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Members Take A Stand

Caring for the Kids

Betty Simmons-Talley
Betty Simmons-Talley
Bus Driver - Local 336, Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE)/AFSCME Local 4

In February, Betty Simmons-Talley joined 20,000 Ohioans who rallied at the state Capitol to protest S.B. 5 — a Senate bill that will strip workers of their rights, weaken the union and hurt the middle class. “That’s just not right,” she says. “I’ve been in the union for 30 years and I’ve never seen a vicious attack like this.”

A member of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE)/AFSCME Local 4, Simmons-Talley, 62, is a bus driver for the Columbus City Public Schools (Local 336). She’s concerned about the 575 other drivers who transport more than 32,000 students a day, navigating 220 square miles of bus routes through congested traffic and all kinds of weather. Many of them will be laid off.

“Kasich is hurting public service workers, our community and, most of all, our children,” points out Simmons-Talley, who is also a mother and grandmother. “I care for them deeply and today’s fight is about securing their future.” Photo: Jay Mallin

In the Beginning

Janice Bobholz
Janice Bobholz
Information Specialist – Dodge County Sheriff Dept., Exec. Board Member, Local 1323E, Council 40 (Wisconsin)

Janice Bobholz was in Horicon, Wis., where the first “counter punch” to Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) so-called “Budget Repair” bill was thrown on Feb. 24.

That night, 45 miles from Madison, Bobholz — a 22-year member of Local 1323E (Council 40) — told 200 protesters, “Walker underestimates the fact that belonging to a union is what makes us strong.” Throughout the next several weeks, Bobholz spoke at rallies, testified in the U.S. House of Representatives and appeared on national television. She also talked to rural folks in Dodge County “who are now understanding that this bill will cut services to farmers, the elderly and the less fortunate.”

But her most meaningful experience was taking nine-year-old son, Brian Samuel, to the demonstrations. “We have used this opportunity to teach Brian about democracy,” says the activist, whose husband, mother, brother, nieces and cousins also belong to AFSCME. “He seems to get it more than our own governor.” Photo: Rick Reinhardt

Devastating and Detrimental

Kelly Melies
Kelly Melies
Direct Care Worker, Marshall Rehabilitation Center, Local 2078, Council 72 (Missouri)

When Kelly Melies learned that Sen. Scott Rupp (R) filed a bill that would force the state to shut down habilitation centers across Missouri, the 37-year-old direct care worker was not pleased. “I tend to the needs of people who are medically fragile. It upsets me that legislators seem more interested in cutting costs than saving lives,” says Melies, a member of Local 2078 (Council 72).

In February, Melies and 30 other caregivers and family members went to the state Capitol to urge representatives not to vote for Senate Bill 56. “We want better living conditions for the developmentally disabled and dignity for ourselves as patient care workers. This bill is devastating and detrimental to the people we serve.”

Thanks to the valiant efforts of AFSCME activists, the bill did not become law. Photo: Jay Mallin

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