Westerville – Members of the largest state employees’ union, the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association, just ratified a 3-year contract with the State of Ohio that calls for an 8.5 percent general wage increase, the maintenance of a 15/85 premium health care split, a first-time vacation cash-out for eligible employees and an increase in shift differential for second and third shift employees from $.35 to $.60 per hour.
The OCSEA Bargaining Team kept focused on members’ biggest priorities: getting money into members’ pockets that wouldn’t be eaten up by major increases in health care. “The union bargaining team succeeded in those areas most important to our membership, especially wages. Our wage increase shows a significant gain over the average public sector contract in Ohio and in other states,” said OCSEA President Chris Mabe. The State Employee Relations Board wage gain average is about 2.2-2.3 percent per year, or 6.6-6.8 percent over three years.
Under the contract agreement, OCSEA bargaining unit members will receive a 2.75 percent general wage increase in 2018, a 2.75 percent increase in 2019 and a 3 percent increase in 2020, for a total of 8.5 percent.
The parties deadlocked before a mediator in April on wages, health care, schedules, overtime and work area agreements. A Fact Finder was called in to make final determinations on those issues.
Like three years ago when the union held off all health care changes until the third year, this time the Fact Finder called for plan design changes in the third year of the contract, as well as an increase in brand name prescription drugs beginning in July. However, generic drugs won’t increase over the life the contract. In addition, the Fact Finder called for all institutional employees to be subject to overtime instead of only those with little seniority.
OCSEA members overwhelmingly approved the contract with nine out of every ten members voting yes.