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April 17, 2013

Oakland—In response to today’s announcement of BART’s citation and $210,000 fine by the California Department of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) for three willful serious safety violations, AFSCME Local 3993 President Patricia Schuchardt said,

“BART management and board members are finally being held accountable for the poor choices they make with regards to policies and procedures related to worker and rider safety. It was their arrogant belief during the strike last October that they could run the system without the people who possess the skills and experience to run BART safely, and two men are dead because of that.”

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New AFSCME campaign will grow the union by 50,000 members before the 2014 Convention in July. Read more >>>

Why He Was In Memphis

On the anniversary of Reverend Martin Luther King’s assassination, AFSCME members recall that he was in Memphis supporting striking sanitation workers represented by AFSCME.   Read More


 

2014 AFSCME PEOPLE Convention

Wake Up! They’re Coming For Us!

Activists from around California came together March 23rd and 24th in Sacramento for the annual PEOPLE conference. The theme centered around how the attack on labor unions we have seen in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and more is gaining steadily upon us in California. A decision in the Supreme Court case Harris vs. Quinn is expected to be handed down in June which likely will impact union membership security. And although Chuck Reed’s pension reform initiative is stalled for now, current legislation and future elections of anti-labor legislators threaten the foundation of public sector union contracts which is our negotiated benefits. AFSCME members learned what we are up against, and gained tools for fighting back. Click here for slide show

Outsourcing: How We are Fighting Back (pdf)

ALEC On the Run (pdf)

Report from Court leader lobbying (pdf)



 

2014 SUMMER INSTITUTE FOR UNION WOMEN IN VICTORIA, B.C.

The Western Regional Summer Institute for Union Women (SIUW) offers an intensive week of learning in which union women can develop their skills as workers, activists and leaders. Hosted by the British Columbia Federation of Labour, the Institute will be held at the University of Victoria (UVIC) July 8-13, 2014.

The theme, Together Women Win, reflects labor’s commitment to providing women with both the skills and strategies to understand the key issues for labor and how that understanding can help union women participate in the upcoming elections, and develop stronger representation among leadership within our unions and political institutions. We need the world to hear more women’s voices speaking out on issues that matter to us, issues like universal early learning and childcare, retirement security, the economy, poverty and other important issues. For more information including the registration package click here.



 

Dave Low: Whats Next for Pensions? (Fox & Hounds)

Public employees have the most at stake in the discussion about the health of public pension systems. That’s why, despite the measure proposed by San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed being pulled from the November statewide ballot, public employees will remain actively involved in the conversation. We’re not celebrating. Neither are we shying away from this difficult discussion. We’re asking what we can do next to help. Read More


 

AFSCME COURTS WORKERS FIGHT FOR SERVICES

California Courts are in crisis. Budget cuts have created an unfair system of justice in our state by making it nearly impossible for citizens to receive timely access to our courts. AFSCME Council 57 and Council 36 in Southern California have embarked on our campaign Equal Justice for All  to protect court services and our jobs. The campaign is fighting to increase court funding by $166.5 million to achieve the $266.5 million needed to avoid further cuts. Courts union members have organized a Courts Caucus within AFSCME and lobbied legislators at the AFSCME California PEOPLE Day on March 24th in Sacramento.

Read about the impacts of funding cuts in the counties where AFSCME represents court workers here .



 

SUPPORT SB 1005- HEALTH CARE FOR ALL CALIFORNIANS

The Affordable Care Act has guaranteed health insurance to some, but not all Californians. Senate Bill 1005 (Lara) would extend access to the remaining uninsured, regardless of immigration status. Providing coverage is much more efficient and cost-effective than relegating the uninsured to seek care in emergency rooms. Hearings begin in April; contact your legislator now! A recent Health Access Update describes this important bill. Read more



 

States, Counties Move Against Outsourcing

Capital & Main reports that sixteen states have enacted legislation to curb runaway outsourcing. These laws are a good move toward greater transparency about cost-effectiveness of contractors, and establish performance standards and greater accountability for firms that profit from public contracts. Read more


 

Insourcing: A New Trend for the Country?

In states and cities across the country, a new trend is fast taking shape: Fed up with the outsourcing of public jobs at taxpayer expense, concerned citizens and lawmakers push for new laws that would increase accountability and transparency in public-private deals.

In the Public Interest, a comprehensive resource center on privatization and responsible contracting, took the lead in educating the public about the risks and dangers of outsourcing public jobs. Thanks to ITPI’s efforts, lawmakers introduced “insourcing” legislation in 15 states.

Many of these initiatives not only focus on increasing transparency and accountability in public-private dealings but protect taxpayers from bad contracts that lead to wasteful spending. They also help prevent outsourcing fiascos that benefit wealthy corporations while destroying the quality of life of hard-working residents. Read More ...



 

 Council 57 enthusiastically endorses Tom Torlakson in his re-election bid for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. The differences between him and his opponent, businessman Marshall Tuck, could not be more stark.   Read more >>>

AFSCME Attorney Teague Paterson summarizes the Measure B Decision and talks about next steps:

Judge Lucas has issued a final ruling in the challenges to San Jose’s pension measure, “Measure B.” This follows her “tentative decision” which was issued last December and is the result of objections and requests for modification to the tentative decision. The final decision almost completely adopts the tentative decision and preserves City of San Jose employees’ right to receive the pension promised to them when they began working for the City under the terms in place when they began working. The ruling also addresses changes to disability retirement, retiree health and the SRBR benefit.   Read More


 

AFSCME Members Working Hard Providing Public Services

AFSCME members work hard to provide necessary public services. During snowstorms and drought, hardworking public employees are often times behind the scenes, but their work helps us live better and safely.

You can get a round-the-clock snapshot of AFSCME members who serve the public every day here.



 

Last month’s employment figures are in, and things don’t look good. Read more >>>

Did you know households that earned less than $52,000 in 2013 are eligible for free tax assistance, and may qualify for federal tax credits of up to $12,000 including $6,044 in Federal Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC)? The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers FREE tax filing assistance at various locations throughout California. VITA volunteers have been trained and certified by the Internal Revenue Service.

These Bay Area free tax preparation events will also offer Covered CA enrollment:
CONTRA COSTA COUNTY
Saturday, February 8—10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
East Bay Works, 4071 Port Chicago Hwy., Concord
SAN FRANCISCO COUNTY
Saturday, February 15—10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
UC Hastings 200 McAllister St., San Francisco

read more



 

The anti-fracking movement in California is especially critical in light of the huge drought we’re suffering in our state. Council 57 delegates went on record at their July 2013 meeting opposing fracking, and we are watching our endorsed state legislators closely as this moves through Sacramento.    Read More


 

by Olivia Sandbothe

Low-wage workers in certain federally funded jobs will see a much-needed pay increase, thanks to President Obama.

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A new report out from Good Jobs First finds that the annual cost of tax breaks and corporate subsidies often exceeds even the heaviest pension loads: "In an examination of 10 states with some of the hottest battles over retirement plans for public employees, it found that they spend an average of 51 percent more to help out corporations than they do keeping up with contributions to pension systems." Read more >>>

Why Municipalities Should Look to San Jose, Not Detroit, For a Lesson in Pensions

Our attorney Teague Paterson describes our recent pension win in San Jose, and why Detroit is headed in the wrong direction. "Legally questionable and heavy-handed 'reforms' end up costing city residents dearly. They pay not only in legal fees, but in foreclosed homes when seniors can't afford their mortgages, in depressed spending at local businesses, in an inability to attract new and talented workers, and in growing economic inequality as the city's middle class falls further behind."   read more . . .


 

January 22, 2014

NATIONAL RIGHT TO WORK COMMITTEE REACHES SUPREME COURT IN EFFORT TO END COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

The U.S. Supreme Court proceeded with hearing oral arguments in Harris v Quinn case yesterday. AFSCME International President Lee Saunders describes what is at stake: Read More . . .



 

The $155 billion spending plan by the governor does not translate to automatic restorations of prior year cuts. Consistent with his desire to promote fiscal restraint, the Governor presented to the California Legislature and the general public a “very measured” budget. He stated that this year there is "good news in the fiscal stability and resources available for the state of California," but he also cited a need to move cautiously in order to pay off the state's "wall of debt."

Governor’s 2014-2015 Budget 

Click here for additional resources on the Governor's Budget.


 

Public Employees: Saving Time, Money and Jobs

Public employees and their unions are frequent scapegoats when elected officials seek to score political points or contract out government services. But despite what you may have read, there are many examples of productive labor-management relations in the public sector. Read and share this new report from Jobs with Justice that shows public employees saving taxpayer money and improving the delivery of government services.    Read more . . .


 

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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