Thursday, April 26, 2012

AFSCME | Walker’s Cronies Get Bonuses While Working Families Cut Back

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker handed out $765,000 in bonuses and raises to his top staff, as AFSCME members and other public service workers tightened their belts in the wake of his anti-worker budget. These payouts are part of Walker's politicization of Wisconsin state government. After taking office he replaced 40 top civil service positions with political appointees.

AFSCME | Walker’s Cronies Get Bonuses While Working Families Cut Back

Another Call for Increasing Social Security Benefits

…. Last month, the AFL-CIO Executive Council called for increasing rather than cutting Social Security benefits, which provide guaranteed income to more than 54 million workers and their families. "It is time to stop thinking of Social Security as a problem and start thinking of it as a key solution to our retirement security crisis," the council said. That call was echoed today in a Los Angeles Times column by Michael Hiltzik:

Another Call for Increasing Social Security Benefits

AFSCME | Under a Spotlight, ALEC Continues to Lose Supporters

The announcement that South Carolina state Rep. Ted Vick is resigning from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) because it “has steadily drifted to the right” is a reminder of what AFSCME has long said: ALEC is part of a secretive, corporate-backed network of right-wing, anti-worker organizations that cannot flourish under the bright light of day.

AFSCME | Under a Spotlight, ALEC Continues to Lose Supporters

AFSCME | President Obama Slow Jams a Scary Truth About College Costs

President Obama appeared on the Jimmy Fallon Show last night to slow jam his message about college affordability, but behind the laughter there was a very serious message: On July 1, more than 7.4 million students with federal student loans will see their interest rates double unless Congress acts.

AFSCME | President Obama Slow Jams a Scary Truth About College Costs

New GOP PAC Aims to Take on Obama's Union Forces

SEPAC NOTE: The strength and power of the labor movement has always been its ability to have "boots on the ground" during any election. Now, the GOP sees the logic in labors strategy and is not only going to provide cash well beyond labors ability, but will attempt to put boots on the ground as well. The future of the labor movement and our opportunity to start winning back collective bargaining rests with the commitment of union members to engage in the Wisconsin Recall elections and stop the GOP attacks on workers by ensuring that ONLY worker-friendly candidates are elected and that Governor Scott Walker is removed from office.

A new Republican super PAC aims to put boots on the ground in key states in an effort to blunt big labor’s traditional campaign on behalf of Democrats that includes door-to-door canvassing, phone banks, poll workers and get-out-the vote operations. …. Bo Harmon, one of the founders of Republican Union, explained that the goal of the PAC is “to help Republican candidates by providing boots on the ground grassroots operations in targeted states.” He said that the Republican Union has begun fundraising operations to pay for travel and lodging of conservative activists willing to travel for anywhere from a few days to a few months to provide grassroots campaign support. …. The group’s plan to counter unions is, to say the least, ambitious. Recent reports, including one in The Washington Post, reveal that big labor hopes to match the $450 million spent in 2008 with the usual suspect of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and the National Education Association leading the charge.

New GOP PAC Aims to Take on Obama's Union Forces

Big Labor's big moment - Print View

For years Big Labor has been looking small, but it doesn’t feel that way now. Unions won an Ohio referendum overturning Gov. John Kasich’s effort to restrict collective bargaining for government employees. They built a recall campaign that could still knock Republican Scott Walker out of the governor’s mansion in Maple Bluff, Wis. And on Tuesday night, they kneecapped Rep. Jason Altmire in a Pennsylvania Democratic primary — getting payback for his vote against the president’s health care law. … “I think it was a clear overreach by some of these right-wing Republicans,” said Ricky Feller, the associate political director at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. … “People are pumped up and that’s what our friend Scott Walker caused,” Feller said, adding that Walker’s opponents have a “good shot at him,” in the June recall election. “I think there’s some buyer’s remorse out there.”

Big Labor's big moment - Print View

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

AFSCME Council 24 Vice President and Correctional Sergeant Lashes Out at Wisconsin DOC Spokesperson

----- Forwarded Message ----

From: Daniel Meehan
Sent: Wed, April 25, 2012 11:31:35 AM
Subject: Your statements to the media

Mr Lemonds,

Your statements in regards to the staff assaults and subsequent serious injuries suffered by correctional officers at Stanley Correctional Institution are absolutely disrespectful to these officers and to every correctional officer that walks the frontline of these overcrowded institutions. Please explain to me how a concussion is a "superficial wound".

Why didnt you explain to the media how the female officer was punched multiple times in the face/head areas and that a responding officer was also assaulted by this same inmate by punching him in the face. It sure would be the truth and wouldnt give the inmate a defense like your statements do. "Hey if the injuries were only "supeficial" then it couldnt have been that bad of an assault your honor. Mr Lemonds said it right here your honor, superficial."

I work the control center at WCI but work OT [dont get called much anymore, I guess way to much "tenure" like those nasty teachers] and if I ever am injured at work and especially due to an inmate assault I do not give you or anybody else from the DOC permission to talk about my resulting injuries or medical condition to anybody.

Sergeant Daniel Meehan
Waupun Correctional Institution

News story link:

Sergeant Dan Meehan is president of AFSCME Local 18 representing correctional officers at Waupun Correctional Institution and is also Vice President of the Wisconsin State Employees Union, AFSCME Council 24, AFL-CIO. Sergeant Dan Meehan is a past recipient of the prestigious award, "Correctional Officer of the Year", having won the award through the AFSCME Corrections United representing 62,000 correctional officers all across the United States and Puerto Rico.

Jon Richards: Walker Is the "False Statement" Champion

Already last among all 50 governors in creating jobs, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is by at least one measure also among the worst when it comes to telling the truth. Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning arbiter of truth in politics, has examined ...

Jon Richards: Walker Is the "False Statement" Champion

Milwaukee Police Association endorses Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in recall election | Appleton Post Crescent |

AP MADISON — The Milwaukee Police Association has endorsed Republican Gov. Scott Walker in the recall election. The endorsement announced Wednesday comes a day after the statewide police union endorsed Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

Milwaukee Police Association endorses Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in recall election | Appleton Post Crescent |

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Workers, not firms, pay for healthcare -

U.S. employers don't pay for health insurance, workers do; the employer pays for health insurance from money allocated for payroll, researchers say. Jonathan Kolstad, assistant professor at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and Amanda Kowalski, an Okun-Model Fellow in Economic Studies, said when making hiring decisions, a company focuses on the total amount it spends on compensation, not the breakdown between salary and other benefits. .. Today, when offering jobs to potential employees, employers reduce salary to account for the contributions they must make to health insurance premiums, the researchers said. Potential employees then have to decide whether they are willing to work for lower wages and have health insurance, the researchers say.

Workers, not firms, pay for healthcare -

Join Us April 28: Safe Jobs Save Lives

Each year on April 28, Workers Memorial Day, working people throughout the world remember those who were hurt or killed on the job and renew our struggle for safe workplaces. In town squares and union halls, at worksites and memorials, in community after community—we are gathering to remember our brothers and sisters who have lost their lives and to fight for safe workplaces and for good jobs for all workers.

Join Us April 28: Safe Jobs Save Lives

Trustees’ Report Shows Social Security ‘Vibrant, Strong’

The annual Social Security trustees' report released today shows Social Security is “vibrant and strong” and, says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, it “continues to ensure working people a chance to retire with the dignity earned though a lifetime of hard work.”

Trustees’ Report Shows Social Security ‘Vibrant, Strong’

Walk the Walk for Falk

Scott Walker’s billionaire backers are making sure he has millions to spend on slick ads to cover up his record of tearing our state apart and making us dead last in new jobs.

But he will never have what we have, which is the kind of energy that can gather up almost a million signatures on recall petitions and knock on doors in every community across our state.

He will never have the commitment it takes to walk the walk when it comes to reclaiming our state.

Kathleen Falk has that kind of commitment, and so do you.

That’s why – with attack ads filling the airwaves – we hope you will join us in walking the walk for Falk by helping us get out the vote for the May 8 primary.

Falk has consistently stood up for workers’ rights and has worked shoulder-to-shoulder with AFSCME members to solve tough problems.

That’s why we were proud to endorse her, and why we are asking you to join us in making her the Democratic candidate who will take down Walker on June 5.

You can find out when, where and how to help right here.

We certainly aren’t alone on Falk’s bandwagon against the billionaires. Our union brothers and sisters from public and private sector are with us, as are women’s groups, along with advocates for children, senior citizens and a clean environment.

But AFSCME members have a special role to play in finishing this job, and we know you know how to do it.

Kathleen Falk knows how to bring people together and get our economy moving again. Under her leadership, Dane County created more than 20,000 new jobs.

That’s the kind of leadership we need now.

Please help us counter the billionaire ad blitz by walking the walk for Kathleen Falk.

In solidarity,

Paulette Feld, President
AFSCME Council 24

Marty Beil, Executive Director
AFSCME Council 24

Jim Garity, President
AFSCME Council 40

Rick Badger, Executive Director
AFSCME Council 40

Brian Stafford, President
AFSCME Council 48

Rich Abelson, Executive Director
AFSCME Council 48

Monday, April 23, 2012

AFSCME Council 24 Press Release

April 23, 2012      
Contact: Troy Bauch
715 827-0056 

Serious Assaults at Stanley Point to System-wide Problems in Corrections 

Recent serious assaults against staff at Stanley Correctional Institution point to growing problems at the facility, and statewide throughout the correctional system, according to the men and women who work inside correctional facilities.      

The situation is deteriorating as department administrators ignore concerns about working conditions raised by front-line workers and disregard long standing methods of maintaining open communication and stability in the workplace.      

Two officers at Stanley were hospitalized following an April 16 assault by an inmate.  The seriousness of the attack and injuries sustained were downplayed by department administrators.  Later that same week, in an additional assault, another officer was seriously injured fending off an inmate attack.  This follows an assault at Racine Correctional Facility earlier in the month, and a flurry of injuries over the preceding months at other facilities.      

"Correctional officers have long understood that they work in dangerous conditions.  But what has changed is that they no longer have a way to speak out about their concerns without fear of reprisal from above," said Troy Bauch, an AFSCME Council 24 staff representative and former correctional officer.      

When Gov. Scott Walker tore up contract language that established work rules over decades of give-and-take negotiations, one of the casualties was morale, and another was monthly labor-management meetings at each facility.  In these meetings, workers could speak openly and share concerns while also understanding the perspective of their managers.      

The administration is promising to begin holding "employee collaboration meetings" after eight months of silence, but those meetings will only involve employees who are hand picked by management.  Employees who participate will do so with no guarantee that any criticisms they may raise will not be held against them.       "These meetings will be little more than window dressing.  You can't expect employees to speak openly about problems when anything they say can, and probably will, be used against them," Bauch said.      

"Morale is at an all time low.  Vacancies are at a record high.  Mistakes are happening that can and should be corrected.  But all we hear from management is 'your concerns are noted'.  That's not communication.  That's a blow off," Bauch said.      

"The people who work in correctional facilities are professionals.  They deserve to be treated with respect by their employer," Bauch said.


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