Latest news! OCSEA member E-news July 6, 2022

Posted Jul. 6, 2022 by

Get Zoombezi bay 1/2 price tickets now Through July 31

Member-only HALF OFF discount tickets to Zoombezi Bay are available again! OCSEA members get half-off the price of water park tickets NOW through July 31, 2022. Ticket price also includes entrance into the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium.

1/2 price Zoombezi Bay ticket offer:
Learn how to purchase tickets online.
Username: CIVIL
Password: OCSEA11

Click the Zoombezi Bay tab to see the discounted ticket deal. Choose the Zoombezi Bay 1/2 Price Admission Special ticket option.

Get the full details and access to ALL summer discounts at (Member login required). Check out the year-round member discounts and deals while you're there.

Columbus Members! Attend a downtown union open house meet & Greet

The union will host several OCSEA Open Houses in downtown Columbus starting next week. OCSEA members, activists and new employees who work in downtown office buildings are encouraged to attend one of these upcoming lunchtime union events to learn more about their union benefits and getting involved in their local union chapters. All events will take place from 11AM-2PM at 65 E State St., Suite 1 (next to the Ohio Theater).

Representatives from the OCSEA Union Education Trust (UET) and the Union Benefits Trust (UBT) will be on hand to talk to members about their annual education benefits and premium free dental, vision and life insurance benefits. Members will also be able to update their contact information, get contract questions answered, have the opportunity to recommit to their union, sign the emergency pay petition and more. There will also be door prizes.

Event: Lunchtime OCSEA Open House and Meet & Greet

Location: 65 E State St., Suite 1, Columbus, OH 43215

Date and Time: All events are at lunch time: 11AM–2PM

  • Wednesday, July 13
  • Thursday, July 14
  • Tuesday, July 19
  • Thursday, July 21
  • Tuesday, July 26
  • Wednesday, July 27

freedom Comes with a union voice, a fair grievance process, pay raises and More

Union members know what real freedom is! Members of OCSEA who are under the State of Ohio contract saw a 3 percent raise July 1 (beginning with the July 15 paycheck) thanks to the freedom they have to negotiate a strong union contract. And this year, there is ZERO increase in the State health care premium, too.

In fact, union member wages overall continue to outpace employees in non-union jobs. In 2021, union members made nearly 20 percent more than their non-union counterparts. And 95 percent of union workers are afforded employer-provided health care, compared to 68 percent for non-union workers. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

“Real freedom is the ability to have a strong voice in the workplace, a fair grievance process, pay raises and step increases, vacation and sick leave, health care, dental and vision coverage that doesn’t break the bank and local leaders who negotiate local workplace issues,” said OCSEA Secretary-Treasurer Kathy Gersper. “Freedom has nothing to do with these tricks the Freedom Foundation plays on our members to try to get rid of our union,” she said, referring to one of their recent union-busting mailers.

OCSEA members don’t take these freedoms for granted either. For decades, before collective bargaining in 1983, OCSEA didn’t have a union contract at all. So Ohio public employees had no rights on the job, got literally pennies in raises (if any at all) and could be fired for any reason. Even today, OCSEA union activists know their union rights could be taken away with the stroke of a pen. Ten years ago, lawmakers and Governor Kasich tried to ram through Senate Bill 5 that would have crippled Ohio public employees’ ability to negotiate union contracts altogether.

But OCSEA members as well as teachers, police officers, firefighters and other public workers took to the streets. “Because we collectively fought back those attacks and put the measure on the ballot, Ohio public employees still have their union rights to collectively bargain and make gains at the bargaining table. And that’s why 9 in 10 OCSEA members sign up to become OCSEA members,” said Gersper.

“Because unions have real power, the Freedom Foundation and other extreme groups continue to try to get rid of public employee unions. It’s not a secret,” said Rocky Jolly, OCSEA Vice President. “They said the quiet part out loud: they want to 'defund and defang' unions. And that’s why they keep harassing our members to quit their union. But our members aren’t falling for it,” he said.

To learn more about the shady Freedom Foundation and their REAL motives go here:

Keep the rally momentum going: Write your local paper

On June 17, hundreds of OCSEA members came together for the Rally for Respect at the Ohio Statehouse. There is a growing concern that, as the pandemic shifts, the sacrifices of Ohio's essential workers will all but be forgotten. Impassioned, and at-times angry and emotional, member activist speakers told their personal, painful and heartbreaking stories of the pandemic and those of their union brothers and sisters. Where is the respect and compensation they deserve, they all asked? That, too, is all but forgotten.

But this rally was not the end. It is just the beginning. And now it's important that we take the momentum and solidarity of the rally back to workplaces and communities. This starts by educating our communities on the sacrifices of Ohio's public employees, and what the leaders of Ohio can do right now to show them the respect they deserve.

Writing a personalized letter to the editor to your local paper is a great start! Letters to the editor are among the most widely read features in most local papers. They allow you to reach a large audience and are a great way to start a community conversation about an issue important to you. It's also a great way to call on (and call out) elected officials to take action on an issue. Click for a sample letter: DOC| PDF

Here are a few tips on writing a local letter to the editor:

  • Keep it brief. (200 words is the average max limit)
  • Write the letter as a union member, not a public employee.
  • Make your point immediately: Tell the State of Ohio to compensate essential employees
  • Stay on point with your message:
    1) We worked and sacrificed for Ohio!
    2) We deserve to be paid!
    3) We know the State of Ohio has the funds to pay us!
  • Briefly talk about your public service job and the sacrifices you made.
  • Most letters can be submitted online. Go to your local paper’s website for an email address or submission form.
  • Include your full name, address and contact number and email.
  • Include your union chapter name/number. Contact the if you don’t know your chapter.

ICYMI! 2022 Les Best Scholarship winners Announced!

Last week, OCSEA announced the recipients of the 2022 OCSEA Les Best Scholarships. Ten awards were given in the Dependents' College and Members' College categories as well as two book scholarships for members. OCSEA’s Les Best Scholarship makes available a total of $12,000 in scholarships each year to OCSEA members, their dependents and spouses.

OCSEA's 2022 Les Best Scholarship winners:

Dependent’s College/Vocational

  • Isha Patil - parent, Prachi Thombarer, Ohio Dept. of Health
  • Isabelle Kolleth - parent, Adam Kolleth, Dept. of Youth Services
  • Tyler Edgar – parent, Gerald Edgar, Ohio Dept. of Rehabilitation and Correction
  • George Eric Morar II - parent, George Eric Morar, Ohio Dept. of Transportation
  • Ashley Lockhart - parent, Carl Lockhart, State of Ohio, SCI
  • Madeline Kocher - parent, Russ Kocher, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
  • Autumn Novak - parent, Adam Novak, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
  • Bailey Trusty - parent, Donald Trusty, Ohio Dept. of Transportation

Members’ College

  • Matthew Jakestic - Ohio Dept. of Public Safety
  • Michelle Washington – Ohio Dept. of Education