OCSEA 35th Biennial Convention

Top News

At this year's 35th Biennial Convention, two chapters were honored for their Labor Gives Back efforts. We were happy to honor Grafton Correctional Chapter 4710 and Ashtabula Chapter 400 as the co-recipients of this year’s Bob White Labor Gives Back Award. Both chapters continue to carry the torch of community service, just as the award's namesake, Bob White, did in life.

In an amazing show of union solidarity and humanity, OCSEA convention delegates came together yet again for another important cause. In this case, it was to help raise donations for union sisters and brothers greatly impacted by the Maui wildfires. Nearly 300 AFSCME members are from the devastated town of Lahaina. 

Hey OCSEA Convention delegates! Tell us what you think! Take the OCSEA 35th Biennial Convention Survey.

Featured Speakers

Lee Saunders

AFSCME International President

Friday morning general session.

Lee Saunders is the president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, a union of 1.4 million public service workers. He was elected at AFSCME’s 40th International Convention in June 2012, after serving two years as the union’s secretary-treasurer.

Saunders began his career as a state employee in his native Ohio, where he was a member of the AFSCME-affiliated Ohio Civil Service Employees Association (OCSEA). First joining AFSCME’s staff in the late 1970s as a labor economist, he has played a lead role in several major organizing campaigns, contract negotiations and political mobilizations across the country. Saunders has also served as administrator of a number of AFSCME councils and large locals, including District Council 37, New York City’s largest public employee union.

Saunders was raised in a union household in Cleveland, where his father was a city bus driver and a member of the Amalgamated Transit Union. He received a Master of Arts degree from Ohio State University in 1974, a year after earning his Bachelor of Arts degree from Ohio University.

Saunders and his wife, Lynne, live in Washington, DC. They have two sons, Lee Jr. and Ryan, three grandsons and one granddaughter.


Featured Speaker

Tim Burga

Ohio AFL-CIO President

Friday morning general session.

Tim Burga was unanimously re-elected as Ohio AFL-CIO President 2022, a seat he has held since January 2011. The Ohio AFL-CIO represents over 1 million union workers and retirees from 40 international unions in the public, private and federal sectors of employment. Tim is a third-generation member of the United Steelworkers and grandson of a union coalminer. 

Tim also serves as the Vice Chairman of “We Are Ohio,” the non-profit organization designed to promote issues of social, civic, and economic justice.  He is also President of the Central Region State Officers of the AFL-CIO.  

As President, Tim oversaw the federation’s statewide campaign to place a referendum on the ballot to overturn Senate Bill 5, and th.e election to defeat Issue 2 to preserve collective bargaining rights for Ohio’s public employees.

Tim began as  the Ohio AFL-CIO Legislative Director in 2002.He led the successful effort to pass State Issue 2 as a Constitutional Amendment to raise Ohio’s minimum wage/cost of living index. He also managed the successful legislative campaign to create Ohio’s Best Rx, a discount drug program for seniors and the underinsured.


Featured Speaker

Christopher Mabe

OCSEA President

Long-time union activist Christopher Mabe is a Corrections Sergeant at the Lorain Correctional Institution. He has served as OCSEA President since 2011. With over 20 years working in Ohio’s prison system, Mabe has been a long-time critic of private prisons. He has also been an outspoken opponent of attacks on collective bargaining and led OCSEA in the successful fight to repeal Senate Bill 5.

He was elected to the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System (OPERS) Board in 2014, giving labor a seat back at the pension table. He is an International Vice President of AFSCME International, an Ohio AFL-CIO Executive Board Member as well as the Chair of We Are Ohio. He also occupies the prestigious labor seat on the Ohio Department of Veterans’ Services Committee.

He served as OCSEA’s Vice President from 2007-2011 and is a graduate of the Harvard University Trade Union Program.

Featured Speaker


This quick guide has been developed to help delegates understand the process of the OCSEA Biennial Convention. We hope it helps make you an active and more knowledgeable participant in the convention process. You will need this document for the New Delegate Workshop. 

Committees lead business of the union at the OCSEA Biennial Convention and give recommendations to the delegation regarding delegate counts and seating, elections, constitutional changes, rules and more. Each committee is led by a committee chair, co-chair and staff liaisons. 

The Election Committee oversees the election of OCSEA statewide officers: President, Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer. The committee makes sure the election is conducted properly and fairly, which includes monitoring voting machines and overseeing the counting of the ballots. The Election Committee also oversees nominations, seconding speeches and candidate acceptance speeches.


To see the full list of events by day, visit the Agenda page.