AFSCME.org Press Release Feed http://www.afscme.org/rss/press-releases AFSCME.org Press Releases Tue, 3 May 2011 05:00:00 +0000 AMPS en hourly 1 More than 6,000 CA Public Service Workers Vote to Unite with AFSCME http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/more-than-6000-ca-public-service-workers-vote-to-unite-with-afscme Mon, 26 Sep 2016 23:30:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/more-than-6000-ca-public-service-workers-vote-to-unite-with-afscme Six thousand public service workers represented by Public Employees Union (PEU), Local 1 voted Monday to unite with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)—one of the nation’s largest public service worker unions. The affiliation will give public workers across eight Northern California counties a stronger voice to improve the vital services they provide their communities every day.

Local 1 President Mike West, a Printing Services Coordinator at Los Medanos Community College, said that he and his coworkers are excited to become part of a larger movement that is fighting to defend families and neighborhoods across the country.

"We don’t do this work for fame and glory. We do it to keep our communities strong,” said West. “Joining AFSCME helps make sure we have the tools we need to advocate quality public services for all.”

Every day, public service workers make their communities better, providing everything from education to clean water. PEU Local 1 represents more than 6,000 public service workers in the region, including workers for cities, counties, community colleges, school districts, libraries, courts, Head Start and special districts that provide clean water and other services.   

Lynda Middleton has worked as a Head Start teacher in Contra Costa County for 21 years and serves on the Local 1 Board of Directors. She believes the affiliation with AFSCME will make her union stronger.

“We do the same work; we share the same issues. It makes sense that we stand together in the same union.”

More than 163,000 workers across California and 1.6 million nationwide stand together in AFSCME—the fastest growing public service worker union.

“I’m honored to welcome Local 1 members into the AFSCME family,” said AFSCME International President Lee Saunders. “When public service workers come together, big things happen. Neighborhoods thrive and America is stronger. That’s what this affiliation is about, and we look forward to building a better future for working families across Northern California.”

]]>
AFSCME President Lee Saunders on the Continuing Resolution http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-president-lee-saunders-on-the-continuing-resolution Fri, 23 Sep 2016 17:22:09 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-president-lee-saunders-on-the-continuing-resolution AFSCME President Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the congressional debate over the continuing resolution:

“The lead tragedy in Flint has been compounded by the failure of Congress to address it. The people of Flint, and especially the children of Flint, have waited months and months for action, but have been met with stonewalling and silence. It is imperative that Congress provide relief for Flint in the continuing resolution.”

]]>
Judith Rivlin Named AFSCME General Counsel http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/judith-rivlin-named-afscme-general-counsel Wed, 14 Sep 2016 13:34:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/judith-rivlin-named-afscme-general-counsel The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) today announced the appointment of Judith Rivlin as General Counsel. Rivlin has served as the Deputy General Counsel for the 1.6 million member public service worker union since 2014, and the promotion comes following the AFSCME International Executive Board’s confirmation of former General Counsel Bill Lurye as the union’s new Chief of Staff/Counsel.

Judy Rivlin has spent her entire legal career as a labor lawyer. She has served the federal government in positions at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Her career in the labor movement includes serving as House Counsel to the Sheet Metal Workers International Union, and then as Associate General Counsel to the United Mine Workers, where she specialized in miners’ health and safety issues. Rivlin also is an experienced mediator, volunteering as a court-appointed mediator through the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. She has expertise in a wide range of issues arising in both private and public-sector labor-management relations, as well as internal union affairs. 

In addition to her legal career in the labor movement, Rivlin has been active as union member and official — as a steward for the American Federation of Government Employees, and as president of the NLRB lawyer’s union. Since joining AFSCME, she has particularly enjoyed working with affiliates on the AFSCME Strong program, a long-term internal organizing effort which has yielded more than 300,000 new members throughout the country. Rivlin will officially begin her new role of General Counsel later this month.

]]>
Bill Lurye Named AFSCME Chief of Staff http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/bill-lurye-named-afscme-chief-of-staff Wed, 14 Sep 2016 13:08:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/bill-lurye-named-afscme-chief-of-staff The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) today announced the appointment of Bill Lurye as Chief of Staff/Counsel for the 1.6 million member public service worker union. The appointment was confirmed by AFSCME’s International Executive Board on Wednesday, September 14, and Lurye will officially begin the new role later this month.

As AFSCME’s General Counsel, Lurye helped lead the union’s response to unprecedented attacks on working people through the courts, including the Friedrichs v. CTA case which threatened to silence the voices of millions of nurses, teachers and first responders throughout the country.

“Bill has played a critical role to help our union weather the storm of attacks over the past several years,” said Saunders. “He has time and again proved himself to be one of the finest strategists in the labor movement, and as Chief of Staff/Counsel, he will continue to help AFSCME grow and build power for working families and our communities.”

Prior to joining AFSCME, Lurye was an associate general counsel at the AFL-CIO, and was in private practice in New Orleans for many years, representing unions and employees, as well as pension trust funds. He is a College of Labor and Employment Lawyers fellow and serves on the American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law leadership council.

]]>
AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Donald Trump’s Visit to Detroit http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-donald-trump-visit-to-detroit Sat, 03 Sep 2016 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-donald-trump-visit-to-detroit AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the Donald Trump’s campaign visit to Detroit:

“This Labor Day weekend, let's be perfectly clear on the reasons why Donald Trump does not have the support of union members. He supports so-called right-to-work laws that make it harder to negotiate better wages, better benefits and a secure retirement, and result in lower wages for all working families. Trump has even bragged about preventing his employees from unionizing.

“As he visits Detroit today, let's also take a moment to remember when Trump not only said that the American auto industry should have been left for dead, but encouraged auto makers to relocate their Michigan and Ohio plants to right-to-work states, so they could pay their workers less.

“We could go on and on - from his record of labor law violations, to his habit of outsourcing jobs overseas, he simply does not support working people. But you don't just have to take our word for it. Check out what Trump has to say about unions, in his own words:”

Link to video: https://youtu.be/6lZ8qZx6XNE

]]>
AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on the Obama Administration’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-the-obama-administrations-fair-pay-and-safe-workplaces-executive-order Wed, 24 Aug 2016 13:09:06 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-the-obama-administrations-fair-pay-and-safe-workplaces-executive-order AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the Obama administration’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order:

"AFSCME applauds the Obama administration's Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order and fully supports the regulations required to implement it. Requiring companies seeking to obtain federal contracts to disclose prior wage, civil rights and safety violations is a win-win for taxpayers and workers who too often are denied the wages they are owed and are injured or even killed on the job. Taxpayers deserve to know that the federal government is putting in place mechanisms that improve contract performance and fairness.

"These new regulations promote much-needed transparency and help ensure that employees, including thousands of hardworking AFSCME members who deliver vital public services, receive the protection against wage theft, discrimination and workplace hazards they deserve. AFSCME opposes the ongoing efforts of right-wing members of Congress to block these much-needed common sense regulations. Companies who play by the rules and comply with the law have nothing to fear from these regulations. Indeed, they should stand with us as we build an economy that is fair for all. These regulations are both smart and the right thing to do."

]]>
AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Justice Department Ending Use of Private Prisons http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-justice-department-ending-use-of-private-prisons Thu, 18 Aug 2016 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-justice-department-ending-use-of-private-prisons AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision to end their use of private prisons:

“Whether at the federal or state and local level, private prison operations have long been a stain on our nation’s criminal justice system. Compared to publically run correctional facilities, private prisons provide a fraction of the safety and rehabilitation our communities should expect. They have not kept us secure, nor have they delivered savings to the taxpayers – instead, corporate prisons have profited off of the suffering of our communities and have led the way to mass incarceration and the immoral detention of immigrant families in privately operated facilities that just this week were revealed in reports to be wasting taxpayer money.

“Today’s announcement reinforces what we have long asserted: The dedicated women and men working in our nation’s federal, state and local public prisons keep our communities safe, day in and day out, and they do it more cost effectively than at prisons operated for profit by private corporations. Private prisons are a failed experiment. We whole-heartedly applaud the Justice Department’s decision to end their use and call on state and local governments, as well as the Department of Homeland Security, to follow the federal government’s lead on this decision.”

]]>
AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Hillary Clinton’s Selection of Tim Kaine for VP http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-hillary-clintons-selection-of-tim-kaine-for-vp Fri, 22 Jul 2016 22:12:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-hillary-clintons-selection-of-tim-kaine-for-vp AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on Hillary Clinton’s selection of Tim Kaine as her running mate:

“If you need further proof of what sets Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump apart in this election, look no further than their choice of running mates. While Mike Pence is an extremist who gave Indiana’s skilled workers a pay cut and attacked the retirement security of nurses, teachers and firefighters, Tim Kaine has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with working people on the issues that affect our families.

“As Governor, Tim Kaine supported working people by creating good jobs through critical infrastructure investments. Like Secretary Clinton, Senator Kaine also stands with public service workers on critical issues facing our families and communities such as protecting Social Security, raising the minimum wage, easing the burden of student loan debt, and closing corporate tax loopholes and making the wealthiest pay their fair share.

“Hillary Clinton’s choice of a running mate is just more proof for working people that she has our backs, and she will be the champion our families need in the White House.”

]]>
AFSCME President Lee Saunders Wins Reelection by Acclamation http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-president-lee-saunders-wins-reelection-by-acclamation Tue, 19 Jul 2016 15:59:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-president-lee-saunders-wins-reelection-by-acclamation Today, member delegates attending the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) 42nd International Convention reelected Lee Saunders as International President by acclamation. First elected to AFSCME’s top position in 2012, Saunders will serve another four-year term.

Saunders has presided over a period of unity, innovation and growth, despite unprecedented attacks on public service workers and the unions that represent them. In his first years as president, Saunders fostered a culture shift at AFSCME, returning AFSCME to its organizing roots. A new program, AFSCME Strong, has reinvigorated the union, making it a more effective advocate for public service workers and all working people.

“America’s public service workers never quit on their communities,” Saunders said. “They are up before sunrise to make sure buses, roads and bridges are safe for children going to school. They are still at work at midnight, staffing hospitals and responding to 911 emergencies. They do their jobs with passion and pride. They deserve good wages and benefits, professional development and retirement security, and most of all, recognition and respect.”

With a renewed focus on organizing, AFSCME has added new members, trained thousands of new activists and strengthened the bond between members and their union. Since 2013, nearly 340,000 fee-payers and nonmembers have signed up with AFSCME, including nearly 63,000 new members in so-called “right-to-work” states like Iowa, Florida and Texas. The union’s voluntary political action committee, PEOPLE, has broken records, both in terms of dollars raised and the number of members contributing.

“I am honored by the confidence AFSCME members have placed in me, and I look forward to building on the success of the last four years. I only hope to do as great a job leading this union over the next four years as AFSCME members do everyday to make their communities better places to live.”

]]>
Hillary Clinton Addresses AFSCME Convention http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/hillary-clinton-addresses-afscme-convention Tue, 19 Jul 2016 15:52:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/hillary-clinton-addresses-afscme-convention Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Secretary Hillary Clinton rallied public service workers from around the country at the 42nd Bi-Annual International Member Convention of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) on Tuesday, July 19.

Sec. Clinton addressed the 6,000 delegates and guests to AFSCME’s convention on topics including her plans to rebuild an economy that works for all Americans, not just those at the top. She pointed out Donald Trump’s dangerous record of exploiting workers, and highlighted the clear choice facing working families in this election. Sec. Clinton stands with AFSCME members on the issues that affect their everyday lives and their communities, such as improving the incomes of ordinary Americans, along with equal pay, retirement security and the right to organize together in strong unions.

“I will be by your side in this fight every step of the way. If I have the honor of serving you as President, working people will always have a seat at the table and a champion in the White House,” said Sec. Clinton. “I believe that when unions are strong, America is strong.”

“And we all need to do more to support all our public servants,” added Clinton. “These are jobs that provide dignity and a sense of purpose. Jobs that are about giving back and making our communities stronger.”

AFSCME was proud to back Sec. Clinton in October of 2015 after an exhaustive endorsement process found nearly two-thirds of our membership supported her for president. AFSCME members are on the front lines, making our communities safer, healthier and stronger every day. Just as we never quit answering the call for our neighborhoods, public service workers will never quit working to elect a president who shares our passion for public service.

]]>
AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on the Shooting of Police Officers in Baton Rouge http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-the-shooting-of-police-officers-in-baton-rouge Sun, 17 Jul 2016 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-the-shooting-of-police-officers-in-baton-rouge AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement about this morning’s shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge:

“All of AFSCME is devastated by the news out of Baton Rouge this morning. Across the country every single day, millions of police officers do a dangerous job with honor and professionalism. We send our deepest condolences to the families of the fallen and pray for a full recovery for the wounded.

“This has been a difficult month for the Baton Rouge community, for our nation and the world. It has never been more important for all of us to stand united against violence, embrace our common humanity, and summon our better angels.”

]]>
Labor Leaders Win Strong Fair-Trade Platform Language http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/labor-leaders-win-strong-fair-trade-platform-language Sat, 09 Jul 2016 13:52:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/labor-leaders-win-strong-fair-trade-platform-language American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees President Lee Saunders and International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers President Bob Martinez on the Democratic Party platform committee’s adoption of the Saunders amendment on fair trade:

“The Democratic Party made history today on the crucial issue of fair trade. We adopted language in our platform that declares our support for working families by setting the highest possible standards for worker and environmental protections and significantly strengthening enforcement and accountability tools.

“We are proud to oppose trade agreements that do not support good American jobs, raise wages and improve our national security.

“This amendment is a clear statement of where we stand on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and all other trade deals, past and future: We stand with American workers and against bad trade deals.

“Even in a tense negotiating environment, our bold statement in support of fair trade standards for working people passed overwhelmingly, by a count of 117 to 64.”

]]>
AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on the Shooting Deaths of Police Officers in Dallas http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-the-shooting-deaths-of-police-officers-in-dallas Fri, 08 Jul 2016 10:43:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-the-shooting-deaths-of-police-officers-in-dallas AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the shooting deaths of police officers in Dallas:

“The 1.6 million members of AFSCME are devastated by the assassination of five Dallas police officers and the wounding of seven others. Millions of law enforcement officers go to work each day to protect their communities, unsure whether they will come home at night. For five brave souls, that concern proved all too real.

“For law enforcement officers in Dallas and across America, the risk and worry no doubt feels heavier today. We owe them and their loved ones our prayers, our love and our gratitude. There is no excuse for this violence. None.”

]]>
AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on the Shooting Deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-the-shooting-deaths-of-alton-sterling-and-philando-castile Thu, 07 Jul 2016 20:04:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-the-shooting-deaths-of-alton-sterling-and-philando-castile AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile:

“As a union that represents public service workers, including law enforcement officers, and is steeped in the history of civil rights, AFSCME has a unique perspective of the crisis roiling this country. And make no mistake: This is a crisis. Denying it is not an option.

“We must end the unacceptable violence that cut short the lives of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, while honoring the millions of officers who do a dangerous job each day with dignity and respect for all. We are better than this.”

]]>
AFSCME Members Welcome Secretary Hillary Clinton at 42nd International Convention http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-members-welcome-secretary-hillary-clinton-at-42nd-international-convention Tue, 05 Jul 2016 17:56:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-members-welcome-secretary-hillary-clinton-at-42nd-international-convention The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) will be joined by presumptive Democratic nominee for president, Secretary Hillary Clinton, at their 42nd International Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Tuesday, July 19.

AFSCME proudly supports Secretary Clinton, as she stands with AFSCME members on the issues that affect our communities, such as equal pay, retirement security and strong unions, and we are united in our commitment to put a champion for working people in the White House. Public service workers played a key role in the grassroots efforts that helped Hillary Clinton secure the nomination and will work to elect her president in November.

Media interested in covering this event should RSVP here.

Secretary Hillary Clinton at AFSCME 42nd International Convention
When: 11:30 AM PST, Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Where: Las Vegas Convention Center, 3150 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

]]>
AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Supreme Court Denial of Certiorari in Home Care Association of America v. Weil http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-supreme-court-denial-of-certiorari-in-home-care-association-of-america-v-weil Mon, 27 Jun 2016 13:05:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-supreme-court-denial-of-certiorari-in-home-care-association-of-america-v-weil AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to deny certiorari in Home Care Association of America v. Weil: 

“We are very pleased that the decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in Home Care Association of America v. Weil stands. That decision upholds the Department of Labor’s rule applying Fair Labor Standards Act protections to the more than 2 million home care workers throughout the nation. These home care workers offer essential services to the elderly and disabled, and now they can finally receive the wages and overtime pay they deserve. This will enable them to focus on providing quality services so those who are in need of care can remain at home and live with dignity.”

]]>
AFSCME President Lee Saunders on the U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision in United States vs. Texas. http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-president-lee-saunders-on-the-u-s-supreme-courts-decision-in-united-states-vs-texas Thu, 23 Jun 2016 17:12:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-president-lee-saunders-on-the-u-s-supreme-courts-decision-in-united-states-vs-texas AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on today’s 4-4 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in United States vs. Texas.

“Because of a politically motivated legal effort to challenge the President’s constitutional authority, civil rights and economic justice remain out of reach for millions of families who live in constant fear of being torn apart. Meanwhile, the exploitation of workers in the shadow economy continues to drive down wages and benefits for all working people.

“The political agenda that challenged the President’s authority in DAPA and DACA expansion is the same as the agenda preventing the Court from operating at full capacity. Americans expect the U.S. Supreme Court to function fully and exist above politics in order to protect the Constitution. That is why members of the United States Senate who have been shirking their constitutional obligations to the country should finally do their job and give President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, a hearing and an up or down vote. After a ninth justice is finally confirmed, we urge the Department of Justice to seek a rehearing in this case.”

]]>
AFSCME President Lee Saunders on the 2016 Social Security and Medicare Trustees Report http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-president-lee-saunders-on-the-2016-social-security-and-medicare-trustees-report Wed, 22 Jun 2016 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-president-lee-saunders-on-the-2016-social-security-and-medicare-trustees-report AFSCME President Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the 2016 Social Security and Medicare Trustees Report:

“The report released today underscores the vital importance of preserving, protecting and expanding Social Security and Medicare. In an out-of-balance economy that increasingly favors a handful of the wealthy few, and with half of Americans without access to pensions, Social Security and Medicare are increasingly necessary to keep tens of millions of Americans out of poverty when they leave the workforce. Americans who work their entire lives and pay into Social Security and Medicare deserve to have access to the benefits when they retire, and Congress should, and can, strengthen the financial solvency of these programs for future retirement, disability and survivor beneficiaries – but not by shifting costs on to beneficiaries.”

]]>
National Unions Coordinate Support for Orlando Community http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/national-unions-coordinate-support-for-orlando-community Tue, 14 Jun 2016 17:13:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/national-unions-coordinate-support-for-orlando-community Leaders of the American Federation of Teachers, the Florida Education Association, the National Education Association, the Service Employees International Union, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees released the following statements today on their coordinated efforts to provide support and resources to the Orlando community in the wake of Sunday’s horrific shooting. The unions have joined forces to offer counseling to members and their families who have been affected, assemble resources for parents and teachers to help children understand the news, and point supporters toward blood donation and targeted fundraising efforts.

AFT President Randi Weingarten said, “AFT members, including teachers, school staff, social workers and nurses, are on the front lines when our communities are traumatized by violence. We are committed to supporting our members; our students, patients and their families; and communities in Florida and around the country, as we grapple with this horrible act of hatred. We’re working with our state affiliate, the Florida Education Association, along with the NEA, SEIU and AFSCME, to coordinate support and resources for the Orlando community and for educators nationwide during this time of crisis. It is clear that this was an act of hatred perpetrated against the LGBT community. We will work not just to support one another, but to educate and foster acceptance and love so we can prevent hate-based crimes through understanding. Let us all find the moral courage to use this tragedy to build bridges and open our hearts, not to build walls and further hatred.”

Visit the AFT’s www.sharemylesson.com/orlando to find resources for talking to kids about the Orlando attack.

FEA President Joanne McCall, who is an AFT vice president, said, “Our hearts go out to the victims of another senseless mass shooting. We send our prayers to the victims and their families and friends and for the entire community of Orlando. We pray for an end to these all-too-familiar acts of violence. As educators, we know that violence has no place in our society.”

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García said, “Orlando, we are holding you in love. In a thousand ways, we will turn our powerful love into powerful actions and stand against the hate that was unleashed against you. Educators join Americans across this country in embracing you with prayers and support. Even in the face of such hatred and violence we will never lose hope that love conquers hate.”

Visit ‪www.nea.org/orlando‬‬‬‬ to find resources and opportunities to support the victims of the Orlando attack.    ‬

SEIU President Mary Kay Henry said, “We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in labor and in the progressive community to help communities across this country heal and recover. Together, we demand that our nation does everything to ensure that no more families have to feel this pain, sadness and loss ever again. It’s long past time for our nation to do something about gun violence in our communities. SEIU renews the commitment of our 2 million members to use every ounce of our energy to unite and fight to end this senseless gun violence and build a better future for all families.”

AFSCME President Lee Saunders said, “Our hearts go out to the victims and families of the mass shooting in Orlando, the largest atrocity of this kind in U.S. history. We thank the first responders on the scene and those around the country who never quit on their communities, especially when the unthinkable happens.

“Public service workers are steadfast in our commitment to confront the bigotry behind this attack on the LGBT community. We renew our promise to defeat this kind of hatred with the compassion we bring to our jobs every day.”

]]>
AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders: “Now Is The Time To Unite For Working Families” http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-now-is-the-time-to-unite-for-working-families Tue, 07 Jun 2016 21:00:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-now-is-the-time-to-unite-for-working-families AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders congratulated Sec. Hillary Clinton on becoming the presumptive Democratic nominee for president and called for unity in electing a champion for working families this November:

“I am pleased to join hundreds of thousands of nurses, first responders and other public service workers in congratulating Secretary Hillary Clinton on becoming the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party.

“Throughout this campaign, Secretary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders have made the concerns of working families their top priority. After months of passionate debate, voters have chosen Secretary Clinton. Now is the time to unite for working families.

“The choice between Secretary Clinton and Donald Trump could not be clearer. Trump is a dangerous and unstable demagogue who thinks American wages are too high and has called for gutting workers’ rights. Public service workers are ready to hit the streets to make sure he gets nowhere near the White House.”

]]>
AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Speaker Ryan’s Anti-Poverty Plan http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-speaker-ryan-anti-poverty-plan Tue, 07 Jun 2016 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-speaker-ryan-anti-poverty-plan AFSCME President Lee Saunders issued the following statement on House Speaker Paul Ryan’s anti-poverty plan, “A Better Way”:

“Speaker Ryan’s plan to reduce poverty drastically misses the mark. In an economy that is out of balance and favors the wealthy few, Speaker Ryan’s plan would in fact exacerbate poverty and inequality by slashing and severely weakening the vital social safety net a vast majority of Americans rely upon. 70 percent of Americans will turn to the social safety net in their lifetime, and programs such as Social Security, tax credits for working families and other effective investments in education and child care have kept many Americans out of poverty. But Speaker Ryan’s plan does nothing to strengthen Social Security or Medicare, and it touts the failed Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant model for other safety net programs.

“This comes as no surprise. Speaker Ryan has endorsed the GOP House budget proposal that would cut $3.7 trillion from programs that support struggling American families while protecting tax cuts for a handful of wealthy and powerful interests. If Speaker Ryan and his colleagues in Congress are serious about lifting Americans out of poverty and expanding opportunity, they should support proven policies like raising the minimum wage and ensuring equal pay for women, as well as overtime pay for Americans who are not getting paid for the work they already do.”

]]>
AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Final Obama Administration Overtime Rule http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-final-obama-administration-overtime-rule Wed, 18 May 2016 10:25:53 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-final-obama-administration-overtime-rule AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the Obama Administration’s final Overtime Rule, which will raise the overtime salary threshold for millions of Americans to $47,476:

“Americans are now much closer to getting the hard-earned raise they deserve. Today people are working harder and putting in longer hours, yet are making less money than they were decades ago because our economy is out of balance. The Administration’s overtime rule will help to reverse this imbalance by helping to ensure that working people get paid for the work they already do.

“In an economy that only benefits the wealthy few, raising the overtime threshold will provide much needed protection for hardworking people that will not only help to restore the 40-hour work week, but also improve incomes and grow the middle class. Millions of Americans go above and beyond, working more than 40 hours a week. Congress should not stand in the way of these working people getting the hard-earned and long-overdue raise they deserve by taking any legislative action that would overturn, weaken or delay implementation of this final rule.”

]]>
AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Sec. Hillary Clinton’s Victories in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Connecticut http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-april-26-results Tue, 26 Apr 2016 22:42:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-april-26-results AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on Sec. Hillary Clinton’s victories in tonight’s primary:

“Sec. Hillary Clinton is the clear front runner for the Democratic presidential nomination now that more than eleven million voters have stepped up to vote for one of the most prepared, qualified, and resilient champions for working people in generations. Tonight, voters in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Connecticut added their voices to the broad coalition of Americans who believe Hillary Clinton is the candidate best equipped to carry working people to victory in November and make real progress on the challenges confronting our country.

“Tonight, union households in Pennsylvania supported Sec. Clinton 56% to 43% and represented 27% of total turnout. This continues a trend in key states such as New York, Iowa, Nevada and Ohio, in which rank-and-file union households backed Hillary Clinton by 16%, 9%, 11% and 10%, respectively. This election will be a make-or-break moment for working people struggling to make ends meet, and across the labor movement union members are turning out for the candidate who has proudly proclaimed, ‘when unions are strong, America is strong.’

“AFSCME members are on the front lines, making our communities safer, healthier, and stronger every day. Just as we never quit answering the call for our neighborhoods, public service workers will never quit working to elect a president who shares our passion for public service. That’s why AFSCME members played a key role in the grassroots GOTV efforts supporting Hillary Clinton, knocking on tens of thousands of doors and helping to advance Secretary Clinton closer to securing the Democratic nomination.”

]]>
AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders on Sec. Hillary Clinton’s Victory in New York http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-sec-hillary-clintons-victory-in-new-york Tue, 19 Apr 2016 21:52:50 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-on-sec-hillary-clintons-victory-in-new-york AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on Sec. Hillary Clinton’s victory in tonight’s primary:

"Working people turned out for Sec. Hillary Clinton in the New York primary tonight for the same reasons they twice elected her to represent them in the U.S. Senate: She is the most deeply qualified, and she is a fighter who will make real progress breaking down the barriers that hold our communities back. Working families need a champion in the White House who can deliver on their promises.

"Hillary Clinton’s vision and proposals will withstand the scrutiny of a general election contest. She has the most comprehensive plans to improve incomes for all Americans, including making it easier for workers to stand together and negotiate collectively, and reigning in the CEOs and corporations that manipulate the rules to their own favor. Our most basic rights are at stake in this election, and that’s why the majority of union members nationwide chose to endorse Hillary Clinton, and support her at ballot boxes and caucuses across the country.

"Nearly 400,000 public service workers across New York are members of AFSCME, and their grassroots organizing efforts were instrumental to Secretary Clinton’s victory in the state. AFSCME members joined with other working families to reach out to tens of thousands of their fellow New Yorkers about the issues facing working families in this election. As Secretary Clinton continues to expand her delegates lead and grows closer to securing the Democratic nomination, public service workers will never quit working to elect a president who shares our passion for public service."

]]>
AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders Applauds Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-applauds-department-of-labor-fiduciary-rule Wed, 06 Apr 2016 15:00:00 -0500 http://www.afscme.org/news/press-room/press-releases/2016/afscme-pres-lee-saunders-applauds-department-of-labor-fiduciary-rule AFSCME President Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the Department of Labor issuing the Fiduciary Rule:

“The Fiduciary Rule ending conflicts of interest for retirement investment advice is long overdue. This is a very important step to protect Americans’ retirement savings against predatory practices that contribute to our nation’s retirement crisis, and cost hard working families $17 billion in losses every year. For too long, the financial industry has manipulated the rules to line its pockets by stacking the deck against working people.

“With wages lower than they have been in decades, the average working person is struggling to get by, let alone save for retirement. That is why this rule is so important: Americans who work hard, play by the rules and struggle to save responsibly for retirement should get a fair deal, not be victimized by a system that incentivizes financial advisers to act against the best financial interest of their clients.  

“We commend the Administration for its continuing work to level the playing field for working people who deserve an economy that works for them, not just the wealthy few.”

]]>