Your union newsletter - March 29, 2023

Posted Mar. 30, 2023 by


Taking a step further with the Union Education Trust

For Elisha Barnes, an Administrative Professional 2 in the Ohio Department of Transportation from Marietta, Ohio, going back to school has been all about growing. Her union-negotiated Union Education Trust (UET) has helped make that growth a reality.

“I just knew that I needed to take my education a step further to advance my career in ODOT. And, also, to be able to have those credentials when I retire as well,” said Elisha. But how was she going to afford it all she asked herself about heading back to school? Was it just an expensive pipe dream that was out of reach, she asked herself?

Moderately new to ODOT at the time, Elisha was reminded that she had an annual education stipend from her union that she could use to jump-start her college career. The Union Education Trust, the OCSEA-contractually bargained educational benefit, annually allocates up to $6,250 per year in tuition vouchers for higher education and skill-building. The Career Improvement Program (CIP), one of three available programs for members, offers up to $4,000 EVERY year for college-credit courses as well as Vocational Training and Specialty Education.

“Going back to school really does give us all an understanding of what it means to come full circle,” said Elisha, who says she couldn’t be happier about her decision. Read her story on Page 7 of the OCSEA magazine at

The Union Education Trust is where State of Ohio bargaining unit employees go for education assistance. This means an array of courses and schools are available that meet the UET's high eligibility standards for continuing education, training and so much more. Explore the Trust's programs and begin your journey shaping your future for tomorrow's jobs today. Check out the School and Course Search at Want more information on the UET and how it can help the members of your chapter explore their educational options or trainings? Contact the UET Associate Director Derek Urban at 614-865-2635 or


DAS releases health care contribution rates for FY24

The Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS) has announced the employee and employer shared health care contributions rates for the 2023-2024 enrollment year. This includes an increase for employees who participate in the Ohio Med Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) Plan as well as the other health plans. Medical cost increases occurred because the amount of claim payments were greater than the amount of contributions from both employees and the state. The employee/state contribution percentages as outlined in the OCSEA contract remain at 15% (employee)/85% (employer).

The FY24 biweekly rates for Ohio Med PPO employee contributions are as follows:

  • Single: $56.00 per employee ($2.40 difference per pay)
  • Family No Spouse: $153.40 per employee ($6.59 difference per pay
  • Family With Spouse: $162.63 per employee ($6.59 difference per pay)

The Joint Health Care Committee (JHCC), which includes OCSEA members, continues to monitor health care costs and works jointly on avenues that can bring about health care savings. The costs for employees and the state is increasing by 4.5 percent, below the 6 percent national average.

Updates to Employee Assistance Program kicks off April 1

The state’s Employee Assistance Program, Ohio EAP, will have a new third-party administrator beginning April 1 that will deliver services 24/7. ComPsych will assume management of the Ohio EAP program.

Ohio EAP and DAS say the new administrator and updates are the result of requests by employees for more privacy, more availability to clinicians, and a more robust EAP program. ComPsych will deliver new services, which will be available 24/7 to all state employees and their family members, including the following:

  • 24/7 access to behavioral health clinicians;
  • Six sessions per incident per year;
  • Well-being Coaching Program.

The Ohio EAP contact phone number will remain the same: 1-800-221-OEAP (6327). Online, mobile app support services will be available 24/7 beginning April 1. The ComPsych mobile app GuidanceNow is available via the App Store and Google Play.

ComPsych Website

OCSEA member scholarship deadline is April 30. Don't miss out!

March is coming to a close, and we are almost a month out from the OCSEA Les Best Scholarship deadline. The official deadline for the annual OCSEA scholarship program is April 30, 2023. This includes submission of the appropriate (member, dependent, or spouse) application and all required accompanying application items. Remember, OCSEA's Board of Directors offers up to $12,000 a year in scholarship money to OCSEA members as well as members' dependents and spouses. We urge you and members of your family to apply!

Get everything you need at Here's a quick rundown of what you need to do to apply:

  • Complete the application form
  • Submit acceptance letter or proof of enrollment for the Fall of 2023
  • Submit the essay
  • Submit the Academic/Professional Reference form (located in packet)
  • Provide a transcript (Dependents only)
  • Submit additional academic achievement records (Dependents only)
  • Meet the April 30 application deadline!

All application materials must be sent to:
OCSEA, ATTN: OCSEA Les Best Scholarship Fund,
390 Worthington Rd., Suite A,
Westerville, OH 43082

All application materials must be postmarked no later than April 30, 2023.

Les Best Website

Dependent Application

Member Application

Spouse Application

Member discount available at Toledo Zoo & Aquarium

OCSEA and AFSCME are excited to once again partner with the Toledo Zoo and Aquarium on member-only ticket discounts. Members who present their AFSCME or OCSEA membership ID card at the zoo ticket window with the printed coupon below are eligible for this discount. AFSCME member, including all OCSEA members, save $2 off per entrance ticket. This deal is available through Oct. 31, 2023.Click below to download the PDF coupon. Present the printed coupon and your current AFSCME or OCSEA Membership Card at the zoo ticket window.

To download the coupon and for current OCSEA member-only discounts and deals, visit

Women's History Month

Shout out to the women activists that serve on the OCSEA Committee on Minority & Community Affairs (CMCA). Their recent minority conference built solidarity and highlighted union attacks and inclusivity to build better communities.

Catch up on all of the Women's History Month spotlights this month at