The Fight for Equal Rights - The Inside Story

AFSCME Ohio Council 8 would like to congratulate Joe Weidner on his retirement as the Director of Communications. He has graciously shared some of his favorite stories from his time with members. Please join us in wishing Joe all the best in his retirement and enjoy these “Inside Stories”,

The Fight for Equal Rights - The Inside Story

Ohio Council 8 members are committed to fighting for fairness and equality for themselves.  One story stands out among so many. 

 Talk to any older Athens Region AFSCME member and mention the name Lori Moon and you likely will hear the story of how a union and community overcame a blatant case of gender discrimination.

In 1988, Lori Moon became the first woman firefighter to be hired by the Athens City Fire Department where members are represented by AFSCME Local 3351. A trained emergency medical technician and a volunteer firefighter since her high school days, she was fired at the end of her probation period because, according to the boss, she “lacked initiative” and a “cooperative attitude.”

The real reason? She had the courage to report her supervisor’s sexual harassment which sparked a heated seven-month battle pitting AFSCME, the community, and a coalition of activist groups against Athens city officials.

The drive to win Moon’s reinstatement included a massive public outreach campaign, challenges through the union’s grievance procedure, complaints before the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, the State Employment Relations Board, and support from the Ohio AFL-CIO, the Coalition of Labor Union Women and the National Organization for Women. 

Moon was returned to the job she loved with full back pay and benefits seven months to the day after her discharge which she credited to strong union support saying 

“AFSCME was with me all the way. I couldn’t have done it myself, “ Moon shared. 

This story is almost 35 years old - the fight remains constant. AFSCME Ohio Council 8 and its members will always stand up for each other and what is fair and just.