Ohio Public Employees

SEIU District 1199’s Public division represents nearly 5,000 workers. These workers are employed in a variety of fields including higher education, Head Start programs, community action agencies, county government, and libraries.

Take Action – Stand With Cleveland Public Library Workers

The women and men who work at the Cleveland Public Library proudly serve our neighborhoods and community every day, providing vital resources, services and information for people like us. However, decisions by Cleveland Public Library executives have eroded staffing, increased workloads and ignored the concerns of employees about safety at branches throughout the city. 

Take Action to Stand With Cleveland Public Library Workers 

1. Contact Cleveland Public Library. Call the library at 216-623-2827 and leave a Message for Executive Director Felton Thomas Jr. and the Cleveland Public Library Board of Trustees. Ask them to bargain in good faith for a contract that keeps everyone safe and respects the dignity of their work. 

2. Tweet to Show Your Support. Tweet these two messages of support to stand with Cleveland Public Library workers

3. Write a Letter to the Editor. Submit a letter to the Cleveland Plain Dealer to stand with SEIU District 1199 members who are fighting for a fair contract with the Cleveland Public Library. Make letters clear, concise, and under 200 words. Letters can be submitted at this link. A post with details on bargaining is also available here. 

4. Sign the Petition. Submit your name in support of the SEIU District 1199 members with the Cleveland Public Library. Sign the petition here

5. Share Social Media Posts. Visit the Facebook and Twitter (post 1; post 2) pages for SEIU District 1199 and share recent posts to stand in support with the library workers. 

Get The Facts – Cleveland Public Library Workers Are Fighting For Safety, Fairness, and Union Jobs

Fact: Though the library system continually claims that their Union members are overpaid, Cleveland Public Library CEO Felton Thomas Jr.’s salary increased from $183,983.72 to $220,000 with the start of a new employment agreement on January 1, 2019. CEO Felton Thomas Jr. also received at the time the agreement was reached a $10,000 bonus. Additionally, CEO Felton Thomas Jr.’s 5-year contract guarantees 5% annual wage increases. In addition to other perks, COO Jeremiah Swetel will also receive a $50,000 bonus in 2024 under his employment contract that was approved in September 2019. A recent news report detailed that in addition to CEO Felton Thomas, 11 other managers with the library system earn between $119,000 and $143,000 a year.

Fact: Cleveland Public Library has paid $100,000 in taxpayer dollars for legal services from an anti-union law firm. The library is now proposing spending an additional $75,000 for such services in relation to ongoing negotiations

Fact: Union members with the Cleveland Public Library have been requesting bargaining dates since early 2019 and have been ready to meet throughout the year. Bargaining committee members report that the library was resistant to scheduling bargaining dates and did not allow for enough dates. To members of the bargaining committee, working without a contract and the potential need to strike is concerning, as they have been willing to do anything needed to negotiate.

Fact: Workers with Cleveland Public Library have a number of security concerns that are based on the realities of their work. Workers have seen firsthand serious threats such as violence and other activity that has occurred both inside and around branch locations. 

Fact: The most significant concerns of workers with Cleveland Public Library are not based on economics. Workers are standing together to ensure adequate staffing and good union jobs for the community, in addition to security and safety for library employees and patrons.

Fact: While security and safety are issues of high importance to library workers, the library system recently began a 10-year $100M capital improvement plan. Cleveland Voters approved Issue 60 in 2017, which included a tax increase of 2-mill. Branch renovations are important but the safety of patrons and library workers and other issues brought forward by the bargaining committee should be overriding.

Fact: Cleveland Public Library leaders are now publicly discussing the potential impact of a strike – bargaining committee members are concerned that this will be used to harm the perceptions of the dedicated workers with the library system. Members of the negotiating committee have been willing to continue negotiations into the evening and late into the night but negotiations have concluded promptly. A strike is always a last resort but workers are weighing if it may be necessary. 

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SEIU Convention Delegation Elections

Elections regarding the 2020 SEIU Convention will take place throughout the month of January. All elections will be conducted by secret ballot. Members presenting proper identification may vote at any of the voting sites across the District. 

Voting will be held in the Union’s Columbus, Cleveland, and Huntington Offices, as noted on the schedule. A list with all voting times and locations is available here

Support Cleveland Public Library Workers


We Rise – Update Your Membership

An updated membership helps to ensure that our chapters and Union remain strong. We are stronger together.

Sign a Membership Card
The membership form is available online.  Membership also provides access to the Union’s benefit programs, a free community college benefit, an annual scholarship program, and more. 

Visit the membership form online to submit a new membership or update/renew. 

Solidarity News – December 2019

Solidarity Newsletter Cleveland Community School District Member Wins Grievance Over Work Distribution. A member with the CMSD was having difficulty at work with the way assignments were being distributed in regards to heavy shipments of frozen food items. She worked with the Union to file a grievance. As a result of the grievance, the school district agreed to follow up with the area supervisor and affected employees to make sure that work was distributed equally.

Dedicated Member With ResCare in West Virginia Returns to Work. A member in Kanawha County who works for ResCare (“BrightSpring”) believed he had been improperly terminated and worked with the Union to file a grievance. Through this process, the member was awarded his job back. He received 5 weeks of back pay and restoration of PTO time and seniority.

Job Dismissal Overturned After Grievance. A highly dedicated member had worked for a hospital in Southern Ohio for nearly 20 years. The member was dismissed from their position due to a claim of absenteeism and tardiness. Through the grievance process, the member showed that the absences were due to circumstances that fit within an exception in the attendance policy. 

Member With St. Vincent Charity Medical Center Receives Settlement. A member with St. Vincent Charity Medical Center in Cleveland was dismissed. While Ohio is generally an “at-will” employment state, the Union contract meant that the employer had to show “just cause.” Though the Union was prepared to take the case to mediation, the employer proposed a $3,000 settlement, which was mutually agreeable to both parties.

Mercy Regional Medical Center Member Awarded Full-Time Position. A member with MRMC in Lorain, Ohio, had been working full-time hours as a PRN for three years with no benefits or offer for a full-time position. The member worked with the Union to file a grievance and was quickly hired into a full-time position in a favorable outcome. 

SEIU District 1199 Member Benefits 
Membership with SEIU District 1199 includes membership with three member benefit programs. Those programs include Union Plus, SEIU Member Benefits, and the SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH Membership Card. Last month, Union Plus announced a new college program with Central State University in Dayton, Ohio, which is a benefit available for members and eligible family members. For details visit: seiu1199.org/mrc/your-benefits-as-a-member

Member Resource Center Update
The Member Resource Center provides assistance each day to a substantial number of members across West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky. Whether you need a copy of your contract, assistance contacting Union staff, or advice on how to file a grievance, representatives with the Member Resource Center are standing by to assist members each Monday through Friday. “Your Member Resource Center Has Your Back!”

SEIU District 1199 Members at Tri-C Provide Vital Campus Services

Cleveland library employees remember shooting victim, share branch safety concerns (News 5 Cleveland WEWS)


Candlelight Vigil for Cleveland Public Library Staff, Patrons, and Visitors

Vigil CPL
You are invited to join the Union Workers of the Cleveland Public Library as we hold a candlelight vigil for the safety and security of everyone who enters our library branches.

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019
6:00pm – Gathering
7:00pm – Candlelight Vigil

South Brooklyn Branch of the Cleveland Public Library
4303 Pearl Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44109

We will join together in solidarity to call on library executives and community leaders to bargain in good faith with the members of SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH at the Cleveland Public Library for a contract that keeps everyone safe and respects the dignity of their work.

Members of the community are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Update on the “Freedom Foundation”

Freedom Foundation 1Freedom Foundation 3Freedom Foundation 4

If the Freedom Foundation contacts you, take these steps to fight back:

  1. Visit We Are Ohio to read about the Freedom Foundation and stay updated.
  2. If you receive an email, forward it to media@seiu1199.org and let your local union leadership know.
  3. If approached by Freedom Foundation canvassers, either at work or at home, don’t sign anything and ask them to remove you from their lists.
  4. Reach out to other union members and let them know.

We will continue to update you about this group’s anti-union activity. 

College Programs for Union Members

SEIU District 1199 offers discounts for members and eligible family members through arrangements with colleges. These programs include a range of benefits with Columbia Southern University, Southern New Hampshire University, Central State University, and Eastern Gateway Community College. 

Membership with SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH provides access to the member benefit programs detailed below. You can sign a membership card online at this link.

Free College Benefit SEIU District 1199
Ohio’s Eastern Gateway Community CollegeEastern Gateway offers a free Associate’s Degree college benefit for members and retirees, in addition to eligible family members. 

Ohio’s Central State University. Union Plus, one of your Union’s member benefit programs, has partnered with Central State University in Dayton, Ohio. Central State University is now offering a program for Bachelor’s Degrees for members and eligible family members. This program is available online at a reduced cost or low/no cost (e.g. depending on grants). The program is open to students with an Associate’s Degree or 60 credit hours of coursework in a related major. Additionally, students who have a degree from Eastern Gateway Community College can now transfer into the Bachelor’s Degree program at Central State University. 

Southern New Hampshire UniversitySNHU offers Bachelor’s Degrees and Associate’s Degrees for $3,000 a year for members and eligible family members.

Columbia Southern UniversityColumbia Southern offers Associate’s Degrees, Bachelor’s Degrees, Mater’s Degrees, and Doctoral Degrees. SEIU District 1199 has a tuition discount agreement for members. 

If you need assistance with your member benefits, you can always contract the Member Resource Center. “Your Member Resource Center Has Your Back!”

Veterans Day 2019 – Thank You

We thank all veterans for their dedication to our country. On Behalf of SEIU District 1199 and our staff, thank you to all veterans and their families for your service and sacrifice. If you are a member and a veteran, please join our new SEIU District 1199 Veterans Council

SEIU Members Endorse Levy Renewal for Lorain Public Library

Member leaders with SEIU District 1199 have voted to endorse the renewal levy for the Lorain Public Library System in Columbia Township. The 5-year levy renewal will mean no increase in taxes and is needed to continue to meet expenses. The levy renewal will be on the November 5th ballot. SEIU District 1199 has represented members with the library system for many years. 

SEIU Members Endorse Tri-C Levy

Tri-CThe SEIU District 1199 Executive Board has endorsed the levy for Cuyahoga County Community College. The levy is needed to keep education affordable and accessible and will be on the November 5th ballot. SEIU District 1199 has represented staff members at Tri-C for 1982. 

SEIU Members Endorse Willoughby Eastlake Public Library Levy Renewal

The SEIU District 1199 Executive Board has voted to endorse the levy for Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library. The levy is a 10-year 1-mill renewal levy and will mean no increase in taxes. The levy renewal is needed to maintain services and will be on the November 5th ballot. SEIU District 1199 has represented staff members with Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library since 1996. 

2019 Scholarship Winners

Congratulations to our 2019 Scholarship Winners!

Ian Quillen
Child of Carolyn Quillen
Kings Daughters Medical Center

Alex Butcher
Child of Amy Butcher
Cabell Huntington Hospital

Kacey Gilkerson
Child of Sabrina Gilkerson
Cabell Huntington Hospital

Richard McMillion
Child of Ruth McMillion
Seneca Health Services

Derek Stevens
Spouse of Rachel Stevens
Fairmont Regional Medical Center

Nicholas Amanatides
Ohio Dept. of Job & Family Services

David Barbutes
Child of Colleen Barbutes
Trumbull Regional Medical Center

Suzy Bangudi
Child of Brigitte Bangudi
Ohio Dept. of Rehab. & Corrections

Brittany Carrasco
Mercy Hospital Springfield

Kayla Chappell
Child of Tiffany Jones
Ohio Dept. of Mental Health & Addiction Services

Dwayne Gullatte
Child of Robin Bennie
Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Comp

Kevin Haller
Child of Maryanne Haller
Cuyahoga County Public Library

Kasey Hunt
Child of Samantha Chamberlain
Ohio Dept. of Mental Health & Addiction Services

Zoe Katz
Child of Jodi Katz
Bellefaire JCB

Griffin Kennedy
Child of Tim Kennedy
Cuyahoga Community College

Bobby Mounts
Ohio Dept. of Rehab. & Corrections

Shahid Muhammad
Child of Kasey Hall
Cincinnati State

Melissa Mulinix
Ohio Dept. of Mental Health & Addiction Services

William Nagy II
Child of William Nagy
Ohio Department of Health

Patrick Olabode
Ohio Dept. of Rehab. & Corrections

Ben Zhang
Child of Hongbo Zhu
Ohio Dept. of Mental Health & Addiction Services


2020 SEIU Convention Delegation Elections

This is the official notice of the election to be conducted for Delegates to the SEIU Convention, which will be held April 22–27, 2020 in Chicago.

The following procedure was adopted by the SEIU District 1199 Executive Board, in accordance with the SEIU Constitution, at its meeting on October 25, 2019.

SEIU District 1199 will be sending a delegation of 20 Delegates. Any member in good standing can be a candidate.

To be placed on the ballot, a member must submit to the designated Election Officer a nominating petition signed by at least 25 members in good standing. Petitions will be made available through the Union’s offices, or a member may create her/his own petition by writing the words, “We, the undersigned, nominate __________________________ (name) to be a Delegate to the 2020 SEIU Convention”. (Click here to download a petition.)

Petitions containing original signatures must be received by the Election Officer on or before December 16, 2019 at the following address. Faxed or electronic copies will NOT be accepted.

Mary Jo Ivan, Election Officer SEIU District 1199
1395 Dublin Road Columbus, Ohio 43215

The Election Officer must be notified by the December 16, 2019 petition return date of any candidate wishing to run as a slate, and of the designation (name) of the slate.

Elections will take place during the month of January, 2020. All elections will be by secret ballot. Members presenting proper identification may vote at any of the voting sites across the District. Voting times will also be available in the Union’s Columbus, Cleveland and Huntington Offices. (Click here to download the election schedule.)

Results will be posted on the Union’s website at www.seiu1199.org.

Solidarity Newsletter – October 2019

solidarity 2Member News and Grievance Victories

Hudson Elms Member Successfully Appeals Suspension. A member with the Hudson Elms nursing home in Hudson, Ohio, was wrongfully suspended. The member contacted their Executive Board Member and the Union to file a grievance. Showing the power of standing together, the suspension was overturned and the member returned to work with back pay.

Favorable Arbitration Ruling for Cabell Huntington Hospital Member. A dedicated member and healthcare worker in Huntington, West Virginia, recently returned to work with full back pay and compensation, after being improperly terminated two years ago.

Member at Cleveland Healthcare Facility Back at Work. A member in Cleveland who worked for Morrison Community Living, a contractor for Judson Manor, had been on the job for 19 years before being terminated. Over the summer, his co-workers greeted him enthusiastically after he returned to work after almost 7 months off. The member was terminated without a fair and impartial review, especially given his spotless work record and years of service. Standing with the Union, the member received full back pay and compensation for denied benefits.

Nursing Home Member Negotiates Settlement. A member with a facility in Ohio believed they had been wrongfully terminated. The member worked with their delegate and the Union to file a grievance. The employer agreed to grant compensation and a neutral letter of reference.

● Grievance by Member in West Virginia Results in Additional Staffing. A dedicated member with Fairmont Regional Medical Center in West Virginia had concerns about staffing levels for her unit. She contacted the Union and joined with a co-worker to file a grievance. As a result, administrators took quick action and placed two job postings for the unit.

● Member With Cleveland School District Negotiates Settlement After Grievance Over Overtime. A member with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District worked with the Union to file a grievance, which had a successful outcome. In a settlement, CMSD agreed to make an extra effort to contact members to ensure that they would be notified for overtime opportunities.

Member Resource Center Update

The Member Resource Center provides assistance each day to a substantial number of members across West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky. Whether you need a copy of your contract, assistance contacting Union staff, or advice on how to file a grievance, representatives with the Member Resource Center are standing by to assist members each Monday through Friday. “Your Member Resource Center Has Your Back!”

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OPERS Proposes Cuts For New Public Workers