Annual OCSEA Veterans Conference celebrates service and sacrifice, honors member heroes
This past weekend, OCSEA activists came together at Mohican State Park to honor and celebrate their member veterans at the annual OCSEA Veterans Committee Conference. This included the presentation of OCSEA's Veteran and Veteran Supporter of the Year awards. It was a great weekend filled with camaraderie among veterans and supporters, as well as thoughtful speakers and tributes to veterans everywhere, past and present. See photos from the event.
The conference kicked off with the DR&C Honor Guard’s Presentation of Colors, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by Ohio Veterans Home union activist, Jeff Condo (Marines), the National Anthem by Chelsea Yeager of Lorain Chapter 4720, and the Missing Man Ceremony led by Mansfield Corrections activist, Carl VanBibber (Army). The mayor of Ashland, Matt Miller welcomed attendees with an ode to veterans: “We love our veterans and we always will. Because of what they’ve done, you’re able to enjoy the life you’re living today,” he said.
President Chris Mabe (Army) talked about the upcoming bargaining season and highlighted the impact of OCSEA members spreading the word about the importance of union solidarity. “[Labor] lifts all boats,” Mabe said. “As we’ve seen what happened with the UAW, with the Screenwriters Guild, citizens around this nation want unions, they want negotiated contracts, they want to be a part of the middle class, and that’s what we do,” emphasized Mabe.
Jared Smith, a past president of the Ohio State Association of Veterans Service Commission and 2019 OCSEA Veteran of the Year award winner, spoke next about the themes of leadership, teamwork, the principle of service before self, and the idea of being a part of something bigger than ourselves. Assistant Director Sean McCarthy of the Dept. of Veteran Services emphasized the value of state employees in our state-run Veterans Homes.
The conference closed with the presentation of the Veteran Supporter of the Year Award, and the Veteran of the Year Award by President Mabe and Veterans Committee Chair Doug Korba (Navy).
The OCSEA Veterans Supporter of the Year Award winner was William “Nick” Hill of Chapter 3510. “Veterans are proud of their service and sometimes too proud to ask for help. Being approachable is key in getting a conversation started, and it usually ends with them learning more about benefits and services available to them. They are more accepting of a helping hand from a fellow veteran that understands their struggles,” said Hill, who works as a Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialist for the Ohio Dept. of Job and Family Services.
The OCSEA Veteran of the Year Award was presented posthumously to David Maldonado of Chapter 4720. David recently passed away. He was a Correction Officer at Lorain Correctional Institution for 27 years and had served in the Army for 13 years. With heavy hearts, David's brothers and sisters of Chapter 4720 accepted the award on his behalf. He will never be forgotten, they said.
This Veterans Day Weekend, we are tremendously thankful to all members who have served and who have made the ultimate sacrifice. We encourage every OCSEA member to find a way to honor and celebrate the sacrifices of those veterans in their lives, communities and those who are no longer with us. We are honored to stand on this sacred land that so many men and women in service have fought hard to protect!
Click the graphic below to show your support for our veterans this Veterans Day Weekend:
Motor Vehicle Inspectors: A vital piece of the school bus safety puzzle
The Fall edition of the OCSEA magazine, The Public Employee Quarterly, has arrived at members' homes! We hope you're enjoying all the member spotlights that celebrate the dedication of Ohio's public employee union members.
That includes Rodney Parker, an OCSEA member with the Ohio Dept. of Public Safety. He is one of 45 Motor Vehicle Inspectors (MVIs) statewide, many of whom have the critical job of inspecting school buses and ensuring the safety of children using school transportation.
Rodney, who is headquartered in southeastern Ohio, is one of three state employees in that area for whom school bus safety is the center of their job. “I inspect about 530 school buses a year,” he said. Every school bus is inspected twice a year, including an annual inspection and a spot inspection, he explained. In total, MVIs statewide inspect more than 19,000 buses twice a year.
A 13-member School Bus Safety Group to help monitor school transportation safety and to review the rules and regulations around school transportation was recently formed by Governor DeWine. This important safety initiative came about after a tragic school bus accident that killed an 11-year-old in Clark County. The group is expected to make recommendations by the end of the year.
Thanks to Rodney, and all our statewide inspectors who keep us safe in so many aspects of our lives. Read more about Rodney and other dedicated OCSEA members at OCSEA.org/PEQ.
Get ready for bargaining NOW! Show support on social media, update contact information
If you haven't noticed, we're in the thick of things as we start to prepare for State Contract Bargaining in early 2024. Your OCSEA Bargaining Team has been elected, and now it's time for the important task of building support for the Team as they prep to head to the bargaining table. Around the country, there's been a lot of union contract buzz, from the UAW and writer and actor victories, collective labor actions are on the rise and gaining massive support. And the one element that connects them all? A strong, supportive union membership!!! And that's why the OCSEA Bargaining Team needs ALL YOUR support as they Fight to Win the strong contract you deserve.
BARGAINING TO DO LIST! SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
This week we're asking OCSEA State members to show their support for the OCSEA Bargaining Team on their social media pages. This includes updating your Facebook and Instagram profile pics and cover photos with OCSEA-approved graphics. WE URGE YOU TO KEEP THESE SUPPORT GRAPHICS UP THROUGHOUT BARGAINING!!!! We also encourage you to SHARE bargaining support posts on your social media personal pages and in your stories.
START SHARING! Download the OCSEA Bargaining 2024 Social Media Toolkit HERE. This will give you access to a Folder with bargaining support profile pic, cover photo, wall posts and story graphics that you can use on Facebook and Instagram. It will all be included in a ZIP file that you can save to your computer or phone.
Or visit OCSEA's social media pages to add the art to your pages and to share with co-workers, family and friends! Make sure you follow OCSEA on Facebook and Instagram to get bargaining updates and shareable graphics, stories and reels!
Visit the FULL Bargaining Toolkit at OCSEA.org/toolkit for more shareable items, including flyers.
MORE BARGAINING TO DO!
Here's what else you can do RIGHT NOW to support your Bargaining Team:
- Sign up for State bargaining mobile alerts. Text OCSEA2024 (no spaces!) to 237-263.
- Make sure you are getting all the bargaining updates. Sign up for union emails HERE.
- Update your contact information in your MyOCSEA profile at OCSEA.org/sign-in. Rather do it over the phone? Contact the OCSEA Member Resource Center (MRC) at 888-OCSEA11 (627-3211).
Send us your photos for Bargaining ad campaign
Calling all OCSEA members who LOVE to be in the spotlight!!! WE NEED YOU!!! In preparation for bargaining, we are currently building an ad campaign that celebrates OCSEA members and all the good public work you do! We want the Ohio public to be reminded that YOU always have their backs, and now it's time to have YOUR back as we fight for a strong contract. With that, we are in need of PHOTOS of OCSEA members in uniform (institutional uniforms, scrubs, safety attire, etc.) Don't wear a uniform? That's okay! We will also accept ANY photos of OCSEA members on the job, as permissible by the employer, as well as photos with co-workers and families. You can also send pictures with your OCSEA gear on, such as shirts, hats or jackets.
Want to be a STAR in an OCSEA bargaining ad campaign? Contact us TODAY! Email email@example.com or call Deirdre Wedig in OCSEA Communications at 614-865-2604. We will walk you through the process of taking and sending your photos that could possibly be used in a future OCSEA ad campaign over the next few months.
ICYMI: Click below for November bulletin board flyers
Winter zoo event discounts, including 1/2 off Wildlights
OCSEA members get discount tickets to three Ohio zoo winter events, including HALF OFF to the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium Wildlights. Additional discounts are also available for the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden Festival of Lights and the Toledo Zoo Lights Before Christmas (thanks to our union sister affiliate, AFSCME Council 8).
HALF OFF WILDLIGHTS
Now through November 17, OCSEA members can get HALF-PRICE tickets to the Columbus Zoo Wildlights! The tickets are valid any operating day November 17, 2023-January 7, 2024. Children under 3 are free. Get all winter event member deals at OCSEA.org/extras.