November 23, 2016
Union members and staffers who wish to understand the coming changes in worker safety rules and regulations will be among those attending the 2016 Conference of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH), to be held in Linthicum Heights, Maryland, just outside Baltimore, from Dec. 6-8.
To sign up for the conference, register here.
The event will be an opportunity to discuss:
- how to organize in a new political and economic environment;
- what to expect from employers and regulatory agencies like OSHA, MSHA and others;
- and how we can support each other in our workplaces, states and local communities.
In addition to union members and staffers, participants will include workers’ centers seeking new ways to protect undocumented and vulnerable populations; COSH groups trying to understand how the future will play out for non-profits; and occupational health and safety professionals seeking new ways to share and expand best practices in workplace safety.
COSH is a federation of local and statewide committees and coalitions on occupational safety and health. COSH groups are private, non-profit coalitions of labor unions, health and technical professionals, and others interested in promoting and advocating for worker health and safety.
Attend the COSH 2016 Conference by registering here.
by Clyde Weiss | November 24, 2016
It's not the number of possible recipes for your Thanksgiving meal. It's the number of Americans who work in private-sector retail, many of whom are required to work on the holiday rather than spend the entire day with their families. Some of them have more rights, thanks to their union.
The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) represents thousands of these dedicated employees nationwide. They are encouraging you to support union-friendly retailers. That includes fashion retailer Zara, Modell’s Sporting Goods and Macy’s. Also Bloomingdale’s, H&M, Book Culture and Harry’s Shoes, just to name a few. All are businesses where the employees have rights and a voice on the job through RWDSU.
"These workers have strong union contracts that give them strong wages and benefits, and mandate fair scheduling practices,” RWDSU says. “But for countless non-union retail workers, the 21st century presents a number of challenges.”
So as you sit down with your family for that special meal, please remember that there are many who can’t. They’re retail workers without a voice on the job who will be there waiting when you’re done with your feast – and on Black Friday. They deserve better. So let’s give them some respect and support when you’re shopping.
by AFSCME Staff | November 21, 2016
Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends and food. Lots of food. Whether you're going for the traditional turkey, stuffing and gravy or celebrating in your own way, chances are you are headed to the grocery store at least once in the next few days.
People choose their grocery stores for all sorts of reasons: because it's close to home, because of quality and certainly because of price. But as you're deciding where to shop this Thanksgiving, there's another important factor to keep in mind: which stores support our union sisters and brothers.
The United Food and Commercial Workers represents supermarket employees all across the country, in many different stores. We all know union workers make more money, have better benefits, have a more secure retirement, and work in safer conditions than non-union workers. So what better way to send a message and strike a blow for fairness this Thanksgiving than to shop at union stores?
Some of the bigger chains with employees represented by UFCW include Safeway, Shop Rite, and Super Fresh. For a complete list, click here. And once you’re in the store, you can buy union-made food too!
by Kenneth Quinnell, AFL-CIO | November 19, 2016
Before you put together your Thanksgiving dinner shopping list, check our list of union-made in America food and other items that are essential to a traditional family Thanksgiving feast. Speaking of thanks, a big thank you to the Union Label and Service Trades Department (ULSTD), Union Plus and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor's resource site, Labor 411, for compiling their extensive catalogs of union-made products.
Here are some of the best union-made Thanksgiving eats and cookware from the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM); Machinists (IAM); United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW); and United Steelworkers (USW).
- Keebler (Kellogg) crackers—BCTGM
- Kraft/Nabisco crackers—BCTGM
- Nabisco (Mondelēz) crackers—BCTGM. Nabisco note: Remember to check the label on Oreos and all Nabisco-brand products and do not buy Made-in-Mexico Nabisco products.
- Boar's Head—UFCW
- Foster Farms—UFCW
- Birds Eye vegetables—UFCW
- Ocean Spray whole berry cranberry sauce—IAM
- Pillsbury crescent rolls, frozen and ready to bake rolls/breads—BCTGM
- Pillsbury pie crusts—BCTGM
- Stroehmann bakery products (for stuffing)—BCTGM
- Nabisco (Mondelēz) cookies—BCTGM
- Rich Products pies and cakes—BCTGM
- Sara Lee pumpkin and apple pies—BCTGM
- All-Clad cookware—USW
- Anchor Hocking—USW
- Cutco knives—USW
by Clyde Weiss | November 18, 2016
Calling it a “last resort,” registered nurses at San Diego’s Sharp HealthCare formally put management on notice that they will strike for three days starting Nov. 28 over unfair labor practices by the employer during contract negotiations aimed at reducing high turnover due to inadequate pay.
Turnover at the Southern California hospital chain is significant. Their union, UNAC/UHCP (affiliated with the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees [NUHHCE]/AFSCME), says more than 500 nurses have left the company in just the first nine months of this year because it pays $8 to $15 per hour less than what other nurses earn at area health organizations.
Negotiations have been going on since July. To build public support, more than 300 nurses, health care professionals, clergy, students, UNAC and allies and a lawmaker gathered in solidarity this October with Sharp Healthcare nurses at the San Diego Convention Center.
On Thursday, UNAC/UHCP submitted a 10-day strike notice to management, noting that the union intends to strike for three days. “A strike is always a last resort,” the union said in a statement. “But we must do whatever it takes to stop Sharp’s repeated violations of federal labor law and refusal to address patient care problems caused by an escalating crisis in nurse turnover.”
Earlier this month, Sharp RNs overwhelmingly voted to reject management's so-called “last, best and final offer” and authorize an unfair labor practices (ULP) strike. Ninety-eight percent of 2,203 nurses who cast ballots voted to authorize the unfair labor practice strike.
In a Q & A for members, the union stated, “Among other violations of federal labor law, Sharp has refused to negotiate a fair contract by prematurely abandoning negotiations and unilaterally implementing proposals that inadequately address our concerns and hamper our efforts to boost recruitment and retention of quality RNs so that we can provide the best possible patient care.”
Sharp operates four hospitals in the San Diego area and employs approximately 17,000 workers.
November 17, 2016
Today, members of the Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) are on a picket line at Insomniac Games, Inc., in Burbank, Calif.
For more than 19 months, they have been trying to negotiate a contract with employers in the video game industry, but their voices aren’t being heard. Video game actors deserve a fair contract and safe working conditions.
Join the virtual picket line on social media!
by Lee Saunders | November 09, 2016
As we take stock of the message voters sent yesterday, we see that many were motivated by a real, palpable fear for their ability to provide for their families.
We must come together now to address that economic insecurity while not falling prey to the politics of division and hate. We must focus on rebuilding the middle class and restoring the American Dream for everyone, not just the privileged few.
For our part, the 1.6 million public service workers of AFSCME will never quit working to make their communities safer, healthier and better places to live.
We will do what we do best to hold President-elect Trump accountable on his promise to restore the American Dream: organize and advocate for solutions for all working people, from affordable health care for all, to reducing student debt, to rebuilding America’s infrastructure.
Lee Saunders is the President of AFSCME.
by Namita Waghray | November 04, 2016
Maria Leyani, a Miami-Dade school bus driver and longtime member of AFSCME Local 1184, recently completed her application to become a U.S. citizen. Maria and her husband – both immigrants from El Salvador – finished their applications at the South Florida AFL-CIO CLC's Citizenship Clinic on October 22.
“When I heard that the union was offering this service to its members and their families, I decided that I would seize the opportunity,” said Leyani, who had previously balked at the $6,000 an immigration attorney wanted to complete her and her husband's applications.
AFSCME President Lee Saunders recently joined Florida AFSCME members to tour the Citizenship Clinic, a joint project of the Florida Immigration Coalition and the Florida AFL-CIO. “Our members are committed to this program and have consistently told us this should be a priority for our union,” said Andre Madtes, executive director of AFSCME 979 and the President of South Florida CLC. “AFSCME Florida members not only benefit from this program – they are volunteering for it as well.” Madtes says helping members become citizens only adds to the union's bargaining strength.
Leyani is looking forward to voting. “While we are not eligible to vote for this presidential election,” she said, “my husband and I will be voting in next year’s city and county races. We will never miss another presidential or local election ever again and we plan on becoming civically engaged as soon as we become U.S. citizens next year!”
The South Florida CLC's next immigration clinic is scheduled for December 6.
by Kevin Zapf Hanes | November 03, 2016
For the past two months, not a weekend has passed without AFSCME members descending on battleground states. Members from New York, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts and California awoke at the crack of dawn to board buses bound for battlegrounds like Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Hampshire and Nevada. Members knocked tens of thousands of doors and made hundreds of phone calls to get out the vote throughout our country.
Getting Out the Vote in the Buckeye State
“When talking to members about this defining election, it is important for them to hear from their fellow union members,” said Yvonne Griffin, City of Cleveland Tax Division. “It is nice to have the extra boots on the ground to help spread the word. We can talk to more people. This is what solidarity looks like.” This election will be won or lost based on our ability to turn out the votes for our candidates.
Key Health Care Issues in the Keystone State
“As a unit clerk at Temple University Hospital, I see how political choices impact people’s everyday life,” said 1199C member, Charlene Cooper. “Sometimes my patients have to make real, sobering decisions about purchasing their medicine,” added Cooper. “Our Senate candidate Katie McGinty and Secretary Hillary Clinton have both said they’ll do everything they can to lower the price of prescription drugs. I’m thankful for my AFSCME sisters and brothers who came to help me spread that message.”
On September 15, AFSCME DC 33, along with DC 47 and 1199C NUHHCE, co-hosted a huge rally with members from New York DC 37 and 1707 and Maryland Councils 3 and 67. On that Saturday alone, members knocked more than 5,000 doors in Philadelphia.
Living Free in the Granite State
“This election could not be more important,” said Joe Anderson, wastewater mechanic with the city of Nassau. “We are out knocking doors because Right-to-Work-for-Less would be on the ballot if we lose. The extra lift from our New York sisters and brothers reminded us that we are not alone and stronger together.” Members from CSEA/Local 1000 joined the fight on Saturday, October 29th to elect leaders who will fight for workers’ rights. New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan is challenging conservative Senator Kelly Ayotte, and a Hassan victory is key for pro-worker candidates to take back the U.S. Senate.
Keeping that Sterling Dedication to Workers in the Silver State
Following decades of leadership in the U.S. Senate, Harry Reid is retiring, opening up a seat that conservative, anti-worker forces want. “We have worked day and night to fight for our Senate candidate, Catherine Cortez Masto, who will fight for us and stand with Hillary Clinton to nominate a Supreme Court justice who will defend workers’ rights,” said Brian Gordon Milden, Nevada Department of Corrections.
In June of this year, AFSCME held its 42nd International Convention in Las Vegas, where more than 2,000 activists joined Cortez Masto to rally against Donald Trump’s deplorable anti-worker practices in his hotel. Hundreds of members out of California from UC Local 3299 and United Domestic Workers, AFSCME Local 3930, have climbed on buses week after week to keep the fight alive in Nevada.
Major walks are scheduled in all three battleground states until the election. To learn how to help, visit www.wevotewewin.org.
November 01, 2016
In this year's general election, there is only one candidate running for President with a track record of standing for public service workers, fighting for the middle class, and defending collective bargaining rights. That candidate is Hillary Clinton.
This is why Patrick Wycoff is voting for her.
"I started working for the state of Wisconsin in 1998. I took the state job because I needed the good benefits to take care of my wife, my kids and myself. I was lucky enough to get a job, and because of the benefits that AFSCME had fought for, I was able to have a future and to have dignity.
"Fast forward to 2011, and we have a governor who refers to me and all the people that I represent as the ‘haves.’ It was a terrible time in our lives, and the saddest part is that people blamed us for the state's economic problems.
Now there’s a candidate running for President who’s saying the same things. Only it’s not public sector workers who are to blame – it’s Muslims, it's immigrants.
"We need a President who brings us together. We need a President who respects public sector workers – and all of us. We need to elect Hillary Clinton President because she said that strong unions make a strong America. That’s why I’m going to go out and vote for her and work to elect Secretary Clinton as President of the United States."