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Season 5, Episode 98

Raccoon infestation adds to Ohio Social Security Office problems

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Guest Name:


Michael Murphy

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AFGE.org 

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President of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 3448, Michael Murphy, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss a workplace safety issue that forced an office in Ohio to temporarily close. Murphy also discussed the staffing shortages at Social Security Administration offices, which has limited the ability to assist the public, and also led to an office shutdown in Warrensville Heights, Ohio. 

AFGE Local 3448 represents almost 1,000 Social Security workers who work at 55 Social Security offices across Ohio. 

Social Security offices in Ohio have recently faced a few problems, including a temporary shutdown due to a raccoon infestation. The Middleburgh Heights office outside Cleveland was damaged due to the raccoons. After five months of complaints and OSHA filings, the office was finally shut down to resolve the infestation. Murphy explained how the situation at the office building escalated, including lights being knocked out, motion detectors falling out of the roof, and more. He talked about his efforts to address the problems, how the agency resisted and what he went through just to get into the office to finally view the problems.

While the Middleburgh Heights office could re-open after the damage is repaired, another office in nearby Warrensville Heights office closed in April due to short staffing. Murphy said that since 2011, most offices in the state are operating with staff levels 40 percent below normal, while there’s been an increase in people filing Social Security claims. The Social Security Administration thought working remotely would help resolve the staffing problems, but Murphy said it could never meet the growing demands. He talked about the different programs within the Social Security Administration that have been negatively impacted by the lack of staff.

Murphy is a fifth-generation union member from a long line of organizers and union leaders. His mother was an organizer with the Communication Workers of America and his grandfather was the head of a small steel union in Youngstown, Ohio. Murphy said his great-grandfather was kicked out of Pittsburgh for union organizing for the Steelworkers, and his great-great-grandfather organized coal miners in Western Pennsylvania. When it comes to the importance of unions and protecting and strengthening the voice of workers, he is well-informed.

Listen to the show above to hear more from Murphy on problems at Ohio’s Social Security offices.


America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

America’s Work Force Union Podcast is brought to you in part by our sponsors: AFL-CIO, American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of Musicians Local 4, American Alliance for Manufacturing, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Communication Workers of America, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 50, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Crafts, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6, Ironworkers Great Lakes District Council, The Labor Citizen newspaper, Laborers International Union of The National Labor Office of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, North America, North Coast Area Labor Federation, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Survey and Ballot Systems, United Labor Agency, United Steelworkers.

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