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.
The Union Education Trust’s newest trustee, Chris Buccieri, points out that new state employees are recruited by the great pay, health care benefits, and the education benefit.
“The state uses it as an advertisement,” Buccieri said. “Let me tell you something: Your union fought for that. Don’t forget who got you that.”
As the health and safety coordinator at Lorain Correctional Institution (LorCI), Buccieri talks to new hires not only about safety on the job, but also about the importance of the union.
“I want to educate new people so it will carry on,” he added.
Buccieri saw the value of OCSEA firsthand when he applied for the health and safety role. He began working at LCI 29 years ago as a correction officer. After 17 years, he became a locksmith at the institution. Six years ago, the health and safety coordinator role was open.
“I put in for the health and safety job and I met the minimum qualifications. I knew I did,” Buccieri said. “But they won’t tell you anything before they give the job to the person they want.”
A co-worker gave Buccieri the heads-up that interviews were being scheduled and OCSEA helped him get an interview. After that, it was up to him to get the job – which he did!
“I’ve seen those things go on and I was prepared for that, to be honest,” he said. “If it wasn’t for OCSEA, I wouldn’t have gotten the interview. I wanted a shot like everybody else. I deserve that.”
Buccieri had been serving on DR&C’s statewide health and safety committee as part of his role as locksmith.
“As health and safety coordinator, I’m there to help people and hopefully to prevent a lot of accidents,” he said. “When employees do get hurt, I help them through that process. I have compassion.”
“My role is to help people when they are generally in their worst time.”
Buccieri began his union activism at the chapter level as the treasurer. He held that role for 13 years and returned to it recently when it was open again. Education, training, and careful planning for the future are important to UET’s newest trustee.
“I want to be training my replacement again,” he said. “I believe in what we do so I want to train people to take over and take it to the next level.”
“I want to hand it off to people who are better than me. To train our next leaders to take over and continue this. There’s always room for improvement and development.” Referring to OCSEA/AFSCME power, Chris remarked, “Keep this green wave rolling!”
“It’s changed my life, I can tell you that,” he said.
Buccieri has served as a trustee for the Union Benefits Trust for four years and is vice president of OCSEA District 3.
“As a UBT trustee, you act as a fiduciary,” Buccieri said of his role. “I enjoy working to keep the Trust in its best possible financial shape and offer the best care to our members. I believe acting as a fiduciary for the fund allows me to work for the best outcome for the members.”
Now Buccieri is excited about his new role as UET trustee.
“I’m passionate about the UET because the members get a huge benefit out of it. I know so many people who have taken advantage of the fund and benefited from it,” he said. “UET offers life-changing opportunities.”
Buccieri has seen how technology and advancements have changed employment in the prison system. Training in mental health and legal issues as well as the use of body cameras and computer log books are just some of the examples of how the role of CO has changed in the last decades.
“It’s all changed,” he said. “Education is huge. To be competitive, the workforce needs skills. If you don’t have the education, you’re going to get outpaced.”
“Whatever age you are, you can’t quit learning,” he added.
UET offers opportunities for eligible state bargaining unit employees to improve their skills for their current job, get promoted to a different role, or focus on improving themselves.
“There are so many things that are covered with UET,” Buccieri said. “It’s all about advancing yourself.”
“UET is a golden opportunity, and the union is helping you with this,” he said.
Buccieri is considering how he can apply the benefit himself.
“Maybe I’ll take a labor class,” he said. “Maybe I’ll try that out.”