Union Members at the Ohio DRC Request Reconsideration After Being Excluded from Ohio’s Early Vaccination Effort

While Union workers who provide direct medical care at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction have been included in the vaccination effort, hundreds of workers who are members with SEIU District 1199 will receive the vaccine at the same time as the general public. To date, 10 staff members with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction have lost their lives due to COVID19 while working on the frontlines of the pandemic.

For Immediate Release: February 11, 2021. 
For more information, contact: Joshua Norris at (937) 925-0149.

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Union members who work as case managers, mental health nurses, classification specialists, and other staff in Ohio’s prison system, say they have been excluded from the current vaccination effort within ODRC. According to workers, they have been told that they will be able to receive the vaccine at the same time as the general public.

“These workers with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction should be included in the early vaccination effort,” said Joshua Norris, Executive Vice President with SEIU District 1199. “All available data shows that these Union members and public employees have been working heroically throughout this pandemic with increased risk and exposure during this declared state of emergency,” continued Norris. 

According to the Marshall Project, Ohio currently ranks 3rd worst in the nation for total staff lives lost among state prison systems. Data provided by the Ohio DRC shows that as many as 143 lives have been lost in cases of COVID19 among inmates and staff. The number of inmate lives lost currently ranks as the fifth worst outcome

“The Union has been outspoken about COVID19 at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction as well as all State of Ohio agencies where we have members since early on in the pandemic,” said Joshua Norris. “10 staff members with the ODRC have lost their lives to COVID19 and 4,570 workers have tested positive for the virus. Workers who are members of SEIU District 1199 at the ODRC also have an active Union grievance regarding emergency pay that the Union and member leaders maintain they should receive throughout the state of emergency,” continued Norris.

“All of our members have shown that they will rise to the challenge and do their measured best to provide services every single day. The very least that ODRC can do is honor the negotiated agreements that are in place and protect them by including them in the vaccination process,” Norris Concluded. 

 

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