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AFSCME members in Washington and Oregon are being contacted at home and at their worksites by staff funded by the so-called Freedom Foundation.

Their mission? To try to convince our members they’d be better off without a union. They could be in California any time now, so be prepared if they come knocking on your door.

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"We also know that the state has made other commitments - ones that we have yet to fully pay for. Our retirement liabilities - for pensions and lifelong health benefits for state and university workers - total $220 billion. Each year, the budget must allocate billions to slowly chip away at these obligations. Since 2012, we have taken steps to reduce the future costs of these pensions and put the teachers' system back on solid fiscal footing. Still, we have more work to do. To date, we have set aside only a token amount to pay for $72 billion in future retiree health benefits. 

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Former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and San Diego City Council member Carl DeMaio have finally recognized that their pension measures have such opposition that even their wealthy donors want no part of it. Instead they are laying their bets that unions will be dealt a blow with the Friedrichs vs. CTA decision, which will be handed down by the Supreme Court sometime between now and June. They are eyeing the November 2018 ballot in the hopes that they can interest financial backers for another run at yet another losing proposition. Our union was ready to fight him this year, and we’ll fight if he tries to do it in 2018.  AFSCME never quits!

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On Monday, January 11th the Supreme Court heard oral arguments from both sides in the matter. Most analysts following the case were struck by the hostile line of questioning from the justices in the majority suggesting that they were ready to overturn Abood. It should be noted, however, that after listening to oral arguments at the Supreme Court over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), opponents predicted that the ACA would be thrown out which did not come to pass.

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Capitol Weekly and the University of California, UC Center present: PUBLIC PENSIONS. This day-long conference will be held in Sacramento on February 11, 2016.
Space is limited.

Today is the last day to register at the Early Registration Rate of $149 - Price goes to $199 tomorrow!

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UC Berkeley's Labor Occupational Health Program is once again hosting a free three-day occupational health and safety training for union members on April 26, 27 and May 10 in Oakland, CA at The California Endowment

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Today, January 11, 2016, the United States Supreme Court heard opening arguments on the Friedrichs vs CTA case which will affect all public sector unions.  

A decision is expected in the next few months.  Please be sure to check back frequently for updates on this important case. 

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It's already too difficult for too many Americans to get by, let alone get ahead. … What undoubtedly is news to most people is that the U.S. Supreme Court will soon hear a case that threatens to make these economic challenges even worse. The case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, is the latest tactic in a long running conservative campaign to deny working people the right to band together, form a union, and speak up for one another in order to get the wages and benefits that they can sustain their families on. …. Public sector unions are critical to Black economic opportunity because public service jobs have historically marked one of the most important paths to good-paying, family-sustaining jobs for people of color, especially black women. -Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of ColorOfChange

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AFSCME Council 57 honors and recognizes Local 2703 members Mike Schlessinger and David Soto for their amazing rescue of an elderly resident who had fallen in her yard and laid in a puddle for over 24 hours. The Merced City Council presented them with a certificate in appreciation for this outstanding action.They are among the everyday heroes that provide essential services to citizens, and more.


 

The crisis in retirement security will reach epic proportions if the Reed/DeMaio measures are allowed to place prospective employees in 401(k) plans and prevent them from contributing to the viability of existing defined benefit plans.

Another View: Instead of demonizing pensions, focus on secure retirement issues (Sacramento Bee)


 

 Labor Economist Jared Bernstein does a deep dive into the causes of income inequality and policy solutions, including strengthening unions. Key point: “To lower today’s levels of inequality, policy would need to accomplish two broad goals: raise the bargaining power of the American worker and lower the political clout of the wealthy elite."

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Chuck Reed and Carl DeMaio’s shortsighted and unrelenting desire to undermine the retirement security of hardworking Californians has resulted in the submission of two ballot measures that will be certified for petition circulation around December 1, 2019. 

Below are talking points on these two measures from the Californians for Retirement Security, a coalition of public worker unions that fights to protect the retirement security of more than 1.6 million workers in California, of which AFSCME is a partner. If the measures qualify for the ballot our coalition will not only throw everything we have at defeating them, we will turn out progressive and labor voters as we have in the past, lifting the campaigns of our allies.

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HELP THE FIGHT FOR OUR RETIREMENT SECURITY BY JOINING AFSCME PEOPLE! 

Former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and San Diego City Council member Carl DeMaio are bent on destroying your retirement security! The Reed/DeMaio ballot measure described in the October news was withdrawn once a union coalition called the architects of the measure out on their efforts to take retirement benefits away from existing employees. In its place they submitted two new measures which would impact existing employees and future hires! One would not allow any improvements to retirement benefits unless it was taken to a public vote, taking away our rights at the bargaining table and handing them over to voters instead. The other measure would (among other things) force employers to place new employees in a 401 (k) plan instead of in the defined benefit plan system, which would financially jeopardize the system intended to provide benefits to you when you retire! It’s all part of a systematic attack on public employees by conservative moneyed interests.

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Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association Explained

America’s economy has swung out of balance. It’s getting harder to get by, let alone get ahead. Everyday Americans are working more than ever before. Our work has created record wealth for an economic recovery that’s been everywhere but ordinary peoples’ wallets. Our economic rules unfairly favor corporate CEOs and the rich because they manipulate the rules in their favor. Almost no one stands up for average Americans these days, and now this Supreme Court case threatens to make it even worse. Everyone who works should be able to make ends meet, have a say about their futures, and have the right to negotiate together for better wages and benefits that can sustain their family. Friedrichs v. CTA threatens our ability to do just that.

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AFSCME STRONG is a dynamic new campaign to have one-on-one conversations with 80% of our members to engage them more fully and hear their thoughts about what our priorities should be in Council 57 and in their locals. Through this process we will strengthen and energize our union in our fight for our jobs, our families and our future. We also aim to reach 90% membership.

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 A Future for Workers: A Contribution from Black Labor offers a perspective that is timely and unique, blunt but hopeful, progressive yet tempered by the grotesque grip on wealth and power by global elites. It speaks in the voice of nearly 2.1 million African Americans in labor unions. This document seeks to advance a discussion that is so badly needed. What is it that workers need and want? How can this then become not the “special interests” of an isolated labor movement, but a robust agenda that can rally the bottom 99% to collective action? These questions anchor the analyses, conclusions and recommendations presented in this paper from a black labor perspective.


 

AFSCME Local 146 was featured in the national AFSCME blog during National Apprenticeship Week for their “Earn While You Learn” innovation. This is a unique way to enhance members’ job skills and improve their earning power. “I’m so proud of our apprenticeship program,” said Local 146 Pres. Belinda Malone. “This program is the result of hard, tedious work in building labor relations with our employer with the goal all along of improving members’ lives. Our efforts are about to pay off in a big way for our members.”


 

Over 100 leaders and activists brought life to the Council 57 AFSCME STRONG movement at the Leadership Conference in September themed Organizing for a Power Future. AFSCME Council 31 Director Roberta Lynch rallied the crowd about Income Inequality and the need to fight the billionaire agenda to dismantle unions. Members posed for a group picture which joined with AFSCME Council 31 members depicts AFSCME Strong solidarity. Longtime labor icon and social justice activist Dolores Huerta inspired our members with the history of United Farm Workers (UFW) organizing and the importance of home visits to engage members. She also emphasized how AFSCME’s support in the early years of the UFW grape boycott was crucial to the success of the campaign. Conference participants put this and their AFSCME Strong training to use making home visits to AFSCME Local 829 members, signing up new members, enrolling members into PEOPLE and engaging members in dynamic conversations about the future of our union. 

AFSCME Council 57 also honored activists and locals at our first ever Outstanding Organizer Awards with a field of many distinguished nominees from around the state. In an Academy Award format presenters Belinda Malone, Bernadine Howell, and Ruben Rodriguez recognized outstanding activists and locals who are doing an outstanding job to build our union!

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AFSCME Strong is our plan to build a union made up of committed members who feel their power in the worksite, at the bargaining table and with our elected officials. Our AFSCME Strong campaign aims to achieve 90% union membership: Council 57 has had 2,578 new members toward our goal of 3,700. Local 101 from the greater San Jose area contributed 575 new signers to that effort. AFSCME Strong aims to enroll 10% of our members into MVP membership of the PEOPLE (Public Employees Organized to Promote Legislative Equality) Local 3916 (AC Transit) exceeded their goal of 22 MVPs and signed up 46! Our AFSCME Strong goal also is to engage 80% of our membership in quality one-on-one conversations about your priorities for the union in the years ahead.


 

Are Unions Useful Anymore?

Tell me if you've heard this one before: "Unions were good at one time, but haven't they outlived their usefulness?" This statement is old hat for those who want to crush workers' rights on the job. How old? The revelation at the 48-second mark says it all.


 

Wealth Inequality in America

Our perception of inequality and the actual numbers. The reality is worse than we think.

Worker's Independent News "WIN"

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