OAPSE Member Stories: Pam Thomas, Coshocton City Schools

Pam Thomas of OAPSE’s Coshocton City Schools Local 387, is an Attendance Secretary at the High School, but there’s so much more to Pam’s story. She started as a part-time cook for Coshocton City Schools back in the mid ‘80s, almost 40 years ago. During her first couple of years with Coshocton Schools Pam went from part-time to full-time cook, then to one-on-one aide, and finally to special needs bus aide. In 1991, Pam became a custodian for the district while still subbing as an aide, selling tickets at sporting events, and helping with ACT and SAT testing. In 2007, Pam became a media center aide. Before settling in at her current classification of secretary, Pam also served the district as both a bus driver and aide. Throughout Pam’s career in the school district, she has worked in every classification OAPSE Local 387 represents.

When Pam first became an aide, one of her co-workers talked to her about joining the OAPSE Local. When my co-worker explained the benefits of the union and how important it was to join, I signed up right away. Thomas explains. “Being with the school district for as long as I have, I can look back and see how signing that membership app way back when was beneficial for not only me, but all the members of my Local through the years.” Pam not only joined her Local union but has been one of its strongest activists. Over the years, Pam has served as Local President, Vice President, and Secretary, and is currently OAPSE’s Eastern District Secretary and a State PEOPLE Committee Member. “Pam has been such a great mentor to me.” Current Local 387 President Molly Thomas stated. “She is always willing to help and ALWAYS has her fellow OAPSE Local members best interests in mind. She has laid the groundwork for us to be able to accomplish so much as a Local in negotiations. I will be forever grateful for the guidance she has provided me and our Local.”

Pam was widowed in 1991 with two children and has since become a grandmother of two. Pam married Terry Thomas in 2011. Terry worked 33 years with United Steelworkers Local 4377 and was a union steward for 20 of those years. Terry also has two children and six grandchildren.

My OAPSE Local has had a lot of wins throughout the years, but maybe the biggest one was our latest contract! Thomas declared. “And that is thanks to the great work of our negotiating team, Local leadership, and OAPSE field representative.” That contract included a bonus payment to all members along with salary raises in each of the three years following the effective date. On top of those increases, the Local was able to get 10 new salary steps added to their pay scales. This was a huge win for longtime members like Pam Thomas. Previously, their pay scales only had 10 steps in total. Members like Pam, who topped out at step 10 in the past, will be getting 5 additional steps this year and 5 steps next year, on top of their negotiated raise and bonus. This is a major win for career school employees in the district and will have a significant impact on their annual earnings.

OAPSE has been winning settlements like Coshocton’s all around the state, but these victories only happen when Local membership numbers are strong, and our leaders are ready to fight for what our members deserve. Pam Thomas and her Local members are proof that, “When We Fight Together, We Win Together!”