Post-Rally for Respect: Keep the solidarity going

Posted Jun. 21, 2022 by

Keep the solidarity going, take action post-Rally for Respect

Last Friday, hundreds of OCSEA members were joined by AFSCME International President Lee Saunders, U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan and other labor supporters in a Rally for Respect at the Ohio Statehouse. With growing concerns that the sacrifices of Ohio's public employees are being quickly forgotten as the pandemic shifts, OCSEA union members rallied to remind those who run the state that they are still working hard for Ohio and deserve respect and compensation. Read the Union Press Release.

Union activists from every corner of the state made their voices heard saying decision-makers throughout state and local government are turning a blind eye to their sacrifices. A recent decision by an arbitrator to side with management claiming the pandemic was not an emergency, so emergency pay wasn’t warranted for state employee union members, was a slap in the face to Ohio’s essential public employees.

“Our members showed up. They were professional and effective. Every day they walked into settings that would potentially get them sick, get their families sick or… worse,” said OCSEA President Chris Mabe to the crowd. “To say this wasn’t an emergency is absolutely ridiculous,” he said.

Impassioned, and at-times angry and emotional member activist speakers included Wilson Humphrey, a Circleville Juvenile Correction Officer, Brian Miller, a Marion Correction Officer, Sabrina Bell, an ODOT union activist, and Jeana Campolo, a DODD Therapeutic Program Worker. All told their personal, painful and heartbreaking stories of the pandemic and those of their union brothers and sisters.

The member activists and Pres. Mabe also encouraged activists to build on the momentum of the rally by taking the calls to action back to their workplaces and communities.

"This is just the beginning," said Mabe. "We made our presence known on the Statehouse stairs. We showed we are powerful and have allies that have our backs. Now we need take it to the next level by continuing to tell our stories of public service and sacrifice during the pandemic in every community in Ohio," he says.

Post-Rally for Respect: What you can do at home

  • Hold a rally or informational picket outside your workplace or in your community;
  • Sign the paper petition to the DeWine administration demanding it pay an Essential Employee Bonus to those public employees who worked since the pandemic began (look for petitions in your worksite in the coming weeks);
  • Write a letter to Gov. DeWine demanding compensation for the pandemic;
  • Write a letter-to-the-editor to your local newspaper about the work you do and the struggles you face, and demand respect and compensation;
  • Talk to elected officials about your workplace struggles and invite them to your workplace;
  • Attend a local chapter union meeting to see how you can get more involved in union activism;
  • Attend an upcoming union training. This includes Basic Steward Training and an upcoming OCSEA Leadership training; 
  • Continue to hold management accountable and stand up for your union contract. 
  • Want to get involved in post-rally activities? Contact your chapter leadership and union staff representative.