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.
They say an ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure. That’s exactly what President Barack Obama had in mind when he signed the Affordable Care Act into law. He wanted women to have fair and affordable access to the preventive care we all need to stay healthy.
On August 1, the preventive care provisions of the Affordable Care Act went into effect. Now, all new health care plans will be required to cover a wide range of preventive health care services with no co-pay or deductible. These services include:
Breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling
Contraceptive methods and counseling
Screen and counseling for domestic partner violence
Screening for gestational diabetes
Counseling for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV
This is an historic month for women’s health and equality, and AFSCME helped make it happen. AFSCME members were on the front lines in the battle for health care reform. We pulled together to turn the tide for working families in this country. And now, our hard work has resulted in real change for women.
We want you to be one of the first to know that we have a new short film out to help stop the lies against public service workers.
The film tells the stories of some hard-working AFSCME members like you, such as Joe Wisniowski, an airport equipment operator for an Ohio airport.
The film also exposes the shell game being played by those who attack public service workers. They want the public to believe that we are the ones who are overpaid – and not the Wall Street titans who raked in $20.3 billion in record bonuses – after getting bailed out with our tax money!
AFSCME Decidedly Wins Election with 83 Percent of Voters
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SALT LAKE CITY Dec. 10, 2009 Skilled Trades, Services and Maintenance employees decidedly voted to form a labor union with Local 1004 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO.This week, Salt Lake County certified the election results and declared AFSCME the winner with 83 percent of the voters.
The victory in the Skilled Trades, Services and Maintenance is part of a tide of momentum building throughout the county in support of AFSCME, said Patty Rich, Executive Director of Utah AFSCME Local 1004.
County employees in a wide array of jobs from nurses to security officers to lab technicians are uniting with Utah AFSCME because the employees take enormous pride in Salt Lake County, Rich said.Together were working to improve the quality of the services they provide and prevent future pay cuts that hurt our local economy.
Im worried about the 2.75 percent pay cut because I have a family to support, said John Farrer, who has maintained roads and highways for six years as a District Worker in the Highway Department.We need a strong union voice to represent the interests of working families.Thats why I voted for Utah AFSCME.
Employees from the countys Civilian Law Enforcement divisionare expected to vote early next year on whether to form a union.An election was held within the unit in early December, at which AFSCME had a strong showing, but was ruled invalid due to a technicality.
Utah AFSCME Local 1004 has been representing Utah public service employees for over 30 years, including Salt Lake City municipal employees.The union recently worked to pass a county ordinance that allows county employees to choose union representation.
As you know by now, late Friday a bipartisan deal was reached in the Senate on its version of the economic recovery bill, easing the way for the bill to pass that chamber. Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Susan Collins (R-ME) were the architects of the deal and it will likely ensure the support of the entire Democratic caucus plus Republican Senators Collins, Olympia Snowe (ME) and Arlen Specter (PA). Their support should give us enough votes to meet the 60-vote threshold needed to defeat a Republican filibuster.
Importantly, the Nelson-Collins plan retains the $87 billion for state Medicaid programs along with a great deal of other spending for fiscally strapped state and local governments, but it does reduce some important funding from the original bill. Nelson-Collins eliminates about $100 billion in total spending. This includes about $65 billion to state and local governments, including $40 billion from the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund for education incentive grants and other vital needs. In addition to Medicaid, much of the other funding for state and local governments remains, including nearly $80 billion for education, more than $40 billion for transportation and highway improvements, $5 billion for public housing, $2 billion for child care, $1 billion for Head Start, $1 billion for COPS, $4 billion for clean water state funds, $2 billion for drinking water state funds, $1 billion for child support enforcement and more. Additional sums of money are still also included for the administration of Unemployment Insurance, Food Stamps and other programs. The modified Senate bill now stands at more than $820 billion. The House version is $819 billion. However, the Senate bill has less overall spending and more tax cuts compared to the House bill.
There is strong support for revisiting the lost spending in the regular appropriations process. In fact, Senator Nelson vowed to fight to the death to increase education funding following an AFSCME-organized press conference in Nebraska featuring NAPE/AFSCME Executive Director Mike Marvin and other advocates. Senator Specter, the Ranking Republican on the Education Appropriations Committee, also signaled support for this.
Today, at 5:30, there will be a cloture vote to end the filibuster. The vote on final passage is scheduled for Tuesday. The House and Senate leadership and the Obama administration will negotiate over the differences between the two bills with a plan to hold votes on a final bill late in the week.
During these negotiations, AFSCME will be working to achieve funding for state and local governments that reflects the higher level of funding in the House bill. However, our chance for success will be enhanced if a larger number of Republicans vote for the bill on Tuesday. Therefore, we ask you to reach out to your Senators once again and urge them to vote for the Senate bill. We will also be sending out an activist alert to generate calls to the Senate from AFSCME members.
You can now register to receive an election ballot every year at your home! No more waiting in line or driving in inclement weather. The Permanent Absentee Application is available through the County Recorder's Office. Visit the Salt Lake County or State of Utah links for additional information.