Friday, February 12, 2010

AFSCME Releases “Digging Out” Video

Friday, February 12, 2010

“Public Employees Are Clearing the Way” Through Snow Storms and Economic Storms

Washington, DC — The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) released a new web video today, called “Digging Out.” Coming on the heels of historic snowstorms in the Mid-Atlantic, the video highlights how public employees are digging us out of the snow – and out of the economic storm the country has been weathering.

“America is digging out from some historic storms,” the video states over footage of snow clearing, alternating with symbols of the economic downturn. “Public employees are clearing the way – doing their job so that you can do yours. Tell Congress to keep investing in our communities, so we can get through the storm.”

The video calls attention to the substantial economic benefits of investing in state and local services on the eve of a United States Senate debate about whether to include investment in public services in new jobs legislation. Without that investment, which includes an extension of the Federal Medicaid Assistance Program as called for in President Obama’s budget, more than three million Americans in both the public and private sectors could lose their jobs by 2012.

Investing in state and local services is one of the most efficient and effective ways for the federal government to spur economic development, create jobs, and preserve critical services like education and public safety. In fact, according to prominent economist and former McCain advisor Mark Zandi, every dollar invested in public services yields $1.41 in economic activity.

“At our times of greatest need, whether in clearing the aftermath of a snow storm or tackling the much larger challenges of an economic storm, it is the work of dedicated public employees that pull us through,” said AFSCME President Gerald McEntee.

“We all want to get our economy back on track, get Americans back to work, and dig ourselves out of these hard times. Investing in our communities creates jobs and jumpstarts economic growth. It needs to be a critical piece of any true jobs plan, and we’re making sure our leaders in the Senate understand that.”

“Digging Out” can be viewed online at

AFSCME’s 1.6 million members provide the vital services that make America happen. With members in hundreds of different occupations – from nurses to corrections officers, child care providers to sanitation workers – AFSCME advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services and prosperity and opportunity for all working families.


American Federation of State, County
and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO
1625 L Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20036-5687
Telephone (202) 429-1145
Fax (202) 429-1120

AFSCME Lobby Day - We Need to Hear from You!

AFSCME Lobby Day crowds are growing each year. If you're going to join this year's crowd on March 3rd, we need to hear from you right away.

Lobby Day is your chance to walk the walk in the fight against privatization, to stand up for fairness at the bargaining table, and to explain to elected officials that quality public services are essential for economic recovery.

Many motorcoach buses loaded with AFSCME members and family members will converge on Madison for the 9:00am-10:00am registration and then subsequent legislator visit's. We'll have you heading home no later than 3:00pm and for many it will be sooner. To learn more, please complete and place in the mail the postage-paid card that you received in the mail or visit the AFSCME Wisconsin Legislative Council website at or call (608) 836-6666.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Contracting Reform Bill Available For Senate Vote



Senate Bill 447, authored by Senator Julie Lassa (D - Stevens Point), makes numerous changes to the state contracting out process. Among the changes are higher thresholds for state agencies to contract out public services, additional items that must be considered as costs of contracting out to make a more apples-to-apples comparison between privateers and state employees, standardized performance measures for contracts, penalties for false claims made by contractors and increased penalties for contractors that commit fraud against the state. SB 447 was passed by the Senate Committee on Ethics and Government Operations on February 10, and is ready for a vote by the full Senate.

When SB447 is scheduled for floor debate we will advise you and it is anticipated that we will once again need to call on your assistance in contacting your state senator and urging them to vote YES! Watch the SEPAC website ( for postings as well as your INBOX for SEPAC Alerts.

Please accept our THANKS for a job well done.

Ken Weaver, Chair
Contracting-Out Committee

AFSCME "National Call-In Day" Cancelled

We just received word this morning from AFSCME International that the "National Call-In Day" for the Jobs Act has been cancelled.

Washington, DC has been hit with yet another very heavy winter snow and Federal buildings have been closed and Federal workers have been instructed to saty home. This does impact the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives offices. We have been advised that an operator will take incoming calls, but the callers are being directed to the voice mail of the respective legislator's offices.

If YOU HAVE ALREADY made a call, that is great and your call will have an impact when your U.S. Senator listens to their voice mail. If you have not made the call, we ask that you hold off and watch your INBOX for a future call to action. The Jobs Act is of great importance for workers and AFSCME will once again push forward with the "National Call-In Day" when our nation's capitol is back to full operations.

Thank you for your anticipated call to action and your understanding of the last minute notice that today's National Call-In has been cancelled.

This Is National Call-In Day

Today is the day, we need everyone reading this post to call their U.S. Senator and tell them that you want them to support and fight for investment in public services like Medicaid and education. Economists on the left and right agree that helping state and local governments is one of the best ways to save and create jobs.

Not sure what the number is to call? Then click on the title of this post and follow the instructions of the SEPAC Action e-Alert. A script for you to read from is even provided in the alert for those of you who are nervous about what you would say. It is that simple, click on the title of this post and you will have accomplished a very important task in just a few minutes.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

AFSCME Update on Health Care Reform

President McEntee announced on Friday that we will move forward with our support for health care reform, and urged everyone to participate in HCAN’s February 17 events. Given everything going on, we likely will not initiate AFSCME-specific actions, but we ask that you participate in HCAN events to finish health reform right.

Look for an HCAN event near you, "click here".

Monday, February 8, 2010

Jobs Campaign - We Need for You To Act on February 10

President McEntee announced on Friday that AFSCME is launching a jobs campaign to secure major new investment in state and local governments. He also asked that everyone participate in the opening activities of this campaign this week and next, including:

o February 10 call-in day. We need to generate thousands of calls demanding state and local aid as part of the jobs bill. A lit piece is attached. To support it, we will issue an email on Wednesday and will drop robos starting tomorrow in CT, NY, DE, FL, IL, WI, OH, OR and WA.

o Media. We need to be visible in local press when senators return home for the Presidents Day recess. Attached are template op-eds and letters to the editor for our leadership to sign and submit. Please email me with the names of the publications you submit them to so that we can credit you with them and report them during our Hill visits.

o Lobby visits. President McEntee asked affiliate leadership to reach out right away (and over the recess) to senators and senior staff to urge them to fight for state and local aid. Attached are a template lobby visit request form and talking points.

Click on the title of this post to be taken to the SEPAC Action e-Alert related to this call to action.