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AFSCME Across America: Organizing for Power

From state to state, workers are organizing with AFSCME for a stronger voice on the job. Here are some recent victories.

By Jon Melegrito and Clyde Weiss

By Jon Melegrito and Clyde Weiss

From state to state, workers are organizing with AFSCME for a stronger voice on the job. Here are some recent victories:

Connecticut

Twenty-two Madison police officers have joined Council 15.

Illinois

Five-hundred state public service administrator option 2s, who perform audits and other functions for many state agencies, joined Council 31. It took 18 months for their ballots to be counted, however, as the state had challenged the composition of the bargaining unit. The election was whether to join AFSCME, another union or no union. In a separate election, 180 nurse supervisors (PSA option 8Ns) also joined Council 31. They work in mental health and developmental centers, in prisons and other state agencies.

Massachusetts

Two-hundred-and-fifty registered nurses and licensed practical nurses employed by the University of Massachusetts have joined Council 93. The health care professionals service all the state’s correctional facilities. Also, 53 drivers and mechanics employed by First Student in Shelburne Falls/Huntington have joined Council 93. First Student is the world’s largest school bus contractor.

Minnesota

Fourteen engineers, city planners and other professional employees of the city of St. Cloud joined Council 65 through voluntary recognition. Also joining the council: seven employees in the city of Eden Valley, including five police department workers; five municipal liquor store and public works employees in the town of Winton; five department heads and supervisors in the southern town of Wells; and the chief of police of the city of Gibbon was certified as a bargaining unit.

New York

Twenty-one employees of the non-profit Institute for Community Living (ICL) have joined DC 1707 through card check recognition. In addition, another 20 ICL employees in Brooklyn joined through an election. The union now represents approximately 120 workers at eight ICL facilities in New York City. ICL serves more than 8,000 people with mental and developmental disabilities in New York and Pennsylvania.

Ohio

Forty-five bus drivers employed by First Transit at Miami University in Oxford (Miami Metro) voted overwhelmingly to join Council 8. Also, 14 transportation workers employed by the Riverdale Local Schools have joined the Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE)/AFSCME Local 4.

Oklahoma

Approximately 180 employees of the city of Bartlesville have joined AFSCME through voluntary card-check. Organizing in Bartlesville and other Oklahoma cities began in 2003 when a collective bargaining rights law passed, requiring cities of over 35,000 people to recognize non-uniformed workers’ unions. AFSCME represents more than 5,000 municipal workers in Oklahoma in the cities of Edmond, Enid, Lawton, Moore, Muskogee, Norman and Oklahoma City.

Pennsylvania

Fifty-four employees of Locust Grove Nursing Home have voted to join District Council 86. The workers include certified nursing assistants, maintenance employees and dietary aides. Also joining DC 86: 25 employees of the Lewisburg Area School District, including custodial and maintenance workers, cafeteria employees and crossing guards.

Tennessee

After a three-month organizing campaign, more than 200 newly employed corrections officers at the Morgan County Correctional Complex recently joined Local 2173, increasing its membership ranks to 442 despite repeated attempts by the Morgan County Department of Corrections to bust the union. Bill Shillings, president of the local, says their 96 percent membership rate is remarkable in a Southern right-to-work state.