State of Ohio – Union Chapter News
● Landmark Arbitration Decision on Movement of Staff. A Psychiatric/DD Nurse at ODRC who works in the outpatient unit filed a grievance after she was pulled to work in the RTU over a less senior Psych/DD Nurse. Management argued that it had the right to reassign the nurses to various units within the department without considering seniority because the entire department was one work area. The Union argued that each unit made up a separate work area, and in order to pull someone from one unit to another, the manager had to first ask for volunteers, and if no one volunteered, seniority should be recognized. Arbitrator Goldberg agreed with the Union and sustained the grievance.
● Educational Development Fund Update. On July 1st, the Educational Development Fund for members of SEIU District 1199 renewed with an additional balance of $750,000 available for reimbursement. As of September 14th, 33% of the budget had been expended and $521,618 remained. This fund was negotiated as a part of the contract and allows reimbursement for approved training and educational expenses. In 2018, members negotiated a substantial increase in funding for the Educational Development Fund as a part of the current contract due to the fact that in previous years the fund had been depleted far in advance of the July 1st renewal date.
● OPERS Proposes Cuts for Future State Workers and Retirees. It was recently reported publicly last that OPERS is considering a range of changes and potential cuts. New public employees who start employment after January 1, 2022, would need to reach 62 and have 35 years of service to receive full pension benefits. The OPERS Board of Trustees has also voted to freeze cost of living adjustments (COLA) in 2022 and 2023. Additionally, the OPERS Board of Trustees is considering changes to retiree healthcare benefits. We understand the concerns of retirees and state workers and are evaluating these proposed changes.
● State Members Reach Successful Outcome Over Scheduling Changes. Three nurses with the Ohio Department of Youth Services believed their schedules were being changed to avoid the payment of overtime. A nurse filed a grievance on behalf of himself and two co-workers. The state has ceased the scheduling practice that led to the initial grievance. The three members were awarded 8 hours of compensatory time each.
● Adult Parole Authority Member Awarded Job Transfer. A member with the Adult Parole Authority learned that a position in another county had been posted but an internal canvass had not been conducted. The member worked with their delegate to file a grievance and was quickly awarded the position that should have been filled through an internal canvass.
● State Nurse Acts to Protect Safety and Quality Care. A member with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services was mandated to work overtime but had already worked two double shifts in the previous two days. The member believed that this was hazardous both as a worker and for the clients in their care. The member filed a grievance with the assistance of their delegate on the basis that being mandated to work this overtime was a violation of an agency-specific agreement and a negotiated cap on consecutive overtime. In a settlement, the agency agreed to follow agency-specific language which had previously set the overtime cap.
● State Nurse Returns To Work With Full Back Pay After Arbitration Ruling. A nurse who had been terminated by the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction in 2017 was cleared by an arbitrator to return to work. The member was accused of failing to document food intake in an electronic system. However, an independent review had substantiated concerns about arbitrary data loss in that same system. The employer was also unable to show just cause in the termination of the member, who had worked for ODRC since 2006. The arbitrator ruled that the member should be “made whole” and that there was no evidence of “alleged violations of policy.”
SEIU District 1199 Union Member Benefits Program
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. SEIU Member Benefits has also partnered with Eastern Gateway Community College, which is a part of the University of Ohio System, to offer a free college benefit. For details visit: seiu1199.org/mrc/your-benefits-as-a-member
Member Resource Center – State of Ohio Chapter
The Member Resource Center has provided assistance to a substantial number of members with the State of Ohio. Members have stood with their co-workers to win grievances, which relate to workplace health and safety, protection of the public, and fundamental fairness, among other issues. Representatives with the Member Resource Center are standing by to assist members. “Your Member Resource Center Has Your Back!”
The Employee Development Fund (EDF) renewed on July 1, 2019, with $750,000 in additional funding for FY20. We have been provided with the following update, which is current as of 9/14/19:
Amount Paid (as of 8/31/19): $225,225.78
Amount Approved (as of 9/14/19): $29,630.12
Amount Submitted (as of 9/14/19): $53,779.22
Total Expended: $254,885.90
Budget + Rollover (FY19): $776,504.59
Total Remaining: $521,618.69
Percent Remaining: 67%
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the Member Resource Center.
Two issues directly affecting 1199 employees working in institutional settings were recently arbitrated, and you should know about the outcomes in case the practices that led to the grievances are happening at your work locations. If they are, use the linked-to arbitration awards to educate your management, and if that doesn’t work get with a delegate to file a grievance.
1. Nursing Duties: In case you missed it in the most recent newsletter, RNs at Chillicothe Correctional Institution filed a class action grievance because they had been hauling biohazard waste bags to the biohazard room in the medical basement. 1199 has very specific contract language protecting its nurses from doing exactly this sort of thing. Article 42.04 Nursing Duties states, “In order to provide the necessary time to perform properly the duties of their job classification, registered nurses will not routinely be asked to assume responsibilities outside their classification. Housekeeping duties, clerical duties, and other duties which can be and normally are performed by paraprofessional employees shall not be required of the registered nurse, other than in irregular or unusual circumstances.” Upper management at CCI was apparently unaware that 1199 nurses were taking out the biohazard waste. At the arbitration hearing they testified that the biohazard waste was a group effort and all members of the team were expected to help out by taking out the waste. 1199 won the arbitration. If you are an 1199 nurse, and you find yourself hauling the biohazard waste bags to a biohazard room because they get full and no one else takes them out, this violates your contractual rights. You should put your management on notice that you believe that you should not have to do it based on this decision. You can read the arbitration decision here.
2. Pulling and Movement of Staff: Contract Article 24.17 states, “An employee may be pulled or moved to meet operational needs. The Agency shall designate the work area most able to provide the coverage. The qualified employee in the designated class having the greatest State seniority who desires to be pulled or moved shall be. If no employee volunteers to be pulled or moved, the qualified employee in the designated class with the least State seniority shall be pulled or moved first from the work area most able to provide the coverage as determined by management.” A Psych/DD Nurse at ODRC who works in the Outpatient unit filed a grievance when she was pulled to work in the RTU over a less senior Psych/DD Nurse also working in the Outpatient unit. Management argued that it had the right to reassign the nurses to various units within the Mental Health Department without considering seniority because the entire Mental Health Department was one work area. The Union argued that each unit made up a separate work area, and in order to pull someone from one unit to another, the manager had to first ask for volunteers, and if no one volunteered, the least senior employee on the unit would be sent. The grievance went to arbitration, the Union WON, and it was the first arbitration decision written on Article 24.17. So from this we learned that an institution cannot create giant “work areas” so that it can move staff anywhere within the work area without acknowledging seniority. We also learned that forcing someone who is not least senior due to work loads is not acceptable. The least senior employee must be moved every time (unless of course there are volunteers). You can read the arbitration decision here.
Your Member Resource Center Team
SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH
Members with the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction work incredibly hard each day to protect the public and ensure the health and safety of inmates. The Union has been contacted many times recently about assaults that have been committed against staff by inmates, which we believe to be on the rise. We recognize the dangers of this important work and stand together with all members who have been assaulted or face the threat of violence.
If an assault occurs, we want to remind all members to follow proper DRC policy. Furthermore, even though such an assault may occur within a DRC institution, members have the right to contact the Ohio State Highway Patrol and report the assault under their legal process. The Ohio State Highway Patrol can be contacted at 614-466-2660.
If you have followed the procedures noted above and need further assistance, the Member Resource Center is also standing by to assist. The Member Resource Center can be contacted at 877-419-7348.
Joshua Norris – Executive Vice President
SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH
SEIU District 1199 has joined as a partner with Columbia Southern University, Southern New Hampshire University, and Ohio’s Eastern Gateway Community College. Union membership can greatly reduce or even eliminate the cost of tuition with these programs.
Whether in-person or online, Ohio’s Eastern Gateway Community College offers a free college benefit for members and retirees, in addition to eligible family members. If you need assistance with your member benefits, you can always contact the Member Resource Center. “Your Member Resource Center has your back!”
• Educational Development Fund Update. On July 1st, the Educational Development Fund for members of SEIU District 1199 renewed with an additional balance of $750,000 available for reimbursement. This fund was negotiated as a part of the contract and allows reimbursement for approved training and educational expenses. In 2018, members negotiated a substantial increase in funding for the Educational Development Fund as a part of the current contract. The Union will provide regular updates on the balance of the fund as the fiscal year continues.
• Successful Training Events Held for State Members. In August, intermediate and advanced delegate trainings were held at the SEIU District 1199 office in Columbus. Over 50 state delegates attended the two trainings on how to further stand with their co-workers. The Advanced Delegate Training held on August 28th is pictured above.
• State Nurses Win Class Action Grievance. A group of nurses with the State of Ohio recently won a class action grievance with a favorable ruling from an arbitrator. The nurses had been asked to transfer bio-hazards to the basement of their workplace when other means of disposal were not available. The arbitrator ruled in favor of the nurses, as contract language is clear that the proper role for such state nurses is limited to the provision of healthcare services. The Arbitrator said in his decision “…in the absence of irregular or unusual circumstances requiring RNs to remove other bio-hazardous waste (other than sharps), regardless of its accumulation rate and existing need for removal, is in violate of Section 42.04 of the Agreement and the Employer is directed to cease this specific requirement of RNs and to develop a viable alternative to the removal.”
• State Member Reimbursed $1,500 After Successful Grievance. A state member took a $1,500 course for the benefit of their work on behalf of the public. The member submitted the expense for reimbursement from the Educational Development Fund, which was negotiated as a part of the Union contract. Although the expense qualified for reimbursement, due to various factors, the request was denied by the Department of Administrative Services. With assistance from the Union and research by staff with the Member Resource Center, the member filed a grievance. The Department of Administrative Services then approved the reimbursement request.
• Member With The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Successfully Appeals Fine. A member with the State of Ohio’s Department of Rehabilitation and Correction carried out a work assignment in good faith but was issued a 2-day fine for allegedly using poor judgement. The member contacted the Member Resource Center to file a grievance. As a result, the member successfully appealed the 2-day fine and the discipline will also expire a year early.
• State of Ohio Nurse Issued Overtime Opportunities After Grievance. A nurse with the State of Ohio was improperly passed over for overtime opportunities on more than one occasion. The member worked with their delegate to file a grievance. As a result of the grievance, the State of Ohio agreed to make the member whole for the lost overtime.
● Adult Parole Authority. Final passage of the State of Ohio’s Operating Budget for FY20 – FY21 included good news for communities across Ohio. The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction had initially proposed forcing some counties that receive services from the state to start their own probation departments. Counties would have been offered temporary grants without a guarantee of future funding. Ohio’s parole offers work each day to keep the public safe and the proposal risked creating an unfunded mandate and could have jeopardized public safety. The final version of the budget significantly scaled back the proposal and the APA has committed in writing that there will be no parole officer layoffs and officers will not be required to relocate.
● State Member Back at Work After Termination Set Aside. A dedicated member was terminated from employment with the state. After contacting the Member Resource Center, his grievance went to mediation and the state agreed to return the member to their position with a time served suspension and restoration of seniority.
● Major Class Action Settlement on Behalf of Doctors with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Four female psychiatrists came forward after learning of significant pay discrepancies among fellow doctors within their agency. Specifically, there was documentation that male doctors with less longevity were receiving higher pay. Through this grievance, the Union thoroughly reviewed supplemental pay for physicians at the agency and found that established guidelines for determining pay lacked transparency and needed additional standards. Under a settlement, the doctors will receive wage increases, which total $85,000 over the course of their current contract. The Union is now in the process of negotiating a transparent and non-discriminatory wage determination process.
● Educational Development Fund. On July 1st, the Educational Development Fund for members with SEIU District 1199 renewed with an additional balance of $750,000 available for reimbursement. This fund was negotiated as a part of the contract and allows reimbursement for approved training and educational expenses. In 2018, members negotiated a substantial increase in funding for the Educational Development Fund as a part of the current contract. The Union will provide regular updates on the balance of the fund as the fiscal year continues.
● State Grants Proper Compensation After Grievance. A member needed to use emergency leave in a situation protected by the contract. The state contract dictated that the member should have been paid at 100% for certain related hours. However, the member was only paid at 70% and contacted the Member Resource Center. In a favorable outcome, the State of Ohio agreed to pay the full amount and issued the payment
● State Nurse Successfully Defeats Written Reprimand. A nurse with the State of Ohio received a written reprimand, which they believed to be unjust. The nurse contacted the Member Resource Center to file a grievance. In a settlement, the state agreed to remove the reprimand early. The reprimand was only active for about a month total, instead of the standard two years.
● Member Awarded Comp Time After Improper Denial. A State of Ohio member with the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction used comp time to attend a hearing regarding a worker’s compensation claim. While use of the time was allowed, it was improperly denied. The member contacted the Union and received the proper payment after filing a grievance.
SEIU District 1199 Scholarship Program
Members of SEIU District 1199 and their immediate family members have until September 1st, to apply for the scholarship program this year. Eligible members must be in good standing and have been a member for at least two years. The scholarship program is open to applications for those who have been accepted or are currently enrolled in an accredited two or four year educational institution or technical school and a degree, post bachelor’s degree or certification program. Eighteen $1,000 scholarships are available for members who reside in Ohio.
On behalf of the nearly 26,000 members of SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH and the 2 million members of the Service Employees International Union, we want to thank you and recognize you for your exceptional service to our community.
President Becky Williams
Secretary-Treasurer Kathy McCormick
Executive Vice President Josh Norris
To say the deck was stacked against us would be an understatement. But when Parole Officers unite through their Union, we win!
Because of our collective efforts meeting with legislators, making phone calls and sending emails, we were able to make a positive impact on community safety in Ohio and avoided a potential layoff/bumping situation that could have displaced as many as 120 of our SEIU/1199 Parole Officer positions in the Adult Parole Authority.
The work our Union did on the state budget allows counties to make the choice between accepting one-time money to fund their own county probation services with no guarantee for future funding or continuing the partnership our counties have with our well-trained, professional APA Parole Officers. The counties make the choice – not ODRC/APA.
Just because the state budget is done does not mean our fight is over. With your continued leadership and activism, we will continue to work hard to reduce your caseload sizes, hire additional Parole Officers and allow you to retire with dignity.
Through the leadership of President Becky Williams and our APA Union delegates, our Union has launched a six-figure, state-wide media campaign in support of our Parole Officers. This campaign has three main objectives:
You can see some of the campaign elements by visiting our website here: SAFEROHIO.COM
Feel free to share the website, the radio ad or the commercial on our personal social media accounts and ask your family, friends and co-workers to do the same.
Our Union is fighting for Ohio’s Parole Officers because WHEN WE FIGHT, WE WIN!
Also, if you haven’t yet signed your Union membership card, please do so today by clicking here. It is through our collective strength as Union members that we are able to fund fight-back campaigns like this and ensure that you receive the dignity, rights and respect your deserve.
Monday, August 12
SEIU District 1199 Columbus Office
This one-day training is designed for Delegates who have basic skills but need more in-depth information, including:
Wednesday, August 28
SEIU District 1199 Columbus Office
This one-day training is designed for Delegates who have completed Intermediate Delegate Training, covering:
Register Online Today
(You can register for both!)
Once you have registered, your leave from work will be arranged by the Union and your wages for the day will be paid by the State.
Questions? Call The Member Resource Center: 877-419-7348
The Employee Development Fund (EDF) will now renew with $750,000 in additional funding for FY20. We have been provided with the following final numbers for FY19:
• Total Amount Paid: $723,495.41
• Budget Amount: $750,000.00
• Unused Amount: $26,504.59
• Percentage of Budget Used: 96.466%
In negotiations in 2018, state members successfully bargained an additional $200,000 in funding for the Employee Development Fund each fiscal year. The remaining amount of $26,504,59, will roll over and now be added to the $750,000 now available for state members in FY20.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the Member Resource Center.
An updated membership helps to ensure that our chapters and Union remain strong. We are stronger together.
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.
● New State Contract Books. The State contracts have arrived and the Administrative Organizers are working to get them to your delegates, agencies, and institutions. Last fall, State of Ohio members united to negotiate and ratify a strong state contract, which granted annual wage increases of 2.75% (2018), 2.75% (2019), and 3.00% (2020). The contract also increased tuition reimbursement by $200,000, protected health insurance costs, boosted the equipment allowance for Adult Parole Authority members, and gave 22 hours of compensatory time as a bonus for full time members. New contract books have been ordered and will be available soon.
● Adult Parole Authority Lobby Day. In April, members with the Adult Parole Authority held a lobby day at the Ohio Statehouse. Parole officers met with many members of the Ohio House and Ohio Senate to discuss legislative priorities and the importance of their work to public safety and Ohio’s communities.
● Educational Development Fund. In addition to funds still available at this time, on July 1st, the Educational Development Fund will renew with an additional balance of $750,000 available for reimbursement. This fund is negotiated as a part of the contract and allows reimbursement for approved training and educational expenses.
● Congratulations to Member Ron Arnett. Mr. Arnett, an RN and member leader, was named the employee of the year at the Dayton Correctional Institution in May 2019.
● State Nurses Receive Substantial Overtime Settlement. Two nurses, who are members with the State of Ohio, recently received significant settlements after overtime was improperly denied. The members stood together and contacted the Member Resource Center. Through the arbitration process, the members showed that this loss of overtime hours denied due process. A settlement was reached, which had a combined value of over $45,000.
● Significant Arbitration Victory on Administrative Leave. The State of Ohio has often utilized an unfair practice that denied workers on administrative leave supplemental pay. In a recent arbitration decision regarding members of SEIU District 1199, an arbitrator ruled that the State of Ohio is no longer permitted to continue the practice of deducting pay supplements from paychecks when state bargaining unit members are out on administrative leave.
● State Member Challenges Written Reprimand. A member at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction recently received a written reprimand, which they considered unjust. The member filed a grievance and the state agreed to remove the discipline after a shortened period.
● Member Receives Significant Settlement. A state member was terminated after over a decade with the state. The member contacted the Member Resource Center to file a grievance. As an outcome of the grievance, the member was allowed to resign in lieu of the termination and the member also received a settlement of $11,500.
● Department of Youth Services Member Receives Reimbursement. A state member with the Ohio Department of Youth Services made an emergency purchase for the direct benefit of a youth on parole but was not reimbursed promptly. After filing a grievance, the member was reimbursed with interest.
The Member Resource Center has assisted with a substantial number of grievances for State of Ohio Members. Members have stood with their co-workers to win grievances, which relate to workplace health and safety, protection of the public, and fundamental fairness, among other issues.
As a snapshot, in May 2019, the Member Resource Center assisted with filing 55 grievances on behalf of State of Ohio Members alone. The Member Resource Center standing by to assist members Monday through Friday. “Your Member Resource Center Has Your Back!”
Members of SEIU District 1199 and their immediate family members can now apply for the scholarship program. Eligible members must be in good standing and have been a member for at least two years. The scholarship program is open to applications for those who have been accepted or are currently enrolled in an accredited two or four year educational institution or technical school and a degree, post bachelor’s degree or certification program. The deadline for scholarship applications is September 1, 2019. Eighteen $1,000 scholarships are available for members who reside in Ohio.
SEIU District 1199 will continue to forward updates from the Ohio Department of Administrative Services on the Employee Development Fund balance. We now have an update that is current through 6/12/19.
We have been provided with the following update:
• As of 5/25/19, claims totaling $694,712.73 have been processed.
• As of 6/12/19, claims totaling $13,859.84 have been approved.
• As of 6/12/19, claims totaling $4,107 have been submitted.
• Processed, approved, and submitted claims, total $716,070.80
The budget for the Employee Development Fund is $750,000. The amount of the budget remaining after accounting for pending, approved, and submitted claims, is $33,929.20, which is 5% of the total.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the Member Resource Center.
Members of SEIU District 1199 are eligible for a free college benefit with Eastern Gateway Community College. This benefit is open to eligible members, retirees, and their families. Eastern Gateway Community College is also a part of the University System of Ohio.
This program fills the gap between federal, state, or employer education grants the student receives and the cost of tuition, fees, and e-books for some online programs. It is open to eligible members and retirees, in addition to spouses, domestic partners, children, grandchildren, and dependents.
For more information and to enroll with Eastern Gateway Community College, visit SEIU Member Benefits.
Last week, leaders with Dayton Correctional Institution named Nurse Ron Arnett as employee of the year. Pictured is Mr. Arnett with Administrative Organizer Joe Daniels, co-workers, and friends. Congratulations to Ron Arnett for this honor.
Two nurses who are members with the State of Ohio recently received significant settlements after overtime was improperly denied. Due to no fault of their own, the nurses were placed on a “no patient contact” list temporarily. The members had no knowledge of the reason they were on the list and were unable to work overtime, which was a significant monetary loss.
The members stood together and contacted the Member Resource Center. Through the arbitration process, the members showed that this loss of overtime hours denied due process. A settlement was reached with the state, which had a combined value of over $45,000.
Representatives with the Member Resource Center are standing by to assist Monday through Friday. “Your Member Resource Center Has Your Back!”
Open enrollment for members with the State of Ohio will begin soon. In 2019, open enrollment will be held from May 20th through May 31st. This year, new benefit options are also available.
Everything you need to know about open enrollment can be found through the open enrollment site provided by the Ohio Department of Administrative Services.
If you have questions, you can contact the DAS Employee Benefits Management Team at 800-409-1205 or 614-466-8857 and select option 2. You can also contact DAS by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.