Countdown to Possible Shutdown

Countdown to Possible Shutdown

On January 25th Congress passed and the President signed a bill to end the government shutdown through February 15, giving Congress three more weeks to reach a deal on border security.  Bipartisan congressional opposition to the President’s demand for a physical border wall remains constant. Yet, despite signs of bipartisan progress in House and Senate negotiations on viable alternatives, President Trump has deemed these talks “a waste of time.”   

As a possible  alternative to a shutdown, the President now suggests the most extreme and constitutionally dubious step of declaring a “national emergency” at the southern border, allowing him to bypass the need for congressional approval to reallocate funds for his wall.  This unprecedented approach also faces strong congressional opposition, as well as serious legal challenges.  There is little doubt that a new government shutdown within the next two weeks remains a very real and serious threat.

Working with the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), we have launched a new countdown website called www.shutdownticker.com where members and the public can contact members of Congress and tell them they do not want another government shutdown. I encourage you to share this website with your members, as well as the sharable social media graphics on the site.

If you have any questions about the potential shutdown, please do not hesitate to contact Scott Frey at sfrey@afscme.org. If you have questions about the website or social media campaign, please contact Blaine Rummel at brummel@afscme.org.

Lee A. Saunders, President, AFSCME

Wishing You Happy Holidays – President Fred Wright

Wishing You Happy Holidays – President Fred Wright

As we close out 2018, we are grateful for our positive outcomes from negotiations, which helped us maintain our standards of living. This includes pay increases and the continuation of medical and time benefits. These benefits are collectively bargained for periodically. So, having an active Union and an engaged membership is the key to achieving our goals, at the bargaining table. In 2018, we successfully negotiated contracts with the City of Philadelphia, American Friends Service Committee, First Judicial District, Jewish Family and Children’s Service, Kaiserman JCC, and KleinLife. In each of these contracts, we had obstacles to overcome; such as, the looming Janus decision which affected public sector workers, resistance from management, and pending right-to-work laws in the state legislature. We overcame these challenges through the hard work of dedicated union members like yourselves. You voiced your concerns and your co-workers’ concerns and you demanded fairness and respect from management. Your recent demands for full funding for public libraries continues our struggle for improved working conditions for our members. Also, the hearing in city council and support for improvements regarding secondary trauma are aimed to improve members health and well being. We will continue to voice our concerns with city council and the administration as we did in 2018, to work toward bringing about these changes We will need that same collective power at the ballot box. I was proud to have members working the polls on November 6th. If you are not registered to vote, please do so. We need every vote on election day, to advance policies and elect people that support working people and union concerns. Voting is power, and we cannot afford to relinquish our right to vote. By voting, you can make a difference in local, state and federal government, and in turn, our work places, communities and families. As always, the officers and staff of AFSCME District Council 47 wish you and your families a pleasant Holiday Season and a very joyous New Year.

Fair Workweek Employment Standards Bill In City Council

Fair Workweek Employment Standards Bill In City Council

Testimony presented by President Fred Wright at Council hearing on Tuesday, October 30th

Members of the Law and Government Committee:

My name is Frederick Wright, President of AFSCME District Council 47.
I represent City employees and workers in the non-profit sector here in Philadelphia and some Brothers and Sisters working outside the City.
I am here today to speak in favor of Bill number 180649.
This bill would provide protections for workers in retail, food service and hospitality establishments. As union workers, we gain workplace related protections for our members through collective bargaining and because of laws passed to protect the rights of union workers. We know that when the rights of workers are protected, its a plus for all of us. We believe in worker solidarity and support fairness concerning worker rights at all workplaces.
We know that people need a clear sense of what hours they will be required to work, how much they will be paid for working those hours and when they are sick that they get health insurance, to help pay for doctor and hospital visits.
Having these concerns backed by the law, as well as having the ability to point out inconsistencies in the application of those laws, without being penalized and being removed from their jobs when raising those concerns is very important for workers.
One of the reasons for union organizing historically has been to protect the rights of workers on the job from arbitrary and unreasonable actions on the parts of employers.
We realize that the 130,00 workers in the retail, food and hospitality workplaces do not have the benefits and protections that we receive as members of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees. We support City Council in considering this legislation that will provide better protections for those workers.
We urge you to pass this legislation because it will help mothers and fathers with children have a better sense of when they can pick them up from daycare. We urge you to pass this legislation that will help children know when mom and dad will be home to help them with their homework. We urge you to pass this legislation that will enable some people to have a second job so they can better provide for their families.
For all these and many other reasons, we urge you to pass Bill number 180649.