Update from Executive Director Joe Rugola


To: OAPSE Members

From: Executive Joe Rugola

Date: February 10, 2021

Re: COVID Update

It has been almost a year since Governor Mike DeWine declared a state health emergency and closed our school buildings, libraries, Head Start agencies and other public institutions where OAPSE members work.

Since March, our union has been fighting to keep you keep safe when you returned to work and to ensure your job security, wages and benefits. We have been working with individual employers to make sure contract language is followed. And we’ve been to court when a few school districts have violated not only our contracts but state law. In fact, just a month age, OAPSE won the reinstatement of 209 employees at Willoughby-Eastlake City Schools when the superintendent tried to lay them off and strip them of health insurance right before the holidays. We won in court, but that case continues because the superintendent is up to his old tricks and has filed an appeal.  But we will stand with those members of locals 159 and 163 until the case is resolved in their favor.

At a broader level, our union continues to push for passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan put forth by President Joe Biden to fund states, local governments and schools, among other priorities.

OAPSE supports the plan as a starting point for Congress to put together a serious economic recovery package that includes flexible aid to state and local governments, education funding, public transit funding, increased unemployment benefits, direct cash payments, and funding for testing, contact tracing, vaccine distribution and PPE to wipe out the virus.

Front-line workers like our bus drivers, bus aides, food service workers, secretaries, librarians, educational assistants, custodians, maintenance employees, nurses and childcare providers have been working throughout the pandemic to keep communities safe and healthy. Now is not the time to withhold or restrict needed spending or cut essential workers. We need to pass the American Rescue Plan to help Americans who are suffering, to stimulate economic recovery, and to make sure OAPSE members can continue to do their jobs.

Congress still has to write the legislation, and we will keep you posted when the measures are introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

Until then, the OAPSE Executive Board, district and local leadership and staff will continue the fight to keep our members safe and to keep you working and getting your wages and benefits.

I look forward to seeing you all in person someday soon!

Stay safe and God bless.