AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, represents over 1.4 million members and is the nation’s largest child care union, representing 150,000 child care and early childhood educators. AFSCME's members provide the vital services that make America happen. We are child care providers, nurses, corrections officers, EMTs, sanitation workers and more. With members in hundreds of different occupations, AFSCME advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services, and prosperity and opportunity for all working families. AFSCME and affiliates are raising standards among child care providers from New York to California. Among our activities and accomplishments, we:
- Successfully lobbied for a child care reimbursement rate increase in Ohio;
- Devised a “peer advocacy” program to assist our members in meeting licensing and other administrative requirements, while improving communication with state, county and non-profit child care program administrators and regulators;
- Together with advocates, fought and defeated millions of dollars in Wisconsin and California state budget cuts;
- Lobbied the New York state legislature to defeat a Governor’s proposal to allow counties to divert child care funds into other services, resulting in a dedicated child care fund;
- Meet with legislators in family providers’ homes to show the important work they do;
- Played an active part in the decision-making process on policy issues and system changes that affect providers
- Brought family providers to the state capitol to lobby for quality child care;
- Raised funds to support CDA training for family child care providers;
- Supported and offered trainings in CPR, First Aid, Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention, and Best Business Practices to help family child care providers meet licensing requirements; and
- Registered and mobilized thousands of family child care providers to vote in the 2004 elections.
Why do I need a Union?
Simply talking about issues that affect public service employees isn't enough. To make a difference, our voices must be heard. And we can be heard only when we organize as a union and gain the strength to make real change. Together, our collective voice is heard - on the job, in state legislatures and city halls.
Why do I need a Union now?
Big corporations and anti-worker politicians are attacking public employees and the services we provide. Their goal is simple: Privatize our jobs, strip us of our rights and dismantle the public sector. They're going after our wages, our pensions and our health care. In 2005, newly elected governors in Indiana, Kentucky and Missouri took away the bargaining rights of all state employees. This can happen anywhere.
In Washington, D.C., and in state capitols across the country, its the same old thing: Politicians side with the rich and powerful, and neglect the needs of middle-class families.
Whether you are a public employee or work for a private company providing public services, we have to act now to stop the right-wing rush to lower our wages and benefits, and eliminate our rights. That's why building a strong union is so important now.
How does AFSCME reach out to workers who are not union members?
By organizing - helping unorganized workers form unions with AFSCME - we can become stronger. AFSCME recruits and trains the best organizers in the country, mobilizes dedicated member volunteers and applies cutting-edge strategies and old-fashioned hard work to strengthen and expand our membership. By organizing with AFSCME, workers win new rights and benefits.
Why is organizing important?
Organizing and growing gives us more power. Despite AFSCME's successes, union membership is down nationwide, even in the public sector. With state budgets getting tighter, politicians will look for ways to reduce public-sector payrolls. Unless we organize, the percetage of workers representedby unions will decline, which will weaken our bargaining power. The more members our union has, the more powerful we are in the workplace and with the politicias who make decisions that affect our work and lives.
Click here to see the video "When We Organize, We Win!
Does organizing new workers help existing members?
Yes, since we launched our new organizing program, more than 400,000 newly organized workers joined AFSCME. By growing, we're able to negotiate stronger contracts and can offer better services and benefits for members. Strenght comes from an active and large membership, we we've got to get bigger by helping workers form new unions with AFSCME. Now, more than ever, it's important that our voices be heard on Capitol Hill, and by our state and local governments.
Who runs AFSCME?
We do. AFSCME is run by its members. Every member has a vote in the elction of local union officers and board members. We negotiate our contracts, which must be approved by our members. Each local has its own constitution and governing documents. Members decide on policies, activities and dues. And as AFSCME members, we are protected by our Members' Bill of Rights.
Click here to see AFSCME Members' Bill of Rights
What is AFSCME's structure?
As an AFSCME member, you become part of a local union (also called a local) consisting of the co-workers in your office, institution, department or community. AFSCME has more than 3,400 local unions and affiliates in 46 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Each local writes its own constitution, holds regular membership meetings, and elects its own officers and stewards.
What is a council?
Councils are a part of AFSCME's administrative structure. They negotiate contracts, handle grievances, arbitrate, educate and provide public relations, and work on legislative and political action. Often, AFSCME local unions within one state, city or county pool their resources to form a stronger council. AFSCME has 59 councils.
What is the AFSCME International Union?
The AFSCME International Union, headquartered in Washington, D.C., coordinates the union's actions on major national issues such as privatization, health care, Social Security and worker safety. The International carries out certain national functions such as representing us in the U.S. Congress and coordinating political activities for federal elections. It also provides resources and expert hep to councils and local unions in area such as:
- Collective bargaining and negotiations
- Information systems
- Leadership education
- Legal counsel
- Legislative lobbying
- Political action
- Public relations
- Women's rights
Who determines AFSCME's direction?
ASCME members do. Every two years, AFSCME holds its Internation Convention, this year it was held in San Francisco. AFSCME members are elected as delegates, and debate and vote on the union's basic policies. Every four years, delegates elect the International Union's President, Secretary-Treasurer and 33 International Vice Presidents.
Gerald W. McEntee is the International President of AFSCME. He was first elected in 1981. President McEntee is widely recognized as one of the most effective labor leaders in the founty. He chairs the AFL-CIO Political Education Committee.
William Lucy is AFSCME's International Secretary-Treasurer. He was elected in May 1972. Secretary-Treasurer Lucy is a long-time labor and civil rights leader, and the founder and president of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists.
Click here to see the AFSCME's Structure flow chart.
Does AFSCME offer special benefits for members?
Yes. The AFSCME Advantage program offer many money-saving services for full, dues-paying members only. Services are offered at greatly reduced costs, and are only available to union members. These benefits are continuously enhanced and expanded. Popular services include:
- Auto Insurance
- Mortgage Assistance Hotline
- Union Plus Debt Help
- Layoff Helpline
- Retirement Planning Center
- Health Care Savings
- Motor Club Savings
- Travel Center
- Health Club Discounts
- Entertainment Discounts
- Secured Credit Card
- Moving Discounts
- Car Rental Discounts
- Condo Rental Discounts
- Cruise Discounts
- AT&T Wireless
- AFSCME Scholarship Programs
To learn more about AFSCME Advantage, call 1-800-588-0374 or click here and check out our website.
What other Resources are available to AFSCME Members?
Delegates to our 2006 AFSCME International Convention passed the bold Power to Win Plan to organize more workers, more effectively represent the members we have and strengthen our political power.
Our members said they needed training to be more effective leaders and the International Union responded by creating the AFSCME Leadership Academy (ALA). The ALA offers numerous ways for our members to recieve training.
- You can register at this site and participate in live, one-hour online workshops with a presenter and other AFSCME members.
- You can take a self-paced version of a class at your convenience.
- You can follow the link to online sessions to help you plan for your retirement.
In addition to online trainings, the ALA offers a variety of opportunities for in-person training. For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (202)429-1250
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