To: OAPSE Members
From: Executive Director Joe Rugola
Re: A Holiday Message and Looking Forward to 2022
Date: December 21, 2021
I hope and pray that this holiday season sees you and yours able to enjoy Christmas together. This Christmas and New Year finds us still facing the challenges raised by the COVID pandemic. While there is definitely the Christmas spirit in the air, there is also the cloud of uncertainty hanging over us. As we move in to 2022, one thing that is certain in our lives is the voice of OAPSE raised on behalf of our members all over the state of Ohio.
As OAPSE has done over nearly a century of work to improve the lives of our members, we will stay on the job fighting for better wages, benefits, and a secure retirement as well as the respect our people so richly deserve.
That is why, over the last three years alone, more than 7,000 workers in our public schools, DD’s, Head Starts, libraries and community colleges have signed up to be part of our union. Those workers know that regardless of the noise and lies generated by anti-union forces, OAPSE leads the way toward a more secure life for school bus drivers, custodial and maintenance workers, secretaries and clerical employees, food service workers and educational assistants in every county in Ohio.
Just in 2021, OAPSE negotiated more than 250 contracts with employers in Ohio winning wage and benefit improvements and salary bonuses in recognition of the heroes work done for our kids and the public in the face of the dangers passed by COVID. Our union also turned back efforts by just a few employers to lay-off our members during the pandemic. By taking our case to the courts and directly to the communities we serve, OAPSE sent a clear signal to employers everywhere that we would not stand for attempts to cut vital jobs and punish our people while protecting highly paid administrators. Enforcing our contracts and our legal rights has been, and will continue to be, the priority for our union regardless of the challenges we face.
We have also made real progress in securing more funding from both the state and federal governments to support the critical work our members do every day. Our years of work to reverse the Social Security Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) have also begun to bear fruit. Hundreds of members of Congress have signed on to support our fight and we will continue to push for the reversal of those laws which deprive our current and future retirees of thousands of dollars a year in benefits they and their spouses worked a lifetime to enjoy.
As you experience time with family during the holidays, know that your union, OAPSE, will always be at work to protect the livelihood you have eared.
God Bless You, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Holidays!