Update: Coalition Building with Columbus Janitors, SEIU Local 1
The OEA Organizing Department has been working to build OEA’s alliances with other Ohio unions. In the education field, we’ve been collaborating on Higher Education issues as described in this issue (see Campus Equity Week article). We also recognize that OEA members have much in common with the struggles of private sector workers as they seek respect and fair treatment on the job.
OEA members and leaders have participated in more than a dozen press conferences, rallies, pickets, strikes, and other actions with Columbus Janitors, members of SEIU Local 1. The actions have dramatically turned the tide of once-stalled negotiations, with new dates scheduled for the beginning of December, and the union is optimistic a fair settlement can be reached.
Central Ohio Region Blood Services workers, who organized last year with UFCW Local 1059, fought for more than a year to obtain a first contract in the face of an intense union-busting campaign. When the UFCW appealed for community assistance, OEA sent a letter to the Red Cross CEO explaining that we would no longer hold blood drives until workers were treated fairly. Along with similar letters from other allies, this pressure brought the Red Cross back to the table, and a fair contract was ratified by a vote of 98-7 on November 10th. We are happy to report that the UFCW is now encouraging members of the community to support Red Cross Blood Drives and our new union brothers and sisters!