Friday, April 16, 2010

AFSCME Member's Fought Hard for Health Care Reform

Message from Council 24 Executive Director Martin Beil on behalf of AFSCME President McEntee:

President Obama recently signed the most significant piece of legislation in a generation. For the first time, our nation recognizes that health care is genuinely a right for all Americans. AFSCME members fought hard to pass President Obama’s health care reform package, and now it’s the law of the land. This victory will protect and improve good union health care benefits. It stops the worst abuses of the insurance companies. It gives workers and families without coverage on-the-job access to affordable health care. It ends skyrocketing premiums and caps on benefits. It helps seniors by closing the prescription drug donut hole, strengthening Medicare and helping employers pay for coverage of pre-Medicare retirees. It provides critical new funding to states.

AFSCME ran the largest mobilization campaign in our history to pass health care reform. More than 300,000 phone calls and letters were sent to Congress. We used texting and new media. We put ads on TV, online and in the papers. We marched, we lobbied and we prevailed.

Click on the title of this posting and you will find a thorough and factual summary of the health care reforms that are most important to AFSCME and its members. We hope you will use this educational tool to counter any misinformation currently circulating.

Thank you.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Presumption Bill Passes Senate – Assembly Up Next

Sen. Jim Sullivan (D-West Allis) and Rep. Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee) are the primary authors of Senate Bill 429 and Assembly Bill 644. Under current law, firefighters, public emergency medical services providers and law enforcement officers who die or become disabled due to heart or lung disease are eligible for benefits like worker’s compensation because it is “presumed” that they contracted the disease on the job. SB 429 and AB 644 would add infectious diseases to the list of illnesses for which a worker can get benefits. Also, for the first time, state and local corrections staff would be covered under presumption, but only for exposure to infectious diseases. SB 429 passed the State Senate on an 18 – 15 party line vote, with the Democrats voting in favor on Tuesday. The Assembly has scheduled both bills for a vote on Thursday, with AFSCME believing the bill has enough votes to gain passage and get sent to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

Questions should be directed to the AFSCME Lobbyists:

Susan McMurray

John Grabel

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Workers Memorial Day

On April 28, AFSCME and the other unions of the AFL-CIO observe Workers Memorial Day to remember those who have suffered and died on the job and to renew the fight for safe workplaces.

Use the links below to request buttons, posters and fact sheets and to let us know about Workers Memorial Day events in your area.

Workers Memorial Day Events
Workers Memorial Day Materials Request Form

AFSCME Recognizes Its Member Librarians

AFSCME represents more than 25,000 library workers nationwide - more than any other union. AFSCME is a leading advocate for equitable pay for library workers and for full funding for public libraries. From the Library of Congress and public libraries in Boston, New York, the District of Columbia, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Seattle/King County to public, school, college and university libraries nationwide, AFSCME librarians and library workers serve thousands of patrons every day.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Press Release from the WI State AFL-CIO

For Immediate Release
Contact: Sara Wallenfang, (414) 418-5485

Wisconsin State AFL-CIO Welcomes the Improved Clean Energy Jobs Act
Latest proposal makes bill better for working families

“We are excited about the proposed modifications to the Clean Energy Jobs Act. The working families that we represent appreciate the improvements made to increase and to speed up job creation,” says Phil Neuenfeldt, Secretary-Treasurer of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO. “The provisions added to allow job creating conservation and efficiency to count towards the Renewable Portfolio Standard and the clarification to the nuclear language are both positive changes.”

Wisconsin has no natural gas, no coal and no oil. We currently send $16 billion out of our state every year to meet our energy needs.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act will create clean energy that works for Wisconsin, and is made in Wisconsin. This is a huge opportunity to reduce our dependence on foreign fuel and make sure that Wisconsin doesn’t lose green jobs to countries like China.

“The jobs created by this legislation are good, family-wage jobs,” says Neuenfeldt. “This is the right choice for the environment and our economy.”


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Legislative Bills on the Move

Right to Know for Corrections Officers

Senate Bill 547, which would give corrections officers the right to know if an inmate has a contagious disease, received a unanimous vote of approval from the Senate Committee on Public Health this week. The Public Health Committee’s action now makes SB 547 available to be scheduled for a full vote of the Senate. AFSCME is lobbying Senate leadership to put the bill on the calendar.

Dues Deduction Bill Receives Public Hearing

Assembly Bill 916, which would allow retirees in the Wisconsin Retirement System to choose to have their union dues voluntarily deducted from their pensions, received a public hearing in the Assembly Labor Committee this week. Identical legislation, Senate Bill 390, was recommended for passage by the Senate Labor committee last month, and awaits scheduling for the floor by the Senate Organization Committee, Chaired by Senator Majority Leader Russ Decker. AFSCME is working diligently to get these bills passed before the session ends.

All questions should be directed to the AFSCME Lobbyists at (608) 836-6666.