and federal officials Congresswoman Shontel Brown and US Senator Sherrod Brown lent their support, by affirming employees’ right to bargain via letters to the health commissioner.  

CCBH Employees testified before the State Employment Relations Board (SERB) in September of 2023, in opposition to the anti-union challenges introduced by the CCBH Board. The Ohio State Employment Relations Board (SERB) determined that none of CCBH Board’s challenges were valid, and almost a year after employees filed for a union, an election was set.  

On January 12, 2024 the CCBH workforce cast their ballots reaching a majority ‘YES’.  It was an overwhelming victory. SERB will certify the results at their February 15th meeting.  Next up for the CCBH Union is to elect officers, a bargaining committee, and get to work creating a more equitable space for all public health practitioners at CCBH.  

“I’m excited to see how many people actually feel the unity that we all have. Once we start announcing “you’re a part of the union,” you feel unity and you feel happy.” Priscilla Clark, Administrative Specialist, CCBH Workers United member.


AFSCME Ohio Council 8’s members provide the vital services that make Ohio happen. Our members are in communities across the state, serving as everything from nurses to social workers, child care providers to sanitation workers. We represent hundreds of cultural workers at institutions like zoos, libraries, and botanical gardens, and museums  — AFSCME Ohio Council 8 advocates for fairness in the workplace, safe and healthy worksites, excellence in public services, and freedom and opportunity for all of Ohio’s working families.