In an amazing example of solidarity, hundreds of OCSEA activists came together this past weekend for OCSEA's President's Conference.
Union leaders showed their support for public service, stood proudly against Right to Work and any candidate who supports it, and vowed to do what it takes to get out the vote this November. This kick off to OCSEA's Get Out the Vote season featured voter registration, workshops on mobilization and speakers who always advocate for public employees and their jobs.
Special guest speaker, Richard Cordray, Director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Agency, said public employees work hard with little recognition. But he said he will never forget all that public servants, like OCSEA members, do for the state and the country. As head of the new federal consumer watchdog agency, Cordray has worked hard to fight big banks and corporations from taking advantage of hard-working Americans.
U.S. Senate candidate Ted Strickland spoke why he keeps running for public office. “People say to me how come you are doing this? I am doing this because I came from working people. I am working people! And I'm here to help working people,” he said. He also spoke about the necessity of increasing the minimum wage because expenses have increased such as health care and "we are hard working people who deserve better wages."
AFSCME International President Lee Saunders thanked OCSEA activists for their dedication, services, and selfless work for their communities. He also spoke about how public employees continue to strengthen themselves every single day by standing together. Saunders said the best way to communicate with members is through one-on-one communication, not by using iPads and cell phones. “We have talked to 500,000 members through one on one communication of 1.6 million members.”
Guest speakers also included Ohio Senator Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni, Ohio Senator Capri Cafaro, and Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper, all advocates for public workers, opponents against privatization and Right to Work, and huge supporters of the right to collectively bargain.
See the photo gallery.