State Newsletter – August 2020

state news● State of Ohio Budget Update. The State of Ohio requested to meet with SEIU District 1199 to discuss possible monetary cuts for members. Union leaders requested further records and in addition to surveying the membership, the Union even asked that members of the State of Ohio Legislature cut their own pay to show a “shared sacrifice.” Read this letter from President Becky Williams to members in June 2020 about this issue. Union leaders and members with SEIU District 1199 stood firm against concessions without additional information. At the end of June 2020, the Gongwer News Service reported the budget was balanced without using the $2.7B Budget Stabilization Fund, AKA the Rainy Day Fund. The 3% wage increase that was negotiated has gone into effect as specified by the contract.

Concessions have not happened because with a Union, you have a legally binding contract. The legal obligation of the State of Ohio is to negotiate with your Union on any changes that would impact your hours of work and terms and conditions of employment, among other mandatory bargaining subjects. To date, no discussions or negotiations have taken place.

● The Value of Union Membership and a Strong Chapter. Non-Union employees with the State of Ohio have been forced to accept concessions with no recourse. If you are a non-member, you can sign a membership card online. Recent events show that bureaucrats with the State of Ohio will continue to try to balance the budget on the backs of us, the working class workers, even while many are on the frontlines in this crisis.

In times like these, we must stick together and work with the other labor organizations that represent members with the State of Ohio. This is the best way to stand together on issues in the pandemic such as safety, fair wages, and protective equipment, and to secure the dignity that all working people have earned and deserve. Not just during this declared state of emergency, but at all times. 

● Upcoming Executive Board and Bargaining Committee Elections. As you may know, contested elections are taking place this month for SEIU District 1199 Executive Board positions with the Adult Parole Authority, the Department of Medicaid, and the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. A by-law change is also on the ballot. Furthermore, members with the State of Ohio are voting to elect members of the bargaining committee for upcoming negotiations. Only members in good standing are allowed to vote in these important elections. A list of candidates can be found here and election voting times/locations are available at this link. If you are not a member, but wish to vote, you can sign a membership card at the voting location or online

● Emergency Pay Class Action Grievance. SEIU District 1199 has filed a class action grievance for every member citing our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) language Article 35, Emergencies. We believe that the current state of emergency declared by Governor DeWine falls well within the intent of this language and that all members who work during this declared emergency are entitled to the $8 per hour stipend referenced in the CBA. Send a message to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and ask him to honor the contract and grant the emergency pay that was mutually agreed upon. We will keep you updated as the grievance moves through the process.

● Educational Development Fund Update. On July 1st, the Educational Development Fund (EDF) for members of SEIU District 1199 renewed with an additional balance of $750,000 available for reimbursement. Additionally, $88,149.07 was left remaining at the end of FY20, which has now rolled over. As of July 21st, 80% of the balance remains available for reimbursement. Funding for the Educational Development Fund was negotiated by member leaders as a part of your collective bargaining agreement and is just one more example of how your Union negotiates benefits for your collective good. 

● State of Ohio Member Successfully Challenges Written Reprimand. A member with the State of Ohio was accused of not holding a meeting within a certain required timeframe. The member worked with the Union and member leaders to file a grievance. It was showed through this process that the timeline for such meeting was changed due to a miscommunication that was not the fault of the member and that this was a mitgating factor. In a successful outcome, the repreimand will be removed from the member’s file early. 

● State Member Files Grievance and Defeats Written Reprimand. An SEIU District 1199 member was issued a written reprimand for improperly submitting a time-off request. The member worked with the Union to file a grievance and had never used the State of Ohio’s time management system prior to this event. The member also requested assistance from a supervisor and human resources but received no response. Through the grievance process, the written reprimand was removed from the member’s file completely, as there was no just cause for this discipline. 

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. Members and eligible family members can now take classes with Eastern Gateway Community College at no-cost online. In 2019, Union Plus announced a new program with Central State University in Dayton, Ohio.

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!”

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