Your union, OCSEA, is calling for the state to use every resource at its disposal, including using the Rainy-Day Fund if necessary, to fill any state funding gap after the DeWine administration announced yesterday that it would freeze state hiring and ask agency cabinet directors to cut agency budgets by as much as 20 percent.
The union says there is no room for such cuts at a time when Ohioans need vital state services now more than ever, and that, in fact, efforts should be made to expand state and local services where they’re needed during the coronavirus outbreak.
“We know that the most important work in this state during the COVID-19 crisis is being done by essential staff—health care personnel, food service workers and of course, Ohio’s public employees on the front lines in our prisons, on our roads and in our state institutions for veterans, the disabled and mentally ill,” said OCSEA President Chris Mabe.
In the Ohio Dept. of Job and Family services alone, unemployment claims have exploded, with current employees scrambling to keep up with demand, union leaders said.
“Meat still needs to be inspected, water and air still needs to be clean, and safe roads still need to be maintained,” said Mabe. “This isn’t a wish list. This is a must-have list. It’s for the well-being and safety of Ohioans—even during a crisis like this,” he said.
Gov. Mike DeWine has also called on a freeze on contract hiring, which the union believes could be an avenue to look at ways to save even more money for the state.
OCSEA and its national union the American Federation for State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) are calling on Congress to immediately pass federal funding to help states and local governments. TAKE ACTION now at Fund the Front lines!
“Public employees are the safety net for the rest of Ohioans. They are the ones putting themselves at risk amid personal hardship day in and day out to keep the state running. They’re not just doing it now; they do it every day, 365 days a year,” said Mabe.
Get union coronavirus updates, including resources and information on grievances filed at OCSEA.org/covid-19.