State of Ohio Contract Negotiations Bargaining Update
State Chapter Newsletter | July 31, 2018
OUR SEIU/1199 STATE CHAPTER IS STRONGER THAN EVER
Last week, SEIU District 1199 President Becky Williams, Secretary-Treasurer Kathy McCormick, Public Affairs Director Anthony Caldwell and our Membership Coordinator Lisa Hetrick joined our bargaining committee to check-in on the progress of negotiations and update our Bargaining Team on the great work our Union is doing to improve representation, increase membership support and push the Regan-Tokes and 25 and out legislation for APA members.
Designated Grievance Support Team: Our Union created a Member Resource Center (MRC), which added six (6) additional staff to defend our Union contract and file charges against the State when they violate labor laws. President Williams enrolled the State of Ohio members into the MRC first and since that date the MRC has helped our Delegates process 283 Grievances and of those grievances filed;
- 79 have been settled
- 64 are at step 2
- 64 are going to mediation
- 15 are ready to be arbitrated
- 61 members withdrew after more information was gained
The State Bargaining Committee identified areas to further improve the MRC and those changes are being implemented now.
- Additional Union Benefits: In addition to our Contract, our Union increased Membership benefits by improving our two Member only benefit cards, awarding $1000 scholarships to members and their immediate family members and offering tuition-free college classes through Eastern Gateway Community College.
- More Representational Staff: Our Union has increased the number of staff doing direct representation work for our members, including hiring two additional Administrative Organizers and returned to a regional structure for organizer assignments like we had when the State of Ohio came into SEIU. The regional structure, both then and now, was set up to ensure organizers have less travel and more time with Members. This also allowed our Union to add a Cleveland-based Deputy Director (Cathy Kaufmann) and Organizer (Tracy Cutright) to the team of Union Staff leading and supporting State of Ohio members.
- Increased Communication & Bargaining Campaign Activity: Our Union asked Director Joyce Gibson to lead the state bargaining campaign with our trusted Executive Vice President Josh Norris serving as the Chief Negotiator. These two leaders add their experience and expertise to our amazing negotiating committee lead by an incredible team of Members elected to represent their agency(s). Collectively, our Union has instituted regular bargaining updates and text messaging as well as provided “Together We Rise” badge pullies, “Union Strong” buttons and stickers and other tools to demonstrate UNITY during our fight for a fair contract.
WHAT’S HAPPENING AT THE BARGAINING TABLE?
Last week, we continued our negotiations with the State of Ohio where our SEIU/1199 negotiating committee has now presented the state with all of our economic proposals and continued discussions regarding the non-economic proposals that remain unresolved.
We are making progress on some of the language changes we demanded and our negotiating committee continues to stand strong on the issues that matter to you and your family. However, state negotiators continue to disregard your concerns.
That’s why now is the time to show your support for our new contract and our Union. Wear your “Union Strong” buttons and stickers to work, put on your “Together We Rise” name badge pullies and reach out to your bargaining committee members and tell them you have their back as well.
We have negotiations scheduled for three back-to-back sessions on August 15, 16, and 17. We remain hopeful that we will be able to reach agreement, but your support and solidarity will help us win on those issues that matter most to you.
If we are unable to reach a full agreement we anticipate heading to Fact Finding with Arbitrator Rob Stein.
Our SEIU/1199 Bargaining Committee
SHOULDN’T WE HAVE A CONTRACT BY NOW?
Our SEIU/1199 bargaining committee has been preparing for negotiations with the State of Ohio since early this year.
We elected our committee, trained our team, researched the financial data of each state agency and prepared our proposals long ago to be ready to achieve the best contract possible for our Union members.
But then there is the State of Ohio…
Despite having an entire Office of Collective Bargaining, numerous lawyers for each state agency and labor relations officers, the State of Ohio has put Dan Guttman of the high-priced law firm BakerHostetler in charge of bargaining on the behalf of management.
Their strategy: Delay, delay, delay.
We will not allow their tactics to divide us from our ultimate goal of securing a contract that improves the lives of our members and their families.
They say “one day longer” and we get “one day stronger.”
State of Ohio members have been standing together to win favorable outcomes. These members with the State of Ohio bring a great deal of dedication to their work on behalf of the public. Below are some of the recent victories:
- Ohio Department of Health– A member worked together with a delegate to file a class action grievance. This member and fellow co-workers are in a position important to the provision quality care and have been pushing for additional staffing and mandation reform. The member identified an issue with staffing and successfully acted with the support of fellow members to make an important improvement.
- Opportunities for Ohioans With Disabilities– A member interviewed for an internal position but had to use several hours of PTO time to participate. After the process concluded, the agency clarified that PTO time was not needed for future internal interviews but the decision was not retroactive. After taking formal action, half of the PTO time used for the process was returned to the member.
- Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction– A member with many years of experience with the State of Ohio received a work reprimand over a workplace issue. To the surprise of the worker, he was later disciplined again for the same incident. Working together with his shop delegate, the member showed that the issue had already been addressed with the original discipline and the secondary action was overturned.
- Ohio Department of Veterans Services– A member was improperly denied an overtime opportunity. The member worked with the shop delegate to file a grievance and was credited with 4 hours of time.
- Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction – After a member recently retired, ODRC posted the vacant position but at several ranges lower. The agency was obligated to advertise the position at the same class level. To defend the contract, the shop delegate filed a grievance and the position was re-posted at a facility nearby, an outcome that worked for both parties.
- Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services – A member volunteered for overtime on a day off but was then mandated. Rules state that mandation is not allowed when working overtime on an off day. As a remedy, after acting, the member was skipped for her next mandation.