State Chapter Newsletter – January

Solidarity Newsletter
COVID19 Chapter Update. The pandemic has dramatically impacted many members with the State of Ohio and countless workers have fallen ill with COVID19. Many members with the State of Ohio DRC and now DYS have also lost a co-worker or co-workers. Working together with member leaders,
we have spoken out for additional personal protective equipment and safety measures as COVID19 has spread through the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction system, as well as other workplaces where members are represented with the State of Ohio. The Union has also emphasized the importance of work-from-home status for as many members as possible. While we recognize that this is an impossibility for many members, we believe that those members who are able to do so, should be able to continue to work remotely.

● Union Negotiations. Our Union sisters and brothers with OCSEA have already started bargaining. To keep the membership up to date as preparations and upcoming contract negotiations advance we are asking all state bargaining unit members to submit updated personal email addresses and contact information online. The member-led negotiating committee will meet again this month in January 2021. We have heard the rumors regarding the insulting offers that have been made by the State of Ohio at the table. This, in the middle of a pandemic when all of you have risen to the occasion and shone brightly to provide your services to the citizens of our great state. We continue to closely monitor the negotiations and will share any factual information as it becomes available. In the meantime, the best way to protect and defend our membership and to make improvements and fight back against concessions is to have a strong, united membership that rises in solidarity. If you or someone you know has not yet completed their membership application, know that they can easily sign a membership card online. By signing a membership card, new members are sending a firm signal to the State of Ohio that they are willing to stand united for improvements in their contract and will not sit idly by while their livelihoods and protections are attacked, devalued, and stripped away.

● The Value of Union Membership and a Strong Chapter. We have heard reports that underscore the need to stand strong together and united for upcoming negotiations. Non-Union employees with the State of Ohio have already been forced to accept concessions with no recourse. 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. 

● 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 continue to keep you updated as the grievance moves through the process. The State of Ohio has not provided available dates as of yet for this grievance to be heard.

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 December 19th, 45% 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 Chapter Adult Parole Authority Member Compensated for Medical Bill. A member with the State of Ohio had an auto accident and a supervisor ordered the member to have a medical evaluation performed. As the member was not injured, their health insurance company refused to pay for a significant hospital bill. This put the member in the unfortunate situation of having followed their supervisor’s direction and through no fault of their own, the member received a medical bill that neither their insurance company nor workers compensation would cover.  After working with the Union to file a grievance, a mediation was held and the State of Ohio agreed to compensate the member. Without a Union this member would have had no recourse.

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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