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Updated: 19 min 55 sec ago

Too Many Workplace Injuries Go Unreported. You Can Help Us Fix That

9 hours 19 min ago

Workers who suffer injuries on the job too often fail to report it because they worry their employer will retaliate. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is proposing to make it a violation for an employer to discourage employee reporting of workplace injuries. You can help us make that happen, but we need to know ASAP!

The fear of employer retaliation for reporting workplace injuries is well-founded. Also, some employers have policies that discourage reporting of injuries. OSHA recognizes the problem and wants to make it easier for workers to report such injuries, free of worry that it may lead to bad consequences. As part of its rulemaking process, the agency is seeking public comments.

AFSCME wants to help OSHA accomplish its rulemaking goal, so we are asking for your help. If any AFSCME member has experienced a threat of retaliation for reporting a workplace injury, or has actually experienced employer disciplining, threatening, demoting or taking other retaliatory action for reporting an injury on the job, we want to hear from you as soon as possible.

Please send us an email detailing your experience so we may offer it into evidence. No names will be used to protect your privacy. If your employer has a written policy that punishes workers for reporting injuries, please send that to us as well. Please email the information to no later than Oct. 10.

Categories: News By Union

Walker Not ‘Bringing On’ Jobs

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 14:27

Economists track Wisconsin’s Failure to Recover

MADISON, Wisconsin – Gov. Scott Walker said “bring it on” when Politifact said it would track his promise to add 250,000 private-sector jobs in his first four-year term.

Walker threatened to add his own counter, but we haven’t heard much from him about job creation. The Politifact track is setting the record straight.

As of Sept. 18, economists at Politifact say, Walker is guilty of a “broken promise.” He’s up to 40 percent of his promise, with 102,195 jobs created, but Wisconsin ranks 35th in the nation as far as job growth, and dead last in the Midwest.

From January 2014 to August 2014, Walker’s so-called “reforms” produced a paltry 8,800 new private-sector jobs. That is hardly a comeback, or proof that his radical agenda did anything to grow Wisconsin’s economy. 

While just a few months ago Wisconsin found a $1 billion surplus, Walker since somehow found a place big enough to dig a $1.8 billion deficit.

No amount of spin can change dead last and a $1.8 billion deficit into anything more than a giant hole in the ground.

Categories: News By Union

Boehner’s Goals Are Not Your Goals

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 11:40

It’s the same old playbook, rolled out yet again by House Speaker John Boehner. Reduce government, cut taxes on the wealthiest, limit regulations and lawsuits on businesses, and abandon public schools. Apparently word hasn’t sunk in to certain parts of Congress that these same old priorities won’t wash.

There are many reasons why the plan is off the mark for most Americans. Here are just a few:

Nowhere does Boehner address the need for Americans to have enough food to feed their families, to have a job to pay the bills, to have affordable health care coverage or an assurance of a decent retirement. These are America’s real priorities.

Boehner and other extremists in the House of Representatives need to hear from real working class Americans, not just corporate CEOs and the ultra-rich. The midterm election is the ideal time to send a message. Make sure you’re registered and ready to vote on the priorities of working families. Learn more here.

Categories: News By Union

Prosecutor Says Governor Wants ‘Special Favors’

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 11:27

AUSTIN, Texas – Gov. Rick Perry is “making a mockery” of the Texas’ justice system and is seeking “special favors” by asking to skip an upcoming pretrial hearing, said the special prosecutor overseeing the state’s abuse-of-power case against Perry.

“I don’t think there’s any reason why Mr. Perry should be treated any different from any other citizen who’s required to be in court,” stated Michael McCrum, the state’s prosecutor. “He’s asking for special favors, and as far as I’m concerned, he’s not entitled to it.”

Lawyers for Perry, who is currently under indictment for allegedly attempting to use his authority to force a state official to resign, asked the judge to excuse him from an Oct. 13 pretrial because the governor is expected to be in Europe on business during that period.

“It’s clear that the governor is trying to evade responsibility,” stated Thomas Jones, vice-president of AFSCME Local 3807. “Even as a career politician, Perry has consistently shown a track record for sidestepping important issues, including health care, education and prison reform.” 

Categories: News By Union

Workers Take to the Streets to Protect the Environment

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 11:01

NEW YORK CITY – Members of AFSCME District Council 37 joined with thousands of other concerned neighbors to demand a global climate agreement. Just two days before President Obama and other world leaders came together for an emergency Climate Summit, a broad-based coalition of community, faith and labor activists marched on the United Nations to ask world leaders to take swift and decisive action.

AFSCME members, especially those of DC 37 and CSEA Local 1000, are uniquely able to discuss the impact of severe storms, such as that of Hurricane Sandy that struck New York City in 2012. In the lead up to, during and in the aftermath of the storm it was all-hands-on-deck for many AFSCME members – from FDNY EMS workers racing to save lives to 911 operators answering the call for help, and from school cafeteria workers moving out of their own homes into shelters to feed the homeless to sewage treatment workers battling the rising waters and saving lives.

“If anyone ever doubted that there is a climate crisis, Superstorm Sandy of 2012 offered definitive proof that the climate crisis is here,” said DC 37 Executive Director and International Vice President Lillian Roberts. “Now, we must work to prevent climate catastrophes. The leaders of the world need to come together to address this crisis with the seriousness that it deserves. We need real solutions – not just talk.”

The People’s Climate March was the largest demonstration for climate action in history. More than 800 organizations from around the world supported the march, from the largest transit workers union in New York City to a coalition of Buddhist monks. In total, the groups represent roughly 100 million people worldwide.

Climate negotiators will head to Lima, Peru, in December 2014 to work towards a global climate deal. Then, in September 2015 world leaders will meet back in New York to adopt a new development agenda called the Sustainable Development Goals. In December 2015, they will gather in Paris to try and sign a new international climate treaty.

Categories: News By Union

Miami-Dade Library Employees Win Funding, Beat Mayor

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 13:52

MIAMI – Miami-Dade library staff won a hard-fought victory Sept. 18 in a budget battle against a mayor who proposed drastic cuts to the public library system.

While backing multimillion-dollar giveaways to professional sports teams and large corporations, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez sought to balance the resulting $20 million budget shortfall by slashing funding for an award-winning library system. Had he won, those cuts would have closed nearly half of the county’s 49 branches, resulted in hundreds of full-time staff layoffs and left thousands of underserved residents without an essential resource.

But during the county’s final hearing on the proposed fiscal year 2014-2015 budget, commissioners voted 8 to 4 to stave off layoffs and prevent further cuts to the library’s budget, keeping the system fully funded through the next fiscal year.

“This is a huge win for our library system and for the patrons we serve every day,” said Ricci Yuhico, an AFSCME Local 199 member and cofounder of Community Advocates for Libraries in Miami (CALM).It did not happen overnight. It took hours and hours of organizing, working with our union, colleagues and community partners at late-night meetings, petitioning our elected officials, standing up to intimidation and rallying broad community support.”

Before they could mount a public challenge to the mayor’s budget, Yuhico, fellow Local 199 members and their coworkers in the library system overcame several obstacles in the workplace, tackling fear of retaliation among colleagues for fighting back. Library employees circulated a petition among their colleagues and garnered an overwhelming majority of signatures from everyone in the system demanding answers from the library administration for acquiescing to the cuts.

“This win is a testament to what can be accomplished if we come together in numbers as a union, empower our coworkers by educating them about their rights, and fight back,” said Local 199 member and Library Assistant 3 Philip MacAdams.

 “We put up a fight that the mayor and county commissioners could not ignore and we will continue to fight for the funding our communities need and deserve,” said Yuhico.  

Categories: News By Union