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As part of our ongoing efforts to share information, the UET Online Magazine features important announcements on events and learning opportunities for bargaining unit employees. Listed below are links to specific timely information for UET Members. Create or update your User Profile by clicking MyUET to receive program updates and the UET Online Magazine by e-mail.

Issue 20: 3/31/2023

Meet your Trustees: Leslie Tilton

Meet your Trustees: Leslie Tilton

The newest member of the Union Education Trust’s Board of Trustees, Leslie Tilton, describes herself as both compassionate and authoritative. Others have described her as passionate – about people and their rights.

She’s equally passionate about education.

“The key to everything is education: It forms you,” Tilton said. “The more I learn, the more I want to teach others, and the more I want to keep learning.”

Tilton was appointed to the UET board in December, combining her passions for lifelong learning and empowering eligible bargaining unit employees.

“I get energy from that: people energize me,” she said. “I’ve always worked with people and I’m really good with people.”

Her personality has been refined by more than 25 years of employment in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. She began as a corrections officer at Chillicothe Correctional Institution (CCI) in 1997. Tilton transferred to Noble Correctional Institution (NCI) and began working in the business office/cashier’s office in 2004. After a position in the cashier’s office at Pickaway Correctional Institution (PCI) as well as a year-long position as a case manager there, Tilton took a correctional records management position in Columbus when all records were moved to the central office in 2012. She became a financial analyst in 2017.

“The thing I like about my job is numbers can’t argue with you,” Tilton said. “They’re always right!”

Prior to working with DR&C, Tilton worked at a non-profit organization that provided group homes for adults with developmental disabilities. Funding was eliminated and Tilton got laid off.

“I knew someone in corrections so I applied and got in,” Tilton said. “Coming from the kinder, gentler side of MRDD/MH, it was a good balance.”

“I’m a really kind person, but also authoritative as well,” she added. “If I say something, I mean it.”

Tilton grew up in a union household in Cambridge but wasn’t a union member until she began working for the state. She took that to a new level of leadership and action with the central office chapter in Columbus. During her first six months of probation, she got all her steward certifications from OCSEA, so when she was off probation, it was “game on.” Tilton wanted the chapter members to know their union rights.

“I’m one of those people: The harder. you are on me, the better I become,” she said. “I draw my strength out of negativity.”

Tilton focused on educating bargaining unit members on the contract, even if that meant looking up information together – learning together.

“Sometimes members come to you with just venting, and I had to learn that,” Tilton said. “I’d give them the contract book and say ‘Read it; we’ll talk in a couple days about what applies.’”

Tilton had been studying nursing in 1997 when she began working for the state. At NCI in 2004, she began using UET for her schooling and as a chapter officer encouraged fellow chapter members to learn about the benefit too.

“I was in school before corrections, but then I absolutely took advantage of my vouchers and benefits,” she said. “I thought ‘This is great!’”

Tilton switched her major to sociology/criminology but as a single mom of four children she wasn’t able to make the drive to on-campus classes. So, Tilton designed her own degree and created her own program in corrections and management. As a result, she has an associate’s degree in arts and social sciences and a bachelor’s degree in corrections and management.

“My college was always as an adult student,” Tilton said. “That’s OK. I think it’s actually a smarter way to go because you’re more organized as a person.”

Tilton sees growth opportunities in much of her life experiences: “There’s a learning aspect in every experience,” she said. “Maybe I need to critique myself. When you have someone who is opposing you, you can see angles to things you wouldn’t normally see.”

“Education equals empowerment!” she said.