Franklin County Public Defenders Seek Voluntary Recognition of Their Union

For Immediate Release

May 18, 2023 

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

Franklin County Public Defenders Seek Voluntary Recognition of Their Union

(Columbus, OH) - The Franklin County Public Defenders staff attorneys have formed a union and are requesting the Public Defenders Office voluntarily recognize them - The Franklin County Public Defenders Collective (FCPDC) with AFSCME Ohio Council 8. Earlier today, FCPDC leaders Kyle Stoller and Jason Inman, attorneys with the Public Defenders office, delivered a letter requesting Franklin County Director Yeura Venters voluntarily recognize their union. The letter, which an overwhelming majority of attorneys have signed on to in support, outlined their commitment to the community they serve and the many hurdles they face. FCPDC members understand they are the last and best line of defense for the marginalized people of  Franklin County involved with the criminal justice system. Staff attorneys fight every day in and out of court for their clients, but face unsustainable working conditions that need to be addressed. They believe that forming a union and being legally recognized is the only way to realistically address these concerns. Click here to read the letter. 

Union members outline the unprecedented attrition and the fact that the Franklin County Public Defenders office has not kept pace with the Columbus City Attorney’s office or the Franklin County Prosecutor’s office pay, while the staff is consistently dealing with increasingly expanded caseloads. 

“WE know that the power of a union will better serve our clients, our staff, and the legacy we care so much about. Unionizing is consistent with our mission to ensure our clients get the best representation possible. Unionizing ensures not just the legacy we have inherited but it empowers us to make it even better. We envision a future where we have a greater presence in our community. A future where OUR office remains in OUR control. A future where we are the leading voice in indigent defense in the State of Ohio” (Excerpt from the Letter) 

Columbus City Council President Pro Tempore Robert Dorans has shared his support publicly with a letter he shared with the FCPDC campaign. The Franklin County Public Defenders Collective hopes Director Yeura Venters will voluntarily recognize their union so they can begin building a stronger and more equitable Franklin County Public Defenders Office. A petition aimed at gathering community support for voluntary recognition of FCPDC is also being circulated. 



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. AFSCME Ohio Council 8 is the largest union representing cultural workers in the state - We represent hundreds of cultural workers at institutions like zoos, libraries, and botanical gardens. 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.