Councilwoman Gym Supports AFSCME Against Janus

Councilwoman Gym Supports AFSCME Against Janus

Councilwoman Helen Gym and DC 47 VP Ethelind Baylor

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City Council members Gym, Squilla, Parker, Reynolds Brown, Henon and Green co-signed this resolution


Affirming the strong support of the City of Philadelphia for public sector workers whose rights and freedoms are threatened as the Supreme Court considers Janus v. AFSCME, and recognizing the important role unions play in raising standards for all workers.

WHEREAS, It is our belief that all families should have the means to thrive in safe and healthy communities; and

WHEREAS, The working people who make the City of Philadelphia run must have stable, well-paying jobs that can support families; and

WHEREAS, Over the last forty years, working people have become more productive than ever, yet wages have declined and CEOs continue to earn more than ever before: 347 times more than the average person; and

WHEREAS, Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, where he marched and rallied in support of city sanitation workers on strike to demand their dignity, their humanity, and their union be recognized; and

WHEREAS, Those Memphis sanitation workers, who Philadelphia City Council honored in Resolution No. 180088, carried signs proclaiming “I AM A MAN” and struggled for basic freedoms: the freedom from discrimination, the freedom from degrading work conditions, the freedom to come together in strong unions to improve their place of work. To do justice to their commitment and tenacity, we must continue to do justice to all public sector workers, and especially those who are people of color; and

WHEREAS, Today, as economic inequality has grown and the ability for workers to organize has come increasingly threatened, workers across the City of Philadelphia and the country struggle for those same basic freedoms and a high quality of life for their families; and
City of Philadelphia

WHEREAS, Being able to participate in unions gives all of us – particularly women and people of color – a powerful voice in speaking up for ourselves, our families, and our communities, and ensures that each worker in the City of Philadelphia is treated with dignity, respect, and appreciation; and

WHEREAS, Those who have harnessed the power of collective action have won major victories like the 40-hour work week, overtime pay, and health and safety standards, as well as advanced policies especially important to women like paid leave, earned sick time, and reducing the gender pay gap; and

WHEREAS, When people can negotiate together for strong contracts, higher wages, and safer, dignified working conditions, all of us benefit, our communities are stronger, and our entire economy is made more fair; and

WHEREAS, As the US Supreme Court considers the case Janus v. AFSCME, which may decide whether those who work for the good of the public – such as nurses, teachers and firefighters – would be denied the freedom to unify and fight for equity, the City of Philadelphia must uphold its protection of the workers that run our City; and

WHEREAS, An unfavorable decision in this case would undermine the freedom for millions of working people, especially women and communities of color, to fight for high wages and meaningful protections; now, therefore, be it

commitment of the City of Philadelphia to supporting public sector workers whose rights and freedoms are threatened as the Supreme Court considers Janus v. AFSCME, and recognizes the important role unions play in raising standards for all workers.


March is Social Workers Month

March is Social Workers Month

“Social workers make a positive impact on the lives of millions of Americans each day,” Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW, NASW’s chief executive officer said.

“Legislators such as social workers Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Rep. Barbara Lee of California help guide health care and mental health care legislation and other legislation through Congress that help the well-being of many.”

“You also have social workers who work with individuals, families and communities improve their quality of life,” he said.

Social work is a fast-growing profession with more than 680,000 social work professionals in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Clinical social workers are the largest group of mental health providers in the United States.

Social workers are trained to look at situations in a holistic way, helping bring together people and communities to find ways to address pressing individual, group and societal issues such as hunger, affordable housing, equal rights for all and making social institutions more responsive to people’s needs.

Social workers also follow the NASW Code of Ethics, which calls on members of the profession to enhance human well-being and meet the basic needs of all people, with particular attention on the needs and empowerment of those who are vulnerable, oppressed or living in poverty.

Sexual Harassment Training For City Employees

Philadelphia City Council passed Bill 171109 and Resolution 171134 which will amend the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter with a provision of mandatory annual sexual harassment training for all City officers and employees.  Introduced on December 14, 2017 by Councilwoman Reynolds Brown in partnership with the ‘Women of City Council’, the new Bill will require mandatory annual training for all exempt, non-exempt, civil service, City officers and employees regarding sexual harassment in the workplace. The administration may conclude for certain employees and departments that non-annual training is most appropriate and effective for the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace. In these circumstances, sexual harassment training must be offered to those employees and departments at least once every three years.

“This legislation is a significant step in the right direction to ensure that the City of Philadelphia is fostering a workplace environment free of sexual harassment,” Councilwoman Reynolds Brown said.

“All employees deserve to work in an environment that works against gender stereotypes, empowers bystanders, encourages civility, requires serious training, promotes women, encourages reporting, and implements proportional consequences for negative behaviors and offenses.”

Harassment Issues Discussion

Harassment Issues Discussion

Sisters and Brothers:

On Wednesday, March 7, at 5 p.m. EST, we will host a discussion with women leaders on the pervasive harassment both women and men confront at work and strategies to fight back. To have a meaningful conversation, we need to hear from you about the issues you face. You can do this by submitting a question via videoby 6 p.m. EST on Tuesday, March 6.

We will be joined by AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler, Jobs With Justice Executive Director Sarita Gupta and National Women’s Law Center President Fatima Goss Graves. Please also join the conversation by watching the live broadcast through AFSCME’s Facebook page at 5 p.m. EST on Wednesday.

The #MeToo movement has brought much-needed public attention to the subject of workplace sexual harassment. AFSCME has long been at the forefront in the fight for equality on the job — including an end to the culture of pervasive harassment. This is an opportunity for members to get answers and advice on dealing with and preventing sexual harassment, on protecting your rights on the job, and continuing our fight for equality in the workplace.

Please join us by submitting your questions and watching the live stream at 5 p.m. EST this Wednesday, March 7.

Thank you for all that you do.

Lee Saunders
AFSCME President

Elissa McBride
AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer

Working People’s Day of Action Rally

Working People’s Day of Action Rally

AFSCME Retirees were on hand for the rally in center city on Saturday. The rally was held in advance of the Janus vs. AFSCME Council 31 case being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court next week. The Justices are being asked to determine if members should be required to pay a fee for union representation.

Working People’s Day of Action

Working People’s Day of Action

In advance of the Supreme Court’s  hearing of Janus vs. AFSCME Council 31, challenging public sector unions’ right to collect fees from their members, union members and supporters rallied in center city Philadelphia.

Congressman Dwight Evans, AFSCME District 1199C Pres. Henry Nicholas, PFT Pres. Jerry Jordan, Councilwoman Helen Gym and AFSCME District Council 47 Pres. Fred Wright were there.

Working People’s Day of Action

Working People’s Day of Action

 AFSCME’s I AM 2018 initiative is about drawing inspiration from the heroes of Memphis and many others who died for our rights to have sick days/vacation days, fair wages, voting rights, equality on the job, women’s rights, and the right to unionize.  We are connecting their struggle then to today’s challenges.  I AM 2018 isn’t just a reflection of the past; it’s a call to action for the future. An urgent call as the time is now to fight poverty and prejudice, advance the freedom of all working people and remind America that there can be no racial justice without economic justice and no economic justice without racial justice.
It is our turn to fight. We value our freedom: the freedom to vote, the freedom to negotiate a fair return on our work, the freedom to have work-life balance. There are rich and powerful people who are attempting to annihilate the civil rights and labor laws that many have paid the ultimate price with their life. We must protect our freedom to join together as a union. Standing together, we can fight for our freedom to prosper. Join us on February 24, 2018, @ Thomas Paine Plaza 1401 John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19102 from 10:00 am – 12 noon.
This is who we are. This is where we come from. This is why our fight matters right now.  So sign up and join me and AFSCME for the I AM 2018 events.
In Solidarity,
Ethelind Baylor, Vice President
City Contract Update

City Contract Update

Brothers and Sisters,

Contract talks between the City of Philadelphia and AFCME DC 47 representatives have continued weekly (generally more than once a week). The existing contract has continued to be extended.
We just received, within the past few weeks, information the Union requested from the City of Philadelphia concerning the economic impact of changes that the City wants to make regarding the defined pension plan. In consultation with your leadership, we have made several counterproposals regarding pensions, in an effort to reach a settlement.
Just as some of you have expressed, I am also frustrated by the City’s slow movement at the bargaining table. I believe this is in part because they are waiting to see the outcome of binding arbitration with the Philadelphia Firefighters Union.
I also believe it would be in our best interest to come to an agreement concerning this contract before the Mayor makes his budget address on March 1. I suggest that just as in the past, Brothers and Sisters begin calling out the City administration for not giving us a contract. In a recent interview on WURD (February 2nd), I began to do that and hope you will join me in taking this action right now.
I also want you to know that the new leadership of Local 810 has decided to engage the Willig, Williams & Davidson law firm, to represent them in contract talks. Council 47 has not been involved with them at the bargaining table.
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