2018 Les Best Winners

This year’s scholarship essay question asked, “How would a National Right-to-Work law for public employees affect the country?” The Les Best judges found the essays received very relevant and poignant, as the Supreme Court’s decision on Janus vs. AFSCME was looming at the time of the scholarship deadline. Read excerpts of the essays from our winners below.

Click HERE to learn more about OCSEA’s member-only scholarship program.

Learn more about the scholarship selection process HERE.

Dependent College Winners

Bryn van Dommelen

Daughter of Jon van Dommelen, Ohio EPA

“The bottom line with Right-to-Work is that unions would lose their influence to fight for every employee, and ultimately, their worker’s pay and benefits would become more vulnerable to at-will changes.”

Nicholas Slattery

Son of Linda Slattery, Ohio EPA

“Supporters of Right-to-Work laws argue that it allows workers to have a choice. In reality, it is about weakening unions. The more union dues shrink, the less unions are able to protect and advocate for the workers they represent...Having less resources means the union won’t get what they want (at the bargaining table), or what the workers deserve.”

Alexis Ball

Daughter of Sara Meyers, ODJFS

“A national Right-to-Work law would allow employees to use and abuse unions by not paying their dues, but still receiving union benefits that are not their’s for the taking. This law would be detrimental to the United States and would have a wider span of impact than just unions.”

Brian Sharp

Son of Mary Kay Sharp, Trumbull DR&C

“When a union goes to the negotiating table with an employer, they are going with the full authority of every employee to fight for the workers’ rights, wages, and working conditions. Under a Right-to-Work law, the unions ability to carry out this duty is weakened. The union no longer has the full authority of every employee, and the employers gain the ability to circumnavigate the unions.”

Members' College Winners

Duanita Booker

Dept. of Agriculture

“The Right-to-work) initiative is about corporate interest, not the interest of the working class and their families. We will begin to see job decline as well as decreased wages and benefits such as healthcare, mandatory work week, health and safety. ”

Michael Dunton

Industrial Commission

“In 2017 i didn’t know if I was going to have a job or not when the OIC warehouse I worked in would be closed and the operations support dept. dismantled. After the union negotiated with management, union members were able to keep their job and move to a different location. I was promoted within the agency and am currently a Claims Examiner. If I was a Right-to-Work employee, I would not be employed right now, because a non-union organization could let me go for any reason.”

Spouses's College Winners

Laura Wertz

Spouse of Zachary Wertz, ODOT

“The benefits that come with being a public employee are a big draw to the career. Our union-negotiated healthcare has been a great help to our family. If wages were to be cut or were lower on average as in most Right-to-Work states, we would then be paying more for healthcare on a lower income.”

Zetta Keys

Spouse of Kenneth Keys, Allen-Oakwood DR&C

“With a national Right-to-Work law, union workers would have the option to work and not be part of the union by not paying their fairshare dues. Non-participation in the union weakens the union. It’s like using cheap materials on an expensive building, eventually the cutting of corners with cheap materials will be seen. Union representation will decrease at the bargaining table, union members will lose the ability to fight for better wages, insurance, working conditions, retirement and more.”