Apr 02 2014

The 5000 employees of UW Hospital are asking CEO Donna Katen-Bahensky for just one thing.

The 5000 employees of UW Hospital are asking CEO Donna Katen-Bahensky for just one thing. To keep the voice that has made our hospital #1. We ask that she and the UW Authority agree to meet and confer with current elected employee representatives so that the employees of UW Hospital may continue to provide quality and dependable care to our community.  Click the link below to sign the petition and support our UW Hospital members.

 Please join this campaign: http://chn.ge/1m10uzH

 

Feb 18 2014

Jim Boyd Memorial Scholarship Bowling Tournament

The Wisconsin State Employees Union

invites you to come and join with other Union Members  

for the 31st Annual Union Solidarity

Jim Boyd Memorial

Scholarship Bowling Tournament

April 25-26, 2014 at Tower Lanes

(1660 N. Spring Street, Beaver Dam)

Proceeds benefit the Jim Boyd Memorial Scholarship Program for State Employees

Click here to print application

Apr 17 2014

Wisconsin to Connecticut: 2011 Could Happen to You

20140416-We-are-Not-Wisonsin-Forum-in-CTKen Weaver, a Wisconsin AFSCME member who fought with thousands of others in 2011 to try to preserve workers’ collective bargaining rights, recently spoke to hundreds of Connecticut union members, warning them that the same could happen to them if they’re not vigilant.

Weaver, a retired Wisconsin Department of Transportation construction inspector and member of AFSCME Local 758, Council 24, spoke at the “We Are Not Wisconsin” forum held in Middletown, Conn., and sponsored by the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC), of which AFSCME Connecticut Council 4 is a member.

Despite its name, the forum is meant to bring home the reality that Connecticut, like any other state, could lose its union rights if right-wing lawmakers gain control of the Statehouse and the governor’s mansion.

Weaver noted that Wisconsin was once a union-friendly state. Then elections in 2010 turned the tables on workers, bringing in a right-wing governor, Scott Walker, and tipping the balance of power in the Legislature to favor anti-union forces.

“That is all this is – politics,” Weaver said.

Weaver told his Connecticut sisters and brothers that though workers in Wisconsin “may have been knocked down, we’re fighting every day. The war is long from over. It never ends.”

Dawn Tyson, president of Connecticut AFSCME Local 538, Council 4, was among those impressed by Weaver’s message. A processing technician for the Department of Social Services, she said Weaver’s comments “really brought it home for me. They made me feel energized. But they also awakened me and made me realize the threat is very real. It is an ever-present danger.”

Apr 08 2014

What a New Governor Could Do for State Employees

What a New Governor Could Do for State Employees (Click)

Lately, Council 24 has been asked, “What can a new governor do to lead us out of our current state of affairs, especially if there is no change in the state legislature?”  The attached document takes a look at the all the things a new governor can do that would help state employees.  Please share this information with your co-workers – there are many things that could be done within a very short time that would make a big difference.  It all starts with change at the top

Apr 08 2014

Congratulations!

Congratulations!

 

Over the weekend leadership from six of Council 24’s seven bargaining units met in Madison (the seventh unit – UW Hospital, Local 1942 – previously held their elections) to elect executive board members for new two-year terms.   We thank these more than 100 dedicated members who gave up their Saturday to participate in directing the union’s future.

 

Our congratulations and gratitude also goes to the following members who were elected to serve on the Council 24 Executive Board:

 

Representing the Administrative Support Bargaining Unit – Gilbert Johnson, Local 82;

Blue Collar Bargaining Unit – Paul Krien, Local 892;

Education Bargaining Unit – Ray Decker, Local 2931;

Professional-Social Services Bargaining Unit – Paul Spink, Local 2748;

Security and Public Safety Bargaining Unit – Ron McAllister, Local 6;

Technical Bargaining Unit – Terry Magnant, Local 555;

UW Hospital and Clinics – Brad Cords and Shannon Gerue, Local 1942;

Representing retired state employees – Tom Thornton, AFSCME Retirees Chapter 7

 

Elections for our four table officers (President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer) will occur during our upcoming annual convention, May 31 and June 1.

As soon as the new terms begin in early June, we’ll have contact information posted on our websites for all of your Council executive board representatives.  We look forward to working together.

 

Apr 04 2014

Burke for Governor!

Marty,

After a collaborative and democratic process involving workers and leaders across the state, the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO has endorsed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke for Wisconsin Governor in the 2014 November election. 

Gov. Walker has attacked workers’ wages, protections and collective bargaining rights, dismantled voting rights, enacted hyper-partisan redistricting lines, and failed to create good jobs for hard-working Wisconsinites.  Wisconsin ranks an unacceptable 35th in the nation in private sector job creation.  In March, Wisconsin ranked #2 in the nation in job losses.  It is blatantly clear that Wisconsin needs new leadership to get our economy back on track and put Wisconsinites back to work. 

Mary Burke has a proven track record of creating good jobs with family-supporting benefits for Wisconsin workers.  Burke knows that respecting workers’ rights to organize in both the public and private sector is good for the economy and good for workers.  We need a Governor that will stand with workers and fight to raise wages so that we can grow our economy from the bottom-up and middle-out.  By investing in workforce education, training and development and working with local manufacturers in important economic sectors like paper, agriculture and fresh water, Mary Burke can grow business and create jobs while respecting workers’ rights.

The pressing issues for Wisconsinites this election is crippling income inequality and a lack of access to good jobs.  Income inequality is destroying the American Dream.  Gov. Walker is doing nothing to stop and everything to exacerbate the problem.  Mary Burke is ready to go to bat for the middle class.  She is ready to put Wisconsinites, not the Koch Brothers, first.  What workers have seen proposed by Burke — focusing on good job creation, raising the minimum wage, supporting citizen access to the polls, and investing in public education — is the Wisconsin way forward.

Learn more about Mary Burke by visiting her website at http://burkeforwisconsin.com/

In Solidarity,

Phil Neuenfeldt, President

Stephanie Bloomingdale, Secretary-Treasurer

Apr 04 2014

WNC story: WI Grassroots Group: McCutcheon Decision “Legalized Bribery”

(04/03/14) MADISON, Wis. – The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down aggregate limits on individual contributions to federal candidates, political parties and political action committees, saying existing limits are a violation of free speech.

Lisa Subeck, executive director of the grassroots political group United Wisconsin, calls the court’s 5-to-4 decision a complete violation of the public trust.

And she says it takes the nation another step closer to, as she puts it, legalizing bribery in politics.

“Citizens believe one citizen, one individual, one vote,” Subeck stresses. “And essentially, what a decision like McCutcheon, particularly coupled with the Citizens United decision of 2010 does is, it gives an unlimited amount of power to those with the most money to purchase it.”

The Citizens United decision, which in essence said corporations are people, is supported by those who believe that political contributions are a form of free speech.

Subeck maintains that now the only way to prevent wealthy donors from having even more power as a result of these decisions is to repeal the Citizens United ruling.

According to Subeck, there is a growing bipartisan grassroots movement committed to overturning the Citizens United ruling.

“Citizens across this state, across this nation are looking for meaningful campaign finance reform,” she says. “Clearly, the first step is a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, that declares that not only are corporations not to be treated as people, but money is not the same as speech.”

Subeck points out campaign finance limits provide a crucial safeguard against corruption in the political system.

She says Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling makes it more difficult for the public to trust that decision-makers are not simply for sale to the highest bidder.

 

Click here to view this story on the Public News Service RSS site and access an audio version of this and other stories: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/index.php?/content/article/38528-1

Apr 04 2014

McCutcheon, et al. v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court Decision

McCutcheon v FEC Supreme Court Decision Memo (click)

As you may have heard, the Supreme Court today issued a 5-4 decision in McCutcheon, et al. v. Federal Election Commission. This Supreme Court has once again ruled for the wealthy and privileged by doing away with aggregate limits on individual campaign contributions. This means that individuals like the Koch brothers can now contribute the maximum amount to all federal candidates, political party committees and as many PACs as anti-worker conservatives can set up.

 

Working people in this country want and deserve a shot at the American Dream, but increasingly, we are pushed down even further by such rulings.  If we are going to get that shot at the American Dream, it is up to us to pull together, educate, mobilize and energize the millions of like-minded Americans and send a message in the streets and at the ballot box that our country is not bought and paid for by the wealthy. 

 

I’ve attached a memo from our General Counsel’s Office which discusses the case in much more detail. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Bill Lurye or Jessica Robinson. 

 

Lee A. Saunders

President

AFSCME

(202) 429-1100

(202) 429-1102 (fax)

lsaunders@afscme.org

 

Apr 02 2014

Green Bay Senator Warns That Wisconsin Retirement System Could Be Privatized

Green Bay Senator Warns That Wisconsin Retirement System Could Be Privatized

Dave Hansen Says He’s Worried That Legislature Might Try To Make Some Public Workers Buy Annuities

Updated: 

Thursday, March 27, 2014, 3:29pm

By Patty Murray

 

 

State Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, is warning that Wisconsin’s state employee retirement system is at risk of being privatized.

Hansen worries that a move may arise in the Legislature to at least partly privatize the system. He says Gov. Scott Walker’s budget floated the idea of letting, or forcing, some state employees – most likely newer employees – buy private annuities.

“I know the governor has finally come out and said we have the best fund in the country,” said Hansen. “So if he’s saying that now, he should keep his hands off of what’s in place because it is working.”

 

Hansen is referring to a 2012 study by the Employee Trust Fund. The fund oversees the retirement system, so in effect it was issuing a report on itself.

Jack Norman, an independent consultant for the Wisconsin Coalition for Retirement Security, says because of fees, people in a private fund would most likely have smaller monthly payments. Jack Norman says there is no active movement in the Legislature to change state pensions.

“It would be wonderful if it never gets going,” said Norman. “But particularly because the governor put this into his first budget, he said, ‘Let’s check this out, let’s see if we should go down this road.’ And he put money in that budget for a study to see what it would be. We got a lot of great numbers out of that study because the budget shows it’s a bad idea.”

 

Norman and Hansen say a move to privatization would harm a woman’s monthly retirement benefit more than a man’s, because on average women live longer than men and therefore would get a smaller monthly payout.

Editor’s Note: Employees of Wisconsin Public Radio are members of the Wisconsin Retirement System.

 

 

Mar 27 2014

Council 24 member helps find the lost

Wisconsin AFSCME (Council 24) member helps find the lost

shared with permission from the afscme.org blog.

BY CLYDE WEISS  |  MARCH 27, 2014

Wisconsin AFSCME Member Helps Find the LostWarden Dave Oginski

Wisconsin Conservation Warden Dave Oginski’s skills as a tracker helped save the lives of at least a dozen people over the years and were recently highlighted in a feature-length story in the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

At a time when public services are threatened and even demonized, in cities and states across the country, Oginski’s story is a reminder of the true value of the work that public service employees do every day in every place in America.

A member of AFSCME Local 1215,Council 24, Oginski is employed at the state Department of Natural Resources’ Wausaukee ranger station. When hunters, fishermen and others who venture into this territory become lost, it’s his job to find them.

Oginski “helped track and find at least six people lost in the woods last year, which is more than any other warden in Wisconsin,” the Press-Gazette reported. The story further notes the 29-year-old personally helped locate at least 12 people since he began working as a conservation warden in 2007. He conducted six search and rescue missions during the latest deer-hunting season.

“This guy has just been Johnny-on-the-spot for us numerous times,” Marinette County Sheriff Jerry Suave told the Press-Gazette. “He has a knack for determining which way somebody went while finding lost people.”

As for himself, Oginski is humble. “It’s just a matter of using what I use every day,” he tells AFSCME. For example, he uses tracking skills to search for signs of poaching, which is “sometimes as simple as going down the road and looking at tracks in the dirt” to see where they lead.

“A lot of the officers are trained the same way, whether they’re conservation wardens or police officers,” he added. “It’s just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.”

Oginski may be humble about his job, but he’s proud to declare he’s an AFSCME member.

“It gives me a lot of pride in the fact that I can say I am a member of the union, and still go out and do my work,” he said. “I’m not whatever we have been portrayed as” by right-wing extremists.

 

 

 

Mar 19 2014

National Library Week

On Tuesday, April 15, during National Library Week, communities across the country will observe National Library Workers Day.  We encourage you to observe this day, a time to honor the contributions of AFSCME members, including librarians, technicians, support staff and others, who make libraries happen and who are doing more with less. AFSCME represents over 25,000 librarians and library workers, making us the largest union of library employees.

 This is also a good time to remind your library members about the Library Employees Online Network.  Members can sign up for the network via the AFSCME website (www.afscme.org) in the “Jobs We Do” section.

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