12 Days of Christmas: OCSEA's celebration of all things union

It's that time of year again! That's right! It's OCSEA's 12 Days of Christmas! This festive 12 days of raffle prizes is the perfect way to say thank you to our proud union members this holiday season. It's also a reminder of the value that comes with being in a union and standing in solidarity as we head into state contract negotiations! OCSEA's 12 Days of Christmas prize drawing starts Monday, December 4 and ends December 15!

If you’re an OCSEA member (any state or local gov't member), beginning on December 4 and for the 11 days that follow, you will be automatically entered into a drawing for some really great prizes. This includes an X-Box, Playstation 5, Apple IPad, Meta Oculous, laptops and 65 inch televisions. No entering is required. You only have to be an active OCSEA member to be entered.

12 Days of Christmas: The gifts of being union

This year, OCSEA is doing the 12 Days of Christmas union-style! Forget the "five golden rings" or "drummers drumming." The gifts of union membership are much more valuable than that. Below, see our union version of the classic 12 Days of Christmas carol highlighting some major benefits that come with being an OCSEA union member. If you scroll further, you will see all the winners of the OCSEA 12 Days of Christmas gift giveaway.

🎵 On the first day of Christmas, my union gave to me🎵 —

(click to open)

On the first day, let's talk about the contract benefit of Vacation Cash outs. Thanks to the union-negotiated Annual Vacation Leave Conversion, OCSEA members under the State of Ohio contract are offered the opportunity to cash out a maximum of 40 hours of unused accrued vacation leave every single year. And this couldn't come at a better time! This conversion takes place every December, which is a huge help to members and their families during the holidays and as they settle end-of-year debt and expenses. Basically, it puts your hard-earned benefits right where you need them! You can learn all about this union-negotiated benefit in Article 28.07 of the OCSEA State Contract.
On the second day, let's talk about the contract benefit of Leaves. The many different leaves under the State and Local Gov't contracts, allow union members and their families the time off to take care of their families, to take care of themselves and to take care of each other. This is true for families with children, single adults as well as those with aging parents. Union leaves allow OCSEA union members to have a life. Union workers are more likely to have paid leaves as compared to non-union workers. Union workers also are more likely to be able to stay home and seek medical care or care for their family members which helps strengthen our communities. Additionally, state employees can convert to cash (up to 80%) any part of their sick leave accrued in a year and not used. Learn more about the many kinds of leaves in OCSEA's State Contract or in your local union contract.
On the third day, let's talk about the contract benefits that help families with child care expenses. Unions mean family, and a union contract means making sure parents can take much needed time off with their newborns and adopted children. The OCSEA contract ensures all employees who work thirty or more hours per week are eligible for paid Adoption/Childbirth leave upon the birth or adoption of a child for care, bonding and/or acclimation of the child. Parents who adopt can also take a financial stipend of $5,000 to help with expenses if leave is not necessary. Additionally, the contract allows for leave in the event of a stillbirth, one of very few contract articles of its kind in the nation. Bereavement is also in the contract in the event of a miscarriage. Thankfully the union contract also sets parameters that ensures the employer and the union meet to discuss communication of important pre-tax dependent care reimbursement programs so employees have the tools they need to plan for costly childcare expenses. Learn more in the Article 30 of OCSEA Contract or in your local union contract.
On the fourth day, let's talk about the contract benefit of Health and Safety. OCSEA has a long history of fighting for the well-being of the rank-and-file membership. Health and safety labor/management committees across state agencies and local governments have been a mainstay for this union and continue to have a strong say in making workplaces safe. Through the years, OCSEA activists have fought for and won numerous health and safety contract provisions including: ongoing safety training; personal protective clothing and equipment; clean drinking water; safe building conditions; a hazard-free work environment; and violence prevention guidelines. That’s because strong contract language requires management to take the union’s demands seriously and be responsible for member’s health and safety. Learn more in the OCSEA State Contract under Article 11 – Health and Safety.
On the fifth day, let's talk about the contract benefit of having a say in telework or remote work. A Letter of Agreement regarding remote work was negotiated during the last round of State contract bargaining that put OCSEA members at the table in discussions of telework in state agencies. This was especially important during the COVID pandemic to keep union members safe. Because of this, numerous agreements have been reached at the local level to allow OCSEA members to work remotely or in a hybrid environment. In the OCSEA State Contract, you can read more about this under Article 8 – Labor/Management Committees.
On the sixth day, let's talk about the contract benefit of a union education. At OCSEA, we want our members to succeed, and that means making education a top priority. Thanks to the union-negotiated Union Education Trust (UET), eligible State OCSEA members can receive up to $6,250 annually in educational assistance. Each fiscal year (July 1-June 30), members can use those funds to advance their education and further their careers with this "no-cost-to-you" union benefit. UET financial assistance can be used toward college-credit courses, vocational training, and specialty education; computer training courses; short-term training opportunities (including conferences, workshops, and seminars); and labor/management training. Learn more about the union’s educational benefit at UEdTrust.org.
On the seventh day, let's talk about the contract benefit of eye and dental coverage. The union-negotiated Union Benefits Trust (UBT) offers PREMIUM FREE dental and vision insurance benefits to thousands of Ohio union members and their dependents. They provide legal services and life insurance. These no-cots, high-quality benefits are available to state employees in OCSEA, District 1199/SEIU, FOP, CWA and more. The Union Benefits Truss lobbies on behalf of union members and fights to ensure that health costs aren't shifted onto families despite ever-rising health care costs. Read more about the UBT is Article 21 of the OCSEA State Contract.
On the eighth day, let's talk about the contract benefit of Holidays. OCSEA members under the State contract receive 11 union-negotiated holiday days off each year. This allows them to spend time with their families and take a load off. Studies have shown that taking time away from the job can have physical and mental health benefits. People who take time off have lower stress, less risk of heart disease, a better outlook on life, and more motivation to achieve goals. That’s good for all of us. And don’t forget, the contract ensures that employees required to work on a holiday will be compensated at 1 1/2 times their pay (or equivalent comp time). This additional compensation is so important, especially when members can’t be with their families. Read more about these benefits in Article 26 – Holidays of the OCSEA State Contract.
On the ninth day, let's talk about the contract benefits that come with strong local contracts. OCSEA has 12 local contracts throughout Ohio. These individual collective bargaining agreements – totally separate from the State Contract – are all negotiated by the members in those localities, including counties, towns and townships. That’s right! They work side-by-side with their brothers and sister to bargain with local officials for strong contracts that promote public work, sustain communities and retain qualified, skilled workers that our communities deserve. Take Mount Vernon City, for example, whose union leaders used worker leverage to hold their own at the bargaining table and fight for a well-deserved wage increase this year.
On our tenth day, let's talk about the contract benefit of labor/management committees and all our union volunteers. The nuts and bolt work of the union is done at the local level by volunteer leaders. And often it’s labor/management committees that are the workhorses for these local union leaders to get things done for their members. Labor/management committees deal with everything from worksite health and safety, short staffing training, contracting out, workplace conflicts, contract violations and more. Larger, statewide labor/management committees deal with issues for whole agencies or whole classifications. For example, a Joint Information Technology Committee (also called the 8.05 Committee) has been leading the charge in addressing issues among IT classifications involving recruitment and retention, training and career development as well as upgrades for IT classifications.
On our eleventh day, let's talk about the contract benefit of Health Care for our families. OCSEA has fought tooth and nail for affordable health care plans that don’t break the bank and that keep our members and their families healthy. Where others have required high deductible health care plans, this union has been able to fend that off and negotiate affordable, traditional plans at both the state and local government levels. The union has also had success in keeping deductibles well under comparable contracts and preventing across-the-board increases in the premium split, which stands at 85/15. Additionally, the Joint Health Care Committee (JHCC), made up of labor and management representatives, meets all year long to watch over the State health care program for our members and help in its administration. OCSEA’s union-negotiated health care plans save union members’ thousands of dollars a year in out-of-pocket health care costs. To learn more about your union negotiated health-care benefits, go to Article 20 under the State Contract or review your local contract.
On our final day, let's talk about the contract benefit of wage increases. In 2021, the State of Ohio and OCSEA Bargaining Teams agreed to a wage package that is the largest for state employees since the 2006-2008 contract, even though a possible recession and economic uncertainty during the pandemic plagued the bargaining discussions. Despite management initially wanting state employees to take a 4 percent pay cut, the final agreement gave a 9 percent wage increase to state employees over the three years of the State contract. That meant state employees received a 3 percent increase in 2021, a 3 percent increase in 2022 and will receive another 3 percent increase in 2023, beginning with the July 1 paycheck. The annual wage percentage was far above the average per year of other public contracts in Ohio, which was 2.1 percent. That’s union solidarity in action!

Learn more about OCSEA's State and local union contracts in the OCSEA.org Toolbox.

12 Days of Christmas Prize Winners

For 12 days total, one OCSEA member's name is drawn each day for a prize. The daily winners are listed below. To win, you have to be an OCSEA active member in good standing. All members are automatically entered into the daily drawings that take place December 4 through December 15. 

  • Day 1 Winner: Thomas J. Wilcher - Fairfield/Perry Chap. 2320
    Prize: Ninja Woodfire Pizza Oven
  • Day 2 Winner: Kenneth L Daszczuk - Warren Correctional Chap. 8330 
    Prize: Sony - PlayStation 5 Slim Console – Marvel's Spider-Man 2 Bundle
  • Day 3 Winner: Isaac Akporido - Pickaway Correctional Chap. 6550
    Prize: Meta Quest 2 VR headset
  • Day 4 Winner: Michelle R. Thrash - Main Highway Safety Chap. 2505
    Prize: HP - 15.6" Full HD Laptop
  • Day 5 Winner: Palmoneda O’Brien - Central Ohio Corrections Chapter 2597
    Prize: XBox
  • Day 6 Winner: Stephen Elder - Dayton Correctional Chapter 5725
    Prize: Meta Quest 2 VR headset
  • Day 7 Winner: Stacy Handorf  - Health Chapter 2560
    Prize: Apple IPad
  • Day 8 Winner: Timothy T Collins;= - State Office Tower Chapter 2545
    Prize: 65 inch SmartTV
  • Day 9 Winner: Diane Bammerlin Ohio EPA Chapter 2528 -
    Prize: HP - 15.6" Full HD Laptop
  • Day 10 Winner: Michael W Cash Warren/Greene/Clinton Chapter 8320 -
    Prize: HP - 15.6" Full HD Laptop
  • Day 11 Winner: Mark D Rittenhouse Dayton Correctional Chapter 5725 -
    Prize: 65 inch SmartTV
  • Day 12 Winner: Alexandria Calliens Cuyahoga Hills DYS Chapter 1830 -
    Prize: HP - 65 inch SmartTV

Make sure OCSEA has your updated personal email and contact phone number so we can be sure you are notified if you win a prize. Go to our website to update your contact information HERE.