More than 350 corrections officers and sworn law-enforcement personnel from across the nation gathered in Columbus, Ohio, for the AFSCME Public Safety Congress the weekend of October 18th. Among them were members of the Newtown Police Union, Local 3153, who received the 2013 Law Enforcement Award for their response to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. Scott Ruszczyk, president of Local 3153, accepted the award and spoke about the role officers played responding to the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. The perpetrator still had nearly 200 more rounds of ammunition at the time he was killed, Ruszczyk noted. Had first responders not intervened, more lives could have been lost. Members of the Lucasville Corrections Facility in Ohio received the 2013 Corrections Award in recognition of their role quelling a deadly riot 20 years ago that claimed the life of OCSEA member Robert Vallandingham. Accepting the ACU award on behalf of his sisters and brothers, Luke Vansickle, president of Local 7730, presented Pres. Lee Saunders with the roster from the shift when the riot started -- a document that has been in the local's possession ever since. It will hang in the lobby of AFSCME's headquarters in Washington, DC. At the event, Saunders announced the donation of $100,000 to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. "Our National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, DC, serves to remind everyone -- every tourist, every family, every resident who has ever called for help -- of the ultimate sacrifice that too many of our public safety officers make every year," Saunders said. "It helps keep those officers in our hearts and minds."
Sign the petition and Stand with Detroit: http://www.standwithdetroit.org The potential bankruptcy in Detroit is not solely a Detroit crisis; it is an American crisis. Financially devastated cities all across our nation are now struggling for their survival. The outcome in Detroit affects all of us and that's why AFSCME is calling for an urban agenda to strengthen our great cities. AFSCME will not give up on Detroit or the workers who built the city -- and neither should you.
AFSCME women represent nearly 60 percent of our union's membership, and play a crucial role in fighting for the issues that matter to working families in America - workers' rights, retirement security, and job creation. This year's Women's Conference in Denver, CO was a chance to take an in depth look at issues affecting women. Topics included mentoring, the importance of creating collaborative rather than competitive relationships and the challenges facing women in achieving positions of leadership.
More than 7,000 providers throughout the state give in-home care to Vermont's elderly and people with disabilities. While they care for Vermont's most vulnerable citizens, and these programs save the state millions of dollars, they work for poverty wages with no benefits. They are compensated by the state through a non-profit corporation, but they have no way to negotiate for better wages, benefits or training. That's why they want a union of their own. The providers who have volunteered to build a union through AFSCME Vermont Homecare United have worked hard to get this far. They have testified before the Legislature on the need for a union, and they have been meeting their fellow providers for months, building strong relationships face-to-face. In May, the Legislature gave final approval to groundbreaking legislation giving the providers the right to collectively bargain with the state. Soon after, the governor signed the bill and then AFSCME Vermont Homecare United submitted approximately 4,500 support cards signed by homecare providers from across the state to the Vermont Labor Relations Board. Vermont homecare providers are seeking a representational election as soon as possible so they can begin negotiating improvements with the state and build a strong voice for providers and consumers. An election date is expected soon -- and the providers don't want any delay.
Confronting Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Detroit's Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr over their pension-slashing, anti-worker agenda was the objective of more than 600 young AFSCME members at the 2013 Next Wave Conference, in downtown Detroit in July.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder -- the man who signed a heinous right-to-work-for-less law and took away voters' rights with his emergency financial manager law -- calls himself "One Tough Nerd." AFSCME's Next Wave came to Detroit to tell Governor Snyder that he is no nerd. He is a bully. More than 500 young AFSCME members poured in to Detroit's Hart Plaza, where they held a satirical nerd press conference. Leaving Hart Plaza, the Next Wave -- or Nerd Wave -- marched to occupy City Hall, where Detroit's Emergency Manager Kevin Orr has his office.
Whether it's the closing of centers that care for the most vulnerable or cuts to Medicare and Social Security, our nation's nurses aren't putting up with proposed reductions in our country's health services. This May, hundreds of AFSCME nurses gathered to fight for improved conditions for nurses and patients across the country as part of National Nurses Week. These nurses are part of the 60,000 member-strong AFSCME-United Nurses of America who visited the nations capital as part of the National Nurses' Congress.
The fact is, this spending vs. taxes debate is largely meaningless. Watch our explainer video to learn about corporate tax breaks, the U.S. Government's secret subsidy program that some in Congress want to gut vital programs -- like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security -- to keep in place for their wealthy donors. Then, take action: http://www.afscme.org/stop-the-giveaways
Concerned about the quality of patient care and fair treatment on the job, University of California Patient Care Technical Workers -- members of AFSCME Local 3299 --overwhelmingly voted this week to go on strike.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed on April 4, 1968, after traveling to Memphis to support 1,300 AFSCME sanitation workers who were on strike due to dangerous working conditions, discrimination and unfair pay. On the 45th anniversary of Dr. King's death, NBC's Ann Curry spoke with two of the original strikers from AFSCME Local 1733, Martin Luther King III and AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders about the 1968 strike and the important role that labor unions continue to play in the struggle for economic and civil rights.
In 1968 sanitation workers made history in Memphis, Tennessee. Over a thousand workers went on strike to protest unfair wages, discrimination, and unsafe working conditions that took the lives of two of their own. Marching through the streets, they wore signs declaring "I Am a Man." In April, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. arrived to Memphis to support the workers and was assassinated after delivering his famous Mountaintop speech.
Conditions for sanitation workers in Memphis today are surprisingly similar to conditions in the 1960's. The city is threatening to privatize their jobs, workers are not earning a living wage, and working conditions are hazardous and unsafe.
In the midst of contract negotiations, the sanitation workers of Local 1733 continue the struggle for fairness and respect begun forty five years ago.
In this edition of Capital Download, Lee Saunders, President of AFSCME, discussed how his organization will commemorate the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, and the challenges for labor and unions.
Since the beginning of the year, AFSCME has been at the forefront of the fight to pass comprehensive immigration reform that includes a full path to citizenship for all immigrants. We've been holding rallies to mobilize our supporters, lobbying our representatives in Congress, and working with our friends and allies to do the right thing by millions of immigrant workers. To learn more visit http://www.afscme.org/immigration.
The Mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, promised to protect city services when he was elected. Six years later, he has has closed libraries and schools for working Philadelphians. Adding insult to injury, residents say, Nutter has shielded the rich while refusing to talk with city workers who have gone four years without a contract. City workers and community members are fighting back, calling on Nutter to ask more from the wealthy instead of cutting city services even more.
Coming soon to a community near you: $85 billion in cuts to vital programs that Americans rely on every day. These cuts -- known as The Sequester -- can be prevented if extremist Republicans would simply agree to end tax giveaways to the super rich and corporations.
Hundreds of AFSCME members gathered on Capitol Hill demanding that Congress protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid on February 12, 2013. The rally was part of AFSCME's 2013 Legislative Conference, a gathering where over 500 members gathered to organize and strategize at a series of workshops on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), retirement security, privatization, taxes and budgets, attacks on workers rights and immigration fairness.
As AFSCME members, it is important to reflect on our union's proud history while we focus on the road ahead. We are committed to continued growth, working within our communities and fighting for our rights. Now is the time to come together and seize the moment!
Fred Morgan, President and CEO of Oklahoma's State Chamber, admits that he can't name a single company that has moved to Oklahoma or added jobs due to the state's so-called "Right to Work" legislation.
AFSCME is the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO. Our 1.6 million members provide the vital services that make America happen. AFSCME advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services and prosperity and opportunity for all working families.